Friday, December 21, 2007

Daily Report

• The Daily Reporter-Herald reports that about 600 people were evacuated from Agilent Technologies and five taken to the hospital after a cleaning chemical was spilled Wednesday morning. No one was seriously injured, and all five were later released from the hospital.(See item 5)

• According to the Boston Globe, a recently released criticizes Massachusetts for being just one of seven states that have not bought a single dose of drugs to combat a global influenza epidemic and for failing to ensure that its state laboratory has enough capacity to test for dangerous germs during health emergencies. (See item 22)

Information Technology

27. December 20, – (National) Critical Virus spreads on Google’s Orkut network. About 400,000 members of Google’s Orkut social network have been the victims of a spam barrage spreading the W32/KutWormor virus. The virus is hidden in a spam message containing a New Year’s greeting in Portuguese. Once infected, the virus spreads using hidden JavaScript and Flash code by sending the same message to connected Orkut members. It also adds the victim to an Orkut community group called “Infected by Orkut Virus.” Meanwhile, analysts with security vendor BitDefender have detected a new Trojan that hijacks Google text advertisements, replacing them with ads from a different provider. Trojan.Qhost.WU modifies the infected computer’s hosts file. The modified file contains a line of code that causes the browser to read ads from a server at the given replacement address rather than from Google. “This is a serious situation that damages users and Webmasters alike,” said a BitDefender virus analyst, in a statement. “Users are affected because the advertisements and/or the linked sites may contain malicious code, which is a very likely situation, given that they are promoted using malware in the first place. Webmasters are affected because the Trojan takes away viewers and thus a possible money source from their websites.”

28. December 19, – (National) Critical security patch for Adobe Flash Player. Adobe Systems Inc. released a massive security update Tuesday to address multiple flaws in its popular Adobe Flash Player. Danish vulnerability clearinghouse Secunia, which outlined 10 vulnerabilities in an advisory, called the flaws “highly critical” and warned that attackers could exploit the flaws to hijack targeted machines and gain extra user privileges, bypass security restrictions, launch cross-site scripting attacks, disclose sensitive data, and cause a denial of service. Adobe Flash Player is a multimedia application used with Microsoft Windows, Mozilla, and Apple platforms. Adobe said in its APSB07-20 security advisory that the flaws affect Adobe Flash Player and earlier, and earlier, and and earlier on all platforms. The vendor recommended users update to version For Secunia’s advisory, please see:

Communications Sector

29. December 19, RCR Wireless News – (National) WiMAX certification lab opens. The WiMAX Forum has opened its first, and lead, lab to formally test and evaluate mobile WiMAX products for certification. With the lab now open for submissions, certified mobile WiMAX products are projected to hit the commercial market in the coming months. The vice president of marketing at the WiMAX Forum said that these “certifications will lead to an explosion of services and commercial availability in 2008.” The forum is anticipating a two- to three-month timeline for each device’s certification. Everything from base stations to feature-rich devices will be tested for interoperability, power control, minimum uplink and downlink speeds, and numerous other parameters defined by the organization.

30. December 19, Seattle Times – (Washington) Southeast Seattle residents without phone service. A few hundred Qwest telephone customers in Southeast Seattle have lost phone service and may be without it through the weekend, a Qwest spokeswoman said Wednesday. A non-Qwest contractor in the area inadvertently drilled into a piece of Qwest equipment Tuesday, causing the outage. Qwest technicians are working to restore service but it will take time to replace the underground equipment and do the necessary splicing. “It’s not a situation where we can make a fix at one spot and everything will go on at the same time,” the spokeswoman said.

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