IT is in network manager's office when the phone rings: it's a technician asking if the network team removed any switches from one of this hospital's buildings. "The users had frantically come up to the technician reporting switches missing," IT says. "The answer was no -- no network hardware had been removed from the area." A little more digging and the problem becomes clear. "It was light switches that were missing," he said.


Wisconsin in the US is one of the first states to ban the forcible implantation of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags into humans. The ban dictates that no person may force another to have a microchip implanted in his body. Violators face fines of $US10,000 each day until the chip is removed. A spokeswoman said the law targets RFID technology, though it bans the implantation of any microchip without consent. Proposed laws that seek to limit the use of RFID devices because of data privacy and security concerns are under discussion in 19 US states.


A former systems administrator for financial services firm UBS AG went on trial last week for allegedly infecting the company's network with malicious code that cost millions of dollars in recovery work. The former employee pled not guilty to the charges of securities fraud, computer sabotage and mail fraud. Federal prosecutors painted Roger Duronio as an employee so irate about his less-than-desired salary bonus in late 2001 that he developed malicious code to delete files and cause a major disruption on UBS' network once the "computer bomb" detonated. Shortly after Duronio created the code in late 2001, he quit his job and banked thousands in "put" options against UBS, in which he would profit if the company's stock price declined by March 15, 2002. The damage caused by the bomb impaired trading at the firm that day, hampering more than 1000 servers and 17,000 individual work stations. The attack cost UBS about $US3 million to assess and repair.

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