Morning Security Brief: Cybersecurity Improvements, CCTV vulnerability, Human Trafficking and ID Theft Raids

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

►U.S. President Barak Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed on "landmark steps" that will increase cybersecurity. Part of the endeavor will be the immediate creation of a bilateral working group on cybersecurity issues that concern both nations. Meanwhile, in Australia, "scientists are working on quantum mechanics, which is being applied to computing in order to develop the most powerful and impenetrable cyber security method ever conceived," reports Called quantum cryptography, it "will be able to prevent access by detecting hackers and destroying or altering messages as hackers try to obtain them," the site says.

►According to Reuters, "A U.S. security expert says he has identified ways to remotely attack high-end surveillance cameras used by industrial plants, prisons, banks and the military, something that potentially would allow hackers to spy on facilities or gain access to sensitive computer networks." The expert, Craig Heffner, who once worked for the National Security Administration, is now in private security, researching vulnerabilities. Heffner claims that there are weaknesses with "hundreds of thousands" of cameras that could allow them to be accessed by the public Internet. Heffner will be presenting his research at the Black Hat USA 2013 Conference in Las Vegas, July 27 to August 1. Reuter reports, "It's a significant threat,' he said in an interview. 'Somebody could potentially access a camera and view it. Or they could also use it as a pivot point, an initial foothold, to get into the network and start attacking internal systems.'"

►The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has conducted raids on more than a dozen convenience stores in New York and Virginia, making a number of arrests of owners and managers, in an ongoing investigation into human trafficking, identity theft, and money laundering. DHS is investigating another 40 stores--all 7-Eleven franchises--"in one of the largest criminal immigrant employment investigations ever conducted" by the departments, reports the New York Times. The stores are accused of bringing in illegal immigrants, providing them with stolen identities of U.S. citizens, paying them less than the minimum wage or less than they were owed, and forcing them to live in dilapidated housing as virtual serfs in "a modern-day plantation system," said one official.


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