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by CSO Contributor

Covert Smallpox Stores Suspected; Bali Bombing Suspects Arrested; Election Monitoring in Florida; Researchers Develop Self-Healing Database

Nov 05, 20023 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Covert Smallpox Stores Suspected

An extensive article in todays Washington Post reports that a Bush administration intelligence review has concluded that four nationsIraq, North Korea, Russia and, to the surprise of some specialists, Francepossess covert stocks of the smallpox pathogen, according to two officials who received classified briefings. (Two official, heavily guarded samples exist in Atlanta, Georgia, and Koltsovo, Siberia.) According to the Post, the reports various assessments have helped drive the U.S. government to the brink of a mass vaccination campaign that would be among the costliest steps, financially and politically, in a year-long effort to safeguard the U.S. homeland. In public, the White House has described its smallpox concerns in only hypothetical terms, and until now the gravity of its assessment has not been known. Those who disclosed the intelligence assessments, speaking on condition of anonymity, were not authorized by the White House to do so. Those assigned to speak for the administration’s views, who also declined to be identified, would not discuss intelligence reports. Bali Bombing Suspects ArrestedBBC News today. Police have said they believe the suspects were part of a group of six to 10 people involved in the bombing. The suspects are all reportedly Indonesian. They are said to range in age from 20 to 30. Experts investigating the blast say the bombing was sophisticated and carefully planned.

Indonesian police say they have arrested two men who resemble those suspected of involvement in the Bali bombings, according to the

Election Monitoring in FloridaBoston Globe story today. The organization was paid $92,000 to send 20 people to observe election preparations, mediate between voters and polling officials, and evaluate the overall process. The Justice Department also has sent monitors to Miami-Dade and Broward counties at the request of Florida’s secretary of state, Republican Jim Smith, and in Miami-Dade, the prosecutor’s office plans to send 20 teams of lawyers to look for voting irregularities. Other nonpartisan and partisan organizations have sent monitors as well. The monitors are to ensure that Florida’s election reforms are followed through, said Rodriguez-Taseff, president of the ACLU of Greater Miami, adding that the Justice Department will also ensure that balloting is executed in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.

The Center for Democracy, a Washington-based nonpartisan group that has monitored elections in developing democracies such as Guatemala and Russia, was contracted by Miami-Dade officials to observe voting in that county, reports a

Researchers Develop Self-Healing DatabaseUPI report today, researcher Peng Liu of Pennsylvania State University and his team have developed algorithms that can contain hacker damage by monitoring the behavior of each database user in real time. When the behavior of a user appears suspicious, the program redirects his or her operations to an isolated dummy database, Liu told UPI. The entire database neednt be shut down. “In this way, the transactions of other, trustworthy users will not be affected,” Liu explained. “Later on, if we found that an isolated user is actually innocent, the work of most of his or her transactions will be preserved by merging the effects of these transactions into the main database.” The U.S. Air Force and the Cyber Security Group at Penn State are testing prototypes of this software.

All databases are vulnerable to intrusions from unauthorized users, former employees or hackers looking for a challenge. Software exists to detect breaches, but by then the damage may be done. According to a