Friday, May 4, 2007

Daily Highlights

The Associated Press reports the mysterious killer that is wiping out many of the nation's honeybees could have a devastating effect on America's food; about one−third of the human diet comes from insect−pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination. (See item 18)
HealthDay reports two months after it triggered the largest pet food recall in U.S. history, a key Canadian manufacturer has widened its recall once again on the threat of cross−contamination in some products processed at any Menu Food plant during the period in which contaminated wheat gluten was in that plant. (See item 22)
Information Technology and Telecommunications Sector

35. May 03, Government Computer News — West Point takes first in annual Cyber Defense Exercise. Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point won their third Cyber Defense Exercise this month, building and successfully defending a network against red team attacks to beat out teams from the nation’s four other service academies. The exercise, held April 16−20, pitted student teams from West Point and the Air Force, Naval, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine academies against attackers from the National Security Agency and the Defense Department. The exercise is the culmination of information assurance classes for cadets and midshipmen in computer science and electrical engineering departments. It is a learning experience as much as a test. Each team had to build and maintain a virtual network that includes a Web server providing dynamic content from a back−end database, an e−mail server with public−key encryption, chat service, file sharing and a Domain Name System server for name resolution. Because of the growing interest in the exercise, a steering group of information security specialists has been formed to establish a framework for a national Cyber Defense Exercise that would include state universities.

36. May 02, — Botnet expedition reveals corporate weaknesses. It has long been assumed that corporate computers are relatively free of bots, pieces of malicious code hidden on a computer without the owner's knowledge to perform spamming or other undesirable activities. Support Intelligence (SI), a network security company in San Francisco, has been running what it called "30 Days of Bots," featuring corporate networks infected with spam−churning bots. It began analyzing data in February, monitoring 10,000 domains that plow data into a trap much like a fishnet, except the intelligence in the data is designed to determine what information to keep by looking for spam. Forrester Research security analyst Natalie Lambert said in an e−mail to "Enterprises do not have the necessary protections in place to mitigate today's threat landscape. Enterprises need full−suite solutions that include anti−malware, personal firewalls and some sort of behavior detection." SI CEO Rick Wesson said the worst offenders are ISPs, followed by university networks. But beneath the ISPs, SI began finding corporate IP addresses in its fishing.