Monthly Archives: June 2016

Australian Tax Office’s ‘covert operations’ against taxpayers exposed as illegal

Ron Shamir is an ATO official who blew the whistle on what he says is an unlawful dirty tricks campaign against taxpayers image www.intelagencies.com

Ron Shamir is an ATO official who blew the whistle on what he says is an unlawful dirty tricks campaign against taxpayers. Photo: Simon Schluter

This former tax official blew the whistle on the Australian Taxation Office’s “covert operations” against taxpayers.

Then it sacked him.

Former ATO intelligence analyst Ron Shamir is now pitted in a David and Goliath legal struggle with his former public service bosses who are bringing the full might of the Commonwealth government to bear as they try to silence him.

The legal battle with the Tax Office has left Mr Shamir $200,000 in debt and struggling with health problems, simply, he says, for doing his job as a public official.

The Fair Work Commission has found Mr Shamir’s sacking was harsh, unfair, unreasonable and indefensible.

But the ATO will not accept the verdict and had a legal win on Friday with the full bench of the commission quashing the original decision and agreeing to hear the case again.

Mr Shamir presented a dossier of evidence last year to the taxation watchdog, the Inspector-General of Taxation, supporting allegations that the ATO broke the law with its “covert operations” against an unknown number of innocent taxpayers.

Much of what is alleged cannot be disclosed by Mr Shamir under the strict secrecy provisions the ATO imposes on its current and former employees and Inspector-General Ali Noroozi said he could not discuss the case.

But documents, released by the ATO under freedom of information, reveal that Mr Shamir warned his bosses in 2012 they were engaged in an overzealous response to a court decision that reined in the ATO powers to withhold tax refunds.

The revenue agency stands accused of secretly cancelling large numbers of tax refunds without informing the taxpayer or giving them the right of objection, using the misleading and unproven justification that “ID takeover” had occurred by an “unknown third party”.

The ATO more than doubled the amount of money it withheld in the year it began its secret operation and scored more than $56 million the following year in extra government funding to tackle ID fraud.

But according to the complaints by Mr Shamir, revealed by the FOI documents, many of those cases may have been trumped up with the Tax Office using a crude, “guilt by association” approach to declare fraud against taxpayers with little or no evidence.

The Tax Office said in a statement on Friday that no innocent taxpayers had been caught up in its anti-fraud operation and cited “privacy” in saying it would not discuss its dispute with Mr Shamir.

Soon after taking his concerns to the Inspector-General in 2015, Mr Shamir was sacked over “non-performance of duties”.

But he had an initial win in April when the Fair Work Commission described it as unfair, harsh, unreasonable, indefensible with “too many holes in the ATO’s case”.

Mr Shamir believes he was removed from the Tax Office to stop him from co-operating with the investigation into the ATO’s “Operation Whip” and other covert programs put in place in 2011 after it lost a court battle over its anti-fraud programs.

After Friday’s setback Mr Shamir, who is now awaiting a new decision from Fair Work on whether he will be re-instated, told Fairfax that all he ever wanted was to do his job.

“From the beginning of the dispute in mid-2013, all I’ve wanted is to be able to go back to work,” he said.

Mr Shamir said he had made his whistleblower disclosure and was happy to leave the case with the Inspector-General and get on with his career.

“The ATO say that there is a loss of trust in the relationship because I have made disclosures about the ATO,” the former tax official told Fairfax.

“However, my view is that I have put those matters in the hands of authorities.

“They are no longer my direct concern, other than to assist authorities if requested, and that is not a reason I should not return to work at the ATO.

“I did my job diligently, including to ensure Australians can have confidence in their Tax Office.

“I don’t think taxpayer funds should be used to force me out of my job.”

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Henry Sapiecha

Electronic Bank Robberies Stealing Money from ATMs with Malware

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www.crimefiles.net

This talk will discuss a case in which criminals compromised and robbed an ATM by infecting it with specially crafted malware. The successful compromise of an ATM can easily result in the loss of several hundred thousand dollars.
Most automated teller machines (ATMs) run regular Windows systems and can be controlled like any other computer. The first public demonstration of an ATM hack was given in 2010 – but how bad is this threat really? It turns out there is a multi-million dollar business behind ATM hacks. This talk reveals how these criminal gangs operate by disclosing information obtained through forensic analysis of a real compromise. In the analyzed case some malware was used to control the hacked machine that was written specifically for the targeted ATM brand. By reverse-engineering this malware, we gained unique insights into the technologies used by the intruders. The malicious features range from balance monitoring over cash-out commands to the wiping of the machine to cover up traces of the attack. They can be accessed through special number codes that are entered directly via the machine’s number pad. Hooking techniques and overlay windows are used to display the status of the system on the ATM monitor. We will further discuss that operations of this scale can only be performed by professional crime groups that not only have the technical capabilities to develop such special malware, but also have access to insider information about the design of ATMs and who know how the targeted banks operate.

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Henry Sapiecha

JACOB APPELBAUM EXPOSES NSA TOOLS HACKING YOUR COMPUTER-BACK DOORS & MALWARE

Published on Dec 30, 2013

NSA AGENTS who specialize in SECRET BACK DOORS FOR SPYING ON YOU are able to keep an eye on all levels of our digital lives. THE NSA ILLEGAL GOVT HACKERS SPY ON computing centers to individual computers, and from laptops to mobile phones. UNLOCKING ANY AND ALL PHONES AND COMPUTERS AND LABTOPS. FOR EVERY SECURED COMPUTER OR NETWORK the ANT seems to have a key in its toolbox TO OPEN AND GAIN INSTANT ACCESS TO EVERYONE. And no matter what walls companies erect, the NSA’s specialists seem already to have gotten past them.
THE NSA 50-page CATAOLOG HAS A list that reads like a mail-order catalog. ALL NSA employees can order technologies from the ANT division for tapping their targets’ data. The catalog even lists the prices for these electronic break-in tools, with costs ranging from free to $250,000. In the case of Juniper, the name of this particular digital lock pick is “FEEDTROUGH.” This NSA MALWARE burrows into Juniper firewalls and makes it possible to smuggle other NSA programs into mainframe computers. Thanks to FEEDTROUGH, these implants can, by design, even survive “across reboots and software upgrades.” In this way, US GOVERNMENT SPIES can SECURE and PLANT themselves a permanent presence in ANY computer networks. The catalog states that FEEDTROUGH “has been deployed on many target platforms.”
NSA SPECIALISTS at ANT which stands for Advanced or Access Network Technology, ARE GOVT EMPLOYED MASTER HACKERS for the NSA’s department for Tailored Access Operations (TAO). In cases where TAO’s usual hacking and data-skimming methods don’t suffice, ANT workers step in with their special tools, penetrating networking equipment, monitoring mobile phones and computers and diverting or even modifying data. Such “IMPLANTS,” as they are referred to in NSA parlance, have played a considerable role in the intelligence agency’s ability to establish a global covert network that operates alongside the Internet.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/w…
AND GRAPHICS SHOWING NSA SPY TOOLS http://www.spiegel.de/international/w…

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Henry Sapiecha

The NSA Can “Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make” TV report video interview.

Published on Dec 30, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – The German publication Der Spiegel has revealed new details about a secretive hacking unit inside the National Security Agency called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO. The unit was created in 1997 to hack into global communications traffic. Hackers inside the TAO have developed a way to break into computers running Microsoft Windows by gaining passive access to machines when users report program crashes to Microsoft. In addition, with help from the CIA and FBI, the NSA has the ability to intercept computers and other electronic accessories purchased online in order to secretly insert spyware and components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer and journalist Glenn Greenwald join us to discuss the latest revelations, along with the future of Edward Snowden, who has recently offered to assist U.S. targets Germany and Brazil with their respective probes into NSA spying.

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Henry Sapiecha

USA Fed records show dozens of cyber security breaches

US Federal Reserve Hacked More than 50 In Past 5 Years

Published on Jun 1, 2016

According to Fed records, the Federal Reserve detected more than 50 cyber breaches between 2011 and 2015. Several of the incidents have been described internally as “espionage.”
The records show the US central bank’s staff suspected hackers or spies in many of the incidents. The Fed’s computer systems play a critical role in global banking and hold confidential information on discussions about monetary policy that drives financial markets.
The Fed declined to comment. The redacted records do not say who hacked the bank’s systems or whether they accessed sensitive information or stole money.
James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said “Hacking is a major threat to the stability of the financial system. This data shows why.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve detected more than 50 cyber breaches between 2011 and 2015, with several incidents described internally as “espionage,” according to Fed records.

The central bank’s staff suspected hackers or spies in many of the incidents, the records show. The Fed’s computer systems play a critical role in global banking and hold confidential information on discussions about monetary policy that drives financial markets.

The cybersecurity reports, obtained by Reuters through a Freedom of Information Act request, were heavily redacted by Fed officials to keep secret the central bank’s security procedures.

The Fed declined to comment, and the redacted records do not say who hacked the bank’s systems or whether they accessed sensitive information or stole money.

“Hacking is a major threat to the stability of the financial system. This data shows why,” said James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. Lewis reviewed the files at the request of Reuters.

 

The records represent only a slice of all cyber attacks on the Fed because they include only cases involving the Washington-based Board of Governors, a federal agency that is subject to public records laws. Reuters did not have access to reports by local cybersecurity teams at the central bank’s 12 privately owned regional branches.

The disclosure of breaches at the Fed comes at a time when cybersecurity at central banks worldwide is under scrutiny after hackers stole $81 million from a Bank Bangladesh account at the New York Fed.

Cyber thieves have targeted large financial institutions around the world, including America’s largest bank JPMorgan, as well as smaller players like Ecuador’s Banco del Austro and Vietnam’s Tien Phong Bank.

Hacking attempts were cited in 140 of the 310 reports provided by the Fed’s board. In some reports, the incidents were not classified in any way.

In eight information breaches between 2011 and 2013 – a time when the Fed’s trading desk was buying massive amounts of bonds – Fed staff wrote that the cases involved “malicious code,” referring to software used by hackers.

Four hacking incidents in 2012 were considered acts of “espionage,” according to the records. Information was disclosed in at least two of those incidents, according to the records. In the other two incidents, the records did not indicate whether there was a breach.

In all, the Fed’s national team of cybersecurity experts, which operates mostly out of New Jersey, identified 51 cases of “information disclosure” involving the Fed’s board. Separate reports showed a local team at the board registered four such incidents.

The cases of information disclosure can refer to a range of ways unauthorized people see Fed information, from hacking attacks to Fed emails sent to the wrong recipients, according to two former Fed cybersecurity staffers who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The former employees said that cyber attacks on the Fed are about as common as at other large financial institutions.

It was unclear if the espionage incidents involved foreign governments, as has been suspected in some hacks of federal agencies. Beginning in 2014, for instance, hackers stole more than 21 million background check records from the federal Office of Personnel Management, and U.S. officials attributed the breach to the Chinese government, an accusation denied by Beijing.

TARGET FOR SPYING

Security analysts said foreign governments could stand to gain from inside Fed information. China and Russia, for instance, are major players in the $13.8 trillion federal debt market where Fed policy plays a big role in setting interest rates.

“Obviously that makes it a very clear (hacking) target for other nation states,” said Ari Schwartz, a former top cybersecurity adviser at the White House who is now with the law firm Venable.

U.S. prosecutors in March accused hackers associated with Iran’s government of attacking dozens of U.S. banks.

In the records obtained by Reuters, espionage might also refer to spying by private companies, or even individuals such British activist Lauri Love, who is accused of infiltrating a server at a regional Fed branch in October 2012. Love stole names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of Fed computer system users, according to a federal indictment.

The redacted reports obtained by Reuters do not mention Love or any other hacker by name.

The records point to breaches during a sensitive period for the Fed, which was ramping up aid for the struggling U.S. economy by buying massive quantities of U.S. government debt and mortgage-backed securities.

In 2010 and 2011, the Fed went on a $600 billion bond-buying spree that lowered interest rates and made bonds more expensive. It restarted purchases in September 2012 and expanded them up in December of that year.

The Fed cybersecurity records did not indicate whether hackers accessed sensitive information on the timing or amounts of bond purchases or used it for financial gain.

UP ALL NIGHT

The Fed’s national cybersecurity team – the National Incident Response Team, or NIRT – created 263 of the incident reports obtained by Reuters.

The Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington September 16 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington September 16 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

NIRT operates in a fortress-like building in East Rutherford, New Jersey that also processes millions of dollars in cash everyday as part of the central bank’s duty to keep the financial system running, according to the New York Fed’s website. The unit provides support to the local cybersecurity teams at the Fed’s Board and regional banks, which process more than $3 trillion in payments every day.

The NIRT handles “higher impact” cases, according to a 2013 report by the Board of Governor’s Office of Inspector General.

One of the two former NIRT employees interviewed by Reuters described being on a team that once worked around the clock for five-straight days to patch software hackers had used to gain access to Fed systems in an attempt to obtain passwords. The former employee worked through several of those nights, taking naps at a desk in the office.

In that case, Fed security staff found no signs that sensitive information had been disclosed, the former employee said. Information about future interest rate policy discussions is isolated from other Fed networks and is more difficult for hackers to access, the former NIRT worker said.

But the Fed was under constant assault, much like any large company, the former employee said, and was “compromised frequently.”

An internal watchdog has criticized the central bank for cybersecurity shortcomings. A 2015 audit by the Fed board’s Office of Inspector General found the board was not adequately scanning databases for vulnerabilities or putting enough restrictions on system access.

“There is heightened risk of unauthorized disclosure and inappropriate use of sensitive board information,” according to the audit released in November.

(Reporting by Jason Lange and Dustin Volz; Editing by David Chance and Brian Thevenot)

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Henry Sapiecha

 

 

U S Congress probes NY Fed’s handling of Bangladesh Bank heist

Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman/File Photo

A U.S. congressional committee has launched a probe into the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s handling of the cyber theft of $81 million from one of its accounts held by the central bank of Bangladesh, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The letter, addressed to New York Fed President William Dudley and sent Tuesday from the House of Representatives’ Science Committee, requests “all documents and communications” connected to the February heist, the bank’s oversight of the global financial network SWIFT and the status of any reviews related to the Fed’s information technology conducted since the attack occurred.

The letter follows similar probes launched last month by Tom Carper, the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s top Democrat, and Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat.

The latest inquiry comes as policymakers, regulators and financial institutions around the world increase scrutiny into the heist and related attacks on banks in Vietnam and Ecuador, in which hackers sent fraudulent transaction messages across the SWIFT.

“In light of the recent cyber attacks on our global financial systems, the Committee believes it is imperative to receive information from the NY Fed about its response, its oversight of SWIFT, the status of the investigation, and any remedial steps taken to address vulnerabilities,” states the letter, signed by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican.

A New York Fed spokeswoman said it intended to respond to the new request for information. The bank has so far denied responsibility for the Bangladesh Bank intrusion.

The letter said it was “deeply troubling” that cyber security experts believe more attacks will be uncovered as banks review their security systems, and that Bangladesh Bank’s systems appeared to be the “weak link” in the February attack.

SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, last week urged banks to bolster their security, saying it was aware of multiple attacks. Banks around the world rely on SWIFT to issue payment instructions to each other.

The committee requested a response from the New York Fed by June 14.

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Henry Sapiecha

 

The Intelligence War of the 911 decade retribution & aftermath in these video docos x 4

Immediately after 9/11, the US announced that ‘the gloves were coming off’ in the fight against al-Qaeda. In the first of three films on the aftermath of 9/11, we examine the highs and lows of the intelligence war.

At Al Jazeera English, we focus on people and events that affect people’s lives. We bring topics to light that often go under-reported, listening to all sides of the story and giving a ‘voice to the voiceless.’
Reaching more than 270 million households in over 140 countries across the globe, our viewers trust Al Jazeera English to keep them informed, inspired, and entertained.
Our impartial, fact-based reporting wins worldwide praise and respect. It is our unique brand of journalism that the world has come to rely on.
We are reshaping global media and constantly working to strengthen our reputation as one of the world’s most respected news and current affairs channels.

On the tenth anniversary of the Attacks of September 11th, 2001, expert witnesses gathered at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada to provide evidence-based research that called into question the official story of 9/11. This was known as The Toronto Hearings on 9/11.

Over a period of four days, these experts in Structural Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, and History gave researched and professional testimony to an international panel of distinguished judges. The panel of judges, in conjunction with the steering committee would go on to publish their final analysis of the evidence provided, which called for a new investigation into the Attacks of September 11th, 2001.

This film is a summary of the strongest evidence given over the four days of hearings. To see the hearings in their entirety please visit http://torontohearings.org/ or read the final report available on the aforementioned website.

911-Not for the faint hearted [Graphic] RIP-Never forget the fallen video

8:46 am NORTH TOWER — American Airlines, Flight 11, from Boston to LA, strikes the North Tower. All 87 on board are murdered. (In addition, there were 5 hijackers.)

9:03 am SOUTH TOWER — United Airlines, Flight 175, from Boston to LA, strikes the South Tower. All 60 on board are murdered. (In addition, there were 5 hijackers.)

9:37 am PENTAGON — American Airlines, Flight 77, from Virginia to LA, strikes the Pentagon. All 59 on board are murdered. (In addition, there were 5 hijackers). In the Pentagon, 125 people are murdered, 55 of which are military personel.

9:59 am After burning for 56 minutes, the SOUTH TOWER COLLAPSES. 630 people murdered.

10:03 am SHANKSVILLE, PA — United Airlines, Flight 93, from Newark, NJ to San Francisco, CA strikes the ground. All 40 on board are murdered. (In addition, there were 4 hijackers.)

10:28 am After burning for 1 hour and 42 minutes, the NORTH TOWER COLLAPSES. 1,462 people murdered.

5:21 pm After being hit from the collapsing North Tower, 7WTC began burning, and at 5:21 pm it collapsed. No one was in the building.

Additionally, 411 First Responders were murdered when the Towers collapsed.

9-11 Photos The Networks Will NOT Show You!!! – Remembering The Jumpers

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Henry Sapiecha

Inside the NSA: America’s Cyber Secrets [Full Video x 2 Documentary]

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Henry Sapiecha

DEF CON 23: Confessions of a Professional Cyber Stalker – Ken Westin on video

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Henry Sapiecha

Hackers sell 425 million users’ data on dark web Myspace &Tumblr hacked:

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The enormous data set, a reported 427,484,128 passwords, is apparently for sale on the dark website The Real Deal for 6 Bitcoin (roughly $A4,350) Photo: Dimitri Otis

360 million Myspace accounts and 65 million Tumblr accounts, including email addresses, usernames and passwords have turned up for sale on the darkweb, including the private information of Australian users dating back to both sites’ inception.

In what may be one of the biggest breaches of all time, Time Inc, the parent company of Myspace, confirmed it was hacked in June 2013, and that the data has only now appeared for sale.

“Shortly before the Memorial Day weekend, we became aware that stolen Myspace user login data was being made available in an online hacker forum,” the site announced in a blog post.

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360 million Myspace accounts have been leaked.

Despite Myspace having only a fraction of the traffic it once enjoyed ten years ago, dormant Myspace accounts created before 2013 have also been compromised, said Time

While Tumblr flagged the breach in 2013, it did not reveal the extent.

Fairfax Media has verified the Myspace hack using an (embarrassing) hotmail address from 2005. That address and the passwords linked to that Myspace account have appeared in the stolen data set.

The danger arises when users link the same password to various accounts, whether they be social media, banking or email accounts. To check if your email address is linked to a breach, visit this website.

The enormous data set, a reported 427,484,128 passwords, is apparently for sale on the dark website The Real Deal for 6 Bitcoin (roughly $A4,350).

News outlet Motherboard has tested a sample of the data, revealing active passwords, suggesting the leak is authentic.

The incident comes the same month that social media platform LinkedIn confirmed 164 million IDs have appeared for sale online as well. The breach occurred in 2012, though only now has the data set emerged for sale. There is some speculation the same hacker is behind both breaches.

While no financial information has been compromised, if users routinely use the same email address and password combination, they are at a high risk of having further personal information compromised.

“It all comes back to whether they’ve been following good password practices or not,” Security researcher Troy Hunt told the BBC.

“If they’ve reused passwords across multiple services – and remember, these breaches date back several years so they need to recall their practices back then – then they may well have other accounts at risk too,” he said.

Myspace has said it is also using automated tools to attempt to identify and block any suspicious activity that might occur on Myspace accounts.

“We have also reported the incident to law enforcement authorities and are cooperating to investigate and pursue this criminal act,” said the site.

SDR

Henry Sapiecha