Fairlawn NJ, two (2) pedestrians sustained minor injuries early Wednesday evening, 06/22, after being struck when a black colored 4-door Lexus sedan jumped a curb, drove across a sidewalk, and slammed head on into the front wall of a T-Mobile store located at 24-02 Fair Lawn Avenue, Fair Lawn. Both struck pedestrians were evaluated at the scene by Fair Lawn EMS personnel and released after declining ambulance transportation to a local hospital. The Lexus was driven from the on its own power. Neither the vehicle’s driver nor passenger were injured in the mishap. There was moderate damage to the T-Mobile store’s front wall. Fair Lawn Police and Fair Lawn EMS responded to the incident.
New Orleans LA, the Nigerian Prince has been found and he is a white guy from New Orleans . Police in New Orleans have arrested a 67-year-old man after he allegedly helped swindle people out of thousands of dollars as a middleman in a “Nigerian prince” Internet scam.
Michael Neu, 67, was a middle-man in a scam that involved co-conspirators in Nigeria, report says. (Slidell Police Department)
Michael Neu, of Slidell, is facing 269 counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, the New Orleans Advocate reported.
The “Nigerian Prince” phishing scam involves getting an email from a Nigerian official who claims the recipient has been named a beneficiary in a will and will inherit at least $1 million. The victim is then asked to send personal information which is used to con them out of their money.
“Most people laugh at the thought of falling for such a fraud, but law enforcement officials report annual losses of millions of dollars to these schemes,” a police report said.
In Ridgewood variants of this scam seem to be rampant and many residents continue to fall for them.
Washington DC, the U.S. Department of State began releasing Huma Abedin’s work-related documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that were found on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner’s personal laptop.
This is a major victory. After years of hard work in federal court, Judicial Watch forced the State Department to finally allow Americans to see these public documents. We have been following this case closely because from our past experience we know that Abedin’s emails include classified and other sensitive materials.
The document are still being posted, but our team has seen enough to confirm that classified information from Hillary Clinton’s email server has been found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman from New York who was married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The fact that classified information has been found from Clinton and Abedin on Weiner’s laptop shows the urgent need for a criminal investigation by the Justice Department.
Back in October, in accordance with a court ordered production of documents, the State Department announced: “The State Department identified approximately 2,800 work-related documents among the documents provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The State Department told the court it expected to complete its review and production of the FBI records by December 31, 2017.
The production of these documents is the result of a May 5, 2015, lawsuit we filed against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)). We sued after State failed to respond to a March 18, 2015, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking: “All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-‘state.gov’ email address.”
Abedin was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. Weiner is a disgraced former congressman and New York mayoral candidate who pleaded guilty to transferring obscene material to a minor. Abedin kept a non-State.gov email account that she used repeatedly for government business on Hillary Clinton’s notorious email server(s).
We previously released 20 productions of documents in this case that show examples of mishandling classified information and instances of pay to play between the Clinton State Department and the Clinton Foundation. Also, at least 627 emails were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over, and further contradict a statement by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails had been turned over to department.
Perhaps Clinton and Abedin were expecting all of this to just go away with Clinton’s election to the White House last year. Let’s hope the Justice Department finally gets it act together and proves that bet wrong.
Washington DC, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert , “We are following reports of multiple peaceful protests by Iranian citizens in cities across the country. Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.
The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.
On June 14, 2017, Secretary Tillerson testified to Congress that he supports “those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.” The Secretary today repeats his deep support for the Iranian people.
Ocean City NJ, how cold is it , its so cold that annual Polar bear plunges planned in two Jersey Shore towns on New Year’s Day have been cancelled because organizers think it will be just too cold outside.
“Err on the side of safety” , Ventnor officials have postponed the event and Ocean City officials announced Thursday that their plunge had also been canceled due to the bitter cold. It’s not clear if the annual fundraising events will be rescheduled.
If you are still determined Polar bear plunges are still being planned for Monday in the nearby towns of Brigantine and Margate.
TAX CUTS FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES: The Tax Cuts Act means less money taken out of Americans’ paychecks.
The Tax Cuts Act provides $5.5 trillion in tax cuts, $3.2 trillion, or nearly 60 percent, of which go to families.
The Tax Cuts Act nearly doubles the standard deduction.
For individuals, the standard deduction will be increased from $6,500 to $12,000.
For single parents, the standard deduction will be increased from $9,550 to $18,000.
For married couples, the standard deduction will be increased from $13,000 to $24,000.
The vast majority of American families will now be able to file their taxes on a single page because they lower taxes by claiming the standard deduction.
American families will see their Child Tax Credit doubled to $2,000 per child under age 17.
Families will receive a new $500 tax credit for dependents age 17 or older.
The full Child Tax Credit will now be available for families with incomes of up to $200,000 for single households and incomes of up to $400,000 for married households.
Lower and Middle-Income families will benefit from a 40 percent increase in the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit.
The Tax Cuts Act will repeal Obamacare’s burdensome individual mandate.
The repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate will provide relief to households with income below $50,000, which made up nearly 80 percent of the households that paid the mandate penalty in 2016.
The vast majority of family farms and businesses will be exempt from the estate tax.
Investments in education will be protected under the Tax Cuts Act.
Families will now be able to use up to $10,000 from 529 college savings accounts on primary and secondary education.
Tax-free stipends for graduate students will be maintained.
Student loan interest will continue to be deductible.
The Tax Cuts Act preserves tax benefits important to American families.
The Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers will be preserved.
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit will be preserved.
The Adoption Expense Tax Credit will be preserved.
Retirement savings tax benefits will be preserved.
PRO-GROWTH REFORM FOR AMERICAN BUSINESSES: The Tax Cuts Act enacts pro-growth reform, putting American businesses on a level playing field with foreign competitors.
America’s corporate tax rate will be lowered from the highest in the developed world to below the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average.
The corporate tax rate will be cut from 35 percent to 21 percent, below the OECD average of 22.5 percent.
Businesses will receive $1.8 trillion in total tax cuts, spurring economic growth and generating more revenue.
The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that these tax cuts will grow the economy an additional 3 percent.
This economic growth will generate even greater economic opportunity for all Americans.
The Tax Cuts Act provides $415 billion in additional tax cuts for S corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietors.
More than 90 percent of all American businesses are organized as one of these “pass through” entities.
Owners of these businesses will be able to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income.
Businesses will immediately be able to deduct 100 percent of the cost of their capital investments for the next five years.
The Tax Cuts Act will get rid of our outdated worldwide taxation system, which penalizes companies headquartered in the United States when they bring foreign profits back home.
Companies will be able to bring back future profits without paying additional taxes.
A one-time tax will be imposed on corporate earnings stashed overseas, ending the incentive for companies to keep their profits outside of the U.S.
A one-time tax of 15.5 percent on cash and cash equivalents will be imposed, as well as a one-time 8 percent tax on illiquid assets.
ELIMINATING SPECIAL INTEREST TAX BREAKS: The Tax Cuts Act will eliminate dozens of special interest tax breaks and loopholes.
The Tax Cuts Act will raise $4 trillion in revenue by getting rid of dozens of special interest tax breaks and closing loopholes for corporations and wealthy individuals.
The revenue generated by eliminating these tax breaks and loopholes will be used to help offset the tax cuts for American workers, families, and businesses.
Numerous tax breaks and loopholes exploited by special interests will be eliminated.
A 20 percent excise tax will be imposed on stock compensation when a company uses corporate inversion to avoid U.S. taxes.
The deduction for local lobbying expenses will be eliminated.
The loophole used to deduct executive compensation over $1 million will be eliminated.
A 21 percent excise tax will be imposed on compensation over $1 million paid to executives at tax-exempt organizations.
Members of Congress will no longer be able to deduct their living expenses.
Ridgewood NJ, according to the website Unbiased America author Kevin Ryan calls it the smoking gun in the tax cut. Rayan writes , ” If you want a smoking gun that the media and Democrats are actively spreading falsehoods about the tax cuts, this is it. Earlier this week, Congress’ bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation released an analysis on the proposed tax cuts which showed that $61 billion, or 23% of the total cuts on the individual side, would go to the middle class (which they define as families making between $20,000 and $100,000). Democrats pounced on the figure, and the media parroted their criticism that “only” 23% of the tax cuts were going to the middle class. Except they left out one important piece of information.
The middle class only accounts for 3.9% of total individual income tax payments.
In other words, the group that only contributes 3.9% of federal income tax was getting 23% of the benefit of these cuts. The media has the narrative backwards. Not only is the middle class benefiting from this reform, they are benefiting disproportionately relative to how much they pay into the income tax. ”
ABC News reports Republicans’ “first major legislative victory” under President Donald J. Trump is the “largest overhaul of the tax code in 30 years.” The bill simplifies the tax code by eliminating several special interest loopholes and doing away with Obamacare’s individual mandate. The President said Americans would start to see the bill’s effects beginning in February. “This bill means more take-home pay. It will be an incredible Christmas gift for hard-working Americans. I said I wanted it done before Christmas. We got it done,” President Trump said.
In the biggest overhaul of the US tax system in 30 years , its important to note that not one democrat voted for the middle-class tax cut .
The New Jersey State Police and North Brunswick Police Department are cooperatively investigating the theft of an unmarked troop car, which was stolen from a trooper’s residence in North Brunswick and then used during the commission of two robberies and a theft at a gas station.
On Sunday, December 17, a New Jersey State Trooper reported his troop car stolen at approximately 9:39 a.m. when he discovered it missing from his driveway. The troop car contained several uniforms, two issued weapons, and other issued equipment.
Based on the preliminary investigation, detectives determined that the suspect and troop car were involved with three incidents early Sunday morning. At 6:50 a.m., a truck driver reported a robbery to State Police after he was stopped by the suspect using the stolen troop car on the New Jersey Turnpike southbound at milepost 74.7 in South Brunswick. During the interaction, the suspect stole cash from the driver. At 7:19 a.m., the suspect fueled the troop car at a gas station on St. George Avenue in Colonia, N.J. and left without paying. At 7:30 a.m., the suspect stopped a cab at the Woodbridge Center Mall in Woodbridge, N.J. and stole cash from the driver. No weapons were brandished during any of the incidents.
This is an active investigation, and we continue to work cooperatively with North Brunswick Police Department and local law enforcement. There is no further information available at this time. Anyone concerned or suspicious about the validity of an officer’s identification should call 9-1-1 to report the information and seek confirmation of the officer’s credentials.
North Brunswick NJ, according to State police an unmarked trooper SUV was stolen overnight in Middlesex County.
NJ State Police report the white Chevrolet Tahoe vanished sometime Saturday evening or early Sunday morning in the area of North Brunswick.
The vehicle was found Sunday in North Brunswick, but two uniforms and two weapons that had been inside the car were gone.
Police say the stolen weapons and uniforms may have been used in an armed robbery in Middlesex County Sunday morning.
John Longo a retire police officer said ,” In 26 years on the job, I never left weapons and uniforms in a vehicle overnight….this adds to that whistle blower female trooper’s allegations about unqualified applicants going through their police academy and appointed on the job. This makes me question their integrity and their abilities. People could have been killed during this armed robbery due to someone’s stupidity ”
So the question remains, Why are troopers leaving weapons in an unattended vehicle?
Newark NJ, Newark police have deployed extra security to protect Sen. Cory Booker in response to a death threat against the former mayor, officials said Saturday.
In a statement, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said police were working with U.S. Capitol Police to protect the New Jersey Democrat.
“The Newark Police Division has been notified by the United States Capitol Police (USCP) regarding a threat on the life of New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and his family members,” Baraka said. Members of the police division’s executive protection unit were assigned to provide security.
NJ Senator Cory Booker had slammed the ‘repugnant’ call for killing of Jews by Imam of Jersey City Mosque. In his letter to Ahmed Shedeed — the president of the Islamic Center of Jersey City, Booker excoriated Elkasaby’s remarks as “repugnant,” “dangerous,” and “unconscionable.” Death threats followed, a fatwa in the opinion of some experts .
The media has speculated on everything from the Alabama special election , Net Neutrality to grandstanding .
Representatives for Booker’s office and the U.S. Capitol Police would not comment on the threat.
Officials did not disclose more details on the nature of the threat or say if there were any arrests.
Washington DC , President Trump is touting his administration’s progress on deregulation, according to the President for every one new regulation an amazing 22 are eliminated. Trump said the goal is to get the stack of regulations smaller than that of the 1960’s.
According to the Wall Street Journal ,” the biggest change has been in U.S. economic policy, notably the Trump Administration’s deregulatory efforts and the boost they have given business confidence.”
The Labor Department reported Friday December 8th that the U.S. created 228,000 net new jobs in November, in the latest sign that the American economy is growing at a healthier pace.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that nonfarm payrolls grew by 228,000 jobs in November, with gains across all sectors except information and utilities. The pace in November is higher than the 2017 average of 174,000 per month, and 1.7 million jobs have been added since January. The November unemployment rate matched October’s rate of 4.1 percent, which was the lowest rate in more than 16 years (since December 2000).
For Hispanic workers, the 4.7 percent unemployment rate in November was the lowest in at least 44 years.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department revealed Wednesday that the GDP expanded at a 3.3 percent rate in the third quarter after being adjusted for seasonal factors and inflation. That’s the first time since 2007 that quarterly economic output exceeded the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of its “maximum sustainable level,” the Wall Street Journal reported .
Washington DC, The FCC voted 3-2 on Thursday to approve chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to repeal “net neutrality” rules backed by the Obama Administration that reclassified internet-service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Title II prohibits “any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.”
The Net Neutrality rules effectively deemed the internet a utility, former chairman Tom Wheeler turned the FCC ie the Federal Government into a political gatekeeper. The rules prohibited broadband providers from blocking, throttling and favoring content, which Mr. Wheeler ostensibly intended to help large content providers like Google , and Netflix gain leverage against cable companies.
Bans on throttling content may poll well, but the regulations have created uncertainty about what the FCC would or wouldn’t allow. This has in tern throttled investment. Price discrimination and paid prioritization are used by many businesses. Netflix charges higher prices to subscribers who stream content on multiple devices. Has this made the internet less free?
Mr. Pai’s rules require that broadband providers disclose discriminatory practices unlike now. Thus cable companies would have to be transparent if they throttle content when users reach a data cap or if they speed up live sports programming. Consumers can choose broadband providers and plans accordingly. The Federal Trade Commission will have authority to police predatory and monopolistic practices, as it had prior to Mr. Wheeler’s power grab.
Despite the screams from the left Mr. Pai’s net-neutrality rollback will also support growth in content. Both content producers and consumers will benefit from increased investment in faster wireless and fiber technology. Apple is pouring $1 billion into original content to compete with Amazon, Netflix and YouTube.
Disney is buying the 21st Century Fox assets in an effort to compete with Netflix and other streaming services, build leverage with cable companies and establish a global footprint. Netflix has more than 47 million international subscribers and streams in nearly every country. Fox will keep its news and main sports channels, which can offer “live” content to consumers. The antitrust concerns should be negligible.
More positively consumers will also benefit from the speeding up of the breakdown of the cable monopoly as they offer more customized “bundles” like Hulu or a Disney stream that may cost less and no longer force large expensive packages of channels on customers Americans will also enjoy new distribution options, which could have been barred by the old net-neutrality rules.
This week T-Mobile announced its acquisition of Layer3 TV, a Denver startup that streams high-definition channels online and will compete with AT&T’s DirecTV Now. Verizon Wireless last month said it will start delivering high-speed broadband to homes over its wireless network late next year. Google and AT&T are experimenting with similar services that will be cheaper than digging dirt to lay cable. This could be a boon for rural America.
Google, YouTube and Facebook have vigorously promoted net neutrality in theory but less in practice. While Google says it remains “committed to the net neutrality policies,” the search engine like Facebook uses opaque algorithms to prioritize and discriminate against certain content, sometimes in ways that undercut competitors. Net neutrality for thee, but not me should be Google , YouTube and Facebooks mantra . In simple terms these providers till search results to favor politically correct view points. Google, YouTube as well as Facebook should be far more transparent about these discriminatory practices.
Technology and markets change faster than the speed of regulation, which Ajit Pai’s FCC has recognized by taking a neutral position and restoring the promise of internet freedom.
On November 21, the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to revisit its Obama-era internet regulations. It seems likely that the resulting vote will repeal the policies often referred to as net neutrality. The name is, perhaps, misleading; to support net neutrality is to support placing the internet more fully under government supervision. The related political debate often divides traditional allies with arguments for free expression pitted against defenses of small government.
To understand net neutrality, one must see its position in technical history. Traditionally, internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast and Verizon, have guaranteed their customers a certain quantity of bandwidth – that is, a certain amount of data per unit of time. It was assumed that even a voracious user would rarely use his maximum bandwidth, and services were priced under this assumption. ISPs also de facto allowed customers to access whatever websites they wished; while there was no legal protection for this behavior, technical complexities made discrimination by website infeasible. The result was a largely open web: anyone with a blog could potentially reach millions.
In the early 2000s, the situation changed. Technological innovations enabled providers to determine which site a user visited and so potentially to restrict access. In principle, an ISP could now sell “packages” of websites, in a fashion resembling cable television: “basic internet” for news and Facebook, say, or “premium internet” for those who wanted more. These years also saw the rising popularity of streaming video services like Netflix and YouTube. Users now binge-watched videos, consuming their maximum available bandwidth for hours at a stretch. Such trends increased costs for the ISPs, leading them to investigate new responses: restricted access to high-usage sites, artificially slow downloads, and so on.
Net neutrality stands in opposition to these changes. Broadly, under net neutrality, the government requires ISPs to treat all web traffic in the same way: no limiting access, no reducing speed. Since 2005, the FCC has several times established net neutrality regulations; inevitably, the courts struck down such rules on the grounds that the FCC lacked the authority to regulate ISPs. In response, in 2015 the FCC redefined broadband internet as a telecommunications service, placing it under FCC jurisdiction, and promptly passed net neutrality rules. With the political shift of the 2016 elections, new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai began rolling back these regulations – hence the upcoming vote.
Both sides of the debate have merit. Concerns that ISPs might slow targeted websites are not idle speculation; Comcast did precisely thatto Netflix in 2014. Indeed, Comcast and others have done little to engender public trust in their behavior. Comcast had pledged for years not to “prioritize Internet traffic or create paid fast lanes.” That pledge disappeared from its website less than a day after Pai announced policy changes.
It is also true that the meritocratic nature of the internet – its enabling of anyone to win a following through quality work – has been one of its most notable virtues. A world of “basic internet,” in which new entrants might be simply unreachable, would reduce its value as a platform for new ideas.
Despite these fair concerns, arguments against the FCC rollback seem insufficient. It is difficult to deny that price incentives have drastically shifted over the last decade; if streaming video is generating much of the ISPs’ expenses, it makes intuitive sense that providers might demand Netflix share those costs, or might price service by total consumption rather than maximum bandwidth. Nor are the corporations supporting net neutrality any more trustworthy than the ISPs. Setting Netflix aside, supporters such as Google and Facebook seek to block ISPs from trading in users’ private information – a trade on which these companies themselves depend. For them, net neutrality eliminates the competition.
Other objections rely too heavily on speculation. While a “fast lane” internet would be a marked shift, the brief history of the web is one of constant change. Indeed, the rise of mobile browsing, which often limits the user to app-specific websites and now constitutes a majority of all web usage, may produce a greater alteration than that net neutrality would prevent.
Further, the internet is historically the result of market activity rather than top-down regulations. If one approves of its remarkable evolution to this point, it seems peculiar to assert that this is the moment to freeze it through government action. Given how few accurately predicted that evolution, it seems hubristic to assert how it will change next. Perhaps, as the ISPs argue, the increased revenue from a non-neutral internet would enable the expansion of broadband networks, ending regional monopolies of service providers. Such a change might ultimately produce a faster, more accessible internet – or it might not, but the experiment seems worth the risk.
Finally, whatever one’s feelings on net neutrality, the 2015 rules should be seen for what they are: a staggering expansion of bureaucratic power, by decree of the bureaucracy itself. The result is an ugly patchwork of overlapping authority between the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission, with ISPs disfavored over similar services. This reclassification can never be a stable solution; it will always be vulnerable to precisely the kind of unilateral repeal currently occurring. If the public supports net neutrality, then let it be defended through the proper channel: by laws, and not bureaucratic fiat.
Dr. Brian Dellinger is an assistant professor of computer science at Grove City College. His research interests are artificial intelligence and models of consciousness.
Jersey City NJ , Friday Sermon at Jersey City, NJ: Imam Aymen Elkasaby Prays to Be Martyred on the Threshold of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Which Is “Under the Feet of the Apes and Pigs”
Sheikh Aymen Elkasaby, imam of the Islamic Center of Jersey City, dedicated his Friday sermon on December 8 to U.S. President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Imam Elkasaby challenged the assumption that Israel is invincible, quoting from the Quran to demonstrate that the Jews “are the most cowardly of nations.” “So long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains prisoner in the hands of the Jews… So long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains under the feet of the apes and pigs, this nation will remain humiliated,” he said. Towards the end of the sermon, Imam Elkasaby prayed for Allah to grant him “martyrdom on the threshold of the Al-Aqsa Mosque” and to annihilate “the plundering oppressors” down to the very last one. At the end of the sermon, a community member stood up and invited the congregation to a demonstration in Times Square to protest the decision by the “lunatic” U.S. president. The videos of Imam Elkasaby’s sermon was posted on the YouTube account of the Islamic Center of Jersey City.
Defendants Responsible for Rutgers University Hack, Creating Mirai and clickfraud Botnets, Infecting Hundreds of Thousands of Devices with Malicious Software
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, The Justice Department announced today guilty pleas in three cybercrime cases. In the District of New Jersey, one defendant also pleaded guilty to launching a cyber attack on the Rutgers University computer network, and in the District of Alaska, that defendant and two others pleaded guilty to creating and operating two botnets, which targeted “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices.
Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick of the District of New Jersey; Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher of the FBI’s Newark Division; U.S. Attorney Bryan D. Schroder of the District of Alaska; and Special Agent in Charge Marlin L. Ritzman of the FBI’s Anchorage Division and made the announcement.
Paras Jha, 21, of Fanwood, New Jersey, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp in Trenton federal court in the District of New Jersey to violating the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. Between November 2014 and September 2016, Jha executed a series of attacks on the networks of Rutgers University. Jha’s attacks effectively shut down Rutgers University’s central authentication server, which maintained, among other things, the gateway portal through which staff, faculty, and students delivered assignments and assessments. At times, Jha succeeded in taking the portal offline for multiple consecutive periods, causing damage to Rutgers University, its faculty, and its students. The count to which Jha pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain or loss derived from the offense, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for March 13, 2018.
On Dec. 8, 2017, Jha, Josiah White, 20, of Washington, Pennsylvania, and Dalton Norman, 21, of Metairie, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to criminal informations in the District of Alaska charging them each with conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act in operating the Mirai Botnet. In the summer and fall of 2016, White, Jha, and Norman created a powerful botnet – a collection of computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the knowledge or permission of the computers’ owners. The Mirai Botnet, targeted IoT devices – non-traditional computing devices that have been connected to the Internet, including wireless cameras, routers, and digital video recorders. The defendants attempted to discover both known and previously undisclosed vulnerabilities that allowed them to surreptitiously attain administrative or high-level access to victim devices for the purpose of forcing the devices to participate in the Mirai Botnet. At its peak, Mirai consisted of hundreds of thousands of compromised devices. The defendants used the botnet to conduct a number of powerful “distributed denial of service” (DDOS) attacks, which occur when multiple computers acting in unison flood the Internet connection of a targeted computer or computers. The defendants’ involvement with the original Mirai variant ended in the fall of 2016, when Jha posted the source code for Mirai on a criminal forum. Since then, other criminal actors have used Mirai variants in a variety of other attacks.
Jha and Norman also pleaded guilty to criminal informations in the District of Alaska charging each with conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. From December 2016 to February 2017, the defendants successfully infected more than 100,000 primarily U.S.-based Internet-connected computing devices, such as home Internet routers, with malicious software. That malware caused the hijacked home Internet routers and other devices to form a powerful botnet. The defendants then used the compromised devices as a network of proxies through which they routed Internet traffic. The victim devices were used primarily in advertising fraud, including “clickfraud,” a type of Internet-based scheme that utilizes “clicks,” or the accessing of URLs and similar web content, for the purpose of artificially generating revenue.
“Paras Jha has admitted his responsibility for multiple hacks of the Rutgers University computer system,” Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick said. “These computer attacks shut down the server used for all communications among faculty, staff and students, including assignment of course work to students, and students’ submission of their work to professors to be graded. The defendant’s actions effectively paralyzed the system for days at a time and maliciously disrupted the educational process for tens of thousands of Rutgers’ students. Today, the defendant has admitted his role in this criminal offense and will face the legal consequences for it.”
“Today’s guilty plea is a testament to the countless hours of hard work and dedication by law enforcement in the fight against cyber criminals,” FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher said. “Cybercrime knows no boundaries. Dismantling these operations is possible only by working closely with our partners.”
“The Mirai and Clickfraud botnet schemes are powerful reminders that as we continue on a path of a more interconnected world, we must guard against the threats posed by cybercriminals that can quickly weaponize technological developments to cause vast and varied types of harm,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan said. “The Criminal Division will remain constantly vigilant in combating these sophisticated schemes, prosecuting cybercriminals, and protecting the American people.”