Cyber Arms Intelligence Report for February 4th, 2011

All eyes are on Egypt this week. Again as turmoil hits a nation, the internet goes dark. Cell phone usage though was for the most part untouched. So Google, Twitter and Say Now put their heads together and found a way to allow Egyptians to post tweets via cell phone.

Oddly enough, the protests in Egypt have touched off controversy here in the US over Obama’s internet kill switch. Joe Lieberman and his co-sponsors are planning on introducing the Cyber Security and American Competitiveness Act of 2011 (PDF File) at the current session on congress. The proposed legislation and the events in Egypt prompted the following statement:

“Our cybersecurity legislation is intended to protect the U.S. from external cyberattacks,” the statement says. “Yet, some have suggested that our legislation would empower the president to deny U.S. citizens access to the Internet. Nothing could be further from the truth. We would never sign on to legislation that authorized the president, or anyone else, to shut down the Internet. Emergency or no, the exercise of such broad authority would be an affront to our Constitution.”

Thank goodness for the Constitution. Time will tell if the “Kill Switch” is legitimized or not.

Microsoft is caught with its hands in Google’s cookie jar. Google suspected Microsoft’s Bing search engine was copying Google’s search results. When entering search terms in both engines, identical results were returned. So Google set up a trap:

From December 17 to December 31, engineers inserted a “honeypot” result as the top result for specific search queries — including, hiybbprqag, mbzrxpgiys, and indoswiftjobinproduction — and waited to see if the same results would appear on Bing. Lo and behold, the identical results popped up.

Microsoft responded by denying the accusation and requesting a third party investigate the incident. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Senior Vice President of Online Services Division said:

We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Full stop. We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting.

Next the gloves came off and a full Twitter war of “yes you did”, “no we didn’t” responses began between Google and Microsoft Employees – nice.

Microsoft also made headline news as another Internet Explorer vulnerability was found that put an estimated 900 Million users at risk.

In other news, CSC wins a $30 Million Air Force cybersecurity contract:

Under the terms of the contract, CSC will isolate, contain and prevent intrusive activities on the Air Force automated information systems and networks. In addition, CSC will plan, coordinate, analyze and report on the results of managed network intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems.

And NATO begins implementation of Cyber Shield plan:

Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn is meeting this week with his NATO and European Union (EU) counterparts in Brussels to begin implementation of the alliance’s cybersecurity defense plan.

Lastly, a new purpose was found for unwanted text messages.  Apparently, a wireless provider’s “Happy New Year” message set off a terror bombers suicide vest. The suicide bomber was thought to be with the same Jihad group that recently hit Moscow’s airport.

Other top stories from around the web:

White House Gets Average Grades on Cyber-Security
The National Security Cyberspace Institute (NSCI), which calls itself as a cyber-space education, research and analysis group for public, private and academic entities, in January gave the administration middling grades on cyber-security in its report, Federal Government Cybersecurity Progress: Obama Administration Report Card 2009 – Present.

Show of Strength urged for Cyberwar
Military cyberwarriors are building up efforts to pinpoint the sources of foreign computer break-ins on U.S. networks and will need to demonstrate a major computer attack capability in the future to deter increasingly sophisticated threats, according to the outgoing commander of the U.S. Strategic Command.

2011 CyberSecurity Watch Survey: Organizations Need More Skilled Cyber Professionals to Stay Secure
More than 600 respondents, including business and government executives, professionals and consultants, participated in the survey. The survey is a cooperative effort of CSO, the U.S. Secret Service, the Software Engineering Institute CERT® Program at Carnegie Mellon University and Deloitte.

Russia Calls for Stuxnet Investigation
Late last week Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, publicly called upon (more like demanded) NATO to conduct a thorough investigation into the Stuxnet computer worm that targeted the Iranian nuclear power plant, and stated that the incident could have triggered a “new Chernobyl.”

Busted Cybercrime Ring Targeted Apple Stores
Dozens of people have been charged with forming a prolific identity theft ring that used thousands of stolen credit card numbers to shop at Apple stores around the country, according to a court document and a law enforcement official.


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