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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chinese Company and Employee Deny Any Involvement in Hacking Attacks

Excerpt from an article in

The New York Times
Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chinese Company and Employee Deny Any Involvement in Hacking Attacks

By DAVID BARBOZA

SHANGHAI — Tencent, a Chinese Internet company, denied on Friday that one of its employees had been involved in a recent breach of computers belonging to Japanese and Indian companies, as well as Tibetan activists.

The company and the employee suggested that his identity might have been confused with someone else’s.

The company released a statement soon after Trend Micro, a computer security company with headquarters in Tokyo, released a report on Friday describing the breach. It was the result of a nearly yearlong effort to hack into computers and steal information from hundreds of companies and individuals in several countries, the report said.

The report never identified a hacker by name. But it linked the attacks to an alias used by a graduate of Sichuan University in western China who wrote several articles on computer hacking and defense. The researchers found the alias through its connection to an e-mail address and a QQ number, the Chinese equivalent of an instant messaging screen name.

The New York Times identified the owner of the alias as Gu Kaiyuan, based on online records of his writing. Mr. Gu is now an employee at Tencent, which offers social networking, instant messaging, online gaming and other online features.

On Thursday, when asked about the attacks, Mr. Gu said, “I have nothing to say.” On Friday, however, he denied involvement.

With Advance Warning, Bracing for Attack on Internet by Anonymous

Excerpt from an article in

The New York Times
Added on Saturday, March 31, 2012

With Advance Warning, Bracing for Attack on Internet by Anonymous

By SOMINI SENGUPTA

SAN FRANCISCO — On a quiet Sunday in mid-February, something curious attracted the attention of the behind-the-scenes engineers who scour the Internet for signs of trouble. There, among the ubiquitous boasts posted by the hacking collective Anonymous, was a call to attack some of the network’s most crucial parts.

The message called it Operation Global Blackout, and rallied Anonymous supporters worldwide to attack the Domain Name System, which converts human-friendly domain names like google.com into numeric addresses that are more useful for computers.

It declared when the attack would be carried out: March 31. And it detailed exactly how: by bombarding the Domain Name System with junk traffic in an effort to overwhelm it altogether.

There was no way to know for sure whether this was a pre-April Fool’s Day hoax or a credible threat. After all, this was Anonymous, a decentralized movement with no leaders and no coherent ideology, but a track record of considerable damage. The call to arms would have to be treated as one would treat a bomb threat called in to a high school football game. The engineers would have to prepare.

Those preparations turned into a fast-track, multimillion-dollar global effort to beef up the Domain Name System. They offer a glimpse into the largely unknown forces that keep the Internet running in the face of unpredictable, potentially devastating threats.

Among those leading the effort was Bill Woodcock, whose nonprofit based in San Francisco, Packet Clearing House, defends vital pieces of Internet infrastructure. By his calculation, the Anonymous threat was as good a reason as any to accelerate what might have been done anyway over the next several months: fortify the network, chiefly by expanding the capacity of the root servers that are its main pillar.

“Whether or not Anonymous carries out this particular attack, there are larger attacks that do happen,” Mr. Woodcock said. “A forewarning of this attack allowed everyone to act proactively for a change. We can get out in front of the bigger attacks.”

Visa and MasterCard Investigate Data Breach

Excerpt from an article in

The New York Times
Saturday, March 31, 2012

Visa and MasterCard Investigate Data Breach

By JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG and NELSON D. SCHWARTZ

Visa and MasterCard are investigating whether a data security breach at one of the main companies that processes transactions improperly exposed private customer information, bank officials said Friday. The event highlighted a crucial vulnerability that could affect millions of credit card holders.

The breach occurred at Global Payments, an Atlanta company that helps Visa and MasterCard process transactions for merchants. One bank executive estimated that about one million to three million accounts could be affected. That does not mean that all those cards were used fraudulently, but that credit card information on the cardholders was exposed.

The bank official, who insisted on anonymity because the inquiry is at an early stage, said that Visa and MasterCard notified his company on Thursday, but that banks had been frustrated with the pace of disclosure by Global Payments. He said that Global Payments, which is one of the biggest transactions processors, had provided little information on where the breaches took place, how accounts were hacked and other details that could indicate which customers might be vulnerable.

Banks said that when they could identify victims, they would notify them and replace credit cards, if necessary.

While far from the largest breach of credit card data in recent years, the latest incident, which is being investigated by major banks and federal authorities as well as the card companies, underscores concerns about the vulnerability of electronic financial data.

Malware, Phishing Gather in North America

In its annual review of global security threats, Websense says a major trend it observed last year is that more malware connections, hosting and phishing appear to be occurring in the United States and Canada.

"50 percent of malware connections lead to the U.S.," says Charles Renert, vice president of Websense Security Labs. According to the 2012 Websense Threat Report, Canada's malware ranking has also zoomed upward in the past year, so the country now clocks in at No. 2 at 13.2 percent. The countries in the top five ranking include Germany at 5.4 percent, the Netherlands at 4.9 percent and China at 4.1 percent.
China and Russia used to be much bigger in the rankings, according to Websense, but since organizations have been more often blocking IP ranges for these countries, cybercriminals have turned to getting malware closer to their victims by exploiting trusted networks, such as social-networking sites. (See also "Best Security Suites: PC Bodyguards.")

For more, click the link below:


http://www.pcworld.com/article/252909/malware_phishing_gather_in_north_america.html#tk.nl_bdx_h_crawl

Government and advertisers have different ideas about 'Do Not Track' - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

The Obama administration and the technology industry have touted the creation of a "Do Not Track" button to help consumers protect their privacy online, but the government and advertisers are not on the same page about what the button will do.
The Federal Trade Commission first proposed a Do Not Track button in 2010. The concept is modeled on the agency's popular "Do Not Call" list, which allows consumers to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls.
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz urged Web companies to voluntarily set up a system for users to opt out of online tracking and warned that legislation could be necessary if they failed to act.

Last month, all of the major Web browsers promised to create a Do Not Track feature, and the Digital Advertising Alliance, a coalition of advertising trade groups, said that by the end of the year, they would stop displaying targeted ads to users who had selected the feature in their browsers.
The commitment was announced as part of the White House's unveiling of its "Privacy Bill of Rights" – a set of principles about how companies should handle users' personal data.
Leibowitz praised the companies for "stepping up" to his challenge and said the feature would ensure "consumers have greater choice and control over how they are tracked online."
But Mike Zaneis, general counsel of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a member of the Digital Advertising Alliance, said the name "Do Not Track" is a "complete misnomer."
For more, click the link below:

Government and advertisers have different ideas about 'Do Not Track' - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

South Sound Doctor Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Prison for Health Care Fraud, Tax Crimes, and Drug Distribution

South Sound Doctor Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Prison for Health Care Fraud, Tax Crimes, and Drug Distribution 
Doctor’s Mother Also Sentenced for Health Care Fraud and Tax Crimes

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMarch 29, 2012
  • Western District of Washington(206) 553-7970
Antoine Johnson, 41, a former resident of Aberdeen, Washington, and his mother, Lawanda Johnson, 63, were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for more than two dozen federal felonies connected with their operation of four health care clinics in Western Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. The Johnsons were convicted in November 2011, following a three-week jury trial. Antoine Johnson was sentenced to 151 months in prison, three years of supervised releajse, and $1,281,873 in restitution for 24 counts of health care fraud, four counts of filing false income tax returns, and five counts of illegal drug distribution. Lawanda Johnson was sentenced to 87 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and $1,227,746 in restitution for 24 counts of health care fraud and six counts of filing false income tax returns. Orders of criminal forfeiture of funds were also entered. Sentencing them to the high end of the guidelines range, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said the Johnsons “manipulated the standard of care for patients, they have manipulated the rules of reimbursement, they manipulated the Hippocratic Oath, they manipulated the Justice system...they have invented more excuses than they distributed pills.”
“Antoine Johnson not only defrauded taxpayers, he betrayed his oath as a doctor to ‘do no harm.’ Instead of healing his patients, he fed their addiction for narcotic painkillers to satisfy his own greed,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “Mother and son ruined many lives, sent the bill to taxpayers, and then filed false tax returns.”
According to testimony at trial and records in the case, in 2008, law enforcement investigated information obtained by the Grays Harbor County Drug Task Force and the Washington State Medicaid Fraud Control Unit that the clinics were dispensing a high number of prescriptions for narcotic pain medications without examining the patients. Antoine Johnson was the only medical doctor employed by the four clinics, the “Broadway Clinic” in Aberdeen and the “Johnson Family Practice” clinics in Tacoma, Lakewood, and Lacey. Dr. Johnson churned out prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances such as Oxycodone and Methadone. Evidence introduced at trial indicated that these clinics had thousands of patients and over half of those patients were prescribed controlled substances by Dr. Johnson. These prescriptions were refilled for months and years at a time. Often, the patients would come to the clinic, get their weight and blood pressure taken by a nursing assistant, and then pick up a Schedule II prescription that had been pre-signed by Dr. Johnson. Sometimes a family member of a patient would pick up a prescription for another family member but was required to pay a $75 or $100 fee to the clinic for the signed prescription.
“One of the things Mr. Johnson claimed he did was serve disadvantaged communities, but he actually caused them great harm,” said Laura M. Laughlin, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle office. “Mr. Johnson turned patients into addicts and facilitated others in drug dealing. This is an egregious case of someone who is well placed to heal and treat deserving people but instead used his medical license to advance his greed at the expense of his neighbors’ health.”
The health care fraud investigation began following an audit by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) of Medicaid billing practices at the clinics. Testimony and evidence at trial showed that the clinics, through their business manager, Lawanda Johnson, and their only medical doctor, Antoine Johnson, consistently billed for a higher level of service than was actually provided. Evidence introduced at trial showed that the clinic routinely billed Medicaid and Labor and Industries for high-level service even though a patient was only in the clinic for a refill of a controlled substance medication and only had the patients’ vitals taken.
“Dr. Johnson and his mother inflated bills for office visits and had taxpayers pick up the tab. Worse yet, too often, little or no medical services were provided other than writing prescriptions for highly addictive pain pills,” said Ivan Negroni, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services region serving Washington. “As in this case, we will work in tight coordination with state and other federal agencies to shut off the flow of dangerous prescription drugs.”
“Today’s sentencing of Dr. Johnson and his mother sends a clear message to rogue physicians who dispense medications to patients without regard for their health, while stealing our nation’s precious healthcare dollars,” said Kenneth J. Hines, the IRS Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific Northwest. “IRS will investigate when greed is the motivation for medical professionals to betray their patients. Our role in this case included determining the total amount of loss to the American taxpayer from both the tax and health care frauds.”
The Johnsons closed their clinics and left the United States shortly after search warrants were executed at the four clinics and the residence of Lawanda Johnson in January 2009. The pair fled the United States, driving to Canada, from where they flew to Scotland and then to Madagascar. The United States State Department worked with the FBI and Madagascar authorities, resulting in the return of the Johnsons to the United States, where they were arrested and held for trial. The Department of Health revoked Dr. Johnson’s license to practice medicine while the Johnsons were in Madagascar. Dr. Johnson’s efforts to contest the revocation of his license upon his return to the United States were unsuccessful.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Loitz and Brian Werner.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at 206-553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

Seven Plead Guilty in Wide-Ranging Corruption Scheme at the Naval Fleet Readiness Center in San Diego

Seven Plead Guilty in Wide-Ranging Corruption Scheme at the Naval Fleet Readiness Center in San Diego 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMarch 28, 2012
  • Southern District of California(619) 557-5610
United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced today that seven individuals, including four Navy officials, Donald Vangundy, Kiet Luc, David Lindsay, and Brian Delaney; and three defense contractors, Michael Graven, John Newman, and Paul Grubiss, each pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Bernard G. Skomal in connection with a wide-ranging fraud and corruption scheme at the Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island in Coronado, California. As part of the conspiracy, defense contractors provided Navy officials with over one million dollars in personal benefits, including cash, checks, retail gift cards, flat screen television sets, luxury massage chairs, home furniture and appliances, bicycles costing thousands of dollars, model airplanes, and home remodeling services. In return, the Navy officials placed millions of dollars in fraudulent orders with the defense contractors.
Four of the defendants who pleaded guilty were Navy officials employed at the Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) located at NAS North Island. All four worked in the Navy’s E2/C2 aircraft program, which is dedicated to maintaining the tactical readiness of the Navy’s E-2 and C-2 aircrafts. The Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is an American all-weather, aircraft carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning aircraft. Since entering combat during the Vietnam War, the E-2 has served the U.S. Navy around the world, acting as the electronic “eyes of the fleet.” The C-2 Greyhound is a derivative of the E-2 Hawkeye, which shares wings and power plants with the E-2, but has a widened fuselage with a rear loading ramp. These aircraft are considered critical components of the U.S. Navy’s carrier air wings.
Among the Navy official defendants, Donald Vangundy oversaw tool control for the E2/C2 program and was promoted to supervise and authorize the purchase and replacement of tools for all FRC programs. Kiet Luc was the liaison and coordinator for tools in the E2/C2 program and was responsible for maintaining and controlling the tool program. David Lindsay was the supervisory production controller for the E2/C2 program, and Brian Delaney was the E2/C2 deputy program manager. Between them, these four former Navy officials received a total of more than $1 million in cash, goods, and services for their personal use, all fraudulently charged to and paid for by the Defense Department.
The remaining three defendants were owners or employees of various defense contractors that provided goods or services for NAS North Island. Michael Graven was the owner and operator of X&D Supply Inc., a contractor located in Carlsbad, California. The Navy paid X&D at least $2.26 million in connection with the fraud. John Newman was a sales manager at (and the former owner of) a defense contractor identified in the charging document as “Company A,” located in Poway, California. The Navy paid Company A at least $3.31 million in connection with the fraud. Paul Grubiss was a sales manager of a defense contractor identified in the charging document as “Company B,” also located in Poway, California. The Navy paid Company B approximately $1 million in connection with the fraud. Also implicated in the scheme was Jesse Denome, the owner of JD Machine Tech Inc.
As part of the scheme, the defense contractors prepared and submitted fraudulent invoices to the Department of Defense, making it appear that they were billing the Department for goods and services within the scope of legitimate government contracts. In fact, the Defense Department was unknowingly paying for, among other things, the cost of personal benefits provided to the Navy officials. Compounding the cost of the fraud, the defense contractors also routinely charged a markup on the fraudulent invoices. Ultimately, the Defense Department paid over $5.5 million in connection with the fraudulent invoices submitted by the defense contractor defendants.
Two of the Navy official defendants, Vangundy and Luc, also pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns for knowingly failing to report the value of the unlawful benefits provided to them by defense contractors. Graven also pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return by his business, X&D, for knowingly taking improper tax deductions for the illegal payments to the benefit of the Navy official defendants.
According to United States Attorney Duffy, the investigation into possible corruption at NAS North Island was initiated on the basis of citizen complaints. These complaints followed the July 2009 indictment of six individuals on fraud and corruption charges centered at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). As part of the SPAWAR corruption case, the government publicized a hotline dedicated to the reporting of possible waste, fraud, and abuse related to government and military contracts.
United States Attorney Duffy lauded the citizens who came forward and the coordinated efforts of the law enforcement agencies that participated in this long-running investigation, known as “Country Store,” including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the General Services Administration (GSA)-Office of Inspector General. In doing so, she emphasized that federal law enforcement agencies in the Southern District of California were committed to rooting out corruption in defense contracts and purchasing, which cheats the American taxpayer and our nation’s military readiness.
U.S. Attorney Duffy noted that the investigation is ongoing and urged anyone with information relating to waste, fraud, and abuse in government contracting to contact the Procurement Fraud Working Group hotline at sandiego.procurementfraud@usdoj.gov or to call 1-877-NO-BRIBE.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter commented, “Public corruption is the FBI’s number one criminal priority. It seriously undermines the people’s trust in their government and gives an unfair economic advantage to those who trade the public’s interest for their own personal gain. The FBI thoroughly investigates allegations of public corruption, and we remind the public to notify us, as they are sometimes the one person that can make a difference.”
Chris Hendrickson, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Western Field Office said, “We are extremely pleased at this outcome, which yet again sends the message that corruption will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. While the vast majority of Navy officials and contractors are honest in their work, some choose to abuse the public trust. This investigation clearly attests that those who compromise the integrity of the United States will face their day of reckoning. Corruption of this nature strikes at the heart of our national security and erodes public confidence. The Defense Criminal Investigative Service will use all tools available—our ability to track worldwide financial dealings, our advanced cyber capabilities, our worldwide law enforcement alliances—to protect taxpayers’ interests.”
Leslie P. DeMarco, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Los Angeles Field Office said, “The Navy officials and defense contractors sought illicit opportunities to profit or gain other personal advantages at the expense of other law abiding businesses and taxpayers. Bribery and corruption schemes corrode the American financial and tax system. Today’s actions enforce IRS-CI’s commitment to work with our law enforcement partners, leveraging resources, to investigate and put an end to fraud by government officials.”
Geoffrey Cherrington, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations of GSA’s Inspector General’s Office stated, “The results of this case clearly demonstrate the tireless efforts of our special agents and our partners in law enforcement to protect the taxpayer. If you commit fraud, we are watching.”
The pleas are subject to final acceptance by United States District Judge Roger T. Benitez at or before sentencing. Sentencing for all seven of the defendants is currently scheduled for July 2, 2012, before Judge Benitez.
Defendants
Donald Vangundy, age 54, Chula Vista, California
Kiet Luc, age 53, San Diego, California
Brian Delaney, age 55, La Mesa, California
David Lindsay, age 57, San Diego, California
John Newman, age 51, Poway, California
Michael Graven, age 43, Carlsbad, California
Paul Grubiss, age 39, Wickliffe, Ohio
Summary of Charges
Count one: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 (all defendants)—maximum penalties: 20 years in prison, $250,000 fine, term of supervised release of three years, restitution, forfeiture, and $100 special assessment.
Count two: conspiracy to commit bribery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 (defendants Vangundy and Grubiss)—maximum penalties: five years in prison, $250,000 fine, term of supervised release of three years, restitution, forfeiture, and $100 special assessment.
Count three: filing a false tax return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1) (defendant Vangundy)—maximum penalties: three years in prison, $250,000 fine, term of supervised release of one year, restitution, costs of prosecution, and $100 special assessment.
Count four: filing a false tax return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1) (defendant Luc)—maximum penalties: three years in prison, $250,000 fine, term of supervised release of one year, restitution, costs of prosecution, and $100 special assessment.
Count five: aiding and assisting in a false tax return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(2) (defendant Graven)—maximum penalties: three years in prison, $250,000 fine, term of supervised release of one year, restitution, costs of prosecution, and $100 special assessment.
Investigating Agencies
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation
Naval Criminal Investigative Service
General Services Administration-Office of Inspector General

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Computer Intrusion and Wiretapping Scheme Targeting Celebrities

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Computer Intrusion and Wiretapping Scheme Targeting Celebrities 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMarch 26, 2012
  • Central District of California(213) 894-2434
LOS ANGELES—A Florida man pleaded guilty today to a series of cyber-related crimes relating to his hacking into the personal e-mail accounts of more than 50 individuals associated with the entertainment industry.
Christopher Chaney, 35, of Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty to nine felony counts of a 28-count first superseding indictment, including unauthorized access to protected computers in furtherance of wiretapping and wire fraud, unauthorized damage to protected computers resulting in more than $5,000 loss and physical harm, and wiretapping. At the conclusion of the hearing, United States District Court Judge S. James Otero ordered Chaney taken into custody.
During the hearing, Chaney admitted that from at least November 2010 to October 2011, he hacked into the e-mail accounts of Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Renee Olstead, and others by taking the victims’ e-mail addresses, clicking on the “Forgot your password?” feature, and then re-setting the victims’ passwords by correctly answering their security questions using publicly available information he found by searching the Internet. Once Chaney gained exclusive control of the victims’ e-mail accounts, he was able to access all of their e-mail boxes. While in the accounts, Chaney also went through their contact lists to find e-mail addresses of potential new hacking targets.
In pleading guilty to the wiretapping charges, Chaney admitted that, for most victims, he also changed their e-mail account settings by inserting his alias e-mail address into the forwarding feature so that a duplicate copy of all incoming e-mails to the victims—including any attachments—would be sent virtually simultaneously to Chaney without the victims’ knowledge. Most victims did not check their account settings, so even after they regained control of their e-mail accounts, Chaney’s alias address remained in their account settings. As a result, for many victims, copies of their incoming e-mails, including attachments, were sent to Chaney for weeks or months without their knowledge, causing Chaney to receive thousands of victim e-mails. In addition, when a victim reset his/her password to regain control of the account, Chaney sometimes hacked into the account again and reset the password, sometimes multiple times, in order to continue illegally accessing that victim’s account.
Chaney admitted that as his hacking scheme became more extensive, he began using a proxy service called “Hide My IP” because he knew what he was doing was illegal and wanted to “cover his tracks” so that law enforcement agents could not trace the hacking back to his home computer. Even after his home computers were seized by law enforcement agents pursuant to a federal search warrant, but before he was arrested, Chaney used another computer to hack into another victim’s e-mail account.
Chaney further admitted that as a result of his hacking scheme, he obtained numerous private communications, private photographs, and confidential documents from the victims’ e-mail accounts. The confidential documents included business contracts, scripts, letters, driver’s license information, and Social Security information. On several occasions, after hacking into victim accounts, Chaney sent e-mails from the hacked accounts to friends of the victims, fraudulently posing as the victims to request more private photographs. Chaney downloaded many of the confidential documents and photographs he stole to his home computer, where he saved them on his hard drive in separate computer file folders. Chaney e-mailed many of the stolen photographs to others, including another hacker and two gossip websites. As a result, some of those stolen photographs, several of which were explicit, were later posted on the Internet.
“Today’s guilty pleas shine a bright light on the dark underworld of computer hacking,” said United States Attorney AndrĂ© Birotte, Jr., whose office prosecuted the case. “This case demonstrates that everyone, even public figures, should take precautions to shield their personal information from the hackers that inhabit that dark underworld. It also demonstrates that the Department of Justice will take whatever steps are necessary to protect Americans from harm in cyberspace.”
“Mr. Chaney’s admission to compromising victim accounts, utilizing both technically and socially engineered means, demonstrates the persistence and extent to which a hacker will go to obtain private information,” said Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “This case sends an important message to all users of Internet-accessible media that practicing good computer security makes us less vulnerable to this type of attack. The FBI remains committed to investigating cyber adversaries who target protected computers, whether of private citizens or the nation’s critical infrastructure.”
Each charge of unauthorized access to a protected computer carries a maximum of five years in prison, each charge of unauthorized damage to a protected computer carries a maximum charge of 10 years in prison, and each charge of wiretapping carries a maximum of five years in prison. As a result of all of today’s guilty pleas, Chaney faces a total statutory maximum sentence of 60 years in federal prison. In addition to the possible prison term, as part of his plea agreement filed in federal court, Chaney agreed to forfeit his computers and related devices seized during the investigation, to pay restitution to all of the victims for any losses they suffered, and to comply with strict restrictions regarding his future use of computers and computer-related devices. In exchange, the government agreed to dismiss the remaining counts, including nine counts of aggravated identity theft, at the time defendant is sentenced.
Chaney is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge S. James Otero on July 23, 2012.
The investigation of this case was led and conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Former Upper Big Branch Mine Superintendent Pleads Guilty to Felony Conspiracy

Former Upper Big Branch Mine Superintendent Pleads Guilty to Felony Conspiracy 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMarch 29, 2012
  • Southern District of West Virginia(304) 345-2200
BECKLEY, WV—Gary May, 43, of Bloomingrose, West Virginia, pleaded guilty today in federal court before U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger to conspiracy to impede the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) enforcement efforts at Massey Energy Company’s Upper Big Branch mine (UBB) between February 2008 and April 5, 2010. Upper Big Branch was the site of a fatal explosion on April 5, 2010 that killed 29 miners. May was the mine’s superintendent at the time of the explosion.
In February 2012, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia R. Booth Goodwin, II filed a one-count information against May, charging him with conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding MSHA in carrying out its lawful functions.
“People who run coal mines have a fundamental obligation to be honest with mine regulators,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin. “When mine operators resort to tricks and deceit to keep government officials in the dark, our mine safety system unravels and miners are put in harm’s way. The least we can do for coal miners is protect the integrity of the laws designed to keep them safe.”
“I’m pleased that Mr. May is cooperating with our investigation,” U.S. Attorney Goodwin continued. “We hope he can give us a better picture of what was going on at this company.”
May admitted that he and others conspired to impede MSHA in administering and enforcing mine health and safety laws at UBB. He acknowledged giving advance warning of MSHA inspections, often using code phrases to avoid detection. May also admitted to concealing health and safety violations when he knew inspections were imminent. The violations concealed included poor airflow in the mine, piles of loose and combustible coal, and scarcities of rock dust, which prevents mine explosions.
May also acknowledged that he ordered a mine examination book to be falsified. May said he told miners to rewire the methane gas detector on a piece of mine equipment so the equipment could run illegally.
May faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on August 9, 2012.
The FBI and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General are handling the investigation. Counsel to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Steve Ruby is handling the prosecution.

Kansas City ranks 6th for city hall social media savvy. New York and Seattle tops, Toledo last. - KansasCity.com

Kansas City ranks 6th for city hall social media savvy. New York and Seattle tops, Toledo last. - KansasCity.com

North Kansas City to give away free month of fast Internet - KansasCity.com

North Kansas City to give away free month of fast Internet - KansasCity.com

T-Mobile looking to sell wireless towers to raise cash, report says - KansasCity.com

T-Mobile looking to sell wireless towers to raise cash, report says - KansasCity.com

BlackBerry owner RIM to pull back from consumer smartphone market - KansasCity.com

BlackBerry owner RIM to pull back from consumer smartphone market - KansasCity.com

Please Support the Advertisers

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Thank you.

Jon

Friday, March 30, 2012

Microsoft Battles the Bots

Takedowns of Zeus botnet command and control servers like the one executed last week by Microsoft and others do reduce the criminal activity they spawn -- for a while -- but attackers learn from the experience and come back with more sophisticated techniques, a security expert says.

For more, click the link below:


http://www.pcworld.com/article/252910/microsoft_battles_the_bots.html#tk.nl_bdx_h_crawl

Ubuntu Linux 12.04 'Precise Pangolin' Reaches Final Beta

With just a few weeks remaining before the final release of Ubuntu Linux 12.04 “Precise Pangolin,” Canonical on Thursday released the second and final beta version of the free and open source operating system.
Version 12.04 of Canonical's popular Linux distribution is a notable one for several reasons, including not just the fact that it's a Long Term Support (LTS) release and thus a particularly suitable choice for businesses, but also that it's the first to feature Canonical's new Head-Up Display (HUD) interface.
We already got a taste of HUD in the first beta version, which debuted earlier this month. Now, this second beta release adds a few more features while fixing numerous bugs, according to the official announcement from Ubuntu Release Manager Kate Stewart.
For more, click the link below:

Microsoft's New Window Opportunity

CNBC discusses Windows 8, Microsoft's new operating system that will help the company position itself in the tablet market, with Richard Sherland, Nomura Securities.  To see the video, click the link below:

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000080483

Symantec Completes Sale of Huawei Symantec Joint Venture to Huawei

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Symantec Completes Sale of Huawei Symantec Joint Venture to Huawei

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – March 30, 2012 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced it has completed the sale of Symantec’s 49 percent stake in Huawei Symantec Technologies Co., Ltd. (Huawei Symantec) to Huawei for USD $530 million. The completion of the sale liquidates Symantec’s ownership interest in the joint venture and gives Huawei sole proprietorship over all elements of the joint venture entity.

Huawei Symantec was a Hong Kong-based joint venture established by Huawei and Symantec in 2008. The decision by Symantec to sell its stake in the joint venture in November 2011 as made after several rounds of discussion and negotiations over the future of the joint venture. At the time, Huawei and Symantec mutually agreed that the next stage of growth for the joint venture would benefit from the direction of a single owner. Symantec achieved the objectives set four years ago prior to forming the venture, exiting with a good return on its investment, increasing its market penetration into China and growing its appliance business.

Appliances remain an important part of Symantec’s strategy to offer customers greater choice and flexibility in how they use Symantec’s solutions to manage and protect digital information. Symantec will continue to focus on expanding its appliance business and creating industry-leading appliance offerings.

China is one of Symantec’s fastest growing markets. Business for Symantec in China has grown 46 percent over the last three fiscal years. Symantec remains committed to ongoing investment in China and will continue to build relationships in the region.

About Symantec
Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.

The #1 Rule of a Content Strategy

At the most basic level, a content strategy establishes your brand’s “permissive topics,” i.e., subject matters relevant to your brand that you share with your community.  These conversation pieces most obviously include news and updates about your product/service and industry. You can also choose to discuss topics related to your main audience or areas in which to establish thought leadership.

The screenshots throughout this post are examples of brands and how they execute their content strategy on Facebook. We chose these brands because they following the #1 rule of a content strategy: these brands stay on topic. We’ve included RingCentral as an example because adhering to our brand topics is one of our top social strategies. Please forgive the shameless plug. Other brands featured include: Barnes & Noble, OPI, and Jack in the Box.


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