Security Web Digest: Cybercorps Falls Out

Federal IT security training program produces first class Liquid Machine advances data protection ISPs in court over user privacy Yahoo! improves spam blocking Hacker of Al-Jazeera charged by Feds


IT security at federal agencies will get a boost this month from the first class of 46 students, mostly midcareer IT professionals, who completed training under a federal scholarship-for-service program. Cybercorps, as the program is called, was created in 2000 to produce a pool of security-trained IT professionals obligated to work for the government. The program provides up to two years of scholarship funding for students studying information security in return for a commitment to work an equal amount of time for the federal government. The graduates, about half of whom come from private-sector jobs, were trained at some of the 36 participating colleges and universities.

Startup Liquid Machines Monday unveiled a new software technology for securing corporate data. Liquid Machines 1.0 allows enterprises to create and monitor security policies attached to data automatically, said Ed Gaudet, vice president of product management and marketing. The software works by what Liquid Machines calls "auto-integrating" into existing applications and "providing a security layer between the application and the data that the application creates," he said. It is slated to ship next month.


This month, Verizon was compelled to turn over the names of four subscribers traced by the music industry through their IP addresses. The U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., rejected the phone giants request for a stay while it appeals a lower court decision won by the association. In Pennsylvania, Superior Court Judge Jane Ore Melvin has filed a defamation lawsuit thats pending while her attorneys seek to persuade AOL to disclose the identity of the author of a message the judge claims was defamatory. Her attorneys say the message insinuated that Melvin illegally lobbied then-Gov. Tom Ridge to appoint one of her friends to the bench. These are just a few of the skirmishes in a growing battle over online privacy. "People have always thought that what theyre doing on the Internet will remain private, but thats not always the case," said Mike McGuire, research director for media with GartnerG2. "Internet service providers might need to do a better job of informing their users that they may have to release their identities in certain circumstances," he said.

In an attempt to block spammers, Yahoo introduced challenge-response technology to its Web-based mail service, a controversial technique to help its e-mail service distinguish between human beings and junk-mail-sending software robots. In recent weeks, people using Yahoo Mail have found themselves asked to type in camouflaged letters before they can send an e-mail message, in an "image verification" method. The company said its spam-blocking method differed from those of its competitors because it targets the use of its service to send junk mail out, rather than targeting unsolicited mail on its way into members in-boxes.


A 24-year-old man will appear in court on Monday to answer charges that he hijacked the Internet domain of Arabic news service Al-Jazeera in March. In papers filed by the U.S. Attorneys office on Monday, John William Racine II, a Web designer in Norco, Calif., was charged with one felony count of wire fraud and one felony count of unlawful receipt of an electronic communication. The charges stem from an attack in March that left Al-Jazeera without control of its own Web site, Visitors to that site instead were forwarded to site displaying words and images in support of U.S. troops.