Motorola's Droid X has been stirring up quite the stink on the Internet lately, with several websites pointing out how the device's eFuse chip could potentially spell the end of third-party mods.
Here's how it works. The eFuse chip is tasked with verifying the handset's firmware (ROM), the kernel, and the bootoader version. If it detects that something is awry -- like a third-party ROM -- the eFuse chip "ignites," so to speak, bricking the phone. The only way to undo the damage is to ship the device off to Motorola and hope that they'll be sympathetic to your plight. Perhaps you fell down a long flight of steps and through a series of bumps and bangs, you inadvertently downloaded a third-party ROM and installed it.
Sounds pretty gruesome, right? But let's back up a moment. It's now coming to light that the eFuse chip isn't anything new, and in fact it's included on all of TI's OMAP3 processors. Why is that relevant? Well, the gloom and doom scenario being played out in the press hasn't been an issue for past devices with the eFuse mechanism, like the original Droid and Milestone, and it would be odd if Motorola suddenly switched directions with the Droid X.
Let's not forget that the ability to mod is a huge draw for the Android platform, and something like this wouldn't be good for either Motorola or Google.
Would you be okay with Motorola locking down its hardware and bricking modded devices, or does something like this cross the line? Does all the hoopla surrounding eFuse influence your decision on whether or not to get a Droid X?
NZXT Product Manager and Co-Founder Johnny Hou this morning sent out a letter that wasn't quite as seething as the one Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner posted online after LeBron James skipped town, but almost as defiant. With the subject line "NZXT Still Kicking Ass and Thriving," Hou wrote:
To our friends and loyal customers in the PC enthusiast community,
Yesterday at 7:30 PM PST the NZXT website was infiltrated illegally. While having access to the site, hackers made several malicious changes including sending out an erroneous newsletter to our database claiming that NZXT is going out of business. They also changed product warranties, deleted product and home page banners, etc.
Well, I’m happy to report that NZXT is NOT going out of business and to the contrary we are more excited than ever to be a part of this tremendous industry. We are poised to launch several highly anticipated products over the next two months including the Phantom full tower case we unveiled at Computex. We feel this will provide enthusiasts with one of the most fresh and unique case designs in quite some time.
I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere gratitude to the community for your ongoing support of NZXT. We design our products based on what you need to build a stellar PC and welcome your feedback as to how we can help your computing experience be as enjoyable as possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.
Best regards, Johnny Hou
The source of the attack is unknown, and so is the intent, which may have simply been to stir up a bit of trouble or to pick a bone with NZXT. Either way, NZXT fans who may have read gloom and doom scenarios prior to today can breathe a sigh of a relief.
A young Argentinian hacker, known only by his sobriquet Ch Russo, claims to have successfully slipped past The Pirate Bay's defenses, gaining access to the torrent site's administrative control panel. An SQL injection vulnerability discovered by Ch Russo and a couple of his chums exposed the site's user database, which is said to contain account information belonging to around 4 million users. However, the hacker denies altering or deleting information.
The trio also resisted the temptation of selling the data to the companies assisting the entertainment industry in its fight against piracy. “Probably these groups would be very interested in this information, but we are not [trying] to sell it,” Russo told security blog KrebsOnSecurity in a phone interview. “Instead we wanted to tell people that their information may not be so well protected.”
Hackers made a mockery of Twitter's security on a couple of occasions last year – first in January and then in April. The first breach affected 45 accounts, including that of President Barack Obama, and exposed the micro-blogging site's wafer-thin security. The two incidents were enough to draw the Federal Trade Commission's attention, which launched an investigation into the site's security practices.
Twitter has convinced the FTC to call an early end to the probe, allowing it to escape without a penalty. One of the terms of the settlement requires that the micro-blogging site establish a security program and have it reviewed by a neutral party once every year for the next ten years.
The hacker responsible for the first breach was assisted by the fact that the site allowed rapid-fire log-in attempts, making it a sitting duck for a dictionary attack. He used this gaping hole in Twitter's security to hack an employee's account with administrative privileges and a lame password.
In what's being described as AT&T's worst security breach in recent history, the wireless company went and left sensitive information on 114,067 owners of the iPad 3G exposed on the Web. The subscriber data was obtained by a group calling itself Goatse Security, who then published the personal email addresses of the victims, including military officials, CEOs, prominent politicians, and celebrities.
AT&T, which has confirmed the breach, insists that only email addresses were lifted, and that more sensitive data like credit cards and home addresses were not compromised.
"AT&T was informed by a business customer on Monday of the potential exposure of their iPad ICC IDS," AT&T said in a statement. "The only information that can be derived from the ICC IDS is the e-mail address attached to that device. This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday; and we have essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail addresses. The person or group who discovered this gap did not contact AT&T. We are continuing to investigate and will inform all customers whose e-mail addresses and ICC IDS may have been obtained. We take customer privacy very seriously and while we have fixed this problem, we apologize to our customers who were impacted."
While this one falls on AT&T's shoulders, the breach doesn't look good for Apple, either. This latest incident comes just weeks after an Apple employee left an iPhone prototype in a bar.
Jesse William McGraw, a former security guard who worked the night shift at a Dallas hospital, has pleaded guilty to two counts of transmitting malicious code, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
It was only a matter of time before the bumbling 25-year-old hacker was caught. In a YouTube video he posted, McGraw, who goes by the alias "Ghost Exodus," shows himself pretending to break into the hospital where he proceeds to install botnet code on a nurse's computer station. While all this is going on, the theme to "Mission Impossible" plays in the background.
So why do it? Apparently McGraw was a member of a hacking group known as the Electronik Tribulation Army, and he installed the botnet code to help take down the website of a rival hacker group, the DoJ said.
McGraw broke into more than 14 computers and now faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the two counts. Sentencing is scheduled for September 16, 2010.
Another hacker has been arrested in India for his alleged participation in what's considered the largest data heist in U.S. history, Infoworld reports.
Sergey Valeryvich Storchark, along with 10 other men, were charged in August 2008 with hacking into nine U.S. retailers. Once inside, the hackers allegedly stole and then sold tens of millions of credit card numbers
According to authorities, Storchark is believed to be one of the resellers of the stolen credit cards. He faces a single count of conspiracy to traffic in unauthorized access devices.
"He was pretty well connect at one point, so I think he's a significant player," an anonymous law enforcement official told Infoworld.
By now you've probably noticed that Google has given its search results page a brand new look (our own Ryan Whitwam covered the changes in blog post last week found here), but not everyone is keen on the new design. If you're one of those people, there's a relatively simple fix. All you have to do is change your default search page to this:
It's anyone's guess as to how long this will work, but at least for now, the above URL reverts Google's search results page to the old style, giving you control over when and when not to show advanced options in the left-hand column. In the words of Nick Burns, "You're Welcome!"
Some of my favorite kinds of freeware apps to find (and install) are the ones that build new functionality into the Windows operating system. I'm running Windows 7 right now, but even this latest version of Microsoft's OS has substantial room for third-party improvements.
It's not difficult to find free or open-source apps to boost the common interactions one has with one's operating system. The tough part is in the classification: I'm really not sure how to best lump this week's applications together, save for the fact that they're all awesome ways to enhance Windows with new and useful features. And I'm not talking about super-complex, command-line scripts or what-have-you. No, these apps are all super-easy to use-if you even see them at all, given that most will modify some form of your Windows OS without needing any further interaction past the installation screen.
Anyway, if you can think of a better way to classify this week's Freeware Files other than, "Apps that Make Windows Rock," I'm all ears. Otherwise, click the jump and get ready to take your operating system to new places!
Rumors had been floating around last week about a possible hack that would allow iPhones to install a custom version of Android, but without proof it was pretty much dismissed out of hand.
Well imagine our surprise when we saw the folks over at Andriodalot release a 68-step guide, along with a video walking users through how to convert a second-generation iPhone into a hardware masterpiece for the competition. It may not be easy, or even practical, but it certainly is entertaining to see Apple's flagship phone rocking Google's Android OS.
We haven't tried the hack for ourselves, but we'll accept the video as proof of concept, and the fact that the phone can dual boot to either OS at startup just adds to the appeal.
To check out the blurry video walkthrough in all its glory, and the OS in action check out the videos after the jump.