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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 155)

Navy enhances small boat attack defenses

Should swarms of armed small boats seek to surround, overwhelm and confuse large Navy ships in a coordinated barrage of attacks, surface ship radar could be jammed, long and medium-range ship defenses could be rendered ineffective and virtually all angles of a ship could be hit quickly at one time.

Small boats, manned or unmanned, could launch electronic warfare attacks, hit with small arms or even fire various kinds of larger weapons. They are extremely difficult to defend for many reasons, one of them simply being numbers and redundancy; if there are so many spread out, yet fast-approaching small boats, it could be difficult for deck-mounted ship guns or overhead assets such as drones or helicopters to destroy enough approaching targets at one time.

The proliferation of longer-range mobile guns, to include possible emergence of lasers, electronic warfare or boat-launched drone attacks, all make the prospect of facing swarms of armed, fast-moving small boats even more dangerous for surface ships. Furthermore, there is no reason small manned boats could not carry and fire portable land weapons such as RPGs, Anti-Tank Guided Missiles or various kinds of medium-caliber portable guns aimed at ship structures.

Swarming small boat attacks are regarded as extremely serious combat concerns for Navy war-planners, who operate with a decided recognition that this kind of threat is quite substantial when it comes to both counterterrorism and major warfare on the open ocean. The strategy to counter small boat attacks against larger platforms is multi-faceted; multiple, fast-moving points of small missile and gunfire attack are naturally much more difficult to recognize and target.

ARMY SETS SIGHTS ON NEW FUEL CELL TECHNOLOGY

This phenomenon can be explained in terms of what’s called “dis-aggregated” operations, if on a smaller scale than is typically thought of. Not only are a more dispersed group of small boats more difficult to target, but emerging networking technology can enable them to coordinate, share target information and stage integrated missions while farther away from one another. Navy and Marine Corps strategists, now planning for future amphibious warfare, are employing these concepts when it comes to preparing for large-scale ship-to-shore amphibious attacks. Dis-aggregated, yet closely networked attack nodes provide attacking commanders with a wider range of options and increase possibilities to defend against incoming shore attacks by avoiding a more condensed or linear ocean assault.

To counter small boat threats, the Navy has been working on specific defense scenarios wherein surface ships are attacked in exercises by swarms of armed small boats. Much of this has involved combat preparations with services’ Littoral Combat Ship — to prepare a suite of integrated weapons systems and sensors for major ocean warfare – including missiles, guns, drones and inflatable boats.

The assessments are intended to help pave the way for deployment of the Navy’s Surface Warfare Mission Package (SUW), an integrated system of weapons being prepared for combat by the Navy. SUW is engineered to destroy small craft approaching at speeds up to 35 knots or more, Navy developers say. The weapons are intended to reinforce one another and operate in a synchronized fashion.

The SUW’s Missile Module is comprised of 24 ship-fired Longbow Hellfire Missiles, 30-and-57mm guns, 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats, helicopters and vertical-take-off-and-landing ship-launched drones. Ship launched Hellfires, for instance, can utilize all-weather millimeter-wave radar, inertial guidance or semi-active laser targeting to fire upon enemy ships, helicopters, fixed-wing assets or drones attacking the LCS. The concept with the overall module is to enable each platform to function as a “node” on a larger network.

SOLDIERS USE AI TO FIRE PRECISION GRENADES, GUIDE DRONE ATTACKS

Of potentially even greater concern, quite possibly, is the advent of unmanned small attack vessels unconstrained by any need to protect a manned crew. They could approach much closer, without having to avoid incoming fire from ship defense weapons. The US Navy is already testing and developing a “ghost fleet” of unmanned small ships to perform a range of missions to include, reconnaissance, mine and submarine detection and of course forward-operating attack missions – firing weapons while manned crews remain at safer distances. The US Navy, however, is of course no longer the only nation with the technological sophistication to develop and operate unmanned small boats. The current global threat circumstance is such that the US Navy recognizes it needs to know how to defend against these kinds of attacks.

Interestingly, defensive uses for swarm boats could introduce a substantial increase in ship protection; should an enemy seek to overwhelm ship defenses with a speeding swarm of small boat attacks or a barrage of incoming weapons, layered ship defenses could, at very least, be challenged, according to a 2017 article from the Journal of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

The essay, titled “The Upside and Downside of Swarming Drones,” by Irving Lachow, highlights the defensive uses of swarming drone boats. “The Navy is currently doing research on using defensive swarms to halt attackers. Swarm boats may be an effective way to protect oneself from a swarm of drones: drone against drone,” the essay states.

The U.S. Navy is beginning to arm surface drone boats with guns, rockets and mobile missiles to overwhelm enemies with swarming attacks, protect sailors at farther stand-off ranges and coordinate maritime strikes across dispersed areas of ocean.

HOW AI CHANGES ATTACK MISSIONS FOR US FIGHTER JETS AND BOMBERS

The concept is to call upon newer levels of autonomy enabling weapons systems to search for enemies, track their movements and then target them — all while humans perform command and control as safer ranges.

The testing and demonstrations are evolving through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between Textron and the Navy, intended to explore, prototype and ultimately deploy the armed Unmanned Surface Vehicles.

Forward-operating armed surveillance drones, for instance, can send real-time images to helicopters and ship-based fire control radar, enabling faster response time. Armed helicopters can more quickly find and attack targets, if they are identified and transmitted from other assets such as drones, submarines or ship-based sensors. By extension, all of these systems could cue deck-mounted small arms for the closer in threats, such as 30mm and 57mm guns. Not only could the boats perform sensing and reconnaissance missions, but they could of course also themselves become explosives or seek to jam a ship’s radar by flooding it with dispersed attack nodes.

These warfare tactics, mirrored by larger platforms such as Carrier Strike Groups, are designed to create an integrated, layered defense system designed to provide defenses at different ranges and against a wide sphere of potential attack systems – to include small boat attacks.

‘FIRST-CUT-OF-STEEL’ BEGINS NEW ERA IN NUCLEAR WEAPONS, SUBMARINE WARFARE

Small, fast-transport 11-meter inflatable boats can also function in a key defensive capacity against small boat attacks. Often used as rapid entry or small attack vehicles for Navy SEALs and other Special Operations Forces, 11-meter inflatable boats can provide ship crews with an ability to leave the ship and “engage” approaching small-boat attackers, providing yet another element of defense.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Pentagon officials have long expressed concern that small boat attacks could, for instance, be used by Iranian forces to stop the flow of naval traffic through the dangerous and narrow Strait of Hormuz – the only passage from the Persian Gulf into the open ocean.

Westlake Legal Group NavySkiff Navy enhances small boat attack defenses Warrior Maven Kris Osborn fox-news/tech/topics/us-navy fox-news/tech/topics/pentagon fox-news/tech/topics/armed-forces fnc/tech fnc e5a2797d-40eb-5d53-8c3d-fb1e8b5eca34 article   Westlake Legal Group NavySkiff Navy enhances small boat attack defenses Warrior Maven Kris Osborn fox-news/tech/topics/us-navy fox-news/tech/topics/pentagon fox-news/tech/topics/armed-forces fnc/tech fnc e5a2797d-40eb-5d53-8c3d-fb1e8b5eca34 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lana Del Rey Slams Critic Of New Album, Says She’s Not ‘Uncooked’

Westlake Legal Group 5d714a55240000ee1775fe01 Lana Del Rey Slams Critic Of New Album, Says She’s Not ‘Uncooked’

Lana Del Rey had a few choice words for a critic who reviewed her latest album.

On Wednesday, writer Ann Powers tweeted a link to her review of “Normal Fucking Rockwell,” imploring readers to open their heart to “one more deep dive” into the artist’s “messy subconscious.”

Powers said that Del Rey is “at her most instantly compelling, a pro asserting her future spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” but that the album is also “a repository of masochistic out-breaths and bad-girl flexes.” She wrote that Joni Mitchell was a “clear inspiration” in “Del Rey’s pursuit of legible expressiveness” but that, in comparison, the younger singer’s lyrics are “uncooked.” 

Del Rey was apparently irritated by the review, and fired off two puzzling tweets at Powers.

In one, she insisted that there’s nothing “uncooked” about her, writing that she has “never had a persona” and “never needed one.” 

Del Rey went on to lambast Powers and tell her to not “call yourself a fan” because her “gift is the warmth I live my life with and the self reflection I share generously.”

Well, it seems Lana isn’t pleased when she’s not reviewed the way she wants. HuffPost has reached out to Powers for further comment.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hackers Hit Twitter C.E.O. Jack Dorsey in a ‘SIM Swap.’ You’re at Risk, Too

Westlake Legal Group merlin_143313687_a1ee78b6-6ed7-424a-8ef1-84c997fb3a8a-facebookJumbo Hackers Hit Twitter C.E.O. Jack Dorsey in a ‘SIM Swap.’ You’re at Risk, Too twitter T-Mobile US Inc. Social Media Robberies and Thefts Dorsey, Jack Cyberattacks and Hackers Cellular Telephones Celebrities AT&T Inc

SAN FRANCISCO — When hackers took over the Twitter account of Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, last week, they used an increasingly common and hard-to-stop technique that can give them complete access to a wide array of the most sensitive digital accounts, including social media, email and financial accounts.

Called SIM swapping, it allows hackers to take control of a victim’s phone number. In recent months, SIM swapping has been used to hijack the online personas of politicians, celebrities and notables like Mr. Dorsey, to steal money all over the world and to simply harass regular people.

Victims, no matter how prominent or technically sophisticated, have been unable to protect themselves, even after they have been hit again and again.

“I’ve been looking at the criminal underground for a long time, and SIM swapping bothers me more than anything I’ve seen,” said Allison Nixon, the director of research at the security firm Flashpoint. “It requires no skill, and there is literally nothing the average person can do to stop it.”

Criminals have learned how to persuade mobile phone providers like T-Mobile and AT&T to switch a phone number to a new device that is under their control.

The number is switched from a tiny plastic SIM card, or subscriber identity module, in the target’s phone to a SIM card in another device.

Sometimes hackers get phone numbers by calling a customer help line for a phone carrier and pretending to be the intended victim. In other recent incidents, hacking crews have paid off phone company employees to do the switches for them, often for as little as $100 for each phone number.

Once the hackers have control of the phone number, they ask companies like Twitter and Google to send a temporary login code, via text message, to the victim’s phone. Most major online services are willing to send those messages to help users who have lost their passwords.

But the temporary code is sent to the hackers.

Phone companies have been aware of the problem for years, but the only routine solution they have come up with is offering PIN codes that a phone owner must provide in order to switch devices. Even this measure has proved ineffective. Hackers can get the codes by bribing phone company employees.

“It just doesn’t seem like the AT&Ts of the world are really doing anything to make it more difficult,” said Erin West, a deputy district attorney in California’s Santa Clara County and a member of a law enforcement task force focusing on the problem. “I live in fear that I will get SIM-swapped because it’s not that difficult.”

No American authorities are keeping statistics on the frequency of the attacks. But Ms. West and others who are tracking cases said they had become more frequent over the last year.

“Account takeover fraud is an industrywide problem,” said Paula Jacinto, a spokeswoman for T-Mobile. “We use a number of safeguards to help protect against this crime and offer customers a variety of options to help them protect their own information.”

It is difficult to ascertain how many mobile phone users have been hit by a SIM swap. But people around the world, from Kenya to Hollywood, have complained about it.

In recent weeks, the most prominent targets have been celebrities like Mr. Dorsey, the actress Jessica Alba, and online personalities like Shane Dawson and Amanda Cerny (her second time). The hackers used the accounts to post offensive messages to millions of followers. They also gained access to private communications.

Matthew Smith, who owns an internet-focused design studio in South Carolina, has been hit by SIM swappers four times — three times this year alone. Hackers had long wanted his Instagram handle, @whale. That made him a target.

Every time the attackers have gained access to his social media and email accounts, Mr. Smith’s phone provider, T-Mobile, has assured him that it has put additional measures in place to protect his account. While he has managed to get back his social media accounts, he has not regained access to two Google email accounts that held years of communications.

In the most recent incidents this summer, after the attackers got into a new email address, they contacted Mr. Smith, his family and his friends to threaten him and his children with information from his accounts.

“It feels sickening,” Mr. Smith said. “It feels like everything you own, and you thought was safe and yours — that someone is playing with that like it is a toy.”

T-Mobile said it would not comment on specific customers.

Victims have complained that after the attacks, they have struggled to get help from their phone companies, or to even get someone on the line at a phone company who understood the problem.

When the recording artist King Bach lost and then regained control of his phone number in late August, he posted an angry video on Twitter in which he said he had spent hours on the phone with AT&T.

“The customer service is trash,” he said. “I couldn’t get no help.”

AT&T did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

SIM swapping became popular in the hacking community years ago. Attackers were mostly interested in taking control of rare or iconic social media account names, like a Twitter or Instagram account with just one name.

But hackers soon realized they could gain access to more than social media accounts.

In 2016, SIM-swapping gangs started targeting cryptocurrency holders. Unlike traditional bank transactions, once virtual currency is moved to a new address, the transaction cannot be reversed. American bank accounts have been less vulnerable to SIM swapping because banks will generally reverse any criminal transactions.

Over the last year, law enforcement officials have arrested some of the gangs stealing cryptocurrency. For the first time, a hacker was sent to jail and is serving a 10-year sentence.

The number of online crews focused on SIM swapping has been growing, researchers said, as has the range of victims and the type of accounts.

In Africa, gangs have used SIM swapping to target financial accounts tied to mobile phone providers, like the popular MPesa service in Kenya. South African officials said there were over 11,000 incidents there last year, triple that of the year before.

Security experts have recommended that companies stop using phone numbers to help customers recover accounts.

“This is a technology problem because we are using a very old technology that is not designed to be secure to send secure codes,” said Fabio Assolini, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, who lost his own phone number in a SIM-swapping attack last year.

Twitter said on Wednesday that it would stop allowing some users to post updates via text message, which made Twitter access particularly easy for SIM swappers. But that will not stop hackers who use the SIM swap to log in to a victim’s Twitter account. (Twitter said it was working to improve this.)

Security experts are worried that hackers could step up their attacks and use the method to go after even higher-value targets. The phones and social media applications of several Brazilian politicians have recently been compromised.

“SIM swapping is proliferating, and it is going to keep proliferating until companies deal with this,” Ms. Nixon said. “This is a known issue at this point. There is not really any excuse.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Donald Trump Has Never Explained a Mysterious $50 Million Loan. Is It Evidence of Tax Fraud?

Westlake Legal Group 6fSipeGEfasCdVnwk8_4bTjPBlWyac6kuEkUwq9c2HQ Donald Trump Has Never Explained a Mysterious $50 Million Loan. Is It Evidence of Tax Fraud? r/politics

TLDR; Trump got a lender to cancel a debt (because he couldn’t pay), but then may well have created a fake loan to make it look the debt still existed so that he wouldn’t have to pay taxes on the cancellation.

To recap: Trump claims he bought a debt related to his Chicago venture, but neither of the two loans associated with this property appear to have been purchased. The Deutsche Bank loan was refinanced. The Fortress debt, according to sources with knowledge of the transaction, was canceled. And this raises a question: Did Trump create a bogus loan to evade a whopping tax bill on about $48 million of income?

Several legal and real estate finance experts say it’s possible to fabricate a loan. Doing so would be as easy as creating some paperwork and declaring the debt on your tax returns, though such a scheme would also violate federal tax law.

“When you see it, if you lay all this out, it’s pretty brazen,” says Adam Levitin, a law professor specializing in commercial real estate finance at Georgetown University. “If he didn’t actually buy the loan, this is just garden-variety fraud.”

Most loans are documented in public records, but Mother Jones could locate no documentation of a loan owned by Chicago Unit Acquisition.

Great work from Mother Jones here, but insane that we are relying on them to investigate this.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

University of Illinois student no longer enrolled after allegedly leaving noose in elevator: school official

A University of Illinois student charged with a hate crime for allegedly leaving a noose inside a campus elevator this week is no longer enrolled at the school, a university spokesman said Wednesday.

Andrew Smith, a 19-year-old sophomore, was arrested Monday in a dorm at the Urbana-Champaign campus, university police said in a statement.

NEW YORK GIRL, 12, CHARGED AFTER SWASTIKAS, ‘WHITE POWER’ FOUND SPRAY-PAINTED ON CHURCH, BUILDINGS

Smith enrolled at the university in the fall of 2018 to study math, but on Wednesday university spokeswoman Robin Kaler told the News-Gazzette in Champaign that he “is not enrolled at the university at this time.”

Westlake Legal Group andrew-smith University of Illinois student no longer enrolled after allegedly leaving noose in elevator: school official Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/us/crime/hate-crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 38d11e75-14d6-524e-90fb-89b5079a90de

Defense attorney Audrey Thompson on Tuesday declined to comment on the charges. She described her client during the arraignment as a sophomore with enough credits to graduate this year and a GPA of 3.79. (Champaign County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Kaler told the paper she couldn’t speak about whether Smith had been expelled, but said that an investigation must be conducted when the student code of conduct is violated.

Allen Hall residence staff told police they found the noose hanging at around 1 a.m. The find went viral on social media and a woman who said she was with Smith when he tied the noose came forward, according to Kaler.

ALLEGED PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE GUNMAN TO FACE DEATH PENALTY

Smith told university police that he “only spent about 30 seconds thinking about his actions” and that even after checking social media, didn’t think his actions were serious enough to turn himself in, said Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink during the arraignment Tuesday.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Smith was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and a felony hate crime, police said. The charges are preliminary and may change during court proceedings.

Smith pleaded not guilty and was released on $5,000 bond, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing court records. His next court appearance is expected on Oct. 22.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group andrew-smith University of Illinois student no longer enrolled after allegedly leaving noose in elevator: school official Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/us/crime/hate-crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 38d11e75-14d6-524e-90fb-89b5079a90de   Westlake Legal Group andrew-smith University of Illinois student no longer enrolled after allegedly leaving noose in elevator: school official Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/us/crime/hate-crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 38d11e75-14d6-524e-90fb-89b5079a90de

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jennifer Lopez explains why wedding plans with A-Rod are on hold for a while

Jennifer Lopez revealed that she and fiance Alex Rodriguez are putting their wedding plans on the back burner for now.

The 50-year-old actress got engaged to the former MLB star in March and they’ve been even more inseparable ever since. However, when it comes to planning the big day, JLo explained the power couple is too busy to make any real headway.

JENNIFER LOPEZ REMINDS FANS SHE’S ‘FOREVER YOUNG’ WHILE IN ST. TROPEZ WITH A-ROD

“I have a movie I’m shooting in October [‘Marry Me’ with Owen Wilson and Sarah Silverman] and the movie has an album that goes with it, so I’m just a little bit busy right now, and until October, he has the World Series in baseball. We’re going to have to pick a day, pick a time and block it out, but we’re definitely talking about it,” she explained to the Evening Standard Magazine.

Westlake Legal Group jlo-arod-getty Jennifer Lopez explains why wedding plans with A-Rod are on hold for a while Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/jennifer-lopez fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fe61bfb1-0daa-5891-ae52-1d15718c7ea6 article

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez at the 2019 CFDA Fashion Awards on June 3, 2019 in New York City.  (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

The “Hustlers” actress made it clear that, although they’re moving at a slow pace when it comes to wedding planning, marriage is something that’s very important to her and A-Rod.

“Everyone wants somebody to grow old with. At the end of the day, how much work can you do, how much money can you make, and what does it all matter? It doesn’t, really,” she concluded.

The couple announced their engagement in March after a trip to the Bahamas.

‘HUSTLERS’ STARS JENNIFER LOPEZ, CARDI B SHINE IN NEW TRAILER

“She said yes,” Rodriguez captioned a photo of JLo’s hand with the massive rock at the time.

One month prior to the proposal announcement, the couple celebrated their two-year anniversary. The former Seattle Mariner, Texas Ranger and New York Yankee shared a heartfelt message to his now-fiancee.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Only 730 days, which have flown by, but it feels like we have been together forever. We are meant to be, and how much you mean to me cannot be put into words,” he wrote at the time.

Westlake Legal Group jlo-arod-getty Jennifer Lopez explains why wedding plans with A-Rod are on hold for a while Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/jennifer-lopez fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fe61bfb1-0daa-5891-ae52-1d15718c7ea6 article   Westlake Legal Group jlo-arod-getty Jennifer Lopez explains why wedding plans with A-Rod are on hold for a while Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/jennifer-lopez fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fe61bfb1-0daa-5891-ae52-1d15718c7ea6 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Why ‘SIM Swapping’ Is a Growing Security Nightmare

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159956853_2a8a419d-0bc5-4cac-9e09-a40ebbc398b6-facebookJumbo Why ‘SIM Swapping’ Is a Growing Security Nightmare twitter T-Mobile US Inc. Social Media Robberies and Thefts Dorsey, Jack Cyberattacks and Hackers Cellular Telephones Celebrities AT&T Inc

SAN FRANCISCO — When hackers took over the Twitter account of Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, last week, they used an increasingly common and hard-to-stop technique that can give them complete access to a wide array of the most sensitive digital accounts, including social media, email and financial accounts.

Called SIM swapping, it allows hackers to take control of a victim’s phone number. In recent months, SIM swapping has been used to hijack the online personas of politicians, celebrities and notables like Mr. Dorsey, to steal money all over the world and to simply harass regular people.

Victims, no matter how prominent or technically sophisticated, have been unable to protect themselves, even after they have been hit again and again.

“I’ve been looking at the criminal underground for a long time, and SIM swapping bothers me more than anything I’ve seen,” said Allison Nixon, the director of research at the security firm Flashpoint. “It requires no skill, and there is literally nothing the average person can do to stop it.”

Criminals have learned how to persuade mobile phone providers like T-Mobile and AT&T to switch a phone number to a new device that is under their control.

The number is switched from a tiny plastic SIM card, or subscriber identity module, in the target’s phone to a SIM card in another device.

Sometimes hackers get phone numbers by calling a customer help line for a phone carrier and pretending to be the intended victim. In other recent incidents, hacking crews have paid off phone company employees to do the switches for them, often for as little as $100 for each phone number.

Once the hackers have control of the phone number, they ask companies like Twitter and Google to send a temporary login code, via text message, to the victim’s phone. Most major online services are willing to send those messages to help users who have lost their passwords.

But the temporary code is sent to the hackers.

Phone companies have been aware of the problem for years, but the only routine solution they have come up with is offering PIN codes that a phone owner must provide in order to switch devices. Even this measure has proved ineffective. Hackers can get the codes by bribing phone company employees.

“It just doesn’t seem like the AT&Ts of the world are really doing anything to make it more difficult,” said Erin West, a deputy district attorney in California’s Santa Clara County and a member of a law enforcement task force focusing on the problem. “I live in fear that I will get SIM-swapped because it’s not that difficult.”

No American authorities are keeping statistics on the frequency of the attacks. But Ms. West and others who are tracking cases said they had become more frequent over the last year.

“Account takeover fraud is an industrywide problem,” said Paula Jacinto, a spokeswoman for T-Mobile. “We use a number of safeguards to help protect against this crime and offer customers a variety of options to help them protect their own information.”

It is difficult to ascertain how many mobile phone users have been hit by a SIM swap. But people around the world, from Kenya to Hollywood, have complained about it.

In recent weeks, the most prominent targets have been celebrities like Mr. Dorsey, the actress Jessica Alba, and online personalities like Shane Dawson and Amanda Cerny (her second time). The hackers used the accounts to post offensive messages to millions of followers. They also gained access to private communications.

Matthew Smith, who owns an internet-focused design studio in South Carolina, has been hit by SIM swappers four times — three times this year alone. Hackers had long wanted his Instagram handle, @whale. That made him a target.

Every time the attackers have gained access to his social media and email accounts, Mr. Smith’s phone provider, T-Mobile, has assured him that it has put additional measures in place to protect his account. While he has managed to get back his social media accounts, he has not regained access to two Google email accounts that held years of communications.

In the most recent incidents this summer, after the attackers got into a new email address, they contacted Mr. Smith, his family and his friends to threaten him and his children with information from his accounts.

“It feels sickening,” Mr. Smith said. “It feels like everything you own, and you thought was safe and yours — that someone is playing with that like it is a toy.”

T-Mobile said it would not comment on specific customers.

Victims have complained that after the attacks, they have struggled to get help from their phone companies, or to even get someone on the line at a phone company who understood the problem.

When the recording artist King Bach lost and then regained control of his phone number in late August, he posted an angry video on Twitter in which he said he had spent hours on the phone with AT&T.

“The customer service is trash,” he said. “I couldn’t get no help.”

AT&T did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

SIM swapping became popular in the hacking community years ago. Attackers were mostly interested in taking control of rare or iconic social media account names, like a Twitter or Instagram account with just one name.

But hackers soon realized they could gain access to more than social media accounts.

In 2016, SIM-swapping gangs started targeting cryptocurrency holders. Unlike traditional bank transactions, once virtual currency is moved to a new address, the transaction cannot be reversed. American bank accounts have been less vulnerable to SIM swapping because banks will generally reverse any criminal transactions.

Over the last year, law enforcement officials have arrested some of the gangs stealing cryptocurrency. For the first time, a hacker was sent to jail and is serving a 10-year sentence.

The number of online crews focused on SIM swapping has been growing, researchers said, as has the range of victims and the type of accounts.

In Africa, gangs have used SIM swapping to target financial accounts tied to mobile phone providers, like the popular MPesa service in Kenya. South African officials said there were over 11,000 incidents there last year, triple that of the year before.

Security experts have recommended that companies stop using phone numbers to help customers recover accounts.

“This is a technology problem because we are using a very old technology that is not designed to be secure to send secure codes,” said Fabio Assolini, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, who lost his own phone number in a SIM-swapping attack last year.

Twitter said on Wednesday that it would stop allowing some users to post updates via text message, which made Twitter access particularly easy for SIM swappers. But that will not stop hackers who use the SIM swap to log in to a victim’s Twitter account. (Twitter said it was working to improve this.)

Security experts are worried that hackers could step up their attacks and use the method to go after even higher-value targets. The phones and social media applications of several Brazilian politicians have recently been compromised.

“SIM swapping is proliferating, and it is going to keep proliferating until companies deal with this,” Ms. Nixon said. “This is a known issue at this point. There is not really any excuse.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ariana Grande’s Brother Walks Back Claim About Her Dating Life: ‘She Is Very Much Single’

Westlake Legal Group 5cc36d352300004d00d153bf Ariana Grande’s Brother Walks Back Claim About Her Dating Life: ‘She Is Very Much Single’

Ariana Grande is “very much single,” according to her brother, Frankie Grande, who walked back his comments earlier this week indicating that his sister had embarked on a new relationship.

Rumors that the pop star has bid “thank u, next” to the single life and moved on with Social House frontman Mikey Foster have swirled for weeks, ever since their summer bop “Boyfriend” arrived in August and they turned the music video into a bathroom make out session.

Despite seemingly confirming that he’d recently gone on a double date with the pair, Grande has now clarified his sister’s relationship status.

In a statement to Us Weekly he added that the two are “not in an official relationship” and that his comments were not to be taken literally.

“I referred to it as a double-date when we had plans with them, without realizing what the term insinuated about THEIR relationship outside of my own,” the elder Grande continued.

After the video dropped, Grande and Foster, part of the Pittsburgh-based pop duo that helped craft a slew of songs off her most recent album, have been  seen packing on the PDA in public, holding hands and sitting next to each other at various outings.

The two are also currently traveling together, with Social House opening up for the singer on her world tour, which just kicked off its European leg in September.

Foster shared a sweet tribute to Grande on her birthday in June, sending fans into detective mode to determine whether they were more than friends.

“Ur one of the most incredible people the universe has to offer. I hope this year offers u nothing but the joy u deserve. Love u. happy birthday 💙,” he captioned photo of Grande as a baby.

Reps for Grande did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Grande has not been linked to anyone besides Foster since splitting from fiancé Pete Davidson last fall, which she described as “highly unrealistic” and an “amazing distraction” from her heartbreak over her breakup with the late rapper Mac Miller.

Davidson has also moved on with a rumored new love interest, Margaret Qualley, after a short-lived fling with actress Kate Beckinsale.

This story has been updated throughout to incorporate Frankie Grande’s new comments.

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Michigan State fined $4.5M for failing to respond to Larry Nassar sexual assault complaints

The U.S. Education Department is fining Michigan State University a record $4.5 million and demanding sweeping changes after determining that it failed to respond to sexual assault complaints against Larry Nassar, a former sports doctor at the school who also worked at USA Gymnastics.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the penalty Thursday after the school settled with the department to resolve two investigations. DeVos said that Nassar’s actions were “disgusting and unimaginable” but that so too was the university’s response.

“Too many people in power knew about the behaviors and the complaints and yet the predators continued on the payroll and abused even more students,” DeVos said in a call with reporters. “This must not happen again there or anywhere else.”

The fine is the largest levied under the Clery Act, a federal law that requires colleges to collect data on campus crime and notify students of threats. The previous largest fine, $2.4 million, was imposed in 2016 against Pennsylvania State University over its handling of sexual misconduct involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

SURVIVORS OF LARRY NASSAR’S SEXUAL ABUSE SPEAK OUT IN NEW DOC ON GYMNASTICS SCANDAL

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-906112004 Michigan State fined $4.5M for failing to respond to Larry Nassar sexual assault complaints fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/michigan fox-news/us/crime fox-news/sports/ncaa/michigan-state-spartans fox-news/special/campus fnc/us fnc ee2ea700-d614-5ed6-9195-148684ae5d77 Associated Press article

Nassar has been sentenced to decades in prison for sexually assaulting athletes, mostly female gymnasts, at Michigan State and a Lansing-area gymnastics club. Former Olympians said he also molested them in Texas and overseas while he worked for USA Gymnastics. (Getty)

The department’s investigation concluded that Michigan State violated several key parts of the Clery Act along with Title IX, a federal law forbidding discrimination based on gender in education.

Michigan State did not immediately provide comment.

A department investigation found that Michigan State violated the Clery Act by failing to disclose crime statistics, failing to issue campus warnings about security threats and failing to establish a system to collect crime statistics. As a remedy, the school says it will hire a “Clery compliance officer” and create measures to protect athletes and children who participate in youth programs on campus.

A separate Title IX investigation found that Michigan State failed to respond to reports of sexual misconduct against Nassar and his supervisor William Strampel, failed to take interim measures to protect students while complaints against both men were pending, and failed to take steps to end any harassment and prevent it from recurring.

51 VICTIMS OF LARRY’S NASSAR’S SEXUAL ASSAULT SUE USOC OVER ABUSE CLAIMS

As part of its settlement agreement with the department, Michigan State says it will make “substantial” changes to its Title IX procedures and will provide a process to help victims of Nassar, including offering counseling services, grade changes, tuition reimbursement or the opportunity to retake classes at no cost.

The school is also being ordered to “consider appropriate sanctions” against current and former employees who failed to take action after being notified of sexual misconduct by Nassar and Strampel.

Kenneth Marcus, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said the agreement represents an “extensive and robust” resolution. Unlike most Title IX investigations, which are usually triggered by complaints submitted to the department, Marcus’ office launched an investigation into Michigan State in 2018 based on the severity of the allegations, he said.

“This message should be heard loudly and clearly by all universities so that the tragedy at Michigan State University is not repeated elsewhere,” Marcus said.

Nassar has been sentenced to decades in prison for sexually assaulting athletes, mostly female gymnasts, at Michigan State and a Lansing-area gymnastics club. Former Olympians said he also molested them in Texas and overseas while he worked for USA Gymnastics.

MSU last year agreed to a $500 million deal with Nassar’s accusers. Most of the money, $425 million, was for 333 people, mostly women and girls, who had already sued. MSU so far has settled with 72 people in the second wave of litigation, but dozens remain.

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Strampel last month was sentenced to a year in jail for neglect of duty and misconduct in office. He was accused of failing to monitor Nassar and using his job as a medical school dean to sexually harass students.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-906112004 Michigan State fined $4.5M for failing to respond to Larry Nassar sexual assault complaints fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/michigan fox-news/us/crime fox-news/sports/ncaa/michigan-state-spartans fox-news/special/campus fnc/us fnc ee2ea700-d614-5ed6-9195-148684ae5d77 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-906112004 Michigan State fined $4.5M for failing to respond to Larry Nassar sexual assault complaints fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/michigan fox-news/us/crime fox-news/sports/ncaa/michigan-state-spartans fox-news/special/campus fnc/us fnc ee2ea700-d614-5ed6-9195-148684ae5d77 Associated Press article

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Absolutely nobody turned up to support Mike Pence in Ireland

Westlake Legal Group 6qAklDxHAlp1mNkxf58tU8syBa-7CN_HPAfchLLzOF4 Absolutely nobody turned up to support Mike Pence in Ireland r/politics

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