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by CSO Contributor

Security Lapses Threaten Nuclear Weapons Labs; Knife Scare on Australian Plane; New Powers of Arrest for Australias Intelligence Agency; Pope Hires Cybersecurity Staff

Jun 25, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Security Lapses Threaten Nuclear Weapons Labs

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham ordered a broad overhaul of security at the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories yesterday in response to security lapses ranging from missing computers to misuse of credit cards to reports of sleeping guards, according to an AP story in the Arizona Daily Sun. Linton Brooks, head of National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous agency with the Energy Department that was created several years ago to increase security oversight, said he was concerned about a “lax” attitude and “cultural problems” that led to recent incidents at all three of the major nuclear weapons labsSandia and Los Alamos in New Mexico and Lawrence Livermore in California. Still, he said, none of the incidents raised a national security concern except one in which two vials of plutonium oxide were missing for two years without being reported. He called that a “bookkeeping problem.” According to the Daily Sun, a report by Congress’s General Accounting Office said management problems, “confusion about roles and responsibilities” and staffing shortages make if difficult for the Energy Department “to effectively oversee security activities” of the private contractors running the weapons facilities. Knife Scare on Australian PlaneBBC News. The knife was found soon after the plane took off. A passenger alerted the cabin crew, and the aircraft returned to Perth, where Australian Federal Police were immediately summoned. The Australian authorities have launched an investigation into the incidentthe fourth air security breach in the country in as many weeks.

A Qantas Airways flight from Perth to Singapore was delayed today after a passenger found a box-cutter in a seat pocket, according to the

New Powers of Arrest for Australias Intelligence AgencyThe Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australia’s domestic intelligence agency, ASIO, will have aggressive new powers from today to detain for an unlimited period citizens suspected of having information about terrorist offenses. Journalists, religious figures, doctors or teachers who, in the course of their work, inadvertently come into contact with a person with knowledge about a terrorist offence could be caught by the new laws. Each warrant can be for seven days, allowing ASIO to hold citizens, who have committed no crime but are believed to have information, for questioning over a total of three eight-hour periods. Political wrangling resulted in limited use of multiple warrants for the same person. Also yesterday, the same story reports, the Federal Government announced that the Australian Protective Service would be given new powers over people at airports. Its members will be empowered to ask people to give their names and addresses, and reasons for being where they are.

In other news from Australia today,

Pope Hires Cybersecurity StaffHindustan Times, the Vatican revealed that it has taken on a team of experts to protect the Pope’s website, which is attacked by some 10,000 viruses a month and at least 30 mainly-American hackers every day. Pope John Paul II has on several occasions shown his support for the Internet, whilst warning against some of its specific uses, but for security reasons he has no personal email address.

According to an Agence France Presse story on todays