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Apple is working to fix an iPhone vulnerability that could allow an attacker to remotely install and run unsigned software code with root access to the phone.

The attack in question exploits a weakness in the way iPhones handle text messages received via SMS, according to security researcher Charlie Miller.

He didn’t provide a detailed description of the SMS vulnerability, citing an agreement with Apple, but said it allows an attacker to run code on the phone sent by SMS over a mobile operator’s network.

A digital rights group is contesting a U.S. music industry association’s assertion that royalties are due each time a mobile phone ringtone is played in public.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers filed suit against AT&T asserting that musical ringtones triggered by the arrival of a phone call qualify as a public performance under the Copyright Act.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation however, asserts that copyright law exempts performances made without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage, a category which would include a ringtone heard in a restaurant. Operators such as AT&T and others that sell ringtones already pay royalties to songwriters for use of their material.

Mozilla will patch the just-released Firefox 3.5 in the next few weeks to stamp out several bugs that went unfixed in the final version of the browser, the company said Tuesday. Firefox 3.5.1, which Mozilla intends to deliver in mid-to-late July, will include fixes for at least three bugs and frequently-reported crashes.

One of the crashes scheduled for a fix involves TraceMonkey, the new, faster JavaScript engine that debuted in Firefox 3.5. The quick patch is not unusual for Mozilla. The company did the same thing last year, when it issued Firefox 3.0.1 four weeks after shipping Firefox 3.0

China has not lifted its requirement that an Internet filtering program be shipped with all computers sold in the country, even though the plan was postponed this week, state media said Thursday.

It is just “a matter of time” before the mandate for PC makers to ship the program takes effect, the website of the official newspaper China Daily cited an unnamed official as saying Thursday. The software is designed to stop children viewing pornography on the Web, but also blocks a number of other sites deemed unsuitable by the government.

And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Peter Sayer in Paris. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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