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by CSO Contributor

Microsoft Warns Users of Critical Flaw; Juniper Networks Security Push; Man Accused of Disrupting Flight; Columbine-Style Attack Averted in California; Bird Flu Found in Second Delaware Flock

Feb 11, 20044 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Microsoft Warns Users of Critical Flaw

Microsoft announced yesterday that people who use its operating system software must patch their computers to protect a software flaw it called a “critical” vulnerability, its highest rating. According to a story in The New York Times today, it is the second major security flaw announced this month by Microsoft, which recently began issuing regularly scheduled security patches for its software. The flaw, one of three announced yesterday by Microsoft, affects a fundamental building block of network operating systems known as Abstract Syntax Notation One, and helps govern how machines communicate with one another and how they establish secure communications. The Times reports that Microsoft’s version of that protocol is flawed, and could be used to gain control of the target machine. The company said there was no evidence that any attacks based on the flaw had occurred. Juniper Networks Security PushThe Register today, network equipment maker Juniper Networks is paying $3.5 billion for firewall supplier NetScreen Technologies. The move could trigger a wave of acquisitions as the big equipment makers seek to get their hands on top security vendors to ease the fears of their customers about network intrusion. The Register analyzes the deal thus: The question now is how market leader Cisco will respond to the deal. While NetScreen competitors such as CyberGuard Corp and Check Point Software will hope to benefit by selling to carriers served by Juniper’s competitors, the fact that security is uppermost in the minds of those buying networking equipment could prompt other acquisitions in the sector.

According to a story in

Man Accused of Disrupting FlightThe Detroit Free Press, the man became boisterous two hours into the eight-hour flight, cursed passengers and the flight crew and tried to enter the cockpit, according to an affidavit by FBI agents. They said the captain considered diverting the flight to Iceland, but changed his mind when the man fell asleep. He was arrested when the plane landed in Detroit, and the agents said he admitted to using alcohol and a painkiller to calm his anxiety about flying.

A 38-year-old oil worker from Texas has been charged with interfering with a Northwest Airlines crew Monday on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. According to

Columbine-Style Attack Averted in CaliforniaThe San Francisco Chronicle today, a plot by two students to carry out a Columbine-style massacre today inside their Sacramento County high school cafeteria was thwarted after a parent of one of their classmates tipped off police, authorities said Tuesday. The unidentified white suspects, a freshman and a sophomore at Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, were planning to rob local sporting goods stores, steal weapons, storm the school’s cafeteria and shoot students during the lunch hour today, particularly targeting African Americans, authorities told the Chronicle. Explosives were also part of the plan. Authorities said a patrol officer with the Elk Grove Police Department received the tip early Sunday morning from a parent of a student who knew the suspects were planning violence. “If it wasn’t for him, this thing could have been overlooked very easily, ” said Sgt. Lou Fatur, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. David Gordon, superintendent of the Elk Grove Unified School District, said three factors prevented the plot from unfolding: a timely tip, a quick response by school administrators and a dogged investigation by the authorities.

According to a story in

Bird Flu Found in Second Delaware FlockReuters report, bird flu virus has been discovered in a second chicken flock in Delaware, sparking concerns the outbreak could seriously threaten the mid-Atlantic region’s poultry industry, state officials said on Tuesday. Delaware officials said the bird flu virus found in a commercial flock of chickens in Sussex County was the same H7 strain found last week at another farm five miles away. The H7 virus, which is not transmissible to humans, is different from the strain that has killed at least 19 people and decimated poultry stocks in 10 Asian nations. Still, China and Brazil have joined Japan, South Korea and other nations in a ban on U.S. poultry, and the sale of live poultry in Delaware has been prohibited. Prices in U.S. commodity markets fell following the news.

According to a