• Homeland security challenges for the Washington D.C. police, I

    Protecting the U.S. capital on a local level poses unique challenges, but it also offers advantages; the police department must accommodate both traditional local concerns and diverse needs related to the presence of multiple federal government and military organizations; yet, the department also can tap those myriad government agencies for vital resources and information that help it counter or respond to terrorist threats

  • Google turns to NSA for assistance in thwarting Chinese cyberattacks

    Google has developed a reputation as a company that likes to keep its distance from government agencies; the cyberattacks on Google by the Chinese intelligence services has caused Google to reconsider; it is now finalizing a new deal with the NSA to share data – the company’s first formal agreement with the NSA; the spy agency will help Google develop better defenses against Chinese encroachment

  • Cybersecurity bill urges research, task force

    HR 4061 would provide up to $396 million in research grants over the next four years to develop best practices and standards to protect computer networks; the bill also calls for $94 million to go toward scholarships for students who pursue this field of study; the bill would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish a cybersecurity awareness program and implement standards for managing personal information stored on computer system

  • U.S., Canada link up on Olympic security

    The United States and Canada have established a pilot project to enhance security in the waters of Puget Sound and off the Pacific Coast, in which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the U.S. Coast Guard will cross-train, share resources and utilize each others’ vessels

  • Obama offers strategic redefinition, expansion of DHS mission

    In July 2002, nearly a year before DHS was created under former president George W. Bush, a handful of advisers hastily drafted in private a 90-page national homeland security strategy; that document was later criticized for being partially responsible — by overemphasizing terrorism at the expense of natural disasters — for the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina; in October 2007 the Bush administration updated its homeland security strategy; the Obama administration has now revised and expanded Bush’s 2007 changes; the new strategy states that preventing terrorism remains the cornerstone of homeland security, but it expands the definition of homeland security to include other hazards, among them mass cyberattacks, pandemics, natural disasters, illegal trafficking, and transnational crime

  • Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, soccer World Cup take extra security measures

    The organizers of three big sporting events – the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics, and the soccer World Cup – are taking extra security measures to ensure the safety of participants and spectators; The Winter Olympics’ security budget initially projected at $175 million now tops $900 million, and the force for the games will include more than 15,000 people, a surveillance blimp hovering over Vancouver, and more than 900 surveillance cameras monitoring competition venues and crowd-attracting public areas; at the Super Bowl, nearly everyone entering the stadium will be subjected to a pat-down search; exceptions would be a police officer in uniform, a player in uniform, and the president of the United States

  • Obama keeps promise to boost science

    President Obama stressed in his State of the Union address on 27 January that he wanted to freeze “discretionary” government spending for the next three years to rein in the sprawling federal budget deficit – but investment in science not only escapes this freeze: in his 2011 budget proposal, obama is seeking $61.6 billion for research — 5.6 per cent more than this year’s agreed budget

  • MI5: Chinese intelligence blackmails British business people to hand over business secrets

    MI5, the U.K. secret service, warned British companies of a sustained, coordinated, and ruthless Chinese intelligence effort to compromise the security of British firms and steal their intellectual property; MI5 warned: “Chinese intelligence services have also been known to exploit vulnerabilities such as sexual relationships and illegal activities to pressurize individuals to cooperate with them”; MI5 report follows public warnings from senior MI5 officials that China posed “one of the most significant espionage threats” to Britain

  • Yemen bolsters airport security – and adheres to Muslim strictures

    Growing pressure from European countries lead Yemen to bolster its lax airport security measures; among the new measures are whole-body scanners; because of Muslim sensibilities, female security scanners would watch the images of women passengers’ body images, and male security scanners would observe the images of male passengers

  • Scientists: Only nukes can stop planet-threatening asteroids

    A new report by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) says that the United States is not doing enough to protect itself – and the world – from Near Earth Objects (NEOs); the panel says that the only hope humanity has to against the larger asteroids – those bigger than 1 km; if they hit Earth, they would release energies in the hundred-thousand-megaton range – is to use nuclear weapons to try and push them off course

  • U.S. Supreme Court will eventually rule on the legality of whole-body scanning

    In the absence, at least for now, of an overarching U.S. Supreme Court decision, how would U.S. courts react to the privacy concerns surrounding whole-body searches, assuming a legal challenge is initiated against taking pictures of one’s private parts while trying to fly to the United States? An answer may be found on the fact that at least two U.S. circuit courts of appeal have beaten back challenges to airport security measures; in the most recent one, in 2006, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — Justice Samuel Alito’s old stomping grounds — ruled a suspicionless, unwarranted search during airport screening was allowable under the “administrative search doctrine”; the doctrine, elucidated in a 1971 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said that “searches conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme in furtherance of an administrative purpose, rather than as part of a criminal investigation to secure evidence of a crime, may be permissible under the Fourth Amendment though not supported by a showing of probable cause directed to a particular place or person to be searched”

  • First responders want more spectrum for safety network

    A 10-MHz swath of spectrum in the 700 MHz band freed up by last year’s switch to digital TV broadcasting already has been set aside for the nationwide network for first responders; public safety officials, though, said the additional bandwidth is necessary to create a robust, high-speed network capable of handling multiple kinds of data, as well as video and voice traffic

  • Police camera use puts focus on privacy in public

    South Portland, Maine, police is using automated license plate recognition CCTV which targets traffic scofflaws — but it is connected to a centralized databank which helps the policy pick up people who are wanted on warrants and other potential offenders; supporters say new license-plate recognition technology will improve the safety

  • What the Chinese attacks on Google mean for enterprise security

    Chinese government intelligence operatives exploited vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer 6 and higher to launch sustained cyber attacks against 32 Western companies operating in China; the hacking of the Gmail accounts of political dissidents were but a tiny part of the attacks; rather, the attacks were part of a coordinated campaign that targeted the intellectual property of a wide swath of the U.S. industrial base, including Dow Chemical, Symantec, Yahoo!, Northrop Grumman, and Juniper Networks; wide-ranging industrial espionage is a central element in the Chinese government’s effort to hasten the rise of China to a position of global economic hegemony

  • Experts: Chinese attack on Google “one of the most sophisticated hacking attacks to date”

    The cracking techniques used by Chinese government operatives in the assault on Google and 31 other Western companies, used multiple malware components, with highly obfuscated code designed to confound security researchers; this marks out the Chinese attack as one of the most sophisticated hacking attacks to date; why was the search engine giant using the famously vulnerable IE6 remains a mystery