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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: cyber threats

A nuclear facility in Iran was hit by "sabotage" a day after it unveiled new uranium enrichment equipment, the country's top nuclear official says.

Ali Akbar Salehi did not say who was to blame for the "terrorist act", which caused a power failure at the Natanz complex south of Tehran on Sunday.

Israeli public media, however, cited intelligence sources who said it was the result of an Israeli cyber-attack.

Israel has not commented on the incident directly.

But in recent days it has ramped up its warnings about Iran's nuclear programme.

Read more: BBC News

According to its latest transparency report, Discord says it deleted more than 2,000 servers for violent or extremist content in the second half of 2020. In total, it removed 2,212 servers dedicated to movements like the Boogaloo Boys and other similar groups, with its Trust and Safety team taking down 1,504 of those proactively. It also deleted more than 30,000 accounts for similar violations.

To put those numbers in perspective, the company removed a total of 27,410 servers and 266,075 non-spam accounts in the second half of the year. The number of communities it banned for extremist or violent content increased by nearly 93 percent compared to the first half of 2020. Discord attributes that jump to a more proactive approach on its part and the growth of extremist movements more generally. For instance, it says 334 servers had connections to QAnon. "We continue to believe there is no place on Discord for groups organizing around hate, violence, or extremist ideologies," the company says in the report.

Read more: Yahoo Tech (Engadget)

The United States has seized “r-m-n.net” and “Almaalomah.com,” two websites that were unlawfully utilized by Kata’ib Hizballah, a Specially Designated National and a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

“The internet must not be used as a recruitment tool for terrorist organizations to promote violent extremism and spread their hateful rhetoric,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We stand committed with our law enforcement partners to use all available resources to combat terrorism.”

“Special Agents with the Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Export Enforcement will use all of the tools at our disposal to protect American citizens, including our military service members, from terrorist acts of violence inspired and directed via online platforms,” said Kevin J. Kurland, who is performing the non-exclusive duties of the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement at the Bureau of Industry and Security. “We will continue to aggressively disrupt Foreign Terrorist Organizations such as Kata’ib Hizballah and their efforts to utilize U.S. cyber infrastructure to harm U.S. national security.”

Read more: Department of Justice

A new outside report found that Facebook has allowed groups — many tied to QAnon, boogaloo and militia movements — to glorify violence during the 2020 election and in the weeks leading up to the deadly riots on the U.S. Capitol in January.

Avaaz, a nonprofit advocacy group that says it seeks to protect democracies from misinformation, identified 267 pages and groups on Facebook that it says spread violence-glorifying material in the heat of the 2020 election to a combined following of 32 million users.

More than two-thirds of the groups and pages had names that aligned with several domestic extremist movements, the report found. The first, boogaloo, promotes a second U.S. civil war and the breakdown of modern society. The second is the QAnon conspiracy, which claims that Donald Trump is waging a secret battle against the “deep state” and a sect of powerful Satan-worshipping pedophiles who dominate Hollywood, big business, the media and government. The rest are various anti-government militias. All have been largely banned from Facebook since 2020.

Read more: Seattle Times

A group of hackers say they breached a massive trove of security-camera data collected by Silicon Valley start-up Verkada Inc., gaining access to live feeds of 150,000 surveillance cameras inside hospitals, companies, police departments, prisons and schools.

Companies whose footage was exposed include carmaker Tesla Inc. and software provider Cloudflare Inc. In addition, hackers were able to view video from inside women’s health clinics, psychiatric hospitals and the offices of Verkada itself. Some of the cameras, including in hospitals, use facial-recognition technology to identify and categorize people captured on the footage. The hackers say they also have access to the full video archive of all Verkada customers.

Read more: Los Angeles Times