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Google Docs used in latest spam attack

Spammers will do just about anything to get their e-mail through corporate and desktop filters. According to MessageLabs, they're now using Google Docs, a perfectly legitimate way to publish to the Web. Only what they're publishing is the same old wares--this time, it's enhancement pills. This week I talked with Matt Sergeant, senior anti-spam technologist with MessageLabs, who told me how they they've tracking one Google Doc since May 8, 2008.

Later in the conversation, Sergeant talks about the resurgence of Storm. Only a few weeks ago, MessageLabs reported a notable decrease in computers infected with the Storm botnet. … Read more

Mobile IM to surpass SMS?

A recent Gartner study estimates that 189 billion mobile messages have been sent by U.S. mobile-phone subscribers in 2007. It forecasts 301 billion mobile messages sent in 2008.

If correct, those figures would still account for only a small fraction of the 2.3 trillion messages to be sent across major markets worldwide in 2008 (a 19.6 percent increase from the 2007 total of 1.9 trillion messages). Asia is the biggest mobile-messaging market worldwide. China is in the lead, with approximately 560 billion SMS messages sent in 2007, followed by the Philippines' 430 billion and Japan's … Read more

Facebook Chat to work on Jabber IM clients

Facebook Chat might've had a simple and quiet launch, but a month later, the social network is already announcing plans to upgrade.

Engineer David Reiss announced Tuesday evening on the Facebook Developer Blog that Facebook Chat will soon have an Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) interface--that's better known as Jabber. This will mean that external clients will be able to incorporate Facebook Chat, currently restricted in most cases to the browser.

Universal IM clients Digsby (which is PC-only) and Adium (which is Mac-only) have already worked in ways to support Facebook Chat.

Through Facebook's official Jabber … Read more

Google waves sayonara to Hello

Google has announced the shutdown of Hello, a sort of photo-messaging service that became part of the Mountain View family when Google acquired Picasa in 2004.

"All good things come to an end," a placeholder on the Hello.com home page says. "So it is with sadness that we say goodbye to Hello." Guess they weren't so sad that they felt the need to steer clear of goofy plays on words. Hello will fade away on May 15, though Google's photo-sharing service Picasa remains otherwise intact.

"We originally embarked on a mission to … Read more

Featured Freeware: ManyCam

ManyCam is the freeware tool users who need their Webcam for more than one chat program simultaneously. It creates a "virtual" Webcam that replicates your currently installed camera. It then lets multiple applications access the video stream without conflict.

ManyCam is compatible with Yahoo, MSN, CamFrog, PalTalk, ICQ, Skype, YouTube, and more. Once you've installed it, you need to set ManyCam as the primary input for program that you want to use. It'll automatically start when activate your Webcam through that program. The application includes a bunch of gimmicky features that let you change aspects of … Read more

Yahoo e-mail accounts compromised for spammers' use

Spammers are going legit, and they're using Yahoo e-mail authentication servers to do it, said Mark Sunner, chief security analyst with MessageLabs.

Most people use the Web interface for Yahoo Mail, which attaches a banner of advertising on the e-mail somewhere within the message. Yahoo also provides a service, Yahoo Plus, that allows the sender to use SMTP and traditional e-mail clients such as Outlook Express or Thunderbird. Mail sent via SMTP passes through Yahoo's servers, signing the mail as legit using the Yahoo Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) service.

What this does is strip out the usual … Read more

To connect with Catholic youth, pope goes digital

Ever gotten a text message from the pope? Well, to commemorate the Catholic Church's annual World Youth Day this July, thousands of young Catholics in Australia will be able to say that they did.

"We wanted to make (World Youth Day 2008) a unique experience by using new ways to connect with today's tech-savvy youth," Bishop Anthony Fisher of the Archdiocese of Sydney said in a statement provided to Reuters on Wednesday. Pope Benedict XVI will be in Sydney for the six-day celebration, which starts on July 15, and Australian youth will be able to connect … Read more

LED pen can let everyone know your mood

From its weird name to bizarre product lineup, we've always been fascinated by Hong Kong-based Brando. It has, after all, been single-handedly responsible for giving us everything from lip phones and mosquito repellants to mouse massagers and aromatherapy speakers.

But every once in a long while, it comes up with something we'd actually consider buying. And this is one of the exceptions: an LED message pen. We have no idea why--it's not as if we need one to advertise our business or anything, though it would be pretty nifty to have one that lit up with "… Read more

Get multiple Web chat services on your desktop with 1 application

The other day we told you how to get Facebook chat in your browser's sidebar, but what about if you want to run it as a standalone desktop application? If you're a Mac user you're in luck with Gabtastik from Mesa Dynamics. It lets you run Facebook chat, and several popular Web chat services on your desktop without having to open your browser.

Besides Facebook, it supports the Google Talk, and Meebo, which means you can jack into all of the major chat networks such as Yahoo, MSN, and AIM. You can also tweak the opacity to … Read more

Yahoo IM for Vista beta--now with voice calls

Update 4:30 p.m. PT May 1: I corrected the download link and a reference to the Messenger 9 beta for Windows XP, a separate product from the Messenger for Vista beta.

Yahoo has released its Windows Vista beta of its instant-messaging software, adding support for voice chat and cell phone text messages that were missing from the preview version that's been out since December.

The Yahoo Messenger for Vista beta software supports computer-to-computer calls as well as calls to and from phones, Yahoo said Wednesday. It also can communicate with cell phone text messages sent with SMS (… Read more