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  • Steven Woda

links for 2010-01-29

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has called for the world to boycott American goods and the U.S. dollar, blaming the United States and other industrialized countries for global warming, according to a new audiotape released Friday. In the tape, broadcast in part on Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden warned of the dangers of climate change and says that the way to stop it is to bring “the wheels of the American economy” to a halt.

As an online retailer, Web forms are your bread and butter. There’s no use putting effort into designing great product pages and getting your customers to the checkout with bulging shopping carts only to have them bail out because your checkout process sucks. All businesses lose a percentage of customers during the checkout process; what percentage you lose depends on how badly your forms perform. Here are several ill-conceived practices that create bad checkout experiences — and how to avoid them.

Fatal System Error is a true-life tale of how U.S. mobsters and Russian gangsters have exploited the Internet and the Web over the past decade to rake in the money. Author Joseph Menn of the Financial Times shows how cybercrime, techies and law enforcement get tangled up from Florida to Costa Rica and from Russia’s Moscow and St. Petersburg on out to Kazakhstan. The first half of the book tells the story of Barrett Lyon, who as founder of Prolexic Technologies seven years ago applied his skills to protecting customers, a number being in the online gambling industry, against denial-of-service (DDoS) attack from extortionists who were bringing down their sites and demanding tens of thousands of dollars to go away. Lyon’s technical expertise pinpointed the young Russian cybercriminal Ivan Maksakov, helping a multi-national team of investigators bring Maksakov and others involved in the DDoS extortion racket to justice in a Russian court three years ago.

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