News in Brief

DOD seeks funds for OPM response, WH mulls China sanctions and more

Shutterstock image (by Bruce Rolff): machine fingerprint.

Pentagon requests $132 million for OPM cleanup

The Defense Department has asked Congress to reallocate $132 million of its fiscal 2015 appropriations for identity monitoring services after the massive hack of Office of Personnel Management databases.

The money requested by Defense Comptroller Mike McCord would "provide a suite of identity monitoring and recovery services" for DOD personnel affected by the hack. The money would also cover, among other things, individual notifications, continuous credit monitoring and fraud monitoring services for contractors exposed in the breach, the request stated.

Report: Administration mulls China sanctions

Obama administration officials are considering levying sanctions on Chinese firms and individuals that have benefited from the government's alleged cyber theft of U.S. trade secrets, the Washington Post reported.

Officials are crafting the package of sanctions ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Washington next month, but the administration has not made a final decision on whether the sanctions actually will be imposed, the report said.

The move would be the highest-profile use of an executive order President Barack Obama issued in April. That order authorized the Treasury secretary to sanction individuals or groups whose "significant, malicious cyber-enabled activities" threaten U.S. national security, foreign policy, economic prosperity or financial stability.

The sanctions being mulled would not be in direct retaliation for the OPM hack, for which Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said China is the main suspect, according to the report. But the seriousness of the OPM hack helped convince officials that tougher action on China was needed.

FAA releases drone-safety app

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released beta version of a new smartphone application called "B4UFLY" that taps the geo-positioning feature on model aircraft enthusiasts' smartphones to automatically tell if they're in a safe spot to fly their airplane models and small drones.

The agency said the app, which will be tested by 1,000 unmanned aircraft users in the coming months, is designed to provide information about restrictions or requirements in effect at their current or planned flight location. The agency expects the beta test, which is slated to run several months, will yield valuable data on how well B4UFLY functions, as well as uncovering software bugs.

The FAA said it would release the app to the general public after the beta test.

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