News in brief

Short takes from this week's news

Short takes from this week's news

SAP begins shipping migration assistant

SAP has begun shipping its Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA), a platform designed to help users migrate to new applications and processes. The company estimates that almost a third of its customers will be using NetWeaver by the end of this year, and says these will be the firms in the best position to consider ESA.

Mozilla fixes bugs with new Firefox browser

The open-source Mozilla Foundation has released a new version of its Firefox browser which fixes two widely reported critical security bugs. The most well-publicised flaw concerns the IDN (Internationalised Domain Name) feature in Firefox. The newly released Firefox 1.0.7 also addresses a problem in the way the browser handles Unix and Linux shell commands, which could allow attackers to run unauthorised malware on users' machines.

Liberty Alliance calls for open source for ID cards

The UK government's national ID card system should be based on open-source standards to build flexibility into the scheme, says identity standards organisation the Liberty Alliance. The organisation, backed by the likes of IBM and Sun, believes the adoption of open standards is crucial. The aims to start issuing national ID cards by 2008, but it is still not clear what type of platform it intends to use.

Company launches bid to provide free Wi-Fi

Free-hotspot.com launched this week, aiming to build a free Wi-Fi access network for business travellers and consumers. The company is signing up advertisers who want to target free users, who will have access at hotspots such as hotels, cafes, pubs and restaurants. The same free Wi-Fi access strategy is also under consideration by internet search giant Google.

IT fraudsters try to cash in on Hurricane Rita

Security specialists have warned the public to be wary of fraudulent websites designed to cash in on Hurricane Rita. According to the Websense Security Labs, people were registering website addresses containing the words Rita, hurricane, disaster, relief and donations, before the hurricane struck last week. There is the potential for illegitimate practices to follow, the organisation warned.

Pay leaps for security and trouble-shooting

Pay rates for IT trouble-shooters have risen by one-third, while security consultants have seen their pay rates soar by 22% over the past year, according to research from the Association of Technology Staffing Companies. This compares with average pay rises of 3% over the past six months for other IT staff. Bespoke IT projects in government and the private sector are driving demand for trouble-shooters and security staff, Atsco said.

OpenOffice.org suite update is released

A new version of the OpenOffice.org collaboration suite has been released in advance of a main upgrade expected later this year. The new release, version 1.1.5, supports the importing of OpenDocument-based documents, spreadsheets and presentations. OpenDocument is an XML Oasis-based document standard that is supported by IBM and Red Hat.

BT to spend £200m on phone-line IT systems

BT will spend more than £200m on IT systems to offer unbundled lines. The telecoms giant announced its investment at the launch of the new company it was forced to set up by regulator Ofcom. Openreach, which will be branded as "a BT Group company", has been set up as a ring-fenced business to manage the UK's 120 million kilometres of local phone lines.

Woolworths converts tills to order stock

Woolworths has converted the cash tills in all of its 800 stores to enable staff to order stock directly from the retailer's website. Staff can use the Epos system to deliver orders to customers' homes or local branches within 18 hours. The company expects the system to increase its sales at Christmas, when stores often run out of popular toys.

Numbering system to end malware confusion

Security and anti-virus firms plan to end the confusion caused by different companies giving different names to worms, viruses and other malware. An initiative by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team will assign a unique number to malware when it is discovered, before investigating the characteristics of each threat. Users are often left confused by the current naming system.

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