In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Sony Is Just As Bad As Music Pirates
2. Today's Top Story
- No Job Too Big For Windows Anymore, Ballmer Says
- Microsoft, SAP Team Up Against Oracle
- Microsoft Renames Beta AntiSpyware Pack 'Defender'
- Microsoft Faces Stiff Competition With 'Live' Service
3. Breaking News
- Langa Letter: Readers Rate Desktop Firewalls
- Cisco Is Looking Like The Next Big Security Target
- Retention Tension
- Cablevision Boosts Broadband Speeds
- Grokster Shuts Down
- Critical Flash Flaw Found, Fixed
- Sony Copy-Protection Patch Can Crash Windows
- Cisco's Research Nemesis Hired By Rival Juniper
- Yahoo, TiVo Bring Web And TV Closer
- Computer Associates Divests Ingres Database
- Qualcomm Sues Nokia As 3G Mobile Patent War Escalates
- Trials Find 3G Problems That Operators Must Correct
4. In Depth: RFID & Privacy
5. Voice Of Authority: Countering Cyberterrorism
6. White Papers: Telecom Expenses
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of
many bad measures." -- Daniel Webster
1. Editor's Note: Sony Is Just As Bad As Music Pirates
Sony's latest response to the threat of music piracy is to engage
in behavior every bit as bad as the pirates it's trying to
protect itself from.
Sony BMG Music Entertainment decided that the threat of piracy
was so severe that it needed to protect itself by installing on
customers' PCs hacker tools that exposed those systems to massive
Sony included hacker technology called a "rootkit" in
the copy-protection software distributed along with one of its
music titles. A rootkit is technology used by computer criminals
to permit them to break into target systems. The rootkit is such
a hairball to remove that security researchers recommended users
not try to remove it themselves, but rather contact Sony to get
Sony countered by saying that the copy-protection software is
harmless and issuing a patch. Hackers, meanwhile, are making a
mockery of Sony's claims by distributing code that they claim
takes advantage of security holes opened by Sony's DRM.
The Sony software is, plain and simple, spyware, by any
reasonable standard of the word. It installs itself without
users' knowledge, it runs in stealth mode, it damages the user's
system, and it resists removal.
Sony's tactic isn't just a problem for consumers; it's also a
problem for business network managers. Employees often enjoy
listening to music while at work, and an employee who innocently
brings in a CD that's infected with Sony's copy protection can
open a security hole to the entire network.
Sony had no excuse for its behavior. The fact that some of its
customers pirate music does not legitimize Sony's hacking into
all its customers' computers and exposing them to security holes.
Sony needs to recall the infected media, confess it did wrong,
apologize to customers, and make amends. Meanwhile,
law-enforcement authorities need to investigate whether Sony is
in violation of civil and criminal laws against computer piracy.
I'm no lawyer, but it sure looks from here like it is.
Microsoft releases database and developer tools aimed at proving
Windows can handle large-scale, big-business computing environments.
Related Stories: Microsoft, SAP Team Up Against Oracle
Under a multiyear licensing program, SAP can embed and sell
Microsoft's upgraded database with its enterprise-applications platform.
Microsoft Renames Beta AntiSpyware Pack 'Defender'
New anti-spyware signatures will be delivered using Windows
Update, Microsoft's one-stop update service for individuals and
small businesses, and pushed to enterprises using Windows Server
As the IT-job market improves, employers need to revise pay,
benefits, and workplace policies to ensure that their most
valuable people don't leave.
Cablevision Boosts Broadband Speeds
The cable company plans to offer service with speeds of up to 50
Mbps. A slower service--downloads of 30 Mbps and uploads of 2
Mbps--is priced at $64.95 a month.
Grokster Shuts Down
The network was the target of a lawsuit filed by Hollywood to
stop illegal movie sharing on peer-to-peer networks. The company
says it plans to open a legal service, Grokster 3G, soon.
Critical Flash Flaw Found, Fixed
The vulnerability is in the code of Flash.ocx, the component
responsible for playing back Flash content files, a security firm said.
Cisco's Research Nemesis Hired By Rival Juniper
Researcher Michael Lynn's presentation about a Cisco security
flaw at the Black Hat conference stirred up much controversy,
with Cisco taking him to court in a bid to stifle him from
sharing his findings any more widely.
Trials Find 3G Problems That Operators Must Correct
Issues include degraded video performance and delays in Web
browsing and some other applications, a Motorola report
acknowledges; these are problems that the service providers and
handset manufacturers must deal with if they're to be fixed.
John Soat with "Security First!" in the current episode of "The
News Show." He discusses what's expected for Microsoft's patch
Tuesday, commercial businesses securing wireless networks, and
protecting investors from online attacks.
Laurie Sullivan With 'Spy Chips'
Is RFID the 21st century Big Brother? These chips can increase
business efficiency, but at what price to your privacy? Sullivan
interviews the author of a new book that explores how companies
can potentially use RFID to track your every move.
----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----
Nominations For Blog-X Awards Begin!
You determine the nominees and you choose the winner in TechWeb's
second annual Blog-X Awards. Nominate your favorite tech blog
now, and be sure to return when it's time to vote for the winner!
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RFID Exec Responds To 'Spychips' Book
Nicholas Chavez, president of an RFID provider, has published a
response to the book and has asked the authors participate on an
RFID advisory board.
RFID: Really Feeling Increasingly Defensive?
Patricia Keefe says: "Spychips" is a scary new book by
consumer-privacy advocates Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre,
and it should be must reading for anyone who doesn't "get" the
concerns over RFID chips. Even if half of what the book says in
the planning or thinking stages is true, that's more than enough
to make anyone nervous about the potential--or even planned, if
the authors are to be believed--misuse of this technology.
The recent arrest and 17-count indictment against 20-year-old
accused hacker and botmaster Jeanson James Ancheta for both using
and selling the tools to attack a number of networks, including
some within the Defense Department, should be taken as a shot
across the bow by anyone who reads this. Ancheta is accused of
being part of a new breed of criminal hacker: not just in it for
the fame--sure, he's getting his 15 minutes, although it could be
more like 50 years--but rather after money. According to the
charges against him, Ancheta even managed to collect nearly
$60,000 by creating, spreading, and selling bots to the highest
bidders. By all accounts, Ancheta is smart and motivated, and
there was a market for his black-market guerrilla hacking tactics
and tools. How do you stop a smart, motivated attacker from
making your life miserable? Read carefully.
Tracking corporate network expenses can prove to be extremely
challenging. Telecom vendors are facing many issues--increased
pressure to do more with less and cutting costs while increasing
revenue. This paper discusses why managing vendor invoices is the
only way for enterprises to truly understand and take control of
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