Security Web Digest: Viewsonic, CBS News Servers Hacked ... and More

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-10-07 Print this article Print

  • Google makes personal web counters for heavy users
  • New chip will detect SARS virus
  • Antivirus industry talks about name standardization
  • Hacking

    A former network administrator for Viewsonic pleaded guilty Monday to illegally accessing a company server and deleting critical data two weeks after the firm had fired him, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. Andrew Garcia, 38, admitted to a Los Angeles district court that he caused more than $53,000 in damages and clean-up costs when he shutdown a key server and prevented Viewsonics Taiwan office from accessing the businesss data, said Wesley Hsu, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.

    The CBS News site was apparently hijacked by a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich on Friday morning. Visitors to the Web site were presented with a text message and a video promoting the candidacy of the congressman from Cleveland. During the hacking, the black background--including text and videos--of was replaced with a blue screen that cited a CBS News poll indicating that 77 percent of all Democrats remain unfamiliar with Kucinichs candidacy.


    The Web search service Google has quietly started placing a counter on its home page for a small number of its most frequent users. Most Google users do not have it, but a select few now have a no-frills counter that with each search clicks higher, noting "You have done 479 searches," or whatever the actual number. "Its one of our experiments, Marissa Mayer, Googles director for consumer products, said. "Were playing with it to understand what the effects of it would be.


    The Genome Institute of Singapore and a U. S. medical devices manufacturer are developing a microchip that is capable of instantly telling whether a patient has the deadly SARS virus. The chip makes its diagnosis within seconds after nasal fluids from an infected person are dropped onto the chip. The chip instantly pinpoints whether the patient has SARS, the flu, or other types of respiratory illness. The chip -- the size of a 50-cent coin -- is scheduled to be available early next year, possibly as soon as January.


    Whats in a name? That was the question computer virus experts were asking each other at a recent panel discussion of virus naming conventions at Virus Bulletin 2003 (VB2003), an annual gathering of the worlds leading authorities on computer viruses, worms and malicious code. Disagreements about what and how to name new worms and viruses have produced a confusing system in recent years in which anti-virus companies often compete to be the first to "name" a new virus and in which the same malicious code often has two or more names assigned to it, experts agreed. Technical naming conventions are fine for virus experts, but they mean nothing to most employees and corporate executives who are more likely to remember names like "I love you" and "Melissa" than "VBS.LoveLetter.A" and "W97.Melissa.A." The result is that corporate anti-virus experts waste valuable time and resources in an outbreak trying to reconcile the differences, said Shawn Campbell, global antivirus project manager for Ford Motor.


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