Stories by Kim Zetter

Employers crack down on personal 'Net use

Tasha Newitt was aware her employer, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, had a policy restricting personal use of work computers, but she believed it focused on Web surfing, not e-mail. Nonetheless, she was careful to use her work e-mail primarily for professional matters. So she was stunned when the agency fired her after finding 418 personal e-mail messages received over a period of five months (or about 5 per workday) on her PC.

HP, bug-hunters declare truce

The relationship between software vendors and the bug hunters who sportingly seek out flaws in their products is often tenuous. Throw in some clashing egos, a perception of greed, and some poorly phrased communications and that relationship is likely to snap.

Trojan horse technology exploits IE hole

A new technology could let a Trojan horse disguise itself as the Internet Explorer browser and let hackers steal data from your PC by fooling firewalls into thinking it's a trusted Microsoft Corp. application, say three security consultants.

Motives of Code Red bug hunters questioned

Code Red's astonishing success at infecting computers has reignited a fierce debate about full disclosure--the practice of publishing information about security holes. The discussion has even led some to question the motives of those who discovered the hole in the Microsoft Corp. software that Code Red exploited.

Hacker's arrest prompts protest against Adobe

Hackers angry about the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) arrest of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov have spawned a campaign against Adobe Systems, which filed the complaint leading to the arrest in Las Vegas last week after Def Con, an annual conference for hackers.

What makes Johnny (and Jane) write viruses?

The friends and business colleagues who send you the likes of the unloving LoveLetter virus attachments and other unpleasant e-mail surprises are unwitting messengers, of course. Who's really responsible for computer viruses? And what's their motivation, anyway?
The popular perception of virus writer as a dysfunctional, pasty-faced teenager with no girlfriend and no life, who taps out malicious code to a backbeat of trance music, is too pat and not accurate, says Sarah Gordon, a researcher at IBM Corp.'s Thomas J. Watson Center who has been profiling virus writers since 1992.

How It Works: Viruses

Virus: A self-replicating piece of computer code that can partially or fully attach itself to files or applications, and can cause your computer to do something you don't want it to do.

Virus Series: Who Writes Worms

The friends and business colleagues who send you the likes of the unloving LoveLetter virus attachments and other unpleasant e-mail surprises are unwitting messengers, of course. Who's really responsible for computer viruses? And what's their motivation, anyway?