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Morning Security Brief: Stratfor E-mails Leaked, Mobile Emergency Alerts, Anti-Drug Grants Used to Surveil Muslims, and More

By Carlton Purvis

►Wikileaks began publishing e-mails obtained from the intelligence firm Stratfor over the weekend. Last December Anonymous hacked the firm and published its customer data online. The group also claimed it downloaded e-mails from employees. Wikileaks began publishing the e-mails Sunday night. “They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations…The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods,” Wikileaks says. A statement released by Stratfor confirms the leak, calling it "a deplorable ...breach of privacy" and saying that some of the e-mails are "forged or altered to include inaccuracies." Stratfor has announced that it will be temporarily be offering all of its content for free so users can go directly to the Web site for information for fear that hackers will use leaked e-mail address to send subscribers malicious links.

►The national public alert system being established to distribute emergency notices by text message to cell phones will go live in April, Government Computer News reports. Participating commercial mobile service providers will use the system to transmit alerts to subscribers. Subscribers would receive three classes of messages — presidential alerts; imminent threats, such as tornadoes or other extreme conditions; and Amber alerts for missing children — on enabled handsets.

►Many of the operational assets used by the NYPD to conduct surveillance on Muslim citizens at mosques and social events were purchased with a grant provided to the department intended for use in fighting drug trafficking, the Associated Press reports. Money from the grant paid for the cars officers used to watch Muslim neighborhoods and the computers where the information they collected was stored. It’s not clear how much of the grant money was used, but the AP confirmed through police documents and interviews with officials how some was being used for Muslim surveillance. 

►In other news, Russian and Ukrainian authorities say they have foiled a plot to assassinate Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin. ♦ Researchers express concerns over the increased use of GPS jammers and spoofers, saying they can disrupt cell phone tower operations and cause problems for air traffic controllers. ♦And scientists clash over the virulence of H5N1.

 

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