Morning Security Brief: Stuxnet’s Origin Story, Chinatown Buses Shut Down, DOJ Sues Casino for Documentary Practices, and More

By Carlton Purvis

Stuxnet’s origin is no longer a mystery. The U.S. and Israel developed the virus as part of a secret cyberattack campaign on Iran authorized by President Barack Obama during his first months in office. The campaign, named Olympic Games, was supposed to be secret, but a programming error allowed the virus to travel around the world, catching the attention of computer security experts. The U.S. only recently acknowledged developing cyberweapons but has never admitted using them. “There have been reports of one-time attacks against personal computers used by members of Al Qaeda, and of contemplated attacks against the computers that run air defense systems, including during the NATO-led air attack on Libya last year. But Olympic Games was of an entirely different type and sophistication,” the New York Times reports.

►East Coast travelers looking for deals on cheap transportation can say goodbye to the Chinatown bus and similar services, after federal officials ordered 26 companies to stop operating because of safety hazards. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the action will “save lives.” The buses offered trips between East Coat cities for as little as $1 in some instances. “The safety administration, which regulates more than 4,000 bus companies, started investigating the curbside bus industry last June amid what seemed like a wave of crashes en route to or from Chinatown. Inspectors found that many of these companies hired drivers without checking their backgrounds, testing for use of drugs and alcohol, or verifying that they had the proper licenses… Some also failed to monitor the hours drivers were working and to ensure they were getting adequate rest between trips,” the New York Times reports. The 26 companies targeted by investigators were affiliated with a network of operators who ignore federal rules and when cited, would change company names and continue operating.

►The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against a Las Vegas casino for “a pattern or practice of discrimination in the employment eligibility verification and reverification process.” The complaint, which seeks monetary and injunctive relief, was served on the company Tuesday. According to a Justice Department press release: “Tuscany treated non-citizens differently from U.S. citizens during the employment eligibility verification and reverification process by requesting noncitizen employees to provide more or different documents or information than required during the initial employment eligibility verification process, and demanded specific documents during the reverification process. The complaint further alleges that Tuscany subjected lawful permanent residents to unnecessary reverification based on their citizenship status after requesting and entering into the payroll system the expiration date of their Permanent Resident Cards (green cards) for purposes of reverification.”

►In other news, a Chinese security official is arrested on suspicion of spying for the United States. “The case could represent China's worst known breach of state intelligence in two decades,” Reuters reports. ♦ The Weapons of Mass Destruction Intelligence and Information Sharing Act  clears the House of Representatives. The bill establishes guidelines for DHS participation in efforts involving data on weapons of mass destruction-related threats. ♦ And, Seattle has already seen as many shooting deaths in 2012 then it saw in all of 2011. The Los Angeles Times examines the city’s violent spring.


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