If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

FBI Citizens Academy: Week #4

Another mind-blowing week at the FBI Citizens Academy.

“The most effective weapon against crime is cooperation.” ~~J. Edgar Hoover

The first program of our fourth class dealt with counterterrorism and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. This is the kind of stuff that will keep you up at night.

Various areas of current threats were discussed. Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVE). ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al Shan) also known as ISIL. And lone wolf actors. For more details, click here.

One of the scariest tidbits was learning how terrorists are drawn to the encrypted apps a lot of us and our kids use every day. Snap Chat. Skype. Whatsapp. Because of the encryption, the conversations can’t be traced. If you’re concerned about privacy, untraceable conversations sound great. Not so great when those conversations involve terrorist activities.

Kids are especially susceptible to radicalization by violent extremists. They might be feeling lonely or misunderstood and these people prey on that, befriend the youngsters, and then lure them into their beliefs. We need to be vigilant. If a child in your life is withdrawing from activities and contact with real people, if they’re being secretive and are hiding their online activities, we need to take action. Talk to them and be alert. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.

The second program of the night focused on Foreign Counter Intelligence. This topic includes espionage: protecting the secrets of the US intelligence community from foreign spies; economic espionage: protecting the national and private industry’s critical assets; and counterproliferation: keeping WMD, advanced conventional weapons, and related technology from falling into the wrong hands.

China and Russia are our biggest adversaries in this area but not the only ones. Iran, India, Pakistan, South Korea, and others seek to gain access to our knowledge and technology. Even travelers to France have had their laptops compromised.

Russia is choosier about what their spies go after. China, however, will go after the best and brightest of everything! For example, in January 2016, Mo Hailong pled guilty to conspiracy to steal trade secrets in the form of corn seeds

Other less surprising targets include MRI technology, glass insulation, wind turbine technology, and hybrid auto technology. Their goal is to produce this stuff cheaper without having to bother with research and development, resulting in our companies being undersold and going out of business.

The FBI doesn’t always aim to make arrests in these cases. You won’t see these stories on the nightly news. The goal is to disrupt the spy networks.

Read more about it here.

The final portion of the evening was the Cyber Program. This is the kinds of things we all need to be aware of in our daily online lives.

If you have Gmail and receive an email stating you need to reset your password by clicking a bit.ly link, DO NOT CLICK IT. If you do, the Russians will have your password and total access to your computer.

Also, DO NOT USE HOTEL WI-FI overseas. Honestly, after hearing about the ways wi-fi can be hacked, I don’t even want to use it locally. But in other countries, there is no expectation of privacy. Whatever is on your laptop will be in foreign hands.

Finally, you know all those weird friend requests you receive on social media? In case you weren’t already aware, those are foreign trolls. They might not contact you immediately, but they’ll eventually strike up a conversation and at some point, will suggest you take the conversation off that particular platform to an email with a link to click. Same as above. Once you click, they’ve got you. 

You can read a lot more about this topic on the FBI website.

Next time: FBI Range Day, including live fire, shoot/don’t shoot scenarios, and blowing stuff up!


Grace Topping said...

Thanks, Annette, for sharing information you got at your sessions. It’s truly frightening how easily information and our systems can be compromised. I get some really weird friend requests, but I always check them out before I accept.

Jim Jackson said...

Good stuff, Annette. I’m surprised they didn’t mention using VPNs while traveling.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I text my children from overseas using hotel wifi. I don't travel with a tablet or laptop.

Very interesting, Annette. Keep the reports coming.

Kait said...

WOW. This is great information, Annette. Cybersecurity has always frightened me. I thought it was because I had little understanding of it. Now it seems, in the words of the 1960s, just because your're paranoid did not mean they're not out to get you!

Did the class touch on "the cloud" or whatever other providers call it? What is their position on "cloud" storage? I can't imagine it is as secure as providers claim and avoid it whenever possible and always for financial data.

Annette said...

Kait, they actually used the "paranoid" quote at one point!

I don't recall them mentioning the cloud, although there's so much information to cover in so little time, it could have slipped past me while my brain was processing something else they'd said. Which is also why I include the links to the FBI website's discussions on these topics. I wish I could take notes fast enough to cover it all.

Grace, I've always been careful about those weird friend requests. Now, I'm especially so!

Jim, they may have and since I have no clue what those are, it didn't register in my overloaded brain.

Margaret, you need to stop using wifi in overseas hotels. You're giving them total access to your phone, which is probably also connected to accounts on your laptop or tablet. I can't say it enough: there is NO assumption of privacy in foreign countries.

KM Rockwood said...

All fascinating. I operate on the assumption that nothing I put out on the internet (or even my computer, which is hooked up to the internet) is private.

I remember being told, years ago, in an introduction to internet use, "If you don't want to see it on the front page of the New York Times, don't put it on your computer."

Annette said...

So true, KM. But when you think about all the stuff we do online, banking, for example, photos of grandkids for another, it gets terrifying.