"It's yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility." - Chris Knight

Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

Google Tweaks Gmail Calendar Sync

April 23rd, 2008 by iDunzo

Google first offered up the ability to sync your Gmail and Outlook calendars in early March.

Since then, it’s received a bunch of feedback on the usability of the product and has decided to make some changes. The changes are welcome, indeed.

Making sure calendars between devices, platforms, and PCs are all in sync can be a serious pain.

Last month, Google sought to lessen some of that pain with its Google Calendar Sync product.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go all the way. Users sent in feedback on a few issues, and Google felt an update was necessary.

The Official Gmail Blog wrote up a brief entry explaining the changes. It said:

“Previously, your Google Calendar e-mail address needed to be the organizer or an attendee of your Microsoft Outlook events for the Outlook events to sync to your Google Calendar. Now, when you choose to do a 2-way sync or a 1-way sync from Outlook calendar to Google Calendar, all of your Outlook events will be synced to your Google Calendar.”

This latest enhancement should relieve some frustration of users who were caught in the organizer/attendee web.

Google is auto-updating people who use the sync program, but if you’re impatient and want to download it directly, you can. The new version is

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Trusted Web Site? Not So Fast

January 24th, 2008 by iDunzo

It’s not been a great year for Web security, so far. First we learn that Hackersafe isn’t so hacker safe, after all. Then we find out that hackers have found a way to automatically redirect most home routers to wherever they wish. And now it seems that so-called legitimate Web sites may not be so “legitimate” (or at least safe) after all.

It’s apparently so easy to infect existing Web sites that there’s decreasing need for criminals to set up shill sites. At least that’s the takeaway from a recent report published by security vendor Websense, which attempts to examine security trends for the second half of last year.

In fact, 51% of Web sites infected with malicious code are actually legitimate, but compromised, Web sites. This is actually a stark increase from the 30% or so of infected legitimate sites the company reported for the first half of 2007.

So this means that miscreants — because the Web site security and development practices of conventional businesses are negligent — don’t even have to go through the trouble of developing and hosting a Web site, or even the bother of deluging everyone with spam designed to lure folks to a Web site trap.

No, all they have to do is find a trusted site that’s already vulnerable and that, unfortunately, seems all too easy.

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Spam Filters Suck

January 22nd, 2008 by iDunzo

As any grizzled football coach will tell you, good defense beats a good offense but that wisdom doesn’t apply to the realm of spam, where porn peddlers and Nigerian hucksters regularly outwit the latest filtering software.

The most obvious problem is that it’s simply not possible to update filtering software frequently enough to catch all of the spammers’ assorted innovations.

Techniques like disguising unsolicited messages by replacing the “i” in Viagra with a “1” or using images in lieu of text, for example drive me crazy.

At the same time, an overly aggressive approach can be disastrous, trapping legitimate email as false positives which also sucks.

One possible route to improvement: Instead of focusing on suspicious content, consider the trustworthiness of the sources.

Oscar Boykin, a computer engineering professor at the University of Florida, suggests that filters would work better with more widespread use of authentication systems, which make it harder for spammers to forge source addresses.

Emerging standards like Sender ID and DomainKeys, for instance, verify that a message’s sender and domain are legit.

Improved computer security would also help, since many illicit messages are sent from computers infected with malware. Here’s some additional food for thought on the issue of spam.

There’s egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam;

So what do you think? Could we do the egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam then?

Urgghh! What do you mean ‘Urgghh’? I don’t like spam!

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‘Hacker Safe’ Geeks.com Hacked

January 8th, 2008 by iDunzo

Geeks.com, a Web site that still displays a banner from McAfee’s ScanAlert certifying that it is “Hacker Safe,” on Friday sent a letter to customers saying that it was hacked last month.

“Genica dba Geeks.com (‘Genica’) recently discovered on December 5, 2007 that customer information, including Visa credit card information, may have been compromised,” said a letter posted on The Consumerist from Jerry L. Harken, Genica’s chief of security, to an undisclosed number Geeks.com customers.

“In particular, it is possible that an unauthorized person may be in possession of your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, credit card number, expiration date, and card verification number. We are still investigating the details of this incident, but it appears that an unauthorized individual may have accessed this information by hacking our e-commerce Web site.”

Geeks.com has reported the incident to federal authorities and Visa, and is encouraging customers to review their credit card statements for unauthorized charges.

The company has set up two help numbers — 1-888-529-6261 or 1-212-560-5108 for non-US customers — that will be active starting this morning for those with questions about the incident.

It is also providing contact information for the major credit agencies to make it easier to report any identity theft fraud arising from the incident.

Geeks.com describes itself as a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site that specializes in computer-related excess inventory, manufacturer closeouts, and popular and esoteric products for the tech-savvy.

McAfee acquired ScanAlert in October and describes it as the world’s leading provider of e-commerce Web site security services.

The Hacker Safe certification, McAfee explains on its Web site, lets “shoppers of ScanAlert customer sites instantly know that they are a secure Web site and respond by buying more from them.”

The ScanAlert Web site explains that the Hacker Safe certification doesn’t mean 100% safe.

“Research indicates sites remotely scanned for known vulnerabilities on a daily basis, such as those earning ‘Hacker Safe’ certification, can prevent over 99% of hacker crime,” the site says.

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Will Web 2.0 Survive the New Year?

January 1st, 2008 by iDunzo

Are you just about sick to death of the so-called magic phrase “Web 2.0?”

If so, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s doomed to crash and burn faster than Britney’s, Lindsey’s (or insert scandal-ridden starlet’s name here) career.

At least, that’s what one UK-based research firm claims. The folks at Scivisum predict that 2008 will see the end of Web 2.0.

Their logic: worried about the effect that questionable content might have on their products’ good names and reputations, companies will begin pulling advertising from the open pastures of social networks, wikis, Second Life and so forth.

In other words, Disney might think twice about advertising family vacation getaways on a Myspace or Facebook-esque site where half-naked, drunken co-eds proudly post their Spring Break pictorials.

Or will they?

Duncan Riley over at TechCrunch thinks the odds of this happening are slim at best, and I’m inclined to agree.

Sure, there might be some flight risks among a few advertisers who hold their corporate images and name brands in high esteem, but ultimately, what company is going to let their principles outweigh the prospect of serious revenue?

So what if your billboard overlooks a Red Light District in Second Life? Who cares about a couple of off-color comments in a LiveJournal blog post?

High-traffic sites mean more eyes on the ads, and more cash in pocket.

So while you won’t see ads for the Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel on some Triple X site, you can be sure the marketing folks will continue to plaster MySpace and similar sites with them.

What do you think? Will 2008 ring in as the year that Web 2.0 soars or strikes out?

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Happy New Year 2008 Plus 25 years of TCP/IP

December 31st, 2007 by iDunzo

Google does it again with a great tribute logo to the year 2008 which is just a few hours away:

Happy New Year & 25 years of TCP/IP

Not only are we celebrating the upcoming year 2008, we are also celebrating 25 years of TCP/IP which is a very important part of the intarweb :)

So with that in mind, how about a little TCP/IP technology trivia?

The Internet protocol suite is the set of communications protocols that implement the protocol stack on which the Internet and most commercial networks run.

It has also been referred to as the TCP/IP protocol suite, which is named after two of the most important protocols in it: the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), which were also the first two networking protocols defined.

Today’s IP networking represents a synthesis of two developments that began in the 1970s, namely LANs (Local Area Networks) and the Internet, both of which have revolutionized computing.

The Internet Protocol suite—like many protocol suites—can be viewed as a set of layers.

Each layer solves a set of problems involving the transmission of data, and provides a well-defined service to the upper layer protocols based on using services from some lower layers.

Upper layers are logically closer to the user and deal with more abstract data, relying on lower layer protocols to translate data into forms that can eventually be physically transmitted. The TCP/IP reference model consists of four layers.

Want to know more? Check out the official Internet protocol suite Wiki.

On that note, have a Happy New Year. See you next year!

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