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by CSO Contributor

Mail Worm Is Out and About; Suffered Outage; Frieght Is Aviations Security Soft Spot; Sniffer Rats Used to Detect Landmines; Student Accused of Hacking into U-Michigans System

Aug 04, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Mail Worm Is Out and About

A virulent worm has emerged in the wild and is infecting Internet users at an alarming rate, according to a story from VNUnet. The story reports that virus arrives with a zip file attachment called, which contains the file message.html. According to The Register, Mimail poses as an e-mail from a potential victim’s own sysadmin or ISP, and suggests that a user’s email account is about to expire. More detailed descriptions of Mimail can be found in advisories from F-Secure, Symatec and McAfee. Vendors generally rate the virus as a medium level threat. The Register says Windows users are advised to update their AV signature files and to apply patches from Microsoft if they haven’t already done so. Suffered OutageCNet story last Friday, Microsofts website became largely inaccessible at about 12:50 p.m. PST on Friday. The site appeared to be back up and running around 2:15 p.m. The outage occurred as system administrators and security experts were bracing for a potentially large Internet attack. The U.S. federal government had warned earlier last week that an attack could be brewing that exploits a widespread flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system. CNet reported that Microsoft spokesman Sean Sundwall said Microsoft was the victim of a denial-of-service attack, but he stressed that no Windows vulnerability was exploited.

According to a

Frieght Is Aviations Security Soft, cargo companies police their own shipments and say they screen shipments by every method that’s economically and technologically feasible. Congress is well-intentioned in promoting air-cargo security bills, the story quoted Douglas R. Laird, a private aviation security consultant, who points to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Air Cargo Security Act, which in May passed the Senate and awaits a House vote. But developing sophisticated screening technology in a short time without significant funding is nearly impossible.

Even two years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, federal agents rarely screen air cargo for weapons or explosives, though each year companies forklift millions of tons of goods and materials into the bellies of passenger planes. According to a Dallas Morning News story in todays State College, Penn.,

Sniffer Rats Used to Detect LandminesBBC News story today, the Belgium-based research organization Apopo, with support from major demining organizations, is running a project at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania to train African pouched rats to sniff out landmines and explosives. Cheap, intelligent and, crucially, lightweight, rats can do as good a job as dogs, and are easier to transfer between handlers. When fully trained, the rats sniff out a mine, then sit and scratch at the spot until they are rewarded with food. A human explosives expert then destroys the mine. The coordinator of the project told BBC News Online that none of the animals had been lost to any explosive errors.

According to a

Student Accused of Hacking into U-Michigans today, a graduate student is accused of hacking into the University of Michigan’s computer system and using information from more than 60 students and professors to forge e-mails and get copies of final exams. The student, Ning Ma, 24, is a citizen of China and has a student visa. Charges against him including eavesdropping and unauthorized access to a computer, computer system or network. If convicted, Ning faces up to five years in prison.

According to an AP report on