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?
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!
Sixth, pay those operators well so that you get high quality staff and so that turnover is low. If you are seeking to squeeze on prices then you’ll have predictable results.
Seventh: Invest a fortune in expertise into the systems that the operators will use. Don’t use the guys Ferrit used to build the systems.
Tenth: Make your sucky sucky broadband work properly so that we don’t have to call in the first place, and we are happier if we do have to.
Go read the full list over Lance's blog. Oh, yes, you reader from Telecom can read it too...
Of course, as we all know, this didn't happen (the announcement), but it doesn't mean the iPhone can't already work with Exchange Servers, through the IMAP protocol.
The Exchange Server team has posted a comparison on their blog, showing the differences and simillarities between the experience provided by EAS and IMAP.
If your company is interested in deploying iPhones for their work force (yes, I know some IT departments have already been asked for it) then you should read that blog entry.
All those have something in common: e-mail overload. Pownce send me an e-mail for every action, and I really think it should provide a private RSS feed.
Facebook does provide a RSS feed, but only for status, not for all the other activities (and believe me, Facebook seems to be the busiest one I've seen around).
Twitter provides a RSS feed, but not LinkedIn.
In terms of inviting friends LinkedIn is the easiest one, providing an Outlook Add-In to help you keep on top of your contacts based on your Outlook contents. It also has an Internet Explorer Helper that will load your Outlook contacts and allow you to select which ones to invite to your network. Facebook allows you to import a .CSV file exported from your Outlook, so it's not that bad either.
Of course all those have different targets: Twitter, Jaiku and Pownce are for micro bloggers, with Pownce placing some effort into the Instant Messaging and File Sharing things, including a nifty Pownce Client based on Adobe's AIR. It's an akpha still, but I would love to see it being tucked away in the System Tray on a Windows PC, not taking space on my desktop or taskbar. Twitter even shows up with a Twitter Gadget for Windows Vista.
LinkedIn is a professional network, and I try not to invite personal friends to my connections, unless they also happen to work with me in some relation. And I see Facebook being really the big "social" network tool, with emphasis on "social", not "business".
I would also like to see a Facebook Gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar and for Mac Dashboard. At least with the stream of updates from friends and with a way to set my own status, plus all the mesages that would overload my e-mail.
As for e-mail overload, I have rules in my Outlook that will automatically move those messages to other folders, so they don't clutter my Inbox and I can deal with them in my own time.
In shor this is an IM and VoIP client. It works with Skype, MSN Messenger, Twitter, GoogleTalk and SIP services, all logged in at the same time. The only problem here is that you don't have a way to logoff from each service individually.
Installation is very easy: you enter your mobile number in their website, and you will receive a SMS with a download link. No need for cables, or a PC - simply download over the air.
The Services Configuration is a bit strange, but I guess you only really need to change those things when adding or removing a service, really. SIP works ok, with a bit of delay on WCDMA, which I was expecting really.
It also works well with Skype, which is great, since the original Skype client will simply crash on my Palm Treo devices.
I had a problem with my password, which had a "+" somewhere in it and was ok with the original software, but stopped working after an update. There's no login at Fring, so I submitted a support ticket, and the good folks at Fring changed my password after proper credentials were established.
I also just realised the Fring account is your phone number plus user name, so I now need the password reset for my second device (the Treo 700wx).
This is the first SIP client that works on my Palm Treo devices. The X-Lite software is great on Pocket PCs, but it doesn't like the 240 x 240 pixels square screen on the Palm handhelds.
The software runs on Windows Mobile and Symbian devices.
Mary Jo Foley lists on her blog fixes we could expect to see:
* Performance tweaks lessening the amount of time it takes to copy files and shut down Vista machines (Yeah, I know Microsoft said Viista shutdown speed wasn’t an issue. Guess users weren’t so crazy, after all.)
* Improved transfer performance and decreased CPU utilization via support for SD Advanced Direct Memory Access (DMA)
* Support for ExFat, the Windows file format for flash memory storage and other consumer devices
* Improvements to BitLocker Drive Encryption to allow not just encryption of the whole Vista volume, but also locally created data volumes
* The ability to boot Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) on an x64 machine
* Improved success rate for firewalled MeetingSpace and Remote Assistance connections
I just want a RSS feed so I can check things on my own time, without being overloaded with e-mails.
Also, their client (based on Adobe's AIR) won't minimise to the system tray - it's either open or living in the taskbar. I don't need clutter in the taskbar!
UPDATE: I am also using Facebook. I have to say they have very different approaches, but they are the same in one thing: e-mail overload! I don't want e-mails, I want a RSS feed. I want to manage my time, not hand it to the site owners.
UPDATE: And Facebook is ahead because they have a mobile website, which works really well from my Pocket PC Phone...
UPDATE: I have now given all the invites I had, plus some invites offered by friends. I will reopen comments here when more invites are available.
I think the company needs to think again about the quality of the content delivered. I've seen better results on competitor Babelgum.
What are your experiences with these services?