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by CSO Contributor

Electronic Crime Survey Shows Rise in 2003; Port and Ship Security Lags, Piracy Rises; Homeland Securitys Missing Link; Physicians’ Neckties Could Spread Disease

May 25, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Electronic Crime Survey Shows Rise in 2003

A new survey of security and law enforcement executives shows that 43 percent of respondents report an increase in electronic crimes and network intrusions in 2003. The survey, conducted by CSO magazine, in cooperation with the U.S. Secret Service and the CERT Coordination Center, also found that 30 percent of respondents report that their organization experienced no electronic crime or intrusions in 2003. Port and Ship Security Lags, Piracy RisesThe Straits Times, the head of the UN’s maritime agency, Efthimios Mitropoulos, said on Tuesday that only about 6 percent of the world’s seaports and ships now comply with a security code aimed at blocking terrorist attacks that will go into effect July 1. He also said the agency has accepted just 1,933 security plans out of 12,283 submitted by commercial vessels, adding that the deadline for compliance won’t be extended. Meanwhile, an AFP story in the South African daily Sunday Times reports that Mitropoulos has said a rise in crew abductions in the Malacca Straits (which already has the highest piracy rate in the world) could be evidence of terrorists wanting to learn how to navigate ships for use in attacks. Safeguarding the security of the straits, which is bordered by Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, is critical to the continued flow of global commerce, he said. (According to The Straits Times, Singapore already complies with the international security code, and its Maritime and Ports Authority says it will turn away noncompliant ships.) In one incident last year, the Sunday Times reports, an Indonesian-registered chemical tanker was briefly hijacked in Indonesian waters and the assailants kidnapped the captain and first officer. A security analyst with the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore said the hijackers practiced manouevring the vessel for an hour before leaving. (To share your thoughts on maritime security and the upcoming deadline, go to CSOonlines column, Security at Sea.)

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Homeland Securitys Missing LinkBusinessweek Online takes a critical look at current national security strategy, suggesting not enough is invested in technologies in some arenas, while not enough is invested in human intelligence in others, and as a whole the plan lacks cohesion. It notes that installing enough scanners to bring 100 percent screening capability to U.S. shipments traversing the world’s 60 largest ports would cost $500 million to $600 million, less than the cost of a week’s operations in Iraq. Businessweek says a growing chorus of critics think the Bush Administration has misplaced priorities in the war on terror, choosing to emphasize soldiers on the ground over far more economical and effective technology solutions to prevent terror closer to home.

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Physicians’ Neckties Could Spread DiseaseBBC News Online story, U.S. researchers warn that doctors may be unwittingly spreading infections through their neckties. The New York Hospital Queens team found that almost half (47.6 percent) of the ties worn by clinicians were found to harbor bacteria that can cause disease. This was eight times the odds of ties worn by security staff from the same hospital being infected. A spokesman from the British Medical Association noted, “Ties are frequently handled but infrequently washed which means they can spread infection. But the BBC quotes Dr Chris Kibbler, consultant microbiologist at University College London, who thinks hand hygiene was more important than worrying about clothing.

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