Posts Tagged ‘ransomware’

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5 terror finance predictions for 2016

January 11, 2016
  • TrendMicro says2016 will be the year of online extortion.” Rather than simply holding data for ransom, hackers will threaten to divulge personal information about users if a ransom isn’t paid. Cyber-criminals will use the psychology of fear to a greater extent than ever before through ransomware.
  • Enhanced financial monitoring in EU. This is as much of a reflection on 2015 as it is a prediction for 2016, but second-generation Muslim immigrants will continue returning from the Syrian front to Europe. Domestic intelligence services will be too under-resourced to monitor all of the jihadist returnees. A British psychic website goes as far as to predict a terrorist attempt to assassinate Chancellor Angela Merkel. While there is no way of predicting such a thing, it does seem that since Germany has been such a favored destination for Middle Eastern transients, Germany could very well be targeted by ISIS operatives for a major operation. German authorities would do well to beef up customs and border searches for the possibility of bulk smuggled cash and to increase monitoring by undercover agents of black market firearms purchases by suspected Islamists.
  • Forecasters are predicting a modest rebound but a continued low price for oil in 2016. This will put pressure on the budgets of the Arab Gulf monarchies. It should also mean that they’ll have less money to export Wahhabism and fund Islamist rebellions.
  • Expect Washington to promulgate more counter-terror finance regulations that paint with a broad brush. Compliance officer Doug Cornelius predicts that “FinCEN will come out with new regulations imposing anti-money laundering requirements on investment advisors and fund managers.”
  • Taliban spending spurt. There are mixed predictions for the Taliban in 2016. Some analysts predict that the Taliban will topple the Afghan government again, while others predict that the leadership scuffle in the wake of Mullah Omar’s reported death, the rival appeal of ISIS in Afghanistan, the strength of Afghan security forces, could weaken the Taliban or force it to a negotiated settlement. Sensing that it’s do or die for the Taliban, Money Jihad predicts they’ll employ more aggressive and audacious tactics, and they’ll be willing to expend hundreds of millions of dollars for their militant operations in 2016.
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10 tips for businesses to avoid financing terror

November 24, 2014

If you run or work for a medium or small business that can’t afford to have an entire compliance department, or even a compliance officer, here are a few tips that will help your business reduce its risk of inadvertently funding a terrorist organization, running afoul of federal authorities, or both:

  1. Conduct due diligence before taking on new accounts, and do not rely exclusively on Internet searches for due diligence.
  2. For international accounts it is doubly important to carry out thorough due diligence (including overseas business partners, banks, security providers, and charities) before signing agreements with them. You will probably have to contract out for investigation services, but it’s worth the expense.
  3. If your business promotes or authorizes employee payroll deductions to make charitable contributions, review the list of participating charities. Do not offer payroll deductions for donations to charities suspected of financing terrorism or charities known to have worked with designated terrorists. This would include Islamic Relief USA and the Zakat Foundation (see here and here).
  4. If your business requires or offers diversity or equal opportunity training, do not make payments to any organization or person to conduct the training who has been implicated in terrorist financing schemes such as members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or the Islamic Society of North America, both of which were unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas-financing case.
  5. Think twice before offering sharia-compliant investment accounts to employees or allowing a conventional retirement brokers to offer sharia funds to your employees. These financial products are less transparent with respect to fund management by sharia advisory boards whose members often share close ties with the international Muslim Brotherhood and are not subject to disclosure requirements on where they channel their profits.
  6. Do not buy corporate fruit baskets or other gift baskets from Edible Arrangements. Their CEO operates a foundation out of his office at Edible Arrangements allegedly linked to Pakistani front charities that fund Islamist militants.
  7. Do not have business lunches, meetings, or conferences catered by halal food providers such as IFANCA and Crescent Foods, which have been endorsed by or have catered events for entities that are suspected to have financed terrorism.
  8. If you are asked by an importer whether your business can ship to or “enter an Arab Port?” do not answer the question. That is code language used to ascertain your business’s willingness to participate in the Arab League’s boycott against Israel. Answering the question helps those who oppose the existence of Israel and will lead to fines by the U.S. Office of Antiboycott Compliance.
  9. Don’t let your data or your employees be held for ransom. Ask your IT department or technology provider about their security protocols against ransomware. Make adequate plans to protect your employees from abduction during overseas travel. Paying ransoms will serve to enrich criminal or terrorist groups which will be costlier and less secure for your industry in the long run.
  10. Bookmark and read blogs such as Money Jihad, Kenneth Rijock’s Financial Crime Blog, and Shariah Finance Watch for the latest threat trends in terror finance risk management. These websites are free unlike some of the other specialized news sites which are informative but fee-based.
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Terror funding & financial crime predictions for 2014

December 31, 2013
  1. As U.S. troops depart Afghanistan in 2014, the Taliban is poised for a banner year, financially speaking.  The Pakistani Taliban is laying the groundwork for a resurgence too, accumulating money from an extortion spree against businessmen (see here, here, here, here, and here) throughout 2013.
  2. The 28-page section of the 2002 report from Joint Congressional Inquiry into Sept. 11, 2001, implicating Saudi financing of the 9/11 hijackers could either be declassified or leaked in 2014.  Enough of a consensus is gathering that the section was redacted for diplomatic purposes, and should be disclosed so the American people know the truth (or at least more of the truth than is already known about Saudi Arabia’s role in financing global terrorism).
  3. “A major data destruction attack will happen,” and ransomware will be involved.  Websense explains, “Historically, most attackers have used a network breach to steal information for profit. In 2014, organizations will need to be concerned about nation-states and cyber-criminals using a breach to destroy data. Ransomware will play a part in this trend and move down market to small and medium sized organizations.”
  4. Narendra Modi could become elected prime minister of India next year.  Mr. Modi has spoken out against corruption, black money, hawala, and terrorism to a greater degree than the current ruling Congress party.  His victory would represent a significant threat to the established criminal and terrorist underworld in India and Kashmir that are being backed by Pakistan.
  5. New legislation including, at the federal level, renewed sanctions against Iran, and at the state level, sharia law bans (“American laws for American courts” initiatives), and anti-fraud legislation at the state level dealing with no-fault car insurance fraud and counterfeit airbags, may be enacted in 2014.

Some other thoughts come to us from the Council on Foreign Relations, which has published an interesting forecast of 2014 based on surveys of public officials and experts, including the possibility of major terrorist attacks in the U.S., in Kashmir, and by al-Shabaab against Somalia’s neighbors.

Incidentally, prosecutors in the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are pushing for a fall 2014 trial, although defense lawyers have argued that will be too soon.