Security Web Digest: Spam Taking Over

Security firm claims there was more spam than legit mail in May BSA claims progress on piracy A Sony subsidiary will sell self-destructing movies Senator introduces anti-DRM bill India proposes data protecti


Slow, steady progress is being made in the fight against software piracy in the workplace, but Internet software piracy continues to be a problem, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said in an announcement Tuesday. According to the latest annual BSA study, the global piracy rate for commercial software has decreased to 39% from a high of 49% in 1994, when the group began its surveys. That amounts to some $13 billion in annual losses to software companies, said Bob Kruger, vice president of enforcement at the BSA.

The Business Software Alliance recently aimed its software-sniffing Web crawler specifically at Asia-Pacific sites, according to a BSA representative. The action was prompted by the high rates of Internet-based piracy in the region, which is beginning to rival more traditional methods such as illegal discs, said Jeffrey Hardee, BSA regional director, Asia-Pacific. So far, software-swapping Web sites have been found in Singapore, Korea, Australia, Taiwan, Japan and China, he said.

The So-net ISP, a subsidiary of electronics maker Sony, will sell downloadable movie files that self-destruct after a given time. The company has incorporated a digital rights management (DRM) technology from software maker Japan Wave into its service, which should make copying impossible. Instead of saving a video to a single file and location, Japan Waves technology splits the data into numerous directories on a hard disk. People need to download special software to play back the various pieces as a continuous movie. Those who manage to join up the files wont be able to use them for very long. Software embedded in the file is designed to cause it to self-destruct after a given time.

A Republican senator said Wednesday that he drafted a bill that would scale back the ability of record labels, movie studios and software companies to use anticopying technology. The bill, authored by Sen. Sam Brownback, would give the Federal Trade Commission the power to ban DRM systems that limit a consumers right to resell any "digital media product." The bill would also require that a copyright holder obtain a judges approval before receiving the name of an alleged peer-to-peer pirate. That would amend the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which a federal court concluded enables a copyright holder to force the disclosure of a suspected pirates identity without a judges review.


Indias Ministry of Information Technology and the countrys main software trade association are drafting a data protection act designed to allay growing privacy concerns in the U.S. and Europe related to offshore outsourcing. The legislation, expected to be enacted around the beginning of next year, would provide legal safeguards to ensure data privacy protection in India, said Kiran Karnik, president of the National Association of Software and Service Companies, known as Nasscom, in New Delhi. Currently there are no U.S. laws that prohibit that data from being shipped to or accessed from other countries.

Spam exceeded legitimate email for the first time in May, according to statistics provided by MessageLabs, a UK-based company which provides email security services. MessageLabs reported that 55 percent of the total number of emails which were scanned by its anti-spam service in May - about 134 million - were spam, an increase of 15 percent on April.