Morning Security Brief: Siemen's Software Flaws, Hacking the Mars Rover, the Color Khaki, and More

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

►Reuters reports that "The U.S. government is looking into claims by a cyber-security researcher that flaws in software for specialized networking equipment from Siemens could enable hackers to attack power plants and other critical systems. Justin W. Clarke, an expert in securing industrial control systems, disclosed at a conference in Los Angeles on Friday that he had figured out a way to spy on traffic moving through networking equipment manufactured by Siemens' RuggedCom division." The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has asked for confirmation of the vulnerability in the software used by RuggedCom products.

►Security experts are largely untroubled by the possibility that hackers could disrupt communication with Mars rover Curiosity, reports CSO. The same experts appear to believe that a purported hacker message from earlier in August calling for the help of his or her comrades with the hacking project may either not be what it seems or may be, in the parlance of the Internet, "for lulz."

CSO writes, "What kind of damage or mischief could such a hack cause? [James Arlen, a senior consultant with Taos], said he doubts it would destroy or seriously damage the rover, although 'the bad guys don't care what they wreck.' What's more likely: 'They're just looking to goof things up, preferably in a way that embarrasses the U.S. government.'

►In preparation for the Republican National Convention, Tampa officials have spent "more than $500,000 to outfit the roughly 1,000 officers from Tampa, and up to 3,000 additional police coming to help from other parts of the state, in identical khaki uniforms that will prominently display their names and agencies," says USA Today. According to Tampa officials, the khaki uniforms make people feel less anxious and intimidated. Protesters, however, see it and other law enforcement expenditures before the convention as a sign of increased militarization, and are speaking out against it.

"E-crime is the biggest emerging threat to the retail sector as the rapid growth in e-commerce sees new ways of shopping being accompanied by new types of crime, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)," reports info4 Security. "In its first ever e-crime study...the BRC estimates that the total cost to retailers in 2011-2012 was at least £205.4 million," representing 0.75 percent of the £28 billion of online retail sales in 2011.


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