Morning Security Brief: Border Hearing, Drone Crashes, Soccer Cybersecurity, and More

By Mark Tarallo

► U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will hold a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon on border security. Witnesses at the hearing include Ronald Vitiello, deputy chief of border patrol at the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. In recent comments, Goodlatte has said lax immigration enforcement at the southern border has led Central American countries to send children into the United States illegally, according to the Daily Progress newspaper. As an example, Goodlatte pointed to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s recent statement that people from his country are coming to the U.S. illegally to try and gain legal status. Many of those who are crossing the border are given orders to report to court for hearings on their immigration status, but most fail to show up, Goodlatte said. On Friday, the Obama administration said it would send additional attorneys and judges to the border to address the surge of illegal immigrants.

► Most U.S. military drone accidents have occurred abroad, but at least 49 large drones have crashed during test or training flights near domestic military bases since 2001, according to a Washington Post investigation. The number of accidents has jumped as the military has brought back drones from overseas and operated them more frequently in airspace shared with civilian planes. The military has almost tripled the number of hours its drones have flown annually in shared U.S. airspace since 2011, according to federal data. Now, the military and the federal government are preparing for a far bigger expansion of drone flights that will transform U.S. aviation—but could also pose the biggest challenge to safe air travel in decades. Thanks in part to a new federal law that will open the national airspace to drones of all kinds, the Pentagon is planning to operate thousands of drones from at least 110 bases in 39 states, plus Guam and Puerto Rico, by 2017.

► Cybersecurity experts say some sites that claim to offer online streaming of World Cup games may pose risks, according to the Buenos Aires Herald. Scott Montgomery, a vice president at cybersecurity company McAfee, says some hackers try to take advantage of the global interest in the World Cup by registering official-sounding domains for the purpose of stealing credit cards or installing software on unsuspecting consumers’ computers. And Dmitry Bestuzhev, from the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, cited a number of potential threats associated with sites claiming to offer live streams. Some Web sites promise high-quality streams for a cost but don’t deliver, he says. Others ask viewers to install plugins to watch the games but instead install software that can drain computers’ processing powers. Such programs sometimes aren’t outright illegal but exist in a sort of gray area, Bestuzhev said. The type of malicious software his company sees on sites aimed at World Cup viewers is “fairly common” on other shady sites that claim to offer streaming video, he added.

► As radical Sunni militants snatch city after city in their march toward Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Iraq on Monday during the country's tensest time since the U.S. withdrawal of troops in 2011, USA Today reports. Kerry is meeting with Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. On Sunday, the Sunni insurgents continued their unrelenting drive across western Iraq, expanding their access and territory in line with their aim to create an Islamic state spanning Syria and Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) captured the Turaibil border crossing with Jordan and the al-Walid crossing with Syria, witnesses and Iraqi officials confirmed, according to USA Today. The Syrian crossing could be problematic as it will ostensibly allow easier transport of fighters, weaponry and equipment in and out of Syria. ISIS and allies already control the Syrian side of the border crossings.


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