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The Police Trashed My PC 22 January 2001 Edition
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Imagine this (ficticious scenario)... it's 8 am on Monday morning and you arrive at work, sit at your desk, and turn on your PC's screen.

You've left your PC going over the weekend because last thing Friday you'd started the regular weekly full-system backup -- a process that takes a couple of hours.

Your normally cheerful disposition changes to anxiety however when, instead of the Windows desktop, your PC displays the "blue screen of death."

Readers Say
(updated hourly)

Crimes Amendment Bill... - Brian

Poison pen for Spooks?... - Richard

Police Hacking... - John

Police hacking... - Chris

More than one way in... - Tony

anti hacking laws... - Nick

Too late... Attacks ARE Authorized... - Rob

Suspicion of committing an offence... - Ian

Trashed my PC?... - Peter

Have Your Say

"Damn Windows" you exclaim quietly -- as you reboot.

Things then get suddenly worse -- your computer won't reboot. It comes up with all kinds of errors about missing or corrupt files.

A virus? A trojan? Hardware failure?

No -- your PC has been legally trashed by the Police, SIS, GCSB or some other government operated department as the result of a bungled hacking attempt.

You have an important proposal to get to a major client by 10 am and it's going to take at least half a day to rebuild your system -- who's going to pay for the massive loss your business might suffer as a result of this state-sponsored cyber-attack?

It's not even as if you had been doing anything to incur the interest of authorities -- they simply got the wrong (IP) number and attacked your computer by mistake.

Of course the little story above hasn't happened yet (as far as we know) but where are the guarantees that, if the proposed "anti-hacking" law is passed, it won't?

Now -- how do YOU feel about the government being legally authorised to remotely hack other people's PCs across the Internet as this proposed new law would allow?

Submit your comments, marked "for publication" where desired.

Courts Go A Step Too Far?
That vexatious issue of whether hypertext links are legal has again raised its ugly head -- but this time a German court has made what would appear to be a stupid decision that bans one site from performing deep links to another.

The debate over what's legal and what's not is nothing new -- there have been numerous cases contesting that such links might infringe a publisher's copyright or branding. Almost all of them have, however, been settled out of court or commonsense has prevailed.

In the links section (below) there's a story which documents the latest case in which a recruiting company has succeeded in getting an injunction to stop another site from linking directly to its job ads.

What concerns me most about this case is that we have people who are prepared to spend a fortune on expensive litigation when an hour or two of a decent programmer's time would have solved the problem using any one of many available techniques.


The Weekly Trickles Out
This week's edition of the Weekly has started trickling out. It will probably take a day or so before they're all sent but they're on their way.

As always, your feedback is welcomed and...

Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it now!

Security Alerts
Windows Media Player 7 opens system for hackers (IDG - 18/01/2001t)

Net worm hobbles Linux servers ZDNet - 18/01/2001)

Interbase Server Contains Compiled-in Back Door Account (CERT - 10/01/2001)

AIM Flaw Could Open Users' Computers to Attack (InternetNews)

Denial-of-Service Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Stacks: (CERT)

Sun advises of a potential compromise of 2 specific security certificates (CERT)

Virus Alerts
Melissa-X disguised as Mac doc (ZDNet - 22/01/2001)

Kriz virus makes return appearance (ZDNet)

Tool to beat killer Xmas virus promised (IDG)

Virus: Snow White not so innocent ZDNet

Wild Worm With Pro-Linux Message (Wired)

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The Day's Top News
4 = open in new window
New Zealand

4  Futurist Applauds Kiwi Assets
New Zealandís technological literacy, the fact it is an English speaking nation, the quality of its innovators and its size, beauty, and temperature together give it a competitive advantage as the world becomes increasingly technologically driven...

4  Exemptions extend police powers - Slane
The proposed exemption for the Police, SIS, GCSB and some other authorities from the provisions of the "anti-hacking" law gives them significant new powers, says Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane...


4  Study: More Net merchants need anti-fraud technology
Credit card and debit card fraud could cost online merchants billions of dollars over the next five years unless they implement the technology to detect it, a new report says...

4  GPS owners play high-tech hide-and-seek
Dave Ulmer decided to celebrate the end of government blurring of GPS signals last May by hiding a cache of goodies and posting details on its position to an Internet newsgroup. When someone replied to Dave's post three days later, saying he had found the stash, a new sport was born...

4  Asia's Web Party Over, Analyst Says
Matei Mihalca has a regret or two, but Merrill Lynch's star analyst of Asian Internet business does not apologize for being one of the louder bulls during the region's brief dot-com boom...

4  Melissa-X disguised as Mac doc
Also known as Melissa 2001, a new strain of an old virus appears to be a Mac-formatted version of an Office document that spreads as an e-mail attachment...

4  Gazoontite: Going, Going, Gone
Like vultures preying on cheap PCs, hundreds of folks turned out this week for an asset auction for failed Internet startup Gazoontite.com....


4  Herron stolen children website shut down after legal threat
An Internet game in which Australian Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Herron's children are featured as stolen children has been removed after a legal threat from the minister...

4  Optus parent loses patience
LONDON-based Cable & Wireless Plc has played tough with Optus independent directors by setting the clock ticking on C&W's financial support for Optus to ensure a deal is done on its assets, according to company sources...
Australian IT

4  CyberArmy declares war on government regulation
With a member base of 35,000, CyberArmy may have the biggest armament the Net has ever seen, rallying to take down Web sites that 'abuse' the World Wide Web - and removing power from governments...


4  Nokia Licenses Netscape
America Online has forged an agreement with mobile communications giant Nokia to develop a Web browser for cell phones...

4  Internet Media Companies to Spread Gloom on Results
Many Internet media companies have already warned of a weak fourth quarter due to soft online advertising spending, but analysts said more gloom could be on the way with their upcoming quarterly reports...

4  Hackers Cut Into Official Web Sites
A hacker broke into the president's Web site, deleted all official information and left a message of despair...

4  Online recruiter wins ban on rival's web links
StepStone, the online recruitment company, has obtained an injunction in Germany preventing a rival from linking to its website pages. The move is one of the few cases to test the law on "deep linking"...
Financial Times

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Copyright © 2000, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request

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