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Volume 3, Issue 262: Wednesday, October 10, 2001
- "Microsoft May Face Huge Fine From EU"
Wall Street Journal (10/10/01) P. A3; Wilke, John R.
Microsoft is undergoing further scrutiny in Europe, where European Commission officials are considering allegations that the company submitted false evidence and tried to mislead European Union antitrust prosecutors. The ruling EU body could levy a fine of up to 10 percent of Microsoft's annual earnings, or $2.5 billion. The EU is conducting a suit against Microsoft for purportedly using its Windows desktop dominance to muscle its way into a larger share of the server market. Like the antitrust case ongoing in the United States, officials in Europe accuse Microsoft of illegal licensing schemes and unfairly tying new products to Windows in order to gain market share. Specifically, prosecutors say Microsoft is trying for media player dominance through its freely distributed Windows Media Player. The EU lawyers also want Microsoft to stop building its server software so that competitors software products perform poorly on when running on it. Microsoft also lost ground in its U.S. antitrust suit this week as the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal for a new high court trial since the company said the original district judge was biased in his ruling.
- "Not So Fast, Senator Says, as Others Smooth Way for Terror Bill"
New York Times (10/10/01) P. B10; Toner, Robin
Senate leaders are trying to move anti-terrorism legislation forward under special streamlined procedures, but Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.), chairman of the constitutional subcommittee, is objecting to the bill on civil liberties grounds. Feingold objects to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle's (D-S.D.) proposal to bring the bill to a final vote with nearly no opportunity to offer amendments, saying he wants to offer four. Feingold wants to amend provisions dealing with secret searches, roving wiretaps, and computer surveillance. He says that unless civil liberties are preserved, terror will win. Both the Senate and the House are expected to consider legislation this week that would give law enforcement agencies more power to investigate and punish suspected terrorists and their supporters, although the House bill has a two-year limit on the powers.
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- "U.S. to Intensify Effort Against Threat of Computer Terrorism"
Los Angeles Times Online (10/09/01); Meyer, Josh; Shiver, Jube Jr.
The Bush administration plans to spend $10 million to launch a newly intensive war against cyber-terrorism with the creation of a "cyber-security" office. Richard Clarke will assume the position of special advisor to President Bush for cyberspace security and he will make efforts to improve computer security at federal agencies and in the private sector. Retired U.S. Army Gen. Wayne Downing will be the deputy national security advisor, as well as the "national director for combating terrorism." The new positions follow the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in which law officials believe hijackers made use of downloaded information from the Internet to plan the attacks. Clarke has been working on security issues for sometime now, including in the Clinton administration.
- "Microsoft Will Have to Wake Up, Smell Java"
Investor's Business Daily (10/09/01) P. A10; Coleman, Murray
Microsoft is jockeying with Sun Microsystems' Java programming code for dominance in the Web services market. Web services are expected to dramatically increase demand for e-business applications, rocketing that market from $36 billion last year to $100 billion by 2006, according to AMR Research. People will be able to access software as they need it, as well as use stored online personal data and accounts to seamlessly make Internet transactions with different companies. Although Sun's Java is already established in the corporate Web development market, Microsoft plans to release its own .Net Web development tools later this year. Sun Microsystems also embarked on its own Web services strategy in February, although its lacks the cohesion that .Net seems to have. Microsoft already keeps passwords and identities for millions of registered .Net users. Giga Information Group analyst Randy Heffner says it is unlikely business IT departments will commit entirely to either platform, but will likely use both.
- "Attack May Slow Productivity"
Investor's Business Daily (10/10/01) P. A6; Graham, Jed
Prior to the Sept. 11 attacks, businesses were cutting back on technology spending as the economy slowed. Now, businesses are again spending on technology as they react to the attacks. However, companies are now concentrating more on security rather than on increasing productivity, industry observers say. Such spending on defense technology will not result in long term productively, says Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer at First Albany. In addition, the current slump in tech industries coupled with what could be a long-term war will force many firms to re-focus on defense, experts say. "When more money goes to government spending on security and defense, there's less money for productivity-enhancing ideas and ventures," says Scott Bleier, chief investment strategist at Prime Charter. The current situation could also lead to interruption of supply lines which in turn could hamper just-in-time inventory management, says Gary Schlossberg, an economist as Wells Capital Management. As a result, the worldwide push toward outsourcing may be affected.
- "More Women are Joining the Ranks of Hackers"
SiliconValley.com (10/09/01); Ackerman, Elise
Within the past few years more and more women are becoming hackers, as some computer security training courses operated by such organizations as SANS Institute have experienced a major rise in female attendance. Def Con, the annual hacker bacchanal and convention, says more women are attending, while Ghetto Hackers have a reputation for being a female-friendly hacking group. Female hackers continue to be a minority, with some working for the good as computer security officials, and others turning toward malicious hacking. A 30-year-old Ohio woman, for instance, pleaded guilty last month for hacking into the computer system of her employer and changing the password of the chief information officer. Def Con attendee and 15-year-old hacker Anna Moore says, "Hacking is the pursuit of knowledge." More women are becoming virus writers as well, although Symantec's Sarah Gordon says women are more likely to create viruses for the challenge of it rather than for what havoc they can wreak.
- "From One Quantum State to Another, It's Shades of 'Star Trek'"
New York Times (10/09/01) P. D4; Chang, Kenneth
Scientists have succeeded in teleporting a mass of trillions of gas atoms using quantum mechanics theories. The new breakthrough could mean new steps forward for quantum computers and encryption. Already, researchers are honing techniques that could ensure the absolute security of an encrypted message using the quantum technique, which involves a process called entanglement. By beaming a laser through two masses of photons, or in the most recent experiment, atoms, scientists can create a relationship between the two masses that act as encoder and decoder keys for the sender and recipient of an encrypted message. Quantum theorists also say that the new teleportation breakthrough could be used to store data produced by quantum computers, but would not likely be used in any "Star Trek"-like applications.
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- "Lawmakers Propose Greater Tech Write-Offs"
U.S. Representatives Jerry Weller, R-Ill., Fred Upton, R-Mich., Gene Green, D-Tex., and Senator Conrad Burns, R-Mont. have introduced an economic-stimulus plan that calls on Congress to allow IT businesses to accelerate write-offs for high-technology equipment purchases. With the current law forcing IT companies to depreciate equipment over five years, the four Congressmen say the number of years should be reduced in order to deliver the IT sector a shot-in-the-arm. The Technology Industrial Council reports that computer and peripheral equipment sales fell 9.5 percent in the first six months of 2001. Weller says, "Essentially, our tax code discourages us from bringing the latest technology into the world." Upton says some version of depreciation reform will be included in the House's economic stimulus bill, which should be ready by the end of the month.
- "Mitnick Warns Other 'Scapegoats'"
Wired News (10/08/01); Delio, Michelle
Notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick recently testified before a Senate committee regarding the dangers of a politically motivated hacker attack, which he deems as a credible threat, but not particularly critical. He does contend that the government should strengthen security before a potential attack, but the recently passed Patriot Act, Mitnick says, is only another way for the government to track people's communications. The new act enables law enforcement agents to conduct a wide range of surveillance, including extensive scrutiny of electronic communications. Mitnick called the Patriot Act "ludicrous," and says "the government wants a blank search warrant to spy and snoop on everyone's communications." Mitnick, who will play a CIA computer expert in an episode of ABC's spy drama Alias, outlined a plan in March that would secure computer systems against most hack attacks. In the meantime, Mitnick--who is banned from using computers until January 2003--is warning other hackers to be careful now and pull back from hacking activity since the government is on heightened alert and may use captured hackers as "scapegoats."
- "New Encryption Laws for E-Mail Unlikely"
San Francisco Chronicle Online (10/06/01); Kirby, Carrie
Despite the furor in Congress to increase national security, giving law enforcement agencies keys to email encryption schemes is not likely, say many lawmakers. Email encryption was a major issue in the Clinton administration and engendered a fierce debate. Then Sen. John Ashcroft, now head of the Justice Department, was seriously opposed to giving government agencies a back-door to email encryption. Opponents of so-called key escrow measures say terrorists are unlikely to use the encryption technologies that U.S. government officials have access to, and would opt instead for one of the hundreds of encryption schemes created outside the United States or simply create their own. Besides that, a central repository of encryption codes would pose a security risk to American commerce.
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- "No Telling What Kind of Technology This War Will Give Birth To"
USA Today (10/10/01) P. 3B; Maney, Kevin
War has always resulted in some sort of technological innovation that then affects general society, such as airplanes after World War I, atomic power after World War II, and satellites and the Internet after the Cold War. But technologists can only guess at the next technological innovation that will result from the current military mobilization. IBM Internet chief Irving Wladawsky-Berger says supercomputing will definitely be one area to advance as the government strives to make sense of the deluge of data collected by information gathering posts around the world. Supercomputers would be able to detect far-flung terrorist connections and piece together possible planned attacks before they happen. Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson says biotechnology will get a big boost from research in countering bioterrorism, much in the same way the Manhattan Project boosted atomic research. Other advances could mean the targeting of individuals, no matter where they hide. Currently, the military is positioning technology on the front lines that can identify individuals from far away and pinpoint them with sophisticated satellite imaging and weapons targeting systems.
- "Redefining Tech Support in New York Relief Effort"
Washington Post (10/09/01) P. E1; Klein, Alec
Tech companies in the Manhattan core of New York City are contributing substantive amounts of time and other resources to help rebuild their community. Microsoft's New York offices have been turned into disaster relief command centers with workers putting in extra hours for special projects, such as the Red Cross' Family Registration Web, where residents can register to let friends and family know they are alright. Microsoft New York district general manager Kim K. Daly says her offices will be assisting in the rebuilding process for the next 11 months at least. Microsoft still plans its Windows XP launch in Times Square on Oct. 25.
- "Cybersquatting Among the Ruins"
Salon.com (10/01/01); Geon, Bryan
On the day of Sept. 11, as the tragic events unfolded, much of America was glued to news sources on television, the Internet, and radio, not quite sure how to react or what exactly was happening in the world; yet a small, robust segment of the world population knew exactly what to do: register domain names. Take Jim Burke of Southington, Conn., who immediately upon hearing a report of the World Trade Center calamity--and not even pausing to verify if it was true--decided to register a domain name replica of the event, wtccrash.com. Worldtradecentercrash.com had already been registered. Throughout the day, as news events unfolded and information poured from new sources into living rooms and offices throughout the world, domain name registration kept pace with event changes. WTCcrash.com and .org were early takes before the second plane hit the southern building, which began registration of plural versions like wtccrashes.com. Soon pentagondisaster.com was registered, then wtctowercollapse.com--literally, events have left a minute-by-minute trail in domain name registration records for historians. Many addresses, such as Flight175.com, have become memorial Web sites, others are explicitly or implicitly for sale, and some like NukeAfghanistan.com are traffic-routers to commercial Web sites. Domain names expressing anger at the events began to appear later in the day on Tuesday, ranging from GetOsama.com to the subtle KillBinLaden.com, as well as NukeAfghanistan.net.
- "New Euro Coins Won't Jingle for Tech Firms"
Wall Street Journal (10/09/01) P. B9B; Delaney, Kevin J.
The Jan. 1 advent of the euro currency is not prompting a spending surge from organizations as they work to ensure their computing systems will accommodate the new currency, although a late push by small and midsize firms could produce a last-minute burst of activity. Some firms have had to completely overhaul their computer systems to support the new currency, while others are busy on extensive upgrades. "Companies have not spontaneously decided to spend a lot more money because of what they had to do with the euro," says IBM's John Downe. "They've effectively shifted money and resources from other areas to be able to do this." Whereas Y2K-related IT spending reached $83.8 billion in Germany alone, total euro-related IT spending is only expected to reach $8 billion, according to research group Gartner. The reasons for the relatively low amount of euro-related IT spending are numerous. That the euro would be used has been a known fact for years, giving organizations plenty of time to be in compliance, according to IBM. Also, the IT infrastructure work most companies performed in order to be Y2K-compliant has made the job of transitioning to the euro much easier than it would have been with older proprietary computing systems.
- "Five Tech Trends with Legs"
Network World (10/01/01) Vol. 18, No. 40, P. 43; Desmond, Paul
Five developments are likely to influence the future path of enterprise networking. A dramatic surge in dedicated bandwidth will make companies more distributed, and TeleChoice chief strategist Russ McGuire foresees a time when instant messaging and other communications applications will be enhanced with video and other functions facilitated by high-speed connections. Cahners In-Stat Group anticipates that wireless Internet access devices will supplant PCs; Burton Group analyst James Kobielus says that, "In 15 years we will see the difference between wired and wireline disappear entirely as wireless connections become more broadband and more reliable." Growing wireless and broadband proliferation will increase vulnerability to hacker attacks and operations failures, and Purdue University's Eugene Spafford wagers that federal and/or consumer pressures will eventually force the industry to address security issues. Demands for greater computing power will lead to the implementation of technologies that can outpace Moore's Law, such as IBM's cellular computing architecture. A dearth of qualified workers is likely to drive continued outsourcing, as is companies' increasing emphasis on core competencies and e-commerce.
- "Don't Hang Up"
CIO (10/01/01) Vol. 15, No. 1, P. 133; Edwards, John
Frost and Sullivan projects that the Web-based teleconferencing market will surge from $62 million to $238.6 million between 2000 and 2003. Increased adoption is expected with the advent of new technologies that allow workers to participate from the comfort of their offices. One such innovation is Vigo, a device that comes with a speaker, video camera, microphone, headset, speaker tower, USB hub, and software; the product facilitates the transmission of real-time video over an IP network. Teleconferencing services such as Worldcom's Presentation Assistant can connect people separated by great physical distances into a shared experience. Lotus has developed Sametime, software that enables colleagues to communicate both before and after teleconferences via PC, PDAs, or mobile phones. Teleconferencing is also benefiting from affordable bandwidth connections, which are becoming widely available. Companies see teleconferencing as a way to cut traveling costs. However, teleconferencing still has a long way to go: Connections can be unpredictable, bandwidth is still constrained, and the software is not yet glitch-free.
- "Fear Along the Firewall"
Fortune (10/15/01); Behar, Richard
Many computer security experts believe that the United States' technostructure is very vulnerable to cyber-terrorism, which could severely disrupt corporate America and the U.S. economy as a whole. The WTC and Pentagon terrorists were computer literate and Bin Laden's agents use encrypted email to communicate covertly, say law enforcement sources. Corporations should be strengthening their passwords and constantly updating their anti-virus software because smaller sites can be attacked to get at larger sites, says Howard Schmidt, Microsoft's leading information-security executive. Since the attacks, the FBI has told corporations that they must shore up their computer security, even as the General Accounting Office has reported that the government must patch its own security holes. Schmidt is the head of the Information Systems Security Association, a group of Fortune 500 members who have decided to share their security information with other industries. The Federal Aviation Administration's computer security was proven to be inadequate when a teenager hacked into the computers at the Worchester, Massachusetts, airport and shut down the ATC tower for six hours. Furthermore, in 1998, a hacker located in the Persian Gulf broke into a NASA system and entered a search for "high-performance aircraft that could fly under low observable conditions." NASA shut down its database and Internet facilities, but due to the lack of a lead investigative unit that could claim responsibility for finding the hacker, the FAA and NASA bickered for four days before the hacker was tracked; and by that time the trail had run cold, says Tom Talleur, head of the forensic technology unit at KPMG.