Morning Security Brief: Homeland Security’s Secret Twitter Account, Smart Meter Privacy Issues, Black Friday, and More
DHS has a secret twitter account. Researchers find that smart meters can be used to pick burglary targets. The Mall of America bans teenagers on Black Friday. And more.
►DHS has a secret twitter account it uses to monitor social media . The agency created the private @DHSNOCMMC1 account not to present followers with short timely messages, but to “hunt for dozens of keywords in the social media landscape using relatively simple and widely available tools like TweetDeck,” California Watch reports .
►University of South Carolina researchers found that one type of smart meter, used for utility readings, may present some privacy issues. Assistant Professor Wenyuan Xu and a team were "able to capture data from electricity meters at a distance of up to 300 meters (about 984 feet). The data was in plain text and included the meter ID number; the name and address of the building's owner were not included, but it was possible to figure out that information,” Computer World reports. Xu said data pulled from the meters could be used to calculate power consumption to determine whether a person is home or not. Next generation meters will include encryption, the magazine reported.
►The Mall of America plans to bar unaccompanied teenagers during Black Friday shopping hours. “Normally, the megamall bars unaccompanied teenagers only on Friday and Saturday evenings. But after a chair-throwing melee last Dec. 27, which was captured on smartphones and posted online, the mall is taking steps to prevent any repeat,” reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
►Four men in California have been arrested for planning to bomb government buildings . The men practiced at a shooting range several times and it was at one of those outings where the men expressed their desire to become martyrs to an FBI informant. “Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, introduced two other California men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki ,” The National Post reports. “The two, Ralph Deleon, 23, and Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21, converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad.” The men also recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali.
►In other news, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department says it won’t release drone-related documents . ♦ An explosion that killed two people and destroyed nearby homes in Indiana is now a homicide investigation. Police are looking for a white van that was seen in the area prior to the event. ♦ And John McAfee, a person of interest in the murder of his neighbor, says he has gone into hiding and is offering $25,000 for the arrest and conviction of the killer.