Friday, February 22, 2008
• According to the Reuters, Radioactive caesium chloride used in medical and research equipment can be used as a deadly ingredient in a “dirty bomb,” and U.S. leaders should try to curb its use, the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) said on Wednesday in a report commissioned by Congress. (See item 6)
• ABC Action News Tampa reports a Clearwater man trying to board a Southwest Airlines flight was arrested over the weekend after airport police found a box-cutter knife hidden inside a hollowed out book, according to airport officials. The man was attempting to go through a security checkpoint inside Concourse C Sunday around 7:30 am when a TSA screener saw the knife inside his backpack, according to his arrest report. (See item 14)
28. February 21, IDG News Service – (International) McAfee: Virus writers going local. Over the past two years, virus writers have increasingly targeted their malicious programs to users in different regions of the globe, creating programs that are specially designed to infect users in countries like Japan, Brazil, China, or Germany. The “taunting Trojan,” which goes after users of the Winny file-sharing program is an example of this phenomenon. Winny is file-sharing software that is incredibly popular in Japan, but virtually unknown outside of the region. Still, it has been the target of several malware programs, according to a security research and communications manager for McAfee Avert Labs. Previously, attackers would write programs that would affect the largest possible number of users, but that is no longer necessarily the case, he said. “What we’ve noticed over the last couple of years is that a growing amount of malware is localized.” McAfee believes that there are a few reasons behind this shift. For one thing, writers no longer want the worldwide attention and law enforcement action that was garnered by outbreaks such as Sasser and Netsky. And with users becoming more wary, hackers have to be crafty with their attacks – creating more targeted malware that victims are unlikely to have seen before. Another factor is that criminals are increasingly targeting their attacks to regions that have weak cybercrime enforcement, McAfee believes.
29. February 21, Canwest News Service – (International) Quebec police bust alleged hacker ring. Quebec provincial police said Wednesday they have dismantled what they called the largest and most damaging computer-hacking network ever uncovered in Canada. During several action-packed early-morning hours Wednesday, provincial police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers dismantled the latest hacking ring by successfully carrying out 17 lightning-fast raids in 12 towns across Quebec, including Montreal. They collared 17 hacking suspects aged 17 to 26. All are male except for one, a 19-year-old woman. Police raiding parties also sealed and carted away dozens of hard drives and other computer components from the homes of each of the suspects. The actions of the group acts caused an estimated $45-million Candian in damages to governments, businesses, and individuals.
30. February 20, Times – (International) Hacker breaks link between iTunes and the iPod. Software letting iTunes users copy music and video to mobile phones has been released by the notorious Norwegian hacker known as DVD Jon. The program allows people to drag and drop songs from iTunes into a folder on their desktop, which in turn copies the files to other devices such as mobile phones and games consoles via the web. In doing so, the software breaks the copy protection – known as ‘digital rights management’ or DRM – that is built into all music that is bought from iTunes. Music bought from iTunes can be played only on the iPod. DoubleTwist, DVD Jon’s company, maintains that its service is legal, but lawyers said that Apple would almost certainly seek to shut it down because the law now specifically targeted technologies which attempted to circumvent measures such as DRM.
31. February 21, Canwest News Service – (National) T-Mobile tests mobile service to replace home phone service. T-Mobile will test an Internet calling plan designed to replace consumers’ home wireline-based phone service. The tests will be carried out in Dallas and in Seattle near T-Mobile’s U.S. headquarters. The tests are in addition to TMobile’s announcement earlier this week that it will offer complete wireless plans for $100 a month that include unlimited nationwide calling, text messaging, and data access.
32. February 20, IDG News Service – (National) Update: BlackBerry network goes down again. BlackBerry users in North America were complaining of service problems again Wednesday morning. Users of the BlackBerry outage newsgroup began reporting problems at around 6 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast related to scheduled maintenance on Research In Motion Ltd.’s (RIM) network. The issue appeared to become progressively worse, initially affecting about half of users in the Americas but eventually affecting all customers, according to users of the newsgroup. RIM said it was not a system-wide outage. The problem affected only users of BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) and not BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) customers, RIM said. BIS customers sign up for the service through their mobile operators. Enterprises often use a different setup, installing a BES to deliver corporate e-mail to BlackBerry devices. While messages to and from both BIS and BES users pass through RIM’s network operations centers, in this case, only the network components that handle BIS customers were affected.