Experts warn of coming wave of serious cybercrime
The rash of attacks against Target and other top retailers is likely to be the leading edge of a wave of serious cybercrime, as hackers become increasingly skilled at breaching the nation’s antiquated payment systems, experts say.
Traditional defenses such as installing antivirus software and monitoring accounts for unusual activity have offered little resistance against Eastern European criminal gangs whose programmers write malicious code aimed at specific targets or buy inexpensive hacking kits online. Armed with such tools, criminals can check for system weaknesses in wireless networks, computer servers or stores’ card readers.
Threat to the grid? Details emerge of sniper attack on power station
Newly reported details about a 52-minute sniper attack on a central California electrical substation last year are raising concerns from Capitol Hill and beyond, amid questions over whether it was the work of terrorists.
The April 16, 2013, attack had not been widely publicized until The Wall Street Journal reported new details in a story on Wednesday. The attack reportedly started when at least one person entered an underground vault to cut telephone cables, and attackers fired more than 100 shots into Pacific Gas & Electric’s Metcalf transmission substation, knocking out 17 transformers. Electric officials were able to avert a blackout, but it took 27 days to repair the damage.
Federal judge rules drivers allowed to flash headlights to warn of speed traps
A federal judge in Missouri ruled this week held that drivers have a First Amendment right to flash their headlights to warn other motorists of nearby police and speed traps.
The order by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey in St. Louis on Monday stems from a lawsuit filed by Ellisville resident Michael Elli. In 2012, Elli flashed his headlights to warn oncoming vehicles of a radar set up by police in the town of Ellisville.
A flash of headlights is a common way motorists communicate to oncoming drivers of either a dangerous situation or the presence of police — in essence, a warning to slow down.
Karzai reportedly made secret peace contacts with Taliban
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has reportedly been in secret discussions with the Taliban about reaching a peace deal before he leaves office.
The New York Times reports that the contacts have accomplished little, but Western and Afghan officials say that the talks explain Karzai's ongoing refusal to sign a security deal with the U.S. that would keep some American troops in Afghanistan for training and counterterrorism work after the end of this year.
Student gunman kills 2, briefly takes hostages at Russian school
Moscow police say a student burst into a high school Monday with a rifle and fatally shot a police officer and a teacher before briefly taking a class full of children hostage.
Investigators told the Associated Press that the student had been taken into custody alive. Details of the student's identity were not immediately available.
Russia Today reported that the gunman entered School No. 263 and threatened the school's security guard before making his way to a biology classroom, where he took 29 10th-grade students hostage before releasing most of them soon after. It is not clear when the rest of the children were released.
U.S. Is Seeking Death Penalty in Boston Case
The Justice Department said Thursday that it would seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man accused of killing and maiming people with homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line last year.
The decision sets in motion the highest-profile federal death penalty case since Timothy J. McVeigh was prosecuted and executed for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev targeted the Boston Marathon, an iconic event that draws large crowds of men, women and children to its final stretch, making it especially susceptible to the act and effects of terrorism,” prosecutors wrote in an eight-page document filed in federal court in Boston.
US says Russia conducted missile test banned by 1987 treaty
U.S. officials have reportedly acknowledged that Russia has tested a new ground-launched cruise missile, in apparent violation of a 1987 treaty banning the testing, production, and possession of medium-range missiles.
However, The New York Times reports that White House officials are not yet ready to formally declare the tests to be a violation of the treaty signed by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The Times reported that Rose Gottemoeller, the State Department's senior arms control official, informed NATO about the tests at a closed-door meeting in Brussels earlier this month. The paper also reported that the Russian tests may have begun as early as 2008, but U.S. officials did not have enough information to consider the missiles a compliance issues until much later.
Ukraine lawmakers debate amnesty for protesters
Ukraine's lawmakers are meeting again Wednesday in a special session of Parliament to debate a possible amnesty for protesters arrested during weeks of demonstrations.
The session comes after a day of political upheaval Tuesday in which Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his Cabinet resigned and draconian anti-protest laws were annulled.
Opposition politicians and activists welcomed the concessions made, but said they were only a small step toward the change needed.
Karzai reportedly suspects US hand in recent Afghanistan attacks
Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly believes that the U.S. government and military have been a hidden force behind recent insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, such as an attack earlier this month that killed 21 people, including three Americans, in Kabul.
The Washington Post, citing an Afghan official who it said was sympathetic to Karzai's view, reported that the Afghan leader believes that dozens of attacks blamed on the Taliban have been planned by the U.S. to weaken his government and foment instability in the country. The official did acknowledge that Karzai had no concrete evidence of American involvement in any attack.
Maryland mall shooting: Journal may reveal gunman's motives; mall to reopen
A journal discovered at Darion Marcus Aguilar's home may explain why the 19-year-old walked into a busy mall in Columbia, Maryland, on Saturday and killed two employees of a skateboard apparel shop before turning the shotgun on himself.
So far, law enforcement officials haven't determined a motive and aren't giving many details about the journal's contents. That's something people certainly will be talking about when the mall reopens for business at 1 p.m. ET Monday.
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