Thursday, August 30, 2007

Daily Highlights

According to the Detroit Free Press, a spill at a chemical plant in Michigan forced evacuations. Nearly 7,000 gallons of nitric acid spilled at the chemical plant and created a potentially toxic cloud that forced evacuations in an industrial area. (See item 3)

Arbiter online reports a video game that simulates terrorist attacks and other major disasters could become pertinent to homeland security. The game simulates virtual reality training for emergency personnel. (See item 35)

Information Technology Sector

36. August 29, Electronic News – Flextronics-Solectron merger gets EC green light. The European Commission (EC) today announced that it has approved, under the European Union merger regulation, the proposed acquisition of Milpitas, Calif.- based electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider Solectron Corp. by Singapore-based EMS provider Flextronics International Ltd. The rivaling companies announced in June their entrance into a definitive acquisition agreement that had been unanimously approved by the boards of both Solectron and

37. August 28, IDG News – Japan military homes, destroyer raided over data leak. The homes of several serving members of Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and a destroyer were raided as part of an investigation into a leak of sensitive military data from a computer, Japan's Kyodo News reported Tuesday. Officers from the Kanagawa police force and the JMSDF's own criminal investigations unit are investigating the leak of information related to the Aegis missile defense system, the sea-based Standard Missile-3 interceptor system and
the reconnaissance satellite data exchange Link 16 system. The Aegis leak first came to light in March this year when police were conducting an immigrationrelated investigation into the Chinese wife of a JMSDF officer. During the search they came across the data, which included the radar and transmission frequencies of the Aegis system. The issue of data security has been a sensitive one between Japan and the U.S. Japan's Defense Minister apologized to his U.S. counterpart during a visit to Washington, D.C., earlier this year and in June during a speech in Tokyo
Lieutenant General Bruce Wright, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, called the leak "a very serious security problem." Data security at Japanese military and government institutions has been in the spotlight in the last year. The rapid spread of viruses on file sharing networks has served to highlight that many employees and service personnel run file sharing software on official computers. The viruses have caused sensitive documents to be published and shared with data inevitably ending up on the Web.

38. August 28, ComputerWorld – New attacks leave online transactions vulnerable even after sign-on authentication. Companies are trying to demonstrate that they're getting better at securing online transactions by adding multiple forms of authentication at sign-on, such as site keys. But experts say they could do 10 types of authentication at the start of the session and users would still be subject to attacks. "Once that user is authenticated, they think they're OK, but instead
companies have given them a false sense of security to merrily transact business." says the CEO of 2factor Inc. in Maumee, Ohio. An expert, who is currently leading one of several start-ups that are trying to tackle this problem, says the real threat for online transactions these days comes from intrasession attacks, where a secure session is hijacked without the user's knowledge. These usually occur in two ways, during a piggyback attack or a spoof server attack.

Communications Sector

39. August 29, CNet – Wi-Fi to supersede wired Ethernet. Wi-Fi will start replacing wired Ethernet within the next two to three years, as users and applications go mobile. In a report comparing gigabit Ethernet with the latest version of Wi-Fi, 802.11n, Burton Group suggests that companies should begin making plans for switching their local-area networks (LANs) from wired to wireless. A Burton analyst listed several reasons for the switch, including growing numbers of laptop users, increased use of mobile applications and the deployment of voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. In addition, while recent advances in radio design, security and wireless management would soon make 802.11n the preferred LAN access technology, wired Ethernet would continue to be necessary in switch trunks and data center networks for many years to come. The new version of 802.11n promises higher throughput, and better range and bandwidth, than its predecessors. However, the standard's ratification has been a controversial affair, with final
approval by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) poised to come as late as 2009.

40. August 28, Associated Press – Chicago scraps plans for wi-fi network. The plan to cover Chicago’s 228 miles with wireless internet access will be shelved because it is too costly and too few residents would use it. After much consideration city authorities decided they needed to reevaluate their approach to provide universal and affordable access to high speed Internet as part of the city's broader digital inclusion efforts. The city said that negotiations with private-sector partners have stalled because any citywide wi-fi would require massive public financing. The city
had hoped to provide only infrastructure for the network. Tuesday's announcement makes Chicago the latest in a string of municipalities to encounter troubles with their municipal broadband initiatives. About 175 U.S. cities or regions have citywide or partial systems.