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A law enforcement source cited by CNN complained, “This is clear interference with an ongoing criminal investigation.”
A source in law enforcement who spoke with CNBC said of the meeting with Petrillo, “There are major concerns about interference with the ongoing federal investigation.”
The CNN story published Tuesday said executives in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York had asked state and local authorities to avoid making moves regarding Cohen or the Trump Organization that might interfere with an ongoing federal probe.
Alphonso David, counsel to the governor, told CNBC, “No one has told us that the southern district of New York advised the tax department not to proceed with their investigation.”
CNN also reported that tax investigators have sought to have prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office attend the meeting, but it is not clear if they will.
Petrillo did not immediately return a request for comment from CNBC.
James Gazzale, a spokesman for the New York State Tax and Finance Department, called CNN’s story “misinformation.”
“Neither the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York or any other law enforcement agency expressed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not want us to continue with our investigation of state tax matters,” Gazzale said.
Cohen pleaded guilty last month to federal tax crimes and to violating campaign finance law in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. He has yet to be sentenced.
The Trump Organization reportedly is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in connection with its reimbursement to Cohen for $130,000 he paid porn star Stormy Daniels. The payment was made on the eve of the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her keeping quiet about an affair she claims to have had with Trump in 2008.
Cohen has said Trump directed him to pay Daniels for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the election that sent Trump to the White House.
Court filings cited by CNN indicate that the Trump Organization paid Cohen, ostensibly for legitimate business expenses, after he submitted false invoices for the money.
CNN said that hours after Cohen pleaded guilty, the state tax department subpoenaed him as part of an investigation into whether Trump’s eponymous charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, violated state tax laws.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment. A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.
The New York Attorney General’s Office, the agency that would be responsible for prosecuting any violation of state tax law, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.
Researchers from KU Leuven university in Belgium demonstrated that hackers can secretly clone the key fob of a Tesla Model S and steal the car within seconds — and with only $600 worth of simple computing and radio equipment, WIRED reports.
The researchers brought their findings to Tesla — which rewarded them for exposing the security flaw — and Tesla responded by adding a software update with two factor authentication using a PIN code, and it offered updated key fobs to customers with additional security.
However, if Model S drivers haven’t updated their software and don’t have a new key fob, their cars are still theoretically vulnerable to this type of theft.
A savvy car thief could drive off with a Tesla Model S by using just a few, relatively inexpensive pieces of computing hardware and some radios — at least, the thief could have until recently, when Tesla fixed an overlooked vulnerability in its cars’ security systems.
A group of researchers from KU Leuven university in Belgium demonstrated that Tesla Model S key fobs can be cloned, and the cloned signal can then be used to unlock the vehicle and start the engine — all without the owner realizing, WIRED reports.
The researchers brought their findings to Tesla last summer, and the company rewarded them with $10,000 for exposing the security flaw. In response, Tesla released a software update in August that enabled two-factor authentication with a PIN code from within the vehicle. It also developed and released updated, encrypted key fobs with additional security. If customers updated their software and received a new key fob, they should be safe from these types of attacks, but customers who didn’t install the update or who don’t own the new fobs are still theoretically vulnerable.
The amount of work that goes into the hack is surprisingly minimal, and not much equipment is needed. All of the necessary hardware costs less than $600, and the Model S can be hacked within seconds without the owner realizing it. The researchers built their device with a Raspberry Pi computer, a Yard Stick One radio, a Proxima radio, an external hard drive, and batteries.
A clever, and worrisome, hack
The researchers began by building a database of all the possible digital entry keys that could be used to open a Model S. The result was six terrabytes worth of potential keys — which are stored on the device’s hard drive.
After that, it’s simply a matter of following these 4 steps:
1. The hacker needs to copy the locking system signal that is constantly emitting from the Model S itself.
2. Next, the hacker has to take the radio within about three feet of the victim’s key fob, and using the signal that was copied from the car’s locking system, they trick the fob to emit two response codes that would normally be sent to the vehicle.
3. The hacker then need only run the signals through the database of possible keys stored on the hard drive, and the car’s digital key will be located within seconds.
4. Then the hacker can return to the car, open the door, and drive away without the owner having any idea. Once the digital key is discovered, the hackers could clone the key fob and make one of their own — meaning they could enter and start the vehicle whenever they please.
Here’s a video of the hack being demonstrated:
In a statement to WIRED, Tesla said that it had needed time to verify the authenticity of the flaw, identify a solution, and then roll it out via a software update and through the production line of new cars. Tesla’s solution should technically stop this type of attack — the two-factor authentication and encrypted key fobs that aren’t vulnerable to hacking are most likely efficient countermeasures. In addition, Tesla added the ability to disable the “passive entry” feature, requiring the driver to physically press a button on the key fob to unlock the car.
Although the problem appears to be fixed, and there aren’t any reports of this method being used to steal a Model S, it’s an interesting development in cybersecurity. As cars become more high-tech, new threats arise as well that need to be addressed.
Criminal Minds premiered way back in 2005 and it’s now about to celebrate its 300th episode.
To help commemorate the milestone, executive producer Erica Messer teased that fans will be seeing a few familiar faces in the episode — including Beverly Hills, 90210 alum and current Riverdale star Luke Perry.
“A lot of exploration of the history of the show in the 300th episode, right from jump,” she tells Entertainment Weekly. “Even when we would normally be doing a ‘previously on Criminal Minds, we give a little history lesson of the current team on the show.”
Perry is back as cult leader Benjamin Cyrus, who first appeared in the Season 4 episode “Minimal Loss.” However, in that episode, the character died… which begs the question, how will be return? We assume in a flashback scene.
Luke Perry as cult leader Benjamin Cyrus in 2008 (Karen Neal/ABC Studios)
Messer said the reason to bring back so many major players is a way of “acknowledging the talent and history of those people.”
We left off in the Season 13 finale with the lives of Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) in jeopardy. The rest of the BSU team must race against the clock to try and save them from another murderous cult leader Benjamin Merva (Michael Hogan).
Click through the gallery above for some sneak peek photos from the milestone premiere episode!
Criminal Minds, Season 14 Premiere, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 10/9c, CBS