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by CSO Contributor

Iraqs Last-Minute Move to Avert War Rebuffed; Microsoft Puts Bounty on Virus Writers Heads; Cybersecurity a Balancing Act, Former FBI Head Says; Schools Assist in Homeland Security

Nov 06, 20034 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Iraqs Last-Minute Move to Avert War Rebuffed

According to a BBC News report, Lebanese-American businessman Imad Hage has said he conveyed a last-ditch Iraqi plea to the U.S. administration to avoid war but the approach was rebuffed. Hage told the BBC’s Newshour programme that the deputy head of Iraqi intelligence, Hassan Obeidi, had visited his Beirut office with a message from the head of Iraq’s internal security agencies. The message offered a five-point concession in hopes of avoiding armed confrontation. It included allowing U.S. inspectors to visit Iraq to inspect for weapons of mass destruction; holding free and fair elections within a specified period of time; concessions to the U.S. in the oil sector and “business dealings;” concessions to help the Arab-Israeli peace process; and handing over Abdul Rahman Yasin, a top al-Qaeda suspect wanted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Hage, who claims no former dealings with the Iraqi government, said he discussed the message with Richard Perle, former chairman of the U.S. Defence Policy Advisory Board and an influential adviser to top Pentagon officials. The BBC says ABC News reported that Perle had confirmed meeting Hage in London in early March. Perle was quoted as saying he was prepared to discuss the offer with Iraqi officials, but the CIA told him not to do so. The overtures, after a decade of evasions and deceptions by Iraq, were ultimately rebuffed, as The New York Times puts it in its coverage, which includes more background on Hage and examination of the custom of secret contacts.Microsoft Puts Bounty on Virus Writers HeadsReuters reports today. Microsoft offered two $250,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the Blaster worm and the SoBig.F e-mail virus. U.S. investigators have identified suspects behind three of the six Blaster variants, but have not yet tracked down the author of the original version, Keith Lordeau, acting deputy assistant director of the FBI’s cybercrime division, told Reuters. Security experts familiar with the investigation said the trail had recently gone cold. The unprecedented cash lure could generate new leads and sow mistrust in the hacker community, sources said.

Microsoft Corp., beset by widespread criticism of security flaws in its software, yesterday put up a bounty to track down the authors of two computer bugs that choked the Internet earlier this year,

Cybersecurity a Balancing Act, Former FBI Head SaysIDG News Service report, Freeh said the U.S. government doesn’t have the ability to crack some sophisticated types of encryption, putting investigators of terrorism threats at a disadvantage. The story carries other comments Freeh made to the gathering.

On one hand, U.S. businesses need to protect their trade secrets because national security is tied closely to economic security, but on the other hand encryption might be helping criminals hide their secrets, Louis Freeh, former director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), told cybersecurity experts Monday at the Computer Security Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C. According to an

Schools Assist in Homeland SecurityNews Journal. The Weathernet program collects real-time data from machines installed on the schools’ rooftops and measures data for temperature, wind speed, rainfall and barometric pressure. In an event such as a bio-terrorist or chemical attack, the National Weather Service will be able to assess local weather conditions that could spread airborne hazardous materials and affect nearby communities; the information could help responders make better decisions. According to the News Journal, during Hurricane Isabel the schools provided data to more than 100 broadcasters, including NBC affiliates in Philadelphia and Baltimore, as well as to an online weather forecast program called WeatherBug.

Four Delaware schools have been selected to participate in the nation’s homeland security program by providing information to the National Weather Service in the event of a terrorist attack or other major disaster, according to Delawares