Warning siren! A recent hack into the Dallas emergency siren system illustrates clearly that our critical infrastructures are imperiled by adversaries who seek to disrupt. The perpetrator or perpetrators remain unidentified at this time, as does the motive behind the attack. Is this the work of an amateur hacker? Possibly. A public report is not yet available on the sophistication of the hack or the quality of the safeguards in place to protect the emergency siren system. On the other hand adversarial nation states, including Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, have conducted probing missions into critical infrastructures. The emergency siren system would likely be a first-tier target, since the shutdown of any emergency system makes the public more vulnerable to subsequent attacks. Luckily, in this case the siren system disruption did not occur during serious inclement weather. Had the system been shut down in the midst of an actual weather emergency, results could have been tragic. The Food Defense Working Group will continue to monitor reports on this event and will relay any findings, should they be made public. READ MORE 

Amazon accounts breached by hackers: Hackers breached the Amazon accounts of several third party vendors using stolen credentials obtained through the Dark Web to post fake deals and steal cash, SC Magazine reports. The threat actors reportedly changed the bank deposit information on the compromised accounts to steal tens of thousands of dollars from users, several sellers and advertisers have said.The attackers also targeted accounts that hadn’t been recently used to post nonexistent merchandise for sale at steep discounts in an attempt to pocket the cash. The hack appears to have stemmed from email and password credentials stolen from a previous breach, the magazine reports. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

Lakes getting saltier: North America’s freshwater lakes are getting saltier because of development and exposure to road salt. A study of 371 lakes published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that many Midwestern and Northeastern lakes are experiencing increasing chloride trends, with some 44 percent of lakes sampled in these regions undergoing long-term salinization. READ MORE

TERRORISM

FBI reviews handling of tips and leads: Forensic Magazine quoting the Associated Press reports that the FBI has been reviewing the handling of thousands of terrorism-related tips and leads from the past three years to make sure they were properly investigated and no obvious red flags were missed. The review follows attacks by people who were once on the FBI’s radar and were later accused of massacres in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub; on the streets of New York City; and in a Florida airport. In each case, the FBI determined suspects did not warrant continued law enforcement scrutiny before the attacks. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Robotic pesticide sprayer recognizes its target: What if an army of herbicide snipers in a sprayer shot weeds, but never hit crops? That’s the question asked by the Farm Journal in an article about a robotic “smart sprayer” capable of spraying one type of plant and avoiding another. The computer is programmed to detect a given crop, and any plant that doesn’t match the designated crop gets hit with a herbicide. Put simply, the technology concept enabling facial recognition on Facebook is ready for plant recognition in order to spray weeds on a dime. READ MORE

Parasitic worm on produce invades brain: Researchers are calling it an epidemic: a big spike in the number of people infected with rat lungworm disease in Hawaii. The parasitic worm is carried by rats, then spread through snails or slugs that crawl onto fruits or vegetables. When people eat the infected produce, the worm invades the human brain. University of Hawaii at Hilo researchers are asking for more funding from the state to inform people about the risks, as well as to determine the most effective vegetable washes. READ MORE

Infant botulism case traced to honey: Parents are reminded about the risk of giving infants honey after a 6-month-old Tokyo boy died late last month of rare infant botulism after his family fed him honey mixed with fruit juice twice a day for about a month. Infant botulism can occur when newborns, who have immature digestive systems, ingest C. botulinum spores, which produce toxins inside the bowels. The bacteria was found in an unsealed honey container in the family’s house and in the boy’s excrement. Babies younger than a year old should not be given even a tiny taste of honey. READ MORE