Edupage, October 05, 2005

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  • Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 14:59:07 -0400

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TOP STORIES FOR WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2005 Research Project Will Track Network Attacks Philadelphia Chooses EarthLink for Wireless Network California Passes Anti-Phishing Law FTC Sues for Alleged Spyware Google and Sun Announce Partnership

RESEARCH PROJECT WILL TRACK NETWORK ATTACKS A research project will collect regular snapshots of computer networks from as many as 10 colleges and universities in an effort to improve protections from and responses to Internet attacks. The Information Security in Academic Institutions project, an initiative of the Columbia University Teachers College, uses monitoring technology called DShield and has already been tested at three institutions. The other institutions in the project have yet to be named, and the system may eventually be widely available. The system will give network administrators data about the state of networks, allowing them to gain a better understanding of Internet attacks by comparing data from before, during, and after an attack. Steffani A. Burd, executive director of the project, described it as "a 360-degree view of what's going on." The system will also pool data collected from participating institutions and make it available anonymously on the Web. This aggregation of data will allow a comparison between activity on the Internet generally and what's happening at campuses. Chronicle of Higher Education, 4 October 2005 (sub. req'd)

Philadelphia has selected EarthLink from among 12 vendors that bid on
implementing a citywide wireless network. Key to the city's choice of
EarthLink, said Dianah Neff, CIO of Philadelphia, was the company's
proposal that it fund all of the infrastructure for and management of
the network. Critics of the city's planned municipal network,
including Verizon, which offers similar services locally, had argued
that taxpayer money should not be used for projects that compete with
incumbent businesses. EarthLink's proposal sidesteps that problem.
EarthLink said it will sell bandwidth on the network to other ISPs and
will allow users to connect using any ISP they choose. EarthLink has
submitted bids for similar systems to several other cities, and
analysts see the Philadelphia deal as a big win for the company.
Industry analyst Jeff Kagan said that if EarthLink is successful in
Philadelphia, "there are countless other metro areas who would hire
them to do the same thing, over and over."
PCWorld, 5 October 2005,aid,122847,00.asp

A tough new anti-phishing law makes California the first state to pass
legislation targeting that particular brand of online scam. The
Anti-Phishing Act of 2005 makes it a crime to use "the Internet or
other electronic means, to solicit, request, or take any action to
induce another person to provide identifying information by
representing itself to be a business without the approval or authority
of the business." Identifying information includes Social Security
numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, PINs, and other information
that can be used to steal from individuals. Those found guilty of
phishing are subject to fines of $2,500 per violation, as well as
damages to victims of either actual losses or $500,000, whichever is
InformationWeek, 3 October 2005

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued Odysseus Marketing,
accusing the company of engaging in distributing spyware. Odysseus
distributed an application called Kazanon, which supposedly allowed
users to trade files anonymously, without fear of being identified by
record companies. According to the FTC, users who downloaded the
application also got a range of adware programs that fed advertisements
to those users' computers and added items to the search results pages
of popular search engines, including Google and Yahoo. The added items,
which were indistinguishable from those supplied by the search engine,
directed users to companies that paid Odysseus for the placement.
Further, the software did not offer users a simple option to uninstall
it. Walter Rines, owner of Odysseus, disputed all of the FTC's claims.
He noted that the user agreement informs consumers of what will be
installed when they download the Kazanon program. He also said an
uninstall tool is available and that his company's software did not
remove any search results but merely added to the list. Rines also said
the lawsuit was "moot" because his company stopped distributing adware
several weeks ago.
MSNBC, 5 October 2005

Google and Sun Microsystems have announced a partnership that many see
as a joining of forces against Microsoft. Sun has long been a direct
competitor with Microsoft, and most analysts believe Google has
aspirations to compete with the software giant. Few specifics were
released about the new arrangement. Google, which already buys Sun
hardware, will expand those purchases, and Sun customers who download
Java will have the option of also downloading Google's toolbar. Beyond
those changes, most speculation about the deal concerns Sun's
OpenOffice, an open source application that competes with Microsoft's
Office suite of software. The companies said they will jointly develop
OpenOffice, though some analysts expect Google to take primary
responsibility for the work. John Rymer, an analyst with Forrester
Research, said he believes Google will not simply redistribute
OpenOffice. "When [Google does] something," he said, "it has to be
cool. It has to go further than Microsoft Office." The deal is also a
reunion of sorts for Sun CEO Scott McNealy and Google CEO Eric Schmidt,
who worked together at Sun for 14 years.
San Jose Mercury News, 5 October 2005

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