Galveston Historic Homes Tour offers a bit of island history

GALVESTON, Texas - If shiplap, chandeliers, and original hardwood floors are your real-estate jam, then an upcoming event could have you switching off HGTV and taking a trip to Galveston.

The Galveston Historical Foundation is holding its 43rd annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour on May 6, 7, 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for non-members before May 1, and $35 after and are available online at www.galvestonhistory.org. Members of Galveston Historical Foundation can purchase specially priced $25 tickets.

Take a sneak peek into some of the historic homes that will be open for tours:

“The annual homes tour highlights the island’s architecture crossing decades of construction and design as well as houses both large and small. Galveston offers a unique collection of late 19th and early 20th century houses that will intrigue visitors and captivate historic house buffs,” said Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s executive director.

2017 HOMES ON TOUR

1868 Charles and Susan Hurley House - 1328 Ball Homes Tour Cover House

Charles Hurley, commission merchant and former mayor of Galveston, owned this two-story Southern townhouse with Greek Revival features. Hurley and his family occupied the property until the late 1880s. Heavily damaged during the 1900 Storm, the house was rebuilt with an addition in 1910.

c1880 Alley House - 811 Broadway

Galveston Historical Foundation relocated this vernacular two-room alley house from the 1100 block of Market Street to its current location in 2009. The side-gabled wood frame building represents a typical alley house prevalent in Galveston since the 1840s. Saved from demolition by relocation, the city of Galveston designated the building a historic landmark in 2010.

1904 Thomas and Maggie Bollinger House - 1601 Post Office

Grocery merchant Thomas Bollinger and his wife, Maggie, were the first residents of this two-story Victorian house. The couple rented the house for several years and then purchased the property in 1907. The building’s most prominent feature is a wrap-around double gallery porch that addresses its corner lot in Galveston’s historic East End neighborhood. 1905 James and Emma Davis House - 1915 Sealy James Jefferson Davis, former vice president and general manager of the Galveston Wharves, commissioned Galveston architect George B. Stowe to design this two-story house with Colonial Revival influences for use as his family residence. Born and raised in Galveston, Stowe had one of the largest architectural offices in the state and was highly regarded as a leader in his profession.

1899 William and Ella Dugey House - 3007 Avenue P

William Dugey commissioned this two-story side-hall Victorian townhouse that was completed in 1899 just before the 1900 storm. After substantial damage from the storm, he rebuilt it in 1901 and occupied it for a number of years. The large two-over-two windows on the principal facade open to a double gallery porch that faces north. Dugey was a cotton screwman who worked on the wharves compressing bales of cotton onto ocean-going vessels.

916 Hans and Marguerite Guldmann House - 1715 35th Street

Dallas architectural firm C. D. Hill & Company designed a 5,500-square-foot brick house for businessman and former Danish Consul, Hans Guldmann. Sitting on more than one acre, the two-story residence features both Mission and Craftsman design elements including a tile roof, wide over-hanging eaves revealing exposed rafter tails, and a double gallery supported by square columns.

1925 Joseph and Helen Swiff House - 1602 25th Street

Russian immigrant Joseph Swiff commissioned Czechoslovakian architect Rudolph Mudrak to design this Mission style house in 1925. The one-story hollow tile and brick building with a stucco finish contains ten rooms and nineteen closets, four of which were cedar lined. Swiff operated J. Swiff & Co., a cotton, bagging, and lumber business in Galveston. He maintained ownership of the property until 1970.

1926 Harry and Harriet Wetmore House - 1606 25th Street

Galveston harbor pilot Capt. Harry Wetmore contracted with Johnson Brothers Construction Company to erect a red-brick, two-story Colonial Revival house during the summer of 1926. The property is noted by a prominent front entry supported by slender columns and a side elevation portecochere leading to a rear two-story garage and servant’s quarters. Wetmore came to Galveston in 1913 as a captain for the Morgan Steamship Lines. He and his family maintained ownership of the property until 1965.

1915 Henry Hildebrand House - 3624 Avenue R 1/2 Rehabilitation in Progress, 1st Weekend Only

Henry Hildebrand purchased a two-story kit house from the Aladdin House Company in 1915. The property’s original insurance record noted that “The Fairmont” house pattern arrived in Galveston by train “ready to nail together.” Donated to Galveston Historical Foundation in 2015 - and featured during the 2016 Historic Homes Tour, the recently completed rehabilitation of the house is supported through GHF’s Revolving Fund. The fund is a neighborhood revitalization initiative focused on rehabilitating vacant, endangered, and underutilized historic buildings in Galveston.

1920 City National Bank Building - 2219 Market Rehabilitation in Progress, 2nd Weekend Only

Chicago architects Weary & Alford designed a two-story neoclassical stone building to house William L. Moody Jr.’s City National Bank. Renamed Moody National Bank in 1953, banking operations we’re conducted from the building until 1962. From 1976 until 2008, the building was used as a museum. It is currently being rehabilitated for use as a private event venue.

 

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group Review - History of Captives

Eastern, Inova, and alternative insurance. A history of security and stability.

The concept of alternative insurance, commonly known as “captives,” has been around as long as insurance itself.1 The idea dates back to the 1600s when ship owners sat down at Lloyd’s Coffee House in London to discuss common sense solutions to protecting their vessels and cargo from financial loss. The rest is “Lloyd’s of London” history.

The modern day “captive” was born in 1958 by insurance innovator Fred Reiss, when he formed a “self-insurance” company to insulate his first client from the insecurities and instabilities of traditional insurance. As a wholly owned subsidiary located in Bermuda, this insurance company was literally a “captive” of the parent.

In recent decades, captives’ inherent security and stability have garnered widespread global acceptance and popularity. More than 90% of Fortune 500 companies have one or more captives. The ever-evolving sophistication of captives makes them attractive solutions for organizations of all types and sizes in search of an alternative to traditional insurance.

Eastern and Inova. True leadership in alternative insurance.

Inova's leadership in alternative insurance began in March 1998 when Cayman-based Eastern Re Ltd. became the first Segregated Portfolio Company (SPC) authorized by the Cayman Island Monetary Authority (CIMA). An SPC is a single legal entity comprised of individual “protected cells” that protect each insured organization’s assets and liabilities within a secure, stable environment.

Inova’s Eastern Re was the first SPC to be assigned a financial strength rating by A.M. Best Company. On August 13, 2014, A.M. Best Company reaffirmed Eastern Re’s A (Excellent) financial strength rating.

Inova's strength is reinforced by Eastern’s solid partnerships with globally respected industry leaders, including Lloyd’s of London (insurer/reinsurer), Global Captive Management Ltd. (insurance manager), Ernst & Young LLP (actuary/auditor), and Deustche Bank (SPC investment manager).

As of December 31, 2014, Inova includes 20 active programs totaling in excess of $60M in direct written premium.

1 Shanique Hall, “Recent Developments in the Captive Insurance Industry,” Center for Insurance Policy Research (CIPR) Newsletter [January 2012], accessed February 7, 2014.

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group - Products and Services

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We offer a full range of workers' compensation products and services - including third-party administrator services and alternative risk financing options. All of our product offerings are tailored to meet our clients' specific needs. Contact an EAIG agent and learn how we can develop a solution that's right for your organization.

Alternative Markets

We look past the typical to provide fresh perspectives.

Eastern recognizes there are times when traditional workers’ compensation programs may not provide the best solution for our clients. That's why we offer an alternative markets program – with non-traditional insurance products and risk financing services for those who want to share in underwriting profits and investment income.

We focus on doing one thing and doing that one thing well: providing superior workers' compensation products and services to businesses and organizations. Since 1997, we have built a strong reputation for being a "best in class" provider of workers' compensation products and services. We've achieved this position by creating supportive relationships and providing our employees and clients with the tools and resources they need to win with integrity.

Japan Asia Group Limited Review - Green Energy

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Energy

Green energy for prosperous local communities

From our start in Europe, where in 2004 we developed then the world's largest photovoltaic power station, to becoming a leading developer in both Europe and Japan, we now offer seamless and tailored packages, covering everything from site identification, financing and technical due diligence, right through to keeping the plant running smoothly, long into the future.

Mega solar - We cover everything from planning to operation. Talk to us to see how we can meet your renewable energy needs.

In Japan - We are rapidly expanding our photovoltaic power station market share in Japan.

In Europe - We have developed numerous successful and profitable solar plants in four European countries.

Property

Our green communities not only optimize environmental value and asset value for our clients and local communities, but are central to our vision of a better future.

Measures to combat environmental problems such as global warming and climate change are gaining attention worldwide. Japan’s mid-term target of CO2 (greenhouse gas) emissions reduction is 25% from 1990s levels by 2020. CO2 emissions generated by the real estate sector (commercial and residential) currently account for over 30% of total emissions in Japan, and this trend is expected to continue. Therefore, it is vital that real estate developments are sustainable and a valuable environmental asset.

Energy solutions - We offer comprehensive energy solutions from generation to savings and storage.

Real estate solutions - Our extensive expertise in eco-town and green building developments and energy solutions means we can offer integrated property management and real estate solutions.

Japan Asia Group will take up the challenge to grow together with our community, working to solve societal issues and protect our Earth, with speed in our business decisions and synergy of our component group strengths.

Tokyo Online Fraud Trends 2017 - What to Watch Out For

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Fraud detection is a never-ending learning process for experts and e-commerce merchants. The moment we figure out a fraudster’s attack pattern, we can slow down his fraud attempts ─ until he realizes his approach no longer works. Then he tries something different and often more complex, and the detection-and-prevention cycle turns again. In addition to stopping millions of different fraud patterns in 2016, ClearSale collected and studied those patterns to understand how they’ll evolve. Based on that knowledge, the ClearSale fraud analytics team expects to see more of these types of emerging and growing fraud in 2017.

Some types of ecommerce fraud recur year after year. First, let’s talk about the old standbys. Certain types of e-commerce fraud may always be with us. They’re usually simple patterns that are easy to detect with the right tools. For example, some criminals launch multiple fraud attempts from a geographic area associated with a fraud victim's name, IP address or post office box.

Reoccurring usernames, like a series of random first names finishing with the same numbers (pete001@gmail.com,monica001@gmail.com) are also strong indicators of fraud. Harder-to-detect but perennially popular fraud patterns exploit websites’ blind spots. For example, if a merchant’s checkout process doesn’t require a CVV validation number for card purchases, fraudsters will eventually find it and flock to it with a list of stolen card numbers for which they don’t have CVV codes.

In 2017, watch for these types of online retail fraud. Most fraud is much more complex than those basic types. Based on our analysis of 2016 trends, we expect more of these newer fraud patterns in the year ahead:

Even more fraudulent bot transactions. Over the past year, there’s been a dramatic rise in fraudsters’ use of tools that randomly generate credit card numbers. They test those, along with randomly generated CVVs, at under protected merchant sites to find effective card-number-and-CVV combinations. They can also test randomly generated CVVs against known valid credit card numbers they’ve purchased on the dark web.

As soon as they find card and CVV matches that work, these criminals can commit fraud at speed, using bots to place multiple orders at once. Fraudsters also use bots to place many orders in sequence with computer-generated e-mail addresses. Sometimes they use the same random e-mail address for several orders with different credit cards. A decade ago, automated fraud at this scale and velocity was impossible to achieve; today it’s business as usual.

Online fraudsters exploit in-store pickup. Omnichannel retailers and customers like the convenience of online ordering with in-store pickup, but it’s convenient for fraudsters, too. That’s because fraud screenings of online orders rely on checking information like the customer’s shipping address. If that address doesn’t need to be correct for customers to get their merchandise, a thief can enter information that doesn’t match the card, complete the order, and pick up the merchandise before the fraud is discovered. There are simple ways retailers can modify the pick-up process to make it more secure without discouraging real customers, but not all retailers are using them yet.

Same-day shipping helps fraudsters beat the clock. Eighty percent of shoppers want same-day shipping from retailers, and fraudsters want it, too. Faster shipping means more successful fraud, because — as with in-store pickup — criminals can get their hands on the merchandise before their fraud is detected. Once a fraudster finds same-day shipping success with a particular retailer, he can target them repeatedly until they tighten their screening to block him.

The post-EMV online fraud wave hasn’t crested yet. Like every other country that’s switched to EMV (chip) cards for in-store purchases, the US has seen a dramatic rise in online fraud as criminals move from point-of-sale fraud to easier targets. Experts warned about this expected rise since well before the EMV liability shift in October 2015, and fraud attacks have increased as predicted. However, as of this writing, only 29% of US retailers accept chip cards at their point-of-sale terminals. As more retailers convert their POS terminals in 2017 to comply with card company rules, expect even more fraud in the online space.

In the end, there will always be countermeasures retailers can use against fraud patterns, no matter how new or old those patterns are. The most successful online retailers in 2017 will deploy countermeasures that reduce traditional online fraud and new fraud trends without turning away good customers.

Japan’s CyberSecurity Upgrade — Too Little, Too Late?

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The Internet facilitates rapid data-sharing and increased communication between individuals, firms and government entities. This generates significant risks but, for most of the 2000s, Japan did not take commensurate countermeasures. The complacent attitude toward information technology security has persisted in Japan too long due to a combination of ignorance, wishful thinking and the belief that cybersecurity is only a cost, rather than a prudent investment.

It doesn’t get any more embarrassing than the discovery that the Wi-Fi network at the lodging for reporters covering the G-7 Ise-Shima summit was tampered with and can infect users’ computers with a virus that has been traced back to Russia. Government officials maintain, however, that strict cyber-terrorism measures have been implemented at the summit venues to prevent any such problems. Well, that’s their story and they’re sticking to it.

The theft of data from police departments in recent years has exposed thousands of people’s personal information and many years of investigation data. These breaches highlight that authorities can’t even safeguard their own information, raising questions about their ability to enforce cybersecurity and spreading awareness of the threat. There have also been breaches affecting politicians, the Diet’s servers and various ministries and agencies, not to mention the theft of data from major firms such as Benesse Corp. and websites such as Ashley Madison, a social networking service for adulterers.

Despite so many instances of hacking worldwide, authorities in Japan have not responded effectively. In May 2015 the Japan Pension Service was targeted, exposing the personal data of more than 1.2 million people. This came after the Diet passed legislation in 2014 designed to beef up cybersecurity, granting a sweeping mandate to the Cabinet’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity. It is supposed to strengthen international cooperation on cybersecurity and also overcome the notorious stovepipe mentality of Japan’s agencies and ministries by coordinating and unifying their efforts — not an easy task in the turf-conscious world of the bureaucracy.

These various attacks demonstrate Japan’s cyber-vulnerabilities at all levels: from private citizens to the military and corporations to the government.

Online attacks cost relatively little and are fast, difficult to detect or to pin on the responsible party. Moreover, they can be devastating — such as the attack on Iran’s nuclear power plants and enrichment facilities by the malicious Stuxnet worm.

The covert GhostNet cyberattack, discovered in 2009 and thought to have originated in mainland China, took control of more than 1,000 computers belonging to diplomats, military attaches, politicians and their assistants, as well as journalists. In addition to stealing data, it allowed for covert surveillance using the microphones and video cameras in targets’ computers.

Past attacks highlight Japan’s cybersecurity weaknesses. Back in 2005, the computers of approximately 400,000 to 500,000 broadband users were infected with bots, which can inflict crippling distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Japan could be subject to unimaginable chaos if transportation systems like railways or air traffic control were attacked. Cyberterrorism against nuclear plants, dams and other important infrastructure represent potential nightmares.

In 2007, classified data on the Aegis weapons system, including targeting information, was exposed on a peer-to-peer network when a Maritime Self-Defense Force officer shared pornography files that the classified information was buried within. Subsequently, in 2011, Chinese hackers gained access to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Japan’s largest defense contractor, compromising classified submarine, missile, fighter jet and nuclear power plant data.

Apple urges iPhone users to update after powerful cyberweapon is found by Online Security

SAN FRANCISCO – Apple on Friday urged iPhone owners to install a security update after a sophisticated attack on an Emirati dissident exposed vulnerabilities targeted by malware dealers.

Researchers at the Lookout mobile security firm and Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto said they had uncovered a three-pronged attack targeting the dissident’s phone “that subverts even Apple’s strong security environment.”

 

Lookout and Citizen Lab worked with Apple on an iOS patch to defend against the attack, called Trident because of its triad of methods, the researchers said in a joint blog post.

“We were made aware of this vulnerability and immediately fixed it with iOS 9.3.5,” Apple said in a released statement.

 

Trident is used in spyware referred to as Pegasus, which a Citizen Lab investigation showed was made by an Israel-based organization called NSO Group. NSO was acquired by the U.S. firm Francisco Partners Management six years ago.

Lookout referred to Pegasus as the most sophisticated attack it has seen, accessing calls, cameras, email, passwords, apps and more.

 

The spyware was detected when used against Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist who has been repeatedly targeted using spyware.

After receiving a suspicious text with a link, he reported the matter to Citizen Lab, which worked in conjunction with San Francisco-based Lookout to research the affair.

 

“The attack sequence, boiled down, is a classic phishing scheme: send text message, open web browser, load page, exploit vulnerabilities, install persistent software to gather information,” the joint blog post said. “This, however, happens invisibly and silently, such that victims do not know they’ve been compromised.”

 

Mansoor received text messages on Aug. 10 and 11 promising that secrets about detainees being tortured in United Arab Emirates jails could be accessed by clicking on an enclosed link, researchers said.

Had he fallen for the ruse, the Trident chain of heretofore unknown “zero-day exploits” would have broken into his iPhone and installed snooping software.

 

Once infected, Mansoor’s iPhone would have been turned into a “spy in his pocket” capable of tracking his whereabouts and conversations, Citizen Lab said.

Mansoor was targeted five years ago with FinFisher spyware and again the following year with Hacking Team spyware, according to Citizen Lab research.

 

“The use of such expensive tools against Mansoor shows the lengths that governments are willing to go to target activists,” the researchers said.

Although the cyberattack on Mansoor was not linked to a specific government, Citizen Lab said indicators pointed to the UAE.

 

UAE authorities did not comment on the matter.

 

Lookout and Citizen believe the spyware has been “in the wild for a significant amount of time.”

“It is also being used to attack high-value targets for multiple purposes, including high-level corporate espionage on iOS, Android and Blackberry.”

 

Citizen Lab has also found evidence that “state-sponsored actors” used NSO weapons against a Mexican journalist who reported on high-level corruption in that country and on an unknown target in Kenya.

The NSO tactics included impersonating sites such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the British government’s visa application processing website and a wide range of news organizations and major technology companies, the researchers said.

 

Mansoor’s decision to enlist Citizen Lab instead of falling into the trap gave researchers a rare chance to expose the work of “shady cyber arms dealers” who command high prices for morally questionable services, said Lookout’s vice president of security research, Mike Murray.

 

Invoices posted online have shown that hackers can charge tens of thousands of dollars per target hit with their software.

“The smartphone is a valuable target, and breaking into it is a valuable skill set,” Murray said. “People who can do this, and with wiggle room in their moral code, have realized the business opportunity.”

 

NSO Group has been around since 2010, and the capture of one of its weapons was billed as a first.

Studying Trident has helped cyberdefenders find ways to spot spyware that had been operating unseen, and they are “actively catching it in the wild now,” Murray said.

 

He declined to reveal anything about other targets, saying that they were people likely to be under surveillance in other ways by local authorities.

Citizen Lab saw the attack on Mansoor as further evidence that “lawful intercept” spyware has significant abuse potential, and that some governments can’t resist the temptation to use such tools against political opponents, journalists and human rights defenders.