• United States



by CSO Contributor

Consumers Need Firewalls; So Many Nodes, So Little Security; Panel Endorses Domestic Intelligence Agency

Dec 16, 20022 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Consumers Need Firewalls

Consumers are only starting to take security seriously for their home computers, according to an article in the Boston Globe today. Firewalls aren’t a foolproof solution, but they are a minimal requirement for safe surfing and especially important for those with broadband connections. Today, 20 percent of America’s home Internet users have high-speed cable or DSL service. Vandals use port scanning programs to identify insecure computers on the network, and when it finds one, it might open a file full of the users personal information or smuggle a malicious program onto the machine. Any time someones on the Internet for more than 15 minutes, itll probably get port-scanned. Federal Trade Commissioner Orson Swindle, at a computer security forum at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., last week, said, “We’ve got to develop a culture of security.” The Globe says Swindle even issued a veiled threat to computer and Internet companies. “If you don’t make security and privacy a part of your corporate culture,” he warned, “the FTC surely will be part of your future.”So Many Nodes, So Little SecurityNew York Times reports that a recent survey of Wi-Fi networks revealed both the extent of Wi-Fi adoption in Manhattan and the apparent laxity of users about Wi-Fi’s built-in security. Nearly 70 percent are using the networks in ways that, without other security measures, could expose every word and digit sent or received to potential interception and allow others to piggyback on their Internet service. The Times asks, Why are so few of those using Wi-Fi at home bothering with its built-in security? Probably because in most systems, it is cumbersome. Many Wi-Fi programs require passwords up to 26 figures long, mixing numerals and letters.


Panel Endorses Domestic Intelligence today. The commission’s chairman, former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, said there is a need for an intelligence “fusion center,” outside any existing department or agency, that could bring together information from a number of different sources to “connect the dots” and prevent attacks. the concept has raised concerns among civil libertarians who said they fear such an agency would be used to spy on Americans who are obeying the law.

The Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, known as the Gilmore Commission, will issue its fourth report Monday, and officials will discuss details at a news conference, according to