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Businessweek Archives

Virtual Vengeance At Last!

Bits & Bytes


BUSY SIGNALS, BROKEN "hot links," slow downloads, outdated information. These are just some of the things that infuriate Internet surfers. SegaSoft, a division of Sega of America Inc., wants to help them blow off some steam.

The Redwood City (Calif.) company is offering for free download via its World Wide Web site a program called Web Vengeance. Designed for PCs running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 95, the software allows users to riddle Web images with virtual rotten eggs, tomatoes, and bullets. Since the antics occur on the user's Web browser and not on the site itself, there's no permanent harm done. SegaSoft officials say the most popular target by far for Web Vengeance is America Online Inc.'s home page because of the recent problems that have outraged many of AOL's 8 million members. In fact, SegaSoft recently concluded a contest where for a chance at a $1,000 prize, entrants submitted digital snapshots of how they "virtually egged" AOL's home page. AOL joined in on the fun by adding a "defense" program to its home page. Net surfers who now try to egg the page will see a food tray pop up and attempt to protect the image of the page.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENGReturn to top

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CONVINCED THAT YOUR company needed access to the Internet, you've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment, personnel, and training. But how are employees really using the company's Internet connections? To help managers of corporate information systems study this issue, Sequel Technology Corp. in Bellevue, Wash., offers its Net Access Manager.

Sequel's software runs on the corporate network server and monitors activity over the company's intranet and links to the Internet. The program can keep track of which Web sites are requested most often, when data traffic across the company's links is the most congested, what kind of files are being downloaded and passed around the intranet, as well as other vital information. While the software can link specific activity to individual employees, spying on employees is not the point, say Sequel executives. By giving managers the tools to track corporate Net activity, execs can make better decisions about their Internet strategies and "acceptable use" policies. Reports generated by Net Access Manager might show, for example, that Net traffic is highest at noon because employees are jamming the network with tons of E-mail. So instead of spending more money on another access line, managers could institute an E-mail ban during lunch or just reprogram the server to send E-mail at different times.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENGReturn to top


MOST COMPANIES AREN'T aware that their corporate network has been breached by a malicious hacker until it's too late. By the time they discover the violation, the damage has been done, and the culprits are long gone.

A small Atlanta company is offering an alarm-system solution for corporate networks. Internet Security System's RealSecure software runs on a computer server and constantly monitors the client company's links to the Internet for known hacker tricks such as "pinging," whereby a hacker blasts messages out to the network in hopes of getting an answer back from--and therefore a way into--a vulnerable computer. When the software detects an attack, it immediately sends an alarm to security managers, who can either automatically cut off access or track the perpetrator within the corporate network to see what he or she is doing. The price of the RealSecure program ranges from $800 for a small network with 10 machines to $1 million for a large corporate network.By Ira Sager EDITED BY PAUL M. ENGReturn to top

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