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Brits fall prety to Twitter phishing attack

The latest phishing attack on Twitter users swept the U.K. Thursday night, claiming several prominent users. The result was evident on Friday morning when users woke up to find messages on compromised accounts boasting about sexual performance,  followed by a link to a Web site selling sexual-performance drugs. Although the number of people affected is difficult to determine, it made top news on the country’s TV networks and news sites perhaps in part because of those affected. They include at least one member of Parliament, Ed Miliband, a British Cabinet member, and several prominent journalists. While some of the accounts are believed to have been hacked by software programs looking for weak passwords, at least some were through Twitter direct messages that tried to entice users to click through to see a message from a young, attractive woman. Upon clicking the link users were taken to a look-a-like Twitter log-in page where they were asked to enter their username and password.

Intel finds Windows 7 migration challenging

Intel faces challenges in migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7, including application incompatibility and system readiness, the company said on Wednesday. Intel worked with Microsoft to develop Windows 7 into a stable operating system, but there is still a lot of heavy lifting involved before migrating PCs to the new OS inside Intel’s environment, wrote Intel staff engineer Roy Ubry in a  blog entry.. Challenges include issues related to backward application compatibility, Web browser support, 64-bit computing and privacy controls.

“It means that a significant amount of work needs to be invested to prepare for Windows 7 application readiness,” Ubry wrote. Intel last year announced it would migrate from the nine-year-old Windows XP OS to Windows 7 OS, skipping Vista,  which was released in 2007. As much of a challenge as it is, the move to 64-bit computing is necessary and timely, Ubry wrote. It prepares Intel for future computing needs and takes advantage of the higher memory capability of systems available on the market today.

Google gives peek into search ranking system

Google has offered a general explanation of how it ranks its search results, one day after the European Commission said it was looking into antitrust complaints against the company.

In a blog post Thursday, Google Fellow Amit Singhal also referred to a recent New York Times Op Ed piece suggesting that regulators should control how search engines rank results. He stressed that developing search rankings is very difficult, implying perhaps that regulating search would be hard for any government to do well. Laying out the challenge, Singhal said Google processes hundreds of millions of queries a day, with at least 20 percent of them totally new. To handle the volume and variety of queries, the company uses a collection of algorithms to sift through data. There is nothing in the post that Google has not revealed before, but the company said news of the Commission’s investigation had prompted “lots of questions” about how Google’s ranking works. On Wednesday, the Commission confirmed it was looking into three complaints against Google in the preliminary stages of an antitrust investigation.

Phone hacker guilty of crashing Comcast Web site

A member of a telephone hacking group known as Kryogeniks has pleaded guilty to taking Comcast’s Web site offline in May 2008. Christopher Allen Lewis pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to intentionally damage a protected computer system, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. That charge could lead to a five-year prison sentence and a US$250,000 fine. Lewis, who used the hacker name EBK, is one of three men charged with a hacking incident that disrupted Comcast’s Web page for two days. He was charged in November, along with alleged co-conspirators James Robert Black and Michael Paul Nebel. Nebel pleaded not guilty. However, Black agreed to plead guilty in the case, something that could happen as soon as next week, according to his attorney, Zenon Olbertz.  The incident cost Comcast about $128,000 and prompted an “intensive” U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation probe, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

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