Morning Security Brief: Suicide Bombers Hit Moscow Subway, Swiss Casino Heist, Massive Student Loan Data Theft, & "Smart" Meters

By Matthew Harwood


♦ Two Female suicide bombers detonated two bombs packed with bolts and iron rods inside the Moscow subway system during the morning rush, murdering at least 38 people and wounding more than a 100, reports The Moscow Times. The bombings were the suspected work of Islamic insurgents in the North Caucasus, where the Kremlin continues to fight an insurgency that may have taken the battle to the heart of Russia. "The first attack occurred as commuters were exiting a packed train at a station near the headquarters of the F.S.B., the successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B.," The New York Times reports. "Officials said they suspected that the attack there was intended as a message to the security services, which have helped lead the crackdown on Islamic extremism in Chechnya and other parts of the Caucasus region in southern Russia."The Moscow metro system is one of the world's busiest, carrying about 7 million passengers on an average workday, and is a key element in running the sprawling and traffic-choked city," the Russian paper reports.

♦ Ten French-speaking bank robbers broke into a Swiss casino and stole $940,000 worth of Swiss Francs on Sunday during a pre-dawn raid. "The gangsters fired at the chandeliers to persuade staff and gamblers to lie down on the marble tiles, cleaned out the cash registers on the basement and on another floor, but could not break the safe which, after the weekend, would have been full of cash," reports the Times (of London). The robbers moved methodically and quickly to steal as much loot as possible, reports Business Week.

♦ Last week's theft of student loan data from 3.3 million people may be the biggest heist of such data in history, reports The Wall Street Journal. The theft, however, came the old fashioned way: a media device filled with the data was simply stolen. "Names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal data on borrowers were stolen from the St. Paul, Minn., headquarters of Educational Credit Management Corp., a nonprofit guarantor of federal student loans, during the weekend of March 20-21," reports the Journal.

♦ New "smart" meters designed to deliver electricity more efficiently are also very vulnerable to tampering, reports The Associated Press. The vulnerability allows for an increasing amount of danger dependent on the attacker's goals. At the minimum, an attacker could simply bloat a person's electricity bill. At the worst, a hacker could remotely turn off and on someone's power. "The attacks could be pulled off by stealing meters — which can be situated outside of a home —and reprogramming them," reports the AP. "Or an attacker could sit near a home or business and wirelessly hack the meter from a laptop, according to Joshua Wright, a senior security analyst with InGuardians Inc."


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