Monday, June 21, 2004

SEC: [INFOCON] NewsBits - 06/18/04

NewsBits for June 18, 2004

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced the arrest
of a nursing home employee and two other individuals on
charges of stealing a credit card belonging to a Hempstead
nursing home patient and spending thousands of dollars on
a three-day shopping spree at such department stores as
Macy's and Victoria's Secret.
- - - - - - - - - -
SPY ACT Wins U.S. Congressional Subcommittee Approval
Consumers who are fed up with being the unwitting
recipients of spyware programs may get a break if
the SPY ACT becomes U.S. law. The legislation just
passed through a House subcommittee on its way to
further consideration by Congress. The SPY ACT
(Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass
Act) has been passed by the U.S. House Energy and
Commerce Committee'sSubcommittee on Commerce, Trade
and Consumer Protection. This represents a significant
breakthrough in the effort to make the SPY ACT law.
- - - - - - - - - -
Senate debates cybercrime treaty
A controversial treaty that is the first to focus on
computer crime is inching toward ratification in the
U.S. Senate. The treaty would require participating
nations to update their laws to reflect computer
crimes such as unauthorized intrusions into networks,
the release of worms and viruses, and copyright
infringement. The measure, which has been ratified
by Albania, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania
and Romania, also includes arrangements for mutual
assistance and extradition among participating
- - - - - - - - - -
Group of AG's told they should be monitoring file-sharing
Lobbyists for record companies and Hollywood movie
studios laid out a case against online file-sharing
before a group of attorneys general, suggesting
the state prosecutors should examine whether such
companies are breaking state laws. Addressing the
National Association of Attorneys General Thursday,
the entertainment industry representatives warned
that consumers in their states needed to be protected
from the impact of online file-sharing over so-called
peer-to-peer networks.

Piracy increases
- - - - - - - - - -
Privacy Could Hamper Cell Phone Directory
Consumers' passion for privacy in California and
other Western states could signal an uphill battle
for the proponents of a national cell phone directory.
Already, slightly more than a third of Americans
nationwide have unlisted home numbers, but in
California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Washington,
about half the people choose not be listed in phone
directories. They pay as much as $2.66 a month to
keep their home numbers private.
- - - - - - - - - -
Survey Finds Enterprises Deploying Strong WLAN Security
Large enterprises are aware of -- and are taking
action to prevent -- potential security threats
to their wireless LANs, according to a survey
released Thursday by iGillottResearch. The survey
of 804 IT managers working for large enterprises
found that 86 percent of the companies have
deployed WLANs. Only two percent of those
networks are unsecured, the survey found.
- - - - - - - - - -
IP phones can create network security risk
The increasing adoption of Internet telephony
may be opening up a significant security risk for
companies.While mobile telephone viruses have been
the subject of headlines recently, IP-based telephones
could represent a more immediate security threat for
many businesses. "Attacks on IP phones are actually
quite frequent," said Roy Wakim, convergence solutions
manager at Avaya South Pacific. "Security is a major
- - - - - - - - - -
Stealth wallpaper could keep LANs secure
UK defence contractor BAE Systems has developed
a stealth wallpaper to beat electronic eavesdropping
on company Wi-Fi and wired LANs. The company has
produced panels using the technology to produce
a screen that will prevent outsiders from listening
in on companies' Wi-Fi traffic but let other radio
and mobile phone traffic get through.
- - - - - - - - - -
Attack of the zombies
Almost summertime, and the living is easy--unless
you happen to be an IT worker employed in any kind
of security-related capacity. In that case, it
was just new kinds of trouble this week, as worms,
hacker attacks and other threats made life miserable.
The biggest of the headaches was Tuesday's attack
against Web infrastructure company Akamai, which
knocked Yahoo, Google, and various Microsoft and
Apple Computer sitesoffline for at least part
of the day.
- - - - - - - - - -
Cisco upgrades to help networks defend themselves
Cisco is taking the next step in making its vision
of a "self-defending network" a reality. On Monday,
the company plans to announce new capabilities
in its routers to help protect corporate networks
from viruses and worms, two sources close to the
company confirmed on Friday. The release is the
first phase Network Admission Control (NAC),
a collaboration program between Cisco and
antivirus companies.
- - - - - - - - - -
From keeping threats out to keeping data in
Qualys, which sells a service that tests network
vulnerabilities, is tinkering with ways to expand
into regulatory work or even network repair. The
Mountain View, Calif.-based company's strategy
reflects a larger trend of expansion for security
companies. Qualys' servers scan corporate networks
for potential security cracks. Qualys then provides
a report to customers so that they can repair
the flaws. Approximately 90 percent of its 1,400
customers request a scan every two weeks; 60
percent ask for a scan every week.
- - - - - - - - - -
Wal-Mart Plowing Ahead with RFID
Wal-Mart intends to expand its RFID program in
mid-2005 to three additional distribution centers
that cover 100 more stores than the pilot. In the
fourth quarter, seven more distribution centers --
covering 350 stores -- will be added. Compliance
lags. Standards disputes abound. Security concerns
grow. Still, Wal-Mart has reaffirmed its commitment
to its January 2005 deadline for going live with
its pilot RFID implementation.
- - - - - - - - - -
The network strikes back: Experts worry about tech retaliation
In war, politics and sports, it's often said that
the best defense is a strong offense. But the foot
soldiers of computer security work differently:
They scramble to build virtual walls that can
blunt the impact of attacks. Now, a Texas company
wants to bring vigilante justice to cyberspace.
- - - - - - - - - -
Complacency is a serious security threat
Identity theft, phishing and new forms of hacking
and virus creation are growth crimes. And the
levels of sophisticated encryption available
to a very wide range of fraudsters is already
presenting huge challenges to crime detection
agencies. Business has responded to these fears
by spending on software. Computing's annual Image
Trak survey has shown that security is the number
one spending priority for IT decision-makers year
after year.
- - - - - - - - - -
Asleep at the wheel?
When it comes to beating back hackers, too
many companies are still asleep at the wheel.
Set up to guard against old-style black hats,
their defenses have ignored a newer class
of sophisticated attackers who take advantage
of Internet back alleys and technology loopholes
to penetrate corporate networks. Old-style
hacking attacks were direct brute-force affairs:
I found some information about your network.
Then I went poking around and effectively jiggled
the doorknobs of various systems to find an entry
point and something worth stealing.

One in three PCs hosts spyware or Trojans
- - - - - - - - - -
Q&A: GM security chief says cyberthreats lead to change
As the chief information security officer at General
Motors Corp., Eric Litt admits that he isn't exactly
starved for attention within the company these days.
Globalization, regulatory mandates and fast-evolving
threats have put him at the front and center of GMs
effort to integrate security into every aspect of
its vast $186 billion business. Computerworld caught
up with him at the recent SecurE-Biz CxO Security
Summit, where Litt talked about the need for building
security into information infrastructures.
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