HONORED: Kevin Case, an administrator of Gables Care Center in Hopedale, was honored by the American College of Health Care Administrators with the 2018 Eli Pick Facility Leadership award.
The award was announced during an awards luncheon at ACHCA’s 52nd-annual convocation and exposition held April 24 in Orlando, Fla.
Officials noted that fewer 11 percent of facilities nationwide qualify.
This year, 351 administrators in 45 states were awarded the facility leadership award nationally.
The award recognizes the administrator of record who provided leadership for the full 2017 calendar year. Eligibility is based on three years of skilled nursing facility survey data, including the health, fire safety and complaint surveys, as well as top quartile performance on designated quality measures, officials said.
DATA LEAK: A security researcher says a website flaw at a U.S. company could have allowed anyone to pinpoint the location of nearly any cellphone in the United States.
The lapse at LocationSmart, a company that gathers real-time data on cellular wireless devices, is the latest to highlight how little protection consumers have from trafficking in data about their location. LocationSmart says it has access to data on 95 percent of U.S. wireless subscribers.
The case was first reported by independent journalist Brian Krebs.
Carnegie Mellon researcher Robert Xiao says LocationSmart took the flawed webpage offline Thursday, a day after he discovered the flaw and notified the company. LocationSmart did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
SAFETY RULES: Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is moving to rescind some safety measures proposed after a deadly blast at a Texas fertilizer plant.
Pruitt on Thursday signed changes to proposed Obama-era safety rules that would affect 12,500 U.S. chemical plants, refineries and other facilities.
The safety rules were prompted by a 2013 explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people.
Pruitt’s changes eliminate some requirements for safety training and investigations after an accident.
Eric Schaeffer with the Environmental Integrity Project says the changes also would make it harder for people living near facilities to get basic information about chemical risks.
Pruitt says the revised rules improve emergency planning and reduce regulation. Alex Formuzis of the Environmental Working Group calls it a “hollowing out” of the safety upgrades.
HACKING: Two Syrian nationals were indicted Thursday in a computer hacking scheme that targeted the White House, Harvard University, U.S. Marine Corps and news media outlets, including The Associated Press.
A federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment charging Ahmad ‘Umar Agha and Firas Dardar with conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.
The indictment says the men were members of the Syrian Electronic Army, which hacked computers to spread propaganda supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In 2013, Syrian Electronic Army hackers allegedly sent a tweet from The Associated Press’ Twitter account falsely claiming a bomb had exploded at the White House and injured President Barack Obama. The message caused the stock market to plummet briefly before it was determined to be a hoax.
Both men were originally charged by criminal complaint in 2014 and are still at large and believed to be in Syria. A third man pleaded guilty in 2016 to having a limited role.
The indictment comes as the five-year statute of limitations for some of their crimes is about to expire.
From staff and wire reports
According to the indictment, the men and their co-conspirators would send a phishing email purporting to be from a trusted source that contained a link to a website controlled by the hackers.
Users who clicked on the link were asked for their usernames and passwords. If at least one person provided those, the hackers would then access the computer systems or accounts of the target’s computer system. They could then redirect legitimate traffic, alter text or send messages using compromised social media and email accounts.
The indictment says the hackers were able to alter the Harvard University website home page by adding an image of al-Assad. They also accessed a computer server used by The Washington Post and created a false post on its website. Other targets included Reuters, Human Rights Watch, National Public Radio and The Onion.
No lawyers are listed for the men in court documents.