NEWS

Morning Security Brief: High-Security Background Checks, Malware and Phishing, and Drone Use in the United States

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

►A four-year-old report identified flaws in background checks performed by private contractors for high-security positions. "Some investigators hired by the companies were not adequately trained or closely supervised, and the background reports they turned over to agencies for hundreds of thousands of prospective employees had missing information that could lead to risky hiring, the inspector general for the Office of Personnel Management said in a 2010 report that got little attention," reports Reuters. In light of the Edward Snowden case, the findings are being cited by lawmakers who want a review of how these background checks are carried out. "As of October 2012, 4.9 million U.S. workers had some sort of federal security clearance. There were 3.9 million background investigations done in fiscal 2012, some by the OPM's Federal Investigative Services unit and others by the three contractors, with oversight by the OPM. It is unclear how many each does," says Reuters.

►Google is adding statistics about malware and phishing attacks to its transparency report. The report "currently documents criminal requests and national security requests from governments worldwide, though it does not include requests from the federal government's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court regarding Google's foreign users," reports the New York Times. "The company said its transparency report would now document how many people see its security warnings each week, where malicious sites were hosted around the world (and by which Internet Service Providers), how long it took for Web masters to clean up their sites, and–somewhat depressingly–how quickly Web sites got reinfected after they were scrubbed of malware." Google has also announced that submissions to its Chrome Web Store will now be checked for malware.

►A report issued by the Institute for Homeland Security Solutions and RTI International claims that a majority of Americans support the use of unmanned aerial vehicles–commonly called drones–for crime fighting and search and rescue inside the United States. The report, titled "Unmanned Aircraft and the Human Element: Public Perceptions and First Responder Concerns," claims that in a survey of 2,000 people, 88 percent favored the use of drones for search and rescue, 67 percent were okay with the use of drones for homeland security missions, 63 percent agreed with using drones for law enforcement and crime fighting.

 

 

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