FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2004
First, new numbers
tell us that phishing
is the exploit du jour in the last half of 2004:
- Seventy percent of us say we have fallen for it and gone to a phishing site.
- Fifteen percent say we were really stupid and entered personal information when we got there.
- About $500 million in losses will occur from phishing in the United States this year.
I am highly skeptical of that last number, but the first two are amazing. And they're probably low, since many of us won't admit we are online hayseeds, even to an anonymous poll.
Citibank seems to be the poster child of phishers. Phishing attacks that purport to be from Citibank went from 6 in November 2003 all the way up to 370 this past May. Now, that's just the number of unique campaigns, and each one is probably mailed out to tens or hundreds of thousands of recipients. Apply that 15 percent number above, and maybe that $500 million loss number isn't so unbelievable after all.
I find phishing to be a tricky attack for the masses to avoid. When not-so-savvy computer users ask me how to spot a phish, I'm at a loss. You and I might know how to deconstruct a URL and see that it's bogus or scan the source code of a page to see if it has graphics flying in from a bunch of unlikely servers. But my mother doesn't have that down yet.
And, unlike spam, phishers seem more selective; I seldom get a blast of phishing e-mail messages--usually, just one. And that may be the cleverest thing they learned from spamming. Even complete dolts know something is up when they get 24 copies of the same message. But nothing establishes initial credibility like a single well-crafted e-mail message.
How have you avoided being phished? I'll compile your ideas and air them out here.
TalkBack | Read all comments TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2004
It's not often that CNET gives a product a rating as low as 5.7. But the Mubie
is just that special kind of thing.
I don't think you need to read much further than "no volume control" to realize this isn't like any other MP3 player you've ever seen. But then again, it does have a chubby belly--and a USB jack in its ass.
This is certainly a product of the same industrial sector that created those miniature, stylized cars you stick on your dashboard that emit some vile car cologne that is probably considered an aphrodisiac among The Fast and the Furious
This may seem a trivial issue, but in fact I see substance in it. The MP3 player has approached a major level of ubiquity to be morphed into something that celebrates whimsical form first and core function a distant second. Mubie is like an earlier generation's collectible whiskey decanters in the form of a Rolls-Royce or a bust of Old Grand Dad.
TalkBack | Read all comments Broadband on your hip
All of a sudden, broadband is routine. In the last month or so, major research reports have decreed that 51 percent of U.S. Internet-using homes are on broadband and that number is growing at a rate of about 48 percent per year in major cities
Like many sites, CNET was just redesigned with a broadband assumption. It has lots of video that is central, not just peripheral, to the content and lots of flash animation that takes up a few hundred kilobytes. It's rapidly becoming an elite Net out there, divided between the haves and the have-nots of broadband.
My concern is not for people using modems as much as people using handhelds, since the widespread availability of "broadband on your hip" is still years away. Sprint is generally considered the fastest data socket among U.S. cell phone companies, but using it to load a content-rich Web site is still painful. Unfortunately, most sites focus only on developing broadband pages, because that's what's sexy. And that's what page designers get up for in the morning.
Meanwhile, I spend more and more time every month watching my Treo "loading 646KB of page..." and less and less time actually seeing anything.
TalkBack | Read all comments MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2004
Tired of looking at Steve Jobs's ass
My colleagues in France have confirmed that Sony will be a little less boneheaded and open up its portable music players
to handle MP3. You know, the format upon which the digital music revolution is based.
At this moment, Sony music players require that you convert your music files to their own ATRAC3 format. Nothing like recoding an already encoded file to make those cymbals sound just a little more harsh.
My pal Gretchen Griswold, a bigwig at Sony PR (and the only person I've ever gotten my boss to entertain with a magnum of '94 Silver Oak cabernet) told ZDNet France, "We're discussing plans to bring flash players to the United States that support MP3 files, but we have nothing to announce at this time." Boy, I hope their efforts are more urgent than her quote suggests. Most folks who buy a portable player don't know what a codec is and don't want to learn about yours, let alone how to convert to it.
Now Sony just has to start selling MP3 files on the fledgling Sony Connect online music store
. No mention of that, so I'm still dusting off my dancing shoes for for the big "Buona sera, Sony Connect" party next year.
TalkBack | Read all comments