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by CSO Contributor

Hackers Target U.S. Power Grid; Official Declines to Pin Blame for Blunders in Interrogations; Companies Turn to Secure IM to Meet Privacy Concerns

Mar 11, 20053 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Hackers Target U.S. Power Grid

Hackers try to break into the computer network of a Baltimore power company hundreds of times a day. According to the Washington Post, Constellation Energy Group is just one target of hackers interested in breaking into the nation’s power grid. “We have no discernable way of knowing who is trying to hit our system,” John R. Collins, chief risk officer for Constellation, told the Post. “We just know it’s being hit.” Patrick H. Wood III, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has been warning power companies that cybersecurity needs to be a priority. James Andrew Lewis, director of technology policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the District, said the biggest threat to power plants is not by outside hackers, but insiders who know now the computer systems work.

For more details, read the full report in the Washington Post.

Official Declines to Pin Blame for Blunders in Interrogations

High-level American officials failed to establish clear procedures for prisoner interrogations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior military investigator told Congress Thursday. However, Vice Adm.Albert T. Church III added that it wasn’t his job to hold anyone responsible a claim that rankled Democrats. This failure of accountability of senior leaders sends the wrong signal to our troops and to the American people,” said Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee. The Church report examined 187 cases of alleged detainee abuse. Of those, 70 cases of abuse could be substantiated, according to the report. Some 130 additional cases are still under investigation. Church defended his investigation in a news conference with reporters after his testimony, but he did say that in hindsight that Central Command or higher authority should have offered more guidance on prisoner treatment.

For more details, read the full article in The New York Times.

Companies Turn to Secure IM to Meet Privacy Concerns

Companies concerned about security, regulatory and privacy issues are increasingly turning to secure instant message applications that allow only authorized user access to IM. Computerworld (a sister publication to CXO Media) reports that the offices of the Producers Pension and Health Plans of the Screen Actors Guild is using such a product, developed by IMlogic of Waltham, Mass. We are very concerned about the internal security with staff and the ability to block IM applications that could be used internally to send information on members,” Kevin Donnellan, director of enterprise infrastructure services for the Hollywood-based actors union, said. The IM Manager product allows authorized users to communicate via commercial IM clients (Yahoo, MSN, AOL). The clients will be disabled on machines of unauthorized users.

For more details, read the full report in Computerworld.