December 24, 2002 Thieves steal computers containing Defense health care data Thieves made off with several notebook PCs and the hard drives from several servers after breaking into the office of a contractor for the Tricare Management Activity, the Defense Departments health care service, a Tricare official said. The equipment, which was stolen Dec. 14 from an office of TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. of Phoenix, included data files containing personal information about beneficiaries, including military personnel, their families and retirees, according to Capt. Frank Maguire, Tricares chief of staff. - - - - - - - - Man Pleads Guilty to Writing Viruses British citizen admits creating three destructive viruses, which spread to 42 countries and infected computers at the FBI. A U.K. man pleaded guilty on Friday to charges that he wrote and distributed three Internet computer viruses from his home in Wales with the intention of causing unauthorized modifications to computer systems. Simon Vallor, 22, admitted in Bow Street Magistrates' Court in London that he created the viruses called "Gokar," "Admirer," and "Redesi," a spokesperson for the court said Tuesday.,aid,108246,00.asp - - - - - - - - Three plead guilty in moon rock scheme Three college interns pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the disappearance of moon rocks and meteorites valued at more than $1 million, which later turned up for sale on the Internet, NASA announced this week. The trio worked at NASA's Johnson Space Center this summer when a 600-pound safe with lunar samples and martian meteorites vanished from the Houston facility, the space agency said. - - - - - - - - Disgraced Cisco exec gets five years jail Disgraced former Cisco Systems executive Robert Gordon will spend next Christmas behind bars after receiving a five-and-a-half year sentence last week for fraud and insider dealing. Gordon, 43, a former vice president and director of business development at Cisco, masterminded an elaborate scam involving diverting $50 million of Cisco-owned stock through overseas accounts he controlled. In July he pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, and one charge of using inside information to make an illicit profit from stock deals. - - - - - - - - Greece, Denmark (and no-one else) make EC copyright deadline The deadline for implementing new European laws on copyright protection passed on Sunday (December 22) with just two countries signing up. The European Union's controversial Copyright Directive (AKA Europe's DMCA) made it onto the statue books of only Greece and Denmark in time, according to wire reports. - - - - - - - - Encryption of U.S. agency's Web documents probed Computer security followers are questioning the way the U.S. transportation security administration, which oversees airport security and other transportation issues, is protecting some restricted documents on its Web site. Four documents available on the "Security and Law Enforcement" section of the TSA Web site can be accessed and stored by any Internet user. A password in Microsoft Word keeps the document from curious eyes. - - - - - - - - XP audio vuln shout goes out XP users were warned last week of a critical buffer overflow flaw in Windows Shell that can be used to run arbitrary code on victims' PCs. The vulnerability, discovered by application security firm Foundstone, involves a fault in a Windows Shell function used to extract custom attribute information from audio files. Windows Shell provides the framework of the Windows GUI and runs the Windows Desktop, among other functions. By this time you're probably thinking the flaw is invoked when victims run a maliciously constructed audio file in Media Player. Actually the flaw is more subtle than this, as Microsoft explains. - - - - - - - - Spam Under the Tree The opening of the holiday season was accompanied by an increase in spam e-mail messages, according to figures released by spam-fighting software maker Brightmail. The San Francisco-based company said it tracked a 21 percent increase in spam messages caught up in its filters during the month following Thanksgiving. Brightmail said it blocked more than 16 billion messages of the 40 billion it scanned during that period. Brightmail's Probe Network deploys over 100 million dummy e-mail accounts to smoke out spam e-mails, which it then blocks for its clients. - - - - - - - - Intelligence Official Will Lead TSA Profiling Effort The federal Transportation Security Administration has hired an intelligence official with database expertise to oversee development of the agency's computer profiling system, a proposed network of supercomputers intended to instantly assess every passenger's background for potential ties to terrorism, officials close to the project said yesterday. - - - - - - - - A happy New Year for hacker Mitnick Christmas came early for notorious computer saboteur Kevin Mitnick. A former fugitive from justice who wound up serving a five-year prison term for computer crimes against companies including Sun Microsystems and Motorola, Mitnick is enjoying a midlife renaissance. In a wide- ranging interview, the 39-year-old Mitnick discussed brightened prospects, which include the end of the three-year-long probation that followed his release from prison, the auctioning off of his memorabilia on eBay and the launch of a filmmaking venture with Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey. *********************************************************** Search the Archive at: *********************************************************** The source material may be copyrighted and all rights are retained by the original author/publisher. The information is provided to you for non-profit research and educational purposes. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however copies may not be sold, and NewsBits ( should be cited as the source of the information. Copyright 2000-2002,, Campbell, CA.