Briefs: Intel Plans Biometric Security for Laptops

SAN MATEO (05/12/2000) - Intel Corp. will begin supplying computer makers with specifications for its Protected Access Architecture. The security system requires users to identify themselves through a biometric device such as a fingerprint scanner before the operating system is loaded. Unlike most current laptop security features, the Intel system will not even boot the OS until user validation has been completed, making the unbooted system "as valuable as a brick," according to Intel.

White House favors H1-B visa hike

The White House last week came out in favor of a plan to boost the number of skilled technical workers qualifying for specialized H1-B visas to 200,000 annually for three years. Trade groups such as Washington-based Information Technology Association of America endorsed the move, claiming the United States is short 1.6 million IT workers.

Microsoft to hold next-gen Windows forumAfter months of delay, Microsoft Corp. last week announced that it would hold Forum 2000, where it will detail Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS), on June 1 at its campus in Redmond, Washington. NGWS will be Microsoft's move to keep its Windows operating system relevant in a high-tech world that is increasingly moving away from desktop computing in favor of alternatives such as wireless devices. Microsoft officials have been stingy with the details of NGWS, which will aim to bring the software giant to a services-based model that blends Windows seamlessly with the Internet.

Active X flaw leaves users vulnerable

Last week, the System Administration, Networking, and Security (SANS) Institute revealed that a faulty Active X control leaves computers running Internet Explorer 5 or Microsoft Office 2000 vulnerable to e-mail viruses that can spread without opening the infected attachments. IE default security settings let users spread viruses by viewing infected e-mail, even if someone does not actually use the browser. The security hole can be fixed in about 5 minutes, according to the SANS Institute bulletin, by using Microsoft security tools found at www.microsoft.com/security/bulletins/ms99-032.asp or by running correction script from www.microsoft.com/msdownload/iebuild/scriptlet/en/scriptlet.htm.

Disney questions AOL-Time Warner merger

Walt Disney Co. confirmed that it asked the Federal Communications Commission in a filing last week to consider making conditions to the proposed America Online Inc. - Time Warner Inc. merger to protect other content providers' access to consumers. According to a Disney representative, the filing requests that the FCC focus on the potential dangers of having such a large gatekeeping organization as AOL coupled with media powerhouse Time Warner. Disney wants the FCC to ensure that other content providers can reach the public.

Cisco buying optical vendor

Cisco Systems Inc. said last week it plans to acquire Qeyton Systems, based in Stockholm, in a stock deal worth about $800 million. Qeyton makes DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) technology for use in MANs (metropolitan area networks). The technology links carrier POPs (points of presence) and customer sites with an optical ring, which will let Cisco give service providers increased capacity without adding or leasing new fiber in the metropolitan areas.

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More about America OnlineAOLCiscoFCCFederal Communications CommissionIntelMicrosoftQeyton SystemsSANS InstituteThe SANS InstituteTime WarnerVisaWalt Disney

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