Show of 6-29-2002

  • Worldcom — A Perspective on the Telecommunications Industry
  • FTC Wants Paid Search Tools to Offer Full Disclosure
    • 11-month study has concluded that some search engines are misleading
    • Commercial Alert, an Internet watchdog filed the original complaint
    • Investigation aimed at AltaVista, AOL Time Warner, Direct Hit Technologies, iWon, LookSmart, Microsoft and Terra Lycos.
  • New Apache Worm Starts to Spread
    • Infects Apache Webservers running on FreeBSD
    • Places a Trojan (zombie) for latest DDOS attack
    • 10.4 million active Web sites running on the Apache server
    • Only a fraction run FreeBSD, but worm could be modified to hit the rest
  • US Fears al-Qaeda Hack Attack
    • Many US computer sites are being cased from abroad
    • The surveillance was routed through telecommunications switches in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan
    • Focused on emergency telephone systems, water storage and distribution, and the power grid and power plants, including nuclear power plants.
    • Questioning of captured al-Qaeda operatives also found that the terror group was interested in a class of digital devices involved in distributed control systems. Many of these system use Windows OS and are susceptible to common hacks.
  • Piracy Fight Gets Serious
    • Californian congressman Howard Berman has drawn up a bill that would legalize the disruption of peer-to-peer networks by companies who are trying to stop people pirating copyrighted materials.
    • So far, music companies have only used legal action to stop people spreading pirated pop through net-based peer-to-peer networks, such as Napster, Kazaa and Audiogalaxy.
    • The music industry wants to employ their own hackers to develop worms and Trojans that would disrupt the exchange of titles, denial of service attacks on popular download locations, etc.
  • ICANN Meets in Bucharest
    • ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
    • Board voted to eliminate online election of individual Internet users
    • Board will be drawn from corporations, governments, NGO, technical firms.
    • Other board descisions included 25 cent tax on new domain name registrations, 30-day period for expired domain names, waiting list for popular domain names.
    • Department of Commerce is slow rolling complete turnover of the DNS to ICANN
  • Senate backs $345M e-Gov Bill
    • Called the E-Government Act of 2002
    • Establishes an office of electronic government, headed by a Senate-confirmed administrator, within the Office of Management and Budget.
    • Bill would also establish a federal portal, require federal courts to post opinions online, and encourage the use of digital signatures.
  • Yaha-E Worm Launches Political Attack
    • Trojan programmed to launch a DDOS attack against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
    • The From and Subject fields of the forwarded message vary but the message body will always contain this text:
      • "Enjoy this friendship Screen Saver and Check ur friends circle…
      • "Send this screensaver from to everyone you consider a FRIEND, even if it means sending it back to the person who sent it to you. If it comes back to you, then you’ll know you have a circle of friends."
    • Yaha-E tries to disable some antivirus and firewall programs. All antivirus programs currently have up-to-date definitions to protect against Yaha-E.
  • Home Theater Update
    • Technology options for the big screen
      • CRT?conventional tube technology
      • Projection
      • Plasma Display?flat panel wall display
    • Digital and Analog Television Standards
      • Analog NTSC(480 lines, interlaced, 4:3 aspect ratio, channel capacity 1)
      • Digital Standard Definition (480 lines, interlaced, 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio, channel capacity 5-6)
      • Digital High Definition (720 lines, progressive, 16:9 aspect ratio, channel capacity 1-2)
      • Digital High Definition (1080 lines, interlaced, 16:9 aspect ratio, channel capacity 1)
    • Options for the audio
      • Dolby Pro-logic (digital, four channels, outdated standard)
      • Dolby Digital (digital, five channels plus woofer, current DVD and HDTV, also called 5.1 channel and AC-3)
      • THX Surround EX (digital, six channels, demanding system specs, top-of-the-line, created by Lucas Films)
    • All-in-one integrated sound systems are the best value
    • Wireless versus wired
      • State of wireless?not ready for prime time
        • Bluetooth will probably be used for home systems
        • Some 802.11b is available now — but not the surround sound speakers
        • HDTV requires 802.11a for video
        • Surround sound earphone uses 900 MHz
      • Use 16 gauge for most runs (12 gauge wire for long runs)
    • A great tutorial about HDTV video and audio technology
  • Stratford News
    • Next Start July 1 (still time to enroll)