Review Category : Security News

Bronx Cab Driver's Murder Prompts Investigation Into Taxi Surveillance Systems

liverycabshootingIn a tragic incident that underscores the need for companies and individuals to secure their vehicles, a livery cab driver was shot and killed in what was believed to be an attempted robbery Monday morning.

According to police, 46-year old Ndiaye Amadau was shot once in the chest just after 12:30 a.m. Monday by his passenger in Baychester. The police believe he was shot in an attempted robbery. After the attack, the cab slammed into a silver car waiting for a light. The gunman was able to flee, but the driver of the silver car got a got a good look at him and the NYPD are undergoing an extensive search for the killer.

Amadau’s vehicle was not properly secured at all, as it did not have either a partition (a secure barrier for protecting the driver from their passenger in a cab) or a security camera. Because he didn’t have a partition, Amadau was not protected from any dangerous or unruly passengers if an unfortunate situation were to occur. Additionally, by not having a security camera, Amadau did not have an extra pair of eyes with which to secure his vehicle and protect himself. Without these layers of security, his cab and himself were  completely vulnerable.

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Pot Police Nab 360 Lbs. of Reefer with GPS Tracking

pot-policeWhen people think drug trafficking, they think Miami, South America, maybe even Vermont. But suburban Boston? Apparently, yes.

The DEA recently seized over 360 lbs. (worth an astounding $700,000 bucks street value) in suburban Framingham, Massachusetts, with the help of GPS Tracking.

When cops spotted marijuana traffickers loading wooden crates with bricks of marijuana, they executed a search warrant and planted a GPS tracker amidst the reefer. Then the cops just sat back and let the tracker do its thing.

The GPS tracker helped cops locate the drug shipment where they made the arrest of three men that were loading the 12 containers of marijuana into a van en route to distribution. All three suspects are currently being detained in Massachusetts.

(via WCVB Boston)

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GPS Devices Being Used to Track Dementia Patients

170427_old_man_walkingIndianapolis state legislature has begun discussions as to whether or not they should use GPS tracking systems on adults with dementia and other mental diseases that cause them to wander. The topic was brought to question due to recently passed legislation that began the Silver Alert program which involves the public in finding missing endangered adults. If passed, the law would require for adults with diseases like dementia to wear the GPS devices to help ensure their safety.

According to Michael Sullivan, director of public policy and advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana chapter, “There was a lot of concern by state police and broadcasters about how often there would be a Silver Alert.” For this reason lawmakers are calling for a study to determine weather or not the GPS devices should be made mandatory. Stephen Smith, president of the Indiana Health Care Association, called the proposal “overkill.”

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New Study Shows DNA Evidence Can Be Easily Fabricated

csipicDNA evidence has always been considered the end-all-be-all of proof in criminal cases. It was thought that this evidence was infallible and impossible to be tampered with. Well according to Israeli scientists, that is just not true.

Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence. The scientists were able to do this by fabricating blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor. They also demonstrated they could create a sample of DNA to match a DNA profile without obtaining the tissue of the individual from the profile.

“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”

The scientists fabricated DNA samples in two ways, with one needing the services of a small real DNA sample, which was from a strand of hair. This tiny sample was then made much larger using a technique called whole genome amplification. They then combined the DNA from this strand, which came from a man, with blood from a women that had been removed of its DNA. When this sample was analyzed, it only came back positive as a normal sample of a man’s blood.

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NY Lottery Proves How Far People Will Go For Cash

cash1The New York Lottery recently launched a new advertising campaign using hidden cameras to show exactly how far people would go for cash money. One guy even ventures into a New York City fountain for 10 bucks, emerging completely wet, shamed, and probably having contracted tetanus, but hey, at least he’s $10 richer.

Using hidden cameras strategically place throughout the city, the NY lottery put NYC residents in somewhat humiliating situations to prove how strong the need/want for cash really is. Cash spews from an ATM, they tape cash to the top of a very high pole, etc. causing bystanders to put themselves in somewhat ridiculous situations to get the goods; and it’s all caught on hidden camera.

In this economy with the NY and NJ Lottery maxing at $170 million this week, who wouldn’t shimmy up a lamppost or jump into a fountain for that kind of paper? Count me in!

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Law Confusing On Subject Of Video Surveillance

supreme-courWhat is legal and not legal when it comes to surveillance? This is a question that is ill-defined in modern society, and its elements change every day as our technology becomes more and more advanced and our social norms adjust along with it. There is still a difference between a persons private and public life. But where is the line drawn?

As surveillance cameras have become more common with both private citizens and for the use of communities, the Supreme Court has taken the position that what a person exposes to the public is not constitutionally protected and that in public, visual forms of surveillance have almost complete carte blanche in recording people. Surveillance cameras have taken over our lives to the point that they’ve made the distinctions of public and private life somewhat nonexistent.

To make this idea explicit, there is no federal law that governs video surveillance by private citizens or organizations such as community safety coalitions and almost no federal law that covers police video surveillance.

“The courts have claimed that using a video and audio recorder by a citizen is protected by the First Amendment,” says Len Brown, a West Point graduate and an attorney with the Lancaster, PA law firm of Clymer & Musser.

State laws do not regulate videotaping. According to Clifford Fishman, a professor at Catholic University and a former New York district attorney, “The Justice Department likes the law the way it is, because it allows visual surveillance of public conduct.”

The law says that private citizens using video cameras must follow the same guidelines governing surveillance programs operated by municipalities. According to Fisherman, however, there are still many questions about the legality of what individuals personally film. While it may not be illegal if an individual their own or others property or individuals going about their daily business, a line can easily be crossed between which another person can see this surveillance and filming as a form of illegal harassment.

Says Brown, “There’s really nothing anyone can do, until someone finds out [the camera operators] are abusing the cameras.”

According to Brown, with no clear regulation and oversight of video surveillance, the potential for voyeurism and invasion of privacy becomes much larger. Although municipalities with surveillance programs are able to regulate their recordings, breaches are always a possibility.

Fishman suggests putting cameras only in areas where crime is prevalent, instead of simply saturating a city, in hopes of catching criminal activity.

Surveillance programs are growing number across the country. Camera technology is improving, and people are more likely to use camera surveillance to protect their home. As a society, we need to make decisions about how we will survey each other in public. It will go on to some extent. We just have to decide how far we actually want to go.

“Once the debate gets captured by the extremes on both sides, people in the middle just tune out, says Fishman.”

(Via Lanaster Online)

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New York's Taxi GPS System Succeeds in Recovering a $500K Violin

*Aug 17 - 00:05*22-year-old violinist Hahn-Bin Yoo spent this morning performing Chopin and Kreisler for investigators after they helped find a $500,000 violin he left in the back seat of a New York cab. Yoo had spent Sunday in the Hamptons and ended his night practicing on the borrowed violin at Lincoln Center. Afterwards he got into Dalbir Singh’s cab were he left the 19th century violin in the back seat.

“I was exhausted,” the South Korean native said. “I completely forgot about it.”

After dialing 311 he was, by chance, patched through to one of the cities top detectives Ming Li. Li contacted the Taxi and Limousine Commission and using their GPS tracking systems they were able to determine which cab Yoo had traveled in. Within minutes they were able to contact Dalbir Singh and retrieve the violin. When questioned about the violin Singh simply said  “He is lucky, he was my last fare.” Yoo is actually the city’s second lost violin case in eight days. Gregor Kitzis told police about a pair of violins he accidentally left on the No. 1 train last Sunday. They have yet to be found.

While we have all had the experience of leaving something behind in a cab from time to time, it sounds like more people should be investing in a GPS tracker to attach onto their more valuable possessions, because you might not be so fortunate to recover your items the way Yoo did.

(Via NY Daily News)

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SQL Injection Hack Mastermind Gets Indicted on Conspiracy Charges

fbitacticalThe U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday that Albert Gonzalez along with two others were being indicted for five new corporate data breaches, aside from his most famous escapade: the infamous TJ Maxx breech that affected 94 million accounts. Gonzalez, indicted in 2008, is the supposed ring leader of a cybercrime enterprise that was able to steal around 170 credit and debit card numbers from companies such as Heartland Payment Systems, Hannaford Brothers Co., and even 7-Eleven. Gonzalez and his cohorts targeted Fortune 500 companies by finding physical and virtual weaknesses within the organizations to exploit.

Investigators were left asking, how did he do it? Gonzalez’ approach was simple. He would first identify point of sale machines and upload information to create a hacking platform. He would then launch a SQL-injection attack on the system using instant messages to relay his discoveries to his partners in crime. Using malware and sniffers they were able to absorb the credit card numbers with relative ease. They avoided detection by using intermediary, or “proxy,” computers and testing their malware against twenty of the leading anti-virus products. While none of these tactics solicit technological genius, it was more than enough to exploit the weak defenses these powerful companies had.

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Despite Attacks, High Tech Security Suveillance Still Ongoing in Afghanistan

kabul460_1462983cIn Afghanistan protective measures are being put into place in order to ensure a safe democratic process for the upcoming presidential elections.  In the town of Kabul alone, there are 46 sensor cameras as well as a high tech security balloon. This balloon floats above the city with high tech cameras attached keeping it under 24 hour surveillance. There are several checkpoints along the town to ensure the safety of the local townspeople as well.

This is all being done in order to foster a safe voting environment for the Afghan people. However local militants are determined to disrupt this process in any way they can. Two days after the new high security balloon was put up a suicide bomber was able to infiltrate one of the highest security points in Kabul with a car filled with explosives. The suicide attack killed seven and left at least 90 wounded. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack and warned locals to stay away from voting poles.

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Identity Theft: There is an App For That

identEvery day thousands of people download new applications onto their smart phones without much care for  the terms of service they so easily agree to. What most of these people don’t know is they may be volunteering information and allowing for companies to gather data without their consent. Recently a company called Pinch Media was charged with being a little too invasive when it comes to gathering information through their iPhone apps.

According to one iPhone developer, applications using Pinch Media can retrieve information like your phone’s personal ID number and can work in conjunction with other applications like Facebook to determine your gender, birth year and even your exact longitude and latitude. Pinch Media has been accused of gathering information that has nothing to do with its applications. Instead, they have been using this data collection for advertisements and other marketing purposes. Worse, is that this information is often taken without the consent of the user and more often than not does not allow the user the option to stop the information gathering.

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