News in brief

Short takes from this week's news

Short takes from this week's news

Microsoft loses Eolas browser patent battle

Microsoft has lost a patent infringement battle over its use of a key web-browsing technology. The US patent office has upheld the validity of the patent held by the University of California and its Eolas Technology spin-off company. Microsoft said it was "disappointed", but would still be pursuing its court action.

Gartner warns of danger of unattended PCs

A new report from Gartner says many organisations are turning a blind eye to the risks posed by PCs left unattended but logged in to networks. The main risk is that confidential information could be accessed and changed. Gartner said there was no simple solution to the problem but companies could consider using timeouts - forcing users to log back into servers after pre-determined periods.

Health trusts will miss booking system target

Few if any NHS primary care trusts are likely to meet a government target in October for at least 50% of certain types of hospital appointments to be booked using online or semi-automated "Choose and Book" systems. It means that the trusts will fail to qualify for incentive payments worth £100,000 each.

MIT targets value laptop at developing world

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is to launch a £58 Linux-based laptop prototype in November, to help schools in developing countries adopt electronic learning. Commercial versions of the machine are due at the end of 2006.

Continental rolls out cut-price data security

Continental Airlines is rolling out a cut-price data security system to control user access and contain malicious security breaches. Consentry Networks has just launched its Secure Lan Controller range that enables network administrators to know which users are affected by rogue data traffic.

IBM launches entry-level Unix servers

IBM has unveiled a line-up of  entry-level Unix servers based on its Power 5 architecture. The new systems are designed for the processing requirements of small to mid-sized companies or branch locations looking to run business-critical database applications.

IM networks attacked 'at  least once a day'

Security firm Akonix said last week that threats against instant messaging (IM) networks had risen significantly, with September seeing the highest-ever number of new IM exploits. In September, Akonix tracked seven new IM viruses, Trojans or worms, including Mete, Parda, Simbag and Lewor. IM networks are experiencing an average of at least one IM-based attack each day, said the firm.

Accountants criticise online tax system

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has criticised online services from HM Revenue & Customs, saying efforts to persuade taxpayers to file returns online have given an impression of "disconnected initiatives driven by arbitrary and unrealistic deadlines". It called for an independent body to monitor the adoption of electronic services. 

IBM releases first 4Gbps San for blade servers

IBM has released one of the first 4Gbps storage area network (San) systems for blade servers, which will mean blades can be used in new areas such as datawarehousing and database serving, where high data bandwidth is a requirement. The IBM Blade Center has features to ease the installation, configuration and arrangement of San equipment. 

Spyware takes its place alongside the worm

Spyware is beginning to rank alongside mass-mailing worms as among the worst threats to security, according to research by Fortinet. The company's top 10 threats include spyware designed to track browsing habits and an installer that downloads a large selection of spyware onto users' machines. Infections are caused by using unpatched browsers, clicking on an infected attachment or by virus downloading spyware.

BT service will combine Wi-Fi, 3G and GPRS

BT has announced a service combining Wi-Fi, 3G and GPRS tariffs, known as BT Datazone. Business customers using a data card, such as the Globetrotter Quad, will be able to access the internet, send and receive e-mails and download large files at more than 7,800 BT Openzone hotspots in the UK and Ireland, or "on the move" through a 3G or GPRS connection. The service costs £49.

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