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Security United States

U.S. Govt. Offers Computer Security Alerts By E-mail 38

Posted by timothy
from the public-sector-v.-public-menace dept.
SilentSage writes "The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security is offering e-mail alerts on major virus outbreaks and other Internet attacks. The article found here says 'Anyone who signs up with the new National Cyber Alert System will receive e-mails about major virus outbreaks and other Internet attacks as they occur, along with detailed instructions to help computer users protect themselves.'"
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U.S. Govt. Offers Computer Security Alerts By E-mail

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  • The site (Score:3, Informative)

    by macx666 (194150) * on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @11:44AM (#8113643) Homepage
    None of those seem to provide a link to the US-Cert site that has the link, so here:

    US Cert [uscert.gov]

    • Thank you for posting that, but Ugh! How can Yahoo!/AP run a news article about a web site that links everything **EXCEPT** the web site?! These bozos just don't understand "teh intarnet"!

      • Thank you for posting that, but Ugh! How can Yahoo!/AP run a news article about a web site that links everything **EXCEPT** the web site?! These bozos just don't understand "teh intarnet"!

        Because you might click the link and leave their site. Then they can't rack up more ad impressions from your visit.

        They understand teh intarnet quite well; certainly well enough to understand how little most of their readers understand it. Why would they provide a link when at the very least they could show a few mo

  • by HawkPilot (730860) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @11:45AM (#8113645)

    I wonder what's worse, The internet traffic that the virus or worm generates or the email advisories.

    I still get emails saying that if I get a message with such-and-such in the subject to delete the email immeadiatly. And I get these from well meaning friends and family. Imagine how many of these alerts will be forwarded on because they have the authority of the Homeland Security Department behind it.

    • So send an email to all your family members now, tell them to sign up, and both ignore fowarded and stop forwarding "virus" warnings. And turn off HTML reading in Outlook/Express at the same time.

      I'm annoyed to no end when I get emails like those you mention, but at least my parents are [somewhat] aware of the risks present. I'd rather have these warnings than copies of the latest and greatest virus sent to me because I'm in their address book.

  • Dont' do it! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @11:47AM (#8113666)
    Eventually, you will just get more spam.
    • Re:Dont' do it! (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly. Once you "opt-in" to this, you are now "doing business with" the government. Which means they can use your adress with any other part of government to spam the hell out of you. And, since the government "does business with" every company and corporation and individual (everyone has to pay taxes), then they could give this info out to everyone in the world under the guise of "business relations".

      Not to mention, there will probably be a webbug in the alert emails, so that they can periodically track
  • Feh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the Man in Black (102634) <jasonrashaad@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @11:47AM (#8113667) Homepage
    I give it a week before someone spoofs one of these e-mails and uses it to propagate a tasty new kind of e-mail virus.

    But then, I'm a cynic.
    • forget propagating an email virus.

      Dear Stupid computer user:

      There is a new email virus going around named kernel32.dll . Having this infected file on your harddrive will allow anyone on the internet ot see your data. In order to protect yourself, delete this file immidiately. if you computer does not allow you to delete this file directly, oyu must logout of windows in MS-DOS and type the followiing: format C: . Thank you for helping stamp out this virus.

      Tom Ridge

      Or if they want to get access to you

  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @11:50AM (#8113697)
    How long before there are spams that LOOK like these official notices, with "click here to get rid of virus" links that go to those Norton Antivirus sales scams?

    How long before the first one with a return address of "Tom Rigde" arrives in your inbox.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've been on a govt IT contract for a couple years now and have yet to find 10 people who care about or know what they are doing. The people in charge have no clue and just happen to be the ones who have been there the longest. Its a wonder anything gets done. Another contractor and I have been talking about putting one of those wildlife transponders on one govt employee just to see where he spends his entire day. I see him in the morning for 30 secs when he hangs up his coat then you'll find him in the
  • CERT Advisory List (Score:4, Informative)

    by daeley (126313) * on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @12:02PM (#8113811) Homepage
    There was a notice sent out today on the CERT Advisories list that talks about a new cooperative effort between them and the DHS. Excerpt:

    As many of you are aware, a few months ago the CERT Coordination Center
    (CERT/CC) announced a new partnership with the Department of Homeland
    Security's National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) to form a response
    system for our nation and the Internet infrastructure. While this new
    partnership, known as US-CERT, has been low key, we have been working
    aggressively to upgrade our capabilities.

    We are pleased to announce significant changes to CERT Advisories that
    will not only maintain the accuracy and fairness that are the hallmarks of
    CERT Advisories, but will also provide more information about more topics
    than before. Beginning January 28, 2004, CERT Advisories will become a
    core component of US-CERT's Technical Cyber Security Alerts. Significant
    changes behind the scenes will allow us to provide additional content, in
    a more timely fashion, to a larger audience.

    My understanding based on the email is that there will be three lists: two for non-technical users (alerts and tips), and one for tech/security professionals. If you are already subscribed to the CERT Advisories list, apparently you will be automatically added to that last one, which is called "Cyber Security Bulletins" and will be biweekly.

  • Who Are These People (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @12:02PM (#8113813) Journal
    ... and why should I trust what they say? My prior experience with the NIPC was that they were way behind the learning curve as well as any useful time frame? Can someone point out some independent evidence saying it's worth my time to listen to these people? I'm sure their own site says so, but if I read that there I'd probably just laugh.

    Cynical? If that's what you want to call it. I call it ex-federal employee.
  • I think I'd much rather get my security alerts from SecurityFocus, BugTraq, and other more independent sources. I suspect the US government doesn't have a worthy full disclosure policy. ;) ... but call me paranoid.
  • You Have New Mail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Flwyd (607088) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @12:45PM (#8114277) Homepage
    5 New Messages:
    {Virus} Hello
    {Virus} TEST
    {Virus} hi
    {Virus} Hello
    Homeland Security Warning: New Virus Spreading
  • Leave it to our goverment to use dated terminology.

    What we need now are new duck and cover drills.
  • by Strange Ranger (454494) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @01:49PM (#8114889)

    SECURITY ALERT:We have been receiving unspecified reports of increased virus activity on the Internet. We are advising that all recipients maintain a Mauve state of alert.

    Please stay alert for updates as more detailed information becomes available. Be aware that we may decide to raise the alert level to Chartreuse.

    Please enable Active X, Java scripting, non-encrypted forms, and form redirection and click here [whitehouse.gov] for detailed information on the Mauve and Chartreuse Alert Levels.

    In compliance with Act S.877 please click here [whitehouse.gov] to remove yourself from our mailing list.

    This email best viewed in Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.
  • I can't believe their site uses the term "cyber security". Can't we finally let the prefix "cyber" die, along with eAnything, iAnything, and anything EXTREME? That'd be great.
  • First, why can't they just set up an RSS or ATOM feed so that the news can be syndicated? And toss in the current threat condition while they're at it.

    Second, why is the DHS better than CERT? Anything the US gov is going to know first isn't likely to be released to the masses.

    Third, why do I need to give you my e-mail address, can't you just use Echelon and the various IE vulns to insert a message onto my desktop?
  • A new virus has been discovered. To prevent the evil virus from getting in your system download this application.

    Click here for "carnivore junior.exe"
    oops I mean "patch.exe"

  • ...now just watch as the next big virus will attempt to emulate an e-mail from this gov't project, easily suckering in more people...
  • Will somebody pleaseee subscribe to the Homeland Security CyberAlert service? Just in case these people ever get anything right you can post it here for the rest of us. Plus I expect the typical "duct tape" fare would be entertaining as well. I would do it myself but I'm probably already on one of thier lists anyway (see hypersynergy.com). Matt
  • I hope their alerts are better than their mojordomo subscription requests.

    It took 15 hours to get back the initial confirmation email after sending a subsciption request.

    Goodness knows allow long the confirmation will take to process.

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