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Morning Security Brief: Fake Interpreter At Mandela Service, Cybersecurity Attack On The Department Of Energy, And More

By Lilly Chapa

 The security of Nelson Mandela’s memorial was called into question after it was revealed that a sign language interpreter who had close access to world leaders including President Obama has a history of violent schizophrenic episodes. Questions were raised by the deaf community after Thamsanqua Jantije was viewed gesticulating gibberish during the service, and some groups accused him of being a fake interpreter, according to NBC. Jantije later admitted he may have suffered a schizophrenic episode while on stage and found himself “in a very dangerous situation.” A spokesman for the National African Congress said he was concerned that Jantije’s medical history had not been taken into account before giving him close access to world leaders. A U.S. Secret Service spokesman said that proper security measures were in place during the event.

The Department of Energy released a report reviewing a July cybersecurity attack that compromised the personal information of thousands of government employees. The department failed to address cybersecurity weaknesses and did not implement accepted standards for protecting its networks, the report stated. “In spite of a number of early warning signs that certain personnel-related information systems were at risk, the department had not taken action necessary to protect the [information],” DOE Inspector General Gregory Friedman said. The most recent attack, which provided access to names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other information, was the third breach since May 2011.
 
The House Homeland Security Committee has introduced a bill (H.R. 3696) that is designed to thwart cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. The bill would strengthen partnerships among the 16 critical infrastructure sectors as well as provide oversight of the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity mission. "Cyber attacks are a top national security and economic threat to the United States," said Michael McCaul (R-TX) who chairs the committee. "We cannot wait for a major stricke before improving our defenses."

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