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by CSO Contributor

Los Alamos Suspends Classified Research After Data Disappears; New Passenger Screening System Postponed; Bush Signs New ID Theft Law; Bagle Copycat Hits Net

Jul 16, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Los Alamos Suspends Classified Research After Data Disappears

Officials at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have put a halt to all classified research while they conduct an inventory of sensitive data, which will take at least several days. The disappearance of two removable data storage devices at the lab prompted the move, according to a report in The New York Times. The disappearance of the storage devices was discovered July 7 during preparations to run an experiment inthe lab’s weapons physics division.

The University of California runs the Los Alamos lab, but Spencer Abraham, the secretary of engergy, decided last year to seek competitive bids after learning that some employees spent thousands of dollars of laboratory funds on personal items. In a statement, Abraham said yesterday, “The investigation to date indicates widespread disregard of security procedures by laboratory employees. This is absolutely unacceptable.”

Read the full story in The New York Times.

New Passenger Screening System Postponed

Fearing a backlash from privacy advocates during the November election, the Bush administration has decided to postpone and scale back the debut of a new airline passenger screening program. The system, known as the Cmputer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening Program (or CAPPS II) will not be implemented until after the election, the Washington Post reports. Disagreements over parts of the program within the Department of Homeland Security also played a part in the delay. According to the Post, department officials could not say when the program would debut, nor could they say which components would be dropped or scaled back. James M. Loy, deputy secretary of Homeland Security, said that the program “remains, in my mind, one of the most important tools in the counterterrorism arsenal.”

The program would use data sources from federal and private databases to assign a threat level to each passenger as he or she went through airport screening. Instead, the Post reports, the government will now confirm a passenger’s identification by asking for a valid driver’s license and then checking its authenticity with a commercial data service.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Bush Signs New ID Theft Law

As reported by several outlets, President Bush signed into law yesterday a measure that would add two years to prison sentences for those convicted in federal court of using stolen credit card numbers and other personal information to commit crimes. Bush said, “Like other forms of stealing, identity theft leaves victims poorer and feeling terribly violated.” According to a story in the Washington Post, identity theft topped the list of consumer fraud complaints to the Federal Trade Commission in 2003.

Read the full report in the Washington Post.

Bagle Copycat Hits Net

Virus writers released a new version of the Bagle worm yesterday, built on source code of an earlier Bagle worm released earlier this month. According to The Register, the new variant, called Bagle-AF, will e-mail copies of itself to any e-mail addresses it finds on a compromised PC. It will also try to stop any security applications from running.

Read the full report in The Register.