Skype responds to rumors that a band of criminal hackers brought down its VoIP service and more security updates. Plus: the latest networking product news.


Security News

VoIP service Skype went down for a two-day outage late last week, knocking most of its 220 million subscribers off its network. In the absence of concrete information from the company, rumors initially flew that a band of criminal hackers had brought the service down through a massive DDoS attack. As it turns out, Skype said the problem was less exotic. The company claims the sheer volume of Windows systems rebooting after last week’s Patch Tuesday crippled its authentication servers.

One DDoS attack that does not seem to be fictional: The Storm worm, which creates spam botnets, has taken to counterattacking computers scanning networks it has infected by activating its zombies and launching attacks on them. Security experts are concerned that a beginning-of-the-year security scanning regimen at colleges will trigger more attacks.

The organization that reported the attacks, REN-ISAC, offers an interesting security service: It tracks traffic over the Abilene network backbone and identifies which network ports are receiving the heaviest traffic, providing links to current exploits that target vulnerable applications listening on those ports. If you’ve ever wondered why your firewall reports a steady stream of requests to port 139, REN-ISAC has you covered>

A new Trojan called “Infostealer.Monstres” is targeting online job seekers and gathering information from users at such sites as Security researchers believe several hundred thousand users have had approximately 1.6 million pieces of data illegally harvested from alone, with caches of data in several locations on the ‘net that suggest many more users may have had their privacy compromised. The Trojans have taken advantage of vulnerabilities in’s Web servers to send personalized phishing messages to the site’s users along with another Trojan masquerading as bogus copy of the site’s Job Seeker Tool.


SMC has announced the release of a number of 802.11n Draft v2.0-compliant products, including the SMC Barricade N Wireless 4-port Gigabit Broadband Router, the EZ Connect N Wireless Access Point/Ethernet Client and the EZ Connect N Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter.

The Barricade N Draft 11n Gigabit Broadband Router (SMCWGBR14-N). The router includes a 4-port 10/100/1000Mbps LAN switch, high speed Wireless-N (draft 802.11n) access point, NAT firewall with Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI), and a print server. The device is 802.11n draft v2.0 compliant. MSRP is $174.99.

The EZ Connect N Access Point/Ethernet Client (SMCWEB-N can be configured as an access point or placed in Client mode to connect multiple Ethernet enabled devices such as a game consoles, digital media player or Network Attached Storage. MSRP is $114.99.

The EZ Connect N Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter (SMCWUSB-N) provides an 802.11n-compatible dongle for desktop and notebook computers. MSRP is $62.99.

Lexmark has announced three all-in-one printers with wireless networking built in. The X6570, X7550 and X4850 offer wireless printing, faxing and scanning.

The X6570 is priced at $149.99 and offers two-sided printing, fax, a 25-page automatic document feeder for copying and faxing, and photo printing. Lexmark says it can print at up to 28 pages per minute (ppm) in black and white, and at 24ppm for color.

The X7550 has an MSRP of $199.95 and adds a 2.4 inch color display for viewing and editing photos as well as faster print speeds: 30ppm in black and white 27ppm in color.

The $149.95 X4850 Wireless All-in-One includes the 2.4 inch display as well as cards slots and a PictBridge port.

The company also released the Z1520, a wireless printer with wireless access to media slots and an MSRP of $129.95.

Sprint and ZyXel have announced a partnership that will provide ZyXel equipment for Sprint’s upcoming WiMax network. ZyXel will be familiar to practical networkers as a supplier of general networking equipment as well as DSL Customer Premise Equipment (CPE’s), a.k.a. “DSL modems.” The company has been producing WiMax cards, USB dongles, routers and base stations.