The week in review: Slammer dunks the Internet

A tiny SQL worm taught major corporations a lesson, UK citizens were overjoyed about ID cards, and Stelios lost the CD-copying battle

What is just 367 bytes long, yet can cripple cash machines, knock South Korea off the Internet and clog up the Internet's nameservers, all in one weekend? The IT world found out this week when the SQL Slammer worm slowed Web sites and corporate networks to a crawl. The punchline: at the root of the problem was a bug that had supposedly been fixed months ago. Microsoft itself admitted it had fallen prey to Slammer.
SQL Slammer worm wreaks havoc on Internet
Microsoft fails Slammer's security test
UK sites hit by SQL worm
Researchers put an unprotected dummy server on the Internet with no fanfare whatsoever, and were surprised to find that it was attacked hundreds of times within hours. The background level of computer attacks is worse than ever, they said, and broadband is partly to blame.
Net hack activity worsening Apparently, subjects of the Crown overwhelmingly think that identity cards are a great idea. The only caveat: this survey was conducted by the world's biggest maker of smartcards.
Survey gives thumbs-up to ID cards An inquiry by a cross-party group of MPs said that not only should the government drop its data retention plans, but they should be scrapped across Europe.
Scrap data retention plans, say MPs In digital rights news, Microsoft decided that "Palladium" -- the code-name for its allegedly nefarious plan to implement universal copy-protection -- had been getting such bad press that it needed to be ditched. The new name is less catchy and memorable, which may be the point.
What's in a name? Not Palladium A music copyright ruling against EasyInternetCafe this week surprised nobody, except perhaps boss Stelios. The interesting part will be to see what damages are awarded -- particularly since EasyInternet turned down a proposed settlement of £100,000.
EasyInternet loses music copyright fight James Speth may have returned his software developer kit for iTunes, but he won't let Apple's lawyers stop him from making a peer-to-peer client for Apple's music player. He now plans to build his own stand-alone version of the software using Rendezvous.
ITunes file-sharing makes a comeback It's not quite a u-turn, but it's close. Only in September BT's chief executive Ben Verwaayen said the company couldn't start changing the way it calculated the level of customer interest needed before it would upgrade local exchanges to broadband. Now that level has been lowered for 388 exchanges. But it hasn't been recalculated, you understand.
BT slashes hundreds of broadband trigger levels Are you at risk from deadly airline-style blood clots from using your computer? Possibly -- especially if you tend to sit at your workstation for 18 hours a day without a break.
Computer overuse can cause 'e-thrombosis'


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