From Russia with Love... Vodka or Faberge on Your Holiday Shopping List?

    Greetings, NSDCAR members!
    I have suspected for some time, based on the real addresses of origin of much of the SPAM email I receive, that something nasty was coming from Eastern Europe, and at least one major tech publisher, Ziff-Davis, is now alluding to confirmed ties between SPAM and Spy-Ware and the Russian "mafia", or organized crime syndicate.  Apparently, these baddies are into identity theft on an industrial scale, and they're getting better at it!
    Spy-Ware and Ad-Ware, predicted to be one of the major technical issues in 2005, are programs that install in your system, usually from web pages or web-language (HTML) email messages.  These little remote-controlled "robots", as they are sometimes incorrectly termed, can do many nefarious things, from logging all your passwords and sending them to a pre-programmed server, to storing your every keystroke so that the sender of the nasty little program can monitor your email or other online activities.  These programs are sold to jealous wives, suspicious of a husband's possible on-line affair or cyber-sex habit, to concerned parents who wish to monitor their children's Internet activities and protect them from predators, to web marketing companies wishing to accurately assess the efficacy of their web advertising, and on  and on and on. 
    Look for some far-reaching new legislation in the coming year, and for some new products from companies like Microsoft.  The Bill Gates minions from Redmond are about to jump into the Spy-Ware game, in a big way.  It's one of the fastest-growing new software "niche" markets, and Microsoft's not about to let such a revenue stream go untapped.

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