• United States



by CSO Contributor

Plans Halted for Terror Futures Market; Memo Warns of New Plots to Hijack Jets; Police Receive Kits to Fight ID Theft; Internet Security Goes Nowhere Fast; Arson Suspected in French Forest Fires

Jul 30, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Plans Halted for Terror Futures Market

A Defense Department program that would have encouraged investors to forecast terrorist attacks, coups, and assassinations—apparently in the belief that market instincts could predict such events—was abruptly canceled yesterday after it came under criticism from lawmakers, according to a story in todays Boston Globe. The short-lived program was the product of the Information Awareness Office (run by retired Admiral John Poindexter) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s research arm. The Globe reports that senior Pentagon officials seemed to have been caught off guard when reports of the program, called Future Markets Applied to Prediction, or FutureMAP, appeared in newspapers yesterday. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said he learned of it reading a newspaper on his way to Capitol Hill yesterday morning.Memo Warns of New Plots to Hijack JetsWashington Post today, an urgent memo was sent last weekend to all U.S. airlines and airport security managers alerting them that terrorists operating in teams of five may be plotting suicide missions to hijack commercial airliners on the East Coast, Europe or Australia this summer. The memo said they may use “common items carried by travelers, such as cameras, modified as weapons.” While the information disseminated to the airlines is unusually specific, the intelligence community remains somewhat wary that the alleged hijacking plot could be a feint by al Qaeda to divert attention from a real threat elsewhere, the Post reports. Homeland Security Department officials have not raised the government’s threat index.

According to the

Police Receive Kits to Fight ID TheftGlobe and Mail today says that the U.S. Secret Service planned to mail an electronic package yesterday to more than 40,000 U.S. police departments and other law enforcement authorities, to help local police officers better understand and investigate identity theft crimes. The Secret Service acknowledged that individuals are more likely to report such crimes to their local police, whose ability to handle the cases varies widely from place to place. The materials include a 10-minute video in which law enforcers share their experiences in combating identity crimes and what works for them. An electronic guide provides officers with more than 40 investigative resources that they can use in their investigations, information to help victims, and tips on questions to ask and things to look for when conducting identity crime investigations; the best way to seize electronic evidence; and advice on how to detect bogus credit cards and passports.

An AP report in Canadas

Internet Security Goes Nowhere Fast reports that the DefCon convention that starts Friday in Las Vegas is likely to reveal that, despite the speeches and sloganizing, Internet security is no better today than it was 18 months ago.


Coders Post Exploit Code for MicrosoftComputerWorld. The story reports that the greatest threat to networks comes from individuals who use the code to create mass-mailer worms.

Several independent coding groups have posted code on the Internet that can allow hackers to exploit a previously disclosed vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system, according to a story in

Arson Suspected in French Forest FiresBBC News story today, fires have devastated parts of southern France in recent days, killing five people, and officials fear that more fires could be started deliberately. The French authorities announced earlier that police would stop and search people visiting forests in the south to try to prevent arsonists starting more fires. A 30-year-old man believed to have applied unsuccessfully to become a firefighter is under arrest, accused of starting some of the fires. He is linked to five and possibly as many as 30 of the fires, the BBC reports. This has been an unusually dry and hot summer in Europe.

According to a