NEWS of the Day - June 2, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - June 2, 2012
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...

We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...


From the L.A. Daily News

Spam scammers take new route to your inbox

by Larry Margasak

WASHINGTON -- Remember all those phony emails that purport to be from your bank, asking you to click on a link and turn over your account information?

Cyber experts say criminals have moved on and are using new methods.

A cybersecurity banking official told a House Financial Services panel Friday that criminals are now sending emails claiming to be from someone other than your bank. Newer scams use The National Automatic Clearing House Association, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, the U.S. Postal Service, private delivery firms, telecommunications companies and social media providers.

One thing hasn't changed. Once an unsuspecting user clicks on a link, he or she is redirected to a server that downloads malicious software onto the victim's computer. The software captures the user's online banking credentials as they are typed

Called "phishing," this tactic involves sending an email that falsely claims to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to trick the user into turning over information.

Michele Cantley, testifying on behalf of the Financial Services Information Sharing & Analysis Center, said that phishing "remains the most popular attack method that criminals use to infect victims' machines."

The center is a nonprofit organization funded by financial services companies, commercial banks, credit unions, brokerage firms, insurance companies, exchanges and clearing houses, and payment processors.

She said criminals are also using malicious advertisements, which appear on search engines and prominent news sites. When a user clicks on the link, malware gets downloaded onto his or her computer.

"A more recent method involves fraudulent messages sent from social media sites," she said. "These may include bogus friend requests, for example, that include links to malicious sites."

Cantley's organization, along with the Microsoft and the Electronic Payments Association, has gone on the offensive against phishing scams. They used a creative legal strategy as part of a civil lawsuit filed earlier this year to disrupt a major cybercrime operation that used malicious software to allegedly steal $100 million from consumers over the last five years.

The lawsuit targeted a global network of computers under the remote control of a criminal group that stole personal information, financial credentials and money, according to court records. The network, known as Zeus, has not been eliminated, but the action has made it much more difficult and expensive for the criminals to operate.

Mark Graff, vice president of the NASDAQ OMX Group, told the panel that his organization is not only concerned about rogue hackers or organized crime, but also attacks backed by national governments.

"It is not reasonable to expect individual companies, no matter how large or sophisticated, to independently stave off cyberattacks coordinated and backed by a foreign government," he said. "If our headquarters or our physical infrastructure were under attack from foreign missiles, the U.S. government would work with us to defend our company.

"The same needs to be true for cyberattacks, especially since the U.S. government is equally under attack from these foreign entities."

NASDAQ OMX Group owns and operates 24 markets, 3 clearing houses, and 5 central securities depositories, spanning six continents.



Zimmerman's bond revoked in Trayvon Martin case

by The Associated Press

SANFORD, Fla. - A judge on Friday revoked the bond of the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and ordered him returned to jail within 48 hours.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said that George Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, misled the court about how much money they had available when his bond was set for $150,000 in April. Prosecutors claim Zimmerman had $135,000 available that had been raised by a website he set up.

Zimmerman's wife testified at the bond hearing that they had limited funds available since she was a nursing student and Zimmerman wasn't working.

"He can't sit back and obtain the benefit of a lower bond based upon those material falsehoods," Lester said.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara said the fact that Zimmerman and his wife never used the money for anything indicated "there was no deceit."

Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda described the Zimmermans' testimony as "misleading."

"This court was led to believe they didn't have a single penny," said De la Rionda. "It was misleading and I don't know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie."

Prosecutors also said Zimmerman had failed to surrender a second passport, but the judge dismissed that concern as the equivalent of someone who has lost a driver's license, applies for a new one and then finds the old driver's license.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder and claims self-defense. Zimmerman shot Martin in February during a confrontation at a gated community of townhouses in Sanford, Fla., where Zimmerman lived and where Martin was visiting his father's fiancee.

The delay in an arrest for 44 days prompted protests nationwide and led to Sanford's police chief stepping aside so emotions could cool down.

At Friday's court hearing, De la Rionda and O'Mara also asked a judge to stop the public release of witness names and statements made by Zimmerman to police officers. Those documents normally are part of the public record under Florida law.

"What's occurring, unfortunately, are cases are being tried in the public sector as opposed to in the courtroom," De La Rionda said. "We are in a new age with Twitter, Facebook, and all these things I've never heard of before in my career. Everybody gets to find out intimate details about witnesses that never occurred before. Witnesses are going to be reluctant to get involved."

A consortium of more than a dozen media groups, including The Associated Press, asked the judge to ignore the request, saying such records are presumed to be publicly available under Florida law.

Rachel Fugate, an attorney for the Orlando Sentinel, cited the Casey Anthony trial as an example of a highly publicized case in which a jury was able to be seated despite intense media coverage. The Florida mother was acquitted last year of killing her 2-year-old daughter.

"Discovery in Florida has traditionally been open ... and Florida hasn't encountered problems seating juries and giving defendants fair trials," Fugate said.

O'Mara said Friday on a website that he doesn't expect the case to be ready for trial until next year.

O'Mara said he expects to call on 50 witnesses who need to be deposed before he decides whether to file a "stand your ground" motion which would ask for a hearing before a judge without a jury. At the hearing, Zimmerman would argue self-defense under the Florida law which gives wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat in a fight if people believe they are in danger of being killed or seriously injured.



From Google News

Ohio is fifth in Internet crime; new law to take effect

by Dave Larsen

The state's top law-enforcement officer will soon have more authority to battle Internet-related crimes — acts that cost Ohioans a reported $10.6 million last year.

Starting Thursday, Ohio's new cyberfraud law will give the Ohio attorney general's office the same criminal-subpoena power local prosecutors have in suspected cases of identity theft, website scams and other online fraud.

“Criminally prosecuting these people is important because for many of them a civil penalty or fine is just the cost of doing business,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine . Criminal prosecutions for online scams will have a “deterrent effect,” he said.

Currently, state authorities can subpoena information only to build civil cases. They can seek fines and restitution but no criminal punishment, such as prison time.

The new cyberfraud law will give the attorney general the authority to subpoena the phone records, Internet protocol (IP) addresses and payment information in suspected cyberfraud cases and prepare them for criminal prosecution by a county or special prosecutor.

“We will be able to run these cases down, get the information and determine whether or not there is a criminal violation, then turn it over to the prosecutor,” DeWine said. “It is going to increase the number of criminal cases that we can assist local prosecutors in prosecuting.”

Ohio had a total of 12,661 complaints last year related to crimes committed using the Internet, ranking the state fifth among all states, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center's 2011 Internet Crime Report. Victims in Ohio reported total losses of $10.6 million, ranking the state ninth in the nation.

The state's large population is a factor, said Todd Lindgren, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cincinnati division. When adjusted per 100,000 population, Ohio ranked sixth in the number of complaints and 45th in average dollar loss.

“I don't necessarily believe that Ohio is any more vulnerable than other states to these Internet scams,” Lindgren said. Instead, the data indicate that Ohio residents are alert to the cyberfraud problem and willing to report suspected cases to the complaint center and law enforcement, he said.

The complaint center was established as a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center to receive Internet-related criminal complaints for analysis and referral to federal, state, local or international law enforcement.

Nationally, the center received more than 300,000 complaints in 2011, a 3.4?percent increase from the previous year. The adjusted dollar loss of complaints was $485.3 million.

The most-common complaints included FBI-related impersonation scams, identity theft and advance-fee fraud.

Internet-related crime is a “huge problem” for Ohio, according to DeWine. In February, an Ohio couple was sentenced to prison for running a Craigslist ticket scam that took more than $200,000 from hundreds of victims throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The Internet poses unique challenges for law enforcement, such as jurisdiction issues, DeWine said.

Many online scams originate from African nations such as Nigeria, whose lack of treaties with the U.S. and other western countries make them “havens for criminal activity online,” said C. Matthew Curtin, founder of Interhack, a Columbus-based forensic computing firm.

Criminals often target less-sophisticated people through spam attacks in which they pose as a government or financial agency to gain access to victims' account information.

“The issue is that it's a numbers game, so even if you've got 50 percent of the population that is able to recognize fraud, if you send out 10 million spam messages trying to trick people, you are going to have an awful lot of people who fall for it,” Curtin said.

Technologies such as smartphones are providing criminals with new avenues to try to reach into your pocket, said John North, president and chief executive of the Dayton Better Business Bureau. The agency has seen an increase in text-messaging scams that claim the victim has won a $1,000 gift card, which they can claim by clicking on a link the scammer has provided.

“What they are trying to do is access personal information . . . that may be stored on your smartphone that may not be protected,” North said.

The Better Business Bureau itself was the target of an online scam in February, when businesses nationwide received fake emails using the agency's name that asked them to click on a link to update their information. The link led to a third-party website that downloaded a virus to victims'computers. “Many businesses here in the area were impacted by it,” North said.