Archive for March, 2016

El Venezolano TV Interview with AFIMAC Operations Director Art Garffer

March 31st, 2016 Comments off

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ASIS Women in Security Interview with AFIMAC Director Maria Teresa Septien

March 29th, 2016 Comments off

AFIMAC CEO Peter Martin quoted in Financial Times: Hackers blur line between thief and spy

March 29th, 2016 Comments off


Hackers blur line between thief and spy


By Geoff Dyer and David J Lynch
March 28, 2016

In the world of hacking, one man’s criminal is increasingly another man’s spy.

By indicting seven Iranians on cyber crime charges last week, the US is trying to send a message to foreign governments that it is willing to challenge publicly any attempts to manipulate the computers of important infrastructure. The charges against the Iranians follow a similar groundbreaking indictment in 2014 of five Chinese.

However, there is one big difference in the cases. The Chinese accused of stealing trade secrets from US companies were all soldiers in the People’s Liberation Army: the seven Iranians, on the other hand, work for private computer security companies.

The distinction is an ever more important one for the US authorities. As they try to find tools to deter rival governments from cyber attacks, one of the growing complications is the blurring of lines between nation-states and criminal gangs willing to work as proxies for either governments or even terrorist groups.

“We are increasingly seeing different versions of this blended threat,” says John Carlin, assistant attorney-general for national security, in an interview with the Financial Times. “It is complicated.”

Peter Martin, chief executive of AFIMAC, a corporate security and crisis management firm headquartered in Miami, says that governments are now frequently hiring hackers to do their dirty work both to make it harder for victims to determine who has attacked them and because much of the requisite technical talent resides in the private sector.

Partnerships with independent hackers, he says, gives nation-states “plausible deniability”.

We are increasingly seeing different versions of this blended threat. It is complicated.

The decision to indict the Iranians is part of a new approach by the US authorities to use public naming-and-shaming as a way of deterring certain types of state-sponsored hacking. “We are taking information that used to be treated as an intelligence matter and are looking to see what we can take public,” says Mr. Carlin.

In the past, the government has refrained from publicly attributing blame for fear of creating diplomatic headaches or to avoid compromising intelligence secrets. Now, with the perceived need to better deter future attacks growing, authorities are becoming more assertive.

“This is a signal to nation-states that we are increasingly willing to talk about what we know,” said Rajesh De, former White House official and general counsel for the National Security Agency.

However, while the US authorities are able to trace cyber attacks back to specific computers, in some cases the link with nation-states is not always as direct as it was in the indictment of the five PLA officers.

According to the Department of Justice, the Iranians are accused of launching a “denial of service” attack on dozens of US financial institutions and of hacking the computer system of a small dam in upstate New York. The seven defendants worked for two different companies, Mersad and ITSec Team, both of which sometimes “performed work on behalf of the Iranian government”, the indictment says.

Prosecutors allege that Amin Shokohi, who worked for ITSec, helped build the botnet that engaged in the attack on US banks. In return, he was excused some of his mandatory military service, the indictment claims.

“These botnets are often constructed by criminal groups but once they are constructed they can be used by actors for a variety of purposes ranging from criminal to national security threats,” says Mr. Carlin.

The same blurring of lines between private hackers and governments was apparent in a separate cyber indictment unsealed last week involving three Syrian nationals. The Department of Justice alleges that the three were hackers for the pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army which has used spear-phishing emails to gain access to the Twitter feeds of media and government organisations. In one instance, the three allegedly sent a tweet from the Associated Press account claiming that a bomb had exploded at the White House and had injured the president, causing a dip in the stock market.

At the same time, however, the indictment alleges that two of the three also operated an “extortion scheme” in the US for “personal profit” where they would threaten to damage computers or delete stolen data from companies in return for payment.

In October last year, the Malaysian authorities — on the request of the US — arrested a well-known hacker who was accused of selling personal information about US military and government personnel to Isis. According to the US authorities, Ardit Ferizi was the head of a Kosovo-based hacking group.

According to Mr. De, who is now a partner at law firm Mayer Brown in Washington, hackers traditionally fell into one of three categories: government-backed, criminal or politically motivated activists. “Clearly, the lines between these lanes have been blurring over time,” he says. “They are far more blurred today than ever before.”

It Can Change in an Instant

March 22nd, 2016 Comments off

Over the weekend, the weather was unusually warm for a March day, so my family and I got out to enjoy it. My kids rode their bikes around, and we played a few games. We all went in after a while and prepare dinner, work on some crafts and settle in. After a couple hours, I decide to take our dog for a walk, and one of my daughters decided to join me.

My wife cautioned that it was now cold and we should bundle up. I questioned it and she pointed to the thermometer indicating how much the temperature had dropped so quickly. I hadn’t been paying attention.

While walking, it was even colder than anticipated because of a strong, cold wind. Luckily, we had worn coats and winter hats. If my wife had not alerted me to the change in conditions, I would have been ill prepared.

Last week I had sat through a demo of CAP and its online portal that issues alerts, country information, etc. I’d consider this very comparable to sitting in my hotel room while travelling on business, not knowing that a protest has begun out in the streets, and receiving an alert from the CAP crisis response center (CRC). I’d be oblivious to the ‘change in conditions’ outside without it.

The future is definitely ‘know before you go’.

#FightFraud: AFIMAC Investigations and AVIVA Canada

March 17th, 2016 Comments off

AFIMAC is extremely proud of the work our Investigations Department did in conjunction with Aviva Canada, to collect court-ready evidence for this case. As well, a very special thank you to our AFIMAC undercover agents for their dedication and hard work on this project.

Watch the full undercover video from CTV W5 here.


Article by Vito Mangialardi CBCP PMP, featuring images from AFIMAC

March 10th, 2016 Comments off

Article by Vito Mangialardi CBCP PMP, featuring images from AFIMAC.

Experto en seguridad de América Latina, Arturo Garffer citado en Miami Diario

March 4th, 2016 Comments off


También se exploró hacia dónde va el voto latinoamericano en el 2016

Garffer afirma que el terrorismo en el siglo 21 es asimétrico y muy dinámico. No hay una fuerza militar convencional que pueda prevenir al 100% un ataque en territorio americano o en cualquier parte de Latinoamérica.

“Las fuerzas terroristas sí han podido muy hábilmente venir desde diferentes países de Oriente y norte de África y movilizarse hacia Latinoamérica estableciendo santuarios,  como por ejemplo la triple frontera entre Brasil Paraguay y Argentina, o la frontera entre Colombia y Venezuela, y a partir de los cuales puedan movilizarse hacia los EEUU, dijo Garffer.


Latin América Director de operaciones

“No se trata entonces de una operación militar solamente sino también generar un movimiento de inteligencia que ser pueda traducirse en acción y prevenir la entrada de estos individuos a nuestros países sino también evitar que puedan establecer comunicaciones directas internas y externas entre ellos.” dijo.

Garffer considera que el Gobierno estadounidense ha sido débil en combatir este fenómeno porque no tienen ni la capacidad no el conocimiento de cómo lidiar con este fenómeno asimétrico. “No peleamos contra un ejército regular. Peleamos contra gente que no se ve e identificar a menos que ellos hagan algo que los ponga a la luz. La administración presente ha sido renuente a tomar riesgos y lamentablemente en los próximos 10 meses no va a cambiar su política. Se va a dedicar a sostener su política de ‘political correctness’, y no cumplir con el principal deber del Presidente de este país que es el de ser Comandante en Jefe y proteger la nación del peligro de otro ataque en nuestro territorio.” dijo.

La XIII Cumbre Latinoamericana de marketing politico y gobernanza continúaba con una interesante ponencia a cargo deCarlis Souto, experto en realización de mensajes políticos que fueron muy exitoso en campañas politicas realizadas en 1999 y 2003 titulado Politicas, Mentiras y Vídeo.

A continuación, el analista político y periodista colombiano Jairo Libreros reflexionó acerca de lo que muchos analistas observan como un cambio en el péndulo político en la región basados en el resultado electoral en Argentina, la victoria de las oposición venezolana en la elecciones parlamentarias el pasado 6 de diciembre y la victoria del No en el referéndum boliviano recién realizado este 21 de febrero.

Libreros difiere de esa visión. El analista es pesimista y cree que aún falta mucho tiempo para que ese cambio de péndulo se realice. En su opinión el Liderazgo autoritario y oportunista se seguirá imponiendo dada la desconfianza del ciudadano hacia las democracia.  El descontento popular y la erosión del público hacia la política es grande.

“No se para dónde va el voto latinoamericano, lo que sí les puedo decir es que de cada 10 votantes, sólo 3 están de acuerdo en mantener la democracia, y por otra parte la política va hacia la manipulación del descontento popular y la lealtad de las fuerzas de seguridad”. Lo que más le preocupa es darse cuenta de que quien pueda manejar la fuerza pública será exitoso en obtener el poder y no hará nada por ser leales a la democracia.

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