Where Did I Put Those Lawsuit Papers? Last October, Dell was sued over a patent owned by DE Technologies on a process for conducting international E-commerce. The patent (No. 6,420,020) is for something called Borderless Order Entry System and has been the subject of fierce debate. Critics contend DE Technologies' patent is the prime example of our patent system's out-of-control state: too many patents, not enough review, and too many of them too obvious, especially when it comes to technology and E-business. Last week, DE Technologies received a second patent on its system (No. 6,845,364), which will serve to pour gasoline on that particular fire. "This second patent is very significant not only because it confirms the validity of our first patent," DE Technologies president Bruce Lagerman said in a statement, "but also because it broadens the scope of our patent protection over the first patent."
If You Were Wondering How Low People Can Go ... Spammers are using the tsunami in South Asia to lure well-meaning donators to their online traps. A fake Red Cross Web site asked for credit-card and PIN numbers, according to Fred Rica, a security expert at PricewaterhouseCoopers. A newly discovered worm, VBSun-A, asks for donations in a fake E-mail exclaiming: "Tsunami Donation! Please help!" Two weeks ago, the FBI arrested a Pittsburgh man for running a tsunami-related phishing scam in which he sent out 800,000 bogus E-mails crafted to look like messages from Portland, Ore.-based humanitarian organization Mercy Corps, which has been soliciting donations on its Web site.
Another Industry Euphemism! It's called "slurpware," and it's "when all the effective Internet attack elements come together to potentially steal a lot of money," Gartner VP and research director Jay Heiser told CMP's TechWeb last week. Such convergence-style attacks are the future, said Heiser, noting that organized-crime-operated, slurpware-style assaults have hit E-commerce companies such as eBay and PayPal, as well as some major financial institutions. According to Heiser, "Slurpware requires a community of trusted users, phishing mail, password-slurping malware, and sponsorship of the Russian Mafia." (For more, see "Slurpware: You Heard It Here First")
Russian mafia? Is that Tony Soprano played by Yakov Smirnoff? Maybe I should be careful making fun of them. But you don't have to be careful with your industry tips--send them to [email protected] or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about career changes, Internet patents, or your favorite industry euphemism, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.