A surveillance system can be anything from an innocent baby monitor to a more sinister, invasive government spying program. This past week unveiled security news stories from every side of the surveillance spectrum. We’ve highlighted some of our favorites (for better or worse) below.
Neglected Children Rescued Thanks to Home Alarm
If you have an alarm, you can be confident it will protect your children, even if you don’t. A 42-year-old Texas man was indicted on charges of child abandonment. Police came to his home after an alarm running on backup power – his electricity had been cut – went off after midnight on February 2. While inspecting the apparently empty home, they found two children, aged five and seven years. When the man returned, he was arrested for abandonment and drug possession.
Read More at LubbockOnline.com
Adults Caught on Hidden Camera Supplying Alcohol to Underagers
The Today Show set up hidden cameras at a liquor store in New Jersey and hired actors to portray underaged teens soliciting adults to buy them alcohol. The results were surprising: the actors approached several people, and many refused, except for a reasonable percentage of the adult women approached. All of the women appeared to know it was illegal, and usually offered a lecture when delivering the fake underagers their booze.
Read more at Today.com
Amazon Mobile Password Hole Finally Closed
Security threats are high for anyone with a lazy password. This week’s debacle comes from Amazon.com, whose mobile app for the iOS and Android platforms had a loophole that allowed an unlimited number of attempts to guess at users’ passwords without any interruption or check. The typical procedure is to require a CAPTCHA test after 10 entries to prove the attempts aren’t automated. Many sites lock the account after a number of failed password guesses. This loophole allowed hackers to simply grind through attempting to guess users’ passwords; giving it the added risk of hackers uncovering a password for Amazon and then using that to access all the other services for which the user chose the same password. Thankfully, the loophole has been fixed.
Read More at PCWorld.com
The Mobile Phone is the Next Security Battleground
Headlines from across the Internet this week point to an intensifying battle for security – password security, data security, security from spying, and more – on mobile devices, mainly smartphones. From self-destruct phones by Boeing like something out of a spy movie to anti-spying privacy “Snowden Phone” apps to a host of other “black phone” options, there’s a secure phone or app out there, all at various price points, for anyone who’s concerned. And recent revelations about the NSA spying on the average Joe’s phone activity might give you reason to be.
Read More at Kansas.com
Buffalo Police Departments Accused of Illegal Cell Phone Spying
Buffalo news affiliate 2WGRZ “On Your Side” has been keeping tabs on the issue of cell phone snooping. They claim,“local law enforcement are getting your information. Even when you have done nothing wrong.” The exposé covers a number of technologies they’ve identified in the area, including fake cell phone towers that mine all the data running through them. They also published public admissions from the NY State Police, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, that they own cellular telephone tracking equipment. In collaboration with other local news stations, they concluded that countless local and state police departments are spying on phones in the grey area of legality.
Read more at WGRZ.com
Even the FDA Is Getting into the (Illegal) Spying Game
A Congressional investigation into the Food and Drug Administration’s monitoring of its own scientists’ emails has concluded that the actions may constitute a violation of federal laws protecting whistleblowers. The investigation findings claim that the monitoring was part of an effort to retaliate against scientists who publicized their concerns about the safety of medical devices the FDA approved. In other words, government agencies are also ineptly spying on themselves, not just the public.
Read More at The Washington Post
Ellen’s Selfie Technically Belongs to Bradley Cooper
This may only barely be tech security news, and it may seem like an eternity ago, but it’s still interesting for those of you who take photos on your phone. It turns out the selfie that host Ellen Degeneres took as part of a stunt at the Academy Awards actually belongs to Bradley Cooper, one of the celebrities in the shot and the person who actually “took” the photo by clicking the shutter button. So just be careful, because it’s the shooter who owns the copyright to any photo – even one that is staged and jammed full of Hollywood’s A-list.
Read More at DailyMail.co.uk