Posts Tagged ‘Homeland Security’

U.S. Homeland Security to compile database of journalists, bloggers and ‘media influencers’

April 8, 2018

DHS looking to create a searchable database of hundreds of thousands of news sources, journalists, bloggers and “media influencers” for the federal government

Japan Times

BY JESSE JOHNSON

STAFF WRITER

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is looking to create a searchable database of hundreds of thousands of news sources, journalists, bloggers and “media influencers” for the federal government, a move a DHS spokesman called “standard practice.”

In a job request posted last week to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the main contracting website used by the federal government, DHS wrote that it is seeking a contractor that is able to monitor up to 290,000 global news sources, track media coverage in up to 100 languages and can “track online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications, local sources, national/international outlets, traditional news sources, and social media.”

Image result for department of homeland security, photos

The request also seeks the ability to build lists of journalists “based on beat, location, outlet type/size, and journalist role.”

Data to be collected would also include an analysis of each news source’s “sentiment,” as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum and circulation.

The database of “top media influencers” would include “present contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer.”

After the job posting sparked an outcry on social media, DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton tweeted Friday that “despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice.”

“Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists,” he wrote.

The posting comes amid growing concerns about accuracy in media and the potential for foreign powers to influence U.S. elections and policy through so-called fake news. It also comes amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s frequently criticisms of the mainstream media as “fake news.”

Trump was lambasted in the latest report by watchdog organization Freedom House, which said that global media freedom reached its lowest level in 13 years in 2017.

“It is the far-reaching attacks on the news media and their place in a democratic society by Donald Trump, first as a candidate and now as president of the United States, that fuel predictions of further setbacks in the years to come,” the report said.

Despite these concerns, some said there is little to worry about with the DHS tender.

John Kirby, a former State Department spokesman who currently works as a CNN military and diplomatic analyst, told the network Friday that DHS is unlikely to be the only federal agency monitoring the media.

“Given this administration’s denigration of most media outlets, I understand why the timing of this bid might look suspicious,” Kirby said. “But from what I can tell, this is nothing more than an attempt at media analysis.

“It’s not at all different from what I have seen other agencies undertake to better understand the communication landscape. In fact, it would be PR malpractice not to put something like this together.”

Susan Hennessy, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, also attempted to tamp down concerns, calling such a database “normal and common.”

“I really honestly think this kind of media tracking is a normal and common thing that both private companies and federal agencies do, and it doesn’t alarm me. Sincerely,” Hennessy wrote Friday on Twitter.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/04/07/world/u-s-homeland-security-compile-database-journalists-bloggers-media-influencers/#.WsnDcYjwaUk

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Facebook Data Scandal Raises Another Question: Can There Be Too Much Privacy?

April 1, 2018

Are encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and Signal safeguarding your data, or a threat to society?

Image result for Telegram, encrypted messaging apps, photos

WASHINGTON—The firestorm over Facebook Inc.’s handling of personal data raises a question for those pondering a regulatory response: Is there such a thing as too much privacy?

Recent scrutiny of data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica has shown how questionable actors can abuse the power of networks that play an increasingly large role in society. Facebook claims Cambridge Analytica violated its policies, a charge the firm denies. The firm, which counts Donald Trump’s presidential campaign among its clients, crunched the data of 50 million Facebook profiles claiming it could predict individual personality traits and make ads more effective.

Legislators, the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies now are considering rules to protect the privacy of users of social networks like Facebook. While those efforts remain in the early stages, even tech companies say privately they expect some regulation to happen down the road.

Yet some law-enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and national-security advocates point to a tradeoff, noting that too much privacy can be as bad as too little. Bad actors take advantage of both extremes, abusing access to individuals on networks that are too open or freely conspiring on systems that are too closed.

Law-enforcement agencies rely on access to user data as an important tool for tracking criminals or preventing terrorist attacks. As such, they have long argued additional regulation may be harmful to national security.

Telegram is an example of a service offering users complete security. Encrypted from end to end, domiciled in a country out of reach of subpoenas—and very easy to use—the app is among the top choices of people worried about snooping governments and malicious third parties. Telegram’s reputation has been a double-edged sword.

Clinton Watts, a senior fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, said such apps are a big concern for law enforcement. “This is perfect for terrorist groups that want to network, propagate their message and recruit new members,” he said.

Telegram is popular in countries like Iran, where it was instrumental in helping the population organize the wave of antigovernment protests that swept across the country in early January. But it also has become known as the app of choice for Islamic State and other extremist groups, after U.S.-based tech companies like Twitter Inc. began cooperating with government agencies, removing accounts and content that promoted violence.

Governments have little recourse. Iran blocked Telegram during government protests earlier this year, and Russia is threatening to block it unless it turns over user data.

Mr. Watts, who previously worked as an FBI special agent on a counterterrorism task force, said law-enforcement agencies need to invest a lot more in human intelligence and undercover investigators to penetrate secure online spaces.

Some U.S. firms are already adapting to fears of new regulation and offering even greater security than Telegram. Signal, in San Francisco, is emerging as one of the more successful examples. It says it deletes all user information once it is no longer necessary for communication, making it impossible to comply with demands for users’ personal data.

That would make Signal more secure than, for example, WhatsApp, the popular encrypted messaging service, which Facebook bought in 2014 and that stores information such as with whom users are communicating and when.

“When we receive a subpoena for user data,” Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike posted on the company’s website, we “have nothing to send back but a blank sheet of paper.”

Observers warn the #deletefacebook movement will drive more users to these secure systems.

Telegram’s founder, the Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, said the firm recorded 200 million active users in March, a 70% increase on the year. “We don’t do deals with marketers, data miners or government agencies,” he wrote in the post on Wednesday. “For us Telegram is an Idea: it is the idea that everyone on this planet has a right to be free.”

Mr. Durov has relocated the company several times since leaving Russia, where it faces a court order to turn over encryption keys to the intelligence services. It is now based in the United Arab Emirates.

Telegram’s terms are simple: No calls to violence, porn or copyright infringement on public channels. The app can’t take action on private channels because all private content is encrypted and largely inaccessible even to the company. The Telegram press team didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment, but the company says it closes hundreds of public channels every day that promote violence or extremist content.

Opportunities for terrorists to exploit secure networks to boost recruitment and spread propaganda were evident in the aftermath of the Friday’s attack in France, when 25-year-old Radouane Lakdim shot at police and took hostages at a small-town supermarket.

Islamic State supporters immediately rallied on Telegram channels, using the incident to call on others to take action and launch a public campaign on Twitter, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist activity online.

Now that U.S. firms are cooperating to an extent with government authorities, apps like Telegram fill an important gap in the market by providing a platform for terrorists to radicalize and spur members to action, said Jesse Morton, a former al Qaeda recruiter who works as a coordinator at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue‘s Against Violent Extremism network.

“People that are more committed and pose a greater risk are still able to view generalized propaganda,” Mr. Morton said. “It’s a grooming process.”

Write to Jessica Donati at Jessica.Donati@wsj.com.

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-data-scandal-raises-another-question-can-there-be-too-much-privacy-1522584000

Atlanta’s Cyber Attack Shows the New Security Risks the U.S. Needs to Address—and Fast

March 29, 2018

Commentary
Fortune

By PETER J. BESHAR

March 28, 2018
Image result for atlanta, photos

Last week’s ransomware attack on the city of Atlanta’s computer networks offers a chilling reminder that the public sector is directly in the line of fire in the war against cyber terror. With cities and states across the country increasingly relying on artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver vital services, the risks for residents and businesses are growing exponentially.

Public officials are trying to balance the need to secure infrastructure assets with the need for open government practices. Last August, for instance, in the name of transparency and accountability, a New York City Councilman named James Vacca proposed that the city of New York publicly disclose the source code of all algorithms relied upon in delivering municipal services. These “algos” range from how teachers are evaluated, to when garbage gets collected, to which precincts get the most police officers. The proposal was the first of its kind in any U.S. city—and some privacy advocates assert that it should serve as a model for the rest of the country.

The debate over the management and disclosure of this source code is critical, because governments are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze data and make key decisions. And while these advances offer the promise of better service at a reduced cost to taxpayers, this growing reliance on AI and ML comes with two distinct and potentially conflicting risks.

The first risk is that governments that become overly reliant on AI introduce the potential for bias, particularly racial bias in the criminal justice system. In 2016, a ProPublica investigation found significant racial disparities in criminal justice “risk assessments” produced by algorithms that seek to predict future criminal behavior.

In one notable example, the software wrongly considered a black woman who took a bike from a neighbor’s yard (given a risk score of 8) to be more likely to commit a future crime than a white man arrested for shoplifting who had a lengthy criminal record (he scored a 3). The ProPublica analysis of 7,000 individuals arrested in Broward Country, Florida revealed that this risk assessment tool wrongly identified African-American defendants as potential recidivists at improperly high rates. The software made the inverse mistake of underestimating recidivism rates for whites.

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More than 45 states now rely on algorithmic tools to set bond amounts, make parole decisions, or even influence jail sentences. These kinds of automated risk formulas—which have implications for civil liberties and racial inequality—require broad transparency and close scrutiny.

Councilman Vacca’s legislation was aimed squarely at this troubling potential for bias. The challenge, though, is that erring too far on the side of transparency increases the second risk, which is the threat of widespread physical cyberattacks.

When we think about cybersecurity risk, we typically envision attacks on email, networks, websites, and other digital assets. Increasingly, however, we can expect these attacks to target physical assets, and the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning may provide new and potent vectors for widespread attacks.

Automated systems are rapidly evolving from offering assessments and evaluations to actually delivering implementation. That’s the difference between Waze offering individual drivers the best driving routes and a centralized computer system giving a fleet of autonomous vehicles, or drones, direct instructions.

As cities automate water supply, electricity, mass transit, and hospital services, the cyber threat to these physical assets will rise. We’re already seeing evidence of this. Just before the Atlanta cyberattack, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint bulletin indicating that Russian hackers successfully penetrated control systems at energy, nuclear, water, aviation, and manufacturing sites.

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Herein lies the dilemma with the Vacca bill and similar efforts that have a well-intentioned goal of maximizing transparency to minimize the threat of bias: The more source code governments disclose, the more tools cyber criminals will have at their disposal. Last month, experts from 14 organizations, including OpenAI, Oxford University, and the Center for a New American Security, catalogued the digital, physical, and political risks of AI in a sweeping report. Its core thesis was the “dual-use nature” of AI—the potential for both good—in the form of accelerated scientific discovery and enhanced productivity—and harm from cyberattacks and political disruption.

When weighing the benefits and risks of the Vacca bill, the New York City Council sensibly decided to devote more time to understanding what the city should disclose and how. This is far preferable to diving headfirst into legislating without fully understanding the risks involved. This due diligence—in New York and around the country—must happen quickly.

With his landmark legislation, Councilman Vacca sparked a crucial debate about balancing transparency and security in the new world of artificial intelligence. Citizens deserve to know how their government allocates resources and makes decisions. Yet, governments have an obligation to do all that they can to keep us safe, particularly at a time where cyber hackers too often appear to be one step ahead of the rest of us.

Peter J. Beshar is executive vice president and general counsel of Marsh & McLennanCompanies.

http://fortune.com/2018/03/28/city-of-atlanta-cyber-attack-cybersecurity-risks/

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Cyberattack hits Atlanta computers — ‘Everyone who has done business’ with city may be at risk

In a story first reported by 11Alive, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says, ‘We don’t know the extent of the attack.”

ATLANTA – In a story first reported by 11Alive, city of Atlanta computers have been cyber attacked by ransomware that has encrypted some personal and financial data.

“We don’t know the extent of the attack,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in a Thursday afternoon press conference.

New Atlanta COO Richard Cox said public safety, water and airport operations departments have not been affected.

READ | What to know about the City of Atlanta cyberattack

Officials also said Thursday afternoon they are working with the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cisco cybersecurity officials and Microsoft to determine what information has been accessed and how to resolve the situation.

Bottoms said everyone who has done business with the city is potentially at risk, and advised businesses and consumers to check their bank accounts.

“City payroll has not been affected,” Cox said, “and we have not determined that City Hall will need to be closed on Friday.”

READ | What to do after a data breach or cyberattack

Multiple sources confirmed to 11Alive earlier on Thursday that various city systems have been impacted by the ransomware attack.

According to a statement from the city, its computers are “currently experiencing outages on various internal and customer facing applications, including some applications that customers use to pay bills or access court-related information.

“At this time, our Atlanta Information Management team is working diligently with support from Microsoft to resolve the issue. We are confident that our team of technology professionals will be able to restore applications soon. Our city website, Atlantaga.gov, remains accessible and we will provide updates as we receive them.”

City of Atlanta, GA

@Cityofatlanta

The City of Atlanta is currently experiencing outages on various customer facing applications, including some that customers may use to pay bills or access court-related information. We will post any updates as we receive them.

According to the FBI, the bureau is aware of the situation and is “coordinating with the city of Atlanta to determine what happened.”

A screenshot sent to 11Alive from a city employee and analyzed by technical expert and Kennesaw State University professor Andrew Green, shows a bitcoin demand of $6,800 per unit, or $51,000 to unlock the entire system.

Emails have been sent to city employees in multiple departments telling them to unplug their computers if they notice suspicious activity. Professor Green said that directive and the note itself is indicative of a serious ransomware attack.

One expert said based on the language used in the message, the attack resembles the “MSIL” or “Samas” (SAMSAM) ransomware strain that has been around since at least 2016.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the SAMSAM strain was used to compromise the networks of multiple U.S. victims, including 2016 attacks on healthcare facilities that were running outdated versions of the JBoss content management application.

SAMSAM exploits vulnerable Java-based Web servers, using open-source tools to identify and compile a list of hosts reporting to the victim’s active directory. The actors then use psexec.exe to distribute the malware to each host on the network and encrypt most of the files on the system. The actors charge varying amounts in Bitcoin to provide the decryption keys to the victim.

Typically, if the ransomware virus is not intercepted before it takes control of systems, the user cannot gain access. The hackers demand money in exchange for a decryption key. Tech experts tell us even if that ransom is paid, the key often doesn’t work. Sometimes, the only way to regain access is to rebuild the entire system.

MARTA experienced a technical outage this morning that prevented their breeze cards from working. But, a spokesperson tells 11Alive their computer problems were unrelated and were due to a connectivity issue.

MARTA

@MARTASERVICE

MARTA is currently experiencing a technical outage impacting MARTA Bid, Breeze Card, Reduced Fare and the MARTA On-the-Go sites. This issue is currently being troubleshot by MARTA IT. We do apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Ransomware attacks on cities and companies are becoming more common and damaging.

PREVIOUS | Secret Service investigating hack of Atlanta Public Schools’ employee paychecks

Earlier this year, AL.com reports the city of Leeds, Alabama paid $12,000 in bitcoin, a crypto currency, after their computer systems were taken over. The paper reports that the city was locked out of their systems and were given instructions on sending $12,000 worth of bitcoin to remove the lock.

http://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/cyberattack-hits-atlanta-computers-everyone-who-has-done-business-with-city-may-be-at-risk/85-530947288

DHS bulletin: US faces ‘one of the most challenging’ terror threat levels since 9/11

November 10, 2017

Bby Anna Giaritelli | 

The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday released a new bulletin that said the U.S. is facing a significant, ongoing terror threat.”We continue to face one of the most challenging threat environments since 9/11, as foreign terrorist organizations exploit the Internet to inspire, enable, or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist attacks,” the bulletin said.

DHS has issued five iterations of the terror threat bulletin since December 2015.

Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke said she directed the organization to make an update to extend this new bulletin for six months.

“Our enemies remain focused on attacking the United States, and they are constantly adapting. DHS and its partners are stepping up efforts to keep terrorists out of America and to prevent terrorist recruitment and radicalization here at home, and we urge the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity,” Duke said in a statement.

Five Men From Argentina; Friends Killed in New York Terror Attack

November 1, 2017

Police have arrested a man who allegedly drove a pickup truck along a busy bicycle lane, killing eight people. The terror strike has claimed the lives of five Argentinean tourists and injured at least one German citizen.

Eight people died and 11 others were seriously injured on Tuesday after a man driving a pickup truck plowed through people along a busy bicycle lane in New York City before hitting a school bus, officials said.

The incident occured in lower Manhattan shortly after 3 p.m. local time (1900 UTC) near West Side Highway and Chambers Street. The driver, a 29-year-old man, was shot and then taken into custody by police. Police opened fire after he exited the rental truck armed with a paintball gun and a pellet gun. He is expected to survive.

US media identified the driver as Sayfullo Saipov, saying he was an Uzbek national who arrived in the US in 2010. The police said that there were no “outstanding” suspects. Notorious tabloid New York Post said he was an Uber driver, which was later confirmed by the ride hailing company itself.

The truck drove south on the path striking multiple people. 8 people were killed, 11 have serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Read more:

– Facebook, Google, Twitter agree on plan to counter Islamist terror

– Boston man convicted of plotting to behead blogger for ‘Islamic State’

– EU introduces new measures to combat ‘low-tech’ terrorism

Who were the victims?

Five of the victims killed in the attack came from Argentina, the country’s foreign ministry confirmed. They were part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation.

The Belgian foreign minister said a Belgian national was also killed in the attack. At least one German woman was reported injured. Two adults and two children traveling in the school bus at the time of the crash were also among the injured.

Act of terror

Multiple bikes are crushed along a bike path in lower Manhattan in New York, (Reuters/B. McDermid)Witnesses described a scene of panic with people screaming in fear and the path strewn with bodies

US President Donald Trump condemned the attack and ordered newly tightened security checks on immigrants be strengthened even further. He indicated the incident was a terror attack linked to “Islamic State.”

“We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!” the president wrote on Twitter.

“I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!

Read more: US restarts stricter refugee program, 11 countries still banned

Trump also released a statement expressing thanks to the first responders “who stopped the suspect and rendered immediate aid to the victims of this cowardly attack. These brave men and women embody the true American spirit of resilience and courage.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident “an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”

Anonymously quoted police officials told the Associated Press the suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar” after exiting the vehicle.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill told journalists that the method of attack and the suspect’s statement enabled officials “to label this a terrorist event.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called it a “lone wolf” attack, saying there was no evidence of a wider plot.

A spokesperson for the US Department of Homeland Security said it was an “apparent act of terrorism.”

aw, amp/rt (Reuters, AP, dpa)

Related:

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Ariel Erlij, third from left, poses with friends taking part in a high school reunion. Five members of the group, including Erlij, were killed when a terrorist rammed a truck into pedestrians in New York, October 31, 2017. (Facebook)

Among the victims of Tuesday’s terror attack on a bike path near the World Trade Center in New York were five Argentinian men, one of whom was a Jewish businessman, Ariel Erlij.

They were part of a group of eight friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation with a trip to New York City.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-man-among-5-argentinians-killed-in-new-york-attack/

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Five Argentinian men celebrating school reunion among eight killed

Five friends from Argentina were on holiday celebrating their 30th school reunion when they were killed in a terror attack in New York City.

Key points:

  • Five people killed in New York City attack were celebrating school graduation anniversary
  • US media names Sayfullo Saipov as suspected attacker
  • Eight people were killed and 11 injured when a rented ute was driven into cyclists and pedestrians

Eight were killed and 11 injured after a rented ute was driven into cyclists and pedestrians on a bike path near the World Trade Centre memorial.

The suspect, who has been identified in US media reports as Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, was shot by police and taken to a local hospital but his condition was not immediately released.

According to Argentina’s Foreign Ministry, the five men were visiting New York as part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their school graduation.

A sixth member of the group was among those hospitalised after the attack.

The incident marked the greatest loss of life from a suspected terrorist attack in New York since suicide hijackers crashed jetliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, killing more than 2,600 people.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-01/five-argentinian-men-killed-in-new-york-attack/9108542

VIDEO: Map shows where the Manhattan ute attack unfolded (ABC News)

The five Argentine citizens killed in the attack were identified by their home government as Hernan Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernan Ferruchi, all from the city of Rosario.

According to Argentine newspaper La Nacion, the men were aged in their late 40s.

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VIDEO: Aerial vision shows the aftermath of the terror attack in Manhattan (Image: Reuters/Andrew Kelly) (ABC News)

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said the five victims travelled to New York to celebrate graduating from Polytechnic College of Rosario 30 years ago.

The ministry said it stood, “with the families in this terrible moment of deep pain, which is shared by all Argentines”.

Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said he was shocked by the events in New York.

La Nacion reported the friends had taken pictures at the airport before embarking on their trip.

Mr Erlij organised the trip but did not catch the same flight as his friends because of a setback.

He got on a plane the day after instead and met his friends in New York.

Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Didier Reynders, also confirmed in a tweet one of the dead was Belgian.

Attacker shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’

Witnesses said the attacker caused bloody scenes, with bodies and mangled bikes strewn along the path.

After hitting the pedestrians, the ute collided with a school bus and injured two adults and two children.

The driver then got out of the ute and appeared to be holding two weapons, but officials said they were paintball and pellet guns.

He yelled “Allahu Akbar!”, which is Arabic for “God is great”.

The driver was shot in the abdomen and taken into police custody.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, described it as a “lone wolf” attack and said there was no evidence to suggest it was part of a wider plot.

US President Donald Trump tweeted it “looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person”, before adding “we must not allow ISIS [the Islamic State group] to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere”.

No terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility for the bloodshed.

Ride-sharing company Uber confirmed Mr Saipov was a driver and had passed a background check.

Uber is “aggressively and quickly” reviewing his history with the company and will pass on information to investigators.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-01/five-argentinian-men-killed-in-new-york-attack/9108542

VIDEO: Emergency crews respond after NYC truck incident (Photo: AP) (ABC News)

ABC/wires

Trump stepping up ‘extreme vetting’ of US entrants after New York City attack

November 1, 2017

AFP

© JIM WATSON / AFP | A Transportion Security Administration officer checks IDs at a security check point in Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, April 8, 2010.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-11-01

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had ordered more robust “extreme vetting” of travelers coming into the United States following the first deadly attack in New York blamed on terror since the September 11, 2001 strikes.

“I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!” Trump tweeted.

Last week, global airlines began implementing security interviews for US-bound travelers before checking in for flights.

The president’s attempts at banning travelers from several mainly Muslim nations have been met with successive legal challenges.

His administration has announced that it would resume accepting refugees after a 120-day ban, though arrivals from 11 “high-risk” countries, most of them home to Muslim majorities, will still be blocked.

Eight Killed in Terror Attack in New York

November 1, 2017

Police say at least a dozen were injured Tuesday afternoon when a driver mowed down pedestrians and bikers

 

Witness Video Shows Alleged Attacker in Downtown New York
Cellphone video shows the alleged driver of a truck that struck pedestrians in lower Manhattan, shortly before he was shot by police. Video/Photo: Tawhid Kabir
.

Eight people were killed and at least a dozen injured on Tuesday when a truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a lower Manhattan bike path in what officials said was a “cowardly act of terror,” the deadliest attack in New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.

The driver shouted “God is great” in Arabic when he got out of his truck and was confronted by police, a law-enforcement official said.

He was identified by officials as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old from Tampa, Fla., who came to the U.S. in 2010 and is originally from Uzbekistan. He is in custody at a local hospital after he was shot in the abdomen by an officer, police said.

A law-enforcement official said police found handwritten notes near the truck saying that the suspect carried out the attack in the name of ISIS.

The terror unfolded shortly after 3 p.m., when the suspect drove a flatbed pickup truck rented from Home Depot for nearly a mile along a picturesque stretch of a bike path along the Hudson River, leaving behind mangled bikes and bodies.

The carnage ended at an intersection in Tribeca near the World Trade Center, where the truck smashed into a small school bus. Then the suspect exited his truck, brandishing a paintball gun and pellet gun before being shot by a New York Police Department officer.

“This was an act of terror,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. “A particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”

Since the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, there have been 23 incidents of radical Islamist-motivated attacks that have resulted in 119 fatalities, through the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting in June 2016, according to an April report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The number of fatalities caused by domestic violent extremists has ranged from one to 49 in a given year, according to the GAO report.

Sayfullo Saipov, seen in 2016.Photo: St. Charles County Department of Corrections/ZUMA Press

What We Know About the Suspect

Sayfullo Saipov

  • Age: 29
  • Background: Originally from Uzbekistan, he came to the U.S. in 2010. Mr. Saipov has lived in several places across the U.S., and Uber confirmed he worked as a driver for the company.

Many of the incidents have involved lone-wolf attackers inspired by Islamic State, allowing the terror group to become an international threat without always directing attacks itself.

President Donald Trump said in a Twitter message Tuesday: “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person.”

Later, he indicated there could be changes to U.S. immigration policy. “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program,” he said in a tweet Tuesday evening. “Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there was no evidence that Tuesday’s incident was part of a wider plot. He directed state agencies to increase security at high-profile locations around the state, including subways, bridges and airports, though NYPD officials said there was no information to suggest that there was a continuing threat.

Asked if the suspect had previously been on authorities’ radar, a law-enforcement official familiar with the investigation said, “An associate was and is known to authorities,” but declined to provide further details.

The suspect worked as a driver for Uber Technologies Inc., the ride-hailing company confirmed.

“We are horrified by this senseless act of violence,” an Uber spokeswoman said. “Our hearts are with the victims and their families. We have reached out to law enforcement to provide our full assistance.”

The city’s fire commissioner, Daniel Nigro, said the deaths and serious injuries were caused by the truck, rather than the paintball or pellet guns. Mr. Nigro said six of the eight people killed in the attack were male and were pronounced dead at the scene, and two more were pronounced dead at a hospital.

Among the dead were five friends visiting New York City from Rosario, Argentina, according to a statement posted on the Twitter account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina. Another member of the group remains in NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital, according to the statement.

In a tweet, Didier Reynders, the deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister for Belgium, confirmed that one of the victims was from Belgium. Three other Belgians were hospitalized, he said.

Stuyvesant High School and the Borough of Manhattan Community College are among the schools located in the area; most were temporarily locked down until the scene was secured in the early evening, just hours ahead of the city’s popular Halloween parade, which attracts thousands to the west side of Manhattan not far from where the incident occurred.

Photos From Scene of New York Terror Attack

Officials say many are dead and at least a dozen injured in what New York’s mayor says ‘was an act of terror’

A New York Police Department officer stands over the covered body of a victim near World Trade Center memorial in New York, where a driver struck and killed several people on Tuesday.Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path in lower Manhattan. Several people were killed and nearly a dozen were injured in the incident. ‘This was an act of terror,’ says New York’s mayor.Craig Ruttle/Associated Press

Emergency crews at the scene of the incident on West Street in lower Manhattan.Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Police investigating a rented Home Depot truck used in the attack surround a white Toyota minivan in the parking lot of a Home Depot store in Passaic, N.J.Julio Cortez/Associated Press

First responders tend to a victim after the incident in New York.Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

First responders help a woman injured on the bike path.Brendan McDermid/Reuters

An aerial view shows the bike path.Mark Kauzlarich for The Wall Street Journal

Pedestrians run off the street after a motorist mowed down people in lower Manhattan.Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Authorities investigate the area near a damaged school bus in lower Manhattan.Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Heavily armed police guard as people gather for the Greenwich Village Halloween parade.Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Mr. de Blasio said at the news conference that the city would deploy additional officers Tuesday evening and in the days ahead, including heavy-weapon teams and sand trucks that are used to block vehicles.

“This is a tragedy of the greatest magnitude,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said.

The police officer who shot the driver was identified by a city council member as Officer Ryan Nash. “Here’s the hero cop the world should be talking about,” Councilman Joe Borelli, a Staten Island Republican, said on Twitter.

A senior law-enforcement official said the driver entered New York City via the George Washington Bridge, more than 10 miles from the attack site.

Over the past two years, Mr. O’Neill said, police have made efforts to prevent vehicle attacks such as the ones that occurred in France and Germany. Mr. O’Neill said there are 148 truck-rental locations in the area and the NYPD has done extensive outreach to those businesses to help prevent attacks.

John Miller, deputy commissioner of the NYPD’s counterterrorism and intelligence unit, said in June that there have been about 25 terrorist plots against New York City since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, most of which were thwarted. Common targets included Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge and John F. Kennedy International Airport, he said.

The lower Manhattan neighborhood was swarmed with police and trick-or-treaters late in the afternoon. Many children were in costume with their parents. Police blocked off the West Side Highway south of 14th Street and ushered pedestrians away from the scene. Traffic in the area was at a standstill.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene Tuesday afternoon as people struggled to figure out the source and nature of the threat.

Bill Tsapalas, 55, was working from home when he heard “loud pops” just after 3 p.m. Mr. Tsapalas’s apartment overlooks the West Side Highway, and he said when he got to the window he saw people running east along Chambers Street and police running west.

Ezequiel Gonzalez said he was walking west on Chambers Street toward the West Side Highway when a commotion and other pedestrians urged him to stand back. The 18-year-old Columbia University freshman said he saw a truck with a large dent and a white sheet in the street that he believed was a body bag.

Tawhid Kabir, a 20-year-old student at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, said he witnessed the final moments when the suspect was shot by police.

Investigators inspect a truck following the incident in lower Manhattan.Photo: Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

“He was scared, and he was just running randomly in the street with the two guns,” said Mr. Kabir of the suspect and the imitation weapons police later said he was carrying. “When I heard the shot, then I saw him down on the ground.”

Mr. Cuomo told New Yorkers to go on living their lives.

“We’re not going to let them win,” he said at the briefing. “Live your life and don’t let them change or deter us in any manner or form.”

Related

  • New York’s Halloween Parade Goes On With Tighter Security
  • Attack Underlines Central Asia as Growing Source of Terrorism
  • Vehicles Becoming Favored Terrorist Attack Weapon (March 23)

—Leslie Brody, Mike Vilensky and Shelby Holliday contributed to this article.

Write to Melanie Grayce West at melanie.west@wsj.com, Mara Gay at mara.gay@wsj.com, Zolan Kanno-Youngs at Zolan.Kanno-Youngs@wsj.com and Kate King at Kate.King@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/at-least-6-die-in-lower-manhattan-incident-1509483701

Related:

http://www.cetusnews.com/news/Eight-Killed-in-Terror-Attack-in-New-York.H1lDLDI0-.html

Suspected terrorist truck attack kills eight on New York bike path –“Allahu akbar”

November 1, 2017

Investigators inspect a truck following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. (AFP)

This handout photograph obtained courtesy of the St. Charles County Police Department on October 31, 2017 shows Saifullah Saipov, the suspectecd driver who killed eight people in New York on October 31, 2017.

Law enforcement officers secure an area following an incident in New York on October 31, 2017. (AFP)

Law enforcement officers secure an area following an incident in New York on October 31, 2017. (AFP)

NEW YORK: A pickup driver killed eight people in New York on Tuesday, mowing down cyclists and pedestrians before striking a school bus, in the city’s first deadly attack blamed on terror since September 11, 2001.

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Eleven others were seriously hurt when the truck driver struck in broad daylight just blocks from the 9/11 Memorial, on the West Side of Lower Manhattan, close to schools as children and their parents geared up to celebrate Halloween.
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“This was an act of terror and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
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Law enforcement sources identified the perpetrator as Sayfullo Saipov, 29. He was arrested in Missouri on a traffic fine last year.
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The Uzbek citizen living in Tampa, Florida had recently been staying in New Jersey, where the truck was rented, reports said.
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President Donald Trump denounced him as “very sick” and a “deranged person.”
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Confronting what could be the most serious terror-related incident since taking power less than a year ago, the Republican commander-in-chief announced that he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security to step up his “extreme vetting program” on foreign travelers to the country.

I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!

The United States “must not” allow Daesh terrorists to “return, or enter” the country after being defeated overseas, Trump said, albeit as New York officials declined to link the assailant to a specific group.

We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!

Police said he drove a rented Home Depot pickup down a bike and pedestrian lane, where tourists and New Yorkers were out enjoying brilliant fall sunshine, at 3:05 p.m. (1905 GMT), before colliding with a school bus, wounding two adults and two children.

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The suspect then exited the vehicle brandishing weapons that were subsequently identified as a paintball gun and pellet gun, before being shot in the abdomen by a police officer and taken into custody, police said.
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Television footage showed the mangled wreckage of the pickup truck, bicycles crushed to smithereens and bodies wrapped in sheets and lying on the ground.
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Eight people were killed, six of them men who died on the spot, and two others pronounced dead in hospital. Eleven other people were taken to hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries, officials said.
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Five Argentines were among the dead, the Foreign Ministry said. Brussels said a Belgian woman was killed and three other Belgians were wounded.
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European allies and Mexico’s president condemned the attack. “Together we will defeat the evil of terrorism,” said British Prime Minister Theresa May. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “Our fight for freedom unites us more than ever.”
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US media said the suspect shouted “Allahu akbar” and police chief James O’Neill confirmed that he made a statement when he exited the vehicle.
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“If you just look at the M.O. of the attack, that’s consistent with what’s been going on. So that along with the statement has enabled us to label this a terrorist event,” O’Neill said.
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He was later operated on and was expected to survive, US networks reported.
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The FBI and New York police urged members of the public to come forward with any information that could assist the investigation, which the mayor said preliminary information suggested was a lone wolf assault.
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The attacker struck in TriBeCa, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. In the aftermath of the attack, worried parents and children were seen being evacuated from a nearby public school.
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“There was a smell of gunshots,” said John Williams, 22, who arrived at the scene 30 seconds afterward en route to the park. “There was a man lying on the ground. It looked as if he’d been shot.”
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“When the cops shot him, everybody started running away and it got a little bit crazy right there. So when I tried to look again, the guy was already down,” a witness who gave his name only as Frank told local television network NY1.
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Heavily-armed police fanned out across the city of 8.5 million, home to Wall Street, Broadway and one of the biggest tourist draws in the United States.
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Security was stringent at airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems, with bag searches at Manhattan’s Grand Central transit hub and police stationed along a subway platform in Brooklyn.
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A planned Halloween parade went ahead as scheduled, albeit under tight security and a large police presence, as State Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the new World Trade Center to be lit red, white and blue “in honor of freedom and democracy.”
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Tuesday’s attack was the first deadly terror-related incident in the US financial and entertainment capital since the Al-Qaeda hijackings brought down the Twin Towers, killing more than 2,700 people on 9/11.
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It came 12 months after a pipe bomb exploded in September 2016 in Chelsea, lightly wounding 31 people. An American of Afghan descent, Ahmad Khan Rahimi, was convicted of terrorism on October 16 in relation with that attack.
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In May, a US Navy veteran plowed a car into pedestrians in Times Square, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 other people in what de Blasio said was not terror-related.
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On May 1, 2010 Pakistani immigrant Faisal Shahzad planted a car bomb in Times Square that failed to explode. He was arrested after boarding a flight to the Middle East and sentenced to life behind bars.

ISIS fanatics ‘plotting new 9/11’: Homeland Security chief says jihadists are working on a ‘big explosion’

October 19, 2017

Related image

  • Elaine Duke, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security, issued a warning
  • She said recent attacks are keeping jihadis engaged ahead of ‘big explosion’
  • Terrorists plotting to take down planes to inflict mass civilian casualties, she says
  • Yesterday, MI5 boss Andrew Parker warned UK was facing biggest terror threat

A fiery blasts rocks the south tower of the World Trade Center as the hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston crashes into the building September 11, 2001 in New York

Islamic State fanatics and other terror groups are planning another massive attack on the scale of 9/11, a top US security chief warned today.

Elaine Duke, Donald Trump’s acting Secretary of Homeland Security, said jihadists were using crude knife and van attacks to keep their members engaged and their finances flowing as they plot another ‘big explosion’ similar to the September 2001 atrocities.

Speaking at the US embassy in London, she said intelligence is pointing to extremists plotting to take down planes to inflict mass civilian casualties.

Mrs Duke said ISIS is currently in an ‘interim’ period focusing on a much bigger endgame.

The security chief, who has served three US presidents, said: ‘The terrorist organisations, be it ISIS or others, want to have the big explosion like they did on 9/11. They want to take down aircraft, the intelligence is clear on that.

‘However, in the interim they need to keep their finances flowing and they need to keep their visibility high and they need to keep their members engaged, so they are using small plots and they are happy to have small plots.’

Islamic State fanatics and other terror groups are planning another massive attack on the scale of 9/11, a top US security chief warned

She added: ‘Creating terror is their goal and so a van attack, a bladed weapon attack, causes terror and continues to disrupt the world – but does not mean they’ve given up on a major aviation plot.’

Elaine Duke, Donald Trump’s acting Secretary of Homeland Security

Yesterday Mrs Duke said the prospect of a terrorist blowing up an airline using a laptop was just one of the threats facing airlines worldwide.

She said the free movement of goods and people means security has to be tightened in individual countries around the world.

She said: ‘The laptop is one of the many aviation threats, we will never be comfortable and we will always be evolving.

‘What we believe is that because of the movement of goods and people, we have to raise the baseline worldwide, we can’t only consider our borders.’ Mrs Duke went on: ‘We think the level of terrorist threat against the United States too is extremely high.

‘I think that it is challenging for you because you have the proximities to other countries, the ease of movement from some of the terrorist safe havens is a little easier for you, but we feel the terrorist threat is very high in the United States.’

Asked how the US is tackling the threat of another 9/11-style atrocity, she said: ‘We have worked on some strong measures that we can’t talk about. We are trying to play the away game and that is working against them in their terrorist safe havens and homes.

‘We do have some terrorist groups on the move, you just saw the take-over of Raqqa and so if we can keep them declining and moving they have less time to sit and prepare.’

They want to take down aircraft
Elaine Duke, Donald Trump’s acting Secretary of Homeland Security

Mrs Duke warned that the number of home-grown violent extremists, mostly inspired by terrorist organisations, is increasing in the US. She said the ability of IS militants to put terrorist propaganda on the internet will appeal more and more to extremists as they are pushed out of Syria and Iraq.

Mrs Duke said web giants need to do more to detect extremist content online, and one way of doing this could be using the same technology used to identify people in passenger lists.

‘Terrorists are strong, they are adaptable and the terrorist threat is the highest it has been since pre-9/11. We have got to have every tool that’s possible,’ she added.

A total of 2,996 people were killed during the September 11 attacks, when al-Qaeda suicide attackers hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

Earlier in the day she met the British interior minister Amber Rudd to discuss how to force internet giants to do more to tackle terrorism ahead of the G7 summit.

Following the recent wave of attacks in Manchester and London, police chiefs have said the threat facing the UK is a ‘new norm’ that will not change.

Her chilling remarks came 24 hours after MI5 director general Andrew Parker warned Britain is facing its worst-ever terrorist threat in his first major speech since the UK was hit by a wave of attacks.

The British spy chief said it was taking terrorists just days to hatch plots as violent extremists exploit ‘safe spaces online’ to evade detection.

It is harder for the UK to protect itself because of its proximity to other countries and the ease of movement from terrorist safe havens, she suggested.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4994906/ISIS-fanatics-plotting-new-9-11-warns-security-boss.html#ixzz4vwra39LU
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Related:

US may extend travel restrictions to more countries

September 23, 2017

Reuters and France 24

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2017-09-23

The acting secretary of Homeland Security has notified President Donald Trump of countries that do not meet new US vetting standards and has recommended “tailored” and “tough” restrictions on their citizens’ entry, US officials said Friday.

Trump has not yet approved the restrictions, the officials said. It is unclear if he will do so before a temporary travel ban on citizens of six majority-Muslim countries expires on Sunday.

The officials declined to say how many or which countries were included in DHS acting Secretary Elaine Duke’s report to Trump.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)