04-02 Contents: Trustworthy E-Voting, MyDoom, Gone Phishing, SoftTest Event, Disk full on Mars, Eurobarometer,sue over cappucino price, HMT euro compatibility guide
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Systems Modelling Ltd.: Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success
1) Risk management
Irish Citizens for Trustworthy E-Voting
2) Internet and e-business
W32.Novarg.A@mm (aka MyDoom)
3) Software Quality
SoftTest Ireland Quarterly Event: 9th Feb, Dublin
Disk full on Mars
4) European affairs
Eurobarometer : The €uro, two years later
Italians sue over cappucino euro conversion
UK Treasury publishes euro compatibility guidance
5) On the lighter side
Marvin can't find the page
20 Web links in this newsletter
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The Irish government is pressing ahead with plans for electronic voting although many IT professionals have questioned the auditability and trustworthiness of the proposed system.
The website of the recently formed Irish Citizens for Trustworthy E-Voting is
They have a mailing list at: http://lists.stdlib.net/mailman/listinfo/e-voting
Michael says: "The software is still being debugged, the source code which will be run on election day is not going to be available to the department of environment until a few weeks after the election is run, and there is *no* audit trail whatsoever of any worth which makes recounts etc. completely pointless and unless a ballot machine fails spectacularly errors cannot be spotted."
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/31/opinion/31SAT1.html NY Times op-ed "How to Hack an Election" concludes with the remark "Given the growing body of evidence, it is clear that electronic voting machines cannot be trusted until more safeguards are in place."
You can't have missed it - unless you work behind some very heavy mail filtering. Some of the news coverage was a bit superficial. The advice is frequently given "not to open emails from strangers" That misses the point. Mail from someone you know can be infected too, and many Irish businesses were hit this time. Woody's advice is simple: "Never open or run a file attached to an e-mail message until you (1) contact the person who sent you the message and verify that he or she specifically sent you the file, and (2) save the file on your hard drive, update your antivirus software's signature file, and run your antivirus software on the file." http://www.woodyswatch.com/windows/archtemplate.asp?7-02
People were warned to watch for the extensions .cmd .pif etc. Unfortunately, because the default (stupid) setup of Windows is to HIDE extensions, most people will not see these. Instead they will see the fake extension of the worm like "nicefile.txt ...(lots of spaces)....zip" or such like.
The advice "keep your Anti-Virus up to date" is good - but many people think "we only bought it at Christmas" or whatever. I recommend "update your AV TODAY" or even better "Every day".
AND install a firewall like ZoneAlarm - www.zonelabs.com to protect your PC while online.
"Phishing" is a scam whereby people are sent emails from apparently trusted
sources that are really scam sites. There have been quite a few attempts
recently on bank sites. I also got a few that said my credit card had been
charged for a 3 month subscription to child p0m (I munged that word to get past
email filters) and to cancel it, just send full credit card details to some
email address. But in fact that in turn seems to be somebody getting back at
other marketers .... a Matrix-like game of mirrors.
Some of these exploits were aided by a long-standing vulnerability in Internet Explorer that Microsoft finally closed off recently. The RISKS Digest 23.16 described URLs of the form http://reasonable.site.name @criminal.site.ip.address/index.html. The Microsoft Knowledge Base article about the security update is at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=834489 Well, when I say "closed off", I mean they issued a patch. I wouldn't care to guess how many users will actually install it.
"NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit appeared to be teetering
on the brink of failure last week when ground controllers lost contact with the
craft sitting in Gusev Crater... It is now believed that the rover's flash
memory had become so full of files that the craft couldn't manage all of the
information stored aboard. Spirit bogged down because it didn't have enough
random access memory, or RAM, to handle the current amount of files in the
flash... Controllers are preparing to delete hundreds of cruise files in hopes
of lessening the burden." Shouldn't the software manage space
allocation a little better than that?
This document can be accessed from the Treasury Internet site at: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk "This document is intended as a guide for public sector managers and does not provide the level of detail required for full policy, process or system development. It represents a framework for planning and is not a substitute for detailed design requirements, specification and development. This document addresses the development of policies, processes and systems that would operate before any UK decision to join the euro, during a transition period and following a UK E day. It will be necessary to assess which elements of this document are appropriate, depending on the services that would be offered at the various stages of any UK changeover."
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Considering euro compatibility
Chapter 3 Defining euro compatibility
Annex A The definition of full euro compatibility under various planning scenarios
Annex B Business issues for consideration
Annex C Checklists for building in euro compatibility
Annex D Some typical euro requirements
Annex E Wording for procurements
Annex F Draft public sector consumer code of conduct
Annex G An interpretation of technical terms
I've just had a quick scan and it looks good at first reading. One tiny technical extra point is in reference to the gaps that appear when sterling amounts are expanded. That does not happen just because they used whole pound amounts. Gaps can appear even in pence steps.
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