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Morning Security Brief: World Cup Hacking Concerns, Undocumented Child Immigrants, Biosurveillance, And More

By Lilly Chapa
As the World Cup opens today in Brazil, hackers have made clear that they intend to continue carrying out attacks against dozens of Web sites related to the event. Members of the Anonymous hacking group openly claimed to have used Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on sites belonging to the Brazilin government and partners and sponsors of the World Cup. The attacks address the human rights and corruption concerns surrounding the month-long soccer tournament. “Companies and institutions that work with a government that denies the basic rights of its people in order to promote a private, exclusive, and corrupt sports event will be targeted,” an Anonymous hacker told Reuters. The threats are the latest problems Brazil’s cyber infrastructure are facing—experts have recently warned that the country is not prepared to handle cyberattacks during the event.
 
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is forming an interagency group to address the “humanitarian crisis” of the thousands of unaccompanied children entering the U.S. illegally, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Tuesday. Multiple government agencies will work together to make sure that minors caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone will be cared for while in DHS custody. A wave of more than 47,000 unaccompanied children have entered the U.S. over the past eight months.
 
A hearing before the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications addressed the recent cancellation of an iteration of the national biosurveillance program. The BioWatch program is designed to detect anthrax, smallpox, and other potential biological agents in metropolitan areas, and a next generation technology (Gen-3) was being developed to boost the program. However, a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that the Gen-3 acquisition did not follow protocol, and the agency recommended that DHS revisit the acquisition before moving forward. Following the reevaluation, DHS cancelled the Gen-3 acquisition in April 2014, bringing the entire BioWatch program into question. GAO officials addressed the DHS subcommittee Tuesday on redefining research and development protocols for the program and whether the current BioWatch program can effectively detect a biological attack. Read the full report and testimony here.
 
The popular social media management tool TweetDeck scrambled to address a vulnerability in the site after hackers exploited it, according to NPR. The attackers were able to access users’ Twitter accounts to post gibberish messages, change the font of TweetDeck itself to Comic Sans, and perpetually retweet messages. TweetDeck temporarily took down its service to assess the issue, and has since restored full use of the tool.

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