Digital carjackers met with Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg to demonstrate how they can program a Ford Escape’s computer systems and crash it pretty much by pushing a button. On Wednesday, Forbes posted the video to YouTube, and you’re probably going to want to watch it, so press that button.
Warning: For some reason Andy Greenberg thinks we want to know that he flew out to meet these dudes on an an airplane. I’ve seen enough airports in my life. If you have too, I advise you to skip ahead to about the 0.58 mark where we actually meet digital carjackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek.
The trio plus an unseen camera person test the 3,500 pound Ford Escape in the weedy parking lot of a South Bend, Indiana strip mall.
With Greenberg at the wheel, the digital carjackers mess with the reporter’s mind by making his dashboard show more gas in the car than he actually has or by making his speedometer read 199 miles per hour.
The scariest stunt involves making the brakes fail with a melodramatic bellow — fortunately at 5 miles per hour so that nobody is hurt.
There’s much, much more in Greenberg’s article available online as well in the August 12 issue of Forbes.
The takeaway seems to be that bad guys can mess with your car computer just like they can with any other computer. And I don’t see why not.
However, what Greenberg, Miller, and Valasek may — or may not — know is that they have just fueled the flames of a thousand burning candles of conspiracy.
From what I’ve seen of Los Angeles, that kind of death isn’t too unusual.
But some people have speculated that he was killed because of his opposition to what he called the surveillance state.
I have no reason to believe that’s true. Andy Greenberg doesn’t mention Michael Hastings in the video or the online copy of his article.
But YouTube viewers of the videos are not so circumspect. Comment after comment reads: “RIP Michael Hastings” or “Hum… so is this what they did to Hastings when he was assassinated by the government goons?”
Are Hedge funds managers responsible for the current financial woes and should they be punished. Up to to you to make up your own mind
If a new report about hedge fund corruption is to be believed, the industry is overrun with unethical and illegal activity. Some 46% of people at hedge funds believe their competitors break the law or act unethically and 30% say they’ve seen wrongdoing themselves. Less than a week after F.B.I. agents handcuffed SAC Capital portfolio manager Michael Steinberg and escorted him from his Park Avenue apartment, the report, released yesterday, says that more than a third of hedge fund professionals believe they have to break the rules to get ahead.
The report was released by New York law firm Labaton Sucharow, which specializes in representing plaintiffs in securities class action cases and whistleblower actions, together with HedgeWorld, a news and research service, and the Hedge Fund Association, a trade group. They commissioned an anonymous online survey of 127 hedge fund professionals conducted between Feb. 25 and March 17.
According to Jordan Thomas, chair of the whistleblower practice at Labaton Sucharow, the survey was an attempt to gauge the extent of wrongdoing inside of hedge funds and the likelihood that hedge fund professionals would report illegal activity to the authorities.
A portion of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which passed in 2010, was intended to make it easier for people in the securities industry to report wrongdoing. Whistleblowers can remain anonymous, their jobs are protected by law and they are entitled to 10%-30% of the monetary sanctions the SEC gets in such cases.
Despite those protections the survey found that 29% of respondents still think they could experience retaliation if they report wrongdoing at their fund.
In addition, 28% said that if leaders of their firm learned that a top performer had engaged in insider trading, the leaders would be unlikely to report the misconduct. Thirteen percent said they believe firm leaders who find out about wrongdoing would just ignore the problem. Another 13% said that people who work at hedge funds may need to do unethical or illegal things to be successful and the same number admitted they would commit a crime–insider trading–if they could make a guaranteed $10 million and get away with it.
More than half of the respondents, 54%, said they though the SEC was ineffective in detecting, investigating and prosecuting securities violations.
Thomas, who worked as the assistant chief litigation counsel in the SEC’s enforcement division until July 2011, says there is a silver lining to the new survey. It asked whether respondents would report wrongdoing if they were protected by the provisions of the Dodd-Frank whistleblower law. Eighty-seven percent said they would. Eighty-three percent said they were already aware of the program. But seriously? They say corruption is rampant, and the vast majority would report it—when few actually do.
“The 87% represents hope,” says Thomas. “It is likely that the law will lead to more reporting in the industry.”
Still, there is obviously a disconnect between that hope and the reality that nearly a third of respondents say they believe that they would be retaliated against if they reported wrongdoing at their firm. It also could be that the protections and potential monetary awards just aren’t enough to motivate people to come forward. Or cheating in the hedge fund industry simply remains, far too much, business as usual.
In what is emerging as the battle of the billionaires, Trump said he has banned every brand of whisky sold by William Grant & Sons from his resorts and hotels after Michael Forbes, his obstinate neighbour in Aberdeenshire, was voted Top Scot in a ceremony sponsored by the distiller’s leading brand, Glenfiddich.
The closest resident to Trump’s golf course, Forbes won the award last week after a public vote, beating the Olympic tennis gold medallist and US Open winner Andy Murray. Trump said that decision was “an insult to both Andy Murray and Scotland itself”.
Trump claimed that William Grant & Sons, which broke through the £1bn sales barrier this year and owns several of the world’s most popular whiskies, including Grant’s, was jealous of his own inhouse single malt whisky brand.
The distillery sold more than one million cases of Glenfiddich, but Trump continued: “Glenfiddich should be ashamed of themselves for granting this award to Forbes, just for the sake of publicity.
“Glenfiddich is upset that we created our own single malt whisky using another distillery, which offers far greater products. People at our clubs do not ask for Glenfiddich, and I make a pledge that no Trump property will ever do business with Glenfiddich or William Grant & Sons.
“I hereby call for a boycott on drinking Glenfiddich products because there is no way a result such as this could have been made by the Scottish people.”
After suggesting that the voting for Forbes had been fixed by “a small group of detractors” casting multiple votes, he continued: “Glenfiddich’s choice of Michael Forbes, as Top Scot, will go down as one of the great jokes ever played on the Scottish people and is a terrible embarrassment to Scotland.”
William Grant & Sons gave short shrift to Trump’s criticisms, which he first aired on Twitter on Tuesday, insisting it had nothing to do with the voting for the award, which Glenfiddich has sponsored for 15 years.
It had never interfered with the outcome, it said, and insisted Forbes’s victory should be respected.
“We understand that there may have been some confusion and misunderstanding concerning the structure and running of the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards,” the firm said in a statement.
“Top Scot is a totally open category in which the people of Scotland can vote for whomsoever they choose and Glenfiddich has no influence on this decision. [The] Top Scot may be one of that year’s category nominees or may come from any walk of life. The person receiving the greatest number of votes, cast by the people of Scotland, wins the award.”
It added: “In the history of these awards, we are not aware of the Top Scot award causing any offence or upset to anyone and it is not our intention to do so now. These awards were set up to give the people of Scotland a vote and we must respect their decision.”