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by CSO Contributor

Bringing Down the Internet; Brazil Becomes Cybercrime Hotbed; Deadly Wildfires in So. California

Oct 27, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Bringing Down the Internet

According to an article in the Nov. 3 issue of Newsweek magazine, an increasing number of experts are beginning to think that an Internet catastrophe of some sort is almost inevitable. Even though recent virus attacks were assumed to be motivated chiefly by commercial gainspam disseminationtheir success has led experts to wonder what might be done if chaos and economic harm were the goal. A major reason the Internet is more vulnerable than it was even a few years ago, Newsweek reports, is the proliferation of broadband connections, because they allow viruses to spread faster. Brazil Becomes Cybercrime HotbedThe New York Times today, Brazil is becoming a laboratory for cybercrime, with hackers specializing in identity and data theft, credit card fraud and piracy, as well as online vandalism. Last year, the world’s 10 most active groups of Internet vandals and criminals were Brazilian, according to mi2g, a digital risk consulting firm in London. Already overburdened in their fight to contain violent crime in cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, police officials are finding it difficult to keep pace with hacker syndicates, the Times reports. In addition, analysts say many businesses, including banks, have been slow to grasp, or refuse to acknowledge, how serious the problem is. Brazil’s hackers are strong and resourceful in part because they have little to fear legally, and also that they are sociable and share more information than hackers in developed countries.

According to a story in

Deadly Wildfires in So. CaliforniaSan Diego Daily Transcript. Several wildfires merged over the weekend, despite the efforts of 7,000 firefighters. One of the fires was reportedly ignited Saturday near the town of Julian when a lost hunter set off a signal fire, authorities said. It has killed nine people and destroyed 260 homes. The hunter was detained and may face charges. The San Diego fires prompted the National Football League to move Monday night’s game between the San Diego Charges and Miami Dolphins to Tempe, Ariz., while the Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium was pressed into service as an evacuation center. The Daily Transcript has complete fire coverage including evacuations and road closures. San Francisco Chronicle reporters are covering the fire as well, and summarize that tens of thousands of people fled their homes as Gov. Gray Davis declared states of emergency in Ventura, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, and asked President Bush for federal disaster aid. By late yesterday, nearly a dozen separate fires had burned nearly 300,000 acres, as flames rode hot winds of up to 70 mph that one fire official likened to a giant blow dryer. Casinos, prisons, universities and mental hospitals were evacuated.

Much of Southern California remained a raging inferno Monday as a handful of gigantic fires that destroyed more than 800 homes and killed at least 13 people continued to burn unchecked from the Mexican border to the suburbs north of Los Angeles, according to an AP report in the