Mailstrom Alert!

The time: 11:55 p.m. The date: April 15. The place: Spencer's neighborhood Kinko's.


Sent: Monday, April 21, 2003 1:26 AM

To: eWEEK readers

Subject: A Perl script for a catalog cataclysm

The time: 11:55 p.m. The date: April 15. The place: Spencers neighborhood Kinkos. We find the tax-stressed Tabby waiting in line to get copies of his tax forms before "skatting" to the post office to mail them. Spencer was about to scream at the geeky-looking kid behind the counter to make it snappy when the kid handed him his tax forms—and he realized the awesome power the kid now held over him.

With access to his name and address—not to mention his Social Security number—the kid, if aggravated, could easily retaliate by sending kinky catalogs to his significant other. Worse, Spencer remembered reading an e-mail about three security researchers who realized that typing these words into Google—request catalog name address city state zip—will bring up links to more than 250,000 Web forms for mail-order catalogs. A disgruntled party using a standard form parser, along with a few lines of Perl script, could toss an intended victims info onto all 250,000 forms and let the also-disgruntled legion of U.S. postal workers carry out the dirty work. The researchers also claim that such an attack could be aimed at gridlocking a local post office by targeting many individuals in the same ZIP code. Spencer clicked on to read the researchers white paper. "Yikes, talk about clogging your portal at both ends," he grimaced.

It seems HP isnt having a problem getting things—in this case people—out the door. A Tabby tattler claimed that HPs Enterprise Group, which is basically the Unix and Intel server groups combined and which reported its operating loss to be about $83 million last quarter, had reportedly been making some money on the Intel side. So, natch, the Intel and not the Unix folks will feel the axe—by up to 20 percent. A spokesman for HP told the Kitty that the layoffs are just part of the ongoing cuts that were announced at the time of the merger with Compaq. "Nice. Carly has HP-invented a reverse rewards program," Spencer meowmbled to himself.

Meanwhile, WorldCom CEO Michael Capellas is proving hes worth every penny of the $14.4 million HP handed him to leave. His first masterstroke? Change the tarnished name to iconic but old-hat MCI. "I guess he never got the invent part of HP," pondered the Puss.

Texas Instruments is cutting about 800 employees at its Attleboro, Mass., facility. The jobs, which include sensor and control manufacturing, are shifting to China, Korea and Mexico. El Gato heard engineering positions may eventually follow suit. "I think I hear that sucking sound Ross Perot once described as American jobs going down the drain getting louder," lamented the Lynx, as he got his taxes to the P.O. by 11:59:59.

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...