Morning Security Brief: Olympics Security, Middle School Shootings, New TSA Inspections, and Post Data-Breach Mitigation
By Ann Longmore-Etheridge
Russia is readying to unleash the full security effort for the Sochi Olympics. No motive is yet known for for yesterday's Roswell, New Mexico, middle school shootings. The TSA will begin inspecting nearly 5,000 aircraft repair stations in the United States and abroad. Target will run an awareness campaign and offer customers credit monitoring after the massive data theft during the holiday season.
►NPR reports that Russia is less than one month away from implementing the tightest security at any Olympic Games , and that the fear of terrorist attacks is anything but imaginary. Sochi is near the North Caucasus region, the home of Muslim ethnic groups that have regularly come into conflict with Moscow. "In fact," notes NPR, "over the past few years, Islamist militants have staged almost daily attacks in various parts of the region, where the death toll among security forces, insurgents, and civilians numbers in the thousands. The potential dangers of holding the Olympics near a conflict zone was brought home last month, when a pair of suicide bombings in the city of Volgograd left 34 people dead and dozens wounded. Volgograd is on the edge of the North Caucasus, a little more than 400 miles from Sochi." The article describes some of the security measures being taken, including "uniformed Cossacks who have the authority to stop visitors and check their identities," says NPR. In related news, A shootout today in southern Russia's Dagestan region has left three members of the Russian security force and four gunmen dead. CBS News reports that the deaths were the result of special operations sweep to roundup militants before the Sochi Olympic Games. The incident took place in the village of Karlanyurt.
►In Roswell, New Mexico, the motive is still unknown in shootings that occurred Berrendo Middle School. The perpetrator was a 12-year-old boy shot two fellow students the school's gym with a sawed-off 20-gauge shotgun. As of this morning one victim was in critical condition while the other was in serious condition. According to CNN, the shooter may have warned some students not to go to school before the attack. The shooting stopped when a teacher confronted the gunman and convinced him to put down his weapon. The shooter is in custody and an investigation is underway.
►The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin inspecting approximately 4,100 aircraft repair stations in the United States and about 700 abroad. This was mandated by Congress about a decade ago, but has not been undertaken by the TSA yet. Congress then felt that these repair stations could serve as tempting inroads toward terrorist attacks. "While the Federal Aviation Administration is already responsible for keeping tabs on repair stations, its primary responsibility is to ensure the conditions and work quality meet US standards. With the TSA now preparing to inspect shops for security, the FAA will be able to continue authorizing new stations, a process that had been halted previously. Even with the new inspections procedure in place, the TSA won’t be overseeing all repair shops. The new rules apply only to stations operating at or near airports, since the agency found other locations "represent a minimal risk to aviation security. Although the TSA told the AP the new rules permit it to inspect foreign repair stations, it added that no examinations will be performed without the cooperation of that nation’s government," the Associated Press states.
►In the wake of the massive data theft of its customers, Target has promised to spend $5 million on a campaign to "educate the public on the dangers of scams, after the company disclosed that up to 110 million people may have been affected by a data breach at the retailer’s U.S. stores," says PC World. Target will also provide free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for a year to its U.S. customers. "It said it had hired Experian to provide its ProtectMyID credit monitoring and identity theft protection product. Customers have to sign up to receive an activation code... by April 23 and redeem the codes by April 30. Target said it is working with the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance, National Cyber Security Alliance and Council of Better Business Bureaus to advance public education around cybersecurity."