Monster.com reply to latest hacking incident

Following is a notice monster.com sent out late last night with the subject "An Important Message to Our Valued Monster Customers" regarding their recent data loss to hackers.  Interestingly, they never actually apologize for the incident.  Bold is mine.
Dear Valued Monster Customer,

Protecting the job seekers who use our website is a top priority, and we value the trust you place in Monster. Regrettably, opportunistic criminals are increasingly using the Internet for illegitimate purposes. As is the case with many companies that maintain large databases of information, Monster is from time to time subject to attempts to illegally extract information from its database.

As you may be aware, the Monster resume database was recently the target of malicious activity that involved the illegal downloading of information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for some of our job seekers with resumes posted on Monster sites. Monster responded to this specific incident by conducting a comprehensive review of internal processes and procedures, notified those job seekers that their contact records had been downloaded illegally, and shut down a rogue server that was hosting these records.

The Company has determined that this incident is not the first time Monster's database has been the target of criminal activity. Due to the significant amount of uncertainty in determining which individual job seekers may have been impacted, Monster felt that it was in your best interest to take the precautionary steps of reaching out to you and all Monster job seekers regarding this issue. Monster believes illegally downloaded contact information may be used to lure job seekers into opening a "phishing" email that attempts to acquire financial information or lure job seekers into fraudulent financial transactions. This has been the case in similar attacks on other websites.

We want to inform you about preventive measures you can take to protect yourself from online fraud. While no company can completely prevent unauthorized access to data, we believe that by reaching out to job seekers like you, the Company can help users better defend themselves against those who have attacked Monster as well as other databases.

We are committed to maintaining an ongoing dialogue with all of our job seekers about Internet security and the steps Monster is taking to protect its job seekers. The Company has placed a security alert on Monster sites offering information to educate you about online fraud. This information can be found at http://help.monster.com/besafe/. We have also included information on Internet safety and examples of fraudulent "phishing" emails at the bottom of this letter.

Monster has launched a series of initiatives to enhance and to protect the information you have entrusted to us. Some of these steps are being immediately implemented, while others will be put into place as appropriate.

We believe these actions are the responsible steps to protect the trust you place in Monster. We are also working with Monster's hundreds of thousands of employer customers to ensure a safe and effective online job search. We will continue to share information with you about the enhancements we are making as we serve as your online career resource partner. We invite you to keep reading to learn more about how to use the Internet safely.


Sal Iannuzzi

Chairman and CEO

Monster Worldwide

The message then goes on to highlight "HOW TO BE A SAFE INTERNET USER" with the topics:
  • What's "phishing" all about – and how do I spot it?
  • How is it different than "spoofing"?
  • Examples of fraudulent email: (clickable examples of fraudulent email)

Of course its kind of funny to have an email that says, "don't click on phishing links."  And then says, "here's a bunch of sample links to click on."

Thumbs up for monster finally admitting the issue. Thumbs down for the response time and lack of apology.  Don't they have to (by I believe california law) have to admit to a breach of data much quicker then this?


Good ideas lost in emails and instant messages

I don't like to email anymore. Especially at work. I have some issues with instant messaging too.

Ideas get lost. So do instructions and documentation. Sure, you can make a nice document and put it out there on your internal corporate network, but no one will ever look at it. Do you have a way to search thru the contents of it? No? I didn't think so. Me neither.

I'm thinking of blogging everything. Blogging everything I want/need to remember. Maybe I'll make a blog inside work for documenting work procedures and ideas. And set other people up the same way. And I'll keep blogging stuff here obviously that's good for public consumption.

But then there's the IMs to contend with.

After losing a job surprisingly a few years ago, I've worked pretty hard to develop and nurture a network of people in my field that I can turn to and who can turn to me. This is mostly done via quick IMs. So on any given day there's a good amount of knowledge transfer back and forth in instant messaging. I view this as a kind of professional development. As long as it doesn't interfere with my daily responsibilities, it's fine. I've learned a lot from people this way and hopefully they've learned from me too.

So how do I search thru all those great tidbits, links, theories, etc. that I've given and received via IM? I'm thinking of chucking those into a database or text indexer and making those searchable via web too. I'm just not sure of the best way to go about that yet.  More to come.


Google embeddable map widgets

Posted on the google maps blog today is a post about the newly released embeddable maps. Pretty cool. Although the map is in an iframe and not javascript and div like using the Maps API. So for manipulating the map on the page, you’ll still need to fall back on javascript and API generated maps. Here’s a quick example of the new version:

View Larger Map

SECURITY ERROR: package in channel "pear.phpunit.de" retrieved another channel's name for download!

Odd Pear error today. Trying to install PHPUnit3 on a newish server. Following the instructions at the PHPUnit Pocketguide. Here's the steps I did and the error I received. I'm not sure at this point if this is a bug in the Pear installer or if there's a problem with the way the PHPUnit channel is configured so I don't know where to file this.

[code]php# pear channel-discover pear.phpunit.de

Adding Channel "pear.phpunit.de" succeeded
Discovery of channel "pear.phpunit.de" succeeded

php# pear install phpunit/PHPUnit

SECURITY ERROR: package in channel "pear.phpunit.de" retrieved another channel's name for download! ("pear.php.net")
Cannot initialize 'channel://pear.phpunit.de/PHPUnit', invalid or missing package file
Package "channel://pear.phpunit.de/PHPUnit" is not valid
install failed

php# pear version
PEAR Version: 1.6.1
PHP Version: 5.2.1
Zend Engine Version: 2.2.0[/code]

Installing the code manually (the second set of install instructions listed) works just fine however. On to my unit testing!


Debug JavaScript in PHP or JSP Pages with Visual Studio 2008

Fresh from my IM, Kirk Allen Evans blog details how to debug javascript for any kind of page in Visual Studio 2008. This has already existed for awhile with the Firebug extension for debugging Javascript in Firefox. But it's nice to have choices. And it's cool if you're developing within Visual Studio to have all your tools in one place.

You don't have to shell out the big dollars for Visual Studio to get this debugging either, you can get it with the freebie version of Visual Studio Express.


PRADO framework for PHP similar to ASP.NET

For Drew, the .NET fanboy who is just dying to release his app without having to shell out the big bucks for .NET hosting.  The PRADO framework for PHP is almost like ASP.NET.   From the homepage:
PRADO is a component-based and event-driven framework.

Look at that example on the homepage.  That's .NET with a PHP5 wrapper on it, not literally of course, but you get the point.  And yes, it has user authentication built in as recently described in this PHP framework comparison chart.  Enjoy.  And I'll take the first 1,000 shares at a discount when you go public.