May 16, 2005
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
| by Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor
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Is it just me? I seem to be experiencing a considerable uptick in unsolicited emails from unknown sources. I am also receiving more email reject notifications than the number of emails I am sending out. Ditto for confirmations of passwords and registrations. All of these emails have attachments. If there is a company name in the sending email header, I check the web to see if it's a new EDA company or organization I might not have heard of. I am somewhat paranoid about the possibility that these attachments may contain computer viruses, so I just delete them.
I was once a victim of a computer virus; not a pleasant experience trying to recreate everything. This was not quite as bad as when I had my computer stolen out of my hotel room while on a consulting assignment in Budapest, Hungary.
I don't understand the mindset of those who create and spread viruses. It is beyond belief that someone who knows how to do this has no comprehension of the damage that can be done. There is no economic incentive for unleashing a conventional virus. Since those impacted by a virus are random people, there is no personal motive as from a disgruntled present or former employee. For conventional viruses there is little technical challenge and therefore there can be little sense of accomplishment.
Unfortunately the terms computer virus, worm, Trojan horse, spam, phishing and so forth are all too familiar. While some incidents of their use may be relatively benign and only mildly annoying, many are malicious leading them to be referred to as 'malware'. These may slow down or crash a computer, delete or corrupt files, steal confidential information, setup backdoors for future access or otherwise inflict harm. Worms are self-replicating programs that spread with no human intervention after they are started. A worm can spread by initiating telecommunications by itself. It can search email address books for new victims. Viruses are also self-replicating programs, but usually
require some action on the part of the user to spread inadvertently to other programs or systems. The name Trojan horse comes from the Homeric story of a gift by the Greeks to the Trojans of a large horse concealing soldiers later emerged to open up the city gates. Recipients of a Trojan Horse are usually tricked into opening them because they appear to be receiving legitimate software or files from a legitimate source.
Malware can be received via email, downloads (shareware, screensavers,
), file sharing across a network, peer-to-peer computing, media (CDs, DVDs, floppies, memory sticks,
), instant messaging and so forth. Many enter a computer as a separate executable attachment, while others are embedded as macros in word processing files, spreadsheets and the like. Hackers may also target a website or network by exploiting vulnerabilities in the operating system or communication system.
There are now more than 100,000 known viruses. Some of the better known computer worms of the last two years are
Sobig, mass-mailing worm, appeared in January 2003. The Sobig family became known as the fastest-spreading and the most financially damaging virus in the history of computers. It reportedly caused $36.1 billion in damages. When it arrived via email, the worm poses as a .pif or .scr file. The sender's address was spoofed. The worm also had updating capabilities and attempted to download updated versions when certain conditions were met.
MyDoom was a computer worm that appeared in January 2004. Initially it was thought that the primary purpose of MyDoom was to launch a distributed denial-of-service attack against SCO Group, the company that is trying to claim rights to parts of Linux. Mydoom is primarily transmitted via email which contains an attachement, which if executed resends the worm to email address found on the infected computer.
The Sasser worm appeared in April 2004. It exploits a buffer overflow component in the Windows' Local Security Subsystem Service (LSASS). Microsoft had actually relased a patch to fix this before the worm was launched but many if not most users had yet to instll the patch. It has been learned that this worm was written by an 18 yearold computer science student in Rotenberg, Germany. The same student was responsible for several Netsky variants.
There was actually a war of sorts between the authors of Netsky and the authors of Bagle and MyDoom worm families. The virus authors attempted to undo each other which led to the development of numerous variants. This is where reputation and the sense of achievement become motivating factors.
Spamming is the use of any electronic communications medium to send unsolicited messages in bulk. The term spam is derived from the Monty Python SPAM sketch, set in a cafe where everything on the menu includes SPAM luncheon meat.
Some see spam as the electronic equivalent of junk mail. The differece is that the cost of sending millions of spam emails is almost nothing while the cost of junk mail even with bulk mail rates would be considerable. Further, spammers sometime use worms to take over computers (you, mine) as a base from which to send out spam.
According to industry vendor Sophos 'phishing' is a hackers' term that comes from the scam's parallels with fishing, with the fake emails and website acting as the “bait”, and the victims' accounts as the netted “phish”. Phishing is done by spamming out authentic-looking emails that claim to come from a well-known financial or e-commerce institution such as Citibank, PayPal, e-Bay or America Online. Usually the recipient is asked to click on a link, taking them to what appears to be a legitimate website. In fact, the website is a clever forgery, often virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Even if only a tiny percentage are duped, the phishers can
make a significant amount of money while the site is up and running - most phishing sites last only a few days before being shut down. Depending on the type of account which has been compromised, phishers can commit further fraud or gain unauthorized access to other computers or networks.
“Pharming” is like phishing, in that it aims to steal confidential account information. Unlike phishing, however, this method does not rely on phony emails to lure unsuspecting victims. Pharming uses Trojan horse viruses that change the behavior of web browsers. User attempts to access an online banking site or one of the other target sites actually trigger the browser to redirect to a fraudulent site. Once a machine is infected, a user can type the correct URL and still end up at the fraudulent site.
Industry analysts believe that more than 2/3rds of all PCs are infected with spyware, software that gathers and reports information about a computer user without the user's knowledge or cosent. The symptoms of spyware include:
Unauthorized pop-up advertisements, even when not browsing the Web
A change to the browser home page or default search engine without user consent, which often resists attempts to change it back
A new and unwanted toolbar on the browser, which often resists attempts to remove it
A sudden and dramatic slowdown in PC performance
Increased crashing of operating systems, Web browsers, and other common application
What is being done to counteract the growing numbers, increasing sophistication and greater maliciousness of these elements? How have the government, private organizations, Microsoft and vendors of anti-virus tools responded?
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) is a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the public and private sectors. Established in 2003 to protect the nation's Internet infrastructure, US-CERT coordinates defense against and responses to cyber attacks across the nation.
US-CERT is the operational arm of the National Cyber Security Division and is charged with improving computer security preparedness and response to cyber attacks in the United States. US-CERT is responsible for
- analyzing and reducing cyber threats and vulnerabilities
- disseminating cyber threat warning information
- coordinating incident response activities
US-CERT interacts with federal agencies, industry, the research community, state and local governments, and others to disseminate reasoned and actionable cyber security information to the public.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them.
The law, which became effective January 1, 2004, covers email whose primary purpose is advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a Web site. A "transactional or relationship message" - email that facilitates an agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer in an existing business relationship - may not contain false or misleading routing information, but otherwise is exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act. The Federal Trade Commission is charged with enforcing the act.
A major way of intercepting spam is to keep a list of known sources. If the law is strcitly obeyed, the anti-spam industry data bases would be more complete.
Spammers frequently use false names, addresses, phone numbers, and other contact information to set up "disposable" accounts at various Internet service providers. This would now be illegal. Some have criticized the act calling it the “You CAN SPAM Act” because in their view it legalize rather than bans spam.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) founded in November 2003 is an industry association focused on eliminating the identity theft and fraud that result from the growing problem of phishing and email spoofing. The organization provides a forum to discuss phishing issues, define the scope of the phishing problem in terms of hard and soft costs, and share information and best practices for eliminating the problem. Membership is open to qualified financial institutions, online retailers, ISPs, the law enforcement community, and solutions providers. There are currently over 800 organizations participating in the APWG and more than 1200 members. APWG reports that there were 13,141
new, unique phishing email messages reported in February. The average monthly growth rate since July 2004 (2,625) is 26%. The number of phishing web sites supporting these attacks also held steady, rising 1.8% from 2578 to 2625 in the month of February. In January, the number of reported hijacked brands remained at 64.
The APWG and the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) have agreed to partner with each other to identify and evaluate solutions to phishing. The FSTC is a consortium of leading North American-based banks and other financial institutions that sponsors collaborative technology development.
In an effort to help law enforcement agencies identify and bring to justice those who illegally release damaging worms, viruses, and other types of malicious code on the Internet, Microsoft has created the Microsoft Antivirus Reward Program, initially funded with $5 million. Through this program, Microsoft will offer monetary rewards to persons who provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for launching malicious viruses and worms on the Internet. Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service, in coordination with Interpol, will investigate leads that are provided through this program in order to identify and prosecute those
responsible for such crimes that harm the private industry and the public.
The major goal of Windows XP Service Pack 2 from Microsoft is to reduce common openings for attack on the Windows operating system. It introduces a set of security technologies that will help improve Windows XP-based computers' ability to withstand malicious attacks from viruses and worms. The technologies include Network protection, Memory protection, Improved email security, and Safer browsing
Among other things an improved Windows Firewall is enabled by default. The Remote Procedure Call (RPC) has been made less vulnerable to outside attack and new permission levels have been added. The Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) infrastructure has additional access control restrictions. On CPUs that support execution protection technology, data pages are marked as non-executable. A new version of Outlook Express can block images and other external content in HTML email, warn about applications trying to send email and control the saving and opening of attachments. Internet Explorer now manages add-ons and detects crashes due to add-ons, controls whether or not binary
behaviors are allowed to run and so forth.
The Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool checks computers running Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 for infections by specific, prevalent malicious software-including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom-and helps remove any infection found. When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed.
Microsoft releases an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month. New versions are available through this Web page, Windows Update, and the Microsoft Download Center.
In December Microsoft acquired Giant Company Software, a small firm with technology that can scan a person's PC for spyware and remove it. In January MS launched Windows AntiSpyware (Beta), a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Participants in the SpyNet, a voluntary worldwide community of Windows AntiSpyware users, play a key role in determining which suspicious programs are classified as spyware.
Mircosoft has just announced a paid subscription-based computer fix-it service called OneCare, aimed at automatically patching security holes, blocking viruses and spyware, and generally automating the chores of maintaining a computer's health. The package will also include the Microsoft's spyware-fighting tools and a firewall that blocks unauthorized outbound traffic, such as spyware data, as well as the inbound traffic blocked by XP. The OneCare package also will offer automatic computer care tools such as disk defragging and file repair, and scheduled data backup features. The service will be launched in beta form to Microsoft employees in a week, and will be released to consumers in
late summer or fall.
There is a multibillion dollar industry that provides anti-virus tools, intrusion protection, network security and so forth. Several of the leading vendors are described below.
Symantec was founded in 1982 and had its IPO on June 23, 1989. Symantec offers products for: Integrated security, Security management, Firewall/VPN, Intrusion detection, policy compliance management, virus protection/content filtering, and Enterprise administration and services in the areas of consulting, managed security, education and early warning. Over the years there have been many acquisitions including Peter Norton Computing, Inc (1990), IBM's antivirus business and immune system technology (1998 $20M), Intel's antivirus business and systems management technology (1998 $15.6M), Quarterdeck Corporation (1998 $83M) and ON Technology Acquisition (2004). As of March 31, 2004,
Symantec employed approximately 5,300 people worldwide. The firm has a market cap of over $13B.
Symantec has five operating segments: Consumer Products, Enterprise Security, Enterprise Administration, Services and Other. In fiscal 2004 these segments accounted for 47%, 39%, 12%, 2% and 0% respectively. On a geographic basis the US accounted for 48%, EMEA 33%, AP 5%, Japan 8%, Canada 4% and Latin America 2%.
The Consumer Products segment focuses on delivering Internet security and problem-solving products to individual users, home offices and small businesses. This segment includes the well known Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security and Norton SystemWorks offerings. Most of these products feature LiveUpdate that enables users to easily download security updates including virus definitions, firewall rules, URL databases and uninstall scripts. The consumer products run primarily on Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
The Enterprise Security segment provides security solutions for all tiers of a network: at the gateways between the network and the outside world, at the servers that act as the network's vital organs, and at end-user devices including desktop PCs, laptops and handhelds. Comprehensive solutions include virus protection and content filtering, firewall and virtual private networking, or VPN, intrusion prevention, and security management. At the gateway and server level the products run on UNIX, Linux and Windows NT. At the client level, the products run on the Windows platform.
The Enterprise Administration segment offers open and modular products and services that enable companies to effectively and efficiently manage their IT infrastructures. Solutions allow customers to manage virtually any function at any point in the lifecycle of their computing systems and devices, from network auto-discovery and IT asset management, to operating system provisioning and application deployment, ongoing security updates and configuration management, rapid backup and disaster recovery, de-provisioning, and Help Desk remote control.
The Services segment delivers holistic security assessments, planning and implementation, proactive solutions for security management and response and knowledge transfer to develop internal security skills.
The Other segment is comprised of sunset products, products nearing the end of their life cycle.
McAfee Associates was incorporated in 1992 and completed an IPO. In 1997 Network Associates was formed by the merger of McAfee Associates and Network General. In 1998 McAfee.com was incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Network Associates, Inc., and as an online provider of PC security and management products and services for consumers. In 1999 McAfee.com completed its own IPO. From 1994 thru 1998 the company made numerous acquisitions. There were 10 acquisitions in 1998 including CyberMedia for $174 million and Magic Solutions for $140 million. In September 2003, the firm acquired Deersoft, Entercept Security Technologies ($195 million), and IntruVert Networks ($93
million), the last two companies are in the Intrusion Prevention arena. The company also repurchased the 25% minority interest in McAfee.com and merged with that entity. In June 2004 the firm changed its name to McAfee, Inc. At the end of 2004 the firm employed ~2,950 people worldwide. The company has a market cap of around $4 billion.
In 2004 North America accounted for 61% of total sales, EMEA 27%, Japan 6%, Asia Pacific 4% and Latin America 2%. Product Revenue by segment was perpetual 40%, hardware 27%, subscription 14%, retail 10% and other 10%.
In January 2004 the firm sold Magic Solutions service desk business to BMC Software, Inc for $47 million. In July 2004 the company completed the sale of its Sniffer business assets for $214 million. This product line included products designed to capture data, monitor network traffic and collect and report on key network statistics, and comprised a significant portion of total revenue.
At the end of 2004, the company had a total subscriber base of approximately 8.5 million consumer customers, compared to 3.7 million at the end of, 2003. Drivers of this subscriber growth included numerous virus outbreaks during the second half of 2003 and through 2004, including variations of Sasser, MyDoom, Bagle and NetSky, and continued strategic relationships with channel partners, such as AOL and Dell.
The majority of McAfee products are sold through partners, including corporate resellers, retailers and, indirectly, through distributors. Corporate resellers include ASAP Software, CDW, Dell, Insight, Softmart, Software House International and Software Spectrum. Retailers include Best Buy, Comp USA, Cosco, Fry's, Office Depot, Office Max and Staples. Independent software distributors include GE Access, Ingram Micro, MOCA and Tech Data. The firm's top ten distributors account for between 49% and 63% of net revenue in any given quarter. During 2004, Ingram Micro and TechData accounted for approximately 22% and 11% of net revenue.
McAfee has an alliance with America Online (AOL) which includes offering its anti-virus services as part of basic membership to AOL members.
McAfee offers two families of products: System Protection Software and Network Protection Solutions. The former delivers anti-virus and security products and services designed to protect systems such as desktops and servers. The later offers products designed to maximize the performance and security of networks and network intrusion prevention with McAfee IntruShield and McAfee Foundstone.
McAfee Internet Security suite includes full versions of VirusScan, Personal Direwall Plus, Privacy Service and SpamKiller for $62 (special offer $50).
For SMBs McAfee Managed VirusScan service provides anti-virus protection. In addition Managed Mail Protection screens emails to detect and quarantine viruses and infected attachments, and Spam and Desktop Firewall ASaP blocks unauthorized network access and stops known network threats. McAfee Managed Small Business service had about 2.2 million active subscriptions at the end of 2004.
Trend Micro was founded in 1988 by Steve Chang and began commercial operations in May 1998 and completed its initial public offering on the Japanese over-the-counter market in August 1998. Through a series of transactions in August 1996, Trend Micro Kabushiki Kaisha (a joint stock corporation) became the parent company of the Trend Micro group. The firm listed American Depositary Shares on the NASDAQ National Market in July 1999 in connection with a global offering of 12,750,000 shares. In August 2000 the firm appeared on Tokyo Stock Exchange.
In just over a decade, Trend Micro, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, has grown into a transnational organization with over 2000 employees, and is represented in over 30 countries. The firm's market cap is $4.6B.
Initially, the sales of antivirus software products consisted primarily of sales of desktop programs, such as PC-cillin/Virus Buster, which were introduced in Japan in 1991. To meet increased demand for network-based products as companies shifted from stand-alone desktop personal computers to client-server enterprise networks in the early 1990s, Trend Micro introduced LANprotect, its first server application, in 1993. To address the increased risk of virus infection for enterprise networks resulting from widespread use of the Internet, they introduced InterScan VirusWall in 1996 to provide real-time scanning at the Internet gateway, the point where data enters the network from the Internet.
In 1998 they introduced Trend Virus Control System, the forerunner of Trend Micro Control Manager to enable network-wide antivirus software to monitor, update and manage from a central management console. In 2002 they unveiled Trend Micro Enterprise Protection Strategy.
Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 ($50) protects PC and home network against all types of viruses, worms, Trojans, and blended threats-including network viruses, like MYDOOM and SASSER. It also blocks hackers, detects and removes spyware, guards against phishing attacks, filters unwanted content, and minimizes spam. New features include Home Network Control and Wi-Fi Intrusion Detection-extending desktop security to home and wireless networks.
Trend Micro also offers product suite for both SMBs and enterprises that include security products for desktops & clients, outbreak management, email & groupware, networks, Internet gateway, file server & storage, mobility.
Trend Micro Network VirusWall is a family of easy-to-deploy outbreak prevention appliances that prevent or contain threats. For example, Network VirusWall 2500 is deployed inline with network traffic to address the threat to network security from network worms. It protects up to 4096 concurrent users with a 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet - copper + fiber interface and features flexible configurations for high availability and redundancy to protect enterprises and mission-critical applications from attack.
Trend Micro Control Manager acts as a central command center for deployment of Trend Micro's threat-specific expertise across the network and to select third-party products to proactively manage outbreaks. Designed to deliver the flexibility and scalability organizations need, Trend Micro Control Manager offers a multi-tier management structure with extensive customization options for expanded control. Robust graphical reporting provides vital security insights such as sources of infections or vulnerabilities and consolidated, detailed information regarding virus events or unusual activities.
In 2004 Enterprise products comprised 78% of total annual revenues for 2004, with consumer products comprising 22%. During 2004 Gateway suite products grew 131% compared to the previous year, and consumer products experienced a 39% year-over-year increase. As a percentage of total revenue in 2004 Internet server accounted for 31%, Client/Server 28%, Consumer PC 22%, Gateway Suite 18%, and Network 1%.
In 2004 Japan accounted for 41% of total revenue, North America 19%, Europe 27%, Asia Pacific 10 and Latin America 3%. Trend Micro products are sold through corporate and value-added resellers and managed service providers.
In December 2004 Trend Micro, announced an agreement with MSN to provide antivirus scanning and cleaning protection for the MSN Hotmail Web-based service's 187 million email accounts.
On May 10, 2005 Trend Micro agreed to acquire InterMute Inc., a developer of anti-spyware products, for $15 million.
Founded in 1988, F-Secure Corporation has been listed on the Helsinki Exchanges since 1999. The firm is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, and has offices in USA, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Japan. F-Secure is supported by a global ecosystem of service partners, value added resellers and distributors in over 50 countries. F-Secure protection is also available through mobile handset manufacturers such as Nokia and as a service through major Internet Service Providers, such as Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom and Charter Communications. Focused partners offer security as a service for those companies that do not wish to build security expertise in-house.
For home users and small offices without dedicated IT-staff, F-Secure offers Anti-Virus 2005 and Internet Security 2005 provide maintenance-free, easy-to-use protection against viruses and hackers. F-Secure Anti-Virus 2005 (53�) protects a computer against viruses and worms, detects and removes spyware from a computer and does e-mail scanning. F-Secure Internet Security (65� ) also provides parental controls, anti-spam filter and anti-dialer. F-Secure also offers virus protection and intrusion protection as a service for a monthly subscription.
For small to medium size business F-Secure offers Anti-Virus Small Business Suite containing modules for antivirus and desktop firewall for workstations, antivirus for file servers, antivirus for e-mail servers and central policy management. The modules are available for Windows, Linux and Citrix servers.
For larger businesses and corporations F-Secure offers Anti-Virus Enterprise Suite covering everything running in a corporate environment: workstations and laptops, file servers, MS Exchange mail servers, Citrix MetaFrame and gateways. Covering both Windows and Linux computers this centrally managed solution eliminates the cost of a multi-vendor security solution. F-Secure Anti-Virus Enterprise Suite offers centrally-managed protection of all business components to ensure the security of every critical aspect of a corporation.
In 2004 annual revenues were 47.3 million euros, representing 21% growth. Corporate business increased by 25% to 28.1 million euros, service provider business increased 137% to 8.5 million euros and the consumer business increased by 335% to 4.1 million euros. The company had 306 employees at the end of 2004.
Over the last five years F-Secure has transitioned from a company with nearly equally product revenue from antivirus/intrusion protection and encryption segments to one where antivirus/intrusion protection dominates.
On a geographic basis F-Secure has seen European revenues increase significantly while Scandinavian and Asian revenue grew modestly and North American revenues declined
At the end of 2004 Nokia shipped the first phone models to be equipped with F-Secure security solution by default. The firm also launched the first commercially available mobile antivirus solution with a mobile operator, Finnish Elisa. Early in 2005 they launched a similar partnership with Swisscom aimed at protecting Microsoft PocketPC users.
The security vendors described above identified Computer Associates International, Inc. (CA) as a major competitor. Computer Associates, an Independent Software Vendor, is a larger firm with a much broader product portfolio spanning
Unicenter for Infrastructure Management
BrightStor for Storage Management
AllFusion for Application Life Cycle Management
Advantage for Data Management and Application Development
CleverPath for Portal and Business Intelligence and
eTrust for Security Management
eTrust is the relevant product for this commentary addressing
Identity and Access Management
Threat Management and
Security Information Management
CA's overall financial data is presented in the table below.
Unfortunately CA does not break out revenue by product segment.
If one considers the broad topic of network security there are other classes of vendors which time and space does not permit us to cover this week. For example Cisco is a leader in networking for the Internet. The firm offers products in the area of routing, switching, home networking, IP Telephony, optical networking, storage area networking and wireless technology. More to the point Cisco offers numerous network security technologies within its family of routers and switches, in standalone security appliances, and as host-based software agents with central management and analysis. Other examples would be Juniper Networks and Check Point Software.
The top five articles over the last two weeks as determined by the number of readers were
Synopsys Owns Inventions in Magma Litigation
according to admissions by Magma in discover responses
Synopsys and Magma Served With Motion to Make Public the Deposition Transcript of Dr. Lukas van Ginneken
- Dr. van Ginneken, a former employee of both Magma and Synopsys and a one-time defendant in the litigation, was deposed in late April
Synopsys Closes Nassda Acquisition
a provider of full-chip circuit verification software for complex nanometer semiconductors.
Atrenta Introduces Industry's First Predictive IC Verification Solution, Enabling Early Detection and Prevention of Critical Chip Bugs
- 1Team(TM):Analyze Enables IC Designers to Analyze & Automatically Optimize Structure, Coding, Consistency, Testability, Power at RTL
Other EDA News
Other IP & SoC News
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-- Jack Horgan, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.