Lost Packets

In a bid to attract foreign tourists scared off by its separatist rebellion, Jammu Kashmir, which borders the north of India and Pakistan, has turned its Dal Lake into a Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) hotspot. According to reports, the new hotspot will enable tourists to stay connected while drifting on the waters of the Dal from the houseboats and gondolas that occupy it. Kashmir tourism officials said they are counting on the technology to help bring back the economically vital tourism to the area, which waned significantly after the Muslim rebellion against Indian rule broke out in 1989.

Toronto man charged in e-mail scam

While the majority of North Americans simply delete the myriad spam and scam e-mails that flood inboxes on a daily basis, one particular e-mail scam promising millions of dollars prompted a Bethel, Conn. woman to take some serious action. After receiving numerous e-mail messages supposedly from Nigeria, Heide Evans convinced the scammers that she was interested in taking part in the con and actually set up a meeting with the perpetrators. But, instead of meeting Evans, Nicholas Horvath-Howard, a 24-year-old Toronto man was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service and Bethel police. Horvath-Howard has been charged with first-degree attempted larceny.

Microsoft sets bounty for virus writers

Early this month, Microsoft Corp. said it would offer two separate rewards, each up to US$250,000, to anyone who had information leading to the arrest of the authors of the MSBlast and SoBig.E virus. Fed up with being the target of global black hat hackers and virus writers, the rewards are part of the Redmond, Wash.-based company’s newly-launched Anti-virus Reward Program. Microsoft is funding more than US$5 million toward the program and will offer similar cash rewards for future threats. At press time, no arrests had been made in connection with MSBlast and SoBig. For more information, visit www.microsoft.com.

Nokia batteries explode too

More than 20 people worldwide have been injured after their Nokia handsets spontaneously exploded during the course of the last year. Despite earlier claims by the Finnish phone maker that the explosions were caused by non-original replacement batteries made by unauthorized third-party vendors, Test-Aankoop, a Belgian consumer watch-dog organization, said original Nokia batteries are also prone to explosion. In particular, the Nokia BML-3, BMC-3 and BCL-2 are unprotected against short-circuiting, and Test-Aankoop said Nokia must replace the batteries free of charge. Still, Nokia denies any wrongdoing on its part, claiming that all its batteries are manufactured according to tough safety and quality measures and said it will continue to take legal action against manufacturers of non-original phone equipment that does not adhere to the safety and quality measures. For information, visit www.nokia.com.