Morning Security Brief: License Plate Readers, Hospital Network Security, Drug Detection Dogs, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►So far, the DEA has deployed license plate readers in Arizona, California, Texas, and New Mexico. The readers capture the license plate number, date, time, and location of anyone who passes. Journalists spotted them at an Arizona border checkpoint and a local blogger took photos of one in Pima County, Arizona. “In the past, Arizonans have drawn a line in the sand by expressing their discontent with a similar technology--speed cameras--used for traffic enforcement. Angry drivers reportedly disarmed them with axes and covered the cameras with sticky notes and boxes. Others simply left tickets unpaid, and in one extreme 2009 case, a technician responsible for maintaining the cameras was shot to death,” G.W. Schulz reported. Authorities originally told him that the data is held for two years and shared with federal agencies and local police. Shortly before publication of the story the DEA sent him an e-mail saying due to a “recent policy change” records would only be held for 180 days.

►The most recent issue of Hospitals & Health Networks names the 200 “most wired” hospitals based on a survey of more than 1,500 hospitals. The survey “gauges how organizations are planning for, utilizing and securing information technology across the entire enterprise.” Hospitals & Health Networks found that 93 percent of the most wired hospitals use intrusion detection systems to protect patient privacy. It also found that most wired hospitals were more likely to use specific security measures than other institutions. Eighty-six percent did penetration testing to pinpoint security holes; 93 percent did wireless security assessments.

►Nevada Highway Patrol K-9 troopers and a consultant are suing the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department over the reliability of drugs detection dogs. After a University of California study found that drug sniffing dogs had an 85 percent failure rate and concluded that they were influenced by their handlers, the troopers filed a lawsuit claiming Las Vegas police dogs and their own dogs were “trick ponies” that responded to handler cues--violating citizen’s rights to unlawful search.

►In other news, hackers have found a way to thwart BMW keyless entry and steal cars without tripping alarms or activating immobilizers, using a device to connect to the car’s computers and program a compatible key on the spot. ♦ The NRC and Canadian nuclear officials are investigating how a 55-gallon drum containing yellowcake uranium became so pressurized that the lid exploded off, exposing three workers to a cloud of the powder. ♦ And the FBI has warned that economic data from the Department of Labor could be leaked, according to a new report. “The report highlighted concerns that financial institutions had in effect gained access to the Labor Department's press room to get an early glimpse of economic reports,” which could give bonds traders an edge with the early information, Reuters reports. Starting in July, the Labor Department is putting restrictions on reporters aimed at preventing leaks of embargoed information.




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