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NEWS - March 27, 2008

by Donna Buenaventura / March 27, 2008 10:06 AM PDT

MacBook Air Hijacked at CanSecWest Hacker Contest

Using a drive-by browser exploit, hacker Charlie Miller pops Apple's shiny new MacBook Air to claim a $10,000 cash prize.

Using a drive-by browser exploit, security researcher Charlie Miller has hacked into Apple's shiny new MacBook Air, winning himself the machine and a $10,000 cash prize.

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U.N. Agency Evicts Record Number of Cybersquatters
by Donna Buenaventura / March 27, 2008 10:10 AM PDT
In reply to: NEWS - March 27, 2008

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ousted a record number of "cybersquatters" from Web sites with domain names referring to trademarked companies, foundations and celebrities in 2007.

WIPO, a U.N. agency based in Geneva, received 2,156 complaints alleging "abusive registration of trademarks on the Internet" last year, up 18 percent from 2006 and 48 percent more than the filings lodged in 2005.

"These increases confirm that 'cybersquatting' remains a significant issue for rights holders," Frances Gurry, WIPO's deputy director-general said on Thursday.

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Mac OS X first to fall
by Donna Buenaventura / March 27, 2008 10:15 AM PDT
In reply to: NEWS - March 27, 2008

Under the competition rules, the attacker selects one of the systems -- running the latest versions of Apple's Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux -- and gets 30 minutes to compromise the computer. The attacker gets both the system and a cash prize depending on the type of vulnerability they used. The vulnerability exploited by Miller required some user interaction, so he did not qualify for the highest prize of $20,000.

The bug is still very serious, however, resembling the vulnerabilities currently used by many fraudsters to infect the systems of unwary victims with bot software and root kits. The vulnerability requires the same amount of interaction as the flaw in QuickTime's handling of Java that allowed researchers Shane Macaulay and Dino Dai Zovi to win the competition last year.

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Badware Alert: XP Antivirus 2008
by Donna Buenaventura / March 27, 2008 10:17 AM PDT
In reply to: NEWS - March 27, 2008 have just released a badware alert on the above program.


We find that XP Antivirus 2008 (Unregistered Version) is badware because it makes deceptive claims of system vulnerabilities in order to induce users to purchase the full version of the software, because it interferes with normal computer use by automatically running a background process which repeatedly prompts the user to take a previously declined action, and because the software cannot be uninstalled using the Windows Add/Remove Programs tool, or without downloading an additional uninstaller.

In trying to contact the producer, Innovagest 2000, we noted that the support address for XP Antivirus 2008,, bounced as “user unknown.” (We did find another address for the company,, that worked, but we did not receive a response.)

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Buggy Flash code continues to plague the Web
by Donna Buenaventura / March 27, 2008 10:20 AM PDT
In reply to: NEWS - March 27, 2008

More than three months after researchers documented serious vulnerabilities in Flash content that left tens of thousands of sites wide open to attack, few webmasters have bothered to remove the buggy files, a security expert from Google said.

That means that an untold number of sites - many of them used for banking, ecommerce and other sensitive transactions - remain vulnerable to attacks that steal the personal details of their customers, said Rich Cannings, a Google information security engineer and one of a handful of researchers who went public with the vulnerability in late December. A few weeks later, he appealed for security professionals to audit all Flash applets stored on their sites and replace those that contained the vulnerabilities, but so far, few appear to have heeded his advice.

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Hacker gets 3 years for 911 hoax
by Donna Buenaventura / March 27, 2008 10:22 AM PDT
In reply to: NEWS - March 27, 2008

A computer hacker was sentenced to three years in prison for placing a phony 911 call that led a SWAT team to storm a family home at gunpoint.

It marked the first prosecution in Orange County for a prank known as "swatting" that involves sending SWAT teams on wild goose chases, said county district attorney's spokeswoman Farrah Emami on Thursday.

Randal T. Ellis, 19, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Orange County Superior Court to five felony counts, including computer access and fraud, false imprisonment by violence and falsely reporting a crime.

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