Bourbon heists, spies, a suitcase stuffed with $1.7 million and other stories from the Rift


Here’s a recap of our favorite news stories recently featured in the Rift Recon newsletter:

Drug Traffickers Hacked Major Shipping Port Tracking System
The scheme sounds like a work of near science fiction. But police in the Netherlands and Belgium insist it’s true, and say they have the evidence to prove it: two tons of cocaine and heroin, a machine gun, a suitcase stuffed with $1.7 million, and hard drive cases turned into hacking devices.

Kentucky’s Case of the Missing Bourbon
America’s decade-old romance with Kentucky bourbon, a drink formerly as plebeian as a Chevrolet, has come to this: high-end bar chefs and foodies everywhere have been abuzz since 65 cases of Pappy Van Winkle, one of the nation’s most expensive and sought-after bourbons, disappeared from a warehouse here.

Thieves, Spies, and Silicon Valley Startups a Cautionary Tail
Last Christmas Eve, a man broke into Adara Networks’ San Jose headquarters, using copies of both physical and electronic keys. He seemed to know exactly what he was looking for. The thief left rows of desks untouched as he cruised toward the lab holding the source code for Adara’s proprietary data-center networking software. Fortunately for Adara, he triggered an alarm on the lab door and fled.

How The Chinese Are Hacking Us Through Our Limos
Kevin Mandia, CEO of the cybersecurity company Mandiant, takes a lot of limo rides. Normally, his limo company emails him PDF copies of his invoices after every trip. Recently, though, something changed. “I’ve been receiving PDF invoices not from them, but from an [advanced hacking] group back in China; that’s awesome,” said Mandia in D.C. recently. He only caught the attack when the hackers sent receipts on days when he hadn’t used the car service. “I forwarded them to our security service, and they said, ‘Yup, that’s got a [malicious] payload.’”

Contactless payments – researcher intercepts card data from over a meter away

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to intercept contactless card and NFC smartphone payment passwords at distances of up to 90cm using a backpack, a shopping cart, and a small antenna. Mission: Impossible? Apparently not, according to a paper published by the Institute of Engineering and Technology on Tuesday.

For more real-life smash and grab stories, break into the Rift Recon Newsletter Archives or sign up for our semi-seekly list with the form in the left-hand sidebar. Got a tip on a hot story? Send it to [email protected].

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