Crackers infiltrate US Army Servers

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The hacks are troubling in that they appear to have rendered useless supposedly sophisticated Defense Department tools and procedures designed to prevent such breaches. The department and its branches spend millions of dollars each year on pricey security and antivirus software and employ legions of experts to deploy and manage the tools.

[…]

Equally troubling is the fact that the hacks appear to have originated outside the United States. Turkey is known to harbor significant elements of the al-Qaida network. It was not clear if “m0sted” has links to the terrorist group.

Idiot newspaper.

Primos en Brisbane

sebas_felipe_2009-05Having a blood-cousin in Australia is pretty cool. We met some weeks ago and went out for a few drinks. He likes Australia, and is studying to be a Chef, but is growing tired of working in a kitchen. In January, he plans to start school as a Mechanical Engineer. Good for him.

Microsoft charges full commercial prices to non-for-profit

Paula Carleton, CIO of the not-for-profit Baptist Community Services, told Computerworld she is investigating how to move its 850 Windows desktops to open source following Microsoft’s decision to force it to a full commercial licence.

Every dollar we are forced to spend on software is a dollar less spent on the charitable services like homeless and crisis care that we deliver,” Carleton said, adding that it is a public benevolent organization according to the tax office. Read more…

Microsoft: Patent to restrict the use of software

theodp writes “On Tuesday, Microsoft was granted US Patent No. 7,536,726 (it was filed in 2005) for intentionally crippling the functionality of an operating system by ‘making selected portions and functionality of the operating system unavailable to the user or by limiting the user’s ability to add software applications or device drivers to the computer’ until an ‘agreed upon sum of money’ is paid to ‘unlock or otherwise make available the restricted functionality.’ According to Microsoft, this solves a ‘problem inherent in open architecture systems,’ i.e., ‘they are generally licensed with complete use rights and/or functionality that may be beyond the need or desire of the system purchaser.’ An additional problem with open architecture systems, Microsoft explains, is that ‘virtually anyone can write an application that can be executed on the system.’ Nice to see the USPTO rewarding Microsoft’s eight problem-solving inventors, including Linux killer (and antelope killer) Joachim Kempin, who’s been credited with getting Microsoft hauled into federal court on antitrust charges.” Sounds like the mechanism by which Microsoft sells one version of Vista to all users, and lets users upgrade to higher-tier flavors of the OS after cash changes hands.

Key concepts to take out of this:

  1. limiting the user’s ability to add software applications or device drivers to the computer
    • Don’t you own your own computer? Aren’t you permitted to add whatever you feel like? Who has the right to revoke this right on your behalf?
  2. functionality that may be beyond the need or desire [of the end user]
    • What I want, or what are need, are none of your business unless I ask for it.
  3. virtually anyone can write an application that can be executed on the system.
    • Why is that so bad?
  4. Move to free software!
    • It feels good.

Hushmail passing emails to US Government

Hushmail, a Canadian company providing email security using PGP, has released to the US government unencrypted email communications. This respresents a violation of users’ trust in the company. I had an account with them, I will delete all my mail, and close that account. I will only trust my own computer for safe email sending/receiving. No longer will I trust the ‘security’ and ‘privacy’ of a third-party.

The DEA agents received three CDs which contained decrypted emails for the targets of the investigation that had been decrypted as part of a mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Canada.
The news will be embarrassing to the company, which has made much of its ability to ensure that emails are not read by the authorities.