30th > July > 2002 Archive

Wi-Fi honeypots a new hacker trap

Hackers searching for wireless access points in the nation's capital may soon war drive right into a trap. Last month researchers at the government contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) launched what might be the first organized wireless honeypot, designed to tempt unwary Wi-Fi hackers and bandwidth borrowers and gather data on their techniques and tools of choice. That the average wireless network is horribly insecure is common knowledge today; surveys of populous metropolitan areas consistently turn up hundreds or thousands of 802.11b access points inadvertently left unprotected from unauthorized use or eavesdropping by anyone within range. (This in addition to many that are deliberately open to the public, either commercially or by the generosity of their owners). But while conventional wisdom holds that hackers are enjoying a golden era of untraceable ingress into corporate networks across the country, nobody claims to know exactly how prevalent wireless hacking really has become. That's where the Wireless Information Security Experiment, or WISE, comes in. Headed by former Air Force computer security investigator Rob Lee, now an SAIC chief of information security operations, WISE hinges on an 802.11b network based at a secret location in Washington D.C. and dedicated to no other purpose than being hacked from nearby. The network has five Cisco access points, a handful of deliberately vulnerable computers as bait, and two omni directional high-gain antennas for added reach to the nearby streets and alleys. On the back-end, a logging host gathers detailed connection data from the access points, while a passive 802.11b sniffer with a customized intrusion detection system acts as a hypersensitive trip wire. Like conventional honeypots, the WISE network has no legitimate users, so anything that crosses it is closely scrutinized. The goal, says Lee, isn't to set up D.C. hackers for prosecution, but to research the state of real life wireless hacking in a city considered by many to be a hot spot for laptop-toting cyberpunks. Lee hopes to learn who's conducting 802.11b attacks, how many hackers use wireless access to anonymize attacks on other Internet-connected systems, and what the ratio is between intruders, and those who simply drop onto nearby networks for convenient Internet access, sometimes unknowingly. Ultimately, Lee would like to be able to passively identify the various scanning tools hackers and others use to find vulnerable wireless networks. "There may be signatures that they give off that could be incorporated into a wireless intrusion detection device looking for these active signals," says Lee. Determining Intent a Challenge The SAIC honeypot went operational on June 15th, and so far hasn't pulled in anything particularly nefarious: a single ping sweep of the bait machines, and a few people trying unsuccessfully to surf the Web. The WISE network doesn't yet have an Internet connection, but Lee plans to hook one up through a Web proxy that will intercept outgoing connection attempts and present a consent-to-monitor banner, so he can legally watch how the Internet link is used. Despite the tepid findings so far, the hacker trap is generating enthusiasm in the honeypot community, and may spawn similar projects in other cities. "He's taken an idea and really run with it like hell," says Lance Spitzner, founder of the Honeynet Project. "He's gotten a lot of high-end gear so he could cover a wider area, and he's come up with a lot of really neat ideas... And he's basically operating in one of the best cities to put up a wireless honeynet." Peter Shipley, the security researcher who coined the term "war driving" over a year ago to describe the practice of cruising city streets in search of wireless networks, says he thinks wireless honeypots can produce interesting results, but that it could prove impossible to accurately differentiate between deliberate intruders and ordinary users accidentally dropping into the network. "The statistics are not going to be black and white" says Shipley. "They're going to be iffy and there's going to be a lot of speculation involved." Of course, unlike Internet-based honeypots, anyone detected on the WISE network will be located within a few blocks of the trap, perhaps parked in a car or sitting on a bus bench. Despite the opportunity, Lee says he doesn't plan to train video cameras on the street, or to physically confront hackers. But he may add other wireless technologies to the system, like 802.11a or Bluetooth, to widen the net. "Right now we're focusing on 802.11b," he says. "This might expand." © 2002 SecurityFocus.com, all rights reserved.
Kevin Poulsen, 30 Jul 2002

Intel owns Inside (true)

Intel's fearless intellectual property lawyers have wrested the word 'inside' from a rival US firm, after an epic battle. The heroes in suits successfully completed a dawn raid on Town Graphics, a small mapmaker based in Woodinville, Washington state. No casualties are reported. It's a different story at Town Graphics. The company printed a map and stuffed copies into envelopes carrying the legend "map inside". It sent these out in mailshot. So far, so ordinary. Then it tried to trademark the expression 'map inside'. Big mistake. Intel sent the attack dogs in, offering 'just over £400", according to the Mail on Sunday (i.e c, $600) to Town Graphics to junk its trademark plans. Larry Morris, owner of Town Graphics, is unhappy with the offer but doesn't fancy a fight with Intel, which says this is normal procedure to 'prevent dilution of our brand and trademarks'. So does Intel own 'Inside'? Err, no. It owns Intel Inside and it would easily see off any attempts to establish a rival trademark using 'inside' in the computer sector. But maps and mailshots? It just goes to show a big warchest goes a long, long way. In previous years Intel has tried to establish lasting trademarks for letters of the alphabet - "i" - and for numbers e.g. 486. Intel abandoned its numbering scheme for processors, adopting the Pentium name instead for what would have been the 586. The bid to appropriate a letter of the alphabet failed too. ® Related story Yoga Inside? Not if Intel has its way
Drew Cullen, 30 Jul 2002

Qwest rewrites accounts, fights for survival

Qwest Communications International Inc is now fighting for survival after admitting that it incorrectly recognized optical-capacity revenue amounting to $1.16bn in the years 1999, 2000 and 2001. Other secrets could still be lurking in its accounts, and the new management team at the debt-laden company faces a battle to keep the support of the company's bankers in the weeks ahead. While a restatement by Qwest had been long expected after the SEC announced in April a formal inquiry into network swaps by the company, the revelations come at a time when the Denver, Colorado-based company is being hammered by the downturn in the telecoms sector. Qwest withdrew guidance it had given in April that revenue this year would be in the range of $18bn to $18.4bn and it expected free cash flow to be break even or slightly positive. It said it wanted to reassess the impact of continuing weakness in the telecoms sector, competitive pressures, and the regional economies in the 14 states where it offers local services. Chairman Dick Notebaert said he doesn't feel confident about making any predictions about recovery. Such a bleak industry background makes turning around a company mired in scandal and facing both a criminal investigation and SEC probe an almost impossible task. Qwest is in the process of selling its QwestDex directories business and is hopeful this will yield around $10bn to cut its $25bn debt burden. Yet QwestDex's accounts may also give a flattering view of the operation's financing. Auditor KPMG is analysing accounting policies at the operation, and in particular looking at changes in the production schedules and lives of some of the directories. Qwest's accounts first came under question with the collapse of Global Crossing Ltd, with the suspicion that the companies had engaged in "hollow swaps" of bandwidth to inflate revenue. The SEC also looked at a deal that Qwest conducted with Bedminster, New Jersey-based company KMC Telecom Holdings Inc under which Qwest sold equipment worth $450m to the company and then bought internet services from it. Qwest now says it expects to restate its financial statements for three transactions related to the sale of equipment where revenue and profit were incorrectly recognized upfront. Qwest's shares dropped 20% to $1.20 on the news, valuing the company at just $1.9bn. The company's recent history uncannily mirrors that of WorldCom and the errors in the accounts came to light after former chief executive Joe Nacchio was ousted in June. Given the state of the market, it will be hard put to meet covenants agreed with its bankers and the shadow of Chapter 11 now hangs over Qwest. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 30 Jul 2002
Cat 5 cable

IBM, HP quibble over Xeon MPs in midrange servers

IBM Corp yesterday announced benchmarks for its eight-way xSeries 440 "Vigil" server. The results, it said, demonstrate to naysayers that servers based on the "Foster" Xeon MP processors from Intel Corp can, with the right chipsets, show good scalability on commercial processing workloads, Timothy Prickett Morgan writes. IBM sources say that its competitors, particularly Hewlett Packard Co, are essentially saying that Foster servers do not fit into the market, and indeed HP has quietly killed off the so-called "F8" chipset, a kicker to Intel's "Profusion" chipset for Pentium III Xeon servers. HP has not fielded a big Wintel or Lintel box running the Foster processors and seems content on focusing on eight-way 32-bit Pentium III Xeon and four-way 64-bit Itanium servers at the moment as it awaits the delivery of its eight-way to 64-way "Pinnacles" chipset sometime next year, which will support the Itanium and PA-RISC processors (both 64-bit chips) but, alas, not the 32-bit Fosters. While HP has not come right out and said this, it seems that the company is intent on shipping 32-bit processors in four-way and smaller machines for some time, and 64-bit processors in eight-way and larger machines, with the exception of eight-way Profusion servers for customers who, for whatever reason, want legacy support for the Pentium III Xeon processors running at 700MHz or 900MHz. HP's plans for supporting the E8870/E9870 chipset and scalability port, which offers 4, 8, 12, and 16 processor configurations, is unclear. This Intel chipset, formerly known as the i870, is known to support the "McKinley" Itanium 2 and a year and a half ago was expected to support the kicker to the Fosters, the "Gallatin" Xeon MPs, and depending on who you asked, the Fosters themselves. But Intel's specs for the E8870 say that it is an Itanium 2 chipset at the moment, and do not say anything at all about any Xeon MP chips, current or future. With HP having killed off the F8 chipset and Intel's position unclear about the E8870, which starts shipping in volume in September, you would expect HP to have little good to say about Foster in the eight-way server space. IBM, because it does not yet have Itanium 2 support ready for its "Summit" EXA chipset, which supports 32-bit Xeon MP and 64-bit Itanium processors from Intel, is of course thrilled to have Foster chips running in eight-way servers, and has just got out TPC-C online transaction processing benchmark test results to prove that these machines can be a great upgrade for customers who have run out of gas on those old Pentium III Xeon servers using the Profusion chipset. IBM tested its eight-way xSeries 440 server using the 1.6GHz Xeon MP processors (each with 1MB of on-chip L3 cache), 64GB of main memory, and 4.7TB of disk capacity. The server running the TPC-C test ran an early release of Microsoft Corp's Windows .NET Datacenter Server (which this test result says will be available on January 21, 2003) and SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition. The xSeries 440 was able to handle 92,398 transactions per minute at a cost of $7.70 per TPM. Dell Computer Corp tested an eight-way Profusion server, a PowerEdge 8450 to be specific, using the 900MHz Pentium III Xeons, and was able to crank through 69,902 TPM on the TPC-C test at a cost of $8.46 per TPM. The Summit machine, albeit with software that won't be available for six months, offered 32% more performance and 9% better bang for the buck compared to that Dell Profusion server. And the Summit machine using 1.6GHz Xeon MPs offered 38% more performance than a PowerEdge 8450 using the slower 700MHz Pentium III Xeon processors and 11% better bang for the buck. It's hard to say whether or not the Windows .NET Datacenter Server release of Microsoft's operating system helped or hurt the IBM xSeries 440 benchmark results, but it seems likely that the future operating system does a better job handling large chunks of main memory and SMP support beyond four-way clustering, and hence that is why IBM chose it. If this is the case, a Summit machine running Windows 2000 Datacenter Server would do worse on this same benchmark. Why else would IBM use future software if it didn't help? IBM tested a four-way xSeries 440 using Windows 2000 Datacenter Server (which seems weird, too, if you think about it, since Datacenter Server is aimed at eight-ways and larger) and 16GB of main memory and was able to process 55,139 TPM at a cost of $6.98 per TPM. A four-way Summit machine has about the same oomph as an eight-way Profusion machine using the older 700MHz Pentium III Xeons, which is the vast majority of the installed base these days. This is plenty of headroom, even if it is not nearly as much performance as customers will be able to get by jumping to Itanium processors in future. Still, those Itanium servers loom pretty large, especially for operating systems, middleware, and applications that are priced based on the number of processors in the box. As part of the McKinley rollout last month, HP put out TPC-C benchmarks for servers using its "Pluto" zx1 chipset in two-way and four-way configurations using the 64-bit versions of Microsoft's Windows 2000 Advanced Server and SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition. HP's rx2600 server, equipped with two 1GHz McKinleys, 12GB of main memory, and 3TB of disk capacity was able to handle 40,612 TPM at a cost of $5.72 per TPM. (This price includes an unspecified "large cash discount" available through HP Direct, so don't trust that pricing too far.) The four-way rx5670 McKinley server from HP offered nearly twice the performance as the rx2600, with a posting of 78,455 TPM at a cost of $5.12 per TPM (this price again includes that mysterious and undocumented HP Direct discount). Chip for chip, the Itanium 2 will give the best performance among servers in the Pentium III Xeon, Xeon MP, and Itanium generations. An eight-way Pentium III Xeon using 900MHz processors will hit around 70,000 TPM, an eight-way using Foster MPs will hit around 90,000 TPM, but an eight-way using 1GHz Itanium 2 processors should hit around 125,000 to 150,000 TPM, depending on the chipset (when they are available, of course). This is one of the reasons why IBM has created two variants of the Summit chipset - one for 32-bit Intel Xeon MP chips and one for Itanium 2 and later 64-bit chips - that have about 80% commonality. IBM is expected to debut its "Man 'O War" 16-way Summit machine, which is expected to support the McKinley and Foster chips, before the end of the year. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 30 Jul 2002

Macromedia, Adobe settle patent squabble

Adobe Systems Inc and Macromedia Inc have settled all their outstanding patent infringement lawsuits, the firms announced yesterday, hopefully bringing to an end two years of litigation and badmouthing. "The terms of the settlement are confidential," the companies said in a joint statement released after the market closed yesterday. "Customers with products from either Adobe or Macromedia will not be affected." Adobe sued Macromedia in August 2000, claiming the company's new customizable palette GUI infringed its patents. Macromedia countered in September 2000, saying Adobe software infringed its element blending and sound patents. This May, both verdicts came in. Adobe was awarded $2.8m for Macromedia's infringement and said it would seek an injunction. Two weeks later Macromedia was awarded $4.9m and said it would seek an injunction. Though both companies said they would appeal the rulings, clearly neither wanted to have its products to be removed from the market, setting up the likelihood of a speedy settlement before injunctions and recalls became a reality. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 30 Jul 2002

Vodafone Q1 subs show modest growth

Vodafone Group Plc, the world's second largest mobile phone operator, yesterday published key performance indicators for the quarter ended June 30, featuring slightly higher average revenue per user in its core markets, increased revenue contribution from data services, and modest overall growth of subscriber numbers. In the quarter ended June 30, Vodafone said it added 1.4 million to its net global proportionate subscriber base bringing it to 103.9 million. The biggest contribution to this growth came from its Asia Pacific operations, where J-Phone Ltd added 301,000 new subscribers, and the regional as a whole grew its subscriber population by 509,000 to 13.3 million. Southern Europe, led by Vodafone Omnitel in Italy, which added 204,000 subscribers, increased overall by 425,000 to 24.5 million. Verizon Wireless in the US added 324,000 subscribers, helping the Americas region grow by 395,000 overall to 13.8 million. Vodafone's Central Europe operations also achieved positive subscriber growth, adding 21,000 in the quarter to reach 23.3 million overall, even though Vodafone Germany lost some 90,000 subscribers in the quarter. Vodafone's operators in the UK and the Netherlands also recorded negative subscriber growth, marking their proportionate total down by 177,000 and 4,000 respectively, which dragged the overall figure for Northern Europe down by 64,000 to 23 million. In its summary of the KPI numbers, Vodafone said that the negative subscriber growth was partially due to "the necessary and expected disconnection ... of non-revenue earning handsets." This essentially refers to prepaid subscriptions that had shown no activity for some time. Vodafone, unlike many of its competitors, does not depend on prepaid subscribers for the bulk of its customer base, but it is still keen to grow the proportion of contract subscribers, who tend to make a much higher average contribution to revenue. This push to grow the contract subscriber base is one part of the drive to grow ARPU. Another is the effort to encourage subscribers to access non-voice data services, from their handsets. In the last quarter, Vodafone claimed to have achieved the "expected uplift" in ARPU in key markets, although overall this trend was slight at best. Monthly ARPU between April 2001 and last month in Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK does not really show a clear growth trend. In Germany in June 2001, ARPU was 25 euros ($24.53), achieved a peak of 27 euros ($26.50) in May 2002, and slipped back to 26 euros ($25.52) in June. Italian ARPU in June last year was 30 euros ($29.44) dipped to 26 euros in February and came back to 29 euros ($28.46) last month. June, 2001 ARPU in the UK was 22 pounds ($34.39), achieved a peak of 25 pounds ($39.08) in May, and slipped back to 23 pounds ($35.95) last month. In Japan, despite the vaunted success of J-Phone's data-oriented services, Vodafone has struggled to achieve consistent ARPU. J-Phone achieved ARPU of JPY 7,700 ($64.33) in June last year, but has since seen ARPU peak at JPY 8,100 ($67.68) in August last year, before slipping back to JPY 7,200 ($60.16) last month. Rather unhelpfully, what ARPU progress it has seen is described by Vodafone as due largely to "increasing activity levels", which means subscribers making more calls, and not just growth in premium/data service access. However, some progress in non-voice services was recorded. The proportionate group total for data in revenue was 10.9% in June 2002, compared to 6.6% in the same month last year. The great bulk of this June 2002 data figure, accounting for 8.4% total revenue, stemmed from messaging services, with internet data traffic still accounting for only 2.5% of the total. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 30 Jul 2002

Symantec guards against blended security threats

Symantec Corp is stepping up its attempts to tackle "blended" security threats, such as Code Red, with a new combined security product. Due for release next month, Symantec Client Security combines anti-virus, firewall and intrusion-detection technologies to prevent against hybrid security attacks. Security software vendors have had to change their tactics to respond to threats such as Code Red, which utilize legitimate means of access into enterprise networks before wreaking havoc, and Symantec is no exception. By combining firewall, anti-virus and intrusion detection technologies with a single security update mechanism, the Cupertino, California-based company claims to be offering an integrated security suite for both network clients and remote users. Symantec Client Security comprises four main technologies to prevent malicious attacks: the System Center centralized management console; the Digital Immune System anti-virus infrastructure and services; Symantec's rules-based firewall technology; and comparison of network traffic against known signatures maintained by the Symantec Security Response team, which is also able to block IP addresses in the event of intrusion attempts. Symantec is not the first security vendor to tackle blended attacks. The problem is at the heart of Trend Micro Inc's new Enterprise Protection Strategy, which was launched in May, and has already produced new security scanning and reporting products. Network Associates Inc also announced that it was teaming up with Internet Security Systems Inc on a security intelligence and product development deal to tackle the problem. Products from that development deal are due in the first quarter of 2003. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 30 Jul 2002

Mobile operators seek to convert pre-paid masses

European mobile operators facing massive debt and market saturation are now examining the value of their less profitable pre-paid customers, Ciaran Buckley writes. The finding is included in a new IDC bulletin, entitled "Customer Retention Strategies in the Western European Mobile Market, 2002." According to the research document, many mobile operators are still facing almost insurmountable debt, thanks in part to the high cost of 3G licences. As they look to pay creditors and face a saturated market, the telecoms have shifted their focus in order to reduce high subscriber acquisition costs (SAC) and churn levels, and are instead looking to their more profitable contract (post-paid) customers. The attempt to reduce SAC has been focused on the pre-paid market, which constitutes 80 percent of some operators' subscribers, but only generates around one fifth of revenues, research indicates. Converting the 170 million pre-paid customers in Western Europe to contracts is seen as an important step in the process of retaining profitable subscribers. "Operators had accumulated large bases of pre-paid customers in excess of 60 percent who were not spending money," said Paolo Pescatore, a senior analyst for IDC's European Wireless and Mobile Communications Service. "Pre-paid has led to more headaches than operators had initially expected - higher SAC and increased churn." Operators aren't likely to alienate active pre-paid customers by nudging them into contracts said Paolo Pescatore of IDC, the author of the bulletin, while speaking to ElectricNews.net. "The pre-paid customers who are using their mobile phone will find that it's cheaper to be contract a contract customer," said Pescatore. "The line rental includes free calls and text messages and calls are cheaper." Many operators only offer advanced services such as multimedia messaging and entertainment services to contract subscribers, but Pescatore believes that they will ultimately have to roll them out to pre-paid customers. "Ultimately the operators can't afford to ignore the huge pre-paid market," he observed. Pescatore believes that the operators will have to develop new billing systems to accommodate the pre-paid market. "Text messages are charged on a per unit basis, rather than on the size of the message," said Pescatore. "MMS messages will have to be charged based on the size of the message, so billing solution providers are going to have to come up with a solution for pre-paid users." Commenting on the high average revenue per user (ARPU) figures enjoyed by Vodafone and O2 in Ireland, Pescatore said, "Either the Irish operators have been more successful in encouraging subscribers to use voice and data services, or else that there is a lack of competition in the market." He continued, "It's less likely to be the lack of competition, because new operators can enter the market to offer more competitive services." © ENN.
ElectricNews.net, 30 Jul 2002

What do Boy Scouts have in common with hot gay sex videos?

Type in "Boy Scout" in the query box of the UK web site of Ask Jeeves and up pops an ad for "hot gay sex videos". Hit the refresh button and you get another ad promoting a hardcore gay pornography website and another and another. We clicked on the ads and some of the pictures on the front pages of the web sites were very explicit. Ask Jeeves, a family web site which advertises its services on British television, joins a long, ignoble list of Internet portals promoting pornography to children. By mistake, granted. But bad ad targeting is no excuse. No doubt the ads will be pulled very quickly. We have a screen grab. ® Related stories Tiscali plugs porn for cash Updated: Excite pulls porn off kiddie-friendly search engine
Drew Cullen, 30 Jul 2002

B3ta.com – good pics, great jokes

Site of the DaySite of the Day The Net is awash with comedy-stroke-satire, some very good, but most resolutely text-based. The outstanding exception is B3ta.com, the home of Photoshopper terrorism. This very fine web site recently ambushed Monday:, the absurdly remonikered PwC Consulting, with introducingmonday.co.uk. Rightly, the 'we got your name' site viralled its way around the world. But B3ta.com is a many-trick donkey - culture-jamming, lots of good jokes, and many pictures of cats. There's text links to funny-stroke-bizarre stories too; just like Fark and Rotten.com (warning! not for the squeamish). B3ta.com appears to be mostly a labour of love. We spotted an ad for mugs and an exhortation to readers to "give us your money B3ta.com is run from donations so click on the nice man to give us your cash." By linking to B3ta.com, we may have just increased its bandwidth costs. Bloody hard running a comedy web site. ®
Drew Cullen, 30 Jul 2002

ICANN director to see accounts

ICANN board member Karl Auerbach has won the right to inspect ICANN's books. In any other corporation, a director encumbered with duties to his shareholders wouldn't have to go to court to inspect his company's accounts. But it's a mark of ICANN's secrecy that Karl Auerbach - who has the same responsibilities even though ICANN is a non-profit - has had to go to court to win the right to see, amongst other things, the General Ledger. Auerbach has won access to non-confidential documents to which he was previously denied, and can view but not copy the confidential material. Nevertheless, he's not bound by an NDA, and it's up to ICANN to seek an injunction against him using this material, according to Brett Fausett who blogged the hearing. The Judge was dismayed that ICANN procrastinated for so long. Auerbach first made his request in December 2000, having run on a platform of greater access, as he told us back here. In a typically Kafkaesque gesture, ICANN spent ten months last year simply drawing up "a procedure for reviewing documents". However, Josef K Auerbach has prevailed. The Judge told the Court: "As a non-profit, public benefit corporation, you have a duty to the public -- the international public in this case -- that is very different than Microsoft or IBM. This is a public benefit corporation,", reports icann.Blog. Auerbach's two-year term as director ends in November, and having abolished public elections, there's little of him being succeeded by a director with the same curiosity. This case is funded by John Gilmore, and he's represented by EFF's Cindy Cohn. Last week Esther Dyson echoed Yogi Berra when she told Salon.com that Auerbach "unfortunately has some good proposals and it's counterproductive how he goes around trying to achieve that."® Related Link The Ruling [HTML, via Cryptome] Related Stories Board member sues ICANN ICANN legal pay-off avoids scrutiny Smoking pistol unravels VeriSign domain name stitch-up Ex-ICANN chief spotted in low earth orbit
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jul 2002

Apple Jaguar promo doesn't apply to Jaguar

A promotion that promises to sweeten the pain of the $129 update to Apple's OS X 10.2 Jaguar release doesn't apply to Jaguar, leaving Register readers perplexed. One reader in New York discovered the promotion on Apple's US web site after following the link from the Jaguar lead-in on Apple's front page. "Purchase an iMac, iBook, PowerBook, or Power Mac or Mac OS X system software anytime between July 1 and October 15, 2002, and get over 20 great deals," it promises. Buy a Mac or MacOS X, and a qualifying product, and you get up to a third off the price of the accompanying peripheral or software - " for each computer or copy of Mac OS X you purchase during the offer period." But curiously, the qualifying OS X software is specifically Mac OS X 10.1.3. After two weeks of enquiries our reader is none the wiser, although Apple retail store staff have described the qualification as plain weird, and promised that it ought to apply to Jagwyre, too. (Users buying a Mac or OS X after mid-July are already entitled to a 10.2 upgrade for $19.95, but that's a separate issue). And the typo - if it is a typo - remains, and it's legally binding. We've made enquiries, and will let you know as soon as we hear an explanation. And we're particularly intrigued by this delightful disclaimer in the small print:- "Apple is not responsible for printing errors." Then who is? ® Related Stories Apple users demand higher prices, worse treatment Apple must raises prices - Now! Apple's Jaguar - sliced and diced
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jul 2002

Tougher penalties for UK copyright thieves

A Bill which increases the maximum penalty for copyright theft in the UK from two years to 10 years has become law. The Private Member's Bill, introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Dr Vincent Cable, also gives the authorities increased provision to obtain search warrants and powers to seize goods. The Copyright etc and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Bill passed smoothly through both houses of Parliament before receiving Royal Assent last Friday. It will be in force in the Autumn. The main provisions of the Copyright etc and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Bill are: Increase the penalties for copyright offences from two years to 10 years. This matches the penalty for trade mark law and also conspiracy to defraud. This rise in the penalty will be sought for cases where copyright holders suffer serious damage. The new penalty will also apply to the production of unauthorised decoders. Strengthen search warrant powers for police officers to make it easier to expose counterfeiting so warrants can now be obtained for all copyright offences, including possession and sale of infringing articles/bootlegs. Amend the current law on forfeiture, "which is a disorganised mixture of civil and criminal provisions". The new legislation will replace this and give all copyright investigations the same rights of service and forfeiture found within trade mark legislation. Dr Vince Cable, MP for Twickenham and Liberal Democrat shadow Trade and Industry Spokesman, expressed delight that his bill had successfully passed through Parliament. The bill gives many creative industries "effective legal remedies" to fight against counterfeiting and piracy they previously lacked, he added. "I see the bill as a triple hit - it protects consumers, it strengthens the forces of law and order in dealing with serious villains, and it should greatly reduce the £8.5 billion a year losses suffered by British industry as a result of intellectual property theft," said Cable. Lavinia Carey, Chair of the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (an umbrella industry group representing games developers, the music business and software publishers), said the Bill was an important step in reforming copyright and trade mark law. "We are now in discussion with the Government about how to improve resources for enforcement to protect industry and consumers from this pernicious crime [IP theft]." ®
John Leyden, 30 Jul 2002

NTL claims 300K home broadband subs

NTL today issued UK residential broadband subscriber figures - more than 300,000 punters. This accounts for 37 per cent of the entire UK fast-Internet access market, enough to make NTL overall broadband leader, the cable company says. BT and BT resellers can only catch up - but not without a struggle. NTL is promoting its cable Internet service with a TV and net ad campaign kicking off in August. Users who click through the Internet advertisements are offered free installation for NTL's 512k or 1Mb broadband services - saving up to £75. Some more stats? OK, just so long as you know that all the figures are supplied by NTL. According to NTL estimates, in homes with a choice between NTL Broadband and ADSL roughly 85% choose NTL, and of the total broadband user base, 60% have selected Broadband Cable: NTL home 37% (Cable Broadband) Telewest 23% (Cable Broadband) BT Openworld/BT Broadband 17% (ADSL) Others (BT Wholesale) 15% (ADSL) BT business 8% (ADSL) Total Cable Broadband 60% Total ADSL 40%
Drew Cullen, 30 Jul 2002

V21 pays for The Free Internet

V21, or V Two One as it insists on calling itself, has swooped on stricken ISP, The Free Internet, buying its user base of thefreeinternet.net and business ops in an agreed deal. Terms are undisclosed. TFI subscribers gain access to a faster Internet connection and retain their email addys, according to V Two One. Thefreeinternet.com suspended its ISP service in June, blaming a dispute with NTL. Director Gerry Kavanagh said that the liquidation of The Free Internet Limited had no bearing on the dispute, pointing out the the user base was owned by a different company, 1st Free Ltd. Related link, stories V Two One press release TFI wants suspended ISP service 'to be sorted' V21 to hand cash to Barnardo's 'V Two One' acquires UK-based ISP 'The Free Internet' In a bid to become one of the UK’s foremost Internet Service Providers (ISPs), V Two One http://www.v21.co.uk has announced its acquisition of The Free Internet http://www.thefreeinternet.net , incorporating its user base and business operations under the rapidly expanding V Two One umbrella. Internet users previously signed up to The Free Internet will now benefit from V Two One’s faster Internet connection, extensive customer support and unrivalled service. Existing The Free Internet customers will retain previous email addresses and start benefiting from V Two One’s exceptional Internet connection and wide range of user services straight away. Included in the offering is unlimited technical support for new customers and a choice of packages including pay-as-you-go, a range of options with flat-rate fees from just £3.99 per month, and V Two One’s custom-built, intelligent dial-up software which is downloadable free of charge in minutes. V Two One’s new customers will also be benefiting from forums to discuss Internet-related topics with other users and V Two One staff, and a ‘Surf Safe’ browser option that enables children to explore the Internet without the risk of being exposed to unsuitable or offensive content. Commenting on V Two One’s acquisition of The Free Internet, Steve Kaye, Managing Director, V Two One, enthused, “Since its formation, V Two One has continually provided its users with an ISP that demonstrates high levels of service at affordable prices. We are looking forward to providing our new users with the levels of service our current customers have come to expect from V Two One – as well as offering them the chance to take advantage of our ADSL offering for just £19.99 per month.” Gerry Kavanagh, Managing Director, The Free Internet, said, “We are delighted to offer existing The Free Internet subscribers with a new, wide range of services and support from V Two One. After researching a number of possible ISPs that could take over our operations, we decided V Two One would provide the best service to our customer base.”
Drew Cullen, 30 Jul 2002

Domain name disputes taken into national courts

Disquiet over the domain registration dispute process involving .biz domains has led to court action on both sides of the Atlantic. UK domain name registrar Internetters has launched High Court proceedings to halt the transfer of 'domainregistry.biz' to US company, DomainRegistry.com Inc. Internetters is going to the High Court in an attempt to reverse a decision by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)-appointed, National Arbitration Forum (NAF), which would strip it of a domain which it is using in its business. Paul Westley, co-founder of Internetters, told us that it registered 'domainregistry.biz' because it was descriptive of the services it offers and has a strong generic name. Under STOP, .biz registry Neulevel's Start Up Opposition Policy, a party which believes it has intellectual property rights to a particular domain name can apply to have that name transferred to it, if it can demonstrate right to the name. But this rule shouldn't apply to generic and descriptive names, Westley argues, noting that although DomainRegistry.com Inc has applied to trademark domainregistry, its applications have been turned down. Last year, Professor Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa conducted a study into allegations of systematic unfairness in the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The study found that NAF complainants win 82.9% of the time. Internetters claims that the UDRP is US-biased and this is demonstrated by its case. It is seeking to overturn the ruling against it and repeat the success of an Ottawa businessman, Douglas Black, who recently won rights to the domain name canadian.biz against brewing giant Molson. Molson owns the trademark for the word Canadian, as it applies to beer, and this impressed Internet arbitrators but not the Ontario Superior Court. But many firms have Canadian in their name and Judge Wright decided that Molson had no particular plans for canadian.biz, unlike Black who told the court he intends to use the domain as a meeting place for Canadian businessmen. The Judge overturned the ruling of the arbitration panel and awarded Black costs. Despite been dragged through a protracted legal process, Black bore no ill will against Molson and said he would continue to drink their beer, The Globe and Mail reports. Which is nice. ®
John Leyden, 30 Jul 2002

Pay up, or you're blocked: Indian ISPs tell US megasites

America's biggest content providers could face a toll to enter India cyberspace, if plans mooted by the Indian ISP trade association bear fruit. Although the Internet Service Providers Association of India is split on the issue, several of the larger ISPs want to block access to eBay, MSN or Yahoo! unless the prociders pay a toll. "In order to increase revenue streams …we should ask [the portals] to pay if they want traffic on their sites from India," reports the Hindustani Times. Traditional bricks and mortar producers have to sweeten the distribution channels, so why not MSN? And with foreign steel companies now paying an additional tariff to enter the US market, isn't this a simple reciprocation? Indian netizens faced with the ban would have to resort to cunning methods to circumvent the block. With ISPs doing the barring, access to proxy servers could be difficult. Perhaps this provides an unexpected spur for the splendid Peek-A-Booty browser, designed to circumvent government censorship. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jul 2002