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by CSO Contributor

Fluffi Bunni Hacker Suspect Worked for Siemens; Balancing Data Needs and Privacy; New Passport Screens Link to Criminal Databases; FBI Expands Terror Fight in Detroit Area

May 08, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Fluffi Bunni Hacker Suspect Worked for Siemens

According to a Computerworld story posted last night, Lynn Htun, who was arrested last week on charges of forgery and computer theft and who is believed to be the brains behind the infamous Fluffi Bunni hacking group, was actually a Siemens employee. He is expected to be questioned about a spate of hacking incidents that have blighted business websites over the past two years. As ComputerWorld reports, the incident will come as an embarrassment to Siemens, which runs major secure IT projects for the government, and its business partner Insight Consulting, which is partly owned by Siemens and has close links to the British security service MI5. It is also likely to prompt questions from the companies’ customers about the adequacy of Siemens’ employment vetting procedures. Siemens confirmed last night that Htun had been an employee for one year. He had been hired following security vetting and a personal recommendation from another firm. Siemens declined to say what his role in the company was or whether he would have had access to customers’ systems. (To read more on employee screening and to post your comments, visit this weeks Talk Back column.)Balancing Data Needs and PrivacyWashington Post today, hers was one of more than two dozen projects DARPA chose to fund from among 180 proposals submitted to piece together the technology required for the electronic surveillance network. Lunt’s work—to create a “privacy appliance” prototype for the proposed electronic surveillance network—is already starting, even though Congress voted in February to freeze funding for the surveillance network pending a DARPA report due by May 20. Lunts work falls into a relatively young field of computer science dubbed “data privacy,” in which researchers are exploring ways to scrub databases of personally identifiable information without trashing the usefulness of the digital repositories for socially valuable research.

Teresa Lunt is a computer security expert at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), whose research team snared a $3.5 million grant last month from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to do work over the next 42 months. According to an article in the

New Passport Screens Link to Criminal DatabasesMiami Herald today, the system will store and send the scanned image to a database from which Virgin Atlantic staff can cross-reference a passenger’s name with criminal databases, in coordination with British and U.S. authorities. The scanner uses ultraviolet light, among other things, to spot inaccuracies in such documents as passports and drivers’ licenses. The Herald reports that Virgin became the first long-haul carrier to use the document screeners when it launched them in London’s Heathrow Airport last week.

Virgin Atlantic announced this week that, by midmonth, it would begin testing at Miami International Airport security software designed to help its passenger screeners perform quick scans for possible forgery or passport tampering. According to a story in the

FBI Expands Terror Fight in Detroit AreaDetroit News, the FBI in Detroit has nearly tripled the number of agents assigned to investigate terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001. The Detroit office, which has a total of about 300 agents, is among the 14 largest field offices in the United States and covers all of Michigan, a state with a long international border. It is also a state with one of the nation’s largest Arab-American populations. Special Agent in Charge Willie Hulon said in a recent interview that since December, he has merged two violent crime squads, taken agents from white-collar crime and other squads, and transferred one-quarter of the agents in the drug squad to beef up staffing in the anti-terrorism units. Hulon is also asking Washington for 60 new agents to keep up with other crimes as well.

The Detroit office of the FBI has shifted more of its agents to fight terrorism, a move that worries some Arab American groups but is supported by local law enforcement agencies. According to a story in todays