Small Business Reading Room

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Corporate espionage 2007

The spies are getting smarter.

An AP article reports on a new and fairly low-tech e-mail scheme that could begin to create a high-class problem for significant numbers companies. The e-mail attackers appear to be after corporate secrets and have sought to infiltrate the computers of chief executives, chief financial officers, chief technology officers, and other senior managers.

This sounds like old news, right? After all, everyone no living under a rock knows about phishing scams these days. But this is a new and sophisticated take on an old-style attack with troubling implications for corporations.

What sets this new wave apart is that messages come addressed to the right individual, with subjects that are relevant to their jobs. One example given was an attack that posed as job applications for review by a corporate executive. The MS Word attachment that was emailed could actually contain a Trojan horse, or a malicious program disguised as a benign one, and it could have been delivered right to the desktop of the CEO.

Is this the excuse we are all looking for to not read any more email?
Probably not. I for one have no intentions of dusting off my fax machine.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Being a college student, one of the newest "tools" for social networking is Facebook.

Facebook, like MySpace, is a site where I can post a profile and 'friend' my friends, so that I have access to their online profiles, and they have access to mine.

My profile can have all kinds of information about me, my name, phone number, email address, favorite movies, favorite quotes, and even pictures. This was all great because I knew that the people seeing my information were only my friends who I 'friended' to have access to my profile.

Now many stories are coming about how non-college students are getting on Facebook and getting access to many profiles of people they are not friends with. The newest trend is using Facebook for campus police and officials to monitor student activities and find out where parties will be before they happen.

An incident that hits close to home is one that occurred at The University of Delaware, where I go to school. The assistant director in the judicial affairs department, Matt Lenno, created a fake profile on Facebook using a fake name.

Mr. Lenno took the opportunity to break Facebook policy and used it to view online student profiles and pictures to prosecute students for information he found on profiles and pictures.

The campus police also have online profiles, and are constantly using the tool to break up parties and know what is going on around campus. They are not the only ones viewing your profile. The newest employment trend is to take a look at online profiles before a new employee is hired.

Personally, I find this trend a bit disturbing that officials and even your future employer can get on and view information not intended for them. At the same time, the information may not be for a lot of people that are viewing you profile, and you do not even know it.

My advice, don't post anything, anywhere, on the internet if it is personal or something that has the potential to cause trouble for you down the line.

Monday, October 01, 2007

World Traveler

It's no secret that I'm interested in our world and its people. I'm lucky to have a job where I have the opportunity to work with international clients. I enjoy talking to people from other countries and working with them to create favorable results for their company and mine.

As quoted in British author Rebecca West notes that "International relationships are ... preordained to be clumsy gestures based on imperfect knowledge." You can read the quote here.

Well, imperfect knowledge we may have, but Executive Planet can help us with that. They have a guide for international business travelers that includes general country information, guides to business dress, appointment making, negotiating, and so much more.

The next time you are going to Taiwan and need some gift-giving ideas
or wondering what to wear for a London business meeting you can prepare yourself with this handy guide.

link to Atom Feed




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