1. Editor's Note: The March Of Malware 2. Today's Top Story - Researchers Break Down NAC Defenses 3. Breaking News - Intel's $600 Million Clearwire Investment Shows Its WiMax Commitment - Office 2007 Delay Leaves Some Companies Out In The Cold - Microsoft To Cooperate In Building Office OpenDocument Support - eBay's PayPal President Steps Down - Microsoft Hit With Second Spyware Suit - In Depth: What You Need To Know About SOA Management Suites - Defense Witness In UBS Trial Says Not Enough Evidence To Make Case - Microsoft Fills Out 'Atlas' Web Development Framework - Music Groups To Take Russian Download Site AllofMP3.com To U.K. Courts - Yahoo China Fights Back Against Music Industry Group - New Technology Preserves HD DVD Quality - National Semi Downplays iPod Flap 4. Grab Bag - The Not-So-Small Small Screen (New York Times - reg. required) - Street Gangs Get Web-Savvy (CNN.com) - Preventing Movie Piracy (Technology Review) 5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech - Microsoft To Launch iPod Rival By Christmas - Review: GreenBorder Pro Brings Safer Browsing To Internet Explorer - Vista And The Hardware Monster, Part 1 - Why You've Never Heard Of The Best Phone Ever - Wireless PCs Motivate Students, Says Study 6. Voice Of Authority - The 'Bumbling Bully' Gets Its Due 7. White Papers - The Business Of Online Support 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote Of The Day: "After all, just one virus on a computer is one too many." — Glenn Turner
1. Editor's Note: The March Of Malware
A friend called me the other day. She's an independent bookkeeper who works for many small businesses, usually in their offices on their computers. She's often their first line of tech support, even though that falls way outside her job description.
One of her clients' computers had been acting funny. She loaded up some anti-virus software, and sure enough it told her the machine had a Trojan. She cleaned it, restarted, and there was the Trojan again. A few attempts later, the Trojan was still there. That's when she called me.
I assured her she'd done exactly what she should have and advised her to call in her client's professional tech support person. She gave a dissatisfied sigh and asked, "Why would anyone do this?"—why would anyone write and distribute malicious software? I didn't have a good answer.
What I do know is that malware has gotten much more dangerous in the past 20 years. Early PC viruses weren't particularly harmful, and they spread via floppy disks—that is, slowly. Then they started to get smarter, attacking different types of programs, self-mutating to avoid detection, and encrypting themselves to make removal difficult. But still, they were outside the knowledge of the general public.
That changed with the much-hyped Michelangelo virus, set to strike on the anniversary of the painter's birthday in 1992. I didn't get the virus—at that time I was still safely working on a CompuGraphic typesetting machine rather than a PC. (Hard to believe, isn't it?)
The first PC virus I caught was 1995's Concept Word macro virus, something I would encounter again and again over the years. It didn't seem to do much and was easy to clean, but it was scary seeing that ominous dialog box pop up telling you your file was infected. Even then I remember thinking, "Why would anyone do this?"
Mass-mailers like Melissa started spreading. We were told, "Don't open suspicious e-mail attachments." Then worms that were triggered simply by opening an e-mail appeared. We were told, "Don't open e-mail messages from anyone you don't know." (That wasn't much of a defense: Since many of these worms used Outlook address books to spread, the messages came from people you knew.)
The list goes on, with each generation of malware outdoing the last. Like a bad accident, it's abhorrent yet fascinating to watch how viruses and worms have evolved over the years. That's why we've put together "20 Years Of PC Viruses," an in-depth package of articles that puts malware under the microscope.
What was your first encounter with viruses, worms, or other malware? Do you remember Brain, Tequila, or other early viruses, or was your introduction to malware more recent? Share your stories at my blog entry.
Researchers Break Down NAC Defenses A security research team says it has found ways to bypass all network access control systems, no matter which vendor makes them. The researchers will demonstrate their methods at the Black Hat conference later this month.
eBay's PayPal President Steps Down The "planned departure" puts Rajiv Dutta in the No. 1 spot to head eBay's PayPal. The division, which has more than 100 million users, reached $1 billion in revenue last year.
Microsoft Hit With Second Spyware Suit The new lawsuit was filed Friday by two Washington state businesses and three individuals alleging that Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage is installed under false pretenses, without meaningful consent or notification.
Microsoft Fills Out 'Atlas' Web Development Framework Atlas, Microsoft's .Net-based answer to Ajax, is intended for release in Microsoft's next Visual Studio update, code-named "Orcas," but Microsoft is developing it publicly and with frequent preview releases to encourage earlier adoption.
New Technology Preserves HD DVD Quality As HD DVD entertainment systems for the home begin to roll out, Thomson's Film Grain Technology aims to improve the visual quality of compressed movies by making it look like the "grain" of the movie is still there.
National Semi Downplays iPod Flap A spokesman for the chip vendor says the 35 employees who were asked to return their iPods had volunteered for layoffs and knew they were about to leave the company when the devices were issued.
Voice Over IP Migration As VoIP moves to broader deployment, business technology professionals are trying to balance lowering operations costs with increased spending on VoIP technologies. Learn how 300 companies are implementing VoIP in this recent report by InformationWeek Research.
Analyzing The Outsourcers: Global Services Learn how more than 400 business technology professionals rated six outsourcers in InformationWeek Research's "Analyzing The Outsourcers: Global Services" report. Outsourcer profiles include Accenture, CSC, EDS, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Wipro.
Street Gangs Get Web-Savvy (CNN.com) Some of the country's most notorious street gangs have gotten Web-savvy, showcasing illegal exploits, making threats, and honoring killed and jailed members on digital turf.
Why You've Never Heard Of The Best Phone Ever If you're under the age of 60 and have good hearing, you've probably never heard of this phone—but the ClearSounds CLC50 Freedom Phone is a great, full-featured landline phone for everyone.
The 'Bumbling Bully' Gets Its Due Matt McKenzie says: Forbes.com once referred to SCO Group as the "Bumbling Bully." Those two words were, and still are, all you really need to know about SCO's behavior over the past three years. This week, however, it was the "bumbling" side of SCO's corporate personality that came to the fore.
7. White Papers
The Business Of Online Support In their seemingly endless search for the right solutions, today's progressive enterprises increasingly turn to Web-enabled support as the primary means to reduce support costs and increase customer satisfaction. Read about two e-support technologies that will enhance your technical service offering.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?