Skip to content

Afternoon Security Brief: Airport Breaches, Wi-Fi Security, Baggage Screening, and More

07/13/2011 -►Newly released Department of Homeland Security documents show records of thousands of security breaches at U.S. airports since 2001. More than 14,000 breaches came from unauthorized people going from buildings to planes or entering areas without permission,  USAToday reports. Lawmakers are alarmed, but TSA officials say the term breach is broadly defined so not all breaches classified in the documents mean threats to airport security. Some were accidental violations and posed no threat to the public, TSA said. Documents show that 6,000 breaches came from failure to screen passengers.

►A Minnesota man was sentenced to 18 years for his efforts to sabotage and harass his neighbors byhijacking their wireless Internet connection and sending e-mails from their personal accounts. “Barry Ardolf, 46, repeatedly hacked into his next-door neighbors’ Wi-Fi network in 2009, and used it to try and frame them for child pornography, sexual harassment, various kinds of professional misconduct and to send threatening e-mail to politicians,” Wired reports. Ardolf used Wi-Fi hacking software to crack his neighbor’s WEP password and proceeded to mine for personal information and create fake online profiles from the family's e-mail accounts. WEP encryption is typically the weakest form of securing a wireless network. 

►A judge has ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the FBI to produce documents showing opt out information for the Secure Communities program after the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the agencies running Secure Communities to get the information. New York Judge Shira A. Scheindlin said originally Secure Communities was an optional program, but Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Naopolitano said the program would be mandatory by 2013. In her decision, Scheindlin said ICE had gone out of its way to mislead the public and failed to acknowledge a shift in policy after public documents and statements showed there was one, the Washington Independent reports. The National Day Laborer Organizing Network says Secure Communities is part of an FBI operation to accumulate a “massive store of personal biometric information on citizens and non-citizens alike.”

►TSA explosive detection system (EDS) guidelines were revised in 2010, but a number of TSA operations are still using EDS guidelines outlined in 2005, according to a GAOreport released on baggage screening. “The remaining EDSs in the fleet are configured to meet the 1998 requirements because TSA either has not activated the included software or has not installed the needed hardware and software to allow these EDSs to meet the 2005 requirements,” the report states. TSA has faced a number of challenges in fully implementing the 2010 guidelines. They’ve had issues collecting explosives data needed for EDS machines, which led to delays in procurement, for example. Also,“EDS vendors have expressed concerns about the extent to which TSA is communicating with the business community about the current EDS procurement,” the report states. TSA plans to implement the new guidelines in phases. GAO recommends they make a plan and stick to it.

►In other news, AUFO sighting in Europe may have been a UAV. ♦ Criminals on the Southwest border hijacked more than 10,000 commercial trucks last year. ♦ Andriots ragein Northern Ireland.