Be on the wave or under it
The News – 11/8/02
New Spam Popup Technique
The second part of the Why You
Need to Get Hip to HIPAA series will appear in a future SNS
Cripes. If you don’t believe that Microsoft has done us a disservice
by emphasizing functionality over security, check this out. There’s
a new spamming technique that allows spammers to pop up ads on
your computer screen even if you are not actively browsing or
using email. No action on your part is required, and the ads pop
up over whatever you’re doing.
These slimy advertisers use a facility built into Windows operating
systems to allow computer network technicians to broadcast messages
to their users. These administrators may, for example, want to
inform users of a planned shutdown or give other types of status
Well, in true Microsoft fashion, they’ve allowed anyone to use
this messaging system, without requiring any authentication. All
you need is a piece of software called DirectAdvertiser, developed
Luckily, there are some limitations to this new form of spam:
Messages occur in real time, thus recipients can only receive
them if their computers are on while the messages are being sent.
The messages can only contain text, not images or clickable links,
which are common in pop-up ads and e-mail.
Users can disable the service, called Messenger, although doing
so could interfere with some anti-virus and other applications
that use the service to send messages – not to mention the fact
that it might upset your system administrator.
The maker of DirectAdvertiser claims the software can send more
than 10,000 messages an hour through broadband connections such
as cable modems and DSL connections, or three times that using
T1 lines. The company maintains an opt-out list, although I wouldn’t
expect that all spammers will honor it. However, the directadvertiser.com
domain is now for sale, so good luck finding
The best way, however, to avoid getting these messages is to disable
the Messenger service. Installing a software firewall such as
ZoneAlarm, or a hardware firewall can also
do the trick, and is a great idea anyway. See CTOMentor’s white
paper, Basic Home Networking
Security for more information on firewalls and other steps
you can take to protect yourself.
- Shameless Self-Promotion Dept.: Check out the article
I wrote for the Taylor Harkins newsletter entitled, Wherever they go, there you are about the wireless service known
as Short Messaging Service (SMS). The article points out how
marketers can use – carefully – this new way to contact their
I’m featured in Manyworlds’ Thought
Leader Showcase, which lists a few of the white papers I’ve
Finally, the CTOMentor wireless white paper, You Can Take
It with You: Business Applications of Personal Wireless Devices,
is available at ITPapers.
- Banking and Hacking: By 2005, online
banking will rise from 8.5 percent to 50 percent of customers
in industrial countries, and from 1 percent to 20 percent in
emerging markets, according to Tom Kellermann, Senior Data Risk
Management Specialist at The World Bank. In a recent Webinar
sponsored by Exodus (who requires employees to say “a Cable
& Wireless company” every time they mention the name), Kellerman
predicted that $6.3 trillion of B2B transactions will be online
All this financial activity won’t come without a price, however.
Kellerman claimed that online fraud is 83 times higher than
traditional banking. Combine that with the fact that in the
first three quarters of this year there have been more than
73,359 hack attacks and that 57 percent of hacks targeted financial
institutions last year, and you can see why banks are a little
uneasy. Kellerman presented the following table of recent banking
April 12, 2001
|Extortion for $20+ Million
July 6, 2001
|S1 hosting corp.
300 Banks compromised
April 5, 2002
The State of California
The hacker copied 265,000 state employee account names and Social
June 19, 2002
Siphoned $35,000 from accounts
B-pay of Australia
100 people lost $150,000 each
August 26, 2002
$21.7 M of stock illegally sold
a Cable & Wireless company
Your Star Trek Communicator: It’s here,
from Vocera: hands-free, voice-activated communications throughout
any 802.11b networked building or campus.
- Security Best Practices: In July, the
Internet Security Alliance released a paper, Common Sense
Guide to Security for Senior Managers offering the top 10
recommended information security practices.
This issue can be found at:
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