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.: Spyware, In a Galaxy Near You - 24th Jan 2002

"The latest scandal over so-called spyware involves a mysterious and particularly insidious program that tracks your surfing, delivers pop-up ads and could even collect your credit card information.

You may not have heard of the VX2 Corporation, but if you've downloaded Audio Galaxy lately, VX2 may know a lot about you.

VX2's spyware program comes bundled with other software. Audio Galaxy, a company that makes Napster-style file-sharing software, delivered it for a short time last fall, but says it no longer does so..."

.: Data Firm Exposes Records Online - 23rd Jan 2002

"Choicepoint, a database firm that sells information about individuals and companies to clients, including the FBI and insurance firms, left an internal corporate database viewable to anyone with a Web browser, the company confirmed.

A Choicepoint spokesman characterized the exposed databases as "administrative" and said that data gathered on behalf of Choicepoint's clients -- such as background screens, pre-employment drug tests, military history checks and insurance fraud investigations -- were never exposed during the security gaffe..."

.: FTC settles e-mail privacy probe - 19th Jan 2002

"The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that it has settled a privacy investigation into drugmaker Eli Lilly's unintentional disclosure of e-mail addresses for hundreds of people.

The FTC said Eli Lilly violated its online privacy policy during the incident. The company has agreed to beef up its existing security and to create an internal program to prevent future privacy violations.

The company does not face fines because the incident was unintentional and not a clear case of fraud, J. Howard Beales, III, director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, said during a press conference..."

.: Gates Vows to Plug Holes - 17th Jan 2002

"Bill Gates is steering his software empire onto a new strategic heading, putting security and privacy ahead of new capabilities in Microsoft products.

In an e-mail to employees obtained by The Associated Press, Gates referred to the new philosophy as "Trustworthy Computing" and said his highest priority was to ensure that computer users continued to venture safely across an increasingly Internet-connected world.

Gates compared the significance of his 1,600-word message, sent Tuesday, to his "tidal wave" e-mails during the mid-1990s, which changed the course of Microsoft, and much of the software industry, to focus its products on the Internet..."

.: Privacy flaw continues to dig IE hole - 15th Jan 2002

"New privacy-enhancing controls in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6.0 can be rendered useless by a long-known security flaw in Windows Media Player, a noted security expert said Tuesday.

The software giant has heavily promoted the privacy features of its new browser, which includes support for recently approved standards known as P3P (Platform for Privacy Preferences). Among other things, the standards aim to give Web surfers more control over electronic markers known as cookies, which can be used to peek into people's online activities.

This week, computer privacy and security consultant Richard Smith warned that a unique ID created under default settings for the Windows Media Player provides a simple override for those measures. The flaw allows a malicious Web site to create what he described as a "supercookie" capable of tracking people using any version of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, regardless of the privacy settings they choose..."

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