[risks] Risks Digest 22.68

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Date: Sat Apr 12 2003 - 17:40:07 PDT

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    RISKS-LIST: Risks-Forum Digest  Saturday 12 April 2003  Volume 22 : Issue 68
       ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator
    ***** See last item for further information, disclaimers, caveats, etc. *****
    This issue is archived at
    and by anonymous ftp at ftp.sri.com, cd risks .
    IBM's DB2 blamed for Danish banking crisis (Fuzzy Gorilla)
    Man Gets $12,000 Electric Bill (Fuzzy Gorilla)
    Missile-defense test failure linked to a single chip (Fuzzy Gorilla)
    Millennium trains taken off the tracks (John Colville)
    Stupid Security Awards for 2003 (Simon Davies)
    Radio stations unable to play copy protected CDs (Jeffrey Sunseri)
    Net fraud complaints triple in 2002 (Keith Rhodes)
    Credit-card theft (sergioch)
    Re: Friendly Fire (Peter B. Ladkin, Rod Van Meter, David Guaspari)
    Re: The reality behind these laws (Stanislav Shalunov)
    Re: POW Social Security numbers revealed (Jaanus Kase, Crispin Cowan)
    Abridged info on RISKS (comp.risks)
    Date: Sun, 06 Apr 2003 11:54:03 -0400
    From: "Fuzzy Gorilla" <fuzzygorillaat_private>
    Subject: IBM's DB2 blamed for Danish banking crisis
    Danske Bank is pointing fingers at IBM's DB2 database as the culprit for a
    massive outage that caused the Danish bank's trading desks, currency
    exchange and communications with other banks to shut down.  The problems
    began on 10 Mar 2003, when a defective power unit was replaced in an IBM
    Ramac Virtual Array (RVA) storage system.  An electrical outage occurred
    during the repairs, which caused operations at one of the bank's two
    operating centers to come to a halt.  When operations were finally resumed,
    extensive data inconsistencies were discovered throughout a week-long
    process of trying to recover data.  Apparently, a flaw had existed in DB2 in
    comparable installations since 1997, although it had not been detected prior
    to this event.  IBM has issued a fix.  [Source: Ashlee Vance, The Register,
    4 Apr 2003; PGN-ed] 
    Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2003 16:31:11 -0500
    From: "Fuzzy Gorilla" <fuzzygorillaat_private>
    Subject: Man Gets $12,000 Electric Bill
    On April Fools' Day, Randy Carrol in North Platte, Nebraska, received an
    electric bill of $12,344.16 for 33 days' service.  But it was not a joke --
    except that the amount was generated by new billing software, showing use of
    310,421 kilowatts (instead of the usual 300).  The correct amount due later
    turned out to be $26.26.  [Source: AP item, 4 Apr 2003; PGN-ed]
    Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 20:39:09 -0400
    From: "Fuzzy Gorilla" <fuzzygorillaat_private>
    Subject: Missile-defense test failure linked to a single chip
    According to Jack Kelble, president of Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems,
    the failure of a U.S. missile-defense test on 11 Dec 2002 was caused by the
    malfunction of a single chip that failed to signal an exo-atmospheric kill
    vehicle to separate from its booster rocket.  Coming just five days before
    Presidential directive on speeding deployment of missile defenses, the test
    included the use of Navy Aegis cruisers and a Boeing 747 modified as the
    Airborne Laser Lab.  Both were used as trackers for the Minuteman II ICBM
    launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, as a target missile.
    Each flight test costs an average of $100 million.  [Source: Loring Wirbel,
    EE Times, 11 Apr 2003; PGN-ed]
    Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 13:47:26 +1000
    From: John Colville <colvilleat_private>
    Subject: Millennium trains taken off the tracks
    The Millennium trains (so-called because of when they were supposed to start
    running, although that was delayed until ten months ago in mid-2002) have
    been taken out of service indefinitely, due to electrical problems that were
    having a "flow-on effect across the Sydney network."  Train signals were
    interfering with the frequency of the underground signalling system resulted
    in turning lights red for following trains.  Only four 8-car trains have
    been delivered thus far (out of the contracted 81, with a total cost of 232
    million Australian dollars).  Transport Services Minister Michael Costa
    said, "This is the most complex train that's ever run on a rail system. It
    is a piece of equipment that would, in the normal course of events, have
    some teething problems."  Other problems were also cited: passenger doors
    occasionally refusing to close; loss of the public address system; and loss
    of air-conditioning in some units.  [Source: Joseph Kerr and Darren Goodsir,
    *Sydney Morning Herald*, 10 Apr 2003; PGN-ed from JC's excerpting]
    John Colville, Dept of Computer Systems, University of Technology, Sydney
    Broadway NSW Australia 2007 colvilleat_private  +61-2-9514-1854
    Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 20:20:30 +0100
    From: Simon Davies <s.g.daviesat_private>
    Subject: Stupid Security Awards for 2003
    Privacy Watchdog announces winners of competition to find the world's most
    stupid security measures; Global quest has identified absurd and pointless
    security requirements
    Privacy International today announced the results of its competition to find
    the worlds most pointless, intrusive and egregious security measures. The
    competition, launched in February, attracted almost 5,000 nominations from
    35 countries. While the air security sector dominated the competition,
    nominations arose from almost all areas of private and public sector
    activity. The winners include JFK Airport, T-Mobile (UK), Michigan
    Correctional facilities and the Australian Government.
    The "Stupid Security" award was judged by a distinguished international
    panel of security and privacy experts and is intended to highlight the
    absurdities of the security industry. Privacy International's director,
    Simon Davies, said his group took the initiative because of "innumerable"
    security initiatives around the world that had absolutely no genuine
    security benefit.
    "The extraordinary number of nominations indicates that the situation has
    become ridiculous" said Mr Davies. "Security has become the smokescreen for
    incompetent and robotic managers the world over.  The situation has become
    more than an irritation to the public. It has become an outright danger".
    The winners are:
    Most Egregiously Stupid Award
    * Winner: The Australian Government for a litany of pointless, 
    irritating and self-serving security measures
    * Runner-Up: Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov for the 'Propiska' Identity Papers
    Most Inexplicably Stupid Award
    * Winner: Philadelphia International Airport for over-reaction to a bottle
    of cologne
    * Runner-Up: Heathrow Airport for quarantining a quantity of green tea
    Most Annoyingly Stupid Award
    * Winner: T-Mobile (UK) for pointless and idiotic financial security measures
    * Runner-Up: Bay Area Rapid Transport (Bart) for closing its restrooms.
    Most Flagrantly Intrusive Award
    * Winner: Delta Terminal at JFK Airport for forcing a nursing mother 
    to drink still-warm bottles of her own breast milk
    * Runner-Up: Carson City Correctional Facility, Michigan for forcing 
    women visitors to wear bras.
    Most Stupidly Counter Productive Award
    * Winner: San Francisco General Hospital for blind idiocy in its 
    identity checking procedures
    * Runner-Up: San Francisco International Airport for endangering the public
    * Dishonourable Mention: The New Yorker Hotel, New York for aggressive,
    unnecessary and meaningless security measures.
    Full details at http://www.privacyinternational.org/activities/stupidsecurity/
    Simon Davies can be reached at simonat_private  Phone (+44) 7958 466 552
    [Note 1: Privacy International (PI) http://www.privacyinternational.org is a
    human rights group formed in 1990 as a watchdog on surveillance by
    governments and corporations, including wiretapping and national security
    activities, ID cards, video surveillance, data matching, police information
    systems, and medical privacy.]
    [Note 2: (Disclaimer) PGN was one of the judges.]
    Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2003 15:09:20 -0400
    From: "Jeffrey Sunseri" <JSunseriat_private>
    Subject: Radio stations unable to play copy protected CDs
    Music companies which use copy protection may be denying the artists under
    contract to them legitimate play time on radio stations, if the happenings
    at one outfit are any indication.  [First sentence on Declan's Politech]
      [Some radio stations with desktop PCs rather than standalone CD players
      are unable to play the free CDs they get from EMI because of disc copy
      protection.  PGN-ed of the article]
    Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 04:59:58 -0700 (PDT)
    From: Keith Rhodes <rhodeskat_private>
    Subject: Net fraud complaints triple in 2002
    The FBI's Net fraud unit says it referred 48,000 complaints to law
    enforcement last year, with both the number of fraud cases and the dollar
    loss associated with them more than tripling.  [Source: Paul Festa, 
    CNET News.com, 10 Apr 2003]
    Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2003 11:42:37 +0200
    From: sergiochat_private
    Subject: Credit-card theft
    A mailman in Settimo Torinese (a small town in northwestern Italy) has robbed
    several credit cards and the relative letters with the PIN. His theft was
    found after one of the owners of the cards discovered that 3000 euros were
    missing from her account due to shopping made with her card, which she had
    never received.  The police searched the home of the thief. It found more
    than 100 (a hundred) letters communicating the PIN code to the owners of the
    cards, plus for an amount of about 5000 euros in bought arcticles (mainly in
    sportswear, we are told).
    "The "Servizi Interbancari" (interbanking services), Italian leader in
    credit card management, told that it is the first time that such event
    occurs in Italy and that <<highest security guidelines>> are followed in the
    dispatch of cards and PINs."
    Sarcasm is left to the reader as an exercise.
    Sources (in Italian):
    La Stampa, 11/04/2003, cronaca di Torino (page 41).
    Google Translation (not great):
    Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2003 11:22:55 +0200
    From: "Peter B. Ladkin" <ladkinat_private-bielefeld.de>
    Subject: Re: Friendly Fire (RISKS-22.65 to 22.67)
    Recent "friendly fire" incidents (known in the military as fratricide) were
    introduced in RISKS-22.65 by Paul, and discussed in RISKS-22.66 by Tyson and
    RISKS-22.67 by Eachus, Russ, and Youngman.
    Chris Johnson of the Accident Analysis Group at the University of Glasgow
    has an review article on the subject [1]. He recently quoted the following
    percentages of all reported casualties sustained, from FM100-14, US Army,
                   World War II     Korea     Vietnam     Desert Storm/Shield
                     (1942-45)      (1950-53)  (1965-72)       (1990-1991)
    Accidents        56%            44%        54%               75%
    Friendly Fire     1%             1%         1%                1%
    Enemy Actions    43%            55%        45%               20%
    As Russ pointed out, it is important not just to view percentages but also
    to know the absolute numbers, as asserted by 100% of the people typing this
    note, who doesn't have those numbers available.
    A particularly noteworthy fratricide incident occurred in 1994 during
    Operation Provide Comfort, which intended to protect certain Kurdish areas
    in Northern Iraq. Two F-15s patrolling the no-fly zone shot down two Black
    Hawk helicopters ferrying officials and locals within the no-fly zone. This
    incident has been analysed by (in temporal order) a USAF Aircraft Accident
    Investigation Board, by a US General Accounting Office review of that report
    [2], by U.S. military academician Scott Snook [3], by Joan Piper, the mother
    of one of the officers killed [4], and by Nancy Leveson, Polly Allen and
    Margaret-Anne Storey [5].
    During the incident, the major technologies involved were a controlling
    AWACS aircraft, and the Air-to-Air Interrogation/Identification Friend or
    Foe (AAI/IFF) systems on board the F-15s and the Black Hawks, systems which
    send radio interrogation signals (AAI) and elicit responses (IFF) from
    friendly aircraft. These systems are similar in function to that of the
    combination of Primary Air Traffic Control Radar and on-board transponders
    in civil aviation, although I expect the military security design is far
    more sophisticated.
    During this incident, the technology apparently functioned more or less as
    intended, although there was some question as to why certain AAI/IFF
    transactions did not occur, which has not been answered.  (Although the
    F-15s were interrogating on a different band from that on which the Black
    Hawks were responding, at least one performed interrogation should have
    elicited a response. No reason for this was identified.)
    When the F15 pilots failed to get suitable responses from AAI/IFF
    transactions, they performed a visual intercept, mistakenly identified the
    Black Hawks as Iraqi Hind helicopters, and shot them down. The reports
    focused on procedural irregularities (problems in the chain of command
    during the intercept), on coordination on board the AWACS, and the apparent
    haste, inaccuracy, and lack of procedural care with which the F15s performed
    the visual identification and shootdown.  The GAO also investigated mission
    discipline issues with the squadron to which the interceptors belonged.
    According to the GAO, the USAF report "focused on, among other things,
    command and control problems, including individuals' lack of knowledge of
    specific procedures." The GAO report pointed out that the USAF report did
    not discuss the F-15 pilots' responsibility to report to the Airborne
    Command Element (ACE, the chief of the AWACS operation staff) when they
    encountered unknown aircraft in the no-fly zone; that it failed to note that
    the ACE had authority to stop the intercept (especially significant given
    that his staff had been dealing with those same helicopters a short while
    before); and that it erroneously concluded that use of an incorrect "squawk"
    code by the Black Hawks resulted in the F15s not receiving an IFF response
    (the F15s should have seen a response in any case on at least one of their
    required interrogation modes).
    These seem to me to be problems largely concerning organisational behavior
    rather than the technology itself, although this behavior is of course
    conditioned by that technology. One could expect this to be so in general
    for fratricide incidents, since, except for intentional incidents such as
    "fragging", they are cases of mistaken identity and are thus likely to
    contravene the rather elaborate procedures that have evolved for avoiding
    Another case, investigated by the organisational behavior researcher Gene
    Rochlin [6], was the shootdown of a commercial aircraft, an Iran Air Airbus
    Flight 655, over the Persian Gulf by an Aegis cruiser, the USS Vincennes,
    who was engaged in a firefight at the time with small Iranian patrol
    boats. The aircraft was initially misidentified as an F14, and its
    subsequent behavior was misinterpreted as threatening, despite the wealth of
    electronic information available to the Aegis crew which showed otherwise -
    a case of seeing what one expects (or fears) to see, it seems. Again,
    organisational behavior, conditioned by the available technology.
    The recent Patriot shootdown of a RAF Tornado may be different, in that it
    may have been initiated by technological misfunction.  According to Flight
    International [7], "the aircraft was approaching the Kuwaiti border as
    number two in a two-ship formation when it was identified by the Patriot as
    an anti-radiation missile. An operator then initiated the engagement, before
    realising that other sensor data did not corroborate the target
    classification. ..... Initial indications are that the Tornado was in the
    "safe-lane" at the right speed and height when it was hit. If it had an IFF
    problem, even not functioning or broadcasting the wrong identification tag,
    it would probably still have been spotted by the airborne control post."
    The report continues: "Further doubts were raised about Patriot's IFF system
    when a day later a second SAM battery, 55km (35 miles) south of An Najaf,
    locked on to a US Air Force .... F-16. The fighter fired a [anti-radiation
    missile], destroying the battery's radar without killing anyone.
    [1] Chris Johnson, Risk and Decision-Making in Military Accident and
    Incident Reporting Systems, available at
    [2] General Accounting Office, USG, Operation Provide Comfort: Review of
    U.S. Air Force Investigation of Black Hawk Fratricide Incident, Report to
    Congressional Requestors, Report GAO/OSI-98-4, November 1997, available
    through search from http://www.gao.gov
    [3] Scott A. Snook, Friendly Fire: The Accidental Shootdown of U.S. Black
    Hawks over Northern Iraq, Princeton University Press, 2000. Details at
    [4] Joan L. Piper, A Chain of Events: The Government Cover-Up of the Black
    Hawk Incident and the Friendly-Fire Death of Lt. Laura Piper, Brassey's Inc,
    [5] Nancy G. Leveson, Polly Allen, Margaret-Annd Storey, The Analysis of a
    Friendly Fire Accident using a Systems Model of Accidents, available from
    [6] Gene I. Rochlin, Iran Air Flight 655: Complex, Large-Scale Military
    Systems and the Failure of Control. In Responding to Large Technical
    Systems: Control or Anticipation, Renate Mayntz and Todd R. La Porte, eds.,
    Kluwer, 1991. A version is also to be found as Chapter 9 of Rochlin, Trapped
    in the Net, Princeton University Press, 1997, which chapter is available at
    [7] Accidents Take Their Toll, Flight International, 1-7 April 2003, p6.
    Peter B. Ladkin, Faculty of Technology, University of Bielefeld, 
    33594 Bielefeld, Germany  +49 (0)521 880 7319 http://www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de
    Date: 04 Apr 2003 14:55:01 -0800
    From: Rod Van Meter <Rod.VanMeterat_private>
    Subject: Re: Friendly Fire ... (Russ, RISKS-22.67)
    I'm not certain where Mr. Russ got his data, but as of 14:30 PST on 4 Apr,
    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/index.html lists 84
    coalition deaths and another couple of dozen POW/MIAs.  It also seems
    unlikely that we have already killed a full four tenths of a percent of the
    population of Iraq.  I don't see numbers for injured at a glance.
    The problem likely stems from confusion over the term "casualty".  It
    actually refers to persons killed OR INJURED, although many people seem to
    believe it refers to deaths.
    The same issue has caused over fifty years of misinformation about the
    atomic bombing of Japan and the planned Operation Olympic invasion of
    Japan's home islands, due to confusion over casualties on Okinawa and Iwo
    Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2003 16:21:48 -0400 
    From: David Guaspari <davidg@atc-nycorp.com>
    Subject: Re: Friendly fire ... (PGN, RISKS-22.65)
    It would take some hard work to decide whether [a high friendly fire rate]
    is astounding or is a simple statistical necessity.  If side A so
    overmatches side B that B can do A no damage at all, then 100% of A's
    casualties will be the result of friendly fire (or self-inflicted by other
    kinds of accident).
    David Guaspari, ATC-NY, 33 Thornwood Drive, Suite 500, Ithaca NY 14850-1250
    voice: (607) 266-7114  davidg@atc-nycorp.com
    Date: 04 Apr 2003 15:30:20 -0500
    From: stanislav shalunov <shalunovat_private>
    Subject: Re: The reality behind these laws (Re: Cohen, RISKS-22.67)
    > Nothing in these bills in any way prevents firewalling, encryption,
    > etc. UNLESS it is being used to defraud.
    I certainly hope that this was the intent.  However, the law says:
    > Sec. 540c (1) A person shall not [...] assemble,
    >               develop, manufacture, possess, deliver, offer to
    >               deliver, or advertise a telecommunications device
    >               intending to use those devices or to allow the devices
    >               to be used to do any of the following or knowing or
    >               having reason to know that the devices are intended to
    >               be used to do any of the following:  [...]
    >               (b) Conceal the existence or place of origin or
    >                   destination of any telecommunications service.
    A NAT box is a telecommunications device.  Some common home WiFi access
    points can *only* be used in NAT mode, such as a few Linksys boxes.  A NAT
    box is intended to conceal the actual origin of IP traffic.  IP traffic
    seems to fit their definition of a telecommunications service.  It would
    seem that the possession of a NAT box is made a felony in Michigan,
    punishable by up to four years in prison and/or up to $2000 fine per device.
    Please explain where you are reading this ``intent to defraud'' stuff?  (Sec
    219a does use ``with the intent to defraud'' language carefully, but we're
    talking about a different section here.  Are we reading different texts?
    I'm talking about
    My reading of this is that it outlaws (both sale and possession) of NAT and
    VPN boxes and perhaps more (steganography?).  Note that there does not need
    to be any malicious intent in order for the possession to be illegal.
    In addition, the item (c) that immediately follows is written quite vaguely
    (it was probably meant to outlaw cable descramblers), but it written --
    probably unintentionally -- so that it might be interpreted as outlawing
    (the decryption side of) any use of encryption without prior permission from
    the service provider (all of them on the path, I guess?).
    Stanislav Shalunov		http://www.internet2.edu/~shalunov/
    Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2003 01:45:07 +0300
    From: "Jaanus Kase" <terminusat_private>
    Subject: Re: POW Social Security numbers revealed (Hirose, RISKS-22.67)
    Foreign readers, like myself, are well aware of America's problems with SSN.
    To my view, the problem is very simple: identification and authentication
    are two very different issues, but SSN is used for both.
    Let's face it: to have efficient public services and efficient means of
    communications in current Internet age and information society, it is vital
    to have a sort of universal "national identity number", whatever it is
    called - ID code, SSN, "medical insurance code" or whatever. They are often
    used in medical or social insurance, but not necessarily always - it can be
    used when providing any service or just wanting to talk to someone to be
    sure of his identity.
    I myself live in Estonia and I think we have a good national ID code system
    in place. Every person has a unique code - for example, mine is 38006270262.
    I can tell it to you freely, because it is available online anyway in a lot
    of places. It is widely accepted here that the ID code is public data. Think
    of it as your middle name. It is even helpful in daily electronic
    communications - if you have two persons with the same name, you can
    distinguish them by the code. It is also obvious that all sorts of
    electronic registers are easy to construct using the code. In itself, the ID
    code also encodes some key personal data, like your birth date and sex, but
    nothing else.
    A direct result of the above is that the code must NOT be used for
    authentication purposes. If I know someone's name and ID code, I should NOT
    be able to impersonate as that person. Indeed, all services in Estonia,
    public or private, consider this and knowing only someone else's name and/or
    ID code gets you nowhere - additional authentication is always used.
    As I view it, the core of US problems with SSN is very simple - it is used
    widely as a unique identifier as it is very easy to do so (as, I understand,
    it is the only numeric identifier that all US residents can be assumed to
    have). And then, you play hide-and-seek and say, "okay, the number is
    everywhere all over the place anyway, but now let's play it's secret and
    start authenticating people using it."
    I of course understand that the US system is in its current state due to its
    historic legacy, but in the long run, some changes will probably need to be
    made, although I wouldn't want to imagine the costs. You may say that there
    are valid arguments against having a universal public national ID code, but
    so far, I have not seen any, either in talk or in practice, that I would
    take seriously.
    Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2003 19:32:26 -0800
    From:  <crispinat_private>
    Subject: Re: POW Social Security numbers revealed (Hirose, RISKS-22.67)
    It is often suggested that disclosure of SSN's is a great risk. In the
    current climate, where SSN's are used to *authenticate* an individual ("tell
    us your SSN so we know it is you") that certainly is true.
    However, I suggest an alternate approach to solving the problem of identity
    theft.  SSN's are hopelessly easy to obtain; attempting to curtail the
    broadcast of these numbers (e.g. hoping the Iraqi state television will
    control the release) is futile. Instead, I suggest that the US Government
    *prohibit* the use of SSN's as authenticators. If all of the US
    organizations that currently authenticate with SSN's were forced to use
    something else (anything else) the state of the identity theft crisis would
    improve drastically.
    The "*anything* else" part is important to this proposal. It is tempting to
    propose something prescriptive, specifying how organizations should
    authenticate people. However, I suspect that such prescriptions would make
    the law founder on impracticality, as organizations find high quality
    authentication difficult to implement for one reason or anther.
    In contrast, simply forcing organizations to choose something else at least
    has the scattershot effect that they are unlikely to choose all the same
    attributes, making wholesale identity theft much more difficult.
    Just me proposing this idea here and getting a few folks to agree that it
    would be beneficial is fun & all :-) but won't actually change
    anything. More constructive would be if those who do agree with the idea,
    and have more influence in the financial regulation space than I do, would
    take up the idea and start spreading it around.
    Crispin Cowan, Chief Scientist, WireX  http://wirex.com/~crispin/
    http://wirex.com http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/servers/solutions/iis/
    Date: 29 Mar 2002 (LAST-MODIFIED)
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    Subject: Abridged info on RISKS (comp.risks)
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