Expert sees security issues with the Apple iPad | Tech News on ZDNet

Apple’s new iPad device looks like it will have some of the same security issues that affect the iPhone, such as weak encryption, a mobile security expert said on Thursday.

For one, if the iPad employs encryption the same way the iPhone does, sensitive personal data, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses, could be retrieved and viewed, says Daniel Hoffman, chief technology officer at SMobile Systems, which sells mobile security software.

“The problem with the iPhone security encryption is it is fundamentally worthless,” he said. “It can be easily bypassed.”

Secondly, if iPad users get their apps from the Apps Store, they are at risk of getting the occasional bad apple, Hoffman said, noting that there have been malicious apps found in the store.

via Expert sees security issues with the Apple iPad | Tech News on ZDNet.

Checks to curb latest SEO tricks | Tech News on ZDNet

Unethical tactics employed by companies utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) tactics such as link farms and loading Web pages filled with irrelevant keywords, are not welcomed by search engine operators. This declaration was issued by Microsoft and Google.

Asked if organizations such as content farms are outsmarting its system by flooding the Web with low-quality content to earn high-click rates, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company “prefers quality over quantity” to manage its Bing search engine.

“Backlinks, also known as ‘inbound links’, should be relevant to the page being linked to, or relevant to an SEO’s domain if they are being linked to the homepage,” he told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail interview. He pointed out that backlinks from sites considered to be authoritative in their field are rated to be of higher value than those from “junk sites”.

via Checks to curb latest SEO tricks | Tech News on ZDNet.

Google wants to see client addresses in DNS queries

Late Wednesday evening, Google employees posted an “Internet-Draft” outlining proposed changes to the DNS protocol that allow authoritative DNS servers to see the addresses of clients. This way, geographically distributed content delivery networks can tailor their answers to a specific client’s network location. So a client from California would talk to a server in California, while a client in the Netherlands would talk to a server in the Netherlands.

Currently, authoritative DNS servers don’t see the client address, only the address of the resolving server that is typically operated by the client’s ISP. So in the current situation, if our Californian and Dutch clients both use a DNS resolver in New York, a location-optimizing authoritative DNS server would give them both the addresses of servers in or around New York. By including the client’s address in the request, the authoritative server can send a better response and improve the subsequent interactions between the client and server because the request/response round-trip times across the network are shorter.

Read more Google wants to see client addresses in DNS queries.

Carbon nanotube dye may put a capacitor in your shorts

How would you like it if your phone started charging whenever you dropped it into your pocket? That may eventually be possible, thanks to a carbon nanotube-based ink that can turn many common fabrics into conductors, or even components of a charge-storing supercapacitor. These won’t be showing up in a clothing store near you anytime soon, however, as ensuring that the fabrics only direct the charge to appropriate devices—and not, say, to a sensitive body part—will be a separate engineering challenge.

Textile fibers are actually uniquely suited to transforming into electronics when combined with the seemingly ubiquitous carbon nanotube. In the new paper, the carbon nanotubes were mixed with a surfactant to form an ink (black, of course). The fabrics were dipped into the ink and dried in an oven for ten minutes to remove the water, resulting in a carbon nanotube-laden fabric. The bonds between the fabric and nanotubes are extremely strong, and neither further washing nor attempting to strip the fabric with tape causes the nanotubes to separate from the cloth.

via Carbon nanotube dye may put a capacitor in your shorts.

Levitating magnet may yield new approach to clean energy

A new experiment that reproduces the magnetic fields of the Earth and other planets has yielded its first significant results. The findings confirm that its unique approach has some potential to be developed as a new way of creating a power-producing plant based on nuclear fusion — the process that generates the sun’s prodigious output of energy.

Fusion has been a cherished goal of physicists and energy researchers for more than 50 years. That’s because it offers the possibility of nearly endless supplies of energy with no carbon emissions and far less radioactive waste than that produced by today’s nuclear plants, which are based on fission, the splitting of atoms (the opposite of fusion, which involves fusing two atoms together). But developing a fusion reactor that produces a net output of energy has proved to be more challenging than initially thought.

The new results come from an experimental device on the MIT campus, inspired by observations from space made by satellites. Called the Levitated Dipole Experiment, or LDX, a joint project of MIT and Columbia University, it uses a half-ton donut-shaped magnet about the size and shape of a large truck tire, made of superconducting wire coiled inside a stainless steel vessel. This magnet is suspended by a powerful electromagnetic field, and is used to control the motion of the 10-million-degree-hot electrically charged gas, or plasma, contained within its 16-foot-diameter outer chamber.

The results, published this week in the journal Nature Physics, confirm the counter-intuitive prediction that inside the device’s magnetic chamber, random turbulence causes the plasma to become more densely concentrated — a crucial step to getting atoms to fuse together — instead of becoming more spread out, as usually happens with turbulence. This “turbulent pinching” of the plasma has been observed in the way plasmas in space interact with the Earth’s and Jupiter’s magnetic fields, but has never before been recreated in the laboratory.

via Levitating magnet may yield new approach to clean energy.

Fighting Ships: From the Ancient World To 1750 (HC)

Author Sam Willis has a new book out which is now available for pre-order in hardcover, Fighting Ships: From the Ancient World To 1750. Release date 1 April 2010.

Beginning with Ramses III’s dramatic defeat of the ‘sea people’ in 1176 BC ndash; the world’s earliest visual record of a naval battle ndash; Fighting Ships tells the story of 3000 years of maritime history through 150 glorious images. From the Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans to the coming of the age of sail, here are breathtaking depictions of ancient triremes and Viking longships, the Santa Maria and the Spanish Armada, as well as Henry VIII’s giant carracks and the majestic three-decked warships of Louis IV that patrolled the Mediterranean.

read more Fighting Ships: From the Ancient World To 1750 (HC).

Report: Cyberattackers hit Google staff via friends | Tech News on ZDNet

People behind the China-based online attacks of Google and other companies looked up key employees on social networks and contacted them pretending to be their friends to get the workers to click on links leading to malware, according to a published report on Monday.

“The most significant discovery is that the attackers had selected employees at the companies with access to proprietary data, then learned who their friends were,” the Financial Times reported. “The hackers compromised the social network accounts of those friends, hoping to enhance the probability that their final targets would click on the links they sent.”

The attackers used a popular instant-messaging program to distribute the malware link to target employees, George Kurtz, chief technology officer at security firm McAfee, told the Financial Times. The malware exploited a hole in Internet Explorer that Microsoft patched just last week.

via Report: Cyberattackers hit Google staff via friends | Tech News on ZDNet.