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September 2007

A Site to See

Machine agents such as robots or crawlers (called bots) visit millions of Web sites daily. Sometimes the use is benign, as when search agents use them to update their information. But these programs can also be harmful. They can be used to hunt for Web site vulnerabilities or harvest e-mail addresses for future spamming. They can also reduce a Web site’s bandwidth.

A new site keeps an updated list of bad bots and crawlers. Web site host managers and business owners can download data for free from that can then be configured to block bad robots. It’s this month’s A Site to See.

    Quick Bytes: ID Theft Rising

    About 15 million Americans fell victim to some form of identity theft in the 12 months ending in mid-2006, an increase of more than 50 percent since 2003. For the rest of the Garner survey, click here.

      Quick Bytes: Cyberwar Risk

      China has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks, according to a recent Defense Department (DoD) report. Other countries, including the United States, are developing similar capabilities.


        Rendering Assistance to Aid Workers

        Aid workers, who render assistance to the most vulnerable populations in the least hospitable regions of the world, have long operated with protected status under international humanitarian law. Combatants, nevertheless, increasingly ignore this protection. From Iraq to Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, aid workers have faced savage attacks when working within conflict zones.

        This trend was highlighted in a 2006 joint report by the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) and the Center on International Cooperation—“Providing Aid in Insecure Environments: Trends in Policy and Operations”—that studied major violent acts against aid workers from 1997-2005.

          Legal Report

          Workplace Violence

          The California Court of Appeal has ruled that an employee who was fired after making a workplace violence complaint against a coworker may sue his employer for a violation of public policy. The court ruled that the employer’ s actions violated public policy when it failed to take steps to address credible workplace violence threats. (Franklin v. The Monadnock Company, California Court of Appeal, No. B191267, 2007)

          Agriculture Security

          A bill (H.R. 1717) introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) that would establish a national agricultural and biodefense facility has been approved by the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology. The bill will now move to a vote before the full committee. H.R. 1717 has also been referred to the House Agriculture Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


            A bill (H.R. 948) introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) that would protect the privacy of Social Security numbers has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It is now pending before the House Ways and Means Committee.

              Domestic Violence

              Florida Governor Charlie Crist has signed a law (formerly H.B. 55) that requires employers to allow workers to take up to three days off a year to deal with domestic violence issues. However, it is up to employers to determine whether these days are paid or unpaid.


                A bill (S.B. 29) that would prohibit schools from requiring that students wear RFID badges has been approved by the California Senate and is pending in the California Assembly’s Judiciary Committee.


                  The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a female employee missed the chance to sue her employer for paying her less than her male counterparts over a nine-year period because she did not file her case within 180 days of the offense. The court said the clock started ticking from the day she got the job, rather than being reset with each new paycheck. This is a departure from years of discrimination case law. The only way to have a current claim against years of discriminatory pay would be for the plaintiff to show that recent decisions, such as raises or promotions, were discriminatory. (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Inc., U.S. Supreme Court, No. 05-1074, 2007)


                    A bill (H.R. 1) that will implement the remaining recommendations of the 9/11 Commission has been passed by Congress and was expected to be signed into law by the President at press time.


                      News & Trends

                      Giving Accreditation Where It’s Due

                      In “The Concept of Security Providers Accreditation,” Leonard H. Miller, CPP, CFE, argues states should establish regimes for the accreditation of security officers.

                        SM Online


                        An arbitration program put in place by a law firm was ruled unlawful by a federal appeals court because its conditions were too restrictive.

                          Background Screening

                          To be found guilty of willfully violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a company must commit an illegal act knowingly and recklessly, according to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

                            Critical Infrastructure

                            How the U.S. hopes to protect critical infrastructure and key resources through public-private partnerships is in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and seven unclassified sector-specific plans.


                              Guidelines for how employers can avoid falling foul of rules against family responsibility discrimination (such as when a worker needs leave to care for an ailing parent) are now available from the EEOC.

                                International Security

                                What are the implications of China’s military buildup and global power plays? A Department of Defense report examines the issue.


                                  An employee fired after filing a sexual harassment claim cannot sue her employer, ruled a federal appeals court, because the employer responded to her claims and tried to remedy the situation.

                                    IT Security

                                    The three biggest data security concerns for businesses: outside data harvesting attacks, exposing sensitive information to unauthorized users, and accidental loss of employee data. Read more about the report here.

                                      IT Security

                                      What’s the number one threat to corporate security in 2007? While many believe it’s Web viruses, a new survey of European high level IT managers says it’s removable media devices.

                                        Laptop Security

                                        Read about the staggering economic costs downtown Calgary experienced due to laptops stolen from tenant space.

                                          Search Engine Safety

                                          Which leading Web search engines are the safest and which are the most insecure? Find out in McAfee’s latest study, “The State of Search Engine Safety.”


                                            Which companies can you trust with your personal information? American Express comes in tops. In terms of industries, the airline industry lingers lowest on the list.


                                              Beyond Print

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