Thursday, February 25, 2010
This short video explores ways to determine if your cell phone has been compromised to act as a bug. While it's obviously unlikely that this would happen to most people, it was recently revealed that the FBI has used this technique, and just as illicit wiretaps are possible, illicit cell phone bugging can and does occur.
Watch CBS News Videos Online
(CBS) "60 Minutes" has obtained an FBI videotape showing a Defense Department employee selling secrets to a Chinese spy for cash. The video, which has never been made public before, offers a rare glimpse into the secretive world of espionage and illustrates how China’s spying may now pose the biggest espionage threat to the U.S.
"60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley's report will be broadcast this Sunday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
China may be the number-one espionage threat now. "The Chinese are the biggest problem we have with respect to the level of effort that they’re devoting against us, versus the level of attention we are giving to them," says Michelle Van Cleave, once America’s top counter-intelligence officer who coordinated the hunt for foreign spies from 2003 to 2006.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The scandal surrounding kids being spied on at home via webcams in laptops provided by schools extends further than just schoolchildren – four years ago Google admitted that it was implementing similar invasive surveillance technologies that would target all Americans.
A school district in Philadelphia faces a class action lawsuit after it allegedly issued laptop computers to 1,800 students across two high schools and then used concealed cameras within the machines to spy on students and their parents without their knowledge or consent.
Lower Merion School District in the suburbs of Philadelphia faces charges of invasion of privacy, theft of private information, and unlawful interception for providing computers with webcams that were remotely and covertly turned on by administrators.
The suit was brought on behalf of all the students and their parents after it was revealed that the computers had been used to monitor students both at school and at home.
The story harks back to revelations of how private industry and eventually government are implementing plans to use microphones in the computers of hundreds of millions of Internet active Americans to spy on their lifestyle choices and build psychological profiles which will be used for surveillance and minority report style invasive advertising and data mining.More...
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The theft of trade secrets and customer information cost companies an average of $2 million each last year, according to research conducted by security software maker Symantec Corp.
In a survey of 2,100 information-technology executives worldwide, 75 percent of respondents reported cyber attacks last year. Most intrusions were aimed at stealing a company’s intellectual property, such as product designs, according to the study released today.
“We can expect to see companies going out of business because their intellectual property is stolen,” Maureen Kelly, a senior director of product marketing, said in an interview. “For some, this is a matter of life or death.”More...
Sunday, February 21, 2010
SAN BERNARDINO - County supervisors spent $22,500 last month to sweep their offices and other parts of the government center for secret recording devices and other hidden surveillance equipment.
The first sweep of the fourth and fifth floors of the county building occurred Jan. 23, and the purchase order provides for four more sweeps at undisclosed future dates.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Ovitt, who requested the counter-surveillance, declined a request for an interview Friday. But a county spokesman insisted the sweeps had nothing to do with an ongoing government corruption scandal that has implicated the offices of Ovitt, Paul Biane and former supervisor Bill Postmus.
"This is something the county periodically does and the county was doing this long before there was a (District Attorney's) investigation," David Wert said.
In all, Wert said, the county has spent $42,865 on sweeps in recent years but refused to disclose when previous sweeps occurred.
Last week, District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and state Attorney General Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown Jr., announced criminal charges against Postmus and former assistant assessor Jim Erwin in a wide-ranging corruption caseRead More...
Note: What is the potential effect on you, your family or your business if sensitive information is intercepted by an eavesdropper? Contact me, I can help. JDL
Saturday, February 20, 2010
James Bond, meet Fred Rustmann. A former CIA agent, Rustmann now runs a "corporate intelligence" firm that helps companies spy on each other. Like many veterans of the Central Intelligence Agency, Rustmann's spying tricks are in high demand by the private sector.
When one of Rustmann's clients wants to find out about, say, its competitors' upcoming product line-ups, it pays him to conduct undercover interviews with unsuspecting employees and dig through their garbage.
More... .........................................Note: Is your company safe from "corporate spies" ?.....Contact me, I can help. JDL
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A mother who ran a babysitting service out of her home was behind bars Friday, charged with child abuse.
Gianna Cochran was charged with felonies involving sexual and physical abuse of children between the ages of 8 months and 2-years-old, 10TV's Kevin Landers reported.
Police said the alleged crimes happened in an apartment last year and involved at least five children.
A parent of an alleged victim suspected something was wrong with his daughter and helped alert police, Landers reported.
"I kept telling my fianc that was something wrong because (my daughter) always come home crying you know, every time we left there she would ball," said the parent, who requested anonymity.
The parent said that it started when the girl's mother raised questions to the babysitter about their daughter's face.
"She saw blotchiness, red on her face and neck," the parent said. "And she wanted to know what's going on and she said she was just crying."
Their suspicions of alleged abuse were verified months later, when police knocked on their door with a video," Landers reported.More...
The filing Friday by the U.S. Attorney's Office says it is pursuing possible charges of conspiracy, computer fraud, theft of trade secrets and interstate transportation of stolen goods against Hilton and two executives it hired away from Starwood.
Starwood claims the executives took confidential documents and that Hilton used them to develop a competitor to the W Hotels brand.
A judge must approve the government's motion.
Pennsylvania parents are suing their son's school, alleging it watched him through his laptop's webcam while he was at home and unaware he was being observed.
Michael and Holly Robbins of Penn Valley are suing the Lower Merion School District, its board of directors and the superintendent. The parents allege the district unlawfully used its ability to access a webcam remotely on their son's district-issued laptop computer.
The lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The suit said that on November 11, an assistant principal at Harriton High School told the plaintiffs' son that he was caught engaging in "improper behavior" in his home and it was captured in an image via the webcam.More...
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Soldiers, you are now cleared to use your thumb drives again. U.S. Strategic Command has lifted its ban on the tiny drives, memory sticks, CDs and other “removable flash media” on military networks.
The repeal, first reported by InsideDefense.com, may be good news for troops, who depend on the drives to move data in bandwidth-starved locations. But it may be good news for hackers, too. The original network security concerns which prompted the ban haven’t really been addressed, one Strategic Command cyber defense specialist tells Danger Room: “Not much changed. StratCom simply does not have the support to enforce such a ban indefinitely.”
StratCom prohibited the drives’ use back in November 2008 after the Agent.btz virus began working its way through military networks. A variation of the “SillyFDC” worm, Agent.btz spreads by copying itself from thumb drive to computer and back again. Once on a PC, “it automatically downloads code from another location. And that code could be pretty much anything,” iDefense computer security expert Ryan Olson said at the time.
Global Offensive Snagged Corporate, Personal Data at nearly 2,500 Companies; Operation Is Still Running.
Hackers in Europe and China successfully broke into computers at nearly 2,500 companies and government agencies over the last 18 months in a coordinated global attack that exposed vast amounts of personal and corporate secrets to theft, according to a computer-security company that discovered the breach. The damage from the latest cyberattack is still being assessed, and affected companies are still being notified. But data compiled by NetWitness, the closely held firm that discovered the breaches, showed that hackers gained access to a wide array of data at 2,411 companies, from credit-card transactions to intellectual property.
The hacking operation, the latest of several major hacks that have raised alarms for companies and government officials, is still running and it isn't clear to what extent it has been contained, NetWitness said. Also unclear is the full amount of data stolen and how it was used. Two companies that were infiltrated, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. and Cardinal Health Inc., said they had isolated and contained the problem.
As cyberspies multiply and evolve, the military says many defense firms remain woefully insecure.
That's the number of cases in which Shirley's team of Pentagon researchers discovered cyberspies breaching the networks of government agencies, defense contractors and other organizations with ties to the U.S. Department of Defense, gaining administrator-level access with the aim of stealing military secrets. The Pentagon's forensics-focused Cyber Crime Center, where Shirley is executive director, found that between August 2007 and August 2009, 71 government agencies, contractors, universities and think tanks with connections to the U.S. military had been penetrated by foreign hackers, in some cases multiple times. In total, Shirley told Forbes, the center performed 116 investigations following spying breaches and found that in all but 14 of those cases the intruders had gained complete administrator-level access to the victim's network.
Your cell phone is essentially a "tracking device" — should Uncle Sam need a warrant to stalk you?The government can track your every move through you cell phone, and the Obama administration wants a Philadelphia appeals court to approve doing so without a warrant. The Justice Department says the records are fair game if it has "reasonable grounds" to think someone has committed a crime -- a lower bar than the probable cause required for a warrant.
The ACLU and other privacy advocates say the tracking violates Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Is cell-phone tracking a vital crime-fighting tool, or a creepy sign that "Big Brother" is watching us? (Watch a Fox report about the government's cell-phone tracking).
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
A group of high-ranking former federal officials scramble to react to mobile phone malware and the failure of the electricity grid in a staged exercise.
"Cyber Shockwave," conceived and executed by the Bipartisan Policy Center along with experts in cybersecurity, simulated such an attack on Tuesday -- and discovered that the U.S. is ill-prepared to handle a large scale cyberattack.
In an effort to spur U.S. officials to take cybersecurity more seriously, Cyber Shockwave brought together a group of former high-ranking White House, Cabinet, and national security officials to see how they would deal with such a crisis in realtime. Imagine what would happen if a massive cyberattack hit the U.S., crippling mobile phones and overwhelming both telephone infrastructure and the electricity grid.
The arrest of Stern Hu, Googlegate and a leaked report from British security agency MI5 have resulted in a paradigm shift in the way major companies operate in greater China, with new security measures being implemented to protect company secrets from prying eyes.
Sources working for some of Australia’s top law firms in greater China have told Business Spectator that companies are adopting a raft of measures to ensure commercially sensitive information and intellectual property is being kept safe when travelling in China. These measures include executives being instructed not to travel with their own laptops or Blackberries, lest they be stolen or the executives detained and the devices confiscated. Not only can emails and files be accessed, but sometimes databases outside China can be reached, if document management systems are networked.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Veteran journalist Eamon Javers shines light on the murky but expanding world of corporate espionage. What he finds is that global companies increasingly can avail themselves of the same spying and intelligence-gathering resources, from covert surveillance to satellite imagery, as the US government. When companies contract an “intelligence consultant’’ (i.e., a spy) to gather information on parties who may damage their bottom line, whether a critical journalist or a hostile environmental group, they’re paying for secrecy and deniability. As Javers admits about his task, “[s]ometimes it’s impossible to know the truth.’’
Javers’s narrative approach is to offer an overview of the diverse services private spies offer corporate clients. Javers is also interested in the ethical questions posed by corporate spying, though he tellingly provides no answers. The vast majority of private spies, he finds, are contractors who’ve left the CIA or military intelligence for the more lucrative world of corporate espionage. They’ll work for anyone “who can afford to pay,’’ Javers writes, including “corrupt companies, Russian oligarchs, [and] Middle Eastern sheikhs.’’
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Right now, some of your most sensitive corporate data is being stolen by corporate spies.
A new book by Eamon Javers, Broker, Trader Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World Of Corporate Espionage, reports that such companies as Goldman Sachs, SAC Capital, and KPMG have employed these spies.
In digging for information on a company, the spies look for sources who usually come in one of two flavors:
- The first is a "male in his mid 20s who is somewhat bored, likes to party, needs money, likes women, sports and risk, is disrespectful to his managers, and is patriotic."
- The second is a young woman who is insecure, overweight, and bitchy. She doesn't have a boyfriend and except for a strong relationship with her mother, has only fake friends.
The attack can force heavily secured computers to spill documents that likely were presumed to be safe. This discovery shows one way that spies and other richly financed attackers can acquire military and trade secrets, and comes as worries about state-sponsored computer espionage intensify, underscored by recent hacking attacks on Google.
The new attack discovered by Christopher Tarnovsky is difficult to pull off, partly because it requires physical access to a computer. But laptops and smart phones get lost and stolen all the time. And the data that the most dangerous computer criminals would seek likely would be worth the expense of an elaborate espionage operation.More...
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Syracuse, NY -- Until Tuesday, Shalin Jhaveri, who has a Ph.D., was in the management training program at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in Syracuse, a position that gave him access to some of the company's more valuable secret processes.
On Tuesday night, the 29-year-old Syracuse resident was arrested and faces up 10 years in jail for stealing company secrets in preparation for starting a competing company in his native India, according to court documents.
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Syracuse Wednesday shows:
Jhaveri’s had registered an Internet domain for the company he planned to start with his father. He had chosen a name, Cherish Bio Sciences, and was talking with an individual whom he thought was going to invest with him.
What Jhaveri didn’t know is that Bristol had been watching him closely since December 22. Computer security specialists within the company had been using forensic software to track his use of a company laptop, including individual key strokes.More...
Corporate Espionage is Increasing Dramatically Are You at Risk? Contact Us. We can help. ~JDL
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Google is teaming up with the National Security Agency to investigate the recent hack attack against its network in a bid to prevent another assault, according to The Washington Post.
The internet search giant is working on an agreement with the controversial agency to determine the attacker’s methods and what Google can do to shore up its network.
Sources assured the Post that the deal does not mean the NSA will have access to users’ searches or e-mail communications and accounts. Nor will Google share proprietary data with the agency.
But the move is raising concerns among privacy and civil rights advocates.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Thursday, shortly after the agreement was made public, seeking more information about the arrangement. (.pdf)
The world's top producers of computer memory chips are embroiled in an apparent case of industrial espionage after South Korean prosecutors indicted 18 people over alleged technology theft.
Prosecutors said Thursday those involved — including employees of U.S. company Allied Materials and its South Korean unit — are suspected of leaking semiconductor technology belonging to South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. to its domestic rival Hynix Semiconductor Inc.
The case highlights the intense competition among chipmakers and other sellers of high tech products, who frequently sue each other over alleged patent infringements.More...
KIEV, Ukraine -- A spying scandal between Ukraine and Russia threatens to heighten tensions between the countries as Ukraine's holds a presidential runoff election Sunday between a Russian-leaning candidate and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Ukraine's security service said Wednesday five Russians were detained last month after being caught trying to obtain confidential military information from a Ukrainian citizen.
"We have broken up an FSB spying operation," Ukrainian security services spokeswoman Marina Ostapenko said.
Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, confirmed its agents had been detained, but accused Ukraine of sensationalizing the issue.More...
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Activists have long grumbled about the privacy implications of the legal "backdoors" that networking companies like Cisco build into their equipment--functions that let law enforcement quietly track the Internet activities of criminal suspects. Now an IBM researcher has revealed a more serious problem with those backdoors: They don't have particularly strong locks, and consumers are at risk.
In a presentation at the Black Hat security conference Wednesday, IBM ( IBM - news - people ) Internet Security Systems researcher Tom Cross unveiled research on how easily the "lawful intercept" function in Cisco's ( CSCO - news - people ) IOS operating system can be exploited by cybercriminals or cyberspies to pull data out of the routers belonging to an Internet service provider (ISP) and watch innocent victims' online behavior.More...
Monday, February 1, 2010
BBC producer secretly filmed himself in bed with TV and radio presenters by hiding camera in smoke alarm
A womanizing BBC producer faces jail for secretly taping a series of sexual liaisons with more than ten lovers using a hidden camera in his bedroom.
Benjamin Wilkins hid the CCTV device in a smoke alarm to tape his amorous encounters with a succession of women that he lured back to his flat.
He was caught when his girlfriend – and mother of his child – discovered a box of
DVDs hidden in his loft and called the police.
The scandal has left former colleagues, friends and lovers shocked and disgusted by the actions of the ‘well-liked and trusted’ 36-year-old Wilkins.
Many of the women Wilkins seduced hold senior positions in television and
radio – both presenting and in production roles – but cannot be named for legal
A BBC insider said: ‘None of these women would have agreed to having sex with him if they had known he was violating their privacy, taping them with a hidden camera. We are sickened.’
Wilkins also used another miniature camera to record his partners
when they went to use the bathroom at his former flat in Brixton, South London.
He was also found to have stored secret footage of his sexual encounters – which took place over three years – on a home computer.More...
A highly sophisticated hacking that led to the leaking of hundreds of emails from the Climatic Research Unit in East Anglia was probably carried out by a foreign intelligence agency, according to the Government's former chief scientist. Sir David King, who was Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser for seven years until 2007, said that the hacking and selective leaking of the unit's emails, going back 13 years, bore all the hallmarks of a co-ordinated intelligence operation – especially given their release just before the Copenhagen climate conference in December.
The emails were stolen from a backup computer server used by the University of East Anglia. They contained private discussions between climate scientists that have embarrassed those involved, particularly Professor Phil Jones, who has stepped down from his post as head of the unit pending an independent inquiry into whether there is any evidence of scientific misconduct. He is not implicated in the hacking.More...
In the midst of two wars and the fight against Al Qaeda, the CIA is offering operatives a chance to peddle their expertise to private companies on the side — a policy that gives financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation’s top-level intelligence talent, POLITICO has learned.
In one case, these active-duty officers moonlighted at a hedge-fund consulting firm that wanted to tap their expertise in “deception detection,” the highly specialized art of telling when executives may be lying based on clues in a conversation.
The never-before-revealed policy comes to light as the CIA and other intelligence agencies are once again under fire for failing to “connect the dots,” this time in the Christmas Day bombing plot on Northwest Flight 253. But sources familiar with the CIA’s moonlighting policy defend it as a vital tool to prevent brain-drain at Langley, which has seen an exodus of highly trained, badly needed intelligence officers to the private sector, where they can easily double or even triple their government salaries. The policy gives agents a chance to earn more while still staying on the government payroll.