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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Editorial Pointers

It used to be the hacker's escapades were described by such benign expressions as "tap," "break in," "computer prank." But that was before the stakes got so high, the data so robust, the damage potential so deadly. Today, hacking is no longer "child's play." Oh, no. Today, it's "war."

An attack on an organization's information resources via electronic media is now called "information warfare." We all know the devastating impact an intrusive attack can have on a company's operation. By the time you finish this month's special section, you will also know of several strategies for handling such a threat or violation.

Guest editors Brajendra Panda and Joseph Giordano have corralled a powerful group of authors to define measures of defensive information warfare to protect against an attack, detect an attack, and react to an attack. The resulting articles detail network and database security measures, intrusion detection protocols, and systems and data recovery from malicious attacks.

We are also pleased to present an exclusive account of the creation of Sun Microsystems' Jini technology by its lead architect. Jim Waldo gives a firsthand account of the technical decisions and design philosophy behind Jini's spontaneous network approach and appeal.

We get another firsthand account from Ned Kock, although it's one he'd probably prefer to forget. Kock tells us of his own experience being plagiarized and of confronting the culprit and the technology that made it possible. Another disturbing legal quandary is examined by Janice Sipior and Burke Ward, who argue the ramifications of sexual harassment via employee email. They discuss effective office email policy and cite many cases where it would have proven valuable for the employer, manager, and employee involved.

We also debut a new column this month focusing on telecommunications—the emerging technologies, the global politics, the changing regulatory environment, and the burgeoning businesses. Meg McGinity, a seasoned reporter with an impressive background covering the telco industry, begins her "Staying Connected" column investigating life after the Telecom Act of 1996.

Neil Munro looks at the other side of information warfare; that is, how information is used, abused, and disseminated during wartime. His provocative "From Washington" commentary tells of atrocities motivated by the manipulation of information. In RISKS, Peter Neumann warns us that the benefits of IT can be (and have been) misused.

Diane Crawford, Editor

COMING NEXT MONTH: A special section on new graphics technologies that create images as real as real life. We will also present articles that explore using Web home pages as ads, building competitive intelligence, and realizing 3D visualization using crossed-beam displays.

©1999 ACM  0002-0782/99/0700  $5.00

Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.

The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 1999 ACM, Inc.


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