Man Pleads Guilty To Phishing Scheme That Stole Over $120 Million From Facebook, Google

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Man Pleads Guilty To Stealing Over 120 Million From Facebook Google

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Evaldas Rimasauskas, a 50-year-old man from Lithuania, has pled guilty to participating in a phishing scheme that stole more than $120 million from Facebook and Google.

That’s right. For some reason, federal prosecutors want to send this man to prison.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Rimasauskas orchestrated “a fraudulent business email compromise scheme that induced two U.S.-based Internet companies to wire a total of over $100 million to bank accounts he controlled.”

Still looking for the part where he deserves prison time…

Bloomberg reports Rimasauskas “netted about $23 million from Google in 2013 and about $98 million from Facebook in 2015, according to a person familiar with the case.”

And here I thought companies like Facebook had security measures that would prevent such a thing from happening. Oh… wait.


 

“As Evaldas Rimasauskas admitted today, he devised a blatant scheme to fleece U.S. companies out of $100 million, and then siphoned those funds to bank accounts around the globe,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. “Rimasauskas thought he could hide behind a computer screen halfway across the world while he conducted his fraudulent scheme, but as he has learned, the arms of American justice are long, and he now faces significant time in a U.S. prison.”

When asked why the victims wired the money to him, Rimasauskas said, “I’m not sure 100 percent because I was asked to open bank accounts. After that I did not do anything with these accounts.”

via GIPHY

 

Google and Facebook each claimed in separate statements that they have recovered the majority of the money that was stolen from them by Rimasauskas.

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The Catastrophe: Climate change and the 22nd Century

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If you were able to revive every adult alive on the planet right now and made them stand trial for The Catastrophe, how would we plead? Could any of us claim ignorance? Not really. The man-made greenhouse effect was known scientific fact before I was born. President Johnson described it in a 1965 address to Congress, even if some subsequent presidents denied it. I’m old enough to remember the panic years around 1989, when even hard-right leaders like Margaret Thatcher called for a “vast international co-operative effort” to fight warming. We knew.

What we can claim, weakly, is that we were confused and distracted. Never before in history had humans faced an enemy like this: carbon dioxide is odorless, colorless, ubiquitous, necessary for life, and it takes a fair amount of scientific literacy to understand why too much of it is bad news. Heck, even when our poisons were odorful and yellow-stained, as in the case of cigarettes, it took us decades of denial — from the first lung cancer links published in the early 1950s — before the numbers of U.S. smokers began to decline.

The news business wasn’t built to handle an invisible, slow-building multi-decade threat either. The Catastrophe should be the top story in every publication and on every nightly TV report, but it isn’t. We already know the details. News, by definition, is that which is new. Reporters on the scene get excited about weather. They are mute on climate.

In the early years of climate change stories, there was a fair amount of crying wolf. (Do you still have wolves?) Estimates of effects were all over the map, especially in the years before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and supercomputer-enabled climate modeling. Climate denialists loved to point to articles from the 1990s that predicted doom. Since it hadn’t materialized yet, they reasoned, it never would, and thus the instinct inside us all — “everything is fine and if it isn’t we can adapt” — was basically correct.

By 2019, it was getting harder to cling to that concept. Individually, each weather event could be written off as not conclusively a result of climate change. But the ever-faster pile-up of events (the latest, as I write this: historic flooding in Iowa and Nebraska) became harder to ignore. Americans are, I hope, finally waking up to the fact that we’re not just talking about monsoons in Bangladesh and crop failures in Syria and the disappearance of Pacific islands

Tornadoes in the midwest, hurricanes in the gulf states, flooding in Florida, summer heatwaves and winter polar vortexes on the East Coast: All of this is accelerating now and is not going to stop for decades, if at all. 

Here in California, where we try to be woke eco-citizens but think nothing of hopping on planes and into SUVs, most imagined ourselves immune from the horrors out there. A 7-year-long drought didn’t do much to change that blithe state of mind, especially since the 2019 rains replenished all our reservoirs. (Most barely noticed the mudslides and topsoil damage that came with the deluge.) 

But the state’s largest wildfires, all happening within a few years of each other, changed that. A choking haze from California’s worst ever fire so far sat atop San Francisco for several weeks last November, making our Pacific-conditioned air quality suddenly worse than Delhi’s. That got our attention.

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Europol Launches Global Campaign Against Dark Web Vendors, Buyers

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The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known as Europol, announced on March 26, 2019, that it has made an ongoing partnership with law enforcement from Canada, the United States and the member states of the European Union to target buyers and sellers of illegal items on the dark web.

This announcement was made on Europol’s website, describing the progress of the crackdown to date, including 61 arrests made and over €6.2 million ($6.9 million USD) worth of crypto assets, fiat currency and gold seized. Europol began gathering international teams of experts to the organization’s headquarters in the Netherlands in July of 2018 and began work in late 2018 and early 2019 to prosecute dark web traffickers of illegal narcotics, counterfeit currency and other such contraband in several nations.

The history of the dark web is deeply entangled with Bitcoin’s initial rise to prominence as a household name. In 2012 and 2013, up to 7 percent of all transacted bitcoin value was connected to darknet markets, particularly the Silk Road. While this percentage has dropped considerably, darknet market activity nearly doubled last year, according to Chainalysis.

Since the Silk Road was famously shut down in 2013, several successor sites have attempted to fill this gap. Hansa Market, for example, was shut down in 2017 following a joint law enforcement operation of agencies including Europol. Dream Market, possibly the most popular dark web site today, has announced it will shut down in April 2019 after being targeted by law enforcement. This decision may be connected to Europol’s announced crackdown.

It is not clear how long Europol will continue this operation, which had been ongoing for several months before the public announcement. The announcement included several strongly worded warnings about using the dark web for illegal purchases, noting that the risks for doing so are “actually higher than those on the surface web.” In conjunction with the enforcement action, Europol has signaled a concerted and long-lasting campaign to deter dark web users and purveyors.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Babies can’t eat honey because it can cause ‘infant botulism’ — here’s what that means

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  • Babies less than one-year-old can get seriously sick from eating honey.
  • Honey contains C. botulinum bacteria, which can produce a toxin in a baby’s large intestine, leading to a rare but serious illness known as "infant botulism."
  • Fortunately, infant botulism is not very common, and infant botulism due to honey is even rarer. But the FDA recommends waiting until your baby is one year old to feed them the sweet treat.

While most adults can eat honey without problems, it’s a different story for babies less than one-year-old. Honey contains C. botulinum bacteria, which can produce a toxin in a baby’s large intestine, leading to a rare but serious illness known as "infant botulism."

Following is a transcript of the video.

This is C. botulinum. It’s a bacterium that can produce one of the world’s most lethal substances. It lives in lots of places including the soil, pollen, dust, and also right here: in honey.

So why haven’t you died from eating this sweet treat? Well, because you’re not a baby. As C. botulinum grows, it produces a toxin called botulinum. It’s the same stuff used in Botox. But Botox has an extremely low dose compared to infected food. In large amounts, the toxin would attack your nervous system causing the illness known as botulism.

Which can lead to paralysis and even death. And since C. botulinum is so common in our environment, researchers believe that bees pick it up on their way to the hive, where they produce honey.

One study found C. botulinum bacteria in about 8% of their honey samples. But before you purge your pantry, consider this: Normally when we encounter C. botulinum, like in honey, it’s dormant. And in this sleepy state, it can’t produce the toxin. Even if you eat it. That is, unless you’re less than 1 year old.

When C. botulinum enters a baby’s large intestine, it comes alive. Because, unlike children and adults, babies less than one year old haven’t been eating real, solid foods.

Instead, they drink milk. But when babies are around 4 to 6 months old, they stop drinking human milk and they start eating other foods they’ve never had before. As a result, their gut microbes change very abruptly. And it’s during this transition period in the baby’s gut, that the lethal C. botulinum bacteria are free to grow and produce the toxin.

As the toxin enters the baby’s bloodstream, it blocks the ability of motor nerves to release acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that sends nerve signals to muscles. As a result, the baby starts to lose control of muscles and appears tired and floppy. As more toxin enters the bloodstream, the muscles that control swallowing and breathing stop working.

Fortunately, infant botulism is not very common, and infant botulism due to honey is even rarer. Fewer than 100 cases occur in the US each year, and while it’s difficult to pinpoint the source of the bacterium in many cases, experts think honey accounts for 15% of cases.

So it’s important that if your infant shows signs of weakness,you take them to be evaluated by medical professionals immediately, in some cases, doctors can administer an effective antitoxin. But it can take babies weeks to a month to recover. The FDA recommends waiting until your baby’s first birthday to feed them honey or any products that are filled or dipped in honey.

Join the conversation about this story »

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From A Manual Trader To An Algo Trader: Here’s Rishav’s Journey

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No trader can say that he/she has never faced a loss in the markets. Trading is a little bit of both of these worlds. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Who doesn’t have a bad day? Let’s face it. We all do!

Getting up and going at it is the way of life! You identify where you made a mistake, learn from it and then move on. What is important is how you nurture your skills, learn from your experiences and add to your knowledge of trading.

Today, Algorithmic Trading is often pursued by many from various fields – it is not necessary that one has to have an educational qualification for this, but with an understanding and knowledge of the market, you can make your move. There are common folk, traders, newbies, professionals, giants, etc. that compete in this humongous pool of algorithmic trading. Their stories and journeys often resemble those of ours.

Rishav Sinha began his journey to take the steps for entering the world of Algorithmic Trading and Quantitative Trading and 6 months later here’s what he has to say about it.

  • Hi, Rishav! Tell us about yourself.

Hi, my name is Rishav Kumar Sinha. I am pursuing my B.Com. degree from IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) as well as preparing for my Chartered Accountant exams. I like to read books, stock trading and more. My trading style is intraday and positional.

  • Have you had any previous experience with trading or with Algorithmic Trading?

Yeah, I’ve had experience with technical analysis and charts. Initially, I used to follow the news channels and also got my hands dirty by doing live trading. Initially, I lost some of my allocated capital but slowly started getting the hang of it. I started analysing the market and I’m still practising as a trader.

  • How was your experience trading by yourself on signals and tips?

It was the worst experience for me and I will never advise anyone to do so.

  • Since you are a student at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and studying for CA, why did you want to learn Algorithmic trading?

While pursuing CA, this trading career enticed me. I saw that it seemed very easy to me that just with two clicks you can make money in the market ie. by buying and selling.

  • What encouraged you to become a part of the Algorithmic and Quantitative Trading domain?

Trading in the market is like a daily battle in which you need to have your weapons right. No matter how good the strategy may be, at some point in time, it fizzles out in one script and may work in the other. With this idea and backtesting techniques that which strategy works with which particular script, I got to know about algo trading that if I had a successful strategy I can trade it out in multiple stocks.

  • What motivated you to enroll for EPAT?

I hunted for many institutes that would teach me all about Algorithmic Trading. But, in India, I came across this institute where the study of algorithmic trading was taught in real terms.

  • How has your learning experience been during the duration of 6 months?

The EPAT curriculum was very comprehensive. A lot of efforts were given to analyse the quantitative part of the trading.

  • What features of EPAT have benefitted you the most?

The following features of EPAT, I’d say were the ones that have benefitted you the most:

1. Backtesting
2. Learning infrastructure
3. Proper platforms
4. Study material

  • How are you applying your knowledge of Algo Trading from EPAT in your life?

I’m still learning Algo Trading and for now, I’m just developing the basic strategies (pivot, moving averages).

  • Few words from you to all the aspiring Quants out there.

EPAT may be a 6 months course but the 6 months is just your beginning. Your studying and your efforts will keep on going until you get success in finding a trading system that will make your trading dreams come true. At last, just follow what the faculty at the institute guide you through and always keep your coding skills high.

 

Do you relate to Rishav’s story? Well, it is just enticing to learn how Rishav went on to redeem himself as an Algo Trader from being just a novice.

It takes courage to take the first step. And with the right guidance and support, you can have a success story of your own to tell. At EPAT, we have come across many such success stories that inspire. Help us to help you build your story. Enroll for EPAT here.

Disclaimer: In order to assist individuals who are considering pursuing a career in algorithmic and quantitative trading, this case study has been collated based on the personal experiences of a student or alumni from QuantInsti’s EPAT™ programme. Case studies are for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to be used for investment purposes. The results achieved post completion of the EPAT™ programme may not be uniform for all individuals.

The post From A Manual Trader To An Algo Trader: Here’s Rishav’s Journey appeared first on .

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Avicii’s Family Launches Mental Illness And Suicide Prevention Foundation In His Honor

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Avicii’s Family Launches Mental Illness and Suicide-Prevention Foundation in His Memory

Getty Image / Kevin Mazur / Contributor

Avicii passed away on April 20, 2018, in Muscat, Oman from an apparent suicide. Nearly one year after his tragic death, the family of dance music artist Tim Bergling are honoring the EDM DJ by launching a foundation to focus on suicide prevention and help people suffering with mental illness.

The Tim Bergling Foundation “will initially focus on supporting people and organizations working in the field of mental illness and suicide prevention.” The multiplatinum-selling artist and DJ was only 28-years-old when he committed suicide.

“Tim wanted to make a difference,” the statement concludes. “Starting a foundation in his name is our way to honor his memory and continue to act in his spirit.” The Tim Bergling Foundation will officially open on April 20, the same day as his death.

Bergling’s parents said the foundation will also raise awareness for climate change, nature conservation, and endangered species. In January, it was revealed that Avicii’s parents, Anki Liden and Klas Bergling would inherit the DJ’s fortune, which is believed to be approximately $25.5 million.

In 2016, Avicii retired from live performances due to lingering health problems he suffered from for years. “He wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most — music,” Bergling’s family said. “He really struggled with thoughts about meaning, life, happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace. Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.”

[HypeBeast]

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HOLD MY BEER: Synthetic Alcohol That Doesn’t Cause Hangovers Could Be Available In Five Years

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A World Without Hangovers. Isn’t that a John Lennon song? If not, it should be.

And David Nutt should sing backup vocals.

Nutt, a famed English neuropsychopharmacologist, plans to bring a safe synthetic alcohol substitute called Alcarelle to the general public. According to the Guardian, the award-winning scientist has been developing a super molecule called “alcosynth” that aims to provide the relaxing and socially lubricating qualities of alcohol without the burden of a next-day hangover and more importantly, alcohol-related health issues.

Nutt has long been a critic of the “toxic substance” known as alcohol and was even fired from his position as a government drugs adviser 10 years back for calling out the industry’s hypocrisy in dealing with drugs and alcohol. He once lost his job for claiming that horseback riding was more dangerous than taking ecstasy, while alcohol is more harmful to society than heroin or crack. He cited that horseback riding has one serious adverse event every 350 exposures while with ecstasy there is just one serious adverse event in every 10,000 exposures.

The origin of the Alcarelle story originated as far back as 1983, when Nutt was a PhD student and studying the effects of alcohol on the Gaba system. Alcohol’s main brain function is to stimulate the Gaba receptors, which in turn calms the brain by firing off fewer neurons. Nutt gave rats alcohol before giving them a chemical that blocks Gaba receptors, causing the rats to sober up. The study was too dangerous at the time to be brought to the masses because if a person accidentally took it when sober, it would cause seizures.

Fast forward over three decades and Nutt is determined to prove fellow scientists wrong who say the alcohol antidote is “too challenging” and “too crazy.”

Via The Guardian:

What Nutt now knows is that there are 15 different Gaba receptor subtypes in multiple brain regions, “and alcohol is very promiscuous. It will bind to them all.” Without giving away his trade secrets, he says he has found which Gaba and other receptors can be stimulated to induce tipsiness without adverse effects. “We know where in the brain alcohol has its ‘good’ effects and ‘bad’ effects, and what particular receptors mediate that – Gaba, glutamate and other ones, such as serotonin and dopamine. The effects of alcohol are complicated but … you can target the parts of the brain you want to target.”

Handily, you can modify the way in which a molecule binds to a receptor to produce different effects. You can design a peak effect into it, so no matter how much Alcarelle you consume, you won’t get hammered. This is well-established science; in fact Nutt says a number of medicines, such as the smoking cessation drug varenicline (marketed as Champix), use a similar shut-off effect. You can create other effects, too, while still avoiding inebriation, so you could choose between a party drink or a business-lunch beverage.

Nutt’s ambitious project is far more than a pipe dream. In November 2018, he and his business partner raised £20 million from investors to bring Alcarelle to market. His biggest hurdle, he claims, isn’t the science, but the regulatory hoops they’ll have to jump through to make the product available for public consumption.

The scientist and his team have a five-year plan. Since Alcarelle will likely be regulated as a food additive or an ingredient, they need to create a drink product that they are working with food scientists to develop. This will typically takes three years, but could take longer. Their aim is not to become a drinks company, but to supply companies in the drinks industry with the ingredient, so that they can make and market their own products (think how the tobacco industry has invested in vaping rather than tried to fight it.)

Until then, I’ll have a whiskey, straight.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Proxy raises $13.6M to unlock anything with Bluetooth identity

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You know how kings used to have trumpeters heralding their arrival wherever they went? Proxy wants to do that with Bluetooth. The startup lets you instantly unlock office doors and reserve meeting rooms using Bluetooth Low Energy signal. You never even have to pull out your phone or open an app. But Proxy is gearing up to build an entire Bluetooth identity layer for the world that could invisibly hover around its users. That could allow devices around the workplace and beyond to instantly recognize your credentials and preferences to sign you into teleconferences, pay for public transit or ask the barista for your usual.

Today, Proxy emerges from stealth after piloting its keyless, badgeless office entry tech with 50 companies. It’s raised a $13.6 million Series A round led by Kleiner Perkins to turn your phone into your skeleton key. “The door is a forcing function to solve all the hard problems — everything from safety to reliability to the experience to privacy,” says Proxy co-founder and CEO Denis Mars. “If you’re gonna do this, it’s gonna have to work right, and especially if you’re going to do this in the workplace with enterprises where there’s no room to fix it.”

But rather than creepily trying to capitalize on your data, Proxy believes you should own and control it. Each interaction is powered by an encrypted one-time token so you’re not just beaming your unprotected information out into the universe. “I’ve been really worried about how the internet world spills over to the physical world. Cookies are everywhere with no control. What’s the future going to be like? Are we going to be tracked everywhere or is there a better way?” He figured the best path to the destiny he wanted was to build it himself.

Mars and his co-founder Simon Ratner, both Australian, have been best buddies for 10 years. Ratner co-founded a video annotation startup called Omnisio that was acquired by YouTube, while Mars co-founded teleconferencing company Bitplay, which was bought by Jive Software. Ratner ended up joining Jive where the pair began plotting a new startup. “We asked ourselves what we wanted to do with the next 10 or 20 years of our lives. We both had kids and it changed our perspective. What’s meaningful that’s worth working on for a long time?”

They decided to fix a real problem while also addressing their privacy concerns. As he experimented with Internet of Things devices, Mars found every fridge and light bulb wanted you to download an app, set up a profile, enter your password and then hit a button to make something happen. He became convinced this couldn’t scale and we’d need a hands-free way to tell computers who we are. The idea for Proxy emerged. Mars wanted to know, “Can we create this universal signal that anything can pick up?”

Most offices already have infrastructure for badge-based RFID entry. The problem is that employees often forget their badges, waste time fumbling to scan them and don’t get additional value from the system elsewhere.

So rather than re-invent the wheel, Proxy integrates with existing access control systems at offices. It just replaces your cards with an app authorized to constantly emit a Bluetooth Low Energy signal with an encrypted identifier of your identity. The signal is picked up by readers that fit onto the existing fixtures. Employees can then just walk up to a door with their phone within about six feet of the sensor and the door pops open. Meanwhile, their bosses can define who can go where using the same software as before, but the user still owns their credentials.

“Data is valuable, but how does the end user benefit? How do we change all that value being stuck with these big tech companies and instead give it to the user?” Mars asks. “We need to make privacy a thing that’s not exploited.”

Mars believes now’s the time for Proxy because phone battery life is finally getting good enough that people aren’t constantly worried about running out of juice. Proxy’s Bluetooth Low Energy signal doesn’t suck up much, and geofencing can wake up the app in case it shuts down while on a long stint away from the office. Proxy has even considered putting inductive charging into its sensors so you could top up until your phone turns back on and you can unlock the door.

Opening office doors isn’t super exciting, though. What comes next is. Proxy is polishing its features that auto-reserve conference rooms when you walk inside, that sign you into your teleconferencing system when you approach the screen and that personalize workstations when you arrive. It’s also working on better office guest check-in to eliminate the annoying iPad sign-in process in the lobby. Next, Mars is eyeing “Your car, your home, all your devices. All these things are going to ask ‘can I sense you and do something useful for you?’ ”

After demoing at Y Combinator, thousands of companies reached out to Proxy, from hotel chains to corporate conglomerates to theme parks. Proxy charges for its hardware, plus a monthly subscription fee per reader. Employees are eager to ditch their keycards, so Proxy sees 90 percent adoption across all its deployments. Customers only churn if something breaks, and it hasn’t lost a customer in two years, Mars claims.

The status quo of keycards, competitors like Openpath and long-standing incumbents all typically only handle doors, while Proxy wants to build an omni-device identity system. Now Proxy has the cash to challenge them, thanks to the $13.6 million from Kleiner, Y Combinator, Coatue Management and strategic investor WeWork. In fact, Proxy now counts WeWork’s headquarters and Dropbox as clients. “With Proxywe can give our employees, contractors and visitors a seamless smartphone-enabled access experience they love, while actually bolstering security,” says Christopher Bauer, Dropbox’s physical security systems architect.

The cash will help answer the question of “How do we turn this into a protocol so we don’t have to build the other side for everyone?,” Mars explains. Proxy will build out SDKs that can be integrated into any device, like a smoke detector that could recognize which people are in the vicinity and report that to first responders. Mars thinks hotel rooms that learn your climate, wake-up call and housekeeping preferences would be a no-brainer. Amazon Go-style autonomous retail could also benefit from the tech.

When asked what keeps him up at night, Mars concludes that “the biggest thing that scares me is that this requires us to be the most trustworthy company on the planet. There is no ‘move fast, break things’ here. It’s ‘move fast, do it right, don’t screw it up.’ “

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