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Let's Make 2006 The Year We Wipe Out Spam

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Let's Make 2006 The Year We Wipe Out Spam
2. Today's Top Story
    - Unique Site Nets College Student $1 Million
    - Brief: Amazon Blogs To Help Authors Reach Readers
    - AskMeNow Launches Interactive Voice Response
3. Breaking News
    - Microsoft, Nissan Put Xbox In A Car
    - IPTV: Another Fun Way To Waste Time At Work
    - Analysis: Chips Hold Promise, But Questions Loom For New Year
    - FBI Hurries To Get New IT Professionals On Board
    - Way Cleared For Large U.S. Spectrum Auction
    - Intel To Unveil New Branding Strategy
    - Intel's New Marketing Campaign Paves Way For Apple
    - Look Who's Talking At CES
4. Grab Bag
    - The Virtual Rockefeller
    - The Flickrization of Yahoo
    - Masters Of Their Domains
5. In Depth: Security
    - RFID Passport Tests To Begin At San Francisco Airport
    - Phishers Become More Sophisticated
    - White House To Probe WebTrends' Cookie Use
    - VeriChip Files IPO
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Small Victory In Battle Against Kiddie Porn
7. White Papers
    - Making Benefit-Based Decisions On Whether To Outsource
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"And Nietzsche, with his theory of eternal recurrence. He said that the life we lived we're going to live the exact same way for eternity. Great. That means I'll have to sit through the Ice Capades again." -- Woody Allen


1. Editor's Note: Let's Make 2006 The Year We Wipe Out Spam

We don't care about spam anymore, and that's wrong. Spam is a crime highway that runs straight through your computer, carrying a cargo of worms, fraud, viruses, and other attacks.

Security vendor Sophos reports that attacks jumped 48% in the first 11 months of 2005. The most dangerous threats were spam-distributed.

Spam has direct financial costs, as network managers are required to spend money on software and services to filter spam, and buy additional hardware and bandwidth to carry the load of unwanted E-mail. That's money and resources that could be used for something productive.

And that's just the beginning. Secondary costs of spam are even worse.

Attackers use their spam-borne attacks to take over target computers, and then use those computers to send more spam, which delivers a payload of fraudulent business offers and questionable medical remedies to prey on the fearful, ignorant, and insecure.

Compromised machines also become platforms to launch denial-of-service attacks. Often, the denial-of-service attacks are accompanied by threats to continue, and keep a business offline, unless the business pays the attackers to stop.

In a pathetic display of government incompetence, the Federal Trade Commission recently admitted that it can't prove that the 2-year-old Can-Spam law reduced spam. Less spam gets into users' in-boxes, but the spam that gets in is more malicious, the FTC said. Spam comprised 68% of E-mail in 2005, down from 77% in 2004, according to anti-spam vendor MX Logic, which said that technology, not the law, was responsible for the decline, noting that 96% of junk mail violates the requirements of Can-Spam.

You already know most of the preceding, but you don't really think about it. I know you don't think about it because if you thought about it, you'd do something about it. The Internet has become a crime zone, and decent users are like residents of gated communities, who've learned to ignore the sirens and breaking glass.

What needs to happen to stop spam? Technology has taken us about as far as we can go. We need better laws. Can-Spam is currently fairly useless--it allows marketers to send unsolicited bulk E-mails so long as they identify themselves and provide unsubscribe instructions; the law needs to be amended to, quite simply, ban unsolicited bulk E-mail. What kind of assault law would allow attackers to hit you over the head so long as they identify themselves ("Hi, I'm Bill, I'll be the guy beating you up today!") and stop when you ask them to?

Moreover, Can-Spam needs to be amended to allow for the right of private action. Currently, only the government has the right to sue spammers, which creates bottlenecks. Anybody who receives spam should have a right to sue.

Is spam a big problem for you? What are you doing about it? What should society do about it? Leave a message on the InformationWeek Weblog to let us know.

Mitch Wagner
mwagner@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Unique Site Nets College Student $1 Million
The idea was to sell a million pixels for $1 each. Once all are sold, the creator promises to maintain the site for at least the next five years.

Brief: Amazon Blogs To Help Authors Reach Readers
Online tools are available for authors to update messages as often as they like.

AskMeNow Launches Interactive Voice Response
Customers will be able to register for the AskMeNow service, which delivers text-message responses to any question, from their cell phone or mobile device.


3. Breaking News

Microsoft, Nissan Put Xbox In A Car
The URGE car enables people, while parked, to play the game ''Project Gotham Racing 3'' using the vehicle's steering wheel, gas pedal, and brake pedal.

IPTV: Another Fun Way To Waste Time At Work
At the risk of being cast as paranoid productivity cops, business managers may find it difficult to stop TV and video viewing from joining personal E-mail, instant messaging, and blogs as online productivity drains.

Analysis: Chips Hold Promise, But Questions Loom For New Year
Key markets for semiconductors are not altogether healthy; video gaming, for instance, is showing some signs of slowdown.

FBI Hurries To Get New IT Professionals On Board
The push is part of an overall plan to strengthen systems engineering and integrate new services-oriented architecture.

Way Cleared For Large U.S. Spectrum Auction
It will cost far less than previously thought to move U.S. government agencies off of valuable portions of wireless spectrum, freeing that spectrum up for use by cellular carriers.

Intel To Unveil New Branding Strategy
The changes, to be formally announced on Tuesday, come as Intel attempts to market itself less as a chip outfit and more as a provider of platforms, such as Centrino technology for notebooks or the upcoming Viiv for entertainment PCs.

Intel's New Marketing Campaign Paves Way For Apple
Intel's Yonah processor is expected to be seen in Apple's products in the first quarter of 2006, as both companies head directly toward the home entertainment category.

Look Who's Talking At CES
Intel and Dell, both of whose CEOs are keynote speakers, intend major home- and entertainment-oriented announcements at next week's Consumer Electronics Show.

All our latest news


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

Outlook For 2006
Assess business-technology managers' outlook on the economy and business prospects with InformationWeek Research's Outlook for 2006 report, part of our Priorities series. Understand how business-technology managers plan to allocate precious IT dollars in the coming year and evaluate the most important business and technology priorities for 2006. Use this report to evaluate your organization's budgeting strategies for 2006.

A Week's Worth Of Dailies--All In One Place
Have you missed an issue or two of the InformationWeek Daily? Or want to check out some recent quotes of the day? Check out our all-new Daily newsletter archive page and get caught up quickly.

Subscribe To Your Favorite Authors
Are you a fan of Fred Langa? Are there other InformationWeek authors that you view as must-reads? Then check out our all-new authors directory; each author has his or her own page and own RSS feed.

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


4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web

The Virtual Rockefeller (Business 2.0)
Anshe Chung makes big money--real money--with the virtual real estate she develops in the online game "Second Life." Her properties include islands, a floating city, homes, Asian gardens, and boutiques selling virtual merchandise.

The Flickrization Of Yahoo (Business 2.0)
How the founders of a hot young photo-sharing site are helping to change the focus of the search-engine giant.

Masters Of Their Domains (Business 2.0)
Forget condos and strip malls. Domain names, the real estate of the Web, have been delivering far greater returns.


5. In Depth: Security

RFID Passport Tests To Begin At San Francisco Airport
The trial is the latest tests of the technology by the Department of Homeland Security, joining an earlier trial at the Los Angeles airport.

Phishers Become More Sophisticated
Open redirects were one of favorite tactics of phishers in 2005, said Web tracking and anti-phishing company Netcraft, and they're a good example of fraudsters' increasing proficiency.

White House To Probe WebTrends' Cookie Use
WebTrends uses cookies to track visitors to the White House Web site, but claims no personal or identifying data is sent back to the company.

VeriChip Files IPO
The Delray Beach, Fla., company has been the subject of controversy from privacy advocates for its human-implantable RFID chips.


6. Voice Of Authority

Small Victory In Battle Against Kiddie Porn
Eric Chabrow says: When Dutch credit-card processor Vorotel cut ties with Bigfunhouse, the online payment site that provided access to Webcam pornography closed, it was a small victory in the war against Internet child porn.


7. White Papers

Making Benefit-Based Decisions On Whether To Outsource
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 & 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.


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