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Morning Security Brief: 9-11 Remembered, Data Seizures at Border, Bomb Chemical Detection, and More

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

►Today, in the United States, the twelfth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks will be solomnly commemorated. Observances will take place in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. At the former, the names of the victims who died in the Twin Towers, as well as those who died in the 1993 terrorist bombing of the site, will be read aloud. Moments of silence will be held, and President Barak Obama will privately speak to family members of those killed at the Pentagon. And in Shanksville, workers have just broken ground on a new visitor center to properly relate the story of the plane that crashed there when passengers attacked the hijackers.

►The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released documents that purport to show that the United States is aggressively seizing and analyzing the content of the electronic devices of a growing number U.S. citizens at the border in the name of homeland security. The Web site RT reports that "According to US government data, an estimated 4,957 travelers to the US had their electronic devices searched between October 1, 2012 and August 31, 2013, while an additional 4,898 people were subject to similar searches the previous year." The documents also state that sophisticated forensic software is being used to "carry out intrusive searches of personal documents stored on today’s electronic devices," says RT. But Fox News Latino quotes Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Friel as stating, "Any allegations about the use of the...screening process at ports of entry for other purposes by DHS are false.... These checks are essential to enforcing the law, and protecting national security and public safety, always with the shared goals of protecting the American people while respecting civil rights and civil liberties."

►Michigan State University has designed a laser-based system that can detect bomb-making chemicals in extremely small amounts. The university discussed the system in the latest edition of the journal Applied Physics Letters. Professor Marcos Dantus, who led the project, told the Las Vegas Guardian Express that "the pioneering technology actually arose when investigating biomedical imaging techniques. He began to look for additional possible applications, and determined that it was capable of identifying evidence of hazardous chemical substances from a distance of ten meters.... The bomb detecting device operates using a single laser beam, but with two pulses. The first, primary pulse is transmitted to resonate at specific frequencies of explosive chemicals. One of the pulses is described as a 'shadow pulse,' and provides a standard reference point, to which the primary pulse can be compared."

►Infosecurity discusses an Android trojan being spread by botnets "controlled by other criminal groups and created using a different malware--an 'alien distribution scheme that has peaked reseacher interest." And The Chicago Tribune reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is concerned that security is not improving in the region where the Olympics will be held.

 

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