Stories by Elinor Abreu

A fly in PGP's ointment?

A Czech company is hoping to make a big splash at the world's largest trade show this week by publicizing an alleged vulnerability in PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), encryption software used by millions of people around the world to keep their communications private. The chances of a breach that takes advantage of the vulnerability, however, are low enough to turn the company's splash into a splatter.

Field of dreams

On a 150-acre patch of land on the edge of San Jose, California, there's little more than dandelions, wild mustard and a cluster of greenhouses. It's a strong reminder of the area's agricultural past. But a different kind of farm is a year away: a massive server farm where a complex of buildings humming with networking equipment and powered by a dedicated energy plant will spread across the property in an experiment of grand proportions.

Napster ruling clouds P2P forum

Monday's appeals court ruling against Napster Inc. cast a shadow over the O'Reilly Peer-to-Peer conference that kicked off Wednesday in San Francisco. While other so-called p-to-p networks are likely to see increased usage with Napster's demise, the ongoing Napster legal battle also could end up setting a precedent that would put alternative file-swapping networks on alert.

IBM Cries Crypto Wolf, Experts Say

IBM Corp. (IBM) is announcing a new algorithm on Thursday that it says will double the speed at which online communications are encrypted. But several crypto experts say that IBM is fixing something that isn't broken and that Big Blue has a history of tooting its horn needlessly.

Kevin Mitnick Bares All

Kevin Mitnick once made a hobby out of breaking into computer systems, causing many network administrators -- not to mention the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) -- a lot of grief in the process. He spoke to the public Wednesday for the first time since being released from prison in January, telling a group of corporate managers in the computer-security field how to keep hackers like him out of their networks.

E-Trade Says It Has Fixed Password Security Hole

E-Trade has released a more secure version of the software it uses to store passwords after learning that it had been leaving accounts at the online brokerage vulnerable to access by outsiders.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Chat Online

Security researchers have discovered what they believe is the first distributed denial-of-service tool that uses Internet relay chat, a real-time chat system, to direct hits on target computers.

Pretty Good Privacy Not Good Enough

A German researcher has discovered a major security flaw in the latest versions of the PGP free e-mail encryption software that could allow someone to read another person's encrypted e-mail if he or she was able to intercept it.

Critical Path Working on Critical Patch

E-mail hosting provider Critical Path Inc. (CPTH) is working on a patch for a security hole discovered last month that could be used by a malicious Web site to take over customer e-mail accounts, read and delete e-mail, and impersonate a computer user via his or her e-mail.

Man Arrested in Online Extortion Case

A 39-year-old Florida man was arrested Tuesday on charges that he attempted to extort more than $1 million from a company that makes computer-aided design software by threatening to post on the Web numerical "keys" that would enable anyone to use the software without first paying for it.

Honey, I Shrunk the Linux

Forget the argument about spreading Linux on desktops. IBM Corp. is squeezing the open-source operating system down to run on a wristwatch that would one day be able to display e-mail messages, look up stock quotes, locate phone numbers and automatically dial them on one's cell phone.

Microsoft Accelerates Anti-Piracy Efforts

Microsoft Corp. is cracking down on software pirates at a quicker clip these days with the help of software that scours the Internet, looking for clues that a Web site may be selling counterfeit copies of Windows software.

ACLU Investigating 'Carnivore's' Diet

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, asking for information about the agency's "Carnivore" surveillance system, which is designed to monitor traffic on an Internet service provider's network.

U.S. to Hurry Export Licenses for Supercomputers

The U.S. Senate yesterday voted 86-11 to shorten the period that manufacturers have to wait to get approval to export supercomputers - from six months to 60 days. The House has already approved a similar measure. President Clinton had sought to speed things further with a 30-day waiting period.