Police make 130 arrests in “Operation Wheels and Deals” Bust
An organized crime ring bust has netted 130 arrests. Police say the suspects committed thefts and other property crimes in and around Houston that amounted to more than $2 million in stolen items.
It all started with a Houston Police Department undercover operation at the Port of Houston involving the purchase of stolen items. During the operation, HPD and the Pasadena Police Department realized they were investigating the same suspects. Around the same time, the HPD Burglary and Theft Division was investigating a large theft involving a small business’ entire inventory of motorcycle apparel and accessories. Police said a large criminal group targeted big-ticket items, usually transported in large trailers, and would steal the trailer and its contents.
“These thieves were stealing anything and everything they could put their hands on. They went after trailers they saw parked on the streets of Greater Houston. They stole four wheelers, quad runners, lawn equipment, motorcycle equipment,” says Lt. Mike Osina of the Houston Police Department. Together, multiple agencies teamed up to file more than 200 charges and arrest 130 suspects in what has been called “Operation Wheels and Deals.”
One of the victims of this alleged gang of thieves happens to be country music singer Zane Williams.In May of 2015, Williams’ 15-passenger Ford Van was stolen along with an entire trailer full of musical instruments, including a 100-year-old violin. More arrests are expected in the coming weeks… [NBC News]
FTC Closes 70 Percent of Data Breach Investigations, Weighing PCI-DSS Standard
The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t investigate every reported breach, but when it comes to prosecuting data security cases it has an impressive 70 percent closure rate, according to agency officials. FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen shed light on the agency’s approach to enforcing data security in a keynote address which was held Tuesday at the Heritage Foundation in D.C.
“We don’t formally investigate every breach, as that would be hundreds of cases each year…” Ohlhausen said, “but for matters where we do open an investigation, we end up closing approximately 70 percent.”
Ohlhausen elaborated that usually when the FTC does close a case, it’s because the agency has deemed the company’s security either reasonable or good, adding that in today’s rapidly evolving, technological world, “reasonableness” is key. “The touchstone of our data security enforcement is reasonableness,” Ohlhausen said “A company’s data security measures must be reasonable in light of the sensitivity and volume of consumer information it holds, the size and complexity of its data operation, and the cost of available tools to improve security and reduce vulnerabilities…” [Threat Post]
New mobile apps collusion threats
Mobile app collusion, where cybercriminals manipulate two or more apps to orchestrate attacks on smartphone owners, has been observed across more than 5,056 versions of 21 apps designed to provide useful user services such as mobile video streaming, health monitoring, and travel planning, according to Intel Security. Unfortunately, the failure of users to regularly implement essential software updates to these mobile apps raises the possibility that older versions could be commandeered for malicious activity.
Widely considered a theoretical threat for many years, colluding mobile apps carry out harmful activity together by leveraging inter-app communication capabilities common to mobile operating systems. Working together, colluding apps can leverage inter-app communication capabilities for malicious purposes. McAfee Labs has identified three types of threats that can result from mobile app collusion:
- Information theft: An app with access to sensitive or confidential information willingly or unwillingly collaborates with one or more other apps to send information outside the boundaries of the device
- Financial theft: An app sends information to another app that can execute financial transactions or make financial API calls to achieve similar objectives
- Service misuse: One app controls a system service and receives information or commands from one or more other apps to orchestrate a variety of malicious activities.
The report discusses forward-looking research to create tools to detect colluding mobile apps. Once identified, colluding apps may be blocked using mobile security technology. The report suggests a variety of user approaches to minimize mobile app collusion, including downloading mobile apps only from trusted sources, avoiding apps with embedded advertising, not “jailbreaking” mobile devices, and most importantly, always keeping operating system and app software up-to-date… [Security Asia]
Cargo theft firms issue warnings ahead of July 4 weekend
Cargo theft firms CargoNet and FreightWatch International have released warnings and recommendations ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend. With July 4 falling on a Monday this year, CargoNet warns thefts could be worse than normal. “Cargo theft has always spiked during holiday weekends, but we expect a particularly bad July 4th since it falls on Monday,” the firm said in its warning. “Many truckers will park their trucks on Thursday or Friday and will not check on them again until Tuesday.”
FreightWatch said it recorded an average loss value of $1.1 million during July 4 weekend last year, which is six times higher than the average during the rest of the year. The top five targeted states, according to CargoNet, have been California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Illinois. Notable thefts reported during the July 4 holiday period in recent years include:
•Full truckload of cell phones worth $5.7 million in Washington
•Cell phones worth $2 million in Miami
•Apparel and accessories worth $1.3 million in Newport, Tenn.
•Electronics worth $500,000 in Carnesville, Ga.
LP Worldwide: Data watchdog report finds retailers who share shoplifting footage are breaking law
Retailers’ group RGDATA (Ireland) has called for an urgent review of the application of data protection law as it applies to the use of CCTV for crime prevention purposes. The call was made following the publication of the Data Protection Commissioners Report which confirmed retailers sharing footage of alleged shoplifters are breaking the law.
RGDATA director general Tara Buckley said the use of data protection legislation to prevent retailers from using CCTV to protect their business was alarming. She said many retailers were effectively under siege as a consequence of repeated thefts from their shops and need to be able to employ technology effectively to help prevent crime. The capacity for retailers to share images of suspected shoplifters, including shoplifters captured on CCTV, was a key support for shopkeepers in protecting their businesses.
“If the law stands as it is retailers will be inhibited in their capacity to adequately defend their businesses. Not only will they suffer the loss of stock if their shop is robbed, but they will also potentially face prosecution by the Data Protection Commissioner if they take measures to protect their businesses through the use of CCTV.” Ms Buckley said that RGDATA would be seeking a meeting with the minister with responsibility for data protection, Dara Murphy, to see if there is national discretion to amend data protection law to facilitate the use of CCTV for crime prevention in retail premises… [Irish Examiner]
6 accused of credit card fraud in Colorado and Wyoming
Six men and women face federal charges of using counterfeit credit cards to defraud Wyoming and Colorado fast-food restaurants. The six, who are all from New York, are charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Federal court documents accuse them of using counterfeit credit cards to purchase gift cards. According to the documents, officials with the McDonald’s Corp. say more than $10,000 in gift cards were purchased from restaurants in the Denver, Wellington, Loveland and Fort Collins areas with fake credit cards. The six were arrested after police were called by the McDonald’s in Laramie. Authorities say they have confiscated more than 1,000 gift cards, a credit card reader and a machine used for printing credit cards… [The Washington Times]