London, Wednesday, August 21, 2002

                                INFOCON News

                            IWS - The Information Warfare Site


InfowarCon 2002:

Homeland Defense and Cyber-Terrorism, Washington, DC September
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Institute and Interpact, Inc. Proven strategies for protecting against threats
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                              [News Index]

[1] GAO recommends performance measures for new security agency
[2] U.S. Probes Firm In Security Breach
[3] BlackBerry to carry DOD security
[4] Fighting spam with copyrights
[5] State Department officials envision new intelligence role

[6] Study: Admins slow in patching Apache-SSL servers
[8] (Ethiopia) A Sheep-ish Stab at E-Commerce
[9] Know Your Enemy: Building Virtual Honeynets
[10] Israeli teenagers charged over Goner virus

[11] Agencies should use existing systems to share information
[12] Popular MS download has mysterious vuln
[13] Cracking the hackers' code
[14] IRS loses track of computers
[15] Army picks Anteon for overseas IT support

[16] GSA awards FirstGov contract to AT&T
[17] TSP board delays new computer system again



[I recommend to read the GAO report. WEN]

[1] GAO recommends performance measures for new security agency
By Tanya N. Ballard

The Bush administration must develop clear goals and performance measures for
agencies that will be merged into the proposed Department of Homeland Security,
according to an official from the General Accounting Office.

"The nation does not yet have a comprehensive set of performance goals and
measures upon which to assess and improve prevention efforts, vulnerability
reduction and responsiveness to damage and recovery needs at all levels of
government," said Patricia Dalton, GAO's director of strategic issues.

Dalton testified Tuesday about the organizational and management issues facing
the proposed Homeland Security Department before the House Government Reform
Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and
Intergovernmental Relations.

Full story: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0802/082002t2.htm

The General Accounting Office (GAO) today released the following


Homeland Security:  Effective Intergovernmental Coordination is Key to
Success, by Patricia A. Dalton, director, strategic issues, before the
Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and
Intergovernmental Relations, House Committee on Government Reform, House
of Representatives, in Abilene, Kansas.  GAO-02-1011T, August 20.


[I hope they get shut down as what they did was totally unethical.
The excuse below is rather ridiculous as there is always a way of
contacting the government without using the media! Bottom line:
The government should make an example out of them and close them down,
so that unethical Infosec consultants will think twice before doing
such a publicity stunt! WEN]

'As former employees of a private investigation firm -- and relative newcomers
to the security field -- the ForensicTec consultants said they continued
examining the system because they were curious, and appalled by how easy it was.

Last week, O'Keeffe said his consultants concluded that they had found a serious
problem and wanted to help the government by bringing it to light. "We could
have easily walked away from it," he said last week.'

[2] U.S. Probes Firm In Security Breach
Consultants Invaded Federal Computers

By Robert O'Harrow Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 21, 2002; Page E03

Federal law enforcement authorities searched the computers of a San Diego
security firm that used the Internet to access government and military computers
without authorization this summer, officials said yesterday.

Investigators from the FBI, the Army and NASA visited the offices of ForensicTec
Solutions Inc. over the weekend and on Monday, seeking details about how the
company gained access to computers at Fort Hood in Texas and at the Energy
Department, NASA and other government facilities, officials said.



[3] BlackBerry to carry DOD security
BY Christopher J. Dorobek
Aug. 20, 2002

The company that makes BlackBerry handheld devices is working with the National
Security Agency to meet the Defense Department's needs for the increased
security of the Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) standard,
the company said.

The announcement from Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd. that its BlackBerry products
will support the standard comes as the Defense Department is nearing the release
of its new wireless security policy, possibly as soon as this week.



[90% of the spam comes from about 150 people who sent out millions
of emails a week (Average return: 25 purchases per 1 million spam
emails. WEN]

[4] Fighting spam with copyrights

August 20, 2002, 7:33 AM PT

SAN FRANCISCO--A California company said on Monday it plans to fight Internet
e-mail spam using a new system that relies on U.S. copyright and trademark law.
Palo Alto, California-based Habeas Inc. provides a system that allows people to
easily differentiate between acceptable e-mail and spam, said Chief Executive
Anne P. Mitchell.

"We're letting you separate the wheat from the chaff," Mitchell said.

Habeas is a Latin term used in legal proceedings that means "evidence" or "to
show proof."



[5] State Department officials envision new intelligence role
By Shane Harris

PHILADELPHIA - The State Department will play a new leading role gathering
intelligence on foreigners who could be potential terrorists, according to
agency officials who spoke at a homeland security conference Monday.

Diplomats aren't usually thought of as intelligence agents, but with more than
257 embassies, consulates and other official posts in about 180 countries, no
federal agency can match the department's overseas presence, said Hunter
Ledbetter, State's coordinator for intelligence, resources and planning.

>From the most senior diplomats to consular officers stamping passports, State
personnel living and working abroad are often the first point of contact with
would-be terrorists, soaking up information from personal interviews or articles
in local newspapers that might go unnoticed otherwise, Ledbetter said.

Full story: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0802/082002h1.htm


[6] Study: Admins slow in patching Apache-SSL servers
By Joris Evers
21 August, 2002 9:00 AMSTERDAM, U.K.

Many Web servers running Apache-SSL remain vulnerable to attacks, although a
June security alert did prompt administrators to patch standard Apache Web
installations, according to a survey released Tuesday.

About 75 percent of Web sites hosted on Apache-SSL servers are vulnerable, as
the software has not been upgraded to fix a serious flaw uncovered in June,
according to a survey by Web server information firm Netcraft Ltd. of Bath,




NASA managers today said published media reports
suggesting the agency plans to read the minds of potential
terrorists go too far and ignore the facts and science behind
the research.

The articles were based on a NASA presentation, which served
as talking points for a meeting with Northwest Airlines in
December 2001. The presentation was in response to the call
from the Federal Government for all agencies to look inward
and find what could be done to help in the war on terrorism.



[8] A Sheep-ish Stab at E-Commerce
By Joanna Glasner

In an effort to tailor its gift selection to local tastes over the past two
years, the website has offered the animals in three sizes -- medium, big or very
big -- to overseas customers wanting to send gifts to friends and family in

"It's true that with globalization, people are starting to become more and more
similar. But there are differences that we have to take into account," said
Dawit Bekele, the Ethiopian-born computer science PhD who founded the site.

"Most Ethiopians are not used to giving flowers as a gift, while sheep is a very
common gift," he said.

>From his own experience living in France for nine years, Bekele said he had
first-hand experience with the difficulties of sending gifts home. As he watched
the rise of the commercial Internet in Europe, Bekele said he wanted to find a
way to adapt the medium to his homeland.



[9] Know Your Enemy: Building Virtual Honeynets

by The Honeynet Project
last updated August 20, 2002

This article has been contributed to SecurityFocus by the Honeynet Project. For
more information on honeypots and honeynets, please visit the Honeynet Project
at http://www.honeynet.org.

Over the past several years, honeynets have demonstrated their value as a
security mechanism, primarily to learn about the tools, tactics, and motives of
the blackhat community. This information is critical for organizations to better
understand and protect against the threats they face. Among the problems with
honeynets is that they are resource intensive, difficult to build, and complex
to maintain. Honeynets require a variety of both physical systems and security
mechanisms to be effectively deployed. However, the Honeynet Project has been
researching a new possibility, virtual honeynets. These systems share many of
the values of traditional honeynets, but have the advantages of running all the
systems on a single system. This makes virtual honeynets cheaper to build,
easier to deploy, and simpler to maintain.



[10] Israeli teenagers charged over Goner virus

According to reports in an Israeli newspaper, five teenagers have been charged
in connection with the W32/Goner-A virus which spread worldwide late last year.

The Ha'aretz newspaper reports that the five were charged at Haifa District
Court with wilfully causing damage to computers belonging to companies and
private individuals around the world, including the American space agency NASA,
by deliberately writing and spreading a computer virus across the internet.



[11] Agencies should use existing systems to share information
By Molly M. Peterson, National Journal's Technology Daily

PHILADELPHIA - As federal, state and local agencies work to fuse their
information systems to defend the nation against terrorist threats, they should
look for existing solutions before attempting to "reinvent the wheel," several
government technology experts said Monday.

"We don't want to invest dollars if we already have something that we can build
upon," Steven Cooper, the White House Office of Homeland Security's chief
information officer, told a crowd of more than 900 during a homeland security
conference sponsored by the Government Emerging Technologies Alliance.

Cooper, whose keynote address began the three-day conference, said the tendency
to duplicate existing information-sharing efforts is a "major risk" facing
hundreds of agencies at all levels of government, as they race to connect the
dots. "It doesn't make sense," Cooper said. "It's not good business at any



[12] Popular MS download has mysterious vuln
By Thomas C Greene in Washington
Posted: 21/08/2002 at 09:39 GMT

A certain remote root vulnerability in a Microsoft application called File
Transfer Manager (FTM), a gimmick for developers, beta testers and volume
license addicts (i.e., most of their corporate customers) alike, is not serious
and there's almost no chance that some wily blackhat has used it against you.



[13] Cracking the hackers' code
By Suelette Dreyfus
August 20 2002

If your organisation suffered a computer crime in the past few years and
reported it to AusCERT, it was probably an attack from outside your walls.
Nearly 90 per cent of Australian organisations that reported an incident were
attacked externally, according to the 2002 Australian Computer Crime and
Security Survey. This is the first time the threat of being attacked from
outside surpassed the likelihood of an assault from inside.

It might be increasingly difficult to keep out external hackers but there are
signs IT managers are finding it easier to win support within companies for
improving security. Management consulting firm McKinsey & Co recently studied
security best practices at Fortune 500 companies. About 30 of these companies,
including AOL Time Warner, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft and Visa International, had
appointed a chief security officer or other senior executive to oversee
information security. In some cases, this executive had the power to stop the
launch of new products or systems, and answered only to the chief executive.



[14] IRS loses track of computers
BY Colleen O'Hara
Aug. 19, 2002

The Internal Revenue Service can't account for computers that it lent to
volunteers who help the elderly and others prepare their tax returns, according
to a Treasury inspector general's audit report.

The Aug. 13 report from the Treasury inspector general for tax administration
comes on the heels of well-publicized reports of missing laptops from the
Justice Department, the U.S. Customs Service and Defense Department.



[15] Army picks Anteon for overseas IT support
BY Dan Caterinicchia
Aug. 20, 2002

The Army Network Engineering and Telecommunications Activity recently awarded
Anteon International Corp. a five-year, $10.8 million contract for information
technology support services at overseas locations.



[16] GSA awards FirstGov contract to AT&T
>From National Journal's Technology Daily

The General Services Administration announced Tuesday that its federal
technology services branch awarded a contract to AT&T to provide Web-hosting and
security services for FirstGov, the federal government's Web portal.

Under the deal, which became effective Aug. 14, AT&T will provide hardware and
software to GSA's Office of Citizens Services and Communication (OCSC), which
manages the FirstGov site. The contract will last for one year at $1.9 million
per year, giving GSA the option to renew it over the next three years.

"The federal government's e-gov initiatives will be able to use the new contract
to design, test, and deploy a wide range of new services to better serve the
citizen," said Casey Coleman, chief technology officer for OCSC.

GSA described the deal as an "interim solution" while OCSC improves its Web
offerings. OCSC is a new office within GSA that aims to provide easy access to
information and services on federal and state government Web sites.



[17] TSP board delays new computer system again
By Brian Friel

A new computer system that would give federal employees more control over their
401k-style Thrift Savings Plan account won't be ready until November, the TSP
board announced Tuesday.

The announcement marked the fifth time in two years that the computer
modernization schedule has slipped. The board had previously announced that the
new system would be up and running in September. TSP officials said the new
system is fully developed, but testing has fallen behind because it took longer
than expected to convert TSP participants' records to the new system.
Contractors are testing the records to make sure they were completely and
accurately converted, TSP officials said.

"Although data conversion is expected soon to be validated, the compression
caused by its delay dictates an adjustment to our implementation schedule to
accommodate parallel testing," said TSP Executive Director Roger Mehle. Parallel
testing will make sure the new system can handle the TSP's high volume and
complexity of transactions. About 3 million civilian and military participants
have about $100 billion invested in the TSP. "We will make a transition to the
new . system only when we are completely satisfied of its reliability," Mehle




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Copyright 2002, IWS - The Information Warfare Site

Wanja Eric Naef
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