recommended reading

DHS taps big data to ferret out phony schools peddling student visas

 An ICE officer holds fake test scores and ID cards after a bust on a fake student visa ring in 2010.

An ICE officer holds fake test scores and ID cards after a bust on a fake student visa ring in 2010. // AP file photo

The Homeland Security Department has invested in a pattern-matching tool aimed at spotting schools trafficking in fake student visas and potentially posing a terrorist threat, DHS officials said.

Senators on Tuesday questioned a department Immigration and Customs Enforcement official about the existence of bogus educational institutions essentially selling immigration papers, particularly in California. For example, about 38 percent of certified flight training schools lack requisite documentation to operate from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to a Government Accountability Office report released July 17.

ICE officials said they are beginning to discern which establishments are violating immigration rules by synthesizing data reported by the schools and intelligence on cyber and infrastructure threats supplied by Homeland Security analysts. Schools that have committed egregious infractions are identified as high risk and will be referred for possible criminal investigation, said John Woods, an assistant director at ICE Homeland Security investigations.

“I’m not saying we don’t have a long way to go. We’re moving forward. We’re trying to make the corrections,” Woods told the lawmakers. “We’re in the process of developing risk factors, which will be in place before the close out of this fiscal year.”

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; called for the GAO review, following revelations that Tri-Valley University of Pleasanton in California transferred student visas to foreign visitors without serving as a place of learning.

The auditors identified 30 of 48 randomly selected ICE-certified schools that were missing required credentials, such as proof of school officials’ citizenship or permanent residency.

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen credentials

Hackers Steal $31M from Russian Central Bank

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.