Hacking into ATMs with a few internet searches

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Who would have thought it would be this easy to break into an ATM and run off with all the money?

CNN recetnly reported that a man was able to reprogram an ATM at a gas station, so that it would dispense $20 billions instead of $5 bills. Someone went to work to find out how he did it, and found that an operation manual for that specific type of ATM, a Tranax Mini-Bank 1500 Series, could be found legally in about 15 minutes.

The investigator who found the manual, Dave Goldsmith of Matasano Security, didn’t reveal exactly how he found the manual which had master passwords and security information about the ATM. However, a PDF file containing the same information was found with a simple Google search. The online manual was found freely available on the website of a Canadian reseller of the machines, and details the procedure to reprogram the machine, as well as change passwords.

Guilty pleas in Coca-Cola trade secrets case

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Two of the three people accused of conspiring to steal trade secrets from Coca-Cola and sell them to rival Pepsi pleaded guilty on Monday to one federal charge of conspiracy. The attorney for the third accused conspirator, Joya Williams, says she will not plead guilty.

Ibrahim Dimson and Edmund Duhaney each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. They will be sentenced on January 29, 2007.

Joya Williams worked as an administrative assistant for Coke’s global brand director, and allegedly had access to samples of new products and confidential information regarding Coke’s trade secrets. Duhaney told a judge that she contacted him about the scheme, and he then contacted Dimson, who was to make a deal worth $1.5 million with Pepsi.

The scheme was exposed when Pepsi officials contacted Coca-Cola about the scam. A search of Duhaney’s home on July 5 turned up Coca-Cola product samples and confidential company documents. The three were indicted on July 11.

MassMutual appeals ruling on firing of CEO Robert O’Connell

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An arbitrator ruled that Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. fired its chief executive officer, Robert J. O’Connell, without cause. MassMutual’s board of directors fired him last year after alleging that he improperly increased the value of a retirement account by tens of millions of dollars.

The arbitration panel ruled that MassMutual didn’t follow the dismissal rules that were in the employment agreement the company had with Mr. O’Connell. The panel further found that Robert O’Connell did not breach the fiduciary duty he owed the company. They ruled that the company owed Mr. O’Connell a lump sum of three times his base salary plus short-term incentive award, plus other benefits. The estimated value of the amount owed to Mr. O’Connell is $40 million to $50 million.

MassMutual is appealing this ruling, saying that it undermines corporate governance policies. The company says that any monetary award that might be paid to Mr. O’Connell will not have a material impact on its financial statements.

Should Internal Audit Report to the CFO?

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Who does your head of internal audit report to? If your company is like many, the chief internal auditor reports to the chief financial officer (CFO). That makes sense to some because they are both a part of the finance function. However, that’s not the best control a company could have.

It’s recommended that the head of internal audit report to the chief executive officer (CEO) and the audit committee.

Why? If the CFO is the boss of the chief internal auditor, how can the auditor be objective about the books and records for which the CFO is responsible? Audit committees, on the other hand, offer the internal auditor the opportunity to report findings objectively. Reporting to the CEO has its advantages as well. Such a structure communicates to the auditors that the audit function is a priority.

Scam Busting: Speaking out against Amway

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Eric Scheibeler was once a highly successful IBO (independent business owner) with Amway. He reached the “Founder’s Emerald” status, which represented the top 1/25th of 1% of the IBO’s. After developing his pyramid for almost ten years, Eric discovered documentation that revealed the fraud behind the company.

Eric thought the fraud was just at the Kingpin level of the organization, to which he had worked so hard to elevate himself. He reported his findings directly to Amway’s President, Dick Devos. Eric thought that DeVos would take action against the distributors who were defrauding so many below them. Continue reading

10 reasons to recall Milwaukee alderman Michael McGee/Jackson

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ViAnna Jordan, the woman behind the effort to recall Milwaukee alderman Michael McGee (Jackson) has put together a website on the issue. Ms. Jordan launched the recall drive this week, and has already been getting positive press.

From Ms. Jordan’s website, 10 reasons why Michael McGee (Jackson) should be recalled:

  1. Has become an embarrassment to his community
  2. Perjured himself in court about an illicit affair with mother of his child
  3. Arrested on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and threatening to kill a woman
  4. Aide arrested for possession of guns, drugs, and open alcohol
  5. Used slurs and epithets against LGBT community; unbecoming of a role model
  6. Has shamefully earned the public reputation of a scofflaw
  7. Lacks the rapport and leadership skills to be an effective leader
  8. Refers constituents to disreputable cronies in a conspiratorial hoax/scam
  9. Fraudulent use of alias names to avoid responsibility for accident damages
  10. Used constituent organizations to rally to the defense of a shameful act

More Officers Charged in the Frank Jude Beating Case

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Six current and former Milwaukee police officers have been charged with federal crimes related to the Frank Jude Jr. beating incident that occured almost two years ago. A total of 8 officers have now been charged by the U.S. Attorney, and 3 have agreed to plead guilty.

Thursday’s indictments included Jon Bartlett, Daniel Masarik and Andrew Spengler, the three officers who were unsuccessfulliy tried in Milwaukee County Court. Additionally, Ryan Packard and Ryan Lemke have been charged. The felonies charged by the U.S. Attorney include conspiracy to violate the civili rights of Frank Jude and his friend, Lovell Harris. Joseph Stromei was charged with obstruction of justice for lying to investigators, and he has agreed to plead guilty. Continue reading

A Drive to Recall Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee (Jackson) Has Started

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that a drive to recall alderman Michael McGee/Jackson has begun. The group organizing the recall is named “Friends to Recall Ald. Michael McGee Jr./Jackson”, and is led by ViAnna Jordan. The papers were file on October 3, and the group has 60 days from that date to gather 1,620 signatures to force the recall. ViAnna Jordan is listed as the candidate to oppose McGee/Jackson in the recall. Among the reasons listed for the recall:

  • Fraudulent use of alias names to avoid responsibility for accident damages
  • Incidents such as arrests for disorderly conduct
  • Perjury allegations in a trial involving the mother of his child
  • Slurs against gays
  • He “has become an embarrassment to our community.”

Note: The Journal/Sentinel says that “he has been known as McGee his whole life”. That is not correct. He’s got a drivers license and a social security number in the name of Jackson. Therefore, he has also been known as Jackson.