Monday, January 31, 2005

Windows XP SP2 "Data Execution Prevention" Vulnerability Discovered.

This is not so good for XP SP2 Users. Russian security outfit, Maxpatrol, have discovered CRITICAL vulnerability to defeat Microsoft Windows XP SP2 Heap protection and Data Execution Prevention mechanism.

Data execution prevention (DEP) is a set of hardware and software technologies that perform additional checks on memory to help protect against malicious code exploits. By default, software-enforced DEP only protects limited system binaries. Hardware-enforced DEP relies on processor hardware to mark memory with an attribute that indicates that code should not be executed from that memory.

View: Maxpatrol bypass article

Saturday, January 29, 2005

PTA to suspend cell phone companies' licenses

From Dawn:

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority may suspend the licences of two major cell phone companies if the reports of its secret survey, which is starting on Feb 1, establishes poor quality of their service.

They said the survey would be completed by Feb 15 and action would be initiated on its recommendations. The survey was being launched on customers' complaints. The PTA had already served notices on the two companies for their poor quality of service, congestion, wrong messaging, frequent call drops and fake billing.

They said the companies had already been given enough time to remove these problems, therefore, no leniency would be shown if the survey found them persisting with shortcomings. The PTA might also impose heavy fines on them, they added.

The sources said the firms were trying to capture more market at any cost before the launch of service by two new companies this year. "In a bid to capture more clientele, these companies have been compromising on service for long," they said. "The PTA is very sensitive to its obligations and will do every thing possible to protect interest of its customers."

P.S: If its supposed to be a 'secret survey', why are they discussing it with the press? Mobilink for one has already been fined in the past, but instead of being repentant, it has proceeded to provide the worst service in its history. If they had spent the crores on improving their service, instead of on their 'Indigo' advertising campaign, they could have boasted of at least some satified customers. I wonder if a satisfied Mobilink customer actually exists..

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Celebrate International Internet-Free Day

January 30 has been dedicated as Internet-Free Day. So don't use it on that day. Seriously. Check out the story here.

Microsoft to protect Windows against piracy

This is relevant to the BSA story that we are having a discussion about. BBC has a story on how Microsoft is planning to restrict security updates to only licensed copies of Windows. CNN also carried the same story mentioning that users will have to prove that their copy of Windows is genuine before they can download security updates.

This would mean that if you have a Rs. 40 pirated copy of Windows, you will not be able to get any security updates for it -- and that will make your computer more vulnerable to attacks.

So will someone be able to come up with a Rs. 40 solution to that?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Blog togs

Bloggers who are found of blog buttons and stickers (who is not) must visit and find over 1877 blog stickers there. What is more, anyone can make own in Blogsticker Factory or add one. I found this:

Google to Debut Video Search

Google announced yesterday that the company is currently testing a prototype serviced used to search TV programming.

The engine dubbed "Google Video" allows users to search across text from TV shows like Fox News and ABC News. Google started indexing TV shows in late December aiming to compete with various other TV search providers.

"Now users can search the content of thousands of TV programs, find the shows that have the information they're looking for, and learn when they can watch them," Google co-founder Larry Page said in a statement.

Currently, providers of TV search like Yahoo and Blinkx TV are said to be stepping up their technology after the Google announcement.


BSA to crack down against piracy

According to Daily Times, Business Software Alliance (BSA) has announced that they will be taking strict action against national and multinational companies after the 60 day truce period ends on January 29th. According to a BSA study, Pakistan's software piracy rate is 83%, which causes a loss of US$16 million to Pakistan's IT sector. What puzzles me is how Pakistani multinationals can spend billions on advertisements and sponsoring a gazillion shows, but can't purchase licensed software. However, buying licensed software is still not an option for the common user - its high time BSA realizes that unless they don't lower the cost of the licenses, no one will give up paying Rs.40 for Windows XP.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Texas acts to stop spammers

The US State of Texas has filed a lawsuit against two men believed to be among the world's top five spammers, BBC reports in this news article.

Hacker penetrates T-Mobile systems

SecurityFocus reports in this article that a hacker broke into T-Mobile's systems, and was undetected for one whole year. In that time, he was able to monitor the US Secret Service's email, obtain customer passwords, photos, and Social Security numbers.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Google has unveiled Google Mini

Google has unveiled Google Mini, a new search appliance designed for small and midsize businesses, and an upgrade to its existing Google Search Appliance for larger organizations.

Google Mini leverages the same technology as the larger appliance but is limited in search capacity to 50,000 documents. The hardware and software appliance is sold exclusively online, priced at $4,995, which is a fraction of the cost of the larger capacity appliance versions.

Visit Website:

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Give me an iPod Shuffle and nobody gets hurt.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, launched a bunch of new Apple products at Macworld Conference and Expo. First up on my shopping list is the Flash based iPod Shuffle. Coming in two sizes - 512 MB and 1 GB and costing $99 and $149 respectively, the iPod Shuffle claims to be smaller and lighter than a pack of chewing gum. It doesn't have a screen, but with such low prices, no one will really care. One can also fill up the iPod by connecting it to the PC via the USB port.

Apple also launched the Mac mini, a $499 budget PC, consisting of a processor, hard drive and optical drive. The Mac mini is truly mini - its 6.5 inches wide and 2 inches tall! Apple also showcased iWork, iLife's new version and Final Cut Express HD - tools designed to make the Mac user's life simpler and easier.

So who wants an iPod?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

New Microsoft January Security Related Downloads.

The wait is over. Three critical patches regarding security concerns and the much discussed Microsoft Virus Removal Tool (officially termed as Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool ) has been released. More Details Here

Visit : Malicious Software Removal Tool Site.
Visit: January Security Patches.

Yahoo! Desktop Search Beta Launched

Yahoo! has become the latest search giant to jump into the desktop search market. It has this morning unveiled its new program which it hopes will allow it compete in the growing war for scanning files on users' home PCs. The release of Yahoo! Desktop Search comes after Google and MSN unveiled similar products.

The new program, currently in beta, has many of the same features as its rivals. However, it's claimed the Yahoo! program searches more than 200 file types and is the most comprehensive of all those released so far. As well as files, it indexes e-mails in Outlook and Outlook Express and it also promises to offer web searches - through its own search engine.

Visit: Yahoo! Desktop Search

Monday, January 10, 2005

E-Mail Icon Generator

Visit here to generate icons for GMail, Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo!, AOL and many more...

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Video Clip of Bill Gates with Windows Media Center PC froze up on CES.

Recently at the International Consumer Electronics Show, during a demonstration of digital photography, a Windows Media Center PC froze and wouldn't respond to Bill Gates' pushing of the remote control.

See the video clip of the event Here. (Requires Quicktime Installed)

Update : According to Sean Alexander, Media Center Product Manager, it was the IR repeater on the stage that failed. An IR repeater was used to transmit the remote control commands from the stage to the MCE PC running backstage. Details Here.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Mind mapping software

This a free Java-based tool which is supposed to help you organizing any idea that you may have. See the Screenshots here.

Watch out for Microsoft Antivirus Beta Soon.

Continuing its recent spate of security moves, Microsoft has layed out its plans to release a virus detection and removal tool on Jan. 11. The antivirus fighter will be updated on the second Tuesday of every month as part of the company's scheduled software patching cycle.

The stocks of major antivirus software vendors were trading lower today after Microsoft announced the release of beta anti-spyware technology it bought in December and said it would begin giving away an improved tool to remove worms and viruses from its customers' computers. Following Microsoft's news, shares of Symantec were down by more than 6 percent and shares in rival McAfee were down by around 4 percent in Thursday's late-afternoon trading. While the free antivirus and virus removal tools are not an immediate threat to the products from those companies, the releases could signal tougher times ahead for desktop security vendors, as Microsoft uses its size and influence to expand into markets now dominated by those companies, industry experts say.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) Released

Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Known spyware on your PC can be detected and removed.

The user must be an administrator to install this application.

Download: Windows AntiSpyware 6.4 MB

First Look Screenshots and Discussion : here

World’s First ‘Paid to Blog’ Network

Bloggers finally have a new way to make a fast buck with their weblogs. has launched the BlogKits BlogMatch Network, an opportunity for anyone who owns a blog to be matched with businesses, marketers and/or advertisers looking to partner with niche-filled, content specific, quality blogs. There is a possibility of wining an iPod as well.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Watchout: Project 'Jawbone'

Must-read story about audio tech startup called Aliph who's Pakistani CEO Hosain Rahman's success in California and The Adaptive Headset for mobile phones that's making waves [it reduces background noise while you talk]. The company website states its focus is on speech processing products for govermental and private organizations. Verrry interesting!

Pakistanis in Ahmedabad

[Jan 4]The Press Trust news story states that interaction between scientist across the border has been limited, and rightly so. "Pakistan participated for the first time in the 92-year-old Indian Science Congress, being held in Ahmedabad. The four-member Pakistani delegation will be presenting three papers in the congress, Dr Anwar Nasim, chairman of the Pakistan's National Commission on Biotechnology and a member of the delegation, told reporters in Ahmedabad." The Commission was created by Dr.Ata-ur-Rehman in 2001.

In September 2004, The Nature carried a more sensational lead on a similar event stating that verbal collaborations have ended "more than five decades of scientific impasse between the two nations." I think the two need to look at 'education' for any collaboration, even if its bound to be research on malaria and agriculture as per the news story.

Saturday, January 01, 2005


Happy New Year to all SPIDER readers, contributors and the people who make SPIDER happen. Here's to hoping that this year will be spam free and that good things will happen in Pakistan's IT sector. Wishful thinking, but wishing is good.

P.S: The January issue of SPIDER is on sale now. Let us know what you think about it at