FBI warns U.S. businesses of cyber attacks, blames Beijing

admin   •   October 16, 2014   •   2237

Vehicles drive on flyovers during the evening rush hour in central Shanghai December 29, 2010.
CREDIT: REUTERS/ALY SONG

(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Wednesday that hackers it believes to be backed by the Chinese government have recently launched attacks on U.S. companies.

The “flash” warning to businesses described tools and techniques used by the hackers and asked companies to contact federal authorities if they believe they are the victims of such attacks.

The document said the agency recently obtained information regarding “a group of Chinese government affiliated cyber actors who routinely steal high-value information from U.S. commercial and government networks through cyber espionage.”

FBI spokesman Josh Campbell confirmed via email that the FBI had released the document, which was obtained by Reuters and described specific mitigation steps that companies should take following attacks.

“The FBI has recently observed online intrusions that we attribute to Chinese government affiliated actors,” he said. “Private sector security firms have also identified similar intrusions and have released defensive information related to those intrusions.”

The Chinese embassy in Washington fired back by asking “the U.S. side to stop this kind of unfounded accusation,” echoing past responses to U.S. allegations of government-backed cyber security breaches.

“I’m not aware of the investigation by the U.S. FBI,” Chinese embassy spokesman Geng Shuang said. “Judging from past experience, conclusions of this kind of investigations are usually lacking in provable facts and hard evidence.”

(Reporting by Jim Finkle)

Zoom video conferencing app addresses privacy issues amid FBI scrutiny

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 3, 2020

The video conferencing app, Zoom, has announced they are already addressing the privacy and security issues raised by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) due to ‘Zoombombing’ reports.

In a statement, Zoom Founder and CEO Eric Yuan said the company acknowledges the reports of users regarding privacy issues, saying these reports would help make the company better for its customers.

“Dedicated journalists and security researchers have also helped to identify pre-existing ones. We appreciate the scrutiny and questions we have been getting – about how the service works, about our infrastructure and capacity, and about our privacy and security policies,” he said.

The FBI said they received several reports in the United States that there has been an incident of ‘Zoombombing’ or video conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.

Yuan said they already began implementing changes to address their privacy issues. These include training sessions, adding protective features and updating their privacy policy.

“Our chief concern, now and always, is making users happy and ensuring that the safety, privacy, and security of our platform is worthy of the trust you all have put in us,” Yuan said. AAC

Chinese community appeals against discrimination amid nCoV threat

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 3, 2020

Several members of the Chinese community is appealing against the discrimination they are experiencing amid the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) threat.

“Mas deadly pa sa coronavirus ang nangyayaring diskriminasyon at sinophobia, iyong Chinese bashing. Papaano kung iyong Pinoy maputi at singkit, kababayan mo pala tapos kung i-bully mo, (The discrimination and the sinophobia—the Chinese bashing is more deadly than the coronavirus. What if the Filipino has fair complexion and narrow eyes? He is your fellow man yet you would bully him), ” According to founding president of Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran Incorporated, Teresita Ang See.

She also said that instead of letting discrimination prevail, everyone should unite in fighting against the virus.

Meanwhile, Henry Lim Bon Liong of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes that the discrimination is not against the Chinese community but against the virus.

He said that there are those who just want to protect themselves from the virus without any intent of discriminating the Chinese community.

“There’s one media man who asked me that some Grab taxi doesn’t want to take in Chinese looking passengers. Sabi ko siguro, hindi naman discrimination sa Chinese (I said it might not be a discrimination against the Chinese),” he said.

“Because the virus originated from China, so they just want to protect themselves,” he added.—AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

FBI arrests 3 members of Phl-based church for fundraising, immigration fraud

Marje Pelayo   •   January 30, 2020

LOS ANGELES, USA — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Wednesday (January 29) arrested the top three members of a Philippine-based church for charges of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.

A federal complaint alleged that Guia Cabactulan, 59, the top Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (KOJC) official in the US; Marissa Duenas, 41; and Amanda Estopare, 48 of the KOJC facilitated the entry of church members to the United States to work as fundraisers for a church-owned charity while only carrying tourist visas.

Federal authorities arrested Cabactulan and Duenas at the KOJC compound in Van Nuys, California, while Estopare was nabbed in Virginia.

The complaint alleged that the three obtained visas for church members in the guise of performing in musical events, but once they arrived in the US, they were forced to surrender their passports and work long hours as “miracle workers” to solicit funds for Children’s Joy Foundation (CJF).

The said ‘miracle workers’ would tell donors that their money would support impoverished children in the Philippines but according to the complaint, the money raised was used to finance the operations of KOJC and the lavish lifestyle of its leaders.

“KOJC and CJF advertise that the solicited money will be used to aid Filipino children; however, little to no money solicited appears to benefit impoverished or in-need children,” according to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent Anne Wetzel.

Also, the complaint accused the defendants of arranging sham marriages and other illegal mechanisms for members to stay in the US and continue soliciting donations, and then threatened them of facing consequences should they fail to meet quota.

“KOJC workers often slept in cars overnight, parked at truck stops. For those KOJC workers who proved to be good at soliciting money, KOJC administrators, including CABACTULAN, DUENAS, and ESTOPARE, would force them into sham marriages so they could stay in the United States and continue soliciting,” Wetzel said.

According to the FBI, the church’s bank records show that KOJC accounts received approximately $20 million in cash deposits from 2014 through mid-2019.

Following the arrest on Wednesday morning, the FBI executed search warrants at KOJC and CJF offices in Van Nuys, Glendale, and three other locations in Los Angeles, as well as in two locations linked to KOJC in Hawaii.

According to the Federal Law, the charge of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

READ: Quiboloy follower Felina Salinas likely to face 5 years in jail over cash smuggling

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