Yahoo offers video instant messaging

Following a similar announcement from Microsoft Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo Inc. is offering its members the ability to send and receive live video feeds to their “buddies” through the Yahoo Messenger instant-messaging service.

Microsoft has recently announced that it would provide live video feeds in its MSN Messenger software. The instant messaging software will also be embedded in the Windows XP desktop, which is scheduled to be released Oct. 25. The new Yahoo video service works with Web cameras made by Switzerland-based Logitech International SA. It is being offered on a trial basis on Yahoo’s Web site.

Software flaw opens Cisco devices to hackers

A flaw in Cisco Systems Inc.’s Cisco IOS could allow hackers to gain full control over virtually all Cisco routers and switches using the software, Cisco said in a security advisory, also issued by the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

A vulnerability exists in the HTTP server component of the IOS software. By requesting a particular URL from the server, a malicious user can bypass the authentication controls and execute commands on the device at the highest privilege level, level 15, Cisco said. Only devices with the HTTP server software enabled and with user names and passwords stored on the device – the local authentication database – are vulnerable, the company said. The issue affects all releases of Cisco IOS software starting with release 11.3. Cisco has made software fixes available to plug the hole. Cisco’s security advisory can be read online at

Cellnet conference call expands

British Telecommunications PLC is inviting more people than ever to join in a conference call via their mobile phones.

Upping the number of people who can communicate simultaneously from six to 20, its Group Chat service has been designed to help people co-ordinate meetings and large group events such as hen and stag nights. Instead of needing to make numerous individual calls to each person, repeating the same information to each one, Group Chat users can make all the arrangements via one large-scale conference call. BT claims that the service is more straightforward than competitive offerings because the “chairperson,” who instigates the call, does not also need to originate the calls of each participant. Instead, individuals dial in using the chairperson’s number as a pin. It works no matter which network the mobile phone users are hooked up to, as long as the chairperson is a BT Cellnet Ltd. subscriber.