Privacy Is The Best Policy

The angry reactions to ChoicePoint's revelation that its database of personal consumer information had been compromised led politicians, in bandwagon fashion, to promise committee hearings and offer up improved legislation to enforce stricter privacy measures on companies dealing with consumer data. But maybe they're on to something. A recent survey revealed the deep ambivalence Americans have about computers' ability to safeguard such sensitive information as medical records. Sensing the potent
FBI Warns Of Worm
The FBI added its voice last week to antivirus companies warning of the Sober.k worm, advising Americans to ignore the E-mail missives that sometimes pose as a tell-us-or-else message from the federal law-enforcement agency.

Sober.k, which also arrives as file attachments to messages offering free access to X-rated videos of heiress Paris Hilton and as security alerts from Microsoft, can appear with a variety of FBI-like addresses, including "[email protected]" and "[email protected]" The text of such messages reads: "Dear Sir/Madam, we have logged your IP-address on more than 40 illegal Websites. Important: Please answer our questions! The list of questions are attached. Yours faithfully, M. John Stellford ++-++ Federal Bureau of Investigation -FBI- ++-++ 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 2130 ++-++ Washington, DC 20535 ++-++ (202) 324-3000"

Not likely. "These E-mails did not come from the FBI," the agency said in a statement. "Recipients of this or similar solicitations should know that the FBI does not engage in the practice of sending unsolicited E-mails to the public in this manner."

Earlier this month, the FBI shut down an E-mail system it used to communicate with the public because of a possible security breach.

-- TechWeb News