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Private Eye Is Said to Face Prosecution in a Hacking USA

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 02:40 PM

Most interesting

Private Eye Is Said to Face Prosecution in a Hacking
By Matthew Goldstein
February 12, 2015 3:00 pm

http://dealbook.nyti...stigators/?_r=0

Private investigators may be the newest front for federal prosecutors in cracking down on the hacker-for-hire business.

In the coming weeks, a private investigator in New York is expected to plead guilty to charges of paying a so-called hacker-for-hire firm to steal email passwords and credentials, said three people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no charges had been filed yet. The guilty plea would wrap up a nearly yearlong investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors in New York.

Separately, federal prosecutors in San Francisco on Wednesday announced the indictment of two private investigators and two computer hackers on charges that they illegally entered email and Skype accounts to gather information for matters they were working on for clients. Some of the illegally gathered information was intended to support a lawsuit, authorities said.

The identity of the private investigator in New York, who works for a small firm, could not be determined.

Law enforcement authorities focused on the investigator because of the clients he has worked for, including some lawyers, the people briefed on the matter said. The investigation is loosely related to another one that led to a New York City police officer’s guilty plea in federal court in 2013 to charges that he paid a company to hack into the email accounts of some colleagues.

In that case, Edwin Vargas, who was a detective at the time, was accused of paying $4,000 to an unidentified firm to hack into the email accounts of 43 people, including current and former New York police officers. Mr. Vargas, who was sentenced last year to four months in prison, said he had been motivated by jealousy and wanted to determine whether any of his colleagues were dating a former girlfriend who is the mother of his son.

The investigation into Mr. Vargas was prompted by information developed by the federal authorities in Los Angeles during a two-year investigation into the hacker-for-hire business. That inquiry led to the filing of charges against more than a dozen people nationwide involved in either breaking into email accounts or soliciting hackers for the job.

The investigation in Los Angeles, called Operation Firehacker by the F.B.I., uncovered a cottage industry of firms that claimed they could gain access to email accounts in exchange for fees of $50 to $250, depending on the complexity of the job. These firms, several of which were shut down by the F.B.I., typically are paid through PayPal or another online payment processor.

It is thought that the private investigator in New York used one of these firms, those briefed on the matter said.

It is not clear whether the private investigator has cooperated with the federal authorities or intends to plead guilty simply to avoid a potential trial.

The investigation, however, has the potential to shed light on a less-than-savory activity that has been the subject of speculation in the legal community: the hiring of private investigators by lawyers to hack into email accounts to learn more about potential witnesses and gather evidence for trial strategies.

The notion that lawyers would countenance the hacking of emails appears to flout the legal profession’s most basic ethical standards. But security experts and former prosecutors said that investigations over the years had unearthed evidence that some lawyers hire private investigators to obtain information for cases without delving too deeply into how it is gathered.
Need Some Espionage Done? Hackers Are for Hire Online
Need Some Espionage Done? Hackers Are for Hire Online

By MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN

No longer just the domain of intelligence agencies, “hacktivists” or criminal gangs, there is a growing cottage industry of ordinary people hiring hackers for much smaller acts of espionage.

In effect, these lawyers are seeking to hire a private investigator who is willing to skirt the law but do so in a way that gives them plausible deniability of any potentially illegal activity.

“Any firm operating with ethics, governance and integrity that is concerned about breaking the law will not do that kind of work, as it could be illegal without authorization from the email account owner,” said Rocco Grillo, a managing director and leader of the global incident response and forensics investigation practice for Protiviti, a global risk consulting firm. “But does it go on? Sure, in some cases.”

Photo
Daniel B. Garrie, executive managing partner with Law and Forensics, a computer security consulting firm.
Daniel B. Garrie, executive managing partner with Law and Forensics, a computer security consulting firm.Credit Yana Paskova for The New York Times

Daniel B. Garrie, executive managing partner with Law and Forensics, a computer security consulting firm that specializes in working with law firms, said that because some private investigation firms are known to sometimes engage hackers, lawyers needed to be careful about hiring outside investigators.

“A law firm is well advised to create a written record with the private investigator so there is no misunderstanding later on,” said Mr. Garrie, who is a lawyer. “A lawyer should never hire an individual to hack except in a very narrow and limited circumstance where the side being hacked has consented to the action or there is a court order permitting the hacking.”

In London, a private investigator played a chief role in the criminal prosecution of Andy Coulson, the former editor of the tabloid News of the World, which had a practice of hacking into voice mail messages left on mobile phones. The investigation found that some editors of the tabloid, which is now defunct, had paid an investigator to hack into voice mail messages as a source of leads for articles.

In the United States, the hacking that some private investigators are involved with is far different from the recent prominent online attacks on companies like Anthem, Target, Sony and JPMorgan Chase. In those cases, cybercriminals or hackers, often working with the blessing of foreign governments, initiated large-scale assaults to obtain the internal emails of executives or sensitive personal information about customers or employees.

Much of the hacking by private investigators is narrower in scope, usually limited to obtaining email login credentials or unearthing information from social media accounts, security experts said. It is similar to many of the dubiously legal jobs now being advertised on Hacker’s List, a four-month-old online forum where hackers can bid anonymously for a job posted by person looking to conduct some espionage.

A representative for Hacker’s List, which warns customers not to post jobs that involve breaking the law, said 181 of the 1,942 active projects posted on the website had been completed by a hacker.

A version of this article appears in print on 02/13/2015, on page B1 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Private Eye Said to Face Prosecution In a Hacking .
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#2 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 09:53 AM

Creepy.

Don't they have Harassment Laws / Anti Stalking Laws in the USA?

If they do, it's overdue that some started to abide by the Law who carry on like this dude is.

Thank goodness they introduced some Laws in New Zealand to abate this kind of "unusual fascination and fixation" behavior, it's very unfortunate they failed to ban Private Investigators from taking photographs and filming people going about there private business.

It's not an offence to go about and get ones groceries, pop out and see friends or hang out the washing etc is it?

It is however offensive and creepy to go about following, accosting or watching a person on there own property through windows from the street, let alone film a person - there is a thing called the Human Rights Act, Article 8.

How would these Private Investigators feel if there own family members that had been stalked by a sexual predator feel if it happened to there own?

We all need to learn from the Phone/ Computer hacking and the like carry on that happened in the UK.

It's time for change and accountability for Private Investigators and insurance companies worldwide.

For those that are new to this forum, may we reasonably suggest you have a good look around and read up on Private Investigators, Fraud and related topics using the top right search box as you will learn a thing or three.



Secrets Of A Private Investigator Watching People In The Valley
Updated: Tue 10:32 AM, Feb 17, 2015
By: Nicole Johnson - Email

http://www.valleynew...-292136301.html

A cheating spouse, a scammer, or a criminal. Private investigators aren't like you see on TV. The dirty work of following people around can take weeks. Secrets from the private eye himself, who could be watching those in the valley who might never expect it. But their tactics might look familiar.

Somewhere in Fargo-Moorhead in a non descript location, at a building we won't mention where is a team of men and women taking on cases.

"If I know we are going to be doing a weeks’ worth of surveillance I’ll be wearing a baseball cap, and jeans, and probably not shave all week,” says Al Kulesa, a private eye with Sentry Security and Investigations.

He has caught those claiming to be injured carrying heavy things, dug up criminals that may have gotten off. And caught cheaters in the act.

"They have been living with this idea in their minds, for several months, several years, is my spouse being unfaithful to me, and they just want to know," says Kulesa.

So, if he takes the case Kulesa will hide in plain site, wait, watch, and take pictures for hours. Even spying on the go.

To learn the tricks of the trade we had Kulesa run some surveillance on Valley News Team’s Nicole Johnson.

"It's really a cat and mouse game,” he says while following me. He attempts to stay in my blind spot.

"At some points I may put my visor down to conceal my identity better, for a while I may not wear sunglasses, after a while I may put sunglasses on, he says.” For the average person like Nicole, Kulesa says would never expect there’s someone watching.

"If you watch them well enough you can see if they are glancing up and through the rear view mirror a bit, says Kulesa. But, if he gets the hint you're catching on he might switch cars, or come back later. Because, now he knows where to find you.

"Where their kids go to school, what time their kids are dropped off, what time they are picked up, favorite grocery stores, favorite liquor stores, family and relatives, daycares," Kulesa explains. Watching where you go to get that perfect shot to prove the case.

"I's not an easy thing to do,” While Kulesa is a pro, he has been caught spying before and confronted.

"You try and talk your way out of it,” Talking his way out of it he says it's a skill he's learned from thousands of hours of waiting and watching.

Kulesa was in law enforcement for years before becoming a private eye with sentry security and investigations. He says if you're looking to hire one make sure they are licensed and bonded.

Check Sentry Security and Investigations out online: http://dwinvestigations.com/

Or give them a call at 701-298-9051
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#3 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 02:06 PM

An update to post #1

Investigator Admits Guilt in Hiring of a Hacker


By MATTHEW GOLDSTEINMARCH 6, 2015

http://www.nytimes.c...-case.html?_r=0

A private investigator who has done work for small New York City law firms that specialize in personal injury and medical malpractice litigation pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court in Manhattan to one charge of conspiracy in hiring a hacker to help with his investigation.

The guilty plea, by Eric Saldarriaga, an investigator from Queens, stems from an inquiry by federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the so-called hacker-for-hire business. Mr. Saldarriaga entered his plea before Judge Richard J. Sullivan of Federal District Court in Manhattan.

In the court proceeding and a five-page “criminal information” charge, the clients of Mr. Saldarriaga were not identified. The charge said Mr. Saldarriaga, 41, operated under the alias “Emmanuela Gelpi” in seeking out the services of hackers to help him gain “unauthorized access” to at least 60 email accounts.

Under the plea agreement, he could be sentenced to six months in prison. A sentencing date was set for June 26.

Mr. Saldarriaga had been cooperative with authorities for several months, people briefed on the matter said.

The investigation of Mr. Saldarriaga and his company, Iona Research and Security Services, could now turn attention onto some of his clients, assuming they were aware he was hiring hackers to break into email accounts. In a posting on an older Yahoo message board used by private investigators, Mr. Saldarriaga said his company did work for about 20 law firms.

In recent years, federal authorities across the United States have begun focusing on private investigation services that work with hackers-for-hire to illegally gain access to email and social media accounts to gather information for investigations. Authorities are concerned that some lawyers might be working with hackers, either directly or indirectly, to obtain information that could be helpful in representing a client or preparing for trial.

Last month, federal prosecutors in San Francisco, in an unrelated case, announced the indictment of two private investigators and two computer hackers on charges that they had illegally entered email and Skype accounts to gather information for matters they were working on for clients. Some of the illegally gathered information was intended to support a lawsuit, authorities said. In that case, there has been no indication that the private investigators were working on behalf of a particular law firm.

In February, The New York Times reported that prosecutors working for Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, were close to securing a guilty plea from a private investigator who had hired others to do illegal computer hacking for him.

That private investigator has now been identified as Mr. Saldarriaga.

Mr. Saldarriaga began seeking the services of hackers-for-hire in 2009 and up until March 2014, the criminal complaint said. His case is loosely related to another inquiry that led to a New York City police officer pleading guilty in federal court in 2013 to charges that he had paid a company to hack into the email accounts of some colleagues.

Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

In that case, Edwin Vargas, who was a detective at the time, was accused of paying $4,000 to an unidentified firm to hack into the email accounts of 43 people, including current and former New York police officers. Mr. Vargas, who was sentenced last year to four months in prison, wanted to determine whether any of his colleagues were dating a former girlfriend.

Peter Brill, who represented Mr. Vargas, is also the lawyer for Mr. Saldarriaga. He declined to comment on Friday after the court proceeding.

The criminal complaint said Mr. Saldarriaga had illegally gained access to the accounts of people to either gather information for his clients or for his own personal use.

The website for Mr. Saldarriaga’s firm says it can perform tasks like Internet profiling, email tracing and computer monitoring. The website also said Iona Research specialized in criminal and insurance claims investigations.

Matthew L. Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan and now a lawyer with the firm Boies Schiller & Flexner, said that the guilty plea from Mr. Saldarriaga was another indication of how commonplace hacking has become and that federal authorities’ prosecution of cybercrime is not “limited to terrorists” and state-sponsored hackers.

A version of this article appears in print on March 7, 2015, on page B3 of the New York edition with the headline: Investigator Admits Guilt in Hiring of a Hacker. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Private Investigator Guilty of Computer Hacking - related topic
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