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Morning Security Brief: Immigration Law, Chemical Security, BlackBerry Concerns, ATM Hacked, & Animal Rights Extremism

By Matthew Harwood

 

♦ The most controversial portions of the Arizona's new immigration enforcement law were halted by a federal judge before they could go into effect yesterday. "Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court issued a preliminary injunction against sections of the law, scheduled to take effect on Thursday, that called for police officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws and required immigrants to prove that they were authorized to be in the country or risk state charges," reports The New York Times. "She issued the injunction in response to a legal challenge brought against the law by the Obama administration." Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said she will appeal the injunction today and ask for a speedy review.

♦ The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs yesterday bypassed the issue of mandating inherently safer technologies in high-risk chemical plants and reported out a bill that extends the existing Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards for another three years. The chemical industry applauded the move while the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee criticized his Senate colleagues. “Today, the leadership on the Senate Homeland Security Committee did the country a disservice," Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said in a statement. "Instead of tackling the difficult task of considering comprehensive chemical security legislation, they simply kicked the can down the road until a future date, and in doing so, left major security gaps unaddressed.”

♦ The manufacturer of BlackBerry smartphones continues to feel the heat from foreign governments who believe the phone's encryption makes it difficult for governments to monitor communications. "Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry service may be banned in India unless the Canadian company agrees to resolve security concerns, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the matter," Bloomberg.com reports. "India has told Research In Motion to set up a proxy server in the country to enable security agencies to monitor e-mail traffic, according to three government officials, who declined to be identified as the information is confidential." Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner Inc. in Mumbai, told Bloomberg.com that BlackBerry's strong encryption worries governments concerned about terrorism. “This isn’t the first time a government has had the fear that terrorists could use BlackBerry services for international communication," he said.

♦ A security expert at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas yesterday achieved every hacker's dream: he cracked an ATM machine. "Barnaby Jack, director of security testing at Seattle-based IOActive, hauled two ATMs onto the Black Hat conference stage and demonstrated to a rapt audience the fond daydream of teenage hackers everywhere: pressing a button and having an automated teller machine spew out its cash until a pile of paper lay on the ground," reports CNET.com. "One vulnerability he demonstrated even allows a hacker to connect to the ATM through a telephone modem and, without knowing a password, instantly force it to disgorge its entire supply of cash."

♦ The recent arrest of a Denver man for allegedly torching animal-based businesses shows animal rights extremists continue to thrive and escalate their attacks, according to a private intelligence firm. "The Bond case serves as a reminder that activists with organizations such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) are still very active — indeed, there have been several firebombing attacks by such activists in the United States this year, not only at businesses but also at the homes of animal researchers," reports STRATFOR. "And there have been scores of animal rights-related attacks in other countries, with Mexico being among the most active."

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