05 May 2006

I received the following missive in my e-mail this afternoon:

Yesterday, hackers temporarily breached the security of an e-mail distribution firm previously used by [Company Name Withheld], accessed their databases and re-sent an old e-mail distribution while adding profanity and other offensive material. The illegal entry was discovered and interrupted while in progress, but e-mails to some of [Company]'s customers (and other client databases) were released before the problem was contained. It should be noted this distribution firm possessed only a [Company] provided e-mail distribution list and cover letter template and no other client information such as names, phone numbers, etc.

The seriousness of this event necessitated a thorough examination of all security measures within [Company]'s technology infrastructure as we diligently searched for the source of the illegal distribution. At this time, we are fully confident of the security of our systems and the protection of all data, but we have learned from this incident and will be even more vigilant in the future to provide a safe and secure technology infrastructure for our employees, industry contacts, and more importantly - our customers.

It's easier to learn from other people's mistakes than from your own. This might be a good time for a security audit of any systems handling your confidential information, whether they belong to your company or to a vendor. While the crackers you see on the news are mostly interested in credit card numbers, any Internet-accessible database is potentially vulnerable to the same techniques.

For the record, Thin Film Manufacturing's client records do not reside on Internet-accessible computers. Our newsletter mailing list does, but is protected by industry-standard firewalls and other security measures.

Posted 02:50 PM

03 May 2006

From Holly Lisle's Pocket Full of Words, a cautionary tale on the value of good notes. That brilliant idea that you thought was too obvious to write down? It won't be so obvious in four years when you're trying to reconstruct something that you put aside for a while.

Holly writes fiction, but the same is true of any creative endeavor, from writing to laboratory research.

Posted 10:17 AM

01 May 2006

Tip of the hat to Dean Takahashi for a nice article on the launch of the Xbox 360. It's a good overview of what's involved in building a high end system, and a nice reminder that PCs, however ubiquitous, do not necessarily represent the state of the art.

Posted 10:02 PM


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