Morning Security Brief: Yeman Al-Qaeda Plot Foiled, Fire Ravages Nairobi Airport, Android Malware Surges, Cybersecurity Census

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

►The BBC is reporting that an al-Qaeda plot to destroy oil pipelines and to seize ports has been stopped. “It appears that Yemen was at the centre of a complex and audacious plot which—had it succeeded—would have given al-Qaeda control over a crucial aspect of the country's infrastructure,” says the BBC. “The plot involved blowing up oil pipelines and taking control of certain cities—including two ports in the south, one of which accounts for the bulk of Yemen's oil exports and is where a number of foreign workers are employed.” Currently security is in overdrive in capital, Sanaa, where armored vehicles are roaming the streets, and surrounding important government buildings and foreign diplomatic missions. The United States and Great Britain withdrew their embassy personnel several days ago.

► An enormous fire has ravaged Nairobi, Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport—a major African transportation hub. Incoming flights were diverted to Mombassa and airports in other African nations as responders struggled to extinguish the blaze which is believed to have gutted the international arrivals hall. The New York Times reports, “The blaze sent a plume of black smoke that was visible from the Kenyan capital a few miles away, witnesses said. Reporters from The Associated Press at the scene said stranded passengers stood on sidewalks outside the airport with their luggage in hand.” The cause of the blaze is not yet known.

►Malware continues to run amok on the Internet, says a new, semi-annual assessment of online threats by Fortinet Inc. In particular, the report notes, is a plague of Android malware. In its last assessment, Fortinet said it was tracking 1,000 new Android device malware samples per day; in the new assessment it is up to 1,300. “What's particularly worrisome is that ‘ransomware’—viruses that lock a phone until the user pays for its release by purchasing so-called anti-virus protection—was discovered in June for Android platform,” reports ITWorldCanada. “Typically the user gets suckered by clicking on a link to buy what appears to be a legitimate anti-virus solution. Users can refuse to make the payment and reset or wipe the device, but that means losing all data—unless the user has made a recent backup.”

►A Cyber Security Census has been released by Semper Secure, which surveyed 500 cybersecurity professionals from various industries in the United States and Puerto Rico. The survey reveals that today’s cybersecurity pros are both highly educated and well paid with an average annual salary of $116,000 per year. Almost 20 percent are concentrated in the California, and nearly another 20 percent in the Washington, D.C., greater metropolitan area. The largest numbers work for the government, manufacturing, and defense/aerospace.



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