Tech wrap: Biggest series of cyber attacks exposed

August 3, 2011

Security company McAfee uncovered the biggest-ever series of attacks on the networks of 72 organizations including the U.N., governments and companies around the world and claimed there was one “state actor” behind them but declined to name it. One security expert who has been briefed on the hacking said the evidence points to China.

Some of the victims in the five-year campaign include the governments of the U.S. and Canada; the International Olympic Committee; the World Anti-Doping Agency; and various companies, from defense contractors to high-tech enterprises.

RIM unveiled two new versions of its touchscreen BlackBerry Torch, including an all-touch model. The three touchscreen phones, running on the new BlackBerry OS 7, boast improved screen displays and pack a 1.2 GHz processor from Qualcomm, the most powerful ever for a BlackBerry phone. They also have a dedicated graphics processor that should make video and gaming sharper and more responsive. The browser is 40 percent faster than the original Torch, RIM’s last major phone launch, which hit shelves almost a year ago. All three devices will be launched by carriers around the world by the end of August, RIM said. The slider Torch will be exclusive to AT&T in the United States, the carrier said.

Initial impressions of RIM’s new smartphones vary. Engadget’s Sharif Sakr says the typing on the Torch 9810 is akin to the good old days with Bold 9700 but browsing is a mixed-bag. Electricpig’s Ben Sillis says sliding around the badly designed home screen of the Torch 9810 is nippy and the phone is “ugly as sin”.

Apple’s South Korean unit was fined 3 million won ($2,855) by the country’s communications regulator after the iPhone and iPad maker collected location data from users without proper authorization. The fine, though small, marks the first time Apple has been punished by a regulator over the controversial location data collection which has sparked criticism in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Mobile developers more than ever want to devote their energies to writing apps for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms at the expense of their less popular rivals, a study showed. Apple and Google are likely to gain even more traction thanks to game-changing new services, according to the survey from research firm IDC and Appcelerator, a company that works with app developers.  Google recently introduced its social network Google+ and Apple is building momentum for its iCloud storage service.

The number of respondents who said they were very interested in developing for each platform was little changed from last quarter, with iPhone at 91 percent and iPad at 88 percent. Android for phones rose slightly to 87 percent and Android for tablets recovered to 74 percent. Interest in specific platforms drops off sharply after that, with 30 percent very interested in Windows Phone, 28 percent for BlackBerry phones and 20 percent for RIM’s PlayBook tablet, 18 percent for HP’s webOS-based TouchPad and 12 percent for its phones.

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The IDC “study” had 216 developers. Quite a sample size.
And they gave the same weights to developers of apps with 100 downloads a months had the same weight as developers with 10K downloads per month. Uncool.

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