Senin, 22 September 2008

Now fraudsters are taking a snapshot of your screen

ONLINE FRAUDSTERS are taking snapshots of people’s computer screens in a bid to steal sensitive information. Australian anti-spam group Code Fish has discovered software that attempts to steal passwords by stealing screenshots (a ‘photograph’ of the screen content). Many thefts of data from home computers are caused by keyloggers – software that records characters typed using the keyboard. It gains access to computers via Trojan horses and sends records of keystrokes back to a criminal’s computer, which then analyses the data for any possible bank account numbers and passwords.

Banks have responded by redesigning sites so that customers can use pulldown menus to enter passwords, rather than key them in directly, but now criminals are fighting back. Unsuspecting computer users are sent what looks like an invoice for the purchase of a website. If the user visits the website, a program is downloaded to their PC which attempts to take screenshots whenever the user visits financial websites, such as the Barclays online banking site. A Barclays representative said: “We guarantee customers will not bear any loss as a result of fraud against them.”

Many monitors are sold with dead pixels

MONITOR MANUFACTURERS are failing to give clear advice on the issue of defective pixels in flat-panel displays, according to consumer groups. Defective pixels show up as either bright or dark spots on a monitor. When customers complain, however, manufacturers often respond that the monitor defects fall within limits agreed between manufacturers and the International Standards Organisation (ISO). But Trading Standards said consumers were often unaware that monitors could legally be delivered with defects and that the industry standard – known as ISO 13406-2 – was confusing and full of jargon. “These rules are baffling,” said Trading Standards consumer affairs representative Carol Brady.

The issue is further confused because some manufacturers are more lenient than others. Viewsonic said it has a zerotolerance policy towards even one full pixel failure. “If the defect causes awe would consider replacing it. Towards the edge of the screen is less critical,” said a Viewsonic representative. He added that less than one per cent of the three million TFT monitors sold last year were returned with dead pixels – but that still means almost 30,000. Iiyama said it followed the industry standard, while Fujitsu Siemens allowed one full pixel failure before replacement. Samsung would not comment on how it interprets the rules. A representative of the National Consumer Council said: “The industry as a whole needs to clarify this situation.” bright light in the middle of the screen,

Kamis, 11 September 2008

Cable puts its foot down

CABLE BROADBAND providers have turned up the heat on ADSL by boosting the speed of their services by 50 per cent. Telewest and NTL have increased the speed of most of their services by half, with no increase in subscription rates. Telewest said that the extra speed would give users an incentive to try out more broadband content, such as music and video files. “If consumers want to take full advantage of the internet they need a fast connection,” said the company’s head of marketing, Chad Raube. “It will also give users more bandwidth to share between computers around the house using wireless networks.” He added that cable technology could provide up to 28Mbit/s links to every household where its service was available, with much faster speeds possible in future. “Only five per cent of our network is used to carry broadband to homes. Most is used to carry analogue television signals, and we expect the switch to digital television to be complete in a few years,” said Mr Raube.

BT now offers faster services using ADSL but they are subject to the same distance limitations that affect the standard 512Kbit/s connection. A representative said that services up to 2Mbit/s were currently limited to about 4km from the nearest exchange, meaning only 70 per cent of households would be within range. BT said it would continue to invest in research. But cable suffers from its own limitations – only those who live in its franchise areas can subscribe. Telewest’s network can reach a maximum of 4.9m households and currently has 450,000 broadband customers. NTL has just over one million broadband subscribers and can reach about 7m homes. Both companies have struggled with debt recently and although their finances are now under control, there is scant prospect of either laying new cables to expand their networks in the near future. Nonetheless, NTL is bullish about its prospects. “We could even see pay-as-you-go broadband services next year, with no monthly charges,” said Bill Goodland, NTL’s director of internet services. Customers of both companies will be notified by email when their connection is upgraded.