Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect heal…June 14, 2019
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SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM: Xenotime, a group of hackers that has previously targeted oil and gas companies, has been targeting the U.S. electric grid in recent months, according to new research released Friday by cybersecurity group Dragos.
Dragos reported that the Xenotime group began “probing” the networks of electric utilities in both the U.S. and countries in the Asia-Pacific region in late 2018.
The report noted that none of the probes resulted in the group gaining access to an electric utility’s system, but wrote that “the persistent attempts, and expansion in scope is cause for definite concern.”
Dragos added that while none of the probing has been successful, this type of activity could be evidence of the group preparing for future cyberattacks.
The company recommended that owners and operators of industrial control system companies, including U.S. electric, gas and oil utilities, should prepare for attempts to be hacked by the Xenotime group, and bolster their cybersecurity capabilities in response.
Read more here.
REINING IN THE FACIAL REC: Over 20 House Democrats in a letter on Friday pressed the Department of Homeland Security over Border Patrol’s use of facial recognition technology on U.S. citizens in airports, arguing the rapidly expanding program has not been enabled by any congressional mandate.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has been rolling out the face-scanning program in a growing number of airports across the U.S., has argued that it is operating under a congressional mandate and executive order from the president. But those orders ask CBP to roll out a biometrics program for “foreign nationals,” not U.S. citizens, the lawmakers say.
“We write to express concerns about reports that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is using facial recognition technology to scan American citizens under the Biometric Exit Program,” the group of progressive lawmakers, who sit on multiple committees, wrote, referring to CBP’s facial recognition tech program.
“This is an unprecedented and unauthorized expansion of the agency’s authority,” they wrote. “As such, we urge the agency to allow for public input and establish privacy safeguards.”
A CBP spokeswoman confirmed to The Hill that it has received the letter.
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