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Is The Desktop Really (Pretty Much) Dead?

I read an article recently claiming that “The desktop is (pretty much) dead” and I could not help but wonder if this was just an attempt at riling people up, drawing readership (they got me to read it), or just plain fantasy that “cloud” providers cook up to justify their continued push for ever increasing budgets with limited returns.

Sure, they bombard us with International Data Corporation (IDC) statistics and charts to bolster their arguments. But like sports analysts who glowingly call U.S. MLB, NBA & NFL champions “World” champions, one is forced to ask “what “World” are they referring to?” (more…)

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How To Cut Costs With Hosted Digital Phones

This is the Internet Age. Broadband and high-speed connections in the small to midsize business environment is now the norm as opposed to the exception it was a few years ago. What does that mean for the small and midsize business owner? Huge cost savings for one, in the area of communication. With the many offerings available today, it is not uncommon for businesses to reduce telephone costs by as much as eighty (80) percent. Here’s the rundown.

VoIP is a term that refers to Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a technology that allows phone calls to be made using high-speed Internet connections like cable, T1 or high-end DSL. Other common names for VoIP are IP, digital and Internet phones. The unique thing about digital phone technology is that it works with regular analog phones and this is important because since not everyone may have this technology in place, your calls will still be received whether the party you are calling has VoIP in place or not. (more…)

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The RSA Breach: Time for Full Disclosure?

As more companies with national security interests come forward with admission of breaches related to the hacking of RSA’s SecurID technology, one wonders if it is time for RSA to break its stubborn refusal to tell the public what exactly was stolen or when the breach actually occurred. At this stage, it is not just enough to tell the public that it had been hit by a phishing email exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Adobe Reader. (more…)

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Unlimited Data Storage Space: A Good Thing or the Sword of Damocles?

“Does not Dionysius seem to have made it sufficiently clear that there can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always looms?” – Cicero

I walked into a local electronics store the other day and saw a 2TB SATA hard drive for $80, and a 3TB drive was on sale for about $160.00. I unconsciously blurted out “You’ve got to be kidding me!”. Of course everyone around gave me that “what’s up with that?” look.

Not too long ago, one terabyte of data storage space was “unthinkable”. Even worse was the projection of the cost. I have a hard drive an engineer friend of mine gave me a while back. It weighed a ton and had a whopping size of one gigabyte (1GB) and the astonishing price was $1, 248.99. (more…)

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Is Samsung Installing Keyloggers on Laptops?

UPDATE: It has now been confirmed that Samsung laptops do not contain keyloggers or spyware.

UPDATE: Samsung has issued a statement saying that the finding is false. The statement says the software used to detect the keylogger, VIPRE, can be fooled by Microsoft’s Live Application multi-language support folder. This has been confirmed at F-Secure and two other publications, here and here.

UPDATE: GFI Labs, the maker of VIPRE, has issued an explanation and apology for generating the false positives that led to these articles: “We apologize to the author Mohamed Hassan, to Samsung, as well as any users who may have been affected by this false positive.”

UPDATE: A Samsung executive is said to have personally flown from Newark, N.J., to Burlington, Vt., carrying two unopened boxes containing new R540 laptop computers. These units were immediately put under seal and details recorded for chain-of-custody records. At 17:40, Dr Peter Stephenson, Director of the Norwich University Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics, began the detailed forensic analysis of the disks. The results are expected by Monday.

Original post:
There seems to be a  claim (false, as it turns out) that Samsung installs a commercial keylogger called StarLogger on its laptops before shipping them out, apparently to “monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used.”

This was reported by Mohamed Hassan, MSIA, CISSP, CISA who bought two different models of Samsung’s laptop – the R525 and R540 models. If the report is true, it will be like a rehash of the Sony Rootkit snafu a couple of years back. (more…)

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Routers, Hops, Executioners and Obituaries: A Look at ICMP

ICMP is the Internet Control Message Protocol which works at Layer 3 or the Network layer. It is used for all kinds of network messaging services utilized by IP, the Internet Protocol.
In fact, here’s how it is defined by Wikipedia:

“The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) is one of the core protocols of the Internet Protocol Suite. It is chiefly used by the operating systems of networked computers to send error messages indicating, for example, that a requested service is not available or that a host or router could not be reached. ICMP can also be used to relay query messages”
(see RFC 1256, if you are into that kind of thing). (more…)

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