Thursday, 8th May 2008
Tim Buckley Owen
Another day, another full junk email folder. There’s the €1.5 million win from the Euro Million Lottery, the senior official of a Japanese bank asking for my help in liberating $14 million locked in the account of a dead client – and the persistent Pastor Powell, who’s been accidentally injected with HIV and wants me to put his apparently colossal fortune to religious uses.
It’s 30 years since a marketing rep at DEC computers sent the first spam email – provoking (according to the Register Security newsletter) a fierce backlash from the administrators of the network concerned plus a few sales. Now of course http://digbig.com/4wwpf spam has become big business, always one step ahead of the filtering technology.
Nevertheless, after 30 years you’d think no-one would fall for the more obvious spam scams any more – but one NASA employee did recently, when she inadvertently disclosed her computer passwords, bank account numbers, social security number, driver's license information and address to a Nigerian man she met on an online dating site. Unusually, Register Security reports, http://digbig.com/4wwpg the man was caught and jailed – but there’s no word as to whether the hapless NASA employee was disciplined as well.
But all this is small fry compared with the recent detection at the Finjan Malicious Code Research Center of a crimeserver being used as a command & control for crimeware on infected PCs that had succeeded in harvesting more than 1.4 gigabytes of business and personal data, consisting of 5,388 unique log files. Featuring the research in its Malicious Pages of the Month report for April – http://www.finjan.com/mpom – web security specialist Finjan also pointed out that, since the data on the crimeserver was unencrypted, anyone else could have got hold of it too.
All of which leaves one wondering about the security implications of a report from information consultant Gartner which suggests that teleworking now makes good business sense. According to Gartner’s report, The Virtual Office: Making a Compelling Business Case – outline at http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=663215 – the informal arrangements that tend to be common at the moment don’t realize the recruitment branding advantages that a well-planned transition offers.
‘A more formal approach demonstrates to new recruits that the enterprise is willing to make a long-term commitment to work/life balance, which is key to employee satisfaction and retention,’ Gartner concludes. ‘When conducted effectively, virtual working becomes a source of productivity benefits that can be passed along as returns to shareholders.’
If you think it wouldn’t work for you, perhaps it’s worth taking a look at the positive experience of academic librarian Jennifer Duncan, as reported http://digbig.com/4wwph in the US Association of College & Research Libraries journal. But just don’t spoil a win-win situation by opening any emails from Pastor Powell.
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