Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

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Telecom Does A Microsoft
3:30pm NZDT
Just a few weeks ago the software giant Microsoft was humbled by a simple technical fault which highlighted the vulnerability of having all your eggs in one basket -- nameserver-wise.

Guess what -- Telecom appear to have done exactly the same thing and this afternoon the domain telecom.co.nz disappeared from the face of the Net because both of the nameservers used by Telecom are on the same network -- which is unreachable.

Great (big stupid) minds think and act alike?

And here's me offering my consulting skills this morning too! :-)

The Question That Wasn't Asked 14 February 2001 Edition
Previous Edition

It's great to see that the NZ Herald jumped on the reports published here last week in which I publicised that an IRD webcrawler had been spotted trawling a couple of local sites.

Herald reporter Michael Foreman did a good job in getting ahold of IRD IT manager Tony Lester and asking him what was going on -- then writing this story published in today's edition.

The IRD explains that the crawler is a link-verifier and not some covert attempt to identify possible targets for further IRD investigations -- sounds plausible to me.

But Michael -- in light of the IRD's response, why didn't you ask the question we're all dying to know:

"Does the IRD have any future plans to use web-crawling as a method of identifying those who may be evading their full tax obligations by trading over the Net?"

Of course anyone from within the IRD who is suitably qualified to answer this question is invited to submit their response directly to me through the contact form and I'll gladly relay the department's comments to Aardvark's readers.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)

Domainz... - Tom

freenet 10 free hours please pay in advance... - next2normal

The Question That Wasn't Asked... - Michael

Have Your Say

Stupid versus Stupid
Yesterday saw another battle of the stupid versus the witless as yet another virus ran rampant through the computers of the world's lame-brained Net users.

Every time I see reports of an email-borne virus blitzing its way across the face of the globe I am reminded of the oft-repeated scene from The Simpsons TV program which goes something like "Quit it, ow! Quit it, ow! Quit it, Ow!"

After the Love Bug ran rough-shod over the ranks of the moronic and their machines a year or so ago you'd have thought that all those who had been hit would have upgraded their software to avoid getting hit again. You'd have also thought that Microsoft and/or their dealers would have made absolutely sure that all the new versions of MS Outlook and all preconfigured systems were supplied with the patched version of this software.

Unfortunately -- it seems not.

New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Europe -- they were all hit again by one of the most predictable methods of virus delivery -- an executable attachment to an email.

If you know someone who got hit by this latest virus -- why not give them a "Kick Me Again" sign for Valentine's day?

Of course if the person writing the virus had half a brain they would have cashed-in on the fact that today is Valentine's day and made their email and attachment appear as if it were a virtual greeting card from an unknown admirer.

Boy, we're really going to be stuffed if someone with more than half a brain decides to write one of these viruses!

Shameless Plug
I've got a few weeks of (comparatively) free time coming up shortly so I'm taking this opportunity to tout for some consulting work.

If you are looking for advice on maximising the return from your current or planned online presence then contact me and I'll see what I can do for you. Whether you want to embark on a highly cost-effective online marketing campaign with significant residual effect or just want to improve the performance of your existing Internet investment then I'm your man.

There are more than a few "big dollar" websites out there that could benefit from one of my "site survey" reports too.

Need proof? Try using the Tech Rentals website with Netscape 4.x! Duh!

Have you checked YOUR site yet? :-)

The Weekly Is Downloadable
If you haven't received your Aardvark Weekly by email, you can download it here. Subscribers to the emailed version will get each version several days before it appears here.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

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

There is 1 New Press Release today

Security Alerts
Group Warns Against E-Mail Wiretap (AP - 6/02/2001)

Multiple Vulnerabilities in BIND (CERT - 29/01/2001)

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)

Virus Alerts
Kournikova virus smashes Net (ZDNet - 13/02/2001)

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

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

4  IRD denies web-crawl search for tax dodgers
Inland Revenue has denied using a "web crawler" on the internet to find tax evaders...
NZ Herald

4  Valentine’s Day on the Web
On this day in AD 270 St Valentine was having a less than romantic time, according to the Catholic church, the prefect of Rome had ordered him to be beaten with clubs, and then beheaded...


4  Anna Worm Writer Tells All
The Dutch person who claims to have written the virulent but short-lived Anna Kournikova e-mail worm says he's surprised by how quickly it spread. Maybe he should have named it after Ernest Borgnine...

4  Napster Orphans Hold Wallets Close to Their Chests
Napster may not be dead yet but fans were looking to life in the after-world on Tuesday, as chat rooms filled with users discussing the prospect of paying up for their beloved free song swap service...

4  Bertelsmann Sees Free Online Music Services Dying
German media giant Bertelsmann AG, which is developing a fee-paying business model for online song swap company Napster, said Tuesday it expects no free Web-based music exchange service to survive in the long-term...

4  Don't Need Napster to Swap Songs
Napster Inc.'s fate notwithstanding, the song-swapping technology it popularized is here to stay. Programmers have developed variations that won't be so easy for the recording industry to stop...

4  Windows XP Can Secure Music
Microsoft has built security into its operating system to prevent music from being played on unknown hardware. Its plan to prevent piracy could mean a scuffle with electronics makers...


4  Anna hits 100,000, slows networks
A VIRUS disguised as a photo of tennis star Anna Kournikova has affected 100,000 Australian computer users within the first few hours of the working day, anti-virus firms estimate...
Australian IT

4  OptusNet Smiling For Now, But Smaller ISPs Have 300,000 Reasons to Worry
Cable & Wireless Optus is singing from the rooftops after announcing today that it has signed up the 300,000th customer for its OptusNet Internet service, a figure that puts the upstart telco in the number-three slot in Australia’s ISP hierarchy...

4  Online lovers prove lucrative
Florists and card companies aren't the only ones to cash in on Valentine's Day, with online dating agencies experiencing a surge in new users...


4  Anna virus--more insidious and fickle than ILOVEYOU
Although similar to the 'Love' virus, this rendition is as deft as an angled drop shot, in that it's also encrypted, making it much more difficult to be deconstructed...

4  Paedophiles jailed for porn ring
Seven British paedophiles are jailed for their part in the world's biggest known internet child pornography ring...

4  Gateway web server flaws exposed
Web servers at Gateway have been defaced in an attack that calls into question the security practices of the direct sales PC vendor...
The Register

4  Movin' on up, at 'The Onion'
Twelve years after taking root in the college town of Madison, Wis., The Onion wants more room to grow. So this burgeoning humor site, which attracts 800,000 visitors a month, is transplanting itself to New York...
USA Today

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Copyright © 2001, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request

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