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Home » Forums » Forum Archives » Motherboards, Chipsets, Processors, & Memory » Topic # 441

Spywareinfested mobos distributed worldwide...
obnixus Aug-04-01 11:16 PM
The motto for this contribution is:

AUDACTER CALUMNIARE, SEMPER ALIQUID HAERET.
said by Francis Bacon (no copyright here!)

"...we at PhoneyNet 'feel' and our attorneys 'feel' that this is legal and fair."
SAN JUANITA, Calif.--(BUSINESS ROPE)--Aug. 7, 2000--Phoney Technologies Ltd.
Chippy Geizhals, senile wise president and general quartermaster, PhoneyNet Division, Phoney Technologies is bragging:
"We have successfully reached another key milestone with over 2 million PhoneyNet-enabled motherboards being shipped by Taiwan manufacturers. These PhoneyNet-enabled motherboards have shipped into worldwide reseller channels in all major regions around the globe including Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America and Europe."
(,,,excuse me, Chippy, what other major regions on this globe do you mean, Australia, Antartica, Greenland, Africa and South America? None forgotten?)
"We're pleased to exceed the 2 million-unit mark for PhoneyNet shipments only six weeks after our first million-unit milestone," he bragged. "Our motherboard partners have demonstrated their commitment to the PhoneyNet program by ramping their production to exceed the 2 million-unit mark in a very short timeframe."

Tiny Toy, black belt, general quartermaster, Lucky Strike USA said: " We are very pleased with the response to PhoneyNet as an added value on LuckyStrike motherboards." "We believe our channel customers as well as the end users will find tremendous value in the collective offering of PhoneyNet and the PhoneyNet eBusiness partners."

Currently, 16 motherboard companies are shipping PhoneyNet on 40 different models. The first motherboard manufacturers to include PhoneyNet in large volume production are Soya, Chainless and LuckyStrike. PhoneyNet subscribers began signing up for the PhoneyNet service in February 2000, shortly after PhoneyNet-enabled motherboards began shipping. Phoney announced the achievement of 1 million units shipping on June 15, 2000.


Yes, this was a fable (or...?) but in true life another company with a similar name busies itself with distributing a firmware embedded in the computer's BIOS. Oh yes, you might say, we already know that! You are giving us a rehash of old things. Partly , yes - but did you know that some 4-6 million mobos/computers with spyware-contaminated BIOSes has already been distributed around the globe?

The code located in the BIOS is a typical SPYWARE or TROJAN with resemblance to the MSBB connected with 'DotNow', able to clandestinely "call home" and deliver facts about the computer and its owner and fetch advertisments, install programs etc, without any initiative taken by the computor owner.
In the company's own words:"The PhoenixNet Internet Launch System (ILS) is a patent-pending technology built into the firmware of your PC. PhoenixNet's technology resides safely within ROM (Read Only Memory). PhoenixNet is activated automatically at the initial launch of your new PC etc., etc."
http://attjcw1.newsedge.com/1stbin/read_story/FIRST/010701/35/14/680/2

"With an eye toward providing our customers with world-class solutions, Phoenix is now positioned to offer our platformware services fully intergrated with ravishing internet connectivity," said Albert E. Sisto, president and CEO for Phoenix Technologies. "As a result of this, manufacturers of information appliances will have the ability to draw from Phoenix's expertise to develop information appliances that, like an industry-standard pc, can be configured and personalized by the end-user for the life of the device."
http://home.phoenixnet.com/about/index.html
http://home.phoenixnet.com/rslogo/index.html
http://home.phoenixnet.com/partners/index.html
http://www.cexx.org/phoenix.htm
http://www.infinisource.com/features/phoenix.html
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/20226.html
http://www.sysopt.com/forum/Forum5/HTML/006707.html
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,826520;root=security,1;mode=flat
http://search.atomz.com/search/?sp-q=phoenixnet&sp-a=0008002a-sp00000000

It is rumored that the product PhoenixNet is being fased out - they (Phoenix) even stated this themself when asked by the cyberzine 'the Register.'
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/20486.html
However, there is reason to doubt this - too much money is since 1999 invested in the product and the expected revenue was not of this world. The old CEO was kicked out in 1999 and the 'Sisto-era' was launched. All the top staff at Phoenix has taken up their duties since 1999. PhoenixNet is their beloved and monstrous child.

As long as PhoenixNet does not OPENLY DECLARE the operation to be discontinued, there is reason to remain alarmed

"The PhoenixNet service is delivered to any PC that has a PhoenixNet-enabled BIOS on the motherboard. The following motherboard companies are currently (2000) shipping PhoenixNet-enabled BIOS. Contact your motherboard supplier to find out when they will begin shipping phoenixNet-enabled boards:
Chaintech, ABIT, Red Fox, AGP-ALI, Soyo, Lucky Star, Atrend, AOpen, Mycomp, A-Win, Commate, Acorp, Jetway, ECS." http://www.phoenixnet.com/reseller/WebPages/43.html

If you have got a PhoenixNet-infested mobo you will never get rid of the PhoenixNet initial splash-screen - possibly carrying advertisment - and of course the (hopefully!) dormant 'spyware' in the BIOS.
http://home.phoenixnet.com/gls/index.html
We have got PhoenixNet's word of that:
David Jablon, CTO, PhoenixNet says:" I have just learned that the BIOS startup splash screen is a fixed thing that can't be disabled. But, regardless of the "PhoenixNet" label, that feature has no function other than to display system data to the console at startup."
(David_Jablon@Phoenix.com)

Two years ago you could read the following on ZD Net News: "Trying to find a new revenue source, Phoenix said it plans to modify future versions of its software to let Internet companies offer their services, without having to strike deals with Microsoft or PC manufacturers. For instance, an Internet-service provider such as America Online Inc. could theoretically put its sign up icon directly on the desktop of any PC that uses the Phoenix start-up software." "Phoenix officials said AOL and several other major Internet companies, including Yahoo! Inc., CNET Inc. , and Excite@Home Corp have already agreed to use the new technology. In exchange, Phoenix will receive a share of the revenue generated by customers who sign up for Internet services using its technology." "While a number of Internet companies already have bundling deals with many big-name PC makers, Phoenix hopes to target the roughly 35 million unbranded "white box" PCs shipped every year, a fragmented market that until now has been difficult for Internet companies to address. Phoenix plans to start shipping its Internet-enabled start-up software in the fourth quarter of 1999. The company also eventually plans to offer the new technology in branded PCs as well." "Including the charges, Phoenix expects net income in the fiscal third quarter ending June 30 in the range between zero and $1 million, or zero and four cents a share. Absent those items, the company would expect net income of $4 million to $5 million, or 14 cents to 18 cents per share. In the year-earlier period, Phoenix reported net income of $3.6 million, or 13 cents a share, on revenue of $31.6 million." "In another big change for the company, Phoenix also plans to announce that Jack Kay, its president and chief executive officer since 1995, will step down from both posts for personal reasons. He will remain a board member. His successor will be Albert Sisto, formerly chief operating officer of RSA Data Security Inc., a unit of Security Dynamics Technologies Inc.."

Voices have been raised asking who is behind all this. The following is a compilation of informations accessible on the net. Note 'start of employment'!

Albert E. Sisto, Chairman CEO President, Phoenix Technologies., started adding security features to the company's chips. He says Phoenix's expertise in putting complex software into small devices will serve it well in new markets for Internet appliances. Sisto also says he's discovered another important asset: the company's distribution system, which channels hundreds of millions of chips to the PC makers and component manufacturers worldwide who are Phoenix's customers. Mr. Sisto joined the Company as President and Chief Executive Officer in June 1999. He was formerly Chief Operating Officer of RSA Data Security, Inc. from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he served as President, Chairman and CEO of DocuMagix, Inc. from 1994 to 1997, which was merged into efax.com; and, from 1989 to 1994, he was the President and CEO of PixelCraft, Inc. Mr. Sisto also serves on the Boards of Directors of Insignia Solutions, Hi/fn Inc., efax.com, Tekgraf, and the Company. Mr. Sisto earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology. In 2000, Albert E. Sisto raked in $724,258 in total compensation from Phoenix Technologies. And Albert E. Sisto has $2,855,787 in unexercised stock options from previous years.

Phoenix Technologies Ltd., 411 E. Plumeria Drive, San Jose, CA 95134 , (408) 570-1000

Market Value ($mil): $218.47 12-Month Total Return: -43.03. Chip giant Intel owns 8% of Phoenix Technologies, Sales($mil) / %chg :$150.79 / 18.12% Income($mil) / %chg : $23.66 / 548.15%. Employees: before Sisto-takeover 773 , after Sisto-takeover 673.

Steven S. Chan, Vice President Engineering - Operating Systems & Tools Division
Steve became Vice President of Engineering, OS & Tools Division of Phoenix Technologies in October 2000. He joined Phoenix in October 1999 as Vice President of Engineering, Platform Enabling Division. Mr. Chan has held positions of Director of Applications for Monterey Design Systems from May 1998 to September 1999 and President of AuraVision Corporation from October 1995 to May 1998. Mr. Chan graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering.

Mitch Dimler, Chief Information Officer
Mr. Dimler joined the Company as Chief Information Officer in November 1999. Prior to joining Phoenix, he was Vice President of Architecture & Technology at Transamerica Corporation. From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Dimler served as Director of Systems Architecture & Object Oriented Development at DIRECTV, and from 1994 to 1996, Mr. Dimler served as Director of Marketing Information and Technology at International Tours. Mr. Dimler received an MBA and BA from MidAmerica Nazarene University.

David Everett, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Platform Enabling Division
Mr. Everett rejoined the Company as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Platform Enabling Division in April 1999. Prior to rejoining the Company, he was CEO of 3D Labs, Inc. In September 1997, he became President and CEO of Dynamic Pictures, Inc. In January 1996, he joined the Company as Vice President, Worldwide Field Operations. Mr. Everett has also worked for SyQuest Technology as Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, and for Wyse Technology as Senior Vice President, Sales and Corporate Marketing. Mr. Everett earned a BA in Business from Michigan State University. $ 266K

John M. Greeley, Senior Vice President, Finance & Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Greeley joined the Company as Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer in May 2000. Prior to joining Phoenix, he was Chief Operating and Financial Officer of Leasing Solutions, Inc. Mr. Greeley spent over sixteen years at GE Capital Corporation in various finance and general management positions. While at GE Capital, Mr. Greeley served as President of Telecom Financial Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Capital specializing in the financing of telecom and data networks. He started his career in New York City with Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP, and is a CPA. Mr. Greeley is a graduate of St. John's University with a BS in Accounting and an MBA in Finance.

Kendall S. Larsen, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PhoenixNet Division
Kendall joined Phoenix from RSA Security, Inc. were he was most recently Senior Vice President of Worldwide Alliances and OEM Sales. RSA grew each quarter during his three years there. Kendall also expanded the operations beyond North America to Asia and Europe. Prior to joining RSA, Kendall was Vice President of International Sales and Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Ramp Networks, an Internet router company. Before that, he was Managing Director of the Americas for General Magic, a leading provider of operating systems for the handheld marketplace and intelligent agent technology for network providers. He has also served as Director of National Accounts, Director of OEM Sales, and Director of the Western area for Novell, Inc., and he has held various management sales positions at IBM and Xerox Corporation. Kendall holds a B.S. degree in Economics from the University of Utah.

Magda Madriz, Vice President, Human Resources
Magda came to Phoenix from Xicor, Inc., a high tech Silicon Valley company with over 600 employees in October 2000. She joined Xicor, Inc. in 1984 as Director of Human Resources, and was later promoted to Vice President in 1990. In addition to her responsibilities as the senior executive for Human Resources, she also assumed responsibility for Safety and Environmental Compliance. Prior to her career at Xicor, Magda served as Division Senior HR Manager for Atari, Inc. from 1980 to 1984. She has also worked for Dysan Corporation, and Federated Department Stores in various HR capacities. She has served as an appointed Commissioner for The City of San Jose since 1994, and is on the Board of several non-profit organizations. Ms. Madriz earned a BA degree in Business Administration from the University of Pavia, Italy.

Linda Moore, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Ms. Moore joined the Company in November 1999. Prior to joining the Company she was Vice President and General Counsel of NHancement Technologies, Inc., a distributor of computer-telephony products based in Fremont, California. From 1989 to 1998, she served as General Counsel and Secretary of Jabil Circuit, Inc., an electronics contract manufacturer headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has also served as a consultant to Internet start-ups and has 6 years experience in equipment leasing. Ms. Moore received a B.A. from the University of Michigan, an M.A. from Eastern Michigan University and a J.D. from Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University.
George Huang 58, Vice Chairman $ 269K,
Wayne Cantwell 35, Pres and CEO, inSilicon subsidiary $ 280K,

Even if the staff of Phoenix also, thinks that their business is 'fair and legal', big problems are certainly gonna rice!
http://www5.zdnet.com/zdnn/content/zdnn/0124/278135.html

Too few and weak voices have up to now opposed this outrageous scandal, also an infringement of Article 12, UN Declaration of Human Rights.

However, at least one sound and rational reaction has occurred - see the following mail!

---- Original Message -----
From: Michael Wassing
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2001 12:05 PM
Subject: RE: brand and reflash your BIOSes, folks, and enjoy! It's DIY-time.

We removed Phoenixnet again since the privacy of the End User with Phoenixnet is violated on the Internet so I think you should be happy that we don't have this options. By the way many many many many people
complained about this and that is why we removed it.
Best Regards,

Michael (FAE Team)
EPoX Europe Computer B.V.
support@epox.nl
http://www.epox.nl/

I guess PhoenixNet at the moment consider themself being in a tight spot. They are in all probability now 'regrouping' and changing strategy. Their site is also constantly changing - pages disappeare or are remodelled.


Don't hesitate to fight PhoneyNet,..sorry, of course I mean PhoenixNet - the real thing! At least you must sign the petition:
http://www.weslow.net/bytethis/columns/phoenixbios_petition.htm


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