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Lighten Up 12 April 2002 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
Click To See
It's time again for the regular list of Friday funnies and weirdness from the Web.

Word on the street is that the burden of tax-funded health-care has reached crisis proportions so the government is about to announce that they're introducing a new cost-cutting initiative.

If you thought that all the hippies disappeared in the 1970s then be warned that there are still some left -- but don't worry, their days are numbered thanks to Anti-Hippie Action League.

One of the most impressive pieces of science undertaken in recent years was "The Visible Human" project in which a cadaver was frozen and cut into tiny slices to provide a detailed view of the insides. Now we have the next logical step -- the incredible Visible Barbie Project (warning, some images may be disturbing to girls under the age of 12).

Need Cutting-Edge Copy?
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or Net-based publications. If you're interested, drop me a line

Hailstorm In A Teacup
It seems like only yesterday that Microsoft announced that it was going to change the face of the Internet through its revolutionary "Hailstorm" project.

Instead of relying on your own computer's insecure and untrustworthy storage, Hailstorm offered the promise of providing Net users with the type of bullet-proof, hacker-proof, ultra-secure protection that only Microsoft can provide.

Oh dear, after re-reading that sentence I've just spat coffee all over my screen and collapsed onto the floor in a fit of laughter.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • experts... - Alan
  • Have Your Say

    Am I just an old cynic?

    Well if I am, it would seem that I've got plenty of good company.

    Microsoft themselves seem to have finally acknowledged that they've got a lot of work to do before they can win the public's confidence when it comes to promises of security.

    From a business perspective, the risks of entrusting Microsoft (or any third party) with sensitive corporate data are simply too great.

    But hang on a minute -- aren't 90% of the world already trusting Microsoft to protect their secrets?

    Let's face it -- for the vast majority of people, the only thing separating their passwords, financial records, confidential correspondence, etc., from the hackers of the world -- are Microsoft's shaky OSes and applications.

    From the moment you log onto the Internet, your machine (and the data on it) becomes a target for any hacker that wants to try and sneak in.

    While most of the "clever" people have installed personal firewall software, there are still an incredibly large number of users who haven't. What's worse, there's still a whole bunch of people using systems that have never seen a security patch and may have been incorrectly configured from day one.

    Quite frankly, I suspect that most people might actually be safer if they did trust their secrets to a service such as Hailstorm rather than rely on the security of their own system.

    Hang on, let me rephrase that. Most people would actually be "more far less unsafe."

    Here Come The Sekurity Konsultants
    Oh dear -- a worrying thought just passed through my mind...

    Given the public concern over online security -- how long will it be before we see a wave of "sekurity konsultants" appear. These people, most of who were previously "web dezinas", will probably offer to come in and perform a security audit on your computer so as to protect you from the evil hackers.

    They'll probably drive (or claim to drive) Porsches, carry a digital camera and profess to be "leaders" in their field. (wow... deja vu!)

    Apart from installing a copy of the free Zone Alarm firewall (which is a good thing), wiggling the wires on your modem, frowning convincingly, and charging like a wounded bull, they'll likely overlook a mountain of potential threats and leave customers falsely thinking they're now "hackerproof."

    Perhaps some type certification should be introduced to avoid this wave of "sekurity konsultants" descending on frightened but witless small-businesses PC users. Having a cowboy design your website is one thing -- the worst it can do is provoke fits of laughter from anyone who stumbles across the resulting pages -- but having "Danny the Kid trying" to patch up your security holes is a lot more serious.

    Here's today's question:

    Should computer security consultants require the same level of official vetting as workers in other areas of the security industry -- ie: security guards, etc?

    Have your say.

    The Jet-Kart is For Sale
    It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.

    The world-famous Jet-powered Gokart is up for sale by way of an informal auction. Send me your bid and I'll post the current highest offer on a webpage that will appear here soon.

    As far as I'm aware, this is the only pulsejet-powered gokart in the Southern Hemisphere -- I wonder why that is?

    It may not be the quietest, smoothest, most comfortable or safest vehicle in the world -- but it's sure different!

    To place a bid, just drop me a line.

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    Security Alerts
    A trio of MS-Office security vulns TheReg - 10/04/2002)

    Two new "critical" bugs patched in IE (ZDNet - 01/04/2002)

    Second Java hole poses Windows risk (CNet - 20/03/2002)

    Microsoft offers patch for Java software (CNet - 06/03/2002)

    CERT Warns of Flaws In RADIUS Implementations (InternetNews - 6/03/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    Aphex E-mail Worm Has A Way With IRC, Instant Messenger (NewsBytes - 11/04/2002)

    'Bill Clinton' Worm Gets Around (NewsBytes - 22/03/2002)

    Gibe worm poses as a Microsoft update (ZDNet - 6/03/2002)

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