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Tag: China

Homeland Security Chairman: Espionage Motivates China to Hack U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Evidence n0t only points to China as the culprit behind “the most significant breach in U.S. History,” but the hackers may have been sponsored by the Chinese government, The Hill reports. 

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said all indications are that hackers were motivated espionage because of the target, the Office of Personnel Management.

It’s not only looking very likely that someone located in China hacked the U.S.

“It was perhaps nation-state sponsored because of the way it was done,” he said. “It was done for espionage.”

“This is an area where there are no rules to the game,” McCaul added. “It raises all sorts of issues for Americans.”

Other Stories of Interest


FBI: China-Based Hackers Stole Information on 4 Million Federal Workers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. investigators believe China-based hackers stole identifying information of at least 4 million federal workers across virtually every agency, leading to concerns that culprits could mimic American officials, the Boston Herald reports. 

The compromised data came from the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department.

“The FBI is conducting an investigation to identify how and why this occurred,” the statement said.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, called the breach “yet another indication of a foreign power probing successfully and focusing on what appears to be data that would identify people with security clearances.”

The skills of the hackers impressed experts.

“They were incredibly successful,” Anthony Roman, president of Roman & Associates, a global investigative and security consulting firm, said. “Certain types of malware are like little sleeper cells. It goes in there, it may stay dormant, then it collects a little information and it may go dormant again. It can be very difficult to detect as a result.”

FBI Raids ‘Birthing Centers’ in Southern California for Wealthy Chinese Women

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents raided so-called “maternity hotels” in southern California where wealthy pregnant Chinese nationals are accused of giving birth so their children can garner U.S. citizenship, the The Los Angeles Times reports.

Apartment complexes, aka “birthing centers,” where the women were housed were scattered throughout Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

Three businesses were targeted

While it’s not against the law to give birth at the centers, the FBI is treating the women as material witnesses. The operators of the centers are suspected of visa fraud and conspiracy for helping clients falsifying travel documents.

Justice Department Criminally Charges Five Chinese Military Officials with Hacking

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has charged five Chinese military officials with cyber-espionage after allegedly hacking into American companies’ computers in an attempt to steal trade secrets.

BBC reports that the army officials are accused of stealing trade secrets and internal documents from five U.S. companies and a labor union.

China quickly denied the charges, saying the accusations threaten to sour relations between the two countries.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the charges were the first against “known state actors for infiltrating U.S. commercial targets by cyber means.”

The victims have been identified as Westinghouse Electric, US Steel, Alcoa Inc, Allegheny Technologies, SolarWorld and the US Steelworkers Union.

“The alleged hacking appears to have been conducted for no reason other than to advantage state-owned companies and other interests in China, at the expense of businesses here in the United States,” Holder said.

FBI: Man Accused of Burning Chinese Consulate Says He Was Hearing Voices

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears of terrorism initially spread after someone intentionally set fire to the Chinese consulate in San Francisco last week.

But CBS SF reports that the suspect, 39-year-old Yan Feng, may have been suffering from mental health problems after he told FBI agents that he was hearing voices in Chinese.

Feng was charged Monday with two counts of arson and willfully damaging property belonging to a foreign government.

According to FBI agent Michel Eldridge, the suspect “stated in substance that he targeted the Chinese consulate because all the voices he had been hearing were in Chinese and the Chinese consulate had to have been involved.”

Obama’s Choice for Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Denies Abusing His Influence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

President Obama’s nomination for second in command at the Department of Homeland Security fended off allegations Thursday that he helped Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brother get a special visa for foreign investors, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas is important because he could become the temporary replacement for Janet Napolitano, who plans to leave in September for another job.

The department’s inspector general is trying to determine whether Mayorkas abused his position by helping Gulf Coast Funds Management, run by Anthony Rodham, get a visa visa for a Chinese investor who was twice denied a visa.

“I have never in my career used undue influence to influence the outcome of a case,” Alejandro Mayorkas, the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told a Senate panel considering his nomination, The LA Times wrote.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Ross Parker: DEA Responds Rapidly to Chinese Chemists and Designer Drugs

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

In my two-part series I recently noted how rapidly Chinese chemists can react once one of their designer drugs is made illegal. They do this by tweaking the chemical combination and modifying them to arguably place them outside of the ambit of the new law. DEA showed last week that they can act rapidly also by temporarily scheduling three synthetic cannabinoids as Schedule I controlled substances. This action will make any manufacture, distribution or possession of these substances illegal.

The temporary scheduling is for a period of two years. The substances, the latest generation of so-called “fake pot,” were designated as UR-144, XLR11, and AKB48 and have been falsely marketed on the internet and in some stores as herbal incense or potpourri. The DEA preliminary investigation determined that the drugs were being consumed especially by teens and young people with some serious medical effects. DEA concluded that the drugs posed an imminent hazard to the public safety.

Normally the investigation which precedes temporary scheduling can take up to two years as DEA checks on the prevalence, medical danger, and other circumstances surrounding the drug under consideration. However, as noted in the article, the speed with which these dangerous drugs can be designed, manufactured, and marketed, has required a faster response. In this case the agency is believed to have completed its study in a number of months

This development, along with some litigation the last few months, illustrate the need proposed in the special report for legislative reform, action by the public, and more resources for law enforcement in this rapidly evolving area. No doubt the Chinese chemists have already replaced these drugs with others equally deadly to fill their customers’ orders.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

Part 2: What We Can Do to Confront the Threat of New Designer Drugs from China

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. This is the second in a two-part series.  To read the first part, click here.
 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Part one of this report discussed the menace of a new generation of synthetic designer drugs from China causing a public health crisis in Europe. In America, in the last two years, enterprising rogue Chinese chemists have introduced hundreds of these new chemical combinations into the market.

This plague in America  is steadily growing worse.  Law enforcement and medical experts believe that the tens of thousands of reported cases in hospitals in the last year are just the tip of the iceberg. These numbers have essentially doubled just in the last year. The rate of reporting by the agencies like DAWN, which records emergency room admissions, and NFLIS, which keeps track of law enforcement laboratory tests on drugs, is a bleak harbinger of things to come.

Unless aggressive action is taken, we can expect the same panic the British are experiencing from this onslaught. On a more optimistic note, there are positive steps that can be taken and virtually all individuals and groups can have a role in this defense. This part will outline a strategy which can meet this oncoming crisis.

Parents —– Since the victims are largely teenagers living at home, the first line of defense has to be the parents. At a minimum all parents of teens and pre-teens should have a frank and two-sided conversation to educate their children on the life-threatening effects of these drugs, which are deceptively packaged and marketed as a “legal high.”

Teens think they are immortal and the prospect of some exciting new forbidden experience can be irresistible. Information and misinformation about the synthetics are spread by friends and acquaintances, and the availability is cheap and accessible. Many of these new consumers are naïve about drugs in general, as well as their dangers.

A teenage boy in North Dakota is currently facing murder charges because he gave a single tablet of a synthetic drug to a friend. The friend died shortly after ingesting it at a party. The consequences of such single acts are beyond the comprehension of most teens.

Read more »