Editorial: The week we squirmed

Editorial: The week we squirmed

News, by its very nature, is so often about setting standards — biggest, smallest, fastest, cheapest, latest and greatest — that I cannot help but make mention of the Mydoom worm that was on its way to reaching epidemic proportions at the time of going to press.

While its moniker seems a little over the top (I would suggest it has been more of a pain in the neck than a harbinger of sorrow for most of the affected masses), antivirus vendors were quick to proclaim that it was spreading faster than last year’s record-breaking Sobig.F. The vendor announcements, which proliferated almost as quickly as the worm itself, were hardly surprising given that they attract column inches and airtime across a broader range of media than is usual for a virus story and could result in a demand spike for the products designed to counter such attacks.

The SCO Group, on the other hand, is less than pleased and has issued a $US250,000 bounty for the capture of the worm’s author (or authors) after it emerged that the company was experiencing a distributed denial of service (DOS) attack thought to be related to Mydoom. SCO announced it was working with US law enforcement authorities to find the perpetrators but I don’t suppose they will offer me a share in the reward for suggesting they start the search among members of the global open-source community.

Not wanting to single SCO out for punishment, a more threatening Mydoom.B has since emerged with a similar DOS attack scheduled for every hacker’s favourite target, Microsoft. Buried in the code, maybe as proof that this is a hacker with a heart, is the message: “I’m just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry.” Isn’t that nice?

In other news, gloom reared its ugly head in distribution land with Ingram Micro announcing that it had given an unlucky 13 members of staff the chop after engaging the services of a “sigma six” business process efficiency “black belt”. The consultant in question has obviously made a big impression, scoring a full-time contract in the midst of a “rightsizing” process.

Elsewhere in distribution land, Lan Systems refused to accept that it was to be on the receiving end of an axe swing. The networking specialist is no longer authorised to sell Alcatel products, according to the vendor, but managing director, Nick Verykios, insists his company has not been informed of the decision and will continue with business as usual. Just how you sell a range of products when the company making them refuses to send you any stock remains to be seen but we will keep you posted of developments.

Following on from last week’s Telstra ADSL coverage, a new study from IDC has produced a comparison of the Australian and Canadian broadband markets. While the countries are of similar geographical size and have a similar telco environment, according to the report, Australian broadband services are comparatively overpriced and also fall short of the mark in terms of speed and download limits.

Furthermore, the report concluded that Australia is unlikely to catch up anytime soon and (if progress is to be made) the local model needs greater competition, the government must do more to improve the regulatory environment and the industry has to create a compelling argument for users to switch from dial-up services. I would have thought the annoying series of beeps and screeches every time you try to connect would have done the trick by now but apparently not.

Finally, I would like to invite all of our readers to visit our website at and register an opinion on our new quick poll. First up, we asked if you would have a moral issue with selling SCO’s Intellectual Property Licences. At the time of going to press, about 80 per cent of the early respondents had said they would. What do you think?

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