Spear Phishin’

Having burned almost a week’s worth of spare time to deal with my own security breach, I recognized myself at several points in this lengthy article. More importantly, however, is the indication of the way that the original design decisions of TCP/IP are coming home to roost, now that fraud is overtaking other forms of innovation online:

Online scammers go spear-phishin’ [NYTimes’ link]

“The problem is not a loss of money or credit, it’s a loss of trust,” said David Perry, director of global education at Trend Micro Inc., an Internet security firm. “If you open up e-mails and 8 out of 10 of them are from people selling prescription drugs or Nigerian banking scams, then you lose trust and e-mails become the criminals.”

[…] All of this provides cold comfort to victims like the mystery writer, Mr. Jackont, who said he was still reeling from his encounter with a Trojan horse in Israel.

“I must tell you that I still have a reflex of uneasiness when I get onto the Internet – I feel a trauma,” he said. “People don’t like it when I say this, but it’s like being raped. It’s like my underwear was spread all over the streets. It was a severe breach of privacy.”

See also Is your PC a drug mule?

Evolution of the Rhapsody Model

RealNetworks giveth, and RealNetworks taketh away: RealNetworks moves Rhapsody to the Web

RealNetworks’ move is part of a broader drive to make music services more accessible on Web pages, rather than through the downloadable software that is typical of most music stores and subscription plans today. Companies are hoping they can reach an audience that has so far stayed away from paying for digital music, by making their products simpler to find and launch from any Web browser.

[…] The new online version of Rhapsody will have most, but not all, of the features of the downloadable older version, which will still be available. Unlike the older version, it will also be compatible with Macintosh and Linux-based computers, however.

Listeners will be able to search the database of 1.4 million songs and make a playlist of up to 25 songs for free. Playing the songs will pop up a small music player in a separate window.

Paying subscribers to the service can listen to unlimited amounts of music through the Web-based version. However, they will not have the same ability to download songs to their hard drives or MP3 players, or manage the other music on their computers.

Intel and the Architecture of Digital Entertainment

Intel Moves to Give Itself a Key Home Entertainment Role [pdf]

With Viiv chips and technologies, Intel hopes to control a digital environment in which video and audio can move seamlessly around the world and around the house. PCs would work with televisions and digital recorders and portable devices so people could move their entertainment wherever they wanted.

That sort of integration requires coordination before devices roll off production lines or websites go online. A downloadable movie, for example, would have to be encoded with the proper software to take advantage of Viiv’s technology. And portable devices would need to be Viiv-compatible to play the movie on the go.

“The most significant thing is that Intel intends to qualify not just access, but also the quality of video so as not to show jittery videos in a small window,” said Richard Doherty of Envisioneering Group.

[…] “Is this going to push the PC into the living room? No, because a consumer programmable device, which a Windows PC is, is not stable enough to be a television platform,” said Van Baker of Gartner Inc. The ability to tinker with PCs can result in “not getting access to your TV because a buddy brought over a CD with a game on it and then suddenly your TV doesn’t work.”