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[] Computer, Hacker, Medien,

..ein forward aus dem Security Watch der ETHZ,
thomas rid

-US super-computers could aid enemy research  
-Compulsory ID system may be hacker-prone  
-In depth: Pentagon keeps media on short leash

US super-computers could aid enemy research
The White House should have conducted a more thorough review 
before allowing US technology firms to sell high-speed computers to 
Russia, China, India and countries in the Middle East, according to a 
congressional report released on Monday. The Bush administration 
relied too heavily on the opinions of computer makers and did not 
adequately consider national security issues when it eased Cold 
War-era restrictions on supercomputer exports last January, the report 
said, enabling "countries of concern" to more easily design advanced 
nuclear weapons, aircraft and other weapons. Congress may need to 
step in to ensure that the government is thinking through the issue 
thoroughly, said the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative 
arm. "Since the report's conclusions are based on inadequate 
information provided by the computer industry and an inadequate 
assessment of national security issues, the decision to raise the 
export control threshold is analytically weak and appears to be 
premature, given market conditions," the report said. The Commerce 
and State departments, which were involved in the review, disagreed 
with the report. The Defense Department said it was reviewing the 
matter. The Senate passed a bill last year that would have effectively 
removed the speed limits, but House Armed Services Committee, 
newly concerned about national security after 11 September, 
approved a bill in March that would strengthen these requirements. 
The US government has since 1979 sought to limit the sale of 
supercomputers capable of complex three-dimensional modeling, 
calculating fluid dynamics and other advanced applications in an 
attempt to slow the spread of nuclear arms. Manufacturers need to get 
US permission before selling supercomputers to a group of nations, 
which includes Pakistan, Israel, and Vietnam. Exports to US allies 
such as Canada, Mexico, and all of Western Europe do not face such 
restrictions, while sales to other countries such as North Korea, Iraq, 
and Syria are banned outright. Computer manufacturers have pushed 
to abandon or change the limits, pointing out that other nations have 
been happy to sell such supercomputers to Russia, China, and other 
lucrative markets. The government has raised its speed limit as 
microprocessor technology has advanced over the years, and the Bush 
administration more than doubled it last January, from 85'000 Millions 
of Theoretical Operations Per Second, or MTOPS, to 190'000 MTOPS. 
A typical home computer now sold in retail stores is capable of 
roughly 2'100 MTOPS. The Bush administration said at the time the 
move was necessary because advanced microprocessors sold by Intel 
that approached these speeds would soon be widely available, making 
enforcement all but impossible. But the GAO report found that only 
one company, Unisys, currently sold systems which included the 
advanced processors. The Commerce and State departments said 
MTOPS limits on individual computers could easily be circumvented 
by advances in computer networking and that other measurements 
would be more effective. The State Department said that while there 
were some gaps in the study it did not invalidate January's decision. 
An Intel spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Compulsory ID system may be hacker-prone
Just a day after Japan introduced a mandatory computer ID for every 
citizen, the government was forced to admit the data may have been 
leaked from Japan's Defense Agency. The news lends weight to 
critics who charge that the system, which allocates every citizen an 
11-digit number, may be vulnerable to hackers. The safety of such 
computer networks is under the spotlight as Prime Minister Junichiro 
Koizumi's administration presses on towards its long-held goal of 
"e-government". "We have received a report from (computer maker) 
Fujitsu that data relating to the computer network they created for the 
army and air force may have been leaked to outside parties," Chief 
Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said on Tuesday. Fukuda was later 
quoted on public broadcaster NHK as instructing a senior Defense 
Agency official to "deal with the matter carefully so as not to cause 
concern to the public". Fujitsu, which developed the system, became 
aware of the probable leak in late June when a group of men 
attempted to blackmail the company, demanding money in exchange 
for returning copies of network diagrams and other information that 
could be useful to hackers, newspapers said. Fujitsu reported the 
matter to the police on Monday after deciding the data was probably 
genuine, newspapers said. It was not clear whether classified security 
information had been leaked. But newspapers quoted Fujitsu as saying 
it was impossible for outsiders to break into the network since it is
connected to the Internet. The system, which sparked protests and a 
lawsuit demanding its abolition, ran into technical problems at some 
17 municipalities which reported trouble accessing the network, 
Kyodo news reported. At least five municipalities had refused to 
implement the system, fearing misuse by hackers. (Reuters)


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