New Frankenstein Virus Can Build Itself on Any Computer From Stolen Snippets of CodeWhat if a virus were a shapeshifter, able to change its appearance each time it infects a machine? What if a virus used your own files against you, able to ransack the programs on your computer for the bits of code it needs? Judging from the progress made on the Frankenstein virus, a venture sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, that may soon be a reality.

Developed by two professors at the University of Texas at Dallas, New Scientist says the Frankenstein virus is essentially a program compliler with directions about the algorithms it needs to assemble. Once unpacked and functional, it begins searching the software on your computer for the code it needs—generally taking little snippets called gadgets. These gadgets are written to perform specific actions and thus can be transposed over to another program more easily. The researchers only had the Frankenstein virus create two simple algorithms as a proof of concept, but they believe it can assemble any program, including full-scale malware.

And though there have been other viruses that can change their code, Frankenstein is believed to be more dangerous because it can also change its every aspect of itself to hide on your computer.

Frankenstein is different because all of its code, including the blueprints and gadget-finder, can adapt to look like parts of regular software, making it harder to detect. Just three pieces of such software are enough to provide over 100,000 gadgets, so there are a huge number of ways for Frankenstein to build its monster, but it needs blueprints that find the right balance. If the blueprint is too specific, it leaves Frankenstein little choice in which gadgets to use, leading to less variation and making it easier to detect. Looser blueprints, which only specify the end effects of the malware, are too vague for Frankenstein to follow, for now.

Obviously the military wants this for its ongoing cyberwarfare efforts. But if this ever gets in the hands of script kiddies, we’re in trouble. [New Scientist]

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Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 news No Comments

Microsoft Burns Another Half Billion Online


The good news: Microsoft has stabilized the amount of money it loses online. The bad news: It’s still on track to lose almost $2 billion online this year.

This quarter Microsoft lost $476 million. But, a year ago in the same period it lost $776 million. So, progress!

chart of the day, msft online operating income, april 2012

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Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

How The iPad Kicks Kindle’s Butt When It Comes To Ad Traffic (AAPL, AMZN)


kindle ipad

Amazon just kicked off a new TV campaign for the Kindle Fire, which it doubtless hopes will further dent sales of Apple’s iPad. But Kindle has a long way to go before it starts threatening the iPad as a device for serving online ads to consumers.

Data from Rimm-Kaufmann Group, an online marketing agency, show that the iPad maintains its total dominance of the tablet market when it comes to ad traffic. Kindle is slowly making progress, but it only has 3.48 percent of the market to iPad’s 88.1 percent.

iPad had a 93.44 percent share of the market late last year, so share is being traded quickly in this category.

With iPad 3 on the way, even those small gains for Kindle may be in jeopardy.

When it comes to ad performance, the iPad also has a significant edge. If you index the data to the average ad displayed on a desktop computer, ads on iPad get 10 percent more revenue per click, the same level of overall clicks, and a greater average order value.

All the other tablets, including Kindle, perform much worse than ads displayed on PCs.

iPad dominates ad traffic on tablets, but its dominance is slipping.

The Kindle is gaining share of ad traffic the fastest against the iPad.

But the iPad is still the most effective tablet device by far, for advertisers.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Saturday, February 11th, 2012 news No Comments

Google strikes deal to bring 27,000 Chromebooks to US schools in three states


It remains to be seen if they’ll be the big game-changer in education that Google hopes they will be, but the company is making some progress at getting its Chromebooks into schools. The latest push is a deal with three US school districts, which will see some 27,000 Chromebooks land in the hand of students in Iowa, Illinois and South Carolina. As CNET reports, South Carolina’s Richland School District Two is making by far the biggest investment of the lot, ordering 19,000 Chromebooks that will be used as part of a three-year program for students in the third through twelfth grades. As for Google itself, it still isn’t being too specific on the total number of Chromebooks now being used by schools, noting only that “hundreds” of schools across 41 states are using them in at least one classroom.

Google strikes deal to bring 27,000 Chromebooks to US schools in three states originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 26 Jan 2012 00:15:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, January 26th, 2012 news No Comments

Android Market gets 9,000 new apps in March, world domination can’t be far behind


Wanna know what exponential growth looks like? Try following Android’s progress over the past few months and you’ll be treated to plenty of rapidly ascending charts. This latest one from AndroLib is no different, illustrating as it does the ever-increasing influx of new games and applications for Google’s mobile platform. Developers must clearly believe Android’s growing market share is only going to keep expanding, as last month saw their most productive output yet, with a sweet 9,308 new additions to the Market. Naturally, the same proviso applies as with Apple’s inflated App Store numbers — quantity does not guarantee quality — but what we’re witnessing is surely the solidification of Android as a legitimate and fully fledged member of the smartphone OS upper echelon. And that can only be a good thing.

Android Market gets 9,000 new apps in March, world domination can’t be far behind originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 08 Apr 2010 06:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Thursday, April 8th, 2010 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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