Channel Marker


May 31, 2007  12:21 PM

Super spammer Soloway canned

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

The Associated Press is reporting this morning that Robert Alan Soloway, infamous spammer, was arrested yesterday by authorities in Seattle. Soloway is accused of hijacking unwitting victims’ computers, turning them into “zombies” and then using those computers to send out millions of spam emails.

Last week, the AP says, a federal grand jury returned a 35-count indictment, charging Soloway with mail fraud, wire fraud, email fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

This is not the first time that Soloway has found himself in court over his spamming practices. In 2005, Microsoft won a $7 million judgment against him and Robert Braver, owner of an Oklahoma-based ISP, won a $10 million civil judgment.

According to the SearchSecurity.com, authorities believe that Internet users could see a noticeable decrease in the amount of junk email they find in their inboxes and spam folders as a result of this arrest.

Though this is all good news for value-added resellers and security consultants who defend their customers’ networks from spammers like Soloway, that last bit seems a tad overly optimistic. There are many many people out there who will eagerly fill Soloway’s shoes in his absence (maximum sentence, if convicted, being 65 years in a federal prison).

Security consultants aren’t expected to loosen their email security strategies. Antispam standards and email security products have not been made obsolete by this one arrest. Unfortunately, Soloway is just one in an entire culture of spammers who exploit the networks of small and midsized businesses to earn an easy buck. VARs still need to keep their strategies fresh and up-to-date.

That said, it’s nice to know that Soloway won’t be enjoying the nice cars he likes to brag about for a long time.

~Eric Pierce

May 31, 2007  7:04 AM

Channel news: Jobs, Gates get jolly onstage; IM attacks rise 73%

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Jobs and Gates bury the hatchet Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, two of the greatest rivals in technology, made a rare joint appearance last night, but surprised followers of their bitter saga by showering each other with praise. [TimesOnline]

IM attacks so far increased 73% over 2006 Security researchers at Akonix have uncovered 170 malware attacks over IM this year. [eWEEK]

Five reasons to prepare — now — for more mobile security threats So far, mobile security threats have been rare and have been more annoying than dangerous. That’s changing rapidly, a security expert says. [Computerworld] Continued »


May 30, 2007  1:47 PM

Google reaches for an application security blanket

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

While Google is in the news after coming under antitrust scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department due to its planned purchase of online advertising juggernaut DoubleClick, its purchase of GreenBorder attracted, well, a bit less attention.One of the worst-kept secrets at Google is its ambitious plans for its online application suite, which has been bolstered in recent years by purchases of services such as Writely (a word processor) and JotSpot (a WYSIWYG wiki). But concerns about data security, spyware and computer viruses continue to bedevil their efforts — at least from a public relations standpoint.

As the unofficial Google Operating System blog notes, GreenBorder creates a mini VPN session for each Internet session, therefore bulletproofing it from computer viruses, spyware and malware. The protected Web-based applications are displayed in a browser window surrounded (you guessed it) by a green border. When the session is over, users close the GreenBorder VPN session, and all cached information is removed. VARs will be able to respond to this ever-changing application security landscape by continuing to offer network security beyond the green border.

It’s not difficult to see why Google would buy GreenBorder. With GreenBorder now in the company’s software stables, Google can make a stronger case that the sensitive data contained within its online application suite is safe from cyber scoundrels. Google is betting that, with a little help from friends such as GreenBorder, it has solved the problem of network security for those who see online applications as the wave of the future.

Googlified notes that

Andrew Garcia called it “a novel approach to combating Microsoft Corp. Outlook- or Internet Explorer-borne malware.” And according to KeyLabs (now part of AppLabs), “GreenBorder was broader than and superior to that afforded by traditional anti-spyware and antivirus packages.”

Marketing bluster aside, the tie-up between Google and GreenMarket doesn’t deliver a death blow for Symantec, Norton and other computer security firms, or for VARs that provide comprehensive network security solutions. At least not yet. After all, GreenBorder is a Web-based application that won’t impact corporate users of Office 2007 who rely on antivirus software, spam filters and similar tools that protect their corporate data networks.

Matt Donnelly


May 30, 2007  7:21 AM

Channel news: CDW to go private; Mac Office users face compatibility gaps

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Equity firm to acquire CDW Madison Dearborn Partners will acquire the CDW Corporation, a leading online computer reseller, for $7.3 billion. [NYT]

Mac users face hurdles with new Office versions Companies that use Microsoft Office on both Macintosh and Windows PCs will have to deal with cross-platform compatibility issues with the new Office 2008 productivity suite. [eWEEK]

Vulnerabilities in Cisco IOS processing SSL packets Cisco IOS devices may crash while processing malformed Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) packets. In order to trigger these vulnerabilities, a malicious client must send malformed packets during the SSL protocol exchange with the vulnerable device. [Cisco] Continued »


May 29, 2007  9:51 PM

Network Appliance pushes SMB product into Canadian channel

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

StoreVault, a Network Appliance Inc. division that provides storage systems to small and medium size businesses, has inked a deal with Tech Data Corporation to distribute the StoreVault S500 storage system in Canada.

Under the terms of the agreement, Canadian value added resellers will sell the product, have access to Tech Data’s local resources and participate in events that will assist VARs to introduce the product to Canadian small businesses.

“With this announcement we are actively looking to recruit new partners for the StoreVault partner program.  We expect around 150 channel partners over the next 12 months,” said Sajai Krishnan, general manager of the StoreVault Business Unit.

Among its features the StoreVault S500 supports NAS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity, provides backup and restore functionality and can scale up to 6 terabytes of storage. The StoreVault S500 is available immediately and is sold exclusively through the channel.


May 29, 2007  3:18 PM

High-speed Linux machine crashes

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

Ok, so maybe cars aren’t the core business of most IT VARs. But still, when the Linux car at the Indy 500 is the first to crash, that can’t be a great sign, right? Driver Roberto Moreno hit the outside wall on turn 1 of lap 38 and eventually came in last in the race.

Roberto’s car #77 featured Linux’s mascot, Tux the penguin — the culmination of the Tux 500 project, which raised $18,308.90 to put the logo front-and-center on the car.

Oh, well. Good drivers were never Linux’s strong point.


May 29, 2007  6:50 AM

Channel news: Novell outlines worst-case GPL scenario; MSFT cancels Oct. PDC

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Novell outlines GPLv3 worst-case scenario The final draft of the GNU General Public License version 3 could interfere with Novell’s controversial patent covenant with Microsoft, Novell has admitted. [Computer Business Review]

Microsoft cancels Fall PDC Microsoft cancels its Professional Developer Conference that was scheduled for this fall. [eWEEK]

Apple patches more than a dozen holes in OS X Five uber updates in as many months. [TheReg] Continued »


May 28, 2007  2:18 PM

Beware Best Buy

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

An eWeek article recently reported that Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is suing Best Buy for deceptive advertising practices. According to the article, the prices listed on the in-store kiosks were higher than prices advertised on Bes tBuy.com.

In the article Blumenthal is quoted as saying, ” The in-store site was an internet look-alike, commonly with higher prices, that were charged to customers.”

The lawsuit asks restitution be paid to customers who paid the higher price because of Best Buy’s misrepresentation.

I decided to peruse the blogosphere; this is what I found.

A Techdirt blogger named Joe Weisenthal posted an expose dated February 9th. Best Buy’s in-store Web site might not be BestBuy.com reports that customers who were drawn to a sale advertised on BestBuy.com were told — once they were at the store– that the sale was over. Employees pulled up price information from the in-store kiosks. One savvy customer got on a computer in the store and checked on the actual BestBuy.com, which listed the sale as ongoing. This customer concluded that the electronic megastore had a secret internal Web site that looked like the real site. 

On March 2nd, techdirt blogger Mike Marsnick wrote, “We had more than a few Best Buy employees confirm that such an internal site exists.

A Hartford Courant article, also dated March 2, reported that state investigators pressured the company into admitting to the fake  site.

Things aren’t looking good for Best Buy; however blogger Kyle Mom’s wrote “Best Buy is a great company.” He pointed at untrained empoyees who “don’t know how to access the external site” and posted this clip from a Best Buy employee newsletter.

“Have you ever had a customer come in with a BestBuy.com printout that reflected on price on a product, but when you looked it up on your in-store kiosk it was another price. That’s because the BestBuy.com kiosk in your store reflects your store’s pricing, not necessarily the online BestBuy.com offers….Be aware of the differences, so you can price match the prices the customer sees on BestBuy.com and avoid confusing the customer.”

My question is why the difference in price? Comments, questions, enlightenment? We’d love to hear from you.


May 25, 2007  7:20 AM

Channel news: Spoofing technique passes filters; Microsoft open-source signals mixed

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Strange spoofing technique evades antiphishing filtersTargets include PayPal, eBay and others. [TheReg]

Microsoft crosses signals on open source Days after saying that open source software infringes on its patents, Microsoft discloses its plan to build bridges between Active Directory and OpenLDAP. [SearchWinIT.com]

Connecticut sues Best Buy for deceiving customers State’s Attorney General: “Best Buy treated its customers like suckers” by using “a technological bait-and-switch-plus.” [eWEEK] Continued »


May 24, 2007  12:01 PM

StillSecure’s new network security partner program

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

Value-added resellers looking to expand their portfolios in the area of network security have a new opportunity. In his blog, The Converging Network, Mitchell Ashley, StillSecure CTO and GM, has announced that the secure network infrastructure vendor is launching their StillSecure Cobia Partner Program.

Cobia, an open source unified network platform, will allow value-added resellers the chance to offer their customers Cobia’s network security features, as well as appliances, software and support.

According to Ashley, “Cobia changes the playing field in the network infrastructure industry. As an open, modular, community source platform, it offers a virtually unlimited number of products and services that resellers, software vendors and hardware manufacturers can offer. It’s a game changing opportunity for a broad ecosystem of partners who are looking for new revenue sources rather than having to fight it out selling the same traditional fixed appliances with razor thin margins.”

Buzzwords aside, StillSecure is offering three partner programs: for VARs, ISVs and OEMs. According to the press release, the vendor will provide partners with “online sales tools, technical training, support resources and co-marketing opportunities.”

According to Lou Rubbo, Principal of DirSec, one of the numerous VARs already onboard, “With Cobia, DirSec can solve both networking and security needs on one platform. Plus, Cobia’s virtualization capabilities provide us with a whole new market that we can build products and services around.”

~Eric Pierce


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