In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: The Sony Copy-Protection Comedy Cavalcade
2. Today's Top Story
- New Sober Worm Spoofs FBI, CIA
- Opera Patches Flash Flaw
- Verizon Sues Alleged Wireless Spammers
- Microsoft Promises To Patch IE Zero-Day Bug
3. Breaking News
- Google Testing Click-To-Call Service
- NY Approves Verizon's Acquisition Of MCI
- Report Warns Congress Of Eroding IT, Science Sectors
- Senate Votes To Modernize Medical Records
- Google Donates $3 Million To Help Scan More Rare Documents
- In-Store Customer Service Gets Boost
- Mobile TV Hits The Ground Running
- AOL Launches Triton All-In-One Communications Service
4. In Depth: That's Entertainment!
- Hollywood Hopes BitTorrent Deal Will Reduce Illegal Movie Downloads
- TiVo Files Patent For RFID-Based Video Recorder
- Xbox 360s Command High Prices On EBay
- What's Inside The Xbox 360
- iTunes Leaps Into Top Music Retailers
5. Voice Of Authority
- Where Will Microsoft Place Its High-Performance Computing Bets?
6. White Papers
- Top 10 Ways To Increase Enterprise Security While Reducing Costs
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
1. Editor's Note: The Sony Copy-Protection Comedy Cavalcade
Watching Sony BMG stumble from one fiasco to another over its
copy-protection technology is like watching a silent-movie comedy
about a bungling waiter. He starts to lose control of a heavy
tray of soups and desserts, and, in trying to regain his balance,
yanks tablecloths to the floor; sends silverware, dishes, and
food flying; and veers around the room, knocking over furniture
and patrons, and generally spreading disaster all around.
Sony's efforts to extricate itself from its
digital-rights-management scandal are a similarly spectacular
series of pratfalls. But it's likely to have little long-term
impact on Sony. Just some public embarrassment that Sony will
quickly overcome, and fines that Sony can afford to pay.
The effects on business are much bigger. The fiasco is another
demonstration of the power of bloggers to shape public opinion.
And the events also demonstrate yet again that consumer
digital-rights-management technology doesn't work, and can't be
made to work.
In and of itself, that wouldn't have been any big deal. It was a
grossly irresponsible error by Sony. But big companies are human
institutions and imperfect like everything else done by human
beings. The story would have been forgotten in days if Sony had
simply done a quick mea culpa, promised to never do it
again, and moved on.
But, instead, Sony refused to admit wrongdoing and chose to
remain mostly silent, except for a moment or two insulting its
critics and taking actions to make the matter worse.
A low point of Sony's PR campaign was when Thomas Hesse, Sony
BMG's global digital business president, said in an interview on
National Public Radio: "Most people, I think, don't even know
what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?"
In other words: If you don't understand something, it can't be a
threat. I guess that means if nobody tells you smoking is bad for
you, then it's perfectly safe.
In one of the latest pratfalls in this comedy cavalcade, we
discover that Sony's anti-piracy technology doesn't even work. Gartner analysts
disclosed that it can be defeated by putting a sliver of Scotch
tape on the right spot on the so-called "protected" disk.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the state of Texas have sued Sony under anti-piracy
and anti-spyware laws. These laws were, no doubt, written with
pimply-faced teenage hackers and organized crooks in mind, but
instead it looks like these laws are going to be brought to bear
against executives of multibillion-dollar multinational
corporations trotting into court wearing thousand-dollar suits.
A fast-spreading variation on the long-running Sober worm is
using extremely effective tactics to trick users.
Related Stories: Opera Patches Flash Flaw
The Opera 8.5.1 update fixes a weeks-old bug in Flash, which
could have allowed attackers to snatch control of a computer by
getting users to run a malformed media file.
Verizon Sues Alleged Wireless Spammers
The company filed the suit in federal court against Passport
Holidays and others who allegedly helped Passport send E-mails
telling Verizon's customers they had won a cruise.
Microsoft Promises To Patch IE Zero-Day Bug
In the meantime, the company's advisory offers up several steps
users can take to prevent an attack, including disabling active
scripting and requiring IE to prompt before running active scripting.
Report Warns Congress Of Eroding IT, Science Sectors
Among the depressing conclusions: A company can pay 11 engineers
in India for the price of one in the United States. The report
was commissioned by Congress and can be downloaded for a fee from
the National Academies Press Web site.
Senate Votes To Modernize Medical Records
The bill encourages the government to establish public-private
partnership to help streamline technology and help people have
their medical information available at all times.
In-Store Customer Service Gets Boost
Best Buy tests a system that allows shoppers to touch a
flat-panel screen and get questions answered from a live
customer-service agent; the representative also can access the
Internet to check prices and product availability, for instance.
Mobile TV Hits The Ground Running
The biggest design challenge remains battery power, as some
reviewers criticize Apple Computer's Video iPod for delivering
less than three hours of battery life.
Security Defense InformationWeek's U.S. Information Security 2005 research report
documents the responses of 2,540 U.S. business-technology and
security professionals and explores threat perceptions, security
practices, and investment plans. The report also examines attack
successes and their impact on business-technology operations.
Bram Cohen, designer of the popular peer-to-peer file-sharing
technology, agreed to remove links to pirated versions of movies
from his Web site, bittorrent.com, frustrating people who search
for illegal copies of films.
Xbox 360s Command High Prices On EBay
Go-getters were grabbing the boxes on their first day of sale
Tuesday and flipping them on eBay right away for hefty profits.
Some customers were paying up to $2,500 for the unit, which
retails for $299.
What's Inside The Xbox 360
Researchers say the estimated value of the components is $310.
The retail price: $300. Microsoft may be looking to make up the
loss by selling add-on products and services.
Aaron Ricadela says that, as Microsoft looks to become a
contender in high-performance computing, scientists hope the
company will be able to coax greater performance out of
off-the-shelf computing languages such as Fortran and C.
Companies must overcome the challenge at the core of E-business:
how to securely and cost-effectively manage the expanding number
of people, in a wide variety of roles, requesting access to
information. The list of concepts in this paper significantly
contributes to improved security in a cost-effective manner.
Elena Malykhina With 'After-Turkey Shopping'
Why fight over parking spaces at the mall on "Black Friday" when
you can find great online deals on "Cyber Monday," which is
quickly becoming one of the best days of the year for E-commerce?
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