This company uses a charge-back system for IT support. "One particular user wasn't in the office much, but one day she came in and needed a bit of help," says IT. "I spent a couple of hours working on her issues, then I wrote the charge number for the department and the service down and recorded it in our time-capture application at the end of the month." A few weeks go by, and IT gets a call from that user's department at headquarters, asking about the charge. IT explains then logs a quarter-hour charge to the department for answering the question. A month later, there's another call. "Did you charge my department for something?" Yes, says IT, I had to look up my services to relate to the charges from a couple of months ago. "Are you charging me for this time?" Yes, says IT. No more calls.


It's budget time, and the annual ritual begins with the usual note from the company president to managers. And the IT manager gets right to it, reports admin on the scene. "We had several issues facing us, including two major software upgrades and replacing the minicomputer," admin says. The IT manager put forward realistic figures, but the president didn't like it and says he will "adjust" the numbers. Meanwhile, the IT manager has her hands full with an audit.

So when the president drops an envelope on the IT manager's desk containing $US56 in cash and two pipe cleaners, there is no note. He figures he'll know the money goes to the petty cash box that's kept in the server room, and the pipe cleaners go with the miscellaneous supplies. But when the president dropped by to ask the IT manager if she had seen the new budget there was a bit of confusion.


Jeanson James Ancheta was sentenced this month to almost five years in prison. He violated provisions of the US Computer Fraud Abuse Act and the CAN-SPAM Act, according to the sentence handed down in Los Angeles.

The sentence is one of the longest ever given for spreading computer viruses. The 20-year-old, controlled a network of more than 400,000 zombie computers or "bots". He built and controlled the network using a unique variant of the Trojan horse program called "rxbot".

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