Review Category : Security News

Cyber Security Now Considered a Serious Issue in California

alg_cyber-attackAs businesses and individuals become increasingly dependent on digital technology, a series of cities in the Inland Valley and San Bernardino County in California have began to take steps that will provide for more efficient social security and personal privacy as computer technology constantly evolves.

“It requires constant vigilance and making sure that you are prepared,” said Elliott Ellsworth, information technology director for the city of Ontario.

Several government agencies have made steps to tackle threats such as viruses and denials of service attacks by installing services such as anti-virus software, firewalls, and application security. Orleans established a department similar to this over a decade ago and now operates with several network security specialists. Many cities including Ontario, Claremont, Pomona and Fontana have information technology or services departments, which often provide technical support and network security.

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Slowed Surveillance Camera Program Faltering in Philadelphia

phillypoliceIn the big city, the cameras have gone dark. The watchful eyes have gone blind, and crime is allowed to roam with the tool of surveillance neutralized. The city of Philadelphia is supposed to have 250 surveillance cameras patrolling the streets and protecting their citizens, but the program has become neglected and gone awry.

In late 2007, Philadelphia government announced its plan to install 250 surveillance cameras by 2008. Unfortunately, it’s now 2009 and only 161 cameras have been installed. Out of these 161, only 98 of these cameras are usable and another 63 are sitting there waiting to be activated. The 63 cameras that are being unused have been covered in black plastic bags.

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MTA Implements New System That Lets You Know Bus Arrival Times

11m34-480The panic rushes through your body as the pressure to make your final decision increases with every passing second.  15 minutes is all you have.  A weird, contrived facial expression envelops your face as you try to do the math.  It’ll take 20 minutes to walk. 15 minutes is the longest possible time you’d have to wait assuming that you JUST missed the bus.  It should take 6 minutes to get there by bus.  But, there is absolutely no way of knowing when the next bus is coming. This is starting to remind you of the physics problem on your final that made you fail for the year.  If one train is X distance from point A and another train going in the opposite direction is X distance traveling Y mph at which point will they fly?  Er. Well, it was something like that.  The confusion is taking over and you need to sit down.  Take a deep breath and calm down because the mayor of NYC has finally heard your cries for mercy and has decided to solve all of your problems.  The answer? Electronic countdown displays.

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GPS Fleet Tracking System Turning Around Town

As the global economy continues to struggle on the long road towards recovery, towns and cities need to be creative in order to spend money wisely. Using existing but untapped technology such as GPS tracking can be an essential way for cities to improve and streamline the services they provide, and one forward-thinking mayor is doing that to improve his city’s public works service.

North Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Charles A. Lombardi is choosing GPS  fleet tracking to monitor the town’s public works vehicles. In late spring, Lombardi began placing tracking units on 14 pickups and dump trucks. The units were installed with the goal of giving workers more motivation to be efficient at work throughout the town and to save fuel and manpower by improving the overall management of fieldwork. The units were installed at a desperate time for North Providence Public Works, during which attrition had forced them to lose employees.

“We knew we could get the job done with less people,” Lombardi said. “This was a way to support that. It’s proven it.”fleets

In late May and early June, Public Works was in a tight spot with only 23 workers after severe layoffs. They were not able to complete all the daily tasks necessary, which typically consisted of picking up debris and repairing roads. Lombardi argued that by bringing in GPS and using a smaller workforce, Public Works could be more efficient in their daily tasks and avoid time-wasters such as crossing town to pick up debris when there was a nearby spot that needed attention.

With GPS technology, Public Works Director Glenn Corrente is able to track the location of every one of his crews over the course of the day. So far, Corrente is satisfied with the effectiveness of the new plan and how it’s changing some of the department’s method’s, including gas used and efficient use of time.

(Via The Providence Journal)

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Cavu iPhone App Lets You View Surveillance Footage Remotely

screenshot-04Imagine that you are vacationing and get a phone call from your neighbor telling you that your alarm just went off, but there is nothing you can do about it. You don’t know what set it off and if it is just a fluke. You find yourself now wide awake, asking yourself why you got the alarm to begin with.

For iPhone users, the solution to this kind of situation lies in an application provided by CAVU Mobile Surveillance Solution. This app allows you to view live footage taken from any security camera on your iPhone, transforming it into a portable advanced home security system. With the CAVU Mobile Surveillance Solution, the next time a neighbor calls to tell you that your alarm has gone off again, you can automatically see what is going on inside your house on our phone- no matter where you are.

This application also lets you save footage on your phone, which is useful in case you need to show/reference the footage on the go. From your phone you can even control the position of the camera – providing you with multi-camera views.

If you’re thinking to yourself right now about how you wish you had been nicer to your neighbor, because then he/she would be more likely to actually call you to tell you that there is a good chance you’re being robbed- stop. This iPhone app also allows for poor neighbor to neighbor relations. It provides a self sufficient, independent of any neighbor, surveillance system on your phone to tell your that there is suspicious action going on.

For a cool $19.99 you can be your own FBI squad team, the C, the, S and the I in CSI Crime Scene Investigation, and most importantly, sure that your home is safe.

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Distracted Driving Just as Bad As Drunk Driving According to Study

texting-while-drivingAdvice given is much easier than advice taken – especially when it comes to texting and driving. In a new AAA survey, approximately 90% of people equate the dangers of drunk driving with the dangers of texting and driving. Unfortunately 21% of respondents admitted to having done what they had just declared as dangerous as drunk driving in the past month.

Another disturbing statistic was that 58% of respondents determined that talking on the phone while driving is a “very serious threat to their safety,” and yet 55% of respondents admitted to talking on the phone while driving in the past month. The discrepancies between the percent of people who think doing something that puts them in grave danger and the percent of people doing those things can be attributed to many things. For one, there is no national law against texting or e-mailing while driving. Second, there is a certain stigma surrounding drunk driving that isn’t present around texting/e-mailing and driving or talking on your cell phone and driving.

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Indian Government Looks to GPS to Fight Terrorists

indian-police-320The U.S. army has been using GPS technology for a while now to help track criminals, recover kidnapped soldiers and provide mapping, but according to Tripathy, an IT expert, the Indian state police department is way behind the times. Tripathy has developed  system to track rebel activities in remote areas using GPS. As a member of a team that provided GPS for the Mumbai Police, he can vouch for the effectiveness of GPS when used to combat terror. GPS is even being used by many Delhi and Mumbai cops, but the technology isn’t as common through out Indian police departments as it should be. Tripathy believes that GPS is especially needed now to help combat the recent insurgence of Maoist Terror.

“A small microchip can be attached to the bodies of police personnel, who are engaged in combing operations. When they get kidnapped by rebels or criminals, it becomes easy to find out where these cops are being taken. So even if they are taken deep into the forest or in some remote areas, they can still be traced with the help of the system,” he said. (Via the Times of India)


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Thieves in Florida are Stealing Surveillance Cameras, and Nothing Else

cagesecuritycamerastolenthiefOften it’s hard to make sense out of some theft crimes, but this latest string of thefts in Lakeland has police puzzled for good reason. In all 13 robberies, the thieves only stole surveillance cameras from the businesses they broke in to. No money or other valuables were taken. As a result, authorities have been left scratching their heads for as to what the motive is behind these thefts. Overall, the cameras in Lakeland, Florida averaged for $300 in value, while the cameras stolen from the local Sheriff’s office ranged in cost from $75 to $700.

One theory is that there might be a market for these security cameras outside of Florida. But we can’t help but wonder if there is a master plan behind all of these thefts, the likes of one you would see on the pages of a comic or novel? Are the criminals of the county planning on staging several grand elaborate heists? We can’t help but wonder… after all, the first step would be for them to eliminate the security cameras. (Via The Ledger)

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Surveillance Camera Hack Lets Thieves Pull An Ocean's 11

With this new technology, anyone can rob casinos and become a multi-millionaire like George Clooney and his team in Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13.

At the most recent DefCon conference, a new hack was demonstrated, that involves hijacking IP video streams and seamlessly replacing them with new content. Basically they showed how Danny (George Clooney) and Rusty (Brad Pitt) were able to replace the video steam in the Bellagio’s vault to show them stealing “money” in Ocean’s 11.  This new hack allows anyone to gain access to an IP video surveillance feed and to see exactly what the camera is seeing.  But the key to this hack is that it not only lets you see whats going on, it lets you replace the footage with whatever you want, fooling the actual security guards into thinking that absolutely nothing is happening when you are in their vault.  Or, as in Ocean’s 11, the crew fools Benedict into thinking that people are stealing his money from his vault when they are really outside waiting for a squad truck to come boceans-elevenring them to their airplane.

Experts at the conference warned that most enterprises don’t have the tools necessary to prevent these attacks. The need for better security has increased as the popularity of IP video streams skyrocketed in the past few years.  For example, Dallas Cowboys Stadium just installed over 3000 of these video cameras.  An official at the conference said that “depending on how the network is configured, an attacker might be able to plug into the Ethernet jack in one of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium’s luxury boxes and conduct an attack.”

Hollywood heists may paint a glamorous picture of what these kinds of hacks can result in, but the reality is that instead of ending up sitting in first class eating caviar, you will be sitting in a grimey, smelly, sticky, and rather unpleasant jail cell waiting for your one phone call.

(via Privacy Digest)

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