Researchers at Symantec Corp have uncovered a version of the Stuxnet computer virus that was used to attack Iran’s nuclear program in November 2007, two years earlier than previously thought.
Planning for the cyber weapon, the first publicly known example of a virus being used to attack industrial machinery, began at least as early as 2005, according to an 18-page report that the security software company published on Tuesday.
Stuxnet, which is widely believed to have been developed by the United States and Israel, was uncovered in 2010 after it was used to attack a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, Iran. That facility has been the subject of intense scrutiny by the United States, Israel and allies, who charge that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb.
Apple Inc cut the price on the base version of its 13-inch MacBook Pro laptop with “retina” display by $200 as it revamps its top-end laptops, weeks after the company reported a steep decline in Mac sales in the holiday quarter.
Investors have worried that Apple’s iPad is cannibalizing its Mac range, but Chief Executive Tim Cook has brushed aside these concerns.
The company sold 4.1 million Macs in the December quarter, down 21 percent from a year earlier.
Software makers Microsoft Corp and Symantec Corp said they disrupted a global cyber crime operation by shutting down servers that controlled hundreds of thousands of PCs without the knowledge of their users.
The move made it temporarily impossible for infected PCs around the world to search the web, though the companies offered free tools to clean machines through messages that were automatically pushed out to infected computers.
Technicians working on behalf of both companies raided data centers in Weehawken, New Jersey, and Manassas, Virginia, on Wednesday, accompanied by U.S. federal marshals, under an order issued by the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
They seized control of one server at the New Jersey facility and persuaded the operators of the Virginia data center to take down a server at their parent company in the Netherlands, according to Richard Boscovich, associate general counsel with Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit.
The servers that were pulled off line on Wednesday had been used to communicate with what Microsoft and Symantec estimate are between 300,000 and 600,000 PCs currently infected with malicious software that enslaved them into the botnet.
Barnes & Noble, Microsoft get cozy over Nook e-reader
Microsoft Corp will invest $300 million in Barnes & Noble Inc’s Nook e-reader, gaining a foothold in the fast-growing e-books market as the bookseller gets more firepower to compete against Amazon.com’s Kindle and Apple Inc’s iPad.
The move comes as Microsoft is looking to generate excitement around its tablet-friendly Windows 8 operating system, expected on the market around October.
The deal announced on Monday includes Microsoft taking a stake in the bookseller’s college bookstore division. It also means that the two companies have settled their patent dispute.
Shares of Barnes & Noble soared nearly 70 percent on Monday, while Microsoft shares were nearly flat.
The agreement values the Nook and textbook businesses, which will form a new subsidiary, at $1.7 billion.
READ MORE: Microsoft buys Nook stake; B&N shares soar
Why did Facebook buy Instagram for $1 billion?
The price was stunning for an apps-maker without any significant revenue, even when measured by the lofty standards of Silicon Valley, where startup valuations have soared in recent years. It highlights the rising stakes in the social networking market in which services such as Facebook need to constantly excite consumers with new features and mobile applications.
By acquiring Instagram - in a deal announced days after the startup closed a funding round that valued it at $500 million - Facebook may also have sought to absorb a potential rival or at least prevent it from falling into the hands of a major competitor like Twitter or Google Inc.
“Anytime you see a social platform that’s growing that quickly, that’s got to be cause to be nervous,” said Paul Buchheit, a partner at the start-up incubator program Y Combinator and a co-founder of FriendFeed, which Facebook acquired in 2009.
“It would be better to have bought Twitter at this stage,” he said of Facebook. “So if you’re thinking this could be the next Twitter, it could be a smart thing to do.”
Apple Inc’s new iPhone will have a sharper and bigger 4.6-inch “retina” display and is set to be launched around the second quarter, a South Korean media reported on Thursday.
Sales of the iPhone, first introduced in 2007 with the touch screen template now adopted by its rivals, account for around half Apple’s total sales.
Apple has decided on the bigger 4.6-inch display for its next iPhone and started placing orders to its suppliers, the Maeil Business Newspaper said, quoting an unnamed industry source.
Google Inc’s Chrome web browser overtook Microsoft Corp’s Internet Explorer (IE) to become market leader globally for the first time last Sunday, web analytics firm StatCounter said on Wednesday.
“While it is only one day, this is a milestone,” said Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter’s chief executive.
“At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to IE.”