Morning Security Brief: Update on Aborted Navy SEAL Raid, Social Security Fraud, Shutdown's Effects on Cybersecurity, and More

By Holly Gilbert

► A Navy SEAL team aborted an operation in Somalia to capture terror suspect Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir because when they encountered resistance and a firefight ensued, the SEALs saw that a group of children were nearby, reports NBC News. According to intelligence from the Pentagon, the special operations forces, who had identified their target, had engaged in a firefight with militants in a small Somalian beach town when children emerged into the view of their scopes of their weapons, and they decided to withdraw their fire. The suspect, also known as Ikriama, is believed to be “the lead planner of a plot by the al-Queda-linked al-Shabaab militant group targeting Kenya's parliament building and the United Nations office in Nairobi in 2011 and 2012,” according to theAssociated Press

► Rampant fraud has been uncovered in the Social Security Administration's Disability Program, according to the findings of a two-year investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, according to Fox News. The scheme was largely concentrated in an operation by a Kentucky man running a fraudulent “disability claim factory” in a rural claims office, according to the news report. Attorney Eric C. Conn essentially rubber-stamped several disability claims with the help of several doctors, whom he paid “almost $2 million to provide favorable disability opinions for his claimants” over the last six years. The case may be indicative of a larger systemic problem.

► The U.S. government shutdown, which has now lasted over a week, is negatively affecting several aspects of U.S. security, according to experts. The U.S.’s ability to combat cyberthreats is undermined by the stall in government activity, said one anonymous federal chief information security officer to the Federal Times. Several government workers who deal with cyber issues are on unpaid leave. “The longer this goes on, the more the likelihood that the government becomes a target, a target of opportunity,” he said, noting that the smaller issues which could represent a larger threat are not receiving the attention and remediation they deserve.

► October marks the National Cyber Security Alliance’s 10th annual National Cyber Security Awareness month, which is meant to raise awareness among both businesses and individuals about how to stay secure in a world of sophisticated and growing cyberthreats. John Pescatore, director of the SANS Institute, told eWeek in an interview how he’s seen the threat landscape change over the last decade and throughout his 30-year career. "Each year, we try and change some behavior on the user side, and each year attacks are becoming much more targeted and clever," he said, citing the growth of social media as a key factor in the spread of the cyber threat. He also said stronger software development and better allocation of resources toward the root of the cyber problem would go a long way in guarding enterprises and people against cyber threats.


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