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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

L&T More Innovative Than Google And Apple

The Forbes list of the world's most innovative companies features India's Larsen & Toubro ahead of US-based Apple Inc. and Google. Four more Indian companies have made it to the top 50.

The innovation premium is a measure of how much investors have bid up the stock price of a company above the value of its existing business based on expectations of future innovative results (new products, services and markets). Members of the list must have $10 billion in market capitalisation, spend at least 2.5 percent of revenue on R&D and have seven years of public data.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

The US-based Salesforce.com with aninnovation premium of 73 percent tops the list as the world’s most innovative company. The founder and CEO Marc Benioff has taken pride in innovating from within. This year salesforce.com has spent $1 billion acquiring two firms: Radian6 and Buddy Media.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

Alexion Pharmaceuticals with an innovation premium of 72.3 percent is next. Its shares have outperformed Apple since 2007. Found in 1992, the company’s $440,000 drug: Soliris is turning it into biotech's innovation powerhouse. Soliris was launched to treat a rare cause of anemia. In 2012 that drug is expected to bring more than $1.1 billion in revenue.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

Amazon.com, arguably the world’s largest online retailer has an innovation premium of 58.3 percent. The company has more than 20 million products in stock, and thousands of startups depend on its cloud computing services. Amazon is also a technology company that produces consumer electronics such as the Kindle. It operates software- development centers on four continents.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

Ranking four on the list is US-based Red Hat with an innovation premium of 58.1 percent. Red Hat, the only publicly traded open source software company, passed $1 billion in revenue for the first time last year. Red Hat makes money by making enterprise supported versions of products that do well in open sourcing and helping big business personalize systems.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

China’s Baidu is next with an innovation premium of 57.6 percent. China’s largest search engine has surpassed the world’s largest search engine in terms on innovation. The company operates its own semantic search engine called “Box Computing.” Baidu formed a partnership with Agency for Science, Technology and Research to establish an R&D center in Singapore that focuses on developing South Asian language processing technology

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci surgical robots (seen here in the picture) allow a doctor to watch a live, high-resolution feed of a patient’s insides and operate through a one- to two-centimetre-wide incision. The company’s innovation premium is 54 percent. Around 2,300 of its machines are installed in hospitals worldwide.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

The world’s number 3 e-commerce firm, Rakuten, which owns a big stake in the social networking website Pinterest has aninnovation premium is 51.5 percent. Rakuten’s founder and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani (seen in this picture) reportedly has one aim and that is to beat Amazon. Rakuten has also employed 500 e-commerce consultants who dispense free advice on marketing, operations and hiring

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

Edwards Lifesciences that invented the artificial heart valve in 1960 has aninnovation premium of 46.9 percent. Valve replacements are now one of the most common cardiac surgeries in the US and the company) is a global player in products and technologies designed to treat advanced cardiovascular disease.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

Bringing India to the top 10 is Larsen & Toubro, which pushes aside companies like Apple and Google, with an innovation premium of 46.1 percent . L & T is India’s largest engineering firm that builds ships, railroads, highways and bridges and is all set to sell Toshiba’s plastics machinery business

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

UK-based ARM Holdings is next with aninnovation premium of 45.4 percent. The company designs the microprocessors in the majority of the world’s smartphones and tablets, and by 2015 may run a quarter of all notebook PCs.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

Four more companies from India have also made it to the top 50.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

At number 12 is Hindustan Unilever with aninnovation premium of 43.9 percent. India's consumer-products powerhouse Hindustan Unilever developed an innovative network-marketing approach to sell its goods via thousands of underprivileged rural women throughout 1,35,000-plus villages, thereby becoming one of the most-trusted brands in the nation.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

Infosys comes at number 19 with aninnovation premium of 43.9 percent. It offers consulting, software development and outsourcing services. The company’s research and innovation arm Infosys Labs will institute a co-creation lab to explore ways to solve critical maternal and child health challenges.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

Tata Consultancy Services stands at number 29 on the list with an innovation premium of 35.1 percent. It is India’s largest IT services firm added 40,000 employees in the past year and boasts a workforce that’s 32 percent women. In 2007, TCS launched its Co-Innovation Network, a network of TCS Innovation Labs, startup alliances, University Research Departments, and venture capitalists.

L&T more innovative than Google and Apple

The last Indian company on the list, Sun Pharmaceuticals is at number 38 with aninnovation premium of 32.7 percent. In April last year, US drugmaker Merck and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries have formed a joint venture to bring innovative formulations to emerging markets, including India

DDoS and SQL Attacks Lead the Chart

A recent report into hacker antics revealed that SQL injection remains a hot topic among the security experts. The result of the research, conducted by the insecurity experts,claimed that the issues discussed on hacker forums mostly focus on training and tutorials for information theft techniques like SQL injection.

Nevertheless, the report titled “Monitoring Hacker Forums” points out that no more than 5% of IT budgets include products aimed at mitigating attacks in the data center. Security experts claim that by examining what information the attackers share in the forums, they can understand where they focus their efforts. The main problem is that companies ignore SQL injection security at their peril while the hackers are focusing on their attacks. Today DDoS and SQL injection remain the most popular intrusion methods. One of them is used 19% of the time.

In the meanwhile, the survey on the security infrastructure worldwide shows that companies spent $25 billion on security software and network equipment last year, which is less than 5% of security budgets intended to products which mitigate SQL injection attacks. Today hackers also make attempts to push into social networking services: the report revealed that Facebook (at 39%) and Twitter (at 37%), were the most frequently discussed networking sites.

Security experts, when reviewing social network related online discussions, observed a black market for purchasing and selling illegal social network likes, followers, and endorsements. They paid particular attention to the origin of those likes and followers. It also turned out that most of the hacker forums were training newbies, with over 28% of the publications being related to hacker training, and 5% linking to hacking tutorials. 

Streaming Site’s Operator Fined with $13,000

In the wake of February’s takedowns of a few largest sport-streaming websites, American authorities apprehended Yonjo Quiroa, an individual alleged of operating a number of portals which provided links to unauthorized sports streams. Now, the suspected operator is demanded to pay $13,000 in damages to 5 major sports leagues.


This past February, the US Department of Justice, in cooperation with ICE, seized a number of domains that offered sport streaming services for people all over the world. In February, the authorities also caught a 28-year-old individual – Yonjo Quiroa of Comstock Park, Michigan – and accused him of operating 9 of those domains. Among those, there were such portals as hq-streams.tv, sportswwe.com and sports95.com. Despite the fact that none of them hosted any violating content, all the services contained links to 3rd-party services.

According to an ICE officer’s statement, such links led to illegal streams of NBA, NHL and WWE events. Furthermore, the authorities claim that within the previous 2 years, Yonjo Quiroa earned $13,000 through advertisements. In the meantime, the suspected person was kept in custody, without right to bail. 6 months after his arrest, Yonjo Quiroa pleaded guilty for copyright infringement.

In 9 months, District Court Judge ruled that the 28-year-old individual served his time and should be deported, but only after paying $25 in criminal penalties and $2,600 for each sport league participating in the trial. This was the first known case when a sports streaming portal operator got convicted in the United States, and will most likely set the path for other cases.

For instance, Brian McCarthy, the founder of the Channelsurfing.net (another sports streaming service), was arrested last March. Finally, Richard O’Dwyer may also share Quiroa’s fate for running TVShack.

FBI Hunting Hackers 24/7

The Federals announced that they were improving their hours to tackle the problem of online attacks. This was quite a surprise for many, because most American citizens assumed that catching hackers was something the authorities assigned the experience person to do. Moreover, nobody can understand how many hours FBI spent hunting hackers before.

According to press reports, the agency admitted it has been developing an initiative for the past year. FBI was going to identify and investigate Internet-based intrusion attacks and create a team of specially trained computer experts able to extract the hackers’ online signatures from the malicious code.

It seems that the FBI is going to bring in specialists from various critical infrastructures, including finance, business, and transportation. In addition, they have also hired experts to work at its Cyber Division’s Cyber Watch command. FBI investigators will send their findings to a centre operating 24/7, which will be looking for patterns in certain cases.

The Feds see this job as addressing hacker attacks by cooperating with their own Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence divisions. Moreover, information, dubbed the “National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force”, will be provided to other law enforcement agencies, like the National Security Agency, the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security for further investigation. According to Special Agent Richard McFeely, who is also an executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, the goal of the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force is to find “attribution piece” of an online intrusion.

In the meantime, the attribution piece is spook talk for someone conducting the attack or the exploitation and their motive. The authorities are intended to conduct all the necessary analysis in order to find out who is at the other end of the keyboard perpetrating the attacks. The industry observers believe the FBI doesn’t want to consider the idea of dealing with a full on terrorist attack, only to reveal a luckless British looking for aliens. However, the FBI claims that its aim is to ensure that the nation’s secrets don’t leak to adversaries, and the agency is ready to work 24/7 to do its job.

Mobile Access to the Web Will Soon Exceed PC

It was said that the number of people accessing the web via their mobile devices will exceed PC users by 2015 in the United States,followed by the Western Europe.


Analysts at IDC claimed that the number of people using the web through a personal computer in the United States will decrease from 240 million this year to 225 million in 3 years. In the meantime, the number of mobile users will grow from 174 million to 265 million over the same period. This trend is expected to be followed in other parts of the world – for instance, the Western Europe will face the same proportion a couple of years later.

With smartphones becoming increasingly widespread, the chances are that the situation will remain the same if not more so in emerging markets while the users switch from feature phones. At the same time, sales of personal computers are expected to stay lower. More and more often you can see the mobile phone icon next to your friends’ “online” status. The experts claim that at the same time the mobile advertising throughout the globe will increase from $6 billion last year to $28 billion in 3 years.

Anyway, this change will most likely have an impact on overall advertising revenues. The statistics shows that a lot of companies have struggled to get money from Internet advertising despite generating large revenues from PC use. One of the bright examples is Facebook, which has struggled to really effectively monetize online advertising, as you can see from its dropping share value. The predictions are that the 66% of the social network members visiting the service through a personal computer this year will drop to 52% in 2016.

Hurricane Sandy Saved Facebook Share Price

The storm appears to be good only for Facebook, as it saved the share price of data harvesting operation for a while. A lot of shares were predicted to end up in the market when Facebook employees were finally allowed to sell them off. Before, they couldn’t sell them and just had to watch as their value fell.


Although the sudden injection of shares would definitely make some people at Facebook very rich, it would also lead to the overall share price fall. Fortunately for the company, Facebook received a few days grace because of a rough hurricane hitting New York, closing Wall Street and a lamb laying down on Broadway.

Media reports say that employees at Facebook are expected to be tearing their hair and stamping on their rabbit. Actually, the staff has spent half of year by watching helplessly as the value of the company’s shares dropped.

In the meantime, both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were closed this Monday because of the hurricane – it turned out to be the exchanges’ first shutdown because of the weather in the last 27 years. Up to date, there are 234,000,000 shares of the social network’s stock owned by company staff, which were eligible for trading on Monday.

The largest social network throughout the globe had moved up the lock-up expiration date for employees by a few weeks in an attempt to bolster morale among Facebook staff who couldn’t sell shares even after other insiders and early investors have done that.

The company is gambling that the recent increase in the share price of 12% after good quarterly results would stop the share price from dropping that much. Facebook shares closed last Friday’s regular session at $21.94, but the experts continue to predict that they will be no more than $13 by the end of 2012.

Dotcom Warned by Authorities over Relaunching MegaUpload

Kim Dotcom has recently announced his plans to restart his file-sharing service. The US Department of Justice reacted quickly, claiming that if Kim furthers his plans he would violate the terms of his bail and face new criminal charges.

Of course, the news that Kim Dotcom is planning to introduce another alternative to the file-sharers didn’t make the entertainment industry and its legal guardians very happy. Department of Justice stated in a filing against Kim’s lawyers’ effort to dismiss the case against MegaUpload that Defense Counsel’s claim that the corporate defendant is able to and should be allowed to operate would undermine the sworn statements of MegaUpload’s founder that he doesn’t have any intention or ability to continue file-sharing operation or fund the businesses in the indictment during pendency of the extradition process.

The US pointed out that if Kim intentionally misled the New Zealand court about his plans and capabilities to get released from pre-extradition confinement, it might endanger his bail situation and subject him to additional criminal charges.

In the meantime, Kim’s announcement also came as a surprise for those who remember his statement about future business plans made this past January in New Zealand. He claimed that there was no realistic prospect or possibility to restart his file-sharing business because of the seizure of the requisite servers and data storage equipment, along with the seizure of all funds held both by the company and Dotcom personally. Kim added that it was likely that former MegaUpload users would consider any new iteration of the file-sharing service as unreliable, because it could again be subject to a further incident, with the American government taking action to shut it down and deprive users of having legitimate access to their content.

But now one of Dotcom’s lawyers stated that the US was simply attacking a technology before the full investigation, and not for the first time. They claim that Dotcom is innocent and entitled to be involved in both technology and business. It is quite interesting for many how this will eventually turn out and if Kim will manage to restart the same type of business that has already brought him both an empire and a heavy prosecution.

Indian Mobile Companies to Link with Interception Server

The country’s telecommunication department is ready to demand that all mobile phone companies link their networks up with RIM’s interception server by 2013.


Despite the request of the telecommunication groups to the Indian government for a 4-month extension before they had to comply, the terms remained the same and by the end of 2012 everyone has to be linked. The country’s government has also been leaning on the Blackberry maker to check if the interception system is working as they expected. They want to demonstrate its work via trials with Vodafone.

Local media reports that both the India’s Intelligence Bureau and the telecoms department were unhappy with a trial on Vodafone’s network which took place earlier in 2012. Despite the fact that the company originally resisted, RIM has to introduce the technologies to decrypt its Blackberry Messenger service (also known as BBM), along with Blackberry Internet Services. Moreover, it also has to be able to decrypt call data, server locations, and Blackberry Enterprise Services used for corporate e-mails.

There was an internal note leaked to the press. It was dated last week and saying that the company has to arrange for testing as soon as possible. In the meanwhile, new CEO Thorstein Heins has announced his company’s commitment to cooperating with the authorities, but this would only be for lawful interception. In other words, RIM is supposed to care about customer security at the first place. While the Indian authorities continue insisting that they will be able to decrypt RIM’s services, Thorstein Heins promised that people would still have a completely secure communication. Earlier in 2012 the company denied the rumors that it had handed the authorities the encryption keys to its networks.

Top Wall Street Analyst Fired for Facebook IPO

Wall Street analysts have always been considered faultless and allowed to stuff up the economy just to end up earning even more money for their troubles. However, now the failed Facebook IPO seems to be the reason for blaming and firing someone.

At the moment, Citigroup stock analyst Mark Mahaney is cleaning out his workplace in the wake of an investigation into the IPO. He was a famous and well-liked person in Wall Street, so a lot of industry experts were pretty shocked to learn this news. In fact, if someone like him could be accused of dodgy financial advice, then they all could be.

Mark Mahaney was one of the best financial analysts on Wall Street, but the bank had to do something. Aside from firing Mahaney, it also had to pay a $2,000,000 fine to Massachusetts regulators in order to settle charges that they improperly disclosed research on Facebook ahead of its IPO. Of course, it wasn’t Manahey himself, but he seems to have failed to supervise a junior analyst who improperly shared the research in question with the press. In addition, he allegedly failed to consult with his management before giving interview about Google, and later claimed that there wasn’t any interview.

All these accusations are quite strange, taking into account that Mark Mahaney was named the top online analyst for the 5th straight year because he never waffled about a company’s chances, though his peers did that a lot. Although his involvement in the Facebook IPO stuff-up was minor, his junior analyst turned out to get him into trouble by leaking data about what the Wall Street thinks about Facebook IPO. The leaked information contained an outline which was supposed to eventually become the company’s 30-page initiation report.

Facebook’s stock was priced at $38 in the IPO, but recently the company has traded as low as $17.55. Industry experts believe that the share price will settle somewhere at $13 when the stock becomes unlocked.

Mark Mahaney was one of the analysts at the banks underwriting Facebook’s IPO who had quite cautious views of this offering and called it overvalued. His colleagues complain that it’s darkly ironic that one of the signature regulatory actions from Facebook IPO managed to involve punishing financial analysts for disseminating cautious data about the company.

Video Games Outfit Warned by Hackers

Troubled computer games company named Zynga is currently even in more trouble because of the well-known hacking group Anonymous. Zynga has laid off its employees a week ago and closed several of its offices just before its quarterly earnings call.

According to press reports, the hacking collective is miffed by the company and has already published a video warning. Anonymous openly says it is going to attack Zynga and Facebook next Monday. The hackers claim that Zynga and Facebook will be targeted because of the outrageous treatment of their staff, as well as their actions against some of the developers.

Anonymous claimed that the actions of the computer games outfit will lead to a massive layoff of 1,000 people along with legal actions against those who speak to the public about the plan. The hackers point out that these moves will finally result in the end of the American game market, with the jobs being replaced in other countries. However, the fact that infuriated the Anonymous was that Zynga was supposed to have a billion dollars in the bank while laying off its people. The hackers mentioned that they have confidential papers and the group will release all the games taken from the company’s servers for free. However, they promise to stop the free distribution if the company abandons the plan.

The acquired documents say that the company’s strategy for the next two quarters was set to delivery by the end of November, which means the loss of 800 jobs and raising of new capital from the market in order to support businesses. The matter is that Zynga is going to completely outsource the game development to its Bangalore office in order to hedge the company’s position in the long term. Zynga is currently buying new products from the 3rd parties like Lovers in a Dangerous Space time, Shove Prod and Music Invaders, where the company is writing business contacts to purchase content for the transaction value of around $20 million. These deals are expected to be concluded in the nearest future and Zynga is going to compete with these titles against competitors in mobile.

After the papers were published online, Zynga claimed they were copyright violation, so they have been pulled from the web. Thus far, company representatives didn’t provide any comment.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Apple iPhone 5 Hit Stores In India

The much awaited iPhone 5 has finally hit stores in India. Apple India partner announced that the iPhone 5 will sell at Rs 45500 (16 GB), Rs 52500 (32 GB) and Rs 59500 (64 GB).  The latest iPhone comes as Apple tries to fend off competition that has reached fever-pitch. Google Inc's Android has become the most-used mobile operating system in the world, while key supplier and rival Samsung Electronics has taken the lead in smartphone sales. Here's a look at what makes the new iPhone different from its predecessor

The iPhone5 sports a larger four-inch retina display screen that is 18 per cent thinner and 20 per cent lighter than its predecessor.

The roomier screen of the iPhone 5, which has 40 per cent more colour saturation, can be used by apps makers to provide most accurate display in the industry.

The iPhone 5 comes with Apple's newest 'A6' processor, which executives said runs twice as fast as the previous generation. It will pack three microphones -- enhancing built-in voice assistant Siri -- and an 8 megapixel camera that can take panoramic views

The iPhone 5 has chips that support additional bands and frequencies and it's capable of delivering up to 100 Mbps per second

The iPhone 5 is getting a new connector to attach to computers and chargers. It had been using the same one from the iPod. That means the new iPhone won't be compatible with old accessories, though Schiller said accessory makers were already working to update their products. Apple will sell an adapter to work with older accessories

One popular enhancement was improved battery endurance -- the iPhone 5 can support eight hours of 4G Web browsing

With the iPhone, it is shipping new 'EarPods' audiophones, designed after digitally scanning hundreds of ears

Apple is releasing a new version of its phone software, iOS 6. It will have a new mapping software, as Apple ditches the one from Google it had been using. The new software will have turn-by-turn voice navigation ' a feature Google had limited to Android versions of its mapping app

Upgrades to the software include voice navigation for driving, a feature already available on many Android smartphones, as well as 'Passbook' for storing electronic boarding passes, sports tickets and gift cards.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

BitTorrent Community Beware of CCI Hunt

By the end of 2012, the Centre for Copyright Information is planning to begin tracking down people downloading copyrighted content through BitTorrent networks. Beware of CCI, everyone!


Everyone understands that a lot of Internet users, both Americans and foreigners, prefer to download their favourite films, songs and games through BitTorrent networks. Few people are ready to give up their habits, but the chances are that the CCI will come for all of them.

The reason for so many “unauthorized” downloads to take place is that not all content is available to purchase – for example, “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” is almost impossible to find, because the show used some copyrighted music. Still, it doesn’t seem to concern the industries at all. The matter is that when the entertainment industry failed to have their way with SOPA and ACTA, they came up with another plan called CCI.

The Centre for Copyright Information has partnered with the largest Internet service providers in the country, including AT&T, Comcast, TWC and Verizon. Its purpose is to catch pirates using a system called the Copyright Alert System. The company responsible for implementing this system is MarkMonitor. Basically, its work job is to track all network traffic through ISPs, because copyright violation is claimed to result in over 373,000 jobs, $16 billion in lost wages, and $2.6 billion in lost taxes. The critics offer to compare these losses with the money spent on a petrol war or take into account that the independent expert that has been recently appointed to review all the gathered information appeared to be the RIAA’s former lobbyist.

Another problem announced by the industry observers is the so-called copyright protectors. Those are supposed to do whatever they can to defend content owners, but in fact, they only care about money. Indeed, it is very unlikely that if an independent artist comes to ask for help he will ever get it. Another interesting fact is that the industry took down 1,450,000 WordPress portals for some period of time only because of the one publisher who accused one portal of coming into conflict with the DMCA. It if continues this way, then the CCI will be doing nothing except claiming for money from the alleged pirates.

In-Car Wi-Fi Predicted to Boom Soon

According to the industry experts, in-car Wi-Fi has to boom with the automotive industry getting to grip with the popularity of various mobile devices. In fact, car manufacturers have been equipping the vehicles with cutting edge technology for a while now, with more and more microchips emerging in cars. The recent research suggests that the number of chips sold to the automotive industry will grow at a much faster pace than the rest of the industry, and the entire market will reach $28 billion in 3 years. Taking into account that Google lives out its sci-fi fantasies of the driverless cars, the ordinary car is expected to differ very much over the coming decades.

Besides, the researchers are predicting that the introduction of Wi-Fi will force the integration of tablets or smartphones with onboard systems, and it will become a norm in the next few years.

Thus far, not many manufacturers have been interested in-car Wi-Fi – for example, Audi has included Wi-Fi either as a feature or an optional extra. But the situation is changing rapidly – for instance, the experts forecast the eightfold increase of the market for in-car Wi-Fi over the next 7 years throughout America and Europe.

Although Bluetooth has been widely used by car manufacturers, it seems to fail to deliver the speeds possible with Wi-Fi, which can be able to fill in the gap and become a standard in the nearest future.

By equipping the cars with Wi-Fi, the manufacturers will allow drivers and passengers to share content from Internet enabled devices and create in-car hotspots. Those can be used to enable camera modules or wireless screen duplication. Maybe, there will be wireless car diagnostics or wireless software upgrade for the cars as well.

The researchers admit that Wi-Fi uptake will most likely be growing rapidly, especially with such advances as Wi-Fi Direct and Miracast. The report they issued after conducting a research says that the uptake of Wi-Fi in vehicles is going to be really aggressive. They also point at the promising Wi-Fi Alliance recent announcement about Wi-Fi Miracast. In the meantime, some industry players see this move being used in conjunction with MirrorLink for wireless screen duplication. In short words, the future for in-car Wi-Fi is more than promising.

Copyright Independent Expert Lobbied for Music Industry

The Center for Copyright Information was recently created by the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America. The outfits agreed that all the collected data should be checked by an independent 3rd party. However, it turned out that the “independent expert” they chose was RIAA’s ex-lobbying group, which made no sense to regard it as an impartial analysis.

The content industry promised op all file-sharers that soon all of American Internet traffic will be monitored, according to the treaty signed between the content owners and ISPs. In addition, the industry also decided to hire an independent expert to evaluate the accuracy and security of the gathered information, in frames of the rules of the Memorandum of Understanding.

As such, the CCI retained a well-known technology expert, Stroz Friedberg, to assess the system used by MarkMonitor to identify suspected copyright theft in BitTorrent networks. An initial review is already completed, claiming that the system is accurate and works properly. The only problem is that everyone failed to mention that Stroz Friedberg used to work with the music industry for around 5 years, when it used to lobby for it in Washington. In addition, the person handling the lobbying was Beryl Howell, who is currently a federal judge involved in mass BitTorrent lawsuits and claiming that the Internet service providers fail to do their best to defend the rights of content owners.

Although no-one argues that Stroz Friedberg is a recognized technical expert, the Memorandum of Understanding specifies that the 3rd party company must be really independent and impartial. As we can see from the CCI’s choice, the copyright holders are more interested in choosing someone they trust rather than someone the public can trust. But this is not surprising for the industry observers – the content industry has always been known for protecting their own interests first of all. Although it remains to be seen how the general public will use this data, the web is already full of the opinions saying that the CCI is blatantly rotten to the core and obviously can’t be trusted by neither the general public nor politicians. Not a very good start for the outfit, you know.

Assange Has Health Problems

Ecuador is worried about Julian Assange’s health, because the latter apparently is noticed losing weight and experiencing some vision problems. The WikiLeaks founder is currently hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in the attempt to avoid being deported to Sweden in order to be questioned of sexual abuse. Julian Assange believes that he is too important to the world to just go and deal with the accusations that were invented by the federal authorities with the only purpose to get him extradited to the United States.

Now it turns out that living in the Ecuadorian embassy is bad for his health. In result, the Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, had to request a meeting with his UK counterpart – William Hague. Ecuador had to ask the UK government for written assurances that Julian, who has been granted asylum by Quito, wouldn’t be arrested if he has to go to the hospital. However, the experts don’t see a reason why the British government would have to give such assurance to someone who isn’t its citizen and who has played the justice system for over a year now.

Moreover, given his previous behavior, the chances are that Julian Assange might simply sneak off to an airport instead of a hospital and escape to Ecuador. Then, after he arrives to a safe land, he might give a snarky press conference telling how he has defeated a plot of the federal authorities to keep him locked up in an embassy. Indeed, weight loss and eye sight problems can be very easily faked – all you have to do is eat less for a couple months and walk into a wall sometimes. Assange has also complained that he has a bit of a cough as well. By the way, he might also be losing weight because he works out using a running machine now, and also boxing and working out every other day with his personal trainer.

The Foreign Minister claimed he hoped that the UK government would pay some respect to human rights and international legislation. In the meantime, Ecuador’s deputy Foreign Minister confirmed that if WikiLeaks founder gets seriously ill, the government will have to either treat him at the embassy or hospitalize.

However, this is all news to the UK Foreign Office which had never got a request or heard that Julian Assange was under the weather. But they assured the press that they would certainly consider the issue. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

United Nations Urge Online Anti-Terrorism Strategy

A recent report conducted by United Nations is urging governments to discuss and implement surveillance regulations in order to prevent terrorists communicating online.


The United Nations claimed that although everyone recognizes the threat posed by terrorists use of the web, there is still no strategy to address this problem. It is said that the web can be used in many ways to support terrorism, for example to post propaganda, to train, to finance, and to plan. The United Nations even mentioned the platforms used by terrorists to arrange the acts, among which there were Facebook and YouTube.

In the meantime, the Internet should help fight terrorism rather than support it – for instance, to collect intelligence to prevent acts of terrorism, or to build a case for their prosecution. The UN report also acknowledges that too stringent anti-terrorism measures can cause problems with privacy and human rights, like tighter controls on Internet service providers to restrict access to content.

The UN suggests that member states should agree over retention of information by broadband provider, while policies vary across the world. The suggested strategy can involve developing a universal regulatory framework for regulations on all broadband providers.

At the same time, the report calls for greater use of surveillance in order to gather more data about the suspects and recommends for the governments to create clearer guidance on how private sectors ISPs help undertake electronic monitoring and surveillance on public communications.

The privacy and civil liberties campaign outfits agree that the web is a global entity, and such must be the action to address terrorism. Nevertheless, the report of the United Nations conflicts with the approach the UK’s Home Office currently employs. The privacy groups point out that preserving the data once someone is alleged of being involved in crime is a more proportionate measure than retaining data on everyone in the web just in case. In addition, the UN report recognized the role of judicial authorizations which lack from the UK’s policy at all.

The industry experts believe that this report is just a part of a complex debate, and while China is sitting on the security council of the United Nations, it can hardly have balanced civil liberties on the web.

Java Bug Fixed in 30 Minutes

One of the security experts is blaming Oracle for inactivity for Java’s problems. Adam Gowdiak, a security specialist, was angry that the company has been doing nothing to develop fixes for some important software vulnerabilities. For example, one of the flaws, dubbed Issue 50, is only scheduled to be fixed next February.


Adam Gowdiak claimed that the software developer was doing wrong thing by stupidly sticking to a quarterly patch release cycle which wasn’t even understandable. The security expert wrote in Full Disclosure that the response of the software giant was that its Critical Patch Updates usually pass an extensive integration testing with a number of other products like Weblogic Server, JRockit, and E-Business Suite, which takes time, of course. For example, if it fixed the bug in question (Issue 50), this would delay almost 140 fixes for the apps integrating Java SE.

Nevertheless, Adam Gowdiak proved that it wouldn’t take 4 months to fix the bug. The security expert decided to conduct a small bug fix experiment in order to see how hard it will be to fix Issue 50 and how long it will take him. It turned out that he only needed 30 minutes to write the code which would fix the vulnerability. Actually, the code had only 25 characters to be changed and, apparently, the fix didn’t even require to be tested for integration with other Oracle software. The matter is that the code logic suffered no changes, but only minor changes were made to the code itself.

Gowdiak hopes that his quick experiment will challenge Oracle and will result in the verification of the company’s stance, in particular the one relying on a need for 4 months to implement.

Facebook Profits from Mobile Adverts

Wall Street was shocked when Facebook made an outstanding amount of money from its mobile advertising. The social network confirmed that its mobile advertising revenue increased several times within the 3rd quarter. Facebook share values grew 13% following the news.


According to the statistics, Facebook has 14% of its advertising revenue coming from mobile advertisement. Hopefully, these figures will be able to reassure the potential and current investors that Facebook is starting to realize how to make money off smartphone and tablet users.

Nevertheless, the actual cash still remains quite small. As for the mobile advertisement revenues, they totaled to around $150 million, up from an estimated $40 million to $50 million in the 2nd quarter and almost nothing in the first. In other words, it is quite good, but nothing outstanding.

Media reports claim that the statistics disproves the most bearish opinion that the social network wasn’t able to profit from smartphones or tablets. However, it is still unclear if this is really the case. Despite the fact that Facebook already managed to generate impressive profit from their mobile apps, it will still take a lot of time to have mobile advertisement command the same rates as the traditional one.

Many financial experts still argue that Facebook isn’t worth anything when it comes to marketing. However, mobile ads have always been among the key investor concerns about the social networking giant which led to losing over $40 billion off its market value since its IPO 6 months ago. It adds to the fact that Facebook was hugely over valued – even taking the recent gains into account, you could still pick up a Facebook share for less than $22.

Still, the company’s other figures also look promising. For example, advertising revenue grew 36% to $1.09 billion, which is 8% more than in the 2nd quarter. However, the proceeds from Facebook payments and other businesses gained only 13% to reach $176 million.

In other words, the statistics are already better than the experts predicted, but the social network’s share price is still hugely overvalued. This is why it could fall further when shareholders get the permission to sell their shares one day later this year. The most popular estimation of a share price remains $13 to $14 a share.

Android Apps Open System to Malware

According to the researchers from Germany’s Leibniz University of Hannover and Philips University of Marburg, Android apps which the security experts failed to properly test are now opening the OS up to malware. They have found out that over 40 apps in Google’s Play Market leak personal details while travelling between handsets that run Android and webservers for banks and other online services.

When you connect Android devices to a local area network which used a wide range of well-known exploits, some of which are found on the Internet, it is very easy to defeat the security protocols used by the above mentioned applications. All of them are quite popular and have been downloaded from up to 185 million times, which means that there is an outstanding number of vulnerable Android devices out there.

According to the researchers, they managed to collect bank account data, payment credentials for PayPal, American Express and so on. In addition, Facebook, email and cloud storage credentials and messages also easily leaked. Moreover, it took almost no time to access the IP cameras! Another reason for the devices to become vulnerable is the fragility of both the SSL and TLS protocols which built the basis for encryption between websites and users.

Although the technology itself is quite secure, its protection is undermined when certificate authorities fail to secure their infrastructure. In frames of the experiment, the researchers downloaded 13,500 free applications from Google Play in order to find out whether their SSL implementations were vulnerable to the exploits. In result, it turned out that 8% of the sample (more than one thousand applications) contained SSL code and therefore were potentially vulnerable to the attacks. Out of those apps, a hundred was picked by the researchers to crack. 41% of them appeared really vulnerable.

Surprisingly enough, the researchers didn’t compare the results with Apple apps. Instead, the researchers admitted that it was due to the openness of the Google platform that they could perform static analysis of vulnerability, while it’s hard to do the same for Apple software. Anyway, it might appear that the vulnerability to applications is universal for the pocket devices in general. In this case, the companies would have to prohibit do-it-yourself policies on that basis.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top 10 Hardware Companies By Revenue

A Booz & Company report assessed how well Information Communication Technology (ICT) providers are doing under various categories. Here’s a look at the top hardware and infrastructure companies by revenue that are striving to build more differentiated businesses, while retaining their core.

Source: The Global ICT 50, The Supply Side of Digitization/Booz & Company

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

Hewlett-Packard, a company founded in a garage in Palo Alto by William Hewlett and Dave Packard tops the list, with a revenue of$127.2 billion. Its major product lines include personal computing devices, enterprise, and industry standard servers, related storage devices, networking products, software and a diverse range of printers, and other imaging products.

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

Apple, best-known for its hardware products such as the Mac line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad comes next with a revenue of $108.2 billion. It is the world's third-largest mobile phone maker after Samsung and Nokia.

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

Samsung with a revenue of $99.8 billion is a South Korean company and the group has numerous subsidiaries and businesses. The company also produces around a fifth of South Korea's total exports and has a powerful influence on South Korea's economic development, politics, media and culture

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

Dell is another American multinational company which features in this list with a revenue of $61.5 billion. The company develops, sells and supports computers and related products and services and is the third largest PC vendor in the world after HP and Lenovo.

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

Fujitsu, a Japanese multinational information technology equipment and services company headquartered in Tokyo, has a revenue of$55.5 billion. The company mainly makes computing products, but its subsidiaries also offer a diversity of products and services in the areas of personal computing, telecommunications and advanced microelectronics.

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

Cisco Systems designs, manufactures, and sells networking equipment and its current portfolio of products and services is focused upon three market segments – Enterprise and Service Provider, Small Business and the Home. Its revenue is $43.2 billion.

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

NEC, which was known as the Nippon Electric Company, Limited rebranded itself in 1983. It is a Japanese multinational provider of IT services and products, with its headquarters in Minato, Tokyo. It also sells semiconductors and has a revenue of $38.2 billion.

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

Sweden’s Ericsson is a provider of telecommunications equipment and data communication systems, and related services, covering a range of technologies, especially mobile networks. Ericsson was also the inventor of Bluetooth. It has a revenue of$30.4 billion.

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

Xerox, which is commonly used to substitute as a synonym for photocopy has a revenue of$21.6 billion. It sells a range of color and black-and-white printers, multifunction systems, photo copiers, digital production printing presses, and related consulting services and supplies.

Top 10 hardware companies by revenue

A global telecommunications equipment corporation, Alcatel-Lucent is the last on the list with a revenue of $21.4 billion. It provides telecommunications solutions to service providers, enterprises, and governments around the world, enabling these customers to deliver voice, data, and video services

Another BitTorrent Mass Lawsuit Rejected

Around 1,000 subpoenas within a mass BitTorrent lawsuit have been rejected by the American District Judge Faith S. Hochberg. The case involved a lot of Internet users who were accused of illegal downloading of the latest album Dark Adrenaline by Italian metal band Lacuna Coil.

A few months ago, the label named Nuclear Blast Records, which signed metal band All Shall Perish, was trying to pursue eighty BitTorrent users alleged of having downloaded the latest album of All Shall Perish through BitTorrent websites. Today a similar lawsuit is filed by Century Media Records – the record label of Italian Lacuna Coil.

Faith S. Hochberg, the judge ruling in the lawsuit, decided that the lawsuit wrongly joined too many defendants together. As such, he has voided all of their claims, except one, saying that there must be some kind of a connection between the defendants aside from the shared content and method of distribution. In other words, the judge thinks that the defendants must be simultaneously involved in the same transaction with the same downloader.

The lawsuit in question had been launched by a New Jersey attorney representing Century Media Records. Like in most of the largest file-sharing cases, the attorney chose to hire a law firm which specialized in tracking the IP addresses alleged of being involved in illegal distribution of the content. Then, they would have subpoenas issued for each respective IP address in order to force ISPs to find their subscribers and threaten them with an enormous copyright trial. This is how people are usually forced to settle the case and agree to pay a few thousand dollars to get rid of the problem. However, users who are ready to fight back can hire a lawyer and give it a try.

UK Music Outfit Blacklisted BitTorrent Portals

The British Phonographic Industry is trying to force major British Internet service providers prevent their subscribers from accessing a number of BitTorrent portals, including Kickass Torrents, Fenopy, and H33t.


The list of broadband providers which have received letters with such a request includes TalkTalk, BT, Sky, Virgin Media, and O2 – basically, all major Internet providers of the country. All of them have agreed to enforce this new anti-piracy measure, but only when a new court order is passed.

The Executive Director for the Open Rights Group, Jim Killock, has claimed that going against unauthorized file-sharing like this is not the most efficient and beneficial strategy to fight piracy. Killock added that such blocking orders are usually indefinite and open ended, which often results in blocking legitimate portals as well. Both the British Phonographic Industry and the courts are recommended to slow down and reconsider the methods of fighting piracy. At least, this approach must be used very carefully, because in this case censorship is not the best idea. It will only lead to more censorship instead of solving the problem it is supposed to address.

The Open Rights Group also stressed that the flourishing of the digital music industry is ensured by its efforts towards innovation, which is definitely more effective approach than copyright lawsuits or blocking measures.

In the meantime, the results of the study conducted by the IFPI (the outfit that represents the world recording industry) have made digital piracy look less awful than it had long been portrayed by the music industry. It revealed that digital album sales in the United Kingdom have actually increased by 27% in 2011.

Amazon Stealing Cash from UK Citizens

Online seller Amazon has been making profits from its UK customers by making them pay 20% VAT on electronic book sales, while the seller has to pay only 3% VAT. The difference is simply pocketed by Amazon.


Newspapers claim that the Luxembourg-based bookseller is making money from a European tax anomaly, trousering the difference between what it forces customers to pay and what it really pays itself.

Although the publishers know about this, they are too afraid of doing anything, because the service might stop selling their products. Entities like Amazon are supposed to collect the VAT levy from their consumers before passing it on to the government. In our case, Amazon only has to pass 3% from ebook sales to Luxembourg government, but if it was based in the United Kingdom it would have to pass 20%.

The online book seller is starting negotiations with its publishers on the basis that the British VAT rate of 20% must be knocked off the cost price, which gives it profit of 13.8% from ebook price in the rip-off UK. The company is negotiating further discounts on top of the VAT subsidy. However, these might result in publishers receiving less than 10% of what the online customer actually paid.

Of course, the publishers are not happy about that. One of the senior publishing executives admitted that the online service was not nice to deal with. The matter is that Amazon could easily shut down the buy button on their portal on titles of any publisher who would step out of line.

Actually, in one case the company went as far as to seek a deal which would have resulted in a 92% discount. The addressed publisher refused the terms, because they would have received only 80p on an ebook selling for £10 on the seller’s British website. Of those 80p, the author would have received only 3p per each sold copy at that rate. In the meantime, Amazon bars the publisher from offering a more profitable deal to another retailer if they don’t provide the same discount to Amazon.

According to Security and Exchange Commission, the statistics say that within the past 3 years, the online retailer has generated sales of over £7.6 billion in the United Kingdom, but didn’t attract any corporation tax on these profits. This, as you can understand, is just another source of profit for the company.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Windows 7 Becoming More Infected

According to official Microsoft statistics, Windows 7’s malware infection rate has increased by no less than 182% in 2012, but the operating system is still recognized to be 3 times safer than its predecessor Windows XP. 


Although the figure of 182% is obviously staggering, it is still 3 times better than that of XP, which is blamed to be as insecure as letting the Anonymous hacker group look after a Greek government portal dedicated to the visit of Germany’s Angela Merkel.

According to the company’s 6 most recent monthly security reports, in the 2nd quarter of this year, Windows 7 was between 33% and 182% more likely to be infected by viruses compared to the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1). The latter, shipped in February 2011, saw the following infection increases: 172% for x86, 182% for x64.

Microsoft insecurity specialists explained that the reason for such a considerable increase was a boost in successful hacker attacks. In addition, the statistics says that the Internet users tend to become less savvy and therefore their machines are more vulnerable to malware infection. In the meantime, when a new version of operating system enters the market, it is normally technology enthusiasts who purchase it. Only a few months later the software is bought by those users who can eagerly click on any link promising a free green card.

Media reports also suggest that this increase in malware infection rate is also due to the fact that Windows 7 is more popular than other operating systems. Indeed, this piece of Microsoft software was the first to be adopted by both corporations and individual users, with its usage being reported to grow 45%.