Morning Security Brief: SIM Card Security Flaw, Faster Airport Screening, EU Blacklists Hezbollah, and More

By Teresa Anderson


The New York Times is reporting that a flaw in the encryption technology used in many SIM cards could make cell phones vulnerable. The information comes from Karsten Nohl, founder of Security Research Labs in Berlin, who says that the encryption flaw allows hackers to obtain a SIM card’s digital key—a 56-digit number that allows modifications to be made to the card. Nohl said he exploited the flaw in about two minutes using a PC. According to the article, “he says that as many as 750 million phones may be vulnerable to attacks.”

► The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that it is expanded its expedited airport screening program, PreCheck, by asking program members to pay $85 for a voluntary background check. The fee would cover five years of expedited screenings at 40 U.S. airports. According to an article in USA Today, “enrollment centers are initially scheduled to open in the fall at Washington’s Dulles and Indianapolis airports, but the program is expected to expand at numerous locations nationwide.”

► At a meeting today in Brussels, representatives of the European Union (EU) placed Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations. According to The Guardian, the United Kingdom was in favor of placing Hezbollah on the list, alleging that the group was responsible for a bus bombing in Bulgaria last year. Previously, notes the article, the EU had resisted putting Hezbollah on the list for fear that the move could cause instability in Lebanon, increasing tensions in the Middle East.

► Also in the news: Black and Latino law enforcement groups held rallies yesterday to protest the possible appointment of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to the post of Secretary of Homeland Security. ♦ Authorities in Uganda have announced the arrest of a hacker who allegedly spearheaded recent thefts of banks and ATMs. ♦ The Chester County (South Carolina) School District has announced plans to beef up school security after undercover police officers were able to wander freely in 12 of the district’s 13 schools. 



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