Science and Technology News

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Texas EMS Agency to Equip Paramedics With Full Body Cameras, (01/08/2019), EMS1 Staff
A Texas EMS agency will equip its paramedics with body cameras, following a trial period during which use of the technology helped save two lives. Cypress Creek EMS Executive Director Bradley England said the technology allowed paramedics to show emergency room doctors exactly what they saw in the field. He said the technology also proved to be a teaching tool and accelerated advanced certifications.
Link to Article

New Santa Rosa Schools Security System Requires Visitor ID, Permission to Enter Schools
Pensacola News Journal, (01/10/2019), Jacob Newby
The Santa Rosa County School District in Florida is installing closed-access control systems at all of its schools. Every school will have at least one closed-access control system installed at its main entry points, with high schools likely installing two or three. Also, visitors must present a valid driver's license or identification card and a reason for entry into the school.
Link to Article

Birmingham Police Department Seeks New Software That Helps Predict Crime
WBRC, (01/11/2019), Melanie Posey
The police department in Birmingham, Ala., wants to begin using software to help predict where crime is likely to occur. Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith says the department needs to do more predictive policing.
Link to Article

Mesa Internet Crimes Against Children Unit Putting New Mobile Forensic Lab to Good Use
Abc15, (01/12/2019), Sonu Wasu
A mobile forensics lab is helping the Mesa Internet Crimes Against Children unit perform investigations. The mobile lab allows police investigators to process digital information at the crime scene. It can eliminate the step of having to drive computers, hard drives and cell phones to a special lab to be processed.
Link to Article

Cayuga County Residents Can Provide Emergency Responders With Advanced Info, (01/12/2019), Ryan Franklin
A system at the Cayuga County, N.Y., Emergency Communications Department allows residents with special needs and medical conditions to call the department's nonemergency line to provide dispatchers with information about themselves or family members. The information can help first responders be prepared in an emergency 911 situation.
Link to Article

New System to Expand on Amber Alerts
Journal Courier, (01/14/2019), Nick Draper
A new state alert system in Illinois is intended to help police find people who are missing but are not covered by the Amber Alert system. The Illinois State Wide Alert System will send alerts to those who opt-in via their cell phones or email. The new system hopes to alert the public without those who disappear having to meet the same criteria as an Amber Alert.
Link to Article

Corrections News

Maine Prisons Introduce Tablet Program to Train Offenders
News Center Maine, (01/10/2019), Chloe Teboe
The Maine Department of Corrections is introducing a tablet program to prisons to help prepare offenders for re-entry into the labor force. The program will provide educational, vocational and life-skill content.
Link to Article

Pennsylvania State Inmate Population Fell Again Last Year
The Morning Call, (01/11/2019), by Associated Press
Officials say the number of inmates in Pennsylvania's state prisons fell by 2.2 percent last year, the sixth decline in the past seven years. Total inmate numbers fell to 47,370, or 1,068 fewer than were incarcerated in state prisons at end of 2017.
Link to Article

Seminole County Jail Ditches Letters for Electronic Messages. Video Calls to Take Place of Inmate Visits.
Orlando Sentinel, (01/11/2019), Michael Williams
A new system requires jail inmates in Seminole County to view digital copies of letters from family and friends, rather than receiving paper copies. The jail also plans to replace in-person visits at the jail with a video-visitation system. Inmates can instantly send and receive electronic messages similar to text messages or emails, but monitored by jail staff.
Link to Article

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Two Ukrainian Nationals Indicted in Computer Hacking and Securities Fraud Scheme Targeting U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Hacking and Trading Scheme Involved Theft of Thousands of ‘EDGAR’ Filings, Including Draft Earnings Reports of Publicly Traded Companies before Reports were Made Public

Two Ukrainian men have been charged for their roles in a large-scale, international conspiracy to hack into the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) computer systems and profit by trading on critical information they stole.

In a 16-count indictment unsealed today in the District of New Jersey, Artem Radchenko, 27, and Oleksandr Ieremenko, 26, both of Kiev, Ukraine, are charged with securities fraud conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, computer fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, and computer fraud. The SEC also filed a civil complaint today charging Ieremenko along with several other individuals and entities.

The indictment alleges that Radchenko and Ieremenko hacked into the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system and stole thousands of files, including annual and quarterly earnings reports containing confidential, non-public, financial information, which publicly traded companies are required to disclose to the SEC. The defendants and others then profited by selling access to the confidential information in these reports and trading on this stolen information prior to its distribution to the investing public.

“The defendants allegedly orchestrated sophisticated computer intrusions to steal non-public information from the SEC, compromising the integrity of the market and depriving honest investors of a level playing field,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.  “The Department of Justice will aggressively pursue and prosecute those who attack our financial markets and seek to profit unfairly, no matter where such offenders reside.”

“The defendants charged in the indictment announced today engaged in a sophisticated hacking and insider trading scheme to cheat the securities markets and the investing public,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. “They targeted the Securities and Exchange Commission with a series of sophisticated and relentless cyber-attacks, stealing thousands of confidential EDGAR filings from the Commission’s servers and then trading on the inside information in those filings before it was known to the market, all at the expense of the average investor.”

“Today’s indictment sends a strong message to those criminals who choose to use the cyber-world to profit from network intrusion,” Mark McKevitt, Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Newark Field Office, said. “The Secret Service will continue to aggressively investigate cyber-enabled financial crimes and develop innovative ways to combat emerging cyber threats.”

 “This indictment is a testament to the countless hours of hard work and dedication by law enforcement in the fight against cyber criminals,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie said.  “Cybercrime knows no boundaries. Dismantling these operations are possible only by working closely with our partners.”

According to the indictments unsealed today:

From February 2016 to March 2017, Radchenko, Ieremenko, and others conspired to gain unauthorized access to the computer networks of the SEC’s EDGAR system, which is used by publicly traded companies to file required disclosures, such as annual and quarterly earnings reports. These filings contained detailed information about the financial condition and operations of the companies, including their earnings. Such information can, and often does, affect the stock price of the companies when it is made public, and is therefore highly confidential prior to its disclosure to the general public.

The EDGAR system allows companies to make test filings in advance of a public filing. These test filings often contain information that is the same as, or similar to the information in the final filing. The defendants stole thousands of test filings before they were released to the public, and sought to profit from their theft by using the information in the test filings to trade before the investing public learned the information.

To gain access to the SEC’s computer networks, the defendants used a series of targeted cyber-attacks, including directory traversal attacks, phishing attacks, and infecting computers with malware. Once the defendants had access to the test filings on the EDGAR system, they stole them by copying the test filings to servers they controlled. For example, between May 2016 and October 2016, the defendants extracted thousands of test filings from the EDGAR servers to a server they controlled in Lithuania.

Ieremenko was previously charged in a hacking and securities fraud scheme in an indictment in the District of New Jersey. That indictment charged Ieremenko with being part of a large-scale, international conspiracy to hack the computer systems of three newswire organizations and steal press releases containing confidential non-public financial information relating to hundreds of companies traded on the NASDAQ and NYSE from three newswires. The members of the conspiracy profited from the theft by trading on the news ahead of its distribution to the investing public. The indictment unsealed today alleges Ieremenko employed some of the same methods to hack the SEC.  

Radchenko recruited to the scheme traders who were provided with the stolen test filings so they could profit by trading on the information before the investing public. Armed with the stolen information, the traders profited by executing various trades in brokerage accounts they controlled. In one instance, a test filing for “Public Company 1” was uploaded to the EDGAR servers at 3:32 p.m. (EDT) on May 19, 2016. Six minutes later, the defendants stole the test filing and uploaded a copy to the Lithuania server. Between 3:42 p.m. and 3:59 p.m., a conspirator purchased approximately $2.4 million worth of shares of Public Company 1. At 4:02 p.m., Public Company 1 released its second quarter earnings report and announced that it expected to deliver record earnings in 2016. Over the next day, the conspirator sold all the acquired shares in Public Company 1 for a profit of more than $270,000.

The wire fraud conspiracy and substantive wire fraud counts with which the defendants are charged carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. The securities fraud conspiracy, computer fraud conspiracy, and substantive computer fraud counts with which the defendants are charged carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.

This case was investigated by the U.S. States Secret Service and special agents of the FBI, with assistance from the SEC’s Market Abuse and Cyber Units and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

 The prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorney Aarash Haghighat of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Shapiro; Chief of the Cybercrimes Unit Justin S. Herring; Attorney-in-Charge, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton Nicholas Grippo; and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn O’Connor.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

A Cop Comforted Her at a Crucial Moment. Now She's on Movie Screens to Recruit Women Officers
Twin Cities Pioneer Press, (12/21/2018), Mara Gottfried
When Anna Taylor was four years old, she was the sole survivor of an automobile crash that took her mother's life. A memory of the comfort offered by a state trooper helped lead to her decision to become a police officer, and now she's starring in a recruitment video being shown in local theaters at no charge to the St. Paul Police Department.
Link to Article

Mobile Fingerprint Scanners May Save You From Being Arrested Due to Mistaken Identity
Ft. Collins Coloradan, (12/27/2018), Saja Hindi
The Larimer County (Colo.) Sheriff's Office now deploys 20 mobile fingerprint scanners thanks to a grant from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The devices are used by deputies on the street and in the jail, and have enabled officers to quickly identify individuals who cannot, or will not, provide identification. However, the devices only provide assistance if the individual in question has been fingerprinted and recorded in a statewide database in the past.
Link to Article

ANSI Group Releases UAS Standardization Roadmap
UAS Magazine, (01/01/2019), Patrick Miller
With a goal of gaining broad adoption, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative (UASSC) of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently released a UAS roadmap intended to encourage a coordinated approach to standards development. It looks at 64 specific areas and includes recommendations related to airworthiness, flight operations, personnel training, qualifications and certification.
Link to Article

How Co-responder Teams Are Changing the Way Minneapolis Police Deal With Mental Health Calls
Minneapolis Post, (01/02/2019), Jessica Lee
In Minneapolis, Officer Colleen Ryan and her partner, senior psychiatric social worker Nils Dybvig, are trialing a co-responder program featuring a new way of responding to mental health crisis calls. The more comprehensive approach includes building a rapport of trust with callers and following up in subsequent days. The initial stages of the project have shown promising results.
Link to Article

NPD K-9 Smokey Receives Overdose Reversal Kit
Newton Dailey News, (01/04/2019), Orrin Shawl
Thanks to the K-9s of Valor organization, the Newton (Ill.) Police Department now has an overdose reversal kit that uses a naloxone dose targeted for dogs. Narcotics-sniffing dogs face increased danger due to the opioid crisis; the organization provides kits to qualifying departments.
Link to Article

NOPD Officer in Stable Condition After Being Shot, Civilian Dead: Police Superintendent
New Orleans Times-Picayune, (01/05/2019), Laura McKnight
A New Orleans Police Department officer responding to an attempted suicide call survived two shots to the chest thanks to his ballistic-resistant body armor, according to the police superintendent. Other officers returned fire on the suspect, who later died at a local medical center.
Link to Article

Cold-case Investigation Warms Up With Help From Forensic Artist
Penn State News, (01/07/2019), Leon Valsech
The West Manchester Township Police Department in Pennsylvania's York County recently held a press conference to promote the work of forensic artist Jenny Kenyon in creating a clay model bust of a 2013 cold case victim. Kenyon used a 3D printed model of his skull to create the bust. This is the first time the department has turned to a forensic artist in an attempt to identify a murder victim. Kenyon has primarily worked in the field of archaeology; this was the first time she provided assistance on a cold case.
Link to Article

San Diego Bomb Squad to Begin using Drones
SecurityInfoWatch, (01/07/2019), Alex Riggins for the San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego's fire department bomb squad and the Chula Vista Police Department recently began limited use of drone technology as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program. A total of 10 cities and agencies were chosen to participate in the pilot program in May 2018. Participants submit reports to the Federal Aviation Administration four times a year to help the FAA update its rules for drone usage.
Link to Article

Corrections News

Inmates at Missouri State Prisons Tinker With New Tablets
KFVS12, (12/24/2018), Nathan Elgren
The Missouri Department of Corrections has begun rolling out a program to provide inmates with tablets that will help them learn about new technology and also become better connected with friends and family. As participants in a new incentive program, well-behaved inmates will get access to additional apps.
Link to Article

Amid a Growing Opioid Epidemic, Lawmakers Hope to End Drug-addiction Withdrawal in County Jails
The Colorado Independent, (01/07/2019), John Herrick
Better medical treatment for inmates experiencing withdrawal symptoms may be a priority for Colorado in 2019. In the past five years, at least four inmates have died from withdrawal complications while incarcerated in county jails, which are not equipped to treat these individuals. Forced withdrawal carries significant medical risks and is not an effective way to keep an individual from using in the future.
Link to Article

Former Felons Can Begin Registering to Vote in Florida
MSN News, (01/08/2019), Ariana Gomez Licon for the Associated Press
With the exception of individuals convicted of murder and sex offenses, former felons living in Florida can now register to vote. The move, approved by 65 percent of voters in the November election, could increase the state's voter pool by as many as 1.4 million people.
Link to Article

Successful Podcast Leads to Inmate's Early Parole, (01/04/2019), Ben Bradley
A San Quentin inmate's efforts as co-host and co-producer of a podcast called "Ear Hustle" that documents life inside the prison has won him a commutation of his sentence. Then-Gov. Jerry Brown released Walter Woods in November 2018, calling him a positive example of how an inmate can turn his life around.
Link to Article

Police: Accused Robber Wears GPS Monitor to Holdup
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, (01/02/2019), Gary V. Murray
GPS coordinates from a Worcester, Mass., man's mobile tracking device placed him at the scene of an early morning holdup in August 2018, and led to his recent arraignment on related charges. The device was apparently cut off sometime after the holdup; the man has pleaded not guilty.
Link to Article