Science and Technology News

Friday, December 21, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News


Law Enforcement News

Lubbock Police Launch Crisis Intervention Team Aimed at Responding in Mental Health Situations
LubbockOnline.com, (12/11/2018), Erica Pauda
The Lubbock (Texas) Police Department recently launched a Crisis Intervention Team consisting of officers who are all state-certified mental health peace officers. The team includes two full-time officers and 30 to 40 others who have received the certified training and can respond as needed. The trained officers know how to identify mental health conditions, how to respond to situations involving mental illness and de-escalate as needed, and will refer people in mental health crises to needed services.
Link to Article


Boise Police Offering Free Spanish Class to Officers, Staff
Idaho Press, (12/11/2018), Nicole Foy
In collaboration with Boise State University, some 50 civilian staff members and officers from the Boise Police Department will take a free 10-week Spanish course to improve outreach to the local Hispanic population. The department's Hispanic community liaison said the goal is to reduce use of a translation service in favor of officers with language skills.
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Why Police In Prince George's County Are Being Trained With Improv
WAMU, (12/13/2018), Meg Anderson
At Prince George's Community College in Maryland, a training team is using improv to teach members of the county's police department strategies for better handling calls involving individuals with disabilities. A new Maryland law requires officers to be trained in this area, and the Prince George's program features improv and includes individuals with disabilities on the training team.
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New School Resource Officers in Lincoln Receive Behavioral Health Training Tailored to Youth
Lincoln Journal-Star, (12/13/2018), Riley Nelson
School resource officers stationed at middle schools in Lincoln, Neb., recently participated in a local training program to help them distinguish between dangerous behavior and signs of mental illness. The first-ever training partnered police officers, school administrators and mental health care experts, and a had goal of teaching officers about how these types of behaviors in children differ from the way that adults would behave.
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First-aid Kit Donations to Benefit First Responders
Herald-Dispatch.com, (12/15/2018), David E. Malloy
A community group in Lawrence County, W.Va., recently donated 55 personal first-aid kits to the local sheriff's office. The kits, worn on an officer's utility belt, contain protective gloves, tourniquets and blood-clotting agents, and can be used to stop bleeding until an EMS crew arrives at an incident scene.
Link to Article


New Training Program Aims to Make Police-Citizen Interactions Safer
KHOU 11, (12/11/2017), Adam Bennett
Crime Stoppers Houston and the Houston Health Department recently began holding training sessions for the Houston-Harris County Peacekeepers Movement, which teaches both citizens and law enforcement officers about how to act during traffic stops, individual rights and responsibilities, and how to submit a compliment or complaint. The program's goal is for those who take the training to become trainers themselves, passing the knowledge on to other officers and community members.
Link to Article


Will Portland's New Unarmed Officers Fix Police Bureau Woes?
Portland Mercury, (12/20/2018), Alex Zielinski
The city of Portland, Ore., will hire 12 Public Safety Support Specialists starting in January to respond to low-level, non-emergency crimes. The PS3s will carry only pepper spray and will help with property damage automobile accidents, assist in looking for missing persons and attend community meetings, among other activities.
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Corrections News

50 Nevada Inmates Get a Chance to Share ‘Christmas' With Family
Rio Lancale, (12/14/2018), Las Vegas Review-Journal
Thanks to a joint effort by Hope for Prisoners, the Nevada Department of Corrections and 90.5 FM SOS Radio, 50 prisoners from Casa Grande Traditional Housing in the southwest Las Vegas Valley got a chance to spend "Christmas" with their families in a simulated living room setting – complete with a tree – at the nearby Crossing Church. Started by an ex-inmate, the project has a goal of strengthening family ties to help prevent recidivism.
Link to Article


Algorithm to Reform Criminal Sentencing in Pa. Faces Deluge of Criticism
WITF, (12/13/2018), Aaron Moselle
A proposed algorithm to predict recidivism based on a person's age, gender, prior convictions and other pieces of criminal history is drawing criticism. Pennsylvania legislation to implement such an algorithm was enacted nearly 10 years ago, but in spite of numerous tweaks, the commonwealth has yet to actually begin using the tool. Protestors are calling for a rollback of the legislation.
Link to Article


Almost Half of U.S. Adults Have Seen a Family Member Jailed, Study Shows
Washington Post, (12/06/2018), Rachel Weiner
A recently released Cornell University study shows that almost half of all American adults have seen a family member imprisoned for at least one night; one in seven have had a relative jailed for a year; and one in 34, for at least 10 years. Among minorities and low-income individuals, the proportions are higher.
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CMPD Arrest Individual Charged With Armed Robbery Spree
WBTV, (12/12/2018)
In Charlotte, a man has been charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, felony breaking and entering, kidnapping and four counts of false imprisonment in conjunction with two recent incidents. He was wearing an electronic monitoring device, which placed him in the vicinity of both.
Link to Article


Labeling ex-Prisoners High Risk Is Rare and Complex Process
Rapid City Journal, (12/16/2018), Arielle Zionts
In 2011, the South Dakota Department of Corrections began notifying citizens about the pending release of any prisoner deemed high-risk to commit another crime. The review process was spurred by the murder of a woman by a prisoner who had just been released two days prior; the state has since termed 10 inmates to be high risk and one to be high profile.
Link to Article


Mental Health, Substance Use Treatment on Their Way for Tucson's Low-level Offenders
Tucson.com, (12/16/2018), Caitlin Schmidt for the Arizona Star
In Pima County, Ariz., the county attorney's office will use nearly $3 million in federal grant money to start a misdemeanor problem-solving court to provide mental health and substance use treatment, and additional services to high-risk/high-need defendants. The program will also provide housing and transportation assistance, help in finding employment or enrolling for government benefits, court supervision, peer mentoring and other evidence-based interventions.
Link to Article


The State Knew He'd Turn Violent Without Meds. So Did He. But Was Anybody Checking?
KPVI, (12/16/2018), Audrey Dutton and Ruth Brown for the Idaho Statesman
This article takes an in-depth look at the circumstances involving one paroled individual who became violent when he failed to take his medication, using it to highlight some of the weak spots in Idaho's provision of mental health services for current and former inmates.
Link to Article


Bad Connections: Cellphones in Ohio Prisons Enable Drug Deals, Gang Activity, Identity Theft
Cleveland.com, (12/16/2018), John Caniglia for the Plain Dealer
In Ohio, the number of cellphones confiscated inside correctional institutions has nearly doubled since 2013, records show, and the amount of other contraband, such as drugs and alcohol, continues to go up as well. This article takes an in-depth look at ways that inmates set out to beat the system, methods of interdiction and the damage that cellphones can cause.
Link to Article

New NIJ Journal Article: Using Artificial Intelligence to Address Criminal Justice Needs


Artificial intelligence applications can be found in many aspects of our lives, and even public safety and criminal justice benefit from AI. For example, traffic safety systems identify violations and enforce the rules of the road, and crime forecasts allow for more efficient allocation of policing resources. AI is also helping to identify the potential for an individual under criminal justice supervision to reoffend.

Research supported by NIJ is helping to lead the way in applying AI to address criminal justice needs, such as identifying individuals and their actions in videos relating to criminal activity or public safety, DNA analysis, gunshot detection and crime forecasting. Read a new NIJ Journal article on the subject at https://www.nij.gov/journals/280/Pages/using-artificial-intelligence-to-address-criminal-justice-needs.aspx.

Two Chinese Hackers Associated With the Ministry of State Security Charged with Global Computer Intrusion Campaigns Targeting Intellectual Property and Confidential Business Information


Defendants Were Members of the APT 10 Hacking Group Who Acted in Association with the Tianjin State Security Bureau and Engaged in Global Computer Intrusions for More Than a Decade, Continuing into 2018, Including Thefts from Managed Service Providers and

The unsealing of an indictment charging Zhu Hua (), aka Afwar, aka CVNX, aka Alayos, aka Godkiller; and Zhang Shilong (张士龙), aka Baobeilong, aka Zhang Jianguo, aka Atreexp, both nationals of the People’s Republic of China (China), with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft was announced today.

The announcement was made by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York, Director Christopher A. Wray of the FBI, Director Dermot F. O’Reilly of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) of the U.S. Department of Defense, and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

Zhu and Zhang were members of a hacking group operating in China known within the cyber security community as Advanced Persistent Threat 10 (the APT10 Group).  The defendants worked for a company in China called Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Company (Huaying Haitai) and acted in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s Tianjin State Security Bureau.

Through their involvement with the APT10 Group, from at least in or about 2006 up to and including in or about 2018, Zhu and Zhang conducted global campaigns of computer intrusions targeting, among other data, intellectual property and confidential business and technological information at managed service providers (MSPs), which are companies that remotely manage the information technology infrastructure of businesses and governments around the world, more than 45 technology companies in at least a dozen U.S. states, and U.S. government agencies.  The APT10 Group targeted a diverse array of commercial activity, industries and technologies, including aviation, satellite and maritime technology, industrial factory automation, automotive supplies, laboratory instruments, banking and finance, telecommunications and consumer electronics, computer processor technology, information technology services, packaging, consulting, medical equipment, healthcare, biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, mining, and oil and gas exploration and production.  Among other things, Zhu and Zhang registered IT infrastructure that the APT10 Group used for its intrusions and engaged in illegal hacking operations.

The indictment alleges that the defendants were part of a group that hacked computers in at least a dozen countries and gave China’s intelligence service access to sensitive business information,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.  “This is outright cheating and theft, and it gives China an unfair advantage at the expense of law-abiding businesses and countries that follow the international rules in return for the privilege of participating in the global economic system.”

It is galling that American companies and government agencies spent years of research and countless dollars to develop their intellectual property, while the defendants simply stole it and got it for free” said U.S. Attorney Berman.  “As a nation, we cannot, and will not, allow such brazen thievery to go unchecked.”

Healthy competition is good for the global economy, but criminal conduct is not.  This is conduct that hurts American businesses, American jobs, and American consumers,” said FBI Director Wray.  “No country should be able to flout the rule of law – so we’re going to keep calling out this behavior for what it is: illegal, unethical, and unfair.  It's going to take all of us working together to protect our economic security and our way of life, because the American people deserve no less."

The theft of sensitive defense technology and cyber intrusions are major national security concerns and top investigative priorities for the DCIS,” said DCIS Director O’Reilly.  “The indictments unsealed today are the direct result of a joint investigative effort between DCIS and its law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate individuals and groups who illegally access information technology systems of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Defense Industrial Base.  DCIS remains vigilant in our efforts to safeguard the integrity of the Department of Defense and its enterprise of information technology systems.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

Overview

Zhu Hua (), aka Afwar, aka CVNX, aka Alayos, aka Godkiller, and Zhang Shilong (张士龙), aka Baobeilong, aka Zhang Jianguo, aka Atreexp, the defendants, both nationals of China, were members of a hacking group operating in China known within the cyber security community as the APT10 Group, or alternatively as “Red Apollo,” “CVNX,” “Stone Panda,” “MenuPass,” and “POTASSIUM.”  The defendants worked for Huaying Haitai in Tianjin, China, and acted in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s Tianjin State Security Bureau.  From at least in or about 2006 up to and including in or about 2018, members of the APT10 Group, including Zhu and Zhang, conducted extensive campaigns of intrusions into computer systems around the world.  The APT10 Group used some of the same online facilities to initiate, facilitate and execute its campaigns during the conspiracy.

Most recently, beginning at least in or about 2014, members of the APT10 Group, including Zhu and Zhang, engaged in an intrusion campaign to obtain unauthorized access to the computers and computer networks of MSPs for businesses and governments around the world (the MSP Theft Campaign).  The APT10 Group targeted MSPs in order to leverage the MSPs’ networks to gain unauthorized access to the computers and computer networks of the MSPs’ clients and to steal, among other data, intellectual property and confidential business data on a global scale.  For example, through the MSP Theft Campaign, the APT10 Group obtained unauthorized access to the computers of an MSP that had offices in the Southern District of New York and compromised the data of that MSP and certain of its clients involved in banking and finance, telecommunications and consumer electronics, medical equipment, packaging, manufacturing, consulting, healthcare, biotechnology, automotive, oil and gas exploration, and mining.

Earlier, beginning in or about 2006, members of the APT10 Group, including Zhu and Zhang, engaged in an intrusion campaign to obtain unauthorized access to the computers and computer networks of more than 45 technology companies and U.S. government agencies, in order to steal information and data concerning a number of technologies (the Technology Theft Campaign).  Through the Technology Theft Campaign, the APT10 Group stole hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive data and targeted the computers of victim companies involved in aviation, space and satellite technology, manufacturing technology, pharmaceutical technology, oil and gas exploration and production technology, communications technology, computer processor technology, and maritime technology.

In furtherance of the APT10 Group’s intrusion campaigns, Zhu and Zhang, among other things, worked for Huaying Haitai and registered malicious domains and infrastructure.  In addition, Zhu, a penetration tester, engaged in hacking operations on behalf of the APT10 Group and recruited other individuals to the APT10 Group, and Zhang developed and tested malware for the APT10 Group.

The MSP Theft Campaign

In furtherance of the MSP Theft Campaign, Zhu, Zhang, and their co-conspirators in the APT10 Group engaged in the following criminal conduct:

    First, after the APT10 Group gained unauthorized access into the computers of an MSP, the APT10 Group installed multiple variants of malware on MSP computers around the world. To avoid antivirus detection, the malware was installed using malicious files that masqueraded as legitimate files associated with the victim computer’s operating system.  Such malware enabled members of the APT10 Group to monitor victims’ computers remotely and steal user credentials.
    Second, after stealing administrative credentials from computers of an MSP, the APT10 Group used those stolen credentials to connect to other systems within an MSP and its clients’ networks. This enabled the APT10 Group to move laterally through an MSPs network and its clients’ networks and to compromise victim computers that were not yet infected with malware.
    Third, after identifying data of interest on a compromised computer and packaging it for exfiltration using encrypted archives, the APT10 Group used stolen credentials to move the data of an MSP client to one or more other compromised computers of the MSP or its other clients’ networks before exfiltrating the data to other computers controlled by the APT10 Group.

Over the course of the MSP Theft Campaign, Zhu, Zhang, and their co-conspirators in the APT10 Group successfully obtained unauthorized access to computers providing services to or belonging to victim companies located in at least 12 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  The victim companies included at least the following:  a global financial institution, three telecommunications and/or consumer electronics companies; three companies involved in commercial or industrial manufacturing; two consulting companies; a healthcare company; a biotechnology company; a mining company; an automotive supplier company; and a drilling company.

The Technology Theft Campaign

Over the course of the Technology Theft Campaign, which began in or about 2006, Zhu, Zhang, and their coconspirators in the APT10 Group successfully obtained unauthorized access to the computers of more than 45 technology companies and U.S. Government agencies based in at least 12 states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.  The APT10 Group stole hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive data and information from the victims’ computer systems, including from at least the following victims: seven companies involved in aviation, space and/or satellite technology; three companies involved in communications technology; three companies involved in manufacturing advanced electronic systems and/or laboratory analytical instruments; a company involved in maritime technology; a company involved in oil and gas drilling, production, and processing; and the NASA Goddard Space Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  In addition to those victims who had information stolen, Zhu, Zhang, and their co-conspirators successfully obtained unauthorized access to computers belonging to more than 25 other technology-related companies involved in, among other things, industrial factory automation, radar technology, oil exploration, information technology services, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and computer processor technology, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Finally, the APT10 Group compromised more than 40 computers in order to steal sensitive data belonging to the Navy, including the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, salary information, personal phone numbers, and email addresses of more than 100,000 Navy personnel.

*                *                *

Zhu and Zhang are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the assigned judge.  The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the FBI, including the New Orleans, New Haven, Houston, New York, Sacramento, and San Antonio Field Offices; DCIS; and the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).  Mr. Rosenstein, Mr. Berman and Mr. Demers praised the outstanding investigative work of, and collaboration among, the FBI, DCIS, and NCIS.  They also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, and the Department of Defense’s Computer Forensic Laboratory for their assistance in the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sagar K. Ravi of the Southern District of New York’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit is in charge of the prosecution, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Matthew Chang of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.