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Security News and Issues

Each day owning a computer and maintaining it online becomes more of a challenge. Security is a major concern to computer users. SaferPC brings you Security News and Issues of interest to security conscious PC users.

     
 Title   Date   Author   Host 

Leaders Lacking Disaster Experience
Washington Post
by Spencer S. Hsu
September 12, 2005

Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically.

FEMA's top three leaders -- Director Michael D. Brown, Chief of Staff Patrick J. Rhode and Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks D. Altshuler -- arrived with ties to President Bush's 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to the agency. Two other senior operational jobs are filled by a former Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who was once a political operative.

New Orleans Ignored Its Own Plans
World and I
by Audrey Hudson and James G. Lakely
September 9, 2005

The city of New Orleans followed virtually no aspect of its own emergency management plan in the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans officials also failed to implement most federal guidelines, which stated that the Superdome was not a safe shelter for thousands of residents. The official "City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan" states that the mayor can call for a mandatory citywide evacuation, but the Louisiana governor alone is given the power to carry out the evacuation, which Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has yet to do.

The real heroes and sheroes of New Orleans
Socialist Worker
by Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky
September 9, 2005

Two days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Walgreens store at the corner of Royal and Iberville Streets in the city’s historic French Quarter remained locked.

They were attending an EMS conference in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. They spent most of the next week trapped by the flooding--and the martial law cordon around the city. Here, they tell their story.

John Wayne and New Orleans Indians
Infoshop News
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
September 7, 2005

"The Cavalry is coming!" announced a reporter on the Fox News Channel when finally National Guardsmen trooped into downtown New Orleans on the fourth day of apocalypse. I said to myself, "There they go again, racist Fox News."

I switched channels and found reporters and government officials repeating the same phrase, "The Cavalry has arrived." I should not have been surprised; during the preceding two days, they had been referring to the scene in brown water-lodge New Orleans, not as genocide as I saw it, rather "the wild west." Racism on top of racism, revealing the scaffolding of United States' history, its intact structure bared, all the glitter and trappings washed away. New Orleans became "Indian Country," the military term for enemy territory.

Yahoo major phishing site host
CNET News
by Tom Espiner
September 6, 2005

Anti-spam group Spamhaus says almost 5,000 sites on Yahoo use the words bank, eBay and PayPal in their domain names.

Spamhaus has accused Yahoo of failing in the fight against online fraud, and Microsoft has admitted there is room for improvement. Yahoo is playing host to thousands of phishing sites and doesn't have sufficiently well-trained staff to address the problem of online fraud, according to a leading anti-spam and security organization on Tuesday. Richard Cox, chief information officer of Spamhaus, told an audience of politicians, security experts and law enforcement officials that Yahoo has just under 5,000 domains hosted and registered with the words 'bank', 'eBay' and 'PayPal' within the domain names.

Brazilian police arrest 85 in crackdown on hackers
Reuters
August 25, 2005

Brazilian police arrested 85 people on Thursday accused of stealing more than $33 million by hacking into the online bank accounts of unwitting Internet users, authorities said.

The raid -- dubbed Operation Pegasus -- was carried out by 410 federal police officers in seven states, making it one of the biggest crackdowns on electronic crime in Brazil. In all, 105 arrest warrants were issued after a four-month investigation found that the suspects had pocketed about 80 million reais in the scam.

Americans Surrendering Liberties: Shades Of German History
News With Views
by Pastor Chuck Baldwin
August 23, 2005

It appears that a strengthened U.S.A. Patriot Act will soon sail through Congress with little opposition or consternation on the part of the American people.

The new Patriot Act is even more stringent than the original. In addition, many of the more egregious elements of the Patriot Act which were originally scheduled to sunset are made permanent in the latest version. And the vast majority of the American people do not seem to mind.

Cisco Intrusion Detection Products May Allow Intrusion
Netcraft
August 23, 2005

A Cisco security flaw may allow attackers to hack into systems through the intrusion detection system (IDS), Cisco warned Monday in an advisory . An SSL certificate-checking flaw in two Cisco products - CiscoWorks Management Center for IDS Sensors (IDSMC)

A successful attacker "may be able to gather login credentials, submit false data to IDSMC and Secmon or filter legitimate data from IDSMC and Secmon, thus impacting the integrity of the device and the reporting capabilities of it," Cisco said. A free software update that corrects the flaw is available from Cisco. The announcement continues a trend in which security products are emerging as a potential entry point for attackers. Last year the Witty Worm spread rapidly using a security weakness in BlackIce IDS products from Internet Security Systems. Serious security holes have also been discovered in Symantec antivirus products and the ZoneAlarm family of firewalls from Computer Associates, among others.

Banks Shifting Logins to Non-SSL Pages
Netcraft
August 23, 2005

After years of training customers to trust only SSL-enabled sites, banks are shifting their online banking logins to the unencrypted home pages of their websites. Although the data is encrypted once the user hits the "Sign In" button, the practice runs co

Web sites are generally reluctant to use "https" on busy home pages, since SSL involves a tradeoff: improved security, but slower response time. Consumers, meanwhile, prefer easy to-remember URLs for their online banking. In placing login screens on non-SSL home pages, banks are trying to have it both ways: fast page loading without the SSL-related performance hit. The login form's "action" URL points to an SSL-enabled https URL. Since the introduction of SSL, Internet users have been urged to check for the "golden lock" icon to ensure a web session is encrypted before conducting e-commerce transactions. As phishing has grown rampant, the Anti-Phishing Working Group and Federal Trade Commission have warned consumers to be sure a web page is using SSL before sharing personal information.

Study Ranks America's Most Liberal and Conservative Cities
americancityandcounty.com
August 16, 2005

A new nationwide study released by the nonpartisan Bay Area Center for Voting Research (BACVR) ranks the political leanings of every American city and finds that Detroit, Michigan is the most liberal and Provo, Utah the most conservative.

In all, the BACVR researchers examined voting patterns of 237 American cities with populations of over 100,000 and ranked them each on liberal and conservative scales. The list of Americas most liberal cities is dominated by cities with large African American populations that are concentrated in the Northeast, Midwest and California. Conversely, the study found that the staunchest conservative cities are clustered in the South and interior West and have extremely low numbers of African American residents.

     

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