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by CSO Contributor

Critics of Microsoft Dominance Criticized; Anti-Spam Web Pages Shut Down by Attacks; Group Buys Mass. Governors Data to Show Ease of I.D. Theft; Germany Smashes Child Porn Ring

Sep 26, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Critics of Microsoft Dominance Criticized

ComputerWorld reported yesterday about fallout from the white paper written by seven security experts and released earlier in the week warning that the extreme dominance of Microsoft constituted a security threat, particularly to the government. The authors, all of whom worked for different companies in the security industry, said they were motivated only by a collective sense of responsibility to the IT community and did not receive any funding for the study. Critics of the study have pointed to the presumed anti-Microsoft bias of the publisher of the report, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA). Edward Black, president and CEO of the CCIA, rebutted: “These guys did this on their own and they contacted us because our expertise is in the policy area and we had the infrastructure to publicize the report in Washington.” Fallout includes the dismissal of co-author Dan Geer as chief technology officer at security firm @stake Inc. According to Washington Post coverage of the story today, Geer said he could not comment on his departure. Do you think Microsofts market dominance endangers society? Join an online discussion on sister site Anti-Spam Web Pages Shut Down by AttacksReuters story. The affected sites, and Compu-Net Enterprises maintain spam block or “black hole” lists, which list the numerical Internet protocol addresses of specific computers or e-mail servers that are unsecure or are known sources of spam, explains Reuters. Network administrators and Internet service providers consult the lists and block e-mails coming from those computers as part of their spam filtering techniques.

Three websites that provide spam blocking lists have shut down as a result of crippling denial-of-service attacks. Anti-spam experts said that they think spammers are behind the attacks, although they have no way of proving it, according to a

Group Buys Mass. Governors Data to Show Ease of I.D. TheftThe Boston Globe today, a consumer watchdog group yesterday highlighted the vulnerability of personal financial data by saying it had obtained Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s Social Security number for $30, but even more detailed information was available for the right price. The Globe found that for $125 it could get Romneys Trans Union credit report, with a listing of all his credit card accounts, credit card numbers, credit limits, auto leases, and payment history going back more than a year. For $225, it could get a record of all purchases on those credit cards. The watchdog group Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights blamed the problem on corporations that fail to respect consumer privacy rights, exchanging personal financial information too freely with affiliates and other companies.

According to a story in

Germany Smashes Child Porn RingBBC News reports today. Related investigations are under way in at least 166 countries, and in some a number of arrests have been made. The operation is being coordinated by Interpol and the German federal crime office. The investigation reportedly began last year with the discovery of a suspect in the city of Magdeburg alleged to have a distribution list of 38,000 e-mail addresses around the world.

Several hundred suspects are being investigated, and more than 500 homes across Germany are said to have been searched in the break-up of a child pornography ring, The