Daily News Brief: Big Tech News Served in Bite Sized Chunks


China Hacks US Defense Department

Sounds like the premise for a B-movie, but the Pentagon recently admitted falling prey to hacks originating from the Chinese government. There's no proof the attacks came from the Chinese military, but one source told Foxnews that " These hacking attacks go on everyday[...]It's a constant game of cat and mouse. " While more complicated than previous Tom and Jerry shenanigans, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman says the target was a relatively harmless database containing " elements of an unclassified email system ," which was promptly shut down for three weeks. Whitman also said that classified email systems were never at risk. The Chinese government, of course, denies involvement.

MSI and Skype Hook Up

Quite literally. Intel's P35 chipset has already been impressing enthusiasts, and it's about to get better, at least on paper. MSI's P35 Diamond will sport the standard feature set that's made the P35 a success (quad-core and 1333MHz frontside bus support, Penryn ready, ICH9R Southbridge, etc), along with the inclusion of an onboard Creative X-Fi Extreme sound solution. But in addition to the ongoing Creative marriage, MSI plans to outfit their newest Diamond with a phone port specifically for making Skype based calls . Dubbed Skytel , you'll be able to plug any ordinary phone into the motherboard, and with the Skype software, begin making phone calls around the world. The downside here is that the PC will undoubtedly need to be turned on, but that's how Skype works anyway, whether a port comes bundled on the motherboard or not. Rounded out with Japanese solid capacitors and dual eSATA2 Matrix RAID support, this is one motherboard worth keeping an eye on. Now if only Intel could wrangle SLI support into their chipsets...

In Game Advertising Mimics TV

The gaming Apocolypse hasn't arrived, and you're not about to be reminded during an intense fragfest how the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup . But the $514 million market for in-game ads will change in their delivery and flexibility thanks to a process called fusion.runtime . Developed by Doube Fusion , the new ad solution will allow advertisers to dynamically change and update ads by way of the internet, and since the coding remains separate from the game title itself, expect to see ads implemented in previously released games too. Er, w00t?

Four Year Suit vs Google Dropped

Speaking of ads, the American Blind & Wallpaper Factory Inc. dropped a four old lawsuit against search engine giant Google just two months before it was set to go to trial. The beef stemmed from Google's practice of selling advertising spots for keyword searches, even if the keywords themselves are trademarked. This means that if a user searches for a specific company, a competitor could purchase an ad spot based on that company's name, and potentially lure a potential customer away. So the four year old questions is: Fair business practice or trademark abuse? You'll have to decide that one on your own, at least for the time being. In addition to dropping the suit, AB&WF Inc. won't be suing Google, as long as there are no " material change in its AdWords trademark policy that adversely affects " them, and they've agreed not to assist other companies in suing Google over the same policy.

Microsoft and Iowa Settle

In other legal news, another long standing legal dispute comes to a close, but this one to the tune of $180 million. Filed way back in 2000, the state of Iowa was tiffed over higher prices as a result of (wait for it)...anticompetitive business practices (does Microsoft ever get sued for anything else?). Looks like a huge win at a glance, but not all Iowa residents are dancing the victory jitterbug. Of the $180 million, the lawyers will pocket a whopping $75 million, representing almost half of the entire settlement, a record setting amount for the state. Consumers, on the other hand, will receive settlement checks anywhere from $10 to $29 each.  The moral of the story? Stay in Law School...

How Much Time do you Spend with P2P?

Could peer-to-peer apps really account for 50 to 90 percent all internet traffic? Seems unlikely, but that's what early results from an ipoque (German based internet traffic management and analysis firm) survey suggests, with more definitive findings forthcoming later on this month. Not surprisingly, BitTorrent topped the list, which could be responsible for up to 75 percent of P2P traffic. Despite the proliferation for downloading content, these numbers still seem high, and Ars Technica points out a conflicting study with a much more modest 37 percent estimate for P2P related traffic. That's still over a third, but I'd find even more interesting what type of content gets downloaded most frequently, as opposed to what method .

First Computer Virus Celebrates 25th Birthday

And no one's throwing a party. Virsuses today are as easier to find in the wild than it is to locate a Starbucks, and they're also a lot more malicious than when first conceived. Instead of threatening identity theft or waging a DoS attack, the first virus that spread in the wild got its start as a high school freshman prank. Rich Skrenta called his boot sector virus 'Elk Cloner' , which would display a short poem every 50th time the victim booted from it. That's a far cry from what today's malware will do to a system, and if that's all they still did, then that'd be cause for celebration.

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