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U.S. Government Offers Free Cyber Alerts

 
 
texan@texas,removethisbit,.usa.com
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      01-28-2004
By TED BRIDIS
AP Technology Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Aiming to increase Internet security, the
government is now offering Americans free cyber alerts and computer
advice from the Homeland Security Department.

Anyone who signs up with the new National Cyber Alert System will
receive e-mails about major virus outbreaks and other Internet attacks
as they occur, along with detailed instructions to help computer users
protect themselves.

The program, which begins Wednesday, represents an ambitious effort by
the government to develop a trusted warning system that can help home
users and technology experts.

The goal of improving the overall security of the Internet has been
frustrated by increasingly complex software that can be difficult to
secure and by hackers learning to launch sophisticated new attacks.

"There is a clear need for this kind of system to be developed," said
Amit Yoran, the Bush administration's cyber security chief. "Receiving
information from the Department of Homeland Security gives people a
certain level of confidence."




The announcement comes 11 months after such an Internet warning system
was described in the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, a series
of proposals endorsed by the Bush administration and technology
industry to improve online security.

The alerts will function independently from the Homeland Security
Department's well known color-coded system, which reflects the
national threat level.

The new alert system puts the government in direct competition with
dozens of companies and organizations that already transmit similar
cyber warnings, and could renew criticisms about earlier, disjointed
government efforts that frequently sounded Internet warnings hours or
even days after major computer attacks and occasionally included
incorrect information.

Earlier Internet warnings were distributed by the FBI's National
Infrastructure Protection Center, which moved to Homeland Security
when President Bush created the new department.

Congressional investigators complained in July 2002 that those earlier
warnings were mostly issued after Internet attacks were long under
way. They blamed government's inability to analyze imminent Internet
attacks, fears about raising false alarms and staff shortages.

Yoran acknowledged the difficult balance between providing accurate
warnings almost immediately.

"I'm sure we'll take some kicks in the shins," he said.

He indicated the government will focus on distributing information as
quickly as possible, correcting any wrong information as U.S. computer
investigators learn new details. "In the absence of information, the
operator community is going to rely on whatever information is out
there," he said. "It's better to have our voice heard rather than
letting people operate in the dark."

The new alert system also sets up potentially serious conflicts with
leading software companies, including Microsoft Corp., which
aggressively discourage any public disclosures about new security
flaws in their products until engineers can study the problems and
offer repairing software patches for their customers.

Yoran said the government will aggressively warn consumers about
vulnerabilities, in some cases revealing threats "above and beyond
what specific commercial vendors may not wish to disclose."

"If the disclosure of certain information is deemed in the public
interest, we'll move forward," he said.

Researchers who discover new vulnerabilities commonly work closely
with these companies by agreeing not to reveal details about their
work until a software patch is available. But some researchers have
increasingly complained that companies take too long to verify their
discoveries or deliberately seek to minimize their efforts for
marketing purposes.

---

On the Net:

US CERT: www.us-cert.gov


 
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CollectorNZ
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      01-28-2004
texan@texas wrote:
> By TED BRIDIS
> AP Technology Writer
>
> WASHINGTON (AP) -- Aiming to increase Internet security, the
> government is now offering Americans free cyber alerts and computer
> advice from the Homeland Security Department.
>
> Anyone who signs up with the new National Cyber Alert System will
> receive e-mails about major virus outbreaks and other Internet attacks
> as they occur, along with detailed instructions to help computer users
> protect themselves.
> ....Snip
> Researchers who discover new vulnerabilities commonly work closely
> with these companies by agreeing not to reveal details about their
> work until a software patch is available. But some researchers have
> increasingly complained that companies take too long to verify their
> discoveries or deliberately seek to minimize their efforts for
> marketing purposes.
>
> ---
>
> On the Net:
>
> US CERT: www.us-cert.gov
>
>

I detect an excellent oppourtunity for PHISHING here. Now wheres my rod
and reel -

 
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Ralph Fox
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      01-29-2004
On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 14:35:38 -0600, in article
<(E-Mail Removed)>, texan@texas,removethisbit,.usa.com wrote:

> WASHINGTON (AP) -- Aiming to increase Internet security, the
> government is now offering Americans free cyber alerts and computer
> advice from the Homeland Security Department.
>
> Anyone who signs up with the new National Cyber Alert System will
> receive e-mails about major virus outbreaks and other Internet attacks
> as they occur, along with detailed instructions to help computer users
> protect themselves.



I can just imagine it.

SWEN version 2 will pretend to be a detailed update from the
National Cyber Alert System.



--
Politicians are like diapers:
they need to be changed often,
and for the same reasons.
 
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