Morning Security Brief: Hotel Panic Buttons, Drones Spy On European Farmers, Hackers Tap Into Security Cameras, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►Hotels in New York will began issuing panic buttons to housekeepers in the wake of an incident where a hotel maid says she was sexually assaulted by former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The panic buttons were included in a contract proposal presented to New York’s hotel worker’s union. Employers will be required to provide a panic button to any hotel worker entering an occupied guest room, reports the Guardian.

►To save money and keep tabs on farmers, the European Union has turned to aerial drones for surveillance to catch farmers who may be claiming more subsidies than they are entitled to receive. “The new technology currently being trialed involves drones fly overhead and satellites taking images from relays hundred of kilometers above, recording minute details such as individual trees and the placement of animals to record a farm’s activities,” SmartPlanet reports. Taking aerial photos using drones and satellites cost one third less than sending an inspector to the farm according to the UK’s Rural Payments Agency. Seventy percent of EU farming checks are done by satellite, but weather, shadows, and difficulty getting accurate animal counts have in the past been a problem. Drones are being brought in to help supplement that data. “Privacy groups have raised concerns over the use of this technology, however, many farmers have stated that they prefer remote sensorship than the prospect of inspectors on their land,” SmartPlanet reports.

►A flaw in home security cameras made by Trendnet allows hackers to access live video feeds without any credentials. Using Shodan, a search engine for online devices, a hacker was able to locate Trendnet cameras and watch online feeds, even ones that are password protected. “Although users can set up the cameras with a password, the videostream from even a password-protected camera is available to anyone who knows the camera’s net address, which consists of an IP address, and a sequence of 15 digits that are the same for every computer,” Wired reports. Trendnet says it became aware of the problem in January and is working on a fix.

►In other news, the UK’s Association of Chief Police Officers has announced the creation of three new units that will focus solely on online crimes and supplement the Metropolitan Police e-crime units. ♦ UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon condemns the UN's failure to agree a resolution on Syria. And a New York man is killed in a gunfight with security officers after he opened fire in the lobby of a courthouse.


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