Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cyber-sabotage, espionage & mobile phones top 2011 security fears
The biggest security concerns for the coming year will be cyber-sabotage and cyber-espionage, say industry experts.

They cite the success of the Stuxnet worm in attacking industrial control systems as a prime example of what to expect in 2011.

Other predictions include a rise in sophisticated malware, Wikileaks-style breaches and a focus on mobile.

But Stuxnet type attacks top the list of forthcoming fears after the success it had interfering with Iran's nuclear power generation efforts.

In November, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confirmed that Stuxnet had hit its target.

"They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts," Mr Ahmadinejad told a news conference.

Sharing the headlines with Stuxnet were the hack attacks carried out by supporters of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks. In late 2010, Wikileaks began releasing some of a cache of 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables.

Another top target in 2011 is likely to mobile phones, which are increasingly being turned into virtual wallets and being used in the workplace.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

AeroScout Announces Wi-Fi RFID Tag That Withstands Surgical-Equipment Sterilization Processes

AeroScout, a provider of Wi-Fi based real-time location systems (RTLS), has announced a Wi-Fi RFID tag for tracking surgical equipment through its entire lifecycle—from sterilization to the operating room. The AeroScout Autoclave tag is designed to withstand rigorous sterilization processes, the company reports, including ultrasonic cleaning, high-pressure liquid sterilization and steam autoclaving. According to AeroScout, the combination of these new tags with AeroScout's health-care RTLS solution is aimed at helping hospitals improve staff efficiency, automate inventory management and optimize operating-room workflow. The new tag is designed for attachment to surgical instrument trays and other equipment, so that they may be automatically tracked while progressing through the numerous stages of preparation for surgical procedures, and then through the perioperative process. After every use, surgical equipment requires thorough sterilization, often including an autoclave. The AeroScout Autoclave Tag handles temperatures of 135 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit) and changes in pressure experienced during cleaning and sterilization, ranging from negative pressure (a vacuum) to 35 pounds per square inch. In addition, the tag is designed to deliver a battery life of two years, and to withstand the harsh conditions of hundreds of sterilization cycles.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Now Hear This!
For 51 years or so, I’ve been listening to conversations that are none of my business.

And may I just say: You people are fascinating.

My habit started when I was about 2. We lived in a house with a party line, a shared phone connection with several neighbors, not a reference to our nightly conga dances. We never had those. My parents jitterbugged. As for the party line, I’m told my mother would regularly gasp as if she’d just swallowed a wasp and then dive for the phone whenever she spotted wide-eyed me cradling the receiver. My goodness, the things people say when they think little ears aren’t listening. Made me quite the star at the coffee klatch. I’d interrupt my mother’s gossip extravaganza with a well-timed insight gleaned from my burgeoning career as a CIA mole, and she’d yank me into the kitchen for a lecture that started with “Young lady” and segued into, “Now, tell me exactly what she said.” By the time I was 6, I couldn’t help wondering why Mom didn’t just invite me to grab a cup of Maxwell House and pull up a chair. Clearly, I was in the loop.



MI6codebreaker Gareth Williams may have been murdered because he was becoming suspicious of a ­mystery couple befriending him.

Spy chiefs have been forced to ­consider the theory that the young, Mediterranean-looking couple seen at his home weeks before he died could have been foreign agents targeting him because of his superb encryption skills.

They are considering the possibility that Williams, whose naked body was found locked in a bag in his bath, was under surveillance because he was living at an address known to be used by security ­service staff in Alderney Street, Pimlico, central London.

Experienced foreign agents would have quickly built up a ­profile of the 31-year-old keen club cyclist’s double life and then worked on a plan to get close to him by exploiting his weaknesses: drag cabaret, gay bars and expensive women’s clothing and wigs. They could have befriended him by striking up conversation in one of his regular haunts.

Their approach would have been ­tailored to appeal to his fantasies. Once they had gained his confidence, they would have tried to see what secrets they could get from him.


Spying spat strains UK, Russia relations
British-Russian relations hit a new low after both countries expelled a member of each other's Embassy staff in a tit-for-tat measure over a spying spat, according to media reports.

Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons in a written statement that the government had 'clear evidence' that a Russian official had been spying on Britain, British media reported.

“On December 10 we requested that the Russian Embassy in London withdraw a member of their staff from the UK,” Hague said in his statement, claiming that based on a clear evidence Russian intelligence services had been carrying out acts of espionage on the UK.

“Russia responded on December 16 by requesting the removal of a member of our Embassy staff in Moscow. We reject any basis for this action,” added Hague.

Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the UK government's decision as “unfriendly and unfounded.”

The Foreign Ministry statement said that Britain will be held responsible for the consequences of the incident.

The ministry expressed regrets that the British action came at a time when the two nations were witnessing positive trends in bilateral relations.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Who would want to bug Charlotte's town offices?

“Everyone around here was scratching their heads. Some of us were amused; some of us were disturbed,” Bloch said. “There was no way to track it down. It was a little titillating at the time, but at this point, it’s a dead end.”

Amused? Really? It's hard to tell HOW LONG these "Officials" were collected against... What damage was done? How many confidential meetings were compromised?

Don't wait until you need my services. "Counterespionage Assurance" is only a phone call away! Contact me, I can help. JDL

Patrolman Chris Morrell of the Shelburne Police Dept. holds a listening device that was discovered in the ceiling panels of the clerks office at Charlotte Town Hall during a recent renovation project.

CHARLOTTE — Two wireless listening devices hidden in Charlotte Town Hall allowed eavesdropping on town clerk business and private selectboard sessions, town officials said Tuesday.

Neither device was functioning when workers found the bugs in October, nor have authorities determined when, why or by whom they were installed, Town Planner and Selectboard Assistant Dean Bloch said.

The bugs were discovered during an energy retrofit of a dropped ceiling. Selectboard members were briefed on the matter, but did not discuss it during regular meetings, Bloch said.

“Everyone around here was scratching their heads. Some of us were amused; some of us were disturbed,” Bloch said. “There was no way to track it down. It was a little titillating at the time, but at this point, it’s a dead end.”

The Shelburne Police Department, which serves Charlotte, confirmed it has a cold case on its hands. The lack of timely evidence and a plausible motive, coupled with a likely statute of limitations on invasion-of-privacy laws, frustrates further investigation, Officer Chris Morrell said.

“Whoever did this is probably never going to own up to it,” he continued.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spotting corporate espionage

Note: One of our ERI family, Congrats Crispin! JDL

From the top of the Gherkin building in London, Crispin Sturrock points out an anonymous-looking office block in the swirling snow below. “There’s a device in there,” says the chief executive of White Rock Defence Systems, an information security consultancy that helps companies protect themselves against spies. “They’re not clients of ours, but whenever we scan for transmissions in nearby buildings, we pick it up. It’s been there for ages, just streaming information out.” The building in question is bugged with an electronic device transmitting information about one of its tenants. In the era of WikiLeaks, it is tempting to view all leaks as news headlines. But in general, corporate leaks tend to be of interest only to a very small group of people – an organisation’s competitors or potential buyer. “The reasons people engage in competitive information gathering are usually financial gain and leverage,” says Mr Sturrock.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

iPhone and Android Apps Breach Privacy

Few devices know more personal details about people than the smartphones in their pockets: phone numbers, current location, often the owner's real name—even a unique ID number that can never be changed or turned off.

These phones don't keep secrets. They are sharing this personal data widely and regularly, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.

An examination of 101 popular smartphone "apps"—games and other software applications

for iPhone and Android phones—showed that 56 transmitted the phone's unique device ID to other companies without users' awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone's location in some way. Five sent age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.

The findings reveal the intrusive effort by online-tracking companies to gather personal data about people in order to flesh out detailed dossiers on them.

Read more:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bugged Phone Tripped Up Apple Leaker
An employee at an Apple parts supplier has been caught on tape selling inside information [pdf] about Apple to a hedge fund broker. The information, potentially worth millions to the broker, was sold by Walter Shimoon for a mere $22,000. Shimoon has since been fired by camera and charger component maker Flextronics International, and was arrested by US law enforcement this morning. Among other things, he was recorded leaking sales information, details about the iPhone's cameras and about a mysterious product known only as "K48."

Shimoon, who played a role in contract negotiations with Apple, is alleged to have passed information via phone calls with clients of Primary Global Research, an expert-networking company based in California. One of the people he was talking to, however, was a government witness who was recording the phone calls. According to the recordings, Shimoon revealed third quarter 2009 sales figures for iPhones and fourth quarter 2009 sales figures for iPods during a phone call in October 2009. During this call, Shimoon also let drop the news that the 2010 iPhone would have two cameras. "We're working with them on the camera," Shimoon said, according to the complaint against him. "You know, they're very secretive."


Friday, December 17, 2010

Leaked Apple secrets lead to arrests

iPhone secrets among tips that led to arrests

Updated: Friday, 17 Dec 2010, 8:29 AM EST
Published : Friday, 17 Dec 2010, 8:28 AM EST

NEW YORK (AP) - Federal prosecutors in Manhattan broadened their insider trading crackdown Thursday, arresting four people on charges alleging that so-called "expert consultants" revealed secrets about Apple Inc.'s iPhone and other technology products to hedge funds seeking a trading edge on quarterly earnings reports.

The latest probe targeted Primary Global Research, a Mountain View, Calif.-based firm that offered consulting services to investors on industry trends, issues and regulations. Instead, prosecutors allege, firm executive James Fleishman used four consultants employed by publicly traded companies to create a corrupt clearinghouse for confidential information.

Fleishman, 41, was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy. Three others, all outside "expert consultants" for Primary Global Research until earlier this year, were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, according to papers filed in federal court in Manhattan.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

iPhone snitch network launched
A new iPhone App with the misleading name ‘PatriotApp’ attempts to draw on the power of the patriot movement, turning smartphone users into a gigantic snitch network.

You might think an app with such a patriotic name might have useful functions like a pocket constitution or quotes from our forefathers. But contrary to the services one might expect, this app allows users to report any ‘suspicious’ behavior directly linking them with top government agencies.

Much like the new DHS program ‘If you see something, say something’ this app is meant to turn average citizens into a network of spies feeding information back to the federal government.

Citizen Concepts, a company formed by insiders from DHS, defines the use of such an app on their homepage


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hidden camera found in gas station bathroom

abc A shocking discovery was made inside the bathroom of a gas station in one of the busiest parts of town. A woman was horrified to see her every move was being caught on a hidden camera. The victim tells police she found the camera in the bathroom of a Shell station at the West Loop and Westheimer, right in the heart of the Galleria area. And the bathroom wasn't the only place investigators say a camera was recording women inappropriately.

Investigators don't know for how long the cameras were operational at this busy Shell gas station but they know there were several victims.

"It was set up where he could see the women unrobing, taking their clothes off and using the restroom and filming that," said Donna Hawkins with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lost Laptops Cost Billions
An Intel-sponsored study finds that organizations fail to grasp the risk of lost laptops.

Businesses are losing billions of dollars annually as a result of lost and stolen laptop computers, a new study shows.

Representatives from Intel, which sponsored "The Billion Dollar Laptop Study," and the Ponemon Institute, which conducted the study, announced their findings at a media event in San Francisco on Thursday.

The 329 organizations surveyed lost more than 86,000 laptops over the course of a year, the study found. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said that based on these findings and a 2009 survey that put the average cost of lost laptop data at $49,246, the cost to these organizations came to more than $2.1 billion or $6.4 million per organization.

"A lot of organizations are incompetent at protecting information assets," said Ponemon.


Navy intel specialist jailed on classified info allegations
Washington (CNN)
-- An espionage sting at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has put a 22-year-old Navy Reserve intelligence specialist behind bars, according to federal authorities.

Agents of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI took Navy Reserve Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Bryan Minkyu Martin into custody Wednesday on suspicion of selling classified information.

According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, Martin met with an FBI undercover agent posing as an intelligence officer of an un-named foreign country three times at a motel in Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg Army base. The documents allege he was paid a total of $3,500 in cash. The affidavit says Martin handed over documents marked "Top Secret" and "Secret" and signed receipts for two of the payments.

The application for a search warrant of Martin's apartment and car say he has been working for Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg since September.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ex-wife in bugging claims waits for cash
A wife owed a five-figure sum after her husband was said to have recorded her private conversations for six months, fears she won’t see a penny after he declared himself bankrupt.

Georgina Bansal’s life with husband Harvinder Singh Gora, was, by her own admission, “like any normal marriage”.

But her world fell apart when he told her he had been recording her conversations with friends and relatives to try to track her every move.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cyberespionage At A Crossroads
Aurora and Stuxnet-type attacks are here to stay, so organizations need a new defense strategy

It has been a milestone week in cyberespionage developments that smacked of a spy movie, with a confession, a killing, and a leaked intelligence cable: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a statement that "enemies" of Iran had successfully used software to disrupt centrifuges in Iran's nuclear facility, Iran's top nuclear scientist was assassinated, and a U.S. State Department cable obtained by WikiLeaks suggested the Chinese government had ordered the Aurora attack against Google.

While these events and disclosures fell short of providing actual proof about the success or even who was really behind these high-profile breaches, they punctuated what has been a game-changer of a year for cyberattacks.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Feds Warrantlessly Tracking Americans’ Credit Cards in Real Time


Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations without getting a court order, a new document released under a government sunshine request shows.

The document, obtained by security researcher Christopher Soghoian, explains how so-called “Hotwatch” orders allow for real-time tracking of individuals in a criminal investigation via credit card companies, rental car agencies, calling cards, and even grocery store loyalty programs. The revelation sheds a little more light on the Justice Department’s increasing power and willingness to surveil Americans with little to no judicial or Congressional oversight.


Government reports violations of limits on spying aimed at U.S. citizens

The federal government has repeatedly violated legal limits governing the surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to previously secret internal documents obtained through a court battle by the American Civil Liberties Union.

In releasing 900 pages of documents, U.S. government agencies refused to say how many Americans' telephone, e-mail or other communications have been intercepted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - or FISA - Amendments Act of 2008, or to discuss any specific abuses, the ACLU said. Most of the documents were heavily redacted.

However, semiannual internal oversight reports by the offices of the attorney general and director of national intelligence identify ongoing breaches of legal requirements that limit when Americans are targeted and minimize the amount of data collected.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tracking Baby Jesus: Tucson Company Deploys a New Kind of Star to Help Lead Police
SpyGadgets LLC, an industry leader in covert GPS Tracking technology is known in law enforcement circles as the place to go when difficult situations require extraordinary electronic equipment. From tracking the man who floated across three states in a lawn chair powered by helium balloons to the FBI’s most wanted, SpyGadgets has tracked virtually everything. This Christmas season they are deploying the BlackStar GPS Tracker to Churches with nativity scenes across the Southern Arizona region and beyond.


4th Amendment Wear– Because everyone loves passive – aggressive protests

f you’ve gone anywhere by plane recently you will no doubt have passed by the dreaded TSA body scanners. If you haven’t been anywhere lately, I’m sure you are still very aware of all the controversy being caused by this invasion of privacy, designed to um, *cough* keep us all safe.

Well, you don’t have to just stand there and take it anymore. A new line of silent protest undergarments are headed your way, allowing you to get your point across, without ever saying a word.

4th Amendment Wear, white undergarments printed with metallic type that shows up on TSA scanners quietly evokes the 4th Amendment. Surely you remember the 4th Amendment, don’t you? It guards against unreasonable search and seizure. The amendment also requires that search warrants be supported by probable cause. Huh. Sounds like a great idea.


Ex-Deutsche Telekom Manager Convicted Over Spying on Executives, Reporters

A former Deutsche Telekom AG security manager was convicted of violating privacy rules and improperly using funds for his involvement in spying on journalists and board members at the company.

The Bonn Regional Court sentenced Klaus Trzeschan to three and a half years in prison at a hearing today. Trzeschan, who was also convicted of fraud, had admitted that he participated in the corporate spying.

The case centers on allegations that managers at the company obtained phone records for journalists and supervisory board members to search for sources of news leaks. Prosecutors in June dropped probes into former Chairman Klaus Zumwinkel and ex-Chief Executive Officer Kai-Uwe Ricke.

“I wouldn’t call this a spy affair, because we’re talking about serious crimes here,” Presiding Judge Klaus Reinhoff said after delivering the verdict. “We cannot stress enough that Deutsche Telekom made it really easy for Mr. Trzeschan to commit these crimes.”


Monday, November 29, 2010

WikiLeaks 'surprised' by scale of US espionage

(CNN) -- WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower website sitting on a giant trove of U.S. diplomatic cables, didn't expect the papers to reveal as much espionage as they apparently do, a spokesman said Monday.

"I was surprised at (the) extent of the spying," Kristinn Hrafnsson told CNN.

The leaked papers include what seems to be an order from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to American diplomats to engage in intelligence-gathering.

Clinton directed her envoys at embassies around the world to collect information ranging from basic biographical data on diplomats to their frequent flyer and credit card numbers, and even "biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats."

Typical biometric information includes fingerprints, signatures, and iris recognition data.

The cable, simply signed 'CLINTON', is classified S/NF - or 'Secret/No Foreign' - and was sent to 33 embassies and the U.N. mission offices in New York, Vienna, and Rome.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkish eavesdroppers get name right, number wrong

A case of mistaken identity led to the wiretapping for many months of a Turkish construction worker with the same name as a military colonel accused of attempting to stage a coup, daily Hürriyet reported Thursday.

According to the paper, it took the police months to realize it was tapping the phone of the wrong Dursun Çiçek.

Daily Hürriyet called the phone number listed on the first two court orders authorizing surveillance of Col. Dursun Çicek on suspicion of plotting a coup. The paper reported that the man who answered was a construction worker who had no idea that his conversations were being monitored.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Five tips for protecting mobile devices
Attacks against information assets — government, corporate, and personal — have been going on for some time. Yet many users and organizations have blatantly ignored recommendations for protecting mobile devices, exposing themselves, their businesses, their customers, and often employees to harm. These devices in the hands of mobile workers are exposed to a variety of threats:
  • Hotel wired networks are often wide open to eavesdropping by cybercriminals or other guests. Jacking into a network frequently equates to sending and receiving information over a single collision domain. This means all packets for a set of rooms, a floor, several floors, or even the entire hotel/motel are seen by all other systems on the network. Unprotected packets are prime targets for capture, analysis, and data extraction.
  • Connecting to unencrypted hotel or other public wireless networks, sending sensitive information out into the ether, is a well-known problem. I won’t beat it to death.
  • Improper configuration of firewalls or the total lack of an end-user device security perimeter, allows anyone, anytime, and anywhere to use public networks to peruse private information on laptops, smartphones, or PDAs.
  • Some unencrypted stolen or lost devices are a treasure chest of information, including passwords, customer and employee information, and user identity data. In large, chaotic venues, it isn’t difficult to lose a laptop or PDA.

This is not a complete list of potential attack vectors, but proper attention to those four issues reduces risk to a reasonable and appropriate level. The following steps are a good start in preventing information or system compromise.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Spies from 19 nations in Norway
19 foreign countries are conducting intelligence against Norway on Norwegian soil, the Norwegian Police Security Service says. Some are here legally, while others pose as diplomats, journalists or business people.

This is the first time the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) says anything about the extent of foreign espionage in Norway, TV2 reports.

- I think you can say that espionage in Norway is on a higher level than during the Cold War period, head of PST Janne Kristiansen says.

According to PST the 19 nations with intelligence personnel in Norway have various interests. Some are interested in Norwegian technology; others are interested in Norwegian security policy and military installations.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Mobile phones can be turned into mobile bugging devices
According to MWR InfoSecurity, at least two mobile phones that are being sold around the world are capable of being turned into Mobile bugging devices. The company says that most mobile phones are open to immediate cyber attack and network providers are doing little to help.

Recently MWR InfoSecurity alerted users worldwide that the Palm Pre mobile phone could be used as a bugging device without the user’s knowledge, and that phones using the Google Android system could be easily interrogated for passwords. They have now discovered that a HTC phone can be also be compromised and used as a remote bugging device.

“Mobile phone users globally are open to exactly the same risks as a user of a poorly secured desktop computer” said Nils (Principal Information Security Researcher at MWR InfoSecurity). The more we test these phones the more security flaws we are finding. It’s not just the manufacturers that are to blame it is also the mobile network providers who are not doing enough to protect their customers”


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Santiago’s latest scandal: spy microphones found in the Mayor’s office

SANTIAGO.- The Santiago City Council dismantled an espionage system of several high tech miniature microphones which had been secretly installed in the office of mayor Gilberto Serrulle and other areas.

The Mayor confirmed the finding, but downplayed the case, affirming that he has nothing to hide or fear.

A source quoted y affirms that it was an enemy of Serrulle, who wasn’t identified, who sought to obtain confidential information which could jeopardize the municipal executive.

The scandal is the latest episode in the Santiago City Council, where the previous Mayor, Jose Enrique Sued was charged with misappropriating more than RD$100 million.

DAS wiretap witness murdered

A former official at intelligence agency DAS, who was due to give evidence regarding illegal wiretapping carried out by the agency, was assassinated Thursday afternoon in Medellin, reports Caracol Radio.

David Antonio Ballen Garcia, a former DAS detective who left the agency three years ago, was shot by unknown gunmen on motorcycles while on his way to work, riding in a vehicle in the Patio Bonito area of El Poblado in Medellin. The driver of the vehicle and two other passengers, a woman and another former DAS employee, were injured.

Ballen Garcia appears on a list of witnesses made by the Prosecutor General's Office in the case of illegal wiretapping carried out by DAS against political opponents, journalists and human rights activists. He was allegedly about to supply key information in the case to authorities.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Man in disguise boards international flight

Note: This just in from our friend "Mike" Heads up! Pay attention out there will ya! Grandma was slow, but she was 100! JDL

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- Canadian authorities are investigating an "unbelievable" incident in which a passenger boarded an Air Canada flight disguised as an elderly man, according to a confidential alert obtained by CNN.

The incident occurred on October 29 on Air Canada flight AC018 to Vancouver originating in Hong Kong. An intelligence alert from the Canada Border Services Agency describes the incident as an "unbelievable case of concealment."

"Information was received from Air Canada Corporate Security regarding a possible imposter on a flight originating from Hong Kong," the alert says. "The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young looking hands. During the flight the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian looking male that appeared to be in his early 20s."


Monday, November 1, 2010

Husband accused of tapping wife's PC
A Texas court has ruled that a husband accused of monitoring his wife's computer through a keystroke logger did not violate federal wiretapping laws.

Larry Bagley was sued in June by his wife Rhea Bagley, who accused him of surreptitiously placing audio recording devices in their house as well as a software keystroke logger. The Bagleys are in the process of divorcing.

The complaint in this civil case says that during the divorce proceedings, the husband revealed the existence of the surveillance tech and acknowledged that the "software recorded screenshots of activity on this computer." The husband replied in court documents that "in all conversations, the defendants' children were present and defendant was able to consent to recordation by way of vicarious consent."

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal ruled on October 18 in favor of the husband, saying that the court was required to follow a Fifth Circuit decision saying that the federal wiretap law known as Title III does not apply to marital relationships.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Video Baby Monitors Broadcast Images From Inside Homes
Video baby monitors can help parents keep watch over their children, but they also can allow strangers to see what's happening inside of homes.

When Coral Springs parent Allison Lindsey turned on her new video baby monitor, she had to do a double take. Instead of seeing her baby girl, Lindsey saw a boy."I saw my neighbor's boy in his crib," Lindsey said.The wireless camera system pointed at Lindsey's baby's crib was picking up images of 16-month-old Tyler next door.Both systems are on the same frequency. Lindsey said she had no clue when she set up the system that the signal would go beyond the walls of her home.She told Tyler's mom, Stacy Kass, who expressed shock."They don't come with any warnings. It never even crossed my mind," Kass said. "How many times I must have walked in there not dressed appropriately, never thinking for a second that anyone could see what was going on in our home. It's beyond creepy."


Australia warns of iPhone security risk

SYDNEY — A senior Australian crime official has raised serious security concerns over popular smartphones such as Apple's iPhone, which he warned was particularly vulnerable to hacking and information theft.

John Lawler, head of the Australian Crime Commission, said the virtual world had brought "boundless opportunities" for crime gangs and mobile technologies were giving criminals "previously unimaginable" reach.

He singled out the iPhone as especially at-risk, explaining that it was the "third most used system in the world" for businesses and "deployed or piloted by more than 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies".

"Yet IT managers are swimming against the phone?s tide of popularity because they can?t centralise installation and security updates as with other software," Lawler told a criminology conference on Tuesday.

"This overwhelming desire for instant services (comes) at the expense of security safeguards."


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

State official suspended in e-mail spying scheme

The head of computer-systems security for the Ohio Department of Public Safety was suspended today amid the fallout from an e-mail spying scheme.

David A. Brown, 46, was placed on paid administrative leave from his $94,284-a-year job as the department continues to review employees' roles in a plan to illegally intercept e-mails, said spokeswoman Lindsay Komlanc.

E-mails show that former public-safety lawyer Joshua Engel, who was convicted of illegally intercepting e-mails between department employees and the office of Inspector General Thomas P. Charles, communicated with Brown about the snooping.

Engel was fired and another department lawyer resigned after officials unearthed a scheme set up by Engel to be copied on e-mails between his department and the inspector general's office, Dispatch reporters or former Bureau of Motor Vehicles Registrar Frank Caltrider.

Engel was fined $750 on each of three misdemeanor counts and received 30-day suspended jail sentences on each count Friday.


Google in trouble, acknowledges spying on passwords, emails of users
Things could not have gone worse for the search engine major Google as it has finally acknowledged that it was spying on the emails and passwords of the users across Britain. This is definitely a major security breach and as is to be expected, Google is having a hard time giving proper explanation.

However, Google has already apologized for the reported incident and claimed that it has unwittingly downloaded personal data from wireless networks when its vehicles were driving down residential roads for taking photos for its Street View project. Most of the data, as the company informed, is fragmentary but in a few cases, web addresses, emails and even passwords of users were captured. However, Alan Eustace, Google’s Vice-President of engineering and research said that they were quick to delete those data and thereby they had managed to overcome a serious security related crisis.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hotel room security defeated by a piece of wire

This video clip is pretty alarming - it shows how easy it is for a stranger to enter your hotel room, using nothing more than a piece of wire. As you can see in the clip, the wire goes under the door, and is used to open the door from the inside. In all my years of staying in hotels, I never realized how simple it could be.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

De-Bugging Experts Caught Leaving Stroger's Office - It may sound like cloak and dagger fiction, but FOX Chicago News has learned something very odd happened Wednesday night on the fifth floor of the Cook County building.

The latest bizarre twist in the ongoing corruption scandal in Stroger's office involves high-tech surveillance experts caught leaving the office of Cook County Board President's office.

A deputy sheriff patrolling the building stopped a group of five men leaving Todd Stroger's office around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

One of the men identified himself as the county's Homeland Security Director David Ramos. The other four men were asked to provide identification.

They did, and at least three of them have experience in surveillance and counter-surveillance. Two of the men were identified as Jim Salp and Mike Dennis, former FBI agents who own a Chicago company specializing in "countermeasures and electronic surveillance," according to their website.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eavesdropping Threat: CamBall rolls into the US

Personal video camcorders have certainly come a long way since their introduction many years ago, and technologies in such devices have also progressed by leaps and bounds that High Definition recording capability was already achieved a few years back on a pocket-sized device. Well, what else can manufacturers do to up the ante? CamBall, as you can tell by its name, could very well be the next step of evolution for personal video camcorders. After all, it measures roughly the size of a mere golf ball (!) and yet is able shoot video virtually anytime, anywhere. Sure, it will not be able to do High Definition video recording, but that is all right considering the rather minuscule size of the device.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mobile to VoIP anti-tapping solution launched by PrivateWave

PrivateWave has introduced a mobile phone anti-tapping solution.

Designed to combat the threat of industrial espionage and the implications to businesses in terms of cost due to loss of confidential data through unprotected conversations, the Enterprise VoIP Security Suite (EVSS) is designed to secure phone conversations between landline, VoIP phones and mobile devices.

According to PrivateWave, the integrated system guarantees full protection of voice communications from intrusions, securing all PBX conversations from landline phones to mobile devices and vice versa, resulting in privacy of all employee conversations.

The software is compatible with Nokia, iPhone and Blackberry mobile devices and will soon be fully compatible with devices based on Android.


US wants to ease telecom wiretapping: report
WASHINGTON: An Obama administration taskforce is seeking to overhaul a federal law requiring telephone and broadband carriers to ensure their networks can be wiretapped, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials from the Justice and Commerce Departments, the FBI and other federal agencies told the Times tougher legislation was necessary because some telecommunications firms have launched new services and system upgrades that impede surveillance.

As part of their draft legislation to expand and strengthen the 1994 law, the officials want more legal incentives and penalties to push AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other carriers to make sure any changes to their networks will not disrupt efforts to conduct wiretaps, the report added.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

U.S. Companies Are at Risk of Spying by Their Own Workers
Huang Kexue, federal authorities say, is a new kind of spy.
For five years, Mr. Huang was a scientist at a Dow Chemical lab in Indiana, studying ways to improve insecticides. But before he was fired in 2008, Mr. Huang began sharing Dow’s secrets with Chinese researchers, authorities say, then obtained grants from a state-run foundation in China with the goal of starting a rival business there.

Now, Mr. Huang, who was born in China and is a legal United States resident, faces a rare criminal charge — that he engaged in economic espionage on China’s behalf.

Law enforcement officials say the kind of spying Mr. Huang is accused of represents a new front in the battle for a global economic edge. As China and other countries broaden their efforts to obtain Western technology, American industries beyond the traditional military and high-tech targets risk having valuable secrets exposed by their own employees, court records show.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back

A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after
he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a
friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide
speculation about whether the device was real, whether the
young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism
investigation and what the authorities would do.
It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the
student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted its
expensive device back, the student told in an
interview Wednesday. More...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why Take a Preventive Approach to TSCM?

Why Take a Preventive Approach to TSCM?
All too often corporations or individuals hire a professional Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) or "bug sweep" service provider only after they have a strong suspicion they are a victim of illegal eavesdropping. While it may seem like a logical approach to verify your suspicions first, the choice to delay can be an irresponsible and costly choice. Every minute an illegal eavesdropper maintains access to your information is valuable to the eavesdropper -- and costly to you. The longer you wait, the more opportunity the eavesdropper has to gather enough competition sensitive, company proprietary or damaging personal information to cause your company, or you, irreparable harm.

Why do corporations and/or executives hesitate to hire a TSCM/Bug Sweep provider quickly? Fear is a key reason executives delay hiring a professional TSCM service provider. It could be a fear that competitors or employees will recognize the company, or its executive(s), suspect they are vulnerable to illegal spying. Simply acknowledging the company or its executives are exposed and/or having to obtain authorization from owner(s), Board Members, etc. can be difficult. The need to obtain authorization from corporate counsel and/or financial decision makers is another key reason for delaying. And, the executive(s) who make a decision to proceed with a Bug Sweep may also be discredited as paranoid by coworkers. Who wants their coworkers to think they are paranoid? But, no matter what the motivation for a decision to delay, the perceived vulnerability is not going to "just go away." And, a failure to take action quickly and decisively can be the beginning of the end for the corporation and/or the executive(s). Is it responsible to forego taking action because you are fearful of the ramifications? If indeed your company or your executive(s) are the victim of illegal eavesdropping it is negligent to allow the exposure to continue.

Is this a dramatic statement? What if the illegal eavesdropper planted an audio listening device in the Sales Director's and the Accounting Director's offices? Each word spoken in these two offices, whether by two or more individuals or while these executives are engaged in corporate or personal phone calls, can be heard and/or recorded by the eavesdropper. If the batteries in a small, voice activated listening device work for two weeks or more, how much valuable information would the eavesdropper be able to steal? The eavesdropper could learn the names of existing customers, potential customers, suppliers, financial information, pricing strategies, collections information, confidential product order specifications, marketing plans, etc. How much valuable information is shared in just these two Directors' offices within a two week time span? To an illegal eavesdropper, it's a gold mine! And, if you work in a highly competitive industry, or manage valuable or highly regulated technology the ramifications can be escalated dramatically. Now consider that the illegal eavesdropper may have hacked into the executives email account(s) and/or installed key loggers on the executive(s) computers. The potential exists for simply devastating results! And, if these executives manage customer confidential or proprietary information that they are bound to hold confidential (i.e. via a Confidentiality Agreement), or if they handle information subject to strict government control (i.e. munitions list products, other highly regulated industries/products, patent pending technology, etc.) you have a duty and obligation to ensure your corporate information is not shared with restricted companies, countries and/or person(s).

Isn't electronic eavesdropping a federal crime? Yes! 18 USC Sec. 2512 states the manufacture, distribution, possession, and advertising of wire, oral, or electronic communication intercepting devices is prohibited. And, it does not matter whether the illegal eavesdropping activity is perpetrated on a company, an executive, an inventor or an individual. It's all illegal. Unfortunately, the likelihood that an eavesdropper can be identified and prosecuted effectively may be lower than you would think.

What do I do if I discover illegal electronic devices? One of the most important things you can do once you suspect you are bugged, is to act as "normal" as possible in the area of concern, so the eavesdropper is not "tipped off". Then, contact a professional TSCM provider outside your physical area of concern using a phone that you believe is not bugged! This means making contact with the TSCM provider from an area outside of your office, car or home. A professional eavesdropper will target locations/places where he/she expects you will feel comfortable to discuss information freely. That means your office, elevator, car, cell phone; purse, wallet, bedroom, etc. are all choice bugging targets for an eavesdropper. Where you feel comfortable, you will discuss confidential, proprietary or personal information that is valuable to an eavesdropper. You must also consider that the eavesdropper may expect a local TSCM company will be called in to handle your assignment. So, hiring a TSCM service provider who is located outside of your geographical area, who operates in a covert manner, may be your best option. And, you must consider that if an illegal eavesdropper has your company or executives under electronic audio surveillance, they may also be performing some degree of visual surveillance of your company or executives as well. Nothing can sound an alarm to an illegal eavesdropper like a van with a TSCM company logo arriving at your office or home. Discreet is best!

Why not let the eavesdropper know you are onto them?If the eavesdropper suspects you are aware of the illegal activity, they are likely to remove the spying devices at the first perceived "safe" opportunity -- particularly if the perpetrator is an employee, part of the cleaning crew, etc. who has routine access to the office(s) and/or executive(s) home. Sure, you want the device(s) removed so the surveillance stops, but your goal should be to learn who bugged you, who authorized the bugging operation and/or what potential damage they can do with the information they have taken. The best case scenario would be that the illegal eavesdropper(s) are prosecuted, but the odds this will occur are lower than you may think. Damage control is most important for any company or individual who has been the subject of an illegal eavesdropping attack. That must be your focus!

What motivates an illegal eavesdropper?It is really a matter of how valuable your information is! An illegal eavesdropper is a risk taker who is willing to risk being discovered when they install the devices and/or after their bugging operation is in progress. Their goal is to get access to the right kind of information, and to steal as much of this valuable information as possible. They are your adversary and will do what is necessary to win. The more damaging the information, the more useful it is to the illegal eavesdropper and/or the company or person who hired them to put you under surveillance.

Why hire a professional TSCM provider? When you begin to price your professional bug sweep assignment, you may be surprised by the cost. It's not a minor expense, but it is a very necessary expense. Bargain shopping for a professional TSCM bug sweep is not the best approach. With a TSCM bug sweep, you get what you pay for! Don't be fooled by a private investigator who provides you with the low quote; it's not the bargain you think it is. A TSCM Bug Sweep performed by a competent, skilled, trained and well equipped TSCM professional is what you need. Most have decades of experience developing their interviewing, visual inspection and electronic detection skills, and they are knowledgeable of the most common and new, emerging threats and proper detection methods. They live and breathe TSCM and their opponent is the illegal eavesdropper. Private investigators have their talents and skills, and with the exception of a very few, TSCM most often is not their area of expertise. Hire a professional TSCM service provider!

Why leave your very valuable corporate information exposed? Take a proactive approach to corporate security by hiring ComSec LLC to perform preventive TSCM bug sweeps today!

ComSec, LLc. provides professional Technical Surveillance & Eavesdropping Countermeasures services to Fortune 500 corporations to small businesses, non-profits, celebrities, executives and select individuals. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA | Northern VA-DC-MD. Serving the Continental United States, and select International clients abroad.

Copyright 2010 To The Present By ComSec, LLc. All Rights Reserved

Encryption Won't Protect Your BlackBerry Now


A pair of Russian software developers have teamed on a password-cracking program for the BlackBerry.

Did you think your BlackBerry data was safe because it's encrypted on the phone, over the airwaves, and in its backup form? Think again. Russian software developer ElcomSoft, which, with its Russian competitor AccentSoft, has developed effective password-cracking programs for most common desktop encryption formats, is at it again. Now, it's targeted the BlackBerry with a Phone Password Breaker that was previously limited to Apple mobile devices.


Charlie Wilson’s Warrior Becomes Top Pentagon Spook

Remember that nerdy-yet-lethal kid from the Tom Hanks biopic about the U.S.’s proxy fight in 80s-era Afghanistan, Charlie Wilson’s War? That’s Michael Vickers, a longtime Special Forces and CIA guy. Last night, President Obama quietly nominated him to one of the Pentagon’s highest offices. Call it a trend: in the last few months, architects and advocates of stealth wars against terrorists have risen to the highest levels of the intelligence community.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

The 7 worst cyberattacks in history (that we know about)
We get a little taste of cyber attacks all the time — look no further than this week's Twitter virus — but what about full-on cyber warfare? Recently the true destructive potential of a cyber attack became frighteningly clear: whole government, banking and military networks overloaded and shut down, vital data and money stolen, and even physical damage if the right components are targeted. The worst part? We usually only find out after the fact.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

iPhone GPS app helps find man suspected of stealing smart phone

ROCKLIN, CA - When Josh Paul's fiancee, Michelle Langford, realized her cell phone was missing Saturday afternoon, Paul wondered about the magazine solicitor who had shown up just a short time before.

"We're looking for the phone and where did the cell phone go?" Paul said. "At that point we put it together."

But Paul did more than just call the police. He thought immediately of the "Mobile Me" GPS application Langford has her phone that allows the phone to be tracked by computer.

"So we grabbed a computer," Paul said, "And saw that her phone was walking approximately 3/4 of a mile from here."

"At first, I thought it was wrong," said Langford. "I was convinced it was a software malfunction, but it wasn't."

It was then the two called police as they traced the phone to a Rocklin residence. When they arrived, however, the thief had already left.

"But the couple at that address said, 'We'd be more than willing to let you log onto our computer and get an update on his status,'" Paul said.

The trail eventually led to a Home Depot store on Fairway Drive in Roseville where Paul identified the alleged thief and police made an arrest.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Smoke, mirrors, cloaks and daggers

Journalists Nissim Mishal and Michael Bar-Zohar delve into the shadowy world of Israel’s secret espionage wars in new book on Mossad, which turns out to be a uniquely Zionist organization.

"As night fell, an unidentified yacht approached in the dark. Two frogmen, carrying sniper rifles, swam underwater and took up position in front of Suleiman’s house. A wireless signal alerted them. They stood up in the shallow water and fired one bullet each. The bullets hit Suleiman in the forehead and he fell forward, his head coming to rest in the plate in front of him. Nobody heard the shots. Nobody saw the sharpshooters, who quietly slipped away under the cover of darkness".

That, according to Mossad – The Great Operations, a book by Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal which was published in Hebrew last month, is how Suleiman met his end.


Obama wants unfettered access to your Internet activity
Despite outrage over George Bush's limited ability to wiretap into American phone calls, Obama wants to take it a step further and be able to monitor every single form of communication any American citizen uses. The same kind of authority the government has to wiretap into phone calls could be coming to Facebook, instant messaging, and every American's browser history, thanks to a push from the Obama administration.

The White House plans to introduce a bill into Congress next year that would give Obama the ability to tap into literally every communication any citizen makes online.

The move causes a whole new level of privacy concerns. After the outrageous uproar of the Bush administration's tapping into American phone records, privacy advocates should be all over this.