Top 10: Mumbai terrorism, worm warning, holiday woe

This holiday week's top news stories include the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, a Microsoft warning of increased exploits, and a dreary outlook for holiday sales

A wave of coordinated terrorist attacks across Mumbai late Wednesday dominated the news this week, with bloggers and people using Twitter helping to get information to families and friends of those affected. Multinational technology companies are not expected to change their business strategies as a consequence of the stunning attacks, which targeted westerners.

1. Mumbai terrorist attacks don't deter technology companies and In Mumbai, bloggers and Twitter offer help to relatives: Terrorists attacked nine locations across Mumbai late Wednesday, with hostages taken in luxury hotels and at a Jewish center, where five were reported Friday to have been killed. The death toll by week's end was 151, with at least 327 injured in the stunning attacks, which targeted people carrying passports from the United States and the United Kingdom. The attacks were the latest in an ongoing string of terrorist activity in India. Despite the apparent continuing terrorist threat there, analysts and others said that multinational technology companies are not likely to alter their strategies for doing business in India. As the news unfolded this week from Mumbai, bloggers and people using Twitter helped get information to the families and friends of those affected by the attacks.

2. Microsoft warns of malware exploiting known vulnerability: Microsoft warned of an increase in exploits taking advantage of a bug in the Windows Server service that could lead to a worm infiltrating networks. The company issued an emergency patch for the exploit last month. Those who haven't applied the patch are being urged to do that as soon as possible.

3. Estonian ISP cuts off control servers for Srizbi botnet: An Estonian ISP cut off control servers for the massive Srizbi botnet, which is responsible for much of the spam that clogs inboxes globally. Srizbi was temporarily derailed earlier this month when upstream providers shut off access to McColo, an ISP that was identified as the host for the botnet's command-and-control servers. Spammers being spammers, it didn't take long for them to find a new host, Starline Web Services in Estonia, but that ISP got wise to them, too.

4. ComScore forecasts flat holiday online shopping: Online retailers got an ominous sign this month, with online spending dropping in the first three weeks in the run up to the critical holiday shopping season. Hopes for a robust "Black Friday," the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday that kicks off the year-end holiday shopping season, were dampened by ComScore's consumer survey. Online shoppers spent 4 percent less in the first three weeks of November than they did last year in the same period. ComScore predicted that spending online will be about the same this year as it was last year.

5. Nokia to pull out of Japanese handset market: Nokia, the largest cell phone maker, is bailing out of the Japanese handset market, which is the biggest in the world. The company cited the global economic downturn for its decision, with a spokesman saying that Nokia has failed to hit its "own internal targets for a sustained period of time," although he declined to say what those targets were. Nokia will keep open a research-and-development facility in Japan and continue procurement activities there. The move out of the market also will not affect Nokia's high-end Vertu handsets.

6. Cisco shutting down between holidays: Cisco Systems will shut down operations in U.S. and Canada from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2 for the first time in its history to save money. The cost-cutting move exempts business-critical teams such as technical assistance services and channel partner and customer product ordering.

7. Bamboo laptop by Asustek to debut Saturday: Asustek will unveil its laptop made of a bamboo casing on Saturday at the IT Month exhibit in Taiwan. The laptop is part of Asus' initiative to make products of renewable materials that are environmentally friendly. Anyone who has ever contended with trying to keep bamboo under control knows that it grows extremely quickly. It's also widely available. And quite tasty to pandas.

8. Greenpeace: Tech companies not serious about climate change: Apple, Dell, Motorola, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Samsung are laggards when it comes to getting serious about climate change and the impact their products have on the environment, Greenpeace said. "They haven't demonstrated any real commitment to cutting their own CO2 emissions, or to lobbying politicians to get a good deal post-Kyoto," said Mel Francis, international climate and energy campaigner for the environmental watchdog group as it released its Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics.

9. Apple's new VP could cause 'irreparable harm' to IBM, says judge: Mark Papermaster was ordered by a federal judge to stop working for IBM just five days after the former Apple executive started his new job, according to court documents unsealed this week. Papermaster's work at Apple could cause "irreparable harm" to IBM because he knows "highly confidential IBM trade secrets," U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Karas ruled. He granted IBM's request for a preliminary injunction to keep Papermaster from working for Apple, where he got a job heading iPod and iPhone hardware development. IBM contends that Papermaster signed a noncompete agreement in 2006 that bars him from taking a job with a competitor for a year after leaving IBM.

10. Vintage geek gift guide: If you know a geek who loves vintage gear, this InfoWorld gift guide is for you (and the vintage geek in your life).

[ See also: InfoWorld's 2008 geek gadget gift guide ]

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