Gambling Anglo-Saxons lose 419 shirt to rampaging virus

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Letters Today we learn about poker.

VeriSign calls ICANN bluff in world’s biggest game of poker

I'm no poker expert, but wouldn't ITU need a king to have a royal flush?

-Paul Komarek

If Verisign plays the poker analogy of a Four of Kind with Kings, then no opponent can have a royal flush.

Four kings can only be beaten by Four Aces, or by any straight, with the high card at maximum a Queen.

Just a nit....

Lodewijk Bonebakker

So that bluff would not have worked against either of you then? Damn.

The Anglo-Saxons get another knock, but not for language this time:

Subject: VeriSign versus ICANN

As with any great system like railways, road-system, health or pension systems, Anglo-Saxon kind of capitalism just can't provide the best solution for the most people. Internet grew up on an invention for everyone - WWW and it has been a fruit of another European cooperation - CERN. Now it should go to where it belongs - ITU. At least both organisations are based in Switzerland.

Yours faithfully,

Sava Zxivanovich

At this point, we are sure several of you are itching to write in explaining that Capitalism is no Anglo-Saxon invention, but can be at least partially attributed to the Dutch who founded the first international bank, on which the Bank of England was based. (No banks, no trade, no capitalism.)

There is no need. But thanks for the thought.

Click on this, you muthas prompted a few emails:

I was wondering why we readers are subjected every week to the same old "why are people still clicking on infected attachments?" styled articles. They are always the same, always open ended offering no better insight into the situation than the last story.

Almost two years ago the paper "How to Own the Internet in Your Spare Time" was published which should have marked a significant step forward towards a solution to today’s digital epidemic. Computer viruses are a social and technical issue.

Can we now see some stories that focus on what is being done to eradicate viruses? We might even learn how we can contribute to this cause beyond simply installing some virus scanning software and keeping it updated.



As did the scandal of the 419 glut at El Reg:


It’s true… im getting fed up of it also, the kind of people that read your site aren’t dumb arse users y’know?

It’s like giving us a virus report every time the teeniest of viruses breaks out, and then explaining to us not to open attachments in our emails.

Props to Dave for the screenshot.


Subject: that 419 whinger

He doesn't have to read them all. I enjoy them, especially the recent Shakespearean one.

Sylvia List

As you can see Sylvia, we have not taken any criticism to heart.



raises some interesting questions:

Subject: Kazaa trial judge delays hearing

I have a question related to the attempts to sue the P2P network software companies by various recording associations around the world.

If a software company ends up being sued successfully because its customers used the software for illegal purposes, does that set a precedent? For example could a gun manufacturer then be sued if someone was shot, or the post office if someone was posting illegal material? After all, there are legal uses for guns and the post office.

To my legally unsophisticated mind it would seem inconsistent if it didn't set a precedent, but faintly ridiculous if it did.

I'm not a user of P2P networking software for any purpose, nor am I particularly pro/anti gun and I do post letters.


Matthew Bromley-Barratt

Anyone have any ideas about this? Answers on a postcard…

Thoughts on Microsoft

Subject: Letters Section: Re WMP

With regard to the EU investigation on Microsoft, a possible remedy is the removal of Windows Media Player (WMP). Another is a disclosure of the details on interoperability.

Microsoft has a history of abusing the judgements on it. I fear that if they produced an OS as a WMP-less version, it would be offered either as a "broken" version or costing extra (it takes money to remove products, don't you know).

Why has no one suggested interoperability with WMP! If MS want to include WMP, I say let them.

But as a condition of doing so (at least in the EU), MS should be compelled to publish the WMP format as a standard. Note I'm NOT referring to the source of the media player, but only to the format of the data (e.g. the sound/movie) files.

The WMP code would obviously remain the IP of MS (why not, after all they created it), but at least competition (Realnetworks, Linux) could write alternative and possibly free versions.

I cannot see how anyone loses by this solution:

  • MS is (for once) a good guy by releasing to the world its "new/improved" format, but would be unable to use it as a lever
  • As an open standard, improvements could be made
  • The EU would presumably be happy that MS has attempted to compete fairly
  • Media developers (no matter how small) would get the standard and hence likely to use the format
  • Media moguls get to see the uptake of the format accelerate
  • Realnetwork developers can produce their own media player
  • Likewise, Linux developers could write a GPL version

As someone said, the code belongs to the developer, but the data belongs to us.

Kind regards

Chris Seager

And finally, a letter that is Smithers-like in its defence of the Beast of Redmond:

Subject: Letter for the editor

Dear Sir,

Earlier this month, Microsoft was wrongly criticised for failing to alert businesses to a serious flaw in its Windows operating system. If a security breach had occurred and a finger needed to be pointed, it would have been at the IT managers, who failed to use the tools provided by Microsoft to fix the issue they had been alerted to.

Microsoft had in fact alerted all its customers to the fault and made a free corrective patch available on its website. Once installed this would have eliminated any risk from hacker attack. Therefore, it could be said that it is this failure to understand the importance of security patches that is leaving businesses open to hacker attack and not simply flaws in software.

However, managing software updates can be a major issue. Deploying these updates and patches to hundreds of PC’s across multiple sites is both costly and timely – but it doesn’t need to be.

There is software available that does the job for the IT manager. It logs each PC off, having saved any open documents, installs the patches and then reboots the PC so it is ready for the user – minimising business and end user disruption. All the IT manager has to do is action one single mouse click at the SMS console.

The question therefore left unanswered is: Was the recent Microsoft scare really justified - how can we criticise a company who alerts its customers to a problem and immediately provides a solution?

Sumir Karayi, Founder & Director, 1E

How indeed? ®

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