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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cache Of Stolen Financial Data Found By Security Lab

RSA FraudAction Research Lab reported on Friday that it had uncovered a large cache of credit card numbers and online bank account logins and passwords that have been accumulated over the past two-and-a-half years. The researchers say that a technically sophisticated trojan horse program, the Sinowal Trojan, likely originating in Russia is responsible. “Only rarely do we come across crimeware that has been continually stealing and collecting personal information and payment card data, and compromising bank accounts as far back as 2006. And in addition to its longevity, Sinowal has also been evolving at a dramatic pace – its rate of attacks spiked upwards from March through September of this year.” according to the researchers.

New York Times article.
BBC News article.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Robotic Fish Form Hunting Party

Researchers at the University of Washington are developing fish like robots that have the capability of working autonomously but share information with each other to form a Hunting Party. “There’s no human directly telling them what to do,” explains Kristi Morgansen, UW assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics. She adds that, “They have a program on board and they’re getting various sensor information, either from their on-board sensors or stuff that’s transmitted over a wireless channel.”

RoboFish from James Eagan on Vimeo.

The "Robofish" have fish like fins rather than propellers to make them more maneuverable and less likely to get caught in kelp, rope, or fishing lines. “Fish are much more maneuverable in small spaces than things that we’ve been able to build in engineering with propellers."

I'm fascinated by these little guys! The video is impressive and the swarming, or shall I say "schooling" abilities are rather intriguing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fab Four Coming To Rockband!

You can't legally buy their music digitally but today Apple Corps Ltd. - the company founded by the Beatles in 1968 and Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks will announce that they have signed a deal that will see the Beatles' songs coming to the popular Rock Band franchise. "It is a bit of a coup since [MTV] has been able to license it and Apple [Inc.] still couldn't get the music," said Josh Martin, analyst at the Boston-based Yankee Group. It's uncertain whether MTV Networks will give the band it's own addition, similar to Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, or if the music will be downloadable for current Rock Band games. The move is being seen as a bit of a cue as Apple Inc. has been working hard to get the Band's music included in the iTunes music store. Globe and Mail article.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

iPhone Recession Proof?

According to the Globe and Mail 255,000 iPhones were sold in Canada between its launch on July 11th and the end of September, and there appears to be no slowing down in sales irregardless of how the economy is performing. “We've seen time and time again that if people want something bad enough, they're willing to put themselves in debt or save less in order to buy it,” said consumer research analyst Josh Martin of Boston-based Yankee Group. “It would be interesting to see if consumers are cutting out other things so they can afford to have their iPhone.” Martin added. They certainly have a lot of appeal and I've definitely noticed more of them in the wild, we'll have to keep an eye on the Christmas season sales numbers...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Azure - Microsoft's Operating System For The Cloud

Microsoft unveiled plans on Monday for a new cloud computing operating system dubbed Azure. Microsoft's Ray Ozzie made the announcement in front of 6500 software developers attending the annual Microsoft Developers Conference in Los Angeles. “Every time there is a major platform shift in our industry, it has turned into new opportunities for my apps and my business.” said Ozzie. Not everyone was as optimistic as Mr. Ozzie however, “Today’s announcement of Azure is the same Microsoft, keeping developers locked into their proprietary solutions, and failing to grasp the true power of cloud computing,“ said Mark Benioff, the chief executive of Whatever your take on the OS is, it will be interesting to see who follows. NY Times story.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cellphones And Internet Essencial Even In Tough Times

A study conducted last week in Canada and the US by Toronto research firm Solutions Research Group says that North Americans see their cell phones and internet service essential utilities, like water or electricity. "People were saying, 'It's not going to happen - you would have to pry it out of my hands,' that kind of language," said Kaan Yigit head of the research firm. The company has ranked in order the items consumers will be cutting back on in order of most likely to least likely and it shakes out like this:

Ranking consumer targets for cuts:

1. Big-ticket events (eg. concerts, sports)

2. Movie-going

3. DVD buying

4. Magazine subscription renewals/newsstand

5. Cable/satellite TV extras

6. Video game buying

7. Home phone

8. Mobile/wireless phone

9. DVD Rentals

10. Home Internet

Solutions Research Group

Globe and Mail article.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Microsoft Ups Reward For Information About Missing Teen

15-year-old Brandon Crisp of Barrie, Ontario has been missing since a fight with his parents on October 13th over his obsessive Xbox use. The run away has been the subject of a large ground search by authorities and civilians for two weeks but few clues to his whereabouts have been turned up. As a result Microsoft has doubled the reward money for information leading to his location to $50,000. According to the Globe and Mail "Sergeant Dave Goodbrand says people from Miami to British Columbia have offered assistance, including search and rescue expert Terry Grant, host of Canadian reality show Mantracker, who flew in to help." Let's hope the child is located and this family can put their fears to rest!