Nokia latest to offer iPhone rival

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Finnish phone maker Nokia launched its first touch-screen phone on Thursday, intending to one-up Apple’s iPhone on features and be competitively priced. Nokia has clearly taken a cue from Apple in its design of the 5800 Xpress Music phone, nicknamed “the Tube.” The device, due for release by year’s end, displays a contacts bar with images of frequently contacted friends. From those images, it’s simple to call or send them a text message – and also to follow what they’re writing on social-networking sites. The Tube will support Adobee Flash, something the iPhone can’t do yet. The suggested retail price for the 5800 is 279 euros or almost 400 dollars without subsidies or taxes

Skype’s president said Thursday he had no idea that the Tom-Skype software distributed to Skype users in China was logging chat messages and storing them on a publicly accessible server. Tom-Skype was developed by Chinese Internet service provider Tom Online. On Wednesday, Canadian researchers published a  report outlining how the software flagged text messages referring to politically sensitive topics such as the Falun Gong spiritual movement and stored them on the servers, along with details of voice calls placed to Tom-Skype users.

California has become the second state to pass a law making it illegal to steal data from RFID (radio frequency identification) cards. The law sets a maximum penalty of a 1500 dollar fine and up to a year in prison for someone convicted of surreptitiously reading information from an RFID card.

Internet infrastructure vendors are working on patches for a set of security flaws that could help hackers knock servers offline with very little effort. The security community has been buzzing about the bugs since Tuesday, when security researcher Robert Hansen discussed the problem on his blog. The security experts who discovered the problem, Robert Lee and Jack Louis of Outpost24 say that they can knock Windows, Linux, embedded systems and even firewalls offline with a denial of service attack.

Two European men have been indicted for allegedly orchestrating cyberattacks against two online sellers of satellite TV receivers, a continuation of the first successful U.S. investigation ever into distributed denial-of-service attacks, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. One of the men, Axel Gembe, 25, of Germany, is believed to be the programmer behind Agobot, a malicious software program used to create a botnet or network of compromised PCs.

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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