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The National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions, said people familiar with the agency’s activities.
The disclosure this week of an order by a secret U.S. court for Verizon Communications Inc.’s phone records set off the latest public discussion of the program. But people familiar with the NSA’s operations said the initiative also encompasses phone-call data from AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp., records from Internet-service providers and purchase information from credit-card providers.
During the past week, BahamasLocal.com visited Washington, D.C. and weighed in on international Internet policies. Jason McDowall, CEO of BahamasLocal.com, personally met with U.S. congressmen and lawmakers. He is also the Executive Council Member representing The...
A number of regional and international journalists blasted The Bahamas for poor services, which they felt led to mediocre coverage of the 42nd BTC CARIFTA Games.
Several of them complained about missing deadlines because they did not receive results in a timely fashion; being unable to log on to the Internet while seated trackside; and having difficulties interviewing athletes because of the location of the media room itself.
More than 50 media houses were covering the CARIFTA Games at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium this past weekend. Out of the 50, only about 25 received full accreditation. Some members of the Guardian Network, inclusive of The Nassau Guardian's Sports Department and the radio stations, had difficulty receiving media passes.
It was reported that several broadcast journalists were escorted away from the facility because they had no accreditation. Others were afraid to leave the facility late Friday evening because their credentials had the word "Friday" in the space where the photo was supposed to be.
Journalist Anthony Foster, one of the writers for Track Alerts, was the first to leak the news about the conditions. The headline on Foster's story was "Journalists finding things hard at CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas". He followed that up with another article titled "Internet a huge problem at CARIFTA Games 2013". A number of other stories, scrutinizing the conditions, appeared on the Internet.
Foster reported: "Earlier I wrote about the media area, or better yet, the below par area where they put tables for media personnel to sit and work, and the accreditation system. Thank God we have no rain so far. Well into the meet, journalists suffered and may still be suffering big time from the poor quality of Internet service. We pleaded for Internet service on Friday, but nothing, apart from late in the night, after the opening ceremony, we were told the net was up.
"However, on our arrival on Saturday there was no Internet in the 'so-called' press tribune, and even though this was reported by almost everyone, the technical people showed little or no urgency. We went through the entire first session, and most of the final, as Internet was not available until minutes before the close, and to make matters worse, I was using a BTC phone, which dropped service regularly throughout the day. That prevented me from updating my followers on Twitter and Facebook. I mentioned what made matters worse above, but this may be seen as the worst, BTC is a sponsor of the event. I am sorry if the worldwide media who will be coming here to cover the IAAF World Relays next year will have to depend on Internet and phone in The Bahamas."
The trackside, which was designated for the media, is actually the space for disabled persons. In fact, when those persons with special needs showed up to watch the games, many had to be turned away while others sat cramped in their wheelchairs in a small corner.
The closed off ramp had many restrictions and limited journalists and photographers, all of whom had to jump over a rail in order to interview or take pictures. When journalists tried to ask for assistance, many were left clueless as to who was in charge of taking care of the media, with everyone pointing fingers at the next person. No transportation was provided.
The problems continued to mount on Sunday and again on Monday. Journalists feared that if they worked from inside the room designated for media, they would miss out on the action and interviews from athletes. The room provided for media was first used as a technical room, then for accreditation and later shared with other persons who were selling CARIFTA booklets. No security was placed in the room and anyone from the general public was given access to the room and could use the computers that were set up.
Many of the journalists are afraid to return to The Bahamas to cover events, and noted that trouble is on the way for the country if no improvement is made in time for next year's World Relays.
The Bahamas is set to host the inaugural International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Relays in 2014 and 2015. Another problem faced by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is the facility itself. The facility only meets regional certification. In order for The Bahamas to host these relays the facility must be Class I certified, and approved by the IAAF as a major site for a global event. All eyes are now on the country.
"Woefully outdated" trademark laws and insufficient safeguards in the online world could place major players in the corporate world at risk, according to a top information technology (IT) lawyer.
Rowena Bethel, a former advisor to the Ministry of Finance, is also an authority on e-commerce, information technology and telecommunications law and policy. She said crime perpetrated over the Internet is not uncommon, and despite this country's slower move into the online world, "it happens here more than we're aware of".
This week, Sunshine Holdings Limited, the parent company of Sunshine Finance Limited and Arawak Homes Limited, filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court calling for the immediate restraint of former employee Paul Shaw. According to court documents, Shaw transferred the rights to the company's websites to a third party, and has full access to hundreds of email accounts.
The defendant first joined the company in September 2000, and resigned in May of this year.
"This unlawful transfer of the plaintiff's domains is causing great damage to the plaintiff and has compromised the privacy of its employees' business correspondences," the document stated. "Additionally, the plaintiff has been
advised of the attack to the plaintiff's domains which leaves them vulnerable to pseudo-companies being established assuming the identity and emails of the employees of the plaintiff."
While not wishing to comment on this case specifically, Bethel told Guardian Business that issues concerning the registration of web domains can often be best described as "cyber squatting", rather than cyber crime.
The Bahamas has computer crime laws in the form of the Computer Misuse Act, she noted, but it does not have specific laws addressing this highly unique situation.
Speaking in general terms, Bethel explained that issues of cyber squatting can often hinge on whether the employee in question worked directly for the company or as a consultant. If the person worked as a consultant, the fine print of the contract and who owns the rights to the registered websites are crucial points to consider.
"Before you engage any IT services, seek out the assistance of a reputable IT law firm and people who specialize in advising in this type of arrangement and relationship. At some point, that relationship might come to an end, and there are sensitive issues at play," according to Bethel.
A "tight contract" is essential to ensure the safety of the corporation.
The e-commerce expert told Guardian Business that issues that deal with the online world are sometimes overlooked, especially in jurisdictions with less experience in the Internet. E-commerce "can have so much fine print", she explained, and close analysis must occur "because the risk can be so enormous".
In addition to the recent case concerning Sunshine Holdings Limited, the topic of security over the Internet is pertinent with the rise of an official e-commerce platform from Bank of The Bahamas (BOB).
Paul McWeeney, the managing director at BOB, has taken his time rolling out the platform, which is now expected to be imminent. The great concern for BOB has been testing the platform to ensure Bahamian businesses going online are protected and understand the risks.
The Organization of American States (OAS)
and the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry
(LACNIC) today signed a cooperation agreement with the aim of
strengthening the development of cyber security in the Americas.
Secretary for Multidimensional Security of the OAS, Adam Blackwell,
said "this agreement is another example of the commitment of the OAS
General Secretariat to create synergies with other cyber security
stakeholders in the Americas, which will have both hemispheric and
The Bahamas is featured on a list of nations being used as a base of operation for cyberattackers.
According to report released on Wednesday, compiled by a global research team from Websence Inc., a global leader in Internet security, The Bahamas is ranked second among the top five countries in the world which host phishing sites. Phishing is an act of fraud in which persons fall victim to websites masquerading as trustworthy entities. The goal is to acquire passwords, credit card details, usernames and other types of information. Fake online payment processors, auction sites and popular social websites are typically used by these cyberattackers.
According to the report, the United States tops the list of nations which host phishing websites, followed by The Bahamas, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. The Bahamas is the only Caribbean nation on the list.
"Year-over-year, the number of malicious web-based attacks has increased by nearly 600 percent," said Charles Renert, vice president of Websense Security Labs. "These attacks were staged predominantly on legitimate sites and challenge traditional approaches to security and trust. The timed, targeted nature of these advanced threats indicates a new breed of sophisticated attacker who is intent on compromising increasingly higher-yield targets."
Every week, organizations face an average of 1,719 attacks for every 1,000 users, according to the report.
The report further noted that the United States of America, Russia and Germany are the top three countries hosting malware websites, and the top three countries hosting command and control servers are China, the United States of America and Russia.
The findings of the report are based on a year-over-year comparison of web, email, data, mobile and social media threats.
Police yesterday pointed to a worrying trend of Internet fraud, including identity theft ahead of the holiday season.
Assistant Superintendent Matthew Edgecombe of the Business and Technology Crimes Unit of the police force told The Nassau Guardian that in one instance this year an offshore bank based in The Bahamas was defrauded of $1.5 million.
Edgecombe said while incidents of that scale are not common, in the last six months alone at least 30 Bahamians have reportedly had their bank accounts hacked and money transferred in the hundreds of thousands of dollars collectively.
Sergeant Dale Strachan said this tends to occur in the form of emails requesting banking and other personal details, which are usually from other jurisdictions.
He said forwarded emails with attachments that are then forwarded or replied to often have spyware, malware and key loggers hidden within them, allowing suspects to obtain key financial information.
Although he was unable to provide statistics, Strachan said the Central Detective Unit is inundated with calls reporting claims of substantial amounts of money being scammed from savings accounts, credit cards and payments made to fake businesses.
"When companies and people do business online they have an email account that they give their banks instructions to do A, B and C -- transfer money, pay bills etc. -- and because this is a trend the bank and other financial institutions believe that this must be the [owner] as this is the norm," he said.
"What happens is those people's emails were compromised and hacked and the same instructions that they gave the bank, the hacker gave to send funds to different places on different accounts."
Strachan encouraged online users to use multiple email addresses; strong passwords; anti-virus software; to be careful using credit cards on unofficial websites and to notify their banks immediately if they notice something is wrong.
Edgecombe said it is usually around this time of year that fraudsters target unsuspecting Bahamians or tourists as they go about spending for the holidays.
He said some people come to The Bahamas around this time of year to commit credit card fraud in particular.Last December, a Brazilian woman and her American companion allegedly scammed three major Bahamian resorts and four stores of nearly $100,000 during their month-long stay in The Bahamas.
In addition to credit card and bank account fraud, Edgecombe said there is an increase in the dispersement of counterfeit currency.
Inspector Debora Thompson said a lot of the counterfeit Bahamian and U.S. dollars are being produced locally with increased sophistication.
"You want to look to see that it has all the security features, [such as] the corresponding thread for the note that the customer is presenting," said Thompson, who encouraged local businesses to be careful this season.
"What we have been seeing is that individuals have been bleaching the $1 note and printing higher denominations on them and presenting them to merchants."
EDITOR, The Tribune.
An interesting column appeared in an Internet daily questioning whether Prime Minister Hubert A Ingraham is a threat to the national security of The Bahamas. The column was written by Nicki Kelly.
She expressed her concerns about the Hon Hubert A Ingraham allowing himself to be questioned by an American embassy official named Brian Bachman. This interview of Mr Ingraham by Mr Bachman occurred in 2003. At the time of the interview, Mr Ingraham was just a regular MP for the Opposition party, the FNM. Senator Tommy Turnquest was the leader of the FNM.
Nicki Kelly was writing about the Wikileaks cable exchanges that another prominent daily had obtained from the whistle-blow ...
Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing has responded to remarks made by Member of Parliament for Elizabeth Ryan Pinder in the House of Assembly on Monday, which suggested ways the amended Securities Industries Bill 2010 can be improved. The bill was passed in the House of Assembly on Monday. Laing mentioned that the PLP had opportunities to make suggestions in regards to the structure of the bill, saying their participation level during the draft process should have been greater.
“I just wonder where they were for the entirety of the consultation process,” Laing said. “When the draft bills and regulations were posted on the Internet and put out there, we would ha ...