Archive for August 2006

Intel Eyes Quad-Cores in Q4

eWeek: Intel Eyes Quad-Cores in Q4

High-end desktop PCs will sport quad-core processors from Intel as the fourth quarter gets under way.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company, which pulled forward the launch of its “Kentsfield” quad-core desktop chip from the first quarter of 2007 into the fourth quarter of 2006, is still several months from launching the chip.

However, it’s now expected to introduce the quad-core processor as part of its Core Extreme family in early November, sources familiar with its plans said.

The Core Extreme, which is targeted mainly at PC enthusiasts who are into gaming as well as certain corporate users whose jobs involve creating online content or editing videos, represents the pinnacle of Intel’s desktops processor line.

Right now, the chip maker offers a dual-core Core 2 Extreme chip, based on its Core 2 Duo for desktops. [Read on]

First Quantum Cryptographic Data Network Demo

ScienceDaily: First Quantum Cryptographic Data Network Demonstrated

“The volume and type of sensitive information being transmitted over data networks continues to grow at a remarkable pace,” said Prem Kumar, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern’s Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and co-principal investigator on the project. “New cryptographic methods are needed to continue ensuring that the privacy and safety of each user’s information is secure.”

Kumar’s research team recently demonstrated a new way of encrypting data that relies on both traditional algorithms and on physical principles. This QDE method, called AlphaEta, makes use of the inherent and irreducible quantum noise in laser light to enhance the security of the system and makes eavesdropping much more difficult. Unlike most other physical encryption methods, AlphaEta maintains performance on par with traditional optical communications links and is compatible with standard fiber optical networks. [Read on]

Hackers Hit AT&T System

eWeek: Hackers Hit AT&T System, Get Credit Card Info

AT&T revealed late Aug. 29 that an undisclosed number of unauthorized persons had illegally hacked into one of its computer systems and accessed the personal data—including credit card information—of about 19,000 customers who had purchased DSL equipment through the company’s online store.

The unauthorized electronic access took place over the weekend of Aug. 26-27 and was discovered within hours, a company spokesperson said. The store was shut down immediately and remains offline.

AT&T, based in San Antonio, also notified the major credit card companies whose customer accounts were involved. [Read on]

HCI, Past and Future

ACM Queue – The Future of Human-Computer Interaction

For many years HCI has been evolutionary, not revolutionary. Is this about to change?

Personal computing launched with the IBM PC. But popular computing – computing for the masses – launched with the modern WIMP (windows, icons, mouse, pointer) interface, which made computers usable by ordinary people. As popular computing has grown, the role of HCI (human-computer interaction) has increased. Most software today is interactive, and code related to the interface is more than half of all code. HCI also has a key role in application design. In a consumer market, a product’s success depends on each user’s experience with it. Unfortunately, great engineering on the back end will be undone by a poor interface, and a good UI can carry a product in spite of weaknesses inside. [Read on]

Real-time raytracing | Parallel Worlds | by Brett Thomas

As some of you already know, the idea of real-time raytracing has always been one of my pet-peeves for the industry. The concept is easy – rather than trying to approximate every single pixel’s light value through myriad pipelines and shaders, you trace rays of light from eye to source using one physics calculation. This calculation takes lots into account based on what the light hits, but it is just one calculation that is repeated millions and millions of times per frame.

Rather than using uni-directional meshes for models, where only the outside counts as visible space (this is where clipping errors derive from), raytracing deals in volumes. Each time a ray of light hits a new volume, a new segment is created (dubbed a rayseg) for how light would react within (or on) that particular material. Since light is now allowed to pass through transparent objects, or is properly reflected off a solid surface, all light in a room traces back to its sources. It sounds easy enough! If only the implementation were as simple… [Click for more]

US Military hacker from UK speaks out – “Biggest military hacker” speaks out against US authorities

Gary McKinnon, the hacker accused of accessing secret NASA and US military networks between 2001 and 2002 in what has been dubbed “the biggest military hack of all times” has broken silence. In an interview to an online radio station he spoke about his situation before an appeal against his extradition order is due to be heard in the coming weeks. UK Home Secretary John Reid signed McKinnon’s extradition order back in July, but an appeal was made to the High Court to reverse that decision. The hacker himself does not deny accessing secret networks, but wants to stand trial in Britain. McKinnon also claims he is not the super-hacker he has been made out to be in the media. He backs that up by saying he used commercially available scanning software and only searched for entry points with blank passwords, meaning those networks were not as secure as they should have been anyway. The UKs National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, whose officers told McKinnon he would face community service, originally detained him after an investigation. However, the US authorities claimed his actions caused serious economic damages to several organisations. This, McKinnon says, is proof of the fact that the accusations levelled at him in order to secure his extradition have been fabricated to make it out into a show trial. The Briton, who has always maintained he was merely searching for evidence of extraterrestrial life, could now face a 70-year prison sentence and fears he will be sent to Guantanamo Bay without charge, where he may face a trial under Military order No. 1. This whole situation has been very difficult for Mr McKinnon, who says it has been very damaging to him in psychological terms. – internet security

This is a real handy place to get updated virus alerts aswell as spam alerts and hacker bulletins and things like that, all in one place.

Intel Core 2 Duo ‘Merom’ Notebooks

TrustedReviews – Intel Core 2 Duo ‘Merom’ Notebooks

So how does the mobile version of Core 2 Duo (Merom) actually differ from the desktop version (Conroe)? Actually, the differences are relatively minor – though as it’s essentially the same chip that’s not really surprising. This means that it sports all the excellent features that made Conroe so powerful. This includes the Wide Dynamic Execution consisting of an increase in pipelines from three to four and the use of the Macro-Fusion technique that combines common pairs of instructions into a single instruction. Perhaps most crucially Merom employs all of the power management saving tricks that the Core architecture is designed for, such as putting many parts of the CPU to sleep when they’re not required. This enables it to have a lower Thermal Design Power (TDP) figure of 34W, compared to 65W for Conroe, which is the essential figure for a mobile CPU. Other differences are that Merom runs at a lower Front Side Bus of 667MHz, (versus 1,066MHz). [Read on]

A close-up look into a coastal dead zone In Oregon, a close-up look into a coastal dead zone

OFF CAPE PERPETUA, ORE. – A half-dozen scientists huddle in a cramped lab aboard the research vessel Elakha, bracing themselves against the rolling swells. As they stare at a pair of TV monitors, images of an aquatic graveyard glide across the screens.

Some 150 feet below, a robotic submersible – looking more like a portable generator with thrusters than a svelte submarine – motors just above the bottom, capturing macabre images of Oregon’s newly minted and poorly understood “dead zone.”

The zone is a bottom-hugging layer of water with oxygen levels so low that it can’t support the variety of marine life that typically lives in these near-shore coastal waters. The bottom is littered with dead crabs, worms, and starfish. White anemones, brilliant in the submersible’s spotlights, look as if they are taking their last gasp. In two runs lasting roughly an hour each, not one fish – dead or alive – appears on screen.

Unlike the dead zone that sets up each year in the Gulf of Mexico, Oregon’s version can’t be traced to the effects of nutrient-laden river run-off. Here, as in a handful of other coastal regions worldwide, the culprit may be global warming.
[Read on]

Mitigating botnet C&Cs has become useless

Gossamer Threads: mitigating botnet C&Cs has become useless

The few hundred *new* IRC-based C&Cs a month (and change), have been
around and static (somewhat) for a while now. At a steady rate of change which
maintains the status quo, plus a bit of new blood.

In this post I ask the community about what you see, against what we have
observed, and try and test my conclusions and numbers against your

The subject line “why mitigating botnet C&Cs has become useless” is
misleading. It has been useless for a long time, but someone
had to hold back the tide, which several online mitigation communities
have been doing.

Today it has become (close to) completely useless. I will present the case
on why that is in my opinion, in a few bullets, and we can discuss what
alternatives we have, or if perhaps I am misreading what’s going on.
[Read on]

Trojan horse catches pedophiles

C|Net News: Police blotter: Trojan horse leads to porn convictions

In early 2000, a computer hacker who used the now-defunct e-mail address seeded a Usenet newsgroup called with a clever bit of malicious Windows software.

The Trojan horse program, called SubSeven or Sub7, can look innocuous. But once installed, it installs a backdoor in the victim’s computer and can allow files to be extracted and a keystroke logger to be installed.

SubSeven did its job. On July 16, 2000, “1069” sent e-mail to the Montgomery, Ala., Police Department saying, “I found a child molester on the Net.” The e-mail included an attached photograph of what looked like a girl no older than 6 being sexually abused.

At the urging of Montgomery Police Capt. Kevin Murphy, “1069” eventually turned over more and more information that led back to a computer owned by Bradley Joseph Steiger, who had worked as an emergency room physician in Alabama. The hacker’s finds included information from Steiger’s AT&T WorldNet account, records from his checking account, and a list of directories on his computer’s hard drive where sexually explicit photographs were stored.

“1069” refused to be identified, saying he was living in Istanbul, Turkey, and did not want to be involved in any court proceedings. During Steiger’s trial, the prosecutor said “we have not seen anything to indicate that this person is other than…a citizen of Turkey.” That turned out not to be entirely true: The FBI actually had made contact with “1069” through a U.S. phone number. [Read for much more]

Man Gets 6 Years in Software Piracy Case

SFGate – Man Gets 6 Years in Software Piracy Case

A Florida man who made millions of dollars selling illegal copies of computer programs was sentenced Friday to six years in prison in one of the nation’s largest software piracy cases.

Danny Ferrer, of Lakeland, Fla., pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy and copyright infringement charges after an FBI investigation of his Web site, Ferrer also was ordered to pay more than $4.1 million in restitution to software makers Adobe Systems Inc., Autodesk, and Macromedia Inc.

Ferrer bought numerous airplanes, a fighter-jet simulator, a Lamborghini, a Hummer and other luxury vehicles with his profits. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III ordered the items be sold to pay restitution in the case. [Read on]

China-Russia plan joint mission to Mars – Aug 24, 2006 – China-Russia plan joint mission to Mars – Aug 24, 2006

China and Russia plan to launch a joint mission to Mars in 2009 to scoop up rocks from the red planet and one of its moons, a Chinese scientist said on Wednesday.

Russia will launch the spacecraft, while China will provide the survey equipment to carry out the unmanned exploration, Ye Peijian, a senior scientist at the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, told a meeting in Beijing, according to the official Xinhua news agency. [Full article]