Briefs: Virus Probe Narrows

At press time, the latest suspects in the "I Love You" virus case were a disgruntled student at AMA Computer College (AMACC) in the Philippines, who failed to graduate because his thesis about creating a password-stealing program was rejected, and his friend in a student computer club.

Philippines investigators identified the suspects as Onel De Guzman, a computer science student at AMACC, and Michael Buen, who graduated from AMACC this month. Both are allegedly members of a student organization of computer programmers called GRAMMERsoft.

Investigators were still trying to identify 10 other suspects, possibly AMACC students as well.

ActiveX Flawed

A flawed ActiveX control makes computers running Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer Version 5.0 or Office 2000 vulnerable to virus infections on most e-mail systems, even if users don't open infected attachments, according to the SANS Institute.

The Bethesda, Maryland-based computer security think tank revealed last week that default security settings on Internet Explorer permit users to receive viruses and spread them by viewing or previewing malicious e-mail without actually opening an attachment or visiting a malicious Web site.

The security hole is created by a flaw in an Explorer ActiveX control called scriptlet.typelib. While the hole can be closed in minutes using tools available on Microsoft's security site, simply updating antivirus tools isn't an effective solution, according to SANS.

Los Alamos Systems Escape Fire Damage

Fires in the vicinity of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico last week caused no damage to information systems, said Nick Apodaca, the facility's information systems technical master. Even if there had been damage, daily backups would have prevented a loss of data, he said. By Friday afternoon, the fire had retreated to 30 miles from the facility and the lab was back to full staff, Apodaca said.

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