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News briefs

Backup security tapes from the Orlando, Florida corporate offices of hotel giant Marriott International went missing in late December, leaving the personal information of more than 200,000 clients exposed.

Officials from the chain's timeshare division offered affected customers free enrollment in a credit monitoring service and notifications of credit report activity. The company also launched an investigation into the incident and notified government law enforcement officials.

Marriott said it notified all affected customers in the days following the breach.

New York state considered legislation that would empower officials to go after online fraudsters baiting state residents and businesses.

The bi-partisan legislation introduced into the General Assembly would let the state attorney general, private industry and nonprofits take civil action against the creators of phishing emails.

The state's Information Security Breach Notification Act went into effect in December, making New York the 19th state to enact such a law. Based on California's two-year-old SB1386, the law requires companies doing business in the state to notify customers of any breach of unencrypted personal information.

The legal problems stemming from Sony BMG Entertainment's inclusion of spyware-like technology on millions of CD-Roms worsened as Texas expanded its lawsuit against the recording industry giant.

The Lone Star State's additional charges were filed in response to Sony's use of MediaMax technology, alleging the company failed to alert customers to the harm the application could cause PCs. State Attorney General Greg Abbott also urged retailers to stop carrying CDs containing MediaMax, which is manufactured by Phoenix-based SunnComm.

The Federal Trade Commission said the U.S. is winning its battle against spam email, crediting the federal CAN-SPAM Act for an overall decrease in American spam.

The commission also advised Congress to enact the U.S. Safe Web Act, legislation that would make it easier for FTC officials to trace spammers outside of U.S. borders.

Security experts say spammers have become more sophisticated in their techniques, moving from mass spamming to more targeted attacks.

Hackers found the first cracks in programs for the new Xbox 360 video game system less than a month after its initial release.

A hacking group called PI Coder said it can extract games' source files as they are uploaded onto the video game console.

The extracted files are not much good yet, security experts said, because they can not yet be burned onto recognizable disc copies.

Security organizations urged the U.S. Senate to vote in favor of a post-9/11 international cybersecurity treaty.

The Cyber Security Industry Alliance and the Business Software Alliance issued a joint statement commending the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for its passage of the Convention on Cybercrime.

According to the Constitution, foreign treaties must be ratified by the full Senate for approval. Eleven of the 42 countries that have signed the pact have completed their ratification processes.

Errata On p. 57 of SC Magazine's January issue, ShavlikTechnologies' website address was listed incorrectly. It is www.shavlik.com.

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