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Accused Author of Melissa Virus arrested in New Jersey
 April 2nd 1999

How to Protect Yourself Against Melissa

  Avoid this fast-spreading virus
by not launching Word files from certain e-mail messages--and
updating your antivirus software.

   Whether you call it "Melissa" or "Mailissa," it's becoming clear that this PC virus--or worm--is the most widespread we've seen to date. According to antivirus researchers, Melissa first appeared Friday in a sexually oriented newsgroup, and was (it seemed) everywhere on the Internet in a matter of hours.

Melissa is a Microsoft Word macro virus that infects your PC as soon as you open itse-mail attachment.  Because it grabs names from Microsoft Outlook address books and resends itself, it has the potential of causing a domino effort of cascading e-mail messages that can bring even the largest mail servers to their knees. Some companies have shut down their outgoing mail in response.

Companies that make antivirus software spent a busy weekend coming up with updates that detect and remove Melissa.

Protect Yourself
Although Melissa is one of the most "successful"
viruses ever, you don't have to be a victim.

Melissa messages come with a subject header that
 starts "Important Message From," followed by a name.
 The name may be a familiar one to you, especially if it
 pulled your address from a computer of a friend or
business associate.

The message text says, "Here is the document you asked for ... don't show anyone else ;-)."
Inportant information/message

 If you open the attachment, your PC will be infected. If
  you delete it, you're safe. And if you don't use Microsoft
  Word 97 (or the prerelease version of Word 2000),
 breath a sigh of relief: Melissa can't infect your computer.

If you use Word 97 or Word 2000, but don't use Microsoft Outlook, Melissa can't grab your e-mail
addresses and propagate itself. But it can still infect your computer, and while it doesn't appear to do more than send out more such messages, its other potential effects aren't completely understood yet.

It's not yet clear whether Melissa can get e-mail addresses from Outlook Express.

One particularly troubling possibility (not yet confirmed) is that the virus may randomly send your own Word documents to others. And it doesn't take much thinking to consider the trouble that could cause.

 Taking Other Steps

 Whether you have antivirus software on your PC, you can disable automatic macro execution in Word 97 Select Tools, Options, General and make sure the "macro virus protection" box is checked.

All major antivirus software companies have updates that handle Melissa. If you are running antivirus software, you should update it immediately.

If you don't have antivirus software, consider downloading the free trial software offered by many companies.

To make sure that your PC hasn't been infected by
  Melissa, go the  Trend Micro's HouseCall  site, which will
 perform a virus check on your PC via the Internet

 More on Melissa

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 AOL Grabs ICQ Firm
  Wired News Report

 8:38am  8.Jun.98.PDT
 After weeks of hints that a deal was near,
 America Online (AOL) announced today it is
  acquiring Israel's Mirabilis Ltd., creator of the
   popular ICQ instant communications application,
   in a cash transaction worth more than US$400 million.
AOL, the world's largest online service, will pay
$287 million for a 100 percent stake in Mirabilis.
Much of the initial payment is expected to go for
  research and development costs to get Mirabilis'
  next-generation client, which allows instant
  messaging and chat on the Internet, out the
door. Beginning in fiscal 2001

By OJR Editor, Robert Scheer
November 24, 1998

Unfortunately, I was right.

AOL's acquisition of Netscape gives the Virginia-based company a power
over what we see and do on the Internet that mocks previous concerns over
Microsoft's purported influence.

As I pointed out in my May 26 Commentary on OJR, while the government
and everybody else seems to be focusing on the power of Microsoft to
undermine a free society, it is America Online that more clearly threatens
to exercise a dangerous control on our access to information.

The argument is a simple one: portals are power.  Sure, Bill Gates and
Microsoft make obscene amounts of money and have got much of the software
industry wired.  But that has little impact on the representative
democracy and the free flow of ideas.  We are hardly suffering a loss of
freedom because most of us are using Microsoft Word instead of
WordPerfect.  But control over portals -- those all important shuttles to
the world of the Internet -- is like controlling the ground transportation
at Dulles Airport and being able to pre-determine which airline you fly

The point is not one of coercion.  But whoever said that Big Brother
needed physical force?  Power can be built on the seduction of a Web site,
ease of entry, convenience, all sorts of wonderful things.  But when they
end up giving one company power over the choices given to 14 million
people as they enter the Internet -- it is a power that no modern dictator
threatens to equal.

The Justice Department should step in and block AOL's acquisition of
Netscape, precisely because Netscape represented one of the few serious
challenges to AOL's supremacy in the portal market.  If the government
fails to act in this instance, they should immediately drop the suit
against Microsoft, which has much less to do with the guarantee of a free
marketplace of ideas.

Unfortunately, most government regulators know nothing at all about the
online world other than how to check their e-mail.  But those of us who
increasingly depend upon the Internet for not only breaking news but for
access to relevant databases and archives -- know that those who design
the architect of a portal wield enormous power.

When you sign on to AOL, as admittedly I do, it is AOL who has determined
which are the important headlines to call to your attention.  For example,
it is an editor at AOL who leads you to polls and chat rooms as well as
picks columnists to recommend.  There is no editor in the country now who
has the circulation and influence of that mysterious and unnamed figure
(or figures) who makes those decisions.  Some say it's Jesse Kornbluth,
who I've known.  And I'm not here to deny that he is a competent and
serious fellow.  But let's not kid ourselves that AOL's facade of
anonymity conceals a truly frightening power to mold what we 14 million
subscribers come to think is important.

For example, throughout this last year, AOL has presented the White House
crisis on its home page as the most significant happening in the world.
That is an editorial decision of enormous implications.  It is their right
to do that, but to the degree that their portal becomes the entry point
for more and more Americans, it represents a profound skewering of the
national dialogue.

Sorry to be the scold.  And yes, I very much like AOL, or I wouldn't be a
user, but it is precisely the organization's success in seducing
folks like me, which now makes it a threat.  We should have recognized
that when AOL was able to gobble up Compuserve by being graphically
flashier and better at marketing.  But the folks at Compuserve in those
days represented an alternative take on what is important -- both in
the news and in the larger society.

Yet there was no government outcry over this monopolization of AOL's only
serious rival at the time.  It is absurd that the Justice Department turned
a blind eye to AOL's takeover of Compuserve while it focused an irrational
ire on Microsoft.

Yes, Bill Gates is too rich, he's too cheap, and he's too uptight in his
control of his basic product.  But as the failure of, first, Mungo Park,
and now Slate -- which is evidently going nowhere -- demonstrates, Gates
is a total incompetent in the area of thought control.

The problem is not bigness, per se, which has preoccupied the Justice
Department.  What should concern them deeply is power over the flow of
information.  And, unfortunately, AOL has demonstrated an uncanny ability
to design the future library and living room of our minds.  Their truly
impressive success in hooking users is great news for their stockholders,
but the implications for a representative democracy are truly horrendous.

And it is precisely the well-being of the marketplace of ideas that should
concern the Justice Department.

         It's Official! AOL Buys Netscape


       November 24, 1998 at 9:18:43 PST

               WASHINGTON (AP) -- America Online said today it will
               buy Netscape in a $4.21 billion deal that would effectively
               conclude Netscape's dramatic rise and fall as an Internet
               software pioneer. The agreement also includes Sun
               Microsystems Inc.

               The agreement also cements AOL's position as a new
               superpower in the high-tech world, giving it remarkable
               reach and enough influence to challenge industry giant
               Microsoft's dominance in key areas.

               "The acquisition of Netscape is a big step forward for
               America Online that will greatly accelerate our business
               momentum," AOL Chairman Steve Case said. "Netscape
               has played a key role in helping consumers benefit from
               the enormous power of the Internet, and we share the
               same mission."

               AOL becomes the world's largest Internet provider, the
               distributor of Netscape's hugely popular browser software
               and the owner of two of the four most popular sites on the

               Netscape's site alone draws 20 million visitors each
               month. The other three most popular sites are operated
               by AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo!.

               Under the deal, AOL, based just outside Washington in
               Dulles, Va., is expected to operate Netscape as a
               separate division in Mountain View, Calif. But the
               4-year-old company whose software popularized the
              Internet -- and whose dramatic debut on the stock market
               was among the most successful ever -- would cease to
               exist as an independent entity.

               "This exciting partnership enables us to deliver even
               better and more complete products and services to both
               existing and new customers," said Netscape Chief
               Executive Officer James Barksdale, who will join AOL's
               board of directors under the agreement.

               Netscape shareholders will receive .45 shares of AOL
               stock for each of the 99.5 million outstanding shares of
               Netscape stock.

               In a three-year deal, Sun Microsystems Inc. will distribute
               Netscape's business-level "server" software, and AOL will
               use Sun's Java programming technology -- which lets
               programs run on a variety of types of computers -- to offer
               AOL services on what the company called
               "next-generation Internet devices."

               The companies have been negotiating for weeks.

               A Washington public-interest group run by Ralph Nader,
               the Consumer Project on Technology, promised to
               protest any AOL-Netscape deal. The group's director,
               Jamie Love, said its opposition in part stems from the
               market for Internet software - generally split among
               Netscape and Microsoft -- already being too concentrated.

               It also objected because many of the nation's hundreds of
               private Internet providers currently distribute Netscape's
               browser for licensing fees. Under the deal, those
               providers would indirectly be funding AOL, among their
               greatest rivals, by paying it fees for Netscape's software.

               The alliance poses new competition for Microsoft, whose
               own business tactics against Netscape were so
               aggressive that the federal government is suing Microsoft
               for alleged antitrust violations.

               Microsoft's Internet software competes against
               Netscape's, and its Microsoft Network online service rivals
               AOL, although MSN has been far less successful.

               Sun competes against Microsoft in several areas, from
               rival operating systems to its Java technology that runs
               programs on many types of computers, not just those
               using Windows.

               All three companies share a general disdain toward
               Microsoft and all are testifying on behalf of the government
               at Microsoft's antitrust trial in Washington.

               "The major driver of this has been the personal
               connections between the principals in this deal, who have
               a common mission to be successful but also a common
               secondary goal to win at Microsoft's expense," said Frank
               Gens, chief analyst for International Data Corp.

               Although AOL considers Microsoft its rival, it agreed in
               March 1996 to incorporate Microsoft's Internet Explorer
               browser, not Netscape's, into the software for its 14
               million subscribers. In exchange, Microsoft included
               AOL's software within its dominant Windows operating

               That agreement ends in January.

               Analysts were divided whether AOL might jeopardize its
               placement within Windows by now distributing Netscape's
               software to its customers. That move could restore
               Netscape's share of the browser market to its highest
               levels since Microsoft began its full-court competition.

               "It seems to me pretty clear, if this deal happens, that
               AOL customers will be seeing a very strong marketing of
               the Netscape browser to them," said Gens. "If Netscape
               and AOL get together, AOL and Microsoft's friendship will
               be cold and somewhat short-lived."

           It’s Official: AOL and Netscape Join Forces
           By Bonnie S. Hyde
            Senior Editor, E-Commerce Times
           November 24, 1998
              America Online this morning officially
         announced that they will acquire
Netscape Communications Corporation
Aol-Ns in a $4.2 billion stock
                                                   swap. Each Netscape share will be
                                                      exchanged for .45 shares of America
                  Online stock. The deal is expected to close in the spring of
                  1999, subject to various conditions including customary
                  regulatory approvals and approval by Netscape's

                  Steve Case, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of
                  America Online, said: "The acquisition of Netscape is a big
                  step forward for America Online that will greatly accelerate
                  our business momentum. Netscape has played a key role
                  in helping consumers benefit from the enormous power of
                  the Internet, and we share the same mission. With
                  Netscape, we will broaden our global audience at home and
                  at work, and add world-class technology to support an
                  expanded range of America Online interactive products and

                  Netscape has transformed itself over the past year into a
                  successful portal and enterprise/e-commerce software
                  business. The Company currently offers a full suite of
                  packaged applications for business-to-business and business-to-consumer
                  Internet commerce, and award-winning Internet server software for building and
                  hosting a variety of Internet applications. Netscape's corporate customersusing
                  the Company's e-commerce and infrastructure software suite include Ford,
                  Lucent Technologies, Bell Canada, France Telecom, John Hancock and theU.S.
                  Department of Defense.

                  Separately, America Online announced that it has entered into a strategic
                  development and marketing alliance with Sun Microsystems, Inc. to enhanceits
                  delivery of e-commerce solutions that will help build revenues across America
                  Online and Netscape brands, offering added value to both America Onlineand
                  Netscape business partners, as well as the growing number of major
                  corporations planning to put their business on the Internet.

                  "The development of e-commerce is entering an exciting new stage,” Case
                  stated. “Increasingly, companies are seeing the power of the Internet ascentral
                  to their business strategies and consumers are seeing the convenience ofonline
                  shopping as central to their lives. Netscape's highly regarded suite of
                  e-commerce software, coupled with our strategic alliance with Sun, willhelp us
                  drive e-commerce to a whole new level that will benefit both business partners
                  and Internet consumers."

                  Under the America Online-Sun alliance, both companies will sell productsand
                  services through each other's sales channels and customer relationshipsto
                  market their existing products and services, as well as their new e-commerce
                  solutions. Sun's large sales and service organizations will provide technical
                  support for these products and services. The alliance also will bring new
                  development and distribution opportunities for Netscape's software and

   AOL Gobbles Up Netscape. Will the Pending Deal Bite
  Consumers, Too?

Jesse Berst, Editorial Director
ZDNet AnchorDesk


something has occurred that could turn the
             industry upside down. The pending marriage of America
            Online and Netscape Communications creates one of
             those good news/bad news situations. Good news
             because the deal would boost competition between
             Internet browsers. Bad news because AOL stands to
             become the 800-pound bully of the online world.

             AOL is talking takeover, under a stock-swap that
             values Netscape at roughly $4 billion. If successful,
             AOL would assume control of Netscape's browser
             software and Netcenter portal. In an offshoot
             agreement, Sun Microsystems would pay to market
             Netscape's business software.  Click for More.

             Good news: Netscape has faced ruthless competition
             from Microsoft and its Internet Explorer browser. If
             Netscape sells out to AOL, it solves its most pressing
             problem: How do you fund the multimillion-dollar
             development of a software product, Netscape
             Communicator, when you have to give it away free to
             keep up with Microsoft? With AOL's deep pockets,
             that's how.

             In addition, AOL provides access to a huge,
             fast-growing market of Internet newbies. Thus providing
             a solution to another nagging Netscape dilemma: How
             do you hook new users when Microsoft's Internet
             Explorer ships free with virtually every new computer?
             With AOL's proven expertise for introducing
             mainstream America to the Internet, that's how.

             Bad news: Then again, this deal gives AOL a
             dominant share of the online services market.
             According to NetRatings, the two companies would
            have an unduplicated reach of 70% of all online
             customers -- way ahead of Yahoo and Lycos, both just
             above 50%.

             History shows us that AOL uses such power in a
             controlling manner. Its customers already pay several
             dollars more per month than the going rate. The
             company still maintains a proprietary platform, refusing
             to switch to  HTML like the rest of the world.
             Subscribers were only begrudgingly permitted to
             access the Web. Content partners pay a steep toll for
             placement on AOL. An AOL/Netscape combo would
             lock up a big chunk of cyberspace -- and force
             ecommerce and content providers to cough up big
             bucks for a piece of the action.

             All of this assumes, of course, that the deal is both
             consummated and orchestrated successfully. To do
             that, AOL must clear several hurdles:

                  Finalize financial terms of the deal
                  Convince Sun to buy or license Netscape's
                  server business
                  Gain shareholder approval
                  Receive go-ahead from antitrust authorities
                  Complete deal while stock market conditions
                  remain favorable
                  Wed AOL's Eastern consumer culture to
                  Netscape's Silicon Valley software society

             AOL is courting Netscape because it wants to give
            Microsoft a run in the browser market. Which is good
             news for consumers. But AOL also covets Netscape as
             a means to enhance its own power. Given its terrible
             track record, that could be bad news indeed.

Get ready to pay your
respects to another
800-pound gorilla -- one
that could be to the Net
and e-commerce what
  Microsoft has become to
PCs and productivity software.

A on line Netscape

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