Monday, July 6, 2015

Big Banks Worked with Hacking Team, Which Also Sells Spy Tools to Dictators

Hacking Team, a controversial Italian company that specialises in selling powerful surveillance software, has been colossally hacked. Included in a 400GB cache of files released publicly are alleged hotel bills, invoices from government agencies for computer exploits, passwords, and possibly even the source code for a number of the company's products.

The company is famous for selling spying tech to everyone from the US Drug Enforcement Administration to authoritarian regimes in countries including Ethiopia. Now, details have emerged of Hacking Team's relationship with the corporate sector, and in particular the finance industry.

In a PowerPoint presentation named "Finance Customers", the logos of just under two dozen banks and insurance companies are presented. They include Deutsche Bank, one of Germany's largest banks; Barclays, which operates in 50 different countries; and ING Direct, an Australian bank. Elsewhere in the hacked archive are details of products sold to these as well as other, smaller private companies.

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/big-banks-worked-with-hacking-team-which-also-sells-spy-tools-to-dictators

London is now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

UK banks and financial services have ignored so-called “know your customer” rules designed to curb criminals’ abilities to launder the proceeds of crime, Roberto Saviano warned. Mr Saviano, author of the international bestseller Gomorrah, which exposed the workings of the Neapolitan crime organisation Camorra, said: “The British treat it as not their problem because there aren’t corpses on the street.”

His warning follows a National Crime Agency (NCA) threat assessment which stated: “We assess that hundreds of billions of US dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”

Last month, the NCA warned that despite the UK’s role in developing international standards to tackle money laundering, the continued extent of it amounts to a “strategic threat to the UK’s economy and reputation”. It added that the same money-laundering networks used by organised crime were being used by terrorists as well.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/london-is-now-the-global-moneylaundering-centre-for-the-drug-trade-says-crime-expert-10366262.html

NYPD accused of destroying evidence showing cops issued bogus summonses to meet quota

The NYPD and city lawyers are engaging in a “stunning pattern” of evidence destruction in a high-stakes class-action case alleging cops have issued 850,000 bogus summonses due to a quota system, new documents charge.

Attorneys for the city have failed to turn over even one email from the files of former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly or former Chief of Department Joseph Esposito regarding summons activity over the last eight years, attorney Elinor Sutton writes in new filings in Manhattan Federal Court seeking sanctions against the city.

“It is simply not tenable that Commissioner Kelly and Chief Esposito did not — in the entire period of 2007 through the present — write or receive emails using terms” related to the word “summons,” Sutton writes.

The city was unable to find any communications about summonses in the files of three other former members of NYPD brass, as well.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-nypd-accused-destroying-summons-info-article-1.2282345

Hacking Team Breach Shows A Global Spying Firm Run Amok

FEW NEWS EVENTS can unleash more schadenfreude within the security community than watching a notorious firm of hackers-for-hire become a hack target themselves. In the case of the freshly disemboweled Italian surveillance firm Hacking Team, the company may also serve as a dark example of a global surveillance industry that often sells to any government willing to pay, with little regard for that regime’s human rights record.

On Sunday night, unidentified hackers published a massive, 400 gigabyte trove on bittorrent of internal documents from the Milan-based Hacking Team, a firm long accused of unethical sales of tools that help governments break into target computers and phones. The breached trove includes executive emails, customer invoices and even source code; the company’s twitter feed was hacked, controlled by the intruders for nearly 12 hours, and used to distribute samples of the company’s hacked files. The security community spent Sunday night picking through the spy firm’s innards and in some cases finding what appear to be new confirmations that Hacking Team sold digital intrusion tools to authoritarian regimes. Those revelations may be well timed to influence an ongoing U.S. policy debate over how to control spying software, with a deadline for public debate on new regulations coming this month.

http://www.wired.com/2015/07/hacking-team-breach-shows-global-spying-firm-run-amok/

Eric Holder Returns as Hero to Law Firm That Lobbies for Big Banks

After failing to criminally prosecute any of the financial firms responsible for the market collapse in 2008, former Attorney General Eric Holder is returning to Covington & Burling, a corporate law firm known for serving Wall Street clients.

The move completes one of the more troubling trips through the revolving door for a cabinet secretary. Holder worked at Covington from 2001 right up to being sworn in as attorney general in Feburary 2009. And Covington literally kept an office empty for him, awaiting his return.

The Covington & Burling client list has included four of the largest banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Lobbying records show that Wells Fargo is still a client of Covington. Covington recently represented Citigroup over a civil lawsuit relating to the bank’s role in Libor manipulation.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/06/eric-holder-returns-law-firm-lobbies-big-banks/

Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA and U.S. Army Buying Italian Spyware

The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Army have all bought controversial software that allows users to take remote control of suspects’ computers, recording their calls, emails, keystrokes and even activating their cameras, according to documents leaked from the software’s Italian manufacturer.

The company, Hacking Team, has also been aggressively marketing the software to other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, demonstrating their products to district attorneys in New York, San Bernardino, California, and Maricopa, Arizona; and multi-agency task forces like the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation in Florida and California’s Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team. The company was also in conversation with various other agencies, including the CIA, the Pentagon’s Criminal Investigative Service, the New York Police Department, and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

The revelations come from hundreds of gigabytes of company information, including emails and financial records, which were released online Sunday night and analyzed by The Intercept. Milan-based Hacking Team is one of a handful of companies that sell off-the-shelf spyware for hundreds of thousands of euros — a price point accessible to smaller countries and large police forces. Hacking Team has drawn fire from human rights and privacy activists who contend that the company’s aggressive malware, known as Remote Control System, or RCS, is being sold to countries that deploy it against activists, political opponents and journalists.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/06/hacking-team-spyware-fbi/

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Secretary of State Hillary’s Arms Sales—Yes, Presidential Candidate Clinton

Talk about a whistleblower! Who would have thought that Judge Andrew P. Napolitano would be blowing the whistle on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s approval of arms sales to terrorist enemies of the USA?

http://www.activistpost.com/2015/07/secretary-of-state-hillarys-arms.html

http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/07/02/judge-nap-hillary-clinton-approved-arms-terrorists-syria-libya

GREEKS REJECT DEMANDS FOR MORE AUSTERITY IN KEY REFERENDUM

Greeks overwhelmingly rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans in a critical referendum Sunday, backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted the vote would give him a stronger hand to reach a better deal.

Tsipras gambled the future of his 5-month-old left-wing government on the vote. The opposition accused him of jeopardizing the country's membership in the 19-nation club that uses the euro and said a "yes" vote was about keeping the common currency.

With 70 percent of the votes counted, the "no" side had more than 60 percent. The interior ministry predicted that margin would hold.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_GREECE_BAILOUT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-07-05-16-04-15

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Famous Rothschild Banking Dynasty Facing Fraud Charges In France

One of Europe’s wealthiest bankers faces questioning for fraud in France as part of a years-long case that accuses him of defrauding retirees.

Baron David de Rothschild, one of the wealthy members of the famous Rothschild banking dynasty, was indicted last month over allegations that his company, Rothschild Financial Services Group, offered a fraudulent equity release loan program to about 130 retirees between 2005 and 2008. 20 British retirees living in Spain brought the fraud lawsuit, according to Olive Press, an English-language newspaper published in that country, but it’s taken five years of legal maneuvering to successfully force the Baron into court.

Rothschild Financial Services Group is accused of falsely advertising the scheme, under which retirees were told they could reduce the value of their French homes in order to reduce the inheritance tax that their descendents would for those properties. According to the report, France’s “Tax Agency ruled that such a scheme constitutes fraud.”

http://www.mintpressnews.com/famous-rothschild-banking-dynasty-facing-fraud-charges-in-france/207233/

Hackers Installed Sophisticated Malware on U.S. Computers. Why Doesn’t Anyone Care?

For years, cybersecurity hawks have painted grim pictures of a "cyber Pearl Harbor," when sophisticated hackers will be able to infiltrate and commandeer critical U.S. networks to wreak whatever havoc they choose. Yet for some reason, when the most advanced cyber-espionage malware known was discovered on American systems, the usually indefatigable "tough on cyberterror" crowd was quiet.

The malware was made public in June, when Russian software security firm Kaspersky Lab rocked the information-security community by revealing that a powerful computer worm—similar to the 2010 Stuxnet virus—had been unleashed on computers in America and around the world roughly one year prior. The new malware, called "Duqu 2" for its apparent succession to 2011’s Duqu worm, alarmed info-security professionals with both its unprecedented strength and audacious targets. For months, attackers deployed frighteningly sophisticated espionage technology to secretly spy on all sorts of parties involved (however tenuously) in the ongoing Iranian nuclear negotiations, including government leaders, telecommunication and electrical-equipment companies, and impartial researchers.

Worms like Stuxnet and Duqu are worlds away from the run-of-the-mill "script kiddie" hacks that take Xbox Live offline or deface the USCENTCOM Twitter account. When executed, this elite class of malware allows external entities to expertly enter almost every cranny of even the best-protected networks, capture stored data and live keystrokes, and even assume control of large-scale industrial targets like nuclear reactors, power plants, and air traffic control systems—often leaving virtually no trace of invasion for months. In other words, Stuxnet-like infections provide the technical means to wreak exactly the kinds of "planes falling out of the sky" doomsday scenarios so beloved by cyber-fearmongers.

https://reason.com/archives/2015/07/04/hackers-installed-duqu-2-malware

Bugging Brazil

WikiLeaks publishes today, 4 July at 08:00 BRT, a top secret US National Security Agency target list of 29 key Brazilian government phone numbers that were selected for intensive interception. The publication proves that not only President Dilma Rousseff was targeted but also her assistant, her secretary, her chief of staff, her Palace office and even the phone in her Presidential jet. The US targeted not only those closest to the President, but waged an economic espionage campaign against Brazil, spying on those responsible for managing Brazil's economy, including the head of its Central Bank. The US also extensively targeted Brazil's diplomacy, targeting the phones of its Foreign Minister and its ambassadors to Germany, France, the EU, the US and Geneva.

The economic targets within Brazil's government include its key Finance Ministers and even a head at the Brazilian Central Bank. Cabinet Minister Nelson Henrique Barbosa Filho, who served as Executive Secretary at Brazil's Ministry of Finance from 2011 to 2013 and who is now Minister of Planning, Budget and Management is on the target list, as is Antonio Palocci, Minister of Finance under former President Lula and formerly Dilma's Chief of Staff.

The revelation of US economic espionage against Brazil follows WikiLeaks publications earlier this week revealing US economic espionage against France, Germany and the EU.

The cell phone of Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, former Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2013 to 2015 and current Brazilian Ambassador to the US, appointed by President Rousseff, was targeted, as was the phone for Adriana Queirzo de Carvalho, Attorney General for the Finance Ministry.

Even on her official travels, President Rousseff is not safe from interception as the target list includes the Inmarsat satellite phone service for the President's jet.

WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange said:

Our publication today shows the US has a long way to go to prove its dragnet surveillance on 'friendly' governments is over. The US has not just been targeting President Rousseff but the key figures she talks to every day. Even if US assurances of ceasing its targeting of President Rousseff could be trusted, which they cannot, it is fanciful to imagine that President Rousseff can run Brazil by talking to herself all day. If President Rousseff wants to see more US investment in Brazil on the back of her recent trip as she claims, how can she assure Brazilian companies that their US counterparts will not have an advantage provided by this surveillance, until she can really guarantee the spying has stopped – not just on her, but on all Brazilian issues.

https://wikileaks.org/nsa-brazil/

NSA’s Top Brazilian Political and Financial Targets Revealed by New WikiLeaks Disclosure

Top secret data from the National Security Agency, shared with The Intercept by WikiLeaks, reveals that the U.S. spy agency targeted the cellphones and other communications devices of more than a dozen top Brazilian political and financial officials, including the country’s president Dilma Rousseff, whose presidential plane’s telephone was on the list. President Rousseff just yesterday returned to Brazil after a trip to the U.S. that included a meeting with President Obama, a visit she had delayed for almost two years in anger over prior revelations of NSA spying on Brazil.

That Rousseff’s personal cell phone was successfully targeted by NSA spying was previously reported in 2013 by Fantastico, a program on the Brazilian television network Globo Rede. That revelation – along with others exposing NSA mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Brazilians, and the targeting of the country’s state-owned oil company Petrobras and its Ministry of Mines and Energy – caused a major rupture in relations between the two nations. But Rouseff is now suffering from severe domestic weakness as a result of various scandals and a weak economy, and apparently could no longer resist the perceived benefits of a high-profile state visit to Washington.

But these new revelations extend far beyond the prior ones and are likely to reinvigorate tensions. Beyond Rousseff, the new NSA target list includes some of Brazil’s most important political and financial figures, such as the Finance Ministry’s Executive Secretary Nelson Barbosa; Luiz Awazu Pereira da Silva, a top official with Brazil’s Central Bank; Luiz Eduardo Melin de Carvalho e Silva, former Chief of Staff to the Finance Minister; the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s chief of economics and finance, Luis Antônio Balduíno Carneiro; former Foreign Affairs Minister and Ambassador to the U.S. Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado; and Antonio Palocci, who formerly served as both Dilma’s Chief of Staff and Finance Minister under former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/04/nsa-top-brazilian-political-and-financial-targets-wikileaks/

Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016

Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/04/us/health-insurance-companies-seek-big-rate-increases-for-2016.html

Friday, July 3, 2015

Insomniac drunk Richard Nixon told his FBI director to be as ruthless as the Nazis in hunt for Deep Throat, declassified Watergate documents reveal

*L. Patrick Gray was summoned to the Oval Office and told: 'I don't think you can be Mr Nice Guy. Do like they did in the war.'

*The meeting was in February 1973 when Watergate was plunging the Nixon White House into crisis

* The FBI director had succeed J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon told him: 'There were no leaks when Hoover was there

*Disclosure is in new book One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon, whose author accessed declassified documents

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3137590/Nixon-told-FBI-director-ruthless-Nazis-leaking-secrets-newly-released-documents-reveal.html

Report: After Spying Operation in Germany, CIA Outed Suspected Leaker to Retaliate Against Journalists

In the summer of 2011, the CIA station chief in Berlin asked one of the most powerful intelligence officials in Germany to go on a private walk with him, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reports. The American spy had an important message to convey: one of Germany’s own senior officials was leaking information to the press.

The suspected leaker, Hans Josef Vorbeck, had been in contact with Spiegel, the station chief told the German official, Günter Heiss. Head of Division 6, Heiss is responsible for coordinating Germany’s intelligence services. Vorbeck was his deputy.

At the time, Vorbeck was responsible for managing German counterterrorism efforts. Following the meet-up, Vorbeck was discreetly transferred to a less prestigious post, overseeing historical archives for the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence service.

For four years, the conversation that led to Vorbeck’s demotion remained secret. It has now become public, thanks largely to a German intelligence inquiry launched in the wake of Edward Snowden’s historic leak of top-secret NSA documents. The walk — and its implications for U.S.-German relations — were detailed Friday by Spiegel.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/03/after-spying-germany-cia-outs-leaker/