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by CSO Contributor

Suburbs Favored for Homeland Security HQ; Al Qaeda Threats on the Web; Ads Posing as Security Warnings Draw Lawsuit; Former Finnish Telco CEO Detained; Strong Reactions to Smallpox Vaccine

Dec 05, 20024 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Suburbs Favored for Homeland Security HQ

A story in the Washington Post today reports that the Bush administration has set requirements for the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security that appear to favor a suburban office park rather than a site in the District. According to sources familiar with the search, the decision is being made very quickly and the agency’s approach could change before a decision is announced. While only a few hundred workers would be in the headquarters initially, the Homeland Security Department could ultimately have thousands of workers at a large campus and attract thousands more from private contractors nearby. A 1947 law requires Cabinet agency headquarters to be in the District except by an act of Congress.Al Qaeda Threats on the The statement said, among other things, “Oh American people, you are the victim of your leaders, but you are also a partner in the war on us. The gift for the holiday is on its way.” U.S. intelligence officials said they were “mindful” of such threats and “not dismissive” of them. In the al Qaeda statement, the group warned Americans to leave Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Africa and Asia: “Otherwise, you will reap death because of your stupidity in ignoring our warnings to you.”

Earlier this week, an al Qaeda statement posted to the Internet threatened a strike to coincide with the end of the Muslim holy season of Ramadan, December 5 and 6, according to a story on

Ads Posing As Security Warnings Draw LawsuitCNET last night. The lawsuit was filed Nov. 25 in the Superior Court of Washington State. It charges San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based Bonzi Software with hoodwinking millions of Internet users into clicking to its Web site via the ads. CNET News reports that central to the Bonzi lawsuit are ads that pop up on websites and carry messages that read, “Security Alert,” “Message Alert” or “Warning.” One such banner reads: “Your computer is currently broadcasting an Internet IP Address. With this address someone can immediately begin attacking your computer.” If surfers click on the X to close the banner, they’re delivered to Bonzi’s website. The suit seeks to enjoin Bonzi from sending such ads in the future. It also asks for punitive relief, including $500 to every person who has received a deceptive ad from the company, and for the company to pay $5 for every banner it has delivered with the warning messages.

Web advertisements that masquerade as pop-up “security alert” windows generated by a surfer’s computer or browser are the subject of a new class-action lawsuit, which aims to rid the Internet of the deceptive banners, according to a story posted on

Former Finnish Telco CEO DetainedEuropemedia reports that the District Court of Helsinki today authorized the pre-trial detention of Kaj-Erik Relander, the former President and CEO of Finnish telco Sonera, who is suspected on reasonable grounds for gross violation of Finland’s data privacy laws. Relander served as the President and CEO of Sonera Corporation from Jan. 1 to July 31, 2001. On Oct. 14, 2002, Sonera requested police to investigate media reports which alleged that the company had violated data privacy laws in 2000 and 2001. Following this, the police launched a pre-trial investigation.

European Internet and new media news site

Strong Reactions to Smallpox VaccineWashington Post, President Bush is poised to announce plans to resume vaccinating Americans against smallpox as part of a massive push to protect the nation from a biological assault. The disease was declared eradicated in 1978, but official (and possibly rogue) stored samples remain. As Bush weighs the decision, the Post reports, researchers are becoming reacquainted with the unpleasantoften severecomplications of the vaccine. Bushs top health advisers recommend vaccinating as many as 11 million people in the coming months, mainly military personnel, hospital workers and other emergency workers. Vaccination is surefire protection against the disease, but it is risky. Over the past year, federal researchers have been testing the 40-year-old vaccine for its safety and potency. None of the 1,500 volunteers has died or been seriously injured by the vaccine. Typical reactions, researchers told the Post, are a red itchy bump, followed by a larger blister which turns into a scab that usually falls off in the third week. For three weeks, many people experience flu-like symptoms and terrible itchiness. Adults who had been vaccinated as children showed less severe side effects.

According to an article in todays