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     Volume 4 Issue 19 | October 29, 2004 |

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Top 20 Loopholes That Make a PC Susceptible to hacking
A list comprising top twenty threats to computers from hackers has been issued by the Sans Institute to guard companies against the most common loopholes in their system, which makes them susceptible to cyber crimes.
1. Web servers and services
2. Work station service
3. Windows remote access services
4. Microsoft SQL server
5. Windows authentication
6. Web browsers
7. File-sharing applications
9. E-mail programmes
10. Instant messaging
11. Bind domain name system
12. Web server
14.Version control systems
15. Mail transport services
16.Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
17.Open secure sockets layer (SSL)
18.Misconfiguration of enterprise services
20. Kernel (ANI)

Google Launches PC Search Tool
If you frequently waste a lot of time searching for files on your PC, help is at hand for Google has released a preliminary version of a desktop programme that will search computer hard drives, as well as the web. "We think of this as the photographic memory of your computer. It's pretty comprehensive. If there's anything you once saw on your computer screen, we think you should be able to find it again quickly," BBC quoted Marissa Mayer, Google's director of consumer web products as saying. The desktop tool can be downloaded for free and lets people search e-mails in Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, as well as files in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and in plain text. It also searches web pages viewed in Internet Explorer and instant messages in AOL Instant Messenger.

Preventing Spam Over Internet Telephony
A U.S. based company called Qovia in Frederick, Maryland, has recently filed two patent applications for technology to thwart 'spit' that is or spam over internet telephony or voice-over IP (VoIP) that involves making phone calls using the internet, reports New Scientist. According to Winn Schwartau, an electronic security consultant for InterPact in Seminole, Florida, voice-mail boxes could come clogged with salacious and bogus advertising messages. And denial-of-service attacks launched by armies of automated "spam-bots" could tie up targeted customers' phone lines constantly, he added. Qovia offers is a filter that identifies calls likely to be spit, for example calls that are all identical in length or that were generated rapidly from the same source, and removes them. Schwartau added that a better solution would be a trusted third party that people register their address and telephone number with and then use to digitally sign all phone calls. He says the content filters used by many companies to kill email spam, based on tell-tale patterns of words, would be much harder to implement with voice data.

Scientist Grows Brain Cells on Microchip
Canadian and German researchers have grown snail nerve cells on a microchip and shown that the cells have memory and can communicate. The researchers say this melding of machine and biology has a wide-range of potential applications. Think RoboCop a microchip that communicates with your brain. Neurobiology Prof. Naweed Syed of the University of Calgary and his colleagues have shown it's possible to grow a network of snail brain cells and reconnect them on a specially designed silicon chip. Not only did the neurons survive, they actually grew and incorporated the chip as it if were a brain cell, too. Using a microcapacitor on the chip to fire a charge, scientists stimulated one nerve cell to communicate with a second cell. The second cell transmitted the signal to other cells within the network. More importantly, when the chip was fired, the neurons responded. A transistor on the chip recorded the cells' communication. Syed said in a broader sense, the study shows data can be imparted to the brain through an electronic rather than a biological link. The researchers call the discovery a giant leap in answering fundamental questions of biology and neuro-electronics, paving the way to harness the power of nanotechnology. "The brain continues to generate activity, but there is no organ attached that brain cells can control," said Syed. "The idea is to implant these chips inside the brain and have a chip control the prosthetic device such as a limb." The next step is research on mice and other mammals, focusing on interfacing silicon chips with the brain to control artificial limbs.

Beckham Opens Door to Trojan
David Beckham is the chosen one by virus writers who are using people's interest in the England captain's private life for distributing a virus. Computer users get a message that implies to have evidence of Beckham in a compromising position. Anyone who visits the website and then downloads and opens the fake image file stored on that site will be infecting his computer by the virus. The programme called the Hackarmy trojan opens a backdoor on a computer so that it can be controlled remotely by hackers and installs itself. It then tries to recruit PCs into so-called 'bot networks that are often used to distribute spam mail messages or to launch attacks across the web. "The public's appetite for salacious gossip about the private life of the Beckhams might lead some into an unpleasant computer infection," Graham Cluley from anti-virus firm Sophos was quoted as saying. Computers running Microsoft Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT and XP are vulnerable to this trojan.

Source: Webindia123.com / Google / CNN.com / New Scientist.com



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