My window to the world


Patch your Flash Player and Java Runtime

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Jul-2007 11:41

According to F-Secure both Adobe and Sun have released patches covering several critical vulnerabilities for their software Flash Player and Java Runtime Environment.

If you have those installed (and who doesn't in these days of YouTube?) then download the patches here and here.

Many of the vulnerabilities are cross-platform, and between them, they have most OS-browser combinations covered. You are vulnerable until you install the patches. Read the advisories from the vendors and grab the patches here and here.





English Terror Alert

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Jul-2007 11:07

Found this today on Nic's blog:


The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists themselves have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the great fire of 1666.




Top ten ways to kill your server

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Jul-2007 10:35

IT admins should pay attention to this video:



Geekzone Friends is live

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Jul-2007 11:24

I've just written a forum post about Geekzone Friends, our new networking feature:


What is Geekzone Friends?
Many times we have been asked if there is a way to be informed when someone posts a new discussion or a reply in our forums. People don't want to be notified of all replies to a specific discussion, but would like to know when a friend replies to something.

With Geekzone Friends you will create relationships with other users, and will be informed of their activities on Geekzone.

How is the notification sent?
We initially thought of e-mail notifications - but e-mail overload is already a bad thing. So we decided on RSS feeds. RSS feeds are convenient because you can read them later and pull the information when needed, unlike e-mail.

What information will I be able to see?
There are two types of RSS feeds available:

- Your own Private Feed, listing all of your Geekzone Friends' activities. You will see when a friend creates a relationship with another user, or when your friend posts in the forums. You won't see any of your friends' friends' activities, unless they are your friends too. No one else can access this Private Feed.

- Your Personal Feed, listing all of your own activities on Geekzone. This feed does not list anything your friends do. You can make this feed public or private by changing your profile. If public then anyone can see it (including non-Geekzone users), but if marked as Private then only your friends can see it.

Why Personal Feeds?
These feeds list the activities for each relationship individually, instead of going through the Private Feed, which will have all relationships in a single stream.

What are Friends Status?
Think of this as a "micro blogging" thing. Just below the menu bar on Geekzone you can see a status field - enter anything there and your friends will see this message in their RSS feeds.

You can also share a web address by entering http//... with the full URL in the status field.


I can see a lot of people using this feature already.

I've made my feed public so everyone can check it out. I also changed my profile to "Auto Accept" so any Geekzone user can create a relationship with me.



Check the Windows Mobile demo video (and others) from the Microsoft Partners Conference

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jul-2007 09:11

 If like myself you were not attending the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, you can still watch the video recordings for some of the demos presented during the event.

The demos include the following topics: Microsoft Surface, Live Lab Photosynth, Windows Live for Windows Mobile, Microsoft RoundTable, Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM, Microsoft SilverLight, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Automotive.

The Windows Mobile demo is interesting, with a quick demo of the UI released by HTC with its HTC Touch device, plus Windows Live for Windows Mobile showing what can be accomplished with a rich client connecting to web services.



Coding, coding new features for Geekzone...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jul-2007 20:54

During the last two days I've been coding furiously. It's something new for Geekzone, and it will complement the forums, the blogs and more.

So far the feedback from people who have seen these new features is great.

If all goes well, it should be released on Geekzone the week of 16 July.



The Geekzone Chat Page is active again

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jul-2007 14:30

Just a few days ago we announced the #geekzone IRC channel moved to a new server. And now I can also announce the Geekzone Chat page is working with this new server.


So even if you don't have an IRC client installed, just load the Geekzone Chat page and you will be automatically connected to our on-line chat. There's always someone there for a nice talk - most of the times it's a busy forum.



The OECD Communications Oulook 2007 is available for download now

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Jul-2007 10:30

If you have any interest in the state of telecommunications, you might want to read the OECD Telecommunications Outlook 2007 report (store link).


Voice continues to be the key driver in OECD telecommunication markets which have now attained revenues of USD 1 trillion. However, voice services, and the structure of telecommunications revenues, are evolving. Mobile services now make up 40% of all OECD-area telecommunications revenues, and mobile subscribers outnumber fixed subscribers by a ratio of 3 to 1. At the same time, technologies such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) are exerting strong downward pressure on prices for voice services. The impact of VoIP is apparent in prices for international fixed-line calls, which many VoIP operators now bundle into flat-rate subscription plans. As a result, the future of voice revenue streams is unclear.

The number of high-speed Internet connectyions is one of the main reasons why technologies such as VoIP have had such an impact on the market. Broadband is quickly becoming the dominant technology for Internet access throughout the OECD area; 60% of the area's 256 million Internet subscribers now have a broadband connection.


UPDATE: As noted I had the link to the document, when it should be to the bookshop. It wasn't my intention and the link is now corrected.



How hackers planted trojan code into the Vodafone Greece network

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Jul-2007 21:52

Just now I was alerted to an interesting story that has been happening on the other side of the world, involving hackers, ministers, and Vodafone Greece.


The spying case, where the calls of around 100 people using Vodafone’s network were secretly tapped, remains unsolved and is still being investigated. Also complicating the case are question marks over the suicide in March 2005 of a top engineer at Vodafone Group in Greece in charge of network planning.



This is just an introduction. The juicy bits are available on IEEE Spectrum, the flagship IEEE publication:


The victims were customers of Athens-based Vodafone-Panafon, generally known as Vodafone Greece, the country's largest cellular service provider; Tsalikidis was in charge of network planning at the company. A connection seemed obvious. Given the list of people and their positions at the time of the tapping, we can only imagine the sensitive political and diplomatic discussions, high-stakes business deals, or even marital indiscretions that may have been routinely overheard and, quite possibly, recorded.

Even before Tsalikidis's death, investigators had found rogue software installed on the Vodafone Greece phone network by parties unknown. Some extraordinarily knowledgeable people either penetrated the network from outside or subverted it from within, aided by an agent or mole. In either case, the software at the heart of the phone system, investigators later discovered, was reprogrammed with a finesse and sophistication rarely seen before or since.

A study of the Athens affair, surely the most bizarre and embarrassing scandal ever to engulf a major cellphone service provider, sheds considerable light on the measures networks can and should take to reduce their vulnerability to hackers and moles.

We now know that the illegally implanted software, which was eventually found in a total of four of Vodafone's Greek switches, created parallel streams of digitized voice for the tapped phone calls. One stream was the ordinary one, between the two calling parties. The other stream, an exact copy, was directed to other cellphones, allowing the tappers to listen in on the conversations on the cellphones, and probably also to record them. The software also routed location and other information about those phone calls to these shadow handsets via automated text messages.

We still don't know who committed this crime. A big reason is that the UK-based Vodafone Group, one of the largest cellular providers in the world, bobbled its handling of some key log files. It also reflexively removed the rogue software, instead of letting it continue to run, tipping off the perpetrators that their intrusion had been detected and giving them a chance to run for cover. The company was fined €76 million this past December.



We have so far being led to believe mobile communications are secure and encrypted. But what actually seems to happen is that the links between handsets and cell sites are safe - but what about the inside of the companies?

How is the New Zealand security going? Is our government evaluating this? Are individuals safe from identity theft and other things that can happen when people interfere with communications?





#geekzone IRC channel moving servers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Jul-2007 16:33

Brad Stewart, one of the moderators in the official #geekzone IRC channel has just advised of a server change:


Due to the impending death of zIRC the official Geekzone IRC channel will move to the synIRC servers at 9pm tonight.

Head to #geekzone on irc.synirc.org to find us. You will need to re-register your nickname, please use the same one as you use on these forums.

If you need any help with this process please ask a channel op or PM one of the moderators on the forums.

We will have a presence on zIRC for as long as possible to point people in the right direction, but connect to synIRC as soon as you can.


Tonight as in 11 July 2007 9pm NZST (click for other timezones).

I hope to see you in the #geekzone IRC channel sometime soon!



freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I work for Intergen and I'm also the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums.

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

If you'd like to help me keep Geekzone going, please use this Geekzone Amazon affiliate link when placing any orders on Amazon.



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