Russian Hackers Target Routers, Facebook Discloses CEO Security Budget, Australian Efforts to Legalize Marijuana, and More

Russian Hackers Target Routers, Facebook Discloses CEO Security Budget, Australian Efforts to Legalize Marijuana, and More
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and the U.K. National Cyber Security Center released a joint statement Monday warning that Russian spies are searching for vulnerabilities on millions of routers, including in homes and offices, CNET reports. "We have high confidence Russia has carried out a coordinated campaign to gain access to enterprise, small office/home office routers known as SOHO routers, and residential routers, and the switches and connectors worldwide," National Security Council cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce said in a conference call. Hackers can attack routers and possibly gain entry to user networks. Router owners can protect themselves by updating their devices with proper security patches, but device makers must also fix vulnerabilities in the manufacturing process.

  • Facebook disclosed that CEO Mark Zuckerberg's security and personal travel budget totaled $8.8 million last year, USA Today reports. That number rose from $5.8 million in 2016. "Because of the high visibility of our company, our compensation & governance committee has authorized an "overall security program" for Mr. Zuckerberg to address safety concerns due to specific threats to his safety arising directly as a result of his position as our founder, Chairman, and CEO," wrote the company in its disclosure. COO Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's second in command, had security fees totaling more than $2.6 million last year.

  • The Australian minister for health said the government would oppose a recent plan to legalize recreational cannabis, quelling the hopes of proponents for legalizing marijuana. According to the New York Times, the Greens political party has proposed a government-regulated system "in which a newly created agency would act as a wholesaler, buying marijuana from farmers and selling it to licensed shops… As with alcohol and tobacco, cannabis sales would be taxed. Revenue would go to the federal budget to fund education, treatment and harm-reduction programs." In parts of Australia, possessing small amounts of marijuana has effectively been decriminalized, but "cultivating, selling or transporting marijuana…can incur criminal charges anywhere in the country." The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found in a recent study that one in 10 Australians have used the drug in the last month.

  • The chemical nerve agent that poisoned an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in March was delivered in liquid form, the BBC reports. The U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that while the highest concentration of the nerve agent was found on the doorway of Sergei Skripal's house, eight other sites are thought to be contaminated and are currently being cleaned. "They include ambulance stations and a police car compound," as well as a restaurant and two pubs where the spy and his daughter spent time the day they became ill, according to the article. The U.K. blamed the attack on Moscow, which​ it denies, and has since expelled a number of Russian envoys.

  • In other news, a riot at a prison in South Carolina has left seven prisoners dead and another 17 injured. The French government announced it will use its own encrypted messaging service in place of third-party apps, including WhatsApp and Telegram, over concerns that foreign entities could intercept its messages on those platforms. And U.S. lawmakers say they plan to modernize a 2001 law​ that originally authorized military action for the War on Terror, which would be the first update to U.S. war powers in 16 years.