According to a recent security study, low assurance digital certificates have become a new gateway for hackers to get to your personal data, by means of a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack.
The MITM attack consists of a hacker putting themselves between two parties in a dialogue, such as a person and their bank. Once in place they effectively control the conversation to get login credentials or other, far more valuable information.
Generally, untrustworthy certificates will be halted by error messages or warnings that throw up red flags for potential problems, at least to the more internet-savvy. However, more crafty hackers will often add a legitimately issued certificate to the mix, making even the most secure browsers continue on their merry way, as if nothing has happened.
So how can you keep yourself safe online? Well, at time of press there isn’t any kind of listed fix, but just watch yourself and your information. Acting supremely paranoid can’t hurt, can it?
Windows Vista never did manage to win over an enthusiast following, leaving many eagerly awaiting the release of Windows 7. But while Microsoft's next OS is still a year (or less) from release, you can already get your paws on the beta 1 version (build 7000). Windows 7 beta 1 isn't supposed to make its way into the public sector for another couple of weeks, but leaked copies have already started appearing on BitTorrent, and initial reactions is that it's pretty good.
"This beta is of excellent quality," ZDNet wrote. "This is the kind of code that you could roll out and live with. Even the pre-betas were solid, but finally this beta feels like it’s “done.” This beta exceeds the quality of any other Microsoft OS beta that I’ve handled"
ZDNet noted "exceptional" performance while playing with the beta code, saying it feels faster and more responsive than is typical of beta builds. But what the site didn't find were any new features compared to earlier builds.
BlogsDNA lists several torrent links for the DVD ISO image, which should make installation a breeze for anyone wanting to chance pre-release software.
It looks like here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. we’ve got one more thing to add to the “we’re good at this” list, and that one thing is hosting malware on our websites.
A recent study by ars technica that tested what countries are hosting malware has the United States in first place, hosting a whopping 37% of the world’s malware infected sights, followed by China in second place with only 28% of the world’s malicious sites. Every other country fell under 10% individually.
Considering that we here in the U.S. have some of the most advanced technologies when it comes to combating malware, it seems a little sad that we’re in first place (with room to spare) on this list. And considering that just recently we came in first for spam email just a little over a year ago, it’s disappointing too.
There are fewer delights in life greater than the fabled "holiday break" that comes this time each year. For those fortunate enough to have some time off from their places of business, it's a treat to be able to come home to a roaring fire, a loud desktop machine, and a week-or-so's worth of frantic Web browsing and video game playing. This is also the perfect time of year to run some tweaking on your computer, and invariably the perfect time of year for Murphy's Law to curse you with an unresponsive desktop or faltering operating system. But fear not! Santa Maximum PC is ready with a bag full of freeware applications for you to tinker (or save your computer) with.
Click the link and start opening your software presents!
The prevailing zeitgeist has got people adamant upon conserving as much as possible and that obsession manifests in ways you don’t generally expect. A Dutch firm, Spranq, has come up with a font that can save ink consumption by 20%. The secret of the font, aptly titled Ecofont, lies in the fact that every character is pocked with holes galore. And quite obviously, rocket scientists, this implies that less ink is required to print a character compared to a generic font devoid of holes. The innovative font can be downloaded free of cost.
Here’s a curveball for you. According to Gamasutra, Warren Spector -- the man behind mega-tons like Deus Ex, Thief, and System Shock – is currently giving Disney’s rodent-king an “epic” makeover. Yep, Spector’s trading guns and leather for hop ‘n’ bop, and Mickey’s trading his steamboat for steampunk.
Gamasutra saw a few illicit pics of this very special episode of trading spaces, and noted that the game is set to feature “cities assembled from junk” and “a surreal seashore invasion scene, in which machines wearing the faces of the Seven Dwarfs deposit old-fashioned renditions of Disney characters onto the beach with mechanical hands.”
We know what we’ll be having nightmares about tonight!
Aside from that, however, little is known about the “distinctly shadowed, steampunk” game. In a Junction Point blog entry, Spector claimed that it's a collaboration between Disney and Pixar, but the information trail smacks into brick wall after that.
If you're of "a certain age," you might remember when "computer literacy" equaled "everyone will be a programmer." Unfortunately, the limitations of BASIC (line numbers leading to incomprehensible "spaghetti code," primitive graphics, and no syntax checking) made most would-be programmers dropouts.
I haven't written a computer program in over 20 years, but Microsoft has introduced a modern, easy-to-use language designed for the masses (and for dropouts like me): Small Basic.
Small Basic, available in pre-release version 0.2, runs on Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Vista 64-bit Editions Service Pack 1, Windows XP, Windows XP 64-bit. It relies on .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, which you will need to install if you don't have it already.
This Ain't Your Daddy's BASIC
Microsoft says that Small Basic "is a project that is aimed at making computer programming accessible to beginners. The project comprises a simple programming language that gathers inspiration from the original BASIC programming language; a modern and attractive programming environment; and rich, extensible libraries. Together they make programming fun for kids and adults alike."
So, what's special about Small Basic, and how can you learn more about it? Join us after the jump for all the details.
“Let’s see… I’ll take one copy of Spore – hold the SecuROM DRM, please.”
“Oh, er, sorry. Your order’s already slathered in DRM and, well, we can’t remove it. If you come back in a couple weeks, though, we might be able to scrape off a bit of it. Sound good?”
Has something like this ever happened to you? A pleasant Sunday afternoon installation spoiled by SecuROM’s goon squad? Well, no more. At least, if you ride under Steam’s banner.
“EA is one of the industry’s largest publishers,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “The EA titles coming to Steam this holiday include some this year’s top PC titles.”
He’s not kidding, either. Titles like Spore, Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, Mass Effect, Need for Speed Undercover, and FIFA Manager 2009 are already available, with Mirror’s Edge, Red Alert 3, and Dead Space moving in with the Freeman family in the “coming weeks.” And, of course, these games will conform to Steam’s standards; in other words, no SecuROM whatsoever.
So, does this mean we can all finally kiss and make up with EA, and notice that it’s released some damn good games over the past year? C’mon now; it’s Christmas.
Microsoft recently announced to its system-building partners that they would extend the pull date on Windows XP past the originally announced January 31, 2009.
These system builders are going to be allowed orders of XP all the way up until January 31, and they can ship them until May 30. “This is a good solution to support the customers that are standardized still on XP,” stated Michael Schwab, the co-president of D&H Distributing. “In this case, people contemplated buying in larger quantities [of XP licenses] and holding on to them. But that would have caused a bubble [from] people buying five months of supply in January.”
This appears to be another sign of the market’s resistance to getting Windows Vista. Despite all the clever ads, it still seems that people prefer Windows XP to the pretty new OS.
What about you? Are you still set in your XP ways or have you moved on to Vista? Let us know in the comments.
About a month ago we took a look at a disturbing new trend that was emerging in Australia involving the movie industry’s new approach to copyright enforcement. It now appears as though this heavy handed approach has indeed crossed the ocean and the RIAA is preparing to switch gears. Over the past 6 years the music industry has initiated lawsuits against over 35,000 people. Seniors, minors, or the deceased, nobody was safe from the wrath of the recording industry. This public relations nightmare was bound to end sooner or later, but their new approach could see tens of thousands of internet users booted off the web.
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered agreements made between several unnamed ISP’s and the RIAA which will make it possible for them to force internet service providers to disconnect user’s who refuse to cease and desist music sharing after being issued a written warning. Warnings will likely start with an emailed notice of violation which can then lead to restricted bandwidth, or in worst case scenarios as we mentioned before, the disconnection of internet service. Under the newly proposed system, the RIAA would forward a notice to the ISP of an offending IP address, and would leave it up to the provider to contact the individual customer. The positive change here would be that your privacy would not be compromised, and the RIAA would not require disclosure of the customer’s name.
The RIAA believes this new approach will “reach more people” and that it cannot afford to ignore piracy. The group cites NPD figures which show that the growth of illegally downloaded content has stalled in the wake of the uncertainty surrounding the lawsuits. Their new approach would be much more covert, and would likely attract less media attention.
So would you rather be sued or booted off the net? I think I’ll pay the 99 cents a track thank you very much.