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Shooting The Messenger 20 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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As we edge ever-closer to having anti-hacking legislation that will supposedly protect us from the activities gangs of pimply youths bent on wreaking carnage in the cyberworld, I think it's time we all read this story.

It's a sobering thought -- that stumbling on what appears to be an insecure site, verifying that vulnerability, and then doing a good deed by reporting it could land you in so much hot water.

But it could never happen here right?

Yeah... that's right -- just like there could never be any dim-witted website operators here in NZ who would fail to have patched there servers to fix the multitude of holes in Microsoft IIS (cough, cough, splutter).

I know that I for one have encountered a number of local websites with security holes so large you could drive a truck through them -- and in every case I have quietly reported those holes to the operators so that they could patch them before any real damage was done.

Will I be so benevolent in future? Maybe -- but I'll certainly think long and hard about it first.

Would you report a security hole in someone else's system -- when it becomes the equivalent of saying "I confess, I'm a hacker," even if you simply noticed something strange and thought you'd check out the possibility that the site operator had goofed?

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More Recording Industry Dullardry
Isn't it about time that the recording industry realised that there's no way they're going to be able to stop people from ripping music off standard CDs?

In the past few months we've seen a raft of new anti-copy systems which are supposed to prevent the copying or ripping of music from CDs in digital format -- but there have been few (if any) reports of PC users encountering such "protected" disks.

And now -- they've come up with yet another bright idea.

This time the industry acknowledges that people might want to be able to "rip" (digitally extract) music from a CD for use on their portable or desktop MP3 players so they've come up with an anti-ripping scheme

Yes, even though you've paid good money for that CD, you might have to pay extra if you want to listen to its contents on your MP3 player.

Isn't this the kind of money-grubbing greed that has caused such a huge backlash in the first place?

It's about time the music industry wised-up and realised that if they were just a little less greedy they might make a whole lot more money.

It's a philosophy that worked well for Borland back in the 1980's when they launched a $29 Pascal compiler while everyone else (including Microsoft) was selling the same thing for over ten times as much.

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Security Alerts
Microsoft tightens software security (CNet - 16/08/2001t)

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)

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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