Reports

Draft Senate legislation would increase the use of drones and biometric security at the US border.

Report: GOP Border Wish List includes Drones, DNA & Voice Scans

Enlarge / A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer checks identifications as people cross into the United States from Mexico on September 23, 2016 in San Ysidro, California. (credit: John Moore / Getty Images News)
If a new Senate Republican border security bill is passed as currently drafted, it would dramatically increase the amount of surveillance technologies used against immigrants and, in some cases, American citizens traveling to and from the United States.
The bill, known as the “Building America’s Trust Act,” is authored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). It aims for a “long-term border security and interior enforcement strategy,” according to its summary. However, the senators have yet to formally introduce the text of the bill.
So Ars is going to do it for them: we received an advance copy of the bill’s text from an anonymous source, and we are publishing it here before it has been formally introduced in the Senate. Ars repeatedly contacted the offices of all six senators who are listed as co-sponsors for comment—none made anyone available.
Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments …read more

Update: Five Billion Tests Later: IoT and Industrial Control System Protocols Raise Alarms

Update: Five Billion Tests Later: IoT and Industrial Control System Protocols Raise Alarms

In-brief: Close to five billion “fuzzing” tests conducted during 2016 reveal protocols used by industrial control systems, vehicles and Internet of Things devices to be weaker, on average, with many crashing hundreds of times and revealing vulnerabilities that could be used by malicious actors. (Editor’s note: added comment by Chris Clark. Aug 9 2017 – PFR)

Sea Level Rise, Runaway AI and Grid Hacks: Why We Ignore Warnings about Preventable Catastrophes

Sea Level Rise, Runaway AI and Grid Hacks: Why We Ignore Warnings about Preventable Catastrophes

In-brief: is it ever the case that things happen that “nobody saw coming”? Our guest on this week’s podcast would say “no.” He is Richard Clarke, a former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism for the United States and a veteran of four administrations, from President Ronald Reagan through to President George W. Bush. We talk about modern-day Cassandras: people who are warning about looming catastrophes, mostly in vain. 

Operation Lonely Guy: Iranians Use Cute Girl Profile to Cultivate, Compromise Targets in Middle East

Operation Lonely Guy: Iranians Use Cute Girl Profile to Cultivate, Compromise Targets in Middle East

Hackers working on behalf of the government of Iran are using alluring social media profiles featuring a young, English photographer to entice and then compromise the systems of high value targets in the oil and gas industry, according to a report by Dell Secureworks. In a report released on Thursday, Secureworks’ Counter Threat Unit (CTU) said that it observed an extensive phishing campaign beginning in January and February 2017 that used a polished social media profile of a young, English woman using the name “Mia Ash” to conduct highly targeted spear-phishing and social engineering attacks against employees of Middle Eastern and North Africa firms in industries like telecommunications, government, defense, oil and financial services.  The attacks are the work of an advanced persistent threat group dubbed COBALT GYPSY or “Oil Rig” that has been linked to other sophisticated attacks. The attacks, which spread across platforms including LinkedIn and Facebook, as […]

A story about attempts to hack South Carolina's election systems warrants scrutiny. (Image courtesy of Library of Congress.)

Maybe ignore that South Carolina Election Hacking Story

In-brief: a story claiming more than 100,000 hack attempts on South Carolina’s election systems raises more questions than it answers about efforts to tamper with the U.S.’s voting systems.