Coreflood, More Microsoft-Yahoo, IPhone Plans

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A Trojan horse program that has been around for about six years is now being used to steal system-administrator passwords, including those at banking and brokerage houses, according to security researchers. And it could be that six years from now we'll still be talking about Microsoft's aim to buy Yahoo's search business, which could involve obtaining the entire company and breaking it apart. Meanwhile, early adopters will undoubtedly be out in force on July 11 to be among the first to buy the new iPhone 3G.

1. Trojan lurks, waiting to steal admin passwords : The Coreflood Trojan horse program lurks until a system administrator logs on to an infected computer and then steals the password, using a Microsoft administration tool to spread malware on the network. The malware is being used to swipe banking- and brokerage-account usernames and passwords. So far, criminals have infected hundreds of thousands of computers with Coreflood, including more than 14,000 in one global hotel chain.

2. Update: Report says Microsoft readying new try for Yahoo: Bill Gates said on his way out of his full-time gig at Microsoft that he thought a deal for his company to buy Yahoo was unlikely, but a couple of days later the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft is looking for partners -- Time Warner and News Corp. were named -- to help it obtain Yahoo's search business. So, to quote baseball legend Yogi Berra, "it ain't over 'til it's over." And this one clearly ain't over yet.

3. iPhone 3G set for 8 a.m. debut on July 11 and AT&T dishes on iPhone rate plans: AT&T announced prices for iPhone 3G service, which are, of course, more costly than plans for earlier iPhones. The carrier also announced that the new iPhones will be on sale at 8 in the morning, local time, on July 11. That's earlier than Apple retail stores open, though someone who answered the phone at the flagship San Francisco Apple Store wouldn't say if the opening will be moved up two hours and suggested that a reporter ring back later. (There has to be some element of the launch that maintains an air of secrecy, eh?)

4. Microsoft eases hardware terms for XP on low-cost PCs: Although June 30 marked the end of Microsoft offering most licenses for its Windows XP operating system, the company is still pushing the OS for use in low-cost PCs and it has eased hardware restrictions. Low-cost PCs with touchscreens, larger screen sizes and bigger hard drives now are eligible to use XP.

5. Google in brouhaha with anti-Obama bloggers: Google's Blogger subsidiary pulled the plug on political bloggers who are not supporters of presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama after a mass mailing mentioned an anti-Obama blog network. Apparently, Google's system blocked the addresses in those mailings after deciding they must be spammers. When bloggers pointed out the error of Google's ways, the company restored posting rights.

6. Long-awaited JBoss AS 5.0 moves closer to release date: The release candidate of the long-awaited JBoss Application Server 5.0 will be out soon, according a blog posting from the chief technology officer of Red Hat's JBoss division. Product development started three years ago and stretched out as the company decided to make more changes to the next version.

7. DOJ continues probe of Yahoo-Google partnership The U.S. Department of Justice continues to investigate the proposed advertising partnership between Yahoo and Google, a DOJ spokeswoman said this week. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the DOJ had just initiated a formal antitrust investigation around the proposed deal, but the spokeswoman said that the probe under way was begun June 16. Regulatory scrutiny was widely expected.

8. Diary of a deliberately spammed housewife: McAfee recruited 50 hardy souls to endure its Spammed Persistently All Month experiment, which involved having the spam recipients reply to every single spam message and pop-up ad they got for a month. The volunteers created aliases for the experiment, which found that they received an average of 70 spam messages daily, with men getting about 15 more than women (with all those promises of enlargement). The idea was to underscore the dangers of spam and pop ups and how linked those have become to malware and other online misbehavior. "I was horrified," said volunteer Tracy Mooney. "It's all snake oil. I'm amazed at what true junk is out there when you're clicking through on e-mail."

9. Mozilla's Firefox 3 sets geeky world record: The 8,002,530 downloads of Firefox 3 in the first 24 hours after the browser's release made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most downloads in that time period. Mozilla set out to achieve the first-ever such record. "Our community members came together and not only spread the word, but also took the initiative to help mobilize millions of people to demonstrate their belief that Firefox gives people the best possible online experience," said Mozilla Vice President of Marketing Paul Kim. Or maybe they just wanted to be part of setting the record ...

10. Gartner: Seven cloud-computing security risks: Cloud-computing customers need to ask hard questions about security and should think about getting a third-party security assessment before choosing a vendor, analyst firm Gartner recommends. A Gartner report, "Assessing the Security Risks of Cloud Computing," lays out the areas of security concern.

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