Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Judge: Pa. district must pay $260K in spying case

(AP)

PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge says a suburban Philadelphia school district embroiled in a laptop spying scandal must pay a family's lawyer about $260,000.

Lower Merion School District was ordered Monday to pay attorney Mark Haltzman for work done in a civil case involving allegations school officials improperly used webcam-enabled laptops to spy on students.

Senior U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois says Haltzman deserves to be paid for work he did that led to an injunction barring the district from secretly monitoring activity on school-provided laptops.

More...

Friday, August 27, 2010

THE U.S. CONNECTION

mirror.co.uk

EXCLUSIVE: Chiefs mourn loss of 'genius'

The full extent of murdered spy Gareth Williams' role in the world of espionage slowly began to emerge last night.

He was rated as one of the best codebreakers in the business - an elite agent who fought in secret to thwart al-Qaeda terror attacks at home and abroad.

And the 31-year-old maths genius's unique skills were also recognized by spy chiefs across the Atlantic.

Despite a dislike of flying, he regularly traveled from London to Baltimore to meet US National Security Agency officials at their Fort Meade HQ - dubbed the Puzzle Palace.

He made the trip up to four times a year "on business" for the Government's GCHQ listening post.

Last night his uncle told how he would mysteriously disappear for up to three or four weeks at a time.

Speaking at his farmhouse at Anglesey, North Wales, Michael Hughes said: "The trips were very hush-hush. They were so secret that I only recently found out about them - and we're a very close family. It had become part of his job in the past few years. His last trip out there was a few weeks ago, but he was regularly back and forth."

More...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pentagon computers attacked

wavy.com
Most serious breach of DoD computer networks ever

WASHINGTON (AP) - A foreign spy agency pulled off the most serious breach of Pentagon computer networks ever by inserting a flash drive into a U.S. military laptop, a top defense official said Wednesday.

The previously classified incident, which took place in 2008 in the Middle East, was disclosed in a magazine article by Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn and released by the Pentagon Wednesday.

He said a "malicious code" on the flash drive spread undetected on both classified and unclassified Pentagon systems, "establishing what amounted to a digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control."

"It was a network administrator's worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary," Lynn wrote in an article for Foreign Affairs. "This ... was the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever and it served as an important wake-up call."

More...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wireless Covert Cigarette Microphone

From the mfg's website:

Tiny audio transmitter is hidden in bottom of pack, leaving room for over 10 full size cigarettes

  • Wireless covert cigarette microphone features crystal controlled frequencies set from 150 to 174 MHz
  • Mirophone has 200mW output power and “listens” from a 1mm hole found in the bottom of the cigarette pack
  • Wireless microphone features up to 1 mile line of sight range with standard receiver and up to 1 day run time

The wireless covert cigarette microphone is incredibly stealthy, with a tiny audio transmitter hidden in the bottom of the pack, allowing slightly shortened cigarettes to fit inside the pack for a complete, nearly undetectable disguise. Most popular brands are available, and your preferred brand may be selected upon purchase.

Your mom told you smoking was bad for you!

Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts


thesmokinggun.com

AUGUST 23--The Department of Justice is seeking to hire linguists fluent in Ebonics to help monitor, translate, and transcribe the secretly recorded conversations of subjects of narcotics investigations, according to federal records.

A maximum of nine Ebonics experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta field division, where the linguists, after obtaining a “DEA Sensitive” security clearance, will help investigators decipher the results of “telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, consensual listening devices, and other media” The DEA’s need for full-time linguists specializing in Ebonics is detailed in bid documents related to the agency’s mid-May issuance of a request for proposal (RFP) covering the provision of as many as 2100 linguists for the drug agency’s various field offices. Answers to the proposal were due from contractors on July 29.

More...

Girls Bugged Teachers' Staff Room

myfoxny.com

NewsCore - A pair of mischievous Swedish schoolgirls ended up in court for bugging their teachers' staff room in a bid to get better grades, local media reported Tuesday.

The girls were only caught when one of them was so excited about the scam that she blabbed about it on her Facebook page, according to news website The Local.

The teenagers, who were not named, came up with the plan after finding a key to the teachers' lounge. They then went to a spy shop, bought bugging equipment and planted it in the staff room the day before teachers were due to have a meeting about how to grade students' work.

The pair reportedly thought the plot would give them an advantage on upcoming tests and school work -- but after one of the girls mentioned their clever plan on Facebook, teachers found the bug.

The girls were charged with trespassing and fined 2,000 kronor ($270) each in Stockholm District Court.

Monday, August 23, 2010

DoD Publicly Cites Chinese Cyberespionage Against U.S.


darkreading.com

The Defense Department this week called out China for waging cyberattacks on U.S. companies and government agencies.

The "Annual Report To Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2010" report this week marks the Pentagon's most public statements yet about China's alleged cyberespionage efforts. The DoD report says in 2009, "numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be the target of intrusions that appear to have originated within" China, according to an Associated Press article on the DoD's report.

DoD maintains that China was "focused on exfiltrating information, some of which could be of strategic or military utility" in those attacks. It stopped short of confirming that the People's Liberation Army in China either executed or endorsed the attacks, but noted that "developing capabilities for cyberwarfare is consistent with PLA military writings."

More...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Apple boss charged with spying

techeye.net

Apple's secret police
have discovered that a senior executive was filing secrets to East Asia and after questioning in Room 101 have dragged him to court to confess.

Paul Shin Devine, a global supply manager at technology company Apple since 2005, has been charged in California with taking kickbacks he received after leaking corporate secrets to Asian companies that supplied iPhone and iPod accessories.

His name was given to the federal authorities by Jobs' Mob who is also suing him for receiving more than $1 million in payments and bribes over several years.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Internet era espionage pits spy against tech


(AFP)

SAN FRANCISCO — Clashes between the maker of Blackberry smart phones and India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the latest rounds in a cat-and-mouse game pitting authorities against technologies racing beyond their grasp.

"What is going on is this elegant dance we go through when countries think their sovereignty is being threatened by new technology," said Mark Rasch, who headed the computer crimes division at the US Department of Justice for nine years.

"Governments are very ready to deploy technology that invades privacy, but privacy enhancing technologies make them nervous."

Security experts put the row over Blackberry encryption capabilities in the context of decades of skirmishing around the security implications of new Internet and communications technologies -- a battle that today also touches services like Google's Talk messaging system and the telephone and video services provided by Skype.

More...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cars hacked through wireless tire sensors

Note: This hack attack trick just in from our friend "Mike", so pay attention! "From an "Executive Protection" or Family safety stand point, this would be provide a new and interesting vector of attack. No longer would you need to employ a "strong arm" takeover, IED or all out ambush, simply distract or concern the driver enough to get him to pull over".



arstechnica.com

The tire pressure monitors built into modern cars have been shown to be insecure by researchers from Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina. The wireless sensors, compulsory in new automobiles in the US since 2008, can be used to track vehicles or feed bad data to the electronic control units (ECU), causing them to malfunction.

Earlier in the year, researchers from the University of Washington and University of California San Diego showed that the ECUs could be hacked, giving attackers the ability to be both annoying, by enabling wipers or honking the horn, and dangerous, by disabling the brakes or jamming the accelerator.

More...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

SMS-Based Trojan Targeting Android Smartphones


informationweek.com
Evil-doers have finally taken it upon themselves to go after Android devices. A new Trojan hijacks Android handsets' SMS application to send texts to premium messaging services, running up the bill.

According to Kapersky Lab, it has discovered the first known Trojan to be specifically targeted at Android smartphones. Kapersky classifies the "malicious program" as a Trojan-SMS, which attacks users where it hurts the most: their wallet.

The Trojan disguises itself as a media player application. The file name is: Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a (kinda gives itself away if you're paying attention, don't ya think?). The file is just 13Kb and has a standard .APK Android app extension. Once the Trojan has been installed, it causes some serious trouble.

More...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Woman takes charge of major intelligence agency for the first time

cnn.com
Fort Belvoir, Virginia (CNN)
-- A chunk of the glass ceiling came tumbling down Monday as veteran national security officer Letitia "Tish" Long became the first woman to head a major intelligence agency.

Long, who has spent 32 years in government service, including more than two decades in the intelligence community, was sworn in as director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the office responsible for collecting and analyzing overhead imagery and geospatial information.

The swearing-in took place at NGA's sprawling $1.7 billion, 2.4 million square foot complex in Fort Belvoir -- soon to the agency's new headquarters.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said the installation of a woman to run a spy agency with a multibillion-dollar budget and thousands of employees is a key milestone.

"This is an important appointment, and I hope that she will bring a new and determined management ability to this agency," Feinstein said.

More...

Note: Congrats Ms. Long! A long overdue appointment. V/r, JDL

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Appeals Court Rules Against Secret Police GPS Tracking


wired.com
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the police can’t covertly track a suspect’s car using a GPS device for an extended period of time without getting a warrant.

The ruling in the D.C. Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of a suspected cocaine dealer, saying that the use of a secret GPS tracking device on the man’s vehicle for two months violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a friend of the court brief supporting the challenge.

The government argued that a 1983 Supreme Court case U.S. v. Knotts, which allowed police to put a tracking beacon in a container to follow a driver to a secluded cabin, made it clear that GPS tracking was allowed without a judge’s approval.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stalkers Exploit Cellphone GPS


wsj.com

Phone companies know where their customers' cellphones are, often within a radius of less than 100 feet. That tracking technology has rescued lost drivers, helped authorities find kidnap victims and let parents keep tabs on their kids.

But the technology isn't always used the way the phone company intends.

One morning last summer, Glenn Helwig threw his then-wife to the floor of their bedroom in Corpus Christi, Texas, she alleged in police reports. She packed her 1995 Hyundai and drove to a friend's home, she recalled recently. She didn't expect him to find her.

The day after she arrived, she says, her husband "all of a sudden showed up." According to police reports, he barged in and knocked her to the floor, then took off with her car.

The police say in a report that Mr. Helwig found his wife using a service offered by his cellular carrier, which enabled him to follow her movements through the global-positioning-system chip contained in her cellphone.

More...

Note: GPS tracking technology definitely can be advantageous in both the private & corporate sectors. However, I recommend my clients select a stand alone program that is setup with an automated "panic function" to alert select parties in the event of an emergency. JDL

Israel indicts 3 Arabs on espionage charges


(AP)

JERUSALEM — Israel has indicted three Arab men on charges of spying for Syria.

The Shin Bet security service reported on Thursday that two Druse Arabs living in the Golan Heights and an Arab citizen of Israel were charged with passing information to the enemy and plotting to kidnap a Syrian pilot who had defected to Israel.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war. The two indicted Druse Arabs — a father and son — are Syrian citizens, like most of the Druse in the Golan Heights.

Thousands of Druse surrounded the home of one of the two charged Druse Arabs when police arrived to arrest him in July, trapping officers inside for hours before the standoff ended peacefully.

Israel has recently charged several Israeli Arabs with espionage.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Citing Security Threats, Arab Countries to Block BlackBerry


FoxNews.com

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The United Arab Emirates' plan to blackball some of Blackberry's most popular services will be extended to the use of roaming services by foreign visitors, the nation's telecom regulators said Monday.

That would put BlackBerry

service out of reach for business travelers and others passing through the Mideast's busiest airport in the international business hub of Dubai, which averages about 100,000 passengers a day. The ban is scheduled to start in October.

The government cited a potential security threat because encrypted data sent on the devices is moved abroad, where it cannot be monitored for illegal activity. But the decision -- quickly followed by a similar move in Saudi Arabia -- raises questions about whether the conservative Gulf nations are trying to further control content they deem politically or morally objectionable.

More...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hacker Spoofs Cell Phone Tower to Intercept Calls

wired.com

LAS VEGAS — A security researcher created a cell phone base station that tricks cell phones into routing their outbound calls through his device, allowing someone to intercept even encrypted calls in the clear.

The device tricks the phones into disabling encryption and records call details and content before they’re routed on their proper way through voice-over-IP.

The low-cost, home-brewed device, developed by researcher Chris Paget, mimics more expensive devices already used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies – called IMSI catchers – that can capture phone ID data and content. The devices essentially spoof a legitimate GSM tower and entice cell phones to send them data by emitting a signal that’s stronger than legitimate towers in the area.

“If you have the ability to deliver a reasonably strong signal, then those around are owned,” Paget said.

Paget’s system costs only about $1,500, as opposed to several hundreds of thousands for professional products. Most of the price is for the laptop he used to operate the system.

'Smoking gun' in bank spy scandal

timeslive.co.za

A corporate spy has admitted in sensational court papers that he illegally tapped telephones at the behest, he says, of Investec bank.


It has now emerged that at least one of these belonged to a client of the bank.

His affidavit in the Cape Town High Court is being touted as a "smoking gun" by Investec clients who claim it shows the bank spied on them from 1998 as part of a bid to nail corrupt employees.

In court papers the Chait family - property entrepreneurs whose members founded Mvela Prop with Tokyo Sexwale and built the plush Melrose Arch precinct in Johannesburg - are fighting Investec's bid to claim R4.5-million from the family's 406 Fairweather Trust, which once owned the Victoria Junction Hotel in Cape Town.

The Chaits say their investigations have shown that telephones at their office next to the hotel - now owned by Protea Hotels - were "illegally" tapped by Briel. They have lodged a counter-claim of R170-million against the bank for ruining their business.

More...