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Category Archives: Government Documents

Common Internet of Things Devices May Expose Consumers to Cyber Exploitation

From FBI News Release, October 17, 2017: “In conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the FBI is re-iterating the growing concern of cyber criminals targeting unsecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The number of IoT devices in use is expected to increase from 5 billion in 2016 to an estimated 20 to 50 billion by 2020. Once an IoT device is compromised, cyber criminals can facilitate attacks on other systems or networks, send spam e-mails, steal personal information, interfere with physical safety, and leverage compromised devices for participation in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. [h/t Pete Weiss]

IoT refers to a network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items (often called “smart devices”) embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity enabling these objects to collect and exchange data. Below are examples of IoT devices:

  • Home automation devices (e.g., devices which control lighting, heating and cooling, electricity, sprinklers, locks);
  • Security systems (e.g., alarm systems, surveillance cameras);
  • Medical devices (e.g., wireless heart monitors, insulin dispensers);
  • Wearables (e.g., fitness trackers, clothing, watches);
  • Smart appliances (e.g., refrigerators, vacuums, stoves);
  • Office equipment (e.g., wireless printers, computer mouse, outlets, interactive whiteboards);
  • Entertainment devices (e.g., DVRs, TVs, gaming systems, music players, toys); and
  • Hubs (devices that control other IoT devices through a single app)….”

NOAA, NASA team up again to investigate the atmosphere over Antarctica

NOAA: “Thirty years after NASA and NOAA launched a groundbreaking airborne campaign to study the Antarctic ozone hole, the two federal science agencies have once again joined forces over the world’s highest, driest and coldest continent to sniff out the secrets of the atmosphere. On Oct. 14, NASA’s heavily instrumented DC-8 flew over Antarctica as… Continue Reading

DHS issues operational network security directive to all federal agencies

FCW.com: “The Department of Homeland Security is requiring agencies to use new email and web security guidelines that address man-in-the-middle attacks. A binding operational directive from DHS gives federal agencies 90 days to implement a pair of tools, Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) and STARTTLS. DMARC is an email authentication tool designed to… Continue Reading

CRS – U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts

CRS report via FAS – U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts, Barbara Salazar Torreon, Senior Research Librarian. October 11, 2017. “Many wars or conflicts in U.S. history have federally designated “periods of war,” dates marking their beginning and ending. These dates are important for qualification for certain veterans’ pension or disability benefits.… Continue Reading

Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy

CRS report via FAS – Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy, Clayton Thomas, Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs. October 11, 2017. “This report analyzes state-to-state arms sales in the Middle East with a particular focus on U.S.transfers, as authorized and reviewed by Congress.The information in this report, including… Continue Reading

Cybersecurity, Encryption and United States National Security Matters

Cybersecurity, Encryption and United States National Security Matters, Senate Armed Services Committee, September 13, 2016 (published September 2017), via FAS. Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News: “What constitutes an act of war in the cyber domain? It’s a question that officials have wrestled with for some time without being able to provide a clear-cut answer. But in… Continue Reading

Who Is Represented in Immigration Court?

“Many factors impact the odds that an individual can obtain representation in Immigration Court. Using very recent case-by-case court records, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University has just completed a detailed analysis examining how the odds of representation varies with the particular court and hearing location, the nationality and custody status of… Continue Reading

OPM – Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results 2017

“The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) continues to be a valuable tool for assessing the state of Federal workplaces. The workforce is the backbone of the government and employee opinions shared through the survey provide an essential catalyst to achieving effective government. This year more than 485,000 employees participated in the FEVS, showing their commitment… Continue Reading

NBC – Tracking President Trump’s Visits to Trump Properties

NBC News investigative report: “President Donald Trump frequently uses his luxury properties for government business and leisure, prompting ethics concerns over a president appearing to promote his private enterprise at public cost. NBCNews.com and the NBC News White House unit are tracking Trump’s visits to his properties and golf courses since his inauguration…The president’s trips… Continue Reading

Book Review – Interpreting in Nazi Concentration Camps

Dublin Review of Books – Michael Cronin – Interpreting in Nazi Concentration Camps, by Michaela Wolf (ed), Bloomsbury, 192 pp, ISBN: 978-1501313257: “Many of the labour and extermination camps scattered across the Nazi Reich held up to thirty or forty different nationalities, most of them speaking different languages. For life and death to proceed as… Continue Reading

GAO Report – Combating Wildlife Trafficking

Combating Wildlife Trafficking: Agencies Are Taking Action to Reduce Demand but Could Improve Collaboration in Southeast Asia GAO-18-7: Published: Oct 12, 2017. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 2017: “The illegal wildlife trade—estimated to be worth at least $7 billion annually—is pushing these and other species to the brink of extinction. The United States and Asia are… Continue Reading

The Blue Slip Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations

CRS report via FAS – The Blue Slip Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations: Frequently Asked Questions, Barry J. McMillion, Analyst in American National Government. October 2, 2017. “The blue slip process used by the Senate Judiciary Committee (the committee) for U.S. circuit and district court nominations has received renewed interest from Senators.… Continue Reading