Business & Finance
Commentary
12/5/2003
05:46 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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IT Confidential: Cybersecurity Starts At Home(land)

At the National Cyber Security Summit in Santa Clara, Calif., last week, Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge reiterated his position that business should take the lead in securing the networking infrastructure. "As we confront the issue of cybersecurity, it's important that our efforts follow a similar path, one where we share information, work together, and close any gaps and weaknesses that terrorists would otherwise seek to exploit." Ridge said hackers are part of the problem--but not necessarily the worst part. "The ... number of cybersecurity incidents is on the rise," he said. "More than 76,000 occurred in just the first six months of this year. Many of these are the work of hackers. Yet we know the enemies of freedom use the same technology that hackers do, that we do."

Speaking of hackers, a former American Eagle Outfitters employee was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $64,000 in restitution last week as a result of his guilty plea in September to charges of hacking his employer. Kenneth Patterson was charged earlier this year with password trafficking and also for a series of intrusions into American Eagle's network last year, in an attempt to disrupt the retailer's systems with denial-of-service attacks during the holiday shopping season. The federal indictment stated that Patterson posted the names and passwords of authorized American Eagle users along with detailed instructions on how to hack the retailer. He faced a maximum penalty of 11 years of incarceration and $350,000 in fines.

Salesforce.com, the CRM hosted-app provider, has tapped Bruce Culbert as its new senior VP and general manager of global services. Culbert is an industry heavyweight, coming to Salesforce from BearingPoint (formerly KPMG), where he was head of its supply chain and CRM solutions practice. Before BearingPoint, Culbert spent 17 years with IBM, notably as head of its E-business services division.

Computer Associates founder and former chairman Charles Wang has closed his checkbook and dropped out of the bidding for the New Jersey Nets basketball team, which is on the block despite making the NBA finals the last two seasons. Wang is trying to build a "sports hub" in Nassau County on Long Island and had offered $265 million for the Nets, which used to play on Long Island before moving to New Jersey in the late 1970s. Wang, who already owns the New York Islanders hockey team and a local arena football league team, said the slow pace of the bidding caused him to drop out--though he didn't discount the possibility of bidding on another basketball team.

Is there something about the software industry that prepares you to be a sports mogul? A win-at-all-costs attitude? A familiarity with huge sums of money? The biggest ego in the room? I'm prepared for an industry tip; send it to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about cybersecurity, what hackers deserve, or the success of the app-hosting market, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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