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American Department of Homeland Security DDoS' Itself

A simple blunder in an E-mail server's code recently caused the Department of Homeland Security to give itself a miniature DDoS attack. Here's the low-down on what happened: a reader of the DHS' daily Open Source Intelligence Report replied to the list address with a request for a change. The message quickly found itself E-mailed to all subscribers of the newsletters, which numbers in the thousands, for reasons unknown. Unfortunately, once those subscribers got the request, they also got the list of recipients. When the good subscribers tried to report this problem, the same problem happened to the server, and every subscriber quickly found themselves knee-deep in E-mails asking for an un-subscription. That's not the only E-mail passed around the DHS network, though. Subscribers also received requests to cease replying, urgent requests from the Department of Defense and DHS officials for recipients to "kindly stop now please," a "vote for me" political ad, job offers and updates on the local weather. All in all, the server sent, received, and otherwise handled 2.2 million E-mails over the course of an hour, causing a mini-DDoS. The problem is resolved now, and the DHS is ensuring that such a problem will never happen again.Source: EWeek

Kim Jong-Il: 'I'm An Internet Expert!'

For the second time ever, the leaders of North and South Korea met to talk about the state of the country. The conversation at one point or another turned to the leader of South Korea asking for internet access for South Korean companies operating in a North Korean industrial district. Kim Jong-Il's response:
I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired. If that problem is addressed, there is no reason not to open (web access).
Kim Jung-Il did not elaborate on what those problems were, but it might have something to do with the explicit ban on any citizen of North Korea to access the internet or use a mobile phone, outside of the government.Source: DailyTech

Angry iPhone Users Calling for Class Action Lawsuit Over Latest Firmware

IPhone firmware version 1.1.1 did a particularly nasty trick on anyone who had unlocked it via software: it rendered the iPhone unusable on any network other than AT&T in some cases, and in others, it "bricked" them, rendering them useless. Discussions on Apple boards were quickly locked down, and now a community of angry users is planning on suing Apple. The small group did not specify how much they plan on suing Apple for, but chances are, Apple is going to settle out of court.Source: EnGadget

Demonoid Back Online; Blocks North American Users to Avoid Legal Troubles

Last week, Demonoid was down for quite some time, and everyone seemed to think it was due to the Canadian Recording Industry Association. Demonoid is back with a vengeance, and proudly proclaims they were not shut down, rather, they merely had a bit of server trouble. However, to avoid future issues with the CRIA (and possibly the American RIAA), they are prohibiting anyone from North America to access their tracker. ISOHunt.com and it's partners have followed suit, presumably for the same reasons.Source: DailyTech

Most Taiwanese Motherboard Manufacturers Fake FCC/CE Compliancy for EMI

This is rather unfortunate, considering that the majority of our motherboards are made in Taiwan. DailyTech did some true journalism, and looked into the famed Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3. It seems that after a few months, the DS3's have their fair share of electronic noise, and some issues with reliability/interference. And so, an independent firm sent some DS3 samples to FCC labs to confirm that they indeed did comply with FCC regulations for Electro-Magnetic Interference. Electro-Magnetic Interference does a lot of things to our beloved technology, such as disrupt, obstruct or simply degrade them. Two out of three samples failed terribly. When the same samples were sent to a European lab to test for CE compliance, all of the boards failed. This means that the tens of thousands of motherboards currently in systems world-wide do not comply with FCC/CE regulations for EMI.

GameStop Considering Selling AO-Rated Games

In the past, since the ESRB devised the AO (adult only) rating for video games, it has been a mark of death for the video game in question. Parent groups go ballistic, retail chains refuse to sell them, and some console manufacturers (namely, Sony and Nintendo) do not even allow AO content on their machines. In the past, AO ratings have caused game makers to do whatever it took to get rid of it, going for the much more popular M rating. It seems as though times are changing, however. GameStop recently questioned its policy banning AO games. GameStop recently underwent a campaign to raise awareness of the ESRB ratings, and as a result of this, is considering letting AO games back on the shelves. Gamestop would of course not sell these games to anyone under the age of 18.Source: 1Up

Blizzard Shuts Down World of Warcraft Sex Guild

Some people play RPG's like World of Warcraft to escape reality. Some play them for the online community. However, the World of Warcraft ex-guild "Abhorrent Taboo" took the latter reason a little too far. The interests of the group could be summed up in three letters: ERP ('erotic roleplay'). Among other strange pleasures that should not be mentioned for the sake of decency, the guild indulged in what they call "extreme ageplay", which is where members pretend they are ages they are not. Concerned World of Warcraft players decided to take a closer look at the clan, and promptly found a twelve year old girl engaging in "erotic roleplay" with a man much her senior, who did not stop "erotic roleplay" even when she stated her real age. Blizzard took a valiant stand against this, and Abhorrent Taboo is now an ex-guild. However, they have reformed themselves under the name "Vile Anathema". Whether or not they've learned not to have ERP with a 12 year old girl remains to be seen.Source: Neoseeker

Microsoft's Appeal in European Antitrust Ruling Rejected

The rejection of Microsoft’s appeal to the European antitrust ruling against it means that there remains, at least in theory, a significant threat to Microsoft’s way of doing business: bundling new features and products into its dominant Windows operating system.

In the United States, the Bush administration chose to settle the Microsoft antitrust case without challenging the company’s freedom to put whatever it wants in its operating system. But in Europe, Microsoft’s bundling practice became a key element in the European Commission’s antitrust suit.

Germany Wants to Sneak Spyware on Terror Suspects' Computers

In the fight against terror, Germany is trying to gain the upper hand by spying on potential terrorists. They can already tap phone lines and use most forms of electronic surveillance. However, the German government wants to go even further by watching all internet activity on a suspect's computer. While a direct installation was recently prohibited by German courts, a "sneak attack" has not yet been forbidden. German officials are proposing a bill that would allow police agencies to send E-mails loaded with trojan horses, in an attempt to bug a suspect's computer. If a terror suspect was foolish enough to download attachments from the "Finance Ministry" or "Youth Services Office", a government official could read the contents of his hard drive or spy on his internet activities at any time. However, this idea is under much scrutiny. The likeliness that such a practice would become legal is very unlikely. And even if it did become legal, most terror suspects are smart enough not to install simple virus protection, and are probably running Mac OS X/Linux anyways to avoid such a problem.Source: The Inquirer

Caribbean Island Bans Electronics On Beach

While the idea behind a vacation is to "get away from it all", some people use the opportunity of peace and quiet to catch up on some important business. Unfortunately, in the process of catching up on important business, the businessmen ruined the beach experience for the natives and true vacationers. And so, to keep the vacation experience vacation-y, Palm Island is banning all mobile devices within a half-mile of the beach. Resort owner Rob Barret is a full supporter of this legislation, and backed up the ban. "There is nothing worse than lying back in your double hammock, sipping on your strawberry daiquiri and hearing the Motorola jingle in the background. (Vacationers should) switch off their mobiles and enjoy the sound of the lapping waves."

Source: EnGadget

California to Ban Cell Phones/Laptops/Mobile Devices on Road

While California certainly wouldn't be the first state to enact such legislature, it would be the first to take it to such a degree. If a proposed bill passes through California legislature, any teenager (under 18) found driving with a cell phone, or any mobile device, for that matter (PDA, laptop, etc.) will be fined. California gets $20 richer the first time a teenager is caught text-messaging on the road and $50 for every subsequent offense. There is no word as to whether or not this ban would extend to all California motorists, and not just the junior ones.Source: EnGadget

IPhone Unlocking Software Sales Put On Hold Until AT&T Investigates Uniquephones

Iphoneunlocking.com, a subsidiary of UniquePhones (uniquephones.com), was poised and ready to release remote software unlocking services for the iphone today at 12 noon EST. The sale of unlocking codes is on hold after the company received a telephone call from a Menlo Park, California, law firm at approximately 2:54 a.m. this morning (GMT).

After saying they were phoning on behalf of AT&T, the law firm presented issues such as copyright infringement and illegal software dissemination. Uniquephones is taking legal advice to ascertain whether AT&T was sending a warning shot or directly threatening legal action. The logistics of different continents as well as it being a weekend factors into how the situation develops.

Court Orders Convicted Pirate to Dump Linux and Use Windows

Well, it looks like another pirate has been convicted and thrown in jail. However, Scott McCausland, ex-administrator of the Elite Torrents Bit Torrent tracker, has a rather peculiar sentence to serve. After pleading guilty to ‘conspiracy to commit copyright infringement’ and ‘criminal copyright infringement’, the court gave him five months in jail and five months house arrest. Under the condition that he follows his parole officer's orders, of course. Those orders were simple: McCausland must let the FBI watch his every online move. In order for that to happen, McCausland must dump Linux for Windows in order for that to happen. McCausland claims that this is cruel and unusual punishment, as it means he will have to buy expensive software while he is unemployed.Source: The Inquirer

Circuit City Gives CheapAssGamer a Subpoena Over Leaked PS3 Prices

As some of you know, the source of the recent leaked PS3 price drops is the message board CheapAssGamer (CAG). Unfortunately, Circuit City doesn't like the idea of their fliers getting leaked before their due time. And so, they are giving CheapAssGamer a subpoena to investigate these shenanigans. They want the full identification and IP address of a certain CAG member known as "Speedy1961". CheapAssGamer's CEO David "CheapyD" Adams declined to give any of this information to Circuit City, and will be hiring a legal consult to "deal with the situation".Source: 1Up

Arnold Schwarzenegger to Appeal Court Decision to Ban a Video Game Ban

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, is a pioneer in video game legislature. He recently proposed a bill to ban the selling of M rated games (games meant for people 17 or older, based on the ESRB rating system) to minors (anyone under the age of 18). However, a court recently ruled that such a ban would inhibit free speech, and would hence be unconstitutional. Schwarzenegger vowed to appeal this decision.
I signed this important measure to ensure that parents are involved in determining which video games are appropriate for their children," he said in a statement. "Many of these games are made for adults, and choosing games that are appropriate for kids should be a decision made by their parents.
Source: Reg Hardware

Games Workshop Bans fan-made Warhammer movies

Games Workshop, the maker of several famous miniature-based games such as Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, and Lord Of The Rings, has just forbid fans to make movies based on it's games. This comes as very unfortunate news to the makers of Damnatus, who have been working since 2003 to make a spectacular Warhammer 40,000 based film. Games Workshop has revised it's IP policy to show it's new stance on fan-made films. In the case of Damnatus, it is not clear if Games Workshop can get away with stopping the film, considering that the makers of Damnatus already got approval from Games Workshop. This move is surprising, considering that the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises both benefit from such classic user generated content as "Space Balls".Source: The Inquirer

Pirate Bay Blocked by Swedish Police for alleged child pornography

In a campaign to eliminate child pornography on the internet, the Swedish Police have been working with Swedish ISP's to find and block the sites that host child pornography. Swedish patrons of The Pirate Bay got a nasty surprise one day when they tried to access The Pirate Bay and got nothing more than an error message. Infuriated webmasters of the infamous website have tried to get the Swedish Police to unblock them. The Swedish standpoint is simple. The Pirate Bay can either eliminate all child pornography from their website by Tuesday, or accept that nobody using a Swedish ISP can access The Pirate Bay.Source: Nordic Hardware

European Commission investigating HD-DVD and Blu-Ray

Or, to be specific, the EC is investigating why movie studios chose to back either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. This investigation is to ensure that there are no monopolies or any other shenanigans going on with either format.

HD-DVD is mainly being promoted by Toshiba, with help from movie studios Universal, Warner and Paramount. The last two also support Blu-Ray. Sony and 20th Century Fox only release HD content via Blu-Ray, and several other studios support Blu-Ray. There is no clear winner in the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray war at this point.Source: Reg Hardware

World of Warcraft tale of romance Goes awry when police Arrest 'kidnapper'

Two people fell in love with each other over one of the most addictive MMORPGs ever, World of Warcraft. The couple spent long hours on the phone together, played through countless quests as a couple, and even talked about marriage. There were just two problems with this couple. The groom is 17, and the bride is 31. The two made plans to meet, and the bride flew over from Australia to North Carolina to pick up her dream date on June 12th. Unfortunately for her, anyone under the age of 18 is a minor in the state of North Carolina. After the groom's parents reported him as missing, the police apprehended the couple as they were trying to hitch a ride to Australia on June 26th. The groom is home, almost certainly grounded. However, the bride faired much worse. On July 11th, she goes on trial for the attempted abduction of a minor. If the bride is found guilty, she will get two years behind bars in an American jail. Australian customs is working hard to get the bride set free.Source: The Advertiser

'Show us the code' project supposedly silenced by Microsoft

Back in February, a blogger who went by the alias "DigDuality" got fed up with Microsoft's accusations of the open source community. And so, from work, he started a website that challenged Microsoft to find any IP violations *nix was making. May came, May went, and the website became about as active as an exhausted gold mine. Now, a few days into July, "DigDuality" has returned to his blog. He claims that Microsoft traced the website to DD's company, and that Microsoft threatened his company. The company, according to DD, then proceeded to give DD a choice: he could either keep the website running, or keep his job. DD preferred the latter, and so, the website has remained inactive for quite some time. DD refused to name the company that told DD to hold his tongue.Source: The Inquirer

Russian Government shuts down AllOfMP3

The famous MP3 online store (or rather infamous for not paying the artists) has been shut down by the Russian government. Pressure from the US, RIAA, and refusal to enter the World Trade Organization lead to the site's demise.

Before the shutdown, AllOfMP3.com was a direct competitor to iTunes due to its pay-by-size versus Apple's pay-by-track system. Tracks that were downloaded there were also devoid of all DRM and the user could even choose which bitrate to download.Source: torrentfreak

Selling a 'depraved' video game to a minor in New York could become a felony

The New York State Senate has recently been working to make New York minor gamers suffer. Republican bill S.5888 aimed to start an "Advisory Council on Interactive Media and Youth Violence", which basically is a checks-and-balances system on the ESRB. It shot through the legal process with the speed and grace of a greased pig through a high school.

Said minors in New York have a new piece of legislation to worry about : Democrat-sponsored bill A08696. If it gets ratified within 120 days, then anyone who sells/rents "any game which contains 'depraved violence' or 'indecent images'." will have to deal with a class E felony charge.

Microsoft Claims Major Patent Infringement

The conflict continues between software giant Microsoft and the open source community. Lawyers for Microsoft say the Linux kernel violates 42 patents, the Linux GUI another 65 while Open Office infringes upon 68 of its patents. Email programs as well as other various software rounds out a grand total of 235. Microsoft has yet to seek royalties from these alleged infractions and would face tough opposition from the open source community.Source: CNN/Fortune

Microsoft, Dell, and Gateway Sued over video encoding patents

In a figurative triple play, the Delaware Multimedia Patent Trust (MPT) is suing three technology giants for large sums of money. They are claiming that they own patents to Lucent technologies, and the right to sue for past infringements. The MPT is suing over patents regarding an "adaptive non-linear quantizer", "optimized scanning of transform coefficients in video coding", and "video coding with optimized low complexity variable length codes". The MPT wants a lot of money to cover damages, costs, and expenses.Source: The Inquirer

FTC investigating Google's acquisition of Doubleclick

We reported 8 days ago that Google is going to buy Doubleclick for $3.1 billion USD. However, this move is causing a lot of worry. The FTC is going to investigate whether this move is really legal. The reason is quite simple: search engines are gaining too much power. And while we're not looking at anything like "Skynet" from the Terminator movies, we may be looking at Google being able to gain too much information about people, what they do, and how they spend their money and free time. Doubleclick claims that their methods of collecting information are non-invasive, and would not let Google (or themselves) be able to track down users and/or truly invade their privacy.Source: The Inquirer
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