Morning Security Brief: Hacktivism, Toulouse Shooter Dies After Fall, Minutemen Groups Disappearing, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►Hacktivists, or hackers who break into corporate or government networks to release damning, embarrassing, or revealing files, accounted for more data breaches than cybercriminals, according to a new survey release by Verizon this week. Fifty-eight percent of data losses were attributed to hacktivism, while no losses were attributed to that cause in previous surveys, the Guardian reported. And these attacks are hard to track because hacktivists don’t follow the logical lines of “who has money and/or valuable information.”

►Mohamed Merah, the Toulouse Shooting suspect, died Thursday morning after jumping from his apartment window, gun in hand, as police stormed his apartment, ending a 32-hour standoff. Police and Merah exchanged fire before he jumped. Merah was the prime suspect in two earlier shootings where a man on a motorcycle pulled up, shot multiple victims, then fled. He was said to be wearing a video camera on his chest during the shootings and targeting specific victims. On Wednesday, police said they wanted to capture him alive.

►The number of Minutemen groups along the border has dropped nearly 50 percent in the past two years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Minutemen movement gained the most traction in the early 2000s, but dropped from a peak of 319 in 2010 to 184 last year. SPLC researcher Heidi Beirich said the decline could be attributed to infighting and co-opting of the movement by the Tea Party and Republican lawmakers, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

►In other news, the Homeland Security Committee will hear testimony Thursday morning from a panel of experts on why the morale at DHS is so low and what can be done to fix it. ♦ Former Michigan governor and federal prosecutor Jennifer Granholm explains why the “Stand Your Ground” defense would not be applicable in the Trayvon Martin case, where a neighborhood watch captain chased down, shot, and killed an unarmed teenager. ♦ An audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that in 507 out of 662 hiring actions, the employment office didn’t have records to show that the required background investigation had been completed. IRS job applicants are required to go through a rigorous backgrounding process that incldues an FBI fingerprint check and check of past tax records. “The audit found that controls are in place for ensuring that applicants are suitable for employment, but that employment operations offices are inconsistent in keeping the records,” the Washington Post reported. ♦ And major online dating sites make an agreement with the California Attorney General on security measures for users.


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