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by CSO Contributor

New Domestic Security Exec Besieged by Vendors; DARPA Funds Calgary Hacker; Jamaica Makes Contingency Plans for SARS

Apr 07, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

New Domestic Security Exec Besieged by Vendors

Charles E. McQueary, a former executive of General Dynamics and Bell Laboratories, is the newly confirmed undersecretary for science and technology in the Department of Homeland Security. In that job, according to The Sunday New York Times, he will influence how the giant new agency and the rest of the federal government spend tens of billions of dollars on technology to defend American soil from terrorist attacks. Unsurprisingly then, he is finding himself quite popular. For example, the Times reports, seconds after he finished testifying at his Senate confirmation hearing last month, McQueary was approached in the hearing room by an entrepreneur who wanted to promote data-mining software that might help in the government’s hunt for terrorists. As a result, he has established a special e-mail account for dealing with the sudden crush of lobbyists, corporate executives and hand-to-mouth entrepreneurs who want to pitch their domestic-security wares. ( Most components of the relatively new domestic security industry are well established; the largest players include major military contractors, giant electronics makers and private security companies looking for new markets for their expertise, according to the Times. But McQueary also said he was trying to set aside time each week to meet with small, creative inventors who had domestic-security ideas that big contractors might have overlooked. DARPA Funds Calgary HackerGlobe and Mail website today. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the R&D arm of the U.S. military, has indirectly granted $2 million to Theo de Raadt, who leads development of an open source project called OpenBSD. DARPA is interested in testing the security of commercial software systems against the security of open source software projects. But because DARPA does not directly fund projects outside the United States, Jonathan Smith, a professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania, actually received the grant, although most of the money flows through to de Raadt’s project. Although he’s happy about the extra support for the project, de Raadt is nervous that critics may get the idea he’s working for the U.S. military, the Globe and Mail reports. He points that the grant will just help them do what they already do; they are not doing anything for the military per se. Because OpenBSD is often used in computing environments where security is a top concern, OpenBSD users are often reluctant to identify themselves, but de Raadt’s group said that in addition to running the servers for several branches of the U.S. military, including the Pentagon, OpenBSD is also installed on the servers the U.S. Department of Justice uses to track and catch hackers and so-called cyberterrorists.

The U.S. military believes the work of a Calgary hacker may be its best bet to protect its computer networks from so-called cyberterrorist attacks, according to Canadas

Jamaica Makes Contingency Plans for SARSJamaicaObserver. A Reuters report today confirms two more deaths from the disease in Singapore. In common with health authorities across the globe, Jamaicas health ministry has drafted a contingency plan that will operate out of three regional centers covering the entire island. Chief medical officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Barrington Wint told the Observer, We are not quarantining you until we think you are a suspect case. We would first put you under surveillance but there is nobody yet who we have identified who needs surveillance.

Early last week, the health ministry in Jamaica told the nation that persons who traveled to areas at high risk for Severe Acute Respiratory syndrome (SARS), including Hong Kong, Guangdong Province in China, Singapore, Hanoi, Vietnam and Toronto, Canada, would be quarantined after they returned to the island, according to the