NEWS

Morning Security Brief: Secure Smartphones for Spies, U.S. Gun Crime Statistics, Facebook To Fix Cookies, and More

By Carlton Purvis

 

►The U.S. Government already uses secure cell phones, but they can only make top-secret calls by first connecting with a secret switchboard to have the calls encrypted. Troy Lange, the National Security Agency’s mobility mission manger, wants something that better fits the transient lifestyle of NSA agents. For that reason, he’s developing a smarthphone secure enough for spies to use, but user-friendly like iPhones. Lange said to check email, he has to sit at a wired, desktop computer because even laptops don't have access to the secure system. The new phone would need to be useful enough for personnel's mobile needs, but still encrypted enough to protect classified data. "I want to get this into everybody's hands," Lange, was quoted by Mobiledia.

►Should the government have to reveal the details of a device called the Stingray, which mimics a cell phone tower to locate suspects? After a person’s phone connects, Stingrays can locate a phone even when it’s not in use by using signal strength to pinpoint where the phone is. “Stingrays are one of several new technologies used by law enforcement to track people's locations, often without a search warrant. These techniques are driving a constitutional debate about whether the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but which was written before the digital age, is keeping pace with the times," The Wall Street Journal reports. A hacker, Daniel Ringmaiden, who the FBI located using the Stingray, argues location data used by the FBI was done without a warrant and wants the details of how the Stingray works to be revealed so he can use it as part of his defense. Prosecutors say disclosure would make the gear "subject to being defeated or avoided or detected."

►After computer hacker Nik Cubrilovic revealed on his blog that Facebook was still collecting user data using cookies, even after users logged out, Facebook contacted him. Cookies are small files that collect information about a user as they browse the Internet. After a 40-minute conference call, the social networking giant agreed to fix the problem within 24 hours, Cubrilovic told The Australian

►The Guardian’s data team has produced a map of gun crime in the United States by combining data from the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report and the U.S. Census Bureau.

►In other news, attackers launch an assault on an Israel bound oil pipeline in Egypt. The attack was the sixth attack on a pipeline since Mubarak was ousted in February, the Jerusalem Post reports. ♦ $250 million worth of equipment from tanks to office furniture will be left in Iraq when troops pull out over the next two years. “The giveaways include enormous, elaborate military bases and vast amounts of military equipment that will be turned over to the Iraqis, mostly just to save the expense of bringing it home,” The Huffington Post reports. ♦ And the wife of Mexico’s most wanted cartel boss gives birth to twins in a California hospital.

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