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.”