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by CSO Contributor

FBI Curbed in Tracking Gun Buyers; U.S. Eyes Tighter Air Cargo Security; Hackers Crack Nokias Gaming Deck Security Code; Proposed: A Bounty for Bugs

Nov 18, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

FBI Curbed in Tracking Gun Buyers

The Washington Post today reports that the FBI has launched a new background-check system that notifies counterterrorism agents when suspects on its terrorist watch list attempt to buy guns. Regulations prohibit those officials from obtaining details if the transaction occurs, however, according to federal officials familiar with the system. On the other hand, if the purchase is blocked, the FBI is permitted to investigate the person who attempted to buy the weapon. The rules—which yield a situation where terrorism suspects who do not complete gun purchases may be located but those toting lawfully purchased weapons may not be—are the result of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s interpretation of the Brady gun-control law, according to Justice Department officials, who said they are simply abiding by the federal firearms background-check system the statute established. More than a dozen suspects on the FBI’s terrorist watch list have attempted to buy guns since the system was implemented this spring, officials said, but the Post says they have declined to reveal how many terrorism suspects were able to buy weapons. It is also difficult to determine precisely how the system works because Justice and FBI officials have refused to provide details about it. U.S. Eyes Tighter Air Cargo SecurityBBC News Online story today, U.S. security officials have ordered random searches of cargo in passenger and cargo planes in U.S. airspace. Foreign cargo carriers will also be required to submit security plans to the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration. The TSA statement yesterday did not say when the new security measures would come into effect, but under the plans for foreign cargo carriers, the identities of persons with access to planes must also be verified and parked aircraft must have their security checked, the BBC reports. The measures form part of the TSA’s larger Air Cargo Strategic Plan.

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Hackers Crack Nokias Gaming Deck Security yesterday. This means the games can now be downloaded by anybody and will work on any handset running Nokia’s Series 60 software. But analysts, noting that the download is actually quite difficult and cumbersome, said the loss of the codes was more of a humiliation than a financial loss to Nokia. Until the security breach can be fixed, the report says, Nokia’s only option is to pressure national authorities and internet firms hosting the web sites where illegal copies are offered to close the pages down.

Nokia’s foray onto the mobile entertainment market, the N-Gage gaming deck, was dealt a blow this week when hackers were able to crack the security codes protecting its games from being pirated, with illegal copies being posted on the Internet, according to an AFP report on the news portal

Proposed: A Bounty for BugsRegister, SecurityFocus columnist Mark Rasch takes issue with Microsofts Antivirus Reward Program. He calls the plan to give cash rewards to those who provide info leading to the conviction of virus writers nothing more than an offer to pay money to catch the guys who stole the horse after the barn door is left open. And he offers another idea: a bounty for security holes, paid to the gray hat hackers who find them. He elaborates this plan at length. If you have your own ideas, visit CSOonlines Talk Back, and let us know.

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