Summary of “A Security Company Cashed In on America’s Wars-And Then Disappeared”

As Thapa lay in a hospital bed, his son-in-law, who speaks English, emailed the guard’s employers, a well-established company called Sabre International Security, with urgent questions: How would the critical surgery Thapa needed be paid for? What would happen to him afterward, given that he clearly wouldn’t be able to work for a long time? Apart from one brush-off email, no one responded.
New companies sprang up to profit from the opportunity, among them Sabre International Security.
One former Sabre employee told The Bureau that this new company was effectively Sabre under a different name.
Elisha, who spent weeks on the ground, concluded in a court statement that Sabre had been banned from operating in Iraq and that company assets had indeed been transferred to Near East Security Services.
The contract terms, a 2013 copy of which has been seen by The Bureau, required Sabre to hire guards from Nepal and India, giving the company around $5,000 a month for each one.
A spokesperson for the Canadian minister of foreign affairs said that he could not publicly discuss details relating to the Sabre contract “Given the nature of security contracts,” and that he was unable to comment on details of operational security.
In the message, which was obtained by lawyers working on the Nepalis’ case, Sabre said that the $300,000 figure was based on a mistaken interpretation of an old document, and argued that $30,000 was “More than the majority of policies from Private Security Companies.” To the question of why employees were not informed that their coverage had been drastically cut, the company said: “Personnel are not required to be advised.”
Sabre’s defense was to argue that although a company registered in the British Virgin Islands called Sabre had hired Harty, his employer in Iraq was a different entity, also called Sabre, and that company had to be sued in Iraq.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is Your Holiday Gift Spying On You? A Guide Rates The Security Of Smart Devices”

Is Your Holiday Gift Spying On You? A Guide Rates The Security Of Smart Devices Before you start making that wish list, you might want to check another list: The Mozilla Foundation made a “Privacy Not Included” guide to help shoppers be more proactive against security threats.
Americans are expected to spend $3.8 billion on Amazon’s Echo Dot, Google’s Home and other smart home devices this holiday season.
The Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit behind the Firefox search browser, is encouraging consumers to consider security and privacy in their purchases as much as performance or price.
Mozilla just rolled out its second annual “Privacy Not Included” guide, which now includes reviews for 70 Internet-connected devices.
“Mozilla developed this gift guide to help people make informed decisions about privacy and security this holiday season,” Mozilla’s vice president of advocacy, Ashley Boyd, tells NPR’s Scott Simon.
From baby monitors to drones, the guide invites consumers to score products on a privacy scale that slides from “Not Creepy!” to “Super Creepy!”.
Some 55 percent of consumers surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers this year consider the Internet of Things and AI devices, including smart homes, a threat to their personal privacy.
The FREDI Baby Monitor, for one, doesn’t fit Mozilla’s security bill.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Make Android as Secure as Possible”

Most of us live on our phones, with financial information, calendar appointments, family photos, and more stored on our devices.
A secure Android phone starts with a secure Google account, because that’s where all your synced data is stored-and the more Google services you use, the more crucial this step is.
Don’t forget to add your fingerprint if your phone has a scanner, too-here are a few tips to make it as accurate as possible.
Make Sure Find My Phone is On. Losing your phone is a gut-wrenching feeling, so you also want to make sure you have a way to track it and, worse case scenario, remotely reset your phone if there’s no chance of getting it back.
Google has a tracking system in place for Android phones.
It’s called Find My Phone, and it should be enabled by default on all modern Android phones.
If you ever lose your phone or it gets stolen, you can fire up the closest web browser and search Google for “Find My Phone” and remotely locate your lost device.
Keeping your phone secure isn’t difficult-take a few minutes to check and enable a few settings, and you’ll always have the peace of mind that your phone is as secure as it can be should it ever get lost or stolen.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A solar observatory in New Mexico is evacuated for a week and the FBI is investigating. No one will say why.”

At a small solar observatory tucked away in the woods of a national forest here, scientists and other personnel were commanded last week to leave at once.
A week later, the facility remains vacant, and no one is willing to say why.
A spokeswoman for the nonprofit group that runs the facility said the organization was ad­dressing a “Security issue,” but offered no additional information, other than, “I can tell you it definitely wasn’t aliens.” She said Friday that the facility “Will remain closed until further notice.” Neither the FBI – which was spotted on the premises around the time of the evacuation – nor those who worked at the facility would tell local law enforcement what had happened, said Otero County Sheriff Benny House.
Unlike some of New Mexico’s other research facilities, the solar observatory in Sunspot is not usually shrouded in such secrecy.
The facility – in the Lincoln National Forest in the southern part of the state – is open to the public, and the scientists who work there offer guided tours of the site, said James McAteer, a professor at New Mexico State University and director of the Sunspot Solar Observatory consortium.
The Sunspot observatory sits at more than 9,000 feet and is part of a larger astronomy research facility on the site.
The property manager also went into the post office on the facility and asked the woman working there to leave but gave no indication why that was necessary, said Rod Spurgeon, a Postal Service spokesman.
As of Friday, the observatory was still shuttered, although Mc­Ateer said the researchers were ready to return “As soon as possible.” The observatory even seemed to embrace the interest in the mysterious evacuation, writing on its website, “With the excitement this closure has generated, we hope you will come and visit us when we do reopen, and see for yourself the services we provide for science and public outreach in heliophysics.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Wi-Fi Gets More Secure: Everything You Need to Know About WPA3”

The Enhanced Open and Easy Connect protocols are not dependent on WPA3, but they do improve security for specific types of networks and certain situations.
The most important moment in any network’s defense is when a new device or user tries to connect.
Simultaneous Authentication of Equals is a new method of authenticating a device trying to connect to a network.
A variation of the so-called dragonfly handshake that uses cryptography to prevent an eavesdropper guessing a password, SAE dictates exactly how a new device, or user, should “Greet” a network router when they exchange cryptographic keys.
Rather than enter passwords every time you want to add something to your network, devices will have unique QR codes-each device’s code will function as a sort of public key.
To add a device, you scan the code using a smartphone already connected to the network.
Open networks-that is, the networks you connect to in coffee shops and airports-come with a whole suite of problems that you typically don’t have to worry about when you connect to a home or work network.
With tons of people connecting to the network, an attacker can gain quite a lot of data by sitting back and sifting through the data that goes in and out.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Littleton Learned”

It’s 8:27 a.m. on a sunny Thursday morning in April, and Grace, the director of Security and Emergency Preparedness at Littleton Public Schools outside Denver, Colorado, is standing in the lobby of Goddard Middle School.
Beside him are Derek, an armed school resource officer, and a handful of school administrators.
Grace’s district had its own tragic shoot- ing in 2013, when two students died at Arapahoe High School.
At the click of a button, Grace and his team can bring up interactive floor plans of any school and see which doors are open or locked, or connect into live video and audio from any remote corner of school property.
Littleton Public School District has 22 schools spanning 28 square miles.
Littleton’s technology lets director of security Guy Grace and his team know what’s happening at any school, instantly, and communicate to administrators and first responders.
The exterior doors at elementary and middle schools in Littleton are always locked.
Like many secure schools in the U.S., Littleton has a backstory.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Here’s How the Social Security Retirement Benefit Formula Works”

Social Security is the largest retirement program in the United States, but far too many people don’t understand how their retirement benefit is determined.
Knowing how Social Security benefits are calculated can help you make smart decisions when it comes to claiming your own benefit, and can help you estimate your eventual retirement income for planning purposes.
With that in mind, here’s a quick guide to how the Social Security Administration, or SSA, determines the size of your monthly retirement benefit checks.
The first step in the Social Security formula is determining your average indexed monthly earnings, or AIME. To calculate your AIME, the SSA takes each year of earnings throughout your working lifetime, up to the Social Security taxable maximum.
Calculating your PIA. Your average indexed monthly earnings are then used to determine your basic Social Security retirement benefit, which is officially referred to as your primary insurance amount, or PIA. This is the number that, along with your age at the time you apply, determines your initial Social Security benefit.
The other major consideration is if I’m claiming Social Security retirement benefits earlier or later than my full retirement age.
If you decide to claim Social Security before reaching your full retirement age, the benefit amount calculated by the previous steps will be reduced at a rate of 0.56% per month for as many as 36 months before reaching full retirement age, and at a rate of 0.42% per month beyond 36 months early, until as early as age 62.
On the other hand, if you wait until after full retirement age, your retirement benefit will be permanently increased at the rate of 0.67% per month, and this delayed retirement credit can continue to accumulate until you reach age 70.

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Summary of “Equifax Operates Another Credit Bureau And You Can’t Freeze Your Report Online”

Remember all that trouble you went through to freeze your credit report after the massive and unforgivable Equifax hack? Turns out it was all for nothing, as security writer Brian Krebs reported Wednesday that the same company responsible for compromising the security of nearly two-thirds of the adult population of the United States also operates a secondary credit bureau that is plagued with security vulnerabilities.
The shady-looking credit reporting institution is the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange, and it’s been operating outside the walls of the Big Three credit bureaus of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion that we typically hear about.
Members of the NCTUE include AT&T; the New York Data Exchange, which has a partnership with Verizon; the California Utility Exchange; and Centralized Credit Check Systems, which has next to no web presence whatsoever and is shrouded in mystery.
This is the company in control of consumer information stored in a database that has thus far avoided the spotlight placed on credit reporting firms by last year’s breach.
Krebs wrote that with a call to the NCTUE hotline and information like a person’s social security number and the numeric part of their home address-information pretty readily available online now, thanks to Equifax-it’s possible to order a credit report from the lesser-known bureau.
It is possible to freeze your credit score through NCTUE as well, but it’s not all that easy.
Krebs describes the online process for placing a freeze on NCTUE reports as “Completely borked at the moment.” Oh, and the site has an invalid SSL certificate, which means communications with the site are not encrypted and secure.
It is possible to place a freeze on your credit report through NCTUE by calling the 1-800 hotline at 1-866-349-5355, though be warned that you might incur a fee for the process.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Criminal Gang Used a Drone Swarm To Obstruct an FBI Hostage Raid”

That’s just one of the ways bad guys are putting drones to use, law enforcement officials say.
It shows how criminal groups are using small drones for increasingly elaborate crimes.
Mazel said counter surveillance of law enforcement agents is the fastest-growing way that organized criminals are using drones.
Some criminal organizations have begun to use drones as part of witness intimidation schemes: they continuously surveil police departments and precincts in order to see “Who is going in and out of the facility and who might be co-operating with police,” he said.
In Australia, criminal groups have begun have used drones as part of elaborate smuggling schemes, Mazel said.
Rew Scharnweber, associate chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, described how criminal networks were using drones to watch Border Patrol officers, identify their gaps in coverage, and exploit them.
“In the Border Patrol, we have struggled with scouts, human scouts that come across the border. They’re stationed on various mountaintops near the border and they would scout to spot law enforcement and radio down to their counterparts to go around us. That activity has effectively been replaced by drones,” said Scharnweber, who added that cartels are able to move small amounts of high-value narcotics across the border via drones with “Little or no fear of arrest.”
“Remote identification is a huge piece” of cutting down on drone crime, Stubblefield said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Best Antivirus Is Not Traditional Antivirus: Reviews by Wirecutter”

We set out to do a standard Wirecutter guide to the best antivirus app, so we spent months researching products, reading reports from independent testing labs and institutions, and consulting experts on safe computing.
After all that, we learned that most people should neither pay for a traditional antivirus suite, such as McAfee, Norton, or Kaspersky, nor use free programs like Avira, Avast, or AVG. The “Best antivirus” for most people to buy, it turns out, is not a traditional antivirus package.
Every information security expert we talked to agreed that most people shouldn’t pay for a traditional antivirus suite: The virus and malware protection built into Windows and macOS, combined with good habits, are enough for most people.
Although each expert we interviewed had their own preferred solutions to the endless stream of computer threats, none recommended buying a traditional antivirus app.
Vulnerabilities: The nature of how antivirus apps provide protection is a problem.
Performance: Antivirus software is notorious for slowing down computers, blocking the best security features of other apps, popping up with distracting reminders and upsells for subscriptions or updates, and installing potentially insecure add-ons such as browser extensions without clearly asking for permission.
All the experts we spoke to recommended that most people stick to Defender as their antivirus app on Windows.
While Windows Defender serves as a traditional system-protecting antivirus layer, Malwarebytes Premium protects you from newer threats not traditionally spread by email, USB drives, or other old-fashioned avenues.

The orginal article.