Day: October 3, 2018

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NKorea said to have stolen fortune in online bank heists…


WASHINGTON (AP) — North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests have stopped, but its hacking operations to gather intelligence and raise funds for the sanction-strapped government in Pyongyang may be gathering steam.

U.S. security firm FireEye raised the alarm Wednesday over a North Korean group that it says has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars by infiltrating the computer systems of banks around the world since 2014 through highly sophisticated and destructive attacks that have spanned at least 11 countries. It says the group is still operating and poses “an active global threat.”

It is part of a wider pattern of malicious state-backed cyber activity that has led the Trump administration to identify North Korea — along with Russia, Iran and China — as one of the main online threats facing the United States. Last month, the Justice Department charged a North Korean hacker said to have conspired in devastating cyberattacks, including an $81 million heist of Bangladesh’s central bank and the WannaCry virus that crippled parts of Britain’s National Health Service.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned of the use of malware by Hidden Cobra, the U.S. government’s byword for North Korea hackers, in fraudulent ATM cash withdrawals from banks in Asia and Africa. It said that Hidden Cobra was behind the theft of tens of millions of dollars from teller machines in the past two years. In one incident this year, cash had been simultaneously withdrawn from ATMs in 23 different countries, it said.

North Korea, which prohibits access to the world wide web for virtually all its people, has previously denied involvement in cyberattacks, and attribution for such attacks is rarely made with absolute certainty. It is typically based on technical indicators such as the Internet Protocol addresses that identify computers and characteristics of the coding used in malware, which is the software a hacker may use to damage or disable computers.

But other cybersecurity experts tell The Associated Press that they also see continued signs that North Korea’s authoritarian government, which has a long track record of criminality to raise cash, is conducting malign activity online. That activity includes targeting of financial institutions and crypto-currency-related organizations, as well as spying on its adversaries, despite the easing of tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

“The reality is they are starved for cash and are continuing to try and generate revenue, at least until sanctions are diminished,” said Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at CrowdStrike. “At the same time, they won’t abate in intelligence collection operations, as they continue to negotiate and test the international community’s resolve and test what the boundaries are.”

CrowdStrike says it has detected continuing North Korean cyber intrusions in the past two months, including the use of a known malware against a potentially broad set of targets in South Korea, and a new variant of malware against users of mobile devices that use a Linux-based operating system.

This activity has been taking place against the backdrop of a dramatic diplomatic shift as Kim Jong Un has opened up to the world. He has held summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and with President Donald Trump, who hopes to persuade Kim to relinquish the nuclear weapons that pose a potential threat to the U.S. homeland. Tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula have dropped and fears of war with the U.S. have ebbed. Trump this weekend will dispatch his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, to Pyongyang for the fourth time this year to make progress on denuclearization.

But North Korea has yet to take concrete steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, so there’s been no let-up in sanctions that have been imposed to deprive it of fuel and revenue for its weapons programs, and to block it from bulk cash transfers and accessing to the international banking system.

FireEye says APT38, the name it gives to the hacking group dedicated to bank theft, has emerged and stepped up its operations since February 2014 as the economic vise on North Korea has tightened in response to its nuclear and missile tests. Initial operations targeted financial institutions in Southeast Asia, where North Korea had experience in money laundering, but then expanded into other regions such as Latin America and Africa, and then extended to Europe and North America.

In all, FireEye says APT38 has attempted to steal $1.1 billion, and based on the data it can confirm, has gotten away with hundreds of millions in dollars. It has used malware to insert fraudulent transactions in the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or SWIFT system that is used to transfer money between banks. Its biggest heist to date was $81 million stolen from the central bank of Bangladesh in February 2016. The funds were wired to bank accounts established with fake identities in the Philippines. After the funds were withdrawn they were suspected to have been laundered in casinos.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank, said in a report Wednesday that North Korea’s cyber capabilities provide an alternative means for challenging its adversaries. While Kim’s hereditary regime appears to prioritize currency generation, attacks using the SWIFT system raise concerns that North Korean hackers “may become more proficient at manipulating the data and systems that undergird the global financial system,” it says.

Sandra Joyce, FireEye’s head of global intelligence, said that while APT38 is a criminal operation, it leverages the skills and technology of a state-backed espionage campaign, allowing it to infiltrate multiple banks at once and figure how to extract funds. On average, it dwells in a bank’s computer network for 155 days to learn about its systems before it tries to steal anything. And when it finally pounces, it uses aggressive malware to wreak havoc and cover its tracks.

“We see this as a consistent effort, before, during and after any diplomatic efforts by the United States and the international community,” said Joyce, describing North Korea as being “undeterred” and urging the U.S. government to provide more specific threat information to financial institutions about APT38’s modus operandi. APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat.

The Silicon Valley-based company says it is aware of continuing, suspected APT38 operations against other banks. The most recent attack it is publicly attributing to APT38 was against of Chile’s biggest commercial banks, Banco de Chile, in May this year. The bank has said a hacking operation robbed it of $10 million.

FireEye, which is staffed with a roster of former military and law-enforcement cyberexperts, conducted malware analysis for a criminal indictment by the Justice Department last month against Park Jin Hyok, the first time a hacker said to be from North Korea has faced U.S. criminal charges. He’s accused of conspiring in a number of devastating cyberattacks: the Bangladesh heist and other attempts to steal more than $1 billion from financial institutions around the world; the 2014 breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment; and the WannaCry ransomware virus that in 2017 infected computers in 150 countries.



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Confidence in Pope Plunges…


By a two-to-one margin, American Catholics now give Francis negative marks for his handling of the sex abuse scandal

(Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

U.S. Catholics increasingly critical of the way Pope Francis has handled sex abuse scandalAs allegations and investigations of sex abuse in the Catholic Church become more widespread, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the crisis has plummeted among U.S. Catholics. Just three-in-ten Catholic adults say Francis is doing an “excellent” or a “good” job addressing the issue, which is down 24 points since 2015 and 14 points from when Pew Research Center last asked the question in January of this year.

While seven-in-ten American Catholics say their overall opinion of Pope Francis is favorable, six-in-ten now say he is doing an “only fair” or “poor” job handling the sex abuse scandal, including 36% who say his efforts on this front have been poor. This is nearly double the share who said he was doing a poor job at the beginning of this year, and triple the share who said this in 2015.

The declining confidence in Francis’ handling of the sex abuse crisis is broad-based, occurring across a wide variety of subgroups of U.S. Catholics. Since 2015, for instance, the share who give the pope “excellent” or “good” ratings for his handling of the issue declined by 24 points among Catholic men and 23 points among Catholic women. Similarly, both younger and older Catholics have grown increasingly critical of the pontiff’s handling of the situation.

Even among Catholics who say they attend Mass weekly, the share who give Francis positive marks for his handling of the sex abuse crisis has been cut in half since 2015; 34% in this group now give Francis “excellent” or “good” ratings for his handling of the issue, whereas 67% gave him a positive evaluation in 2015.

Even among regular Mass-goers, declining share give positive ratings to pope on addressing sex abuse

Shrinking majority of U.S. Catholics express favorable view of Pope FrancisWhen asked about their overall opinion of Pope Francis, roughly seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics now say they have a favorable opinion of the pontiff, down 12 points since the beginning of the year. The decline is especially evident in the share of American Catholics who say they have a very favorable opinion of the pope, which now stands at 30%. By comparison, previous Pew Research Center surveys have generally found that four-in-ten or more Catholics (and as many as 62% in October 2015) hold Francis in the highest regard.

These are among the key findings of a new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 18 to 24 among 1,754 adults, including 336 Catholics. Among the U.S. public as a whole (including both Catholics and non-Catholics), roughly half say they have a favorable view of Pope Francis, which is the lowest rating he has received in nine Pew Research Center surveys that have asked about Pope Francis since the beginning of his pontificate in 2013.

Until now, Francis has generally earned higher favorability ratings from the U.S. public than did Pope Benedict XVI. In the new survey, however, Francis’ favorability rating is on par with the ratings typically earned by his predecessor, and significantly below the rating Benedict garnered immediately following his visit to the U.S. in April 2008 (61%).

Among all U.S. adults, half rate Pope Francis favorably

In surveys conducted between 1987 and 1996, John Paul II was viewed positively by a larger share of Americans than have ever viewed either Benedict XVI or Francis positively. However, Pew Research Center polling did not include questions about John Paul II after news of sex abuse in the church made national headlines in 2002.

In addition to asking about the pope’s handling of the sex abuse scandal, the survey also asked Catholics to rate the way Pope Francis is handling his job in three other areas: appointing new bishops and cardinals, spreading the Catholic faith, and standing up for traditional moral values. On all three issues, evaluations of the pope have grown sharply more negative this year.

For instance, U.S. Catholics are now evenly divided between those who give Francis positive ratings for the job he has done appointing new bishops and cardinals and those who give him negative marks in this area. In January, by contrast, the balance of opinion on this question tilted heavily in the pope’s favor.

And while the pontiff is still rated more positively than negatively for the job he has done spreading the Catholic faith and standing up for traditional moral values, the share of Catholics who say Francis is doing an excellent or a good job on these fronts also has declined sharply in recent months.

U.S. Catholics give Francis declining marks in several aspects of his jobIt is possible that respondents could link any of these areas to the sex abuse scandal. For example, Francis recently admitted that rather than spreading the Catholic faith, the scandal is driving Catholics away from the faith. In addition, the church has been criticized for elevating bishops and cardinals despite warnings that they were alleged abusers.

The new study also shows that U.S. Catholics’ views of Pope Francis are increasingly polarized along political lines. For instance, in 2014, there was virtually no difference in views of Pope Francis between Catholic Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party (87% of whom expressed a favorable view of the Pope) and Catholic Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP (90% favorable). By January 2018, however, favorable views of Pope Francis were 10 points higher among Catholic Democrats than among Catholic Republicans (89% vs. 79%). And today, the share of Catholics who have a favorable view of the pontiff is 22 points higher among Democrats than among Republicans (83% vs. 61%).

Increasing political polarization in U.S. Catholics’ views toward Pope Francis

And while Catholic Democrats and Republicans have both expressed growing doubts in recent years about Francis’ handling of the sex abuse scandal, Catholic Democrats are now 13 points more likely than Catholic Republicans to give him excellent or good ratings in this area (37% vs. 24%).


Declining shares of Catholics and non-Catholics view Francis in a positive light

While most Catholics (and majorities within every Catholic subgroup analyzed in the survey) rate Pope Francis at least “mostly” favorably, the share who hold him in the highest esteem is shrinking. Just three-in-ten U.S. Catholics now say they have a “very favorable” opinion of Francis, which is down from 45% who said the same earlier this year and merely half as large as the share who had a “very favorable” view of the pope in the immediate wake of his visit to the U.S. in October 2015 (62%).

Just three-in-ten U.S. Catholics now have ‘very favorable’ view of Pope Francis

These cooler feelings toward Francis are evident across many Catholic subgroups. Among Catholic men, for example, the share who say they have a “very” favorable view of Pope Francis has dropped 20 points in the past nine months. Even among Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week, just a third (34%) now say they have a very favorable opinion of the pontiff, down from 56% in January. And Catholic Democrats, who still broadly see Francis favorably, also are less likely now to say their opinion is “very” favorable than they were earlier this year (34% vs. 49% in January 2018).

Francis still widely popular among U.S. Catholics, but evidence of decline

The survey also shows that American Catholics are not alone in their shifting opinion of Pope Francis. Just a third (32%) of white evangelical Protestants hold a positive view of the pope, down from 52% who said the same in January. And there has been a similar decline in Francis’ popularity among white mainline Protestants: 67% viewed him favorably in January, compared with 48% today. Among religiously unaffiliated adults, roughly half view Francis favorably, relatively unchanged from earlier this year – but down 18 points since January 2017.

Ratings for Pope Francis also on the decline among white mainline, evangelical Protestants in U.S.

Broad-based declines in U.S. Catholics’ views of how Pope Francis is handling sex abuse scandal, other issues

Generally, Catholics who attend Mass regularly have been more supportive of the pontiff than have those who do not attend Mass regularly. But ratings of Pope Francis have declined across the board. And today, weekly Mass-attending Catholics are no more likely than Catholics who attend less often to say that Francis is doing an adequate job handling the sex abuse crisis or standing up for traditional moral values. Similarly, declines in U.S. Catholics’ ratings of Pope Francis when it comes to appointing bishops and cardinals or spreading the Catholic faith have occurred across a variety of Catholic subgroups.

Broad based declines in views of way Pope Francis is handling various issues



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Sioux Falls Booming…


(Bloomberg Opinion) — There are 63 metropolitan areas in the U.S. (out of 382 total) that saw their populations grow by 10 percent or more from 2010 through mid-2017, according to estimates compiled by the Census Bureau. That compares with an increase of 5.5 percent for the nation as a whole, and 6.5 percent for its metropolitan areas — which, just to be clear on what we’re talking about, are defined as “one or more counties that contain a city of 50,000 or more inhabitants, or contain a Census Bureau-defined urbanized area and have a total population of at least 100,000 (75,000 in New England).”

Thirty-nine of these fast-growing metros are in the South and 19 in the West. This should come as no big surprise, given that these two regions are estimated to have accounted for 86 percent of the country’s almost-17-million-person increase in population since 2010. None of the fast-growth areas is in the Northeast, but there are five in the slowest-growing of the four regions delineated by the Census Bureau: the Midwest.

One of these Midwestern standouts, Iowa City, Iowa, is home to a large research university, a frequent catalyst for local economic success. Another, Des Moines, Iowa, is a state capital with a metro-area population of 645,911, which is in keeping with urbanist Aaron Renn’s dictum that “If you want to be a successful Midwestern city, it helps to be a state capital with a metro area population of over 500,000.” Two, Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota, have been beneficiaries of a big shale-oil boom in their state.

That leaves Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which has seen its metro-area population rise 13.5 percent since 2010 (and 68.8 percent since 1990), to 259,094. There’s no major university in town; local legend has it that city fathers were given the choice 150-plus years ago between the University of South Dakota and the South Dakota State Penitentiary, and they opted for the latter because they figured it would bring more jobs. The state capital, Pierre, is more than a three hours’ drive away. The signature local industry used to be meatpacking — and there’s still a big, exceptionally fragrant Smithfield Foods Inc. pork-processing plant along the Big Sioux River about a mile north of downtown.

This does not sound like a recipe for economic success in the early-21st-century U.S.! Yet Sioux Falls is undeniably booming. What’s up with that?

I am not the first to attempt to answer this question: James and Deborah Fallows devote the first chapter of their new book “Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America” to it, and if you want a detailed account complete with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons (manufactured in Sioux Falls by Raven Industries Inc.), that’s where you really need to go. Last year, meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal described how “As Many Midwest Cities Slump, Sioux Falls Soars,” while the New York Times, early to the topic and focused on what really matters, published “A Food Scene Grows in Sioux Falls, S.D.” in 2014.

Still, this is a subject worth repeated examination, given that lots of city leaders around the country must wonder how they can capture some of that Sioux Falls magic. And I have two possibly useful observations, one that occurred to me while visiting Sioux Falls recently and another that jumped out as I looked through the metro-area population data just now.

Let’s start with the latter: Remember how I said that none of the fastest-growing metros is in the Northeast and five are in the Midwest, even though the Midwest’s population is growing more slowly (1.9 percent since 2010) than the Northeast’s (2.1 percent)? Go further down the rankings of metropolitan-area growth, and this discrepancy stands out even more. There is not a single metropolitan area in the Northeast that has grown at or faster than the national metro-area rate of 6.5 percent since 2010, and only two (Boston and State College, Pennsylvania) have grown at or faster than the overall national rate of 5.5 percent. Yet there are 19 metro areas in the slower-growing Midwest that make the first cut, and 23 that make the second.

What the Midwest has been experiencing is a great reshuffling. On its eastern side, as I wrote about Ohio last month, older industrial cities and to a lesser extent rural areas have been shedding people and jobs. To the west, the story is almost entirely one of rural areas depopulating as, among other things, bigger, better agricultural equipment allows farmers to plant and harvest more acres with less labor. Some of these people have left the region entirely — the Midwest as a whole has been experiencing net domestic out-migration for decades — but many are flocking to the region’s growth hubs, a mix of college towns, state capitals and a few other cities. So the headline on that Wall Street Journal article, while not factually wrong, is misleading. Lots of Midwestern metro areas are soaring, or at least growing faster than the national average, even as the region as a whole plods along.

Still, it cannot be denied that the Dakotas trio of Fargo, Bismarck and Sioux Falls has soared the highest since 2010. While I dismissed the former pair earlier as beneficiaries of North Dakota’s oil boom, in Fargo’s case that’s not really fair, given that it is all the way at the other end of the state from the oil wells (Bismarck, the state capital, is much closer); plus, it was growing at a healthy clip before all the fracking started. Its success raises many of the same questions that Sioux Falls’s does, and they probably have some quite similar answers. But it is Sioux Falls that I happened to visit recently, and the Sioux Falls metro area’s growth has outpaced Fargo’s if you measure from 2000 or 1990.

This isn’t just the story, though, of a state luring industry with low taxes and deregulation. South Dakota’s workforce happens to be pretty solid, too. College graduates make up a smaller share of the adult population there than nationwide, but the state ranks near the top in the percentage of adults with high school diplomas and associate degrees, as well as in literacy rate, and it has among the highest labor-force participation rates and lowest unemployment rates.

Also, the financial sector ceased being the big economic growth story in Sioux Falls a while ago. The area still has the nation’s third-highest location quotient for financial employment, a measure of how concentrated the industry is in the area relative to the nation as a whole, trailing only the metropolitan areas of Bloomington, Illinois (home of State Farm), and Des Moines (another big insurance center). But metro Sioux Falls has fewer financial-sector jobs now than it did in 2008, even as other payroll employment has risen 20 percent.

It can’t have hurt that, before it started shedding jobs, the credit-card industry provided Sioux Falls with a billionaire sugar daddy. Minnesotan T. Denny Sanford had founded and sold a company representing manufacturers of construction materials and was trying and failing to enjoy retirement when, according to Forbes, he bought a 10-branch South Dakota bank in 1986 from a friend who needed to unload it because he was going through a divorce. A few years later, Sanford hired a young executive from Citibank’s Sioux Falls operation to see if there was a credit-card niche that his First Premier Bank could exploit. What they settled on was high-interest-rate cards for people with terrible credit. First Premier is now a major national card issuer, and while its practices sometimes garner bad media coverage, they also bring in tons of money — money that Sanford, now 82, has pledged to give away fast enough that he can die broke.

Sanford has reportedly donated nearly $1 billion to one of the two Sioux Falls-area hospital systems, which is now called Sanford Health and bills itself as “the largest rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation.” One of its affiliates, Sanford Research, employs 200 medical researchers in Sioux Falls. Regional centralization of health care has made it a key source of jobs in lots of mid-sized cities, but Sanford’s gifts have helped make those jobs even more plentiful and well-remunerated in Sioux Falls than is the norm. Sanford has also helped fund the Sanford Underground Research Facility, a state-managed physics lab in a former gold mine in the Black Hills at the western edge of the state; the new Madison Cyber Labs at Dakota State University about an hour’s drive northwest of Sioux Falls;and the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota about an hour’s drive to the south.

No one else in Sioux Falls has amassed anything like Sanford’s fortune, but other businesspeople in the city feel similarly compelled to chip in. The new mayor, Paul Ten Haken, is the founder and former chief executive of a Sioux Falls-based marketing technology company who decided it was time to “pivot” to public service, while his predecessor had been a Citibank and First Premier executive before taking charge at City Hall. Since 1987, an initiative called Forward Sioux Falls has been relying on donations from local businesses to finance most of the area’s economic development efforts, which at the moment include a giant new industrial park at the north end of town and a nearby “corporate and academic research park” affiliated with the University of South Dakota. “The business community recognizes that we’re in a low-tax state,” Dave Rozenboom, president of First Premier Bank (overseeing the local community bank, not the national credit-card operation) and co-chairman of the current Forward Sioux Falls fundraising campaign, told me. “So in essence we’re taxing ourselves. And we get to choose what to spend it on.”

This mixing of private and public interest may make you cringe, but as the Fallowses recount in their book, such public-private partnerships can be found again and again in successful cities and regions. And while cutting state taxes to spur growth doesn’t always work, combining low taxes with high investment seems like a pretty potent recipe for economic success, if you can find a way to sustain it.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”



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Alert pizza delivery driver helps save hostage…


Dean Hoffmann

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY — A 55-year-old Grafton man is facing several counts of domestic abuse after allegedly entering his ex-girlfriend’s house uninvited, where he’s alleged to have beaten and tied her up. A pizza delivery man alerted police when the woman mouthed the words “help me” to him.

“It’s kind of scary. Gave him his pizza, and noticed behind him was his girlfriend. She pointed to a black eye that was quite visible. She mouthed the words ‘call police,'” said Joey Grundl, the pizza delivery driver who helped the woman in this case.

Dean Hoffmann has been charged with the following:

  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Strangulation and suffocation
  • Felony intimidation of a victim
  • Burglary of a building

According to a criminal complaint, the victim — a 57-year-old woman — started dating Hoffmann in 2016 and they lived together until August of 2018. After their breakup, the woman moved to a home near 2nd and Lyndon.

Investigators say around 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27 Hoffmann entered her home without knocking and without her permission. She told Hoffmann to leave and grabbed her phone to call police. As she picked up her phone, Hoffmann allegedly ripped the phone out of her hands, grabbed her by the waist and dragged her toward steps that led upstairs.

The complaint says Hoffmann shoved the victim, causing her to fall with her back on the steps. The complaint says Hoffmann pulled her hair, ripped her shirt and continued to try and get the woman up the stairs. In an attempt to get away, the woman told investigators she hit Hoffmann in the groin. Hoffmann then punched her in the face, giving her a black eye and bloody nose.

Afterward, the complaint says Hoffmann locked them both in the bathroom for approximately 30 minutes while the woman tended to her bloody nose.

Prosecutors say Hoffmann then forced the woman upstairs and onto her bed. He bound her hands and feet with a power cord from her vacuum, and shoved a towel in her mouth to ensure “nobody would be able to hear her.” The woman told investigators while she was tied up, she had trouble breathing and feared she was going to die.

After about 30 minutes, Hoffmann untied the woman, but for the next several hours, he would not let her leave her own house. The woman told Hoffmann, “if you love me, you will let me go” to which Hoffmann replied, “you know I can’t do that.”

The woman stated Hoffmann remarked he “should have brought his gun in from the car so that he could shoot both of them.” Investigators say Hoffmann used the woman’s phone to text her children, posing as the victim, telling them she was sick and not to come over for a few days.

Domino’s Pizza

Joey Grundl

A Domino’s Pizza delivery driver alerted police after delivering a pizza to Hoffmann and the victim. He observed the woman behind Hoffmann point to her eye and mouth the words, “help me” and “call the police.”

The driver then left and called 911.

“I had a delivery. It was a middle-aged couple. The woman clearly had a black eye. She pointed to it, and I swear she mouthed ‘help me,'” said Grundl to the 911 dispatcher.

When police arrived, Hoffmann blocked the woman from opening the door. Police heard the woman yell “help me” and “please come in.” Hoffmann eventually let the officers inside.

During the time Hoffmann was in the victim’s home, the woman said she “truly believed [he] was going to kill her that night.”

Officials spoke with Hoffmann, who stated he and his ex-girlfriend got into an argument and at one point he punched her in the face — stating it happened “in the heat of the moment.”

When asked if he owned any firearms, Hoffmann said he had a .22 caliber firearm in a case in the trunk of his vehicle.

“I’m grateful (the delivery driver) was paying attention, because it could have been a lot worse,” said Amy Hammarlund, neighbor.

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Social Logins Sold For $3.90 On Dark Web…


Facebook login credentials are being sold on the dark web for less than $4.00, a new report says.

An investigation by financial website Money Guru states that Facebook usernames and passwords are available for as little as $3.90 on several prominent dark net markets.

“Your data, which can include everything from banking details to social media logins, is worth less than you might think to hackers and scammers,” the company said.

Alongside Facebook data, login information for some of the web’s most popular social media sites is also widely available.

Reddit credentials sold on average for $2.09 while those for Instagram sold for around $6.30.

Login data for other services including Hotmail, Gmail, Netflix and Uber are also listed.

Money Guru estimated that one could “purchase the majority of someone’s online life,” assuming their data has been compromised, for around $970.

Speaking with the Metro, Money Guru’s James MacDonald described the widespread proliferation of stolen data as “shocking.”

“Our research into personal data and how much it’s actually worth on the black market is shocking to say the least,” MacDonald said. “This just goes to show how vital it is to protect your data where possible to avoid facing costly consequences.”

While the dark net markets mentioned in the report – Dream, Wall St and Berlusconi – are well known to sell such data, concerns have reemerged in light of the recent Facebook hack affecting 50 million users.

The hackers were able to obtain access tokens, which allow users to remain logged in while using Facebook, that could enable them to log in to profiles and any linked apps.

Facebook said Tuesday that it has seen no evidence the hackers used the digital tokens to access third party apps.

A class-action lawsuit accusing the company of negligence has since been filed by two California residents.

No evidence thus far, however, suggests that the Facebook data being sold online is linked to the recent hack.

Money Guru’s report also did not mention whether attempts were made to verify the validity of the data, as some sellers are known to offer either outdated or fraudulent credentials.


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