Category Archives: Crime

Hackers Target Phone Numbers To Steal Identity 

By: Nathaniel Popper

Hackers have discovered that one of the most central elements of online security — the mobile phone number — is also one of the easiest to steal.

In a growing number of online attacks, hackers have been calling up Verizon, T-Mobile U.S., Sprint and AT&T and asking them to transfer control of a victim’s phone number to a device under the control of the hackers.

Once they get control of the phone number, they can reset the passwords on every account that uses the phone number as a security backup — as services like Google, Twitter and Facebook suggest.

“My iPad restarted, my phone restarted and my computer restarted, and that’s when I got the cold sweat and was like, ‘O.K., this is really serious,’” said Chris Burniske, a virtual currency investor who lost control of his phone number late last year.

A wide array of people have complained about being successfully targeted by this sort of attack, including a Black Lives Matter activist and the chief technologist of the Federal Trade Commission. The commission’s own data shows that the number of so-called phone hijackings has been rising. In January 2013, there were 1,038 such incidents reported; by January 2016, that number had increased to 2,658.

But a particularly concentrated wave of attacks has hit those with the most obviously valuable online accounts: virtual currency fanatics like Mr. Burniske.

Within minutes of getting control of Mr. Burniske’s phone, his attackers had changed the password on his virtual currency wallet and drained the contents — some $150,000 at today’s values.

Most victims of these attacks in the virtual currency community have not wanted to acknowledge it publicly for fear of provoking their adversaries. But in interviews, dozens of prominent people in the industry acknowledged that they had been victimized in recent months.

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Catholic Church Refuses To Pay Victims Of Child Sex Abuse

By: Fiona Keating of The Independent 

The Catholic Church and British local authorities have been accused of using a legal loophole to avoid paying compensation to victims of child sex abuse.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, a government agency, has denied some children financial settlements because it said the victims had “consented” to the abuse, a group of charities has warned.

Lawyers representing victims have warned that this line of defence is becoming increasingly common.
One case that the charity Victim Support brought attention to involved a 12-year-old girl who was given alcohol, brought into woodland and then sexually assaulted by a 21-year-old male. The girl was denied compensation because she had “voluntarily” gone into the woods with the man.

“No child ever gives their ‘consent’ to being abused, and the increased use of this line of defence, although still quite rare, is worrying,” said Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England. “I have contacted the Ministry of Justice previously and again recently about this issue and the Government should look urgently at what can be done to tackle it.”

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Terrorist Attack In Spain

By: Laura Smith-Spark of CNN

At least 13 people were killed and more than 50 injured after a van rammed through crowds of people in the heart of Barcelona Thursday in what police described as a terror attack.

Eyewitnesses reported scenes of panic and chaos as the van plowed through crowds in the renowned Las Ramblas avenue, which was teeming at the time with locals and tourists.

One person has been arrested, Catalan police said. Police are treating the incident as a terror attack and have sealed off the area.

“We can confirm 13 dead and more than 50 injured,” Joaquim Forn, the Catalan interior minister, told a news conference.

City officials ordered all public events to be canceled, while emergency services requested the closure of metro and train stations in the area.

Reports of the attack first emerged on social media at about 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET). About two hours later, police confirmed that Spain had suffered a deadly attack.

It was the latest in a series of attacks in Europe in which vehicles have been used to mow down pedestrians in public spaces.

Catalan police said they were continuing to hunt for the perpetrators and that the force had activated its terror response protocols. Unconfirmed reports suggested the suspects may have been attempting to reach a getaway vehicle.

Local Spanish media earlier reported that two armed men had entered a restaurant. But Catalan police dismissed rumors that the attacker had been holed up near Las Ramblas and said there “was never a hostage situation.”

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South Korean President Vows To Prevent War At All Costs 

By: Peter Pae of Bloomberg 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that any military action against Kim Jong Un’s regime requires his nation’s approval, and vowed to prevent war at all costs.

“There will be no war repeated on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said in a speech on Tuesday marking the anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation in the 1940s. Military action against North Korea should be decided by “ourselves and not by anyone else,” he said.

While Moon said that South Korea would work with the U.S. to counter security threats, he emphasized the need to focus on diplomatic efforts. Sanctions were designed to bring North Korea to the negotiating table over its nuclear and missile weapons programs, he said.

The comments from a key U.S. ally contrast with the threats of war coming from President Donald Trump, who vowed to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang if Kim persists with advancements in his arsenal, particularly intercontinental ballistic missiles. Trump’s rhetoric has raised concerns that a miscalculation — or unilateral action by the U.S. — could spark a military conflict that risks devastating North Korea’s neighbors.

The diminishing prospects of war have helped equities to rally. Stock indexes from Tokyo to Hong Kong to Sydney climbed on Tuesday after the S&P 500 Index surged 1 percent, while havens such as gold, Treasuries and the yen retreated.

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Driver Who Plowed In To Protestors Saturday Afternoon in Virginia Is Denied Bail

Compliments of The BBC

James Alex Fields was denied bail as he was arraigned for second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run.

Heather Heyer, 32, died and 19 were injured when a car hit demonstrators in Charlottesville on Saturday.

Mr Fields is said to have harboured Nazi sympathies.

President Donald Trump has been criticised for not specifically denouncing the far-right elements in the weekend’s march.

But the White House has defended his remarks as explicitly condemning the white supremacy groups involved.

Ken Frazier, CEO of drugs giant Merck, announced on Monday he would resign from the president’s American Manufacturing Council over Mr Trump’s response to Charlottesville.

Mr Frazier, who is African American, tweeted he had “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism”.

James Alex Fields looked nervous and listless on the small monitor in the corner of the courtroom. Mostly he kept his head down, his eyes darting occasionally up towards the camera.

He was wearing a striped jumpsuit and had the neat, buzzcut hairstyle favoured by many white supremacists and neo-nazis who have united under the banner of the so-called “alt-right”.

Judge Robert Downer read his charges – one count of murder, one count of hit and run, three counts of malicious wounding.

Alex Fields spoke briefly to say he was employed by Securitas and Omni Ohio, could not afford a lawyer, and had no ties to Charlottesville. Judge Robert Downer denied him bail, and revealed he could not be appointed a public defender because someone in the public defender’s office was directly affected by the crime.

His appointed lawyer, Charles Webster, named in court by the judge, had yet to be contacted to inform him of his latest client.

In 10 minutes it was over. Outside the court, known white nationalist Matthew Heimbach was shouting that the death of Heather Heyer was the fault of the police.

“Nazis go home,” the crowd chanted back at him. “I think I like it in Charlottesville,” he said. “I think I’ll stay.”

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OJ Simpson Granted Parole After Nearly 9 Years In Jail 

By: Emily Shapiro of ABC

O.J. Simpson has been granted parole after nine years in prison for a Las Vegas robbery, a group of four Nevada commissioners decided today.

The imprisoned former NFL player could be released as early as Oct. 1.

Simpson, 70, delivered a rambling account of the case to the parole board earlier today, maintaining that he didn’t intend to steal but “wish this would have never happened.”

Simpson was at times jovial and combative with the members of the parole board, expressing his remorse and saying he’s humbled by his incarceration. Simpson was sentenced to prison following an arrest in 2007 during a botched robbery in Las Vegas, when he led a group of men into a hotel and casino to steal sports memorabilia at gunpoint. He contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him.
Simpson said today, “I take full responsibility.”
Simpson appeared remotely via video conference from Lovelock Correctional Facility in Nevada, where he’s serving time for kidnapping and armed robbery. Simpson began by explaining what he said led to crime, telling the board how he learned that some “some guys” were trying to “fence” what he said were his personal mementos in Las Vegas.

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9/11 Survivors Push Harder To Force Theresa May’s Hand In Releasing Supressed Saudi Arabia Terrorism Report 

By: Andrew Buncombe, Ashley Cowburn of The Independent 

Britain’s Labour Party has thrown its weight behind demands from US 9/11 survivors for Prime Minister Theresa May to release a suppressed report into the extent of Saudi Arabia’s financing of Islamic extremism within the UK.

The report was commissioned by David Cameron as part of a political deal to obtain political support for a parliamentary vote on UK airstrikes on Syria.

After Ms May’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said last week the report would not be released “for national security reasons”, a group of survivors and relatives of those who died in the attacks on New York and Washington, wrote to Ms May urging her to change her mind and release the report.

“The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government’s report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its centre of culpability,” says the letter, signed by 15 people.

“The longer Saudi Arabia’s complicity is hidden from sunlight, the longer terrorism will continue. They must be stopped; but who will stop them? We submit that you are uniquely situated to shine the cleansing light of public consciousness.”

Sharon Premoli, one of the authors of the letter, was on the 80th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre when the first Al-Qaeda plane struck, also sent the letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott. 
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New Bill To Require California Police To Show Body Cam Videos 

By: Michael Balsamo 

A longstanding national debate about police transparency and privacy has been reignited in California with legislation that would require law enforcement agencies to release body camera video and recordings of fatal police shootings and other significant incidents.

The proposal, which comes amid a push across the U.S. for body camera recordings to be released more quickly after fatal police shootings, seeks to establish a statewide policy on when body camera footage and other audio and video recordings should be released.

The state Senate’s Public Safety Committee has scheduled a hearing Tuesday on Assembly Bill 748, which would amend California’s public records statute to limit the discretion that police departments have for withholding body camera videos. The proposed measure would require police departments to release video in cases where law enforcement officers use force or in incidents where it is believed there is a violation of law or public policy.

More than a dozen law enforcement organizations oppose the measure and many contend it should be up to local police departments to determine when, if ever, body camera footage should be released.

State lawmakers have failed to pass a handful of different bills in the last few years that addressed body-worn video, including establishing policies on when officers should turn their cameras on and off and when the public would have access to videos.

Several California police departments, including the Los Angeles Police Department, maintain policies denying the disclosure of body camera videos and consider the footage to be investigative records that are exempt from the state’s open records law.
“We have a patchwork of policies and in some instances, very little policy, as to when the public can access the information and when the public can’t,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, who introduced the bill. “Body cameras were created to improve greater public trust between law enforcement and community members and without access to that video footage we’re not really able to achieve those goals.”

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Le Pen Under Investigation 

Compliments of The BBC 

The allegations were passed to French investigators who have opened a case.

The parliament suspects some €5m (£4m; $5.4m) went to assistants of Ms Le Pen’s National Front (FN) who were not working for MEPs but were actually engaged in FN party work in France.

The National Front has denied the allegations.

Ms Le Pen, 48, has also denied any wrongdoing and has said the case is politically motivated.

The alleged fraudulent payments – from 2012 onwards – concern her and several other FN MEPs.

The allegations first arose on 27 April, ahead of the second round of voting in the French presidential election.

Ms Le Pen was soundly beaten by Emmanuel Macron, by 66% to 34%. She later won a seat in the French parliament in legislative elections.

Ms Le Pen had refused to answer questions on the matter during the campaign but said she would co-operate after the final round of presidential election voting.

Her lawyer said she had been summoned by magistrates in Paris and “as expected, placed under criminal investigation”.

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Putin Provides Specific Instructions To Support Trumps Presidency 

Compliments of CBS 

A report Friday morning claims Russian President Vladimir Putin gave direct instructions to help elect Donald Trump president.

According to a Washington Post investigation, former President Obama received a secret CIA report in August.

That report “captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives – defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.”

CBS News confirmed last year that U.S. intelligence officials knew that the Russian government operation to interfere in the U.S. election had been approved by Putin himself, but they were reluctant to reveal how much they knew out of concern that sources and methods could be compromised, CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports.

The Post reports that U.S. intelligence agencies had sourcing deep inside the Russian government capturing Putin’s direct instructions in the operation.

The Post also reports that before he left office Mr. Obama set in motion a secret program that authorized the deployment of “implants” in Russian networks – digital bombs that could be triggered in a retaliatory cyberstrike in the event of Moscow aggression – and that it would be up to President Trump to decide to use the capability.

CBS News confirmed that Obama officials felt that their effort to expel Russian diplomats in retaliation was undermined by the incoming administration.

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