Did A Computer Virus Bring Down The Soviet Union?

Did software, deliberately programmed by the CIA to fail, hasten the end of the Soviet Union? The Washington Post reports (registration required) that “President Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion …

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Who’s In Charge? The Machines, Or Us?

Are we liberated by technology, or its captive? I love my handphone and I congratulate myself, as I’m checking my email in the middle of some dusty Indonesian kampung, that I have harnessed technology and not the other way round. But sometimes I wonder. A recent poll by Siemens callled the Mobile Lifestyle Survey (no …

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Counting The Cost Of Online Crime

Phishing is beginning to bite. British police at a high-tech crime congress (noted by USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review) say that 83% of Britain’s 201 largest companies reported experiencing some form of cybercrime. The damage has cost them more than £195 million ($368 million) from downtime, lost productivity and perceived damage to their brand or …

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Going Public With Sensitive Data

Forget phishing for your passwords via dodgy emails. Just use Wi-Fi. Internet security company Secure Computing Corporation have today released a report prepared by security consultants Canola/Jones Internet Investigations which “documents the serious risks of password theft that business travelers encounter when using the Internet in hotels, cafes, airports, and trade show kiosks.”  The full …

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Spammers’ Shopfront Vigilantism, Part II

Further to my previous posting, here’s another way to keep the spammers out by checking out the links they want you to go to. Sophos, the British virus people, say that their year old URL filtering “continues to prove to be an enormous success”. The filtering basically collects known spam sites and bans any email which …

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Stopping Spammers and Scammers By Patrolling Their Shopfront

America’s new anti-spam CAN-SPAM Act is a great way to stop spam, so long as the spammer is legit. The problem is, most spammers aren’t. Mass.-based software company Ipswitch Inc. estimate that more than two-thirds of all spam is deceptive, meaning that spammers disguise the links to their website “behind unrelated graphics and pictures, or …

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Should Journalists Blog?

Kindly pointed out by my old friend Robin Lubbock from WBUR, here’s an interesting piece on journalists who blog in their spare time by Steve Outing. Outing points out that in many cases, things don’t go well. Reporters “have been fired or punished because of their personal blogs,” he writes. Landmines include when “a simple …

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The Commercialization of RSS

The future of newsfeeds: Trackable RSS. The biggest drawback to the commercial exploitation of RSS feeds — items from blogs and other websites, parceled up and delivered to users who request them — is that there’s no easy way for the producers of the RSS material to know very much about what their customers are …

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Is Zip The Way To Thwart Viruses?

I like this idea from a Slashdot poster: Eliminate most viruses by zipping everything. It works (I think) like this: Most viruses arrive as an attachment to an email. These are called executables in that if you click on them, something happens. (As opposed to a file attachment such as a Word document, or a …

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