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Archive for December 30th, 2014

FBI Agents Briefed on Theory That Disgruntled Sony Workers Staged Cyberattack – Not North Korea

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

FBI agents investigating the cyberattack on Sony Pictures were brief Monday on an alternative theory that points the finger at disgruntled, laid-off staff – not North Korea – as the culprits of the devastating hack, Politico reports.

Security firm Norse provided the information and said the U.S. jumped the gun by blaming North Korea without conducing a proper investigation.

“When the FBI made the announcement so soon after the initial hack was unveiled, everyone in the [cyber] intelligence community kind of raised their eyebrows at it, because it’s really hard to pin this on anyone within days of the attack,” Kurt Stammberger said in an interview as his company briefed FBI investigators Monday afternoon.

The meeting didn’t change the FBI’s suspicions that North Korea was behind the attack.

“The FBI has concluded the Government of North Korea is responsible for the theft and destruction of data on the network of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Attribution to North Korea is based on intelligence from the FBI, the U.S. intelligence community, DHS, foreign partners and the private sector,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “There is no credible information to indicate that any other individual is responsible for this cyber incident.”

FBI Looking for Computer-Savvy Agents to Combat Growing Threats of Cyberattacks

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

This isn’t J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.

A new criminal – a far more elusive one – is attacking companies, governments and personal computers.

The rising number of cyberattacks has prompted the FBI to look for more computer-savvy agents who can “keep pace with the evolving threat” of hackers, the Boston Herald reports.

“Although this wasn’t in response to the Sony hacking, investigating cyber crimes and widespread intrusions is a top priority for the FBI,” said Kristen Setera, spokeswoman for Boston’s FBI office. “This push to hire new people is an effort to keep pace with the evolving threat.”

This year has been been especially damaging for hacking victims like Sony and the customers of stores like Target, Neiman Marcus and Home Depot.

“We are completely understaffed and under attack from Iran, Russia, China and now North Korea — if that was actually them,” said Gary Miliefsky, a cybersecurity expert. “We’re bombarded, whether it’s our business or our critical infrastructure, and I think the FBI is going to have to find gems, and it’s hard to find talent.”

Man Accused of Threatening, Stalking FBI Agent to Appear in Court in Pittsburgh

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Ron Bergrin bragged in an e-mail that he could easily destroy an FBI agent for her role in getting his cousin convicted and then sentenced for racketeering and homicide, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

“She thinks she’s living in a safe place, a place where nobody can find out where she lives and where nobody could get to her,” the e-mail says. “I’m going to teach her that I could crush her like the bug she is, if I wanted to. She will never sleep at night again. She will have nightmares. I’m going to investigate her neighbors — like she did to mine.”

Bergrin is scheduled to appear in court today on accusations of threatening the lead investigator in the case, FBI Agent Shawn Brokos, who was transferred to the Pittsburgh office from the Neward office.

Bergrin’s cousin is Paul Bergrin, a former assistant U.S. attorney who got six life terms for arranging to have a witness murdered, among other charges.

Apart from writing the e-mail, Bergrin is accused of repeatedly calling Agent Brokos at her office and sending her Easter cards.

Head of FBI’s Birmingham Office to Retire, Spend More Time with Family

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com  

After 31 years of federal service, Richard D. Schwein Jr. is retiring as the head of Birmingham’s FBI office, AL.com reports.

Schwein said he wants to spend more time with his family in North Carolina, where his wife and twin girls live.

“I have decided my family needs me more than the FBI,” Schwein said.

No replacement has been announced.

Retirement for Schwein doesn’t mean he won’t be working. He’s taken a job as director of Safety and Security at Mars Hill University near Asheville, AL.com wrote.

Schwein had a successful career, supervising the manhunt for serial bomber Eric Robert Rudolph and taking a leading role in FBI operations in Iraq.

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