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Where Did HP Cross The Line?

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Where Did HP Cross The Line?
2. Today's Top Story
    - Encryption Works Wonders, But Causes Its Own IT Headaches
    Related Stories:
    - New Laws, New Technologies Sell IT On Encryption
    - After Hard Lessons, The VA Encrypts It All
    - Poll: Where does your organization most heavily deploy encryption technology?
3. Breaking News
    - Dunn Steps Down As Board Chair
    - Legal Woes Dog HP Execs As Scandal Broadens
    - California AG Says No Evidence To Link HP's Hurd To Crime
    - Gates Tops Forbes' Billionaire List
    - Third-Party Patch Out For IE's VML Bug
    - Apple Patches Critical Wi-Fi Bugs
    - Microsoft Asks For Vista UI Critiques
    - Commerce Dept. Reports 1,137 Lost Computers
    - AT&T Hangs Up On Customer Service Outsourcing
    - Apple Addresses iTunes 7 Problems
    - What Are The Hottest Tech Skills Today? Think Fast
4. Grab Bag
    - Wal-Mart Warns Studios Over DVD Downloads (New York Post)
    - Fake Half-Suit For Videoconferencing (Boing Boing)
    - Online Manuals Enable ATM Reprogramming Scam (The Register)
5. In Depth
    - High Tech In Unexpected Places
    - On Dairy Farms, Robots Lend A Helping Hand
    - Louisiana School District Uses Data Mining To Analyze Troublemakers
    - Technology Innovation One Scoop At A Time
    - Trucks Morph Into High-Tech Networks On 18 Wheels
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Quick, Encrypt Everything!
7. White Papers
    - Secure E-Mail Inside The Corporate Network: Providing Encryption At The Internal Desktop
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"I like long walks, especially when they're taken by people who annoy me." -- Noel Coward


1. Editor's Note: Where Did HP Cross The Line?

It's been another week of revelations about Hewlett-Packard's investigation into media leaks. Another week of unflattering details about illicit spying tactics, phony personas to dupe the press, and even e-mail tampering.

With everything that HP reportedly did in its zealous probe to find a media leak, exactly where did company executives cross the line? How big is the gray area of what's legal and what's ethical?

All the news that came out this week just isn't boding well for HP.

Patricia Dunn, who had said she'd resign as chairwoman in January, instead said on Friday that she'd resign immediately, stepping aside in favor of CEO Mark Hurd. Hurd and attorney Mike Holston acknowledged that the company and its investigators engaged in pretexting, obtained and used Social Security numbers, spied on a journalist and a board member at their homes, and sent out an e-mail with a "tracer" loaded in an attachment.

Both the California Attorney General's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office are investigating the intelligence scheme. You know there's trouble when both state officials and the feds are beating the bushes to file their own charges. This isn't a case where one prosecutor's office is calling the other to say, "No, no. You take this one." They both want a piece of this pie. And since some say there are both state and federal statutes that might have been broken, both may have an opportunity for a slice.

And the stock market, while it turned a blind eye to HP's scandalous troubles for some time, has finally hedged its bets on what's happening with this industry giant. On Thursday, stocks fell 5.19% after HP announced plans for a press conference, but just before it reported that the SEC had asked for information about the investigation and subsequent resignation of one of HP's board members.

On top of all this, HP executives have been called to Washington on Thursday, Sept. 28, to testify in front of the U.S. House of Energy and Commerce Committee. The committee has been investigating the issue of pretexting since this past February, and HP was gracious enough to throw them a real bone to chew on. Now Congress has a specific target, and not just some vague idea, to sink its teeth into. (And by the way, I'm more than a little tired of the term "pretexting." Let's just call it what it is: stealing personal, confidential information by posing as someone else. We can also call it fraud, lying, cheating—take your pick. Pretexting must be a marketing term, meant to put a positive spin on a negative action.)

So where did HP executives cross the line? To read more of this Editor's Note and leave your $0.02, visit the InformationWeek Weblog.

Sharon Gaudin
sgaudin@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Encryption Works Wonders, But Causes Its Own IT Headaches
Encryption is effective, but applying it to PCs, databases, and networks means adding layers of software and hardware and taking on new costs stemming from product licenses, training, and support.

Related Stories:

New Laws, New Technologies Sell IT On Encryption
Encryption isn't easy, presenting new IT headaches inherent in the technology. But that's not going to halt its adoption.

After Hard Lessons, The VA Encrypts It All
Badly burned in recent months by two of the most extensive personal data breaches in history, the Department of Veterans Affairs aims to protect veteran data by securing a total of 300,000 hosts.

Poll: Where does your organization most heavily deploy encryption technology?


3. Breaking News

Dunn Steps Down As Board Chair
In his first public remarks about the HP leak investigation scandal, CEO Mark Hurd acknowledged that the company and its investigators engaged in pretexting, obtained and used Social Security numbers, and engaged in other questionable behavior.

Legal Woes Dog HP Execs As Scandal Broadens
As state and federal prosecutors beat the bushes to be the first to file charges in the HP media leak investigation scandal, company execs are complying with a request to send in reams of information to a congressional committee holding the "Hewlett-Packard Pretexting Scandal" hearing Sept. 28.

California AG Says No Evidence To Link HP's Hurd To Crime
Attorney General Bill Lockyer's office is investigating whether HP used illegal tactics to identify the source of media leaks dating back to 2005, but so far hasn't gathered any evidence against company CEO Mark Hurd.

Gates Tops Forbes' Billionaire List
Nearly 20 of the top 50 richest billionaires this year are in technology, telecommunications, music, movies, or publishing, estimates Forbes.

Third-Party Patch Out For IE's VML Bug
Composed of at least 20 researchers in several countries, the Zeroday Emergency Response Team reverse-engineered a fix for the flaw disclosed earlier this week.

Apple Patches Critical Wi-Fi Bugs
The trio of updates patches vulnerabilities in the Mac's AirPort drivers, as well as the API that third-party wireless software calls on.

Microsoft Asks For Vista UI Critiques
A forum dubbed "Windows Vista Rants & Raves" has been set up on Microsoft's site to take users' comments.

Commerce Dept. Reports 1,137 Lost Computers
A study pegging the number of data and equipment losses since 2001 shows that the Census Bureau was responsible for the bulk of the incidents.

AT&T Hangs Up On Customer Service Outsourcing
An agreement with its union will create 2,000 new unionized jobs at its U.S. operations and eliminate the use of low-wage foreign call centers to provide customer support for its home broadband business.

Apple Addresses iTunes 7 Problems
Under the "Hot Topics" section of Apple's iTunes service and support page, the computer maker is offering suggestions to people experiencing playback performance troubles, installer crashes, problems launching the software, and more.

What Are The Hottest Tech Skills Today? Think Fast
Employers pay premiums for skills that help their companies adapt quickly to fast-changing business needs, a study finds.

All Our Latest News


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Download PDFs Of InformationWeek's Top Stories
Visit InformationWeek Downloads to get all of InformationWeek's biggest and best articles all in one place. Presented in an easy-to-read PDF format, they'll help you analyze and make purchasing decisions for today's technology solutions.

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


4. Grab Bag

Wal-Mart Warns Studios Over DVD Downloads (New York Post)
Worried about its massive DVD sales, retail behemoth Wal-Mart has told some of Hollywood's biggest players it will retaliate against them for selling movies on Apple's iTunes.

Fake Half-Suit For Videoconferencing (Boing Boing)
Slobs who work at home can look their best for videoconferences with the Businessbib, a pullover half-suit that has a built-in shirt and tie.

Online Manuals Enable ATM Reprogramming Scam (The Register)
Reprogramming an ATM to dispense more cash than it ought to is far easier than anyone imagined. Last week CNN screened a video of a man suspected of reprogramming an ATM to dispense $20 bills it thought were $5 notes, so fraudsters and the unscrupulous were able to withdraw four times more money than was debited from their accounts.


5. In Depth

High Tech In Unexpected Places
From a dairy farm in Pennsylvania to the public schools of rural Louisiana, novel technologies are turning up in out-of-the-way places. Think your company is IT-savvy? See how it compares to an ice cream maker or an 18-wheeler.

On Dairy Farms, Robots Lend A Helping Hand
It's Betsy meets R2D2. Farmers lower costs and produce more milk using fully automated systems.

Louisiana School District Uses Data Mining To Analyze Troublemakers
A year's worth of disciplinary reports are scoured for patterns in behavior and punishment.

Technology Innovation One Scoop At A Time
MooBella's on-demand ice cream vending machines are powered by open source software and an AMD processor.

Trucks Morph Into High-Tech Networks On 18 Wheels
Onboard software and wireless communications combine to give owners unprecedented visibility into their truck fleets.


6. Voice Of Authority

Quick, Encrypt Everything!
Larry Greenemeier says: On the surface, it seems like a good idea. Convert all your corporate information into a form unreadable by anyone except the intended recipient. Very straightforward and not terribly difficult to do. But there's a dark side to encryption. Just like anesthesiologists like to joke that putting you under is free, it's waking you up that costs so much money, decrypting your data is the part of the process where things get hairy. In this era of epidemically stolen and lost laptops and mobile devices, encryption is gaining traction in more mainstream IT environments (you no longer have to be a three-letter government intelligence agency to justify the investment). That's OK, as long as you know how to properly manage it.


7. White Papers

Secure E-Mail Inside The Corporate Network: Providing Encryption At The Internal Desktop
A combination of changing business, regulatory, and technology factors is highlighting the need for organizations to re-evaluate their e-mail protection strategies and consider implementing a third type of security: encryption at the internal desktop. This paper summarizes several current techniques for encrypting e-mail at the desktop.


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