Friday, December 28, 2012

Actual Harms To Be Concerned About From Today’s Government Spying Law

“Other than the vague threat of an Orwellian dystopia, as a society we don’t really know why surveillance is bad,” writes Washington University Law Professor, Neil Richards [PDF]. Today, the United State Senate reauthorized a controversial Obama-supported surveillance law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 (FISA), which permits intelligence agencies to monitor international communications, sometimes without a warrant and little court oversight.
Civil libertarians are up in arms, but in the face of deadly terrorist threats, does government monitoring actually harm people? Richards’ attempts to argue that brazen government spying does, indeed, have real-world harms, including mass self-censorship and blackmail, and supplies moderately compelling evidence that will appeal to those naturally scared of the government.
Without the Senate’s support, FISA’s powers were set to expire at the end of the year. Fierce FISA critic, Senator Ron Wyden (CrunchGov Grade: A), who released a hold he put on the bill in exchange for limited congressional debate, worries that evidence of government overreach means that FISA could lead to more unnecessary spying. The scope of monitoring and the admitted breaches of the 4th Amendment are themselves shrouded in secrecy. Proponents, such as Representative Lamar Smith, (CrunchGov Grade: F) argue that national security concerns are worth the trade-off.
Under the worst-case scenarios, how could spying from democratic governments actually hurt people in a way that would offset the increased risk of terrorism?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spooks use internet and social media to advertise their skills

HUNDREDS of former and some present Australian spies have posted information about their employment with intelligence agencies on the internet in what security experts have called ''a gift for foreign espionage''.
A survey by Fairfax Media has discovered more than 200 former and present intelligence officers who have disclosed their classified employment in profiles on LinkedIn, other professional networking sites and social media including Facebook and Twitter.
While many former and present officers have disclosed only the fact of their employment by agencies including the top secret Defence Signals Directorate and the Defence Intelligence Organisation, some have revealed significant details about their work.
These include employment at specific intelligence facilities, overseas postings and liaison with allied intelligence agencies, linguistic expertise indicating particular intelligence targets, and involvement with specific issues and information technology systems.
One former officer of the Defence Signals Directorate has illustrated close co-operation between DSD and allied signals intelligence agencies by listing his service with the RAAF's No. 3 Telecommunications Unit at Pearce in Western Australia; the Royal Australian Navy's Shoal Bay Receiving Station near Darwin; postings to Britain's Government Communications Headquarters in Gloucestershire and GCHQ's Composite Signals Station in Cornwall; another posting to the US National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland; and work at the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station in Geraldton, Western Australia.
Other former Defence Signals Directorate and Defence Intelligence officers have listed postings with counterpart agencies in Canada and New Zealand.

Read more:

Spycam HD Video Pen Camera

Do you feel that the advancements made in the world of video recording has seen us being “treated” to more and more video leaks, especially of celebrities in rather embarrassing or compromising situations? Well, I suppose they had it coming for not being faithful in their relationship or marriage, but that is not what we are focused on today. I would like to bring your attention to a device that turns you into a sleuth of your own, thanks to the discrete looking $39.99 Spycam HD Video Pen Camera that allows you to spy in High Definition glory, and in style, too.
The Spycam HD Video Pen Camera is pretty much self explanatory – it will come with an integrated video camera within the classy looking office pen, and a single battery charge is capable of offering up to 2 hours of recording, with 8GB of storage space being made available to the user. It is a snap to operate, and will be able to hook up to your computer thanks to the built-in USB connector. All video captured will be shown in the AVI format, and if you do not want to capture video, you can always record audio evidence of hanky panky going on, in addition to shooting stills, now how about that?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lawsuit Filed in Sears Dressing Room Spy Case

A former Sears maintenance worker spied on women and children for years by secretly filming in women’s restrooms and fitting rooms at a North Hollywood branch and managers turned a “blind eye” to his “outwardly suspicious and highly questionable behavior,” a lawsuit by 25 women and a child alleges.
Alejandro Gamiz, 28, allegedly bought tools and supplies to facilitate his peeping activities, yet no one at Sears noticed him bring these supplies onto the premises or use them, the lawsuit said. Gamiz allegedly frequently pretended to be conducting maintenance work in the women’s restrooms, women’s fitting rooms, air ducts, and crawl spaces at the North Hollywood store, even when no maintenance was required, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Dec. 12.
Gamiz allegedly took “extended absences” that went unnoticed by Sears staff, court records said.
“Each day he came to work, Gamiz would enter the women’s fitting room, sometimes empty-handed, and spend a substantial amount of time in there, which was recorded by Sears’ own video recording system …" the lawsuit said. “Despite Gamiz’s outwardly suspicious and questionable behavior, and the numerous, glaring 'red flags' his behavior created, Sears never questioned Gamiz's conduct.”
Sears spokesman Howard Riefs said the company denies the allegations.

KGB Admits it Bugged Royal Family

Soviet spies have admitted using bugging devices on the Royal Family and former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Secret agents from the KGB targeted Princess Margaret in the 1960s, attaching listening aids to her lighter, cigarette case, ashtrays and telephones.

According to the Sunday Express, they homed in on the Princess during a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1964.

Until now, Russia has always denied the covert operation, which took place in a hotel, but has now admitted compiling a dossier on the Princess's love affair with Robin Douglas-Home and further relationships with Roddy Llewellyn, Colin Tennant and Dominic Ewes, a painter who later committed suicide.

Spies passed photos, tape recordings and 'most interesting, even scandalous' gossip involving senior royal figures. It is also said agents tried to get information from Margaret's therapist, Kay Kiernan, who also treated the Queen. Intelligence on Prince Phillip was gathered via society osteopath and artist Stephen Ward, who later killed himself at the height of the Profumo affair.

But spies failed in a sting operation on then future leader Harold Wilson, setting up a 'honey trap' for him in a Moscow hotel.

Read more:
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo hit in latest round of cyberattacks, more threatened

The websites of major U.S. banks are facing a new round of cyber attacks linked to the same group responsible for similar assaults earlier this year.
The latest attacks started last week and have hit Bank of America Corp.SunTrust Banks Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., U.S. Bancorp, Wells Fargo & Co. and PNC Financial Services Group Inc., according to two executives at companies providing security to some of the targeted banks, who asked for anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss clients and didn't want their companies to become targets of computer assaults. PNC was under attack Thursday, the executives said.
A group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters announced plans to attack banks in a Dec. 10 statement posted on the website The same group claimed responsibility for a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in September and October that flooded bank websites with Internet traffic and caused disruptions and slowdowns for online customers.
"The purpose of it is to try to disrupt or stop online banking access," said Bill Nelson, president of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which disseminates cyber threat information to the financial services industry.
"There are some outages occasionally, but it hasn't prevented customers from transacting business."
The Izz ad-Din group has said in Internet postings that the cyber attacks are in response to a video uploaded to Google Inc.'s YouTube ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad and offending some Muslims.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Employees of Finnish Firm Patria Charged with Bribery, Espionage

HELSINKI — Six employees of Finnish defense group Patria were charged Dec. 18 with bribery and corporate espionage in connection with a Slovenian defense contract for armored vehicles, Finnish prosecutors said.

The six include the former chief executives of the Patria group and its affiliate, Patria Vehicles. Patria signed a contract in 2006 to deliver 135 vehicles to Slovenia, during Prime Minister Janez Jansa’s first term in office. The order was part of Ljubljana’s efforts to modernize its military after joining NATO in 2004.

“The defendants are suspected to have participated in promising or giving of bribes in the shape of commission payments through intermediaries in exchange for (the) actions of Slovenian public officials and military officers,” the Finnish prosecution service said in a statement. “These, among others the prime minister and the deputy chief of general staff for Slovenia, were considered to have leverage in the procurement procedure of the vehicles,” it said.

The alleged bribes were 10 percent of the value of the sale, “which exceeded 160 million euros ($212 million),” it said, noting, however, that only part of the bribes had been paid.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Researcher exposes VoIP phone vulnerability

Note: This should be an alarming article, and wake up call for C-Suite Executives!  When was the last time your company scheduled a Cyber TSCM Sweep? Never?  Contact me, we can help. ~JDL

During the recent Amphion Forum, a conference where device and mobile security experts from different disciplines gather, Ang Cui, a fifth-year grad student from the Columbia University Intrusion Detection Systems Lab, demonstrated how connected devices such as networked printers and voice-over-IP (VoIP) phones can be easily hijacked to give intruders virtually unlimited remote access to extremely sensitive information and allow them to eavesdrop on private conversations.
Using a common Cisco-branded VoIP phone, Cui inserted and then removed a small external circuit board from the phone's Ethernet port -- something Cui asserted could be easily accomplished by a company visitor left unattended for a few seconds -- and starting using his own smartphone to capture every word spoken near the VoIP phone, even though it was still 'on-hook.'
While he did not specify the precise vulnerability, Cui said it allowed him to patch the phone's software with arbitrary pieces of code, and that this allowed him to turn the Off-Hook Switch into what he called a "funtenna." According to Cui, once one phone is compromised, the entire network of phones is vulnerable. Cui later said he could also perform a similar exploit remotely, without the need to insert a circuit board at all.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Massive bank cyberattack planned

Security firm McAfee on Thursday released a report warning that a massive cyberattack on 30 U.S. banks has been planned, with the goal of stealing millions of dollars from consumers' bank accounts.

RSA startled the security world with its announcement that a gang of cybercriminals had developed a sophisticated Trojan aimed at funneling money out of bank accounts from Chase (JPM, Fortune 500),Citibank (C, Fortune 500), Wells Fargo (WFC,Fortune 500), eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) subsidiary PayPal and dozens of other large banks. Known as "Project Blitzkrieg," the plan has been successfully tested on at least 300 guinea pig bank accounts in the United States, and the crime ring had plans to launch its attack in full force in the spring of 2013, according to McAfee, a unit of Intel (INTC, Fortune 500). (McAfee was founded by John McAfee, who is wanted for questioning as part of a Belize murder investigation, but he no longer has any ties to the company.)

More here:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FBI says retired NAVY man tried Spying for undercover agents

NORFOLK, Va., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A retired Navy officer in Virginia accused of attempting to pass secrets to FBI agents posing as Russian spies has been denied bond by a federal judge.
Lawyers for Robert P. Hoffman II, 39, of Virginia Beach, told Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller undercover FBI agents entrapped Hoffman, setting him up despite an attempt to confess what was happening, The Virginian Pilot of Norfolk, Va., said Wednesday.
The FBI says Hoffman traveled to an eastern European country recently, where his behavior raised red flags, though they wouldn't elaborate on what precisely he did there. They subsequently sent a letter purporting to be Russian agents, asking if Hoffman, a Navy cryptologist for 20 years, would provide "technical assistance."
Hoffman allegedly assembled information about Navy submarines from memory and left them in drop locations specified by the undercover agents. It was unclear whether the undercover agents offered or paid Hoffman but prosecutors said at one point Hoffman made oblique references to killing people for money, the newspaper reported.

Read more:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Many Doctors Don’t Secure Medical Devices From Hackers, Study Finds

Your doctor’s office likely doesn’t have any digital security for its mammography machines, heart pumps and other devices that are vulnerable to hacking, according to a new study.
In a survey of 80 health care organizations in the U.S., the Ponemon Institute found that nearly three-quarters said they don’t secure their medical devices, even though they contain sensitive patient data. The organizations were not named.
“This finding may reflect the possibility that they believe it is the responsibility of the vendor — not the health care provider — to protect these devices,” said the report by Ponemon, an independent research organization.
The results point to a new danger to patients’ privacy at a time when medical providers are moving toward electronic records and the sharing of files on so-called health information exchanges.
The digital risks for health care firms are growing. Hacking attacks against medical providers are becoming more frequent and breaches are getting more expensive, Ponemon found. Ninety-four percent of respondents said they had at least one data breach in the past two years, up from 86 percent in 2010. Many breaches cost the organizations more than $1 million.
More here:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Reports of Rampant Spying Amongst Chinese Officials

What a surprise! Can you believe it! ;-)

The Southern People Weekly magazine reported this week about a man who helps Chinese officials become bug-free. No, not bedbugs. The kind of bugs that can listen in on conversations and secretly videotape their lives. The article has generated considerable interest on the Chinese Internet, following recent exposés of officials caught in compromising positions with young girls. 
According to the Southern magazine, the man, known as Qi Hong, has removed more than 300 bugs from the cars, offices and bedrooms of more than 100 Chinese officials in 2011. In his busiest week, more than 40 were uncovered.
It’s hard to say who put the spy devices there, but the usual suspects include spouses, lovers and fellow communist comrades. 
To protect their private conversations, Qi Hong told reporters that officials would give each other pat downs—disguised as an embrace—to check for bugging devices. 

More here:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ex-Navy Sailor Charged In Espionage Sting

A former Navy sailor was arrested Thursday morning on charges he attempted to provide classified information to undercover FBI agents he believed were Russian representatives.
Robert Patrick Hoffman II, 39, of Virginia Beach, Va. was indicted on attempted espionage charges on Wednesday. Hoffman spent 20 years in the Navy and retired on Nov. 1, 2011, according to the Justice Department. The indictment alleged that Hoffman attempted to deliver classified documents revealing national security information to the undercover agents on Oct. 21. The documents revealed methods the Navy used to track U.S. submarines, according to the indictment. Hoffman is due in court in the Eastern District of Virginia at 2:30 p.m.

An Espionage Expert's Outrageous Spy Lair

Note: Take a look at my old friend, Keith Melton's Spy Lair. I'd say he's done pretty well for himself ;-) Hey Keith, still have that
"deer gun" I gave you about 30 years ago? ~JDL
H. Keith Melton is a man of espionage. He is the author of more than 25 nonfiction works on covert activities (including The Ultimate Spy Book ) and by far the world’s largest private collector of spy memorabilia . Even his spectacular Boca Raton house has the air of hiding secrets. Nestled at the end of a prosperous but rather generic cul-de-sac in a gated south Florida subdivision, Melton’s house hardly stands out at curbside from the neighborhood. But looks, as any clandestine operative knows, can be creatively deceiving.
To meet the 68-year-old author in his lair is to be ushered not just into his home but also into his powerful preoccupations. The room where we meet, for instance, was once a staid ballroom. No longer: The walls, the ceilings, even the wet bar are honed from gleaming, hand-hammered stainless steel stretching across 1,350 square feet. Metal craftsmen, recruited from the commercial side of the construction trade, fashioned the bolts holding the silvery sheets in place from the same metal. “The design inspiration for this room is the nose cone of a zeppelin,” Melton informs me, as we sink into plush black leather chairs designed after those that once graced Walt Disney‘s office.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Top secret MI6 counter-terror intelligence feared stolen

MI6 intelligence on counter- terrorism operations may have been stolen by a rogue Swiss official, it emerged last night.
Security chiefs in the UK have been warned that hugely sensitive information they provided to the NDB, Switzerland’s spy agency,  could have been ‘compromised’.
Hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents were copied by a senior IT technician for the NDB, which he then copied for himself on to portable storage devices carrying them away in a backpack.

Swiss officials believe the suspect intended to sell the stolen data and have alerted both MI6 and America’s CIA.
The information was shared between Britain, Switzerland and the United States and the CIA has also been warned about the risk.
The technician, whose name has not been made public, was arrested by Swiss authorities last summer.
He was later released from prison while a criminal investigation by the office of Switzerland's Federal Attorney General continues.
A European security source said it is believed the IT worker became disgruntled when he felt his advice on operating the data systems was not being taken seriously. 
The technician downloaded hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of printed pages of classified material from the Swiss intelligence service's servers onto portable hard drives.

Read more:

Everyone in US under virtual surveillance' - NSA whistleblower

The FBI records the emails of nearly all US citizens, including members of congress, according to NSA whistleblower William Binney. In an interview with RT, he warned that the government can use this information against anyone.
Binney, one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in the history of the National Security Agency, resigned in 2001. He claimed he no longer wanted to be associated with alleged violations of the Constitution, such as how the FBI engages in widespread and pervasive surveillance through powerful devices called 'Naris.'
This year, Binney received the Callaway award, an annual prize that recognizes those who champion constitutional rights and American values at great risk to their personal or professional lives.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Counterintelligence Awareness

The FBI vigilantly investigates cases of industrial espionage and theft of intellectual property, but the Bureau also places great emphasis on preventing such crimes by educating industry on ways to keep trade secrets safe. One such innovative program in North Carolina’s Research Triangle is a collaborative effort with other federal partners called RED DART.

The threat to America’s trade secrets—and to our national security—is real, whether it comes in the form of international spies, hackers probing online security systems, or disgruntled employees out for revenge. RED DART seeks to mitigate the threat by raising counterintelligence 

Through briefings to cleared defense contractors and others in technology-rich North Carolina, RED DART makes executives and employees aware of how counterintelligence works and how they can spot suspicious activity both inside and outside their companies.

More here:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Iran flagpoles spark rumors of clandestine satellite jamming technology

Flying the national flag usually signifies a display of pride or patriotism. But in Iran today, it may represent something much more sinister.
Sources and blog postings from inside Iran say that what seem to be simple flagpoles popping up all over Tehran and other large Iranian cities are actually clandestine electronic antennas, which use high-frequency waves to jam communications and block ordinary citizens from Internet, TV and radio signals. Some Iranians think the electronic emissions also may be hazardous to humans’ health.
Tehran residents and communication experts report an increase in jamming has coincided with the strategic placement of the towering metal flagpoles, as the government continues its ongoing campaign to block some 500 TV channels and 200 radio stations from outside Iran deemed too Western-oriented.
“Ever since 2009, the telecommunications masts have increased 10- to 15-fold. It’s not clear where these masts are, but many in Tehran, including myself, believe that these tall flagpoles recently placed around the perimeter of the city are jammers,” said Shahin, a 32-year-old Tehran-based blogger. The flagpoles are present in other large Iranian cities but are most prevalent in the capital, Shahin said.
“The regime fears the Internet and satellites coming into the country more than they do the opposition forces living here,” he added. “That’s how we know they would do anything in their power, including risking our health, to protect their existence.”

Read more:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hacker strikes after San Antonio students forced to wear tracking chips

The loosely associated group of “hacktivists” known as Anonymous hacked a San Antonio, Texas school district’s website over the weekend. The goal of the attack was to protest the district’s requirement that students at two schools wear tracking ID badges that log their whereabouts electronically.
In an online statement, someone claiming collaboration with Anonymous said he disabled the website because the school district “is stripping away the privacy of students in your school,” The Associated Press reports.
The school district’s website was not working as of Sunday.

Read more:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bionic Mannequins Are Spying On Shoppers

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg)—Store mannequins are meant to catch your eye. Soon you may catch theirs.
Benetton Group SpA is among fashion brands deploying mannequins equipped with technology used to identify criminals at airports to watch over shoppers in their stores.
Retailers are introducing the EyeSee, sold by Italian mannequin maker Almax SpA, to glean data on customers much as online merchants are able to do. The 4,000-euro ($5,072) device has spurred shops to adjust window displays, store layouts and promotions to keep consumers walking in the door and spending.
“It’s spooky,” said Luca Solca, head of luxury goods research at Exane BNP Paribas in London. “You wouldn’t expect a mannequin to be observing you.”
The EyeSee looks ordinary enough on the outside, with its slender polystyrene frame, blank face and improbable pose. Inside, it’s no dummy. A camera embedded in one eye feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by.

Read more:


In a government-sponsored research project eerily reminiscent of the 2002 film “Minority Report,” the Army’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has partnered with Carnegie-Mellon University to create “an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can watch and predict what a person will likely do in the future.”
In “Minority Report,” a specialized “PreCrime” unit, part of the Washington, D.C. police department, arrests criminals based on the precognition of three psychics. In the near future, DARPA hopes that rather than using psychics, computers will be able to identify and order individuals detained based on their “anomalous behavior.” 
Tapping into live surveillance video feeds and using specially programmed software, a new computer system dubbed “Mind’s Eye” will filter surveillance footage to support human operators, and automatically alert them whenever suspicious behavior is recognized.

Greenville Businessman Ordered To Pay $4.6 Million For Taking Trade Secrets

GREENVILLE, S.C.Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A federal judge today ordered a Greenville-area businessman and his company to pay more than $4.6 million in damages and costs for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and other misconduct related to the sale of his formerGreenville employer in 2008.
The order, against J. Adam Shirley and his company, Prism Content Solutions LLC, stems from the sale of the assets of Cox CustomMedia Inc., a Greenville publishing company that had employed him as a senior sales executive. Shortly after the sale, Shirley abruptly resigned from CustomMedia to form a competing company and was accused by CustomMedia's acquirer, Uhlig LLC, of taking trade secrets, customer lists, thousands of computer files and other CustomMedia intellectual property in breach of his employment agreement and South Carolina law. 
Uhlig welcomed today's damage award, emphasizing the critical value of intellectual property and electronic data in the Internet era. It also expressed hope that the size of the award, which includes punitive damages, would help deter misconduct in similar cases.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Domestic Spying: Consumer Drone, Records Videos, Snaps Photos

As the U.S. government spends millions on unmanned drone attacks in secret wars abroad, U.S. entrepreneurs are trying to find a way to bring some of that technology to the average citizen. Now, thanks to the Parrot AR Drone 2.0, the average citizen can guide a low-powered drone by using their smartphone.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0, which costs roughly $300, allows average citizens to aerially spy on anyone they can. The miniature drone is controlled by using an app on the iPhone or iPad. The aircraft itself features multiple sensors that include high-definition front-facing 720p camera and a vertical camera that faces straight down from the bottom of the quadricopter. The machine itself is relatively lightweight and can be easily transported.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Feds want Wall Street to think they’re bugged

Mark Pomerantz, a former federal prosecutor, says the government wants everybody on Wall Street to believe all their conversations are being taped.

Pomerantz tells MarketWatch that the perception of wiretaps being employed in a widespread way is great for deterrence. However, he said he didn’t think they were being employed extensively by federal prosecutors.

His comments come after the conviction of hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam for insider trading, a case brought via the use of wiretaps. Rajaratnam’s lawyer seeks to have a panel of federal appeals court judges set aside his conviction on the basis that the government employed deceptive techniques to obtain approval for wiretapping his client’s cell phone. Key evidence in the case against Rajaratnam comes from incriminating phone calls, according to reports.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Five Clues You Are the Target of Industrial Espionage. Industrial espionage is among the growing number of persistent threats that businesses have to face today. Nicknamed as the ‘silent threat’, espionage is an art that corporate spies excel in to steal   sensitive information like trade secrets, patents and other business documents from competitors. This threat cannot be completely removed, but preventive measures and [...]

Friday, November 9, 2012

A former spy on life in the CIA: It’s like Bond, with more boredom

In the new James Bond thriller, “Skyfall,” the villain is a cyberterrorist named Raoul Silva, a disgruntled former British agent who’s trying to crash the known digital universe. It’s a nice touch, creating a very real, very terrifying scenario that “could paralyze the nation,” as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned just last month.

And that is about the only aspect of the movie that is likely to be accurate.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m a fan of the Bond movies. I go to see them for the same reasons everyone else does: the gorgeous women, the most beautiful places on Earth and, of course, the roller-coaster ride of a plot. I delight in Bond’s complete defiance of gravity. His suits never wrinkle, his Aston Martin is never in the garage for repairs, the girls never say no.

But as a former spy, what I like most about the Bond movies is the way good always triumphs over evil. His cases end neatly, with the villain dispatched and the world safe for the good guys.

Real-life espionage is a lot less sexy — and a lot messier.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Murdered British businessman ‘was MI6 operative’

An investigation by The Wall Street Journal has concluded that Neil Heywood, the British businessman who was murdered in China last November, was an active informant for British intelligence at the time of his death. 
The news appears to confirm intelNews’ assessment of April 2012 that Heywood was in fact connected with British intelligence. A highly successful financial consultant and fluent Chinese speaker who had lived in China for over a decade, Heywood was found dead on November 14, 2011, in his room at the Nanshan Lijing Holiday Hotel in Chongqing. His death led to the dramatic downfall of Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai, a husband-and-wife team of political celebrities who were found guilty in a Chinese court of killing the British businessman. Immediately after Heywood’s death, there was widespread speculation that he may have been a spy for MI6, Britain’s external intelligence service.

More here:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Unchecked Spying

What if the government was tapping your phone unconstitutionally and there was nothing you could do about it? You’d be living in the United States of America, at least as understood by the Justice Department. 

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., argued in the Supreme Court on Monday, October 29, that, for all practical purposes, the government’s authority to intercept Americans’ international phone calls and emails could not be challenged by the very people most likely to be harmed by it – lawyers, journalists, and human rights activists who regularly engage in such international communications on the very subjects and with the very people the government is likely to be monitoring. 

Resolution of the case, Clapper v. Amnesty International, may determine whether the most expansive government spying program ever authorized by Congress will be subject to adversarial constitutional review. The Bush administration famously argued that the president’s actions in “engaging the enemy” in the “war on terror” could not be limited by the other branches. It used that argument to justify a secret warrantless wiretapping program run by the National Security Agency that monitored United States citizens’ international communications, in contravention of a criminal statute.  

More here:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Peeping Tom landlord spied on tenants in bathrooms, showers

Ever get that feeling you're being watched?

Well, at least one Iowa City woman was correct in that assumption when she learned that she someone was watching her through a hole in her ceiling while she was taking a shower.

That someone was her landlord.

Elwyn G. Miller, 63, of Iowa City, is accused of invasion of privacy for allegedly peeping on his female tenants while they were in their bathrooms. An Iowa City police complaint outlining the charge, a serious misdemeanor, does not indicate how many women Miller has spied on, or for how long, but police said Miller was looking in on several apartments on “multiple occasions.”

The investigation started when police were called to 639 S. Lucas St. for a report of someone peeping into a woman’s apartment. The woman, the sole occupant of the apartment unit, pointed out Miller as the person who was spying on her.

Police said Miller was watching the woman through a peep hole next to a vent fan.

Miller allegedly told police he was “not interested in them as persons,” but because they were women and naked.

More here:

Chinese officials seek Canadian anti-smuggling secrets

OTTAWA – Chinese government officials are making a concerted effort to learn about Canada’s work to prevent high-tech smuggling – an effort security experts warn could help fuel the multi-billion dollar industrial espionage business. 

Global News has learned the Canada Border Services Agency met in Ottawa with a Chinese government delegation from the province of Guangdong on Sept. 13 to discuss Canadian efforts to combat smuggling. 

The meeting in September was set up by George Xu, the head of the Sino-Canada Technology Exchange Centre, an organization that sets up visits between Canadian and Chinese government delegations. 

Sources told Global News Xu sent invitations to similar Canadian groups asking to discuss contraband trade, human trafficking and illegal immigration, as well as Canada’s “experience and strategies” in regard to the “illicit traffic of critical high technology and strategic goods.” 

The last topic raises red flags for people concerned about China’s growing reputation as a master of industrial espionage. 

China has been working to transform its labour-driven economy to one rooted in technology – technology experts say is sometimes stolen from countries like Canada, reproduced and sold in China and beyond. 

“We know that China is by far the most dangerous country when it comes to espionage, the most dangerous country when it comes to stealing technology and exporting technology illegally back to China or to rogue countries,” said Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former senior Canadian intelligence officer. 

Read it on Global News: Global News | Chinese officials seek Canadian anti-smuggling secrets 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


An upcoming book claims that a spy was discovered through the use of psychic powers.
According to the "Canberra Times", Scott Carmichael, a former investigator for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), "is writing a book about how he used a psychic to identify [saboteur Jean-Philippe] Wispelaere after the former Australian Defence Intelligence Organization analyst tried to sell stolen U.S. documents to Singaporean embassy officials in Thailand."
Wispelaere was caught in a Federal Bureau of Investigation sting when he flew to the United States to broker the documents. He was arrested, convicted of espionage, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
How, exactly, was Wispelaere discovered? Carmichael claims that a psychic named Angela Ford told him that the DIA should look for a muscular Australian man in his twenties who used the name Baker, and tried to sell secrets at the Singaporean embassy.
Based upon this description and evidence, Carmichael says, he was able to identify Wispelaere (a bodybuilding low-level Australian intelligence officer who used the name Baker) and tip off the FBI to launch the investigation.
More here:

5 steps to medical device cybersecurity

Protecting medical devices from malware and viruses means practicing good cybersecurity "hygiene," Microsoft's U.K. chief security advisor says.

Cybersecurity is a fairly new idea for many medical device makers, but the industry can learn from technologies that came before in developing means of protecting devices from malware, viruses and other threats.

Microsoft's U.K. chief security advisory Stuart Aston took to the company's blog to address the growing concern, offering steps to consider when developing a security strategy for medical devices, including realigning priorities to bump cybersecurity in the top tier and shelling out for updated software when possible.

Aston called for device makers to consider some basic information security "hygiene," building on lessons learned from similar embedded technologies that have had to navigate the increasingly turbulent and interconnected digital world.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

People You Must Remove From Your Inner Circle

Note: A friend of mine shared this article on Facebook today. I couldn't help but think, that Espionage comes in many forms, some as subtle as those described below... ~JDL

When you're trying to get a business off the ground, the people you surround yourself with matter. Keep these nine types at a distance.

You are what you eat, and you definitely are whom you associate with. The people closest to you make all the difference--in a good and a bad way.
Of course, it can be tough to find great new connections and friends to add to your inner circle; people who will support you, help you, and encourage, motivate, and inspire you.
It's a lot easier to spot the people in your inner circle who are holding you back.
If you have people like these in your inner circle, remove them:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Espionage Really Does Suck!

Dyson is pointing the finger at rival Bosch, of apparently paying an employee to steal company secrets from inside its research division. Having filed legal proceedings against the German company, Dyson claims that a member of staff was handling secrets to Bosch for as long as two years. Not quite Bond, right?

Dyson reckons that the mole was paid via a specially created business, with secrets spilled over to Bosch’s Chinese motor manufacturer. Of course, Dyson is no stranger to having companies rip of their products, and stands firm behind its intellectual property, but this takes things to quite a new level. Tactical espionage action between home hardware manufacturers sure means its serious business, and it’s not someone just reverse-engineering their products.
Bosch Group, on the other hand, maintains its innocence, and proclaims that Dyson had taken on someone who already had a contract with a division of Bosch, specifically, the Lawn and Garden division which deals with garden products; which is quite different to the vacuum and hand dryer secrets that Dyson implies has been breached.
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