NM: MASSIVE ID THEFT RING BUSTED: DA: Thieves ‘Used Every Trick in Book’
February 19, 2010 by admin
It started out last month with a man and woman getting busted breaking into cars at the Kohl’s department store on Paseo del Norte NE.
By Thursday, a dozen people were in custody in what authorities are calling the largest identity theft ring in the city’s history.
Officials have identified Robert Rivera as the ringleader of a group who allegedly used an elaborate computer system to make bogus checks, fake credit cards and IDs. The suspects are accused of using the checks and credit cards to defraud Walmart, Maloof Distributing, Paul Allen Homes, Albertsons grocery stores and Bank of the West.
“We believe this is going to be the largest, most high-profile identity theft ring the city has ever encountered,” said Pat Davis, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office. “That’s because this is not a group that used a single method — these weren’t just burglaries and thefts. They literally used every trick in the book to obtain bank records, IDs and account information of their victims, then turned around and used every tactic they could to quickly convert that into cash.”
Read more from McClatchy-Tribune Information Service.
“Bad decisions never die, nor do they fade away.” Douglas McGeek
Official: FBI probing Pa. school webcam spy case
February 19, 2010 by Dissent
MaryClaire Dale reports that the school spycam case has not been ratcheted up a notch:
The FBI is investigating a Pennsylvania school district accused of secretly activating webcams inside students’ homes, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press on Friday.
The FBI will explore whether Lower Merion School District officials broke any federal wiretap or computer-intrusion laws, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the investigation.
Read more on Forbes.
[From the article:
Days after a student filed suit over the practice, Lower Merion officials acknowledged Friday that they remotely activated webcams 42 times in the past 14 months, but only to find missing student laptops. They insist they never did so to spy on students, as the student's family claimed in the federal lawsuit.
Families were not informed of the possibility the webcams might be activated in their homes without their permission in the paperwork students sign when they get the computers, district spokesman Doug Young said.
… The Pennsylvania case shows how even well-intentioned plans can go awry if officials fail to understand the technology and its potential consequences, privacy experts said. Compromising images from inside a student's bedroom could fall into the hands of rogue school staff or otherwise be spread across the Internet, they said.
(Related) It's difficult to get users to read all of the feature documentation that comes with an operating system (because no documentation comes with the operating system?) So you have to rely on some geek finding the “feature” and not keeping it in his secret list of hacks.
Windows 7 Can Create Rogue Wi-Fi Access Point
Posted by timothy on Friday February 19, @06:35PM
"Windows 7 contains a 'SoftAP' feature, also called 'virtual Wi-Fi,' that allows a PC to function simultaneously as a Wi-Fi client and as an access point to which other Wi-Fi-capable devices can connect. The capability is handy when users want to share music and play interactive games. But it also can allow on-site visitors and parking-lot hackers to piggyback onto the user's laptop and 'ghost ride' into a corporate network unnoticed."
While this means a bit more policing for networks meant to be locked down, it sounds like a good thing overall. Linux users, meanwhile, have had kernel support (since 2.6.26) for 802.11s mesh networking, as well as Host AP support for certain chipsets.
How much information is available?
More “lawful spying” guides available on the web
February 20, 2010 by Dissent
Cryptome.org has posted more guides for law enforcement requesting subscribers’ information. The latest batch of guides posted includes Facebook, AOL, Skype, Cox Communications, Ning, myYearbook, Stickam, two from the US Postal Service, and Yahoo’s Records Preservation Letter. The guides indicate what types of information the entity collects and retains on users and in some cases, the retention period for data or costs of services provided to law enforcement.
There is something compelling about the writings of an angry judge. They seem to cut directly to the heart of their argument and express themselves in very clear, non-technical (and highly quotable) language,
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski writes scathing dissent in Fourth Amendment case
February 19, 2010 by Dissent
When a judge called for United States v. Lemus to be reheard en banc, the majority of judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did not vote to rehear the case. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote an absolutely blistering dissent to that denial. With Judge Paez joining in the dissent, he wrote:
This is an extraordinary case: Our court approves, without blinking, a police sweep of a person’s home without a warrant, without probable cause, without reasonable suspicion and without exigency—in other words, with nothing at all to support the entry except the curiosity police always have about what they might find if they go rummaging around a suspect’s home. Once inside, the police managed to turn up a gun “in plain view”—stuck between two cushions of the living room couch—and we reward them by upholding the search.
Did I mention that this was an entry into somebody’s home, the place where the protections of the Fourth Amendment are supposedly at their zenith? The place where the “government bears a heavy burden of demonstrating that exceptional circumstances justif[y] departure from the warrant requirement.” United States v. Licata, 761 F.2d 537, 543 (9th Cir. 1985). The place where warrantless searches are deemed “presumptively unreasonable.” Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 586 (1980).
Read the rest of his dissenting opinion here.