Feeds

Cyber alerts are phishing magnet, says Senator

"Put that light out!"

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Senator Chuck Schumer has described the Department of Homeland Security's new 'cyber alerts' as a magnet for phishing expeditions and virus writers.

On Wednesday the Department sprang into action and issued its first Cyber Alert - warning users of the "SCObig" virus that had been causing havoc with email systems since Sunday afternoon.

"Details about this new variant are still emerging, but it has been validated as spreading," the Homeland Security boffins told us yesterday, as most users were entered the fourth day of cleaning up after SCObig.

Alert may not be the right word for this class of information. Our dictionary defines alert as "to notify of approaching danger or action", rather than issue a post-facto reminder 72 hours after the event.

If you build it, they will come, said Schumer:

"What DHS did today was essentially challenge computer hackers all over the world to put a virus into an email that mimics the DHS email warnings," said the Senator. "If I were a betting man, I'd put a few dollars down that the next virus that clogs computer networks is going to be transmitted through an email that looks like one of these DHS email alerts. This flaw is exacerbated by the fact that without any kind of requirement mandating ISPs and other companies to report the discovery of viruses, these warnings will likely come after a virus has stated spreading out of control."

The ARP wardens over at the Department hit back, arguing that the alerts were cryptographically signed.

Senator has adopted populist tech causes before, to a mixed reception. He demanded that Microsoft postpone the launch of Windows XP until he was satisfied that that third-party utility vendors were given equal billing, and backed an ill-advised "opt-out" list for junk email. He's made better calls with consumer cellphone issues, introducing a "Bill of Rights" for long-suffering subscribers, and conducting research into hidden charges on phone bills. A survey of plans in his home state New York showed that carriers' true bills ranged from $6.47 (Nextel) to $19.81 (Verizon) more per month than advertised. ®

External Links

Schumer slams ARP patrol
"... validated as spreading" [Homeland Security]

Related Stories

Popup Senator debuts cellphone rights bill
US Senator aims to kill Win XP launch
Senator 'Cheesy Chuck' Schumer phears the virus
Michigan law chief slams 'bogus' anti- spam group
Clinton Admin goes out in a blaze of cyber-terror

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.