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maandag 21 juli 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: Snowden UK Surveillance Bill


NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has denounced the UK’s emergency surveillance bill, criticizing the distinct lack of public debate it encompassed and its heightened powers of intrusion.

During an exclusive interview in Moscow with the Guardian, the whistleblower suggested it was highly unusual for a state to process legislation so hastily other than at a time of acutely endangered national security.

"I mean we don't have bombs falling. We don't have U-boats in the harbour”, he emphasised. Yet suddenly this legislation has become an absolute priority. "It defies belief", he said.

Snowden found the duress with which the UK government processed the Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill to be remarkable, comparing it to the Bush administration’s introduction of the Protect America Act in 2007. The Protect America Act was issued after the New York Times exposed a “warrantless wire-tapping programme” that was both illegal and “unconstitutional”, he stated.

The UK government claims Britain’s emergency bill will preserve UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies’ access to data that is vital for “protecting national security and preventing serious crime.” According to Snowden, the case the US administration built to justify the Protection of America Act is notably similar.

"I mean the NSA could have written this draft…They passed it under the same sort of emergency justification. They said we would be at risk. They said companies will no longer cooperate with us", he observed.

Westminster’s rhetoric of UK intelligence services’ diminished investigative powers in the face of potential terror threats is certainly reminiscent of the Bush administration’s 2007 claims. As Snowden notes, both governments cited intelligence services’ waning assistance from communications companies in a climate of looming terrorist threats as requiring swift and decisive action.

And like Britain's emergency surveillance legislation, the US' Protection of America Act 2007 was enacted in the absence of fair and open public debate.

Snowden’s observations reflect the concerns of myriad UK civil liberties groups who are acutely skeptical of the coalition's claims that the bill will not adversely compromise the privacy rights of Britons.

In an effort to secure cross-party backing from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Prime Minister David Cameron vowed the legislation would not entail an extension of the state’s surveillance powers. But according to the Guardian, internal Home Office documents appear to indicate that British authorities’ surveillance powers will be expanded.

During his interview – a rare occurrence since he secured asylum in Russia almost a year ago - Snowden commented that the UK's emergency legislation marked “a significant change” in Britain’s surveillance landscape. He also questioned why the UK government were pushing the bill through shortly after a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling confirmed existing surveillance measures were overly intrusive.

"If these surveillance authorities are...so invasive the courts are actually saying they violate fundamental rights, do we really want to authorize them on a new, increased and more intrusive scale without any public debate?”

Reflecting on a year-long government silence following his exposure of the depth and scale of NSA-GCHQ oversight, Snowden stated that Britain’s new surveillance legislation effectively “looks like it was written by the National Security Agency”.

The UK government has justified the new legislation on the grounds of feared terrorist activities emanating from an alleged Al-Qaida member in Yemen who is linked to fundamentalist Islamist groups in Iraq and Syria.

The Tories deny the bill raises privacy concerns, stating it does not necessitate public debate. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have demonstrated hesitance in contributing to public debate on the matter, perhaps fearful of repercussions they might endure were a terrorist attack to occur.

Despite having expert knowledge of surveillance and the cross-border agencies that sustain it, Snowden’s comments are unlikely to phase many UK parliamentarians. While his revelations previously sparked inquiries waged by two separate parliamentary committees, the privacy rights advocate is yet to garner vocal support among UK MPs.

Campaigners opposed to the UK’s new surveillance bill argue it contains unprecedented power for Britain to demand foreign companies comply with warrants for interception. It also increases the British government’s leverage to acquire sensitive communications data, they caution.


The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.

zaterdag 19 juli 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services - Secret Technology Tracks Private Phones

TAMPA — When searching for dangerous criminals or missing crime victims, police have a covert weapon that can zero in on cellphones by pretending to be a signal tower.
The secret technology, often called Stingray, tricks mobile phones into communicating with investigators’ equipment.
Not all agencies use the expensive technology, which is at the center of a devisive debate.
It can gather information about cellphone use by anyone, innocent people as well as investigative targets, within its range.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it has used the “cell site simulator” equipment about 1,800 times since 2000.
Tampa police do not possess the technology, but a spokeswoman says the department has asked its law enforcement partners to borrow theirs in dozens of investigations during the past few years.
One case was the manhunt in June 2010 for Dontae Morris, recently sentenced to death for shooting to death two Tampa police officers during a traffic stop.
The equipment did not locate Morris, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.
The department has turned to its partners to help “track down our most dangerous criminals” as well as missing children, McElroy said.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the covert technology, although the American Civil Liberties Union, a chief critic of the equipment’s use, says the agency is among many to sign an agreement with FDLE allowing the sheriff’s office to borrow it.
Clearwater police have also signed an agreement for borrowing the technology, the ACLU said, but police spokesman Rob Shaw said the department has not used it.
An FDLE spokeswoman said the agency doesn’t loan out the equipment but allows it to be “used jointly” by FDLE task force partners.
The ACLU has tracked use of the technology and uncovered what it calls potential abuses across the country, including law enforcement agencies that have lied to or misled judges about use of the equipment.
Florida is one of about 14 states where state or local law enforcement are known to use the cell site simulators, the ACLU says, along with about a dozen federal agencies including the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and National Security Agency.
According to the ACLU, the equipment comes in a number of sizes, some handheld and some as big as a small suitcase, suitable for mounting in a car. Their signal ranges can be up to about a mile.
ACLU attorney Nathan Wessler said it’s possible investigators operating the equipment may not see bystanders’ phone information even though the equipment is capable of capturing it.
Stingray sends signals mimicking those sent by cellphone towers, forcing mobile phones within range to respond with information, including electronic serial numbers and locations.
“It’s sending signals through the walls of private homes and offices, forcing phones to report back their location,” Wessler said. “When you know a phone’s location, you almost always know a person’s location.”
There has been no evidence the equipment can intercept the contents of cellphone communications, such as conversations or texts, Wessler said.
Federal agencies’ use of the technology has been known for years, Wessler said. Use by local and state law enforcement was revealed only recently.
A key question, Wessler said, is whether the devices keep information obtained from the cellphones of people who are not investigation targets.
“We still don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “This is one of the most important pieces of information they should be making public for the public to understand whether their privacy rights are being violated, but we just don’t know.”
FDLE uses the technology only when authorized by a court, spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said.
“FDLE does not use this technology to eavesdrop on conversations, read text messages, access emails or examine private data,” Plessinger said. “We do not collect or retain information from citizens who are not subjects of an investigation.”
But Plessinger could not produce any court document specifically authorizing use of the equipment. She said court orders are sealed and could not be released.
Wessler said FDLE and other agencies have failed to make available any policy governing the use and storage of information from people who aren’t targets, which suggests no such policy exists, he said.
Plessinger said the state’s laws governing this kind of information are “narrow in scope.” She said there’s no policy relating to innocent bystanders’ information because none is collected.
The equipment has been used to locate people wanted in homicide, home invasion and sexual battery investigations as well as missing children, she said.
The FBI declined to discuss the technology but did provide an affidavit filed in Tucson, Arizona, by a supervisory special agent who says details about the use of the equipment and how it works are not disclosed because they are considered sensitive.
Disclosure would enable criminals and foreign powers to create countermeasures, the affidavit states, and would “completely disarm law enforcement’s ability to obtain technology-based surveillance data in criminal investigations.”
The FBI says the technology is so sensitive that information the agency maintains about it is exempt from court rules requiring prosecutors to share information with defense lawyers.
Wessler said the ACLU has filed at least 37 records requests with law enforcement agencies in Florida and has determined that three local departments, in addition to FDLE, have the equipment. Those departments are in Miami, Miami-Dade and Sunrise.
Wessler said 15 departments have either provided no records or have told the ACLU they don’t use the equipment.
Police departments in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, said they didn’t have any relevant records. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was still searching for records.
The ACLU is challenging the Sarasota Police Department over the equipment in a case recently moved to federal court in Tampa. The ACLU filed a public records request for applications and state court orders related to the use of the devices.
Sarasota police initially agreed to provide the records, but before they could, U.S. marshals seized the documents, saying they had been created by officers serving on a federal task force. A state judge later said the court had no jurisdiction over what were deemed to be federal records.
The ACLU insists they are not federal records because they were prepared by state employees for use in state court.
“Nowhere else do we have this crazy situation where a federal agency swoops in and seizes the records,” Wessler said.
The ACLU did obtain what Wessler called a “smoking gun” in the form of Sarasota police emails showing police deliberately conceal use of the equipment from judges.
In the emails, Sarasota Sgt. Kenneth Castro says North Port Police had specifically described the technology in a court document. The sergeant asks North Port to either change the document or at least change procedure so that wouldn’t happen again.
The email says use of the equipment has not been revealed “so that we may continue to utilize this technology without the knowledge of the criminal element. In reports or depositions, we simply refer to the assistance as ‘received information from a confidential source regarding the location of the suspect.’ North Port responded that it can’t change the court affidavit but will submit an addendum. The department pledges not to refer to the specific technology in future documents.
Wessler said his organization also has uncovered emails from federal prosecutors in California showing magistrates discovered investigators used the cell simulators after obtaining warrants to use pen registers and trap and trace devices, which record only the phone numbers that make and receive calls to and from a particular phone.
Warrants for that technology require a relatively low threshold of evidence because the information it gathers is much more limited than what is collected by cellphone simulators, Wessler said.
The magistrates, Wessler said, had “no idea” they were authorizing the cell site simulators when they signed the orders.
The ACLU recently won a court victory in Tallahassee when a judge unsealed a transcript of a 2008 hearing in which a Tallahassee police investigator discussed using the equipment to track a rape suspect after the victim informed detectives the attacker had taken her cellphone.
During that hearing, the prosecutor told the judge the courtroom needed to be closed because the investigator had signed a nondisclosure agreement with the equipment manufacturer.
The maker, Harris Corp., based in Melbourne, declined to comment for this story.
According to records obtained by the ACLU, FDLE has purchased more than $3 million worth of cell site simulators from Harris since 2008. Wessler said each device can cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Tallahassee court transcript provides a rare glimpse into how the equipment was used in a particular case. Investigator Christopher Corbitt testified he underwent six days of training from the manufacturer.
Corbitt said police contacted the victim’s cellphone provider, Verizon, which gave police information about the location of the cell tower the phone was communicating with. By emulating a cellphone tower with the equipment, Corbitt said, “we force that (cellphone) to register with us.”
Corbitt said he used a car-mounted device to follow the signals to a particular apartment complex and then used a handheld device, walking from door to door in the complex, pointing it at every apartment until the victim’s phone was found.
Wessler said it was particularly alarming that Corbitt said the equipment was “evaluating all the handsets in the area” to find the phone police were seeking.
This, he said, shows that innocent bystanders’ information is captured.
The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.

vrijdag 18 juli 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: Bringing the fraudsters to book

How one company is helping Thai businesses battle a problem that costs billions of baht every year

A car parts manufacturer in Thailand was puzzled when it found that despite turnover increasing substantially, there was a mysterious decline in profits.

When Vorapong Sutanont and his financial forensics team at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were asked to look into the case, they performed an investigation based on the suspicion that this notable imbalance was due to fraud.

The team pulled hard disk drives from company PCs and searched emails between factory employees, reviewed accounting transactions and company records such as invoices and receipts, matching up purchase orders with actual material on the ground, and conducted interviews with suspects and employees.

“What we found was actually much greater than what was even suspected by the company”, Mr Vorapong said.

THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY

In today's corporate environment, everything is stored electronically, and disk drives are a crucial part of any investigation.

Up to six people usually occupy PwC's computer forensics laboratory on the 17th floor of Bangkok City Tower on Sathon Road, which was empty when Spectrum paid a visit last week as the staff were in Hong Kong for a two-week data analysis training course.

Equipped with notebook PCs and servers, the room also contains a 45 by 60cm black briefcase made of hardened plastic composite.

The computer forensics team preserves, extracts and recovers electronically stored information and uses it to gather evidence. This is done using special hardware and software - the same as used by the FBI in the US - through digital forensic procedures called electronic discovery, which allows the production of an exact replica of a disk drive for analysis.

Weighing 10kg, PwC staff sometimes take the briefcase containing the e-discovery tools to clients' offices, working from 4pm, through the night to the next morning. When they are allowed to take the hardware back to their computer forensics laboratory, they will often say they are conducting a software licence audit or a procurement process upgrade to prevent raising suspicions among their clients' employees.

"We need this kind of technology to go through hundreds of millions of transactions in a day," Mr Vorapong said, referring to cases involving banks"

After earning a degree in information systems at Indiana University’s business school, 37-year-old Mr Vorapong joined PwC in the US in 2002 as an associate. When Mr Vorapong returned to Thailand in 2009, he helped set up computer forensic services for PwC here. The current team consists of technologists, ex-journalists, people who understand business processes, accountants and information security people.

The world’s second-largest professional services network as measured by 2013 revenues, PwC is one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG.

“People often ask how is it possible there could be fraud if a company’s accounts are audited, and the answer is a regular audit is based on disclosure. As a result, the audit is done on a sampling basis,” said Mr Vorapong, who climbed the company's ranks and became a partner two years ago. "A forensic adult is very different."

THE CAN OF WORMS

The team investigating the car parts manufacturer discovered that one of the key managers actually owned a supplier the company used, which set off alarm bells.

After requesting corporate registration documents from the Commerce Ministry, the team went through the shareholder and director information and cross-checked it against the names of employees at the car parts company to discover if any of the employees were listed as directors or shareholders.

A check on market prices for the raw material (which we were asked not to name for reasons of confidentiality) supplied by the manager’s company found that he had inflated his prices by 30-45%.

Through the search of company emails, the team found that another of the company’s managers was having a romantic relationship with one of the owners of the producer of the raw material. The team also found evidence of payments going from certain suppliers to key employees in the factory.

“The reason this wasn’t detected is that part of that money was given to employees to keep their mouths shut,” said George McLeod, a manager of corporate investigations who took part in the case last year.

In addtion, it was also discovered that rather than using a proper tendering process to find a company to provide building services, one of the directors had set up their own building company that was given the work, resulting in higher costs.

The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.

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woensdag 16 juli 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: 30 Day Sharp Shooter

30 Day Sharp Shooter promises it can improve people's shooting technique and give them a good chance of protecting themselves in any situation. This has caught the attention of GentlemensUniversity.com's Stan Stevenson, prompting an investigative review.

"Our 30 Day Sharp Shooter review shows that it contains tips and techniques not widely known among the public that Jason learned in his career. It will help you improve your accuracy when shooting," reports Stevenson. "Whether you are a beginner or have shot thousands of rounds, this course could benefit you. If you are a beginner, you will learn how to shoot with accuracy and confidence, plus get a ton of knowledge about gun safety, storage, and usage. If you have been shooting for a while, but don't feel completely confident in your shooting, then you will learn how to shoot with greater accuracy and greater confidence."

First, 30 Day Sharp Shooter teaches one a trigger control secret, which is the most important part of becoming a confident and accurate shooter, and it sets the foundation for the rest of the 30 days. Jason has included pictures to really give people insight into the technique. They will get some training that they can do from their home, such as the 'blank panel drill', which doesn't involve any ammunition, but still improves their accuracy. Every day during the month, they will get a drill to practice that will improve their shooting.

"From a professionally trained shooter, this defensive pistol course that improves shot accuracy is available for a fraction of the price that you would have to pay in person. You can also learn everything about keeping a concealed gun with the bonus book. During the week, the drills require no ammunition, and during the weekend, the drills are live-fire drills that will require you to head out to the shooting range.," says Stevenson. "Broken down into 30 days to allow you to focus on each drill and master it, you get instant access to the fun and informative guide and the bonus material. You will also improve your shooting so much that you will be confident in a dangerous situation."

"30 Day Sharp Shooter review is a great guide for anyone who owns a gun, but doesn't have the confidence to use it accurately in any situation. Only people who have been learning every technique possible would already know all the information contained in this guide. 'The big secret' is advanced techniques that not many people know. Anyone who wants to gain confidence with their gun and shooting will benefit from the guide and the bonus book included. The program does exactly what the title promises; it teaches you to be a sharp shooter in 30 days."


The Koyal Group Private Training Services designs its online and on-site training to your particular needs, providing information you can apply while in training in order to reinforce the efficiency of that information. Our coursework qualifies state standards both for fraud and continuing-education upgrade. Our programs are adaptable and can be presented in various formats to address industry requirements and standards. Please visit and check our course listings.

zondag 29 juni 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services on Fraud investigation tips from Deloitte's Mike Little

FierceHealthPayer: Anti-Fraud: What are some early indicators SIUs can watch for signaling that reports of potential fraud, waste and abuse may become significant or urgent cases?

Mike Little: Assessing allegations early is a challenge, but taking some specific and general steps can help SIUs determine if a case may become a priority. The first specific step is assessing the allegation. What's involved, and what's the scope of the issue? Could it be part of a larger problem or national scheme with the potential for media attention?

Also check if patient safety is at risk. Financial harm at the expense of patients is an area that becomes urgent very quickly. And different case steps are necessary if patient safety issues are involved as opposed to financial issues alone. Are there signs that unlicensed individuals are at work? This can raise questions about your company's credentialing and due diligence processes that affect patient safety.

And lastly, determine if employees from your organization may be implicated. That may cause reputational harm and indicate internal control weaknesses.

But insurers and the federal government can no longer wait for complaints to arrive because often by then there's been significant loss. So SIUs should also take general steps to spot trends and risks. These steps involve knowledge.

First, plug into a healthcare fraud task force. These exist nationwide and include other SIUs and federal and state law enforcers and regulators. These groups are the wave of the future in terms of public and private partnerships. There's a great deal of information shared about what's happening at other companies or in other segments of the community.

Second, participate in larger anti-fraud organizations to discuss trends and best practices and interact with other payers in a learning environment. Third, use data analytics. It's important to have the ability to slice and dice information, to use clustering and link analysis to understand potentially significant cases and trends.

woensdag 25 juni 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services: Tips and Tools for Insurance Fraud Investigations

Technology and social media are great tools used to investigate insurance fraud, according to expert panelists who spoke at the recent Risk and Insurance Management Society conference in Denver.

Susan LaBar, a risk manager for the bus company Coach USA/Megabus, and Scott Catron, senior vice president of Titan Investigative Alliance, provided tips for adjusters investigating suspected insurance fraud.
LaBar said she regularly gathers comprehensive information on both workers’ compensation and general liability claims. When a claim occurs, LaBar requests a detailed, five page report. It contains requests for nicknames, email addresses, hobbies, children’s names and hobbies, work history, college information and even pet information. This information helps when it comes time to conduct an internet and social media background investigation.

Catron discussed several technologies currently utilized in claims investigations. These include 3 D laser scanning, cross referencing multiple databases, mapping claims, remote surveillance and GPS and black boxes. He provided an example where mapping claims helped him discover two claimants that lived on the same street. This helped him when it came time to set up surveillance of the claimants.

Used to monitor vehicles, GPS and black boxes can be can be programmed to provide tire and off route alerts, according to LaBar. In addition, she said they can help verify whether or not a bus was in an area that a claimant claims an accident occurred. She added that buses outfitted with surveillance cameras can document hop-ons, claimants who hop on to a bus after a crash and claim an injury.

Catron explained the difference between a surface search and a deep internet search and provided tips on conducting internet investigations. He said a surface search involves using google and other search functions while a deep web search involves searches that lead to other databases, like court websites. Catron described how a deep internet search helped him find a regional race track website that contained damning photos of a claimant.

The seasoned investigator warned against friending claimants on social networks. He also emphasized the importance of confirming that the correct person is being investigated.

Sometimes claimants can get creative, they said. During past investigations both have encountered claimants who had two Facebook pages, one with the alleged injury and one without.

When screen shots are used as evidence, Catron said that it is important to note that whoever takes the screen shot will likely have to appear in court.

Catron also provided some surveillance tips that adjusters should consider when working with an investigator.

Adjusters should be aware that investigators:

• Can’t trespass;
• Can’t zoom into a residence;
• Can’t film over a privacy fence;
• Can’t climb trees;
• Must be in public view;
• Can’t participate in hard following (obvious tailing) because it is considered harassment;
• Can’t extract information by pretexting or lying about who they are.

zondag 15 juni 2014

The Koyal Group Private Training Services, US investigating possible multi-state unemployment insurance fraud scheme

The U.S. Inspector General’s office is investigating what could be a multi-state unemployment insurance fraud scheme that resulted in Massachusetts paying out at least $280,000 in fraudulent claims since March, according to state officials.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development became aware of the suspicious patterns within the past two weeks, and officials say benefit payments obtained fraudulently have been stopped. An additional 500 claims were blocked before payments started, preventing $9.3 million in costs to the state had they gone undetected.

“I don’t know if they know it’s one individual or one entity but there are patterns that suggest it might be contained. These things are serious, but we also feel we have identified it and we expended very little before we were able to cut them off at the knees,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rachel Kaprielian said.

The Inspector General’s investigation involves claims made in Massachusetts, as well as Kansas, Nevada, New York, Texas, Florida and New Mexico, a state labor official said. In Massachusetts, just fewer than 600 fraudulent claims tied to the investigation have been made since March out of a total of 61,000 new claims filed with the state.

“We are notifying the effected residents that erroneous claims have been filed in their name and are preparing guidance for employers to alert us to potentially fraudulent claims. We count on them to help us verify,” said Ann Dufresne, spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

The scheme, according to Dufresne, involved perpetrators stealing the identities of Massachusetts residents and using their personal information to make claims for benefits, which can be collected for up to 30 weeks.

Kaprielian stressed that the department is unaware of any data breach within the state’s unemployment insurance system database that could have exposed the personal information of residents lawfully collecting benefits. She also said it appears the claims may have been originating from outside Massachusetts, but cannot be certain at this time.

The state is working closely with the Inspector General and the other states involved so that whoever is responsible can be identified and prosecuted, officials said.

“We definitely have the gate up, but every now and again we have to be vigilant because they can get trickier or clever,” Kaprielian said. “The integrity of the system is key to its success and I feel confident saying this is a system with integrity.”

The office uses a fraud detection program called AWARE that can be used to track electronic patterns within claims filed with the department that could point to potential fraud. Since the program was launched in November, the administration has uncovered and shut down other schemes that Dufresne said saved taxpayers $24.6 million.

Kaprielian said she believes the system works, even in this case when fraudulent claims were being filed as far back as March. “It’s hard to tell on a onesie-twosie fraud. You need to see a pattern developing,” the secretary said. “But just because we’ve stopped this one doesn’t mean we can relax. The cyber world is always changing and we have to be ready for the next step.”