Monday, July 30, 2012

William "Bill" Bennett, RIP

William "Bill" Bennett Longtime San Rafael, CA resident, William "Bill" Bennett, died peacefully in his sleep on July 14, 2012. He was a 85 years young father and grandfather. Born in Brooklyn, New York, his family moved to Sacramento, CA in 1936. At sixteen, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy only to be found out to be underage and sent home. Still determined to serve his country, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army upon graduation from high school. He served in combat with the 32nd Infantry Division in the Pacific Theatre. He was the recipient of several military decorations including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. His military assignments varied from Military Police executive protection to General George C. Marshall while serving in China to his deep involvement in the Berlin Airlift operations of which he was extremely proud. After attending Criminal Investigation Division (CID) school, he was assigned as a CID agent in Europe, Asia and Africa. After his return to California in 1952, Bill earned a B.A. degree from Sacramento State. He worked as a police officer with Roseville Police Department and as a Deputy Sheriff in El Dorado County. In 1955, he was appointed Special Agent, California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. In 1972, Bill was assigned as a Special Agent Supervisor in the Division of Law Enforcement. He worked within the DOJ system until he retired in 1985. In 1985, Bill reorganized and incorporated Walsingham Associate, a Technical Surveillance Countermeasures firm, into a successful counter-industrial espionage business covering the greater Bay Area and Western States. He continued doing what he loved until the day he left us. Bill's impeccable work ethic earned him the respect of all who sought his professional assistance. He responded personally to all requests and gave his full attention and energy no matter the size of the job nor the social status of his client. He was actively involved in numerous security/investigative organizations including the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, the High Technology Crime Investigation Association and the American Society for Industrial Security. Bill was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 34 happy years, Patricia Bennett, by his son Patrick Bennett and by his daughter Pamela Forbes. He is survived by his daughter, Kathi Ellick, son-in-law Craig, his grandchildren Alexander, Troy and Pamela all of Cornwall, NY and by his daughter-in-law Mary Bennett of San Jose, CA. Bill was a loyal Friend and a supportive mentor whose philosophy was -"Make haste slowly". So Bill, we all love and miss you for our lives have been made better for having known you.

Bill was a founding member of The Espionage Research Institute (ERI), and a good friend of Glenn Whidden, ERI's President, inspiration and founder. Bill was a loyal friend, mentor and colleague.
He will be sadly missed by all that knew him. God Speed Bill. Rest in Peace.

View the Obituary here:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) Annual Conference

The ERII annual conference provides a forum for ERII members to meet and discuss news and information related to the threats and recent discoveries in the fields of espionage and information security. 

The 2012 ERII conference will be held on September 7th, 8th & 9th (the weekend before the ASIS conference in PA) at the same hotel as last year,The Embassy Suites Dulles Airport 13341 Woodland Park Road. Herndon, Virginia 20171 USA. 

This year's event will include presentations from leading TSCM, Counterespionage and Counterintelligence professionals from around the world. For more information please visit: 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Mac malware eavesdrops on users, requires no password to install

Researchers have unearthed new malware that turns a Mac into a remote spying platform that is able to intercept e-mail and instant-message communications. The malware uses internal microphones and cameras to spy on people in the vicinity of the OS X machine.
Backdoor.OSX.Morcut, as antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab is calling it, isn't circulating widely, but its complexity is the latest testament to the growing sophistication of malware targeting the Apple platform. It requires no administrative password to be installed, survives reboots, and targets a wide variety of applications including Skype, Adium, and MSN Messenger.
"In short, if this malware managed to infect your Mac computer it could learn an awful lot about you, and potentially steal information which could read your private messages and conversations, and open your e-mail and other online accounts," according to a separate analysis published Thursday by antivirus firm Sophos.
More here:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

South Africa’s 1st Business Counterintelligence Conference

Corporate Business Insight Awareness (CBIA) is hosting a three-
day international conference on business counterintelligence. 17-19 September 2012

One of the key aims of the conference is to involve and to provide decision makers, managers, business unit leaders and those responsible for the protection of information in their organisations with the insight to understand business counterintelligence and how it differs from other streams of information
management practices.

Business espionage inflicts costs on companies that range from the loss of unique intellectual property to outlays for remediation. The conference wil take participants on an eye-opening journey regarding infor- mation protection issues. Attendees will gain a practical understanding of the value-added role counterintelligence plays in competitive strategy and the protection of business information.

Don't miss this important conference! 

More information here:

Questions rise over Skype wiretapping

Microsoft has not given a straight answer about whether its Skype service can facilitate law enforcement wiretapping of conversations. Previously, the online chat service was so heavily encrypted that the company went on the record about not being able to participate with wiretapping.
But Skype just made a change to its technology, and some say the changes make it possible to intercept a call. But when asked, Microsoft didn't admit if wiretapping was possible. It told Slate that Skype "co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as legally and technically possible."
Wiretapping has been a hot topic recently. As more conversations head online to social media or services like Skype, police have no way to listen into these calls. The FBI has been pushing for online services to build backdoors for government surveillance. And that's why there's the hunch that this change at Skype could be a step to help the FBI.
More here:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Power Pwn outlet strip doubles as stealthy hacking tool

PC World - Normally if you find a rogue outlet strip, or a user happens to bring his or her own surge protector to use you might not think much of it. Thanks to a new device called the Power Pwn, though, it might soon be cause for concern.
A company called Pwnie Express is taking pre-orders for the device. According to the companys website, Pwnie Express specializes in innovative, rapid-deployment cyber security products for the IT security professional.
The idea of a power source that doubles as hacking or penetration-testing toolkit isnt new to Pwnie Express. It also offers a smaller unit that simply plugs into an outlet. However, the Pwn Plug Mini may draw more attention than the Power Pwn, which by all outward appearances is simply a run-of-the-mill surge protector outlet strip.
A Power Pwn unit connected in your office would be a serious threat to your network and data security. The Power Pwn boasts integrated Wi-Fi, high-gain Bluetooth with a range of 1,000 feet, a 3G cellular connection, and dual Ethernet ports to provide an attacker with a variety of means of communicating with the device from inside the network or around the world.
More here:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Glimpse at changing face of espionage

It was one of those awkward moments you used to have with 1970s cars, slamming the door with the button pressed down only to realise the keys were still inside, made worse by being on a roadside in the mountains of West Java.
Happily, as a search for a wire coathanger and a lengthy fishing for the door latch through the rubber seal loomed, the chief spook from the Australian embassy (we all knew who they were) stopped to help. Producing a strange device attached to his key ring, he picked the lock in a trice.
Spies are handy people, and you never know when you might need them. That thought has kept the Australian Secret Intelligence Service in business for 60 years, and in the position to crow a bit about its record, as its chief, Nick Warner, did this week.
More here:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Corporate Espionage: LG Workers Accused Of Theft From Samsung Over OLED Technology

Tech giant Samsung is urging rival LG to apologize after charges of corporate espionage relating to Samsung’s OLED display technology, reports Saeromi Shin for Bloomberg.
Earlier this week, eleven employees of display manufacturer LG were charged with leaking technology from Samsung, according to Korean newswire Yonhap. LG executives were included in the group, with six of them being identified as former or current employees at Samsung Mobile.
In a statement, Samsung said it stands to lose “trillions of [Korean currency] won” from the leak. “Executives of LG Display, which lacks OLED technology and related human resources, took the lead in this criminal act in order to overcome their shortcomings as quickly as possible,” it added.
However, in a statement sent to Yonhap news agency, LG denied any allegations of involvement and promising to sue its Korean rival for defamation. “LG Display’s products boast excellent technology and even received a presidential award with the OLED panel for 55-inch screens. We do not need Samsung’s technology which works under a totally different display system.”

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Zeus malware strain attacks Facebook & Gmail users

If you don’t have enough to worry about, here’s a new malware warning. A new strain of Zeus malware puts Facebook and Gmail users at high risk for cybercrime. This new variant steals credit card information by posing as the typical login pages for Facebook and Gmail and then asking users to enter credit card credentials.

Security firm ThreatMetrix identified this strain as a new variant of the peer-to-peer (P2P) version of the notorious Zeus Trojan.
It poses intensified risk for Facebook and Gmail users due to its unusually cunning behavior, catching victims off-guard by waiting to attack until after a website’s login page appears to be functioning normally.
After the user logs in, fraudulent pages appear personalized with the victim’s information and request credit card information, posing as genuine assets of Facebook or Gmail.
“Today’s cybercriminals are rapidly evolving to surpass some of the most advanced malware and cybercrime automatic detection routines,” said Andreas Baumhof, chief technology officer, ThreatMetrix.
“Recently, social media platforms have taken to monetizing their sites. Facebook now has Facebook Credits, while Google’s Checkout is widely used by many online vendors. Online businesses need to take the proper steps to protect their users from these attacks.”

More here:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Inside the Mind of the Spy

Agents Struggle in the Shadows
Every few years, major news breaks about spying, with stories of spectacular heroism and shocking betrayal. What goes on in the mind of those who inhabit the clandestine world?
In early May, the world learned of a real example of heroic espionage. Intelligence officials foiled an al Qaeda plot to bring down a plane by having a suicide operative smuggle on board a nonmetallic exploding device concealed beneath his clothing. The terrorist group failed because the operative they chose for the mission was widely reported to have been an agent of British or Saudi intelligence. For those of us in the business, it was rare to see an agent’s heroism come to light, though we get to witness their bravery covertly on a routine basis in our daily work. What do people outside the clandestine world not see?
More here: