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by CSO Contributor

Government Program Rewards High Security Standards; Cyberthreat Review; Danish Capital Loses Power; Arctic Ice Shelf Splits

Sep 23, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Government Program Rewards High Security Standards

According to a story today in, the federal government plans to announce a major new purchasing initiative designed to reward vendors whose products meet certain stringent security standards. The announcement will be made by Karen Evans, CIO of the Department of Energy, and will also include the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration and the Center for Internet Security, Eweek says. The plan to use purchasing decisions as a hammer to improve product security is one of the key tenets laid out in the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. Cyberthreat ReviewABC News website today outlines the potential for cyberattack, and cyberattack in conjunction with physical attacks. Many key targets may be accessible online, the story quotes Alan Paller, director of research for the SANS Institute, which trains computer security experts. It also quotes Richard Clarke, America’s former cybersecurity czar, as saying some people in Homeland security focus on physical threats, which is a very 20th-century way of looking at the problem. In the 21st century, cyberspace is what controls the country.” But other experts contend that cyberattacks would require even greater knowledge and coordination that physical ones, and creating a perfect storm of cyber and physical attacks would be too complicated.

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Danish Capital Loses PowerBBC News story today reports that Copenhagen and parts of Sweden have been hit today by massive power cuts affecting around four million homes and businesses. The power went off at 12:40 local time. Power officials said some supplies were being reconnected within three hours. Police said sabotage was not suspected. Apparently power loss started when a main transmission line connecting Sweden and Denmark was affected. A storm which swept through the area, bringing down trees, may have been a factor. At least two Swedish nuclear plants appear to have then developed problems and had to shut down reactors. Meanwhile, todays New York Times describes an elusive force called reactive power that may lie at the root of the blackout that hit the Northeastern United States in August. Reactive power does not produce watts or make appliances run, but it is required for transmitting real power over long distances. Since companies charge consumers for wattage, and not for reactive powers volt-amperes reactive (VAR), theres little incentive for merchant plants to generate VARs. In a separate story, The Times reports on Virginia residents frustration at being without electricity for another day after last Thursdays Hurricane Isabel knocked out power in much of the region.


Arctic Ice Shelf SplitsBBC News website today. The scientists who report the break-up in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) say it is further evidence of ongoing and accelerated climate change in the north polar region. Major free-floating ice islands could pose a danger to shipping and to drilling platforms in the Beaufort Sea. The loss of fresh and brackish water has changed the environment for the microscopic animals and algae living in the area.

The Ward Hunt Ice Shelflargest in the Arctichas fractured, releasing all the water from the freshwater lake it dammed for at least 3,000 years, according to a story posted on the