Around the IT Industry 2/11-2/15

by Modis on February 15, 2013

Lawmakers Continue to Push for CISPA

The controversial information-sharing bill proposed by U.S. Congress last year, CISPA, is back for round 2 in the legislative circuit.  Concerned about cyber attacks from China, Iran, and other nations, the discussion this time around is more about how the bill protects national security and less about protecting corporate interests.  The bill would allow government agencies such as the FBI and CIA to share information with companies like Facebook and Google concerning cyber attacks and vice versa without any need for warrants or due process.

Adobe PDF Reader Security Exploit Found

A vulnerability in Adobe’s popular Reader program is being exploited by hackers after the release of the latest versions for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.  The exploit occurs when a user opens a PDF that is designed to drop a pair of DLLs (dynamic link libraries) into the system.  One generates a false error message while the other communicates with a remote domain to deliver user information.  The exploit is still under investigation at this time and users are encouraged not to open PDFs from unknown sources at this time.

Microsoft’s New Ad Campaign Against Google

In an advertising campaign reminiscent of political mudslinging, Microsoft has taken off the kid gloves in its battle with Google with their new “Scroogled” ads.  Specifically targeting Google’s Gmail service and its method of targeted advertisement, Microsoft aims to villainize the company’s practice of searching private e-mails for keywords to tailor advertisements to the user’s interests.  So far, Google has remained defensive about any responses to the campaign.

iOS 6.1 Security Flaw Allows Limited Access to Locked Phones

By exploiting a flaw in iOS 6.1, thieves could potentially gain access to locked iPhones which would allow them to access photos, edit contacts, send emails, text, or even make FaceTime calls.  While the exploit is very specific and requires precision timing to execute, any thief with a bit of patience and a list of instructions could hijack a stolen iPhone in minutes.  Apple is expected to address this exploit very soon, but has not yet issued a statement.

Apple Cuts MacBook Prices and Boosts Specs

In an effort to remain competitive in the laptop market, Apple has announced some significant price reductions on its most popular (and most expensive) MacBook products.  The high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina model, previously priced at $2199 has been reduced by $200 and the 13-inch model has been reduced $300 to $1699. New versions of the machines are also receiving a slight boost in processor speed and RAM capacity.  The MacBook Air has also received a small price reduction of $100 but its specs remain the same as before.

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