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A Privacy Imperative For 2006

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: A Privacy Imperative For 2006
2. Today's Top Story: Microsoft Security
    - 'Leaked' E-Mail About Windows Live Messenger Really A Trojan
    - Vista's Metadata Poses Security Risk, Analysts Say
3. Breaking News
    - Florida Strengthens State Personnel System's Security After Complaint
    - Cell Phone Lodges In Woman's Throat
    - Google's Investment May Lead To IPO For AOL
    - More Women Are Tuning In To Podcasts
    - Go Daddy's New Super Bowl Ad Stalled By Censors
    - Yahoo Streams Two CBS Comedies
    - Chip Firm Wins DoD Contract Extension
    - Nortel Acquires Router Maker Tasman
    - Solar Hot In Venture-Capital Circles
    - Oregon Nanotech Group Gains Funding
    - Computer Visionary John Diebold Dies At 79
4. Grab Bag: Intel-Apple, Portable Video, And Leap Second
5. In Depth: The Latest In Security
6. Voice Of Authority: Podcasting
7. White Papers: Outsourcing
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Better be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident security." -- Edmund Burke


1. Editor's Note: A Privacy Imperative For 2006

One of my lasting impressions of 2005 will be the seemingly endless parade of breaches, missteps, and other blunders in handling customer data.

Now, to punctuate a year filled with failures by companies and academic institutions alike (those failures partially represented here), we have two new security and privacy incidents involving government entities. InformationWeek's Larry Greenemeier reported last week that the U.S. Department of Justice had certain individuals' Social Security numbers publicly available on some of its Web pages--a veritable invitation to identity theft. This week there's a report of an allegation inside the company handling personnel data for the state of Florida that information on top state officials including the governor was accessed repeatedly and, presumably, unnecessarily.

While an investigation of the potential Florida data exposure found issues that were "not necessarily weaknesses," according to an official involved with the system, details of the enhancements contained enough doublespeak to undermine any attempt to represent the system as one that state employees should trust. "I would say that we took the opportunity to search for continual improvement," the official said.

Several features that should have been baked in from day one were added as part of the drive for "continual improvement." These include an automated tracking system of who accesses what information, random computer audits to make sure sensitive data hasn't been downloaded, and limits so that confidential information can only be accessed by those who need it to do their jobs.

Coupled with the breaches of earlier this year, these latest incidents drive home once again the need for CEO-level commitments to the discipline of protecting customers' private information, more stringent data handling and access policies, and, finally, greater attention to the IT component of the privacy equation.

When it comes to the handling of confidential personal data, 2005 has been a year many organizations would like to forget. Here's hoping all companies have learned from the miserable failures of the past year and are prepared to be far more vigilant in the coming year.

If you'd like to weigh in on this issue, feel free to respond to my blog entry or answer our Web poll asking about the level of accountability that should apply to government entities.

Tom Smith
tsmith@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

'Leaked' E-Mail About Windows Live Messenger Really A Trojan
The message, which refers to an alternate name for the upcoming Live Messenger, includes a link. Users who click on the link, then download and run the executable, are installing the Virkel.f Trojan.

Related Story:

Vista's Metadata Poses Security Risk, Analysts Say
Microsoft could have used some form of digital-rights-management technology to control who sees metadata, Gartner analysts said. Instead, the company chose not to use any, meaning that unsophisticated users can inadvertently disclose private information while using Vista's search tool.


3. Breaking News

Florida Strengthens State Personnel System's Security After Complaint
Improvements include an automated tracking system of who accesses what information and random computer audits to make sure sensitive data has not been downloaded.

Cell Phone Lodges In Woman's Throat
Police in Blue Springs, Mo., said a woman swallowed a cell phone Friday, after an argument over the device with her boyfriend.

Google's Investment May Lead To IPO For AOL
According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Google has the right to demand AOL make an initial public offering by 2008.

More Women Are Tuning In To Podcasts
But the number of people who have ever listened to a podcast remains small, according to just-released survey results.

Go Daddy's New Super Bowl Ad Stalled By Censors
The domain registrar had problems with its 2005 Super Bowl ad, too; the Fox network canceled the scheduled second showing of the sexy ad after complaints from NFL executives.

Yahoo Streams Two CBS Comedies
The shows will be available for a week; this is the first time the Web portal has streamed a CBS show in its entirety.

Chip Firm Wins DoD Contract Extension
The contract, now extended through February, is to help run the Department of Defense's semiconductor foundry, established to make sure weapons systems keep up with the newest technology.

Nortel Acquires Router Maker Tasman
The deal, for $99.5 million, allows Nortel to provide routing and multicast services to the SMB market, among others.

Solar Hot In Venture-Capital Circles
Funding for solar-related companies has more than doubled over last year, a new report says.

Oregon Nanotech Group Gains Funding
The group, called Onami, is focused on research and commercialization of nanoscience and microtechnologies to help create products, companies, and jobs in the Pacific Northwest.

Computer Visionary John Diebold Dies At 79
"Automation" became Diebold's main theme as he promoted the early use of computers at large U.S. companies.

All our latest news

Watch More News

Aaron Ricadela With 'Web 2.0'
A recap of the Web 2.0 conference.

Chris Murphy With 'It's Raining E-Mail'
Addicted to E-mail? You're either part of the problem or part of the solution.

Art Wittmann With 'Virtual Iron'
Startup Virtual Iron simplifies data-center management.

John Soat With 'Priorities 2006'
Bob Evans spots some IT trends to watch in the coming year.


4. Grab Bag: News You Need From The Web

Sources: Intel Developing Next-Generation Power Mac For Apple (Apple Insider)
In a move that may surprise some Apple watchers, reliable sources tell AppleInsider the Mac maker has contracted the design duties for its next-generation Power Mac motherboard over to industry heavyweight Intel Corp.

Portable Video, Just Not Always Convenient (The Washington Post)
Why is it that importing video to portable devices is not nearly as easy and effortless as putting music or video games on them?

Timekeeper To Add 'Leap Second' To Clocks (Voice of America News)
Timekeepers are planning to delay the start of the new year for an instant later this week, when they add one second to official clocks. The U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, which is part of an international agreement that sets Coordinated Universal Time or UTC, says the addition of a so-called "leap second" is needed to synchronize official atomic clocks with the earth's rotation.


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

New From InformationWeek: Get Your News In A Flash--Literally
InformationWeek.com's latest service is automated E-mail news flashes. You pick the topic and the frequency (real time, daily, or weekly) and we'll do the rest. Sign up by following the link below and be one of the first to take advantage of this latest service.

-----------------------------------------


5. In Depth: The Latest In Security

Password-Stealing Trojan Snares Spanish Speakers
Nabload.u is a hybrid that mixes elements of Trojan, spyware, and phishing attacks--and is aimed at online banking users in the international Hispanic community.

Symantec Bug Not Likely To Be Hit By Worm, Says Rival
Internet Security Systems said in an online alert that although the vulnerability is serious, the likelihood of the flaw being leveraged by a worm is "low."

Symantec, McAfee Problems May Lead To Sea Change In Antivirus Industry
Doubt is mounting about the antivirus industry's install-and-upgrade model, and Microsoft is preparing to enter the market. Combine that with vulnerabilities in popular antivirus software, and the market is ripe for a shift.


6. Voice Of Authority: Podcasting

Motel 6's Jump Into Podcasting: The Light May Be On, But The Download Is Still Hard To Find
One of the numerous attributes of podcasting is its accessibility. It's the rare example of a technology that everybody can understand--The News Show's hilarious report about how few people on the street can tell you what podcasting is notwithstanding. That's one of the big reasons it's growing so fast. The media (InformationWeek being a clear example) has picked up on how easy it is to do and how simple it is for users to make use of. And increasingly, nonmedia companies are testing the waters, too, discovering a low-cost creative channel that just might help them tighten their bonds with customers. Case in point: Motel 6's recently unveiled first foray into podcasting.


7. White Papers: Outsourcing

Rightsourcing: Making Benefit-Based Decisions On Where HR Processes Should Reside
Kronos has developed a methodology to help you reach the right outsourcing decisions. Rightsourcing seeks to find the right balance between which (if any) functions should be outsourced and which (if any) should be kept in-house. This white paper will show you how to use the methodology to assess if making a change will deliver significant benefits.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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