HACKERS SPY ON HOTEL GUESTS AND TARGET NORTH KOREAN ORGANIZATIONS

“A security firm linked a recent wave of hacked hotel Wi-Fi networks to one of the groups suspected of breaching the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election, according to Wired.

The group, known as Fancy Bear or APT28, used tools allegedly stolen from the National Security Agency to conduct widespread surveillance on higher-end hotels that were likely to attract corporate or other high-value targets, the cybersecurity firm FireEye reported. FireEye has “moderate confidence” Fancy Bear was behind such a surveillance campaign in 2016, and others in recent months at hotels in Europe and one Middle Eastern capital. The campaign’s target, however, is unclear.

FireEye said the hackers used phishing emails to spread attachments infected with the alleged NSA exploit Eternal Blue. They eventually worked their way to corporate and guest Wi-Fi networks, where they could intercept guest information and collect credentials.

The Wired article suggested travelers should bring their own hotspots and avoid connecting to hotel networks.

Security Researchers: North Korea Hit with Malware Campaign

An unknown group has targeted North Korean organizations with malware that would allow repeated access to systems.

Security researchers say the latest campaign—after a July 3 intercontinental ballistic missile test—is at least the fifth attack in three years, Dark Reading reported. That campaign used a copy-pasted news article about the missile launch to trick recipients into launching the malware, the security firm Talos reported.

At first, the Konni malware used in the campaign only gathered information, but it later evolved to include the ability to remotely take control of some seized accounts, according to Talos and another security firm Cylance. The malware is capable of logging keystrokes, capturing screens and uses advanced techniques to avoid detection, the firms reported.

“The motivation behind these campaigns is uncertain, however it does appear to be geared towards espionage against targets who would be interested in North Korean affairs,” Cylance researchers said.”

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Op-Ed: Doing “God’s Work” from the “Dark Side”

“Prosecutors like to say they are “doing God’s work” by representing the interests of victims. An ex-prosecutor I interviewed for my book, Making a Case for Innocence, used those words when I asked her why some prosecutors are willing to lie or hide evidence to get a conviction, and why some prosecutors seem more focused on winning cases than getting to the truth.

“At the end of the day, we want justice,” she said.

A vague answer, at best.

Still, it might explain the tunnel vision I see infecting some prosecutors: Too many of them seem so driven in their mission to “put the bad guys away,” that they become overconfident in their rightness and are tempted to bend the rules—all to ensure a “mission accomplished.”

I admit, it rubs me the wrong way when a government employee suggests that justice is only served by a conviction. Putting “bad guys” away is all well and fine, but some prosecutors seem to forget that not everyone sitting at the defendant’s table is a “bad guy.”

To a degree, it’s a problem of philosophy: Many prosecutors are in the business of pursuing guilt, so they see it everywhere. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And many police departments view themselves more as law enforcers than as society’s protectors, or as crime preventers.

Meanwhile, many criminal defense attorneys and investigators feel as strongly as prosecutors do that they are doing “God’s work.” By protecting the rights of people charged with crimes, they counterbalance the power of prosecutors and police, and thus, make our system fairer for all.

We don’t know the exact number of innocent people currently incarcerated, but we can estimate based on exoneration rates:”

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How New Tech Knows If a Fingerprint Is ‘Alive’

“It’s a classic, if gruesome, staple of Hollywood action movies. The villain, desperate to gain access to the secret government vault, tricks the biometric security system by opening the door with the severed finger — or dangling eyeball — of the security guard.

In the real world, fake fingerprints and other forms of biometric spoofing pose serious challenges to the security community. Just this week, a team of Japanese researchers proved how easy it is to copy someone’s fingerprints from a “peace” sign selfie. A few years back, a hacker scanned the fingerprints of the German defense minister using a publically available press photo. The same hacker once fashioned a fake thumb out of wood glue to fool Apple’s Touch ID sensor.

But before you toss your new iPhone out the window or put on gloves every time you take a selfie, you might want to hear about a new technology that can tell if a biometric image like a fingerprint or an iris scan is really “alive.”

Matthew Valenti is the West Virginia University site director for the Center for Identification Technology Research, a multi-institution collaboration that has developed and patented anti-spoofing technology based on something called liveness detection.

“There are subtle features that are only present in a living person,” Valenti told Seeker. “Your fingers, for example, have tiny pores in them, and the signal processing algorithms used to scan your fingerprint can look for the presence of sweat in your pores. A spoof wouldn’t have that.”

Valenti’s colleague Stephanie Schuckers at Clarkson University is a pioneering researcher in liveness detection. She has tested her perspiration algorithms against fake fingers made out of wax and Play-Doh, and also a few dozen cadaver fingers from the morgue. Schuckers’ algorithms are the core technology behind NexID Biometrics, a private company claiming that its software can spot a fake fingerprint with 94 percent to 98 percent accuracy.

Still, liveness detection is so new that you won’t even find it on the latest biometric gadgets like the new MacBook Pro. So should we be concerned that hackers and identity thieves are scouring Instagram looking for fingerprints to steal?”

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Florida duo nabbed in multi-state debit card skimming operation

“Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, joined by Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker and Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office representatives, announced the arrests of two individuals for their role in an apparent multi-state debit card skimming scheme that bilked unsuspecting victims in Alabama and surrounding states of thousands of dollars.

On Dec. 21, Reiner Perez Rives, 34, and Eunises Llorca Meneses, 30, both of the Orlando, Florida area, were apprehended by deputies of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and investigators of the Attorney General’s Office.

Rives and Meneses face charges from the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office for trafficking in stolen identities, identity theft and an illegally obtained or an illegally possessed credit card.

Rives also awaits 15 counts of identity theft to be served by the Ozark Police Department. Additional charges may be filed in both jurisdictions and in surrounding states pending further review of recovered evidence and the identification of other victims.

On Dec. 13, the Ozark Police Department contacted investigators of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office seeking assistance in solving approximately eight identity theft cases that had occurred within two days.

Investigators traced five of the thefts to a local gas station where a skimming device wrapped in electrical tape was bundled with wires inside a gas pump. The two suspects were later identified after one of the victim’s debit cards was traced to an unauthorized purchase at a Bristol, Virginia, gas station.

A surveillance video of the suspect’s license plate revealed a rental car linked to Rives. Attorney General investigators, working with the Ozark Police Department, tracked Rives and Meneses to Texas.

The suspects were apprehended as they traveled back through Alabama by the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office which was alerted by the Attorney General’s Office.

The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and agents of the Attorney General’s Office seized from the suspects $6,490 in cash, 39 stolen debit card numbers with PINs and an additional 315 gift cards with an undetermined amount of personal information. Rives and Meneses are currently being held in the Baldwin County jail.”

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Plastic banknotes: new fingerprint technique means criminals can’t avoid capture

“The UK has just introduced plastic banknotes, almost 30 years after they were used for the first time in Australia. The polymer notes are designed to last longer and be harder to forge. But the new notes, which will replace the old cotton paper ones entirely by 2020, come with a challenge for police detectives and forensic scientists.

The existing techniques for obtaining fingerprints from paper notes won’t necessarily work for the new plastic money. However, our team at the chemistry department of Loughborough University has developed a potential solution.

The use of fingerprints in forensic science may date back to the 19th century, but in the UK alone it still plays a key role in bringing charges in some 27,000 crimes a year, according to Home Office data we obtained. But new materials can pose significant challenges for fingerprinting. We’re forever trying to make things biodegradable, or handling devices that simply didn’t exist a decade or two ago.

The issue is that the new notes have been fashioned from “biaxially oriented” polypropylene, a type of plastic that has been strengthened by stretching it in two directions. They are also, as with all notes, deliberately fiddly in design. Illustrations and security features such as foil and transparent sections make it harder to develop a perfect print.

The key is to try to find a method that will make the design of the note invisible and just highlight the print. Conventional techniques, such as exposing the fingerprint to cyanoacrylate (“superglue”) fumes that stick to the moisture in the ridges of the print and turn them white, can struggle in such circumstances. The developed print simply appears white and so is harder to see against the background, and it leaves an indelible mark or stain that means the note can’t be returned to circulation.”

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Memorial museum security guard enjoys working among natural history

Editor’s note: In 300 words or fewer, this series spotlights people in our community whose stories typically go untold.

It’s still dark outside as Michael Fallon walks up the stairs to work, passing a saber-toothed tiger on his left. He unlocks the front door and flicks on the lights, illuminating the 40-foot wingspan of a Texas Pterosaur hovering above him.

Fallon is the first one at work every day and the last one out. Until the next employee arrives around 9 a.m., the Texas Memorial Museum’s 66 million-year-old Monasaur skeleton keeps him company.

“A lot of people kid me about that movie ‘Night At The Museum,’” he said. “If the animals were to come alive, it would be spooky, but in reality, it’s just very quiet.”

Most of his workday is spent in his security nook inside the museum’s Great Hall. Two computer screens stare back at him with live surveillance footage of the museum grounds.

At all times, he is ready to respond to a crisis. After nine years in the U.S. Air Force and 23 with UTPD, he is well versed in emergency protocol, although at the museum he rarely has to use it.

“If I can keep people happy and safe, that makes me happy,” he said.

In 2010, Fallon retired from UTPD because it was time for a new chapter in his life. He said being a cop is a young man’s game, and as he moved deeper into his 50s, he wanted a change of pace.

The museum provided just that. Michael gets to see every patron who comes through the museum, from retirement home groups to pre-K classes. He watches each of them experience the same wonder and awe he feels every day from his security nook.

“I think people should appreciate natural history so they know what was here long before we were and appreciate what we have now,” he said. “It humbles you.”

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Driver’s licenses from 5 states no longer valid ID to enter Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg visitors from some states will no longer be allowed to use only their driver’s license to enter the post.

Officials have said the nation’s largest military installation has begun enforcement of the REAL ID Act, a 10-year-old law meant to help lawmakers detect fake identification following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Fewer than half of all states currently comply with the law, but most others, including North Carolina and Virginia, have received an extension to comply by Oct. 10.

Residents of states without an extension – including Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington – will no longer be able to use their state-issued identification “effective immediately,” said Fort Bragg spokeswoman Christina Douglas.

Those visitors will need to use some other form of identification, such as a U.S. passport, or be escorted at all times on the installation.

Fort Bragg officials said the process for gaining access to post is unchanged for the vast majority of visitors.

“If you have a DOD-issued ID card, you can use it at the gates as you always have,” said spokesman Tom McCollum.

The REAL ID Act was born out of recommendations from the 9/11 Commission report in 2004.

That report noted that preventing terrorists from obtaining state-issued identification documents was critical to national security.

The law does not create a national identification card or database of driver’s license information, but instead sets national standards for states to use to help prevent the use of fake IDs, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The law serves as a mandate on federal agencies, and participation by states is voluntary, although federal agencies are prohibited from accepting identification from noncompliant states for many official purposes.

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Good Samaritan saves Ind. officer from burning car

A Good Samaritan rescued a 15-year veteran officer out of a burning vehicle Saturday, WSBT 22 reported.

St. Joseph County Police Department Cpl. Mario Cavurro was heading southbound to another incident when an SUV collided with his cruiser, Asst. Chief Bill Thompson told the news site.

Bystander Mark Grudzinski was first on the scene. He grabbed the cruiser’s fire extinguisher and started spraying the flames.

Cavurro had become entangled in the seat belt so Grudzinski reached in to pull officer to safety. Grudzinski stayed with Cavurro until an ambulance arrived.

Cavurro was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Three passengers in the SUV were reportedly uninjured.

The cause of the collision is still under investigation.

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Security Guard Praised for Coming to Aid of Man Trapped Under Bus

A security guard told today how he came to the aid of a teenager who was trapped under a double decker bus following a rush hour crash in Norwich by laying underneath the vehicle with the injured man.

Kiernan Broom, 22, has been praised by emergency services for his quick thinking on Tuesday afternoon after stopping to help the 19-year-old who he saw come off the pavement and under the bus which was packed with students at the time.

Within seconds of spotting the incident Mr Broom, who was heading out of the city, drove his car across the busy road and along the grass verge before leaping out of his car – with the keys in and engine still running – while on the phone to the emergency services.

The former Framingham Earl High School pupil said he told a “hysterical” woman who had also seen what had happened that he had called 999 and everything was going to be “all right” before looking up and seeing a bus full of students looking to get off the Konect Express vehicle.

He said: “I put my head through the door and screamed at them to stay on the bus and get back as they were bringing the weight of the bus down.”

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School bus carrying 27 kids plunges into water

TAMPA — As the school bus loaded with 27 elementary school kids overturned and plunged into the water Thursday afternoon, 10-year-old Nicholas Sierra thought of one thing:

His job.

As other kids scrambled crying and screaming from the bus, the Mary E. Bryant Elementary School safety patroller grabbed a kindergartner. Her arms were wrapped tightly around Nicholas’ neck as he climbed out of the bus and took her to safe, dry land.

Then the fifth-grader went back into the half-submerged bus and came out with two more kids, a first- and second-grader.

“It wouldn’t be fair if they died and I lived,” said Nicholas afterward, still wearing his damp, electric-lime fluorescent safety patrol belt.

Thanks to the safety patroller’s heroics and some good fortune, none of the 27 schoolchildren were seriously hurt when their 21-year-old Hillsborough County school bus veered off Nine Eagles Drive, crashed and overturned into a 4-foot deep pond, authorities said.

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