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by CSO Contributor

Universities Cash in with Terror Studies; School for Hackers; Legal Questions for Juki Net

Jun 02, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Universities Cash in with Terror Studies

The Bush administration is in the midst of awarding $2.9 billion in homeland security research funding this year, and all the nation’s research universities are trying to repackage existing research into counterterrorism-related projects. For example, according to a story in Fridays Detroit News, between 60 and 80 projects at the University of Michiganfrom sensors research at the College of Engineering to studies on the psychology of terrorists at the Institute for Social Researchhave been identified as having counterterrorism applications. Michigan’s Big Three universitiesU-M, Michigan State University and Wayne State Universityeven have begun to explore the establishment of a joint antiterror research institute.

School for Hackers Since at least 1994, South Korean military and intelligence officials have warned of the growing threat posed by an “infowar” academy in North Korea, which they say was founded in the 1980s and is also known as the Automated Warfare Institute, according to a story on Wired News today. As Seoul sees it, graduates of the elite hacking program at its northern neighbors Mirim College are skilled in everything from writing computer viruses to penetrating network defenses and programming weapon guidance systems. Yet Pentagon and State Department officials say they are unable to confirm South Korea’s claims that Mirim or any other North Korean hacker academy even exists, Wired reports. Closer to home, a New York Times story last week profiled Andrew Robinson, who runs a small information security company in Portland, Maine, and his free after-school program called Tiger Team. Its intended to teach teenagers the basics of ethical hacking, or protecting a company’s computer system from attack by learning how to attack it yourself. Robinson got the idea for this “information security sandbox” at a job fair, where he met a teenager who had been arrested for low-level hacking, said the Times. Seeing that as a waste, considering the constant demand for information security professionals, he created a nonprofit organization, the Internet Security Foundation, dedicated to educating the public about information security.

Legal Questions for Juki NetAsahi Shimbun, an advisory council in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture last week urged Governor Yasuo Tanaka to abandon the national online resident registry network, Juki Net, saying inadequate security could trigger a deluge of personal information floating around the Internet. But if Nagano Prefecture follows that advice, municipalities would be unable to enter information on citizens on Juki Net (formally called the Basic Residential Registers Network System). One official said leaving the Juki Net would be illegal. Under the Juki Net system, all citizens are assigned an 11-digit serial number. Each individual’s name, date of birth, sex and home address are placed online on a dedicated circuit and accessible from any local government office.

According to a story in the English edition