News in brief

Short takes from this week's news

Short takes from this week's news

Home Office ID fraud figure 'overestimation'

The Home Office released figures last week putting the annual cost of ID fraud at £1.7bn - and immediately ran into a storm when payments association Apacs said the figure was a gross overestimation designed to scare people into supporting ID cards. Andy Burnham, a junior Home Office minister, said ID fraud was costing each person £35 a year, but the government has admitted the figure is for "illustrative purposes" only.

College uses CO2 blade coolant system

Imperial College has made the first commercial use of carbon dioxide as a coolant for a blade server datacentre, implementing a CO2Olrac system from Trox Advanced IT Cooling Systems and Star Refrigeration. Carbon dioxide absorbs seven times more heat than the equivalent weight of water.

HP's rack cooling system, p20

Security of biometric passports questioned

The security of biometric passports has been called into question by a Dutch security firm that has managed to skim the data from a prototype biometric passport from a distance of 10m. Collecting the data was possible because Dutch passports will have an RFID tag, which is being considered for UK identity cards. The Home Office has dismissed the security breach, saying it was an unsophisticated test system, whereas the UK passports will be protected using an international standard.

SAP rolls out CRM On-Demand platform

SAP is rolling out its long-awaited on-demand customer relationship management platform, offering an alternative to service providers such as Salesforce.com, NetSuite and RightNow Technologies. SAP CRM On-Demand is aimed at large and medium-sized organisations that want to manage sales, service and marketing via the internet, said the ERP company. IBM will host the service.

Suppliers collaborate on Ajax web development

IBM, Google, BEA, Red Hat, Borland, Novell, Oracle, Yahoo and other leading software, media and open source firms have agreed to collaborate in an Ajax project to develop common tools. The technlogy aims to allow developers to create high-quality user interfaces for browsers without plug-ins.

Barclays awards £135m five-year support deal

Barclays has signed a five-year £135m desktop and application management support contract with Getronics. The company will provide services to more than 30,000 users and provide workspace management technology transformation services.

Faults found in Internet Explorer 7 preview

The first bugs were found in the preview version of Internet Explorer 7 last week, only a day after it was released to the public. A security researcher said he had found a vulnerability that could allow a remote hacker to take over a user's system. Other issues include compatibility problems with McAfee security software. Microsoft said it knew about the McAfee issue, which would be tackled in a future release.

Jpeg patent to be re-examined

The US Patent and Trademark Office is to re-examine the validity of the Jpeg image patent held by Forgent Networks, after lobbying by the Public Patent Foundation. The patent office is not expected to erase the patent, but may modify it. Currently, digital camera makers have to pay Forgent royalties - more than £59m to date. PC manufacturers have so far refused.

Welsh NHS signs three-year deal with Microsoft

The Welsh NHS has signed a three-year, £10m deal with Microsoft for desktop and mobile computing software. All trusts and local health boards throughout the NHS in Wales are included in the contract, which covers 35,000 desktops.

Mozilla patches Firefox security flaws

The Mozilla Foundation has patched its Firefox 1.5 browser to fix eight potential security vulnerabilities. One of the flaws patched is rated as critical, four others are of moderate risk, with three described as low risk.

Virus halts trading on Russian exchanges

A computer virus halted trading on the main Russian stock exchanges last week. The Forts, Classic and Exchange markets ground to a halt after an infected computer sent out large volumes of spam, which led to the overloading of routers through the RTS network. The Russian authorities said no lasting damage was done to their systems.

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