Aaron Dobbins

Newtella Network Immune to Worm

Last week a worm began spreading around the Gnutella community. This virus, although it did not carry a lethal payload, signaled the beginning of what could be a new wave of virii on such peer to peer networks. According to a press release today from Newtella Inc., security measures that have been in place since the beginning of the network prevent the spread of such a worm. Part of this security stems from the service blocking the transfer of executable files, along with several other file types. For more information about Newtella visit www.newtella.com.

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McAfee False Alarm Notice

According to McAfee, its latest virus update file has a flaw in it that incorrectly interprets STARR's wsys.dll as a virus. The notice reads "the latest virus update (4125) of the McAfee anti-virus scanner detects the file "wsys.dll" that comes with STARR as a "virus". This is of course NOT a virus but a false alarm !" The problem should be corrected in the next update, and you can download a temporary fix over at www.iopus.com.

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IE6 Stand Alone Issues

According to reports over at ActiveWin, it appears Microsoft will be releasing Internet Explorer version 6 as stand alone software. The problem? It won't run on all systems currently out there. According to Beta 2 release notes the browser software will only work on systems running Windows 98, NT 4.0 (Service Pack 6a or higher) and WindowsXP beta versions. A few weeks ago rumors circulated that IE6 would only be offered as an integrated piece of WindowsXP, but those rumors were never confirmed. Stay tuned as IE6 continues development of its exciting new features.

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New OfficeXP Beta and BackOffice Ship

Microsoft has launched its Corporate preview of OfficeXP, formally named Office 10, for $19.95 to businesses interested in seeing the new features of the office suite. The copies will expire on August 31st and can be installed on as many as 10 systems. Also announced today was the shipment of the final version of BackOffice 2000 server suite. In the suite comes Windows 2000 Server, Exchange 2000, SQL Server 2000, and several other products to aid in the production of a full scale Web site. The bundle retails for $3999 USD. For more information visit Microsoft.

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OS X Initial Launch a Reduced One

According to a report over at ZDNet, the first versions of Apple's OS X, which are set to ship on March 24th, will be lacking several major features. One such feature is DVD playback, which comes as a surprise to Mac lovers everywhere. Also missing from the puzzle are versions of iTunes and iMovie, according to one OS X product manager. Initially the OS will be available in English, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and the Dutch language, with other versions following within 90 days.

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MS Appeal Out of Their Hands Now

After concluding arguments on Tuesday of this week, Microsoft and the DOJ now await the decision of the seven-judge panel on whether or not to let Judge Jackson's decision stand. The appellate court has decidedly taken a turn in Microsoft's favor, blasting Jackson and his decision on a daily basis while grilling government representation in the case. Most recently the judges question whether or not Jackson violated his whole oath of office during the initial trial, claiming his blatent bias shows his clear distaste for Microsoft as a company. The decision is expected in the next several months, and many people keep a close eye on what is happening.

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Harvard Prof Says He Has Unbreakable Code

Harvard professor Michael Rabin says that with the help of his doctoral student they have created a mathematical proof that could create an unbreakable and reusable code. Unbreakable codes have been created in the past, but none have been reusable like Rabin claims his code is. His proof relies on a stream of randomly generated characters that is then decoded by a mathematical formula. Once decoding is complete the stream simply disappears, making the code reusable as it leaves nothing for hackers to trace, according to the Associated Press report. The code is not yet avaiable commercially.

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GeForce3 Chipset Unveiled

Graphics card king NVidia today unveiled its latest and greatest creation, the GeForce3 chipset. Coinciding with that news was the release of the NfiniteFX programmable engine to step up the pressure on ATI's Radeon cards. Last year NVidia knocked out its competitor 3dfx by purchasing the company. The new cards will be expensive however, with Mac versions weighing in at $600, while its PC counterpart comes in just under that at $500.

It is the specs of the new card that make it seem worthwhile, according to the PCWorld report. The new card, while keeping the same 200MHz core clock speed and memory speed, features a newer and slimmer 0.15 micron design. It also comes with better graphics handling and a whopping 57 million transistors, more than doubling its predecessor. It is because of this that the card will be faster and better.

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Judges Continue to Break Down Governments Case Against MS

The appellate court judges hearing the Microsoft antitrust case continued to tear down the Department of Justice's case today. One of the seven judges spoke out earlier this week saying that a MS breakup would only lead to another firm controlling the market. Today the judges put into question Judge Jackson's findings of fact concerning the "browser and platform market." They also added that his "findings are absolutely unclear." DOJ attorney David Frederick came under some heavy grilling during the session, about everything down to the finding of facts throughout the case. For more information on what appears to be a turn of events in this drawn out battle, visit News.com.

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RedHat CEO Strikes Back

Upset over comments made by Microsoft's Jim Allchin last week, RedHat CEO Matthew Szulik fired back today over at ZDNet. Last week Allchin told people that open source is an "intellectual property destroyer" and that concerning Linux, "there is very little value in free." Starting by saying "There's so much FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) here, it's hard to know where to start," Szulik addressed each comment made by Allchin. To read the rest of his comments visit ZDNet.

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Sun to Launch New Unix Workstation

In an effort to regain some of its lost market-share in the PC arena, Sun Microsystems is set to launch a new line of subzero PCs for Unix lovers everywhere. The new Sun Blade 100 retails for $995 without a monitor, and doubles the memory in Dell's comparable system. It is also five times cheaper than HP's competing system. And according to the AP report a $195 PCI card would make the machine capable of running applications on the Windows and Sun Solaris OS.

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Mandragore Starting Trouble on P2P Networks

A new worm has begun spreading across the Gnutella network over the last few days, according to the Kaspersky Lab report. This file represents a pretty big danger, as its ability to disguise itself could make detection fairly difficult. Once the worm has infected the user's computer, it has the ability to intercept all search requests and copy itself with the corresponding name and ".exe" on the end.

The file, 8192K in size, then hides itself in the Windows start-up folder under the name GSPOT.exe and utilizes the system and hidden file attributes to remain undetected. While no serious payload is carried by the worm, it could still breed a new variety of virii to be spread in the same manner.

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MS Patches Another Outlook Security Hole

Microsoft today announced the immediate availability of a patch to plug up yet another Outlook e-mail hole. This one could allow a malicious user to run code or disable Outlook software via a vCard attachment. The problem lie in an unchecked buffer within Outlook and Outlook Express that is used to process vCards. One security firm said this problem was a "low-level" issue and that they hadn't heard of any problems cropping up yet. To download the patch visit Microsoft.

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Watch MS On Trial

In other antitrust-related news for Microsoft, the Federal court in which its case is currently being heard has opted to broadcast proceedings in the court over the Internet. This comes as part of the courtrooms efforts to provide "maximum public access." Tapes from the proceedings and transcripts can be found on the court's Web site at http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/.

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New Reports Suggest Napster Is Harmful

According to new reports from the Recording Industry, CD sales were down a large 39 percent last year. Attributing the sinking sales to losses in the singles market, which Napster has taken over, RIAA president Hilary Rosen told AP "Napster hurt record sales." Some experts say the record companies themselves contributed to losses in this category, saying they haved cut production in what was never a very profitable arena (the sale of CD singles). Others attribute the weaker sales to poor music quality released this year by artists. This new report comes hot on the heels after Napster was ruled against and could face massive monetary damages in the near future.

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