Lucky teen gets one billionth App Store download

Apple sold its one billionth App Store application late Thursday, roughly nine months after the store opened. Thirteen-year-old Connor Mulcahey of Weston, Conn., purchased the milestone app: Bump, a tool that lets iPhone users share contact information by bumping them against each other. Mulcahey won $10,000 in iTunes credit, a 17-inch Macbook Pro, a 32Gbyte iPod Touch, and a Time Capsule storage device.  (PC World)

Wikimedia Foundation sues critique site over name

The Wikimedia Foundation has entered litigation against the authors of a Web site that takes a critical stance against Wikipedia, putting the organization in an unusual position regarding fair use policy. The foundation filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against wikipediaart.org, asserting that the site—which questions the reliability of anonymous editors—shouldn’t be allowed to use “wikipedia” in its name. The defendants replied to the foundation’s claim noting that their site is a noncommercial entity and is therefore protected under free speech and fair use laws. (Ars Technica)

 

Twitter interface reads minds

A biomedical engineering doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has created a brain-computer interface for users to send Twitter posts by thought. The system, developed by Adam Wilson, relies on electrical brainwave readings to slowly spell out posts; users focus on the desired letter in an alphabet display that flashes incrementally, and the computer reads brain activity when that letter flashes. Wilson designed the system as a communication tool for people who lack motor functions, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) sufferers and stroke victims. (Nitro Lablog)

Geocities to shut down

Yahoo is taking steps to shut down Geocities, a free hosting service that was among the first to provide tools for people to create personalized Web sites. The service is now closed to new customers, and Yahoo said that it will close all existing accounts and sites by the end of the year. Yahoo is pointing its customers to its paid Web Hosting service as a replacement. (TechCrunch)

 

Massive botnet with 1.9 million infections discovered

Finjan researchers have discovered a botnet hosted in Ukraine that has infected 1.9 million computers, making it larger than the Storm botnet’s peak. Researchers said the botnet spreads through a little-known Trojan, and roughly 45 percent of its zombie machines are located in the US, including 51 with US government domains. The botnet’s controllers can read victims’ e-mail, inject code into other processes, and communicate via HTTP. (Dark Reading)

 

OAuth dropped because of security flaw

A security flaw in OAuth, an open protocol for API authorization, led several services such as Twitter and Yahoo to pull their support until the issue is resolved. OAuth co-creator Chris Messina acknowledged in a blog post that the security hole exists and mitigation is under way, but details are being withheld to give companies time to address the threat. There are no known exploits. The problem mostly affected developers, who use the protocol for user access to third-party applications. (CNet)

Nokia phone model attracts criminals

Nokia 1110 mobile phones that were manufactured in Bochum, Germany, have become a hot item among cybercriminals, apparently because they can be hacked to use another person’s phone number. According to PC World, the phones—introduced in 2003—are selling in underground markets for up to 25,000 euros (US$32,413). However, details of the hack are unknown and Nokia says that it hasn’t found any software problems. By reprogramming the phones, criminals could facilitate online banking fraud through mobile Transactions Authentication Numbers (mTAN), a common security measure in Europe. (PC World)

 

Google introduces search results for 'me'

Google has introduced a new social networking tool that provides profile information when a name is submitted in its search engine. The system includes capsules—similar to Facebook listings—for up to four people at the bottom of regular search results, and relies on profiles set up through Google. The profiles can include links to other social networking sites and short biography information. Typing “me” in the Google search field will return that user’s profile or a link to set one up. (CNet)

New CAPTCHA method goes in right direction

Google researchers are exploring a new type of CAPTCHA that relies on picture orientation to identify human users. In a paper submitted for the World Wide Web 2009 conference in Madrid, the researchers said that humans asked to orient a high-resolution image to its upright position can do so with a 90 percent success rate, while computers had much more difficulty, succeeding primarily when photos featured horizons and human faces. Google’s experimental system included three images that users were asked to orient, with an error rate of eight degrees in each direction. (Ars Technica)

Flash coming to television

Adobe is developing its Flash technology for use in televisions, a change that could make Web video a standard feature in living rooms. The company has already signed partners such as Intel, Comcast, and Broadcom to distribute the new technology, which is also being developed for use in smartphones. The new Flash technology is also expected to make it easy for developers to make widgets for TVs. (The New York Times, CNet)

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