Tuesday, February 2, 2016

People turn their smartphones into spying devices for just $5/month

Last month, Wired introduced us to “Symphony, the company that tracks Netflix’s elusive ratings.” Netflix famously doesn’t release information about how many people watch its shows and movies, but Symphony Advanced Media reported that 4.8 million people aged 18-49 watchedJessica Jones and 3.8 million in the same group watched Master of None.How did Symphony come up with these secretive numbers? By turning thousands of people’s phones into listening devices.
Symphony Advanced Media, founded in 2010, has recruited over 15,000 people to be part of its “panel of media insiders.” They downloaded an app from Symphony that collects a ton of information from their smartphones, and turns on their microphones every minute for 5-6 seconds to see what they’re watching on their TV or computer. Here’s how Symphony describes on its website what it knows about each individual in its panel:

Monday, December 7, 2015

Google in hot water for allegedly spying on children

Complaint filed for the illegal compiling of data

In what could turn out to be a disaster for Google’s reputation, the company is being accused of collecting the personal data of thousands of schoolchildren. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, known as EFF, has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claiming that Google is illegally compiling data from the Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education (GAGE) products that Google provides to schools.
The Chromebooks and GAFE products Google sends to schools are all part of a suite of cloud-based tools designed to be advertisement free, and a safe place for students to learn while exploring the internet. EFF is claiming that the Chromebooks have a default setting which synchronizes all the preinstalledChrome browsers and allows Google to spy on the children’s actions.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Is Your Connected Home Spying on You For Criminals?

The Internet of Things is still at an early adoption stage, but it's already changing the way that we live our lives. 2008 was the year there were more devices online than people. By the year 2019, it's estimated that 1.9 billion devices that connect homes to the Internet will be in place. That's 1.9 billion opportunities for hackers to get into your home.

So What Is The Internet of Things?

Steve Weisman, a professor at Bentley University in Boston and the proprietor of Scamicide.com, explains the Internet of Things as any device that's connected to the Internet. "Your fridge can tell you when it needs repairs," he says. "You can raise or lower the heat from afar. It can make a lot of things easier." 

"The problem is that when most of these were developed, they didn't build in security," Weisman said, noting that last year, Hewlett-Packard Security Research found that most common "things" on the Internet of Things had security flaws. "90% of them used weak passwords and unencrypted wireless," Weisman added.

Read more: http://www.thestreet.com/story/13378859/1/is-your-connected-home-spying-on-you-for-criminals.html

Did you know that ComSec's residential TSCM services include more than an evaluation of your home for eavesdropping devices? We also include an examination of your computer, your cellphone and your wireless network for security issues. The Internet of Things gives spies an opportunity to penetrate your home privacy in many more ways. Since we incorporate Cyber TSCM into our TSCM services, we have you covered. We provide TSCM solutions that are top rated by our clients because they are thorough and effective. Learn more here: https://comsecllc.com/residential-tscm-surveys/

Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, November 23, 2015

FBI Warns of Spies Targeting Medical Researchers

The same week that Jonathan Pollard walked out of a U.S prison after serving 30 years for spying on behalf of Israel, U.S. federal agents, academics and information technology specialists gathered in Houston to discuss this region’s vulnerability to espionage.

When it comes to espionage, it might not seem that foreign governments would target cancer and other medical research, but the FBI is warning that academics and others who work in disciplines that might seem far removed from national security to be on guard.

Foreign governments and their companies _ as well as elements of organized crime _ are known to try and infiltrate academia to steal work that can be reproduced back home without having to spend the time and money the United States has put into research and development.

Read more: http://blog.chron.com/narcoconfidential/2015/11/fbi-warns-of-spies-targeting-researchers/

Research labs, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, universities, etc. that have access to, or are developing, medical technologies are increasingly at risk for industrial espionage. Cybersecurity is but one element of thoroughly protecting valuable intellectual property. ComSec LLC's cyber counterespionage experts employ a multi-faceted counterespionage approach that includes HUMINT (Human Intelligence), OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) vulnerability assessments, cyber technical surveillance countermeasures (Cyber TSCM) and mobile device forensics. We assess your vulnerabilities to identify human, 
technical and electronic threats. Contact us to learn more about our counterespionage services. 

Image courtesy of KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, November 20, 2015

Police used apparently illegal wiretaps to make hundreds of arrests

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Prosecutors in the Los Angeles suburb responsible for a huge share of the nation’s wiretaps almost certainly violated federal law when they authorized widespread eavesdropping that police used to make more than 300 arrests and seize millions of dollars in cash and drugs throughout the USA.

The violations could undermine the legality of as many as 738 wiretaps approved in Riverside County, Calif., since the middle of 2013, an investigation by USA TODAY and The Desert Sun, based on interviews and court records, has found. Prosecutors reported that those taps, often conducted by federal drug investigators, intercepted phone calls and text messages by more than 52,000 people. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, November 19, 2015

US Urged to Investigate Alleged Spying Against Chinese Americans

Some Congressional members and Asian American groups are calling on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate what they say is a trend of Asian American scientists being suspected of spying for China.

Temple University physics professor Xi Xiaoxing and Sherry Chen, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service, were accused of spying for China. The government later dropped the cases against them.

At a news conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Xi and Chen – both naturalized U.S. citizens – told their stories of being arrested by the FBI in front of coworkers and family members. Both said they are innocent and were unfairly targeted because of their race.

Read more: http://www.voanews.com/content/spying-accusations-chinese-americans/3063891.html

Protecting corporate technologies and information from industrial and economic espionage is a necessity. Nation state sponsored corporate espionage is on the rise, and prevention is much more effective than prosecution. Not all who are suspected are guilty. And, it may be extremely difficult to prove spying after the fact.  If you are interested in protecting valuable corporate intellectual property from corporate, economic or industrial espionage, contact us for information about The Assurance Option

Image courtesy of somkku9 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pa. landlord accused of taping mom, kids

HAZELTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania landlord who police say used a surveillance camera hidden in a bathroom vanity to record a mother and her two children has been arrested.

Christopher Shenyo, of Sheppton, faces charges including sexual abuse of children and invasion of privacy.

Hazelton police say Shenyo recorded the woman and children showering and using the toilet at their Hazelton rental property.

Forty-year-old Shenyo was arraigned Tuesday and is being held at the Luzerne County Prison because he couldn’t post bail.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/2015/11/18/pa-landlord-accused-taping-mom-kids/75997844/

Yes, cameras and listen devices are still planted in washrooms and bathrooms by voyeurs. They can be hidden in a public restroom, an office washroom, a hotel bathroom and even in rented property bathrooms as in the story above. If you are responsible for security for a restaurant, hotel, business or rental property, you should not overlook the potential for the property to be compromised by hidden cameras. Once privacy is compromised, it can damage to your brand and lead to lawsuits. A physical inspection for hidden cameras, cell phones, and other recording devices in washroom and bathrooms should be conducted on a regular basis. And, if there is suspicion of electronic eavesdropping, call ComSec. Our bug sweep experts detect electronic eavesdropping devices that are well hidden and/or passive until activated. 

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net