Mark Nichols runs an online gift shop and considers himself Internet savvy. Yet like so many other Web surfers, he got duped by an e-mail scam anyhow. \nA message saying it was from eBay Inc asked Nichols to submit his password and other personal information to a Web site. The e-mail had arrived shortly after Nichols' credit card had expired, so he didn't suspect the site was phony. \n"I was thinking, `You're right, I do need to go update my account,' and sure enough, I fell for it," said the Crosby, North Dakota man. \nAs these so-called phishing scams proliferate, companies are sharpening technological tools to counter them. Education alone, many agree, isn't enough. \nAnti-phishing software is apt to soon be added to the arsenal of digital shields forged to stop spam, viruses and hacking. Security companies are also building tools for banks and merchants to use behind the scenes. \nPhishing scams have been around for years but have in recent months become more numerous -- and sophisticated. \nScammers now copy and paste Web coding from real sites like Citibank's to give their fraudulent messages and the sites they lead to an aura of authenticity. \nThey register Internet addresses that look real, subbing the letter "l" with the numeral "1," for instance. A few messages even carry ads for that aura of authenticity. \n"What used to be a game and a prank has now been recognized as something that can be lucrative and has attracted organized efforts," said Bill Harris, chairman of PassMark Security LLC and former chief executive of PayPal, a frequent phishing target. \nThe Anti-Phishing Working Group, formed in October by industry and law enforcement, identified 282 new phishing scams in February, up from 176 a month earlier. About 70 percent have been traced to eastern Europe or Asia, said David Jevans, the group's chairman. \nA 19-year-old Houston man now faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to opening accounts and making purchases using information captured through phishing. For the most part, however, techniques scammers use and their locations abroad make them difficult to catch. \nJevans said no hard numbers are available on monetary losses from phishing, which represents only a sliver of overall fraud. The greater cost, he said, is in consumer confidence: Banks might suffer if customers shun online banking and insist on using more expensive tellers. \nIn Nichols' case, he realized his error early enough, so he quickly changed his eBay password. But the scams can be costly. \nTo fight back, eBay in February added an Account Guard feature to its toolbar for Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. A green light appears when users are on a site run by eBay or its PayPal subsidiary. The light goes red for known fraudulent sites. A warning also appears any time users try to enter their eBay or PayPal passwords elsewhere. \nRob Chesnut, eBay's deputy general counsel, said the company went with technology because education was a tough proposition. \n"It's quite easy for spoofers to create a page that looks like an eBay or PayPal page, so you can't teach users about the look of a page," he said. \nPostX Corp takes a similar approach, displaying green when e-mail has been digitally signed and verified, red when it shows signs of fraud. Others carry yellow. \nThe company's plug-in tools for browsers and e-mail programs, slated for release by June, will look for four basic phishing techniques, including a Web address that appears on-screen as one thing but has a different site embedded in the link. \nJeffrey Guilfoyle, a vice president at security company Solutionary Inc, said that while technology offers a quick fix, "from a longer-term perspective, education of the user base is really the only way to do that. Technology is always lagging."
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Alibaba is one of a number of Chinese firms that has answered Beijing’s call to invest in the development of cutting-edge technologies Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) yesterday unveiled a new server chip that is based on advanced 5-nanometer technology, marking a milestone in China’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency. The Chinese tech giant’s newest chip is based on micro-architecture provided by the SoftBank Group Corp-owned Arm Ltd, it said. Alibaba, which is holding its annual cloud summit in Hangzhou, China, said that the chip is to be used in its own data centers in the “near future” and would not, for the time being, be sold commercially. “Customizing our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better
‘SHORT-TERM ECONOMIC PAIN’: A military takeover would only temporarily weigh on wafer production on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, IC Insights said Taiwan has more chip manufacturing capacity than any other economy in the world, US-based market information advisory firm IC Insights said in a research paper last week, cautioning that the nation’s strength could prompt China to attempt to take over Taiwan. Taiwan commanded 21.4 percent of global installed IC capacity, ahead of South Korea’s 20.4 percent, Japan’s 15.8 percent and China’s 15.3 percent, North America’s 12.6 percent and Europe’s 5.7 percent, IC Insights said. Taiwan is one of two countries that uses 10-nanometer technology or better to produce wafers, holding 62.8 percent of global capacity, with South Korea holding the remaining 37.2
AGGRESSIVE STEP: With the new processors, Apple is aiming at the high-end chips Intel has provided for the MacBook Pro and other top-end Macs for about 15 years Apple Inc on Monday took the most aggressive step yet to strip Intel Corp chips from its computers, announcing more powerful homegrown Mac processors alongside a total revamp of its MacBook Pro laptop computers. The company showcased the chips at an event called “Unleashed,” which also included its latest audio products. The new components, called the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, are 70 percent faster than its M1 predecessors, Apple said. It also unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, adding larger screens, MagSafe charging and better resolution. With the new processors and devices, Apple is aiming squarely at the high-end chips that Intel has
PRICE SPREAD: Oil trading under the Brent futures contract is giving the US a hefty edge in pricing, increasing the rush to secure cheap fuel as winter approaches Asian demand for US oil is rising as the energy crisis boosts prices for other crudes that are priced against the global Brent futures contract. China and other Asian buyers have been snapping up supertankers of US oil for delivery next month and seeking more for December, some traders have said. Most buyers are seeking US grades that had recently slumped to the lowest levels in more than a year, with an added incentive after Beijing awarded millions of tonnes of crude oil import quotas. A wide spread between Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil futures is accommodating higher US crude