iFive: Amazon Loves Lovefilm, RIAA Hacked, Linux Loophole, Google Security Bump, Napster Completes the Circle

Welcome to another week of work folks! Here’s today’s early news digested for your groggy post-weekend head:

Julian Assange has more to think about over his breakfast cereal than you or I do: The infamous WikiLeaks founder has found himself in a spot of legal bother in Sweden, accused of rape and molestation. First he was arrestable, then some of the charges were dropped. Now the original prosecutor is chasing him again, but authorities have just officially noted there’s no arrest warrant. Is it the unintelligent doings of the U.S. intelligence services? Quite a thing to ponder over a cuppa joe and some Cap’n’Crunch isn’t it? Now to the rest of the news:


1. Rumors are swirling that Amazon is bidding to buy This would mean a proper marriage between the world’s biggest online retailer and one of the big names in online movie rentals–Amazon already has a big minority stake in the company. We know Amazon loves content, be it in books, e-books, or video, so this makes good sense. What has us pondering though is why Amazon is doing this now. The answer would seem to be the playground scourge of peer pressure. Google’s Music service is reportedly inbound, and Apple’s new TV product is likely to set the home digital TV market a-jiggle. Hence Amazon is concreting its stance, ready to pull off tricks like pricing changes so it can keep relevant.

2. Oops! (or possibly, Hurrah!) The RIAA’s website has been crunched offline by the collective efforts of 4Chaners around the world, in a people-powered distributed denial of service attack. Why? Because RIAA is evil, according to the denizens of the world’s most notorious bulletin board–it’s suing too many people, and aggressively pushing an anti-piracy agenda in order to preserve the status quo rather than innovating its business model. “Operation Payback” also took down the MPAA over the weekend, accused of more or less the same crimes against the internet. Welcome to the era of digital political protesting.

3. There’s a hole in my Linux, dear Liza, dear Liza … Or so it seems a fitting refrain might go: A big vulnerability has been discovered in 64-bit versions of the open-source OS that could let malicious hackers “escalate” privileges. To the uninitiated this means an ordinary user could get root access, either for hackery or so that a virus could run amok. The hole is in the 32-bit compatibility mode, and it seems it’s a new slip-up with an older patch to cover a similar security hole. It’ll be patched soonish, but get your sysadmin to keep a watchful eye on your machines today.

4. Google, sensitive to topical worries about cloud-based app and data security has just increased the safety systems around its Google Apps–handy if you’re one of the businesses who relies on Google’s tools to help your enterprise tick. Instead of a simple, forgettable, hackable password there’s now two-step verification: You use a password and then a passcode that’s sent to your mobile phone. It’s simple, clever, and it’ll definitely work. Better yet this is just Google’s way of testing the system before rolling it out to individual users “in the coming months.” it’s big news guys. The fact that it’ll hand Google a de facto database of millions of cell phone numbers, to use as they wish, is mere coincidence.

5. Napster’s app is now available on iTunes. There’s not much more to say about this other than “Great!” if you’re a Napster user, and “Hah! Oh the irony!” if you’re a follower of digital media trends and love the fact that the system that first started the digital music upending of the recording industry’s business model is now available on the flagship smartphone of the company (Apple) that completed Napster’s work.

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