Saturday, July 09, 2005

German secret service opposes AMD Asia transfer plans

Via The Inquirer.

CHIP FIRM AMD could be forced to abandon elements of its plans to shift some of its production to Chartered Semiconductor to Singapore, it has emerged.

We reported a week ago that objections had been made to the export of engineering tech to Singapore, after the government claimed the chips could be used for both for military and civilian purposes.

The German secret service appears to fear that China may use AMD process technology and chips for its war effort.

Now, according to
c't, citing a Spiegel story, it appears that managers at AMD may modify its plans facing the possibility it will be unable to shift 65 nano tech to Chartered in Singapore.

It could mean the loss of 1,000 jobs, claims c't. Several government departments have opposed the transfer of the tech but the most important is probably the German Secret Service.

CERT Warns on Latest Trojan Horse Attacks

David Needle writes in

CERT (the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team), issued an alert today [8 July, 2005] warning of heightened trojan virus attacks against companies and individuals. While there were numerous reports of slowdowns at various Web sites, the cause has largely been attributed to increased Web use following the Live8 multi-venu concert event and the terrorist bombings in London.

Ken Silva, chief security officer at Verisign, referred to the CERT alert and said the slowness among some corporate Web sites today is due to targeted trojan horse attacks.

Daily fix....

Via Enjoy.

ID Theft Bill Widens Encryption Rules

Caron Carlson writes in eWeek:

Congressional leaders appear eager to pass an identity-theft law this week, and their proposals are becoming tougher.

Last week, Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and John Dingell, D-Mich., the chairman and ranking minority member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, respectively, floated a draft bill requiring businesses engaged in interstate commerce to encrypt sensitive personal data.

The bill calls for data brokers to submit their security policies annually to the Federal Trade Commission for approval.

Broader than any other IT security proposal on Capitol Hill—including the latest Senate bill, the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act—the Barton-Dingell draft bill deals with the kind of government technology involvement most industries fear.

New Jersey Couple Need Not Turn Over Computer to Opposing Party in Lawsuit, Appellate Court Rules

Via PoliTech.

A couple ordered to turn over their computer hard drive to public officials they sued does not have to give up their computer after all, a court has ruled.

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey has reversed a trial judge's May 19 order saying that Scott and Charlene "Charlie" Uhrmann had to relinquish their hard drive so the officials they sued could determine whether the Uhrmanns anonymously posted derogatory statements about the officials on the Internet.

After that ruling, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and Public Citizen agreed to represent the Uhrmanns in their request for appellate review of the trial court order. The groups noted that the hard drive contains financial and other personal information and said that the order violated free speech and privacy rights as well as established law on rules of discovery and on anonymous Internet postings.

In a one-paragraph ruling, the Appellate Division said that the requested information was beyond the scope of discovery, not relevant to the case and could lead to the disclosure of personal information.

Microsoft Defends Claria Adware Changes

Gregg Keizer writes in TechWeb News:

Microsoft late Friday responded to criticism that it's gone soft on spyware by issuing an open letter to customers explaining why it changed how its anti-spyware software handles adware from Claria, a pervasive brand of adware.

A Microsoft spokesperson also said that talk of a link between the Claria changes and rumors of ongoing acquisition talks between Microsoft and the Redwood City, Calif.-based Internet marketing company were "a misconception that needed to be cleared up."

"This week we received some questions around Microsoft's classification of Claria software in our Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta). We wanted to take this opportunity to explain our current policies and practices," begins Microsoft's response to the criticism.

"Absolutely no exceptions were made for Claria," the letter said.

It also outlined Microsoft's rationale for changing the default recommendation of four Claria applications -- Dashbar, Gator, PrecisionTime, and Weatherscope -- saying that published criteria for defining spyware and adware required it to review how AntiSpyware treated the quartet.

University students refuse to buy a single song from Napster

Ashlee Vance writes in The Register:

Napster has put a new twist on the notion of being a loss leader. It has actually managed to sell more songs for rival online music services than for its own product, according to survey conducted by a university customer.

Not a single University of Rochester student admitted to buying a song via Napster during the Fall 2004 semester. Instead, eight per cent of the students turned to the likes of iTunes and Musicmatch to buy songs they enjoy. That's an ominous sign for a company spending millions to seed the university market with music in the hopes of unseating Apple as the clear leader in online music.

Europe Goes Gently on P2P Piracy

Bruce Gain writes in Wired News:

A law banning digital distribution of copyright movies and music went into effect last week in Sweden, but enforcing the new law and others like it around Europe isn't proving easy.

On the surface, the enactment of the law might have ended the perception of Sweden as a reasonably safe haven if you wanted to download copyright-protected music, film or other files with little fear of any kind of legal ramification. However, catching those who continue to download and distribute copyright files in Sweden, as well as in many parts of Europe, will remain a challenge.

USC: Applicants' Files May Have Been Read

Here's an update on an issue I mentioned last week. An AP newswire report, via Yahoo! News, provides additional information:

Officials of the University of Southern California said they will contact everyone who used the school's online application system in the past eight years to warn them that a hacker may have been able to read their files.

School security officials said they plan to contact about 270,000 people although they believe the hacker looked at only about 10 files.

"Although we believe that the scope of this is pretty small, we're taking it very seriously and we are taking great care to notify every single person where there is even the potential that their records might have been viewed," said L. Katharine Harrington, USC's dean of admission and financial aid.

The hacker took advantage of a security flaw he discovered while trying to use the USC Web site on June 20, said Robert M. Wood, USC's information security officer.

However, the hacker then
reported the flaw to an online security magazine, SecurityFocus, and the publication informed USC.

Games ratings board probing Grand Theft Auto:SA

Lisa Baertlein writes for Reuters:

The industry group that sets ratings for video games is probing whether hidden features within the blockbuster title "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" allows players to make their characters engage in simulated explicit sex acts.

The series of criminal adventure games from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. subsidiary Rockstar Games has been among the best selling in history, while drawing sharp criticism for encouraging gratuitous violence.

If the investigation were to lead to a rating change from M (Mature 17+) to AO (Adult Only), it could limit sales from major retail outlets.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board "has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 'Hot Coffee' modification for (the game) ... to determine if there has been a violation of ESRB Rules and Regulations requiring full disclosure of pertinent content," ratings group President Patricia Vance said in a statement.

Friday, July 08, 2005

McAfee tool to check Web services security

Joris Evers writes in C|Net News:

McAfee plans to release on Tuesday a new tool designed to help users identify vulnerabilities in Web services applications. The WSDigger tool was developed by McAfee's Foundstone security services group and lets users test the security of Web services, the company said in a statement.

WSDigger will be released to the open-source community, McAfee said. The tool comes with sample attack plug-ins for SQL injection, cross-site scripting and X-PATH injection attacks. In addition, people can develop and share their own plug-ins, the security vendor said. WSDigger should be available Tuesday for download from the
Foundstone Web site.

Iron Mountain Loses More Tapes

Well, I wondered how long it would be before we heard about another unauthorized disclosure, theft, or loss, of privacy data. It had been a few days, but here we go.

Steven Martin writes in InformationWeek:

City National Bank has become the second company in two months to experience a loss of backup tapes in transit by Iron Mountain Inc. The Los Angeles-based bank disclosed Thursday that two tapes containing sensitive data, including Social Security numbers, account numbers, and other customer information, were lost during transport to a secure storage facility.

The bank said the data was formatted to make the tapes difficult to read without highly specialized skills, but declines to say if they were encrypted. It said there's no evidence that data on the tapes has been compromised or misused.

Iron Mountain said it lost the tapes in April. The tapes were in a small container of backup tapes belonging to a Texas-based Internet services provider that hosts applications for City National and other banks. The incident has been investigated by federal law-enforcement officials and no evidence has been found of identity-theft relating to the loss.

In May, Time Warner revealed that tapes containing data, including names and Social Security numbers, on 600,000 current and former employees disappeared in March while being shipped to an offsite storage facility operated by Iron Mountain.

Probe of Online Investigation Firms Sought

An AP newswire article by Alex Veiga, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

A privacy rights advocacy group has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Web sites advertising investigative services capable of digging up personal information such as phone call records are violating federal laws.

Washington D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the federal agency on Thursday, singling out Encinitas-based Intelligent e-Commerce Inc., which runs

"We've asked the FTC to begin an industrywide investigation into these practices," Chris Hoofnagle, senior counsel at the group's San Francisco office, said Friday.

Feds blacklist 'illegal' Cuban Web sites

This newsbite would be funny, if it wasn't pathetic.

Anne Broache writes in C|Net News:

Americans should think twice before booking a Cuban holiday through scores of travel Web sites that the U.S. government has deemed to be off-limits.

The U.S. Treasury Department has blacklisted more than 60 Cuba-centric sites, many maintained by a travel company called Tour & Marketing International. The last update to
the list was published by the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control on June 30.

Certain travel-oriented Web sites made it to the verboten list because they provide easy access to Cuba for Americans who choose to break the law, the OFAC says. While visiting the sites may be permitted, downloading software from them probably isn't.

Nine Indicted In Israeli Spyware Espionage Case

Via TechWeb News.

Indictments were filed by an Israeli prosecutor Thursday against nine men in the industrial espionage case that involved planting Trojan horses on rival companies' computers to spy out their secrets.

The indictments against the nine private investigators working in Israel accuse them of industrial espionage, fraudulent receipt, uploading computer viruses, hacking computers with criminal intent, wiretapping, use of wiretaps, invasion of privacy, and managing an unauthorized database.

In late May, 18 people were arrested, including a pair in Britain alleged to have created a custom piece of spyware. That pair, say authorities, was hired by the ring of nine private investigators just indicted. They in turn were employed by several companies and other individuals, who ordered up the espionage to gather confidential information about such things as upcoming bids and customers.

London attacks prompt EU to prioritize data retention

Simon Taylor writes in InfoWorld:

The European Commission intends to accelerate plans to put forward new rules requiring telephone and Internet operators to store data for law enforcement agencies in the wake of the terrorist bombings in London on Thursday, a senior official said Friday. But the new plan would cut the time data had to be stored to a maximum of nine months compared to one year in an earlier proposal.

Jonathan Faull, director general of the EC's justice, freedom and security department, said on Friday that it would present a proposal for data retention "as soon as possible". The proposed directive would require telecommunications operators and Internet service providers to collect and store a wide range of data for a given period so that law enforcement agencies could check the records in investigations into terrorist activities. Another Commission official, who requested anonymity and is close to the subject, said: "We can't afford not to be visible on this".

"If these words were people, I would embrace their genocide."

A rather funny look at the whole "blogosphere" phenomenon (although, it's tough to determine if this guy is serious, or not)..... :-)

Credit where credit is due for pointing this site out...

Signposts in Cyberspace: An NRC Report on the DNS and Internet Navigation

Roger Levien writes over on the CircleID website:

In light of the recent decision by the United States government to "maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file" and ICANN's recent decisions to add more gTLDs (including .xxx), and to renew VeriSign as the .net registry, readers may be interested in the just-published report of the National Research Council's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Signposts in Cyberspace: The Domain Name System and Internet Navigation, which is available as a free PDF. A printed version can also be ordered.

"Signposts in Cyberspace" is a comprehensive policy-oriented examination of the Domain Name System in the broader context of Internet navigation. It is addressed to policy communities in the United States, other nations, and international agencies, whose decisions will affect the DNS' future. The report contains a careful description of the development, current state, and future prospects of the technical system of the DNS and a complementary description of the development, current state, and policy issues of the framework of autonomous institutions that operate, administer, and set policy for it.

Daily fix....

Via Todays's installment entitled "Terrorists, etc."

NY's PSC Raises Questions About Verizon-MCI Merger

W. David Gardner writes in TechWeb News:

New York State's Public Service Commission has expressed concern that Verizon Communication's proposed takeover of MCI could produce significant consolidation in large and medium business markets.

In a white paper issued this week, the PSC termed the consolidation "troubling" and offered some tentative remedies aimed at ensuring that smaller telecom providers could "continue to provide their services to medium and large customers, thereby preserving customer choice."

Verizon is proceeding with plans to acquire MCI after a long battle with Qwest, which eventually dropped out of the bidding for MCI.

ICANN: VeriSign Can Raise .net Prices in 2007

Via Netcraft.

ICANN is lifting restrictions on VeriSign's pricing of .net domains after Jan. 1, 2007, a move that may signal ICANN's intent to get out of the business of regulating domain name pricing. ICANN has historically capped registry fees at either $6 or $4.25 per domain, depending on the top-level domain extension (TLD). The new contract reduces the current .net price cap from $6 to $4.25 through Dec. 31, 2006, but then lifts it altogether. The awarding of the .net registry to VeriSign has already prompted controversy and criticism from competitors.

VeriSign's Tom Galvin noted that the
new contract (PDF) gives the company the flexibility to raise prices to invest in its infrastructure, but said VeriSign "will take a prudent approach to any adjustment in .net pricing." VeriSign must give six months' notice of any price change, providing an opportunity for existing domain name owners to lock in existing prices with a multi-year renewal.

Austin airport will begin random searches of cars

Score one for the terrorists. Wow.

Joshunda Sanders writes in The Austin American-Stateman:

This afternoon, police at the Austin-Bergstrom International airport will be erecting a barricade where the road splits at the entrance of the terminal, spokeswoman Leslie Schneiweiss said Friday morning.

Though the airport is not operating under an orange alert, the police decided to set up a checkpoint where cars will be randomly stopped and searched as an enhanced security measure.

The checks will be completely random, Schneiweiss said, and drivers who do not want to have their cars searched will have to circle the airport and park. They will not be allowed to pull up to curbside.

'London bombing' Trojan released

John Leyden writes in The Register:

Virus writers have created a Trojan which poses as London terrorist attack news footage. Infected emails harbouring the Trojan pose as a CNN Newsletter which asks recipients to ‘See attachments for unique amateur video shots’ (example below).

If executed, the malicious attachment turns infected Windows PCs into spam zombies. The as-yet unnamed Trojan attempts to obtain a list of SMTP servers that the victim's machine is configured to use and starts to use these servers to send large volumes of unsolicited mail. Email security firm MessageLabs has intercepted a handful of copies of the malware, so it's not widespread, but it does illustrate the depth virus writers are prepared to sink to in order to spread their wares.

The use of topical events to spread malware is nothing new and it wouldn't surprise us if most London bombing-themed Trojans were created. It's yet another reason to avoid any temptation to open unsolicited email attachments.

Google prevails in google-like web domain dispute

A Reuters newswire report, via Yahoo! News:

The National Arbitration Forum said on Friday that Google Inc. has rights to the Internet domain names,, and, which are similar to its own domain.

The Web search leader filed a complaint with the NAF on May 11, claiming legal rights to Web addresses bearing a close resemblance to, which it registered in late 1999.

Sergey Gridasov registered,, and between December 2000 and January 2001.

NAF arbitrator, Paul Dorf, found that Gridasov did not have legitimate rights to the Web addresses, and the Web addresses were confusingly similar to Google's trademark rights to its own name.

EU court sends Microsoft case to panel

Via Reuters.

The European Union's second highest court transferred the Microsoft anti-trust case to a panel of 13 judges, while the judge which originally handled the case will no longer participate, sources close to the situation said on Friday.

The panel or chamber is headed by Court of First Instance President Bo Vesterdorf, sources said.

However, Judge Hubert Legal, who had been in charge of the case, will no longer participate, the sources said.

Legal was the author of a controversial article that angered fellow judges, sources have said.

Lockheed Martin wins U.S. Army portal deal

Frank Tiboni writes in

Army officials have awarded a multimillion-dollar Army Knowledge Online (AKO) Enterprise Services contract to an industry team led by Lockheed Martin. The winning team will administer the service’s Web portal and oversee its knowledge management program.

Army officials characterized the $152.1 million award as a performance-based contract for one year with six option years. Army officials, who had initially estimated the contract’s value at about $600 million, did not explain the price discrepancy in a statement today announcing the contract award.

Secret chatroom keeps London markets open

A Reuters newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

A secret Internet chatroom run by Britain’s financial regulators helped keep London’s financial markets open after Thursday’s bomb blasts, while financial firms activated security measures in case of further attacks.

The Bank of England, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority switched on a secure section of their Financial Sector Continuity Web site to talk to major banks operating in the City of London’s financial hub about how they were coping.

"In the light of yesterday’s events the tripartite authorities (Treasury, Bank of England and FSA) have activated the contingency part of the Web site,” they said on Friday.The site, set up in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, allows regulators to coordinate and communicate with the financial services sector if there is a devastating event such as Thursday’s bombings on a London bus and underground trains that killed more than 50 people and injured hundreds.

The Web site has a secure section where the authorities can communicate directly with big banks that are key to the stability of the international financial system.

Update: German youth convicted for Sasser Worm

Via The BBC.

A German youth has been given a 21-month suspended sentence after being convicted of creating the Sasser worm which crippled computers worldwide.

Sven Jaschan was found guilty of computer sabotage and illegally altering data, said a court official.

Update: John Leyden writes in The Register:

The two people who helped identify the creator of the infamous Sasser worm in 2004 will share a reward of $250,000, Microsoft confirmed Friday. News of the payment under the software giant's Anti Virus Reward Program comes after a German court sentenced Sven Jaschan, 19, self-confessed author of Sasser to 21 months probation and a community service order following his conviction on computer sabotage offences.

Sasser is a network aware worm that exploited a well-known Microsoft vulnerability (in Windows Local Security Authority Subsystem Service - MS04-011) to infect thousands of systems in May 2004. The worm has caused widespread disruption affecting the operations of companies ranging from Finnish bank Sampo and Germany's Deutsche Post to the UK Coastguard.

Engineers repair Pakistan net connection

Tim Richardson writes in The Register:

A major undersea fibre-optic cable linking Pakistan to the rest of the world has been repaired ten days after it went titsup.

The damage to the Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-3 (SEA-ME-WE3) cable had interrupted communications services in the country since it went down on 27 June and made life extremely tricky for Pakistan's ten million net users.

Earlier this week it was reported that engineers on the repair ship sent to fix the cable in the Arabian Sea had failed to locate the damaged cable.

But reports from Pakistan today confirm that the cable has now been repaired.

Pakistan paper
Dawn quoted a senior spokesman for telco PTCL as saying: "The fault in the cable has been repaired completely and full service was restored at 11.54 this morning (0654 GMT)."

Barbecue chain buys porn website

An AP newswire article, via The Globe and Mail, reports that:

Surfers trying to find the U.S. barbecue chain Sticky Fingers on the Internet no longer face the possibility of ending up at a much saucier website.

The Charleston company spent $6,000 (U.S.) to buy the address from a site offering pornography.

"Now we don't have to talk to angry customers calling, thinking we're perverts," said Jeff Goldstein, one of three men who own the 15-restaurant chain in the Carolinas, Florida and Tennessee.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Cisco Promotes Giancarlo To Top Technology Spot

Paul Kapustka writes in Advanced IP Pipeline:

He may not officially be the heir apparent to John Chambers, but Cisco Systems exec Charlie Giancarlo got a boost in that direction when the networking giant named him as its Chief Development Officer in a round of promotions and reorganizations Thursday.

Giancarlo, formerly Cisco's Chief Technology Officer, takes over the spot held by longtime Cisco exec Mario Mazzola, who is retiring. In the biography of Mazzola on the Cisco Web site, the CDO job is said to be responsible for "leading Cisco's overall R&D strategy and managing Cisco's entire engineering organization," among other tasks.

In his new role, Giancarlo will report directly to Cisco president and CEO Chambers, and be in charge of the company's overall technology direction. He will also retain the role of president of Cisco's Linksys division, which makes wired and wireless routers for the home market. The new role for Giancarlo, Cisco said in a statement, becomes effective July 31.

AMD backs Austin City Limits music fest

Michael Singer writes in the C|Net News Processors and Systems Blog:

The Austin City Limits music festival apparently has a big fan in Advanced Micro Devices CEO Hector Ruiz.

The man in charge of the No. 2 maker of semiconductors said his company is lending technology and co-sponsoring the annual three-day outdoor live music festival. The event draws an estimated 65,000 music fans every day.

AMD said it is already supplying the digital-audio backbone for KLRU-TV, the show's television broadcast partner in Austin. The local PBS station, which produces the show, said it will use computers and servers running AMD's 64-bit processors to record live music and enhance the broadcast. The television station is also using AMD's technology to prepare for the move to federally mandated high-definition broadcast standards.

The musical acts expected to appear on the AMD stage include Spoon, The Bravery, The Decemberists, Tortoise, The Fiery Furnaces, Bloc Party, Keane, Rachel Yamagata, The Frames, Kasabian, Mates of State, Kaiser Chiefs, Teagan and Sara, Ambulance Ltd. and The Ditty Bops.

Were cell phones used to detonate London bombs?

Let the speculation begin.

Ben Charny writes in the C|Net News Cellular Blog:

Were cell phones used Thursday to remotely trigger the deadly terrorist bombings in London? While official confirmation was not immediately forthcoming, CNN, an American news agency, reported that British investigators believe cell phones may have been used to trigger the bombs. Also, British news agency the BBC reported speculation that the British government ordered the nation's cell phone network shut down in order to prevent mobile phones from being used to trigger any more bombs.

There is precedent for such thinking. On March 11, 2004, when cell phones were used to remotely trigger bombs in Madrid, Spain that killed 190 people and injured hundreds of others. There are a handful of other examples as well.

London bombings get speedy entry in Wikipedia

Elinor Mills (with help from Ed Frauenheim) writes in the C|Net News Media Blog:

Real-time is turning into history faster than ever before on the Web. In what may be one of the quickest turnaround times for an online encyclopedia, the Wikipedia site posted a very detailed and comprehensive Web page on the bombings that rocked London on Thursday morning.

The page is very thorough, including a description of the blasts, timeline, update on trains, buses and roadways, information on official and global reaction and links to survivor lists.

David Lee Roth to replace Howard Stern on Infinity Broadcasting

A Reuters newswire article by Chuck Taylor and Paul Heine, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Infinity Broadcasting isn't commenting on an online report penned by a former Howard Stern Show regular that suggests David Lee Roth will be one of the personalities that ultimately replaces the ribald DJ on the airwaves.

Chaunce Hayden, a gossip and celebrity writer for New York/New Jersey entertainment guide, writes that "an Infinity source has confirmed the signing."

Update: Web users flock to UK sites for London blast news

Jeffrey Goldfarb writes for Reuters:

Record numbers of visitors deluged British Web sites on Thursday as people around the world sought news of the blasts that rocked London's public transport.

Sites operated by public broadcaster BBC, satellite TV company BSkyB, news provider Reuters and the Financial Times business newspaper suffered longer delays on their home pages Thursday morning in London because of the volume, according to a company that monitors Web traffic.

"There was a significant amount of turbulence in terms of performance," said Roopak Patel, an analyst at Keynote Systems.

The BBC expects by the end of Thursday it will have had the most visitors in a single day in the history of its news Web site, though it won't have official data until Friday.

Update: Netcraft has a descriptive graph on it's site about this (here).

EU warns 11 more members on telecom competition

Simon Taylor writes in InfoWorld:

The European Commission, the European Union's overall telecom regulator, launched its latest bid on Thursday to get its member states to ensure fair competition in the telecom sector.

The Commission sent letters to 11 of the bloc's 25 member states, warning them that unless they take action to properly police their telecoms sectors, it may have to take them before the European Court of Justice, which could levy large fines on each government until they address the failings.

The letters were addressed to the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Finland.

Most of the letters concern failure to offer number portability, which acts as a disincentive for users to switch operators. This was the case for the Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia.

H&R Block Buys Small Online Tax Company

Stanch? I hate it when people use words that have multiple spellings (e.g. staunch) .

stanch (stônch, stänch, stnch) also staunch (stônch, stänch)
tr.v. stanched, also staunched stanch·ing, staunch·ing stanch·es, staunch·es

  1. To stop or check the flow of (blood or tears, for example).
  2. To stop the flow of blood from (a wound).
  3. To stop, check, or allay: “My anxiety is stanched; I am at peace” (Scott Turow).

An AP newswire article by Dana Fields, via Yahoo! News, reveals that:

One month after pledging to stanch the loss of customers from its digital tax business, H&R Block Inc. said Thursday it has acquired a small, online tax service company whose founders helped create the popular Turbo Tax software.

TaxNet Inc., of San Diego, formed last year by Tom Allanson and David Murray, launched its online tax preparation and filing program in January. Formerly with Intuit Inc.'s Turbo Tax division, Allanson and Murray will become H&R Block vice presidents specializing in digital tax services.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Spokesman Tom Linafelt noted that it will not affect Block's finances.

Sprint Rolls Out Wireless Internet Plan

An AP newswire article by Bill Draper, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Sprint Corp. announced its arrival onto the wireless broadband scene on Thursday, more than a year and a half after one of its top rivals, Verizon Wireless, started offering broadband Internet service.

Sprint Corp. plans to provide mobile broadband service to about 150 million people by early next year. The service, using EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) technology, will be available in business districts and airports in 34 markets by the end of this month. It already came online this month in 17 of those markets, including Kansas City.

The Overland Park, Kan.-based company said rates will start at $40 per month for a limited-access plan, and unlimited access will cost business customers about $80 a month.

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, began offering its EV-DO service in October 2003 in San Diego and Washington, D.C., then expanded the service into other regions soon thereafter. It currently offers its wireless broadband service in 43 markets.

Cingular Wireless offers a high-speed service using a different technology in six cities and plans to add at least 10 more markets by the end of the year.

DHS says US-VISIT program is protecting privacy

Michael Arnone writes in

The Homeland Security Department’s program to screen foreign nationals entering and leaving the country is protecting travelers’ privacy as the program expands, according to a new DHS report.

As the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program expands its capabilities and data sharing with federal law enforcement agencies, it is enlarging the pool of travelers whose personal data is potentially at risk, said Steve Yonkers, US-VISIT’s privacy officer, in a statement about the program’s updated Privacy Impact Assessment.

But US-VISIT mitigates the specific privacy risks associated with its new functionality and increased data sharing “through numerous mitigation efforts, including access controls, education and training, encryption, minimizing collection, and use of personal information,” the report states.

DHS officials revised US-VISIT’s privacy assessment to accommodate changes in the program, including new procedures and technology to track foreign visitors leaving from airports and seaports. Those changes will be introduced by Dec. 31.

Microsoft To Patch Critical Holes In Windows, Office

Via TechWeb News.

Microsoft will post three security bulletins, two for Windows and one for Office, next week, the software giant announced on Thursday. Two of the trio will be tagged as "critical," Microsoft's most dire threat label.

As it's done since November, 2004, Microsoft gave users and enterprises a bit of early warning by publishing its monthly Security Bulletin Advance Notification on its Web site and via e-mail.

Microsoft doesn't disclose details of the specific vulnerabilities for which patches will be released, so it's unknown if one of the two Windows bulletins will include a fix for the recently disclosed Internet Explorer bug.

The bulletins will also include one for Office that Microsoft characterized as a "non-security, high priority update."

The security bulletins will be published to Microsoft's Security siteTuesday, July 12 sometime after noon EDT.

High-Speed Internet Use Rises 34 Percent

An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

High-speed Internet use by U.S. businesses and households rose 34 percent in 2004 to 37.9 million lines, the Federal Communications Commission said Thursday.

The figures [.pdf] were cited by the agency's chairman as proof that the FCC's broadband policy is working.

Digital subscriber line, or DSL, service increased 45 percent last year to 13.8 million lines. Cable modem use climbed 30 percent to 21.4 million lines.

Other Internet connections using wireless and satellite increased by 50 percent to 500,000 last year, the FCC said, while use of optical fiber and powerlines rose 16 percent to 700,000.

Lawyers disagree over punishment in Sasser trial

John Blau writes in InfoWorld:

In their closing remarks on Thursday, the state prosecutor and lawyer defending the Sasser computer worm author disagreed on what should happen to the 19-year-old German teenager if he commits a crime while on probation.

Sven Jaschan has been on trial since Tuesday in the district court in Verden, Germany, where he faces charges of computer sabotage, data manipulation and disruption of public systems.

The state prosecutor is demanding a probation period of three years during which time the accused hacker, Sven Jaschan, would be required to complete 200 hours of public service, the court said Thursday in a statement. If, during the probation, Jaschan commits another crime, he would be subject to two years of confinement in a juvenile detention center.

Jaschan's defense lawyer, however, is seeking a confinement period of only one year, should his client commit a crime while on probation. The lawyer said the teenager had no criminal intentions when he created the computer worm.

Spyware Criminal Hits Japan Bank Accounts

Via TechWeb News.

Several Japanese banks have reported that a spyware thief tapped compromised accounts more or less simultaneously, and spirited away hundreds of thousands of yen.

According to published reports in the Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan's largest dailies, a trio of banks--eBank, Mizuho Bank, and Japan Net Bank-- said that illegal transfers were made to the same receiving account, making it likely the work of just one thief.

Sources told the Shimbun that "hundreds of thousands" of yen were moved from the account of an Mizuho Bank customer on July 1, and 130,000 yen ($1,170). Losses to accounts at Japan Net Bank were not disclosed, but multiple transfers were made.

In the eBank incident, the customer reported receiving e-mail in mid-June with an attached file, bank officials told the newspaper. They speculated that spyware was installed on the customer's computer; the spyware probably had a keylogger component which watched for online bank log-in passwords, then transmitted them to the thief.

By the time eBank froze the customer's account, the transfer had already taken place, the bank said.

E-mail traffic doubles after London bomb blasts

Dan Ilett writes in C|Net News:

E-mail traffic doubled in Europe on Thursday after four bombs exploded in central London.

A snapshot of e-mail activity from security company MessageLabs found the number of customer e-mails it monitored grew from the average of 500,000 to 1 million an hour after terrorist attacks began.

"Sometime after 9:00 a.m. BST (1 a.m. PDT) we saw e-mail traffic rise," said Alex Shipp, senior antivirus technologist for MessageLabs. "That's ignoring spam--that's half a million legitimate e-mails an hour up to 1 million.

"We don't know what the traffic is, but we're guessing that it's 'Are you OK?' and 'Have you seen the news?' messages. But that's based on the e-mails we've been getting."

eir phones following the attacks. All the United Kingdom's mobile phone networks were intermittently crippled by the sudden rise in calls and text messages early Thursday morning.

ICANN Posts New gTLD Questions Paper

Via the ICANN website.

In September 2004 ICANN published a strategy for the implementation of new top-level domains (TLDs). The strategy called for the implementation of a strategy that would appropriately take into account many relevant technical, economic, socio-political and cultural issues. In light of several new developments regarding DNS operations and structure, ICANN has developed a plan to facilitate implementation of the strategy for the designation of new TLDs.

staff paper has been drafted to inform about the current status of the implementation of the "New gTLD Strategy". It is also intended to solicit public comments on the completeness of the list of questions therein as well as on the consultation matrix enclosed.

Please also note the following: The paper is a draft and does NOT foreclose any procedures or outcomes of consultations. The draft questions in the question list are open and are NOT to be read as implying particular preferences. Future consultations will welcome contributions from ALL and the draft consultation matrix does NOT imply any exclusivity provisions.

Please submit your comments to <>. You can view comments at <>. Deadline for comments is 22 July 2005.

U.S. raising terror alert level for rail systems


The Homeland Security Department on Thursday was raising the terror alert level for subway and rail systems — but not airlines — in the wake of the terrorist attacks in London, a U.S. official told NBC News.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the alert level for trains and subways would be raised to orange, which signifies a high risk of terrorist attack, from yellow, the mid-point on the five-point color-coded system.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was expected to announce the increase in the five-tier terror alert system at an 11:45 ET news conference.

Sasser lawyers to make closing statements Thursday

John Blau writes in InfoWorld:

Lawyers in the trial of the Sasser computer worm author will make their closing arguments later Thursday at the district court in Verden, Germany, with the court expected to deliver its verdict on Friday, according to a court spokeswoman.

"The state prosecutor and the defense lawyer will plead their cases later this afternoon," Verden District Court spokeswoman Katharina Krützfeldt said Thursday morning in a telephone interview. They will also discuss sentencing for the 19-year old German teenager, Sven Jaschan, with details expected later in the day, she said.

The court had initially scheduled Thursday as the final day of the trial but decided to take more time to issue its verdict, Krützfeldt said.

Russia’s Alfa Group Unveils Plans for International Telecom Group

Via MosNews.

Mikhail Fridman, the chairman of Alfa Group, a Russian investment powerhouse, told the Financial Times newspaper that his company will hold talks with several telecoms companies about the creation of an international mobile phone operator spanning Turkey, Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Fridman said that Alfa is now seeking to consolidate its telecoms stakes in a single Western company. He added that the telecoms industry had become a priority for Alfa, which also has investments in the oil, retail and banking sectors. “In the past few years we have been investing heavily in the telecoms market and have now built a critical mass that will allow us to shape the future of the Russian telecoms industry,” he said.

Juniper rumored to be looking at Atrica

Via Red Herring.

Juniper Networks is at it again. The most acquisitive of the current crop of networking leaders is targeting carrier-grade Ethernet-switching startup Atrica, a company that may hit the break-even point by the end of the year.

A number of publications, including Israel’s The Marker, have gotten wind of the potential deal that could put Juniper well on its way to hitting the billion-dollar mark in terms of money spent on acquisitions in 2005.

Juniper has already spent more than half a billion dollars acquiring three startups. In March, Juniper announced it had acquired startup Kagoor Networks for $67.5 million. A month later, the company announced it had paid $337 million for Peribit Networks and $132 million for Redline Networks, two five-year-old networking equipment startups.

Cisco Hires FCC's Pepper


Paul Kapustka writes in Advanced IP Pipeline:

He still doesn't know how to use the corporate Web site to order pens and pencils, but in every other aspect of his new job at Cisco Systems, former FCC staffer Robert Pepper should be able to hit the ground running.

That's because Pepper, an advisor to six chairmen of the FCC during his 19-year stay at the commission, will largely drive the same type of evangelistic telecommunications policy agenda -- in such areas as Voice over IP, broadband services, wireless access and security -- that he did in his most recent role as the FCC's chief of policy development.

"I'll basically be working on the same set of policy issues, but now with a global focus," said Pepper in a phone interview Tuesday, his second day working for the networking giant. With a title of senior managing director, global advanced technology policy, Pepper will be working under Laura Ipsen, Cisco's vice president of worldwide government affairs. Pepper said his role will be similar to the one he performed at the FCC -- mainly, educating policymakers about new technologies and their potential impact on economic growth.

It'll be the same kind of education I helped bring to the chairmen [of the FCC]," Pepper said. "I'll help people look at the cool new things, and try to understand what are the [policy] implications."

Islamic group claims London attack on website


A group calling itself “The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe” posted a claim of responsibility for Thursday’s blasts in London, saying they were in retaliation for Britain’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The authenticity of the message could not be immediately confirmed.

The statement, which also threatened attacks in Italy and Denmark, was published on a Web site popular with Islamic militants, according to Elaph, a secular Arabic-language news Web site, and Der Spiegel magazine in Berlin, which published the text on their Web sites.

“Rejoice, Islamic nation. Rejoice, Arab world. The time has come for vengeance against the Zionist crusader government of Britain in response to the massacres Britain committed in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said the statement, translated by The Associated Press in Cairo. The AP was unable to access the Web site where it was posted, which was closed quickly after the reports.

Broadband via power lines sparks Google interest

Dawn Kawamoto writes in C|Net News:

Current Communications Group, which offers broadband Internet service over power lines, said Thursday it has received investment money from Google, Hearst and Goldman Sachs.

Although Current did not specify the amount it received from the search king, media giant and investment banker, The Wall Street Journal reported that the three companies invested roughly $100 million in the start-up. Last year, Current and Cinergy Broadband, a subsidiary of energy company Cinergy, announced that their two joint ventures had received $70 million from Cinergy, EnerTech Capital and Liberty Associated Partners. plans special deliveries to celebrate 10 years

Via The Globe and Mail.

Hollywood star Harrison Ford or musician Moby could soon be turning up on U.S. doorsteps to personally deliver Inc. products as part of the on-line vendor's 10th birthday celebration.

The world's biggest Internet retailer said that for 10 days from yesterday, randomly selected customers across the United States will open their doors to find more than they were expecting when they placed their order.

Among the celebrities scheduled to make special deliveries are actor Ford, who may deliver the Raiders of the Lost Ark DVD box set, Moby, with his recently released CD Hotel, and Jason Alexander, who played George on the sitcom Seinfeld.

Security stocks soar after London blasts

Here's a report that is, unfortunately, not surprising.

A Reuters newswire article on CNN/Money reveals that:

Shares of security-related companies, including Internet video company IPIX Corp. and bomb detection equipment maker Isonics Corp., jumped sharply in premarket activity Thursday, after explosions ripped through London's transportation system.

Also, shares of larger U.S. defense companies, such as General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, were expected to outperform the broader market on expectations that the blasts could boost security-related spending.

"It is obvious that homeland defense stocks would, unfortunately, rally about any news and concerns over terrorism," Fulcrum Global Partners analyst John Balliotti said in an interview.

Update: Blogs respond to London blasts

Via The BBC.

News of the suspected terror attacks across central London has quickly spread across the net as people try to get information about the chaos.

According to blog tracking service, Technorati, there were more than 1,300 posts about the blasts by 1015 GMT.

With mobile phone networks suffering congestion, blogs and news websites are the way many are gathering detail.

Update: Also, there are some very useful pointers on Boing Boing for both images and blogs related to the London attacks here.

Windows AntiSpyware Downgrades Claria Detections

Via /.

"A week after word leaked out that Microsoft was negotiating an acquisition deal with Claria (See recent /. coverage), spyware researchers have noticed that the Windows antispyware application has downgraded Claria's Gator detections and changed the recommended action from 'quarantine' to 'ignore.' Screenshots of the new default settings."

Credit card suit now seeks damages

Joris Evers writes in C|Net News:

A class action lawsuit filed after millions of credit card accounts were compromised by a data breach at payment processor CardSystems Solutions now also demands unspecified monetary damages for consumers and merchants.

The amended complaint was filed on behalf of California credit card holders and card-accepting merchants Wednesday in California Superior Court in San Francisco.

The suit, originally filed on June 27, names as defendants CardSystems, MasterCard, Visa and Merrick Bank, a card-issuing bank that used CardSystems to process transactions. None of the defendants could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

The suit accuses the companies of violating California law by neglecting to secure credit card systems and by failing to inform consumers in a timely manner about a security breach at CardSystems, which was disclosed publicly on June 17 by MasterCard.

Phone networks jammed following London blasts

Tim Richardson writes in The Register:

Phone networks have been jammed today following a series of blasts that hit London's public transport network this morning.

Mobile networks in particular have been put under pressure as people use their phones to contact friends and family following the explosions.

In a statement Vodafone said: "Understandably we are experiencing significant network congestion but we are working closely with the emergency services.

"In these circumstances, we would ask all of our customers in Central London to avoid making unnecessary or lengthy phone calls.

BT has also reported that its network is intact although it is witnessing a massive spike in calls.

The BBC also has an article about the mobile networks being jammed after the attacks.

Boeing May Be Fined for Exported Technology

Sara Kehaulani Goo and Renae Merle write in The Washington Post:

Boeing Co. is in talks with the State Department about alleged violations of arms control laws related to the sale of 96 civilian aircraft and spare parts to China from 2000 to 2003, company and State Department officials said yesterday.

The company said the talks concern the sales of planes that contain a "gyrochip" that helps with stability of the aircraft but can also be applied to missiles. The State Department may fine Boeing as much as $47 million, according to the Seattle Times, which reported the alleged violations Wednesday.

40 reported dead in London blasts

Developing story, via MSNBC:

At least 40 people were killed in the explosions that ripped through three London subway trains and a bus on Thursday, according to a U.S. law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because British officials have yet to make public the death toll.

The near simultaneous explosions caused at least 300 injuries in what Prime Minister Tony Blair said was a "barbaric" terrorist attack.

U.S. authorities learned of the fatalities from their British counterparts, according to the official.

The explosions came a day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympics and as the Group of Eight summit was getting under way in Scotland.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

UPS Loses Financial Records, But Has a Bigger Problem

Deborah Gage writes in Baseline:

The United Parcel Service invests more than $1 billion a year on technology—smart labels, wireless handheld computers for drivers and efficient delivery plans—to help its customers ship packages. But it can't eliminate human error.

All that technology couldn't prevent the company from losing a box of computer tapes containing names, Social Security numbers, account numbers and payment histories of 3.9 million customers of CitiFinancial, the consumer finance unit of Citigroup.

The loss on May 2 was due to human error, UPS says. The error: not using technology. A driver failed to scan the box—destined for the Texas branch of the credit bureau Experian—when he picked it up from a Citigroup facility in New Jersey. Experian gets updates from Citigroup on customers' credit histories once a month.

Intel and Morgan Freeman Bringing Films to Net

Katie Dean writes in Wired News:

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman is teaming up with Intel to launch an online movie-download site that aims to pull users away from illegal downloads of first-run films.

ClickStar will focus on making first-run and pre-DVD films available for download. Movie fans will be able both to purchase and rent films from the service.

ClickStar was announced Wednesday by Freeman and Intel CEO Paul Otellini at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference, an annual gathering of high-powered media executives. Freeman's movie production company,
Revelations Entertainment, formed ClickStar with an investment from Intel.

Cagle's Cartoons...Bush on Iraq

Even as a veteran myself, Ive just gotta link to this one.

Tech Rolls With Tour de France

Austin is Lance Armstrong's hometown, and you can bet we are all pretty excited for him on what may probably be his last year on the Tour.

Colin C. Haley writes on

Lance Armstrong's 2000 autobiography is titled "It's Not About The Bike." It's a clear reference to the fierce determination that helped him beat testicular cancer and win the Tour de France six times.

But as he pedals through valleys and over mountains in pursuit of a record seventh title, the Texan sponsors would like to remind sports fans that the bike, and the technology that helped build it, play an important supporting role.

Several companies with tech ties have joined Armstrong. The most visible is chipmaker AMD, "the official technology sponsor" of Armstrong's Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team.

Check in the Mail? Postal Service Ready to Tell You Where

Hey! The U.S. Postal System is moving into the 20th century! Of course, the rest of us have already moved into the 21st century, but what the hell...

Larry Dignan writes in Baseline:

If the U.S. Postal Service has its way, "the check is in the mail" excuse will no longer be valid. The company that sent you the bill could verify whether you're bluffing through a bar code on the return envelope scanned by the Postal Service.

That tracking system, which starts this month, is one way the Postal Service is making first-class mail such as bills and personal correspondence more valuable, in a world full of e-mail and electronic documents. Meanwhile, the red, white and blue may just become a serious competitor to brown—United Parcel Service—in small-package delivery.

Mobile Internet: A story of stagnation

Stephen Baker writes in the BusinessWeek Blogspotting blog:

Someday the mobile Internet will be huge. No kidding. But the numbers coming out are relentlessly grim. Since January, according to M:Metrics, Inc. of Seattle, the number of Americans using a mobile browser for news and other information appears to be falling.

The numbers:

January -- 22,052,550 0
February-- 22,628,052 2.6%
March -- 21,533,717 -4.8%
April -- 22,109,802 2.7%
May -- 21,641,574 -2.1%

What can we gather from this? The mobile industry, which has been breathlessly awaiting revenue growth from mobile data, has utterly failed to provide Internet handsets and services worth our time and money. Significantly, the one area of growth--wireless email--developed largely on services and handsets that came from outside the phone industry, from Research in Motion's Blackberrys and PalmOne's Treo.

What does the phone industry's failure mean? Perhaps it spells an opportunity for outsiders, like the
Sky Dayton-headed joint venture SK-Earthlink. Somebody is going to figure out the wireless Internet. Given the phone industry's record over the past six years, I'd bet on outsiders.

Fear of Spyware Changing Online Habits

An AP newswire article by Anick Jesdanun, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Internet users worried about spyware and adware are shunning specific Web sites, avoiding file-sharing networks, even switching browsers.

Many have also stopped opening e-mail attachments without first making sure they are safe, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said in a study issued Wednesday.

"People are scaling back on some Internet activities," said Susannah Fox, the study's main author. "People are feeling less adventurous, less free to do whatever they want to do online."

Verizon signs first video deal with Time Warner

Via Reuters.

Verizon Communications Inc. said on Wednesday it signed its first video deal with a unit of Time Warner Inc., allowing it to carry Turner Broadcasting channels on its fiber-optic video service.

Verizon, the largest U.S. telecommunications company, is launching its Fios video service later this year to more effectively compete against cable companies such as Time Warner and Comcast Corp. that are pushing telephone services.

Verizon said the agreement will allow it to carry several Turner channels, including CNN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies.

Yahoo! adds another television exec to its ranks

A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that Yahoo! continues to move into the interactive television space:

Yahoo Inc. has added another television executive to its ranks, the latest move in the Internet media giant's years-old courtship with Hollywood and television networks.

The company, which is the most-visited Web site, said on Wednesday it hired David Katz to run the sports and entertainment divisions of Yahoo's Media Group.

Katz comes to Yahoo after eight years at CBS Television Network, where he was most recently charged with strategic planning and interactive ventures, Yahoo said.

Nextel says to comply with Nextel Partners pact

So, it looks like the brand name, post-merger, for Sprint-Nextel won't simply be Sprint after all. It looks like this is not the last chapter in this M&A saga.

Via Reuters:

Nextel Communications Inc. said on Wednesday it will fully comply with its obligations to Nextel Partners Inc., after complaints that Sprint Corp.'s proposed takeover violates its agreements with Nextel Partners.

The comments in a regulatory filing come a day after Nextel Partners -- a provider of wireless services under the Nextel brand -- said it filed a lawsuit against Nextel Communications over branding concerns related to the merger.

Nextel Communications said it is continuing to refine its post-merger branding strategy with Sprint and it will comply with agreements with Nextel Partners. The $36 billion Sprint/ Nextel deal is expected to close in August.

DOJ requires Alltel to divest assets in acquisition

Grant Gross writes in InfoWorld:

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will require Alltel to sell off some of its assets in three central U.S. states before completing a $6 billion acquisition of competing wireless carrier Western Wireless Corp.

The DOJ, in a settlement announced Wednesday, said it will approve the acquisition if a court approves its divestiture requirements. The DOJ's conditions would require Alltel, the sixth largest wireless carrier in the U.S., to divest assets in Kansas, Nebraska and Arkansas. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission must also approve the merger.

ICANN Vancouver 2005 Website Launched

Via the ICANN Vancouver 2005 web site.

The hosts of ICANN Vancouver 2005, CircleID and Leading Edge BC, are proud to announce the launch of the official website for the event, In addition to providing all the required information for the event and visitors to Vancouver, the website will be continuously updated with latest developments prior to and during ICANN Vancouver 2005 (Nov 30 - Dec 4).

All attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the 'Update Services' provided on the site (RSS and Email Alerts) to keep up to date with the latest announcements for this upcoming meeting in Vancouver.

Personal Web-Based Email Puts Enterprise at Risk

This is an interesting prespective--I wonder exactly how they propose to stop it? Being a "network nazi" (forgive the term) is certainly not the answer, since when you try to ratchet down access to Internet resources within the enterprise network, then the employee become the one who is actively trying to bypass security and access controls.

I use a web-based account for personal e-mail communications while I'm at work--and personally, I think it is nothing less than professionally and ethically proper to do so. I can certaily see this issue becoming somewhat of a sticky wicket if this mindset [below] becomes common practice. They do specify "business communications," however, so perhaps personal e-mail traffic is exempt?


In any event, Sandra Gittlen writes on

IT managers who allow their users to access personal email accounts via Web-based sites are putting their companies at risk, according to experts.

''If companies are allowing employees to use personal email tools, but not retaining those messages, they could be facing serious legal and regulatory trouble,'' says Nancy Flynn, executive director of the ePolicy Institute in Columbus, Ohio. ''Email today is the electronic equivalent of DNA evidence. If there is a lawsuit, you can take it to the bank that email will be subpoenaed.''

In fact, a 2004 Workplace Email and Instant Messaging Study, co-sponsored by the ePolicy Institute and the American Management Association, found 21 percent of the 840 U.S. businesses surveyed had employee email and instant messages subpoenaed in the course of a lawsuit or regulatory investigation.

Flynn says courts are not discriminating about whether the emails were sent via personal email accounts or business email accounts. ''They want all business-related emails that are being transmitted by employees,'' she says. Not producing these emails could result in a ''five-to-six-figure fine''.

Opera Adds BitTorrent to Web Browser

Cool. :-)

Nate Mook writes in BetaNews:

Opera Software has released a test version of its flagship Web browser that adds an embedded BitTorrent client for downloading content using the popular file sharing protocol. Although Opera has not officially announced the beta, which is dubbed a "technology preview," the release is available from the company's FTP.

The addition makes Opera the first Web browser to natively support BitTorrent downloads, which normally require a separate external client. Alongside the BitTorrent feature, Opera 8.02 will also introduce a number of bug fixes including an update for Web pages using Flash.

Microsoft, France Telecom to Launch VoIP, 3x services

Ed Oswald writes in BetaNews:

Determined to break into the telecom market, Microsoft announced on Wednesday an agreement with France Telecom to develop products and services. Initially the two companies will work together on two projects, one for VoIP and the other a software project that would combine voice, video and data services.

At a press conference in Paris, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer told reporters that "the first product would be available within a year," although his assessment may be a bit optimistic.

SiliconBeat: Google negotiating marriage with Baidu?

The guys over at SiliconBeat say that a story in fans the flames of speculation that "...the Baidu, the Chinese search engine company that is on the verge of filing for its IPO, 'appears to be drawing a close look from Google.'"

Read more here.

San Jose grand jury indicts six in child porn investigation

A article by Chuck Carroll, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Law enforcement officials in Europe and the United States, acting on information contained in a federal grand jury indictment issued in San Jose last month, have arrested the Michigan operator of child pornography Web sites and numerous alleged subscribers, including several in Northern California.

The U.S Attorney's Office in San Francisco announced the indictment today, more than two weeks after Edward Aaron Harvey, 35, of Canton, Mich., was charged with advertising child pornography, sending it across state lines and international boundaries, and laundering the proceeds of his sales.

MS UK defaced in hacking attack

John Leyden writes in The Register:

Microsoft's UK web site was defaced late on Tuesday night with a message in support of Venezuelan hacker Rafa. Defacement archive Zone-H reports that well-known defacer Apocalypse hacked into Microsoft's UK web site ( and uploaded a picture with the message "FREE RAFA - HACK IS NOT A CRIME" (recorded in an archive here).

The site has since been restored to normal operation and the offending GIF removed. A Microsoft spokesman said it was aware of the attack, which technical staff are investigating. "There is no reason to believe customer data or any other sensitive information has been compromised," he said. Although somewhat embarrassing all early indications are that the attack was not serious.

Major Newspaper Sites Hobbled by Power Woes

Via Netcraft.

A power outage at an Advance Internet hosting facility has hobbled the web sites for the company's chain of more than 30 newspapers, including many large metropolitan dailies. The Advance newspapers have switched to text-based sites to continue publishing, but are currently unable to display advertising, making the outage a potentially costly event.

Affected sites include, Michigan Live,, The Portland Oregonian and the online classifieds site and Best One of the affected papers, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, is in the midst of covering the impact of Tropical Storm Cindy, which hit the New Orleans area yesterday and has left more than 240,000 local residents without power as well.

Advance Internet is owned by Advance Publications, which also owns the Conde Nast family of print magazines. Unlike the newspaper sites, many of the Conde Nast titles - including Vanity Fair, GQ and The New Yorker - are mirrored by the Akamai content distribution network and have remained online and displaying ads during the Advance Internet outage. At least one magazine hosted in Jersey City (Glamour) is also being served by Akamai today.

The power outage, which began about 5 pm EST Tuesday, affected Advance Internet's hosting operation in Jersey City's Journal Square. The local power company, PSE&G, said three underground circuits malfunctioned. "A power outage at our hosting facility continues to disrupt our service," said a message displayed across the affected sites. "We will provide news updates on this special version of the site until we can restore to normal service."