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Feb 25, 2018

Consumeraffairs | Consumer News

consumeraffairs.com

Consumer News

Amy Martyn


Recalls

Snyder’s Lance recalls Emerald Glazed Walnuts

The product may contain peanuts, almonds, cashews and pecans, allergens not declared on the label

Snyder’s Lance is recalling Emerald Nuts Glazed Walnuts that may contain peanuts, almonds, cashews and pecans, allergens not


The weekly hack: Tesla, Facebook founder’s college roommate, and Fortune 500 companies under attack


Photo
Photo (c) weerapatkiatdumrong - Getty Images
A local news channel in Australia reported that a bizarre hack prevented people from accessing its own Facebook page. When viewers tried to visit the Channel 7 Facebook page, they were automatically redirected to the profile page belonging to Arie Hasit, Mark Zuckerberg's former college roommate.
Hasit was an early adopter of the social media platform, but does not work for the company. He currently lives in Jerusalem and became a rabbi last year.
Individual Facebook users also reported being redirected to his page when trying to access their own profiles. A Facebook spokesman confirmed the instances but denied it was a breach.
The spokesman told The West Australian newspaper “this was due to a misconfiguration, not a hack or a security issue. We promptly fixed the matter, and the affected Pages are working normally.”

Tesla

Tesla is the latest entity to fall victim to crypto-jacking, a hack in which a victim unknowingly mines cryptocurrency on behalf of a hacker. Such breaches have become more common with the rising value of cryptocurrencies. A similar breach last week affected consumers who visited government websites in the United States, the U.K., and Canada.
Crypto-jacking allows hackers to put someone else on the hook for the expensive process of “mining” for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, a process that is so energy-intensive that experts warn it could worse global warming.
It costs between $3,000 to $7,000 to produce a single Bitcoin in energy and hardware expenses, according to research conducted by Morgan Stanley.
Tesla confirmed that its Amazon cloud network had been breached by crypto-jackers following an investigation and discovery initially made by the security from RedLock. Tesla added that customer data had not been compromised.
"Our initial investigation found no indication that customer privacy or vehicle safety or security was compromised in any way,"  a company spokeswoman told the BBC.

Fortune 500 companies

Last fall, the security firm IBM Security noted a “significant increase” in complaints about fraudulent wire transfers from its corporate clientele.
Hackers had apparently convinced accounting personnel at “some Fortune 500 companies” to transfer money into their accounts, “resulting in the theft of millions of dollars.”
The firm investigated and, in a report published on Wednesday, detailed the sophisticated measures hackers took to defraud corporations. They used stolen email credentials so that they appeared to work for the company, infiltrated existing conversations taking place online between company employees, and imitated vendors that companies did business with.
“In cases in which additional approval or paperwork was needed, the attackers found and filled out appropriate forms and spoofed supervisor emails to get required approvals,” IBM Security writes.
The report highlights the ability of hackers to defraud corporations without having to use malware, which law enforcement agencies and companies have been cracking down on.

Tinder

Researchers at the security firm AppSecure found a vulnerability in which hackers would be able to manage a stranger’s Tinder account by simply knowing their phone number. The news prompted Tinder to change its login system.

The Washington Post | ALERT

washingtonpost.com

House panel releases Democrats’ memo defending FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide

https://www.facebook.com/PostRoz


The House Intelligence Committee released on Saturday a redacted memo authored by Democrats and intended to rebut GOP allegations that federal law enforcement agencies had political motivations for wiretapping one of President Trump’s former campaign aides.
In their retort, Democrats charge that the GOP unfairly maligned the FBI and the Justice Department for citing in their surveillance application information from the author of a controversial dossier alleging that Trump had ties to Russian officials, research that was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“Our extensive review . . . failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat.
Republican leaders have argued that the former campaign aide, Carter Page, was unfairly targeted, saying the surveillance court that approved the warrant was never told that information from the dossier’s author, former British spy Christopher Steele, was financed by the Democrats.
Rep. Devin Nunes responded to the release of a Democrat-written memo defending FBI surveillance at the Conservative Political Action Conference Feb. 24.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) responded to the release of a Democrat-written memo defending FBI surveillance at the Conservative Political Action Conference Feb. 24. (The Washington Post)
According to the Democrats’ memo, Page had been of interest to the FBI for years. It asserts that the bureau had interviewed him multiple times about his contacts with Russian intelligence, including in March 2016 — the same month he was named a Trump campaign adviser, and months before Steele was hired to conduct research on Trump and before he made contact with the FBI.
The court was told that Steele had been approached by a “U.S. person” who had been hired “to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia,” according to a portion of the surveillance applications contained in the Democrats’ memo. Candidate #1 is a reference to Trump.
“The FBI speculates that the U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit candidate #1’s campaign,” the application says.
The memo’s content is the product of negotiations among the committee’s Democratic members, as well as with the FBI and the Justice Department.
According to Schiff, Democrats submitted their proposed redactions more than a week ago. At first, they were told the memo would be released Friday, then on Monday, he said. They learned of its release Saturday only shortly before the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), announced that the document had been put online for public perusal, Schiff said.
“I think the White House tried to bury it as long as they could,” he told The Washington Post in an interview. The Republicans’ decision to release the memo without warning, on a Saturday, is “not what you do when you think you’re vindicated,” he added. “It’s what you do when you think the facts don’t reflect well on you.”
The president nonetheless claimed a victory on Twitter, calling the Democrats’ memo “a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!”
Speaking Saturday evening on Fox News, the president characterized the memo as “a very bad document for their side” and, once more, attacked Schiff personally, calling him “a bad guy.” He also sought to depict the Democrats as sore losers.
“I don’t want to sound braggadocios,” Trump told host Jeanine Pirro. “I was a far better candidate. She was not a good candidate. She went to the wrong states.”
Initially, Trump would not agree to release the 10-page document without significant redactions, arguing that making it available to the public would risk revealing intelligence-gathering sources and methods. Democrats accused the president of applying a double standard, as he had promised to release the Republican memo before he had even read it, according to White House officials and the timing of his public comments.
No new information was declassified in the Democrats’ redacted memo, according to a senior Democratic committee official. Schiff had pledged to heed recommendations from the FBI and Justice Department regarding sensitive information.
But on Saturday, Nunes accused Democrats of colluding with the government in a “coverup.”
“We actually wanted this out,” he told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington. “It’s clear evidence that the Democrats are not only covering this up, but they’re also colluding with parts of the government to cover this up.”
Nunes’s accusations were directed not only at the Democrats who authored the memo, but also at the Obama administration.
“This was money from the Hillary campaign and the Democratic Party making its [way into the hands of] an agent who was paying Russian agents,” Nunes said. “Is it fair to ask, what did President Obama know?”
Surveillance applications and reports routinely obscure the identities of individuals and entities who are not the intended targets of wiretaps. The application to conduct surveillance on Page, and three extensions, were approved by four separate judges, all appointed by Republican presidents, the Democrats’ memo says.
Page has acknowledged that an FBI wiretap detected suspected Russian spies discussing their attempts to recruit him in 2013. He has told congressional investigators that he was interviewed by the FBI and cooperated as they investigated the men, who were ultimately charged with acting as unregistered foreign agents. Page continued to have extensive contacts with Russians, including making trips to Moscow in July and December 2016.
The Democrats said on Saturday that the FBI had several other reasons to suspect the Trump campaign of questionable connections to Russia — including evidence that foreign agents approached another former campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos — before Steele approached the FBI and produced his dossier.
“DOJ told the Court the truth,” the Democrats’ memo reads. “Christopher Steele’s reporting . . . played no role in launching the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference and links to the Trump campaign.”
The memo states that by the time Steele’s information reached the FBI’s Russia team in mid-September 2016, the bureau had already opened “sub-inquiries” into other “individuals linked to the Trump campaign.” The identities of those individuals are redacted in the memo.
Schiff said he hopes its release means the Intelligence Committee can refocus attention on “the core investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.” But there seems little chance this disclosure will quell the bitter political feuding that has consumed the panel.
In his comments at CPAC, Nunes stressed that the panel had seen “no evidence of collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia — a conclusion Schiff disputes. He suggested, too, that surveillance rules need to be changed.
The Democrats are “advocating that it’s okay for the FBI and DOJ to use political dirt paid for by one campaign and use it against another political campaign,” Nunes said.
Republicans have floated a legislative change that would bar material paid for by a political entity from being presented as evidence to secure a surveillance warrant. Democrats oppose the effort.
David Weigel and John Wagner contributed to this report.

NYT | TODAY'S HEADLINES: February 2, 2018.


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2 Weeks After Trump Blocked It, Democrats’ Rebuttal of G.O.P. Memo Is Released
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House Democrats made public a heavily redacted memo that was drafted to counter Republican claims of surveillance abuses against a former Trump campaign aide.
The True Source of the N.R.A.’s Clout: Mobilization, Not Donations
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Mueller Is Gaining Steam. Should Trump Worry?

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President Trump and his aides say they are not worried because he has not been implicated by any of the charges in the Russia inquiry led by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Yet the investigation seems to be leading to a larger, as yet undefined, goal.

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Left to Louisiana’s Tides, a Village Fights for Time

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By KEVIN SACK and JOHN SCHWARTZ
For the community of Jean Lafitte, the question is less whether it will succumb to the sea than when — and how much the public should invest in artificially extending its life.
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By FRANK BRUNI
My eyesight is in jeopardy. But I see some things more clearly than ever.

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Her Olympic Goal: Find Her Birth Parents
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Feb 24, 2018

Buffett's Berkshire has $116 billion to spend on a deal, but the investor can't find anything cheap enough

    • Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders was released Saturday.
    • At year-end last year, Berkshire Hathaway had $116 billion in cash and short-term Treasury bills compared to $86.4 billion at the end of 2016.
    • "This extraordinary liquidity earns only a pittance and is far beyond the level Charlie and I wish Berkshire to have. Our smiles will broaden when we have redeployed Berkshire's excess funds into more productive assets," Warren Buffett writes.
    • The letter also showed Berkshire gained $29 billion last year related to the tax cut.




    Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
    David A. Grogan | CNBC
    Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
    Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is itching to do a massive acquisition, but is having a difficult time due to elevated valuations.
    The Oracle of Omaha explained his buying criteria for deals in his 2017 annual letter to shareholders released on Saturday.
    "In our search for new stand-alone businesses, the key qualities we seek are durable competitive strengths; able and high-grade management; good returns on the net tangible assets required to operate the business; opportunities for internal growth at attractive returns; and, finally, a sensible purchase price," he wrote. "That last requirement proved a barrier to virtually all deals we reviewed in 2017, as prices for decent, but far from spectacular, businesses hit an all-time high."
    At year-end last year Berkshire Hathaway had $116 billion in cash and short-term Treasury bills compared to $86.4 billion at the end of 2016, the letter revealed.
    "Berkshire's goal is to substantially increase the earnings of its non-insurance group. For that to happen, we will need to make one or more huge acquisitions. We certainly have the resources to do so," he wrote. "This extraordinary liquidity earns only a pittance and is far beyond the level Charlie and I wish Berkshire to have. Our smiles will broaden when we have redeployed Berkshire's excess funds into more productive assets."
    Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway is a big beneficiary of corporate tax reform. The tax overhaul, which President Donald Trump signed into law in December, lowers the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.
    For 2017 the company had a $65 billion gain in its net worth or increase in its shareholder equity.
    "The $65 billion gain is nonetheless real – rest assured of that. But only $36 billion came from Berkshire's operations," he wrote. "The remaining $29 billion was delivered to us in December when Congress rewrote the U.S. Tax Code."
    Buffett, 87, added in the letter he will still handle the big acquisition decisions for the company, along with Charlie Munger, 94.
    "I've saved the best for last. Early in 2018, Berkshire's board elected Ajit Jain and Greg Abel as directors of Berkshire and also designated each as Vice Chairman. Ajit is now responsible for insurance operations, and Greg oversees the rest of our businesses," he wrote. "Charlie and I will focus on investments and capital allocation."
    That mention at the end of the letter was the extent of Buffett's discussion of a succession plan he put in place in January.

    RT : Bitcoin Skyrockets Amid Senate Srutiny

    NYT Today's Headlines February 24, 2018

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    The plea deal could be a sign that Mr. Gates plans to share incriminating information against Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, or other members of the campaign.
    Defying N.R.A., Florida Lawmakers Back Raising Age Limits on Assault Rifles
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    The state’s governor and Republican leaders proposed on Friday the most significant move toward gun control in Florida in decades.
    Tipster’s Warning to F.B.I. on Florida Shooting Suspect: ‘I Know He’s Going to Explode’
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    A woman close to Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the massacre, called the F.B.I. suggesting he might be “getting into a school and just shooting the place up.” Others had the same concern.