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Newsbytes Security Week In Review

Wendy Woods

Here is this week's Newsbytes Security Week in Review, a Friday feature of Newsbytes, a Washington Post Company publication. These were our top security-related stories on computer crime, law, intrusions, encryption, and privacy this week:

Senate Committee OKs ID Theft Bills

Identity theft victims could better repair their lives - and credit - under legislation approved by a Senate committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee made several changes to the Identity Theft Victims Assistance Act and the Social Security Number Misuse Prevention Act to make them easier on businesses.

Windows Media Player Exposes IE Users To Attack

In a reversal of its previous advice, Microsoft is warning that a security flaw in its Internet Explorer browser could enable a malicious Web site or e-mail message to automatically download and run a dangerous program on victims' computers. The flaw, the exploitation of which requires that Microsoft's Windows Media Player be installed, is one of six security bugs corrected by a patch released Wednesday by Microsoft.

Face Recognition Technology Fails Again, ACLU Claims

Early results of face-recognition surveillance tests at Palm Beach International Airport suggest the technology is proving again to be unreliable, the American Civil Liberties Union said this week. The civil rights group, a vociferous opponent of the technology that has figured prominently in national security planning since terrorist attacks in the U.S. last year, said the first four weeks of testing at the Palm Beach airport showed the technology was "less accurate than a coin toss."

New Security Checks Swamp INS Offices

The processing of thousands of immigration applications has ground to a halt in an unknown number of Immigration and Naturalization Service offices because workers have not been provided the equipment or training to use a new security database, INS officials said. In a memo Friday, the INS ordered its workers to begin checking the names of applicants seeking green cards, naturalization and other documents against the Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS). That database contains criminal information and immigration histories supplied by the INS, the FBI, the U.S. Customs Service and other federal agencies.

Judge Freezes Order To Snoop On SonicBlue Customers

A federal court judge has given gadget company SonicBlue more time to battle an order that it begin monitoring exactly how customers use its ReplayTV 4000 digital video recorder. The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper stays an order from Magistrate Charles Eick, who gave SonicBlue 60 days to begin harvesting the data as evidence-collection in a copyright-infringement lawsuit against the company. A host of motion picture studios and television broadcasters say the ReplayTV 4000's ability to detect and skip past commercials threatens their revenues. In addition, they say the device's broadband Internet connections can be used for unauthorized distribution of television programs and movies.

Deceptive Duo Suspects Netted In FBI Raids

Teenager Robert Lyttle, notorious more than a year ago as the pro-Napster hacker Pimpshiz, has been linked to another round of high-profile Web-site defacements following FBI raids targeting a pair known as the Deceptive Duo. Lyttle, now 18, told Newsbytes that he "can't confirm or deny" that he and another hacker known as "The-Rev" were the Deceptive Duo who recently slipped in to a host of poorly secured servers operated by the U.S. military, Sandia National Laboratories and an assortment of government agencies and banks.

Utah Uses Digital Signatures To Secure Deals

Utah Incentive Funds, a division of the state's department of business and economic development, is using online services secured with digital certificates to lure more businesses to the state. The division opened a Web gateway this month that lets businesses complete applications for funding and create legal business agreements securely over the Internet using digital certificates.

Fake XBox Emulator Gets A Stinging Update

A re-tooled version of a Trojan horse program that claims to run Microsoft XBox video games on personal computers has hit the Web, marking the latest effort by Internet scam artists to prey on gullible game aficionados. Like an earlier version of the hoax, the program, uploaded to three Web sites on May 12, does not deliver on its promise to give users the ability to turn their PCs into XBox consoles. Instead, the Trojan, a file called EMU_xbox.exe, installs a small "dialer" program named StealthXP.exe, according to an analysis by Newsbytes.

Canadian Pharmacists Take Action On U.S. Internet Sales

U.S. authorities trying to stop the flow of prescription drugs purchased from foreign companies on the Internet have received some enforcement help north of the border. The Ontario College of Pharmacists in Canada announced Tuesday that it had laid a total of 15 charges against two medical professionals, a number of companies and one of the companies' directors in a crackdown on an operation that filled prescriptions online.

Lieberman Bill Would Create Tech Office For Homeland Security

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) wants $200 million to develop homeland security technologies under a new Science and Technology Office within a cabinet-level Homeland Security Department. Lieberman and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced the National Homeland Security and Combating Terrorism Act of 2002 to centralize the government's many homeland security functions. The new department would coordinate and act as a focal point for all homeland security activities as well as the government's response to natural and manmade crises.

Microsoft Denies Changing Passport Users' Privacy Settings

Microsoft officials denied reports that they have changed privacy practices at the company's .Net Passport sign-on service to make it easier for marketers to contact users. But the company conceded that some services require that it share users' e-mail addresses with other sites that participate in its Passport service.

Two Virginia Universities To Join Forces Against Cybercrime

Two Virginia schools on Tuesday will launch a $6.5 million project to help sort out the myriad legal, technical and policy challenges involved in steeling the nation's most vital computer systems against cyberattacks. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Project - to be housed at the George Mason School of Law in Arlington - is a collaborative effort between GMU's National Center for Technology and Law and researchers and academicians at James Madison University.

Kansas Teen Sentenced After Hackings

A Kansas teenager has pleaded guilty to hacking the official Web site of Stockton, Calif., and telling city officials he would secure it if they gave him a laptop computer. Matthew Kroeker, 18, was sentenced to serve two years probation and pay at least $18,000 restitution, his attorney Kevin Moriarty told Newsbytes. Kroeker pleaded guilty to four felony counts of computer crime in Johnson County District Court last week.


Reported by, .

09:23 CST


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