Feeds

IBM buys into spookware

Bringing home the Kevin Bacon

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

IBM will soon be keeping a close eye on you thanks to its purchase of SRD (Systems Research and Development).

SRD, a small privately-held company based in Las Vegas, is best known for its ERIK and NORA identity management products. This spooky software collects data about an individual from various sources and is billed as a "customer relationship management" tool. SRD has been in business for 20 years and will now be part of IBM's Information Management software unit. No financial details about IBM's buy of SRD were revealed.

NORA ( Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness) is without doubt the most compelling product in SRD's arsenal. It's described by IBM as a great product for figuring out all you ever wanted to know about a customer.

"It's important to know who you're dealing with-and who they're dealing with," IBM says on its website. "Repeatedly, NORA has proven that a map of an individual's relationships provides a more complete view of their risk or value to your organization - whether they're a customer, prospect, or employee."

Ah, but how far does this map go?

"When it comes to customer relationship management, there's much to be gained in knowing that the person opening a new bank account is the brother of your best customer. If, on the other hand, security is the value proposition, then your ability to detect suspicious connections between individuals internal and external to your organization significantly decreases the threats of fraud, collusion, conflicts of interest, or even of the potential for corporate sabotage or terrorism."

NORA can search through databases of addresses, social security numbers, phone records and individual's contacts. It has been used, for example, by the gaming industry to track down cheats and note who the cheats talk to at casinos.

Real heart-warming stuff.

It's lovely to think that a piece of software can tell you when a huge customer's CEO has a birthday and then automatically send him a present based on his most recent purchases at Amazon.com. SRD's products, however, are less flattering when you think that they could lead to uncomfortable guilt by association scenarios. The Feds have proven that they have trouble dealing with digital evidence, and one wonders if IBM or its customers will be any better at the task. ®

Related stories

MS out of the bundling business?
Snowed-in code blamed for Comair's Xmas flight collapse
Cryptography Research wants piracy speed bump on HD DVDs

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.