NewsScan Daily, 23 May 2003 ("Above The
NewsScan Daily, 23 May 2003 ("Above The Fold")
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"ABOVE THE FOLD"
'Kingpin' Cracker Arrested in Thailand
Analysts Warn of WiFi Bubble
HP's 'Casual Capture' Project: Your Life as a Photo Montage
Unlimited Calling Plans Are the New Standard
PeopleSoft Opens Software Development Center in Bangalore
New Privacy Protection Law in Japan
Worth Thinking About: The Future of the Past
Safe & Sound in the Cyber Age: "Microsoft and Trust in E-Mail"
'KINGPIN' CRACKER ARRESTED IN THAILAND
Thai officials arrested a Ukrainian man described by a U.S. embassy
spokesman as a "kingpin" of international computer crime. Maksym
Vysochansky, 25, is accused of selling counterfeit versions of flagship
software products by major companies such as Microsoft and Adobe.
Vysochansky, who used a number of aliases, is thought to have been involved
in fraudulent schemes worth up to $1 billion. "This guy was on the U.S.
Secret Service's 10 most wanted list. He's definitely a big shot," said the
embassy official. Authorities allege that Vysochansky also built a "back
door" into the software he sold that allowed him to hack into buyers'
financial and credit card information. "It was a very complicated and
sophisticated fraudulent scheme," said the embassy official. Vysochansky
likely will be extradited to the U.S. where he'll face charges of copyright
violations, trafficking in counterfeit goods and money-laundering.
(News24.com 22 May 2003)
ANALYSTS WARN OF WIFI BUBBLE
WiFi, the new darling of the telecom crowd, is a bubble in danger of
bursting, say some analysts who worry that euphoria over the technology
could lead to the same kind of supply glut that proved the undoing of many
telecom businesses in the last couple of years. One of the biggest worriers
is Adventis analyst Andrew Cole: "WiFi is overrated and headed for a fall,"
he says. One big question mark is the level of demand. The WiFi consumer
market began as a movement of tech-savvy users who made a game of finding
free nodes to sponge off of. Turning freeloaders into paying customers is a
challenge the music industry has grappled with for several years without
much success. In addition, using WiFi can be tricky -- it requires setting
up an antenna, reconfiguring the computer and signing up for a broadband
service. Finally, with barriers to entry very low, competition in consumer
WiFi could turn cutthroat, pitting rivals ranging from tiny boutique ISPs
to powerhouses like Verizon against one another. Consolidation among WiFi
gear makers has already started, with Cisco's purchase of Linksys last
December, and analysts predict the WiFi chip market is next. One bright
spot on the horizon is the market for WiFi equipment for corporations.
"We're still in the early days of enterprise WiFi, which is the big
opportunity," says one wireless consultant. About 40% of U.S. companies
currently have some kind of WiFi network and about a third of those plan to
expand their networks in the next 18 months, according to wireless
researcher ON World. (Wireless News Factor 22 May 2003)
HP'S 'CASUAL CAPTURE' PROJECT: YOUR LIFE AS A PHOTO MONTAGE
Hewlett-Packard's Bristol, England lab is developing a new consumer
photography system that could "casually" snap a steady stream of images as
a person goes about her daily life and store them in data centers, where
they could be retrieved for printing. Ideally, the user would don a
wearable camera mounted inside the bridge of a pair of glasses or somewhere
else unobtrusive, and then forget about it. The camera would continuously
record approximately what is in the wearer's field of vision, and when
something notable happens, the wearer would make an indication of some
kind, either by speaking or by pressing a button. The camera would then
take over, zooming in to select what appear to be the best shots and
automatically adjusting and cropping them. "You say, 'Something has
happened, I'd like to remember that,'" says Phil Cheatle of HP Labs'
digital media department. "It allows you to take part in the event instead
of hiding behind the technology. The challenge is selecting what's
interesting automatically." (CNet News.com 22 May 2003)
UNLIMITED CALLING PLANS ARE THE NEW STANDARD
Leading phone companies AT&T, BellSouth, Qwest, SBC, and Verizon are all
now offering programs that allow their customers in some states to make
unlimited local and national calls at one flat rate, typically for about
$50-60 a month with voicemail and caller ID bundled in. How did this come
about? AT&T spokeswoman Eileen Connolly explains: "It?s human nature.
People have less desire to move away from you if you have all their
business." The trend started with wireless plans, which were the first to
"tear down the thinking of distance-depending thinking," in the words of
Forrester researcher Charles Golvin. Will the switch to these new plans
cause consumers to use more and more telecommunications services? Yes, says
market researcher Berge Ayvazian of The Yankee Group: "Usage more than
doubles on unlimited wireless-calling plans, and if broadband is always on,
the Internet is always in use." (New York Times 23 May 2003)
PEOPLESOFT OPENS SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT CENTER IN BANGALORE
American software company PeopleSoft, which already has offices in several
cities in India, is adding a new software development center in Bangalore,
a hub of high-tech activity. Other companies that have set up outsourcing
centers in India include SAP, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard.
The purpose of the new center will be to cut development costs and reduce
time for implementing and upgrading software applications. (AP/San Jose
Mercury News 22 May 2003)
NEW PRIVACY PROTECTION LAW IN JAPAN
In response to complaints that personal information about consumers is
circulating without their permission in databases and e-mail
communications, the Japanese parliament has passed legislation that will
give individuals the right to obtain information collected about them and
will put restrictions on both governmental and corporate entities who
maintain such databases. Critics of the new legislation are worrying that
Internet operators will be inundated with information requests from
individuals, and privacy advocates are saying the legislation will impede
freedom of speech. (APOnline/USA Today 23 May 2003)
[NewsScan Daily will not be published this coming Monday, which is Memorial
Day, a U.S. national holiday. We?ll be back with you on Tuesday, 27 May 2003]
?Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to,
with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.?
WORTH THINKING ABOUT: THE FUTURE OF THE PAST
Alexander Stille, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, writes:
"Still propped up in front of the Sphinx is a black stone slab
erected in 1401 B.C. by a pharaoh of the New Kingdom, King Thutmosis IV,
taking credit for the first major restoration of the Sphinx. The Sphinx is
so old that it forces us to reconsider our notions of what is ancient and
what modern, what is an original work of art and what a restoration. Even
for Thutmosis the Sphinx was already an extremely ancient monument: it was
for him older than the cathedral at Chartres is for us today.
"The Greeks and Romans visited and restored the Sphinx in the same
spirit of wonder at the achievements of a vanished ancient civilization as
we do now, and left graffiti on the walls of monuments like many modern
tourists. The Romans cleared the sand from the Sphinx in preparation for a
visit by the emperor Nero-for whom the Sphinx was far more ancient than
Nero's Rome is for us. They also dragged numerous obelisks back to Italy as
symbols of their imperial power, a feat later imitated by Napoleon. Louis
Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, announced at the Million Man
March that Napoleon had knocked the nose off the Sphinx because he could
not stand the idea that a work of such greatness was created by black
people. Napoleon, while guilty of much looting and plunder, is innocent of
this particular crime: eighteenth-century engravings of the Sphinx show it
already missing its nose. Arabic documents from the fifteenth century
recount that Egypt's Islamic leaders felt it necessary to deface the great
statue because ordinary Egyptians of the period were still paying homage to
it a millennium and a half after the collapse of the pharaonic dynasties.
(A similar spirit may have motivated the Taliban of Afghanistan who in 2001
systematically destroyed giant stone sculptures that testified to the
country's ancient Buddhist past.)
"As Farrakhan's remark makes clear, the need to appropriate these
iconic monuments and their history continues up to today."
for Alexander Stille's "The Future of the Past" -- or look for it in your
favorite library. [We donate all revenues from our book recommendations to
adult literacy programs.]
SAFE & SOUND IN THE CYBER AGE: ?MICROSOFT AND TRUST IN E-MAIL?
Our security experts Stephen Cobb and Chey Cobb write:
Given that our previous column wasted no time pointing out what we
think Microsoft did wrong with the security hole in its Passport service,
it is fair that in this one we highlight something Microsoft seems to be
getting right. We're talking about a letter that Microsoft Chairman Bill
Gates sent this week to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation. The committee is holding hearings on spam, and Mr. Gates?
letter presented Microsoft?s views on how the problem can be solved.
What pleased us, and Stephen in particular, was Mr. Gates' public
support for the three dimensional solution to email ills that Stephen?s
company, ePrivacy Group, has been articulating for more than a year and a
half now. Those three dimensions are independent oversight, best practices,
and enabling technology.
The idea is that all three are needed if we ever hope to rescue email
from its current ills. Those ills include not just spam, but also corporate
identity fraud via spoofed email (something we discussed a few columns
back), and malicious email, such as the Sobig worm that spreads by spoofing
messages from support@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
It was back in 2001 that ePrivacy Group first put the three elements
together. For independent oversight, a working relationship was established
with TRUSTe, the non-profit organization that certifies web site privacy
policies with a clickable 'seal' that most readers probably recognize. For
best practices, extensive discussions were held with consumer advocates,
marketing companies, Internet service providers, and corporate emailers
(every brand name company in America is a big emailer). Eventually a broad
consensus on email best practices was codified into a program of compliance
that senders of legitimate commercial email could pledge to support.
ePrivacy Group coined the term 'trusted sender' to describe such senders.
By November of 2001 the company was previewing the trademarked
Trusted Sender program for email improvement, to Microsoft and other large
corporate email users. However, the third component, technology to reliably
identify the sender of a message and verify that the message complies with
best practices, posed a huge challenge. The ideal solution would be some
form of clickable trust seal or stamp, analogous to the TRUSTe web seal,
yet individually stamped into each email message, even though some
companies send tens of thousands of messages per hour.
The seal needed to be an image or link that recipients could click to
verify that the sender was trusted, regardless of the email program used to
read the message, and without any plug-ins or other software add-ons. Oh,
and it also had to be spoof-proof. Fortunately, ePrivacy Group has a
brilliant chief technology officer, David Brussin, plus a great tech team
that David put together. By the time the Trusted Sender program was
announced at the end of January, 2002, the software was working and
ePrivacy Group was stamping all of its outbound email with live "click to
verify" seals. Microsoft MSN was one of the first companies to sign up for
the program and was there at the launch to show its support.
Over the next twelve months, despite all manner of obstacles?mainly
the ones you can't predict, like data center politics and quirky corporate
network configurations?test installations of Trusted Sender started to go
live. In February of this year, American Education Services, the student
loan organization, became the first to send 1 million Trusted Sender
messages, all without a glitch.
Consumer tests and feedback indicate that the trust seal works as we
had predicted, greatly increasing people's ability to tell legitimate email
from spam and bogus messages. Not surprisingly, tests also indicate more
people read email if it has the seal than if it does not. Although the seal
can, if clicked, perform a real-time verification that the sender is in
compliance with the program's principles, just checking that the seal is
there seems to be sufficient assurance for most people.
So why isn't everyone using this system? After all, it can put an end
to many of the scams and abuses we have seen recently, like the Sobig worm
and the fraudulent spoofing of security messages from Bank of America,
Wachovia, and eBay. There are many reasons, but ePrivacy Group decided that
the best way to bring the benefits of this technology to more consumers was
to enshrine the three principles of the trusted sender concept in an open
standard, then offer its technology to the Internet community if the
standard received support from enough of the leading players (like AOL,
Microsoft, and Yahoo).
The result is the Trusted Email Open Standard, published at the end
of last month and already downloaded by thousands of people. Although big
companies are not known for acting fast, the enormity of the spam problem
is a strong motivator. With his letter, Mr. Gates has now lent Microsoft's
weight to the principles that Trusted Sender embodies. Could this be the
dawn of the spam-free inbox era? We sure hope so.
[Chey Cobb, CISSP, the author of "Network Security for Dummies," is
an independent consultant (www.cheycobb.com) and a former senior technical
security advisor to the NRO. She can be reached at chey@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Stephen Cobb, CISSP, helped write the Trusted Email Open Standard which is
available at www.eprivacygroup.com/teos). Email scobb@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and
he will reply with a message that contains a Trusted Sender seal.]
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