iRobot patrolling border tunnels

Since 2006, when Congress passed the Secure Border Fence Act, which called for the construction of more than 700 miles of fence across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas; over 30 tunnels have been discovered just in Arizona.  The subterranean passageways, some 3/4 of a mile long, are stressful and dangerous for Border Patrol.   Near San Diego, 32 tunnels have been discovered since Sept. 11, 2001

iRobot and Foster Miller robots use software developed at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to maneuver lasers to situate themselves in the dark tunnels. The government’s great weapon are robots which navigate and map drug-smuggling tunnels to eradicate the illicit substances trade across American borders.  They lower the robot into a hole with wires attached.  The robot moved throughout and is able to output chemical readings, video, and a map.  Chemical readings are based on whatever chemical the operator inputs as a reference.  Within a few minutes, a robot can produce tunnel data.

City employee solicits prostitute online; goes to prison

Larry Wise, the Superintendent of the Shelby City Ohio’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, found a nude photograph of Mr. Richard Wolf on Mr. Wolf’s city-owned computer.   Mr. Wise’s supervisor, Shelby Utilities Director Brad Harvey, involved the local police.  The investigation discovered that Mr. Wolf spent 100 hours on-the-clock perusing adult-themed web sites and ultimately searching for, locating and communicating with a professional dominatrix.  During the investigation, Mr. Wolf admitted that he did, in fact, use his work computer inappropriately and that his behavior was “unethical and wrong.”

Mr. Wolf was initially convicted of a number of crimes, including “Unauthorized access to a computer.” Under Ohio law, his actions were a felony.  Mr. Wolf was sentenced to fifteen months in prison, ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and ordered to pay restitution of $2,392 to the city for the 100 hours of wages.  On another charge, one count of solicitation (for Mr. Wolf’s efforts in soliciting a prostitute), Mr. Wolf was sentenced to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Virginia’s patient prescription records hacked

The state established the prescription monitoring database in 2003 to track the sales of addictive drugs, largely in response to the widespread abuse of the painkiller OxyContin in Southwest Virginia.

“This particular database was one where it’s very important to have real-time information, to have it in electronic form,” Governor Tim Kaine said.

The Web site for the state’s prescription monitoring program was penetrated by a hacker who claimed to have accessed records for more than 8 million patients and more than 35 million prescriptions.

Virginia law requires notification of individuals whose personal information may have been accessed due to a computer security breach. The law states that notification must be provided “without unreasonable delay.”

The FBI and the Virginia State Police are investigating the matter.

Espionage of the Century

Computer spies have broken into the DoD’s most expensive weapons program in history. The program is the $300B the Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35 Lightning II. The intruders entered through two or three contractors’ networks. Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor on the program, and Northrop Grumman Corp. and BAE Systems PLC also play major roles. The intruders compromised several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems responsible for diagnosing a plane’s maintenance problems during flight. Forensic investigators are unable to determine what data has been taken because the spies inserted technology that encrypts the data as it’s being stolen. Many have alluded to source IP addresses being those originating from within China but IP spoofing makes this ambiguous.


Within China’s borders, it controls Internet service providers and wireless networks. This leaves computers and PDAs susceptible to being monitored and infected with bugs – even remotely across the Internet.

Equipment left unsupervised in hotels, vehicles, or even in airport security screening can be hacked, mined and bugged.

“There is a high likelihood — virtually 100% — that if an individual is of security, political, or business interest to Chinese … security services or high technology industries, their electronics can and will be tampered with or penetrated,” says Larry Wortzel, who chairs the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a federal panel that monitors China-related security issues for Congress.

Information Assurance & Cyber Security Research and Education, a 501(c)(3)