Morning Security Brief: Search For Nigerian Girls, Iranian Hacker Threat, and Questions for Google

By Lilly Chapa

The United States is furthering its efforts to locate the 200 abducted Nigerian schoolgirls by deploying manned surveillance aircraft and sharing satellite imagery with the Nigerian government, according to the Irish Times. Along with the surveillance efforts, the U.S. has sent military, law enforcement officials, and development experts to Nigeria to help locate the girls. Officials also stated that the U.S. is considering deploying unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to aid in the search. The officials “are digging in on the search and coordinating closely with the Nigerian government as well as international partners and allies,” a State Department spokesperson said. Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan said he believes the girls are still in Nigeria.

According to cybersecurity firm FireEye, Iranian hackers have become increasingly aggressive and sophisticated and have begun engaging in cyber espionage. At the forefront of this trend is the Ajax Security Team, the first Iranian hacking group that uses custom-built malware to launch espionage campaigns, according to Reuters. Ajax has targeted several U.S. defense companies as well as Iranians who are trying to circumvent the country’s internet censorship. “This is a good example of a phenomenon that we are going to increasingly see with hacker groups in Iran,” said FireEye researcher Nart Villeneuve. “If their objective is to attack enemies of the revolution and further the government’s objectives, then engaging in cyber espionage is going to have more impact than Web site defacements.”

A European court has stated that Google must amend some search results containing links to outdated, irrelevant information as requested by "ordinary people," according to The Washington Post. The way that Google and other search engines compile and present links suggests they do have control over individuals’ private data, the court found, and under European law, individuals have a right to control their private data. Therefore, users can request that irrelevant or wrong personal information be removed from search engines. Google argues that forcing it to remove data would be censorship, and it doesn’t control private data but just links to information that is already available online. 


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