6PR Tech Hour

A mixed bag of tech news this week.

New Internet Worm may be state backed.

Security firms around the world have been surprised by the sophisticated new worm dubbed Flame or Flamer and has a similar background to the Stuxnet worm we saw last year. The Flam(er) worm has been examined by security experts who conclude that the worm would have been created by a team of at least 10 programmers over a period as little as 7 months. The really interesting thing is that this worm seems to be targeting systems in Iran, Palestine and other middle eastern countries. The worm’s aims seem to include password theft, keylogging, reading email, recording conversations and in some cases wiping the hard drive. Analysis is still underway and it is not clear how long it will take to unravel the code that makes up the worm. With the way this worm is behaving it is not a big reach to assume that we are entering an age where wars and espionage will be in part fought in cyberspace.
Pretty heavy stuff especially with speculation that China and the USA are both stepping up cyber warfare publicly with many other countries possibly doing the same quietly.
Kaspersky Labs and Sophos Labs both seem to be pretty quick to respond to the threat. The Flamer worm goes under other names including W32/Flame-A, Skywiper
More news from Aussieviewnews.com, NakedSecurity (Sophos) and SecureList (by a Kaspersky employee). Please make sure you have up to date antivirus software.

Suspicious test results reveal possible backdoor in Chinese made microprocessors.

This one comes out of nowhere but also made me think “Of course they would do this, why would they pass up an opportunity like this?”. We all know most of our electronics is made in China and we also know that the level of trust between China and other countries is not great. It was scary but also kind of expected then that a security researcher would find a “backdoor” programmed into some high-security microprocessors used by countries defence and intelligence organisations all over the world. It seems that the design of the chips has allegedly been modified to incorporate a backdoor in its construction and programming which would allow an outsider with access to the back door to disable or reprogram the processor. Yet another b-grade technology thriller movie plot comes to life. Problem is, we can’t walk out of this one. No doubt this may get attention and we may see further testing.
Get the full story from boingboing.net.

Apple iTV rumours kick up a gear.

Foxconn insiders have leaked information that Apple has put in orders for what seem to be TV sized devices. Foxconn is the chinese factory that makes IT products for the likes of DELL, HP and Apple and has been in the past a pretty decent source for tasty rumours in the technology world. Other hints found in Steve Job’s biography point to Steve claiming to have “finally cracked” the way we will be interacting with our televisions in the future. This could include spoken commands (as seen on the iPhone4s) and gesture based controls (like the Microsoft Kinect). Steve Jobs was well known for his hatred of buttons and extra parts that do not fit into the main device so it is not hard to imagine the iTV will not come with a remote control.
I will be interested to see what premium Apple will put on the iTV if at all. We might be lucky enough to see an announcement before August.
Read about the next thing Apple fans will lose their minds (and money) over here.