• United States



by CSO Contributor

Computer Virus Creator Jailed as ‘Global Menace’; Judge Orders Internet Providers to Help Trace Online Pirates; U.S. Deploys a Monitor System for Germ Attacks; Nurses Wary of Smallpox Vaccine

Jan 22, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Computer Virus Creator Jailed as Global Menace

Simon Vallor, an unemployed 22-year-old from a seaside resort in north Wales was yesterday jailed for creating computer viruses with the potential to wreak havoc across the globe, according to a story in todays Guardian Unlimited from the U.K. Vallor’s three e-mail viruses, GoKar, Redesi-B and Admirer, were spotted on the internet in December 2001 by the FBI’s Newark field office. Federal agents traced them to Britain. Scotland Yard’s computer crime unit was then alerted. Scotland Yard claims that at one point GoKar was rated the third most prevalent virus of all time. According to the Guardian, the police had taken about three weeks to trace him via his BT Internet account, and they arrested him at home on Valentines Day last year. He told police his motivation was simply to see if he could do it. The judge in the case said, “People who commit offences such as this are not just boffins or nerds sitting alone with their computers. They also happen to be criminals who are difficult to detect and have the capacity to cause disruption, consternation and even economic loss on an unimaginable scale. Vallors was a crime, he said, that “cries out for a deterrent sentence.” Judge Orders Internet Providers to Help Trace Online PiratesThe Washington Post, a federal judge in a closely watched online privacy case ruled today that a provider of Internet connections must turn over the identity of a user suspected of illegally trading music files. The Recording Industry Association of America had monitored the activities of a Verizon Online subscriber extensively using the KaZaA file-sharing service, but could only identify the user by a numeric Internet address on Verizon’s network. RIAA served Verizon with a subpoena demanding the user’s identity under provisions of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Acording to the Post, Verizon refused, arguing that Internet service providers are only required to provide such information if the offending material is stored on its network, not if it is merely the vehicle for transmission. But the District Court Judge ruled that the 1998 copyright act specifies an ability of copyright holders to demand the identities of those suspected infringing on copyrights. Verizon says it may appeal.

According to a story in

U.S. Deploys a Monitor System for Germ AttacksThe New York Times today, the system uses advanced data analysis that had been quietly adapted since Sept. 11, 2001, and tested over the past nine months. It will adapt many of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 3,000 existing air quality monitoring stations throughout the country to register unusual quantities of a wide range of pathogens. While environmental monitoring does not provide instant detection of the release of a dangerous germ, the new system is aimed at giving health officials more time to send doctors, vaccines, antibiotics and medical equipment to the scene of a bioterror attack. Officials said the introduction of the system by the Department of Homeland Security was not linked to a specific terrorist threat, the Times reports, but the system is being deployed as the Bush administration moves toward deciding whether to use military force against Iraq.

To help protect against the threat of bioterrorism, the Bush administration on Wednesday will start deploying a national system of environmental monitors that should tell within 24 hours whether anthrax, smallpox and other deadly germs have been released into the air, senior administration officials said today. According to a story in

Nurses Wary of Smallpox VaccineBoston Globe story today says the 20,000-member Massachusetts Nurses Association yesterday urged the state’s nurses not to volunteer for smallpox shots until the state resolves important safety and legal liability issues. This represents the largest group so far to rebel against President Bush’s campaign to prepare for a possible bioterrorism attack. The vaccination campaign has come under attack in recent weeks. On Friday, the Institute of Medicine, a panel that advises Congress on health issues, questioned whether the Bush administration is moving too swiftly with implementation of the program. The Globe says the Massachusetts group yesterday outlined worries including the safety of the nonretractable, two-pronged needles to be used, and the failure of state and federal vaccination plans to require furloughs of health care workers after vaccination when they could potentially infect patients or others with the live virus from the vaccine.