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Cracking Code and Taking Cyber Heat

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | 5:30 PM Leave a comment Go to comments

Calling all coding gurus and cyber geeks:  Wired’s Danger Room this afternoon is asking readers to attempt to crack an embedded military code.  According to the report, the US military’s new Cyber Command has created a logo for its organization, which includes the code “9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a” around the logo’s inner ring.

On the topic, a source close to CyberCom told Wired, “It is not just random numbers and does ‘decode’ to something specific.”  Although Wired has yet to explain the code’s exact meaning, the article has generated over 125 comments and translation attempts, including several suggestions that the message says “Poder Cybernetico,” meaning “Cyber Power.”

And while ‘cyber power’ may be turning up in a security logo, it’s apparently missing from a security office — That is, the Department of Homeland Security.  Continuing to catch heat for its mismanagement, DHS is “missing the mark,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement published by Homeland Security Today.

According to the report, a Bottom Up Review (BUR) conducted by DHS and yet to be released to the public, has five missions: “preventing terrorism and enhancing security, securing and managing US borders, enforcing and administering US immigration laws, safeguarding and securing cyberspace, and ensuring resilience to disasters.”

Of the DHS report, Rep. Thompson stated, “While the BUR provides more context for how DHS intends to execute is missions, it is not the ‘deep dive’ that Congress was promised.”

Meanwhile, it seems Congress is asking for cyber promises beyond the DHS.  While Cybersecurity News reported late last week that seven key senators were calling on Obama to improve the nation’s cybersecurity, GovInfo Security ponders whether the Senate-seven letter to the President is a “cry for cybersecurity leadership.”

Asked for his take on Sens. Harry Reid (D-NC), Carl Levin (D-MI), Jay Rockefeller(D-WV.), Dianne Feinstein(D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT) letter, Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at The Cato Institute, told GovInfo that the senators may be looking for additional guidance on crafting ideal cyber legislation.

“My suspicion is that Howard Schmidt and others in the administration have been tamping down on Congress’ efforts because most of what Congress has produced so far has been overkill,” Harper suggested.

But don’t take the idea of ‘overkill’ literally.  At least not when referring to recent news on two of the Senate-senders of last week’s letter to Obama. According to an article in The New York Times, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Dianne Feinstein, as well as Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), have all been part of an email hoax.

Based on the report, detailed emails were sent to various news sites, including The New York Times, to alert the media of the senators’ deaths.  The Times notes, “The hoax was perhaps cruelest in the case of Mr. Lautenberg, who recently completed treatment for lymphoma of the stomach. Last Monday, he announced he was cancer free — on the same day that Mr. Byrd’s death made Mr. Lautenberg, at 86, the oldest sitting senator.”

According to the Times, the Senate sergeant at arms and the Capitol Police are investigating the issue and looking into the source of the emails…

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