Doug Bedell — May 22, 2015, 10:54 am

Cyber Security Still in the ‘Dark Ages’

Cyber security trends aren’t encouraging – indeed, RSA President Amit Yoran thinks were still in the digital security dark ages. So much so that he began his RSA keynote last month by “speaking in pitch darkness, ‘stumbling around,’backed by the sound of an ominous, moaning wind.”

Read on through Yoran’s remarks if you want to get a downside view of the current state of cyber security. Then try to keep your own site(s) as protected as possible in your own circumstances.

Doug Bedell — May 20, 2015, 11:13 am

‘Cicada’ Drones, Hard-to-Spot New Security Tools

Just when you thought you were getting used to the idea of drones being used for everything from aerial photography to deliveries (of packages, or something lethal), meet the ‘Cicada’ mini-drone. They can be sent in “swarms” and are awfully difficult to spot or track.

“They are seen by their designers,” says In Homeland Security, “as carrier pigeons…,” or might look even smaller, we would think.

Doug Bedell — May 18, 2015, 10:43 am

Homeland Security Notes: EMS Responders Are Medical Heroes

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is paying rightful tribute to the nation’s emergency medical responders during Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, adding an appropriate personal note:

“We believe strongly in the balance of work and family life,” says Dr. Kathryn Brinsfield, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and DHS Chief Medical Officer, “and encourage all responders to do the same. Take time to spend with families and friends – these moments are important to overall well-being.”

That’s certainly true, but it’s sometimes hard for emergency responders to observe – which is part of why they’re such heroes.

Doug Bedell — May 13, 2015, 2:20 pm

Microsoft, Adobe Issue Software Security Patches

Brian Krebs advises that Microsoft and Adobe have issued “critical” security patches involving Windows, Flash Player, Adobe Air, Adobe Reader and Acrobat. Windows, Kreb says, has “roughly four dozen security vulnerabilities” and Adobe’s Flash Player and Adobe Air have a “slew of critical flaws” while Adobe Reader and Acrobat have a number of “holes”.

If you’re using any of this software, as we read Krebs, these vulnerabilities sound as though they deserve prompt fixes.

Doug Bedell — May 11, 2015, 10:36 am

Traffic Light Cameras Being Upheld in Court

A word to wise drivers: traffic enforcement cameras are likely to be loaded against you. That is, if you try to challenge a violation ticket awarded by a camera, the judge is likely to rule against you.

That’s the view expressed on AmericanCity & County’s Viewpoints blog: The Constitutions’s “substantive due process protection” does not extend to tickets received via traffic enforcement cameras. A U.S. Eastern District Court judge ruled to that effect in a Nassau County, N.Y., case and Viewpoints notes that “courts have consistently resisted attempts to expand the definition of substantive due process.”

So watch those traffic lights with their attendant cameras, all traffic lights in fact. You’re not likely to beat them in court.

Doug Bedell — May 8, 2015, 9:05 am

U.S. Appeals Court Nixes Bulk Collection of Telephone Records

Homeland Security Watch provides a link to the U.S. appellate court decision that Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act “cannot be used as the legal basis for bulk collection of domestic (telephone) calling records.”

The decision, HSW notes, “would seem to put the entire program in legal jeopardy.”

Doug Bedell — May 6, 2015, 12:29 pm

Congress Considering Computer Security Issues

Congress is considering proposals on the disclosure of computer security breaches. Companies would be given the choice of deciding whether a breach might lead to serious identity theft or fraud, says the Clearswift blog.

Expect to hear of debate on the proposals before too long. “If companies believe there is no reasonable chance that a breach will hurt customers, the proposed legislation would allow them to keep it under wraps.” That’s likely to be questioned by consumer groups.

Doug Bedell — May 4, 2015, 11:04 am

FEMA Worries that We’re Not Disaster-Ready

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is concerned that many of us aren’t prepared should a disaster strike. Weather-related emergencies seem to be on the rise, but weather or whatever, it’s a good idea for businesses and households alike to have a disaster plan and to drill on it occasionally.

Are you sure you have an operational home or office generator should the power go off? Do you know how to use it? Preparedness is, indeed, a security issue.

Doug Bedell — April 29, 2015, 4:04 pm

What Do Drones Imply for Security?

Drones are being hailed for possible use in disaster relief. But imagine how they could also be used to frustrate existing, ground-based security systems and devices. In Homeland Security has a post on “Drones: The Future of Disaster Relief?”

Sponsored by such prominent firms as Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., United Parcel Service Inc., IBM Corp., Willis Group Holdings Ltd, Guy Carpenter and Company, the United Services Automobile Association and Zurich North America, the report outlines a host of applications for drone use in disaster relief. But we’re wondering about the security implications of the hovering helpmates.

Doug Bedell — April 28, 2015, 9:44 am

Smartphone Security Standings

Here’s a discussion from Information Week on the security status of various smartphones for use in business environments. We’re not making any recommendations, just passing a fairly informative-looking post along. Final assurances on security in all its aspects take researching in the context of a buyer’s needs.