Morning Security Brief: AT&T Data Breach, Drug Interdiction, Mobile Security, and More

By Holly Gilbert Stowell

► A security breach that hit AT&T in April was due to the actions of three employees and a service provider who accessed the personal information of account holders without permission, reports Government Security News. The breach led to the compromise of information including Social Security numbers and call records, but AT&T has not disclosed the number of affected users. The article says the stolen data may have “been accessed to unlock phones to sell on second-hand markets. The attackers hacked the AT&T database to get unlock codes in order to disconnect stolen phones from the network and reconnect to other mobile networks.” While the telecommunications company discovered the breach on May 19, AT&T’s letters to customers were just received this week. The company hasfiled notice with the California Attorney General's Office in compliance with the state’s data breach notification law.

► The U.S. Coast Guard “did not meet its performance targets” for providing drug interdiction resources along a vital transit area known for narcotics trafficking, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released yesterday. The transit zone in the report is considered the area from “South America through the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean.” While the Coast Guard provided resources such as aircraft, vessels, and law enforcement detachments, the number of hours and days those entities were actually providing service in the transit zone vary widely between fiscal years 2009-2013. Citing one example, the report states that only in 2013 did the Coast Guard meet its target for one of its “primary drug interdiction performance measures,” which was the removal rate of cocaine from “noncommercial vessels” in the transit zone. According to the report, “Coast Guard officials cited the declining readiness of its aging vessels, delays in the delivery of replacement vessels, and sequestration as factors affecting Coast Guard resource deployments and the ability to meet its drug interdiction mission performance targets.”

► Mobile Work Exchange has released a report showing that security is a top concern among federal agencies when it comes to their investment in mobile resources and facilitating employee telework. According to the Mobility Progress Report, released yesterday, companies plan to focus on security and management of devices, with 35 percent stating they’ll make a bigger investment in encryption over the next two years. Security training was the number two program agencies said had been most helpful for employees, and was also the number three area where organizations said they could improve. Security was the number one roadblock (47 percent) agencies reported that stood between their agneices and increased mobility. The Mobile Work Exchange, a public-private partnership which focuses on the value of mobility for federal workers, interviewed 154 Federal IT mobility and telework executives for the study.

► In other news, a deadly tornado ravaged a town in northeast Nebraska yesterday, killing a toddler and injuring 16.  ⇒ Walmart plans to triple its spending on food safety in China after a product mislabeling incident, increasing its budget from $16 million to $48.2 million, reports the Washington Post.  ⇒ And Mother Jones reports on the cost of putting out an increasing number of wildfires across the United States. 


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