RCMP bust sixteen in connection to Newfoundland drug trafficking operation
Sixteen have been arrested for drug trafficking on Newfoundland’s west coast between August 27-31. The arrests are a result of a Newfoundland RCMP operation, Project Bullfight, conducted by Bay St. George and Channel-Port-aux Basques RCMP Detachments and supported by the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime units from St. John’s and Gander and RCMP Police Dog Services. Those arrested vary in age, from as young as 18 to 59.
According to a news release, police were able to execute multiple search warrants in six communities across the province, including Lourdes, Three Rock Cove, Stephenville Crossing, Flat Bay, Port-aux-Basques and Searston. As a result, police seized over $62,000 worth of illicit drugs and substances, including cocaine, prescription pills, cannabis and cannabis resin, as well as over $90,000 cash as proceeds of crime, seven firearms and ammunition, as well as other evidence related to the illicit trafficking of drugs and cannabis.
Thousands of cyber victims around the world, say RCMP after Canadian charged in malware investigation
There could be thousands of malware victims in multiple countries say RCMP after they charged software developer and former IT professional John Paul Revesz on Nov. 8 under Section 342.1 of the Criminal Code – a vague hybrid offence for unauthorized use of a computer.
RCMP’s National Division Cybercrime Investigative Team aren’t saying much about Revesz except that they believe he orchestrated an “international malware scheme under the company name ‘Orcus Technologies'” following an investigation that spanned more than three years.
“This case highlights the importance of partnerships with law enforcement agencies and private sector organizations,” said the RCMP in a press release that noted police initiated their investigation in July 2016 “after reports of a significant amount of computers… infected with a ‘Remote Access Trojan’ type of virus.”
RCMP did not respond to The Post Millennial‘s queries, in particular if any additional charges were expected and what took them so long to track down Revesz, after a July 21, 2016 article by former Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs essentially outed the alleged perp.
According to Krebs’ story, he was tipped off by cyber security consultant Daniel Gallagher after a Twitter battle with Revesz, involving other malware researchers on ethics and legalities of peddling an application that gave users the ability to take control of another computer, then coaching clients how to use it.
In what’s left of the Twitter thread – John Paul Revesz’ purported allias Ciriis mcGraw has since deleted his side of the conversation – some humour belies the seriousness of Revesz’ alleged activities.
“Can you give me an example where disabling a user’s webcam light might be acceptable use?” asks Gallager sarcastically in the thread.
Another writes: “As we know all legitimate software vendors sell on hackforums”.
Like others in the security business, Gallagher is not anxious for publicity, at least beyond his Twitter following and like the RCMP, did not respond to TPM‘s queries for this story.
With the cloak-and-dagger, shroud of mystery surrounding this oddball case, TPM reached out to the accused Revesz, who obliged.
In a lengthy Facebook conversation with Revesz, he marks the Twitter debate with Gallager et al. as ground zero for two events: shoring up protocols on Orcus to protect user and client, thereby bolstering the software’s legitimacy, and Krebs for sparking the entire investigation by running to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“I can tell you exactly how this started: Twitter argument (with Gallagher et al.), they contact Krebs, who in turn contacted the FBI. The FBI contact the RCMP, and that’s how this all started,” claimed Revesz.
Revesz also said he was just the marketing side of the Orcus application business, based on “software” that was “solely developed” by a business partner Revesz declined to name.
Revesz told TPM that he imagined such an idea while working as a Systems administrator for TD Bank, a job he held more than 10 years ago.
“Orcus was for legal, legitimate Systems administrators to easily access and manage their client computers within their network,” said Revesz.
The Torontonian said he plans to fight the charges and that he doesn’t expect any additional charges, despite the hybrid nature of the criminal code offence.
“It comes down to Legal definition. Was Orcus a Remote Administrative Tool, or a Trojan? And secondly, where is the line drawn from legal software, to malware?” said Revesz who compared Orcus to a brick.
“If I pick up a brick and bludgeon someone with it, who is at fault? The brick maker or me for misusing the brick?”
Krebs, who publishes on his eponymous KrebsOnSecurity.com, told TPM that malware of the sort Revesz peddles is traded in online Hacker forums, and dismissed the claim he went to the FBI.
“Anything you want to know is in my stories… I’m not sure there is more I can say about this guy.”
According to Krebs’ latest story on the charge against Revesz, Australian police executed their search warrants coinciding with RCMP warrant on Revesz, in March of 2019.
“Several former customers of (Revesz) took to Hackforums[.]net to complain about being raided by investigators who are trying to track down individuals suspected of using Orcus to infect computers with malware,” writes Krebs.
“‘I got raided [and] within the first 5 minutes they mention Orcus to me,’ complained one customer.”
In a brief interview with TPM, Krebs said typical Orcus clients are individuals, and as he reported in July of 2016, such applications are being created by those who “think they can get away with writing, selling and supporting malicious software and then couching their commerce as a purely legitimate enterprise.”
The cyber security journalist called Revesz’ brick-argument “pretty weak” and likened Orcus business model to selling lock picks then “supporting thieves who are having trouble using them to steal stuff.”
“I can’t take credit for that, but I thought it was pretty funny,” Krebs said of a description he read on social media.
In the July 5 Twitter thread that Revesz cages as seminal to his current legal woes, Malware Tech, aka Marcus Hitchens, makes a similar argument.
And like lock picks, Krebs said Orcus-type malware “isn’t terribly sophisticated in terms of the programming that goes into them, but the functionality of them can be extraordinarily sophisticated.”
“The point is, once you get something like this on a machine, you can control it and do what (the computer owner) can do.”
Other cases involving section 342.1 of the Criminal Code–unauthorized use of computers–indicate its broad application.
Most recently, it formed part of espionage charges against RCMP Cameron Ortis. It’s also been used to prosecute people who use computers or mobile devices to lure children, as well as election tampering cases involving robocalls that provided voters incorrect or deceiving information.
Henry Thomas, the actor famous for playing Elliott in E.T., was arrested Monday for driving under the influence. Tualatin PD, Thomas’s agency, told TMZ that they had to pick him up and another motorist called 9-11 on him around 8:30 p.m. to report that someone had stopped in the middle of an intersection.
According to TMZ, Henry was found drunk and asleep in the middle of the road and that officers had to wake him up. His car didn’t smell like alcohol, police say, but he was given a DUI after being taken to the Washington County Jail nonetheless for other signs of intoxication.
In his mugshot, it certainly appears that Thomas is in some way intoxicated, with red, blurry eyes, and a perplexed, faded expression.
He was held for a time while he sobered up before being released with a misdemeanour charge, reports City News.
The Officer in Charge of the Surrey RCMP Asst. Comm. Dwayne McDonald fired back at people who have criticized RCMP officers in Surrey and the plausibility of a full Surrey Police Force swaying RCMP officers to leave for the force.
During an awards speech at the 23rd Annual Surrey RCMP awards, he called criticisms unfair, and reaffirmed RCMP officers’ ability to fight crime, saying they’ve been doing it for decades and will continue to do so.
“We can’t police a large city? We’ve been doing it since 1951. I would challenge any other large city in this country to police with the resources we do and do a better job,” said McDonald.
“I’m just saying, if you want more boots on the ground, give me more boots.”
McDonald didn’t specify who these critics were, but he openly suggested that government officials and others, who are probably being hyperbolic, should butt out and that their criticism isn’t valid.
“If I have to listen to one more ex-chief of police on life support or some fallen-from-grace former public official with an axe to grind or an uninformed academic call into question the integrity and professionalism and dedication of the men and women of the Surrey RCMP, I am going to snap,” said McDonald, who received great applause for his indignation.
“I’m just saying that some of these people have been put out to pasture for a reason, so let’s not forget it.”
Surrey RCMP have been coming under heavy scrutiny over the last three years due to increased gang activity in the region, reports Global News. Various people of note, specifically, former West Vancouver police chief and solicitor general Kash Heed and Ex-Mountie Chris Backus, have suggested the RCMP are unable to satisfy their duties and that some RCMP may switch the new Surrey Police Force if given the opportunity.
Clearly McDonald thinks that’s all nonsense and that the RCMP are doing the best possible job they can given the circumstances.
Arkansas siblings Elizabeth Catlett, 29, and Don Furr, 33, face drug-related charges following the former’s accusation that her brother fed her a “meth sandwich.”
The two were arrested in Hot Springs, Arkansas after police witnessed Catlett, who was driving, “moving about the vehicle in a quick, nervous manner.” Another officer was called and the two were questioned.
Initially, Catlett claimed that they had no weapons or drugs in the car, but she quickly changed her tune.
“In Catlett’s front pocket, police found a small plastic-wrapped bag that had small scraps of paper, a straw cut into a smaller length, and several plastic bags,” reports ABC 7 News. At this point, police found a bag of what appeared to be methamphetamine and Catlett was arrested.
When questioned about the possibility of more dugs in the car, her brother told police “if there is anything in the car it would be in the console and it would be ice.” Furr was also arrested.
Furr further admitted that he and his sister had both used meth earlier in the day, prompting Catlett to claim that Furr had fed her a “meth sandwich.” Furr did not deny this claim, and Catlett also claimed that he sometimes put methamphetamine into her drinks.
According to ABC 7 News, “Catlett faces additional charges of DWI and refusal to submit to a chemical test. Her bond was set at $14,500 while Furr’s was set at $13,500.”
They will both make their first court appearance on November 4.