- Created on 14 November 2013
According to the Department of Homeland security, these attempts are minimal when compared to the onslaught that most federal agencies receive, and none have been successful. The 16 reported attempts are currently under investigation, said Assistant Secretary Roberta Stempfley to members of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Read more from ABC:
While the number of hacking attempts for such a “high profile target” may seem low, Robert Siciliano, a McAfee online security expert, told ABCNews.com that it’s likely the agency is reporting only “brute force attacks.”
“Little tiny ones that happen on a daily basis, like attempting to crack passwords, they may see them but they add up to nothing. They’re probably reporting significant brute force attacks that could put data at risk,” Siciliano said.
In comparison, the Department of Homeland Security website logged about “228,700 cyber incidents” during the last fiscal year, a DHS official told ABCNews.com, which averages out to about 626 a day “involving federal agencies, critical infrastructure, and the Department’s industry partners.”
“The fact there was only 16 is surprising. Maybe those 16 are the documented ones,” he said of healthcare.gov. “Due to the fact there are consumers punching in personal identifying info, that makes it a very attractive target.”
As previously reported by NewsOne, Healthcare.gov has fallen victim to its own ambition and during a time that should be celebratory, President Barack Obama has been forced into playing defense and apologizing for what many perceive as his dishonesty.
In an interview with NBC News last Thursday, President Barack Obama apologized to those Americans who have received cancellation notices for their insurance policies.
“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” the president said in the interview.
- Created on 13 November 2013
AP Photo/Nathan Denette
TORONTO (AP) -- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted during a heated City Council debate Wednesday that he had bought illegal drugs in the past two years, but he firmly refused to step down even after nearly every councilor stood up to ask him to take a leave of absence.
The mayor made the confession under direct questioning by a former ally, Councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong. Ford publicly admitted last week that he smoked crack cocaine last year in a "drunken stupor," but his comments Wednesday marked the first time he acknowledged having bought illegal drugs.
Ford paused for a long time after Minnan-Wong asked him if he had bought illicit narcotics in the past two years.
Then Ford replied, "Yes I have."
"I understand the embarrassment that I have caused. I am humiliated by it," Ford said.
But he then turned defiant, saying he was not an addict of any sort and rebuffing suggestions from council members that he should seek help. He insisted he is a "positive role model for kids who are down and out."
"I'm most definitely keeping this job," he said. "I am not leaving here. I'm going to sit here and going to attend every meeting."
Moments earlier, all but two of the 43 councilors present for the debate voted to accept an open letter asking Ford to step aside. Most of them also stood up to urge the mayor to take a leave of absence.
Although it was a stark demonstration of his political isolation, the vote was symbolic because the City Council does not have the authority to force the mayor from office unless he is convicted of a crime.
"Together we stand to ask you to step aside and take a leave of absence," Councilor Jaye Robinson said, reading the open letter.
The packed council chamber erupted with applause when Robinson ended her speech, saying "Let's get on with city business."
Outside City Hall, hundreds of protesters changed "resign!" And organizers of Toronto's Santa Claus Parade asked that Ford not walk in the procession this year.
Ford's refusal to resign has confounded the City Council, where many members agree that his erratic behavior - from public drunkenness to threatening to kill someone in a videotaped tirade - has consumed Toronto's politics and undermined efforts to tackle other challenges.
But with no clear legal path to force him out, the Council is grasping for ways to shunt the larger-than-life leader aside and govern without him until next year's municipal elections.
The open letter was separate from a non-binding motion, also being debated Wednesday, that would formally call on Ford to take a leave of absence, apologize to Toronto residents for misleading them and cooperate with police.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, a Ford ally, announced shortly before the debate that he would support the motion, introduced by Minnan-Wong.
"I'm publicly advising the mayor to take some time," Kelly said.
One Ford ally, Councilor Giorgio Mammoliti, called the motion a waste of time. "We can't tell him what to do. Only the electorate can tell him what to do," he said.
Toronto police said last month they had obtained a long-sought video of Ford apparently smoking from a crack pipe but that it does not constitute evidence to charge him. Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said Ford's acknowledgement Wednesday that he bought illegal drugs would be passed on to investigators.
News reports of the crack video's existence first surfaced in May, but it has not been released publicly.
Another proposed motion would curtail Ford's powers, suspending his authority to appoint and dismiss the deputy mayor and his executive committee, which runs the budget process. It likely won't be debated until Friday.
Toronto's mayor already has limited powers compared to the mayors of many large cities in the United States. He is just one voting member in the council and his power stems mostly from his ability, as the only councilor elected by citywide vote, to build consensus and set the agenda. That authority, many council members say, has evaporated in the crack scandal.
Ford, 44, was elected three years ago, riding a backlash from suburbanites who felt alienated by what they deemed Toronto's downtown-centric, liberal-dominated politics.
Despite his eroding political leverage, Ford promises to seek re-election. He maintains a hardcore of supporters he refers to as "Ford Nation," who applaud him for abolishing an annual $60 vehicle registration tax, squeezing valuable concessions out of the labor unions and other cost-saving measures.
Councilors have expressed concern that more revelations about the mayor's misdeeds will surface and plague city politics.
On Tuesday, a judge agreed to release more documents from a drug case against a friend and occasional driver of the mayor, Alexander Lisi. Previously released documents revealed the mayor's ties and covert meetings with Lisi.
Among the information to be released are allegations that staffers often bought alcohol for the mayor, according to Iain MacKinnon, a lawyer who represents media organizations who sought the release of the documents.
The documents also detail Ford's night out on St. Patrick's Day in 2012, when the mayor himself has said he was "out of control" drunk, MacKinnon told The Associated Press.
Ford was grilled by councilors about his links to a Toronto home where he was photographed with three suspected gang members. A police informant has described the residence as a "crack house" and police have said it relates to the crack video.
"That is not a crack house," Ford said. "Have you been in that house?"
Councilor Michael Thompson retorted: "I have no interest in being in that house. I am not a crack user."
- Created on 12 November 2013
HOUSTON (AP) — Two suspects have been charged in connection with a shooting at a house party in suburban Houston that left two teenagers dead and injured 19 others, authorities announced Monday.
Investigators said they still believe the deadly shooting started as a result of celebratory gunfire, despite court documents that seem to indicate the incident started when the suspects shot at two individuals before then firing into the crowd.
Willie Young, 21, and Randy Stewart, 18, were arrested Monday morning, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Young is charged with deadly conduct, while Stewart is charged with aggravated assault. Bail for each suspect was set at $250,000. Court records did not indicate whether Young or Stewart has an attorney.
The victim killed at the scene has been identified as 17-year-old Qu’eric Richardson. The 16-year-old girl who died at a hospital was identified as Arielle Shepherd.
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia had previously said Saturday’s shooting in Cypress, an unincorporated area about 25 miles northwest of Houston, began when someone fired a pistol in the air in celebration. In the ensuing confusion, someone else began firing into the crowd, causing people to flee into the narrow street, Garcia said. Officials said more than 100 people were at the party, which was promoted openly on several social media sites.
According to probable cause affidavits for Young and Stewart, two of the people at the party say the suspects initially began firing at them.
Dominic Adams said that after Stewart entered the home, Stewart “pulled out a handgun, pointed it at him and discharged the weapon.”
Adams “was struck in the arm. (Adams) stated that the defendant began randomly shooting into the crowd,” according to Stewart’s probable cause affidavit.
The affidavit related to Young presented a similar scenario. Jamario Wilson, another partygoer, told investigators that he saw Young in the home’s living room when Young pulled out a handgun and began firing in his direction. Wilson said that Young also began “randomly shooting” into the crowd. It didn’t appear that Wilson was injured.
Both Adams and Wilson said they knew the suspects “from the neighborhood.”
Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Alan Bernstein said investigators do not believe that people were hunted down or singled out in the house. He said evidence, including bullet holes on the ceiling, supports the belief that everything began with the celebratory gunfire.
“Someone in a crowd of people that is randomly being fired upon is probably going to see a weapon pointed at them randomly. … That does not mean they believe they were singled out and it doesn’t mean we believe the shooter singled them out,” he said.
Young and Stewart might face additional charges and additional suspects might be sought, Bernstein said.
In September, Stewart pleaded guilty to making a terroristic threat – a misdemeanor – after being part of a group that in December assaulted and then threatened to kill a student at Cypress Woods High School. Stewart was sentenced to five days in jail. Last month, Stewart was charged with check forgery. Young was arrested earlier this year for evading arrest but the charge was later dropped.
- Created on 11 November 2013
Interlopers with preconceived notions of morbid crime scenes, obscene poverty and the remnants of a city that resembles the fifth level of hell in Dante's Inferno regulalrly descend on Detroit, intent on startling viewers with the horrors of this city – real or not.
No doubt Detroit does have more than its fair share of woes, and the city's image