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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Call Me... 31 October 2001 Edition
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According to reports, quite a few people have received email spams recently which have no body to them but bear the subject line:

Please call me on 021 143 8343

The sender address may vary, but in the case of the emails I received it was travis@techie.com. I quickly realised that this was a bulk emailing because several of my addresses were hit in quick succession and I know that those addresses are in sequence on several readily available spamlists.

The email was forwarded by a Compass.net.nz IP:

I was going to ignore the messages until I received an email from a reader who suggested that Julian Angelo -- an infamous spammer and spam-list broker is behind the messages. (Ref 1, Ref 2, Ref 3)

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To date, I've been unable to raise Julian and calls to the number quoted in the email appear to produce some character who says "this is my mate's phone" and claims not to have a clue about what's going on.

Information forwarded by a reader alleges that those who responded to the email were being told that their web-pages were no good and that they needed "a creative force fueled by a dynamic team-centric that fosters solutions-oriented thinking."

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Now I must make it clear that, despite repeated efforts, I've been unable to nail down Mr Angelo to get his side of this story so what I'm presenting here is the result of information passed on to me by third parties so far.

According to this information, the phone call Angelo, now operating as CloneSmart.com (and a lookup confirms him as the registrant of that domain) and is pitching himself as a make-over artist for tired websites.

Here's an extract from the email forwarded to me:

"Clone Smart is a hybrid between a traditional branding company and an interactive agency. Our purpose is to explore new modes of brand communication through using emerging information technologies. Since its interception, Clone Smart has evolved into an industry recognized creative force fueled by a dynamic team- centric that fosters solutions- oriented thinking."

For a communications company they sure do have a lot of obfuscated words in that tiny fragment of text eh?

A list of sites from CloneSmart's portfolio were also included -- but more on that tomorrow.

The bottom line is that if you receive an email that doesn't adequately explain the identity of the sender or the purpose of the communications then just delete it. Life's too short to waste any of it responding to spam!

Hey Dick, That's Not Nice!
Another reader dropped me a line describing how he and a friend went to great efforts last week to be first in the queue outside a Dick Smith store so as to qualify for one of the free copies of Windows XP that were being given away.

Turns out that even though they were first to the counter on launch-day morning so as to claim their prize they were told "Sorry, but we have sold out."

The reader asks (quite reasonably) -- what's going on here?

They were definitely first through the door and to the counter, and retail versions of Windows XP wasn't supposed to be sold before that time -- so where did the promotional copies disappear to in the blink of an eye?

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Security Alerts
New vulnerability exposes Excel and PowerPoint macros ZDNet - 29/10/2001)

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)

Virus Alerts
Tripple-threat Worm Strikes (Aardvark - 19/09/2001)

New worm spreading slowly (CNet - 4/09/2001)

Trojan horse breaks Windows PCs (ZDNet - 24/08/2001)

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