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Spam King Arrested Under Federal Indictment

Sanford “Spamford” Wallace, well known in the US as “The Spam King,” turned himself in to federal authorities Thursday after being indicted on charges related to three attacks on Facebook users during which he sent 27 million spam e-mails. He was indicted by a San Jose, California grand jury on three counts of intentional damage to a protected computer and two counts of criminal contempt as well as fraud charges. The charges were the culmination of a two-year federal investigation. Wallace allegedly launched three separate attacks between November 2008 and March 2009, despite having been ordered by a federal judge in October 2009 not to access Facebook. He is also being charged with violating that order. In 2009, Facebook was awarded US$711 against Wallace after he was found in violation of the Can-Spam Act for distributing phishing spam. After appearing in court Thursday, Wallace was released on a US$100,000 unsecured bond and ordered not to access social networking websites. He now faces nearly 40 years in prison and fines of more than US$2 million. Wallace has previously been sued by MySpace, the US Federal Trade Commission, AOL, and numerous other companies. Wallace was one of the first people to be associated with the business of sending spam as the Internet opened to general consumers’ use in the 1990s. He was then involved with CyberPromotions, a company that once reportedly sent out as many as 30 million junk e-mails a day. (CNET)(PC Magazine)(San Jose Mercury-News)
 

Researchers Announce New Nanopatterning Method

A team of Japanese researchers have developed a lithography method that uses positive photoresists to achieve single nanometer resolution. Conventional near-field lithography, when used at the nanoscale, is inaccurate and makes only shallow patterns. This new method, which used masks coated with gold, enabled the team to make deep nanopatterns while still using near-field lithography. The technique also uses a plasmon-assisted system. The researchers say this technique might be used not only to replace current negative photoresist fabrication methods but also to create nanoscale structures in waveguides. The new lithography process now uses direct contact, but the researchers are working on a system that doesn’t require contact exposure. The work has been published in Applied Physics Letters. (PhysOrg.com)(Applied Physics Letters)

New Solid State Material Could Advance Lithium Battery Technology

Japanese researchers have developed a solid state lithium material that allowed them to create a battery that performs as well as conventional liquid lithium ion batteries. The material reportedly operates over a broad temperature range and should prove to be more compact as well as less sensitive to physical damage and fire hazard. It will also reportedly be inexpensive to make in quantity, which could ultimately lower the cost to consumers. The solid state material they created uses lithium covered with a crystal lattice. The outer structure is made using sulfur, phosphorus, and germanium. The work has been published in Nature Materials.(PhysOrg.com)(Ars Technica)(Nature Materials)

Robot Uses Pattern-Based AI to Learn New Tasks

Japanese researchers are continuing to develop a robot that adapts and infers information that can help it learn and perform new tasks. The robot uses an algorithm developed by Tokyo Institute of Technology researchers called a self-organizing incremental neural network. Pattern-based artificial intelligence enables the robot to learn. The researchers demonstrated this by tasking a robot to pour a cup of water, something it had never been programmed to do. The robot also set the cup on a coaster atop a table and added a block of ice. The researchers are also working on a means to allow one robot to draw upon other robots’ experiences to develop knowledge it can use to successfully perform new tasks. (redOrbit)(PCMagazine)(Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Massive, Ongoing Cyber Attacks Uncovered

McAfee claims to have uncovered what has been described as “the largest concerted hacking attempt in history.” The five-year attack has been dubbed “Operation Shady RAT.” The attacker or attackers penetrated the security systems of various organizations and, in some instances, were able to remain in the system undetected for more than two years. Among the 72 targets since July 2006 are various US government agencies, the United Nations, technology companies, and defense contractors, McAfee reported Wednesday. Government agencies in India, South Korea, and Taiwan as well as the International Olympic Committee were also among the targets. McAfee claims the attacks are ongoing and, in some cases, intellectual property was stolen. (BBC)(PC Magazine)(AFP)(McAfee)

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