3/4/2004: Spam / Virus War: The bulk of the most recent spam and viruses come from Russian organized crime gangs according to one Microsoft expert. The goal: take over your computer so it can be used to spam others and so they can steal credit card numbers, bank information, etc. One site has determined that 200 known spam operations, many from overseas and some in Florida, are responsible for 90% of your spam.
The FBI is not entirely helpless against criminals outside the US. A few members of one gang have already been "indicted on counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and violations of the Computer Crime and Abuse Act, but ... the arrests, at most, scratched the surface of computer-crime circles in Russia" according to news.com.
Recently, the FBI named "terrorist sympathizers, possibly operating out of Africa and the Middle East" in addition to the Russian gangs as sending a new type of deceptive spam.
This may or may not be true. Watch for red herrings. Here's why. Obviously, there are good agents in the FBI working to end this crap. One thing we and the FBI should consider, however, is that Robert Phillip Hanssen, a career FBI agent with significant experience and access to FBI IT systems was charged (Feb 20, 2001) with spying for Russia since 1985. Fifteen years with a bad guy inside the gates! Many US secrets went to the Russians during this time.
Hanssen, an expert in counterintelligence methods at the FBI, was assigned to the New York Field Office's intelligence division in 1979 to help establish the FBI's automated counterintelligence database in that office. Investigators characterized Hanssen as having a "high degree of computer technology expertise."
One hopes the FBI has cleaned house of all Russian crime contacts Hanssen collected over fifteen years. ( FBI used lie detectors, but CIA says lie detectors don't work. ) Would foot dragging by sympathetic FBI insiders explain why America is getting slammed? If I'm wrong, then I'm sorry to wrongly point the finger, but I don't get why the feds aren't using their super snooper technology to swoop in and collect the $500,000 reward offered by Microsoft and SCO four months ago. Then again, four months is not a lot of time for a tricky investigation and these things do take time.
Counterintelligence, by the way, is "organized activity of an intelligence service designed to block an enemy's sources of information, to deceive the enemy, to prevent sabotage, and to gather political and military information." Yes, professional strength tricksters are coming to an email near you.
Thank Bush's CAN-SPAM law? This law made the spam problem worse by overriding stronger state laws and by changing from an opt-in to an opt-out system where anyone can spam you and you have to tell them you don't want to be spammed. Probelm is, opt-out is used as a ploy by spammers to capture the live-fish email addresses tha they then sell to other spammers. If you opt-out, you get MORE spam! Best option, use the spamreporter to report the spam, then delete it.
2/24/2004: (zdnet) Level 3 problem leads to Net slowdown . "I love how Level 3 spins it with this sentence: 'We are investigating the cause of the problem, which is fully resolved at this time.' In other words: Oh, we're still trying to figure out the cause, but we already fixed it. What? And here I always thought you had to identify a problem before you could fix it!"
2/15/2004: ( Microsoft | whir ) REDMOND, Wash., Updated Feb. 13, 2004 -- On Thursday, February 12, Microsoft became aware that portions of the Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 source code were illegally made available on the Internet. Don't download it or the Microsoft and possibly the FBI will get you. According to mi2g Intelligence Unit ( mi2g.net ), a digital risk firm, an important ramification of the source code leak is the effect it will have on Microsoft's credibility in the eyes of programmers, governments and corporations, who may see the leak as another reason to migrate to Linux or open source solutions.
10/7/03: New research tool, Google news alerts. Pick a topic and get email about it all day! Thanks Google. No one is going to get any work done any more!
9/25/03: Electronic paper reaches video speed. A single sheet looks pretty much like ordinary paper. But the ink can be rearranged electronically fast enough to show video movies. Color too.
9/16/03: Symantec and Homeland Security: Cyber Czar named. Symantec's Yoran accepts Homeland Security post.
9/16/03: Starwars display technology. Images that float in air. "Most of us remember the scene in the 1977 movie "Star Wars" in which the robot R2-D2 projects a three-dimensional image of Princess Leia, who begs Obi-Wan Kenobi for help: "This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope." ... After all these long years of waiting, portable holography has finally arrived."
8/21/03: Paranoia: Ever wonder if your hard drive contents are being read in the background as you get the patches from those super fast MS servers? You can turn off autoupdates in XP.
8/18/03: Privacy: Info hidden in MS word documents.
10/24/02: Small World: Cascading molecules drive IBM's smallest computer IBM researchers have created a simple computation engine that's more than 250,000 times smaller than the most advanced silicon circuitry. Called the world's smallest computer, the system relies on a "molecular cascade" that pushes a handful of carbon monoxide molecules across a copper surface to perform digital logic functions. Xeno predicted molecular memory in computers by the year 2000 in the year 1986. We're a little slow.