Federal Cybersecurity Incidents, Hacker Camera Talk, U.S. Media Security, Syria Troop Withdrawal

Federal Cybersecurity Incidents, Hacker Camera Talk, U.S. Media Security, Syria Troop Withdrawal
  • ​​Federal agencies reported 35,277 cybersecurity incidents for their IT systems in FY 2017, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). While agencies have gotten better at preventing and detecting intrusions into their systems, they are still vulnerable to attacks such as "phishing." Moreover, many agencies have not yet fully implemented effective security programs or practices, leaving them vulnerable to future attacks. The GAO recommended that the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget help agencies improve their intrusion detection and prevention capabilities.

  • An Arizona real estate agent was shocked when a voice started broadcasting from his security camera recently, addressing him directly, Vice.com reports.  Andy Gregg was in his backyard when he heard the voice, belonging to someone who claimed to be a white hat hacker from Canada, Gregg told the Arizona Republic. A white hat hacker is a hacker who exposes security vulnerabilities for the greater good, rather than their own benefit. Gregg recorded the conversation that took place; in his video, a voice can be heard over the speaker telling Gregg that he was contacting him in the creepiest way possible to warn him about the security risks of his Internet-connected camera.

  • The United States was ranked one of the deadliest countries for journalists in 2018 for the first time in an annual report from Reporters Without Borders. The United States ranked sixth among the most-lethal countries for journalists behind Afghanistan, Syria, Mexico, Yemen, and India, in that order. Six journalists were killed in the United States this year, The Hill newspaper reports. Four journalists, as well as a sales assistant, were killed in June when a gunman opened fire at the Annapolis, Maryland, offices of the Capital Gazette. Overall, more journalists were killed, abused, and subjected to violence in 2018 than in any other year on record, according to the report, which added that reporters are facing an "unprecedented level of hostility."

  • Planning is underway for a "full" and "rapid" withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, CNN reported Wednesday. The decision would be a reversal from previously stated U.S. policy. On Wednesday morning, President Trump tweeted, "we have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency."  The United States has about 2,000 troops on the ground in the country, where they are primarily training local forces to combat ISIS.