Friday, February 10, 2017

JOHN C. PLATT III. Rest in Peace Cowboy...

Potomac Falls, VA - John Cheney Platt III (Jack), aged 80, died unexpectedly on January 4, 2017 of advanced esophageal cancer. Jack, also known as "Cowboy," served proudly as an officer in the United States Marine Corps followed by 25 years of service in the Central Intelligence Agency. He led a life full of intrigue, mystery and adventure serving his country abroad in Austria, Laos and France. He was a natural leader, a mentor to many, and did not suffer fools lightly.

After retiring from the CIA, he formed the Hamilton Trading Group partnership that allowed him to continue training others on security awareness measures to protect themselves in a dangerous new world. He spent his last few years traveling widely with his wife and friends. 

Mr. Platt, who was known as Jack, was a gruff former Marine officer who for years ran a training program in Washington to teach C.I.A. case officers how to operate under cover. But he was best known in the spy world for his longtime friendship with Gennadiy Vasilenko, a K.G.B. officer whose betrayal by Aldrich Ames, the Soviet mole at the C.I.A., led to Mr. Vasilenko’s imprisonment in Moscow.

Mr. Platt was hired by the CIA in 1963. He was an operations officer with an extensive information collection and counter-intelligence background.  In the course of various assignments overseas, he lived and worked in Austria, Germany, France and Laos. He also traveled extensively in Latin America, the Caribbean and to a lesser extent in Eastern Europe. For five years he directed a CIA training program which was awarded a Unit Citation for excellence.  This program was successful in preparing U.S. personnel and their families to live and work productively in hostile countries.  Upon retirement, Mr. Platt was awarded the CIA's Career Intelligence Medal for exceptional performance and commended by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his professionalism, zeal and vital assistance to the FBI. 
Mr. Platt and several like-minded Americans took steps to open a window on the “new  Russian Federation” in the early 1990s. He contacted former Soviet adversaries and pushed for mutual agreements on conducting commercial inquiries and personal security and safety –in Russia.  The joint business efforts of the company and the Russians were favorably described in news stories (LA Times, Palm Beach Post, Forbes Magazine and the NYT). Platt’s unusual but interesting relationships with “former KGB enemies” have been cited in TV programs about the CIA and KGB (Discovery Channel in 1997 and CBS 60 Minutes II in 2001). 
Regrettably, the results of “regime change” in Russia (i.e., Putin’s Kremlin) rendered bilateral business cooperation with Russian contacts as damaged efforts best observed in the rear-view mirror. In 2005, the prime business partner in Russia, retired KGB officer Gennadiy Vasilenko, was arrested in Moscow on trumped up charges and sentenced to a long prison term. After serving 5 ½  years of a 3-year sentence in the Russian prison system, Mr. Vasilenko was granted free passage to be resettled with his family in the USA  -- being part of a historic “Russian- USA spy swap” of July 2010. 
In addition to his wife, the former Paige Gordon, he is survived by three daughters, Leigh, Michelle and Diana Platt, and one grandson.

Rest in Peace Cowboy.  You will be greatly missed. J.D.L. ~

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Light Phone...Possible New "Anti-Spy" Phone??

Note: Not sure how the 2G sunset will effect this emerging product, but hopefully they have it all figured out. ~JDL

The Light Phone is a discreet credit card sized mobile phone designed to be used as little as possible. It is the only phone designed to be used as your second phone as a seamless extension of you smartphone. It is an unlocked 2G GSM phone that works independent of your current plan, but using our unique software platform it can keep your same phone number. The Light Phone is easily set up and controlled via an app on your computer. Other features are limited to nine speed dials and a time display. 

An active SIM is required because the phone is not tethered, it will work regardless of where your smartphone is. The cost of using our service is approximately $5/month in the United States. 

Read more here.

Friday, January 13, 2017

WhatsApp vulnerability allows snooping on encrypted messages..

A security vulnerability that can be used to allow Facebook and others to intercept and read encrypted messages has been found within its WhatsApp messaging service.

Facebook claims that no one can intercept WhatsApp messages, not even the company and its staff, ensuring privacy for its billion-plus users. But new research shows that the company could in fact read messages due to the way WhatsApp has implemented its end-to-end encryption protocol. Privacy campaigners said the vulnerability is a “huge threat to freedom of speech” and warned it could be used by government agencies as a backdoor to snoop on users who believe their messages to be secure.

WhatsApp has made privacy and security a primary selling point, and has become a go to communications tool of activists, dissidents and diplomats.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"Spy Toys" that use voice recognition tech to “listen” to the kids that play with them..

These particular toys — basically a “girl” and “boy” theme on the same core idea — both use voice recognition tech to “listen” to the kids that play with them.
They connect via Bluetooth to a mobile phone app, usually belonging to a parent, and then from there access the internet in order to interact with kids and answer their questions. To accomplish that feat, the apps record and collect conversations between the toys and the kids, and use speech-to-text protocols to turn kids’ questions into searchable queries. 
View Video below.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Delete yourself from the internet by pressing this button..

The internet can be a beautiful and horrible place at the same time, and it isn’t weird to sometimes feel like you want to leave — there’s wasn’t an easy way out, until now.
Swedish developers Wille Dahlbo and Linus Unneb├Ąck created, which offers a way to wipe your entire existence off the internet in a few clicks.
When logging into the website with a Google account it scans for apps and services you’ve created an account for, and creates a list of them with easy delete links.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hack the Army: US military begs white hats to sweep it for bugs..

Security experts reckon the US government’s newly unveiled "Hack the Army" bug bounty programme may usher in greater co-operation across the whole arena of security research.

The US Army will offer cash rewards to hackers who find vulnerabilities in selected, public-facing Army websites under the scheme, which builds on the US military’s previous "Hack the Pentagon" programme.

The Hack the Pentagon programme gave security researchers the chance to earn money by finding bugs on static websites that “weren't operationally significant as targets”. Hack the Army goes one step further by inviting security researchers to look for flaws in websites that offer dynamic exchanges of personal identifiable information, sites considered central to the Army's recruiting mission.

Chris Lynch, the US Department of Defense's head of Digital Service, said: ”Hack the Army [will show] that bringing in creative hackers from a wide variety of backgrounds can fundamentally improve the way we protect our soldiers and secure our systems."

New Malware Turns Headphones into Makeshift Microphones to Record Your Conversations

Mark Zuckerberg made headlines earlier this year for tapping his webcam and microphone. While he forgot the security 101 of not reusing old passwords, the Facebook CEO was definitely paranoid of someone trying to spy on him more than someone hacking his LinkedIn or Pinterest accounts.
Spying makes everyone uncomfortable. Are those so-called IoT devices really surveilling on you? Should you tape up your webcam and microphone slot? The paranoia would see no end because there’s no end to the lengths an attacker could go to spy on their targets. Now, a group of Israeli researchers at Ben Gurion University have given us yet another reason to freak out with malware that converts your headphones into microphones that can record your conversations.
Researchers demonstrated the hack in a video, using a malware they are calling “Speak(a)r” to hijack a computer to record audio, even when the target device’s microphone has been disabled or entirely removed. This malware tweaks the speakers in the earbuds to turn them into makeshift microphones, covertly listening to you.