Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Daily Report

According to the Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has postponed the implementation of an already funded domestic spy satellite program until it can address privacy and legality concerns raised by Congress. (See item 7)

The Associated Press reports that, according to confidential reports submitted to federal regulators, as the number of American laboratories that handle the world’s deadliest germs and toxins has grown, so has the number of safety incidents. These labs have experienced more than 100 accidents and missing shipments since 2003. (See item 22)

Information Technology

27. October 2, Associated Press – (National) Online videos may be conduits for viruses. As anti-spam technology improves, hackers are finding new vehicles to deliver their malicious code. Some could be embedded in online video players, according to a report on Internet threats released Tuesday by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center as it holds its annual summit, at which more than 300 scholars and security experts met to discuss emerging threats for 2008. With computer users getting wiser to e-mail scams, malicious hackers are looking for sneakier ways to spread the codes. Over the past few years, hackers have moved from sending their spam in text-based messages to more devious means, embedding them in images or disguised as Portable Document Format, or PDF files. While there have been few reported cases of video-related hacking to date, “the next logical step seems to be the media players,” one expert said.

28. October 1, Business Wire – (National) Alion introduces design tool to help protect ships, buildings, vehicles and infrastructure from threats. Alion Science and Technology, a technology solutions company, today announced the release of a standalone version of MOTISS™, a software application that helps designers of large structures, including ships and buildings, improve defenses against threats. MOTISS (Measure of Total Integrated System Survivability) has been used for several years by Alion engineers on numerous naval ships. The program helps designers build in resistance to a variety of threats, which can include fire, explosions and other hazards, said an Alion representative, adding that the software has numerous applications, including ship design, heavy manufacturing and the design of buildings, large facilities and infrastructure.

Communications Sector

29. October 1, San Francisco Gate – (National) Our fraying internet infrastructure. According to a senior fellow at UC San Diego and at the Annenberg Center for Communication at USC, the U.S. has dropped from fourth place to 15th place on the broadband ranking kept by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He argues that the supply of broadband has not kept pace with accelerating demand, and that this will have an adverse affect on our economy, putting us at a disadvantage in the global marketplace. “Our economy is dependent upon broadband. Without investments in broadband infrastructure - not only will consumers suffer - but we will experience a creeping lack of competitiveness, job loss and the gradual ceding of our Internet leadership to other nations,” he said.

30. October 1, – (National) Remarks of Cyber-security and Communications Assistant Secretary. The DHS’s Cyber Security and Communications Assistant Secretary spoke at the National Cyber Security Awareness Month summit on Monday. He said that DHS has made great progress in developing a national preparedness and deterrence strategy and enhancing operational cyber response capabilities. He referenced the DHS-sponsored March 2008 National Cyber Exercise, or Cyber Storm II, which follows the highly successful Cyber Storm I held in February 2006. The exercise examines response and coordination mechanisms against a simulated cyber event affecting international, federal, state, and local governments, as well as the private sector. He also mentioned “Einstein,” an early warning system for federal computer networks. Einstein monitors participating agencies’ network gateways for traffic patterns that indicate the presence of computer worms or other unwanted traffic. By collecting traffic information at agency gateways, Einstein gives government analysts and participating agencies a big-picture view, synthesized of potentially malicious activity across federal networks.

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