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Flaw found in 2006 McAfee products August 1, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet Safety.
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A flaw in many of McAfee’s security products could open up users to a data exposure risk, security firm eEye Digital Security warned late Monday. Among the programs affected are Internet Security Suite, SpamKiller, Privacy Service and Virus Scan Plus, although the 2007 versions, released Saturday, are immune.

McAfee has confirmed the flaws and is working on a fix, saying a patch would be delivered automatically to subscribers by midweek. No known attacks have been reported to be taking advantage of the vulnerability. Exploit code is not available on the Web, researchers said, thus it’s likely no attacks would occur.

“A flaw exists in multiple McAfee consumer products that could allow an attacker the ability to execute arbitrary commands on the vulnerable systems,” eEye warned in its advisory.

“This can lead to complete system compromise at which point an attacker could install trojans, modify/delete files, or perform any other activity as a normal logged on user would.”

A similarly dangerous flaw was discovered by the firm in May affecting Symantec products. In that issue, after the vulnerability is exploited, a hacker gains access to the command shell and is able to perform just about any action. The hole was patched quickly by Symantec.

eEye had also detected a flaw in McAfee programs protecting business computers in mid-July. However, unlike the consumer vulnerability the issue had been already addressed. McAfee said it did not warn customers of that problem, leading to criticism last month.

Source: BetaNews

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Social networking sites and Blogs face US ban August 1, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet Safety.
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Children in the US could be banned from using any website in schools and libraries that allows its users to create and modify a profile, chat to other users and post personal information.

The Deleting Online Predators Act tries to limit the access paedophiles have to social networking sites, which have become hugely popular with children.

The act, which has already been approved by a large majority in the House of Representatives could affect sites social networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, as well as other sites like Amazon and blogs.

Critics in the US are complaining that the act is too broad and could mean a huge number of websites are cut off from users.

In both the UK and US many schools have already banned pupils from using these networks over fears that the children are taking risks with the amount of information they are posting.

The DOPA Act was introduced into the US legislative system by Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick. It passed 410 votes to 15 in a vote on 26 July.

Speaking before the vote was taken, he said: “The social networking sites have become, in a sense, a happy hunting ground for child predators”.

The act covers federal institutions that received funding for computers and net access via the US E-Rate scheme – primarily schools and libraries.

If passed, the act will require organisations to put in place filters to stop children viewing social networking sites where they might be subject to “unlawful sexual advances”.

The act now passes to the Senate and a vote on its approval is likely to take place in early August. 

Don’t swim with your mouth open August 1, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports.
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Swimmers taking a single mouthful of seawater could be swallowing as many as 1,000 kinds of bacteria, according to new research.

Scientists believe there are far more species than previously thought, raising fundamental questions about evolution and the future of life on Earth.

Analysis of samples of seawater from several sites found microbial diversity in the oceans could be between ten and 100 times higher than earlier estimates.

Microbes make up the majority of life in the oceans and are described as the “primary engines” of the Earth’s biosphere. Finding so many more species than expected fundamentally affects our understanding of how more complex life first evolved and also how climate change will impact on its continued survival.

“The number of different kinds of bacteria in the oceans could eclipse five to ten million,” said Dr Mitchell Sogin, of the US Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Scientists now want to know how so many kinds of micro- organisms evolved and survived, and what effect they might have on the environment.

“These observations blow away all previous estimates of bacterial diversity in the oceans,” added Dr Sogin, who led the study.

Guiding lights August 1, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Science.
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According to www.thinkquest.org: In early times people set fires at the edge of the water to warn boats of dangerous rocks and shores. The Egyptians were the first people to build lighthouses to use light to guide ships. In Egypt in 283 the Egyptians completed the tallest lighthouse ever built. It guided ships for over 1,500 years and stood 900 feet tall. Lighthouses were also constructed by the Phoenicians, Greeks and the Romans.

The early lighthouses used wick lamps as a source of light. In the olden times the light beam could only travel a few miles. In 1822 the first modern lighthouse lens was invented by a Frenchman named Augustin Fresnel. He found out how to increase the light by using prisms. In 1841 the Fresnel lens was installed for the first time in a lighthouse.

Lighthouses warn sailors to straighten their position so their ships don’t hit land or obstacles in the sea. They are built on harbors, islands, and beaches. They act as guideposts for ships at night or in a storm. The first lighthouse in England was the Eddystone Rock Lighthouse built on a steep rock in 1698. Since then three more have been built on that location.

The first lighthouse in America was the Boston Lighthouse on Brewster Island in Boston Harbor. The lighthouse was first lit in 1716, but was destroyed during the Revolutionary War.

In the past, the lighthouses were run by keepers. When fog came up, the lighthouse keepers warned ships by lighting the light, ringing bells every hour or shooting cannons. Today, there are fewer lighthouses and their lamps run automatically using electricity.