Archive for May, 2012

Authorities in Miami are looking for more witnesses after a police officer fatally shot a naked man who refused to stop chewing on the face of another naked man – even after being shot once by the officer – on a busy downtown highway ramp.

Detective William Moreno said police are looking for people to fill in the blanks on what led to the grisly scene in which a witness reported that a man – identified by authorities as Rudy Eugene, 31 – savagely chewed on the other man’s face and growled when a police officer kept telling him to stop.

The victim, who has not been identified, has been hospitalized in critical condition.

“We know that there were many people on the MacArthur Causeway and we’re hoping they come forward,” Moreno told The Miami Herald on Monday.

Miami police have released few details about the weekend attack, other than confirming that there was a fatal officer-involved shooting. Messages left Tuesday by The Associated Press for a police spokesman and the Miami-Dade County medical examiner were not immediately returned.

Witness Larry Vega was riding his bicycle Saturday afternoon off the MacArthur Causeway that connects downtown Miami with Miami Beach when he saw the savage attack.

“The guy was, like, tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, `Get off!”‘ Vega told Miami television station WSVN. “The guy just kept eating the other guy away, like, ripping his skin.”

Vega flagged down a Miami police officer, who he said repeatedly ordered the attacker to get off the victim. The attacker just picked his head up and growled at the officer, Vega said.

As the attack continued, Vega said the officer shot the attacker, who continued chewing the victim’s face. The officer fired again, killing the attacker.

A surveillance camera from The Miami Herald building nearby captured images of the men’s naked legs lying side by side after the shooting.

Vega said the victim appeared gravely injured.

“It was just a blob of blood,” Vega said. “You couldn’t really see, it was just blood all over the place.”

Vega declined to speak Tuesday with The Associated Press and said he was trying to put the attack behind him.

View Video

Read more

Legislation in Illinois – Senate Bill 2545 (SB 2545) – that would create the “Internet Dating Safety Act” requiring Internet dating websites offering services in Illinois to disclose if they conduct criminal background checks on all their members or post warnings online that they do not conduct criminal background checks has passed both the House and Senate and now heads to Governor Pat Quinn to sign. Introduced by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), the full text of the bill is available here: (SB 2545) “Internet Dating Safety Act”.

According to a brief synopsis on the SB 2545 status page on Illinois General Assembly website, the Internet Dating Safety Act:

  • Requires Internet dating services offering services to Illinois members to provide a safety awareness notification to all Illinois members.
  • Provides that if an Internet dating service does not conduct criminal background screenings on its members, the service shall disclose, clearly and conspicuously, to all Illinois members that the Internet dating service does not conduct criminal background screenings.
  • Provides that an Internet service provider does not violate the Act solely as a result of serving as an intermediary for the transmission of electronic messages between members of an Internet dating service.
  • Provides that the Attorney General, pursuant to the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act, shall adopt rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of the Act.
  • Amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
  • Provides that it is an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act for an Internet dating service to fail to provide notice or falsely indicate that it has performed criminal background screenings in accordance with the Internet Dating Safety Act.

If passed, the Internet Dating Safety Act would take effect immediately.

Online dating background checks have become more commonplace as more people join internet dating websites. As reported previously in the ESR News blog, three of the nation’s leading online dating websites – eHarmony,, and Spark Networks – and the California Attorney General issued a ‘Joint Statement of Key Principles of Online Dating Site Safety’ that online dating providers should follow to help protect members from sexual predators through background checks.

The joint statement followed the 2010 sexual assault of a Los Angeles-area woman by a man she met through who had several previous sexual assault convictions prior to the attack. The company settled a lawsuit with the woman after she sought a court order requiring to background check applicants for sex offenders.

However, Internet dating websites may create a false sense of security by saying they do background checks on members if the screenings performed are not extensive enough and use only online database searches for sex offenders prone to errors and omissions, according to safe hiring expert Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of San Francisco-area based background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR).

“Databases can be notoriously inaccurate, so people still need to understand that they are responsible for their personal safety,” says Rosen, the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ the first comprehensive guide for background checks. “Database searches are subject to false negatives and false positives and have issues with accuracy, timeliness, and completeness. They can also cause harm by creating a false sense of security.”

Read more

Charles W. Huffman, 45, of Salisbury, is being held on $100,000 bond after allegedly attempting to run an insurance investigator off the road by ramming him from behind.

A deputy from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s office charged Huffman with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment after Huffman allegedly realized the private investigator from an insurance company was conducting surveillance, according to police documents.

Huffman then allegedly began chasing the investigator and reportedly rammed him 20 times. The incident allegedly began on Johnson Road before continuing onto Wango, Wastegate and Mt. Hermon Roads.

The deputy reportedly saw damage on the investigator’s vehicle consistent with his story. Police charged Huffman once they found him.

Read more

Are you aware of the costs associated with hiring a new employee? From the paperwork to the training (and much more), the entire process can be extremely expensive.

While this expense is a part of doing business, you don’t want to overlook one very important fact: you are wasting a lot of money every time you hire an employee and he/she does not stay onboard for an extended period of time.

One of the best ways to combat this issue is through a comprehensive pre-employment screening process. Along with the reduction of employee turnover costs, this can help ensure that you hire the right employee for the right position.

Problem Employees Lead to Lost Money

When you avoid hiring a problem employee it can save the company a large amount of money related to supplies, resources, and training time.

Imagine this: you hire an employee and after a couple of weeks on the job he or she quits or is terminated. All of the time and money that you put into the hiring and training process is now down the drain.
In more serious situations, an employer could be hit with a negligent hiring lawsuit should a “dangerous” employee be hired by the company.What about a Negligent Hiring Lawsuit?Is this type of lawsuit common? Of course not. However, the proper pre-employment screening process can take all the risk out of the equation.

A comprehensive background check can include the following (plus much more): drug screening, county criminal check, state criminal check, national criminal search, social security number trace, address verification, and prior employment verification.

There is no denying the fact that a thorough pre-employment check can cost in excess of $100. That being said, this will pay for itself by allowing you to hire the right employee while avoiding those who are not suited to stick around for the long term.

Questions to Ask Before Getting Started

No matter the industry or size of your business, pre-employment screening is extremely important. If you don’t have any experience with this part of the hiring process, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Which pre-employment service provider can give me the “total package” at an affordable price?

2. How much is too much? Some employers opt for nothing more than a county and state criminal database check, while others are willing to pay additional for a more comprehensive service.

3. What type of information must I collect from applicants in order to get started?

Pre-employment screening may be a large upfront cost – especially for companies that do a lot of hiring – but overall it will pay for itself.

Read more

Men in black with a violent agenda

They’re not Al-Qaeda, but they are a type of home-grown terror group. The FBI describes the Black Bloc as individuals intent on using violence to their express their extreme ideological views.

The Black Bloc tactics include street fighting, vandalism and rioting. Private investigator Bill Warner, who researches organized violence, says Black Bloc members are self-proclaimed anarchists.

He says they use the Occupy Movement as a front, but have their own violent agenda. They dress in black from head to toe, carry a black flag, and create chaos when ever they can.

Members conceal their identity, but they don’t hide their disdain for capitalism and law enforcement.

“Tampa RNC is the biggest stage this year. These radicals, that’s what they like, that’s what they need, they like the publicity. But they are going to do bad things to get the publicity,” Warner said.

Just a few weeks ago, five Black Bloc anarchists were arrested for trying to blow up a bridge in Cleveland. The FBI foiled the plot by embedding under cover agents in the group.

Investigators say the men also planned to target the NATO Summit in Chicago and the RNC in Tampa.

On Saturday, during the NATO Summit, Chicago police arrested three more Black Bloc members.

Officers infiltrated the group and say they discovered plans to burn down buildings with Molotov cocktails.

Tampa Assistant Police Chief John Bennett, who was at the NATO Summit said to expect the same covert stings during the RNC.

“That’s part of our responsibility, and we will be taking the same measures of prevention on our end,” Bennett said.

Now with the RNC just months away, what could we expect from this dangerous, radical group?

Warner says nothing good.

“Tampa RNC is going to be a big problem, you’re forewarned. They already did it in Chicago, they already did it in Cleveland. They’re coming here for the bigger stage,” Warner said.

Read more

Google is about to begin an ambitious project to notify some half a million people that their computers are infected with the DNSChanger malware.

The warning that will appear at the top of search results for people whose computers are infected. The effort, scheduled to begin this afternoon, is designed to let those people know that their Internet connections will stop working on July 9, when temporary servers set up by the FBI to help DNSChanger victims are due to be disconnected.

“The warning will be at the top of the search results page for regular searches and image searches and news searches,” Google security engineer Damian Menscher told CNET this morning. “The text will say, ‘Your computer appears to be infected,’ and it will give additional detail warning them that they may not be able to connect to the Internet in the future.”

The malware, also known as “RSPlug,” “Puper,” and “Jahlav,” was active until an FBI investigation called Ghost Click resulted in six arrests last November.

DNSChanger worked by pointing infected computers to rogue Domain Name System servers that could, for instance, direct someone trying to connect to to a scam Web site.
Related posts

The way the alerts work is both simple and clever: When one of the replacement servers operated by ISC under court order talk to Google’s servers, they reply with a special Internet Protocol address. Because connections to that IP address can safely be assumed to be from infected PCs, the alerts can be displayed in search results.

Computers became infected with DNSChanger when they visited certain Web sites or downloaded particular software to view videos online. In addition to altering the DNS server settings, the malware also prevented antivirus updates from happening.

Google took similar steps last summer when it displayed security alerts to infected computers that were connecting through intermediary servers called proxies.

Read more

5 ways criminals use Facebook

This Friday, Facebook will go public in one of the most anticipated IPOs in history. With more than 900 million users, Mark Zuckerberg’s expanding social media empire has become a seemingly irreplaceable part of the online experience. Unfortunately, a byproduct of its success is that millions of Americans are far more exposed to a number of cyber crimes that also teem on the site.

To be sure, cyber crimes have been occurring for some time, but the presence of social media has made many crimes much easier to commit. In social networks people make “friends” without knowing the person and make personal information easily available. And none of the networks present more opportunity to criminals than Facebook and its hundreds of millions of users. With this in mind, 24/7 Wall St. looked at some of the most common ways criminals use Facebook.

There are the nine ways criminals use Facebook — here are five. (You can read the rest at 24/7 Wall St.)

1. Hacking accounts
When criminals hack a Facebook account, they typically use one of several available “brute force” tools, Grayson Milbourne, Webroot’s manager of threat research for North America, told 24/7 Wall St. in an interview. These tools cycle through a common password dictionary, and try commonly used names and dates, opposite hundreds of thousands of different email IDs. Once hacked, an account can be commandeered and used as a platform to deliver spam, or — more commonly — sold. Clandestine hacker forums are crawling with ads offering Facebook account IDs and passwords in exchange for money. In the cyber world, information is a valuable thing.

2. Commandeering accounts
A more direct form of identity theft, commandeering occurs when the criminal logs on to an existing user account using an illegally obtained ID and password. Once they are online, they have the victim’s entire friend list at their disposal and a trusted cyber-identity. The impostor can use this identity for a variety of confidence schemes, including the popular London scam in which the fraudster claims to be stranded overseas and in need of money to make it home. The London scam has a far-higher success rate on Facebook — and specifically on commandeered accounts — because there is a baseline of trust between the users and those on their friends list.

3. Profile cloning
Profile cloning is the act of using unprotected images and information to create a Facebook account with the same name and details of an existing user. The cloner will then send friend requests to all of the victim’s contacts. These contacts will likely accept the cloner as a friend since the request appears to be from someone they’re familiar with. Once accepted, the crook has access to the target’s personal information, which they can use to clone other profiles or to commit fraud. As Milbourne puts it, “Exploiting a person’s account and posturing as that person is just another clever mechanism to use to extract information.” Perhaps what’s scariest about this kind of crime is its simplicity. Hacking acumen is unnecessary to clone a profile; the criminal simply needs a registered account.

4. Fake Facebook
A common form of phishing is the fake Facebook scam. The scammers direct users via some sort of clickable enticement, to a spurious Facebook log-in page designed to look like the real thing. When the victims enter their usernames and passwords, they are collected in a database, which the scammer often will sell. Once scammers have purchased a user’s information, they can take advantage of their assumed identity through apps like Facebook Marketplace and buy and sell a laundry list of goods and services. Posing as a reputable user lets the scammer capitalize on the trust that person has earned by selling fake goods and services or promoting brands they have been paid to advertise.

5. Mining unprotected info
Few sites provide an easier source of basic personal information than Facebook. While it is possible to keep all personal information on Facebook private, users frequently reveal their emails, phone numbers, addresses, birth dates and other pieces of private data. As security experts and hackers know, this kind of information is often used as passwords or as answers to secret security questions. While the majority of unprotected information is mined for targeted advertising, it can be a means to more pernicious ends such as profile cloning and, ultimately, identity theft.

Read more

Protesters clad in black clashed with police at the end of what had been a peaceful march and rally by thousands of demonstrators, led by disenchanted veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars protesting the opening of the two-day NATO summit in Chicago today.

The demonstration was the largest the city has seen in years.

“It’s crazy. There’s so many people here,” Esther Westlake, a recent graduate of Northeastern Illinois University, told The Associated Press. “Having NATO in town is kind of exciting.”

The battle between protesters believed to be members of the anarchist group Black Bloc and police left several demonstrators bloodied, and marred what had been a solemn and orderly march.

At the end of the march, the vets threw their NATO medals over the fence set up by the Secret Service around McCormick Place.

Some of the veterans told ABC station WLS-TV in Chicago that they had hoped a NATO representative would meet the group and take the medals back as a symbol of recognition.

Former Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis criticized the black-clad demonstrators who clashed with police for undermining the emotional power of the veterans’ act.

“You have classic Black Bloc ideology, peaceful ceremony, moving ceremony and these individuals use this as an occasion to disrupt, engage the police, engage in criminal activity,” Weis told WLS-TV. “Once they crossed that behind and are throwing bribes at the police officers and hitting them with sticks and weapons, then they have no option but to maintain control. It is classic Black Bloc ideology. It ruins ceremonies and ruins a ceremony of veterans turning in their valor medals.”

The demonstrators had a wide range of agendas; there were anti-war activists, people concerned about inaction on climate change, and people protesting the handling of the global economy.

But the activists on the street weren’t the only ones aiming to disrupt the summit. A hacking group affiliated with Anonymous took responsibility for temporarily crippling the Chicago Police and NATO websites today.

Chicago police are working with federal authorities to investigate the attack and the extent of it, the Chicago Tribune reported.

NATO has not confirmed it was the victim of a cyber attack. All three sites now appear to be running as usual.

A lengthy statement from the hacking group, which called itself antis3curityops, was posted on Cyber War News, declaring: “We are in your harbor Chicago, and you will not forget us.”

A Twitter user affiliated with Anonymous tweeted “Tango Down” with a link to the Chicago Police Department’s website. “Reason: for violation of #humanrights,” @Anon_Central wrote.

The attack was orchestrated using DDoS, a method in which numerous systems attack a single target website until it is forced to shut down.

Cole Stryker, author of “Epic Win For Anonymous,” said today’s hacking was likely more embarrassing than harmful to the Chicago Police Department.

“It’s an egg on the face type situation,” he said. “It’s embarassing when the people who are supposed to keep you safe are so easily victimized by a prankish attack like this, however I don’t think it’s concerning them.”

The internal systems at the city and police department would not have been affected by the attack, Stryker said.

The online disruptions were just the latest incidents in the chaos that has erupted around the two-day NATO summit of world leaders in Chicago.

Three men were arrested on terrorism charges Saturday. They are accused of building Molotov cocktails and planning attacks at President Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters and at the home of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during the NATO Summit, prosecutors said.

Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 24-year-old Vincent Betterly of Oakland Park, Fla., and 24-year-old Jared Chase of Keene, N.H., are charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing support for terrorism and possession of an explosive or incendiary device.

“These men were here to hurt people,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a news conference.

The defendants are self-proclaimed members of the Black Bloc group.

In addition to materials to make molotov cocktails, police say the defendants had various weapons, including a mortar gun, swords, a hunting bow, throwing stars, knives, brass knucles.

“This plot does not represent protest behavior, this is criminal behavior,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry Mccarthy.

The men argue the materials police collected in an overnight raid Wednesday were used to brew beer.

In a differant case, two militia men from Wisconsin were arrested after police found shotguns, shells, extended clips, knives and batons inside their vehicle during a traffic stop. Both men were wearing militia uniforms and were riding in a car that flew a militia flag, police said.

Police said they believe the men were in town to protest NATO.

A Chicago man was also charged with conspiring to build a Molotov cocktail and will appear in court today, the Sun-Times reported.

Read more

Skip Trace 101

Once upon a time a person could vanish without a trace. They could erase their history, move on to a new place, and forget their debt and crimes. No longer. With enough time and skill, anyone can be tracked down. They can’t hide anymore.

Skip tracing is the art of tracking those who don’t want to be tracked. At its core is a proficiency for collecting and sorting information. Finding sources, whether they be family members who might know where the person has gone, friends who have a phone number, or even a website that lists their new address, is important.

But often, the hardest part of a skip trace is finding that first crucial clue. Even the most powerful skip tracing technique is useless if your search is directionless.

That is where an investigative database comes in. These databases provide a crucial service: digging through hundreds of thousands of digitized records looking for related information. A good investigative database can provide you information on any family the skip might have, their email addresses, their full SSN, unpublished phone numbers, etc. Basically, an investigative database gives your skip trace a solid base to work off of.

Databases often give you valuable information on known associates, including roommates or significant others. Another great tool for tracking someone down is by a phone number. If you can find a phone number, that’s great, most databases have what is known as a “reverse lookup” that can provide information including account holder, phone carrier and address. Most databases can give you information on published and non-published landlines as well as information on cell phone numbers. Email addresses can work well also, although they are usually used as a last resort. If you can get a copy of an email from that address, you’ll likely have the IP address that person is using. Reversing that will give you the region it came from.

While your trace should start at an investigative database, you usually won’t find all that you need there. You’ll still need to employ your favorite skip tracing techniques to nail down the address.

Remember that the best skip tracing techniques are specific. For example, a worker in a unionized industry probably joined the union at his new address. By checking in with the local union representative, you could quickly wrap up the case. It’s these tricks of the trade that make an investigator, a good one.

No matter whether you prefer psychological manipulation or digital forensics, the best place to start a skip trace is at an investigative database. You might be surprised how much information is available in the system.

Read more

The price of gas continues to fall. AAA says the national average for regular has fallen to $3.73, down 21 cents in the past six weeks. But if you pay at the pump, thieves may be waiting for you, ready to skim the information off your bank card and siphon the money out of your account.

It’s a scam called “skimming” and it costs the financial industry more than $350,000 a day, as CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

Volunteer fireman Mark Young recently got out of the hospital after neck surgery, only to be dealt another blow when he checked his bank balance.

“I had $2,300 in the bank, and it said I only had $1,000 in there,” Young said.

Surveillance video shows a man that police say is suspected of stealing Young’s debit card number and going on a shopping spree. He allegedly used it four times in two days at Target, Wal-Mart and Macy’s.

Detective Eric Landamia of the Lower Southampton Township Police says the trick was finding out how the thief had gotten Young’s and other victims’ numbers without actually stealing their cards. Police zeroed in on gas stations, where many people pay with their cards right at the pump.

So-called “skimming devices” can be bought legally online for around $200 dollars. They record card numbers on a memory chip.

Hacker and ex-convict Greg Evans, who owns his own security firm, showed CBS News how a crook can use a popsicle stick and superglue to attach the skimmer.

“The first thing we have to do is to make sure we’re lining up the skimmer up here with the credit card so that it goes in evenly,” Evans said. “See, this way the person doesn’t even know when they’re sliding their card in.”

The customer thinks he’s pumping his gas and everything is fine. In actuality, somebody just stole his credit card, Evans said.

Evans demonstrated how to install a rudimentary skimmer in a matter of minutes. The real scam artists can make the skimmer seamless and undetectable to customers. The skimmer can hold about 1,000 credit card numbers, Evans said.

The thief retrieves the skimmer and then downloads the data.

“I was really angry,” Young said. “Very, very angry.”

Police caught the suspect in Young’s case, and are working to get his cooperation to help catch other alleged thieves.

There’s no foolproof way to identify a gas pump that’s been rigged with a skimmer. It’s up to consumers to discover the theft and report it to police and the bank. If it’s proven to be fraud, and reported quickly, all banks have a policy of refunding the money to you.

That’s why Young tells others to check their accounts often. Even if your card’s still in your wallet, someone could be enjoying a shopping spree at your expense.

Read more