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Hidden Cameras Targeting Female Workers at South Bay Tech Company

Hidden Cameras Targeting Female Workers at South Bay Tech Company

Many of the women working at the South Bay location are upset with how the company handled things

Women at a South Bay technology company are upset that they weren’t notified earlier about someone using hidden cameras to target female workers.

Two cameras were found hidden under the desks of two female employees at Rohr Inc., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of aerospace and defense products. The company has a large campus in Chula Vista.

One employee, who didn’t want to be identified, told NBC 7 many of the women working at this location are upset with how the company handled things.

She said management became aware of the first camera roughly four months ago but didn’t notify employees until a second camera was discovered last week.

She said employees only found out when the company sent out a notice about an internal investigation to find the person or persons responsible for putting small cameras beneath the desks of female co-workers.

She feels like women working there deserved to know immediately so they could’ve been on the lookout themselves.

Laurie Chua, a local human resources consultant and expert witness, said it’s not surprising the company’s management waited to notify employees until a second camera was found.

“From an HR standpoint you want to think that this was just a one-off type of situation the first time it happened, and they would hope they get the camera, they’re probably doing an investigation to find out who did it,” Chua said. “The second time it happened, then I would think more than likely they’re going to tell the employees to be on the lookout for it.”

In a statement to NBC 7, Rohr said it is working with local law enforcement to investigate the incidents and catch the person or persons “responsible for this unacceptable conduct.”

“We take any situation involving employee well-being seriously and this is why we decided to inform our Chula Vista employees in a site-wide communication,” the statement said. “At the same time, we are working to protect the integrity of the investigation.”

Chula Vista Police Department said it has been notified and is working with the company to determine the source but didn’t elaborate on its role in the investigation.

Source: NBC San Diego

Burning Umbrella: An Intelligence Report on the Winnti Umbrella and Associated State-Sponsored Attackers

goo.gl Public Analytics

• We assess with high confidence that the Winnti umbrella is associated with the Chinese state intelligence apparatus, with at least some elements located in the Xicheng District of Beijing.

• A number of Chinese state intelligence operations from 2009 to 2018 that were previously unconnected publicly are in fact linked to the Winnti umbrella.

• We assess with high confidence that multiple publicly reported threat actors operate with some shared goals and resources as part of the Chinese state intelligence apparatus.

• Initial attack targets are commonly software and gaming organizations in United States, Japan, South Korea, and China. Later stage high profile targets tend to be politically motivated or high value technology organizations.

• The Winnti umbrella continues to operate highly successfully in 2018. Their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) remain consistent, though they experiment with new tooling and attack methodologies often.

• Operational security mistakes during attacks have allowed us to acquire metrics on the success of some Winnti umbrella spear phishing campaigns and identify attacker location with high confidence.

• The theft of code signing certificates is a primary objective of the Winnti umbrella’s initial attacks, with potential secondary objectives based around financial gain.

Report Summary

The purpose of this report is to make public previously unreported links that exist between a number of Chinese state intelligence operations. These operations and the groups that perform them are all linked to the Winnti umbrella and operate under the Chinese state intelligence apparatus. Contained in this report are details about previously unknown attacks against organizations and how these attacks are linked to the evolution of the Chinese intelligence apparatus over the past decade. Based on our findings, attacks against smaller organizations operate with the objective of finding and exfiltrating code signing certificates to sign malware for use in attacks against higher value targets. Our primary telemetry consists of months to years of full fidelity network traffic captures. This dataset allowed us to investigate active compromises at multiple organizations and run detections against the historical dataset, allowing us to perform a large amount of external infrastructure analysis.

Background

The Winnti umbrella and closely associated entities has been active since at least 2009, with some reports of possible activity as early as 2007. The term “umbrella” is used in this report because current intelligence indicates that the overarching entity consists of multiple teams/actors whose tactics, techniques, and procedures align, and whose infrastructure and operations overlap. We assess that the different stages of associated attacks are operated by separate teams/actors, however in this report we will show that the lines between them are blurred and that they are all associated with the same greater entity. The Winnti and Axiom group names were created by Kaspersky Lab and Symantec, respectively, for their 2013/2014 reports on the original group. The name “Winnti” is now primarily used to refer to a custom backdoor used by groups under the umbrella. Multiple sources of public and private threat intelligence have their own names for individual teams. For example, LEAD is a common alias for the group targeting online gaming, telecom, and high tech organizations. Other aliases for groups related include BARIUM, Wicked Panda, GREF, PassCV, and others. This report details how these groups are linked together and serve a broader attacker mission. The many names associated with actors in the greater intelligence mission are due to the fact that they are built on telemetry of the intelligence provider which is typically unique and dependent on their specific dataset. This report focuses heavily on networking related telemetry.

We assess with high confidence that the attackers discussed here are associated with the Chinese state intelligence apparatus. This assessment is based on attacker TTPs, observed attack infrastructure, and links to previously published intelligence. Their operations against gaming and technology organizations are believed to be economically motivated in nature. However, based on the findings shared in this report we assess with high confidence that the actor’s primary long-term mission is politically focused. It’s important to note that not all publicly reported operations related to Chinese intelligence are tracked or linked to this group of actors. However, TTPs, infrastructure, and tooling show some overlap with other Chinese-speaking threat actors, suggesting that the Chinese intelligence community shares human and technological resources across organizations. We assess with medium to high confidence that the various operations described in this report are the work of individual teams, including contractors external to the Chinese government, with varying levels of expertise, cooperating on a specific agenda.

In 2015 the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) began a major reorganization which included the creation of the Strategic Support Force (SSF / PLASSF). SSF is responsible for space, cyber, and electronic warfare missions. Some of the overlap we observed from groups could potentially be related to this reorganization. Notably, key incident details below include attacker mistakes that likely reveal the true location of some attackers as the Xicheng District of Beijing.

Tactics Techniques and Procedures (TTPs):

Though the TTPs of the attacking teams vary depending on the operation, their use of overlapping resources presents a common actor profile. Key interests during attacks often include the theft of code signing certificates, source code, and internal technology documentation. They also may attempt to manipulate virtual economies for financial gain. While unconfirmed, the financial secondary objective may be related to personal interests of the individuals behind the attacks.

Initial attack methods include phishing to gain entry into target organization networks. The group then follows with custom malware or publicly available offensive tooling (Metasploit/Cobalt Strike), and may use a number of methods to minimize their risk of being detected. Such techniques include a particular focus on “living off the land” by using a victim’s own software products, approved remote access systems, or system administration tools for spreading and maintaining unauthorized access to the network.

We have observed incidents where the attacker used other victim organizations as a proxy for unauthorized remote access. In these cases, organization 1 had been compromised for a long period of time, and the attacker accessed victim organization 2 via the organization 1 network.

Delivery and C2 domains routinely have subdomains which resemble target organizations. Additionally, their C2 domains are used across many targets, while subdomains tend to be created and removed quickly and are unique to a particular target or campaign. Also noteworthy is that the actors set their domains to resolve to 127.0.0.1 when not in use, similar to what was originally reported on by Kaspersky Lab (see below).

The actor often uses TLS encryption for varying aspects of C2 and malware delivery. As noted in the “Infrastructure Analysis” section of this report, the actor primarily abuses Let’s Encrypt to sign SSL certificates. We also observed many cases in which self-signed certificates were used in attacks.

Overall, the Winnti umbrella and linked groups are lacking when it comes to operational security. However, some activities linked to these groups follow better operational security and infrastructure management approaches. This may be a clue to the division of responsibilities by team and skill level within the broader organization.

Targets:

The Winnti umbrella and linked groups’ initial targets are gaming studios and high tech businesses. They primarily seek code signing certificates and software manipulation, with potential financially motivated secondary objectives. These targets have been identified in the United States, Japan, South Korea, and China.

Based on the infrastructure, links to previous reporting, and recently observed attacks, the broader organization’s main targets are political. Historically this has included Tibetan and Chinese journalists, Uyghur and Tibetan activists, the government of Thailand, and prominent international technology organizations.

One example of a politically focused lure by the Winnti umbrella and linked groups is an end of 2017 document titled “Resolution 2375 (2017) Strengthening Sanctions on DPR of KOREA” which is a malicious file associated with the C2 infrastructure described here – see MD5: 3b58e122d9e17121416b146daab4db9d.

Some Key Public Reports:

2013:
Kaspersky Lab publicly reported on the original Winnti group, technical details around the Winnti samples, and various honeypot analysis methods. Most noteworthy is the Winnti umbrella’s targeting of gaming organizations in search of code signing certificates, virtual currencies, and updating mechanisms which could potentially be used to attack victims’ clients. Interestingly, this was the first identified trojan for the 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating system with a valid digital signature as noted by the author. The abuse of signed applications is a very effective attack approach that the entity continues to use.

2014:
Novetta released an outstanding report detailing “Operation SMN,” in which they collaborated with a number of private organizations on a large scale malware eradication operation which is linked to the original Winnti group by the malware being delivered. In the report, the actor is named Axiom. Novetta reported links to publications from as far back as 2009 that also link the group to the Chinese state intelligence apparatus with high confidence. Links exist to various known attacks and actor groups, such as “Operation Aurora,” Elderwood Group’s successful 2010 attack against Google and many other organizations. Another link exists to the successful compromise of the security organization Bit9 in 2013, where their own product was used to sign and spread malware to their customers. In addition, FireEye’s “Operation DeputyDog” detailed attacks on Japanese targets from the same attacker infrastructure. Many other incidents are detailed in the Operation SMN report. Following all of these details back in time, we can see an overlap in TTPs and targets from the APT1 report by Mandiant, which serves as a great historical example of Chinese intelligence cyber operations in their most basic form.

2016:
Cylance released a blog post reporting on digitally signed malware used in targeted attacks against gaming organizations in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Europe, Russia, and the United States. Cylance refers to the attacking entity as “PassCV” in their reporting. Cylance successfully identified a large quantity of malware binaries which were signed with valid certificates stolen from a number of gaming studios in East Asia. In addition to detailing the individual certificates and signed malware, they identified a significant amount of network infrastructure which contain various interesting links to our own findings.

2017 – March/April:
Trend Micro reported on attacks that abused GitHub for use in malware command and control, which they attributed to the original Winnti group. Amusingly, Trend Micro later reported on an individual linked to the group and the attacks who happens to be a fan of pigs.

2017 – July 5th:
Citizen Lab reported on attacks against journalists by an actor mimicking China-focused news organizations HK01, Epoch Times, Mingjing News, and Bowen Press. As Citizen Lab noted, these news organizations are blocked in China for their political views. The report notes that malware used in these attacks was linked to a stolen code signing certificate mentioned in the Cylance PassCV post. That overlap, in addition to infrastructure links from a Palo Alto Unit 42 blog post, strongly links this attack to the previously mentioned reports as well as to our own. As Unit 42 reports, the attacks against entities in the government of Thailand used the “bookworm” trojan.

2017 – July/October:
ProtectWise 401TRG published our own findings and an update on LEAD using open source and public tooling in attacks against Japanese gaming organizations. These attacks are linked with high confidence to ongoing operations in the United States and East Asia.

Other Noteworthy Events:
In 2017, multiple supply-chain attacks occurred which had some similarities to the Winnti umbrella and associated entities. For example, Kaspersky reported on ShadowPad, a large-scale compromise of NetSarang, which resembles the Winnti and PlugX malware. In addition, Kaspersky and Intezer identified notable code similarities to the Winnti umbrella and APT17 in the compromise of Piriform, which allowed attackers to sign and spread altered versions of the CCleaner software to a large customer base.

Analysis of Attacks on Initial Targets

Throughout 2017 and 2018, ProtectWise 401TRG was involved in a number of detection and incident response engagements with our customers that linked back to the Winnti umbrella and other closely associated entities. Through the analysis of public and private intelligence, we have successfully identified similar attacks, which allow us to assess with high confidence that the details below follow a global attack trend as the Chinese intelligence operations have evolved over time.

2017 Operations:
One of the most common tactics used by the Winnti umbrella and related entities is phishing users whose credentials may provide elevated access to a target network. We have observed spear-phishing campaigns that target human resources and hiring managers, IT staff, and internal information security staff, which are generally very effective.

In 2017 the entity focused most of its efforts around technical job applicant email submissions to software engineering, IT, and recruiting staff, which we originally reported on at our 401trg.pw blog. The phishing lures used multiple languages, including Japanese as in the below example:

The approximate translation is as follows:

I saw your job posting. My main languages are Object-C, JAVA, and Swift, and I have 7 years experience with Ruby and 6 years experience with PHP. I have 5 years experience developing iOS apps, as well as Android apps, AWS, Jenkins, Microsoft Azure, ZendFramework, and smartphone application payment processing. I also have 5 years experience with MSSQL, Mysql, Oracle, and PostgreSQL. Please see here: [malicious link]


The process that followed a target clicking the malicious link evolved as the attacker progressed through the campaigns. The links consistently sent the victim to a fake resume, but the exact format of that resume changed over time; we have observed resumes being delivered as DOC, XLS, PDF, and HTML files. Once opened, the fake resumes performed various actions in an effort to download malware onto the victim host. During the same time period, we also observed the actor using the Browser Exploitation Framework (BeEF) to compromise victim hosts and download Cobalt Strike. In this campaign, the attackers experimented with publicly available tooling for attack operations. During this infection process, the actor was known to check the target operating system and deliver malware, signed by a previously stolen key, for the appropriate host environment. In some cases, valid Apple certificates stolen from victims were used in this process, which linked the attack to additional victim organizations.

Post-compromise actions by the attacker followed a common pattern. First they attempted to spread laterally in the network using stolen credentials and various reconnaissance efforts, such as manually examining shares and local files. The primary goal of these attacks was likely to find code-signing certificates for signing future malware. The secondary goals of the attackers depended on the type of victim organization, but were often financial. For example, gaming organizations tended to fall victim to manipulation or theft of in-game virtual currencies. Non-gaming victims may have experienced theft of intellectual property such as user or technology data.

2018 Operations:
More recently, various attack campaigns from the Winnti umbrella and associated groups have been very successful without the use of any exploits or malware. Phishing remains the initial infection vector but the campaign themes have matured. In 2018, the campaigns have largely been focused on common services such as Office 365 and Gmail.

It is important to note that attackers likely have additional information on their target organizations’ preferred email solutions based on previous incidents or open source intelligence.

In more recent phishing campaigns conducted by the Winnti umbrella and associated groups, URL shortening services have been used. For example, Google’s URL shortening service goo.gl was used over the past weeks, allowing us to gain insight into the scale of this campaign using publicly available analytics.

As you can see from the above screenshot, this particular phishing campaign ran from March 20th to March 28th, 2018. Notably, the link was created on February 23rd, 2018, indicating roughly three weeks of preparation for the attacks. These metrics allow us to gain insight into who clicked the link in a phishing email and was directed to a phishing or malware delivery landing page. According to Google analytics, there were a total of 56 clicks. 29 were from Japan, 15 from the United States, 2 from India, and 1 from Russia. 33 of the clicks were from Google Chrome, and 23 were from Safari. 30 were from Windows OS hosts, and 26 were macOS hosts.

In general, the attackers phish for credentials to a user’s cloud storage, and would be expected to later attempt malware delivery in the cases of a failed credential phish or valueless cloud storage.

In cases where the victim uses O365 and/or G-suite for enterprise file storage, the attackers manually review the contents for data of value. If code signing certificates are stored here, the primary mission has been accomplished, as they may be easily downloaded. In other cases, the attackers attempt to use other files and documentation in the cloud storage to help them traverse or gain privileges on the network. The targets in 2018 include IT staff, and commonly sought out files include internal network documentation and tooling such as corporate remote access software.

Once the attackers gain remote access to the network via malware or stolen remote access tooling and credentials, the operation continues as we’ve seen, though their post-compromise actions have become more efficient and automated. Internal reconnaissance is performed by scanning the internal network for open ports 80, 139, 445, 6379, 8080, 10022, and 30304. The choice of ports by the attacker indicates a strong interest in internal web and file storage services. An interesting addition is the use of 30304, which is the peer discovery port for Ethereum clients.

In the attackers’ ideal situation, all remote access occurs through their own C2 infrastructure, which acts as a proxy and obscures their true location. However, we have observed a few cases of the attackers mistakenly accessing victim machines without a proxy, potentially identifying the true location of the individual running the session. In all of these cases, the net block was 221.216.0.0/13, the China Unicom Beijing Network, Xicheng District.

Visualizing Attacker Infrastructure

Based on the various incidents we have been involved in, in addition to past public reporting and open-source intelligence, we can construct a map representing the infrastructure most closely associated with the Winnti umbrella and closely related entities. For the sake of producing an accurate representation of the infrastructure, we are excluding any shared infrastructure (such as hosting provider IPs used for many unrelated domains) and low confidence indicators. Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all active infrastructure in use by the group.

As detailed below, this infrastructure spans at least eight years of activity by the Winnti umbrella and related groups. Please note, as this section heavily references the “Some Key Public Reports” section, above, we recommend reading that first. Indicators are provided in Appendix A of PDF (see top of page).

1. The area of the map labeled #1 is the phishing, malware delivery, fake resume, and C2 infrastructure. This includes domains, IPs, malware hashes, SSL certificates, and WHOIS information. In this section of the infrastructure, we primarily observe the network and file indicators which would be used against targets valued for code signing certificates, software manipulation, and potential financial manipulation. The indicators detailed in the 2017 & 2018 Initial Target section of this report are located in #1. Infrastructure in this area is currently in use and not entirely historical.

2. This area is a network that we assess is associated with the umbrella with low confidence. The most interesting findings here are the large number of Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates in use and the overlap with attacker exclusive infrastructure. This proposed relationship is generated by infrastructure links alone, as no malicious activity has been confirmed to or from region #2. Infrastructure in this area is currently in use and not historical.

3. Area #3 is linked to the initial attack infrastructure (#1) by domain WHOIS details, likely from operational security mistakes. We assess with high confidence that these infrastructures are linked. Based on the lax structure and naming of this section, it is highly probable that it is used for attacker experimenting and development. Some examples include domains such as “nobody.will.know.whoami[.]la”, “secret.whoami[.]la”, and “no.ip.detect.if.using.ipv6[.]la”. Infrastructure in this area is currently in use and not historical.

4. This area has various links to #3 in which an individual software developer is identified. We asses this connection with low to medium confidence and will refrain from publicly sharing details in this report. This area contains many personally operated domains and SSL certificates. Infrastructure in this area is currently in use and not historical.

5. Area #5 of the map is part of what Novetta reported on as Operation SMN in 2014. Infrastructure in this area is purely historical and based on Novetta’s reporting, which we can link to area #1 via known umbrella infrastructure. The vast majority of indicators in this area are the many associated hashes, combined with their C2 destination domains and IPs.

6. This area of the map is what Cylance reported on as PassCV in 2016. The vast majority of infrastructure and indicators here are stolen code signing certificates, malware signed with the certificates, and C2 domains. This area contains information on many victims of campaigns related to area #1. Infrastructure in this area is historical. We assess that this area is linked to the Winnti umbrella with high confidence.

7. This section represents infrastructure identified by Citizen Lab in their July 5th 2017 reporting on attacks against journalists. As they originally identified, one of the NetWire binaries was signed with a stolen certificate linked to #6, the Cylance PassCV report. We were able to further expand this section by pivoting off of additional domain WHOIS information.

8. Lastly is area #8, which links back with high confidence to #7 (Citizen Lab reporting) and #6 (PassCV). This area consists of domains, IPs, MD5 file hashes, and further WHOIS operational security mistakes. This area is similar in functionality to #1 and #3, serving as infrastructure for both high-value politically focused attacks and developer personal use. This section links to the online identities of an individual we asses to be associated with the Winnti umbrella or a closely related group at a medium to high confidence. Infrastructure in this area is currently in use and not historical. One example of malicious activity in this area was the document detailing the strengthening of sanctions against North Korea, above. These activities are similar to the type of politically motivated targeted attacks Citizen Lab reported on. Some infrastructure in this area is currently in use and is not completely historical.

Investigative Findings

Based on incident response engagements, research into the associated attacker infrastructure, and previously reported research, we can summarize our findings as follows:

1. The Chinese intelligence apparatus has been reported on under many names, including Winnti, PassCV, APT17, Axiom, LEAD, BARIUM, Wicked Panda, and GREF.

2. The overlap of TTPs and infrastructure between the Winnti umbrella and other groups indicates the use of shared human and technology resources working towards an overarching goal. Operational security mistakes allow the linking of attacks on lower value targets to higher value campaigns. Reuse of older attack infrastructure, links to personal networks, and observed TTPs play a role in this overlap.

3. The attackers behind observed activity in 2018 operate from the Xicheng District of Beijing via the net block 221.216.0.0/13.

4. Initial attack targets are commonly software organizations in the United States, Japan, South Korea, and China. Later stage high profile targets tend to be political organizations or high-value technology companies.

5. The attackers grow and learn to evade detection when possible, but lack operational security when it comes to the reuse of some tooling. Living off the land and adaptability to individual target networks allow them to operate with high rates of success.

Conclusion

We hope the information we’ve shared in this report will help potential targets and known victims in addition to the greater information security community. Though they have at times been sloppy, the Winnti umbrella and its associated entities remain an advanced and potent threat. We hope that the information contained within this report will help defenders thwart this group in the future.

We’d like to extend a special thank you to all the victims, targets, researchers, and security vendors who have shared their own findings over the years.

Indicators

Indicators can be found in the PDF version of this report and our GitHub Detection IOC repository. Enjoy!

Source: 401 TRG

Spy agency NSA triples collection of U.S. phone records – official report

An aerial view of the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S. January 29, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016, a U.S. intelligence agency report released on Friday said.

The sharp increase from 151 million occurred during the second full year of a new surveillance system established at the spy agency after U.S. lawmakers passed a law in 2015 that sought to limit its ability to collect such records in bulk.

The spike in collection of call records coincided with an increase reported on Friday across other surveillance methods, raising questions from some privacy advocates who are concerned about potential government overreach and intrusion into the lives of U.S. citizens.

The 2017 call records tally remained far less than an estimated billions of records collected per day under the NSA’s old bulk surveillance system, which was exposed by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

The records collected by the NSA include the numbers and time of a call or text message, but not their content.

Overall increases in surveillance hauls were both mystifying and alarming coming years after Snowden’s leaks, privacy advocates said.

“The intelligence community’s transparency has yet to extend to explaining dramatic increases in their collection,” said Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the Washington-based Open Technology Institute that focuses on digital issues.

The government “has not altered the manner in which it uses its authority to obtain call detail records,” Timothy Barrett, a spokesman at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the annual report, said in a statement.

The NSA has found that a number of factors may influence the amount of records collected, Barrett said. These included the number of court-approved selection terms, which could be a phone number of someone who is potentially the subject of an investigation, or the amount of historical information retained by phone service providers, Barrett said.

“We expect this number to fluctuate from year to year,” he said.

U.S. intelligence officials have said the number of records collected would include multiple calls made to or from the same phone numbers and involved a level of duplication when obtaining the same record of a call from two different companies.

Friday’s report also showed a rise in the number of foreigners living outside the United States who were targeted under a warrantless internet surveillance program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that Congress renewed earlier this year.

That figure increased to 129,080 in 2017 from 106,469 in 2016, the report said, and is up from 89,138 targets in 2013, or a cumulative rise over five years of about 45 percent.

U.S. intelligence agencies consider Section 702 a vital tool to protect national security but privacy advocates say the program incidentally collects an unknown number of communications belonging to Americans.

 

Source: Yahoo News
(Reporting by Dustin Volz; editing by Grant McCool)

Eavesdropping devices found in Central Bank

Central Bank of Curaçao

WILLEMSTAD – Equipment to eavesdrop was detected inside the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) main building in Willemstad, confirmed management.

News of the possible presence of such devices was reported by local media on April 5.

It turns out the matter was first checked after personnel reported a sense that they had been listened into. The bank also does a regular security assessment.

Based on early indications, further investigation followed. It concluded that there was indeed equipment that could be used for eavesdropping and recording conversations, but also to prevent such.

None of the devices were active and they have since been removed.

Source: The Daily Herald

Married former Waffle House CEO breaks down in court as jury is shown secretly recorded tape of him having sex with his housekeeper during her trial for ‘trying to extort him for millions’

  • Former Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers grew tearful in court Wednesday as audio of his sexual encounter with his housekeeper was played for the jury

  • Mye Brindle, the former housekeeper secretly recorded several sexual encounters with Rogers and said she did so to sue for sexual harassment

  • Rogers says all of the encounters were consensual and that Brindle and her lawyers were trying to extort him for millions

  • Rogers is married and said sex with his housekeeper had gone on for almost ten years

The former CEO of the Waffle House became tearful as an Atlanta jury listened to a lurid recording of him having sex with his housekeeper, during her trial for allegedly trying to extort him for millions.

Joe Rogers, 65, sat in court Wednesday and shook his head as jurors watched the secret sex tape his housekeeper Mye Brindle, 47, had made of them having sex in 2012.

In the video, filmed at Rogers home, he is seen nude and recently showered. He asks Brindle to adjust his back. She hides the camera under towels and he can be heard moaning. They then go into the bedroom, and Brindle retrieves the camera from under the towels and engage in a sexual act. The video lasts several minutes.   

The court file says that Brindle entered Rogers’ bathroom after his wife, Fran, left the house.

While it was played in court, Rogers bit his nails, as the jury intently listened in Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Brindle made 15 audio files and at least one video file of their sexual encounters. It is unclear if any other recordings will be played in court. 

 

Former Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers says he had an affair with his housekeeper, Mye Brindle for ten years – she claims it was sexual harassment. She then secretly taped their sexual encounters

On Tuesday, Rogers, who is now chairman for the chain, took the stand to testify against Brindle. She and her attorneys are accused of conspiring to record her and Rogers in a sexual act without his knowledge.   

During his testimony, Rogers said the audio the jury would hear was a typical sexual encounter with Brindle, who he had been having an affair with for more than nine years.

Fran Rogers was married to Joe Rogers through his sexual liaisons with their housekeeper

Meanwhile Brindle’s defense attorneys have argued she was justified in making the tapes as evidence she was sexually harassed for years – while Rogers says their encounters were always consensual. 

In Georgia Supreme Court in June of 2016, Brindle, along with her attorneys John Butters and David Cohen were indicted on charges that they tried to force Rogers to pay millions of dollars to prevent the recording from being released.

Rogers said he was threatened with a letter on July 16, 2012 that if he didn’t pay up, the sex video would cause ‘media attention,’ ‘injurious publicity,’ ‘protracted litigation,’ and ‘divorce and destruction of families.’

Rogers, who is married, claims he had ‘infrequent’ consensual sex with Brindle, while she worked for him between 2003 and June 2012.

After she quit her job, she filed a lawsuit claiming Rogers forced her to have sex with him as part of her employment. A judge later ruled that Brindle was a ‘willing participant’ in the sexual encounters.

Brian Robinson, spokesman for Brindle’s attorneys, said the indictment sends a ‘chilling message’ to victims of sexual abuse and those seeking help to attain justice.

‘The two attorneys indicted zealously represented their client, a victim of serial sexual abuse by her employer,’ Robinson said. ‘These indictments re-victimize the woman who dared to tell the truth about her powerful abuser and smear the attorneys who represented her.’ 

A judge ruled that the covertly recorded video didn’t imply that Rogers forced the woman to do anything she didn’t want to.

She also kept a towel that held Rogers’ DNA.

It was Brindle’s attorneys who sent her to a private investigator’s office, where she was given a spy camera that was used to record Rogers in his bedroom without his consent, according to court documents.

Cohen and Butters say that when Rogers learned Brindle planned to sue him for sexual harassment, he retaliated against her and her attorneys. They say Rogers threatened to sue any attorney representing Brindle for joining a criminal conspiracy against him.

Brindle, Butters and Cohen are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit unlawful eavesdropping and eavesdropping.

The district attorney’s office said secretly recording someone in his own bedroom is eavesdropping, and is a felony in Georgia. It carries a sentence of one to five years. 

Cohen was ordered to pay $198,393 in legal fees for filing unnecessary litigation in the Rogers case, with the judge saying that Rogers shouldn’t have had to hire lawyers to defend himself against threats of disclosing sexual misconduct allegations. 

Rogers has previously spoken of his regret over the affair, saying he ‘let a lot of folks down’.

‘That was wrong of me and I am very sorry for the pain and embarrassment I’ve caused my wife and family. There is no excuse for what I have done,’ he said. ‘I am a victim of my own stupidity, but I am not going to be a victim of a crime – extortion.’ 

He added: ‘As personally embarrassing as this situation is for me, I am committed to the legal and law enforcement process to expose the motives of my former housekeeper and her attorneys.’

Rogers’ father opened his first Waffle House in Atlanta in 1955, growing the company into a major chain of restaurants throughout the South. There are now more than 2,100 locations in 25 states.

By Jessica Finn

Source: Daily Mail

Two Lawyers and Client on Trial (eavesdropping law) Over Waffle House Sex Tape

Former Cobb County Assistant District Attorney John Butters and Marietta lawyer David Cohen are accused of violating Georgia’s eavesdropping law by helping their client record a sexual encounter with a Waffle House executive.

Two attorneys and their client—the former housekeeper for the chairman of Waffle House—are on trial this week in Atlanta on charges that they violated the state’s eavesdropping law by recording a secret sex tape.

A jury was seated Monday in the trial of John Butters, a former Cobb County assistant district attorney, and Marietta lawyer David Cohen over a sex tape that their client and co-defendant, Mye Brindle, recorded during an encounter at the home of Waffle House chairman and then-CEO Joe Rogers Jr.

That sex tape, sealed by judges in two counties in 2012, was the basis for a demand Butters and Cohen made suggesting that Rogers pay his housekeeper $12 million to keep quiet over claims he repeatedly sexually harassed her or else face a civil lawsuit and potentially ruinous publicity.

Court records described the recording as depicting Rogers shaving nude in his bathroom and then lying on his bed as Brindle manually serviced him.

Rogers and his civil lawyers at Marietta firm Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele have aggressively combated Brindle’s claims, suing her and her lawyers and lobbying for criminal charges against the trio in what has become a tangle of civil and criminal cross-claims and litigation that shows little sign of resolution after six years. Rogers has not denied the June 20 sexual liaison but has claimed it was consensual.

In 2016, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard’s office waded into the civil dispute, securing a four-count felony indictment accusing Butters and Cohen of conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit unlawful surveillance and unlawful surveillance.

Georgia law makes it a crime for any person through the use of any device, without consent of all persons observed, to photograph or record the activities of others that occur in a private place out of public view. The only exceptions are for people in prison or in jail and property owners who install cameras for security purposes.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk, who is presiding over the criminal trial, initially threw out the indictment, only to have the Supreme Court of Georgia reinstate the eavesdropping charges last November.

In affirming Newkirk’s dismissal of the extortion conspiracy charge, the high court ruled that Cohen’sdemand letter warning of a potential civil suit using the sex tape as evidence, though aggressive, did not rise to the level of a criminal threat.

But the high court also ruled that, although Georgia’s eavesdropping law only requires one-party consent, it only applies to oral, wire and electronic communications, not video recordings.

At a pretrial hearing in February, Newkirk told prosecutors and defense lawyers that he felt strongly that the case should have “a universal agreement and settlement.”

The high court’s other rulings in the competing civil litigation and their multiple appeals have not favored Butters and Cohen, but the defense argued again Tuesday to have counts dismissed before opening statements were scheduled to begin.

Last Thursday, the high court declined Cohen’s motion for reconsideration of its earlier ruling upholding nearly $200,000 in legal fees awarded to Rogers. Former Fulton Court State Court Judge Susan Forsling had directed that Rogers’ fees be paid after holding in 2013 that Brindle’s sexual harassment lawsuit, filed in Fulton County just two days after Rogers sued her first in Cobb County, was frivolous.

Rogers sued following failed negotiations associated with Cohen’s initial demand letter on Brindle’s behalf. Forsling ruled that Brindle should have filed a counterclaim to the Cobb suit.

The high court last year also upheld a Cobb County judge’s decision to disqualify Cohen and Butters as Brindle’s counsel in the civil suit. Cobb County Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard, who later recused from the civil case, disqualified the lawyers after determining their attorney-client privilege could be pierced over the production of the videotape. In that order, Leonard said the videotape, which he reviewed, “makes it clear that defendant was a willing participant in the sexual encounter and is not the victim of a sexual battery.”

Two private investigators may be key to the prosecution’s case.

Thomas Hawkins, owner of Hawk Private Investigations Inc., and investigator Michael Deegan said in civil depositions obtained by the Daily Report that they balked when the lawyers asked for help in securing video evidence to document Brindle’s claims.

According to the two investigators, they met with Cohen and Butters two days before Brindle retained the lawyers on June 6, 2012, and three weeks before she made the sex tape.

The investigators are represented by former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes.

But in a pretrial hearing in February, Cohen attorney Brian Steel sought to portray Brindle as a vulnerable, single mother who repeatedly was lured into situations where Rogers forced her to submit to unwanted sexual advances.

Steel contended that, as a victim of an alleged sexual predator, Brindle was legally justified in surreptitiously recording what he claimed was a criminal act. Rogers has not been charged with a crime tied to Brindle’s allegations.

Rogers’ wife, Fran Rogers, told the Daily Report in February that she believes Brindle intended to play on Rogers’ fears that his wife would find out about the affair.

“Their hope was Joe would be embarrassed and that he would pay them money for their silence,” she said. “Their worst nightmare was when Joe told me. They lost what they thought was their leverage.”

 

SOURCE: Daily Report powered by LAW.COM

Georgia staffer fired after arrest for eavesdropping and drug charges

ATHENS, Georgia — Georgia has fired an assistant equipment manager who was arrested Friday night on felony eavesdropping and drug charges.

James Kevin Purvis, 37, was being held Saturday morning in the Athens-Clarke County Jail on $16,000 bond. He faces three felony counts of eavesdropping or surveillance, felony possession of schedule II controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Georgia spokesman Claude Felton said the athletics department notified UGA police of the incident, and Purvis was fired early in the investigation.

“As soon as it learned of the incident, the Athletic Association notified the University of Georgia Police Department, who began their investigation,” the statement read. “The University took immediate action, and the employee was terminated early in the investigation. Based on the findings of the police investigation, no student-athletes were victims in this incident.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday morning that an unidentified person discovered a camera hidden in the shower area of Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. UGA officials notified police on Feb. 27 and officers searched the football team’s locker room, training facility and weight room, as well as Purvis’ car and home.

Purvis is a native of Ocilla, Georgia, and has worked as an assistant equipment manager with the Bulldogs since 2006, according to the athletic department’s website. He held a similar position at Valdosta State University.

Source: ESPN

Reasons Why You Should Start Using VPN

You may already know what a VPN (virtual private network) is but there is also a very good chance that you never use one. With the continued increase in the number of online threats, it makes more sense to protect yourself in all your online activities. Having the right antivirus software installed is not enough. For an added layer of protection, you should consider using a VPN.

A VPN is basically a group of computers that have been networked together over a public network (Internet). To use a VPN, you launch the VPN client on your computer then log in. Thereafter, your computer will start exchanging trusted keys with distant servers. Once the two computers verify your authenticity, all your communication will be secured from any form of eavesdropping. This is done by encrypting communications. The important point to understand about VPNs is that they will secure your internet connection by guaranteeing all the data you send or receive is encrypted and safe from eavesdropping.

Why use VPN?

There are many reasons why you should consider using VPN, whether you are a student, an IT expert or anybody looking for more security when using the Internet. Here are the top benefits you stand to gain.

Enhanced security

The main reason why most people go for the VPN is to enjoy enhanced security. Once you connect to a VPN, all your only activities will be encrypted. Your information will therefore be safe from hackers.

Remote control

VPN has been found to increase productivity in a company. This is because once a VPN has been set up, information can be accessed remotely and securely. This means employees can work from home or anywhere without compromising the security of company information. All that is needed is for an employee to have the right login credentials. The VPN can further be used to share files for an extended period of time with a group.

Online anonymity

Most people go for the VPN because of the benefit of online anonymity. A VPN allows you to browse the internet anonymously. Not even your ISP will be able to keep tabs on your online activities. The VPN will also hide your real IP address and allow you to access websites and web applications anonymously. To learn more about this, please visit fastestVPNguide.com.

Bypass filters and unblock websites

When travelling, you will not be able to access certain websites that are restricted to certain regions. A VPN can help you unblock such websites. It helps bypass Internet filters so that you can access just any website that you want. You can also change the location of your IP address so that if you want to access content restricted to the US and you are in Australia, you can just select an IP location in the US.

There are so many benefits that come with the use of a VPN. At the end of the day, you will notice better performance thanks to improved bandwidth and efficiency of the network and reduced overhead costs. The most important thing you need to do is to pick a VPN provider that will not limit you.

Source: Fabnewz

Somebody’s watching! When cameras are more than just ‘smart’

Every year the number of smart devices grows. Coffee machines, bracelets, fridges, cars and loads of other useful gadgets have now gone smart. We are now seeing the emergence of smart streets, roads and even cities.

Devices such as smart cameras have long been part of everyday life for many, as communication devices, components in security and video surveillance systems, to keep an eye on pets, etc.

The latest smart cameras can connect to the cloud. This is done so that a user can watch what’s happening at a remote location using a variety of devices.

The researchers at Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT decided to check the popular smart camera to see how well protected it is against cyber abuses. This model has a rich feature list, compares favorably to regular webcams and can be used as a baby monitor, a component in a home security system or as part of a monitoring system.

An initial analysis using publicly available sources showed that there are almost 2,000 of these cameras on the Internet with public IP addresses.

Hanwha SNH-V6410PN/PNW SmartCam: specifications

This device is capable of capturing video with resolutions of 1920×1080, 1280×720 or 640×360, it has night vision capability and a motion sensor, and supports two-way communication, i.e. apart from capturing video and sound it can also produce sound using an in-built speaker. The camera works via a cloud-based service; in other words, it doesn’t connect directly to a device such as a computer. It is configured by creating a wireless hotspot on the camera and connecting it to the main router via Wi-Fi. Users can control the camera from their smartphones, tablets or computers. It should be noted that the camera’s data can only be uploaded to the cloud; there is no other way of communicating between the user and the camera.

The camera is based on the Ambarella S2L system (ARM architecture). Amboot is used as its initial loader. After a standard boot, Amboot loads the Linux core with a specific command as a parameter:

After that, systemd launches. The system then boots as normal. Different partitions are mounted, and commands fromrc.local are executed. When executing rc.local, the file mainServer is launched in daemon mode, which is the core of the camera’s operation logic. mainServer executes the commands that are sent to it via UNIX socket /tmp/ipc_path via binary protocol. Scripts written in PHP as well as CGI are used to process user files. While launching, mainServer opensUNIX socket /ipc_path. Analysis of the PHP scripts has shown that the main function responsible for communication with mainServer is in the file /work/www/htdocs_weboff/utils/ipc_manager.php.

Communication with the user

When a command arrives from the user (e.g., to rotate the camera, select a tracking area, switch to night vision mode, etc.), it is analyzed. Each command or parameter has its own flag assigned to it, which is a constant. The main flags are documented in the file /work/www/htdocs_weboff/utils/constant.php. Later on, the packet header and payload is created, and a request is sent via UNIX socket /tmp/ipc_path to mainServer.

An analysis of the file ipc_manager.php shows that no authentication is used at this stage. The request is sent on behalf of the user ‘admin’.

This method of communicating commands is used when camera communication is done both via HTTP API and via SmartCam applications. In the latter case, the packet is generated in the application itself and sent to the camera in a message body using the XMPP protocol. When accessing this file from the outside via HTTP API and SmartCam application, it can be accessed only through web server digest authentication.

Loopholes for intruders

The following vulnerabilities were identified during the research:

• Use of insecure HTTP protocol during firmware update
• Use of insecure HTTP protocol during camera interaction via HTTP API
• An undocumented (hidden) capability for switching the web interface using the file ‘dnpqtjqltm’
• Buffer overflow in file ‘dnpqtjqltm’ for switching the web interface
• A feature for the remote execution of commands with root privileges
• A capability to remotely change the administrator password
• Denial of service for SmartCam
• No protection from brute force attacks for the camera’s admin account password
• A weak password policy when registering the camera on the server xmpp.samsungsmartcam.com. Attacks against users of SmartCam applications are possible
• Communication with other cameras is possible via the cloud server
• Blocking of new camera registration on the cloud server
• Authentication bypass on SmartCam. Change of administrator password and remote execution of commands.
• Restoration of camera password for the SmartCam cloud account

After some additional research we established that these problems exist not only in the camera being researched but all manufacturer’s smart cameras manufactured by Hanwha Techwin. The latter also makes firmware for Samsung cameras.

Below we give a more detailed account of some of our findings.

Undocumented functionality

As mentioned above, we detected, among others, an undocumented capability that allows manipulations with the camera’s web interface.

Interestingly, in addition a buffer overflow-type vulnerability was detected inside of it. We reported the issue with undocumented feature to the manufacturer, and it has already fixed it.

Vulnerability in the cloud server architecture

Another example of a dangerous vulnerability in this smart camera can be found in the cloud server architecture. Because of a fault in the architecture, an intruder could gain access via the cloud to all cameras and control them.

One of the main problems associated with the cloud architecture is that it is based on the XMPP protocol. Essentially, the entire Hanwha smart camera cloud is a Jabber server. It has so-called rooms, with cameras of one type in each room. An attacker could register an arbitrary account on the Jabber server and gain access to all rooms on that server.

In the process of communicating with the cloud, the camera sends the user’s credentials and a certain set of constants. After analyzing the data sent, a remote attacker is able to register existing cameras in the cloud that have not been registered there yet. As a result of this, the cameras could subsequently not able to register in the cloud and, as a consequence, are not able to operate. In addition, an attacker can communicate with the cloud on behalf of an arbitrary camera or control arbitrary cameras via the cloud.

Attack scenarios

An interesting attack vector is the spoofing of DNS server addresses specified in the camera’s settings. This is possible because the update server is specified as a URL address in the camera’s configuration file. This type of attack can be implemented even if a camera doesn’t have a global IP address and is located within a NAT subnet. This sort of attack can be implemented by taking advantage of the peculiarities and vulnerabilities that exist in the Hanwha SmartСam cloud architecture. An attack like this could result in the distribution of modified firmware to cameras with the undocumented functionality loophole preinstalled, which will give privileged rights on those cameras.

If an intruder gains privileged rights (root) on a camera, they gain access to the full Linux functionality. This means the camera can be used as a foothold from which to attack devices located on local (within a NAT subnet) or global networks.

In one attack scenario, an arbitrary camera can be cloned and its image signal spoofed for the end user without much difficulty. To do so, an intruder will have to use cloud interactions to find out the target camera’s model, serial number and MAC address. The attacker then resets the password using a vulnerability in the password generation algorithm and modifies the firmware of the cloned camera (which is an identical camera located on the attacker’s side). The victim’s camera is then remotely disabled. As a result, the victim will receive a video signal from the attacker’s cloned camera.

Other possible scenarios involve attacks on camera users. The camera’s capabilities imply that the user will specify their credentials to different social media and online services, such as Twitter, Gmail, YouTube, etc. This is required for notifications about various events captured by the camera to be sent to the user. An attacker would then be able to exploit this capability to send phishing and spam messages.

Conclusion

What can a potential attacker do with the camera? Our research has demonstrated that they have a number of options.

For one, the attacker can remotely change the administrator’s password, execute arbitrary code on the camera, gain access to an entire cloud of cameras and take control of it, or build a botnet of vulnerable cameras. An attacker can gain access to an arbitrary SmartCam as well as to any Hanwha smart cameras.

What are the implications for a regular user? A remote attacker can gain access to any camera and watch what’s happening, send voice messages to the camera’s on-board speaker, use the camera’s resources for cryptocurrency mining, etc. A remote attacker can also put a camera out of service so it can no longer be restored. We were able to prove this hypothesis three times 🙂

We immediately reported the detected vulnerabilities to the manufacturer. Some vulnerabilities have already been fixed. The remaining vulnerabilities are set to be completely fixed soon, according to the manufacturer.

Fixed vulnerabilities were assigned the following CVEs:

CVE-2018-6294
CVE-2018-6295
CVE-2018-6296
CVE-2018-6297
CVE-2018-6298
CVE-2018-6299
CVE-2018-6300
CVE-2018-6301
CVE-2018-6302
CVE-2018-6303

By Vladimir Dashchenko, Andrey Muravitsky
Source: SecureList

Stalker-assisting spy devices: Bugs & hacking software sold online for £20

USB charging cable with hidden eavesdropping GSM device (SIM card slot) ©Shapestones.  

Technology has advanced so quickly that stalkers are now able to carry out digital surveillance on their targets – bugging their phones and accessing their locations with ease, victims’ groups warn.
Everyday more and more people are engaging in stalking, using listening devices that cost as little as £20 ($28) some of which can easily be hidden inside plug adaptors.

Companies like Amazon and eBay are selling spy tools over the internet, with victims’ helplines announcing an increasing number of complaints as a result.

“[The devices] are really easy to get, they’re really easy to use,” said Clare Elcombe Webber, manager of the National Stalking Helpline, the Guardian reported. “I think for some stalkers it really legitimizes what they’re doing… The message it sends to victims is there are all these technological advancements that help your stalker, but not you.”

Cases include a woman who had a USB-like listening gadget placed in her handbag by her stalker. There are more and more cases of small digital devices being used to spy on people

“We see this regularly… they put in listening devices or video devices in the house or tracking devices on the car and you can buy all of that on Amazon,” Chief Executive of Digital-Trust Jennifer Perry told the Guardian.

Another woman’s ex used a bug inside an extension lead. The former partner was then texting her details of the bedtime stories that she told her children.

Spyware and spying apps were also used in roughly 130 cases dealt with by the national helpline.

Shockingly, the camera of a laptop can be turned on by someone remotely using the software, while keystrokes can be traced to read conversations from the device. The purchase and installation of such devices is now illegal under the Computer Act of 1990.

“We had one client who went home, her laptop was on, she had a shower, she then got a message from her stalker saying ‘Did you have a nice shower?’” said Elcombe Webber.“It’s that kind of invasion and not knowing how that person is able to see you. Are they outside? Are they in the house? It’s really, really frightening.”

In the 11 months to November 2017, the National Stalking Helpline received 4,337 calls or emails. More than half of cases were involving an ex-partner and 77 percent of the victims were female.

After the Guardian alerted eBay to the existence of the USB and plug listening devices, the items were removed from the site.

Source: RT News