Morning Security Brief: NASA Breaches, Tornado Death Toll, Domestic Drone Crash, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►NASA has admitted that last year it was hacked at least 13 times and hackers had full control of its systems, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin, told a Congressional panel on NASA security. Martin says in November it discovered that hackers gained “full functional control” of computers allowing them to copy and delete files, create user accounts, upload hacking tools, steal user credentials, and modify the systems to conceal all of their activity. NASA reported more than 5,400 computer security breaches between 2010 and 2011, the Los Angeles Times reports.

►The clean-up continues as the official death toll from five states hit by tornadoes in the past week was raised to 39 on Monday morning. Over the last 10 days, the Midwest saw 74 tornadoes. Dozens of counties have declared states of emergency. Better forecasting, however, saved many lives, USA Today reports. 

►Houston authorities haven’t said what caused their drone to lose contact with the ground console causing it to crash into one of their own vehicles on Friday during a police-only photo op. But, “It's the exact scenario that was mentioned as a major concern when the Government Accountability Office studied the growing use of police drones in 2008,” the Examiner reported. The GAO study found that 65 percent of drone crashes happened because of mechanical failures. The GAO expressed concern that the same scenario in an urban area could a dangerous problem. “In the UK Police forces have been quietly abandoning their UAS sections,” sUAS news reported in its coverage of the crash. “In urban areas the danger to the general public has to be balanced against the requirement for flight.”

►In other news, Peruvian arrest the leader of the Shining Path rebel movement. ♦ The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association officially released its Electronic Devices Privacy Handbook on Monday. The handbook explains a person’s rights during border searches, how and why Canadian authorities search electronic devices, and how a person can keep their devices safe and secure. ♦ And a man admits to using a cell phone jammer on city buses to get some peace and quiet.


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