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Terror Alert: Yellow!

Be afraid: The national threat-alert level today is yellow or "elevated," with "significant risk of terrorist attacks," says the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, the alert level has been elevated since December of 2003, when it was raised from orange. During the election season, the Fox News network flashed the terror alert level in their "crawl" as if there was breaking news -- the sort of thing that prompted some liberal wags to ridicule the entire system. Now former DHS secretary Tom Ridge says that the Bush administration was "really aggressive" about raising the threat-alert level during his tenure, even when the agency felt that the intelligence didn't warrant it.
posted by digaman on May 11, 2005 - 24 comments

"Speaks strange language? Check. Ethnic-style dress? Check. Very suspicious".

Terrorists from Antarctica. Two Seaworld penguins flying out of San Diego airport are sent walking through the metal detector. Better safe than sorry. via BoingBoing, via Schneier
posted by matteo on Apr 23, 2005 - 44 comments

US Anti-Espionage Posters

Loose lips sink ships!!!1 (There be images, some quite big here) I suspect a lot of MeFi shares my obsession with propaganda (and propaganda-style) posters, both domestic and foreign, as well as the photoshops that the Something Awful or Fark crowds generate. CoolGov has a link today to the Office of the National National Counterintelligence Executive and their Anti-Espionage poster collection. Some are great, some are almost pure propaganda, and some show how obsessed with secrecy our government has become. That lead me to Google to look for posters on the *.gov and *.mil domains. Check out the posters for "Venemous Snakes of Afghanistan and Pakistan", or what the well dressed airmen is wearing (*note the "Essentials"), posters from the NOAA telling you that "lightning kills", the Code of Ethics for Government Officers and Employees, and this one telling GI's why smoking could kill them.
posted by rzklkng on Apr 18, 2005 - 22 comments

Harvard rejects

"Hacker" discovers backdoor to Harvard Business School admissions decisions.
Harvard rejects all applicants who used the "hack."
posted by trharlan on Mar 8, 2005 - 68 comments

Prox Card Hack

Think your Prox Card system is secure? Guess again. Some Sophomores at Olin College reverse-engineered the prox card system on campus and built their own reader. Rumor has it they have a spoofer (self-contained copier/transmitter) too, but nothing on the site about it.
posted by Brockstar on Mar 5, 2005 - 10 comments

Want to know the hardware behind Echelon?

Want to know the hardware behind Echelon? The other day I posted a book (Chatter) review about NSA. In this follow-up, the equipment used. "Aside from using the system for industrial espionage and bypassing international and national laws to listen in on people, it is also used to listen out for people like Osama bin Laden and assorted terrorists in the hope of preventing attacks."
posted by Postroad on Mar 3, 2005 - 7 comments

A false is false, of course of course

New Firefox build fixes IDN toggle Hear about the IDN debacle yesterday? Last night's build of Firefox fixes it. Download and install over your existing Firefox. The Mozilla tree is fixed too. [instructions inside]
posted by cavalier on Feb 8, 2005 - 38 comments

IDN browser hacks

Heard about the IDN browser hack? Try out this test page which should open your eyes (the hack is blocked in IE, ironically enough). Here's a list of all affected browsers, ways to fix this in mozilla inside.
posted by mathowie on Feb 7, 2005 - 64 comments

Earmarked

Visitors to the US tagged with RFID chips? They already use them on goods and livestock, but soon also foreign visitors will be earmarked. Will it make the US a safer country?
posted by kika on Jan 27, 2005 - 34 comments

Prohibited Items at the Presidential Inauguration

Empty your pockets before attending the Presidential Inauguration. Among items forbidden are pocket tools, explosives, animals -- and in case they forgot to mention something, "any other items at the discretion of the security screeners that may pose a potential safety hazard"
posted by ThePrawn on Jan 16, 2005 - 50 comments

Sign on the X

Testing the limits of credit card receipt signatures. Are there any?
posted by DBAPaul on Jan 14, 2005 - 62 comments

Nothing--you're screwed.

Safe Personal Computing. Bruce Schneier, cited frequently on Metafilter, has a new article on his blog in which he gives home users concrete actions they could take to improve security. As the holidays come and I make the rounds to disinfect and repair all my family's computers, I'll be printing this out and sticking copies to their monitors.
posted by sohcahtoa on Dec 13, 2004 - 73 comments

Barlow's War

Is John Barlow, cofounder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Grateful Dead lyricist, a threat to national security? "On September 15, 2003, I boarded Delta Flight 310, scheduled to depart San Francisco International Airport for JFK at 7:20 that morning. I was still feeling slightly singed from Burning Man and the hour was one I prefer to see from the other side. I was almost back to sleep when, roughly two minutes before pull-back, I was approached by a Delta employee who informed me that there was 'a problem' of some sort and that it would be necessary to get off the aircraft..."
posted by digaman on Dec 10, 2004 - 172 comments

Que pensaient-ils?

French police on Sunday ended their practice of hiding plastic explosives in air passengers' luggage to train bomb-sniffing dogs after one such bag got lost, possibly ending up on a flight out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.
WTF were they thinking? Isn't there a better way to train the dogs without making innocent people unwittingly carry plastique?
posted by Vidiot on Dec 5, 2004 - 34 comments

Who is watching Big Brother?

Who is watching Big Brother? Last week, the Australian Privacy Foundation held its annual Big Brother Awards, with biometric passports winning the prestigious "Orwell" for the most invasive technology (other countries' Big Brother Awards here). Not long before, Privacy International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center released their 7th Annual Survey on the state of privacy in sixty countries, claiming that threats to personal privacy have reached a level that is dangerous to fundamental human rights. Are we edging closer to Room 101?
posted by UbuRoivas on Nov 29, 2004 - 6 comments

Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia

I feel safer already! Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security lowered the terror alert-level for the financial-services sector in the NY/DC area from orange to yellow, which has nothing, repeat nothing, to do with the election. "We don't do politics here at this department," days DHS deputy secretary James Loy. When the alert was jacked up back in August, some felt otherwise.
posted by digaman on Nov 11, 2004 - 16 comments

Robotechs personal robots that protect and hopefully don't kill

I always thought a future filled with robots would be kinda cool, but I find the Robowatch home security robot kinda creepy. It's expensive (50k euros), looks pretty obvious patrolling around, does have a slick futuristic controller, but finding the three stooges is about the best it can do. I suppose this would be like having your own googlebot around the house.
posted by mathowie on Nov 5, 2004 - 5 comments

Google falters? Can't be!

GMail not-so-safe Mail. So apparentley GMail has a major exploit that's been discovered by an Israeli hacker. "Using a hex-encoded XSS link, the victim's cookie file can be stolen by a hacker, who can later use it to identify himself to Gmail as the original owner of an email account, regardless of whether or not the password is subsequently changed." And so the fun with GMail begins..
posted by mrplab on Oct 29, 2004 - 9 comments

crime

Identity theft is epidemic.
posted by semmi on Oct 25, 2004 - 17 comments

We're the most advanced nation on earth! Neat!

Monkey hacks Diebold voting machine. Really.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Sep 23, 2004 - 68 comments

Morning has broken

Cat Stevens on NatSec watchlist. "A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine on Tuesday when it was discovered passenger Yusuf Islam - formerly known as singer Cat Stevens - was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country, federal officials said... Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy identified the passenger as Islam. 'He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds,' Murphy said, and would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday."
posted by mwhybark on Sep 21, 2004 - 79 comments

The pen is mightier than the lock.

Use one of those heavy U-locks to secure your bike? You might want to think again. It seems the barrel style lock mechanisms some of them employ can be opened by a Bic pen [.mov movie].
posted by normy on Sep 14, 2004 - 69 comments

Run away run away!!

In other news... Bush’s security detail gallantly protects President from triple amputee. Meanwhile, a local father expresses his opinion of Bush’s foreign policy results in a more illuminating fashion.
posted by EmoChild on Aug 25, 2004 - 77 comments

Fear itself

Fear Itself: an american journalist wants to put the threat of terrorism into perspective, and elects to ride on a bus line in Jerusalem, the train line through Madrid, and a British Airways flight said to be a bombing target. He comes away with it unscathed but the stories he tells about the history of terror, especially in Israel, is chilling and daily life in some parts of Jerusalem sounds like scenes lifted straight out of Brazil. [via the big K]
posted by mathowie on Aug 22, 2004 - 27 comments

Losing sleep over terrorism?

Quantum Sleeper... If I blow $100,000+ on a bed, Sandra Bullock better be in it.
posted by RavinDave on Aug 19, 2004 - 33 comments

Melek Can Dickerson...took hundreds of pages of top-secret sensitive intelligence documents outside the FBI to unknown recipients.

a letter to Thomas Kean, Chair of the 9/11 Commission from Sibel Edmonds: Unfortunately, I find your report seriously flawed in its failure to address serious intelligence issues that I am aware of, which have been confirmed, and which as a witness to the commission, I made you aware of. Thus, I must assume that other serious issues that I am not aware of were in the same manner omitted from your report. These omissions cast doubt on the validity of your report and therefore on its conclusions and recommendations. Considering what is at stake, our national security, we are entitled to demand answers to unanswered questions, and to ask for clarification of issues that were ignored and/or omitted from the report. A solid letter detailing many disturbing things reported to the Commission, yet not in the report. More on Edmonds here.
posted by amberglow on Aug 2, 2004 - 19 comments

A Mile High Clubbing

Flight crew beat up passenger: Drunken passengers often give air crews trouble, but Russia's leading airline today reported an 'unprecedented' reversal: a passenger was assaulted by intoxicated flight attendants. (via failure)
posted by fizz-ed on Jul 20, 2004 - 11 comments

Orwell would be proud

Eastasia plans attacks on Eurasia "Efforts each of you make to be vigilant – such as reporting suspicious items or activities to authorities – do make a difference. Every citizen using their common sense and eyes and ears can support our national effort to stop the terrorists. Thank you for your continued resolve in the face of the ongoing threat of terrorism. We must continue to work together – to ensure that the freedom we just celebrated continues as the hallmark of this great nation." Are you scared yet?
posted by skechada on Jul 8, 2004 - 57 comments

Intercepting E-Mail

E-mail snooping is legal. A U.S. federal appeals court set an unsettling precedent last week by ruling (PDF) that an e-mail provider did not break the law when he copied and read e-mail messages sent to customers through his server.
posted by homunculus on Jul 7, 2004 - 15 comments

Secret world of US jails

Secret world of US jails The United States government, in conjunction with key allies, is running an 'invisible' network of prisons and detention centres into which thousands of suspects have disappeared without trace since the 'war on terror' began. In the past three years, thousands of alleged militants have been transferred around the world by American, Arab and Far Eastern security services, often in secret operations that by-pass extradition laws. The astonishing traffic has seen many, including British citizens, sent from the West to countries where they can be tortured to extract information. Anything learnt is passed on to the US and, in some cases, reaches British intelligence.
posted by Postroad on Jun 14, 2004 - 34 comments

Is Bremer running scared?

Is Bremer running scared? Chris Neidrich was one of those who died on Sunday when a carefully planned ambush by seven vehicles attacked a Blackwater security convoy headed to Baghdad Airport, killing four and wounding three. Neidrich also guarded Bremer's motorcade.
The day after the attack on Bremer, the following security bulletin was released:
Effective immediately and until further notice, all CPA ground movement to/from Baghdad International Airport is prohibited. Exceptions for mission critical movements may be requested from Force Protection at DSN.
Is the U.S. military incapable of securing 2 1/2 miles of road from the Green Zone to Baghdad Airport, or has a political decision been made to not guard the road, thereby reducing the risk of military casualties. In other words, is Bremer scared, or is Bush?
posted by insomnia_lj on Jun 8, 2004 - 19 comments

free speech gagged--thanks to the Patriot Act

National Security Letters and John Doe --once only issued against suspected terrorists and spies, NSLs now can be used, thanks to the Patriot Act, against all and any of us. John Doe, the currently gagged owner of a small ISP was targeted for the political speech of his customers and is fighting, along with the ACLU and others. More here (and more inside)
posted by amberglow on May 30, 2004 - 20 comments

Trusted Computing

Trusted Computing. Microsoft and friends are proposing some major alterations to the way that computers work, the ostensible goal being to increase security. But others say that the real goals are much more insidious.
posted by bingo on May 22, 2004 - 15 comments

Comments on Bomb Crap

Advanced methods of bomb detection and investigation. New equipment developed to scan cars and people, such as a parking lot device which quickly bathes the car's trunk in invisible neutrons, a procedure that makes materials inside the trunk emit gamma-rays that would indicate the presence of explosives. Also, a bomb disposal robot which take[s] fingerprints before blowing [a] package up.
posted by mcgraw on May 3, 2004 - 17 comments

Biometric airport security

Buying biometrically into big brother? Privium is an IBM-backed pay service at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport that allows passengers to identify themselves by iris recognition and thus speed their way through security checks. This being the privacy-respecting Netherlands, the biometric information is not stored in a central database, but only on a card you carry with you; other countries may not be so enlightened. This could well become a standard form of identification. In the meantime, could the failure to buy this service qualify someone as a security or insurance risk?
posted by liam on Apr 29, 2004 - 6 comments

Biometrics are coming .... or not?

After all the hoopla about increasing security, it seems that the requirement for biometric data to be included in passports of those entering the US from visa waiver countries will need to be extended for two years to allow other countries to catch up with the technology, as it seems most countries are unable to meet the deadline. Some countries have put on hold the new technology, while others seem committed to going ahead with it, despite doubts about the readiness of the technology. Of course, if civil liberties groups get their way, the biometric passports may never see the light of day. Specific religious issues complicate the matter to some extent, also. Given that, if the technology to produce biometric passports is available, will it really be that hard for forged passports to be created? Unless a massive world-wide database containing the biometric details of every person was used for data-matching, it is hard to see how these new measures will really make much difference to anyone apart from the companies selling the technology.
posted by dg on Apr 26, 2004 - 4 comments

Are We Safer Yet?

Air Marshal Forgets Gun in Airport Bathroom
Are we safer yet?
posted by fenriq on Apr 12, 2004 - 24 comments

Playmobil

Start 'em young with Playmobil's Security Check-in. With conveyor belt to screen luggage and a metal detector! (Frames: Item #3172)
posted by azul on Apr 9, 2004 - 7 comments

US to fingerprint 'allied' visitors

I feel safer already! A US requirement for foreign visitors to be fingerprinted and photographed is being expanded to include citizens from America's closest allies, starting September 30th.
posted by johnnydark on Apr 2, 2004 - 22 comments

Dirty Money

"The "Brief Safe" is an innovative new diversion safe that can secure your cash, documents, and other small valuables from inquisitive eyes and thieving hands, both at home and when you're traveling. Items can be hidden right under their noses..." [via Aces]
posted by bluno on Mar 31, 2004 - 10 comments

Kerry Calls on Rice to Testify

Kerry Calls on Rice to Testify "John Kerry said Saturday the White House is committing character assassination with its treatment of former counterterror chief Richard Clarke to avoid responding to questions about national security. Kerry also said Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser, should testify in public before the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. "If Condoleezza Rice can find time to do '60 Minutes' on television before the American people, she ought to find 60 minutes to speak to the commission under oath," Kerry told reporters. "We're talking about the security of our country."...
posted by Postroad on Mar 28, 2004 - 26 comments

No Such Agency...

Interviewing with an Intelligence Agency (or, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Fort Meade) is a really fascinating read of one fellows experience while attempting to pass a security clearance for employment with the National Security Agency. Ironically enough I have to wonder if perhaps you need to be just a little bit crazy to do it. But of course crazy in a NSA/DOD friendly way, as opposed to standing on a table clucking like a chicken...
posted by ehintz on Mar 15, 2004 - 12 comments

Fighting Terror in Primetime?

D.H.S. - The Series. "... a multimillion-dollar episodic series, will explore the inner workings of the Department of Homeland Security, teaming the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and National Security Administration (NSA) together with "first responders" such as local police, fire and safety administrators." The series is being pitched to prospective networks today and has the full support of President Bush and Tom Ridge. "They love it. They think it is fantastic," say the series' producers at Steeple Productions, located in the Seventh-Day Adventist Community of Zillah, Washington. Not familiar with Steeple Productions? Well, perhaps you might find their four-episode "Creation Vs Evolution" series enlightening.
posted by grabbingsand on Feb 27, 2004 - 16 comments

Secret Pentagon report warns climate change

Secret Pentagon report warns climate change "could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy..." The report, ordered by an influential Pentagon advisor but covered up by US defense chiefs for months, warns that it might be too late to prevent future disasters, such as violent storms that may make large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable. Climate change, the report says, "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern..."
posted by tranquileye on Feb 22, 2004 - 89 comments

Microsoft update disables user:password in URLs

With its latest security update Microsoft has disabled the ability to pass username:password pairs in URLs. If you usually use this format for connecting to your site via either FTP or HTTP, it will no longer work after you install this update.
posted by johnnydark on Feb 4, 2004 - 34 comments

ID checks ineffective

How We Are Fighting the War on Terrorism: IDs and the illusion of security IDs and the illusion of security Bruce Schneier at sfgate.com writes about why ID checks are ineffective.
posted by tbc on Feb 3, 2004 - 18 comments

Minneapolis Airport Security Official Threatened Screeners

"If you don't do as I tell you, I'll personally take you out in the woods and shoot you." A top federal security official at the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport angrily threatened to "shoot" baggage screeners and financially ruin their families if they did not do their jobs to his satisfaction, airport employees have told the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general.

All jokes about bombs, guns and killing will be taken seriously?
posted by busbyism on Jan 30, 2004 - 24 comments

SERVE

A security analysis of the Pentagon's experimental Internet voting system, SERVE, says it's too vulnerable to be used. An incident in Canada last year highlights the risks. But the Pentagon is standing behind the system, and seven states have signed on. [Via Black Box Notes.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 27, 2004 - 14 comments

At least it wasn't a nail clipper...

A woman gets a stun gun and a knife past security at LaGuardia and actually alerts authorities after she discovers them in her purse. Anybody feel safer yet? Anybody?
posted by FormlessOne on Jan 26, 2004 - 35 comments

Happy PFD!...?

Anyone in the mood for a celebration!? Today is Personal Firewall Day! Who's bringing drinks?
posted by bhayes82 on Jan 15, 2004 - 38 comments

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