News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Short takes on this week's news

Sun offers free CPUs to entice grid developers
Sun Microsystems is offering 100 free CPU hours to grid developers to encourage them to build applications for its Sun Grid. Other incentives include a contest in which developers can win cash prizes for innovative applications. The Sun Grid allows businesses to book processing power for $1 per hour per CPU over the internet with a credit card.

Dell extends server range to include AMD chips
Dell is planning to sell AMD processor-based enterprise servers, after many years of selling only Intel servers. Dell will offer users a choice of AMD’s Opteron and Intel’s new Woodcrest chip in its multiprocessor servers by the end of 2006. Dell’s AMD servers will also be an alternative to Sun’s AMD-based Galaxy and Sun Fire servers.

Symantec warns users of zombie threat to back-up
Symantec has warned users that a remote bot or “zombie” computer is being used to sniff out users who have not adequately patched their Veritas data back-up systems. The patch, which prevents unauthorised entry into systems, was released by Symantec at the end of 2004. However, Symantec said that the amount of traffic being generated by the bot indicates there are many unpatched systems out there.

Hackers target online poker players with Trojan
Following the rise in popularity of online poker, computer hackers have been using a Trojan to target the accounts of people playing online. The Trojan, discovered on a gaming site, installs a backdoor on infected computers, which can then be used by hackers to obtain the user names and passwords of poker players. The Trojan used rootkit technology to avoid detection.

London City Airport outsources IT and comms
London City Airport has signed a seven-year deal with service provider SITA to outsource its IT and communications systems. London City Airport did not reveal the cost of the SITA deal. The airport already outsources its power to EDF and its maintenance to PME.

HSBC uses BI software to reduce credit card fraud
HSBC has deployed business intelligence software from SAS, which it hopes will detect credit card fraud six times faster than before. HSBC is using SAS’s Fraud Management for Banking software to analyse its transactional database and look for patterns that could indicate criminal activity.

EC to extend e-commerce VAT ruling until 2008
The EC is to extend the rules for VAT on e-commerce transactions until 31 December 2008. The existing rules, which took effect in 2003, make electronic services supplied for consumption outside the EU exempt from VAT.

Symantec launches lawsuit against Microsoft
Symantec has launched a lawsuit against Microsoft that could delay the release of Windows Vista and Longhorn Server. Symantec alleges that Microsoft misappropriated its intellectual property and violated a licence that related to its data storage technology. 

Microsoft guidelines get PCs ready for Vista
Microsoft has released guidelines to help users prepare their PCs for the Windows Vista operating system. Vista-ready PCs can run at two levels, with the highest requiring a 1GHz processor, 128Mbytes of graphics memory, 1Gbyte of system memory and a 40Gbyte hard drive.

SAP to roll out GUI across its high-end programs
SAP users have been given a glimpse of Project Muse: a graphical user interface that SAP plans to roll out across its high-end applications. It will allow users to access MySAP Business Suite.


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