Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Owner Watched Live Feeds Of Ladies Room

Owner Of Poloros Restaurant In Mineola Arrested After Surveillance Camera Spotted In Ceiling Tiles
A peeping Tom preying on women in the most vulnerable of positions!

The sickening discovery -- a hidden camera – was found inside the ladies' bathroom of a well known Long Island restaurant. And as CBS 2 HD found out, the suspect behind it has a troublesome history.
Nassau County Police Lt. Raymond Cote showed CBS 2 HD surveillance video that captured the sickening crime as it was happening. Police say Omar Romero set up a hidden camera inside the ladies room of the restaurant he owns in Mineola and watched live feeds of the surveillance from his office.
"That's Omar Romero in the video you see here. He's running cable from this video camera down to the basement PC that he has where he was viewing the interior of the ladies bathroom," Lt. Cote said.


Electrical 'Smart Grid' Not Yet Smart Enough to Block Hackers

President Obama's plans to accelerate the development of an electrical "smart grid" could leave the nation's power supply dangerously vulnerable to attacks by computer hackers, security analysts are warning.
The "smart grid" is projected to be a nationwide system of automated meters and advanced sensors that integrates new alternative-energy sources with traditional power plants.
Once online, utilities will be able to adjust their rates to the immediate supply and demand for power, and customers will be able to choose to operate their appliances during the hours when consumption — and prices — are at their lowest.
"With smart grid, anybody with an eBay account and $80 can go and buy a smart meter, reverse-engineer it and figure out how to attack the grid," said Josh Pennell, president and CEO of IOActive, a technology research firm in Seattle, who testified before the Department of Homeland Security last week.

E-cigarette goes USB

Once again, Japanese retailer Thanko proves that virtually everything can be given a USB port, from butt coolers to lunch boxes, and now the e-cigarette. Thanko's USB Tabako, which comes with 11 filter butts and an atomizer for $33, even lights up at the end like a real ciggie. Though the fact that there's no ash to flick is a dead giveaway.
While the USB Tabako may not have the nicotine kick that tarred smokers' desire, electric cigarettes could become an increasingly desperate viable option to beat the non-smoking bans making it harder to puff in Asia. Singapore's laws alone are so stringent, it's almost impossible to exhale outdoors, including within about 16 feet of any entrance or exit of buildings and facilities where smoking is prohibited.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Deutsche Bahn's boss steps down

The head of Germany's railway company, Deutsche Bahn, is stepping down after the company admitted spying on thousands of its employees.
Chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn is quitting after running the firm for nearly a decade.
The firm admitted that it conducted a surveillance operation on staff, intended to tackle corruption.
Mr Mehdorn said he had not been aware of the spying but expressed regret over what had happened. "Even if I have not done nothing wrong myself, the most important thing is to put an end to this destructive debate about the Bahn," Mehdorn said.
There have been calls in the media for him to resign but in a recent newspaper interview he vowed to stay on.
Deutsche Bahn, the country's biggest public company, has previously confirmed it employed investigators from a detective agency in Berlin to carry out covert surveillance operations on its employees.
It has also admitted monitoring staff emails to check whether they were being critical of the company's policies.

US vice-president's daughter 'caught on film taking cocaine'

A POTENTIALLY explosive video purporting to show the daughter of Joe Biden, the US vice-president, snorting cocaine was last night threatening to embroil the White House in scandal.
The footage, taken at a party in Delaware earlier this month, allegedly shows Ashley Biden, 27, using a straw to sniff several lines of the drug.An anonymous male friend of Ms Biden is trying to sell the 43-minute tape for $250,000 (£175,000) through lawyers, according to several US newspapers whose reporters have viewed excerpts. The New York Post, which did not submit a bid, said the seller's attorney claimed the film was shot with the knowledge of Ms Biden, a social worker with the Delaware Department of Children, Youth and Families.The growing scandal provides an early test for President Barack Obama's fledgling administration, which is so far refusing to comment amid efforts to establish the authenticity of the film.


Britain could be shut down by hackers from China, intelligence experts warn

Ministers have been warned that a new £10bn communications network being developed by BT is vulnerable to a potential attack from within the Communist state because it uses equipment supplied by Chinese telecoms firm Huawei.
Although the risk of anyone in China exploiting the capability is currently low, intelligence experts believe the impact of any such attack would be very high. Computers at the Foreign Office and other Whitehall departments were attacked from China in 2007 and the threat from foreign governments and big companies is believed to be greater than that posed by terrorists.
Alex Allan, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), it thought to have briefed members of the ministerial committee on national security about the threat from China at a Whitehall meeting in January. Ministers were told steps to curb the potential threat have made little difference.

Arlington Heights man charged with economic espionage

At 11 a.m. Friday, David Yen Lee of Arlington Heights was supposed to be in the air on a plane to China, authorities said.
Instead, he was sitting in a courtroom awaiting a hearing, wearing the never-flattering orange jumpsuit that signals one is a resident of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the federal detention center in downtown Chicago.
Prosecutors say Lee, 52, a native of Taiwan, stole paint formulas from his Wheeling employer, Valspar, and was planning to carry them to China, where he had taken a job with a Valspar competitor. Valspar manufactures paints and other types of coatings.
Lee was Valspar's technical director of new product development, and had been to China at least four times in 2008 to work on projects with a Valspar subsidiary in China, Huarun Limited, prosecutors said.
During one of those trips, a co-worker told authorities, Lee seemed particularly interested in the company's research on a Chinese competitor, Nippon Paint, according to a criminal complaint signed by FBI Agent Eric Shiffman.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

China-based network caught in cyber-espionage


OTTAWA (AFP) — A shadowy cyber-espionage network based mostly in China has infiltrated secret government and private computers around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama, Canadian researchers said Sunday.

The network, known as GhostNet, infected 1,295 computers in 103 countries and penetrated systems containing sensitive information in top political, economic and media offices, the researchers found in a report.

Many of the compromised computers were found in the embassies of Asian countries, such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand and Taiwan.

The embassies of Cyprus, Germany, Malta, Portugal and Romania as well as the foreign ministries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran and Latvia were also targeted.

"Up to 30 percent of the infected hosts are considered high-value targets and include computers located at ministries of foreign affairs, embassies, international organizations, news media and NGOs," the report said.


China sees electronic spying as area where it can defeat America


"Thanks to modern technology, such as the development of information carriers and the Internet, many can now take part in fighting without even having to step out of the door," noted Wei Jincheng, a military strategist, in the Liberation Army Daily newspaper in 1996.

While China cannot compete with the US in defence technology or conventional warfare, Mr Wei foresaw that the country's 300 million internet users could be marshalled into armies of hackers.

"The rapid development of networks has turned each automated system into a potential target of invasion. The fact that information technology is increasingly relevant to people's lives means that those who take part in information war are not all soldiers and anybody who understands computers can become a 'fighter' on the network. The public can participate," he said.


Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries

TORONTO — A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama, Canadian researchers have concluded.
In a report to be issued this weekend, the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved.
The researchers, who are based at the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto, had been asked by the office of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader whom China regularly denounces, to examine its computers for signs of malicious software, or malware.
Their sleuthing opened a window into a broader operation that, in less than two years, has infiltrated at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries, including many belonging to embassies, foreign ministries and other government offices, as well as the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan exile centers in India, Brussels, London and New York.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Beijing's army of spies casts wide net


It was because of China's massively increased espionage activities in recent years that in 2004 the Australian Security Intelligence Organization set up a new counter-espionage unit.

But the problems China poses for a country such as Australia in the security and espionage field extend far beyond what might be regarded as traditional espionage.

Beijing has the most unified and co-ordinated sense of national power of any big nation on Earth. Modern China is not a democracy, but it is a very effectively functioning modern state.

It has a highly competent bureaucracy that seeks to penetrate all sectors of Chinese society and serve what the ruling Communist Party regards as the broader national interest. This includes monitoring, and where possible influencing, Chinese business people and students in their activities overseas.

This is a highly elusive matter, extremely difficult to quantify.


Friday, March 27, 2009

$10K to Hack Your SmartPhone

Admittedly I was not in attendance at this year’s CanSecWest Security Conference, but as CNet.com confirms big money was being offered to hackers to exploit mobile devices. According to the article, “That innocent-looking mobile phone you use to call your mother and check e-mail represents the next frontier for malicious hackers, though it eluded researchers who stood to earn $10,000 for exploiting a smartphone at the CanSecWest security conference this week. TippingPoint Technologies, which sponsors a Pwn2Own hacking contest each year at the event, was offering the prize money for each successful exploit of an iPhone, BlackBerry, and phones running Google's Android, Windows Mobile, and Symbian operating systems.”
Despite the prize money the computer-based hackers merely fumbled in the streamlined MOPS environment and were ultimately unsuccessful (at the CanSecWest event) at exploiting the security vulnerabilities of the mobile devices. This, as mobile-based hackers know, is due to the approach that was used, not because these mobile platforms are impregnable.

Russia's youth opposition is its new enemy

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — The spy was only 20, a soft-spoken college student with a pouty smile and a double life. She had 40 agents working for her and dossiers piling up in her home computer. She revved up recruits with talk of an enemy bent on government overthrow.Anna Bukovskaya's band of young spies stalked about western Russia like Cold War operatives, infiltrating the enemy, jotting down names and numbers, and at times using hidden cameras to film targets.The fruits of her network's espionage were eventually relayed to the Russian government, Bukovskaya says. And the enemy? They were young Russians just like her, though young Russians belonging to youth groups critical of the Kremlin and Russian authorities.It all was very seamy, Bukovskaya says, and ultimately too much for her conscience to bear.

"I'm very sorry I took part in this," says Bukovskaya, her hands clasped on the table of a noisy cafe in downtown St. Petersburg. "The government is exploiting young, impressionable minds — controlling them and tempting them with money. It's not very nice."


Creation of White House cybersecurity office remains uncertain

It's unclear whether a report being prepared for President Barack Obama on federal information security preparedness will support recent calls for the creation of a new cybersecurity office within the White House, two lawmakers said today.
Instead, the report may recommend a more collaborative and cooperative strategy among federal agencies on the issue of cybersecurity without a single agency or department in charge, they said.
Members of the U.S. House Cybersecurity Caucus today met with Melissa Hathaway, acting senior director for cyberspace for the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council.
Hathaway, who is conducting a 60-day review of federal cybersecurity preparedness on behalf of the president, today presented a status report to members of the caucus.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Criminals love the BlackBerry's wiretap-proof ways


Wireless messages sent on a BlackBerry are so hard to intercept that the smartphones have become the device of choice for both criminals and law enforcement, police say.
While some police admit that level of security makes the BlackBerry their preferred handheld device, they also say that also makes it hard for them to listen in on suspected criminals.
"It does limit our abilities to intercept, which in turn minimizes our abilities to prevent the crimes," said Supt. Pat Fogerty of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia, a division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The problem is that BlackBerry smartphones, designed by Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion initially for corporate clients, run software called the BlackBerry Enterprise Server that creates a secure and private network and encrypts data. Police say criminals are using additional layers of encryption with other types of software, bringing the encryption level up to military grade.


Surveillance Spooks Turks as Wiretaps Profusion Hurts Privacy

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Turkish actress Nurseli Idiz only makes phone calls in emergencies because when she talks, she’s concerned a stranger is listening.
“I treat phone calls like public statements,” Idiz, 49, said from her Istanbul home. She was detained by police and then released without charge six months ago on suspicion of supporting anti-government activists. Idiz denied involvement. “I know they’re listening to us even now,” she said.
A proliferation in wiretapping and bugging, bolstered by official investigations into people suspected of plotting against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, is generating waves of anxiety in Turkey. Retired generals and executives have found private conversations showing up in prosecutors’ indictments or the media.
In response, sales of anti-bugging devices have more than doubled this year, according to DijitalTakip Electronics, an online retailer. About 70,000 phones in the nation of 72 million people are being tapped by court order, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said in a TV interview on March 17. There’s also illegal recording, and that’s making the public “nervous and insecure,” he said. Turkey has about 85 million phone lines.


Pentagon hacker Analyzer suspected of $10m cyberheist


Charges against notorious hacker-turned-suspected-cyber-fraudster Ehud Tenenbaum have expanded to include alleged fraud involving banks and credit card firms in both Canada and the US.
Ehud Tenenbaum (AKA The Analyzer), 29, was arrested in Canada last September on suspicion he conspired with others to hack into the systems of a financial service companies, before transferring funds into pre-paid debit card accounts under the control of a cyberfraud crew. The group subsequently cashed out these accounts, making an estimated $1.5m in the process.
Tenenbaum is now suspected of hacking into two US banks, a credit and debit card firm and a payment processor outfit as part of a global "cashout" conspiracy that resulted in losses of a least $10m, Wiredreports.

US journalists interrogated as spies in N Korea

Two American journalists seized by North Korean border guards
are facing "intense interrogation" in Pyongyang for alleged espionage after illegally crossing into the country from China, a report says.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, journalists working for former Vice President Al Gore's San Francisco-based Current TV, were at a guesthouse on Tuesday in Pyongyang's outskirts run by North Korean military intelligence, theJoongAng Ilbo newspaper said, citing an unidentified South Korean intelligence official.
The report provided first word of the women's whereabouts since they disappeared on March 17 during a trip to the border near North Korea's far northwest. A colleague detained on the Chinese side left China on Tuesday.
South Korea's main spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, and the Unification Ministry said they could not confirm the details, reportedly obtained using "human intelligence" - sources on the ground.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Senator asks DHS for cybersecurity documents

The top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee is requesting detailed information, including financial figures, from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to explain why the department has been seemingly unable to fulfill its cybersecurity responsibilities.

In a letter sent to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on Tuesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said that in light of the recent resignation of National Cybersecurity Center Director Rod Beckström, she would like DHS to send the Homeland Security Committee a number of documents to show how the department spent its $6 million NCSC budget and provided other means of support for the NCSC.

In a resignation letter turned in earlier this month, Beckström said, "the NCSC did not receive appropriate support inside DHS during the last administration to fully realize (its) vital role."

Collins said in her letter to Napolitano that she was very concerned by Beckstrom's assertion, especially given the authority the NCSC has been granted.


Teen hacker turns corporate cyber-crime consultant


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A New Zealand teenager who helped a crime gang hack into more than 1 million computers worldwide and skim millions of dollars from bank accounts has a new job as a security consultant for a telecom company.

Owen Thor Walker has the skills that can help senior executives and customers understand the security threats to their computer networks, TelstraClear spokesman Chris Mirams told National Radio on Wednesday.

Walker pleaded guilty last July — when he was 18 — to a raft of charges connected to his work for an international network that the FBI estimated infiltrated 1.3 million computers and skimmed bank accounts or damaged computer systems to the tune of more than $20 million.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Keep Computer Spies at Bay

Not so long ago, I saw only one or two computer espionage cases a year. The pace picked up about three or four years ago, when malware began turning professional. Today, computer espionage and malware go hand in hand, so it's not only surprising but amazing to me how many companies fail to grasp the seriousness of today's Trojans and worms. For far too many firms, this realization hits home in the form of serious monetary damages.
News accounts are full of cases where cybercriminals were paid by companies to burrow into a competitor's databases to extract crucial information. Do an Internet search on "corporate espionage," and most of the articles you will find talk about external attackers gaining access to internal information. Almost as many talk about trusted insiders sending private information to the competitor just before taking a new job there.
I've been involved in five spy cases recently, all very different. The first one was the simplest -- a classic social engineering attempt. The senior vice president of a large hotel company was caught asking IT for a complete download of the company's customer and lead database. He intended to give this information to his new company, where he was being appointed CEO. Of course, the fact that he was leaving for the top job with a competitor was unknown until he got caught.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bank of America retains TSCM services

Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, with tens of millions of customers in more than 150 countries. When the Bank reviewed its security requirements for all regions outside of the USA, it was looking for a security partner capable of providing much more than basic everyday services. After market evaluation, it found that VSG was an ideal match for its needs.

With evidence of electronic crime in the financial world increasing daily, the VSG team has now started routinely carrying out TSCM activities that include bug sweeping, checking for the presence of phone taps and remote monitoring devices, and other counter-espionage measures. Should a problem be detected, VSG calls on its own TSCM specialists to implement a fast and effective solution.


Note: Eavesdropping is increasing dramatically are you at risk? What is the potential effect on you, your family or your business if sensitive information is intercepted by an eavesdropper? Don't be a victim! Contact: ComSec LLc in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Serving the Continental United States TSCM - Counter Surveillance Specialist - Eavesdropping Detection - Anti-Surveillance - Counterespionage Services.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sniffing keystrokes via laser and keyboard power

VANCOUVER, B.C.--Presenters at the CanSecWest security conference detailed on Thursday how they can sniff data by analyzing keystroke vibrations using a laser trained on a shiny laptop or through electrical signals coming from a PC connected to a PS/2 keyboard and plugged into a socket.

Using equipment costing about $80, researchers from Inverse Path were able to point a laser on the reflective surface of a laptop between 50 feet and 100 feet away and determine what letters were typed.

Chief Security Engineer Andrea Barisani and hardware hacker Daniele Bianco used a handmade laser microphone device and a photo diode to measure the vibrations, software for analyzing the spectrograms of frequencies from different keystrokes, as well as technology to apply the data to a dictionary to try to guess the words. They used a technique called dynamic time warping that's typically used for speech recognition applications, to measure the similarity of signals.

Line-of-sight on the laptop is needed, but it works through a glass window, they said. Using an infrared laser would prevent a victim from knowing they were being spied on.


Will military, NSA take over all cybersecurity operations?


Should responsibility for defending against cyberattacks be moved from the Dept. of Homeland Security to the military? Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton suggested as much at a Congressional hearing where he warned of U.S. vulnerability to cyberwarfare “across the spectrum.”

Such attacks “potentially threaten not only our military networks, but also our critical national networks,” Chilton told a House Armed Services subcommittee, the Washington Post reported.

As head of Strategic Command, the general isn’t responsible for defending civilian networks, just government computers.

[Stratcom's responsibility is] “to operate and defend the military networks only and be prepared to attack in cyberspace when directed. I think the broader question is, who should best do this for the other parts of America, where we worry about defending power grids, our financial institutions, our telecommunications, our transportation networks, the networks that support them.”


Friday, March 20, 2009

The Tissue Box with a hidden camera

It’s highly doubtful that anyone would suspect that this plain black tissue box would have a hidden camera inside.
It can record during the day as well as at night.
It also can be set up to begin recording at scheduled times, so that you don’t have to keep it running at all times and could save battery life. If anyone were to pick up the entire device, they might notice something a bit different about it. For those that never touch it though, there wouldn’t be any issues. It has a hidden SD card slot underneath and a rechargeable 6 hour battery.

The Thumb Tack microphone

If you could use a microphone to record things, this is a great pin to pick up.
It can record things such as lectures at school or perhaps you just want to record the sound of your own voice. This whimsical microphone makes it look as if you’ve stabbed your treasured iPod with a thumb tack. That might explain why they decided to name these microphones Thumb Tacks. The Thumb Tack microphone will work with both the iPod Nano 4G and the iPod Touch 2G.
Can you possibly think of any other use for this handy little microphone?

Secretary of Homeland Security and other “Man-Caused Disasters”


Janet Napolitano is bringing kinder gentler words, aka euphemisms to soothe the minds of Americans who might be concerned about their safety. As Secretary of Homeland Security, she is responsible for a major element of public safety - defense against people seeking to kill Americans in acts of terrorism.

But you might not know that from one of her most recent interviews with the media. Rather than using the simple, straight forward everyday English that might cause alarm, she has decided that people who seek to do us harm should not be called terrorists.

That seems so harsh and unkind. She prefers the term ‘man-caused disasters’ for acts of terrorism. I suppose we should see what comes next. Perhaps she will decree ‘bomb’ to be too harsh, and return to the quaintly polite terminology of a century ago, and refer to them as ‘infernal machines.’


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chinese spy who defected tells all

A veteran Chinese intelligence officer who defected to the United States says that his country's civilian spy service spends most of its time trying to steal secrets overseas but also works to bolster Beijing's Communist Party rule by repressing religious and political dissent internally.
"In some sense you can say that intelligence work between two countries is just like war but without the fire," Li Fengzhi told The Washington Times in an interview aided by an interpreter. Mr. Li worked for years as an Ministry of State Security intelligence officer inside China before defecting to the United States, where is he awaiting a response to his request for political asylum. He gave a rare, detailed interview to The Times on Sunday regarding the activities of the MSS, China's Communist-controlled civilian spy agency.

UK government considers bugging all net traffic

The UK government is considering a move that would have far-reaching privacy implications: storing all messages sent through web mail and social networking applications.
Under the EU Data Retention Directive, EU member states–including the UK–are required to retain telephone and email records of their citizens. UK Home Office security minister Vernon Coaker thinks the government could go further and retain details of instant messaging and social networking messages.
Under the proposals, all Internet traffic would be subject to deep packet inspection, with details of any communication being harvested and recorded in a massive government-controlled central database. The UK government has repeatedly stated that it believes such surveillance is vital in the fight against terrorism and launched their Intercept Modernization Program (IMP) last year; a project designed to ensure that the government retains the capability to intercept and monitor what UK citizens do and say on the Internet.

'Undercover Putin In KGB Reagan Ruse'

The 20-year old photo depicts two world leaders - US President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev - in Moscow.
But, according to the man who took the photo, it also captures Mr Putin disguised as a tourist.
Pete Souza, now President Obama's official photographer, captured the moment when he worked for President Reagan during the political thaw that soon ended the Cold War.
Mr Reagan took a stroll around Red Square accompanied by the Russian leader, who then introduced him to a group of tourists.
In an interview, Mr Souza recounted being surprised at the "pointed" questions these supposed tourists asked the US leader.
They included searching enquiries on the state of human rights in the US.
The identity of the man on the left of the photo - complete with camera round his neck - was later revealed and "verified" to Mr Souza as none other than Mr Putin.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Police: Man Uses Shoe-Cam To Peep On Women


NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. - A man is serving a four-month sentence one week after he was accused of using a camera hidden in his shoe to snap pictures of women trying on swimsuits at a surf shop.

According to the Neptune Beach police, Jeffery Polizzi went into Aqua East on Atlantic Boulevard last Monday, stood next to the dressing room and put his shoe under the door.

"She noticed it, grabbed his arm and he took off running," said Assistant police Chief Tony Carrillo.

Carrillo said three different women reported this happening to them. One said she was naked in the dressing room when she noticed a black shoe extended into the dressing room.


Oops: Starbucks Peeping Tom Films Himself

Police In New Paltz, N.Y. Couldn't Believe Their Eyes When Tiny Camera Recovered In Bathroom Captured Perv In Act. 

It was a creepy version of candid camera at an upstate New York Starbucks.

A snooping device
 was placed next to the toilet to catch unsuspecting customers.

But you won't believe who got caught instead. It's a simple story here with an ironic twist. Last week, at the Starbucks in New Paltz someone put a spy camera inside the unisex restroom, set up to catch intimate video of total strangers. That's the bad news. The good news is the camera was recovered, the police have it and it was running when the guy set it up. In other words, he took video of himself committing the crime. 

The video showed a real artist at work. He positioned the little camera just so to catch what he was looking for. 
The device is all of 2 inches long and records up to six hours of video and sound. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Israeli Spy Chief in Cario in bid to free soldier

JERUSALEM - The head of Israel's Shin Bet intelligence service was in Egypt on Sunday, making a final push to win the release of an Israeli soldier held by Palestinian militants before outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert steps down. Olmert said he sent Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin and veteran prisoner-swap negotiator Ofer Dekel to Cairo to make "an additional effort" in Egyptian-mediated talks with the radical Hamas movement, which has been holding Sgt. Gilad Schalit since June 2006.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Social Networks' Security Risk


Social networking already has passed through the firewall of every company on the planet. Now CIOs need to ask, "What else snuck in with it?"

Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace already are a part of employees' lives. They're also one of the greatest tools for hackers to gain entry into the corporate enterprise, no matter how impenetrable a company thinks it is from the bad guys. And it's not just the 20-something employees. With workers of all ages showing growing angst over their jobs, they've been flooding onto LinkedIn to build up their contact lists in case they get laid off.

Top executives at Netragard, which specializes in ethical hacking, claim their team can gain access to any data inside almost any enterprise rather quickly, often in minutes, by latching onto employee names and gaining access through social networking sites.


Intelligence Lapses: The Risks of Relying on 'Chatter'

If early last September you'd parked outside Lehman Brothers' Manhattan headquarters with a cell-phone scanner and listened only to some of the "chatter" coming out of Lehman's front office, you almost certainly would have realized that Lehman was going under.

(Of course, listening to cell-phone conversations with a scanner in this country is flatly illegal. And you need a sophisticated decrypting device to listen to most cell-phone calls.) Chatter is one of those floating espionage terms that can mean anything from secretly intercepted telephone calls and e-mails to the volume of communications traffic at a particular time over a particular line. America's 16 intelligence agencies by and large consider chatter the most reliable intelligence there is. But they also need to constantly remind themselves that it is a blunt tool, often as confusing as it is illuminating.


Counter-measures taken against suspected bugs

It seems like the very definition of paranoia: Spending thousands of dollars sweeping for hidden electronic devices -- and finding none.

But that's what Maricopa County Supervisors are doing -- with your money.

We first heard about the bugs in a March 10 Arizona Republic article by Yvonne Wingett about the deteriorating relationships of county officials. Wingett casually mentions the bugs, then moves on to other subjects in her article:

And, last December, officials spent $10,000 to have offices in the 10th floor of the county administration building in downtown Phoenix swept for bugs; none was found.

Presumably, it's well within the capabilities of a police agency like the Sheriff's Office to plant bugs, and deputies could do it legally with a wiretap order. Whether they would do it illegally -- you decide.


Note:Cheers to the Maricopa County Supervisors! It's about time that someone realizes that eavesdropping threats are a very important part of preventative Risk Management. JDL

Spy network gave Washington victory


George Washington defeated the British empire, not with his "ragtag Army," but with his extensive network of spies.

That's according to Eugene Poteat, a retired senior CIA executive who began to research the history of espionage decades ago.

"Washington had his spies everywhere," said Poteat, who helped establish the International Spy Museum in Washington. "He set up the most effective intelligence operation this country has ever seen."

Poteat lives in McLean, but was in Fredericksburg Saturday to address a group keenly interested in the exploits of the father of our country.


Critics contend that the spy agency shouldn't take the lead on federal cybersecurity efforts.


The abrupt resignation of one of the U.S. government's top cybersecurity officials has exposed widespread -- though not universal -- opposition to the National Security Agency's expanding role in federal security initiatives.

Rod Beckström stepped down as head of the National Cybersecurity Center on Friday, six days after his one-year anniversary in that job. The Department of Homeland Security made him the NCSC's first director after setting up the agency to oversee the government's cybersecurity defenses and cyberthreat responses. But in a sharply worded resignation letter dated March 5, Beckström said the NSA is effectively running those efforts. 

He also claimed that by proposing that the offices of both the NCSC and the National Protection and Programs Directorate be moved to its headquarters, the NSA is trying to wrest further control from the DHS.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Google Voice, is making observers nervous.

Google's new telephone service, Google Voice, is making observers nervous. Wiretapping laws could be violated, and searches through your voice mails on Google Voice could be a nightmare. Beyond concentrating data in one company, advertising may enter the Google Voice picture so Google can pay for the tempting free services.

Google's new telephone service, Google Voice, is receiving generally positive reviews from industry analysts. Some of the features, however, are raising potentially troubling legal issues.

In a widely reported interview, Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the new service raises worrisome issues. "It raises two distinct problems," he said. "In the privacy world, it is increased profiling and tracking of users without safeguards.


Spy Break


You've got to hand it to the National Security Agency. It's gone from being a super-secret spook club whose existence nobody even acknowledged for decades to being pretty much everywhere.

It was behind the wiretapping at AT&T (NYSE: T) More about AT&T, it snoops through emails and eavesdrops on phone calls to grandma, heck -- it even knows you're listening to this podcast.

And it's also the reason behind the revolving door at the helm of the Department of Homeland Security's More about Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity Center. It seems the spy agency has its fingers in that pie, too.

Cybersecurity chief Rod Beckstrom, appointed less than a year ago by then-President Bush, has called it quits, saying the NSA's meddling had become too much. While the NSA was pushing its agenda of protecting the nation's intelligence infrastructure, it didn't stop to consider that the NCC's mission is much broader than that.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Homeland Security seeks Bladerunner-style lie detector

Do our eyes betray us when we lie? The US government hopes to find out.

In Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, Bladerunner, the police have a problem. The wayward androids they are pursuing behave so much like humans, they have a tough time telling them apart.

They turn to the Voight-Kampff test, a futuristic version of the age-old polygraph, to help them out. During the test, subjects are grilled with a list of questions, while their physiology is monitored. In particular, the test looks for abnormal eye responses that might indicate the subject isn't human.

The test is far from perfect, and no doubt there will be teething troubles that beset the development of a similar test the US department of homeland security is looking for help in making.


Police bugged wife's car Stourport murder trial hears


A STOURPORT wife who became a murder suspect after her husband's disappearance became increasingly worried as police stepped up their investigation, a jury was told.

Muriel Southall complained that "tittle tattle" on the caravan site where the couple lived was being passed to detectives and that she and her alleged lover, 59-year-old Michael Whitcombe, were being followed.

Police had secretly installed a listening device in her car and a record of her conversations was played to a jury at Worcester Crown Court.

Southall, 60, of Redstone Lane, Stourport, and Whitcombe, of Worcester Road, Stourport, plead not guilty to murdering 62-year-old Reginald Southall on December 4, 2007 and attempting to pervert justice by giving false information to the police.


Feds Eye Cybersecurity, Networking Projects


When it comes to securing the nation's digital infrastructure and ensuring that first responders can talk to each other, the Department of Homeland Security sees its role as a liaison -- and often a mediator -- between the myriad agencies and businesses involved.

One of DHS's chief priorities is incubating and funding research projects that could find a practical application in the field. Here at the GovSec conference, the annual trade show for government security workers and contractors, DHS officials appealed for proposals for security and communications projects, emphasizing that the department is primarily focused on the state and local levels.


Federal CIO on leave following FBI sting at DC offices


The U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, appointed by President Obama last week, has been placed on leave, following an FBI raid yesterday at the District of Columbia’s IT offices.

Kundra, who was previously the District’s Chief Technology Officer and worked in the offices, has not been linked to the raid, which stemmed from a bribery investigation involving employees and technology vendors.
Kundra, who was delivering a speech at a government technology conference during the raid, will be on leave until further details of the case become known, a White House source told the Associated Press. Washington’s WTOP, a local news outlet, has a lot of the juicy details involving the sting operation.


CIA involvement with religious groups not a new charge


Accusations that the CIA is involved with various religious movements, including the Nurcilar movement of Pennsylvania-based Turkish moderate Islamist leader Fethullah Gulen and the Unification Church of one-time Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) operative Reverend Sun Myung Moon, follow a long history of suspicions that the U.S. intelligence agency is deeply involved with some religious movements. The CIA has also been accused of using foreign missionaries as espionage agents.


Videotape Of Prostitution Sting Released

The former president of the Conestoga Schools Board of Education pleaded guilty on Thursday to solicitation of prostitution.On Friday, videotape of the police sting operation was released by Pottawattamie County prosecutors."Our vice guys used a hidden camera," said Pottawattamie County District Attorney Matt Wilber.

"They placed a hidden camera on the corner of the room by a table."The video shows Dennis Martin inside a Council Bluffs motel room with an undercover police officer after arranging a meeting on craigslist. At one point, the female officer offers Martin sex.


USB prosthetic finger gives new meaning to thumbdrives

This is a story about Jerry Jalava, a Finnish software developer who lost part of his finger in a motorcycle accident last July. According to his friend, Henri Bergius, when the surgeon assigned to work on Jalava's prosthetic finger discovered his hacking history, he made a clever suggestion: incorporate a USB key into the new digit.

The prosthetic finger contains a 2GB USB key, and Jalava also loaded it with Billix distribution, CouchDBX, and Ajatus to run off the drive, throwing even more geek cred into the mix.