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Patch Or Be Sued? 9 August 2001 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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Here's a question for the legal eagles who I know regularly read this column:

A major corporation is hit by a email-borne virus and loses a swag of data which, despite backups and firewalls, ends up costing them a small fortune to put right.

The source of the infection is traced back to an email that originated from your PC.

Authorities swoop on you and confiscate your computer as evidence.

Upon investigation it is discovered that you are running unpatched versions of Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer and, through these vulnerabilities, the virus infected your machine before forwarding itself to the corporation.

Furthermore, it is shown, by checking your browser cache, that you knew that there was a virus threat and you knew that you should have patched your software to avoid being infected -- you read that story on the Web just days before getting hit.

So... could you be sued for negligence?

Could it be argued that by not taking reasonable care to ensure that your system was patched against virus attack you effectively contributed to the costs incurred by the corporation?

Even if you could successfully defend such an action if it were brought against you -- could you afford the legal fees?

Food for thought? More reason to patch your system?

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
From Yesterday...
  • CR/CRII comes-a-knockin'... - Simon
  • Proof there is no Knowledge Wave... - Alan
  • CERT and GCBS... - Mudrat
  • Have Your Say

    Powerful Networks
    What ever happened to the idea of using the mains power network for carrying internet traffic?

    It strikes me that given the government's commitment to providing decent (which these days means at least 56Kbps) access for all NZers, and given the huge amounts of dosh that are now being applied to funding new ideas and startups, surely we could do something with this idea.

    NZ is home to several hi-tech companies who most certainly have the people and resources to perform R&D in this field and if we could come up with an effective solution then the export potential is massive.

    It seems that most of overseas efforts have gotten to the point of running limited trials and then gone silent. Come on Kiwis, surely we can apply our brains to the problems intrinsic to this concept and come up with yet another world first?

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    Security Alerts
    Code Red Worm A 'Runaway Success' (7amNews - 20/07/2001)

    Solaris bug gives hackers free rein (ZDNet - 22/06/2001)

    Microsoft Admits Another 'Serious Vunerability' In IIS 7amNews - 19/06/2001)

    Trojan horse targets Word users (CNet - 14/06/2001t)

    Virus Alerts
    'Sircam' Worm Getting Hotter (Wired - 20/07/2001)

    Worm: New 'Homepage' virus rated X (ZDNet - 10/05/2001)

    New virus hits both Windows and Linux (Fairfax - 28/03/2001)

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