Hundreds of coins, stamps and supplies
Agents use new tactic to disable malware on long-running operation; 13 people charged
The Justice Department and the FBI, using a new tactic, seized control of and disabled a botnet that had infected more than 2 million computers worldwide as part of an international fraud scheme, according to agency officials.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut filed a civil complaint against 13 unnamed defendants, charging them with engaging in wire fraud, bank fraud and illegal interception of electronic communications, Justice and FBI officials said in a joint statement.
Also, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut seized 29 domain names and five command and control servers used to remotely control infected computers. The agencies also issued a temporary restraining order to replace the illegal servers with substitutes to prevent the botnet from running and to disable the malware on infected computers.
The botnet, called Coreflood, exploits computers that run Windows operating systems. It uses keystroke capture to steal private and financial information, including information on corporate networks, for the purpose of stealing funds and conducting other criminal activities. Coreflood is believed to have originated in Russia and been in operation for a decade
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The following is the latest update from DFAS on the April 15 paycheck snafu.
Due to the near shutdown experience last week, most military will get two deposits in their bank accounts on April 15. According to DFAS, they are now processing the remaining seven days of mid-month pay, so service members will see their normal total mid-month pay, but with more than one deposit into their account.
Note: Active duty and reservists in the Marine Corps who will receive the normal single full
Although Army, Navy, and Air Force active duty members will receive two payments to cover their full mid-month pay on April 15, the most current Net Pay Advice statements will still only show the partial payments for the week of April 1–8.
In addition, Army, Navy and Air Force reservists will receive full mid-month pay by April 15, but again, the most current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) will still only show the partial payments for April 1–8.
In both cases a full accounting of April pay will be available on the normal end of month LES, posted to myPay accounts on April 22.
Simply put — Everyone (active and reserve) will get paid like normal on April 15 - but they will get it in two deposits (same day) — and the LES’s will be back to normal on April 22. deposit.
Security Alert received from Best Buys
Dear Valued Best Buy Customer,
On March 31, we were informed by Epsilon, a company we use to send emails to our customers, that files containing the email addresses of some Best Buy customers were accessed without authorization.
We have been assured by Epsilon that the only information that may have been obtained was your email address and that the accessed files did not include any other information. A rigorous assessment by Epsilon determined that no other information is at risk. We are actively investigating to confirm this.
For your security, however, we wanted to call this matter to your attention. We ask that you remain alert to any unusual or suspicious emails. As our experts at Geek Squad would tell you, be very cautious when opening links or attachments from unknown senders.
In keeping with best industry security practices, Best Buy will never ask you to provide or confirm any information, including credit card numbers, unless you are on our secure e-commerce site,www.bestbuy.com. If you receive an email asking for personal information, delete it. It did not come from Best Buy.
Our service provider has reported this incident to the appropriate authorities.
We regret this has taken place and for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We take your privacy very seriously, and we will continue to work diligently to protect your personal information.
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer
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Cyber Attacks On Government Networks On The Rise
Experts say cyber-attacks will continue to increase as new technologies and access to mobile devices and social networking sites expands. According to the annual report on federal cyber security efforts by the Office of Management Budget, indicates that cyber attacks against the federal government increased almost 40 % last year.
Points to Consider:
The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), which is tasked with defending the dot-Gov domain and sharing information with industry and local governments noted that, federal agencies suffered 41,776 cyber attacks in 2010, up from 30,000 the previous year. Of the attacks reported last year, 12,864 (31 %) were classified as malicious code. Another 11,336 (27 %) are under investigation or labeled as "other," and unauthorized access, denial of service, improper usage or Scans probes and attempted access made up the remaining incidents. Be aware that Nation-states are increasingly employing cyber warfare to attack other states or entities, either solely in the cyber domain or as part of a full-spectrum military maneuver. Consider the potential that entities that may be inferior to the U.S. militarily may have identified America's cyber vulnerabilities and exploit them t o attack high value targets for example: shutting down the country’s power stations, telecommunications and aviation systems, or freeze the financial markets. Additionally officials theorize that terrorist groups and organized crime syndicates are increasingly resorting to cybercrime to finance their activities. According to counter terrorism experts various up to date manuals have been found on radical jihadist websites, explaining how to launch cyber attacks including making e-bombs, creating viruses, and how to use encryption techniques.
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RIDGELAND, S.C. --
As Interstate 95 sweeps past this small town along South Carolina's coastal plain, motorists encounter cameras that catch speeding cars, the only such devices on the open interstate for almost 2,000 miles from Canada to Miami.
The cameras have nabbed thousands of motorists, won accolades from highway safety advocates, attracted heated opposition from state lawmakers and sparked a federal court challenge.
Ridgeland Mayor Gary Hodges said the cameras in his town about 20 miles north of the Georgia line do what they are designed to do: slow people down, reduce accidents and, most importantly, save lives.
But lawmakers who want to unplug them argue the system is just a money-maker and amounts to unconstitutional selective law enforcement.
"We're absolutely shutting it down," said state Sen. Larry Grooms, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
Earlier this month, Ridgeland Police Officer David Swinehamer sat in a van beneath an overpass as a radar gun in a thicket of electronic equipment outside clocked passing vehicles: 60, 72, 73, 67.
Then a Mercedes with South Carolina tags sped by going 83 - 13 mph over the speed limit. A camera fired and pictures of the tag and driver appeared on a monitor in the van. The unaware motorist continued north, but could expect a $133 ticket in the mail in a couple of weeks.
"I just don't think it's right," said James Gain of Kissimmee, Fla., one of the lawsuit plaintiffs who got a ticket last year while driving between his home and Greensboro, N.C. "If you get a ticket you should be stopped by an officer, know you have been stopped and have an opportunity to state your case."
Gain paid the fine, saying it was less expensive than driving six hours back to Ridgeland for court.
Motorists do get a warning. As they enter town, a blue and white sign says they are entering an area with "Photo-Radar Assisted Speed Enforcement."
Speed cameras are used in 14 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The only other place with a camera on I-95 is in a Maryland work zone.
The cameras have sparked controversy in other places around the nation as well.
Last year, Arizona ended a two-year program with cameras on Phoenix-area expressways and other roads, in part because of perceptions they were being used to raise revenue.
But Cedar Rapids, Iowa, began using cameras last summer on busy I-380. Police there said during the first month of operation, violations dropped 62 percent.
Hodges said since Ridgeland, working with iTraffic Safety, became the first community in South Carolina to deploy cameras in August, motorists are also driving slower along the 7 miles of I-95 passing through the town limits.
From January to July of 2010, there were 55 crashes and four fatalities. From August through the end of last month, there were 38 crashes and no deaths. And since the cameras started operating until last month, there has been almost a 50 percent drop in the number of motorists driving 81 or more.
"You can't argue with the results and the only reason you would be upset is because you are speeding," said Tom Crosby, a spokesman for AAA Carolinas. "All it's doing is enforcing the law and even then you have to be doing over 80 to get a ticket."
Police use driver's license photos or physical descriptions from licenses such as a driver's hair, eye color and weight to identify the motorist. No ticket is issued if there is any question about the driver's identity.
Grooms, the legislator, said since not all speeders are ticketed, it's selective enforcement. He added that while the system may issue a ticket, it doesn't get violators off the road.
"You are driving down the road at 100 mph or you are driving down the road drunk. The camera takes your picture and three weeks later you get a ticket in the mail. There is no element of public safety," he said.
Grooms said the cameras are only a money-maker for the town. Hodges discounts that, saying the town just wants to recover the cost of police and ambulance service for millions of motorists passing through. Two-thirds of ticket money goes to the state, he said.
The town has about $20,000 invested in the van. The contractor, iTraffic Safety, pays the other costs in return for a share of ticket revenue.
While state law prohibits issuing tickets solely on photographic evidence, the mayor said that doesn't apply in Ridgeland because an officer is also there to see the speeder from the van.
But the state Senate, in a 40-0 vote, recently gave approval to changing that and banning speeding tickets from photographs whether the camera is attended or not. The law would also require tickets to be handed directly to a motorist.
The federal lawsuit contends it's unconstitutional to send motorists tickets by mail and to addresses outside town limits.
Ridgeland is one of almost 90 jurisdictions nationwide using cameras to nab speeders and "to our knowledge, every single one of them mails the tickets," Hodges said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls speed cameras "a very effective countermeasure" to crashes but said they should supplement, not replace, officers patrolling. Ridgeland still uses officers on the interstate.
Hodges is not surprised by opposition to the cameras, particularly with South Carolina's history of motorists' rights. South Carolina was one of the last states to enact a .08 blood-alcohol level for drunken driving and took a long time to pass a primary seatbelt law.
"We went through similar things when breathalyzers came out. We went through similar things when radar guns came out," Hodges said. "It's the same type of mentality."
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