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by CSO Contributor

Bloomberg Hacker Convicted of Extortion; Microsoft Pushes for Weakening of Anti-Spam Law; PIN Fraud Study Raises Concerns; When the Hall Monitor Is a Webcam

Feb 27, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Bloomberg Hacker Convicted of Extortion

A New York jury yesterday found a Kazakhstan man guilty of trying to extort $200,000 from Michael Bloomberg, founder of the Bloomberg financial news service (before he was elected mayor of New York City). A story in The Register today reports that Oleg Zezov, 29, hacked into Bloomberg’s computer system in March 2000, then e-mailed Michael Bloomberg threatening that the financial news service’s reputation would be put at risk if he wasn’t paid. Bloomberg contacted the FBI and arranged to meet Zezov and alleged accomplice Igor Yarimika in London, where the pair was arrested in an FBI sting operation. Microsoft Pushes for Weakening of Anti-Spam LawThe Seattle Times. Although the proposal would require unsolicited commercial e-mail to include ADV: as the first four characters in the subject line, making filtering out such messages easier, it would also carve out a broad exemption in the law for mail sent by companies the recipient has done business with, and completely exempt Internet service providersincluding Microsoft.

Anti-spam activists and a state attorney have argued against a proposal pushed by Microsoft that would weaken Washingtons tough law against unwanted e-mail, according to an AP report in

PIN Fraud Study Raises ConcernsBBC News story last night reports that a corrupt bank employee can discover your debit card personal identification number (PIN) after just 15 attempts, according to a study by computer scientists at Cambridge University. Researcher Mike Bond told BBC News Online that PINs can be discovered because they are not chosen randomly, but based on a complex mathematical formula derived from the customer’s account number. The revelation has led to calls for banks to tighten security systems. Sandra Quinn, of the Association for Payment Clearing Services, said that while banks were aware of the issue and were not being blasé about it, fraud by dishonest employees was less of a concern than thieves looking over people’s shoulders to discover their PIN.


When the Hall Monitor Is a WebcamNew York Times, school security equipment can include two-way radios for school staff members and metal detectors and panic buttons with a direct connection to the local police department. A few schools with special concerns about abductions or terrorism are turning to identification cards that can hold bar-coded biometric information like fingerprints. Mostly, however, schools are making use of increasingly sophisticated video cameras. The story looks at two extensive (and expensive) systems installed in schools in Fresno, Calif., and Biloxi, Miss. According to the Times, surprisingly few concerns have been raised about privacy issues.

As security becomes an ever more pressing concern, schools across the nation are seeking new ways to provide a sense of safety to students, staff members and parents. That often means turning to technology. According to todays