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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Feb 24, 2021

A Florida man accused of attempting to join ISIS has been indicted on federal terror charges.

A grand jury in Gainesville formally charged 33-year-old Mohamed Suliman with attempting to provide material support for a terror organization.

According to investigators, Suliman traveled from Orlando to Turkey in 2014 and attempted to enter Syria illegally.

Officials said they also found dozens of audio files of Suliman calling for jihad, a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty.

Read more: WKMG (Orlando)

A man was accused of making multiple homemade bombs in his Williamson County home outside Round Rock, prompting authorities to evacuate neighboring homes Tuesday.

The Williamson County sheriff’s office said 47-year-old John Christopher Crawson was charged with making a terroristic threat against a family member, a third-degree felony. Authorities didn’t offer more details about the family situation, but neighbors say Crawson and his wife were going through an ugly divorce.

Officials said an investigation revealed that Crawson had made improvised explosive devices inside his home at 2564 Santa Barbara Loop, outside the Round Rock city limits.

The Austin Police Department's bomb unit and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to the scene to help remove the devices.

Read more: Austin American-Statesman

A court in the northern German city of Celle has convicted a radical Islamist preacher and three co-defendants for recruiting and radicalizing young people in Germany for the "Islamic State" terrorist group.

He has been sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison.

Prosecutors sought a sentence of 11.5 years for Abu Walaa, who is believed to be the "Islamic State" jihadist group's de facto leader in Germany.

The defense, however, demanded an acquittal, with Walaa himself declining to make a closing statement last week.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

MORE THAN FOUR years after a mysterious group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers began wantonly leaking secret NSA hacking tools onto the internet, the question that debacle raised—whether any intelligence agency can prevent its "zero-day" stockpile from falling into the wrong hands—still haunts the security community. That wound has now been reopened, with evidence that Chinese hackers obtained and reused another NSA hacking tool years before the Shadow Brokers brought it to light.

On Monday, the security firm Check Point revealed that it had discovered evidence that a Chinese group known as APT31, also known as Zirconium or Judgment Panda, had somehow gained access to and used a Windows-hacking tool known as EpMe created by the Equation Group, a security industry name for the highly sophisticated hackers widely understood to be a part of the NSA. According to Check Point, the Chinese group in 2014 built their own hacking tool from EpMe code that dated back to 2013. The Chinese hackers then used that tool, which Check Point has named "Jian" or "double-edged sword," from 2015 until March 2017, when Microsoft patched the vulnerability it attacked. That would mean APT31 had access to the tool, a "privilege escalation" exploit that would allow a hacker who already had a foothold in a victim network to gain deeper access, long before the late 2016 and early 2017 Shadow Brokers leaks.

Read more: Wired

The man who surrendered at the FBI’s Hudson Valley office Monday to face charges in connection with the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol siege is a retired NYPD officer who had been assigned for a time to work perimeter security at City Hall and at Gracie Mansion, the mayor's official residence, law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the investigation told News 4 Tuesday.

Thomas Webster, who is expected to appear in federal court in White Plains later in the day, is accused of using a pipe to attack Capitol Police that day, the officials said. Webster's attorney, James Monroe, declined to comment Tuesday.

The FBI had released an image, later identified by law enforcement officials as Webster, as part of their ongoing investigation into the violence last month.

Read more: NBC New York