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by CSO Contributor

House Bill Promotes Readiness Against Bioterror; EPA to Start Cleanup at 10 Sites, 10 More Must Wait; Software Helps Police Draw Crime Links; Spam, Virus, Hacking Worlds Converge in Hijacked Computers

Jul 17, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

House Bill Promotes Readiness Against Bioterror

According to an AP story in The Cleveland Plain Dealer today, the House yesterday approved by a vote of 421-2 a $5.6 billion project to research, produce and stockpile vaccines and antidotes in response to the threat of bioterrorist attacks. The bio threats in question include smallpox, anthrax, botulinum toxin, plague and Ebola. Lawmakers compared “Project BioShield,” a major priority of the Bush administration, to the World War II Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb, the story said. The measure, budgeted over the next 10 years, provides incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to research and develop bioterrorism countermeasures, speeds up the approval process for antidotes, and, in an emergency, allows the government to distribute certain treatments before they have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The bill is still pending in the Senate.EPA to Start Cleanup at 10 Sites, 10 More Must WaitThe New York Times today. The agency said that all preliminary work had been done to begin cleanups at the postponed sites but that there was not enough money to get to them now. The sites chosen to share $49 million in cleanup resources are the DeRewal Chemical Company in Hunterdon County, N.J.; a Denver smelting area along Interstate 70, a former wood treating facility in Conroe, Texas; Central Wood Preserving Company, East Feliciana Parish, La.; Mallard Bay Landing Bulk Plant, Grand Chenier, La.; Newton County Wells, Mo.; The Fruit Avenue site, Albuquerque; and Eureka Mills, Eureka, Utah. Money for the cleanups comes from both Congress and what the agency can collect from polluters. The Superfund law says polluters should pay to clean up environmental messes they made, and the environmental agency tries to get commitments from companies directly responsible for creating some of the nation’s most hazardous waste sites.

The Environmental Protection Agency said yesterday that it was starting long-term cleanups at 10 Superfund toxic waste sites and putting 10 others aside for later, according to an AP story in

Software Helps Police Draw Crime LinksBoston Globe, the program sifts through tens of millions of police records, from 911 calls to homicide investigations, to deliver a short list of potential leads in just seconds. Over the next few weeks the department will begin training detectives across the city on Coplink, becoming the largest police force, and the first in the Northeast, to use the software. Other cities using the program include Tucson and Phoenix; Redmond, Wash.; Huntsville, Texas; Polk County, Iowa; and Montgomery County, Va. In Boston, the program will search only through city police records, the Globe reports, though it could later be expanded to stretch far more broadly.

The Boston Police Department is rolling out a powerful new computer program called Coplink built to find hidden connections among people and events almost instantly, allowing detectives to investigate murders, rapes, and other crimes far faster than they can today. According to a story in todays

Spam, Virus, Hacking Worlds Converge in Hijacked story reports on a new wave of invasive programs, subtle Trojan horses that allow hackers access to PCs bandwidth and disk space to send spam, host pornography or steal credit card numbers. Simple and small, and nearly impossible to spot with an untrained eye, these hijackings will likely go unnoticed by victims who arent running up-to-date antivirus software and personal firewalls. For years, MSNBC reports, computer intruders have had their fun at the expense of innocent computer users by seizing control of their machines. Such zombies were a central part of the first famous major Internet attacks, which knocked Web sites like and offline in 1998. But such attacks have for the most part been limited to pranks until just recently, when a new spate of malicious computer programs with obvious criminal intent have been unleashed. More and more, experts say, these are for-profit pranks.