Apple Computer Inc.’s Macintosh was among the computer operating systems least prone to attack and damage from malicious hackers, worms and viruses in 2002, while Microsoft Corp.’s Windows and the Linux operating systems were the most vulnerable, according to a report by technology risk management company mi2g Ltd.

The report, released earlier this month, presents data on the discovery of software vulnerabilities and incidents of digital attack for 2002. According to the company, 1,162 new software vulnerabilities were discovered during the first 10 months of 2002, including vulnerabilities discovered in operating systems, server software and third-party applications. Of that number, fewer than 25 were attributable to the Macintosh operating system.

Flaw leaves Windows open to DoS attack

A flaw in software code that implements a protocol for virtual private networks makes Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems vulnerable to denial of service attacks, Microsoft Corp. recently warned.

An unchecked buffer exists in the code that implements the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), a protocol that enables users to create and use VPNs natively supported by Windows 2000 and Windows XP, Microsoft said in a security bulletin MS02-063. The software maker deems the issue “critical.” Details can be found at

PPTP is an option in Routing and Remote Access Services in server versions of Windows 2000 and Windows XP, and part of the Remote Access Client in workstation versions. Systems are only at risk if PPTP has been enabled, Microsoft said.

Sun launches continuity service

Sun Microsystems Inc. recently announced its enterprise continuity offering, enabling multiple data centres to act as one, and enterprises to keep their businesses running despite any disasters.

The basic premise surrounding Enterprise Continuity is to use a telco’s dark fibre to separate data centres, in case a failure or disaster should occur. The potential customer provides its own hardware and agrees to pay a service fee – usually on a monthly basis – in exchange for secure data and infrastructure. The idea of keeping data at various locations means that information is always safe, according to Sun.

In the U.S., a service provider or telco will be selected to provide the interconnect service, Wood said. And, Nortel Networks Corp.’s OPTera Metro 5200, a DWDM multiservice platform, will provide “the rubber band,” Woods added. In Canada, the service is available but no specific telco has been chosen yet either.

HP hints at new software strategy

Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to announce a new software roadmap that will provide information on its plan to marry a variety of disparate product lines, according to a top executive at the company.

HP will kick off the next wave of its software strategy by providing an architecture for the ways in which its popular OpenView management software can be linked tightly with software used in its Utility Data Center (UDC) architecture for network management, said Nora Denzel, senior vice-president of HP’s software business unit. Along with this new technology, HP will announce new partnerships with software vendors and new services for its telecommunications customers.

Nortel launches an enterprise strategy

Nortel Networks Corp. plans to unveil a marketing strategy focusing on enterprise customers, a move designed to carry the networking provider beyond the still-dreary market for networking gear sold to telecom carriers.

The announcement will include important revisions to three IP telephony products, including a standards-based switch that provides power over Ethernet capabilities to compliant devices such as IP phones and wireless access points, according to Nortel officials.

Marie Hattar, director of Nortel enterprise marketing, said networking vendors including Nortel have “tended to talk about speeds and feeds of products and don’t focus on end-user value.”

IBM dangles financial incentives

IBM Corp. recently announced new financing options for its midsize and large customers. Big Blue is offering a 90-day deferral of financing payments – zero down, zero payments and zero interest until 2003. The company is also touting lower financing terms, including rates as low as 4.2 per cent on certain hardware products and as low as 3.1 per cent for software such as WebSphere and DB2.

The intent is to help companies acquire the gear they need while keeping cash flow in check, IBM says. “Many companies today are faced with the challenge of needing to upgrade and expand their technology infrastructure, while at the same time they must manage to constrain capital budgets,” said Catherine Manion, general manager of IBM Global Financing, in a statement.

PC speeds to hit 15GHz, Intel says

Users can expect to see the processing speed of Intel Corp.’s desktop processors hit 15GHz and that of wireless device and PDA (personal digital assistant) processors hit 5GHz by 2010, the chip maker’s chief technology officer said in Tokyo recently.

The 15GHz desktop chip, some five times as fast as the company’s soon-to-be-launched 3GHz Pentium 4 chip, will pack one billion transistors, said Pat Gelsinger, vice-president and chief technology officer of Intel as he delivered a keynote address to the company’s Intel Developer Forum Japan conference. Gelsinger would not disclose whether he expected these speeds to be seen in Pentium 4 processors or those based around a new architecture. Intel has said previously that the current Pentium 4 architecture is good up to around 10GHz.

WiFi plans better wireless security

The organization that certifies wireless LAN products under the WiFi name unveiled new specifications recently for how vendors should make their products more secure.

The guidelines call for new mechanisms to replace the current security system, based on WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), which has come under fire for being too easy to circumvent.

The certification body, Wi-Fi Alliance, plans to lay the mechanisms out as optional features beginning in February and require them for WiFi compliance about six months later, said Dennis Eaton, chairman of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

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