FBI Examining Whether Russia Is Tied to JPMorgan Hacking

Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe.

The attack resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the probe is still preliminary. Authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.

In one case, the hackers used a software flaw known as a zero-day vulnerability in one of the banks’ websites. They then plowed through layers of elaborate security to steal the data, a feat security experts said appeared far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers. The incidents occurred at a low point in relations between Russia and the West. Russian troops continue to mass on the Ukrainian border and the West tightens sanctions aimed at crippling Russian companies, including some of the country’s most important banks. Continue reading

JPMorgan, Four Other Banks Hit by Hackers: U.S. Official

Computer hackers targeted JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and at least four other banks in a coordinated attack on major financial institutions this month, according to a U.S. official.

The attack led to the theft of customer data that could be used to drain accounts, according to another person briefed by U.S. law enforcement. The two people, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is continuing, discussed the incident after Bloomberg News reported a breach on banks earlier today.

Hackers targeted customer and employee information, said a third person involved in the investigation, who was also briefed by the government. The theft involved gigabytes of data, said several people familiar with the attacks. The scale indicates a potential for significant financial fraud.

Most thefts of financial information involve retailers or personal computers of consumers. Stealing data from big banks is rare, because they have elaborate firewalls and security systems.

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Merkel Slams US Hegemony? “America Can’t Solve All The World’s Problems Anymore”

First Russia and China, then UAE, Egypt, and Turkey… and now it appears Germany (following a phone call with Putin) is pulling the rug out from under US hegemony – just as Obama’s warmongery ramps up…

Ex-FBI chief’s condition remains mystery after crash

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Former FBI Director Louis Freeh remained hospitalized Wednesday, two days after he crashed his SUV in southern Vermont.

Freeh, 64, of Wilmington, Del., was admitted under armed guard to the intensive care unit of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., after the 12:15 p.m. EDT crash Monday on Vermont 12 in Barnard.

The bureau put the armed protection in place because of Freeh’s past work on terrorism while serving as FBI director from 1993 to 2001, the authorities said. Continue reading

Inside the Ring: B-2 bombers’ ‘messages’

Three B-2 strategic nuclear bombers completed a tour of duty in Guam this week, as tensions remained high between the United States and China over what the Pentagon called a “dangerous” Chinese fighter-jet intercept of a U.S. surveillance plane last week.

Adm. Haney said in a statement that the bombers are intended to send a message to allies and adversaries.

“It is important for U.S. Strategic Command to continue to project global strike capabilities and extended deterrence against potential adversaries while providing assurance to our allies through deployments such as this,” he said. Continue reading

NATO Not Obliged to Protect Ukraine, Not Going to Discuss Membership at Upcoming Summit

MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – NATO allies do not intend to discuss the status of their relations with Ukraine or take the responsibility for the country’s protection, but will announce consulting and financial aid to Ukrainian military, a high-ranking NATO official told journalists.

“In Wales, there will be an announcement on the form of military consultations and financial support for Ukrainian military forces on behalf of the alliance. There will be no obligations to protect Ukraine,” the diplomat said, adding that since Ukraine was not a member of the 28-party alliance, NATO had “no obligations to react to the violation of its [Ukraine's] sovereignty.” Continue reading

Russia NATO Not Looking for War With Russia – CSIS

WASHINGTON, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – NATO is not looking for ways to set off a war with Russia, despite the alliance’s commitment to build up rapid response forces close to Russia’s border, a representative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told RIA Novosti.

“We are not looking for war with Russia. We aim to prevent any kind of unusual, unconventional approaches that might come after NATO territory or NATO stability,” International Security Director at CSIS Katherine Hicks said during a Wednesday press briefing on the upcoming NATO summit. Continue reading

Ukraine conflict: Russian soldiers seen with ‘up to 100′ military vehicles in Ukrainian villages

A convoy of “up to 100″ tanks, armoured vehicles and rocket launchers was seen travelling on a road toward Telmanove, a town about 80 kilometres south of rebel stronghold Donetsk and 20 kilometres from the Russian border, Ukraine’s army said in a statement.

The army did not give details about the personnel on board the vehicles or when the column was thought to have entered Ukraine.

A military source said the convoy had come from Russia. Continue reading

Fusion Investigates: How did America’s police departments lose loads of military-issued weapons?

 

Haunting images of local police officials using military-issued equipment to quell protests in Ferguson, Missouri, have raised new concerns about the Pentagon’s controversial program to equip local and state police departments with military surplus weaponry.

The program, now under White House review, has been plagued by messy bookkeeping, bureaucratic confusion and scores of missing weapons.

Fusion has learned that 184 state and local police departments have been suspended from the Pentagon’s “1033 program” for missing weapons or failure to comply with other guidelines. We uncovered a pattern of missing M14 and M16 assault rifles across the country, as well as instances of missing .45-caliber pistols, shotguns and 2 cases of missing Humvee vehicles.

More troubling yet is the possibility that some of the missing weapons, which were given to local police departments as part of a decades’ old government program to equip cops for the wars on terrorism and drugs, are actually being sold on the black market, Lynch said. Continue reading

Iranian General Threatens Surprise Attack on Israel

Iran “will not give a diplomatic response,” but will air its grievances with Israel on the “battlefield,” senior Iranian generals were quoted as saying on Tuesday.

“Our response to this aggression will not be diplomatic, we will retaliate in the battlefield, but will not necessarily announce it,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Lieutenant Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) was quoted as saying during a ceremony on Tuesday meant to commemorate “martyred” Iranian military personnel.

“The enemy will see and understand it,” Salami was quoted as saying by the semi official Fars News Agency. “We never step back (in the confrontation) against the enemy. The Islamic Republic is powerful and is capable of confronting any power at any level and we never bring down the level of our goals.”

The threat of a surprise attack against Israel for its apparent attempts to send a spy drone into Tehran came just a day after Iranian government officials threatened to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court. Continue reading

Ukraine crisis: Nato plans east European bases to counter Russia

Nato is to deploy its forces at new bases in eastern Europe for the first time, in response to the Ukraine crisis and in an attempt to deter Vladimir Putin from causing trouble in the former Soviet Baltic republics, according to its secretary general.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the organisations’s summit in Cardiff next week would overcome divisions within the alliance and agree to new deployments on Russia’s borders – a move certain to trigger a strong reaction from Moscow.

He also outlined moves to boost Ukraine’s security, “modernise” its armed forces and help the country counter the threat from Russia. Continue reading

Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty

What US Constitution?

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path. Continue reading

China-Russia team challenges US-Japan militarization of space

President Xi Jinping of China said in April that China is capable of responding to the militarization of space by the United States and other countries. In the meantime, Xi is committed to allocating more budget so that the military has the power to counter threats posed by various space deployments.

Russia and China have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together in the area of satellite navigation. The countries plan to build the GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and Beidou Navigation Satellite System in each other’s territory. Continue reading

Hungary seeks EU alliance to push closer ties with Russia

BUDAPEST: Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday said he would seek to form a political alliance to stop the European Union pulling away from Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

“The EU gets further away from Russia every day. That’s not only bad for Hungary, but for the entire EU,” Orban told Hungarian ambassadors in Budapest. Continue reading

Ten more countries that may default on debt after Argentina

Ecuador, Egypt, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belize, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Jamaica and Ukraine are all on the verge of a default, according to Moody’s ratings.

Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after hopes for a midnight deal with holdout creditors were dashed, setting up stock and bond prices for declines on Thursday and raising chances a recession could worsen this year.

After a long legal battle with hedge funds that rejected Argentina’s debt restructuring following its 2002 default, Latin America’s third-biggest economy failed to strike a deal in time to meet a midnight deadline for a coupon payment on exchange bonds.

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