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Showing posts from June, 2004
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The Face of Neglect

I’ve been neglecting my WebLog over the last month. The reason of course is that I’ve been much busier than usual with different project and the summer months appear to carry the heaviest workload, perhaps because clients would prefer to have projects being completed while they are away on vacation.

Monday found me at Parliament all day and a Westminster vagrant between meetings with MPs. I’ve been invited to attend a meeting chaired by Michael Howard on the 15th which should be interesting. It seems that I’ve been so busy working that I forgot to pursue my application for inclusion on the candidate’s list for the next election. This is now closed, so any immediate possibility of a future in politics has passed me by, for now at least.

Anyway, I have to visit Brussels on Friday and Lyons next week. For the former, I’m going to try and fly myself, as it’s only ninety minutes from here as the crow flies, although having to stop at Calais to clear the European border c…
The Dominance of Linux on the Server Linux is not yet the dominant server OS in terms of units deployed or units shipped. Microsoft still has the lion's share of the market by all reasonable estimations. [via IT-Director.com: ]
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People Are Even More Willing To Click On Attachments Today These days, you would think that people would have learned to stop clicking on random attachments sent to them over email. However, a new study suggests that 85% of people would automatically open an attachment sent from a friend or colleague -- which is actually slightly higher than a year ago. The main culprit: apparently these people are used to clicking on all the "humorous" forwards from their friends. Amazingly, it turns out that there are a lot of folks out there who seem to enjoy all that friend spam. In other words, outbreaks of "click on this" style virus attacks aren't going away any time soon. [via Techdirt]

Evilest Of Evil Spyware Winning The War Someone I know recently got hit with CoolWebSearch the evilest of the evil new spyware products out there that seems to have one purpose, and one purpose only: to destroy your computer. While it may drive some pay-per-click ad money, CWS is so bothersome, that it can't really be that useful in generating money. In trying to fight it, one of the most useful tools out there has been a product called CWShredder. However, CWS has gotten ever more advanced, and the creator of CWShredder has given up, saying it's simply too much work to compete against CWS: "I simply do not have the tools to remove the latest variants. They are too aggressive or too complicated to allow for automated removal." Certainly not a good sign. [via Techdirt]
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US court bars internet porn law The US Supreme Court blocks enforcement of a law designed to protect children from web porn. Moral disaster for the res of the planet! [via BBC ]

Microsoft sets sights on spam The man behind Microsoft's anti-spam program details the software giant's strategy. [via BBC News]
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IIS Server Malware is Phishing Scam The malicious code downloaded from compromised IIS servers onto users' machines includes a trojan that records keystrokes in an attempt to steal e-commerce login information, according to a detailed analysis by Lurhq. [via Netcraft]

Sun slams Red Hat Solaris 'cheaper than Linux', says exec - I believe you, thiusands might not - [via The Register]
Wi-Fi hopper guilty of cyber-extortion Give me $17m. Or else -  A Maryland man with a grudge against a Connecticut-based patent firm used unsecured wireless networks at homes and businesses in the Washington DC area to penetrate the company's computers and deliver untraceable threats and extortion demands, until an FBI surveillance team caught him in the act.[via The Register]
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New Virus May Steal Data The latest virus plaguing Windows machines appears to be designed to steal credit card numbers and other important financial data, security analysts are saying.  [via Wired News]

Security Statistics Show Surprising Finds

The Micorsoft Windows application is more secure than you think, and Mac OS X is worse than you ever imagined. That is according to statistics published for the first time this week by Danish security firm Secunia.

The statistics, based on a database of security advisories for more than 3,500 products during 2003 and 2004 sheds light on the real security of enterprise applications and operating systems. Each product is broken down into pie charts demonstrating how many, what type and how significant security holes have been in each.

The figures have shown is that OS X's reputation as a relatively secure operating system is unwarranted, Secunia said

Computer Weekly
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Diversity – Nice Work if You Can Find It

I was rather amused to read that Cambridgeshire Police had thought they had filled the £40,000 post of ‘Diversity Officer’ but then a background check of the applicant revealed he was an illegal immigrant.



I was looking at a couple of other ‘Diversity’ advertisements in the Sunday Times last weekend and one in particular for the Royal Bank of Scotland, offering a six-figure package for the successful applicant. How, I wondered can I break into this obviously lucrative but quite meaningless specialty? I imagined sitting at a desk all day pouring through reports on how diverse the bank’s employees are and whether in fact they should be more diverse, representing different shades and sexual orientations in the struggle to deliver better banking services.

Our society has gone barking mad. Already, my local church had had to block-off it’s Lady Chapel and replace it with a disabled access toilet, which it can’t afford on the revenue from its small co…
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The Russians are Coming

“We woz robbed”, and it’s not football I’m referring to.

There are no penalties in cyberspace. Just ask AOL, which having just lost 92 million email accounts to the spammers, is doing it’s very best to assure customers, that as ever, security remains at the very top of the company’s priorities.



In fact, it’s hard to blame AOL when something like this happens. Back in the earliest days of the World Wide Web, when Netscape version 1.0 reigned supreme and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was a small joke, I was the Director of one ISP, who had a call from the Police one morning, telling me that the entire subscriber database, with passwords, was sitting-up in a popular hacker newsgroup.

At the time, we didn’t realise how pathetically vulnerable the technology of the Internet was. Many of us at the beginning of the online revolution were at the mercy of a small team of ‘expert’ system administrators who frequently resembled refugees from a ZZ-Top concert and security w…
Phishing Attacks Level Off in May After months of rapid growth, the number of phishing attacks leveled off in May, rising just 6 percent with a total of 1,197 unique campaigns, according to new data from the Anti-Phishing Working Group [via Netcraft]
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Don't Visit Websites With Microsoft IE It really is getting ridiculously dangerous these days for anyone to keep using Microsoft IE. People always talk about the day when scammers will start to use "zero day exploits" to smash through security holes before they're patched, and that's clearly already happening. The latest move, which is fairly advanced (and many assume is being done by organized crime groups in Eastern Europe) is to hack into a variety of popular company websites and install some code to exploit a known IE vulnerability that has not been patched by Microsoft. Once this is done, any IE user visiting any of these websites (which they obviously would assume to be safe based on the companies involved) ends up with some of the most insidious keylogging spyware. The article won't list the companies, but from the descriptions they sound like sites anyone might visit on a regular basis (banks, auction sites and comparison shopping engines). This sound…
Spam is making computers sick PCs are having more sick days than workers as a result of spam overload a survey finds. [via BBC News]
Concern over net phone fraud UK police are investigating complaints about net diallers which call premium rate numbers without permission. [via BBC News ]
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AOL employee charged with selling entire 92 million account database

I had finished my presentation and lunch at the Message Labs Forum on email security and had grabbed a copy of the Evening Standard, only to open it and read their version of the story below. Ironically, the problem is becoming worse on a monthly basis and legislation from both the US and the UK / European Government's have only served to INCREASE the levels of spam activity, which now represents a growing and unhealthy alliance between the Russian Mafia and the Boca Raton Spam Kings.



An employee of America Online has been for stealing AOL user screen names and selling them to a spam e-mail operation.

AOL said it discovered the screen name thefts and passed the information on to federal law enforcement agencies, leading to the arrest. AOL has fired the employee, it said, adding it is committed to his full prosecution.


Computer Weekly

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The Future of eMail Security

I’m speaking at a Message Labs Forum, ‘The Future of eMail Security’, in London tomorrow, the subject being, ‘Why Information Security is fast becoming a board level responsibility’.



I’m a little worried that I’ll inflict ‘Death by PowerPoint’ on the audience, as I have rather more slides than I think I can cram into thirty minutes. It’s a big subject and I want to do it justice but perhaps I only need to point a bony finger at the statistics, which rather make any board level involvement with information security an unavoidable fact of life in 2004 and beyond.

Microsoft's vision of security Microsoft has come in for much criticism over the years for paying only lip service to security - but that has changed. Over the past year or so, it has started evangelising its messages in this area. [via IT-Director.com: Impartial News Analysis]
False Alarm: No Extensions to NT 4.0 Support Microsoft says its deal with a banking consortium to continue to provide security hot fixes once it ends NT 4.0 support is par for the course. [via Microsoft Watch ]
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ISPs Teaming Up To Standardize Plans To Stop Zombies Six large ISPs are now teaming up to take on the issue of zombie machines spewing spam. AOL, Yahoo, Earthlink, Comcast, Microsoft and BT are all working together to come up with a standard way to fight spam zombies, but some of their plans may upset certain users. While it's good to see them (finally) taking this issue seriously, one of the proposed solutions is to limit how many emails a customer can send out per hour or per day. While this is unlikely to be a problem for most users, it could cause problems for people who legitimately need to send out a large number of messages. Besides, as some have been suggesting, all this really means is that spammers will have incentive to get their software on even more machines in order to keep on spamming. [via Techdirt]

People must come first in e-government A bit radical? Long live the revolution! [via The Register]
US hardcore not interested in the Net Are you a 'Resistor' or just 'Unconnected'? [via The Register]
Fake ID cards 'openly available' False proof of age, student and national ID cards are all freely available to buy on the internet, a study reveals. - As if we didn't know this already and its quicker than the real Passport office too! [via BBC News]
New gadgets take on 'Starbucks' security threat The growth in popularity of both wireless technology and mobile computing has created a potent new threat for network administrators: unauthorized intrusions onto their networks by hackers and viruses that take advantage of loosely secured laptop PCs and public computer kiosks. [via InfoWorld: Security]
Security Protection That Fights Back While there's been plenty of talk about setting up security technology that would "fight back" when computers are attacked, most have stayed away from the idea, admitting that it could cause a lot more damage than it prevents. However, one company is now promoting that very idea and using a bunch of war metaphors to support their position on "information warfare." The idea is that they have a standard network security product, but if things get bad enough, it will somehow go on the offensive against the source of the problem. That "somehow" is a big question mark however. The company won't describe (at all) how they fight back, so there's no way to know what they're really doing. This could be a big problem - especially now that many attacks seem to come from compromised computers. What happens when these sorts of offensive systems then start attacking each other? [via Techdirt]
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Three hours

Three hours stuck on a train from Victoria to the Kent coast going nowhere yesterday afternoon. Signal failures, fire on the line, a sudden asteroid strike, take your pick but as my train was one of the first to be affected at 3’O’clock, Lord help the commuters trying to leave London in time for the football match during the rush hour.



I’m beginning to think that I have a one in three chance of successfully catching a train to and from London on business these days. Every time this kind of thing happens I resolve to take my motorcycle next time and then, hope sets in because it’s easier, if a little more expensive to take a train into the centre of London than fight the traffic through the Blackwall tunnel and along the embankment. Why our train are such a total mess, both inside and out defeats me and many millions of others and is just one more sign of the infrastructure that we used to take pride in as a nation, collapsing around our ears.

And I forgot to mention, that h…
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Welcome to the World of the Matrix

Two huge scientific breakthroughs were announced last week. The first was the arrival of a web-enabled surfboard, suitably painted with the ‘Intel-Inside’ logo, which enables the surfer to, well ‘Surf’ the Web in between catching waves and avoiding large sharks. Wireless enabled, from a base-station on the nearest beach, you’ll never miss that vital email from the office and in conjunction with a Bluetooth headset and a waterproof mobile phone, a whole new meaning is bought to the idea of working from home in summer or even ‘Life’s a beach’.



The second great scientific success was teleportation, not of people, yet, but of atoms, which is a start and the technical explanation of how this was achieved, lost me in the first paragraph on Quantum states. This does however have rather more practical implications for the IT industry than the arrival of the wireless surfboard.

The BBC reports that this landmark experiment is being viewed as a major advance in…
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Microsoft and the Antivirus Question
Several people have asked about Microsoft possibly developing antivirus products, following comments made yesterday by Mike Nash, Security Business Unit vice president.

That Microsoft would be eyeing the antivirus market is not surprising. How slowly the company is moving in that direction is what people should find surprising. Consider that Microsoft agreed to acquire antivirus maker GeCad a year ago last week or that the company tested security software PC Satisfaction for the better part of a year.
One place antivirus software might make sense is part of the operating system. One of Microsoft's longstanding problems is figuring out when a separate product is utility enough to be made part of Windows. I can remember when companies charged for TCP/IP stacks. Microsoft eventually rolled that functionality into Windows, because networking had reached a certain critical mass.
But, the post-trial Microsoft must contend with the reality that operating …
Can the CIO be the corporate privacy champion? A recent feature in CIO Magazine contended strongly that the corporate CIO should become the privacy champion through self-education about new regulations and technology. [via IT-Director.com - Information Security]
Japan tech guru predicts slump Japan's top-rated technology analyst says waning demand for computers will trigger a fresh slump in tech stocks next year. - Back to gloom and doom then? [via BBC News ]
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Teleportation breakthrough made Scientists teleport the properties of one atom to another without using any physical link. - Immigration quotas once again threatened? [via BBC News]

US moves to rein in spyware US law-makers move towards controls on hidden software that can secretly spy on online habits. - About time too! [via BBC News ]
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Tiger Bay

I'm exhausted. Today I had an eCrime meeting in Cardiff and I flew from my home here in Kent and then back again in the afternoon when it was over.



In a car, at least one can switch-off to a degree and listen to the radio. In a small aircraft on a bumpy day, weaving through controlled airspace, you have to work every minute and today in particular, with the Farnborough area buzzing with helicopters coming and going from Royal Ascot, you need to be extra alert, even with a radar service.

The wind has been howling all day and from my point of view, from the wrong direction, the West. As a result, it took 2:17 minutes to reach Cardiff and only 1:40 minutes to find my way home to the far opposite side of the UK.

No weekend for the wicked. A client has handed me a 'rush' piece of work which needs completing by Monday, so it looks as if the BBQ I've been invited to will have to wait. Mind you, looking at the weather outside tonight, any plans for a Saturday afterno…
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It Came from Outer Space

Even my local radio station was warning listeners that it’s only a matter of time before a mobile phone virus finds its way on to a phone near you.



This news rather reminded me of an early Hollywood science fiction movie bought up to date but with the B-plot, involving sinister alien invaders, unchanged. Mass hysteria breaks out when first of all the phones are infected and then, with a final twist to the story, their owners become victims in turn. Of course, when you watch teenagers with their mobile phones today, the advanced symptoms of possession by the network are already visible and perhaps, as these ‘converged’ mobile devices become even more powerful, the temptation on the part of hackers to design the code that will trigger the first smartphone pandemic, will become irresistible’.

Today however, the threat of a phone worm or virus is a little exaggerated. The story that triggered last weeks news involved a worm program, nicknamed Cabir by Kapersky, the…
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Companies join forces to combat cybercrime

More than a dozen corporate giants in the retail, telecommunications, financial services, banking and technology industries are joining forces to combat phishing, spoofing and other methods of online identify fraud.



Companies including AT&T Wireless Services, IBM, Best Buy and Fidelity Investments will announce the formation of the Trusted Electronic Communications Forum (TECF), a group that will focus on eliminating phishing's threat to e-mail and e-commerce.

Computer Weekly
So What Is New In XP SP2 RC2? Microsoft hasn't said much publicly, in terms of the feature tweaks it made between the March Release Candidate (RC) 1 beta of Windows XP Service Pack 2 and the RC2 variant that it made available for download this week. But the company now is confirming the short list of tweaks published earlier this year is accurate. [via Microsoft Watch ]
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Akamai Attack Highlights Threat From Bot Networks Have hacker-controlled "botnets" grown mighty enough to disrupt even Akamai's content distribution network and its 15,000 servers? Until yesterday, the notion seemed far-fetched. But Akamai said today that a large network of "zombie" machines were the culprit in a distributed denial of service attack that its DNS system for several hours. [via Netcraft]

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Penguins come to Wimbledon IBM serves up tennis treat - Opening volley for Linux. [via The Register]

Spammer prosecutions waste time and money Spammed if you do and spammed if you don't - As if we didn't know this already? [via The Register]
Spam accounts for 2/3 of all mail  The recent issue (7, 2004) of the German language PC Magazin reports that Brightmail, the spam filter specialist, filtered 96 billion e-mails for its customers, of which 64% were spam, up from 50% in July 2003, and 60% in January 2004. The Brightmail website reports for May, 2004 that it hit the 100 billion mark for filtered e-mails, of which 64% were spam. 3.3 billion e-mails were fraudulent. [via PunditMania]
Worm ready to wriggle into smart phones A worm for your phone is just around the corner [via ZDNet]
Microsoft races to plug another IE hole A flaw in the Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser could allow hackers to install software on a Windows PC. [via BBC News ]
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Mothballs

You won't believe this but the Blackwall Tunnel smells of mothballs or today it did.

Probably a strong chemical smell caused by poor ventillation and as I drove my motorcycle through at lunchtime today, there was a visible curtain of smog in the tunnel that reflected the temperature outside. Nothing could be worse, I thought, than the prospect of being trapped in there by a breakdown as the mile long tunnel under the Thames should carry its own health warning.

Mind you, with the weather so good this week, I'm making the most of it and flying instead of driving to meetings where I can. Come the end of the month, I'm going to have a go at getting to Brussels, ninety minutes away from where I live here in Kent. Noting that Brussels international airport has time restrictions on light aircraft, I'm planning to drop into the smaller airfield at Grimbergen, which is about ten kilometres from the city centre.

With EUjet due to start its own service from Manston, a st…
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Dulce et Decorum Est

Now would be a good time.

I’m referring to Windows XP, Service Pack-2 (SP2). The promise of a more secure and resilient update to the Operating System has been in the proverbial post for some months now and I, for one, could do with a copy.

I now have so many Windows updates and patches on my primary HP, laptop that I’m starting to worry about its overall stability. This particular model was rebuilt once by Microsoft prior to the installation of Windows SP1 and today, I would guess that it needs rebooting at least three times each week when applications, Outlook, Word and Internet Explorer freeze for some unknown reason. Re-starting the laptop can take as long as ten minutes, by the time everything is re-loaded and work can begin again and although I can’t point the finger of blame in any single direction, I suspect that my layers of content security protection are a major factor in creating a ‘flaky’ Personal Computer.



But what can one do? Without anti-virus and a…
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What Businesses Spend on Security
CNET News.com has a story about security spending (here). The story discusses an institute's report assessing business spending on damages for cyber attacks.

"Security: How IT Managers' Ranking of Microsoft Affects Software Purchasing Decisions," provides rich data on how much bigger businesses spent on overall security last year (e.g., patch management, security repair, losses due to security breaches or virus infections). The report breaks out spending by operating system. By the way, security is not IT decision makers' top priority. Interoperability with existing applications is much more important. The report also reveals which companies IT decision makers rank highest for security and then refines the comparison based on operating system.[via Microsoft Monitor]
IT still matters - just not how it used to It's what you do with IT - Blame it all on email say the workers. [via The Register]
Are PDAs Simply Finished?  Possibly. I just turned myIPAQ in for a Sony Ericsson P900 instead.
UK Anti-Spam Laws Criticised - Absolutely useless being the technical expression.
Microsoft sues eight spammers Microsoft has filed lawsuits against eight spammers under a new antispam law that went into effect in January. Microsoft accuses them of violating the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act. The spammers spoofed their domains, routed their email through open proxies, and used misleading subject lines. The spammers sent millions of emails for body-part enlargement pills, dating services and get-rich-quick schemes. [via Tech News Watch]
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Mail Call

Lawrence Lessig has lost his battle with email. One of the finest legal brains in cyberspace and champion of the concept of an intellectual ‘Creative Commons’ has been sending out a note with: "Dear person who sent me a yet-unanswered e-mail, I apologize, but I am declaring e-mail bankruptcy."



In his message he observed he had spent 80 hours the prior week sorting through unanswered e-mail built up since January 2002, and had determined that "without extraordinary effort" he would simply never be able to respond to these messages and many of us will recognise the problem.

It’s not just managing the daily tide of legitimate email which presents a problem. I returned from a day’s meeting last week and found 102 emails waiting for me of which 97 were spam which had managed to bypass both my ISPs and my own Outlook filter. In fact, I was relieved that I hadn’t managed to make my GPRS mail work on my new Sony Ericsson P900, PDA phone the same day, or I would …
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Euro 2004 Gambling Sites Hit By Denial Of Service Attacks Outages at several leading gambling sites suggest that extortionists will continue to target gambling sites in the run-up to Euro 2004 and Wimbledon. [via Netcraft]

Get Your Microsoft Security Bulletins Via RSS Microsoft is offering an RSS feed for its security bulletins over on TechNet. via Microsoft Watch ]
Mobile porn is a 'time bomb'  Hardcore sex delivered straight to your mobile phone [via The Register]
Security efforts paying off  Survey shows business is getting wiser [via ZDNet]
Net needs law enforcement, author says  The Internet is a "God-awful mess," but few U.S. government officials are willing to take action against virus writers, spammers and other scammers [via InfoWorld: Security]
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New Attack Compromises Fully-Patched IE Browsers A new security hole in Internet Explorer exploit allows hackers to gain control of a user's computer when they click on a hyperlink, even while using a fully-patched version of IE6. [via Netcraft]

Monti: EU United in EC Ruling Against Microsoft Responding to criticism of the European Commission's antitrust ruling against Microsoft, Commissioner Mario Monti called the European Union as "more united than the United States" in its decision. Monti made his remarks earlier this week. Microsoft filed its appeal of the decision on Tuesday. [via Microsoft Watch]
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Users Increasingly Looking To ISPs To Stop Spam Just as the news comes out that many ISPs are hesitant to filter spam, Gartner is showing that a small, but growing, number of users are getting fed up with their ISPs inability to stop spam, and would be willing to switch ISPs to get better spam protection. The problem right now, of course, is that it's not easy to get good spam filtering without too many false positives. While users say they want better spam filtering, the false positives can be just as big a problem as getting too much spam. Users are able to set up their own spam filters, of course, but they believe it's their ISPs responsibility. This viewpoint is only going to increase, and users will look to their ISPs to protect them against adware, spyware, phishing, trojans and all other types of attacks as well. ISPs have been taking either an ad hoc or a wait-and-see approach for most of this stuff, but it might make sense for them to start coming up with more compreh…
Russia, China World's Biggest Spammers  In case you didn't know. Russian gangs aren't constrained by any anti-spam or cybercrime laws in their home country and have no respect for legislation implemented in other countries. Apparently 70 percent of spam is sent from China by American spam businesses who in turn have hosting arrangements with Chinese ISPs.
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Batman Returns

Not your usual kind of day today.

With a meeting at eMedia set for lunchtime near Basingstoke, I flew the hundred miles to Popham airfield and was collected. I hadn’t been into this little airfield just beside the M3 before and found it a busy and welcoming little club. The flight had been uneventful, passing Rochester and Biggin Hill, then following the M25 to Ockham before Farnborough Approach guided me past their airspace and then left me with five miles to go into Popham.

One small victory today was that my new mobile phone works. In fact, it’s a second replacement and this time a Sony Ericsson P900, whiz-bang state of the art organiser, camera, cappuccino maker etc.

I finally managed to get the GPRS feature picking up my email, which is what I wanted in the first place. I am however trapped in a bizarre situation still, where I need two PCs to synchronise my Outlook address book.

My main machine with Microsoft Windows XP refuses to synchronise addresses. Tasks, note…
Symantec: New Virus Deletes All Files Symantec says a new virus will attempt to delete all the files on an infected machine's hard drive. [via Netcraft]
Time To Take Down Some Cyber Criminals Writer Bruce Sterling gave the keynote address at a security conference and said that it's time that law enforcement realized that online scams are no longer the result of bored teenagers, but the majority are for-profit enterprises run by organized crime operations. He says that law enforcement still doesn't take online crime seriously enough, and that's letting these online criminals take over. His solution is to get prosecutors who will take down online criminals and make an example of them. In other words, someone needs to take charge and clean up cyberspace. [via Techdirt]
Virus writers deploy bulk mail software New multi-stage Trojan rides spam tsunami [via The Register]
Watchdog's 'alarm' over ID cards The UK's information commissioner tells MPs initial "healthy scepticism" on ID cards was now "increasing alarm". [via BBC News]
United front against spam urged The European Commission has called on the computer industry to sort out its anti-spam strategy. [via BBC News ]
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Cybersecurity: Too important to leave in private hands?  The cybersecurity of the U.S. is too important to leave to the chance that marketplace incentives will lead to more secure software, a liberal commentator and a cybersecurity analyst argued Monday at the Gartner IT Security Summit. [via InfoWorld: Security]


CPU-based security for Windows XP, Red Hat Linux coming Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 and the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 will support new CPU-based security protections designed to stop incoming malicious executable code from being triggered. [via InfoWorld: Security]
Mobile location services - dead reckoning or dead duck? If it quacks and waddles, the answer should be pretty clear, but using mobile technologies to determine a user's location and then provide services based around the location has been touted as a mobile revenue generator for a while. [via IT-Director.com: Impartial News Analysis]
Little Brothers Like IP Cameras New surveillance cameras allow anyone with a broadband internet connection to keep a 24-hour watch on nearly anything -- from anywhere. Parents can monitor kids, the boss can keep an eye on the office. [via Wired News]
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Call It the Dead E-Mail Office Lawrence Lessig is behind in his e-mail -- so far behind that he's given up. He's called it eMail bankruptcy and many of us would sympathise. [via Wired News]

One-Year Deadline for Online Security

Online transactional services through which citizens and businesses pay for goods and services in a secure environment will only become successful if there is public trust in the technology. The chief initiative helping to engender that faith is tScheme, an independent, industry-led initiative, which marked its fourth year in April 2004. In an article for eGov monitor Weekly, Chief Executive Stephen Upton outlines tScheme's progress to date and the future for online security. - By Stephen Upton

Read the full article here: http://www.egovmonitor.com/links?126m

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What Next for UK Online?

The website for the Office of the e-Envoy (OeE) is no more. As of 2 June, surfers pointing their web browser to the OeE web address will now be redirected to the site of the new eGovernment Unit of the Cabinet Office, which has now officially taken over the e-Envoy's responsibilities. The new site has undergone a slight rebrand and for regular visitors, helpfully retains the same information in the same structure as the old OeE web pages. If users had previously bookmarked a page on the OeE site, they will now be redirected to the correct location on the new site. This is in stark contrast to when the OeE migrated their website to their existing inhouse content management system, DotP, after which virtually all previous links were redirected to an error page. The new website follows a recent change where the 'UK online' citizen portal was replaced with an improved service, Directgov -

The first Office of The e-Envoy Web site was developed by, guess…
Putting security where it belongs As the number of computational devices that companies use in their everyday business has expanded exponentially in recent years, effective management of those assets has become imperative. [via IT-Director.com - Information Security]
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Come in the penguin, your time is up I am not entirely sure that this is what you would call out to Linux if it was enjoying itself on a boating lake, but the news certainly seems to be getting worse for the black and white waddler. [via IT-Director.com ]

Not-so-quick-and-dirty patch management You’ve got to hand it to Microsoft. The company may be the biggest problem child in the patch management space, but it's trying like heck to improve its lot. If you’re still behind in finding a centralized patch management solution for your network, I highly recommend checking out Microsoft SUS (Software Update Services). It’s central, it works, and best of all, it’s free. [via InfoWorld: Security]
Fighting Back Against Cyber-Crime Cyber-crime is soaring, but calls for more help to combat it are starting to be heard. [via eWEEK Technology News]
BT To Block Child Porn - But Who Makes The List? Lots of folks are talking about the decision by BT to block access to child porn and how this is the "first mass censorship of the web attempted in a Western democracy." Actually, that's not true at all. Pennsylvania has been forcing ISPs to do this for years. While most of the Guardian article above focuses on how it's now technically feasible to do so, it doesn't really get into the reasons why this is problematic. First, it's unclear who gets to make up the list, and how they decide what's "bad" and what's acceptable. The article mentions a list, but it's not clear that's the list that BT will use - or if there's any kind of appeal procedure for sites that have been unfairly blocked. It's also not clear  blocking a site that's on a shared server will mean every other site on that server will also get blocked. The article talks up how this was an idea by NCH, the children…
Wobbly shopping carts blight UK e-commerce Trolley rage - Wobbly Web sites [via The Register]
Worm eyes up credit card details People are being warned about a Windows virus that is stealing credit card and online banking data. [via BBC News ]
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Get Smart

I should have known it wouldn’t be easy, changing my mobile phone that is. The more advanced the gadget the more difficult the challenge and writing as one who has tested Ipaqs, Palm Pilots, Blackberries and much more, I’m a little jaded.



It all started with a decision to replace my collection of PDAs, mostly IPAQs, with a single smartphone or ‘converged device’, to use the latest jargon. When it first arrived, I’d tried GPRS messaging with reasonable success on my older phone and after an afternoon spent at Microsoft, even managed to crack the problem that made messaging with the first Pocket PCs a hit and miss affair. After all, I thought, it must be easier to configure the latest generation of devices and by this I mean the one’s we have in Europe, and not the 3G digital miracle gadgets that you can find in Japan.

The Sony Ericsson P800 looked as if it would do the job. The Blackberry, which I had road-tested for two years I rejected as too expensive when it actually came …
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Power to go: mobiles that do it all

The British can only watch in wonder as Japan turns the simple handset into a technological marvel



The picture definition on Japanese camera-phones is now so high that people can stand in a shop, surreptitiously photograph the pages of a magazine and then later read them.

Times Online - World
BT Urged to Act over Internet Scam

Angry customers this week called on BT and the premium-rate regulator to crack down on internet phone scams which have left them facing huge bills for premium-rate calls that they say they have not made.

They claim that both BT and the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (Icstis) are aware of these scams but have so far done little to stop them.

They are also furious that BT is still pocketing a slice of the revenue from each rogue call. But BT and Icstis, the regulator, say that there is little that they can do.

Times Online


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BT puts block on child porn sites

British Telecom has taken the unprecedented step of blocking all illegal child pornography websites in a crackdown on abuse online. The decision by Britain's largest high-speed internet provider will lead to the first mass censorship of the web attempted in a Western democracy.



Guardian Unlimited
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Poets Corner

It took me years to find a publisher for my own work and I was over thirty before I finally managed to turn out a book or have any poetry of my own published and I'm still very much in the shadow of my prolific grandfather, Edmond Greville, the celebrated French writer, actor and film director.

From out of the blue this afternoon however came a surprise letter from publishing house, Young Writers, with a creativity award for my nine year old daughter Charlotte. Apparently, from 67,000 children nationwide, she’s written a poem of distinction that is to be published in a Young Writers, ‘Once upon a Rhyme’ anthology.



Charlotte, a pupil of Chartfield School, wrote a poem I knew nothing about. Called ‘Noises in the Wild’, it’s this:

‘In the wild
Tigers are pouncing
Hyenas are laughing
Lions are roaring
Joeys are jumping
Cheetahs are dashing
And Zebras are running’


All said and done though, she also took the controls of the aircraft all the way to Rochester this afternoon, s…
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Global Trends Guru in City Masterclass

Global futurist, Rohit Talwar, is to hold a ‘Masterclass’ in London at the IOD’s Pall Mall premises on the 6th July 2004. Regularly called upon by global corporations, the UK Government and the US Department of Defense to advise on future trends, scenarios and opportunities, he will be helping delegates to understand critical trends and forces shaping our world as well as risks and opportunities over the next decade.



Rohit is currently running the largest futures programme in Europe for the UK Government and leading a study on the critical trends that will shape our world over the next 50 years.

The ‘Masterclass’ is the first in a series of interactive presentations by leading authorities from around the world, organised by City Speakers International. In this highly interactive session, Rohit, in addition to world trends over the next ten years, will also analyse the risks and opportunities arising from political, economic, social, commercial, en…
Can-Spam Act Leads To More Spam Back when President Bush made spam legal, we predicted the floodgates would open and actually increase spam. Now we've got some numbers to back up that prediction. According to anti-spam vendors, spam is on the rise and increasingly complies with the Can-Spam Act now; almost 10% of spam is legal up from 1% in January. And given that 7% of email users actually buy products from unsolicited email (ugh!), spam doesn't seem to be decreasing at all. So there don't appear to be any easy solutions to the spam problem, but if we're going to pass silly laws, maybe we need to pass a law against buying products promoted by spam. [via Techdirt]
Mutant son of MyDoom plans three-pronged attack Multiple vulnerabilities exploited, the end of world is nigh [via The Register]
Broadband hits four million mark Broadband in the UK has hit the four million mark , according to figures from telecoms watchdog Ofcom. [via BBC News
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Cyberattacks on financial firms double

Cyberattacks on large financial institutions have more than doubled from last year, according to a survey released by Deloitte & Touche.



The consulting firm said 83% of senior security officers at the world's leading financial institutions said their systems had been compromised in the past year, compared with 39% in 2003.

Forty-three per cent of the respondents whose systems were attacked said they had lost money as a result.

Computer Weekly
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Destination Europe

Every business wants to look good on Google but sometimes Google can be a little too helpful.

Last week, I had a chance meeting with P.J. McGoldrick, former Chief Executive of Ryan Air and now CEO of EUJet, a new lost cost airline that will soon be operating out of Manston, which is now Kent International Airport, a stone’s throw from Ramsgate and Margate on the North Kent coast.



Up until now, Manston, which used to be an RAF V-Bomber base with the third-longest runway in the country, has been used as an air cargo hub but from September, EUJet will be operating a fleet of seven Fokker 100 aircraft offering trips to many of the most popular European destinations, such as Palma, Turin and Nice, where I’ve booked a flight to, for the whole family for £147 return, all-inclusive.

Does the UK have room for another low cost airline? My own feeling Is that Manston, here in Kent, is perfectly positioned to capture the attention of the South Eastern population, who like me, wa…
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Phishers Put Surfers on the Hook Trolling for credit card numbers with phony websites and e-mails is becoming more and more popular, but enforcement is still playing catch-up.[via Wired News]