Security Woes, Evil's Email, and MySpace Muggers

Today is that special day that only comes around once every four years: leap day. As everyone takes a moment to re-sync with the cosmos and celebrate the idiosyncrasies of the Gregorian Calendar, we here at Linux Journal are pressing on with reporting the latest and greatest happenings in the tech world.

Starting things off are a pair of security disclosures that demonstrate the leaps and bounds being made by black-hat hackers. First up was the announcement by security firm Finjan that a secret database of hijacked FTP credentials has been discovered for sale, including usernames and passwords for some of the most popular websites on the internet. Then came the news that spammers have broken the CAPTCHA technology used by Google's Gmail — just weeks after a similar breach of Microsoft's now-plagued Hotmail — meaning a new wave of Gmail-based spam is likely to bombard our Inboxes in the near future. Yipeee.

On the subject of email, the class-action lawsuit over Microsoft's "Vista Capable" labeling practices is turning up some interesting information. According to reports, the discovery process has turned up emails that reveal not only that high-level Microsoft execs knew the machines they were labeling weren't up to snuff, but even avoided Vista themselves because of the "flagship" operating system's poor compatibility. We've got to say: When it turns up that even your own management won't use your product, it's time to turn it in. Microsoft, take the hint. Please.

Speaking of taking the hint, Yahoo desperately wishes Microsoft would take one and back off, so much so that they're telling the government that the impending takeover is a "significant distraction." According to the Annual Report it filed with the SEC, the Microsoft bid is wreaking havoc at Yahoo central, causing everything from boardroom distractions to employee defections to stock fluctuations — we think it'd be more dramatic if they added hair loss and ED, but that may be the Levitra spam talking.

And to top it all off, a bit of odd news of the legal nature. A report out of Oklahoma — which would be amusing if it weren't from a murder trial — has a county judge accusing the media of hacking into her email in order to get their hands on a confidential ruling. The judge — who strikes us perhaps needing a CT scan — says reporters must have hired hackers to dig up the ruling because she can't believe any of the parties would have leaked it. She insists it's really her fault, though, because she "titilated" them with a sealed decision.

A little less bizarre are the antics of a New York teenager, who used MySpace to track down the guy who mugged her. After two other teens jacked her cell phone, Yudelka Polanco was able to get one of the culprit's email address when he used the phone to go online. From there she tracked him to his MySpace profile, had a friend flirt her way into his friends list, and then harvested enough information for the cops to bring him in. What a way to go down.

And that, boys and girls, is that.

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