Morning Security Brief: Ferguson to Release Name of Shooter, IOC Bans West African Athletes, and More

By Megan Gates

► Following another night of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, Police Chief Thomas Jackson told ABC News that authorities will meet later this morning and release the name of the officer who shot and killed an unarmed teen. “We’re learning and we’re moving forward,” Jackson said. “This all starts now to heal, to just make things better." Missouri Governor Jay Nixon voiced his support for the decision in an interview alongside Jackson on Good Morning America. Nixon traveled to Ferguson yesterday and placed the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of security of the community under the leadership of Captain Ron Johnson, a Ferguson native, in an effort to strike a new, less confrontational tone between protestors and law enforcement. “This is my community. A lot of people I saw walking in this march are people that I know,” Johnson said, who was highly praised by the protestors and media for demilitarizing the police response to protests last evening, marking the first night of relative calm in the community since the shooting last weekend.

► The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned three athletes from the Ebola-affected region of West Africa from participating in some events at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. Youth athletes from the region “will not be allowed to compete in combat sports or in the swimming pool, as it is impossible to rule out the risk of potential infection,” The New York Times reports, citing a statement made by the IOC and the Nanjing organizing committee. “We regret that due to this issue some young athletes may have suffered twice, both from the anguish caused by the outbreak in their home countries and by not being able to compete in the Youth Olympic Games,” the IOC and organizers said. The Youth Olympics are scheduled to run from August 16 to 28 and approximately 700 athletes will compete in the games.

► An Australian teenager has discovered a security flaw in the Web site of PayPal, a global payments provider, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Joshua Rogers, a 17-year-old from Melbourne, uncovered the flaw that allows “hackers to bypass the payment provider’s two-factor authentication system, which adds an extra layer of optional security via a one-time code sent via SMS to the user, or a number generator card.” Rogers said he published a blog post on August 4 with a link to a video demonstrating the flaw after PayPal ignored his initial e-mail reporting the flaw in June. PayPal said that the situation is “contained” and only impacted “a small number of users,” according to the Herald. This is not the first time Rogers has reported a security flaw as he also uncovered a flaw in an Australian public transport authority’s Web site in December 2013, was awarded $3,000 by Facebook after reporting a security flaw involving Skype, and reported a vulnerability allowing him to steal usernames and passwords from eBay.

► Following an unprecedented three-day interview with former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, WIRED reports that the NSA is developing a cyber defense system that would “instantly and autonomously neutralize foreign cyberattacks against the United States and could be used to launch retaliatory strikes as well.” The program is called MonsterMind and uses algorithms to search through large repositories of metadata and analyze it to determine normal network traffic from malicious traffic. Using this knowledge, the NSA then could “instantly and autonomously identify, and block, a foreign threat,” according to WIRED. While the program doesn’t have the capability yet, Snowden says that MonsterMind could potentially be used to return fire, without human intervention, against attackers. This would be problematic as often foreign adversaries attack using proxies that belong to an unknowing third party, meaning a counterstrike could target an innocent nation or company.


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