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by CSO Contributor

DHS Wants Details of Network Outages Kept Secret; GAO Report Critcizes D.C. Area Anti-Terror Spending; AOL Employee Accused of Selling Millions of E-mail Addresses

Jun 24, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

DHS Wants Details of Network Outages Kept Secret

A proposal that would require telecommunications companies to file public disclosures of large-scale outages of high-speed data lines or wireless networks faces a challenge from the Department of Homeland Security, which claims such a rule would provide terrorists with a “virtual roadmap” to targeting critical infrastructures.

According to a story in The Register, the reports would include details such as geographic area, causes of the outage, whether or not there was malicious activity and so on. DHS, instead, would like to keep a record of such incidents from public view. It suggested reporting incidents to the Telecom Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC). Data exchanged within the Telecom-ISAC is protected from public view. In an FCC filing this month, the Register reports that the DHS argued, “While this information is critical to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in the system, it can equally be employed by hostile actors to idnetify vulnerabilities for the purpose of exploiting them.”

Full story.

GAO Report Critcizes D.C. Area Anti-Terror Spending

As much as $340 million in federal money earmarked for security the Washington area against terrorism has been spent without a plan for measuring how safe the area is, according to a congressional report.

As reported in the Washington Post, a 53-page study by the General Accounting Office criticizes the Department of Homeland Security for neglecting to track the spending and failing to tell Congress whether critical security gaps remain. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) told the Post, “It’s very discouraging that, according to the GAO, there’s been no coordinated plan for spending the vast majority of federal emergency funds we’ve made available the past couple of years.” A spokesman for Secretary Tom Ridge said most of the grants the GAO examined were issued before DHS was created.

Full story.

AOL Employee Accused of Selling Millions of E-mail Addresses

An American Online engineer was arrested yesterday for selling 92 million e-mail addresses of AOL customers to spammers. The case is among the first under a new anti-spam law, which took effect Jan. 1.

According to a story by The New York Times, Jason Smathers, 24, was arrested in his home in Harper’s Ferry, Va. Sean Dunaway, 21, a broker of e-mail lists for spam was arrested in Las Vegas. Dunaway bought the list from Smathers to promote his online gambling site, and then sold the list to other spammers for $52,000, according to the complaint. Dunaway is also alleged to have paid Smathers $100,000 last March for an updated list. AOL discovered the crime while it was conducting research for a civil lawsuit against a group of spammers.

Full story.