3rd > September > 2004 Archive

IBM recalls 500,000 melting notebook adapters

More than 500,000 notebook power adapters sold by IBM are being recalled to offset the threat of melting plastic and even fire. IBM and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall, saying at least six consumers have reported incidents with the power adapters. The adapters were produced by Delta Electronics and sit in systems shipped between January 1999 and August 2000. The main systems affected were the ThinkPad i Series notebooks and ThinkPad 390 and 240 series. "If your AC adapter is one of those affected by this recall, IBM will replace the AC adapter, free of charge," the company said on its Web site. "IBM also requests that you do not leave your current AC adapter plugged into any AC power outlet while unattended." There have been reports of some property damage but no reports of personal injury from the toasty adapters, IBM said. ® Related stories BOFH: How dangerous are your users? Dell laptop named in SA burns explosion Coming soon: foot-powered laptops Compaq recalls fiery laptop adapters
Ashlee Vance, 03 Sep 2004

Global chip sales slow on inventory build-up

World chip sales reached $18bn in July, up on both June's figure and July 2003's $13bn total, chip trade body the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said yesterday. June's sales totalled $17.82bn, yielding a sequential growth rate of fractionally over one percentage point. That's a slower rate than SIA had anticipated, the organisation said, blaming a "combination of factors - consumer uncertainty, inventory accumulation... and seasonal issues" for the slowdown. Certainly, inventory build-ups have been registered by other market watchers, leading to concerns that sales will slow through the rest of the quarter. That could lead to final figures below the big growth forecast by organisation like the SIA for 2004 as a whole. Like market research company Gartner a few weeks ago, the SIA said it believes the growth in inventory stockpiles isn't yet a cause for concern - indeed, it said, the accumulation remains well below the equivalent figure for the summer of 2000. The SIA said it is standing by its forecast that Q3's sales will come in 4-6 per cent higher than Q2's, and that the year as a whole will see sales totalling $214bn, up 28 per cent on 2003. ® Related stories Inventory issues fail to hamper chip biz growth June world chip sales top $17.8bn Intel disappoints investors with lowered Q3 outlook
Tony Smith, 03 Sep 2004

HP builds inkjet R&D centre in Ireland

Hewlett-Packard is to invest €21.4min a technology development centre in Leixlip, to develop new inkjet printer technologies. IDA Ireland, a government agency, will provide support for the project, which will develop a new generation of integrated circuits incorporated on each inkjet cartridge. The new centre is expected to collaborate with a number of Irish universities, with proposals being considered from NUI Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University and NMRC in Cork. "The investment is a perfect fit with the government's policy for the expansion of R&D in Ireland and the attraction of further high calibre, knowledge-led activities into Ireland," said Tanaiste Mary Harney. "The investment is important in moving Ireland further along the way to becoming a leader in next generation engineering, manufacturing and related information technologies." The centre will be located at Hewlett-Packard's Dublin Inkjet Manufacturing Operation (DIMO). DIMO is one of three inkjet manufacturing facilities worldwide for Hewlett-Packard's Imaging and Printing Group. It was established in 1995 to manufacture thermal inkjet print cartridges for global markets. DIMO employs 1,800 people of the total 4,000 people employed by HP in Ireland. More expensive than champagne Along with other printer and cartridge manufacturers such as Canon, Epson, Canon and Lexmark, HP has been criticised for the cost of its inkjet cartridges. Although many printers can be bought for around €100, ink cartridges often cost almost €30. When asked if any of the proposed research projects would be focused upon reducing the price and improving the recycling potential of ink cartridges, a spokesperson for HP told ElectricNews.net that "it's always something we're looking at, we're very much aware of what our customers are looking for". In June, a survey conducted by British consumer magazine "Which?" found that printer ink is more expensive per millilitre than vintage champagne. The EU has introduced an "electroscrap" recycling law includes a ruling directing manufacturers of printers to no longer incorporate chips into their own-brand ink refill cartridges. These chips were being used to prevent cartridges produced by other manufacturers from being used in many printers. © ENN Related stories Hewlett-Packard: a wannabe Kodak? Printer majors rally around ISO toner lifespan standard HP must create separate printer biz - analyst Euro printer sales on the up-and-up Dell's Rollins turns on ink-dealing HP Lexmark printer ink resists fading Bring on the empty cartridges
ElectricNews.net, 03 Sep 2004

On the skive? Then visit eBay

Taking a sneaky mooch around the web while the boss ain't looking is becoming increasingly popular. and eBay is the most popular destination for UK office workers on the skive. Four in ten admit that trawling through eBay is the most popular site of all for a bit of time-killing while at work, followed by those visiting sites dabbling in sports, holidays and property. The survey of more than 600 employers and employees by recruitment outfit Portfolio Payroll and employment law firm Peninsula found that workers are using the internet for personal use more than ever before. Said Danny Done, MD of Portfolio Payroll: "The biggest problem [over the last couple of months] has been employees using eBay to sell and buy cheaply. Although employers must be careful to not monitor employees to the point where they feel victimised or targeted...it is up to the employer to ensure that any monitoring which is to be introduced into the workplace must be sensitively implemented and that all employees are aware of the reasons why these changes are to be brought about." Peninsula has a bit of a thing about the net and shirking workers. In July, it published research which found that British office workers are spending almost half their day surfing the net and sending emails. And the problem is getting worse, with workers spending, on average, three hours a day online, compared to two hours in 2003. Peninsula reckons this "frivolous employee behaviour" is having a "serious negative effect on firms' productivity". ® Related stories 'Frivolous' workers fritter away time online UK workers warm to the skive Small.biz: hotbed of sexism?
Tim Richardson, 03 Sep 2004

Customs gets new IT head

Customs and Excise is getting a new IT chief fresh from industry. Steve Lamey, former head of IT at BG, will take up the reins at the soon-to-be-formed HM Revenue and Customs department. David Varney, executive chairman of HMRC, said : "IT will play a critical role in our ability to build an efficient new department and improve the service we provide to our customers. Steve Lamey combines a proven track record as a CIO with hands-on experience of managing change and I'm delighted that he is joining us." Lamey has been CIO of BG since April 2000 and before that worked for BOC Group. He will be CIO of HM Customs & Excise and Inland Revenue until legislation is passed to establish the new department. Peter Dew, CIO at BOC, told silicon.com: "Steve has great style which I am sure will see him do well at Revenue and Customs. If anybody's perception of the Inland Revenue was grey and boring it will change soon." ® Related stories UK gov moves to bust bootleggers Chip fraud quartet jailed for VAT scam MPs slams Customs on suck it and see IT
John Oates, 03 Sep 2004

Lucent in line for giant tax rebate

Lucent Technologies could be getting a $816m tax refund from the US government. The payment relates to the operating loss posted by the company in 2001. Under US tax rules losses can be offset as much five years into the past. The Internal Revenue Service is still deciding on the claim which would also have to be approved by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. The IRS audit of Lucent's figures for 2001 is still not finished. The cheque is not likely to arrive until financial year 2005, but it is still welcome news. The payment includes the $139m which the IRS has already approved. The payment crowns Lucent's turnaround after the big losses of recent years and payment of $25m fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission for not co-operating with investigators. ® Related stories Lucent raises sales outlook SEC to fine Lucent $25m Lucent posts first Q profit in three years
John Oates, 03 Sep 2004

Aussie boffins probe lesbian cows

An intrepid team from the the University of Queensland will shortly make its way to Malaysia's central highlands to answer a question which has baffled science for centuries: is bovine lesbianism in domesticated cattle a stress reaction caused by environmental pressures? Yes indeed, hot on the heels of the British revelations that sheep like happy, smiley people and pine for absent friends comes the earth-shattering possibility that cows' propensity to indulge in a bit of girl-on-girl is caused by a combination of "stress, [and] a selective domestication process which favoured outwardly sexual cows and the number of animals on heat in a small enclosure", as team supremo Clive Phillips explained to news.com.au. Which is why Queensland's finest are on their way to Malaysia - home of the world's only herd of wild cattle - to prove that a carefree life of leisure reduces the incidence of bovine sapphism. According to the good prof: "With domestic cattle the cows show mounting homosexual behaviour when they are on heat and the wild cattle don't show that. A lot of animals in stressful conditions display this behaviour. It is a bit of a stress release." Phillips also reports that other captive animals - including koalas and rabbits - "showed a similar increase in homosexual behaviour from that encountered in the wild". We cannot help but feel that there is a nature/nurture punch-up looming here among the world's experts in animal homosexuality. Phillips' assertions are at odds with Oregon Health & Science University School research which suggested that homosexuality in sheep was caused by smaller ovine sexually dimorphic nuclei in the hypothalamus. As team leader professor Charles Roselli put it: "This particular study, along with others, strongly suggests that sexual preference is biologically determined in animals, and possibly in humans." We at El Reg reckon it's about time these boys got their act together and provided definitive evidence one way or the other as to whether homosexuality in cows and sheep is caused by biological predetermination or environment. We're sure that other pressing concerns such as a cure for AIDS and the fight against cancer can be put on the back burner while the matter is resolved. ® Related stories Sheep pine for absent friends: official Sheep like happy, smiley people: official Inside the mind of the gay sheep
Lester Haines, 03 Sep 2004

Nortel delays filing accounts (again)

Nortel is again delaying posting its accounts. Results for 2003 were due to be released by mid-August - they will not now be ready until October. Figures for the first two quarters of this year will be published at the same time. The Canadian-based networking equipment vendor blamed the complexity of the number crunching and again said the investigation had not discovered any glaring black holes. The company also made public how much it is paying ex-submarine commander Bill Owens who took over as CEO in April. He will get $1m a year and is eligible for a bonus of up to $1.7m - assuming the beancounters can work out how much money the company has made and whether he has earnt it. Owens said:"Notwithstanding the delay in the expected filing of our financial statements, we have made substantial progress to date and continue to dedicate all necessary resources and work closely with our external auditors to complete the financial statements as soon as possible in October." Nortel said in April that profits for 2003 were likely to be half what it previously claimed. The company is under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and it is also facing a class action suit from disgruntled shareholders. ® Related stories Nortel fires seven beancounters (and 3,500 more) Nortel hammered again No news is good news for Nortel
John Oates, 03 Sep 2004

RAF sergeant bought stripes on eBay

Newly-promoted RAF sergeants are being forced to buy their stripes on eBay after a cost-cutting "bungle" left the proud NCOs without a proper supply of the essential badge of rank, the Sun reports. One chap from RAF Valley in Anglesey apparently shelled out £4.99 to a private seller because there were no stripes available in his RAF store. He told the outraged tabloid: "I’d have paid more. The stripes were issued in 1998 and are better quality than the present ones. They’re 100 per cent cotton, look clean and the white chevrons are clear. The new cheaper polyester ones look cheap and nasty and the chevrons are dull." The RAF admitted to a stripes famine after a new supplier's first batch proved not up to scratch. Those beancounters flying a desk down at the MOD have attracted plenty of flack recently for attempting to slash costs while simultaneously splashing out "£5million on ceremonial uniforms almost identical to existing ones — and £1.5million on badges and logos to prevent any confusion with RAC breakdown crews", as the Sun notes. A poor show, but rather more worrying is the unnamed NCO's observation that: "A lot of kit is available on eBay from flying suits and helmets to berets and badges." Surely it is just a matter of time before the RAF is trawling eBay for Eurofighter spares and airbases to rent on a short-term lease. El Reg fears for Britain's air-defence capability. ® Related stories UK military bans iPods - some places Eurofighter at risk of 'catastrophic failure' UK's RAF planned WMD delivery via 'pigeons of death'
Lester Haines, 03 Sep 2004

National Savings jobs to India to cost UK £25m, says union

Plans to send 250 government jobs to India will cost the UK taxpayer £25m, according to the Public & Commercial Services (PCS) union. Stepping up its campaign to prevent jobs from the National Savings Agency in Blackpool, Durham and Glasgow being shunted to India, the union claims that government coffers will lose out on £25m in lost tax and extra benefit payments. Last month, Siemens Business Services announced that it had agreed, in principle, to a five-year extension to its National Savings contract running from 2009 to 2014. Siemens said it wanted to transfer a "small number of routine administrative tasks to Siemens in India". The IT services firm insists there would be no job losses or site closures in the UK, and that all National Savings customers would continue to deal with UK-based staff. But the move has angered staff and union officials, who are concerned that, despite Siemens' assurances, the move would put jobs in jeopardy. Said PCS union official Danny Williamson: "If these jobs are allowed to go abroad then it could mean 250 people on the dole claiming benefits. Over the lifetime of the contract that could cost the UK taxpayer up to £25 million in lost tax, national insurance and benefit handouts. "If the government don't take a broader long term view and ensure the jobs remain in the UK then they are in danger of squandering taxpayers' money so that a private company get make an extra £50 million on top of what they are already paid. "All this comes at a time when people who have been employed for up to three years on minimum terms and conditions on temporary contracts face the chop." The PCS will consider industrial action if the contract extension - which needs Government approval - gets the go-ahead. ® Related stories Siemens faces outsource protest strike Information Commissioner to rule on Lloyds TSB's jobs-to-India BBC Tech staff reject Siemens sell-off - again 5000 Swansea staff to vote on strike
Tim Richardson, 03 Sep 2004

LAPD nabs pirates, 12,000 counterfeit DVDs

A warning to DVD pirates: make sure your vehicle and driver registration details are up to date and accurate. The Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA) and the Los Angeles police this week busted a major counterfeiting operation after traffic cops were given false driver ID information. LAPD officers pulled over a motorist spotted sporting expired registration plates. He was found to have no driving licence - he'd left it in his apartment, he claimed - and provided what turned out to be a false date of birth. As a result, the police impounded the vehicle. Their suspicions were then further aroused when they uncovered evidence of possible DVD piracy. The subsequent investigation took them to the driver's home, where a 3am raid led to the discovery of 12,000 pirate DVDs, 42 DVD writers and 20 VCRs - a "significant" haul, the MPAA claimed. Three men where later charged with violating California state law by failing to disclose truthfully the origin of a recording. ® Related stories Police cuff 'international computer piracy gang' Record biz hammers 'ostrich' downloaders UK's youth boards pirate ship to bootleg island 57 cuffed in UK anti-piracy crackdown Cottage shop games pirate, spammer and pornographer jailed Academy backs 'pirate-proof' tech for Oscar samplers
Tony Smith, 03 Sep 2004

Acclaim files for bankruptcy

Games publisher Acclaim has filed for bankruptcy after failing for find new funding. Acclaim was responsible for Mortal Kombat and Turok and the Worms series of games. The company said in an SEC filing that negotiations with its primary lender GMAC Commercial Finance had ended and it had failed to find another lender. Its credit line expired on 20 August so it has filed for protection under Chapter 7 of the federal Bankruptcy Code. Acclaim attorney Jeff Friedman told Reuters that an independent trustee has been appointed to sell off the company's assets, including games that are ready to ship. At least one unnamed creditor is owed more than $20m. Nasdaq has started delisting procedures against the company because its market capitalisation does not meet minimum requirements. Acclaim was founded in 1987 and has offices in Australia, France, Japan, Spain, the UK and US. ® Related stories Archos ships video, audio, gaming handheld Lara Croft more popular than Jordan Games outfit catches rebranding cold
John Oates, 03 Sep 2004

Socitm pushes softer skills for e-gov

Local authorities should focus on softer management skills rather than technical competence if they are to deliver e-government successfully. In its report, Delivering Local e-Government, the Society of IT Management (Socitm) identifies two key e-government roles within local authorities: the e-champion and the head of ICT. In theory, the e-champion promotes the idea of e-government within the authority and plans the kinds of services that could be delivered, while the head of ICT is works out how the technical infrastructure can support those plans. In practice these roles are often filled by one person, and that is often the head of ICT. This can lead to a too narrow focus on the technical implementation with less thought being given to the kinds of services people actually need or would use. Socitm argues that this is not a failure of the IT manager, rather that the IT manager is not always empowered to deal with the wider implications of e-government. This is a commonly-held view among those working in the sector. Last month, Angus Dunlop, public sector spokesman for CRM supplier Northgate, said it is often hard for IT staff to get managers to buy in to a project. But he argues that it is also a matter of perspective: a project run by IT will start with what the technology can do, and work from there. Someone outside IT, or given the authority to work beyond those boundaries, will see technology as a facilitator, rather than an end in itself. Tony Riding, the report's author, says that local authorities need a blend of business and IT skills to deal with the "highly complex" e-government environment. He says that the report should provide guidance on how local authorities can build a management framework and identify the skills needed for a successful e-government implementation. The report concludes that e-champions and heads of ICT need to be good at relationship building and communicating. Leadership skills, an understanding of customer service and organisational awareness are handy too. Copies of the report are available free of charge to Socitm Insight subscribers and at discounted rates to non-subscribing Socitm members. Anyone else can get a copy in exchange for £175. ® Related stories UK councils failing to meet e-services deadline Brits unimpressed by e-Gov Public-sector IT closes salary gap
Lucy Sherriff, 03 Sep 2004

Wi-Fi overseer to debut QoS standard 8 Sept

The Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) will formally unveil its Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) certification next week, and with it the first ten products that can carry the WMM brand. Just as the organisation's Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security specification pre-dated the ratification of the IEEE 802.11i standard from which it was derived, so too is WMM as sub-set of the upcoming quality of service standard 802.11e. The WFA unveiled WPA 2 earlier this week. According to WFA CEO Frank Hanzlik, 802.11e takes two approaches to improving the performance of time-dependent data, such as video: prioritising such traffic and segmenting the bandwidth. The two approaches are dubbed Wireless Media Extensions (WME) and Wireless Scheduled Media (WSM), respectively. Hanzlik told The Register that WMM will initially use WME. WSM support is likely to come sometime in the first half of 2005 when 802.11e is finally ratified, he said. "It's our intention to remain very aligned with the IEEE," he added. When 802.11e is ratified, WMM is not likely to be upgraded to WMM 2, as the WFA has done with WPA, Hanzlik said. At this stage, the organisation will instead brand QoS as 'WMM with Scheduled Media', for example. That will allow the WFA to extend WMM with further QoS-related technologies as they emerge, Hanzlik said. WMM will be a baseline technology to which other features can be added on, he said. The WFA views WME as more important to the consumer electronics industry than Wi-Fi's traditional proponents in the computing arena. While Wi-Fi has taken longer to penetrate the CE market, Hanzlik said CE companies generally have a better appreciation for need for interoperability and standards compliance certification than some of their colleague in the IT business. ® Related stories Wi-Fi group updates security system Blanket Wi-Fi smothers Amsterdam Philly goes Wi-Fi crazy Aruba touts Wi-Fi grid scheme Intel unveils tri-mode Wi-Fi for Centrino Linksys, Netgear prep soho VoIP kit
Tony Smith, 03 Sep 2004

Old PCs are goldmine for data thieves

Organisations are risking seeing sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands, because they are failing to ensure that their unwanted PCs are properly datawiped. Data is erased from less than a quarter of discarded PCs, according to UK PC recycling firm Remploy e-cycle. Seventy five per cent of 350 firms it quizzed sold or gave away unwanted PCs, but only 23 per cent wiped hard disks before getting rid of old computers. Four in ten (38 per cent) of those reformated drives before giving them away in the mistaken belief that this would prevent sensitive date from being recovered, the study found. Many of the worst data security risk takers came from the financial services industry. Only one in eight ensured that sensitive data got destroyed, according to Remploy. Noel Harasyn, Remploy e-cycle's general manager, said: "Quite frankly, this is deeply disturbing. It is laudable that companies are already making redundant equipment available for re-use but in the overwhelming majority of cases, they are not rendering the data on hard drives unrecoverable. Simply reformatting or overwriting once or twice as most appear to do will still allow much of the data to be recovered." WEEE the unprepared The survey comes ahead of legislation this Autumn which will put more pressure on companies to recycle IT equipment, rather than dumping it in landfill sites. The WEEE Directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) makes manufacturers responsible for recycling electrical equipment at the end of its useful life. However, research from printer manufacturer Brother suggest most companies expect to shoulder some of the cost. Remploy's survey highlights a longstanding issue. Earlier this year a customer database and the current access codes to the supposedly secure intranet of one of Europe's largest financial services group was left on a hard disk offered for sale on eBay. The disk was subsequently purchased for just £5 by mobile security outfit Pointsec Mobile Technologies. Pointsec purchased 100 hard disks through internet auction sites, as research into the "lifecycle of a lost laptop". It could read seven out of 10 hard-drives bought over the internet, despite the fact all of had supposedly been wiped-clean or re-formatted. The company said the exercise illustrates how easy it is for identity thieves or opportunists to access highly sensitive and valuable company information from lost laptops and hard drives. In 2000, Sir Paul McCartney's banking details were discovered on a secondhand computer discarded by merchant bankers Morgan Grenfell Asset Management. The PC was released into the second-user market without first being wiped clean of data. ® Related stories Oops! Firm accidentally eBays customer database How to make hard cash from old IT Brace your IT budget for green impact Paul McCartney account details leaked on second user PC Datawiping works (true)
John Leyden, 03 Sep 2004

Oxfam releases download album for Darfur

A big round of applause today for charity Oxfam which has released a "Songs for Sudan" compilation album in support of aid efforts in that country's devastated Darfur region. The pressing - which is available by download only and exclusively from Oxfam's bignoisemusic.com - features 18 tracks from the likes of Ash, REM, Badly Drawn Boy, Jet, Faithless and David Gray. It costs £7.99, of which £5 goes directly to Oxfam. Badly Drawn Boy (Damon Gough) said : "Men, women, and children are still dying every day in Sudan. People like us might not have the power to stop the violence but at least we can try and help the people affected by it. Oxfam is already saving lives, the least we can do is help them to save more." Well said, sir. The album is available for download now at bigmusic.com, or you can make a direct donation to Oxfam's Sudan Crisis appeal at the charity's website. ® Bootnote To access bignoisemusic.com you'll need: A PC with a Microsoft Windows Operating System; Windows 98, ME, 2000 or XP Internet Explorer (version 5.0 or above) Windows Media Player (version 7.0 or above) Flash Plug In (version 5 or above) Yes, we know. And here's more bad news: "Unfortunately, Big Noise Music is currently not available to Mac users because our service provider (OD2) is unable to obtain the necessary Digital Rights Management (DRM) software from Apple Computers Inc. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."
Lester Haines, 03 Sep 2004

IBM pays up for NY pollution

IBM is offering nearly 500 homeowners $10,000, or eight per cent of the value of their property, to compensate them for property damage resulting from polluted groundwater. Residents in Endicott, New York State, are eligible for the payment. IBM has installed ventilation systems into some homes to clear toxic fumes rising from the water - residents complain that this has hurt their property values. The deal was negotiated by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Anyone accepting the deal will lose the right to make further claims for property damage but can still sue for personal injury. The water was polluted with volatile organic compounds from an IBM circuit board plant. Fumes have been leaking into homes through the cellars. The mayor of Endicott Joan Pulse welcomed the announcement and IBM's ongoing clean-up campaign. She told AP that IBM had been a co-operative corporate citizen. Last month IBM agreed a programme to clean up the chemicals. The offer is open until 30 November. ® Related stories IBM recalls 500,000 melting notebook adapters IBM and Intel open some blade server specs IBM preps sub-notebook desktop PC
John Oates, 03 Sep 2004
Cat 5 cable

Wi-Fi Alliance moots security set-up standard

The Wi-Fi Alliance is considering imposing formal certification of WLAN security set-up schemes in a bid to make it easier for non-technical users to protect their data. In an interview with The Register, Alliance CEO Frank Hanzlik revealed that the organisation has formed a new test group to explore the possibility of imposing ease-of-use best practices on Wi-Fi product vendors. The move follows oft-expressed criticism of Wi-Fi that while on one hand users have been told that they need to improve the security of their wireless networks, little has been done to make enabling either the relatively weak Wired Equivalent Protocol (WEP) security system or the more robust Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) easier for non-technical users. In May, Wi-Fi chipmaker Broadcom introduced SecureEZSetup, which allows users to enable WPA protection in just two or three simple steps, depending on whether the user is installing the WLAN for the first time or adding another client to an existing network. Unfortunately, Broadcom's system relies on proprietary technology within the company's 54g Wi-Fi chips. Hanzlik didn't mention Broadcom by name, referring instead to a number of "pretty neat security set-up solutions", but it's clear SecureEZSetup is the kind of approach the WFA would like to see implemented more broadly, particularly as Wi-Fi becomes implemented on more consumer electronics kit. It's equally clear that the organisation sees ease of use, particularly in the context of security, as too important to be left to proprietary solutions. While the WFA has thus far limited itself to offering advice and recommendations for ease-of-use best practice, Hanzlik admitted the body is thinking about a "more forward-looking" approach that lays down the law and enforces it rather merely making suggestions. Hanzlik was adamant that the WFA's task force is considering only whether such a course is feasible and worthwhile. Should it decide to proceed, it will then need to determine what constitutes a 'standard' simple security set-up mechanism. The WFA's chief was also keen to stress that other areas of product development that the organisation offers advice, such as terminology, will remain guidelines rather than laws. ® Related stories Broadcom simplifies Wi-Fi security set-up Wi-Fi group updates security system Wi-Fi Alliance cracks down on 'standards-plus' kit Wi-Fi Alliance acts on dodgy wireless kit
Tony Smith, 03 Sep 2004

Porn dialler fraudsters find lucrative loophole

German site Dialerschutz (Dialler Protection) is warning internet users about a new scam from Spain that is likely to spread to other European countries. In the past dialler vendors would secretly install trojans on users' PCs that dialled out to expensive (foreign) numbers and racked up punters' phone bills. In Germany and many other European countries, that's no longer allowed. German dialler services currently have to register with German regulatory authorities and commit to operating clean services. If customers have no knowledge of the services they use, they can’t be forced to pay. But as usual, the scammers are trying to fool users with a new trick. Teleflate S.L. from Palma de Mallorca runs several porn sites, which can be accessed from Germany through a dialler program and a registered 09009 phone number for €30 (!) per hour. It also pops up a screen asking you for permission to enter the site, all according to the rules. Their ploy: the company installs a small Java program that simply fills in "JA" ("yes") to an agreement about payments - often without users noticing it. Victims may have difficulty disputing the charges later, because it appears as if they made these calls voluntarily. Dialerschutz has already informed the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) in Bonn about Teleflate. Interest group Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Telefonmehrwertdienste (FST), which represents companies that develop paid phone services, calls the new ploy "deeply alarming". The trick, Dialerschutz says, shouldn't work on a fully-patched Windows PC. ® Related stories British Gas warns punters about rogue diallers Ofcom to crack down on premium rate scamsters Swiss telco fined £50K for UK rogue dialling action ICSTIS in meltdown - MPs UK premium rate phone complaints rocket BT cuts off dialler scammers German dialler scammers hijack signatures MPs slam premium-rate 'criminal scams' Eutelsat denies rogue diallers accusation Germany regulates dialler market
Jan Libbenga, 03 Sep 2004

Brits to demo world's largest computing grid

Particle physicists in the UK will demonstrate the world's largest working computer grid this week, at the e-Science All Hands meeting in Nottingham. The Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (LCG) is made up of over 6000 computers around the world, with the The UK's own particle physics Grid project, GridPP, contributing 1000 machines from 12 different sites. The scientists involved will update their colleagues at the Nottingham conference on how the grid was constructed, and what it will be used for. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is currently under construction at CERN in Geneva. When it is complete, the particle physics experiments it will run will generate vast quantities of data: around 15 petabytes every year. The LCG was conceived as a way of processing the data, mainly because time available on supercomputers is rare, and expensive. By 2007, the LCG will have the equivalent of 100,000 of today's fastest computers working together to produce a 'virtual supercomputer', which can be expanded and developed as needed, according to the UK's Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, PPARC. GridPP reaches its halfway point this year. The goal of this first stage was to create a working prototype grid. Dr Dave Britton, the GridPP project manager says that this target has been met. "Having proved that a Grid can work, we're now focused on developing a large-scale stable, easy-to-use Grid integrated with other international projects," he said. Dr Jeremy Coles of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is the GridPP production manager, responsible for making sure the Grid works on a day-to-day basis, and is already focussed on the next phase of the project. He says that there are plenty of challenges still to come, as the grid is expanded, and not all of them are technical. He argues that as well as dealing with the technical problems involved in providing a stable computing grid "we need to address wider issues, in particular encouraging an open sharing of resources between groups of users". The engineers working on GridPP have developed a map that shows how computing jobs move around the LCG. The map shows jobs being distributed to the most suitable sites on the Grid, running their programmes and then returning their results home in real time. e-Science delegates will get to see the map at the conference, but in the spirit of open sharing that Coles wants to encourage, you can check it out here. ® Related stories Global particle accelerator gets the big chill CERN celebrates 50th birthday Brits bet on gravity wave discovery Strange but charming new particle found Astronomers probe Cassiopeia's secrets
Lucy Sherriff, 03 Sep 2004

BT examines broadband price cuts

BT is looking at ways to reduce the cost of some of its broadband products after being forced to increase prices by regulator Ofcom. On Wednesday, BT upped the cost of some of its wholesale broadband products by as much as 30 per cent in a bid to comply with new "margin squeeze" regulations set by Ofcom. However, the telco is looking at the figures once again to see if there is any room to bring down wholesale prices while still remaining compliant with the new margin squeeze test set by Ofcom. Even if BT is able to make some adjustments, The Register understands that these are unlikely to be big enough to calm the nerves of some small ISPs which claim they face financial ruin because of the price hikes. Despite this, UK internet trade group - ISPA - remains "encouraged" by the "sympathetic" response it got from BT following a meeting to discuss the recent price hikes for wholsale broadband services. On Wednesday, the same day that BT's price rises came into effect, ISPA met with BT to discuss a number of options that the UK's dominant fixed line telco could consider to help ease the financial burden on small ISPs. Not only did the trade group argue that the increase in costs would hammer smaller ISPs, it also said the speed with which they were introduced also clobbered some providers. Indeed, rival ISP trade group - UKIF - reckons the price rises will cripple some providers and lead to a number of them going bust. However, following Wednesday's meeting BT Wholesale's Bruce Stanford, said: "We welcome the opportunity to work in a constructive way with the ISPA to find solutions that will help mitigate the impact of recently applied price increases." A spokeswoman for BT said that the telco was looking at its figures once again and if there is scope to reduce costs, these reductions will be made. However, she stressed that any adjustments are only likely to be "very small" since the telco has to work within the boundaries set by regulator Ofcom. In a statement, Jessica Hendrie-Liaño, Chair of the ISPA Council said: "I am encouraged by BT's sympathetic response on this issue." However, one industry insider told The Register that ISPs wanted more than a "sympathetic response" from BT and demanded instead that ISPA and the regulator did more to prevent them being forced out of business. ® Related stories 'Large number' of ISPs face ruin - UKIF ISPs tackle Ofcom over BT broadband price hike 70 UK ISPs in anti-BT uprising ISPs tackle Ofcom over BT broadband price hike Small.biz faces higher broadband charges
Tim Richardson, 03 Sep 2004

Dixons seeks 1,000 new recruits

Dixons Group has hooked up with the Government's Jobcentre Plus outfit to help the high street electrical retailer fill more than 1,000 new positions each year. As part of the deal, Dixons Group - which includes Dixons, Currys, PC World and The Link - will consider applications from jobseekers via the Government agency. This includes those looking for jobs as part of the "New Deal" - the Government inititaive to get people off the dole and into work. Anyone keen to work for Dixons can do so by walking into any Jobcentre, by phone or by using its website. In June, Dixons Group announced it would recruit 1,000 more staff in the UK after increasing turnover and proft over the previous year. ® Related stories Dixons profits up Dixons buys MicroWarehouse UK Dixons shutters 106 stores Dixons records Christmas cracker
Tim Richardson, 03 Sep 2004

Spammers embrace email authentication

Spammers have adopted a new standard for email authentication much faster than legitimate emailers, according to a study from security appliance firm CipherTrust published this week More spam than legitimate email is currently sent using Sender Policy Framework, a recently introduced email authentication protocol. According to CipherTrust’s research, 34 per cent more spam is passing SPF checks than legitimate email because spammers are actively registering their SPF records. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to make filtering decisions based purely on the fact that the sender is authenticated, so the approach was never going to be a cure-all as we’ve noted before. As long as spammers comply with the protocol by not spoofing the sender address, their messages will not be stopped by SPF, which CipherTrust has supported since February 2004. CipherTrust’s research among users of its own IronMail message security appliance this summer found that a spam message is three times more likely to pass an SPF check than it is to fail it. CipherTrust concludes that email authentication protocols like SPF alone are not effective in identifying spam even though they might be useful in curtailing spoofing and phishing attacks. So email authentication protocols aren't a complete waste of time - just ineffective when it comes to holding back the junk mail tsunami. It still advises users to adopt email authentication as part of their fraud and spam prevention arsenal. Email authentication is in the news after vendors clubbed together to support Sender ID Framework, a protocol which resulted from the merger of SPF and Caller ID, an email authentication protocol proposed by Microsoft. CipherTrust said it would support this unified protocol when it becomes available. ® Related stories Phishermen attack on a viral scale Bush to sign anti-phishing bill 'Together we can defeat spam in two years' Sender authentication is coming Anti-phishing group backs email authentication
John Leyden, 03 Sep 2004

Dial-a-Phone hitches ride on Comet

Dial-a-Phone has won a deal with Comet to supply the High Street chain with mobile phones. The deal is likely to raise some hackles among phone retailers and distributors. Comet customers will be able to order phones from 250 stores but not take them away - credit checks and delivery will be handled by Dial-a-Phone, according to mobiletoday.co.uk. Comet will promote Dial-a-Phone's six top-selling phones - the company has made an impact thanks to aggressive pricing. Comet staff will process orders online and the firm will get a percentage of the sale price. Comet told mobiletoday that the deal saved them from the risks associated with having a large inventory of phones. They chose Dial-a-Phone from a short list of three firms because it specialises in contract sales. Bill Moir, head of grey goods at Comet, said: "There were two reasons for this deal; we struggled to compete on price with the volume of phones we were selling and secondly the customer experience wasn't great - it was taking 45 minutes to sign a customer up, this is much quicker." The service will be co-branded and Comet hopes to match or exceed the 25,000 phones they sold last year. Dial-a-Phone also works with Argos. ® Related stories GUS sniffs around PowerHouse Comet to launch telco service Comet and Carphone Warehouse to flog AOL broadband
John Oates, 03 Sep 2004

Dell, prisoner of the Beast of Redmond

Dell has a long history - regularly documented in these pages - of not quite getting behind Linux on the desktop. Dell Linux machines do pop up every now and again, but what desktop efforts there are find themselves first consigned to obscure corners of the operation, then disappeared, no doubt because of lack of demand. Why is this? One can surmise that Dell's closeness to Microsoft has something to do with it, but one now has less reason to merely surmise, because Linspire CEO Michael Robertson has broken cover with a few claims, and a few numbers. Microsoft soft money "kickbacks", he estimates, could account for up to $200 million, "or more than 25 per cent of Dell's profitability." Writing in his regular email to Lindows/Linspire users, Robertson gives two examples of what happens to Dell-related Linux efforts. "Dell recently invited two top executives from Linspire to give some presentations about desktop Linux. They wanted to know where it's at and where it's going. We confirmed meeting dates, attendees and flew our two executives to Austin. Higher up Dell executives found out about these meetings the day before and abruptly canceled them." He also cites the Questar case, where an attempt to sell Dell computers with Linspire preinstalled was, he says, cancelled at the behest of Dell US executives. Par for the course? But what is it that makes Dell do this kind of thing? Robertson puts forward some interesting numbers. The antitrust deal between Microsoft and the DoJ requires that Microsoft sell Windows to the top 20 PC OEMs at the same price, thus theoretically removing the possibility of sweetheart deals. But the sale price isn't necessarily the effective sale price. Says Robertson: "Microsoft gives kickbacks to vendors based on the number of computers they sell. Estimates of these range from $2-$10 per computer. Dell also has a sweetheart deal on Microsoft Office licensing which gives them a competitive advantage over other OEMs, helping them win the pricing game. (The anti-trust ruling did not address Microsoft Office pricing.)" Dell also gets Microsoft money for recommending Windows XP under the Market Development Program (MDP), which gives it three different sources of money where it's beholden to Microsoft's goodwill. Robertson estimates that could average out at $30 per computer, which on Dell's base margins would be enough to make any exec sit up and take notice. Robertson concludes from this that there's no chance of Dell leading the charge to desktop Linux (sure as hell not with Linspire after this little effort, Michael), and optimistically says the break is going to come via companies chasing Dell and looking for a competitive advantage. But if he's even half right about the numbers, it seems inevitable that Microsoft still has more than enough leeway to play the old PC company favourites game the DoJ deal was supposed to put a stop to. Which means it'll be pretty difficult for any of the major PC companies to break free. (Robertson's email in full) ® Related Stories: Dude, you've got selective amnesia! Microsoft killed Dell Linux - States Overcharging for Windows: how MS may beat the rap
John Lettice, 03 Sep 2004

Does SP2 cause bovine lesbianism?

LettersLetters One thing that is becoming increasingly apparent is that the discussion surrounding SP2 very clearly has several million miles still left in in it. And we're not expecting a resolution of the various points of view any time soon. Oh no. This is a debate that could make Northern Ireland's "Troubles" seem short-lived. Hi, I've been reading Thomas Greens review of Windows SP2 Jesus that man really needs to get out more. Sorry if my quick message turned into a long thesis but after spending the last 5 years of my life trying in vain to get people to turn windows updates ON I got rather cross: My God! Its all so obvious now, all Microsoft need do is turn off virtually every service, enforce the use of limited user accounts and disable Windows Update. To be honest I can’t believe a hugely successful Multimillion dollar company like Microsoft, didn’t realise it was so easy. In fact I might just email them right now. Or could it be perhaps that Microsoft got to be a multi million dollar company, precisely because it set out to build a simple to use, easy to understand operating system. One that just works, out of the box. Without the need to spend all day configuring complicated services and settings every time you want to make something happen. I own a computer repair centre and deal with literally thousands of home users a year. I would say 80% of my customer base are exactly that, ‘Users’ They know how to turn the thing on, they know what the big blue ‘e’ in the middle of the desktop is for. Hell some of them can even word process. But for the vast majority of them that’s as far as it goes. Far less than half the machines I see even have an antivirus package installed and of those most of them are years out of date. Just to emphasise my point further, I’ve long since lost count of the number of systems that have thirty plus updates waiting to be installed. They’ve all been downloaded automatically at great expense over a dial up connection; whilst the user sat there thinking ‘gosh the internets slow today’. Yet none of them get installed. When I ask why? The most common answer I get is ‘Oh yeah, I wondered what those popup messages meant’ The point I’m trying to make is this; Millions of zombie PC’s sit on millions of desktops all over the world, spewing out viruses and junk precisely because the average user doesn’t have a clue that they need an anti virus package let alone a fire wall. So long as those computers do the tasks they need them too, they have no interest in securing them. SP2 is far from perfect but its free and if all the people who install it end up with a basic fire wall, automatic windows updates and the motivation to buy an antivirus package the impact will be huge. The problem with Geeks like your Mr Green is, they seem to inhabit their own little world, where everyone is a computer ‘expert’ and all the answers are black and white. Meanwhile here in the real world companies like Microsoft understand that the majority of their customers are not. That they view there computer as a functional item, a means to an end and base their software purchasing decisions on which product will allow them to do what they need to do, as simply and as quickly as possible. Not for its technical merits or because they get aroused at the thought of tweaking their system to perfection. Adam I think one point the study summaries miss is that especially for small companies, the "average" doesn't mean much. If you look at the first figure, it even notes "Hi volativity in sub-100 range". So for an individual company, its not a case of 10-15% of the computers will have trouble, it means that either you won't have any problems, or most (maybe even all) of your computers will have issues. That could be devastaing for some companies if they're not prepared. Mike or, to be a bit more positive, 90% of upgrades are seamless... Paddy On a slightly lighter, but still MS-related note: If Longhorn features are being back-ported into WinXP (SP3 maybe?) then I think The Reg should adopt the codename "Shoehorn" for the project - in the fine tradition of "Itanic", "Recording Industry Ass. of America", "BT Openwoe", etc. Ben Back to the more serious letters, and this next one caught our eye. This week, Mercury Interactive said that the IT skills shortage in the UK was going to get worse, as fewer candidates study Computer Science at A Level: Hi John, I find this very surprising that people at Mercury Interactive should have said stuff like this, especially since ALL of their actual development is done in Israel, for me that means it's offshore and not in the UK. Also, consider the job prospects at the MI centre in the UK: although the kind of skills they are looking for are related to the software industry, they certainly aren't looking for software development skills per se. Unless you want to move to Israel. That seems a little ludicrous. I think it isn't surprising that there aren't many `more people taking up the IT path: there don't appear to be any jobs in the UK. I personally know a few hundred highly skilled programmers, network technicians and software engineers who can't get jobs. I think it is unfair for people in positions of power to consistently state that there is a shortage of IT skills in this country when it is patently not true. They probably use this as an excuse to have their tech depts moved offshore. The skills are there, these global companies maybe don't fancy to pay UK rates, National Insurance payments, 25 holidays etc. Before the dotcom bubble burst, people could get a job in the industry with a normal set of skills. Nowadays the employers only hire genuisses or people with many years of experience. This actually is a situation being created by the employers, who do not create any entry level jobs. Have a look at all those thousands of job ads out there in the IT sector: the employers are all looking for the same guy. And if there is an entry level job available, they get swamped with applications. This cycle just becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Kind regards Daniel Ahrens One last serious letter before we get to the funny stuff. ID cards. Yes, again. This a rather late reply to the letter by Martin that you published in "Letters" in 17 August this year. He was replying to a letter by John on the subject of the proposed ID card scheme. Martin was writing from Germany in support of them. I'm writing from Germany on the same subject - with the exception that I'm dead agin 'em. And to be honest, this letter has sweet damn-all to do with IT - well, a bit, anyway - but Martin's letter really got up my left nostril. Dear Martin, I don't know whether you're German or not but when you claim that ID cards are a normal part of life in other (presumably continental) European countries, then I can only assume that you are unaware of the freedom from these things that the Anglo-Saxon world has (largely) enjoyed since roughly the Middle Ages. And if I'm wrong about your nationality then I'm sorry. I'm a New Zealander who has lived in Germany for the last 16 or so years. For the benefit of UK readers I can confirm everything you say about compulsory ID's and the compulsory residents' registration system there. And let me tell you, boy, it bloody well stinks. I can assure you that it is a real freedom coming from a country where the authorities do not have the authority to demand that you identify yourself to them without reason to suspect that you have contravened the law. It is a freedom for the police not to know where you live if you have not been suspected of breaking the law. (It's called legitimate anonymity - you might have heard of it.) Being arrested and being held for 24 hrs until the police are satisfied that you are whom you claim to be (this is the law in Germany, if you can't identify yourself with a picture ID) is tantamount to having to prove your innocence to the authorities. Therefore the principle of the presumption of innocence is already down the bloody gurgler. And if you think that identifying yourself or verifying your address with a phone bill is funny (I call it democracy, myself), well, I'm glad they've got something to laugh about in Gemany. It'd make a nice change. Whether you know it or not, the ID and compulsory residents' address registration system in continental Europe is nothing more than a means by which the state can get hold of the citizen a lot more quickly and easily. The whole issue hinges around the question of why the system and the authorities should choose to suspect me if I can't flash a picture ID? Why should that make me suspicious in a democracy? Here's a parenthetical example of how ridiculous the system can get. Ten years ago I went down to my local cop-shop near Heidelberg to report the theft of my bicycle. The first thing I got asked was whether I had any ID on me. Frankly I was open-mouthed, but I didn't want any aggro, so I shut my mouth again and pulled out a company ID. And like the "no2id" website says, an ID card is like branding cattle - it's for the benefit of the farmer, not the cattle. Such a system has no place in a democracy. I've tried to keep this letter on the issue and not adduce any ad hominem arguments. If I haven't I apologise. Bob McMurray Oftersheim, Germany Right - enough serious commentary. Let's talk about homosexuality in the farmyard. We wrote about the efforts of a group of Australian researchers to determine the root causes of lesbianism in cows. Talk about a wide range of responses: hi- I was going to comment with loads of humorous suggestions about constitutional amendments and the like just to make light of it. But you know, my heart just sank too deep knowing how horribly spiteful, cruel and unproductive this issue is. I wish people could find peace and start enjoying one another. Make love, not war; even if you have to do it with the same sex. -lance This is great use of sience! If it's enough to spoil some right-wing ignorants' BBQs ("Mr. President, the c.o.w. you are munching up was a suspected homo"), then go for it. Oliver Hi --- the last paragraph of the article on frisky cow behaviour is a bit silly --- the almost daily reports on astronomically expensive research never get that treatment (usually Hubble repair stuff; today an item about Seti@home, a giant waste of time considering there's El Reg's Cancerbusters; Beagle II; Cassini & Cassiopeia; the list goes on). This research is essentially cheap --- some travel to Malaysia, some interesting cooperation with local scientists perhaps --- and has serious bearing on issues directly affecting several % of the human population, namely religious loonies (and presidents) and, oh yes, farmers. [For gay people it's less relevant; things are what they are, deal with it.] Contrast this with the gene hunt approach involving throwing hundreds of thousands of thingies in the PCR, and mining the output for significance, which has nothing to do with science though it helps drug discovery. All the best, Michel. Rather a shame this condition does not seem to affect my girlfriend, who is frequently stressed, and has numerous attractive female friends. Mike Crude oil prices may be through the roof, but that's ok according to the world's boffins, because the new economy will be based on hydrogen. All fine and dandy, but where will this hydrogen come from? This week: sunflower oil. Not meaning to blame the messenger, but you can run a slightly modified desiel truck/car off of sunflower oil directly. With a desiel you would release the same amount of carbon dioxide, and get the extra energy from splitting the carbons off. I dont think this method would be any better than a high effiency turbo desiel. Jonathan So scientists have managed to develop a way of running a (modified) car indirectly on Vegetable Oil... Excuse me but the technology to run cars on modified vegetable oil has been around for years - it's called bio-diesel (Or transesterised vegetable oil) and can be used in many cars without any modification. I have been running my Skoda TDi on 100% 'bio' for a year now without any problems. At present 'bio' production is only economic if the original oil is free and so it is limited to using waste oil (Still a good recycling process though). If the government gave bio the same tax breaks as LPG (which is a fossil fuel & so contributes to global warming) we could have a world leading Bio-diesel industry using virgin oil and provide an alternative (non-food) income source for farmers producing the raw material. David regarding your story "Scientists suck hydrogen from sunflower oil" My Client Traci Lords would like to make it known that she can do better. Capt. Cretin Aliens. Need we say more to introduce this story? Yes Yes all very well, but do you honestly think that if the seti project finds evidence of alien life we, the average, easily panicked, hysterical people in the street are going to get the slightest whiff of it? Think about it: if you have half a brain cell it would be a fundamental change to your entire outlook on life. Can't see a US govt allowing that to happen, besides which there might be a possibility of some interesting technology they could use - Interesting point that everybody always assumes aliens will be more advanced than us. Not that I think the seti project is worthless quite the contrary, I have been running it on all of my home machines for many years now. Malcom Yes, but Malcom: that's what they want you to think... Germs. They are everywhere. Even in biometrics stories: "Fingerprint scanners were also considered, but market research found that women responded badly to the hygiene implications of sharing the print recognition pad with so many other people." Duh, surely the keypad on an atm has the same hygiene risks. As for door handles, oh the horror. Simon We thought it was a bit weird too, but there you go... We get some really odd letters sometimes. Take this next one. We wrote about Text messaging being used to trap unfaithful partners: i think my wife is unfaithful.i want to trap her.give me tips Anon Well, Anon, we don't normally do this, being a news organisation, and all, but here are some tips: Step one: laying the trap. Get a cardboard box and prop it up with a stick. Tie some string to this stick and keep hold of the other end of it. Put some of you wife's favourite food under the box. Now, sneak around a corner and lie in wait. Step two: springing the trap. When your wife goes for the food, pull the string. If you are quick enough, the stick will fall away, the box will come down and Hey Presto! Your wife is trapped. Was that what you were after? Enjoy the weekend. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 03 Sep 2004

Prevx releases free intrusion prevention software

UpdateUpdate Security developer Prevx today released a free version of its host-based intrusion prevention software. It aims to offer consumers protection from new, unknown or zero-day threats. Prevx Home is designed to close the security gap that exists between when a fast spreading internet worm is released and when updated signatures from AV vendors become available. Host-based intrusion prevention software has risen to prominence over recent months as vendors such as Cisco, McAfee have sought to apply behaviour blocking techniques as a supplement to conventional AV scanner software. Thus far this has been a corporate play. Prevx Home is the first host-based intrusion prevention product to be offered as a free download, following a model adopted by GRISoft and Spybot in the AV and anti-spyware markets, respectively. The official launch of Prevx Home follows two months of beta testing, during which tens of thousands of home users have downloaded and tested the software. The application is based on technology developed by Prevx for its enterprise intrusion prevention product. Prevx Home detects and block the behaviour displayed by malicious attacks without relying on signature updates. Prevx Home is designed to protect users against internet worms, Trojans, automated hacking tools and covert spyware. Nick Ray, chief exec of Prevx, said the company is talking to number of ISPs which wish to make Prevx Home available to their broadband and dial-up customers. For now, users can download Prevx Home (registration required) here. ® Related stories Network Associates warms to behaviour blocking SecureWave revamps alternative to desktop AV Windows worms tax ISPs Virus writers outpace traditional AV The trouble with anti-virus
John Leyden, 03 Sep 2004