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Crime

In Response to Open Letter, France Rejects Asylum For Julian Assange 144 144

Several outlets report that Julian Assange has requested, but been denied, political asylum in France, by means of an open letter published by Le Monde. From The Globe and Mail's coverage, linked above: Less than an hour after his letter was published by Le Monde's website, Hollande's office issued a statement saying the asylum request was rejected.

"France has received the letter from Mr. Assange. An in-depth review shows that in view of the legal and material elements of Mr Assange's situation, France cannot grant his request," the statement said.

"The situation of Mr. Assange does not present any immediate danger. He is also the target of a European arrest warrant," it noted.

Assange wrote in the letter that his youngest child is French, and so is the child’s mother. "I haven't been able to see them in five years, since the political persecution against me started," he said.
Worth noting: Assange's legal team says that Assange's letter has been mischaracterized, and that it is in fact not a request for asylum per se; instead, they assert, the letter merely expresses Assange's "willingness 'to be hosted in France if and only if an initiative was taken by the competent authorities.'"
Google

Japanese Court Orders Google To Delete Past Reports Of Man's Molestation Arrest 260 260

AmiMoJo writes: The Saitama District Court has ordered Google Inc. to delete past reports on a man's arrest over molestation from its online search results after ruling that they violate the man's personal rights. The man, who was arrested about three years ago after molesting a girl under 18, and fined 500,000 yen (£2600, $4000). "He harbors remorse over the incident and is leading a new life. The search results prevent him from rehabilitating himself," the man's defense counsel said. The presiding judge recognized that the incident was not of historical or social significance, that the man is not in public office and that his offense was relatively minor. He concluded there was little public interest in keeping such reports displayed online three years after the incident. The judge acknowledged that search engines play a public role in assisting people's right to know. (AmiMoJo spotted the story on Surado, the new name for Slashdot Japan.)
Crime

Trolls No Longer Welcome In New Zealand 264 264

An anonymous reader writes: Legislation designed to prevent cyber-bullying has passed its final hurdle in the New Zealand Parliament, making it a crime to send harmful messages or put damaging images online. The Harmful Digital Communications Bill passed 116 to 5. The Register reports: "The bill creates a regime under which digital communications causing 'serious emotional distress' are subject to an escalating regime that starts as 'negotiation, mediation or persuasion' but reaches up to creating the offenses of not complying with an order, and 'causing harm by posting digital communication.' The bill covers posts that are racist, sexist, or show religious intolerance, along with hassling people over disability or sexual orientation. There's also a new offense of incitement to suicide (three years' jail).
Encryption

Cameron Asserts UK Gov't Will Leave No "Safe Space" For Private Communications 256 256

An anonymous reader writes with the story from Ars Technica that UK prime minister David Cameron "has re-iterated that the UK government does not intend to 'leave a safe space — a new means of communication — for terrorists to communicate with each other.'" That statement came Monday, as a response to Conservative MP David Bellingham, "who asked [Cameron, on the floor of the House of Commons] whether he agreed that the 'time has come for companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter to accept and understand that their current privacy policies are completely unsustainable?' To which Cameron replied: 'we must look at all the new media being produced and ensure that, in every case, we are able, in extremis and on the signature of a warrant, to get to the bottom of what is going on.'" This sounds like the UK government is declaring a blustery war on encryption, and it might not need too much war: some companies can be persuaded (or would be eager) to cooperate with the government in handing over all kinds of information. However, the bluster part may leave even the fiercest surveillance mostly show: as Ars writer Glyn Moody asks, what about circumstances "where companies can't hand over keys, or where there is no company involved, as with GnuPG, the open source implementation of the OpenPGP encryption system?" Or Tor?
Crime

San Francisco Fiber Optic Cable Cutter Strikes Again 198 198

HughPickens.com writes: USA Today reports that the FBI is investigating at least 11 physical attacks on high-capacity Internet cables in California's San Francisco Bay Area dating back to at least July 6, 2014, including one early this week. "When it affects multiple companies and cities, it does become disturbing," says Special Agent Greg Wuthrich. "We definitely need the public's assistance." The pattern of attacks raises serious questions about the glaring vulnerability of critical Internet infrastructure, says JJ Thompson. "When it's situations that are scattered all in one geography, that raises the possibility that they are testing out capabilities, response times and impact," says Thompson. "That is a security person's nightmare."

Mark Peterson, a spokesman for Internet provider Wave Broadband, says an unspecified number of Sacramento-area customers were knocked offline by the latest attack. Peterson characterized the Tuesday attack as "coordinated" and said the company was working with Level 3 and Zayo to restore service. It's possible the vandals were dressed as telecommunications workers to avoid arousing suspicion, say FBI officials. Backup systems help cushion consumers from the worst of the attacks, meaning people may notice slower email or videos not playing, but may not have service completely disrupted. But repairs are costly and penalties are not stiff enough to deter would-be vandals. "There are flags and signs indicating to somebody who wants to do damage: This is where it is folks," says Richard Doherty. "It's a terrible social crime that affects thousands and millions of people."
Crime

Uber France Leaders Arrested For Running Illegal Taxi Company 329 329

An anonymous reader writes: Two Uber executives were arrested by French authorities for running an illegal taxi company and concealing illegal documents. This is not the first time Uber has run into trouble in France. Recently, taxi drivers started a nation-wide protest, blocking access to Roissy airport and the nation's interior minister issued a ban on UberPop. A statement from an Uber spokesperson to TechCrunch reads: "Our CEO for France and General Manager for Western Europe were invited to a police hearing this afternoon; following this interview, they were taken into custody. We are always available to answer all the questions on our service, and available to the authorities to solve any problem that could come up. Talks are in progress. In the meantime, we keep working in order to make sure that both our customers and drivers are safe following last week’s turmoils."
Transportation

After Protest, France Cracks Down On Uber 177 177

An anonymous reader writes: Just a day after taxi drivers began a high-profile protest of Uber in France, the nation's interior minister has issued a ban on the car-sharing service UberPop. The minister stated that the service was illegal, and ordered police to begin seizing vehicles defying the order. French president Francois Hollande agrees that UberPOP "should be dismantled," but says the state isn't legally permitted to seize cars itself without court authorization. "UberPOP is a car-sharing service offered by Uber, which brings together customers and private drivers at prices lower than those charged by both traditional taxi firms and even other Uber services. UberPOP differs because it allows non-professional drivers to register their car and transport other passengers. It has been illegal in France since January, but the law has proved difficult to enforce and the service continues to operate, AFP news agency reports."
Biotech

Building the Face of a Criminal From DNA 59 59

Dave Knott writes: It sounds like science fiction, but revealing the face of a criminal based on their genes may be closer than we think. In a process known as molecular photo fitting, scientists are experimenting with using genetic markers from DNA to build up a picture of an offender's face. Dr. Peter Claes, a medical imaging specialist at the University of Leuven, has amassed a database of faces and corresponding DNA. Armed with this information, he is able to model how a face is constructed based on just 20 genes (this number will soon be expanded to 200). At the moment, police couldn't publish a molecular photo-fit like this and hope to catch a killer. But that's not how Dr. Claes sees the technique being used in a criminal investigation. "If I were to bring this result to an investigator, I wouldn't necessarily give him the image to broadcast. I would talk to him and say okay, you're looking for a woman, with a very specific chin and eyebrow structure."
Crime

Dallas Police Falsely Credit TrapWire System For Arrests 31 31

In April, the Texas Department of Public Safety told a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, inspired by information leaked by Wikileaks to ask about ways that the agency might be compromising citizen's privacy and other rights, that the TrapWire behavioral analysis system employed in combination with surveillance equipment posted at various high-profile locations around the state had resulted in 44 arrests. However, after numerous public records requests for more information about those claimed arrests, the agency admitted that the true figure is somewhat lower: namely, zero. The story naturally involves "millions" of dollars (though an exact figure for the zero-arrest system isn't named), and Austin-based Stratfor, a company that's been named a few times here on Slashdot.
Crime

Security Oversights and Complacency Set the Stage For Killers' Escape 80 80

HughPickens.com writes: The NY Times reports that although no single lapse or mistake in security enabled two killers to break out of the Clinton Correctional Facility two weeks ago, it is now clear that an array of oversights, years in the making, set the stage for the prison break and for the ensuing manhunt. According to the Times, a sense of complacency had taken hold that in some ways might have been understandable: "There had not been an escape from the 170-year-old prison in decades, and officials say no one had ever broken out of the maximum-security section. ... 'As the months go by, years go by, things get less strict,' says [retired corrections officer] Keith Provost. ... [U]nlike many prisons and jails across the country, there are no video cameras on the cellblocks at the Clinton facility that might have detected suspicious activity." And although prison rules forbid putting sheets across cell bars to obstruct viewing, in practice, officers say, inmates frequently were allowed to hang sheets for lengthy periods. Officials say there is a good chance that the two men had been at work on their plan for weeks, maybe months. Night after night, the authorities have come to believe, the two men stuffed their beds with crude dummies, slipped out of holes they had cut in the back of their cells and climbed down five stories using the piping along the walls. They then set to work inside the tunnels under the prison, spending hours preparing their path of escape before returning to their cells unobserved. No contemporary prison break has reminded me so much of the 1962 breakout from Alcatraz (theories on survival aside).
Spam

86.2 Million Phone Scam Calls Delivered Each Month In the US 193 193

An anonymous reader writes with a report from Help Net Security which assigns some numbers to the lucrative fraud-by-phone business in the U.S. -- and it's not just the most naive who are vulnerable. "Phone fraud continues to threaten enterprises across industries and borders, with the leading financial institutions' call centers exposed to more than $9 million to potential fraud each year," says the article. "Pindrop analyzed several million calls for threats, and found a 30 percent rise in enterprise attacks and more than 86.2 million attacks per month on U.S. consumers. Credit card issuers receive the highest rate of fraud attempts, with one in every 900 calls being fraudulent."

What's been your experience with fraudulent robocalls? I've been getting them on a near-daily basis -- fake credit card alerts, "computer support" malware-install attempts, and more -- for a few years now, which makes whitelisting seem attractive. ("Bridget from account services" has been robo-calling a lot lately, and each time she says it is my final notice.) My biggest worry is that the people behind these scams, like spammers, will hire copywriters who can fool many more people.
Security

E-Detective Spy Tool Used By Police and Governments Has Major Security Holes 64 64

DavidGilbert99 writes: A controversial intercept tool called E-Detective from Taiwanese based company Decision Group has a major security hole which could allow a hacker to remotely execute code and read all the data captured by the software. Considering over 100 law enforcement agencies and governments around the world use E-Detective, this could be a big problem. According to the International Business Times story: "E-Detective works by 'sniffing the network' it is monitoring and captures data packets before sending them to be reassembled and decoded. Unlike other products E-Detective promises to 'reconstruct the data to its original format' for the end users so that it will be seen the same way that it was seen on the network. E-Detective also advertises as a network forensic tool for private enterprises to "protect sensitive data from data leakage".
Crime

Interviews: Ask Brian Krebs About Security and Cybercrime 53 53

Brian Krebs got his start as a reporter at The Washington Post and after having his entire network taken down by the Lion Worm, crime and cybersecurity became his focus. In 2005, Krebs started the Security Fix blog and Krebs On Security in 2009, which remains one of the most popular sources of cybercrime and security news. Brian is credited with being the first journalist to report on Stuxnet and one of his investigative series on the McColo botnet is estimated to have led to a 40-70% decline in junk e-mail sent worldwide. Unfortunately for Krebs, he's also well known to criminals. In 2013 he became one of the first journalists to be a victim of Swatting and a few months later a package of heroin was delivered to his home. Brian has agreed to give us some of his time and answer any questions you may have about crime and cybersecurity. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Crime

Baseball Team Hacks Another Team's Networks, FBI Investigates 105 105

An anonymous reader writes: The St. Louis Cardinals have been one of the better baseball teams over the past several years. The Houston Astros have been one of the worst. Nevertheless, there is evidence that officials for the Cardinals broke into a network maintained by the Astros in order to gain access to "internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics, and scouting reports." The FBI is now leading an investigation into the breach, and they have served subpoenas to the Cardinals and to Major League Baseball demanding access to electronic correspondence. It's the first known instance of corporate espionage involving a network breach in professional sports. Law enforcement said the intrusion "did not appear to be sophisticated." It seems likely that a personal vendetta against the Astros's general manager is involved.
Crime

FBI Investigating Series of Fiber Cuts In San Francisco Bay Area 168 168

jfruh writes: Ten times over four separate nights in the past year, telecom cables have been mysteriously cut in various locations around the San Francisco Bay Area. Now the FBI is investigating the incidents as potential sabotage. ITWorld reports: "In the past year, there were 10 instances on four separate nights when telecom cables were intentionally cut in Fremont, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Berkeley and San Jose, the agency said Monday. FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich said it's unclear if the incidents are unrelated or the work of a single person or group, but the FBI is keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious."
Security

Malware Attacks Give Criminals 1,425% Return On Investment 124 124

An anonymous reader writes: Trustwave released a new report which reveals the top cybercrime, data breach and security threat trends. According to their findings, attackers receive an estimated 1,425 percent return on investment for exploit kit and ransomware schemes ($84,100 net revenue for each $5,900 investment). Retail was the most compromised industry making up 43 percent of investigations followed by food and beverage (13 percent) and hospitality (12 percent).
Social Networks

US Teen Pleads Guilty To Teaching ISIS About Bitcoin Via Twitter 312 312

jfruh writes: Ali Shukri Amin, a 17-year-old from Virginia, has pleaded guilty to charges that he aided ISIS by giving the group advice about using bitcoin. An odd and potentially troubling aspect of the charges is that this all took place in public — he Tweeted out links to an article on his blog about how bitcoin and Darknet could help jihadi groups, making it difficult to say whether he was publishing information protected under free speech or was directly advising the terrorist organization. Free speech qua speech isn't the only relevant charge, though: Amin "also admitted facilitating the travel of another teenager, 18-year-old Reza Niknejad, to Syria to join IS. Amin faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison if convicted."
Crime

Amazon Publishes Opaque Transparency Report 22 22

Mark Wilson writes: Post-Snowden there is great interest in just what involvement the government has with technology firms. There are frequent requests from government agencies for information about users and the likes of Google, Snapchat and even the NSA itself have all released transparency reports that reveal, in broad strokes, the number of requests for data they have received. Amazon is the latest company to release a transparency report — although the term really should be used in the loosest possible sense. The report includes scant details about the number of subpoenas, search warrants, court orders, and national security requests received in the first five months of 2015. The report is so vague as to be virtually meaningless.
Crime

49 Suspected Members of Cybercriminal Group Arrested In Europe 23 23

An anonymous reader writes: A joint international operation led to the arrests of 49 suspected members of a cybercriminal group in Europe. The operation involved law enforcement agencies from several different nations, including Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Georgia, and the UK. Police searched 58 separate properties, seizing laptops, hard disks, telephones, tablets, credit cards and cash, SIM cards, memory sticks, forged documents and bank account documents. The criminals came to the attention of police after repeatedly initiating man-in-the-middle attacks against European companies, using intrusions and social engineering to route corporate payments to their own bank accounts.