Friday, April 29, 2011

Veteran hacker takes on new role at ICANN

Veteran hacker Jeff Moss - who founded both the DEF CON and Black Hat conferences - has been appointed VP and chief security officer of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

"I can think of no one with a greater understanding of the security threats facing Internet users and how best to defend against them than Jeff Moss," said ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom.

Veteran hacker takes on new role at ICANN"He has the in-depth insider's knowledge that can only come from fighting in the trenches of the on-going war against cyber threats."

Indeed, Moss has been a self-proclaimed hacker for over 20 years.

Prior to his work with Black Hat and DEF CON, Moss was a director at the Secure Computing Corporation, where he established the professional services department in Asia, Australia and the United States. Moss also worked in the information system security division of Ernst & Young, LLP.

Unsurprisingly, the ICANN appointment has been widely endorsed by a number of prominent security organizations, including the Internet Systems Consortium, Information Society Alliance and the Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP).

"Jeff Moss' selection as ICANN's Chief Security Officer is an outstanding choice," explained CTNSP director Linton Wells.

"Too often, Internet security experts don't understand the motivations and mindsets of those who pose an online threat to Internet users. Jeff has shown time and again that he not only understands hackers, but that he also truly gets why they do what they do."

Meanwhile, Moss said he "looked forward" to assuming his new role at ICANN.

"Its role in coordinating the global Internet addressing system means that it is positioned to become the leader in identifying and dealing with online threats to the Domain Name System that could affect two billion global Internet users."

Moss graduated from Gonzaga University with a BA in Criminal Justice. He currently serves as a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council and is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Royal wedding madness invades social networks

My excitement and anticipation for the big royal wedding has been mounting for weeks, not because I’m somewhat of an Anglophile but rather for the sheer once-in-a-lifetime excitement of the whole thing.

Apparently, I’m not the only one with such royal envy, as my social networks explode with royal wedding reminders.

Needless to say I was excited this morning, jumping out of bed at 5 a.m. New York time. This stands in stark contrast to my usual morning routine, which requires a forklift and caffeine IV drip to even think about getting out of bed.

Immediately signing on to Twitter, I noticed the social network abuzz not only from friends in England but surprisingly, friends in Berlin, New York, and even L.A.

Yesterday, #RoyalWedding popped up as a Promoted Tweet on my Twitter feed. Immediately I asked myself, who is paying for this Promoted Tweet? It couldn’t possibly be the British royal family, but perhaps the British Tourism board? The major news networks? To this I say, good! Why not?

Beyond the Promoted Tweet, the rest of the trending topics this morning range from Westminster Abbey, Prince Harry, Camilla, Buckingham Palace and even Brits. Keep in mind, it is 6 a.m. here in New York City and I’m having Twitter conversations with friends and colleagues about the intricacies of the wedding, the music, the dress, the guest list.

And then the Foursquare and Facebook Places check-ins begin. And I’m not just talking about friends in Britain. Instead, New Yorkers are checking into royal wedding locations in Times Square, as a “moving target” and more. Searching Foursquare yields over twenty locations.

Upon visiting, the Doodle even represents a cartoon drawing of the wedding party complete with confetti and the carriage. Heck, even Google Street View has a royal wedding theme with the little Street View character replaced by a cartoon bride and groom if you search a location near Westminster Abbey. How lovely.

Although the sheer extravagance of the royal wedding has indeed been criticized in a time when England and the rest of the world is facing hard economic times, analysts argue that the royal wedding brings England up to ten hours of TV time, which in advertising hours would cost somewhere near 1 billion dollars to achieve.

The strong TV and social networking presence represents a ten hour “Visit Britain” billboard across the world in high heels and an McQueen dress, which in my opinion is perfect reason to be excited about a royal wedding. Besides, why does it always have to be serious all the time?

My only complaint? There was no royal smooch! Not to worry, William and Kate will have a scheduled kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as a hat tip to Diana and Charles' moment back in 1981. A scheduled kiss? How very British.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon unleashes a new trailer on the unsuspecting masses

Trailer: Director Michael Bay and Producer Stephen Spielberg have released a new trailer for Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third, and most explosion friendly movie of Bay’s trilogy.

In the third film in the Transformers trilogy, a Cybertonian spacecraft is discovered on the moon, and it begins a desperate race between the Autobots and Decepticons to see who can learn its secrets first. Meanwhile down on Earth there are lots of things happening! Important, impressive things…

Ok, look: there are robots, they blow the heck out of stuff, and pretty much everything they touch inevitably explodes in one way or another. You know what to expect with the Transformers series, and if you are hoping for something else, you are watching the wrong movies.

It is a popcorn flick with lots of action, tons of destruction and beautriful women, none of whom are Megan Fox. The newly released trailer below shows off some of the expensive effects you would hope to see in a Michael Bay flick. In fact, the effects highlighted in the trailer alone are probably more expensive than the budgets of half the movies released this year.

Check out the awesome destruction and pretty robots, then look for Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 2D, 3D and IMAX on July 1.

Xubuntu 11.04

Xubuntu 11.04, an official Ubuntu flavour featuring the Xfce desktop, has been released: "Xubuntu 11.04, code-named the 'Natty Narwhal', is the latest and greatest version of Xubuntu." What's new? "Xubuntu wallpaper has been updated for this release. The wallpaper is designed to integrate well with the new graybird theme. The installation slideshow has been updated, and really displays the best of Xubuntu. The Elementary Xubuntu icon theme has been updated. Xubuntu is using the Droid font by default, since it is a lightweight, good visibility font. The newly released Xfce 4.8 is included. The menus in Xfce 4.8 are now editable with any menu editor that meets the standards." See the release announcement and release notes for a list of major changes. Download (SHA256): xubuntu-11.04-desktop-i386.iso (689MB, torrent), xubuntu-11.04-desktop-amd64.iso (688MB, torrent).

Lubuntu 11.04

Mario Behling has announced the release of Lubuntu 11.04, an unofficial Ubuntu variant that showcases the lightweight, but full-featured LXDE desktop: "Julien Lavergne has released Lubuntu 11.04. Features: based on the lightweight LXDE desktop environment; PCManFM 0.9.8, a fast and lightweight file manager using GIO/GVFS; LXDE, a lightweight GTK+ display manager; Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome; based on Ubuntu 11.04. Improvements since Lubuntu 10.10: new automatic way to build the ISO images; switch from Aqualung to Audacious for the music player; switch from Xarchiver to File Roller for the archives; switch from Cheese to GTK+ UVC Viewer for using webcams; new added applications - gucharmap, LXKeymap, documentation; Lubuntu is now HAL free; new theme." Read the full release announcement for a full list of improvements. Download: lubuntu-11.04.iso (680MB, MD5, torrent).

ZevenOS 1.9.9 "Neptune"

Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 1.9.9 "Neptune" edition, a Debian-based Linux distribution featuring the KDE 4.6.2 desktop: "The ZevenOS Neptune team is pleased to announce the release of ZevenOS 'Neptune' 1.9.9. This release comes with a couple of changes and new features. We updated the Linux kernel to version which comes with neat little features, like better hardware support for wireless network cards and the famous cgroups patch which brings more speed under heavy load. The underlying Debian 'Squeeze' system was upgraded to Debian 'Testing' which will provide newer applications through the life cycle of Neptune 1.9.9. KDE SC 4.6.2 makes it d├ębut with lots of updates and the typical Neptune look & feel and a new default font, the Ubuntu Font. For the sake of consistency we replaced Synaptic and Software Center with their KDE/Qt-based counterparts - Muon and KPackageKit." The release announcement contains more information and a screenshot. Download: neptune199-kde-final.iso (1,418MB).

Absolute Linux 13.2.2

Paul Sherman has announced the release of Absolute Linux 13.2.2, a lightweight, Slackware-based desktop distribution featuring the IceWM window manager: "Absolute Linux 13.2.2 released. Use of HAL has been dropped for newer ConsoleKit and udisks, as well as LXDE's newer version of PCManFM. Code changes for the Absolute customizations in libfm and PCManFM are included in /usr/doc for each package. Devmon replaces halevt to handle DVD and audio CDs. You'll notice edits to .initrc, .bashrc .bash_logout as well as the start-up file for IceWM reflecting the changes." Other major changes include switch to LibreOffice as the optional office suite, upgrade to IceWM 1.3.7, and synchronisation of packages with Slackware's current tree. See the brief release announcement and the detailed changelog for further information. Download (MD5) the installation CD image from SourceForge:absolute-13.2.2.iso (698MB).

Ubuntu Studio 11.04

Scott Lavender has announced the release of Ubuntu Studio 11.04, a specialist Ubuntu variant featuring a large collection of packages for multimedia tasks: "The Ubuntu Studio team is very excited over its ninth release: 11.04 'Natty Narwhal', available as a 1.5 GB DVD ISO image. Numerous improvements have been implemented for this release, but here are some of the more notable ones. The task selections during installation have been updated; the audio tasks have been parsed into two groups: generation and recording. The 'generation' task selection is focused more on synthesizers and sequencers and the 'recording' task focuses on recording live musician performances. Currently, Ubuntu Studio is shipping the -generic kernel; we are working with the Ubuntu kernel team to get a -lowlatency kernel into the archives." Here are the full release notes. Download (SHA256): ubuntustudio-11.04-alternate-i386.iso (1,488MB, torrent), ubuntustudio-11.04-alternate-amd64.iso(1,558MB, torrent).