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Your cellphone is under attack

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December 29, 2005 08:08 IST

As smart phones and other mobile devices become more popular, the number of malicious software programmes created for these devices is expected to reach 726 by the end of 2006 -- up from an estimated 226 at the end of 2005, according to a recent report by McAfee Avert Labs.

Targeted phishing attacks and potentially unwanted programs, such as adware and spyware, are also anticipated to increase. But growth in malicious programs for mobile phones is expected to accelerate the fastest.

For instance, the "I Love You' virus that infected tens of millions of PCs in just a few hours in 2000 would have spread wider and faster in smart phones, McAfee warned.

A virus that targets several mobile operating systems could infect up to 200 million connected smart phones simultaneously, given that these devices often do not have security software installed, the company said.

This robot is aware of himself

You cannot fool this robot. Under development by Junichi Takeno and a team of researchers at Meiji University in Japan, this new robot can tell the difference between a mirror image of itself and another robot that looks just like it. Its ability is based on artificial nerve cell groups built into the robot's computer brain.

The technology is exciting since it could eventually lead to robots being able to express emotions.

Takeno and his colleagues built the robot with blue, red or green light emitting diodes connected to artificial neurons in the region that light up when different information is being processed, based on the robot's behaviour.

In one experiment, a robot representing the "self" was paired with an identical robot representing the "other." When the self-robot moved forward, stopped or backed up, the other robot did the same. The pattern of neurons firing and the subsequent flashes of blue light indicated that the self-robot understood that the other robot was imitating its behavior.

In 70 per cent of the time, the robot understood that the mirror image was itself. Takeno's goal is to reach 100 percent in the coming year.

A cellphone cum PC in your palm

A start-up, DualCor Technologies, is expected to launch its CPC - a full-fledged handheld Windows XP computer that also comes with a built-in smart phone that runs Windows Mobile 5.0.

The CPC is 6.5 inches long, 3.3 inches wide, 1.2 inches thick and has a 5-inch diagonal screen. DualCor went with a Via Technologies chip because it consumed a maximum of 7.5 watts of power, but still provided enough performance to function like a regular computer.

Together, the computer and cell phone components share a 40GB hard drive. In full computing mode, the battery lasts about 3 to 4 hours, about the same as a standard laptop.

However, the device can run for eight to 12 hours in the "smart phone" mode. The screen is made from special glass, manufactured by LG. Users can also dock the CPC like a CPU, plugging it into an outlet and LCD screen and it will feel no different than using a regular desktop.

You may be getting lesser spam

Your spam (unwanted and unsolicited email) torment may be reducing as a result of new laws and improved filtering technologies, states a recent US government report.

The Federal Trade Commission study suggests that most consumers receive less spam than two years ago, although unwanted email remains a major nuisance for many. The FTC gathered statistics from Internet users, companies and ISPs, and analysed email filtering systems.

A survey conducted by the e-mail filtering firm MX Logic, and cited in the report, found that spam accounted for 67 per cent of emails passing through its system during the first eight months of 2005, a nine per cent decrease compared to a year earlier. This does not mean, though, that the war on spam is over.
BS Bureau