Monday, September 28, 2009

Defense Department Official Convicted in Espionage Case


washingtonpost.com

A Defense Department official was convicted Friday of providing classified information to a Chinese government agent and lying to the FBI about it.

A federal jury in Alexandria convicted James W. Fondren Jr. on three counts, prosecutors said. He was acquitted on four other espionage-related counts. Fondren was the second Pentagon official charged in an espionage ring that provided highly sensitive military information to China.

Fondren, 62, faces as much as 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 22. He has been on paid administrative leave from his job as deputy director for the Washington Liaison Office of the U.S. Pacific Command.

Berlin spies, floundering in the cold

expatica.com
Hanging out beside Berlin’s corporate-encrusted Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz is perhaps the last place one would expect to contemplate the vibrant world of Iron Curtain black markets and international spy games.

In a city where dramatic gaps still yawn between buildings like missing teeth, bombed out during World War II and never rebuilt, the mountainous, neon complex is one of Berlin’s few symbols of conspicuous, state-sanctioned capitalism.

Yet on one recent gloomy Saturday morning on Berlin Walks’ “Nest of Spies” tour, a group of about 20 history-lovers gathered to uncover the covert histories of this Berlin landmark.


Potsdamer Platz, which lies in the center of the city near its famed Tiergarten, was a unique area in post-World War II Berlin. So bombed out after the war that an American soldier reportedly said it “looked like the face of the moon,” the district was also the only place in Berlin where the borders of the American, Russian and British sectors met – making it a hotbed for underground economies, as well as for spying.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Is your cell phone spying on you?

ksn.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio (NBC) -- Most carry one. Some have two or more. And few would ever leave home without it.

Now the hand-held technology we all rely on is under attack by a flood of covert, internet software designed to use your cell phone against you.

The cell phone hi-jacking websites, thousands of them, are easy to find and promise the user easy access to track a cheating spouse or anyone else.

Listen live to their calls with complete access to their text messages, photos, and email. Even a gps to track their every movement without them ever knowing.

And it's cheap...Invading your privacy, using your cell phone.

Heather and Courtney Kuykendall are among the latest victims.

Cell phone hijackers sent daily notes that they knew Heather and Courtney's every movements, even threatening abduction and rape.

But experts say what the Kuykendalls shared on the Today show is happening more often everyday.

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Ex-Deutsche Bank executive alleges bosses knew of spy case

ft.com

A mid-level executive sacked by Deutsche Bank over a spying scandal has alleged that colleagues above and around him knew “from the beginning” about a plan hatched in 2006 to find out more about a dissident shareholder.

A lawyer for Wolfram Schmitt, formerly the bank’s global head of investor relations, claimed the bank’s legal unit and a senior communications executive knew that Clemens Börsig, Deutsche’s chairman, had requested more information about the investor. Mr Schmitt’s lawyer, Manuel Rhotert, told a Frankfurt labour court on Thursday that the meeting at which the issue was first raised “was not a tête-à-tête” between Mr Börsig and Mr Schmitt and that “there are questions” about the involvement of the bank’s legal department and the head of financial markets communication, Gurdon Wattles.

The contention by Mr Schmitt seeks to raise doubt about who exactly knew about the spying and whether knowledge of it may have been more widespread within the bank than Deutsche Bank has acknowledged.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

ACORN is suing makers of hidden camera video on Maryland law of two-party consent on taping

Note: I hope ACORN is ready to choke on this nut!
Stupid is, as Stupid does....can you say DISCOVERY!
Hang on, this is about to get very interesting...JDL

nydailynews.com
ACORN and two former employees of its Baltimore office filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Wednesday against the makers of a hidden-camera video that showed the employees giving tax advice to a man posing as a pimp and a woman posing as a prostitute.

The liberal activist group contends that the audio portion of the video was obtained illegally because Maryland law requires the consent of both parties to record private conversations.

The employees seen in the video, Tonja Thompson and Shera Williams, were fired after it was posted online. Thompson and Williams are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which says they suffered "extreme emotional distress with attendant physical symptoms and injury to their reputations."

The lawsuit names James O'Keefe III and Hannah Giles, who played the pimp and prostitute in the video, as defendants. It also names conservative columnist and blogger Andrew Breitbart of Los Angeles, who posted it on his Web site, biggovernment.com.

Brietbart said he would respond with his lawyer to a request for comment. He told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that he looked forward to a lawsuit because he expects unsavory details about ACORN to be unearthed in the discovery process.

O'Keefe and Giles could not immediately be reached. Asked by Fox News earlier this month about the possibility of a lawsuit, O'Keefe said, "Bring it on."

More...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Banker ‘strangled wife after bugging calls to her tennis coach lover’

thisislondon.co.uk
Neil Ellerbeck killed her because he was convinced she would leave him and cost him all his hard work and riches, the jury was told.

At 46, Ellerbeck was chief investment manager of HSBC, had a beautiful wife, expensive house and two talented children.

But the marriage had been deeply unhappy for years and he was obsessively jealous of wife, Kate, who had had sex not just with the tennis coach but also an old school friend, the jury heard.

Despite his jealousy, Ellerbeck, too, had been having an affair for seven years. He bugged hours of his wife's telephone calls and hid large amounts of money from her in case divorce proved inevitable.

Mrs Ellerbeck, 45, was also convinced that her husband had bugged her car and police later found gadgets in his office capable of spying on her emails and text messages.

Finally his suspicions and jealousies culminated in a violent argument in November last year and he strangled her in their Enfield home with up to 30 seconds of “sustained pressure on her neck,” the court heard

More...

Hilton executive in corporate 'espionage' case exits

timesonline.co.uk

Hilton Hotels Corporation, the American hotel behemoth, has replaced Ross Klein as global head of luxury and lifestyle brands after a lawsuit brought by Starwood Hotels, his former employer, accused him of looting confidential information.

Sources close to the company confirmed today that Mr Klein, who had been placed on paid administrative leave in April after the launch of the legal action, has now left Hilton. He is being replaced by John Vanderslice, former chief executive of Miraval Spa in Tucson, Arizona.

The news that Mr Klein has left will reignite speculation that Hilton, which is also being sued, is close to agreeing a settlement with its rival aimed at drawing a line under what the writ called "the clearest imaginable case of corporate espionage, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition and computer fraud".

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Secret Ops, Domestic Spying OK — As Long As Someone's Watching the Watchmen

wired.com

Last spring, President Obama showed us the limits of Change. Sure, he banned the harsh interrogation practices condoned by his predecessor, and he will most likely close the prison in Guantánamo. But when he fought a lawsuit against the warrantless wiretaps that the Bush administration began, Obama was essentially saying he would keep relying on the notion of "state secrets." And you know what? That's OK.

Abruptly pulling the plug on US intelligence operations, even if they may eventually be deemed illegal or unconstitutional, is neither practical nor desirable. If we want a successful clandestine service—and we do—a certain amount of opacity is not only acceptable, it's necessary. This isn't business; this is spying. But that doesn't mean letting those agencies do whatever they want. The most effective remedies for US intelligence excesses will be discipline and oversight, not radical transparency.

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Area Networks Assists Customer In Sting Operation To Stop Corporate Spying

prweb.com

Cleveland, Ohio (PRWEB) September 21, 2009 -- Area Networks assists customer in operation to uncover corporate spying.

Area Networks, Inc. assists its customer, Search Masters, Inc. in an investigation to uncover evidence of corporate espionage. Search Masters, Inc. believed someone was stealing its trade secrets and other critical confidential information, but did not know how someone was accessing it. Area Networks, Integrity Investigations, prosecutors and police worked together, ultimately resulting in the indictment of Career Building Solutions and its employees. "Our firm will be eternally grateful to Area Networks for the professional manner in which they conducted this operation." - Tom Corrigan, President of Search Masters. The case is currently scheduled for trial in the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas: CR09-523677-B, State Of Ohio vs. Career Building Solutions, Inc. et. al.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

ICE performs undercover operations with help from satellite tracking devices

gsnmagazine.com
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit of DHS is planning to award a $39,800 sole source contract to a small Maryland engineering company to provide 10 “satellite data recorder trackers,” for its undercover operations, but the tight-lipped agency says, “Public disclosure of the nature and purpose of this requirement could jeopardize ICE officers in the execution of their investigative duties.”

In a “Justification and Approval” document it released on September 15, ICE explains why it decided to award a sole source contract to Eastcor Engineering LLC, of Easton, MD, a young company with only a handful of employees, but specifically did not explain how the 10 satellite data recorder trackers would be used or what types of data they would be monitoring.

Eastcor Engineering also does business as Advanced Technology Solutions, or ATS, which is also based in Easton, MD, says the ICE notice.

“ATS is a leading supplier of tracking systems for Government and military use in gathering vital intelligence to support their operations in combating terrorism, organized crime and undercover operations,” says ICE.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Scandal Over Spying Intensifies in Colombia

nytimes.com
BOGOTÁ, Colombia — President Álvaro Uribe, the top ally of the United States in Latin America, is enmeshed in a scandal over growing evidence that his main intelligence agency carried out an extensive illegal spying operation focused on his leading critics, including members of the Supreme Court, opposition politicians, human rights workers and journalists.

The scandal, which has unfolded over months, intensified in recent weeks with the disclosure of an audio intercept of a top official at the United States Embassy. Semana, a respected news magazine, obtained an intercept of a routine phone call between James Faulkner, the embassy’s legal attaché, and a Supreme Court justice investigating ties of Mr. Uribe’s political supporters to paramilitary death squads.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Intelligence Analyst Charged With Hacking Top Secret, Anti-Terror Program


WIRED
An analyst at a Defense Department spy satellite agency faces federal hacking charges after allegedly poking around in a top-secret system used in a classified terrorism investigation involving the FBI and the U.S. Army.

Brian Keith Montgomery worked on a covert program for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — the spy agency in charge of satellite and aerial image collection. On April 9, he was carrying out his duties when he saw a message that “provided significant detail about a classified operation” that was unrelated to his job, according to an affidavit filed by a Pentagon investigator. The operation is not detailed in the affidavit (.pdf), but there is a reference to the 902nd Military Intelligence Battalion, an Army counterintelligence unit based at Fort Meade in Maryland, with a presence at more than 50 other locations inside and outside the United States. The 902nd faced controversy in 2005, when NBC News published documents showing the the unit had been spying on American anti-war protesters. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the group had filed intelligence reports on legal demonstrations, including a weekly protest at an Atlanta recruiting station, and a protest at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

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The spies who love us

ottawacitizen.com
Canada is the world's No. 1 destination for foreign agents, who steal military and political secrets and up to $30 billion worth of research each year, according to a new book.

Hockey legend Vladislav Tretiak, shown with Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean after receiving a Meritorious Service Medal in 2006, was suspected of being a 'talent-spotter' for the Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR, successor to the KGB, claim sources in the book Nest of Spies.


OTTAWA — Canada's spy-catchers suspect Soviet hockey legend Vladislav Tretiak was a "talent scout" who helped recruit sympathizers here to work for the Russian foreign intelligence service, according to a new book by a former Canadian spy.

It's one of several intrigues revealed in Nest of Spies, which portrays Canada as the world's No. 1 destination for legions of foreign government agents. Ottawa is crawling with them.

Led by the Chinese but including intelligence officers from at least 20 nations including allies, the book says, the infiltrators are stealing an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion annually worth of cutting-edge research in products and technologies, other scientific, business and military know-how and political secrets.

Others, it says, are infiltrating ethnic communities, suppressing criticism of homeland governments, recruiting industrial spies, stoking political violence among the diaspora and operating front companies and political lobbies aimed at manipulating government policies.

Proportionately, it estimates more spies operate here than in the U.S.

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VoIP Telephony: A Technology Risk Faced by Insurer and Insured

thealternativepress.com
We all are aware of cyber-security risks to our information and Internet-related systems—hacking, intrusion, interruption of service, identity theft and espionage hiding in every computer and network. The federal government is zeroing in on cyber security, cyber crime and cyber warfare as a major part of its homeland security priorities. Businesses and governments are spending vast amounts of money to protect against an unknown threat. But, the situation is getting worse and now is time to ask: Should your agency be worried about its phone service?

Unfortunately, the answer is "yes." With the rise of Internet telephone services known as voice over Internet protocol (referred to commonly as VoIP) we need to examine these risks in relation to phone service, because they raise the specter of cyber-insurance issues for users of VoIP, as well as for VoIP providers and vendors. Small-business owners have grown comfortable with the reliability and security of the telephone system. We don’t even think about the possibility of someone hacking into our phone system, monitoring our calls or stealing our identity (or the identity of a client) through the telephone. Other than the absurd possibility of a determined spy climbing a pole or sneaking into our agency to plant a bug in a phone, we can’t even imagine how this might happen. But, the cozy life of telephone security is over.

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CIA Spy Gadgets Revealed: Q Ain't Got Nothin' On Langley

gizmodo.com
This week is Gizmodo's salute to CIA spy technology. What's the occasion? The May 29th release of Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to al-Qaeda, by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton (with Henry R. Schlesinger). While we don't typically review books, this one happens to be the best we've ever seen on the subject of old-school spyware, a book the CIA itself held up for many many months before just barely deeming it safe for public consumption, a book that pretty much proves that all the freaky spy gadgetry you've seen in movies—and some that you haven't—is ALL TOTALLY REAL.

No offense to Steve Carell, but I'm not talking about goofy Maxwell Smart crap—I'm talking about serious Bond-grade hardware: Inflatable getaway airplanes, remote-controlled spying insects, cigarettes that fire .22 rounds, hallucinogenic cigars, about 100 other tobacco-related instruments of deception and an ingeniously camouflaged speedboat or two, not to mention digital audio recorders and CCD-based digicams developed decades before their commercial appearance. They've all been built by CIA engineers and used successfully, at least in the test phase.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

CIA invests in low-power Wi-Fi Intel spinoff

electronicsweekly.com

Low-power Wi-Fi specialist and Intel spinoff company GainSpan has announced a strategic investment and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel, the CIA's independent strategic investment firm.

According to GainSpan, its technology provides the lowest power consuming Wi-Fi single chip solution for wireless sensor networks and other embedded applications, allowing devices to run for up to 10 years on a single AA battery.

"GainSpan's innovative technology helps address critical technology needs of the US Intelligence Community," said Troy M Pearsall, executive VP of architecture and engineering at In-Q-Tel, in a statement.

"The power requirements of Wi-Fi have traditionally limited its application in sensor networks, but GainSpan's low-power Wi-Fi devices enable new classes of solutions that will provide key technology capabilities to both the government and commercial markets."

More...

Andrews is victim in voyeur scandal

easternecho.com
ESPN
sideline reporter Erin Andrews appeared on the season premiere of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on Friday for what she said would be the first and last interview regarding the secretly taped nude footage of her that made headlines in July.

Andrews has covered a variety of sports for ESPN since May 2004. She has received more attention not for her reporting but for the short, grainy black-and-white nude footage posted on Internet.

Once it was posted, news of the nude video spread like wildfire. On her show, Oprah said it was searched more than 300 million times on the web before Andrews’s legal team demanded the video be removed.

In the interview, Andrews gave some information on the criminal case in progress, and she spoke about how the ordeal changed her life. Andrews called it a “nightmare,” discussed her fears of losing her career and criticized fellow journalists who turned her into the story.

More...

ACORN Fires 2 After Hidden Camera Video

washingtonpost.com

The nonprofit group ACORN Housing fired two employees from the organization's Southeast Washington office Friday after a video from a hidden camera showed them advising a young couple about how to buy a house to use as a brothel.

In the video posted online Friday, Hannah Giles, 20, poses as a prostitute, asking staff members how to get a home loan without tipping off the bank that she wants to use it as a brothel with 10 Salvadoran prostitutes. James O'Keefe plays Giles's boyfriend, supposedly a Georgetown law student with aspirations to run for Congress.

O'Keefe is a conservative activist and filmmaker who has attracted attention for other undercover videos. Townhall.com describes Giles as part of the conservative Young America's Foundation and a journalism major.

More...

Deutsche Bank spy probe to take longer-prosecutor

reuters.com
FRANKFURT, Sept 14 (Reuters) - German state prosecutors on Monday said they will need another two to three weeks before deciding whether to proceed with a criminal probe against Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) for its role in a spying scandal.

The preliminary probe by the Frankfurt prosecutor's office into the data spying scandal comes in addition to investigations by financial regulator Bafin and the data protection authorities of the state of Hesse, where Deutsche Bank is headquartered.

Prosecutors need to decide whether to intensify their preliminary probe into a criminal probe of the bank.

Deutsche Bank has said that in four separate incidents, detectives it hired had spied on people the bank deemed a threat but said that members of the supervisory board and management board did not authorise the activities.

More...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Bugged" Coffee Table Spy Case

Note: Imagine if this coffee table were in YOUR office or board room? And by the way, the CIA does not have the exclusive on electronic eavesdropping devices that are hidden or embedded in furniture or objects; they are readily available on the net. Wondering if a eavesdropping device could be in YOUR office or boardroom? Contact me today. I can help. JDL

WIRED

A federal judge in Washington has ordered the government to grant security clearances to lawyers on both sides of a lawsuit claiming illegal spying against a DEA agent, in a ruling that challenges the government’s long-held claim that the executive branch alone has the authority to determine who can access classified material.

The attorneys in the case, which was noted by Secrecy News, need the security clearances to obtain classified knowledge held by their clients so they can adequately argue the lawsuit, the judge said, in an August 26 ruling supported by attorneys on both sides of the lawsuit, but bitterly opposed by the government.

On Thursday, a federal appeals court ordered an emergency stay of the order pending an appeal by the Justice Department.

Washington, DC, District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth made the ruling (.pdf) in the case known as Horn v. Huddle, demanding the government grant the lawyers security clearances “commensurate with the level” of the classified information their clients possess. The case involves listening devices purportedly used by the Central Intelligence Agency, including a coffee table said to be an eavesdropping transmitter.

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BexarMet's former boss pleads guilty in wiretaps

mysanantonio.com
The former general manager for the Bexar Metropolitan Water District pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of wiretapping — admissions that could send him to prison for up to 20 years and force him to testify against the utility's previous public relations consultant.

As a condition of the plea agreements, prosecutors aren't challenging Gil Olivares' request for probation.

Olivares, 47, is scheduled for sentencing in November.

In exchange, Olivares agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation against both BexarMet and former PR consultant T.J. Connolly.

Connolly is under indictment on charges of violating the Texas Election Code in the funneling of illegal campaign contributions to a BexarMet board member.

Olivares could be called to testify during Connolly's trial, which is set to begin late next month.

The wiretapping, which included business and personal calls from the office phones of four company officials, started in 2007 and lasted about eight months as the Texas Legislature was closely scrutinizing BexarMet.

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Five years for school toilet spycam man

halifaxcourier.co.uk
11 September 2009
A primary school computer consultant who set up a camera in the girls' toilets has been jailed for five years.
Timothy Walters was found to have more than 26,000 indecent images of children stored on his computer, Leeds Crown Court heard.

The alarm was raised when two pupils at St Peter's School, Birstall, alerted the caretaker that they had seen something flash from the ceiling of the toilets at 12.20pm on March 4 this year.

An investigation uncovered a video camera concealed behind a ceiling tile in the toilets, which was connected to a wireless router. There was also a laptop and a hard disk drive.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Second ACORN Video Shows Workers Helping Pimp & Prostitute in Washington DC

clevelandleader.com
Two ACORN officials in Baltimore were fired on Thursday after offering to help a man and a woman who posed as a pimp and prostitute to engage in child prostitution and a series of tax crimes. On Friday, another secretly shot video tape has surfaced which shows the same couple getting very similar advice from ACORN workers in Washington D.C.

The videotape was shot on July 25, and shows ACORN workers explaining to the couple how they could hide the woman's professed work in prostitution and get a loan that would help them establish a brothel.

Posing as the pimp was 25-year-old independent filmmaker James O'Keefe. 20-year-old Hannah Giles posted as the prostitute.

The video shows the couple receiving advice on how to establish the woman as the sole proprietor of a fake company to hide the nature of her business.

More...

Silliest 'wiretapping' charges ever recorded


computerworld.com

Network World - Chi Quang Truong, 46, is being charged by police in Natick, Mass., with "unlawful wiretapping and possessing a device for wiretapping," according to a story in The MetroWest Daily News (my former employer, incidentally).

If you're thinking foreign spy or industrial espionage, think again. ... Try an irate customer who kicked up a fuss at a car dealer's service department.

And that "device for wiretapping?" ... Try nothing more sophisticated than a handheld digital voice recorder; an Olympus, to be precise.

If you cannot imagine what could be going on here, chances are you've not had reason to brush up on the laws governing the tape recording of conversations. (Journalists know all about this stuff.)

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mike Duvall denies an affair, admits 'inappropriate story-telling'

Note: Poor Mike, he was only kidding.....right? Those open mikes will get you every time! JDL

latimes.com
Former Orange County Assemblyman Michael Duvall, who resigned after inadvertently broadcasting explicit remarks about his sexual conquests over an open microphone, denied this morning that he had an affair.

"I want to make it clear that my decision to resign is in no way an admission that I had an affair or affairs," Duvall said in a statement in his website. "My offense was engaging in inappropriate story-telling and I regret my language and choice of words. The resulting media coverage was proving to be an unneeded distraction to my colleagues and I resigned in the hope that my decision would allow them to return to the business of the state."

Duvall stepped down after legislative leaders stripped him of his committee posts and launched an ethics probe of his actions. Duvall (R- Yorba Linda), whose remarks were videotaped in July during a lull in a Sacramento hearing, stepped down less than 24 hours after the tape spread online Tuesday night.

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SA pigeon 'faster than broadband'

Note: Leave it to my good friend "Mike" to come up with the scoop of the day! JDL

news.bbc.co.uk
Broadband promised to unite the world with super-fast data delivery - but in South Africa it seems the web is still no faster than a humble pigeon.


A Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.

Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles - in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.

Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm's slow internet speeds.

The idea for the race came when a member of staff at Unlimited IT complained about the speed of data transmission on ADSL.

He said it would be faster by carrier pigeon.

"We renown ourselves on being innovative, so we decided to test that statement," Unlimited's Kevin Rolfe told the Beeld newspaper.

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Security Police Chief Warns of Corporate Spies

yle.fi

The Finnish Security Police Chief Illka Salmi says Finnish high-tech companies should carefully shield their intellectual assets in the face of growing industrial espionage.

“Undercover information collection and industrial espionage are on the rise,” says Salmi in Prima, the stakeholder magazine of the Confederation of Finnish Industries.

While few corporate espionage cases make it to the courts in Finland, Salmi says illegal espionage attacks are increasingly coming to light.

Salmi says companies in the bioscience, medical, pharmacology and telecoms fields are particularly targets for espionage. Spies also home in on companies that develop nanotechnology and novel materials.

The police chief adds that espionage risks grow as Finnish companies internationalize and establish offices abroad.

Spying on workers a hot button issue

bakersfield.com

California Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled in August that employers have fairly wide latitude to spy on their employees. Writing for the court, Justice Marvin R. Baxter said the decision is not intended to encourage employers' secret surveillance of their workers. But the practice is permissible.

The decision demonstrates the evolving nature of "workplace spying." It gives employers confidence in their ability to monitor employee behavior, while warning workers their privacy rights are limited. Used properly, employee monitoring is a helpful tool for assuring customer service, as well as eliminating improper employee use of employer-paid time, computers, vehicles, etc.

Employers must exercise caution. This generally includes informing employees that monitoring is taking place. But as in the case recently decided by the California Supreme Court, circumstances may waive the need to give notice.

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Official who lost notebook with spy agency details won't be sacked

stuff.co.nz

A distraught Treasury official who lost a notebook containing secret details about a possible new super-spy agency will keep her job.

The woman dropped the pad in a busy street outside Parliament, where it was found by a journalist.

The blunder has revealed top-level talks on whether the Secret Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Security Bureau and the External Assessments Bureau should be merged to cut costs.

Details about police and the Corrections Department were also in the notebook.

A Treasury spokesman said the woman was distressed after the error, but had been told she would keep her job after meeting chief executive John Whitehead.

"It was a human error. That's the end of it, really. There's not going to be any further action."

He said the woman dropped the notepad near the corner of Bowen St and The Terrace, across from the Beehive, on Monday. She realized soon after that it was missing and contacted her manager immediately.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chinese telco denies spy claim

fudzilla.com
Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies has denied reports that the Australian security forces are investigating it on spying charges.

Australian spooks are apparently worried that Huawei technicians in Australia have direct links to the People's Liberation Army. According to the The Australian newspaper claims have been made by Huawei employees in Sydney and Melbourne who approached the Aussie spy agency Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Huawei has been in trouble over similar claims in the US and UK, although it strongly denies that it has any connections with the Chinese military.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

DuPont charges industrial espionage

delawareonline.com
The DuPont Co. has filed a lawsuit against -- and fired -- a Chinese-born employee who was allegedly about to leave Delaware and return to China with company trade secrets. This is the second time in two years that a DuPont researcher with ties to China has been involved in an alleged theft of trade secrets.
The suit, filed in late August in the Delaware Court of Chancery, accuses Hong Meng of breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets -- specifically research into a paper-thin computer display technology called an "organic light emitting diode" or OLED.

The suit alleges Meng was planning to take the proprietary information to his alma mater, Peking University in Beijing, which is involved in research on OLED technology.

Meng could not be located for comment.

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Want a Wiretap Warrant? No Problem, Court Says

WIRED
Despite refusing to “endorse” the government’s tactics in securing a warrant for a wiretap, a federal appeals court is ruling that authorities could use the fruits of their questionable eavesdropping in prosecuting an alleged drug dealer.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower-court judge who last year suppressed the 50 grams of crack cocaine that was evidence in the case against a man originally suspected of plotting terrorism against the United States. The lower court said a magistrate judge erroneously issued the warrant, breaching the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which was designed to strike a balance between law enforcement and “the privacy rights of the individual.”

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

How Team of Geeks Cracked Spy Trade

wsj.com

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- From a Silicon Valley office strewn with bean-bag chairs, a group of twenty-something software engineers is building an unlikely following of terrorist hunters at U.S. spy agencies.

One of the latest entrants into the government spy-services marketplace, Palantir Technologies has designed what many intelligence analysts say is the most effective tool to date to investigate terrorist networks. The software's main advance is a user-friendly search tool that can scan multiple data sources at once, something previous search tools couldn't do. That means an analyst who is following a tip about a planned terror attack, for example, can more quickly and easily unearth connections among suspects, money transfers, phone calls and previous attacks around the globe.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

USB Snoop Stick

cg
Do you wonder what people are always up to on your computer whenever you are not around? The USB Snoop Stick comes in handy then, as long as you leave it plugged in discreetly. We would say that this works best when you’re running a desktop (a notebook would be wayyyy to obvious), especially when this is a machine that is nestled away in a dusty corner of your cubicle with a mess of wires providing enough coverage.

All that’s required is to slot the Snoop Stick into a USB port and run the installation program that appears. To remotely monitor your PC, all you need to then to is to insert that same SnoopStick in any Internet-capable computer’s USB port and choose “Connect and View Remote Activity.” The SnoopStick will then start displaying what the computer is accessing on the web, or any IM conversations, as well as email activity and software used.

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Saint USB HDD Security Key

techchee.com
Here comes the Saint USB HDD Security Key, a little USB device that allows you to have additional protection to the data on your hard drive. The Saint USB key allows you to use any free space on your hard drive to create protected partitions to save your confidential data. And these protected partitions are only accessible when the Saint key is plugged into the USB port of the computer.

If your computer’s stolen, the one who’s stolen your computer will not be able to get those confidential files stored on the protected partitions without the Saint key. Consider the Saint USB key as the simple and easy data protection, if your laptop is not equipped with the latest anti-theft technology, which can let you wipe off data remotely in the event of loss or theft.

Website...

Phones of princes 'hacked into'

news.bbc.co.uk
There is evidence the phones of Princes William and Harry were hacked into by a News of the World reporter, a senior Metropolitan Police officer has said.

Royal reporter Clive Goodman was jailed for four months in 2007 for plotting to hack into royal aides' voicemails.

Ch Supt Philip Williams told the Commons Culture Committee the princes may also have been personally targeted.

The newspaper said it knew of "no evidence" to back the claims and that police had not mentioned them earlier.

The police had not brought up the allegations during their original investigation, a News of the World spokesman said.

In his evidence to MPs, Mr Williams acknowledged that the police had "never been able to prove" their suspicions regarding the two princes' phones.

But pressed about whether they had solid reasons to suspect the princes' personal phones had been hacked into, he replied: "Yes".

"Their voicemails may well have been intercepted," he said.

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Shoe Spy Camera Will Probably Get You Arrested

gizmodo.com.au

Wow. Omejo says its Wireless Shoe Covert Camera is specially designed for super-secret spy types, not upskirt perves. Riiight. The tiny camera hides in a shoe, and a tethered transmitter beams video to an included receiver with a 3-inch display.

The receiver is also a fully functioning tri-band GSM cell phone, and can record the wireless video signal from about 75 metres away (as MP4 files; 352 by 288 at 15fps). It has a TV-out connection, 1GB of built-in storage and an SD Card reader.

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Symantec: Posted code enables VoIP spying

cnet.com
Along with keyloggers that track what you type, now we have to worry about malicious software that listens in on our voice over Internet Protocol conversations.

A Symantec security blog on Thursday disclosed a new Trojan horse, Tojan.Peskyspy "that records VoIP communications, specifically targeting Skype." The posting, based on analysis from Symantec's Karthik Selvaraj, pointed out that "its existence isn't due to any problems with Skype itself" but that Skype may have been targeted "simply because it has such a large install base."

Gerry Egan, Symantec's director of security response, says the Trojan is capable of "hooking...through some Windows APIs into some audio streams" that "can be intercepted, turned into MP3 files, and then sent over a remote channel to a remote electronic eavesdropper."

A PC can be infected through the usual channels for malware, including an executable file in an e-mail you click on and a "drive by download" that's automatically triggered when you visit an infected Web site. The most recent trend, Egan said, "is a shift toward socially engineered attacks like a fake video site."

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Chevron: Tapes Show Bias in Ecuador Case

msnbc.msn.com
It's the kind of blockbuster plot twist normally reserved for the movies. Oil giant Chevron (CVX), enduring a barrage of negative publicity from a $27 billion environmental class-action lawsuit filed in Ecuador, unveiled a series of secretly recorded videos that suggests the judge in the case has already decided to rule against Chevron and is scheming with representatives of the ruling party of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to collect a $3 million bribe from a company purportedly angling to win some of the cleanup business.

The videos and transcripts in English and Spanish were posted on Chevron's Web site on Aug. 31. Chevron said it has referred the evidence to the prosecutor general in Quito and the U.S. Justice Dept. in Washington. The company is asking that Ecuadorean Judge Juan Nuez be dismissed and all his prior rulings disqualified. "No judge who has participated in meetings of the type shown on these tapes could possibly deliver a legitimate decision," said Chevron's former general counsel and now Executive Vice-President Charles James.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New breed of spycams pose threat to privacy

theinquirer.net

A FEW YEARS AGO a security expert, enraged at discovering that his PC had been hacked, managed to trace the intruder’s computer and take remote control of it. He was astonished to find himself staring at the face of the culprit, courtesy of the machine’s webcam.

The case of the hacked hacker was an early example of how webcams can expose a home or office to the world. They have since proliferated at least as quickly as Britain’s public surveillance cameras, yet while two major reports in three years have warned that those present a serious threat to privacy and freedom - A Report on the Surveillance Society and Surveillance: Citizens and the State - the insidious perils of private webcams have received little attention.

Security firm Sophos tells the story of a Cyprus man who infected a 17-year-old girl’s PC with Trojan spyware that gave him access to her webcam. He was caught only after she contacted police when he tried to use his pictures to blackmail her into posing naked.

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Man accused of using roof camera to spy on girl, 12


belfasttelegraph.co.uk

This is the suspected Peeping Tom who allegedly spied on a 12-year-old girl and her mother in their home after rigging a hidden camera to his roof, and claiming it was in the name of art.

Magherafelt graphic artist Rodney Seffen (38) has been accused in court of spying on the girl through her bedroom window, using a camera hidden in the chimney area of his home across the street.

The self-employed designer said he used the recording device for work purposes to make “3D models and character figures”, a claim the magistrate dismissed as “nothing short of laughable”.

iPhone thieves collared by Jobsian GPS

theregister.co.uk

A trio of blundering brigands have been busted after an iPhone they had stolen betrayed their whereabouts.

This tale of technology overcoming uninformed criminality comes to us from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which reported Monday that an unnamed victim was robbed of his iPhone and wallet early Sunday morning.

Apparently, the three thuggee wannabes were unaware of the Find My iPhone feature of Apple's MobileMe online service, which uses the iPhone's GPS to pinpoint a lost or stolen Jesus Phone.

According to the PPG, the iPhone's owner used MobileMe to track the highwaymen to a local Wal-Mart and then to an Eat'n Park restaurant. The chronicle, however, is silent as to whether they were dining on an Original Breakfast Smile, Super Griddle Smile, or Eat'n Smart Smile.

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Colombia Spying Scandal Grows

insidecostarica.com
Bogota -The espionage scandal in Colombia''s Security Administrative Department (DAS) continues to grow after new revelations that call the Colombian government credibility into question.

Semana magazine published that the DAS continues spying on judges, presidential candidates, officials and politicians.

The publication said the secret police, subordinate to the presidency, continued spying after illegal recordings of journalists, politicians, human rights activists and non-governmental organizations were revealed in February.

Semana said "wiretappings have reached some presidential candidates and congresspeople." Supreme Court auxiliary judge Ivan Velasquez, presidential candidate German Vargas and Ombudsman Julio Cesar Turbay are among those mentioned.

Faced with that situation, the Colombian government has denied to have ordered that monitoring, which according to the sources, started in 2004.

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Chevron Offers Evidence of Bribery Scheme in Ecuador Lawsuit

nytimes.com
CARACAS, Venezuela — The oil giant Chevron said Monday that it had obtained video recordings of meetings in Ecuador this year that appear to reveal a bribery scheme connected to a $27 billion lawsuit the company faces over environmental damage at oil fields it operated in remote areas of the Amazon forest in Ecuador.

The videos, together with audio recordings obtained by businessmen using watches and pens implanted with bugging devices, appear to implicate Ecuadoran officials and political operatives, including possibly Juan Núñez, the judge overseeing the lawsuit, and Pierina Correa, the sister of Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa.

The recordings indicate that an Ecuadoran political operative was working to obtain $3 million in bribes related to environmental cleanup contracts to be awarded in the event of a ruling against Chevron.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Drug dealer snared thanks to bugged BMW

dailyrecord.co.uk

A DRUG boss was snared after buying a bugged BMW from a cocaine dealer.

Brian McCulloch, 39, was involved in a multi-millionpound scam, along with Steven Caddis, 30, Stephen Jamieson, 26, and Gary Caddis, 28.

They were put under surveillance during Operation Lockdown, which involved scores of officers from August 2007 to February 2009.

During that time, a listening device was planted in the BMW X5 while it belonged to Jamieson. But he sold the vehicle to McCulloch.

Prosecutor Iain McSporran told the High Court in Glasgow: "This may not have been the happiest purchase he has ever made."

Dog Much of the talk heard on the bug focused on wealth accumulated from the drug trade.

In December 2007, Jamieson was heard discussing going to West Lothian to buy a £115,000 Lamborghini.

Another time, McCulloch talked about someone called Jake who he supplied with cocaine and who made £48,000 a month.

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