Notes from the field: ZoneAlarm phones home

Notes from the field: ZoneAlarm phones home

Great news for hard-working IT professionals - Janco Associates just published its annual salary survey, and average high-tech compensation went up 0.13 per cent last year - a whopping $US148 annually. Ooh-wee, baby. Time to order that Lexus and put a down payment on an Aspen ski chalet. My editor said he'd give me a similar raise, but he wasn't carrying anything that small.

A Perfect Spy? It seems that ZoneAlarm Security Suite has been phoning home, even when told not to. Last fall, IDG senior contributing editor, James Borck, discovered ZA 6.0 was surreptitiously sending encrypted data back to four different servers, despite disabling all of the suite's communications options. Zone Labs denied the flaw for nearly two months, then eventually chalked it up to a bug in the software - even though instructions to contact the servers were set out in the program's XML code. A company spokesperson said a fix for the flaw would be coming soon and worried users could get around the bug by modifying their Host file settings. However, there's no truth to the rumour that the National Security Agency used ZoneAlarm to spy on US citizens.

A Reading From the Book of Jobs: Apple and Intel - two great tastes that taste great together. That's the word from the recent Macworld Expo, where the Cupertino Crew unveiled the first Macs with Intel Inside - I mean, Intel Leaping Ahead. I couldn't help noticing that Jobs wore yet another of his seemingly endless supply of black turtlenecks, while Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, was forced to wear a dorky white jumpsuit (just to make sure everybody knows who the cool kids are in this crowd).

Drop the Mouse and Put Your Hands in the Air: Along with a CD of Windows XP Service Pack 2, Cringefan Chris D recently got a letter from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Team saying that if he used MS Office Professional or Access 2003, "installation of SP2 is required for legal reasons". I understand if he refuses to install the update, he'll be tied to a chair and forced to watch Bill Gates' Consumer Electronics Show keynote speeches until he begs for mercy.

Got hot tips or classified intelligence? Send them to and you may get an I Spy 4 Cringe bag in return.

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