► President Vladimir Putin visited Volgograd, the site of two suicide bombings that killed 34 people earlier this week, and vowed to ramp up security across Russia ahead of the Winter Olympic Games. The attacks occurred 425 miles from Sochi, where the Olympics will be held in less than six weeks. The first bombing was on Sunday at Volgograd’s main rail station, and the second followed the next day on a trolley bus. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but experts believe they are the work of a leading rebel in the volatile North Caucasus region who has vowed to disrupt the Olympics. Since the bombings, more than 4,000 police, military, and volunteers have been searching homes, hotels, and transit areas in Volgograd for signs of possible terrorist plans. “We bow our heads to the victims of these brutal attacks,” Putin said in a New Year’s Eve address to the nation. “I am confident that we will forcefully and strenuously continue the fight against terrorists until they are completely annihilated.”
►The U.S. National Security Council has released an updated National Maritime Domain Awareness Plan, which promotes maritime security through better governance. The plan, which combines two 2005 maritime intelligence analyses, encourages understanding of the maritime domain by promoting information sharing between public and private sectors. It also outlines risk management planning that brings awareness to potential risks and opportunities in the maritime domain. “Notably, 90 percent of the world’s commerce moves by sea, making maritime security essential to the global supply chain and international trade,” said a National Security Council spokesperson.
►Popular mobile app Snapchat was hacked and the phone numbers and usernames of 4.6 million users were briefly posted online, according to TechCrunch. The information was posted on SnapchatDB.info, but hackers partially masked the phone numbers. “Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue,” the hackers said in a statement. “It is understandable that tech startups have limited resources, but security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does.” Privacy concerns about Snapchat had been raised previously, and earlier this year, a security consulting firm warned the app’s developers about the very vulnerability that the hackers used to gather user information.