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AMD-hosted WLAN used to infect security hack's PC

So that's what a firewall's for...

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AMD would like you to know that its mobile Athlon 64 goes very nicely with 802.11 wireless networking. And in a bid to get hacks assembled at its Cannes launch event this week to think 'wireless', the chip maker thoughtfully laid on a WLAN for them to use to quickly file column inches for their respective rags.

Notebook-equipped journos without the requisite Wi-Fi support were handed some rather nice AMD Alchemy-branded 802.11b PC Cards. As for journos without laptops... well they just had to use the time honoured method of reading their copy to a typist at the other end of a phone line.

We were tickled to see AMD's temporary hot spot was powered by a pair of Apple AirPort Extreme base-stations. So much for AMD's backslapping message of support from WLAN chipset maker Atheros - the Apple kit is based on technology from Atheros' rival, Broadcom.

However, the Apple product also contains one of AMD's Alchemy embedded processors, so that's fair enough, we reckon.

But whoever made the Wi-Fi infrastructure, it still wouldn't have prevented one crafty so-and-so from attempting to infect the assembled portable PCs with a LAN-borne virus. The culprit's identity remains a mystery. Was it a hack? An AMD customer, perhaps? Maybe even an employee?

We can't say - what we can reveal is that at least one UK tech journalist of many years standing was caught napping. Despite often advising novice - and not-so-neophyte - readers of the benefits of firewall technology, had our colleague remembered to enable his own firewall, provided free of charge by Windows XP? Had he heck... Fortunately, his AV software came to the rescue and quashed the infection before it had got too far into the bowels of his machine.

Should this unfortunate creature be named? We think not - it was punishment enough to survive the jeers and jibes of his fellow tech-heads earlier today when he confessed his culpability.

We'd simply note that in a recent edition of Computing the poor fellow was asked to "discuss matters of security best-practice and assemble a comprehensive check-list of do's and don'ts that a company can use in order to improve their data and business security procedures and operations", according to the paper's briefing sheet.

Ahem. ®

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