Tuesday's Threat Assessment

All the news that's fit to rant aboutI'm in Canada to get my flu shot, but the news must go on. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas hits stores today. Expect a drop in real life carjacking as thugs try out the virtual stuff. Rockstar expects to sell 4.5 million units this week alone.

Apple's big press conference is today. Presumably they'll announce the new U2 iPod.

The shootout at the OK Corral occurred on this day in 1881. Pan Am made the first commercial transatlantic jet crossing, New York to Paris, in 1958. Doonesbury debuted in 1970.

  1. Three anti-spyware bills are working their way through Congress, and the FTC has achieved its first victory in its lawsuit against Spamford Wallace. On Thursday the US District Court granted a temporary restraining order against Wallace prohibiting him from exploiting Internet vulnerabilities to place spyware on computers. Wallace was given 24 hours to pull his software from the web.
  2. PalmOne has officially announced the release of the Treo 650. Sprint has cornered the market on the hot phone through sometime next year. Sprint says the phone will be available by mid-November and cost around $500. Wi-Fi support will not be available at first, but PalmOne does expect to make a Wi-Fi card for the phone eventually.
  3. Microsoft says it will compete with Google in the desktop search arena, as well. The company plans to release its own desktop search program before the end of the year.
  4. Meanwhile Google shares were up another 15% on Friday, topping $180/share at one point. Thanks to a strong earnings report on Thursday, two analysts are saying it's worth over $200.
  5. Maybe there's good reason. According to a new survey by MSN Search, when men want advice they turn to search engines first. 50% of the men surveyed say they Google first, one-third say they ask family members, only one in four say they ask their wives first. One man in three has searched for his name online; only one in five women has done so.
  6. An AOL survey shows that 20% of home computers are infected with viruses. 80% are infected with spyware. Infected machines had an average of 93 different spyware programs on them. Technical experts from AOL and the National Cyber Security Alliance examined 329 computers in the survey. More than 70% of owners falsely thought they were protected from online threats.
  7. AOL is giving its seal of approval to a reworked Microsoft anti-spam proposal. The technology, known as Sender ID, was rejected by the IETF last month because it was encumbered by Microsoft patents. The patent has been restated but it's not clear whether open source advocates will accept the new proposal.
  8. The DOJ has given its go ahead for Cingular's acquisition of AT&T Wireless. The merger awaits FCC approval now. The merger will give Cingular 47.6 million subscribers, making it the number one wireless carrier.
  9. A fake Red Hat security alert is making the rounds. The alert, targeting users of Fedora, encourages users to download a "patch" which is actually a Trojan horse. Red Hat says don't install updates unless they're digitally signed by the company.
  10. The tech industry received a big tax break on Friday. President Bush signed a bill offering $136 billion in corporate tax relief, including a reduction from 35% to %5.25 in the tax rate on foreign profits for US multinationals. The breaks have been criticized for encouraging offshoring of jobs, but the US tech industry lobbied heavily for them saying they needed the money for additional R&D and investment. Senator Feinstein's amendment requiring companies to spend their tax windfall in the US was rejected.

Listen in Tuesday at 6:45a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.