Morning Security Brief: License Plate Scanners, Smartphone Risk Picture, Firearm Requests Up, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►Police in Tennessee are embracing license plate scanning technology. It's led them directly to vehicles used in crimes and in their first year of use, Memphis police wrote almost twice as many citations for revoked and suspended licenses. It was also used to find a suspect in the murder of a university professor. A computer inside the car checks nearby plates against databases for wanted suspects, stolen vehicles, tax dodgers, and sex offenders. Now police across the state are looking to expand their use of the technology. “Police see far more potential in a related map database that catches all of the scanned license plates in Gallatin, Hendersonville, and Sumner County, even those that didn’t match the criminal lists. With that map, a detective can type in a license plate number seen at a crime scene — or even just a partial tag — and search for places where it has been spotted by cameras,” the Tennessean reports. Police are also interested in stationary cameras that alert law enforcement when a wanted vehicle enters and area.

►The new generation of smartphone is more resistant to certain cyberattacks, but their use involves acceptance of other risks like attacks via cellular network or data breaches from lost of stolen devices, says a new NSA fact sheet.

►Gun shops say they’re having a hard time meeting the demand for firearms in 2012. “Precise figures on firearms sales don't exist. But based on the number of calls made to the FBI and Wisconsin Department of Justice for background checks related to firearms purchases, more guns are being sold this year than ever,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. In Wisconsin, a dramatic spike in requests to buy handguns followed the signing of a law that allowed concealed carry. One shop owner said his business has increased 20 to 30 percent in the last year.

►In other news, a group of Ohio University students have created software that allows first responders to see buildings in 3D to develop a plan of attack. ♦ The Washington D.C. school system is required by law to have mandatory drug and alcohol screening for employees in positions dealing with children, but investigators found little evidence that any kind of testing program exists. ♦ And Bit9 launches a video series to provide a way to easily digest complex information about cybersecurity. All videos are available from the Bit9 Web site.




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