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7/8/2005
07:10 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: War Driving, Worm Bounties, Elvis Online

NO MORE FREE LUNCH. It's called war driving, and it involves cruising neighborhoods seeking Internet access through unsecured wireless networks. John Halamka, CIO of Harvard Medical School, says MIT students cruise Cambridge environs looking for unsecured wireless access points. Last year, a wireless-security company demonstrated how unsecure both the Democratic and Republican conventions were by war driving outside their Boston and New York convention headquarters, respectively, and accessing wireless access points within. So much harmless recreation, eh? Maybe not. This week, a Florida man faces a pretrial hearing on his arrest for unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony. Benjamin Smith III was arrested in April for sitting outside the home of Richard Dinon and accessing his wireless Internet connection, according to The Associated Press. Police say Smith admitted using the wireless signal from the home of Dinon, who called police after he had noticed Smith sitting in an SUV outside his house using a laptop computer.

WORM BOUNTY. Sven Jaschan, 19, last week received a suspended sentence of 21 months by a court in Verden, Germany, for unleashing the Sasser computer worm. Nonetheless, Microsoft awarded two people who helped identify Jaschan as the worm's author with $250,000 to share. The reward will be paid from Microsoft's antivirus reward program, created in 2003 with the help of Interpol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Secret Service. The Sasser worm was released in May 2004 and Jaschan was arrested within a week of the launch--but not before the worm caused thousands of Windows machines worldwide to crash and reboot.

CHIPS AND STARS. Intel and actor Morgan Freeman launched a digital entertainment company last week focused on distributing movies to consumers over the Internet. ClickStar was formed by Revelations Entertainment, a partnership between Freeman and movie producer Lori McCreary, with an investment from Intel. ClickStar will offer an online service where consumers can download for a fee first-run, pre-DVD-release films, Freeman said in a joint statement with Paul Otellini, Intel's president and chief executive. "ClickStar addresses the growing worldwide consumer demand for digital content--especially filmed entertainment," Freeman said. "Our goal is to deliver first-run premium entertainment to film fans around the world and to make film easier to buy than to pirate."

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. Elvis Presley Enterprises said last week it has signed up eFashion Solutions to manage Web retailing for all licensed and trademarked Elvis merchandise worldwide. EFashion Solutions, an E-commerce service provider in Secaucus, N.J., has created Web stores for other musical celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez (aka J-Lo) and rappers Eminem, Jay-Z, and Nelly.

That represents so much cultural dissonance, it hurts my head. But, hey, it's all music, right? And everybody loves Elvis, right? And everybody's got an industry tip, right?--send them to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. And everybody's going to watch The News Show, right?--at www.TheNewsShow.tv or on InformationWeek.com.


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