Business & Finance
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Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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Editor's Note: The Wow Factor, Times Two

I had two "wow" moments last week. The first was when I heard that the Finding Nemo DVD and video sales topped eight million copies on the first day. The cynical side of me used to wonder why so many people need the DVDs and videos of movies they've already seen in the theater. The more practical and realistic side of me now gets on those pre-release reservation lists so that I can snap up a copy of these things the day they come out (mind you, I only do this with kids' films).

My other wow moment, which has absolutely nothing to do with a bunch of adorable and funny fish, was when I heard about Microsoft putting a bounty on virus writers--to the tune of $5 million ($250,000 a pop)--offered to those who help law-enforcement officials catch the people responsible for the Blaster worm and the Sobig virus that wreaked havoc this summer on business-technology systems worldwide. Now, the cynical side of me could suggest to Microsoft executives that they put that bounty cash toward software development to make Windows a more secure system. But the more practical side of me applauds the company's efforts in a big way. Law-enforcement agencies have made great strides in tracking down hackers and virus writers, but they could use more help.

These viruses and other harmful attacks cost businesses billions of dollars a year in damages. They affect revenue streams and reputations. And while the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies are getting better at finding these people (they've caught some of the alleged authors of Blaster variants), the hacking community is going deeper underground. To find out more about what makes these people tick, see p. 42.

So, any other companies out there willing to wow the business-technology community with additional resources to stop malicious hacking?

Stephanie Stahl

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