Gavno, Firefox geek, Windows pirates

I'm getting more and more into mobile devices and computing - it's hard not to be impressed by designers packing 400MHz CPUs and 128MB of memory plus video capable colour screens into mobile phones even. Powerful personal tech!

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- Piece of Gavno

- Google assimilates Firefox geek … and more

- Avast, ye Windows pirates

- Piece of Gavno

I’m getting more and more into mobile devices and computing — it’s hard not to be impressed by designers packing 400MHz CPUs and 128MB of memory plus video capable colour screens into mobile phones even. Powerful personal tech!

Unfortunately, the handy gadgets have started to attract malware authors as well. This week, two destructive Trojan Horses appeared for the SymbianOS 7 with the Series 60 GUI. There’s no need to panic though, because the Gavno malware is not “in the wild” (widespread) yet, nor is it an actual virus that infects mobiles automagically — social engineering is required to activate the Trojan Horse (that is, “please run me, stupid, and let me wreck your phone”.)

However, Auckland mobile developer Simworks is probably correct to assume that Gavno is of Russian origin. The name of the Trojan Horse, sometimes transcribed as “guvno” in English as well, means … “poo”. Well, it’s a bit coarser than that, but this is a Family Fry-Up so I’ll leave it to your dirty imagination, dear reader.

Speaking of Rockin’ Russians, AV developer Kaspersky Labs reckons that mobile viruses can now infect the onboard computers in Toyota’s luxury Lexus cars. Kaspersky says the viruses spread via the navigation system that speaks to mobiles over Bluetooth. Now there’s a novelty we really, really did not need.

- Mobile malware kills Symbian service

- Lexus a nexus between cars and phone viruses?

- Google assimilates Firefox geek … and more

Fresh from making a dent in Microsoft’s browser market share, ex-JAFA Ben Goodger has gone to Google. He won’t tells us what he’ll do with the Google half of his time, but Goodger will be paid to continue work on Firefox for the other half. Sweet deal that. And people say Open Source doesn’t pay.

Hiring Goodger to presumably develop the “Gbrowser” is just one example of how the Google steamroller is gathering pace to take over the web. The recently-launched Google Video search isn’t terribly impressive yet, as it finds mostly dull US TV programmes, but rumours are swirling about Voice over IP and even a data network.

For many, the Google search engine is the interface which makes the internet usable. Therefore, for Google to refine and extend that interface is only logical. Soon the internet will be the GoogleNet.

- Google hires top Kiwi talent

- Firefox launches with a Kiwi boost

- Google Video search

- Analyst fuels talk of Google telephony service

- Avast, ye Windows pirates

Piracy puts proprietary software vendors in a sticky situation. Take Microsoft, for instance: the Redmondians quite understandably don’t want to provide support and updates for what is effectively stolen software. However, because pirated copies of Windows are running countless millions of computers everywhere, if security updates aren’t made available for these, all hell will break loose as crackers compete to hijack vulnerable systems.

Open Source doesn’t have that problem because it shifts the onus of responsibility onto the operators — and the control as well.

Microsoft has been wrestling for a while with the issue of how to scupper the pirates without creating a security nightmare that would ultimately hurt its reputation. Customers have been asked to voluntarily validate their Windows copies before downloading Microsoftware in trials, but it’s now becoming obligatory.

From the middle of this year, Windows 2000 and XP users must show that their operating system copies are pukka and not pirated. However, Microsoft won’t close Windows Automatic Updates for anyone, the idea being that this will keep even pirated copies of Windows secure, and thus prevent an Armageddon of zombie boxes attacking the rest of the internet.

Whether this will work remains to be seen. I think there’s a large chance of the validation scheme backfiring, unfortunately. How many software pirates are going to trust Microsoft not to trace them, and leave Automatic Updates turned on?

- Microsoft to require Windows piracy check

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