Anti-spammers get wormed

It's been an ugly few weeks. At my current temp gig, I spend more time fighting worms than Kevin Bacon in 'Tremors'. Fortunately, I've got a mailbag full of tips to keep me sane.

It's been an ugly few weeks. At my current temp gig, I spend more time fighting worms than Kevin Bacon in "Tremors". Fortunately, I've got a mailbag full of tips to keep me sane.

As the worm turns

Last week's column was abuzz with rumours that the Sobig worm caused the Big Blackout. The most recent scuttlebutt is that the infestation was created by the Spam Cartel. One of the Cringe crew says three-fourths of the infected messages coming into his network were from addresses found on anti-spam blacklists. Sure, it sounds paranoid, but spammers may have been propagating the worm deliberately. After all, machines infected with Sobig could be used to send spam anonymously or launch denial of service attacks, among other nasty tricks. Last week several major spam blacklist sites were shut down by a DoS (denial of service), and at least one (relays.osirusoft.com) is permanently out of commission, according to its owner. Just what we need: another reason to hate spammers.

More canned luncheon meat

Spokesfolks have been boasting about Microsoft Networks' spiffed-up anti-spam filters, and it looks like they may be on to something. One reader reports that his Hotmail account is automatically trapping unsolicited email sent to him from MSN. In particular, the spam filter blocks invitations seeking beta testers for Microsoft products. Let me see: unsolicited mail + Microsoft beta = junk. Sounds about right.

The HP decimal system

Hewlett-Packard had quite a fire sale on its 18in LCD monitors recently. Instead of the usual price of $US619, they were listed on the web site for $US6.19. Bargain hunters apparently snapped up several hundred units before the error was discovered. HP stopped shipment on some orders and sent letters demanding customers return the displays or pay full price. Memo to Carly F: Remember last year's $US10.7 million compensation package? It's now worth $US10.70.

Finally, several Cringeheads responded to my item about Fox News' "Fair & Balanced" trademark suit with new mottos for my column: unfair and unstable, ugly and off-centre, and (my personal favourite), biased and tipsy. I'll drink to that.

Send tips to cringe@infoworld.com.

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