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Security at risk as confidential e-mail soars

Employees’ cavalier use of the Internet and e-mail has become a serious security risk for companies as confidential information threatens to leak through their systems, according to a recent study from market researcher NFO InDepth Interactive, a division of NFO WorldGroup Inc.

A survey of 498 employees working in a variety of organizations revealed that 40 per cent of respondents admitted to receiving confidential information about other companies via the Internet.

U.S. suspects Sun, Rambus of hiding patents

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating suggestions that Sun Microsystems Inc., Rambus Inc. and Unocal Corp. illegally kept patents secret to gain a jump on competitors, USA Today reported recently. The paper quotes “people familiar with the probes” who say antitrust enforcers are concerned that the three companies hid patents in order to be ahead of the competition when industry-wide interchangeability standards are set.

An FTC official confirmed that the agency is investigating Unocal, but said it would be inappropriate to comment on whether or not it is investigating Sun and Rambus. The investigation will focus on whether, while involved in drafting the standards, the firms did not disclose patents or patent applications that would later mean other companies had to pay them royalties, the report said.

Code Blue a possible attempt to stop Code Red

The Code Blue worm, which Chinese antivirus researchers uncovered recently, might be a “misguided attempt to protect people against the Code Red,” according to a Hong Kong-based security expert.

“It is possible that Code Blue was created to cause chaos and to change configuration of the Internet Information Server (IIS) so that Code Red can no longer spread,” said Allan Dyer, chief consultant at Yui Kee Computing Ltd., an antivirus and network security firm in Hong Kong. Network Associates Inc., the parent company of antivirus vendor McAfee, said that there is nothing that relates Code Blue to Code Red. The two worms work in different ways, said Allan Bell, senior marketing manager at NAI.

Tech still rules list of top 50 start-ups

Nine of Canada’s top 10 start-up companies this year are involved in technology, but only two out of the top 50 are dot-coms – a trend that is indicative of things to come, says the editor of the magazine responsible for the list. “I think the dot-coms are running and hiding,” said Profit publisher and editor Rick Spence. “They haven’t had the success we thought they were going to have and their time sort of ran out.”

Leading the list this year is SiGEM Inc., a Kanata-based company that provides wireless location-based applications for the telematics market. SiGEM experienced two-year revenue growth of 19,891 per cent. The average two-year growth for tech companies on the list was 2,297 per cent. The same statistic for non-tech was 1,097 per cent.

Consumer PC sales to fall dramatically

Worldwide shipments of PCs will fall this year by 1.6 per cent to 129.6 million units from last year’s figure of 131.7 million units, largely because of sharply lower sales of consumer PCs in the U.S. and Japan, according to a report issued recently by IDC. IDC said that poor economic conditions worldwide were the main reason for falling sales, and said it did not expect the release of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows XP operating system to have a stimulating effect on the market.

Instead of the anticipated recovery in the second quarter, consumer PC shipments in the U.S. fell 17 per cent compared to the first quarter. Consumer PC sales in the U.S. this year will reach 14.1 million units, 25 per cent lower than last year’s 18.9 million units. IDC said the malaise would continue into next year, with consumer PC shipments falling a further 17.8 per cent in 2002.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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