Feeds

Did terrorists use keyboard as biological weapon?

FBI finds anthrax on sick man's PC

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Updated FBI investigators in Florida are looking at the possibility of a double case of anthrax being the result of an act of terrorism. Traces of the disease have been found on one of the men's computer keyboards at work.

The US government is on a high state of alert following the plane attacks last month and the current bombing of Afghanistan and has warned citizens that biological or chemical weapons may be deployed by terrorists.

When one man contracted anthrax - the first case since 1978 - the authorities were informed. However when a second man - who was a work colleague of the first - was diagnosed, the FBI were called in. The first man, Robert Stevens, has since died from the disease. Fears were heightened when it was revealed one of the hijackers in the September attacks lived very near by in the preceding months.

Investigators were desperately trying to find the source of the bacteria and eventually found traces on the man's computer keyboard, prompting speculation that terrorists could use keyboards as a way of spreading any biological weapons.

As we reported in August this year, computer keyboards are an ideal environment for bacteria to breed. Computers cause static electricity and so attract dust and bacteria. They also tend to be quite warm, which bacteria love. And of course thanks to close contact with hands an a very effective of spreading it from one person to another.

This fact works for and against the theory of terrorism however - the bacteria may just be there because keyboards are such a good breeding ground. The authorities are taking no chances though and all the staff in the building in Boca Raton have been sent home and told to take antibiotics if they feel at all ill. ®

Update

Just as an add-on, Dr Adrian Midgley has been in touch to put us toward a piece he wrote for GP magazine Pulse on the risk of infection through computer keyboards. Check it out here if you're interested.

Another good link is here, which mocks the example of anthrax as a fear-inducing biological weapon. Disinformation, it claims.

Related Story

Keyboards spread disease

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.