E-Tales last week received a media release from a vendor with dinosaurs on its mind. "Jurrasic Software: Traditional vendors are dinosaurs, says NetSuite," went the subject line of the release. Nice metaphor, guys, but Jurassic only has one r and a double s. (Yes, we know, everyone makes typos occasionally — even Computeword). The sender of the release is an ERP vendor and its description of its competitors as dinosaurs had us wondering who was who — is SAP a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Oracle a smaller carnivore with ambitions of rivalling T-Rex? If so, then PeopleSoft, alas, is a dead herbivore, whose edible bits are in Oracle's stomach, providing nutrition for the coming battle with T-Rex.
Readers of Bruce Sinclair's Aardvark website noticed the best typo of last week, however: in Wednesday's column Sinclair wrote recent newspaper stories "highlighted the fact that we've got the biggest exodus of killed workers in the world." Well, they're no use to us dead, noted a poster in the Aardvark forums — might as well ship 'em off overseas.
The US Federal Trade Commission has served court papers against Spyware Assassin, an anti-spyware product the FTC alleges was sold to consumers to protect against non-existent spyware on their computers. Spyware Assassin's offerings include a free initial scan of the user's PC, which, when requested, results in a pop-up message stating "Urgent error alert: you have dangerous spyware virus infections on your computer."
Says the FTC: "the defendants' free remote scan is a phony and their representations that they have detected spyware on the consumer's computer are deceptive." The owners of Spyware Assassin also pitch a $US29.95 software package will "remove all spyware programs and files" and "prevent any future breaches", which the FTC says is a deceptive claim that violates the FTC Act. We've got anitvirus, antispam and antispyware software, so how about an antideceptiveware program to guard against the likes of Spyware Assassin?
Lottery fraudsters take a punt on Microsoft
The advance fee fraudster spammers behind the innumerous lottery scams are getting more brazen by the day. In two recent spam messages, these riders — quoted verbatim — were attached to the bottom:
"The FreeLotto Awards is proudly sponsored by the Microsoft Corporation,the Intel Group,Toshiba, Dell computers, Mckintosh and a conglomeration of other international IT companies.The freelotto internet draw is held once in a year and is so organized to encourage the use of the internet and computers worldwide. We are proud to say that over 200 Million Euros are won annually in more than 150 countries worldwide.
"CHIEF SPONSOR; MICROSOFT CO-OPERATIONS UK, MICROSOFT CO-OPERATIONS ASIA MICROSOFT CO-OPERATIONS USA, ALPHA PRIVATE BANK UK, ALPHA EXPRESS DELIVERIES UK."
Uh-huh. In fact, the last one comes from the "Microsoft Word Lottery" based in Aintree, Liverpool.
That wouldn't be noteworthy in the slightest had it not been for the MSN Personal Address service that the lottery scammers love to use ... mainly because Microsoft's abuse desk doesn't seem to terminate the scammers' US$34.95 a year accounts no matter what activities they get up to.
And sure enough, the spammers' email addresses go to domains hosted by MSN's Personal Address service. Gasto.org, serena-jones.com, heritage-finance-security.net, ms-wordbankofthewinners.com, ms-wordpromo.com, mswordpromotions.net, mswordpromotions.org and many more.
The domains seem to be bullet-proof and won't go despite frequent complaints to Microsoft's abuse wranglers — a correspondent to the spamtools mailing list claimed that he'd found no fewer than 45 MSN-hosted scammer domains in just five days — so maybe the spammers aren't lying about the sponsorship?
Net nets gang
Placing video recordings of their nefarious deeds on the internet has resulted in a Prague gang being prosecuted. The gang, known as The Flamingoes, had filmed themselves assaulting locals and vandalising park benches in the Czech capital and posted the pics on the net. After a local TV station reported the appearance of the footage online, police swooped and arrested several members of the gang. That's surely one to add to World's Dumbest Criminals.
Error Message of the Week
"Keyboard missing or not functioning — press F1 to continue."