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Five Questions For Robert Fleischman, Co-Founder And CTO Of Simplicita Software

Simplicita's software lets service providers detect when malware turns PCs into "zombies" for use in botnet attacks, which bring down networks by flooding them with traffic. When not hunting zombies, Fleischman donates his time to volunteer work.
Robert Fleischman
Co-founder and CTO of Simplicita Software

Interview by Larry Greenemeier

Robert Fleischman, Co-Founder And CTO Of Simplicita Software -- Photograph by Mark Ostow

Photograph by Mark Ostow

1
E-Mail Pioneer
Fleischman began his career at BBN Technologies, where he worked with e-mail inventor Ray Tomlinson, who sent the first message in 1971. "I'm amazed at how much of the world has since embraced the Internet."

2
Enter Spam
As head of the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group's technical committee for two years, Fleischman soon came face to face with unanticipated problems with e-mail. "Mail systems were just being overrun with jillions and jillions of spam."

3
By Popular Demand
Spam brought with it malware used by attackers to control unsuspecting PCs. ISPs expected customers to buy their own software to fix the problem. "Today, anti--zombie software is something all carriers have to offer. Soon customers won't use a carrier without it."

4
Protect Granny
The botnet problem isn't going away anytime soon. "It's not just about inconvenience. It's also about theft. If carriers put their heads in the sand and my mom or grandmother gets their identity stolen, will they continue to use the Internet?"

5
Bob The Builder
Fleischman uses a vacation week every year to volunteer with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCorps, most recently helping transplant trees in an empty Montpelier, Vt., riverbed. "I don't have any formal building skills. I just like to get my hands dirty. You come back to work feeling wonderful."