Cyber Ramblings - Mar 13, 2001

13 March 2001
Compiled by Kevin Smith

ICANN Concludes Meetings on Future of TLDs
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) finished a round of meetings Tuesday and is asking for the public to give its input on the future of .com, .net and .org Top-Level Domains.

The meetings were spurred by an agreement in which ICANN reached recently with VeriSign that allowed VeriSign to extended its rights to run the master list for .com names in exchange of giving up control of .org names. Several members of the public complained, saying the deal would undo two years of efforts to promote competition in registering domain names. ICANN Chairman Vint Cerf scheduled an April 2 teleconference call to decide whether to accept the deal. Public comments are due March 31. ICANN is hoping to decide what action it will take within three weeks. Rolls Out New TLDs
While ICANN continues to figure out the future of the .com, .net and .org TLDs, one company is proposing that the firm enact 20 new TLDs. released such TLDs as .shop, .mp3 and .kids, which it hopes can be introduced to the Internet world. In addition to introducing the new TLDs, has developed software that makes these new TLDs work when entered into a browser as long as software is being used at the network, ISP or user level. The first 20 top-level domains being released are: .shop, .mp3, .inc, .kids, .sport, .family, .chat, .video, .club, .hola, .soc, .med, .law, .travel, .game, .free, .ltd, .gmbh, .tech and .xxx. In November 2000, ICANN announced seven new top level domains: .biz, .name, .museum, .pro, .aero, .coop and .info. Going Again
Walt Disney Co. changed has its plans once again for its Internet portal. After announcing last month that it was going to fold its portal the company has instead decided to infuse technology it purchased last year from a competitor. Disney launched a redesigned site quietly last Wednesday, replacing its extensive series of articles and its powerful Infoseek search engine with links to content on other Disney-owned sites, including and In place of Infoseek--which Disney acquired in 1998 to launch its portal--searches will be performed by Last May, Disney agreed to pay Pasadena-based $21.5 million to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit. In January 2001, the Walt Disney Internet Group said it would lay off 400 workers and shutter its money-losing Web portal. It said it would also sell some of its assets, including the Infoseek search engine.

Microsoft, eBay Form Alliance
As more and more online companies are closing up shop, eBay is hoping its latest move will continue to keep the popular auction site in good standing. The company announced a partnership with Microsoft Corp. that will see some MSN Web sites incorporate eBay auctions into their offerings. Such sites as the Carpoint auto-shopping service and bCentral service for small businesses will include the latest eBay auctions with related items. Perhaps more importantly, the arrangement will let software programmers use Microsoft Web-design tools to develop applications that work with the massive eBay site. That could help bring eBay's auctions to pagers, Web-connected TVs and handheld computers, and to new places on the Internet.

eSignX Obtains Patent for Mobile Digital Signature
A new patent issued Tuesday to eSignX, a mobile security company, could lead to signature software coming to a wide range of new products. The two patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are for eSignX's digital signature module and its digital signature verifier. The signature module is for mobile phones and PDAs that enables the user to identify and authenticate files with a signature. The signature verifier is used on a server and processes the digital signatures.

Convention on Cybercrime Holds Assembly
Debate continues to rage in Europe over the Council of Europe’s draft Convention on Cybercrime. Paris was the site yesterday as a parliamentary assembly from the Council met. The Council hopes it will become the first international treaty on cybercrime, targeting penal law and criminal procedure to combat various types of illegal acts using computerized systems, networks and data. The legislation continues to be a work in progress though as the bill has seen more than two dozen revisions, most of which supporters of the bill feel has diluted the cause. A consultant for the Dutch government told the assembly that the draft gives too much power to law enforcement agencies and has no system of checks and balances. A U.S. consultant said the draft fails to protect the privacy of individuals against being spied upon. The Council's director of legal affairs said there are unlikely to be significant amendments before the draft is finalized. The final text could be approved at its next plenary session in June 2001, after which it will be submitted to the Committee of Ministers for adoption.

Hackers Steal 1 Million Credit Card Numbers
A host of computer hackers, many from Eastern Europe, were able to steal more than one million credit card numbers from various US e-commerce and financial sites, according to the FBI. The FBI said many e-commerce site operators had failed to heed warnings issued since 1998 about vulnerabilities of certain software systems. It said more than 40 sites were hit in recent months by hackers, sometimes seeking to carry out extortion. The investigation also showed that many of the jobs were done by organized groups of hackers in Russia and Ukraine.

Paul Allen Object of Identity Theft
The New York Post reported this week that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen was the target of an identity thief. Also targeted was Metromedia International Group Chairman John Kluge and other executives who allegedly had their identities stolen and bank accounts looted by two Internet thieves, according to a report. Abraham Abdallah, 32, and Michael Puglisi, 47, both from Brooklyn, N.Y., allegedly stole at least $100,000 and as much as $1 million by obtaining data about a dozen wealthy people through the Internet and transferring money from their bank accounts, the New York Post said, citing police. The two men are charged with criminal impersonation, possession of forged instruments and attempted grand larceny. They had targeted banking, telecommunications, brokerage and venture capital executives, the paper said. Bank officials began investigating when the pair allegedly tried to transfer $10 million from the account of an unnamed executive who is on Forbes magazine's list of richest Americans, the paper said.