NEWS

Morning Security Brief: U.S. Beefs Up Airport Security Abroad, Civilian Casualties from IEDs Increase, And More

By Megan Gates

► The United States is increasing security at airports overseas with nonstop flights to the country, citing concerns that al Qaeda operatives in Syria and Yemen are developing bombs that could be smuggled onto planes. The new “enhanced security measures” will be required at airports in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and will be implemented in the next few days, Reuters reports. “We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry,” said U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in a statement about the beefed up security. He has directed the Transportation Security Administration to implement the measures in the coming days, including additional inspections of passengers’ shoes and property.

► “The number of civilian casualties from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including car bombs and suicide attacks, has increased by 70 percent over the past three years,” The Guardian reports. The increase is based on research by Action on Armed Violence—a London-based research and advocacy group funded by governments, the UN, and human rights organizations—that reported that more than 53,000 civilians were killed by IEDs between 2011 and 2013. Additionally, civilian casualties from suicide bombings went up by more than a third and attacks by car bombs increased by more than 200 percent, with civilians accounting for more than 80 percent of those killed or injured. “This huge increase in the number of innocent victims harmed and killed by IEDs is a terrible concern—not only to those whose lives are transformed in an instant by these pernicious weapons, but to governments who have to bear the costs of the medical and security implications of these attacks,” said Ian Overton, director of policy and investigations for Action on Armed Violence. “The use of suicide and car bombing as a major weapon is spreading and fast. Countries that had not seen their use five years ago are experiencing their horrors now.”

► Security researchers have uncovered what they believe is a “significant cybercrime operation” in Brazil that targeted $3.75 billion in transactions by Brazilians, The New York Times reports. “The thieves preyed on Boleto Bancário, or Boletos, a popular Brazilian payment method that can be issued online and paid through various channels like banks and supermarkets,” the Times said, citing researchers at the RSA Security division of the EMC Corporation. Researchers also said that the ring had been using bolware—a play on Boletos and malware—to intercept legitimate Boletos payments and redirect them to accounts controlled by criminals. However, the Times said that it was unclear what percentage of the $3.75 billion was actually stolen.

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