Microsoft and HP release tools to help defend against SQL attacks


In response to the increase in SQL injection attacks, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard released tools to help Web developers and site administrators avoid the attacks. Microsoft released UrlScan, which scans and filters malicious query strings, and the SQL Source Code Analysis Tool, which analyzes .ASP code for vulnerabilities. HP released HP Scrawlr, which scans Web pages for vulnerabilities. The tools are free and available on the companies’ Web sites. (Tech World)

Reversing the spin of electrons might produce faster computers


Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have discovered a process that reverses the spin of electrons passing through the magnesium oxide insulator layer between ferromagnetic/semiconductor (FM/SC) structures. The process could lead to faster computers that use spin-based semiconductor technology. (Science Daily)

Mac Trojan spotted in the wild


Security researchers from antivirus vendor SecureMac reported a Mac-specific Trojan in the wild last week that could let attackers gain remote access to a system and, among other things, log keystrokes and take photos using the built-in iSight camera. The Trojan takes advantage of a vulnerability in the Apple Remote Desktop Agent (ARDAgent) and could affect Macs running OS X 10.4 or 10.5. User can remove ARDAgent from its current location and archive it to protect their machines. (ComputerWorld, 06/23/08)

ICANN to vote on internationalized domain names and .xxx domain extension


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will vote this week on policies that would relax restrictions on top-level domain names (TLDs), allow internationalized domain names, and add the .xxx domain extension. If approved, the policies would let companies buy new TLDs with almost any extension, such as .ebay or .hate. The organization is expected to vote on policies that will let companies use scripts to internationalize the new domain names in non-Latin characters. The new policies would let any combination of characters be registered, including .xxx, as long as the extension was 64 characters or less. (ZDNet, 06/23/08)

FCC seeks public comment on free Wi-Fi


The US Federal Communication Commission is moving forward with its plan to auction off pieces of the wireless spectrum with the requirement that the auction winner provide free Wi-Fi access. Under the requirement, up to 25 percent of the network must be used for free Wi-Fi that is filtered at the network level to block out obscene material. The FCC will vote on the proposal in August. (Information Week, 06/23/08)


HP announces plans to add solid state memory to servers


At the HP Technology Forum & Expo 2008 in Las Vegas, HP and Fusion-io announced a collaboration that will allow Fusion-io’s flash-based drives to connect to HP servers’ PCI express slots and increase storage capacity up to 640 GB per card. HP’s current line of servers have up to 10 PCI slots each. Fusion-io has plans to increase the storage capacity of its drives to 1.28 TB in 2009, said David Flynn, the company’s chief technology officer. Pricing and availability have yet to be determined. (Tech World, 06/19/08)

Most powerful supercomputers revealed at the International Supercomputing Conference


The world’s five most powerful supercomputers are housed in the US, according to a list presented at the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden, Germany. The Roadrunner, which broke the petaflop barrier earlier in the week, takes the top spot. Rounding out the top five are the BlueGene/L at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the IBM BlueGene/P at the Argonne National Laboratory, the Sun SunBlade x6420 at the University of Texas, Austin, and the Cray XT4 at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Europe has 184 of the top 500, while Asia houses 48 supercomputers. (Network World, 06/18/08)

New algorithm identifies location of Flickr photos


Carnegie Mellon University researchers will present IM2GPS, an algorithm that analyzes the composition of photos to identify where they were taken, at the IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition on 24–26 June in Anchorage, Alaska. The algorithm scans photos for composition, textures, and color and records the number of lines and their orientation. It then searches Flickr for photos with similar characteristics. The researchers say the algorithm could be used in forensic investigations or in tandem with geographic databases to measure climate, population, and land use. (Science Daily, 06/18/08)

New Search Technology Center based in Europe in the works for Microsoft

Microsoft announced it will create a Search Technology Center in Europe on Tuesday. The company has yet to decide on a location for the center, but it’s aiming for a 30 June 2009 opening date. Microsoft said the European center will be modeled on the Search Technology Center in Beijing and place its engineers in various countries across Europe. The new center will work with the company’s global Live Search team to increase its long-term investments, Microsoft said. (Information Week, 06/17/08)

Amsterdam launches first mobile Wimax network in Europe

On Tuesday, Dutch telecom Worldmax launched the first mobile Wimax network in Europe, giving its users high-speed Internet access on the go. Worldmax’s network covers only the city of Amsterdam for now, but the company hopes to extend the network across the country by adding roughly 3,000 access points at a cost that is expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The company said access will cost roughly US$31 (20 euros) per month and require no long-term contract. (Reuters, 06/17/08)

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