From the world of spies, lies, military posturing, hacks, corporate voyeurism, and the ever diminishing realm of the truly personal, we open with a headline from Homeland Security News Wire:
Most of 2013 terrorist attacks took place in only a few countries
The majority of terrorist attacks occurring in 2013 remained isolated in just a few countries, according to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), which is generated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). In 2013, 11,952 terrorist attacks resulted in 22,178 fatalities (including perpetrator deaths) and 37,529 injuries across 91 countries. More than half of all attacks (54 percent), fatalities (61 percent), and injuries (69 percent) occurred in just three countries: Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
The majority of terrorist attacks occurring in 2013 remained isolated in just a few countries, according to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), which is generated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) based at the University of Maryland. With the addition of nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks in 2013, the database now includes more than 125,000 events dating back to 1970 and, according to START, it remains the most comprehensive unclassified database of terrorist attacks around the world.
From the McClatchy Washington Bureau, business as usual:
In Senate-CIA fight on interrogation report, another controversy
The background of a key negotiator in the battle over a Senate report on the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques widely denounced as torture has sparked concerns about the Obama administration’s objectivity in handling the study’s public release.
Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is a former defense lawyer who represented several CIA officials in matters relating to the agency’s detention and interrogation program. Now he’s in a key position to determine what parts of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,300-page report will be made public.
Litt’s involvement doesn’t appear to be an ethics issue, at least by the legal definition. But experts say that while it may be acceptable on paper, his involvement in the review should have been a red flag.
From the London Daily Mail, a story Lenny Bruce would’ve loved:
Former HHS cyber security chief convicted in CHILD PORN case after using screen names ‘F***Christ’ and ‘PT***eater’ on underground website
- Timothy DeFoggi was found guilty Tuesday on all seven child-porn criminal charges he faced in federal court
- Justice Dept says he ‘accessed’ and ‘solicited child pornography … [and] expressed an interest in the violent rape and murder of children’
- DeFoggi ‘even suggested meeting one member in person,’ according to the DOJ, ‘to fulfill their mutual fantasies to violently rape and murder children’
- The former cyber security pro was listed near the top of the HHS organization chart in a document describing budget requests for 2014
- His screen names ‘F***Christ’ and ‘PT***eater’ were mentioned repeatedly in court and are part of the public record
Ars Technica takes the techgeek approach:
Cybersecurity official uses Tor but still gets caught with child porn
- Timothy DeFoggi wrongly thought he was covering his tracks.
The former acting cybersecurity director for the US Department of Health and Human Services, Tim DeFoggi, was convicted yesterday on three child porn charges.
As reported by Wired, DeFoggi is the sixth suspect to be caught by the FBI’s Operation Torpedo, which used controversial methods of defeating the Tor anonymizing software in order to find child porn suspects.
One site frequented by DeFoggi was PedoBook, hosted by Aaron McGrath—a Nebraska man who was convicted earlier for his role in the operations. The websites were only accessible to users who installed Tor on their browsers. DeFoggi used names such as “fuckchrist” and “PTasseater” to register on the sites, where he could view more than 100 videos and more than 17,000 child porn images.
From Bloomberg News, they’ve got you covered:
Homeland Security Arms Local Cops With Super Spy Bug
Humvees and body armor, so jarring to see deployed in Ferguson, Mo., aren’t the only concern when it comes to the militarization of U.S. police forces.
The Tacoma News Tribune reported that police in Tacoma, Wash., bought—and quietly used for six years—surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every mobile telephone call, text message, and data transfer up to a half-mile from the device.
Known as a Stingray and manufactured by Harris (HRS), a Pentagon contractor based in Melbourne, Fla., the device is small enough to be carried in a car. It tricks a mobile phone into thinking it’s a cell tower, drawing information, the paper said. Federal grants, including one from the Department of Homeland Security, were used to buy the equipment, according to public records the newspaper obtained.
Fusion raises an interesting question:
Fusion Investigates: How did America’s police departments lose loads of military-issued weapons?
Fusion has learned that 184 state and local police departments have been suspended from the Pentagon’s “1033 program” for missing weapons or failure to comply with other guidelines. We uncovered a pattern of missing M14 and M16 assault rifles across the country, as well as instances of missing .45-caliber pistols, shotguns and 2 cases of missing Humvee vehicles.
“[The program] is obviously very sloppy, and it’s another reason that Congress needs to revisit this promptly,” said Tim Lynch, director of the CATO Institute’s project on criminal justice. “We don’t know where these weapons are going, whether they are really lost, or whether there is corruption involved.”
More troubling yet is the possibility that some of the missing weapons, which were given to local police departments as part of a decades’ old government program to equip cops for the wars on terrorism and drugs, are actually being sold on the black market, Lynch said.
H/T to Cryptogon.
From the Latin American Herald Tribune, theatrical posturing:
Texas National Guard Deploys on Mexican Border
The first units of the National Guard contingent Texas Gov. Rick Perry is deploying to the Mexican border amid a surge in the arrivals of unaccompanied minors from Central America are in position, authorities said Tuesday.
“The Texas National Guard currently has troops all along the border between Texas and Mexico in support of Operation Strong Safety,” Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, public affairs officer at Texas Military Forces, told Efe.
Most of the roughly 63,000 unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who have arrived in the United States since last October entered the country via the 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) boundary between Texas and Mexico.
From the Associated Press, Sisyphus on the Mississippi:
In wake of Ferguson, police try to build trust
In the aftermath of the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, some police departments are renewing efforts to reach out to black communities to build trust — holding public meetings, fielding questions and letting people voice the anger they feel toward officers who patrol their neighborhoods.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown considers it a preventative step.
“I’d much rather they shout at me at a town hall meeting at a church and get to know me afterward than not have a relationship,” Brown said. After a police shooting has already happened, “it’s too late to try to establish relationships.”
From the Los Angeles Times, a Ferguson moment on Wilshire Boulevard:
Beverly Hills police regret holding black producer before Emmys
Beverly Hills police officials said Tuesday that it was “extremely unfortunate” that officers handcuffed and detained an African American film producer who was in the city to attend a pre-Emmy party.
Producer Charles Belk “matched the clothing and physical characteristics” of a suspected bank robber when he was pulled over by officers on Friday evening after he left a restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard, according to the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Belk said on Facebook that he was walking to his car when he was confronted by police, handcuffed and forced to sit on the sidewalk. He said he was detained for six hours.
“I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was a well educated American citizen that had received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, an MBA from Indiana University … and an executive leadership certificate from Harvard Business School,” Belk said. “Hey, I was ‘tall,’ ‘bald,’ a ‘male’ and ‘black,’ so I fit the description.”
LA Observed has the blowback:
Producer’s ‘detention’ by BHPD creates big backlash
Over the weekend I noticed that producer Charles Belk had posted a lengthy, angry account on Facebook about being detained by Beverly Hills police, handcuffed on the curb and denied access to a phone or a lawyer for six hours after he was stopped while walking to feed his parking meter on La Cienega Boulevard. He is black. The police say he was identified as bank robbery suspect. Belt’s post has been shared and liked more than 34,000 times on Facebook and he has been interviewed about the incident by, among others, NBC News. This incident clearly has legs beyond the BHPD’s explanation that he fit the description and they regret his inconvenience. Belk’s Facebook post has triggered what can only be called a massive outpouring of comments from people who feel they have similarly been detained by police essentially for being black. The media coverage? International.
From the Independent, a possible solution to the above?:
Cannabis-smoking couples are ‘less likely to engage in domestic violence’
Married couples who frequently smoke cannabis together are less likely to engage in domestic violence than those who consume the drug less regularly, a new study has suggested.
Researchers from Yale University, University of Buffalo and Rutgers followed 634 married couples for nine years.
They found that those who used cannabis together three times or more each month reported the lowest number domestic violence incidents (intimate partner violence) over the first nine years of marriage.
From the Associated Press, reviving the Cold War:
Finland, Sweden increase ties to NATO
Finland and Sweden plan to work more closely with NATO by signing a pact that allows assistance from alliance troops in the Nordic countries in emergency situations, officials said Wednesday.
The move comes as NATO prepares for a summit next week in Wales amid heightened tensions with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. Finland shares a 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border with Russia.
The Finnish government said the Host Nation Support agreement applies to situations which include “disasters, disruptions and threats to security.” It also enables joint training exercises and military cooperation.
While the London Telegraph gets defensive:
Police build ‘ring of steel’ for Wales Nato summit
- More than 12 miles of steel fencing and more than 9,000 police will guard the UK’s biggest ever gathering of world leaders
Police are putting the finishing touches to a “ring of steel” of more than 12 miles of security fencing to protect world leaders heading to south Wales for next week’s Nato summit.
The two-day summit in Newport is the UK’s biggest ever gathering of international leaders as the military alliance decides how to deal with crises in Ukraine and Iraq.
Nine foot high steel fencing is being put around key parts of the Celtic Manor Resort where the summit is being held and at venues in Cardiff city centre. Police are also setting up checkpoints and entry gates to screen people as they enter the cordon.
The operations is one of the biggest ever police deployments. More than 9,000 police officers will be drafted in to protect 180 VIPs including 60 heads of state and senior ministers.
Meanwhile plans are underway to give all those coppers plenty of work. From the People’s Assembly:
From the Guardian, why needs the Magna Carta?:
Met chief calls for new anti-terror powers and backs ‘presumption of guilt’
- Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe also calls for return of ‘something like’ control orders, which tighten authority over terror suspects
Britain’s most senior police chief has called for wide-ranging new powers to tackle homegrown terrorism, including a “rebuttable presumption” that anyone who visits Syria without prior notice should be treated as a terror suspect.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, chief constable of the Metropolitan police, also called for a return of control orders and said Britons who wage jihad in Syria or Iraq should be stripped of their passports.
Most significantly, however, Hogan-Howe became the first serving police chief to back Boris Johnson’s proposal for the presumption of innocence to be overturned for Britons who travel to warzones.
El País cites another source of insecurity:
Spain on alert over new biker gangs
- Groups hail mostly from Germany and the Netherlands and have long records of criminal activity
Law enforcement agencies are warning about a new type of criminal in Spain: members of biker gangs, most of whom are coming in from central Europe.
An Interior Ministry report states that “this is the right time to increase preventive police activity and research, considering their incipient state in our country.”
The report mentions gangs such as Hell’s Angels, Satudarah MC, No Surrender MC and Bandidos MC, all of whom are well established in Germany and the Netherlands, among other countries.
All of them also have a long record of criminal activity, ranging from arms and drug trafficking, to money laundering, burglary, extortion and violent robbery.
Bloomberg raises hackery suspicions:
FBI Examining Whether Russia Is Tied to JPMorgan Hacking
Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe.
The attack resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the probe is still preliminary. Authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.
From TheLocal.no, Norse petro-hackery:
300 oil companies hacked in Norway
Around 300 oil and energy in Norway companies has been affected by one of the biggest computer hacking attacks ever to happen in the country, a government source said on Wednesday.
National Security Authority Norway (Nasjonal Sikkerhetsmyndighet – NSM) revealed 50 companies in the oil sector were hacked and 250 more are now being warned by the government agency. NSM is Norway’s prevention unit for serious hack attacks.
The attack was the largest of its kind against Norwegian interests to take place, reported Dagens Næringsliv on Wednesday.
From News On Japan, a terminal alert:
Japan airports’ Wi-Fi allows snooping
Users of free wireless Internet connections at Japan’s Narita, Kansai and Kobe airports are vulnerable to electronic eavesdropping of their e-mail and web browsing, a study by an information and communications specialist showed Tuesday.
Such risks can be prevented by encrypting Wi-Fi connections, but the three airports refrain from doing so in favour of user convenience, as password entry would be required for encrypted Internet connections.
Free Wi-Fi connections are available at about 900,000 locations nationwide including public facilities and convenience stores, but many of them are not encrypted, according to Masakatsu Morii, a professor at a graduate school of engineering at Kobe University.
SecurityWeek gets proactive:
Singapore Boosts Cyber Security After Hacking Incidents
Singapore on Tuesday announced new measures to strengthen cyber security to prevent a recurrence of attacks on government websites including those of its president and prime minister.
Information minister Yaacob Ibrahim said the government is upgrading its Cyber-Watch Centre, allowing it to track malicious activities and respond swiftly when there are security breaches. The upgrades are expected to be completed by January 2015.
“Large-scale cyber security breaches have made headlines and raised public concerns,” Yaacob said in a speech to a conference of experts in Singapore, referring to attacks against US retailer Target and other international incidents. “Governments, businesses, manufacturers and consumers must guard against data leakage, unauthorized access to corporate resources and malware attack against their networks,” he said.
From Network World, ad-umbration:
New malvertising campaign hit visitors of several high-profile sites
Some visitors to several high-profile websites last week were redirected to browser exploits that installed malware on their computers because of malicious advertisements on those sites.
The attack affected visitors to Java.com, Deviantart.com, TMZ.com, Photobucket.com, IBTimes.com, eBay.ie, Kapaza.be and TVgids.nl between Aug. 19 and Aug. 22, according to researchers from Dutch security firm Fox-IT.
“These websites have not been compromised themselves, but are the victim of malvertising,” the researchers said Wednesday in a blog post. “This means an advertisement provider, providing its services to a small part of a website, serves malicious advertisement aimed at infecting visitors with malware.”
After the jump, the latest from the Asian Game of Zones, including cyberwar, simultaneous blasts of rhetorical artillery are accompanied by feelers to set out the rules to a game they’ve been [dangerously] improvising, Abe again invokes vanquished imperialists while China evokes their mortal foes, Tokyo diplomatic posturing, a Pakistani challenge, beefed up Aussie security and a healed intel rift, Hanoi/Beijing fence-mending, Seoul/Tokyo talks, a Pyongyang riposte, a Chinese crackdown, and a telling suppression of free speech in the good ol’ U.S.A. . . Continue reading