Friday, January 23, 2009

Downadup virus exposes millions of PCs to hijack

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A new sleeper virus that could allow hackers to steal financial and personal information has now spread to more than eight million computers in what industry analysts say is one of the most serious infections they have ever seen.

Experts say a single infected laptop could expose an entire network to the worm.

Experts say a single infected laptop could expose an entire network to the worm.

The Downadup or Conficker worm exploits a bug in Microsoft Windows to infect mainly corporate networks, where -- although it has yet to cause any harm -- it potentially exposes infected PCs to hijack...

"On Tuesday there were 2.5 million, on Wednesday 3.5 million and today [Friday], eight million," he told CNN. "It's getting worse, not better."

How serious is it?

It is the most serious large scale worm outbreak we have seen in recent years because of how widespread it is, but it is not very serious in terms of what it does. So far it doesn't try to steal personal information or credit card details.

Who is affected?

We have large infections in Europe, the United States and in Asia. It is a Windows worm and almost all the cases are corporate networks. There are very few reports of independent home computers affected.

What does it do?

It is a complicated worm most likely engineered by a group of people who have spent time making it very complicated to analyze and remove. The real reason why they have created it is hard to say right now, but we do know how it replicates.

How does it spread?

The worm does not spread over email or the Web. However if an infected laptop is connected to your corporate network, it will immediately scan the network looking for machines to infect. These will be machines that have not installed a patch from Microsoft known as MS08-067. The worm will also scan company networks trying to guess your password, trying hundreds and hundreds of common words. If it gets in, even if you are not at your machine, it will infect and begin spreading to other servers. A third method of spreading is via USB data sticks.

How can I prevent it infecting my machine?

The best way is to get the patch and install it company-wide. The second way is password security. Use long, difficult passwords -- particularly for administrators who cannot afford to be locked out of the machines they will have to fix.

What can I do if it has already infected?

Machines can be disinfected. The problem is for companies with thousands of infected machines, which can become re-infected from just one computer even as they are being cleared.

Paterson picks Gillibrand as next NY senator

ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. David Paterson has picked Democratic U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill New York's vacant U.S. Senate seat...

Paterson's appointment lasts until 2010, when a special election will be held to fill the final two years of Clinton's term...

Others in the field, led by more senior politicians, including U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, criticized Gillibrand as recently as Thursday evening, saying her support of more conservative issues such as gun ownership rights was out of step with most New York Democrats.

Good choice - a Democrat out of step to the right of NY Democrats (Leaves)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Zero Arrests

A government official gave an unofficial estimate that the crowd topped 1.8 million, with 1.4 million on the Mall and up to 400,000 in nearby streets.

"Zero. There have been no inaugural-related arrest[s] reported by any of our law enforcement partners today," the Secret Service said, as of 5 p.m. ET.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The largest, most expensive embassy in world history

Firm behind huge Iraq embassy doesn't want to talk about it

The new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has almost everything architects love to talk about: big money, high profile, controversy, historic significance, fascinating location.

So, what’s the reaction from the Kansas City firm involved in designing it?

Nothing, really.

“Really, we’d rather you talked to our partner company,” said Carl Yaeger, president of Berger Devine Yaeger, which came up with the overall look for the largest, most expensive embassy perhaps in world history.

Article here (<-- click)