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by CSO Contributor

Iraq Might Target Itself; Armed Air Marshals for UK Flights; Inmates Go Free to Help State Budgets; New Worm Spreads Without E-Mail

Dec 19, 20023 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Iraq Might Target Itself

According to an AP report in todays Philadelphia Enquirer, U.S. intelligence officials said yesterday Iraq was preparing to destroy its own oil fields, food supplies and power plants and to blame America for the devastation. The Enquirer says the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, briefed reporters at the Pentagon, saying they had evidence (which they declined to describe to protect sources) that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein intended to wreck his own infrastructure to create a humanitarian crisis that could stymie any U.S. advance and turn international opinion against the war. They also predicted Hussein would use biological and chemical weapons if he believed he was about to fall. Armed Air Marshals for UK FlightsBBC, Britains Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has announced that armed undercover police are to be used on UK passenger flights. Darling stressed that although the threat to UK aviation remained “a real one,” the new measurefollowing the example of Israel and Australiahad not been developed “in response to any new or specific intelligence.”

According to the

Inmates Go Free to Help State BudgetsNew York Times, states across the country are addressing laws and practices that have made the costs of corrections so huge. For example, Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton abruptly ordered 567 state prison inmates released this week in a step to reduce a $500 million budget deficit. Patton said only nonviolent offenders were being given the early mass commutation. Iowa has laid off prison guards. Ohio and Illinois have closed prisons, the Times reports. Some states are considering repealing mandatory sentencing laws, which swelled the ranks of inmates.

Since the early 1970s, the number of state prisoners has risen 500 percent, making corrections the fastest growing item in most state budgets. According to an article in todays

New Worm Spreads Without E-MailSydney Morning Herald, the Computer Emergency Response Team’s (CERTs) Coordination Center says it has received plenty of reports to date to indicate that thousands of systems are scanning in a manner consistent with known behavior of the new Windows network worm discovered on Dec. 16. The Register today also says the worm, also called Lioten, is spreading across Internet this week. It doesn’t spread via e-mail, but instead scans the Internet on port 445 for Windows 2000 machines which have shared folders and weak or null passwords. Once a suitable vulnerable machine is found, the worm retrieves a list of user accounts and tries to guess passwords. If the worm successfully logs onto a machine, it will copy itself over as an EXE file (usually named iraq_oil.exe) and executes it.

Yesterdays news held many headlines about a new worm dubbed Iraqi Oil, but most downplayed the likelihood of its amounting to anything. Today, headlines seem to be taking it more seriously. According to the