Thursday, October 23, 2014

Secret Service "catfishes" a Romanian hacker - and catches him ..


Being a Secret Service agent requires extraordinary bravery. But sometimes, it also requires flirting with a Romanian hacker.

Secret Service Agent Matt O'Neill did just that during a three-year undercover investigation that began in 2008 into the point-of-sale hacking at Subway sandwich franchises and other retailers.

He told the story in Washington on Monday during a joint Secret Service and FBI session with the Financial Services Roundtable on cybersecurity.

O'Neill said he contacted the suspected hacker by posing as a female casino employee in an effort to entice him to come to the United States for what he thought would be a gambling outing. That way, the Secret Service could arrest him on U.S. soil, rather than go to the trouble of extraditing him from Romania.

The Secret Service worked with an American hotel and casino to create a fictitious employee, "Sarah," who had an email address and direct phone line at the hotel and her name on the hotel's online directory. The fake employee would appear real if the suspected hacker tried to check out her story. Agents even photographed a young undercover female agent with a sign saying "hi!" inside the hotel's lobby, and sent the image to the Romanian.

O'Neill said over the next several months he developed a "quasi-romantic" relationship with the suspect, at times chatting online with him at 3 a.m. while he fed his newborn baby as his wife slept in another room at home.

"People say everyone has a gift," O'Neill joked. "And mine happens to be chatting with men."

The suspect, Iulian Dolan, flew to Boston to meet the supposed casino employee. When he arrived, investigators said, he was carrying a gold necklace for her as a gift, along with three boxes of grape-flavored condoms.

He was arrested and is now serving a seven-year sentence in federal prison in Mississippi.

Monday, October 6, 2014

2 killed at explosion at Iranian nuke site ...

SOURCE: Two workers were killed in an explosion that took place at a military explosives factory southeast of Tehran, near the suspected nuclear reactor in Parchin, IRNA, the official Iranian news agency, reported Monday.

The agency quoted Iran’s Defense Industries Organization, which said a fire occurred Sunday night, killing two people. The agency did not provide additional information.

The semi-official ISNA news agency also reported that an explosion occurred at a military base near Tehran, killing two people.

“Unfortunately, two workers were killed,” the defense organization’s spokesman was quoted as saying.

The Saham opposition website reported that a huge explosion occurred at the large facility in Parchin, located 30 km. southeast of Tehran.

According to the report, the powerful explosion blew out the windows of buildings located up to 15 km. away from the base, and eyewitnesses could observe the blast from a distance.

Parchin is a controversial military base where Israel and the International Atomic Energy Agency suspect the Islamic Republic is attempting to develop a nuclear explosive device. IAEA inspectors have not been permitted to enter the site since 2005.

A statement from Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, issued a day before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – the architect of Tehran’s diplomacy with the big powers – was to address the UN General Assembly, said internal neutron sources such as uranium were used in nuclear implosion tests at Parchin.

Israel, his statement said, based its information on “highly reliable information,” without elaborating.

In May, a fire broke out in an oil storage facility in the northwestern Iranian city of Qazvin. There were conflicting reports of casualties, with state news agency IRNA reporting none and the Iranian Fars news agency reporting that there were around 50 people injured, some seriously.

Channel 2 News reported that in the past it was claimed that Qazvin hosted an “unreported nuclear site” that contained stored uranium. In January of last year, Israeli intelligence officials confirmed that an explosion damaged Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility, which is being used to enrich uranium.

Three years ago, Iran said a massive explosion at a military base 45 km. west of Tehran killed 17 Revolutionary Guards members, including the head of the elite force’s missile program. It said the blast was caused by an accident while weapons were being moved.

Jerusalem Post staff and Reuters contributed to this report.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Breaking: Secret Service director resigns ...

WASHINGTON — Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, is resigning in the wake of several security breaches, according to administration officials.

The resignation came less than a day after lawmakers from both parties assailed Ms. Pierson’s leadership and said they feared for the lives of the president and others in the protection of the agency.

A 30-year veteran of the Secret Service, Ms. Pierson was supposed to have been the one to repair the agency’s reputation after scandals that raised questions about a culture that gave rise to incidents involving drinking and prostitution during overseas trips.

But her tenure has been rocked by more serious allegations that her agents and officers have not been performing their primary job competently. Under intense questioning on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Ms. Pierson admitted that those charged with securing the White House had failed to follow numerous security protocols, allowing a man armed with a knife to penetrate deep inside the mansion.


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