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Will HP's Troubles Change The MO Of Your Own Corporate Investigations?

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Will HP's Troubles Change The MO Of Your Own Corporate Investigations?
2. Today's Top Story
    - Quad-Core Processor Forecast
3. Breaking News
    - Firefox Flaw Demo Is Itself Flawed
    - McAfee Slams Microsoft Over Vista Security
    - Analyst Firm Predicts YouTube Is 'Goin' Down'
    - Hacker Kit Use Surges, Means More Malicious Sites
    - Brief: HP Insists Batteries Are Safe, Won't Be Replaced
    - Gaming Expert: Online Bets Will Continue Despite New Laws
    - Analysts: HP CEO Appears Secure, But Risks Remain
    - Proxy Auto-Configuration Gives Relief From Internet Traffic Chaos
    - Gmail Smartens Up About Spam
    - IBM Debuts Low-Power Processors, IP Cores
    - ATI Will Tune Its Graphics Chips For High-Performance Apps
    - Coalition Wants Phone Record Inquiry Expanded
4. Grab Bag
    - New Phone Will Scream If It's Stolen (ABC News)
    - Wisdom From The Big Digg (MSNBC)
    - Americans Win Nobel Prize In Physics (Washington Post)
    - First Electric-Solar Car To Hit The Market (BusinessWeek)
5. In Depth: Information Management
    - The Risky Business Of Data Deletion
    - New Laws, New Technologies Sell IT On Encryption
    - Encryption Works Wonders, But Causes Its Own IT Headaches
    - Businesses Struggle Under Growing Weight Of E-Mail
    - New Regulation Requires Automakers To Disclose 'Black Boxes'
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Microsoft Playing Its Own Game Of Chicken With Zune?
7. White Papers
    - Top 10 Insights For Backup Consolidation In Enterprise Organizations
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." -- Albert Einstein


1. Editor's Note: Will HP's Troubles Change The MO Of Your Own Corporate Investigations?

The Hewlett-Packard scandal shines a spotlight on the world of corporate intelligence. Private investigators. Surveillance. Pretexting. Using Social Security numbers that employees had entrusted to the company. It's been a bright light on what's appearing to be a pretty shady world.

How much will that world change now? Will companies rethink their investigative tactics now that it's glaringly clear their sneaky deeds might end up on the front page or in front of a congressional hearing? Will executives ask investigators for written agreements that laws won't be broken? Maybe more importantly, will executives keep tabs on who's being investigated and how it's being done?

Is it time for corporate intelligence to change its MO?

I've been working on a story about corporate intelligence that will run this week. What tactics are both legal and ethical? Which lie in a gray area and maybe should be avoided? And which tactics are way over the line and should never be engaged in? Legal types and investigators have quite a few interesting things to say on the subject. Stay tuned for that piece.

In the case of HP's boardroom leak investigation, it plowed headlong into an intelligence mine field. HP president and CEO Mark Hurd admitted in a press conference on Sept. 22 that investigators hired by the company engaged in pretexting. In case you missed it, pretexting simply means pretending to be someone else so you can con a company into handing over personal information about that person. It's fraud. It's cheating. It's lying. HP's investigators used pretexting to obtain the phone records of board members and their families, as well as members of the press.

While laws about pretexting are fairly new and sketchy at this point, the California Attorney General's Office says crimes were committed, and it's just trying to figure out who committed them at this point. The U.S. Attorney's Office is engaged in its own investigation. That means some HP execs and their investigative bloodhounds could be looking at both state and federal charges. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. And if that does happen, I think a lot of executives will be even more inclined to keep their investigators on a short leash.

Pretexting is pretty cut-and-dried. Not so legal. Several states, including California, have laws against pretexting. There's also a federal law, but it only pertains to obtaining financial records. Legislation is currently pending that would put more legal constraints around pretexting.

But what do you do when the waters get a little murkier? HP's Hurd also admitted that its investigators sent out fictitious e-mails with tracers or Web bugs attached. In an attempt to lure a reporter into their trap, they pretended to be a disgruntled high-level HP manager e-mailing her phony "inside information." HP was hoping the reporter would forward the e-mail on to her contact on the board, in which case the tracer would provide the company with the board member's IP address, effectively identifying him. But is that an invasion of privacy? Does attaching a Web bug or a tracer break computer fraud laws? Only time will tell if charges are levied over this aspect of the HP investigation.

But if the waters are that murky, do you really want your company doing it? Do you really want your company linked to using a Web bug or tracer?

So I guess it comes down to thinking about the headline. If you run an investigation and it becomes public, what headline would you not want to see? I'm thinking you don't want to see the words "scandal" or "fraud." When you're planning an investigation (no matter how justified it is), you'll have to seriously think about what tactics you feel comfortable using. You'll have to consider how the company will look if news of your investigation came out, and what that news might do to customer relations or your stock price.

And will that change your mind about what investigative tactics you'll use? Will you just try to keep your corporate intelligence maneuvers more undercover, or will you try to stay on this side of the law?

You tell me. Give me your thoughts here, and take our poll on how the HP debacle will affect the way your company runs investigations.

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


2. Today's Top Story

Quad-Core Processor Forecast
Here's a quick guide to help you sort through the blizzard of CPU information spewing forth from Intel and AMD as they preview their respective quad-core plans.


3. Breaking News

Firefox Flaw Demo Is Itself Flawed
One of the hackers who gave the demo says the main goal was to be humorous and has both apologized and retracted a bug claim.

McAfee Slams Microsoft Over Vista Security
Following rival Symantec's lead, McAfee complained that by locking access to the Vista kernel, Microsoft was also blocking security vendors' access to the operating system core.

Analyst Firm Predicts YouTube Is 'Goin' Down'
Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff, in a recent blog post, has joined the growing chorus predicting that YouTube will go the way of Napster and be brought down by a crippling copyright-violation suit.

Hacker Kit Use Surges, Means More Malicious Sites
Use of the kits or some derivation by malicious sites has jumped from 5% last year to 15% this year, according to Websense. Some sellers of the toolkits also provide a "managed insecurity service," infecting Web sites and collecting data.

Analysts: HP CEO Appears Secure, But Risks Remain
Hurd is thought safe because he took responsibility, but the company is facing various legal actions and could sustain damage to its strong brand and reputation for integrity, which some analysts think could hurt sales.

Gaming Expert: Online Bets Will Continue Despite New Laws
The legislation seeks to block U.S. banks and credit card companies from accepting payments for online gambling, but players have other options, such as payment by phone cards.

Brief: HP Insists Batteries Are Safe, Won't Be Replaced
HP swears its notebook batteries are safeguarded from the overheating problems that have plagued other suppliers.

Proxy Auto-Configuration Gives Relief From Internet Traffic Chaos
Properly implemented, proxy servers can provide administrators with a way to actively manage Internet traffic. Here's what you need to know to set one up.

Gmail Smartens Up About Spam
Google Gmail is reportedly getting nearly 15 times better at separating real messages from spam, while Microsoft's Hotmail—also called Windows Live Mail—is showing only a slight improvement and a more negative false-positive rating.

IBM Debuts Low-Power Processors, IP Cores
The PowerPC 750CL, a 32-bit microprocessor, consumes half the energy of its predecessor.

ATI Will Tune Its Graphics Chips For High-Performance Apps
The plan by ATI, which is set to merge with chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices this month, could give AMD a competitive edge against Intel in the fast-growing market for high-performance computing.

Coalition Wants Phone Record Inquiry Expanded
A group is urging that phone companies that gave out information to government authorities without warrants be held accountable.

All Our Latest News


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

Can You Hear Me Now?
Many companies are rolling out VoIP in wide deployment. Learn what VoIP strategies are working, and examine how security concerns may impact deployment in this recent report by InformationWeek Research. Use this report to evaluate your company's VoIP plans for 2007.

Compare Your Compensation
Evaluate your salary and compensation for free with our confidential online tool featuring more than 20 job functions and tracking IT salary and compensation across 20 metropolitan areas. Using data from InformationWeek Research's 2006 IT National Salary survey, the IT Salary Adviser makes it easy to compare your salary and compensation.

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


4. Grab Bag

New Phone Will Scream If It's Stolen (ABC News)
Now if your mobile telephone is stolen, you can scream and your phone can, too. A new service is designed to deter mobile phone theft by equipping telephones with an ear-piercing scream.

Wisdom From The Big Digg (MSNBC)
Is Digg.com the future of the Web?

Americans Win Nobel Prize In Physics (Washington Post)
NASA-Goddard and Berkeley scientists win the award for work that helped cement the big-bang theory.

First Electric-Solar Car To Hit The Market (BusinessWeek)
The Venturi Astrolab not only uses no fossil fuels, but it can also attain speeds of more than 70 mph.


5. In Depth: Information Management

The Risky Business Of Data Deletion
Companies face huge challenges when it comes to determining what data to keep and what to delete.

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.

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.

Businesses Struggle Under Growing Weight Of E-Mail
From in-box overload to lawsuits, e-mail can deliver a nasty bite. Get control of it before you're a victim.

New Regulation Requires Automakers To Disclose 'Black Boxes'
The devices record information before, during, and after an accident. States are determining who can access the info and under what circumstances.


6. Voice Of Authority

Microsoft Playing Its Own Game Of Chicken With Zune?
Microsoft is said to be thinking about leaving the development of podcast management tools for its forthcoming Zune to third-party developers. My guess is that this fleeting thought has about as much life expectancy as a fox standing in the door of a henhouse thinking about becoming a vegetarian. If I were a developer, I'd read up on what Microsoft is doing to security vendors and run away from the Zune player as fast as I could.


7. White Papers

Top 10 Insights For Backup Consolidation In Enterprise Organizations
Advanced remote data management and movement technology such as that incorporated into the Axiom File Replicator from Pillar Data Systems now cost-effectively solves the challenges of managing data at remote offices. This paper discusses the approaches to effective remote data management, with emphasis on remote data protection and backup.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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