Tuesday, June 29, 2010

High-Tech Espionage Helped Alleged Russian Spies


High-tech espionage is alive and well.

According to documents released Monday in the case of 11 Russians accused of spying in the U.S., cold-war era spying is dead. The modern spy is a Jason-Bourne style stealth agent who relies on tech to uncover secrets.

According to a story on CNET, the court papers made public by the Justice Department (PDF and PDF) show that the group used private wireless networks to transmit files, passed data on USB memory sticks and sent text messages -- all protected and encrypted with custom-written "steganographic" software

, which let them hide secret messages in otherwise innocent-looking files.

Defendant Anna Chapman reportedly brought her laptop to a Manhattan coffee shop and transferred data with a Russian government official -- who drove by in a minivan but never entered the store. Chapman also allegedly opened her laptop while in a bookstore in lower Manhattan and used a private Wi-Fi network to communicate with the same Russian official.


Monday, June 28, 2010

FBI: 10 Russian Spies Arrested in U.S.

Ten alleged Russian spies have been arrested in the United States, the result of a multi-year investigation in four states, the FBI said Monday.

Eight of the 10 arrested were "carrying out long-term, 'deep-cover' assignments" the FBI said, while two had lesser roles in the Russian intelligence program. The arrests took place Sunday in Montclair, N.J., Yonkers, N.Y., Manhattan, Boston and Arlington, Va.

The New York and New Jersey defendants were expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan Monday. The Virginia defendants were to make court appearances in Alexandria.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Spies are everywhere: Germany accuses Russia of espionage

Note: This just in from our friend "Mike" so listen up! I would tell you more, but...well you know the drill....~JDL

Russia and China are the leaders in spying on German technology and pose a threat to the country, said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere presenting an annual report by Germany’s internal security agency.

The 300-page report by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – was presented on Monday by its head Heinz Fromm along with Maiziere, Deutsche Welle (DW) writes.

The authors of the report underline that Germany is a country with an economy oriented for the development of technologies and export.

“The situation with dangers [to German economy] is concrete. Such states as Russia and China – via their secret services – actively conduct undercover work in such fields as economy, science and research,” the document reads.

According to the data released, Russia and China also “track technical information as well as business strategies.”


US nails Chinese CEO

The proud Harvard graduate was once a respected CEO of one of China's top 10 independent electronic component distributors in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province.

Now Wu Zhenzhou sits in a 6-square-meter cell in a US detention center facing a possible 20-year sentence for conspiracy to violate US export laws and illegally exporting electronic equipment from the US to China between 2004 and 2007. He will be sentenced August 17.

Branded a "Chinese spy" by the American media, his was one of the most high-profile US counterintelligence cases in 2009.

Some 50 FBI officers were involved in the arrest of the three Chinese defendants - originally indicted on 38 counts, including conspiracy to violate the US Arms Export Control Act for allegedly exporting defense weapons and electronics, money laundering and filing false documents with the US Department of Commerce.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Android App Aims to Allow Wiretap-Proof Cell Phone Calls

Worried about the NSA, the FBI, criminals or cyberspies electronically eavedropping on your private phone calls? There may be an untappable app for that.

On Tuesday, an independent hacker and security researcher who goes by the handle Moxie Marlinspike and his Pittsburgh-based startup Whisper Systems launched free public betas for two new privacy-focused programs on Google's Android mobile platform: RedPhone, a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) program that encrypts phone calls, and TextSecure, an app for sending and receiving encrypted text messages and scrambling the messages stored in their inbox.

Marlinspike says the apps will interface with users' contact lists and other functions on the phone to take the hassle out of making calls and sending texts that can't be eavesdropped by third parties. "Our main aim is to make this as easy as possible," he says. "We want it to be a secure and anonymous drop-in replacement for the normal dialing system on your phone."


Monday, June 21, 2010

Sarkozy and the secret tapes: more twists in L'Oreal scandal


France's convoluted L'Oréal family fraud scandal became even more convoluted and even more gripping yesterday. Tapes of bugged conversations involving the L'Oréal owner, Liliane Bettencourt, 87, implied that President Nicolas Sarkozy had meddled in legal proceedings in which a society photographer is accused of defrauding France's richest woman of almost a billion euros.

The tapes, leaked to a French investigative website, also suggest that the supposedly senile billionairess was involved in elaborate schemes to hide some of her money abroad. There are cryptic references to campaign payments to ensure the "friendship" of two cabinet ministers, including the employment minister, Eric Woerth.

Ms Bettencourt's former butler was arrested yesterday and faces charges of "invasion of privacy", for allegedly bugging conversations between the L'Oréal heiress and her financial adviser. He has not been named. Tapes of the conversations were sent last week to Ms Bettencourt's only daughter, Françoise, who sent them to the police.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

DAS scandal 'worse than Watergate

"Far Worse than Watergate," a report by a group of U.S. NGOs, says that the scandal surrounding Colombian security agency DAS is "more shocking than initially reported," involving death threats and possibly the collaboration of presidential aides.

The report is a joint project by the U.S. Office on Colombia, the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, the Center for International Policy and the Washington Office on Latin America.

According to a press release, it "reveals that the Watergate-like scandal in Colombia is even more shocking than initially reported, with the presidential intelligence agency, DAS, not only spying, but also carrying out dirty tricks and even death threats on major players in Colombia’s democracy."

Speaking about the report Kelly Nicholls, executive director of the U.S. Office on Colombia, said “This scandal is far more outrageous that we initially imagined. It includes spying in international territory, sending grotesque death threats, using blackmail, framing a journalist in a fabricated guerrilla video and conducting sabotage against Constitutional Court judges."

The press release goes on to say that "Far Worse than Watergate also details new evidence that shows that this illegal activity may have been carried out with orders from top presidential advisers."


Anti-spy Window Film to Reduce Electronic Eavesdropping

In the last 5 years there has been a significant increase in the popularity of wireless (Wi-Fi) networks. People can now access the Internet in the most unlikely of places: in bars, on the street or even in public parks. This increase in Wi-Fi usage has also been seen in many businesses, where employees regularly access the Internet away from their desks. But whilst the rise in popularity of wireless networks has brought with it many advantages, they continue to pose a number of significant security risks.

Additionally, with the widespread use of mobile phones, the airwaves are becoming increasingly congested. More powerful frequencies are being used and problems caused by E.M.I (Electro-Magnetic Interference) are becoming all the more prevalent.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Official allegedly took lurid photos, bugged offices

In stunning allegations that appalled residents and town leaders, authorities accused Town Administrator Kyle J. Keady yesterday of planting a video camera in the ceiling of the women’s restroom in Town Hall, secretly recording conversations in his office, and bugging his assistant and the town accountant.
Keady, a 46-year-old who has been town administrator for seven years, compiled “hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photo images’’ taken with hidden cameras, authorities said. Police said they seized hard drives from Keady’s home and office Monday that contained numerous “close-up photos of various body parts’’ of visitors to his office.

The lurid allegations came to light as Keady was arraigned in Ayer District Court on charges of illegal recording, illegal possession of a recording device, and video recording a person in a state of nudity. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.


Monday, June 14, 2010

When Does Research End and Industrial Espionage Begin?


There's a fine line between spying on the competition and researching the competition. Going to a trade show or posing as a customer is one thing. Stealing product information like Julia Roberts or Clive Owen in the movie 'Duplicity" is something else entirely.

And it's critical that in-house lawyers help make sure their company's employees know the difference. Otherwise, they could find themselves in murky legal waters, said lawyers at a panel discussion about corporate espionage at the 22nd Annual General Counsel Conference in New York on Wednesday.

To help make sure its salespeople don't unwittingly break the law, Thomson Reuters teaches them how to get information about competitors legally, said Natasha Wyss, principal legal counsel at Thomson Reuters markets. "Most are not bad actors," she said. "They're zealously trying to do their job. It's our job to direct them through that."

Stakeouts, bribes, hacking, burglary, and electronic eavesdropping are definite no-nos. Talking to current employees of the competition can be tricky. So can hiring employees who used to work for the competition. They may have confidential information from their previous jobs, such as customer lists, that they don't know they shouldn't be using.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Creepy" Crime: Trying to Put Spying Eye on Ex


A man broke into a Carrollton home on Tuesday and tried to secretly install hidden cameras to spy on his former wife and her current boyfriend, police said.

But his plan went awry when his former wife’s boyfriend returned home as he was installing the devices, said Carrollton police officer Dustin Bartram.

Pete Cuellar said he noticed a strange bag in his hallway and heard an intruder in a back room when he returned home at about noon from running errands.

"I yelled. I said, 'Who's in there?'” Cuellar said. “It got real quiet. I said, 'I'll be back in a minute.' And that's when I went out and started calling 911."

Officers arrived and arrested James Hebison, 51, of New Mexico, who was still inside Cuellar’s house.

Cuellar identified Hebison as his girlfriend’s former husband. He said they divorced about three years ago.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Smartphone Malware Multiplies

More than twice the number of malware and spyware hitting BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Android phones than six months ago

The number of malware and spyware programs found on smartphones has more than doubled in the past six months -- and some types of malware are more prevalent on certain smartphone platforms than others.

New data gathered from users of a free smartphone security tool shows the bad guys are increasingly going after smartphone users. According to Lookout, which offers a free lightweight mobile client with cloud-based security, backup, and anti-theft features, there were about nine pieces of malware and spyware per 100 smartphones as of last month -- more than twice as many as in November 2009.


Wikileaks: CIA studied why people steal secrets


Officials and others pondering why U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning allegedly leaked reams of classified documents to Wikileaks need look no further than a 20-year-old CIA study on moles.

Project Slammer, now partially declassified, was based on extensive prison interviews with some 30 former military and intelligence personnel who had been convicted of spying for Russia, China and other hostile powers during the Cold War, from the lowest enlisted men to senior CIA officers like Aldrich Ames. It sought to answer why they had violated the trust their agencies had bestowed on them.

Two of the most important factors in a mole’s decision to steal secrets were present in Manning’s situation, if Wired.com’s report is true: The 22-year-old’s alleged emotional distress, and lax military security.


Panasonic Spy-Cam is All-Seeing, All-Hearing Nightmare


There are plenty of wireless spy-cams around, but this one gets a special mention because it is so cute, and at the same time so very sinister.

The BL-C230A from Panasonic will sit and wait, staring unblinkingly at its assigned slice of the world, watching patiently for some action. Should it hear a sound, see movement or detect body-heat – Predator-style – it will go into action and start filming the unfolding shenanigans, day or night.

The footage can then be emailed to you, or send directly to a VIERA link-compatible TV. If you prefer, you can just dial-in and watch the 30fps, H.264 stream over the 802.11b/g network. You can also pan and zoom remotely and connect up to 16 of these critters together to make a truly UK-style surveillance network.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Shoe Cam voyeur charges dropped


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A man charged with videotaping up the skirts of girls and women at Castleton Square Mall is asking a judge to dismiss the charges. Prosecutors are calling David Delagrange a voyeur and have charged him with 10 counts of the crime along with four counts of attempted child exploitation and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.

But law experts say although secretly videotaping up people's skirts may seem very wrong to most, it's not a crime according to current state law.

David Delagrange was silent and sullen as he left his hearing despite the fact he was clearly one step closer to having most of his charges dismissed. One would think that would be cause for celebration, but Delegrange was in no mood to share his thoughts on the matter with me. He and his attorney were far more interested in finding a way to escape 24-Hour News 8's questions and camera.


Note: Not a Crime?? Are you kidding me?? Can you say buy a clue!!! JDL

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hotel wars: Drama and Corporate Espionage


After a force behind the W chain defected to Hilton, a lawsuit exposes a side of the industry rife with claims of corporate espionage, double-dealing and poaching of top performers.

When Ross Klein arrived at Hilton Worldwide's Beverly Hills headquarters to create a new luxury chain, he was the "it" guy in the hottest segment of the lodging business.

A former retail marketing whiz, Klein had trained his fashion sense on the buttoned-down hotel industry, helping turn the W chain into a hip money-maker for its parent, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. Hilton lacked a product to compete. So it lured Klein away from Starwood in 2008 by offering him a chance to build a brand from scratch.

Klein delivered, quickly cooking up Denizen, a funky, sophisticated hotel concept. At a lavish launch party last year in Berlin featuring scantily clad dancers and an opera singer, Hilton Chief Executive Christopher Nassetta hailed Klein as a "creative genius." But to hear his ex-employer tell it, Klein is a copycat and a thief. Starwood claims he carried off thousands of pages' worth of documents filled with the company's trade secrets and shared them with Hilton management, according to a civil lawsuit it filed last year in U.S. District Court in New York. Now federal prosecutors are looking into filing criminal charges against Klein and others that include conspiracy, computer fraud and theft.


Friday, June 4, 2010

10 Bizarre-but-True Ways Your Home Is Susceptible to Hackers


Reality is scarier than fiction -- especially when it comes to what hackers can do. In many bizarre-but-true ways, your home is wide open to hacker attacks. Right now.

While you're reading this, a criminal could be logging in to your router and using it as a porn server. He could be using a Bluetooth "sniper rifle" (like the one shown above) to tap into your phone while you chat by the window. He could even physically steal your printer and capture from its circuitry the financial records you printed last week.

Here are 10 scary -- and real -- home-security threats hackers may try, and how to block them -- if you can.