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Monday, October 22, 2001
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Anthrax scare

A computer virus purporting to provide information about anthrax and its side effects has been discovered, computer security experts told Reuters. The new computer virus, technically a worm because it is self-propagating, is spreading through e-mail systems and instant relay chat channels on the Internet where people "talk" in real-time, according to Steven Sundermeier, product manager at Central Command which monitors corporate e-mail systems for viruses. The e-mail, written in Spanish, has a subject line that says "Antrax Info." The message claims that the attachment is a photo that shows what the side effects of anthrax are. Once the attachment is opened the worm spreads itself to everyone listed in the email address book. The worm also can overwrite certain files on remote drives, Central Command said in a statement on its Website.

Mobile purchases

Starting next year, mobile-phone users will be able to take part in trials allowing them to use their handsets to pay for a variety of goods and services - from cinema tickets and carpark charges to pizzas. About $20 million will be invested in the trials by wireless-industry players and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), which will pay up to 60 per cent of the cost from its $200-million ‘Wired with Wireless’ fund, set up last October to spur wireless development here, The Straits Times reports.The IDA said that it will contribute between $7 million and $12 million, depending on the success of the trials.During the trial, mobile-phone users can pay for purchases at selected shops and have meals in selected hotels.

 


ITC subsidiary

ITC Infotech India Ltd, the information technology subsidiary of ITC Ltd is considering IT enabled services as a new line of business. ITC Infotech MD, Sanjay Verma, told the Hindustan Times that the company would not like to let go of the opportunity to invest in this area."We are looking at the prospect of investing in the field. We are definitely not into low-tech areas like medical transcription. However, opportunities in higher-end call centres are being actively considered," he said. The areas that Verma has in mind are online help desks and support services. The decision is a result of the growing need in the US to outsource processes and back office services in order to save on costs. Verma said that the company is aggressively recruiting people and has plans to recruit 400 persons in the current calendar year. Of these, 50 people have already come on board and are undergoing training.

Hard days ahead

The country’s Info-tech sector may find the going tougher in the second half of the current fiscal with a number of US companies having indicated that they would squeeze their technology spending in the wake of the attacks as per a news item published in The Hindu. A Morgan Stanley survey of 225 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from various industries has revealed that nearly a third are likely to spend less on technology or are likely to review major expenditures due to the impact of the attacks. While four per cent of the CIOs stated that they were likely to "significantly curb IT expenditure," and two per cent said that they might suspend major projects, seven per cent said they were likely to spend ‘slightly less.’ The report also found that 19 per cent were likely to review major expenditure.

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