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Missed some important news? Don't worry, it's all right here.
2005

June
22nd Possible new e-payment service from Google
Excerpt from The Winnipeg Sun, June 22, 2005:

Google pay plan in works

Could threaten PayPal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Hoping to build upon the power of its Internet leading search engine, Google Inc. is believed to be developing an online payment system that would pose a stiff challenge to online auctioneer EBay Inc.'s industry-dominating PayPal service.

Industry analysts, merchants and investors were digesting reports Monday that the Mountain View-based company is testing a payment system -- codenamed Google Wallet -- in hopes of rolling out the service later this year.

Showdown

Google declined to comment, but the company's silence didn't muffle the buzz about a service that would set up a showdown between two Internet powerhouses.

"It's definately going to happen; too many people already know about it and are talking about it," said Chris Winfield, who follows Google's machinations closely as president of 10e20, a search engine marketing firm.

After talking to a variety of industry sources, American Technology Research analyst David Edwards also is convinced Google is developing its own payment system. He believes Google Wallet initially will be tied to Froogle, the search engine's shopping comparison service.

April
20th Latest E-Business Statistics from StatsCan

Electronic commerce and technology (2004)

Online sales by Canadian companies and government departments grew substantially for the fifth consecutive year in 2004, but e-commerce still accounted for less than 1% of total operating revenues for private businesses.

Combined private and public sector online sales increased 49.7% to $28.3 billion. Online sales by private firms increased 45.5% to $26.4 billion, while those by the public sector more than doubled to $1.9 billion.

Private sector firms accounted for 93 cents of every dollar of goods and services sold online, while the public sector accounted for only 7 cents.

Electronic business is still concentrated in large firms. Only 7% of private companies engaged in e-commerce last year, unchanged from 2003. These firms represented 27% of gross business income in Canada.

Data from the survey also show that almost three-quarters of Canadian firms were using high-speed (broadband) Internet in 2004, up from just under one-half in 2001.

A large proportion of the gains in e-commerce last year resulted from increased sales from one business to another, rather than sales to households.

Sales from business to business amounted to $19.8 billion, which represented about 75% of total e-commerce by private firms, up from only 68% the year before.

For many firms, e-commerce is one of many steps involved in fully integrating business practices using the Internet. The majority of online purchases occur between businesses because the potential economic gain is the greatest for them.

Sales from one business to another are still concentrated in large, private sector companies. In 2004, these large firms accounted for 63% of business-to-business sales. Smaller retailers were more likely to sell to households. Sales to households accounted for less than 24% of the value of online sales by large firms. Small firms, those with fewer than 20 employees, reported that 41% of the value of their online sales was to households. Wholesale trade sector still leads e-commerce

In 2004, 37% of Canadian firms had a Web site, steady growth from 34% in 2003 and 32% in 2002. These Web sites have developed in capability also, as firms now offer more features than ever.

Nearly 8 out of every 10 large firms had a Web site last year. These large firms were more likely to have incorporated advanced features, such as secure portals to collect information, interactivity and digital products for the user.

The proportion of Canadian firms using broadband Internet keeps rising. In 2004, 72% used high-speed Internet, up from 66% in 2003, and a large jump from less than half (48%) in 2001.

Firms using broadband technology are more likely to adopt other advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as Web sites, Intranets, Extranets and online sales.

Companies are also moving towards making more purchases online. In 2004, 42% of firms made purchases online, up from 37% in 2003. Large firms were most likely to do so.

Basic technologies reach saturation point

By 2002, basic ICTs such as computer use, e-mail use and Internet access had been adopted almost universally by all but small private firms. Even so, the overall proportion of firms using these ICTs has crept up slightly over the past two years, as smaller firms continue to implement them.

In 2004, 82% of firms used the Internet, up from 78% in 2003. It appears that only the smallest firms do not use the Internet, as those that do accounted for 97% of gross business income.

Just over three-quarters (77%) of firms used e-mail, up from 74% in 2003 and 66% in 2001.

The public sector, comprised almost exclusively of large organizations, had high rates of use for all basic technologies. In 2004, use of Internet and e-mail was universal in the public sector, while 93% of public organizations also had a Web site.

This article was published in The Daily, Statistics Canada's official release bulletin. You can access the full text and charts of this article at: Statistics Canada
February
18th Computer virus issues moving into boardroom: security expert
On the morning of February 17, 2005, the Manitoba E-Future Centre and Student Connections were proud to host a half-day symposium on Internet Security. The following article from the Winnipeg Free Press detailed the address of our keynote speaker: Jack Sebbag, VP and General Manager of McAfee Inc.

Computer virus issues moving into boardroom: security expert

COMPUTER viruses and worms are becoming so significant an issue that they are moving out of the backroom and into the boardroom of corporations, according to a senior Canadian information technology official.

Jack Sebbag, Canadian vice-president and general manager of McAfee Inc., a global leader in intrusion prevention and risk management solutions, told a group of Winnipeg business people and students that despite the effective data security tools now available, business need to become even more diligent in protecting themselves.

"It has been a tumultuous past 12 months with all sorts of virus and worm attacks," Sebbag told the audience at an Internet security symposium at the Red River College Princess Street campus yesterday.

"Because of the associated costs of network outages and system down time, this is no longer just an issue for the IT (information technology) department, but it is an issue of importance to senior management," he said. "Malicious code writers are now sending out viruses that can shut down production lines and attack customers' computers."

The number of virus and worm attacks have increased exponentially since 1997 and McAfeeís forecast is that they will continue to increase. Sebbag said there were more than 100,000 known attacks in 2004, but many companies do want it publicly disclosed that their computer systems were compromised and many attacks are not made public.

"The associated costs to companies are enormous," he said. "Our information is that the costs would range from $25,000 per hour to $2.5 million per hour. One official from an auto maker told me that for every minute their system is down, there are seven fewer cars off the assembly line. It is a very, very big problem."

McAfee is in the business of selling security solutions and software and so it is in its interest to motivate people to be more concerned about, and spend more money, on network data security.

Sebbag said these "malicious code writers, who were 14-year-olds who couldn't get dates and are now 24 year-olds who canít get dates, but are now really good at writing code," are doing it for the notoriety.

As well, he said there are now forms of attacks that are designed as criminal extortion undertakings. They include: fishing scams, where personal banking information is sought with what looks like official bank websites (although the banks have all declared they would never ask for personal information by e-mail); spyware that is unsuspectingly downloaded along with file-sharing software like Kazaa that could eventually take over your computer; and the threat of distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS), where a massive number of hits shuts down a website, which is used to extort money from the enterprise.

McAfee, based in Santa Clara, Calif., generated close to $1 billion US in revenue last year. Sebbag said the companyís market research shows that although information technology budgets are either flat or declining, security spending is on the rise and about 60 per cent of companies are planning to spend more in that area.

High-profile hits
With high-profile hits taken during the last few years by the likes of Bank of America, Ford Motor Co., Continental Airlines, BMW and Air Canada, he said it seems clear that companies need to invest to protect against these types of attacks.

"Companies need to do a better job, they need to be proactive," he said. "Companies that are more secure will have the competitive advantage."

He noted that in addition to anti-spam and virus detection software, there is now technology available that will prevent intrusion before it occurs.

All those measures will become even more important, he suggested, as the number of wireless devices that are online to wireless networks start to mushroom.

Sebbag said cell phones and Blackberries are already starting to receive text-message spams and many people have not enabled the encryption system on their cell phone and personal digital assistants, making them very vulnerable.

"Network data security cannot be treated like it is a phase," Sebbag said. "It should really be like insurance. You should spend the money on the technology and then hope you donít have to use it, otherwise the cleanup costs can be huge."

Source:
Cash, Martin (2005), "Computer virus issues moving into boardroom: security expert", Winnipeg Free Press, 18 February, B4