States Planning Cyberalert SystemState officials are considering a national alert system that would assess threats to critical networks and dictate specific action in case of an attack. According to a story in Network World, (a sister company of CXO) the proposed cybersecurity alert system would color-code the threat to state networks and recommend action on specific threats. Homeland security was a hot topic at a recent meeting of the National Association of State Telecommunications Directors (NASTD). The group considers their networks a potential target for terrorists. According to William Pelgrin, chairman of the Multistate Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the system will be very specific. "If we went to yellow, it would tell you why and what you need to do right now," he said. "It might be: Block Port 445 until a patch comes out."For more details, read the full article in Network World.7 Killed in Kabul Bombing on U.S. ContractorA bomb outside the compound of a U.S. contractor exploded Sunday, killing at least seven people, including at least three Americans. According to a New York Times report, a second bomb was discovered and defused by French explosives experts. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, which also wounded several others, including an American and a Briton. The explosion marks the deadliest attack in Kabul since September 2002 when 26 people were killed by a car bomb. For more details, read the full article in The New York Times.Japanese Banks To Use Vein-Recognition Security SystemSome Japanese ATM users won't have to type in their PIN numbers whenever they conduct a transaction. Instead, they'll rest their wrists in a cradle and have their palms scanned. The technology, commercialized by Fujitsu Ltd., is already being used by one Japanese bank and another plans to adopt the new security system. According to a report by IDG News Service, (a sister company to CXO) users register their identities with the bank by having their palms scanned. The snapshots record the vein patterns under the skin. This data then becomes the basis for security applications. A Fujitsu spokesperson said the vein-regocnition system is not as securie as a retinal scan, but it is more palatable to users. For more details, read the full IDG News Service article in Computerworld.