Thursday, November 8, 2007

Daily Report

USA Today reports that more than 15,000 people have appealed to the government since February to have their names removed from the terrorist watch list that has delayed their travel at U.S. airports and border crossings, according to the Homeland Security Department. (See items 12)

Yahoo Tech reports that from 2004 to 2006, the number of phone viruses doubled every month. The latest and most sophisticated crop is what’s called “pranking for profit.” This can involve things like redirecting your calls to a different carrier in a different country, or sending MMS messages to everyone in your contact directory, leaving you with enormous extra charges. (See item 31)

Information Technology

28. November 6, IDG News Service – (National) falls for phishing scam, warns customers. is warning customers that they may be the targets of malicious software or phishing scams, after one of its employees was tricked into divulging a corporate password. In a note to customers, Salesforce said that online criminals have been sending customers fake invoices and, starting just a few days ago, viruses and key-logging software. The e-mails were sent using information that was illegally obtained from The problems began a few months ago, when a employee fell for a phishing scam and divulged a company password that gave attackers access to a customer contact list. With this password, the criminals were able to obtain first and last names, company names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of customers. “As a result of this, a small number of our customers began receiving bogus e-mails that looked like invoices,” said. Some of those customers then fell victim to the scam and gave up their passwords to the criminals, too. According to the Washington Post, Suntrust Banks Inc. was one of the customers victimized by the scam. is working with law enforcement to resolve the problem, but in the meantime it is recommending that customers implement a number of security measures in order to cut down on the phisher’s chance of succeeding. Suggested actions include restricting account access to users who are within the corporate network, phishing education or the use of stronger authentication techniques to log on to the servers.

29. November 6, Computerworld – (National) About 165,000 Web sites knocked offline by NaviSite outage. Approximately 165,000 Web sites have been offline since Saturday, thanks to a failed data center migration involving Andover, Mass.-based Web hosting company NaviSite Inc. The problems started Saturday when NaviSite attempted to migrate and replace hundreds of servers operated by Baltimore-based Alabanza Corp., a Web hosting company acquired by NaviSite in August. According to NaviSite’s spokesman, the company decided to physically move 200 of the 850 servers operated by Alabanza to NaviSite’s data center in Andover and then virtually migrate the data from the rest of the older servers to new boxes, also in Andover. NaviSite let its customers know that their sites would be down for a while on Saturday, with the migration expected to be finished that day, he said. But when NaviSite attempted to transfer the data from the 650 servers still in Baltimore it ran into a number of synchronization failures that kept multiplying. To speed the data transfer NaviSite decided to physically transfer another 200 servers from Baltimore to Andover. But then NaviSite ran into more problems. As the hosts came up, their URLs did not, so although customers could access their Web sites from their IP address, they could not do so using their URLs, the spokesman said. As NaviSite tried to solve that problem, the network became overloaded because of all the customers trying to get online. “If there is one little problem, they multiply because there is a lot of dependencies,” he said. Although he said a “big chunk” of sites are back online, he could not say when everything might be back to normal.

Communications Sector

30. November 7, Unstrung – (National) Next-Gen spectrum crunch. As the standards for next-generation wireless systems evolve, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome will be spectrum availability, finds a new Unstrung Insider report. According to the report, Evolved HSPA and the Roadmap to LTE, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) has emerged as the frontrunner to become the next-generation wireless standard. But the key barrier to LTE deployment is the lack of available spectrum. And LTE needs a lot of spectrum. According to an International Telecommunication Union, Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) report, between 1280 MHz and 1720 MHz of spectrum will be needed by 2020 to meet expected traffic growth. Not including spectrum already allocated for mobile communications, the report finds that an additional 1 GHz of spectrum needs to be
found for future mobile communications technologies. The World Radiocommunication Conference 2007 (WRC) in Geneva, which is where the world’s spectrum regulators meet every four years and which will run until November 16, is currently debating which spectrum should be identified for next-generation mobile communications. The UMTS Forum has lobbied the WRC for 100 MHz of frequencies in the UHF bands to be allocated to mobile communications. This spectrum is also referred to as the “digital dividend,” because it will become available as broadcasters switch from analog to digital TV. “It’s vital that crucial spectrum decisions are made without delay at WRC-07, giving operators and manufacturers a clear target to plan their technical and commercial strategies for the years ahead,” said the UMTS Forum’s chairman in a press release. “Now is the right time to identify new spectrum for IMT. Typically, it has taken around a decade from spectrum being identified to its availability and licensing.”

31. October 31, Yahoo Tech Blog – (National) Is your phone catching a virus? Just when you were getting the hang of protecting your computer from viruses, they must have sneezed and found your cell phone. One in every 10 phones is now capable of handling data and messaging. That means it’s become easy and lucrative for hackers to attack cell phones. And the dangers are just as real. From 2004 to 2006, the number of phone viruses doubled every month. According to Symantec, viruses spread on cell phones in a variety of ways: Internet downloads, MMS (multimedia messaging service) attachments, and Bluetooth transfers to name a few. They’ll often show up as game downloads, updates to your phone’s system, ringtones, or alerts. McAfee Avert Labs has identified about 450 different variants of mobile threats, and that’s not including phishing attacks and spam. According to McAfee research, 83 percent of worldwide carriers have had security incidents in 2007. The viruses can cause crashes, unstable or slower-than-usual performance, quick battery consumption, incorrect or skyrocketing mobile phone bills, and dramatic increases in messaging charges. But the latest and most sophisticated crop is what’s called “pranking for profit.” This can involve things like redirecting your calls to a different carrier in a different country, or sending MMS messages to everyone in your contact directory, leaving you with enormous extra charges. Suspect a virus if a phone starts behaving badly, if contacts and calendar entries start to disappear, or if strange charges start to appear.