Thursday, May 17, 2007

Daily Highlights

Florida Governor Charlie Crist said Monday, May 14, that most gas stations along hurricane evacuation routes haven't yet complied with a new law requiring them to install generators so they can still supply fuel if a storm knocks out power. (See item 4)
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the State of Alaska on Tuesday, May 15, announced an agreement to provide stronger oversight over oil and natural gas production and transportation facilities located within the State’s borders. (See item 17)

Information Technology and Telecommunications Sector

28. May 16, IDG News Service — Millions disconnected by NTT broadband outage. Millions of broadband Internet users across most of eastern Japan were unable to log on Tuesday evening, May 15, after a problem at the country's largest broadband provider. NTT East said 2.85 million customers lost Internet service at 6:44 p.m. (9:44 a.m. GMT) on Tuesday, the carrier said in a statement. The outage, the cause of which is still being investigated, lasted until 1:35 a.m. on Wednesday when the last of the affected customers was reconnected. The outage is one of the largest in years and took out both PC Internet connections and IP telephone service across 14 of the 17 prefectures in which NTT East provides service. Customers in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama were not affected.
Source:−broadband−outa ge_1.html

29. May 16, Associated Press — Next gen of Wi−Fi is planned for summer. The next generation of wireless Internet products certified by the Wi−Fi Alliance is expected to hit shelves this summer, even though a final standard for the technology isn't due for another year, the industry group says. The Wi−Fi Alliance was announcing Wednesday, May 16, that it will begin certifying wireless routers, networking cards, microchips and other so−called "Draft N" products in June. The products, which take their name from the upcoming 802.11n technical standard, are expected to reach retail stores shortly thereafter.

30. May 16, Reuters — Symantec sues eight companies over software piracy. Symantec Corp., maker of the Norton Antivirus software, said on Wednesday, May 16, it has sued eight companies it accuses of illegally copying its computer security software, seeking more than $55 million in damages. It is the latest company to resort to legal action to fight piracy, a crime the industry says costs software makers billions of dollars a year in lost revenue. Symantec is seeking jury trials in each case and $4 million to $10 million in damages from each company named in the lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Courts in California. Symantec alleges the companies engaged in trademark infringement, copyright infringement, fraud, unfair competition, trafficking in counterfeit labels and documentation, and false advertising.

31. May 16, ComputerWorld — Worm attacked voter database in notorious Florida district. Sarasota County, FL's, computer database infrastructure was attacked by a notorious Internet worm on the first day of early voting during the 2006 election featuring the now−contested U.S. House race in Florida's 13th Congressional district. In the early afternoon hours on Monday, October 23, 2006, an Internet worm slammed into the county's database system, breaching its firewall and overwriting the system's administrative password. The havoc brought the county's network, and the electronic voting system which relies on it, to its knees as Internet access was all but lost at voting locations for two hours that afternoon. Voters in one of the nation's most hotly contested Congressional elections were unable to cast ballots during the outage as officials were unable to verify registration data. An incident report filed by the county explains the intrusion and temporary havoc wrought by the virus. According to the two−page report, a server on Sarasota County's database system was attacked by "a variant of the SQL Slammer worm." Once infected, as the report details, the server "sent traffic to other database servers on the Internet, and the traffic generated by the infected server rendered the firewall unavailable."
Incident report:

32. May 16, News (Australia) — Sydney, Australia, phone blackout to follow Bush at APEC summit. Mobile phone calls will be blocked in central Sydney, Australia, during the APEC summit in September to protect President George W. Bush from bomb attacks. A helicopter equipped with signal−jamming equipment will shadow Bush's presidential motorcade whenever he travels on the city's streets. It is expected the mobile phone network will be neutralized for about two minutes. Many of the remote−controlled bombs detonated in Iraq and those used in the second Bali bombing were set off by mobile phones.

33. May 15, eWeek — US−CERT: Critical Unicode flaw undercuts firewalls, scanners. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US−CERT) reports that 92 security products by different vendors, including Cisco, may have a serious security hole. Given these products' market share, most businesses could be affected. US−CERT is reporting a network evasion technique that uses full−width and half−width unicode characters to allow malware to evade detection by an IPS or firewall. The vulnerability affects virtually every major firewall and intrusion prevention system available, including products from Cisco Systems. Given Cisco's major share of the market, at least for enterprise routers and VPN and firewall equipment, that means most businesses will be affected. The vulnerability concerns HTTP content−scanning systems that fail to properly scan full−width and half−width Unicode−encoded HTTP traffic. A remote attacker could exploit the vulnerability by sending specially crafted HTTP traffic to a vulnerable content scanning system. After sneaking malware past the firewall or IPS, the attacker can then wreak havoc on a system, scanning and attacking without being detected.
US−CERT Vulnerability Note:

34. May 15, InfoWorld — Oracle to buy premier PLM company Agile. Oracle announced Tuesday, May 15, that it is buying Agile Software, one of the premier product lifecycle management (PLM) solution providers. The deal is being managed as a cash merger for $8.10 per share or $495 million and is expected to close in July. PLM software is designed to streamline the design, engineering, production, distribution, and support of a product. Agile will serve as the foundation of an Oracle PLM offering.
Source:−buys−Agile_ 1.html