Friday, July 22, 2016

Chinese National Who Conspired To Hack Into U.S. Defense Contractors’ Systems Sentenced To 46 Months In Federal Prison

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

A Chinese national who admitted to participating in a years-long conspiracy that involved Chinese military officers hacking into the computer networks of major U.S. defense contractors in order to steal military technical data was sentenced today to 46 months in federal prison.
Today’s sentencing was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California.
“Su Bin’s sentence is a just punishment for his admitted role in a conspiracy with hackers from the People's Liberation Army Air Force to illegally access and steal sensitive U.S. military information,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Su assisted the Chinese military hackers in their efforts to illegally access and steal designs for cutting-edge military aircraft that are indispensable to our national defense.  These activities have serious consequences for the national security of our country and the safety of the men and women of our armed services.  This prison sentence reinforces our commitment to ensure that hackers, regardless of state affiliation, are held accountable for their criminal conduct.”
“Protecting our national security interests, including sensitive military information, is the Justice Department’s highest priority,” said U.S. Attorney Decker.  “Over the course of years, this defendant sought to undermine the national security of the United States by seeking out information that would benefit a foreign government and providing that country with information it had never before seen.  The outstanding efforts of the prosecutors and investigators who developed this case demonstrate our commitment to protecting our nation’s security from all threats.  As this case shows, criminals can be held accountable no matter where they are located in the world.”
Su Bin, who is also known as Stephen Su and Stephen Subin, 51, a citizen and resident of the People’s Republic of China, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder of the Central District of California.
Su told his co-conspirators – military officers in China – whom to target, which files to steal and why the information they stole was significant.  During the course of the conspiracy, Su and his co-conspirators stole sensitive military and export-controlled data and sent the stolen information to China.
On March 23, Su pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to gain unauthorized access to a protected computer and to violate the Arms Export Control Act by exporting defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List contained in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.  Su admitted that he conspired with two persons in China from October 2008 to March 2014 to gain unauthorized access to protected computer networks in the United States – including computers belonging to the Boeing Company in Orange County, California – to obtain sensitive military information and to export that information illegally from the United States to China.
A criminal complaint filed in 2014 and subsequent indictments filed in Los Angeles charged Su, a China-based businessman in the aviation and aerospace fields, for his role in the criminal conspiracy to steal military technical data, including data relating to the C-17 strategic transport aircraft and certain fighter jets produced for the U.S. military. Su was initially arrested in Canada in July 2014 on a warrant issued in relation to this case. Su ultimately waived extradition and consented to be conveyed to the United States in February 2016.
Su admitted that as part of the conspiracy, he sent e-mails to his co-conspirators with guidance regarding what persons, companies and technologies to target during their computer intrusions. One of Su’s co-conspirators gained access to information located on computers of U.S. companies, and he emailed Su directory file listings and folders showing the data that the co-conspirator had been able to access. Su then directed his co-conspirator as to which files and folders his co-conspirator should steal. Once the co-conspirator stole the data, using techniques to avoid detection when hacking the victim computers, Su translated the contents of certain stolen data from English into Chinese. In addition, acoording to Su's admissions and the sentencing documents, Su and his co-conspirators each wrote, revised and emailed reports addressed to the Second Department, General Staff Headquarters, Chinese People’s Liberation Army about the information and technology they had acquired by their hacking activities, including its value, to the final beneficiaries of their hacking activities. Su also admitted that he engaged in the crime for the purpose of financial gain and specifically sought to profit from selling the data the he and his conspirators illegally acquired.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office’s Cyber Division with assistance from the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California’s Terrorism and Export Crimes Section and Trial Attorney Casey Arrowood and Senior Trial Attorney Robert E. Wallace of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, with support from the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

Shooting At McDonald's In Munich

The British newspaper the Daily Mail offers coverage of the shooting at a McDonald's restaurant in a mall in Munich, Germany.

You can read the report and view photos and video clips via the below link:

Russian Agent Sentenced To 10 Years For Acting As Unregistered Russian Government Agent And Leading Scheme To Illegally Export Controlled Technology To Russian Military

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

Alexander Fishenko, a dual citizen of the United States and Russia, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $500,000 in criminal proceeds following his guilty plea on Sept. 9, 2015 to a 19-count indictment.  Fishenko pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of the Russian government within the United States without prior notification to the Attorney General, conspiring to export and illegally exporting controlled microelectronics to Russia, conspiring to launder money and obstruction of justice. 
The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers of the Eastern District of New York.
Fishenko, 10 other individuals and two corporations – ARC Electronics Inc. (ARC) and Apex System LLC (Apex) – were indicted in October 2012.  Five defendants previously pleaded guilty, three individuals were convicted in October 2015 after trial and three individuals remain at large.  ARC is now defunct and Apex, a Russian-based procurement firm, failed to appear in court.   
“Alexander Fishenko illegally shipped millions of dollars of high-technology products to Russian military affiliated actors in clear violation of United States law,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Export laws exist as an important part of our national security framework and protecting national assets from ending up in the hands of our potential adversaries is one of our highest priorities.”   
“U.S. export laws exist to check the proliferation overseas of dangerous military technologies but Fishenko, while working illegally as an agent of the Russian government, flouted these laws in order to line his pockets,” stated U.S. Attorney Capers.  “Today’s sentence sends a powerful message of deterrence to others, who like Fishenko and his co-conspirators, would be willing to sacrifice the national security of the United States for their personal financial gain.” 
In 1998, Fishenko founded ARC and also served as an executive of Apex.  Between approximately October 2008 and October 2012, Fishenko led a conspiracy to obtain advanced, technologically cutting-edge microelectronics from manufacturers and suppliers located within the United States and to export those high-tech goods to in Russia while evading the government licensing system set up to control such exports.  These commodities have applications and are frequently used in a wide range of military systems, including radar and surveillance systems, missile guidance systems and detonation triggers.  Russia does not domestically produce many of these sophisticated goods.  Between 2002 and 2012, ARC shipped approximately $50 million worth of microelectronics and other technologies to Russia.  ARC’s largest clients – including Apex subsidiaries – were certified suppliers of military equipment for the Russian Ministry of Defense. 
To induce manufacturers and suppliers to sell these high-tech goods to ARC and to evade applicable export controls, Fishenko and his co-conspirators provided false end-user information in connection with the purchase of the goods, concealed the fact that they were exporters and falsely classified the exported goods on export records submitted to the Department of Commerce. 
Ultimate recipients of ARC’s products included a research unit for the Russian FSB internal security agency, a Russian entity that builds air and missile defense systems and another that produces electronic warfare systems for the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Today’s sentencing took place before Senior U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. of the Eastern District of New York.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin joined U.S. Attorney Capers in extending his grateful appreciation to the FBI’s Houston Field Office and the Department of Commerce for their leading roles in the investigation.
The government’s case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s National Security & Cybercrime Section.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard M. Tucker and Una A. Dean of the Eastern District of New York and Trial Attorney David Recker of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Claire Kedeshian of the Eastern District of New York is handling the forfeiture aspects of the case.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

'Wolf Of Wall Street' Film Was Financed With Stolen Money, Feds Say

The New York Post offers a piece on the U.S. Justice Department's claim that The Wolf of Wall Street was made with stolen money.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” didn’t just tell the story of a crooked stockbroker who scammed millions of dollars that he blew on drugs and hookers — the Leonardo DiCaprio movie was itself financed with stolen money, the feds charged Wednesday.
A civil suit filed by the US Justice Department demands all future profits, royalties and distribution proceeds from the Oscar-nomi­nated 2013 flick on the grounds that it was part of an international money-laundering scheme involving a development firm set up by the prime minister of Malaysia.
“This is a case where life imitated art,” said US Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell.
n a series of interrelated complaints, the feds are seeking a total $1 billion in assets paid for with money allegedly stolen by corrupt Malaysian officials and their associates from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, also known as 1MDB.
The fund “was created to promote economic development . . . with the ultimate goal of improving the well-being of the Malaysian people,” but “unfortunately and tragically, a number of corrupt officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Note: I'm a huge fan of film director Martin Scorsese, and I think he has made some great films, such as Goodfellas, Casino, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and Mean Streets. But I didn't much care for The Wolf of Wall Street and I don't care for Leonardo DiCaprio at all.

'Blockbuster!’: The Strange Tale Of The Best-Selling Crime Novel Of The 19th Century

Michael Dirda at the Washington Post offers a review of Lucy Sussex's Blockbuster! Fergus Hume & the Mystery of a Hansom Cab.

Publishing history is full of strange tales, and that recounted by Lucy Sussex in “Blockbuster! Fergus Hume & the Mystery of a Hansom Cab” is certainly among the strangest and most poignant. In late 1880s Australia a would-be dramatist decided that he might gain more attention from theater impresarios if he were a published author. So Fergus Hume sat down to produce what ultimately became the best-selling crime novel of the 19th century.
These days, “The Mystery of a Hansom Cab” is frequently derided as ill-written or faintly embarrassing, although such reactions puzzle me. In fact, the novel presents an almost Dickensian, top-to-bottom portrait of Melbourne in its Victorian heyday, when the population of the “London of the South” approached half a million. Moreover, the plotting of the mystery is exemplary. Two gentlemen in formal evening dress, both seemingly drunk, enter a hansom cab late one night in July. Later, one man gets out and disappears, the other remains — and is found dead, apparently murdered. Before the crime is solved, Hume gradually uncovers the hidden threads connecting Melbourne’s most and least respectable citizens, transporting the reader from elegant country houses to the city’s Chinese slums and lowest brothels. The book is certainly worth reading.
You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

A Look Back At How Hemingway Taught The World To Drink On The Great Writer's Birthday

Philip Greene, author of To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion, offers a piece at the Daily Beast on how Hemingway taught the world to drink.

Like that old poem about the six blind men, each perceiving an elephant in vastly different ways (a snake! a wall! a spear!), so it is when it comes to people’s perspectives on Ernest Hemingway.
Indeed, he taught the world to write; his distinctive use of short, declarative sentences influenced many generations of young writers. He taught the world to hunt and fish: From trout streams up in Michigan to trophy marlin and tuna in the Caribbean to big game on the African veldt, his vivid depictions of these experiences inspired many to wet a hook or shoulder a rifle. He brought the drama and tragedy of bullfighting to the world and prompted many to journey to Pamplona to run with the beasts.
His love of travel motivated many more to follow in his footsteps. Ventures in Chicago, Michigan, the Great American West, Italy, France, Bimini, Cuba, China and, of course, Africa informed his writings with exploits worthy of any Lonely Planet guide.

And, of course, he taught the world to drink.
I am speaking of quality, mind you, not quantity. Hemingway, who would have turned 117 today, was no stranger to excess, and I routinely caution that while one should experience the wide array of drinks he brought to us, it should be done in moderation. That said, if you want to try to break the house record he set at the Floridita in Havana in 1942—17 double frozen Daiquiris downed in one sitting—be my guest!
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read an earlier post on Hemingway via the below link:

Happy Birthday To Ernest Hemingway

As notes, today in 1899 one of my favorite writers, Ernest Hemingway, was born.

He died in 1961.

You can read about Hemingway's life and work via the below link:

You can also read my Philadelphia Inquirer review of Hemingway's letters via the below:

And you can read my Crime Beat column on Hemingway on crime via the below link:

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.