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Sharon Stone Kicked Off Bumble After Guys Report Profile As Fake



Sharon Stone’s basic instinct drove her to Bumble for romance, but the dating app temporarily rejected her.

The actor tweeted Sunday night that Bumble had closed her account after “some users reported that it couldn’t possibly be me!” She also posted the official notice she received.

“Hey @bumble, is being me exclusionary?” she wrote. “Don’t shut me out of the hive.”

Hours later, a Bumble rep informed Stone that her account had been unblocked and promised her it wouldn’t happen again. “Thanks for bearing with us and hope you find your honey,” Bumble editorial director Clare O’Connor quipped.

But in the hours that Stone was excluded from the dating platform, Twitter users had some humorous takes on her Bumble struggle.

Stone, a 61-year-old mother of three, was linked to real estate mogul Angelo Boffa in 2018 but told People in October of that year that she didn’t mind not having a partner. 

“I think somewhere in the back of your mind you think maybe one day you won’t be a single parent,” she said at the time. “Then, eventually you realize, I think it’s better. I’m no longer hoping for someone.”





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Nebraska man on death row for killing 4 – but Texas woman says she’ll marry him: report


A 33-year-old Nebraska man on death row for killing four people within 10 days in 2013 has at least one friend still in his corner: a 46-year-old Texas woman who reportedly has confirmed that she and the killer plan to marry.

But Dawn Arguello of Lubbock isn’t happy that Nikko Jenkins – who authorities say committed the murders within three weeks of being released from prison on a robbery and assault conviction – recently had her name tattooed on his face.

CALIFORNIA SHOOTOUT, STANDOFF WITH COPS RESULTS IN DEATHS OF WOMAN, 2 CHILDREN

“I was very (ticked) off that he did that,” Arguello told the Omaha World-Herald. “He doesn’t need to be self-mutilating like that.”

Arguello added she isn’t happy about the way her husband-to-be has been portrayed in the local press.

“If you believe the media,” she said, “he’s the most hated man in Nebraska besides Charles Starkweather.”

Nikko Jenkins has been linked to four murders committed within 10 days in 2013, authorities say.

Nikko Jenkins has been linked to four murders committed within 10 days in 2013, authorities say.

The reference was to the 1950s serial killer of 11 people whose story inspired several movies, including “Badlands” in 1973 and “Natural Born Killers” in 1994. After his conviction in one of the murders, Starkweather was executed in Nebraska in 1959 at age 20.

Jenkins is not like Starkweather at all, she said.

“He’s not what the media has made him out to be,” she told the World-Herald. “He’s an enigma. He has feelings. He’s very sensitive.

“He’s not what the media has made him out to be. He’s an enigma. He has feelings. He’s very sensitive.”

— Dawn Arguello, fiancee of death-row inmate

“He’s very intelligent,” she added, “and, yes, he’s very manipulating.”

According to authorities, Jenkins received help from family members in executing the four murders to which he’s been linked. They say he convinced his sister and a female cousin to lure two men with a promise of sex acts in an Omaha park, then Jenkins himself appeared and suddenly blasted the two men in their heads with a shotgun.

A few days later, Jenkins, his sister and another man went to a neighborhood in Omaha, supposedly to commit a robbery. Instead, Jenkins killed the man, authorities said.

Then a few days after that, Jenkins pulled a mother of three out of her SUV and killed her, according to authorities.

Jenkins’ death sentence, issued in 2017, was Nebraska’s first since the state’s voters reinstated capital punishment in a November 2016 vote.

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In 2014, however, the Nebraska Legislature ordered a special investigation into Jenkins’ case because some critics noted that, while in prison prior to the murders, Jenkins had spent more than half of his sentence in solitary confinement. The critics claimed the isolation may have had an effect on his mental health, possibly resulting in the killing spree so soon after he was released.

Arguello met Jenkins while doing volunteer work for a nonprofit organization that advocates for death-row inmates and their families. She also has a criminal record of her own, with convictions for misdemeanor domestic violence, felony child abuse and felony credit card abuse, the World-Herald reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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Trump scolds his FBI director after release of DOJ’s Russia probe report


Michael Horowitz, the DOJ inspector general, found that although there were “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the FBI’s requests for court-ordered surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser, the bureau’s decision to launch the probe was adequately predicated and not influenced by political bias.

While Wray acknowledged and pledged to remedy errors in the FBI’s handling of applications for surveillance warrants, he told ABC News in an interview that he did not think law enforcement unfairly targeted the Trump campaign and said it was “important” that Horowitz found the FBI was justified in opening its investigation.

That assessment diverged markedly with Barr’s reading of the IG report. The attorney general asserted in a statement that Horowitz’s review “now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.”

John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut tasked by Barr with overseeing a separate probe into the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign, also cast doubt on Horowitz’s central judgment.

“Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.,” Durham said in a statement. “Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”

The president sought to promote the IG report as a win for the White House, claiming that the 400-page document was “far worse than I would’ve ever thought possible” and detailed an attempted “overthrow” of his administration.

“They got caught red-handed, and I look forward to the Durham report, which is coming out in the not-too-distant future. It’s got its own information, which is this information, plus plus plus,” Trump said.

“And it’s an incredible thing that happened, and we’re lucky we caught them,” he continued. “I think I’m going to put this down as one of our great achievements because what we found and what we saw never, ever should … happen again in our country.”

Trump’s attack on Wray was hardly the first time the president has cast aspersions on senior law enforcement officials. The president has often condemned members of the “deep state” he alleges are embedded within intelligence community, and he repeatedly berated former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from oversight of the Russia probe.

The president appointed Wray to the FBI’s top job in June 2017 after the dramatic ouster of former director James Comey, which Trump later acknowledged in an interview with NBC News was influenced by the bureau’s ongoing Russia investigation.

After the release of Horowitz’s report on the FBI’s handing of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails in June 2018, Trump tweeted: “Comey will now officially go down as the worst leader, by far, in the history of the FBI. I did a great service to the people in firing him. Good Instincts. Christopher Wray will bring it proudly back!”

The president on Tuesday also railed online against Democratic lawmakers’ fast-moving impeachment inquiry, tweeting ahead of a news conference later in the morning by House committee leaders who are expected to reveal articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“To Impeach a President who has proven through results, including producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history, to have one of the most successful presidencies ever, and most importantly, who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness! #2020Election,” Trump wrote.





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Uber sexual assault report prompts concerns over ridesharing in B.C. But are taxis any safer?


In the wake of damning data from Uber that found more than 3,000 sexual assaults were reported inside U.S. rides last year, B.C. is asking how safe ridesharing will be when it eventually arrives on the province’s roads.

But a lack of similar data regarding sexual assaults in taxis across B.C. makes it difficult to draw comparisons.

In its safety report, Uber said 464 people were raped while using its U.S. services in 2017 and 2018. Almost all of them — 99.4 per cent — were riders. It’s difficult to compare those statistics to other modes of transportation because U.S. taxi companies and transit agencies generally do not collect similar national data.


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Uber reports more than 3,000 sexual assaults during U.S. rides in 2018

That appears to be the case in B.C. as well. The RCMP and other police agencies said they didn’t have that data on hand, adding it’s “not something that can be easily teased out.”

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Although Vancouver police said they have received “a number of complaints” over the last two years, a spokesperson said it’s “not an epidemic by any means”, considering the number of rides that take place.

The Passenger Transportation Board, which is tasked with dealing with driver complaints, also said it doesn’t track those specific incidents.






Fraser Valley temple president charged with sexual assault


Fraser Valley temple president charged with sexual assault

Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said the province demands “the highest level” of criminal background checks for taxi drivers, and is assuring the province the same standard will be set for ridesharing drivers.

“We have a very strict policy with taxis where we do follow up if there are assaults,” she said. “We obviously want people to be safe however they’re travelling, whatever form of transportation they’re using.

“There are, sadly, always going to be incidents and I think this is extremely concerning that there are. We do everything we can to make sure that those people who are driving a vehicle to earn an income are assessed, are checked … to ensure people who are driving are as safe as we can attest.”



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Uber weighs next steps after report showed more than 3,000 sex assaults during U.S. rides in 2018

In its report, Uber noted that drivers and riders were both attacked and that some assaults occurred between riders. It added its data was based solely on reports from riders and drivers — meaning the actual numbers could be much higher. Sexual assaults commonly go unreported.

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In B.C., at least two taxi drivers have been charged with sexually assaulting a passenger while on the job this year, including a July case in Kelowna and another in North Vancouver this past March.

Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver, said sexual violence is bound to happen when vulnerable people, particularly women, find themselves in a confined space.






Uber safety report reveals nearly 6K cases of alleged sexual assault


Uber safety report reveals nearly 6K cases of alleged sexual assault

“We know that many women are experiencing sexual violence in taxi cabs, including women that are vulnerable such as Indigenous women, women with disabilities,” she said. “It is a big concern.”

MacDougall also took issue with Uber noting the number of sexual assaults in 2018 pales in comparison to the 1.3 billion rides across the U.S. that year. In her view, just one case is too many.

“We shouldn’t be in a situation where a woman needs a ride to work or home from work, or from a night out, and is at risk of sexual violence,” she said.

“We expect ridesharing companies will take this very seriously and will take action and to prevent it.”


READ MORE:
North Shore Taxi driver charged for allegedly sexually assaulting passenger in cab in West Vancouver

No one from the Vancouver Taxi Association or the city’s taxi companies responded to requests for comment.

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In the past, the association has taken issue with ridesharing drivers not being required to mount cameras inside their vehicles like taxis do. MacDougall said that’s also not the point.

“It maybe provides some deterrent, maybe some evidence, but we also know that cameras can be disabled,” she said.

“The point is, rather, that the company is taking very careful action in their recruitment and monitoring of those in the ridesharing program, and that they take swift and serious action any time there is an allegation or evidence of sexual violence.”

Lyft said last year it would also release a safety report. A company spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that it “remained committed” to releasing a report, but did not say when.

—With files from the Associated Press




© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.







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US mulling 14,000 more troops for Mideast: report


Washington (AFP) – The United States is weighing sending up to 14,000 more troops to the Middle East in the face of a perceived threat from Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The mulled deployment would include “dozens” more ships and double the number of troops added to the US force in the region since the beginning of this year, the Journal said, citing unnamed US officials.

It said President Donald Trump could make a decision on the troop boost as early as this month.

A Pentagon spokesperson declined to comment on the report to AFP.

The move would come after a series of attacks on shipping vessels and a drone and missile attack on Saudi oil installations in September blamed on Iran.

Washington has already ratcheted up its military presence in the Gulf and expanded economic sanctions on the country, elevating tensions across the region.

In mid-November the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln sailed through the Strait of Hormuz in a show of force aimed at reassuring allies worried about the Iran threat.

In October Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced that two fighter squadrons and additional missile defense batteries were being sent to Saudi Arabia, for a total of about 3,000 new troops.

Earlier Wednesday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country is willing to return to the negotiating table over its nuclear program if the United States first drops sanctions, which have hampered the country’s economy and may have contributed to recent domestic turmoil sparked by fuel price hikes.



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Special Report: 2020 U.S. census plagued by hacking threats, cost overruns


(Reuters) – In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau faced a pivotal choice in its plan to digitize the nation’s once-a-decade population count: build a system for collecting and processing data in-house, or buy one from an outside contractor.

FILE PHOTO: An informational pamphlet is displayed at an event for community activists and local government leaders to mark the one-year-out launch of the 2020 Census efforts in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

The bureau chose Pegasystems Inc, reasoning that outsourcing would be cheaper and more effective.

Three years later, the project faces serious reliability and security problems, according to Reuters interviews with six technology professionals currently or formerly involved in the census digitization effort. And its projected cost has doubled to $167 million — about $40 million more than the bureau’s 2016 cost projection for building the site in-house.

The Pega-built website was hacked from IP addresses in Russia during 2018 testing of census systems, according to two security sources with direct knowledge of the incident. One of the sources said an intruder bypassed a “firewall” and accessed parts of the system that should have been restricted to census developers.

“He got into the network,” one of the sources said. “He got into where the public is not supposed to go.”

In a separate incident during the same test, an IP address affiliated with the census site experienced a domain name service attack, causing a sharp increase in traffic, according to one of the two sources and a third source with direct knowledge of the incident.

Neither incident resulted in system damage or stolen data, the sources said. But both raised alarms among census security staff about the ability of the bureau and its outside security contractor, T-Rex Solutions, to defend the system against more sophisticated cyberattacks, according to five sources who worked on census security, as well as internal messages from security officials that were reviewed by Reuters.

Among the messages, posted on an internal security registry seen by Reuters, was a note observing that T-Rex’s staff lacked adequate forensic capability as recently as June of this year. “In the event of a real-world event such as a significant malware infection,” the team would be “severely limited in its capability to definitively tell the story of what occurred,” the message said.

One of the sources with direct knowledge of the hack involving Russian IP addresses described the internal Census Bureau reaction as a “panic.” The incidents prompted multiple meetings to address security concerns, said the two sources and a third census security source.

Census Bureau spokesman Michael Cook declined to comment on the incidents described to Reuters by census security sources. He said no data was stolen during the 2018 system test and that the bureau’s systems worked as designed.

The work of Pega and T-Rex is part of the bureau’s $5 billion push to modernize the census and move it online for the first time. The project involves scores of technology contractors building dozens of systems for collecting, processing and storing data and training census workers for the once-a-decade count. T-Rex’s security work is projected to cost taxpayers up to $1.4 billion, according to the census budget, making it the largest recipient of the more than $3.1 billion that the bureau set aside for contracts.

The problems with Pega and T-Rex reflect the Census Bureau’s broader struggle to execute the digitization project. The effort has been marred by security mishaps, missed deadlines and cost overruns, according to Reuters interviews over the past several months with more than 30 people involved in the effort.

“The IT is really in jeopardy,” said Kane Baccigalupi, a private security consultant who previously worked on the census project for two years as a member of the federal digital services agency 18F, part of the General Services Administration. “They’ve gone with a really expensive solution that isn’t going to work.”

The potential costs of a hacking incident or a system failure go beyond busted budgets or stolen data. A technological breakdown could compromise the accuracy of the census, which has been a linchpin of American democracy since the founding of the republic more than two centuries ago.

The U.S. Constitution requires a decennial census to determine each state’s representation in Congress and to guide the allocation of as much as $1.5 trillion a year in federal funds. Census data is also crucial to a broad array of research conducted by government agencies, academics and businesses, which rely on accurate demographic statistics to craft marketing plans and choose locations for factories or stores.

In a worst-case scenario, according to security experts, poorly secured data could be accessed by hackers looking to manipulate demographic figures for political purposes. For example, they could add or subtract Congressional seats allocated to states by altering their official population statistics.

The Census Bureau says its information-technology overhaul is on-track. Systems supporting initial census operations – such as creating its address database and hiring workers – are “fully integrated with one another, performance-tested, and deployed on schedule and within budget,” bureau spokesman Cook said.

Cook said that the bureau had conducted a “bug bounty,” a bulletproofing practice in which benevolent hackers are invited to search for vulnerabilities. He called the effort successful but declined to provide details for security reasons.

Lisa Pintchman, a spokeswoman for Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Pega, said the company was selected through a “very rigorous process” and stands by its work. T-Rex, headquartered in Maryland, declined to comment.

The escalating costs and reliability concerns for Pega’s front-end website have prompted the bureau to consider reverting to an in-house system, which remains under construction as a backup, according to three technology professionals involved in the census project. Census spokesman Cook confirmed that the in-house system, called Primus, would be available for use if needed next year.

This exclusive account of the Census Bureau’s technology troubles comes after government oversight agencies have chronicled other security problems, delays and cost overruns.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the fiscal watchdog for Congress, has said the 2020 census is at high risk for a breach or system outage that could prevent people from filling out surveys. The GAO has also said the bureau’s information technology systems won’t be fully tested before the census kicks off for almost all Americans on April 1, 2020, and that 15 of the bureau’s systems – including Pega’s data collection mechanism – were at risk of missing development deadlines ahead of the census.

The Inspector General of the Department of Commerce, meanwhile, in October announced plans to audit the bureau’s technology operations, months after identifying mismanagement of its cloud data-storage system that left it vulnerable to hackers.

Cook declined to comment on the audit but said the bureau is poised to “conduct the most automated, modern, and dynamic decennial census in history.”

The effort to move the census online aims to streamline the counting process, improve accuracy, and rein in cost increases as the population rises and survey response rates decline. Adjusting for 2020 dollars, the 1970 census cost $1.1 billion, a figure that rose steadily to $12.3 billion by 2010, the most recent count. The 2020 tally is projected at $15.6 billion, including a $1.5 billion allowance for cost overruns.

The bureau’s technology woes mounted outside the limelight, as Washington focused on the Trump administration’s push to add a question asking census respondents if they were U.S. citizens, part of a larger effort to curb illegal immigration.

The president abandoned that effort in July after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected it, cheering civil rights groups who had worried it would dissuade immigrants from responding and cost their communities political representation and federal dollars. Still, an October 18 study by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that more than one-fifth of Hispanics say they may not participate in next year’s census, compared to 12% of whites.

‘SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE’

The census technology overhaul got off to a late start, in part because Congress gave the bureau less funding than it requested for most of the decade. Pressed for time, bureau leadership at times prioritized speed over security, according to four people familiar with the bureau’s security operations.

New technology systems, they said, were tested in settings that were vulnerable to hackers despite carrying unresolved risks that had been identified by the bureau’s in-house security team. The testing was authorized by bureau leadership and supported by T-Rex, over the objections of the in-house security officials, who wanted the vulnerabilities fixed first, three of the people said. It stoked internal tensions that ultimately led one security boss to quit his post, the people said.

The Census Bureau’s Cook declined to comment on whether the testing was done over the objections of in-house security officials but said that the bureau follows a strict protocol to minimize risk.

The bureau began rolling out its technology plans in 2014, promising a technological tour-de-force with 52 separate systems. Twenty-seven of them will be used for collecting census data, which include building the website where respondents submit forms and the tools used by door-knockers tasked with nudging stragglers.

Most of the Census Bureau’s $5 billion in technology spending has gone to seven main contractors, who together have tapped another 41 companies as subcontractors, according to public presentations by the Census Bureau in 2018.

Within months of the rollout, government advisors from two outside agencies – the U.S. Digital Service and 18F – began warning officials off the sprawling approach, according to Baccigalupi and five other people familiar with the discussions. The outside advisers urged a simpler system, one that would be easier to defend against hacks and glitches.

The Digital Service was created in 2014 by President Barack Obama after the troubled launch of Healthcare.gov, the website meant to allow Americans to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare. Design flaws left the site overwhelmed by higher-than-expected traffic and prevented many users from registering for weeks. Digital Service officials saw the 2020 census as a potential repeat of that fiasco, two of the people said.

The General Service Administration’s 18F unit – named for the address of its Washington, D.C. office – functions like a private-sector consultant and is paid by agencies seeking technology help.

18F declined to comment for this story, and the Digital Service did not respond to requests for comment.

The debate between Census Bureau leadership and its advisors from the Digital Service and 18F focused on two broad approaches to software production: monolithic versus modular.

A monolithic framework – like the one envisioned by Census Bureau officials – bundles different functions into one system. In the case of the census, that could mean a system that allows people to answer the survey on a website, translates incoming responses into data and stores it. Monolithic systems can be easier to build, but critics say they become hopelessly complex when something goes wrong. A problem with one function can shutdown the whole process.

“It’s a single point of failure,” Baccigalupi said.

In a modular system, by contrast, engineers build different pieces of software for each function, then write code to allow them to interact. While it’s more challenging to move data through different components, the risk of a system collapse is much smaller. If one function breaks, others can still work while it’s repaired.

Census officials brought in 18F and Digital Service consultants on long-term secondments to help with aspects of the project but largely ignored their recommendations to take a more modular approach, said 18F’s Baccigalupi and Marianne Bellotti, a former agent at the Digital Service who consulted on the project in 2017.

“I told them pretty consistently in 2017: If you suffer a denial-of-service attack, I’m not sure your architecture can withstand it,” Bellotti said.

In a denial-of-service attack, a hacker tries to prevent legitimate users from accessing a program, often by overwhelming it with more connection requests than it can process. Any extended outages during the census would reduce response rates, compromising the accuracy of the data and making it more expensive to collect.

Cook, the Census spokesman, did not comment on why the bureau chose a more monolithic approach but said the consultants recommending against that path did not fully understand its systems.

“18F and USDS looked at portions of our systems and provided recommendations, but neither group had an overall understanding of how those systems integrated or their capabilities,” Cook said.

RISING COSTS

Bellotti and Baccigalupi say they told the bureau repeatedly in 2016 and 2017 that Pega’s technology wasn’t well-suited to its central tasks – building the self-response website and the mobile applications to be used by census door-knockers. Pega’s code, they argued, would require so much customization that the final product would be slow and prone to glitches.

“If you want to build the fastest car in the world, you build that car from scratch,” Baccigalupi said. “You don’t try to customize a tour bus until it’s the fastest car in the world.”

The Census Bureau’s outside advisers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute shared the concern and told the bureau in a 2016 memo, which was reviewed by Reuters, that commercial products such as Pega’s “are not designed to meet an organization’s specifications.”

Neither the bureau nor Pega commented on the assertion that the need for customization made the system expensive and unreliable.

Before hiring Pega, the bureau already had a workable system for data collection, built by in-house staff, Baccigalupi said. Starting in 2014, small teams had fashioned prototypes for online responses and mobile apps that seemed to work. The online response prototype, known as Primus, had been built at little cost beyond the salaries of the half-dozen or so coders.

The in-house systems were tested, and Primus was used in a real-world setting during smaller surveys conducted by the bureau. All performed well, John Thompson, who served as Census Bureau director from 2013 to 2017, said in an interview.

In a 2016 public report explaining its choice to go with an outside contractor, the bureau called Pega’s product a “commercial off-the-shelf solution” that could work with minimal alterations. Pega would do what Primus and the in-house mobile apps could do, but cheaper, with an estimated price tag of $84.5 million, compared to the $127 million forecast for building in-house. Pega would also supply other key functions, such as transferring user responses to data storage.

The reality was messier. Pega’s off-the-shelf solution has required so much modification that it has become “unrecognizable,” said one former Census Bureau official involved in the contracting process. In January 2018, the bureau nearly doubled Pega’s cost estimate to $167.3 million. It has spent about $149 million so far.

Contract documents reviewed by Reuters showed about $121 million of Pega’s contract has gone toward “contracting services,” a category that two former bureau contracting officials said typically refers to the labor required to write and customize code. The figure is more than 13 times Pega’s initial estimate for contracting services.

The bureau did not comment on the escalating costs. Pintchman, the Pega spokeswoman, said the work is “on budget” and that “any changes in estimates would be a result of changes in project scope as well as the Census Bureau identifying additional opportunities for us to add value.”

Thompson, who ran the bureau at the time it decided on Pega, described the decision as a “tough call.” While Thompson and his team viewed Primus as capable of scaling up for the 2020 Census, he said the prospects for scaling up the in-house prototypes for census-worker mobile apps were less certain.

As Pega’s problems have become more clear, Census officials have considered reverting to Primus, the in-house system, for data collection, said three sources familiar with the bureau’s thinking. As recently as this summer, they were instructing employees “to build Primus out, in case it was needed,” said one of those people.

SECURITY INCIDENTS

The only full-scale test of the system took place in Providence, Rhode Island, last year. The bureau conducted a kind of dress rehearsal – essentially a mini-census, with respondent data collected and stored online.

That’s when the system was accessed from IP addresses in Russia, the two census security sources said. Other hackers launched a domain name system attack on the website, which one source described as similar to a denial-of-service attack.

The domain name system attack was not as worrisome as what it revealed about the abilities of T-Rex to respond to such a threat, according to five people involved in census security.

T-Rex staffers “didn’t know how to access the cybersecurity defense tools that were in place, and they didn’t know what to look for,” said a person familiar with the operation. This source added that the bureau had purchased a license to use forensic-analysis software, called EnCase, to investigate hacks more than a year earlier, but T-Rex had yet to fully integrate EnCase into the security system when the security incidents occurred.

T-Rex’s security work had encountered trouble early on. The GAO reported that, by June of 2018, Census’ Office of Information Security (OIS) had flagged more than 3,000 security compliance deficiencies, 2,700 of which were related to components being developed by T-Rex.

OIS voiced concern over the flags and recommended addressing the bulk of them before testing, according to two security officials familiar with the matter. But bureau leadership authorized live-testing of the systems anyway to keep the project on schedule, the people said. The bureau’s Office of Information Security chief, Jeff Jackson, quit his post in October out of frustration over his office’s lack of influence on the project, two sources familiar with the matter said. Jackson did not respond to requests for comment.

A June report by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Inspector General called attention to other snafus. It revealed that, for a prolonged stretch in 2018, the bureau lost the codes needed to gain unrestricted access to its Amazon-based cloud data-storage system. Without the codes, the IG reported, the bureau could not have stopped a hacker from accessing or destroying data stored in the cloud.

Slideshow (4 Images)

The IG, in an October 17 letter to Census Director Steven Dillingham, said it would “immediately” begin auditing the bureau’s technology to “determine the effectiveness of security measures.”

Baccigalupi, the former 18F consultant, called the project’s problems to date “infuriating” given the high cost to taxpayers, and said the bureau’s internal staff could have built the systems better and cheaper.

“Those teams are eager to do it,” Baccigalupi said, “and demoralized to see bad and expensive software going out instead.”

Reporting by Nick Brown; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Brian Thevenot

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Trump abused power of presidency, Dems conclude in impeachment report


“[T]he president placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security,” the report concludes.

The Intelligence Committee is expected to approve the report along party lines Tuesday evening, ahead of the first impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said his report uncovered “overwhelming” evidence that should be presented to the Judiciary Committee immediately for consideration.

And while there remains substantial investigative work which may point to a broader and longer-running pressure campaign than previously understood, Schiff said his panel had gathered enough evidence to present a persuasive case, and that it would be a mistake to wait for “every last fact.”

“I think what we have produced in remarkably short order is so overwhelming that it ought to be presented to the Judiciary Committee now,” Schiff said, leaving open the possibility of filing supplemental reports if more information emerges.

The report does not specifically recommend articles of impeachment against the president. But it provides the Judiciary Committee with a roadmap as it prepares to consider the evidence and draft articles in the coming weeks — and it outlines a historical precedent for the impeachment process.

Democrats are expected to draft at least two articles of impeachment: one on abuse of power and another on obstruction of Congress.

The report describes a tangled web of contacts among an array of Trump associates and allies as the Ukraine effort took shape earlier this year — including previously undisclosed communications between these individuals and John Solomon, a former columnist for The Hill newspaper whose writings have animated GOP defenses of the president.

The report also includes new details, including phone logs and records describing a more extensive set of contacts than previously known between Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — whom Trump deputized to lean on top Ukrainian officials — and the top Intelligence Committee Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

The call logs, which the committee obtained from telecommunications company AT&T, also show contacts between Giuliani and Kash Patel, a former Nunes aide who joined the National Security Council in February, in addition to other communications between an indicted Giuliani associate — Lev Parnas — and an Intelligence Committee GOP aide. Nunes and Parnas also exchanged several phone calls earlier this year, the logs showed.

Schiff declined to comment on Nunes’ inclusion in the report, but said: “It is deeply concerning that at a time when the president of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence that there were members of Congress complicit in that activity.”

Democrats have argued that Trump abused his power in his dealings with Ukraine and then obstructed Congress’ efforts to uncover the alleged abuse. But their report also alleges “witness intimidation” against a handful of the top witnesses that were called to testify, adding a new potential charge as they consider which “high crimes and misdemeanors” to formally allege against the president.

“President Trump issued threats, openly discussed possible retaliation, made insinuations about witnesses’ character and patriotism, and subjected them to mockery and derision,” Democrats found, suggesting it could discourage witnesses from coming forward in the future.

The report details the extent to which Trump sought to limit his administration’s cooperation with the impeachment inquiry — including his efforts to prevent senior officials from testifying before investigators and the executive branch’s refusal to turn over documents that were subpoenaed or otherwise requested.



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A New UN Report Is Forecasting Potentially Catastrophic Warming


The world is on track to warm by a potentially catastrophic 3.4 to 3.9 degrees Celsius by 2100, according to a dire new United Nations report analyzing current climate policies.

The UN “Emissions Gap Report 2019,” published on Tuesday, highlighted the urgent need for aggressive policies to curb emissions.

“We have to learn from our procrastination. Any further delay brings the need for larger, more expensive and unlikely cuts,” Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, wrote in the report’s foreword. “We cannot afford to fail.”

The amount of greenhouse gas emissions is continuing to build up in the atmosphere year after year, hitting a record high of 55.3 gigatons of climate pollution (measured in “carbon dioxide equivalent”) in 2018. The only way to prevent the most catastrophic climate impacts is to quickly reverse this trend, a challenge that only gets harder the longer countries wait to take action.

The Paris climate agreement, signed by hundreds of countries in 2015, aimed to limit future warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius below pre-industrial levels. Since then, the stakes have only risen. Scientists have learned the climate is changing faster than previously thought, and that even a slight increase in global temperatures could result in massive coral reef die-offs. An increase in extreme weather events is already hurting the economy.

The annual UN report, which measures how far off-track the world is from meeting its climate goals, concluded that global greenhouse gas emissions must drop 7.5% each year over the next decade to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7% each year to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

If the world had taken stronger climate action in 2010, by contrast, countries would have only had to cut emissions 0.7% a year to meet the 2-degree target and 3.3% to hit the 1.5-degree goal.

The Group of 20 (G20) countries account for most — about 78% — of the world’s emissions. While in 2009 the group pledged that it would phase out fossil fuel subsidies, no country has so far committed to doing so by a specific year.

And several of these countries are not on track to meet their individual climate pledges to date, including the United States and Canada. President Donald Trump vowed in 2017 to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement, and his administration has aggressively rolled back many climate rules and initiatives in recent years.

Meanwhile, only five G20 participants, including the European Union, have committed to eventually achieving net-zero emissions, meaning that they would release the same amount of emissions as they can pull out of the atmosphere through natural or man-made processes.

Even if every country across the globe was on track to meet their stated climate targets, the world would still be headed to warming of more than 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, the report found.

The new report also outlined steps for how specific G20 countries can boost their climate action going forward. The United States could implement carbon pricing to achieve a carbon-free electricity supply and to reduce industrial emissions, as well as implement new clean building and vehicle standards. Japan, India, and China could all aim to be coal-free. The European Union could stop investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas pipelines.

“This report gives us a stark choice: set in motion the radical transformations we need now, or face the consequences of a planet radically altered by climate change,” UN’s Andersen wrote.

World leaders will gather in Madrid next week at COP25, the UN’s convention on climate change, to hammer out the final details of implementing the Paris climate agreement and discuss how countries can do more to address the crisis.



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Report Will Likely Accuse President Of Seeking Foreign Election Help, Nadler Writes Trump



House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) sent a rattling letter to Donald Trump on Friday informing him of the likely conclusions of the impeachment inquiry by the Intelligence Committee, including obstruction of justice and soliciting foreign interference in an American election.

He also gave Trump a deadline of next Friday to inform the committee if he plans to present a defense in the next round of impeachment hearings.

An upcoming report on the hearings from the Intelligence Committee will detail an “effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest,” Nadler wrote in the letter. The “again” likely refers to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and may be an indication that the investigation will try to link that to Trump or his campaign.

The report will also allege an “unprecedented campaign of obstruction in an effort to prevent the committees from obtaining evidence and testimony,” Nadler informed Trump.

Nadler noted that his own committee has “also been engaged in an investigation concerning allegation that you may have engaged in acts of obstruction of justice, as detailed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s” report.

Nadler asked Trump in the letter if his counsel “intends to participate in the upcoming impeachment proceedings.”

The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin its first public hearings in the impeachment investigation on Wednesday. Nadler set a 5 p.m. deadline on Dec. 6 for the president to say if he or his counsel will participate.

The White House could not immediately be reached for comment.





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The Cipher Brief’s OSINT Trend Line Report


This unique national-security focused expert insight can’t be generated for free.  We invite you to support this kind of quality content by becoming a  Cipher Brief Level I Member .  Joining this high-level, security-focused community is only $10/month (for an annual $120/yr membership). It’s a great and inexpensive way to stay ahead of the national and global security issues that impact you the most.

 

 





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