Morning Security Brief: Taliban Attacks Kabul Hotel, Wildlife Protection Stripped from Border Areas, Paypal Bounty Program

By Carlton Purvis

►An attack on the Spozhmai Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan by five Taliban gunmen left at least 20 people dead Thursday night. The attackers, armed with automatic weapons and RPGs, stormed the hotel and took 18 hostages who were later freed by Afghan forces. “The Taliban said it launched the attack to target wealthy Afghans and foreigners who used the hotel, about 10 km (6 miles) from the centre of Kabul, for ‘wild parties,’” Reuters reports.

►Wildlife protection groups are angry after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill stripping wildlife protection laws in areas within 160 kilometers from the U.S.-Canada border. “Opponents say the law, championed by Republican lawmakers but deemed unnecessary by the Department of Homeland Security itself, could wreak havoc on sensitive borderlands habitat by allowing U.S. government agencies to build roads and erect fences throughout a vast network of protected areas key to cross-boundary mammal migration and other natural processes,” Randy Boswell of Postmedia News reports.

►PayPal announced Thursday that it will pay researchers who can find vulnerabilities on its Web site. “Our team of dedicated security professionals work vigilantly to keep customer information secure. We recognize the important role that security researchers and our user community play in keeping PayPal and our customers secure,” say its bounty program Web page. Facebook and Google both have similar programs.

►In other news, Andrew Breivik’s lawyers argue that he is sane and should be acquitted for his attack on a camp in Norway left 77 dead, on the grounds of “necessity.” ♦ Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, in a three-hour presentation, outlined a new plan to counter violence in the country. The new plan will be based on prevention, strengthening security forces, modernizing the prison system, providing aid to victims of crimes, and “transforming of the judicial system and the creation of alternative mechanisms to resolve conflicts.” ♦ And LinkedIn is sued for $5 million for its recent data breach.


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