Security and Privacy
In a Sept. 29 letter, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) urged DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to "adopt a default warrant requirement, as DOJ did" for the use of cellphone duping technology, called stingrays.
With $2.2 million in Homeland Security Department funding, Boeing is partnering with a software company to develop a smartphone "brain chip" to verify that the phone's owner is who they say they are.
The malicious software, called XcodeGhost, infects an app developer's computer and then is incorporated into any app made, without their knowledge. It's a technique first demonstrated at the Central Intelligence Agency's annual top-secret Jamboree conference in 2012.
For instance, the ACLU pointed out that encrypted smartphone apps like Signal and WhatsApp are free and easily downloadable from major app stores, while Apple has built encrypted voice, video and text communications apps into its operating system.
The department's Science and Technology Directorate said the awards will focus on four technical areas, including mobile device instrumentation, mobile security management tools, transactional security methods, and mobile device layer protection.
Kevin Bankston, director of New America's Open Technology Institute, called smartphone theft a "criminal epidemic," in which there were 3.1 million victims in 2013, nearly double from the prior year.
The federal government is dealing with the growing problem of "shadow BYOD" in which employees are using unsanctioned personal devices to connect to the network and access data.
The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence is seeking vendor products and technical expertise on three projects that focus on mobile device security, personal identity verification credentials for such devices and access control.
The competition, announced in early March by the agency, offered cash prizes for technical solutions to help fight robocalls using a honeypot, which is an information system that can be used by government, private and academic partners to lure and analyze robocalls.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the first federal appeals court to hold that the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement applies to location data. Previously, both the 11th and 5th circuit courts ruled in favor of the government.