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by CSO Contributor

New FBI Sweep for Terror Clues Worries Muslims; Boston Hospitals to Watch for Early Signs of Bioterror; Computer Viruses Primed to Be More Complex, Vicious; Joy at Historic Sudan Peace Deal

May 27, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

New FBI Sweep for Terror Clues Worries Muslims

Warning that Al Qaida is plotting a deadly attack this summer on U.S. soil, the FBI reinvigorated a manhunt yesterday for seven terrorism suspects and launched a massive canvass likely to target Muslims in the United States in the hopes of gathering intelligence. According to a story in todays Detroit Free Press, the FBI will begin interviews nationwide. Such sweeps in the past have focused on Muslim and Arab communities, and officials did not dispute that a large number of the interviews will again take place there. “It’s part of the ’round up the usual suspects’ mentality,” the Free Press quoted Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington. “When you don’t have any other leads, you gather up the Muslims. The FBI issued “Be on the Lookout” alerts Wednesday, asking the public and local law enforcement for help finding seven people with ties or suspected links to Al Qaida. It is unknown whether the suspects are involved in a current plot or whether they are in the United States. Boston Hospitals to Watch for Early Signs of BioterrorBoston Globe story today, starting Tuesday, Bostons public health agency will begin tracking every sniffle, cough and stomachache that comes into the citys emergency rooms, hoping that unusual patterns of routine symptoms would provide an early alert of acts of bioterrorism or major outbreaks of disease. The early warning system will also allow doctors and public health authorities to identify the arrival of less-sinister outbreaks of illness, ranging from epidemics of flu to stomach ailments spawned by rotten food, the Globe says. About 100 other health departments across the nation – including those in New York, Chicago, and Miami – have some variation of such a syndromic surveillance system up and running, said Dr. Tracee Treadwell, chief for the Epidemiology, Surveillance and Response Branch at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Computer Viruses Primed to Be More Complex, ViciousComputerworld reports that head of Microsofts Security Response Center, Iain Mulholland, seemed to agree. “The low-hanging fruit is gone. Some of the exploits we are seeing are very complex,” he said. Despite the new threat, and the fact that holes are being discovered more frequently than monthly patch releases, Cheswick said Microsoft was doing its best to remedy the way it builds security into its code after some 20 years of less-than-perfect versions.

Speaking at the Auscert conference in Queensland, Australia, this week, former Bell Laboratories researcher, IT security author and founder of IT security company Lumeta Corp. Bill Cheswick said improved security will force malicious code writers to construct more complex wares that will either circumvent or push conventional defenses such as antivirus software and firewalls to their limits.

Joy at Historic Sudan Peace DealBBC News Online story, there has been a warm welcome for Sudan’s peace deal paving the way for an end to Africa’s longest-running war.

According to a

But concerns are being raised that there will be no peace until a separate conflict in the Darfur region is ended. An estimated two million people have died in the war, which erupted between the north and south in 1983. The framework brings together the mainly Muslim Arab government of the north with the black African Christian rebels of the south.