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The News – 11/8/02

In this Issue:

Recommended Reading

I realize this is the only newsletter you’ll ever need, but if you want more in-depth detail, check out:

Stan Hustad’s
The Coaching Connection

Management Signature's
The Express Read

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 information.

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 in Romania.

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 domain is now for sale, so good luck finding them.

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.

Wired News

 Briefly Noted

  • 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 customers.

    I’m featured in Manyworlds’ Thought Leader Showcase, which lists a few of the white papers I’ve done.

    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 by 2005.

    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 hacks:




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 Security numbers

June 19, 2002


Siphoned $35,000 from accounts

July 2002

B-pay of Australia

100 people lost  $150,000 each

August 26, 2002

Daewoo Securities

$21.7 M of stock illegally sold

Exodus, a Cable & Wireless company

  • Get 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.
    ISA (PDF)

This issue can be found at:

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About The Author

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Can’t Get Enough of ME?

In the unlikely event that you want more of my opinions, I’ve started a Weblog. It’s the fashionable thing for pundits to do, and I’m doing it too. A Weblog is a datestamped collection of somewhat random thoughts and ideas assembled on a Web page. If you’d like to subject the world to your thoughts, as I do, you can create your own Weblog. You need to have a Web site that allows you FTP access, and the free software from This allows you to right click on a Web page and append your pithy thoughts to your Weblog.

I’ve dubbed my Weblog entries “Stratlets”, and they are available at Let me know what you think.

Also check out the TrendSpot for ranking of the latest emerging trends.

In Memoriam

Gerald M. Ellsworth

March 14, 1928 - July 5, 2003

In Memoriam

Jane C. Ellsworth

July 20, 1928 - July 20, 2003