Summer Job

April 10, 2008

Did anyone secure a job for the summer? I am having a difficult time finding a job in my filed most of the jobs advertised for restaurants and bars (server\bartender). It is frustrating and makes me wonder if any of you (classmates) experiencing\experienced the same problem. Companies expect us to have experience so how if they do not hire us now?

This course was fun and one of few that required the use of technology (Web 2.0)

Thanks Dave and it was nice meeting you all!


Goodbye TorrentSpy

March 30, 2008


TorrentSpy has been shut down permanently by it’s own owner. A note on the home page of TorrentSpy’s Web site said it is shutting down “not due to any court order or agreement,” but because of a team decision.

TorrentSpy has spent the past two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars “defending the rights of our users and ourselves” in a legal climate that was “hostile” to torrent files, according to the note, which is attributed to the TorrentSpy team.

In 2006, the largest Hollywood film studios accused TorrentSpy in a lawsuit of encouraging movie piracy. A federal judge ordered the company last June to provide the studios with user information found in its computer RAM.

TorrentSpy was a search engine that helped visitors find torrent files on the Web. Torrent files are often music or movie files stored in an easily shared file format. The search engine came under legal fire from the entertainment industry, which in general does not want licensed content to be distributed free.

In December, the judge in the case found that TorrentSpy operators intentionally destroyed evidence in the case, making it impossible for the Motion Picture Association of America to get a fair trial. They had earlier been fined $30,000 for violations of discovery orders and were warned of severe sanctions if they continued to ignore the orders. The site lost its case because the court ruled it had tampered with evidence.

Goodbye TorrentSpy!!

MacBook Air hacked!!

March 30, 2008

MacBook Air

A team of security researchers has won $10,000 for hacking a MacBook Air in two minutes using an undisclosed Safari vulnerability.

IDG News Service is camped out at CanSecWest in lovely Vancouver, Canada, and has chronicled the exploits  of Charlie Miller, Jake Honoroff, and Mark Daniel of Independent Security Evaluators during the Pwn to Own contest sponsored by TippingPoint. The contest includes three laptops, running the most up to date and patched installations of MacOS X Leopard, Windows Vista, and Ubuntu Linux:

  • VAIO VGN-TZ37CN running Ubuntu 7.10
  • Fujitsu U810 running Vista Ultimate SP1
  • MacBook Air running OSX 10.5.2

The main purpose of this contest is to responsibly unearth new vulnerabilities within these systems so that the affected vendor(s) can address them.The team was able to gain control of a MacBook Air on the second day of the hacking competition, which pitted the Air against Windows Vista and Ubuntu machines.

No one was able to execute code on any of the systems on Wednesday, the first day of the contest, when hacks were limited to over-the-network techniques on the operating systems themselves. But on the second day, the rules changed to allow attacks delivered by tricking someone to visit a maliciously crafted Web site, or open an e-mail. Hackers were also allowed to target “default installed client-side applications,” such as browsers.

The team had attack code already set up on a Web site, and was able to gain access to the MacBook Air and retrieve a file after judges were “tricked” into visiting the site. According to the TippingPoint DVLabs blog, a newly discovered vulnerability in Safari was used to gain control of the Air.

The contest rules stipulated that winners immediately sign a nondisclosure agreement relating to their technique, so that the vulnerability could be disclosed to the vendor, and TippingPoint said Apple has been informed of the vulnerability.

Last year’s contest was won by exploiting a QuickTime vulnerability, which was patched by Apple in less than two weeks. As of the time I posted this, no one had gained control of the Vista or Ubuntu machines, but I’ll update later as the results come in over the rest of the afternoon.

In recent years, Apple has shunned PDAs, but with the rise of the iPod and the iTunes Music Store (iTMS), the company has been positioning itself to become a player in the mobile phone market. Motorola has been planning to release a mobile phone capable of playing songs purchased through the iTMS, but ever since Motorola canceled the phone’s unveiling at the recent CeBit show in Germany there have been questions about when the iTunes phone will come to fruition. Some say that cellular carriers are reluctant to sell the phone because it could cut into ringtone sales. Motorola claims that the delay was because Apple prefers not to announce a product until its available for purchase.

Apple does not want to sit still and wait for the dust to settle between Motorola and the carriers, so it is currently undergoing negotiations to buy PalmOne as an alternate strategy according to a source who calls himself “Juan Abril”. The company will sell Apple smartphones at its retail stores and other channels until carriers get on board. While negotiations with PalmOne are still in the early stages, Apple hopes to be able to announce the purchase at its upcoming developer’s conference in June.

With recent executive shuffling at PalmOne, Apple sees the company as distracted and ripe for the picking. According to sources from within Apple, the hardware portfolio is there, but PalmOne just does not “get it.” A smartphone with the Apple Touch—more intuitive controls, better integration for included applications, etc— could do as well as the cultural icon that is the iPod. Apple would also be more successful in getting PalmSource to move the Palm OS fully into the new age of handheld devices. For most consumers, the PDA is dead—long live the smartphone—and Apple wants to take advantage of that.

The company already is developing a successor to the Treo dubbed “Apollo Fir.” Jonathan Ives, designer of the award-winning iMac, is hard at work on the device. Expected features include the ability to play iTMS songs and buy them directly to the phone so a computer is not needed. Apple will role out iTunes 5 at the same time, enabling ringtone purchases. The company is also undergoing talks with the mobile carriers to allow iTMS purchases to be billed to customers’ mobile phone service.

Based on information from sources inside Apple and PalmOne, TreoCentral has created a conceptual drawing of what the device will look like. Although the device will not be released until late this year, it won’t disappoint.

 18-year-old Barron Nicholas

Paris Hilton party pictures leaked on facebook due a security breach on Facebook allowed a Vancouver computer technician to find photos of Paris Hilton partying and ones of her younger brother in private online albums accessible only by their friends. This is a major embarrassment for Facebook after it launched new group security features last week.

The security update did not cover a flaw that had apparently existed for months. Facebook fixed the breach after being alerted to the problem this week. After the security update last week, computer technician Byron Ng proved that the technique still worked by accessing Paris Hilton’s private photos, including snaps of the socialite at the Emmy awards. Byron Ng, who last July cracked the security behind the then-unreleased novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, discovered the security hole when he was checking out an earlier breach that had been fixed by Facebook.

Pairs drunk in one of the bars

MySpace has made similar gaffes a story that was reported in January about putting User IDs into the URLs of private photos on MySpace in order to view them. That breach was said to have been discussed around the web for months before MySpace did anything about it.

Dean Turner, director Symantec global intelligence network, said the breach points to a potential lack of privacy once information or photos are posted online.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company’s key contribution to the important movement for Data Portability would be to nail down the privacy angle. He pointed out, and rightly so, that users will feel far more secure sharing their data online and across different sites, if they can do so with the assurance that they have control over who can see that data. According to the privacy policy outlined on Facebook, there is no guarantee content won’t be seen by unauthorized viewers.

Get a Mac

March 24, 2008

The latest “Get a Mac” ad from Apple, looks like PC this time doesn’t like the overhead banner ads that feature quotes pertaining to Vista’s total suckage from the likes of CNET and PC Magazine.