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by CSO Contributor

Chemical Bomb Plot Foiled in UK; Whos Responsible for Cybersecurity?; National Cybersecurity Day a Well-Kept Secret; Many Hospitals Resist Computerized Patient Care

Apr 06, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Chemical Bomb Plot Foiled

Intelligence agents in the UK and United States have foiled an alleged chemical bomb plot in Britain, acording to the BBC News Online today. The plot, which was believed to involve detonating a combination of explosive and a chemical called osmium tetroxide, was foiled after U.S. and British intelligence intercepted communications between the plotters. It is not thought that they had managed to obtain any of the chemical, which experts say in gas form could be lethal in a confined space. The plotters were thought to be sympathetic to the aims of al-Qaeda and the intended target was believed to be British civilians, probably in London. The plot Whos Responsible for Cybersecurity?Network World Fusion story, most of the responsibility for securing the nation’s information infrastructure has thus far rested on corporate software users. IT lobbying groups have issued recommendations for users, while discouraging new regulations for software vendors. But those users are increasingly frustrated by finding their organizations vulnerable to viruses and other attacks despite spending more of their IT dollars on security. And software vendors are starting to own up to their responsibilities. Last week, the industry acknowledged for the first time in a report to the Bush administration that the Department of Homeland Security should examine whether “tailored government action is necessary to increase security across the software development cycle.”

The debate over whether corporate network executives or their software suppliers should shoulder the burden for improving the nation’s cybersecurity is shifting direction as pressure mounts for vendors to ship safer products. According to a

National Cybersecurity Day a Well-Kept SecretInfoWorld, Alan Paller, research director of the SANS Institute said he didnt even know about the scheduled Cybersecurity Day. He added that projects like the National Cyber Security Alliances website (, an update to which was the only notable Cybersecurity Day happening, are a good idea, but add little to the work already being done by agencies like the FTC. Paller also doubts whether improving user awareness will make a difference while software security vulnerabilities persist.

A spokesman for the National Cyber Security Alliance, a government-industry group that sponsors the semi-annual National Cybersecurity Day said the group is doing a good job of communicating with the public. However, the lack of fanfare on Sunday—National Cybersecurity Day—had at least one computer security expert wondering about the effectiveness of industry-led efforts to address cybersecurity and improve the security of the United States information technology infrastructure. According to a story in

Many Hospitals Resist Computerized Patient CareNew York Times, only a few dozen medical centers across the country are making full use of the latest computerized patient safety systems despite pressure from large employers, unions and health care advocacy groups&mdas;and aggressive marketing by vendors. Even President Bush and Senator John Kerry have each called for a bigger commitment to computerization to reduce the 98,000 avoidable deaths a year that a 1999 federal report said might be caused by mistakes by hospital personnel. Hospitals and doctors say they have good reason to be cautious about the new technology. Many doubt that the computerized systems will ever repay their multimillion-dollar costs. They also fear that current technology will be outmoded or cost much less in a few years. And the Times reports, many doctors complain that using the systems takes time away from seeing patients and running their offices on already stressful workdays. In all, about 300 of the nation’s 4,900 nongovernment hospitals have computerized patient safety systems.

According to a story in todays