Morning Security Brief: Japan's Nuclear Plant Problems, WikiLeaks Fallout, Malware, and More

By Sherry Harowitz


► CNN reports that radioactive water is no longer gushing into the Pacific Ocean from the turbine building of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power facility. But “United States government engineers sent to help with the crisis in Japan are warning that the troubled nuclear plant there is facing a wide array of fresh threats that could persist indefinitely,” writes the New York Times. "Among the new threats that were cited in the assessment, dated March 26, are the mounting stresses placed on the containment structures as they fill with radioactive cooling water, making them more vulnerable to rupture" in the event of aftershocks, reports the NYT.

Fallout of WikiLeaks release of U.S. State Department cables continues, as “Ecuador on Tuesday demanded the U.S. ambassador leave the country, declaring the envoy "persona non grata" over U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reporting alleged police corruption,” reaching perhaps to the highest levels of government, reports News Daily. “The U.S. ambassador to Mexico resigned last month after a public spat with President Felipe Calderon [that was also] fueled by WikiLeaks reports,” concerning the Mexican government’s failings in the drug war.

► “Symantec detected more than three billion malware attacks from 286 million malware variants last year, according to the 2010 edition of its annual Internet Security Threat Report,” according to ars technical. “Web-based attacks were up 93 percent,” with 49 percent related to porn sites. Identity theft puts hundreds of thousands at risk, says the report, and social networking sites are a huge target.

Darpa announced its new Broad Operational Language Translation, or BOLT, research initiative, reports Wired’s Danger Room. The technology that Darpa hopes to see developed would take translation to a new level. It “would use language as well as visual and tactile inputs so that it can ‘hypothesize and perform automated reasoning in the acquired language.’ Darpa wants $15 million for the project. In addition, “The agency asked Congress to fund its Robotic Automatic Translation of Speech, or RATS, program at $21 billion this year, up from $9 million in 2010,” reports Wired.

►U.S. State Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirms the right of border agents to search computers in U.S.A. v. Howard Wesley Cotterman. The question before the court was “whether the search of a laptop computer that begins at the border and ends two days later in a Government forensic computer laboratory almost 170 miles away can still fall within the border search doctrine.” The court said it did.


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