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.

More Here:

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.
More here:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Boeing missile flies over buildings, fries computers with microwaves

This is stuff you only see in the movies.
In what could potentially change modern day warfare, Boeing and the U.S. Air Force successfully tested the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP). The missile’s primary purpose is to disable computers and other electronics from a distance, using microwaves.

Last Tuesday over the Western Utah desert, the test was directed by a Boeing Phantom Works team, along with members from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate team, and Raytheon Ktech, suppliers of the High Power Microwave source.
The pre-programmed CHAMP missile flew over its first target and shot out a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two story building, successfully knocking out rows of personal computers and electrical systems in the building. The missile ended up hitting all seven of its targets in what the company described as a highly-successful test.

Check out the above Video.

More here:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hospital Medical Devices 'Rampant' With Computer Viruses

If you have a loved one in hospital, or going in yourself soon, you might not want to read this.
It's not just microscopic viruses that hospitals need to be worried about. Computer viruses are turning out to be a real problem too. 

According to Kevin Fu, an expert on medical device security and a computer scientist at the University of Michigan and the University of Massachusetts, as medical equipment is increasingly connected to PCs — especially those running Windows — the devices themselves are vulnerable to computer viruses. 

The problem is made worse by the fact that most of the medical equipment is hooked up to systems running old versions of Windows that the hospitals aren’t allowed to modify or upgrade. Even adding antivirus protection is forbidden as it could breach U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.

The problem is so bad that systems have to be taken offline regularly — sometimes as often as weekly — to remove the malware.

More here:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The White House Denies Ordering a Secret Report Clearing Huawei of Espionage

Cue the conspiracy theories: an 18-month, Reuters says it got its hands on "a White House-ordered review of security risks posed by suppliers to U.S. telecommunications companies" that cleared Chinese telecom giant Huawei of allegations of actively spying on the U.S. government. 

But we're not quite sure what to make of the report, since the White House has denied ordering the report in the first place. 

"The White House has not conducted any classified inquiry that resulted in clearing any telecom equipment supplier," White House National Security Council spokeswomanCaitlin Hayden told Reuters. It's hard to tell if Hayden's comments mean that the White House hasn't yet cleared Huawei of espionage or if Hayden is denying that the White House was involved in the review on Huawei, or some combination of both.
But what we do have is Reuters touting an 18-month classified review on Huawei, the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment in the world (and is poised to get even bigger) and its espionage capabilities. "[I]ntelligence agencies and other departments conducted the largely classified inquiry, delving into reports of suspicious activity and asking detailed questions of nearly 1,000 telecom equipment buyers," writes Reuters's Joseph Menn, who is getting his information from two anonymous sources who are insistent that the request came from the White House.

More here:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Security Focus Article on The Business Counterintelligence Conference, South Africa

The Business Counter-intelligence Conference was hosted by CBIA (Corporate Business Insight and Awareness) from 17-19 September at Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge, in the North West province. As the first event of its kind ever to be held in South Africa, this conference aimed to involve business unit leaders and those responsible for the protection of information in their organisations with the insight to understand business counter-intelligence, and how it differs from other streams of information management practices. 

FBI Warning Doesn't Surprise the Pros

The warning was issued jointly by the FBI and FS-ISAC, and it bluntly told banks their employees were now the target of cyber criminals. But that doesn't surprise many bank security pros.
It says:
Recent FBI reporting indicates a new trend in which cyber criminal actors are using spam and phishing e-mails, keystroke loggers, and Remote Access Trojans (RAT) to compromise financial institution networks and obtain employee login credentials.
That triggered plenty of worries among bankers. But maybe for no good reason.
As frightening as that statement may be, at least some security experts shrug in perplexity about its issuance. "I don't know why the FBI put out that warning," said Pierluigi Stella, CTO at Network Box USA, which claims a number of banking customers for its security services.

"Banks are the primary targets for criminal hackers. Period. They have been, they will be," said Stella, and that of course is because they are where the money is.
The FBI warning, said Stella, suggests something important has changed -- that is, there once wasn't a problem and now there is. "But that's not so. The reality is that there are threats every day and there have been threats every day," said Stella.
Question: Did the FBI cry wolf, over nothing much, or are the attacks on bank employees notably more skillful and vigorous than they have been?
The FBI has offered no elaboration on its warning. Banks are not talking on the record about this. But at least some third-party experts are and the sense is that Stella is on the money.
While the specter of organized criminals putting malware on a bank employee's computer and using that beachhead to sneak into vulnerable systems is indeed worth losing sleep over, there appears to be nothing new about the threat. It's a real threat, it is terrifying, but it is old news.

More here:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Google accused of spying on Gmail users

Google isn’t exactly a stranger to allegations that they invade the privacy of their customers, but now the search engine is being asked to explain itself in court over accusations that they snoop through messages sent through its Gmail service.

Representatives from Google are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit waged at the company’s Gmail platform because the plaintiffs in the case cannot explicitly prove that their correspondence is being unlawfully monitored by the email service.

Brad Scott and Todd Harrington are the lead plaintiffs in a case that attempts to call-out the Silicon Valley search engine company as being in violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) because they believe Gmail conducts clandestine scans of emails for words and content, intentionally intercepting private communiqué as a result without obtaining the user’s permission. Google, on the other hand, maintains that only computers complete all the legwork and that no humans actually have their eyes on any emails, also insisting that neither Mr. Scott nor Mr. Harrington can back up their claims that any action from Gmail has led to injury.

Google condemned the case this week, Courthouse News reports, arguing by way of a 25-page motion that Gmail scans data sent over its servers using its "fully automated processes involve no human review of any kind" that they insist exists to screen out viruses and spam "for the protection of its users." Now they are asking US District Judge Lucy Koh to dismiss the complaint with prejudice.

The plaintiffs say that Google’s actions are enough to land them in court because that conduct constitutes wiretapping and eavesdropping in their eyes, a claim which Google says is “contorting” state law "in ways the California Legislature never intended.”

More here:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hacker cracks 4 million hotel locks with 'James Bond Dry Erase Marker'

This new hacker invention may look like a harmless dry erase marker, but in truth it's the ultimate electronic lock pick. 
In a post titled 'James Bond's Dry Erase Marker,' hotel hacker Matthew Jakubowski demonstrates how anyone can build this pocket-sized device which will open the lock on an estimated 4 million hotel rooms.
'I guess we wanted to show that this sort of attack can happen with a very small concealable device,' says Matthew Jakubowski, a security researcher with Trustwave, told Forbes. 'Someone using this could be searched and even then it wouldn't be obvious that this isn't just a pen.'

The device exploits a vulnerability in Onity locks, a cheap lock used on millions of hotel room doors.
Onity's site boasts their locks are used in 22,000 hotel worldwide.

The lock has a small port on its bottom designed for hotels to set master keys. 
Hacker Cody Brocious discovered you could read the lock's memory through this port, including a decryption key.
Borcious demonstrated a large, unwieldy device that could open a small percentage of locks this July at the Black Hat security conference.

Onity responded with a way to patch the weakness in August, but the fix required hotels to make costly hardware repairs to millions of locks as well as pay for a more secure version.
Security experts believe the expense has likely left a huge percentage of hotel rooms with the easily cracked model. 
Jakubowski's refined version can pop most locks in a fraction of a second.
Even if security searched a guest, its unlikely many people would see a dry erase marker as a threat. 
And future versions may be even smaller and easier conceal.

Read more: 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The great spy stories of 60 Minutes

We knew that spy stories have been a great tradition at 60 Minutes, but we never imaged what we found in the archives this week. When Overtime learned that Steve Kroft was reporting on a possible case of Chinese espionage for Sunday's broadcast, we decided to take a spin through the old tapes, and we discovered dozens of stories on spooks, traitors, and double agents of every stripe. Our archive is a veritable gold mine for spy fans, and with those fans in mind, we present this highlight reel of great moments in spy reporting from 60 Minutes.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Thought Apple was the only company that had its precious intellectual property compromised by competitors like Samsung? Think again.

According to Automotive News, industrial espionage in the United States has been steadily rising in multiple sectors. In fact, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) have opened 1,212 intellectual property rights cases for the 2011 fiscal year. Compared to 2009, cases have increased by nearly 66 percent. Given the high-octane environment that is the auto industry, cloak and dagger activities are especially prevalent. In particular, auto giants including GM, Ford and Toyota have endured stolen intellectual property more than most.
Last month, an IT contractor for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. was accused of hacking into the company's database, taking ahold of extremely sensitive trade secrets.What's more, GM and Ford were victims of theft from their own employees as well when internal information found its way to foreign competitors.

Expressing the severity of the rising threat and the challenging conditions, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole said during a Michigan keynote, "A well-placed rogue employee can capture a company's highly protected crown jewels, things on which profits and jobs depend on."
Highlighting a rather high-profile incident of espionage, Assistant U.S. attorney Cathleen Corken brought attention to a case regarding a Ford employee that has stolen thousands of secrets in order to secure a job with another competitor.

More here:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Russian Spy Ring Busted For Illegally Exporting U.S. Technology

The United States has charged 11 people with illegally exporting U.S. microelectronics to Russia for use by the military and intelligence agencies.
Seven suspects were arrested Wednesday in the Houston area, including Alexander Fishenko, a naturalized American citizen born in Russia. He also is accused of acting on behalf of the Russian government without registering as a foreign agent.
Another suspect, Alexander Posobilov, also a naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested Tuesday night at George Bush International Airport in Houston. Authorities say he was headed to Singapore and Moscow.
Three other people allegedly involved in the procurement ring are believed to be at large in Russia.
Fishenko allegedly used his Houston-based business Arc Electronics Inc. to export items that are supposed to be under strict government control because of their potential military use in radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems and detonation triggers.
Prosecutors say Fishenko also is a part owner of Moscow-based Apex System LLC, which is a certified supplier of military equipment to the Russians.
Both Arc and Apex are charged with illegal activity along with the 11 individuals in an indictment unsealed Wednesday.
Prosecutors allege Fishenko and the other defendants hid the fact they were exporters and pretended Arc Electronics produced mundane items such as traffic lights.
More here:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September 29, 2012 CBIA Business Counterintelligence Conference, South Africa – Debrief

Our ERII advisory board member, Steve Whitehead, Managing Member of Corporate Business Insight & Awareness (CBIA) and Chairman, of Business Espionage Countermeasures South Africa (BECSA), hosted a three-day international conference on business counterintelligence at The Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge, South Africa. Situated in the Pilanesberg National Park, it is about two hours drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria and about five minutes away from the well-known Sun City complex. It is located on the slopes of an ancient volcano and is a hub of luxury in the heart of untamed wilderness making it an ideal place for high profile conferences. And let me say now, it was an absolutely fantastic selection for this conference! But, more on the Bush Lodge a little later.
Corporate Business Insight & Awareness (CBIA) is a small boutique firm that was founded during 1994 by likeminded professionals with diverse inter­disciplinary competencies to provide insight and awareness solutions through the use of competitive intelligence and counter­ intelligence as risk management tools to corporations in South Africa. CBIA is one of the World’s oldest professional information protection risk management firms.
One of the key aims of the Business Counterintelligence Conference, was to involve and to provide decision- makers, managers, business unit leaders and those responsible for the protection of information in their organizations with the insight to understand business counterintelligence and how it differs from other streams of information management practices. 
Let me say first, I have been to many counterintelligence conferences and briefings around the world (Private, Gov. & Military), but this was one of the most professionally run conferences I have ever attended! Steve (and his lovely wife Claudene) provided attendees with a truly first class conference experience. From arrival to departure, every need was met with professional excellence and true South African hospitality. It was indeed an honor to accept their invitation to represent The Espionage Research Institute International, and to endorse the Business Espionage Countermeasures Conference and Business Espionage Countermeasures South Africa (BECSA).
The conference started by providing attendees with a brief overview and introduction to information gathering techniques, its history and the practice of modern business espionage. And, was followed by practical and effective countermeasures practices, policies, procedures and technical support systems. Examples from case studies were used to analyze the implications of events and the lessons learned for today’s corporate challenges. Below is a brief overview of of the presentation highlights from The Business Counterintelligence Conference.
Steve Whitehead – Managing Member, CBIA and BECSA Chairman, gave the opening and welcome presentation: “What is Counterintelligence and How Can Business Benefit?” This presentation covered, What is Counterintelligence?, The Differences Between Counterintelligence, Security and Other Information Protection Disciplines, Passive and Active Counterintelligence Pillars for Businesses, How Counterintelligence Supports Management and Business Information. This was an excellent presentation, and was well received by the participants at this full conference.
David G. Major – President, Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies – CI Centre, Washington DC, USA. Gave the Keynote Address: “Importance and Value of Counterintelligence in the Business World”. An articulate presentation covering: corporate globalization, worldwide economic instability, governments on the verge of collapse, turmoil in the Middle East, insecurity over oil supplies and aggressive competitors. Each creates a challenging threat environment for today’s business executive. Mr. Major outlined the breadth and the depth of the global threat environment to corporations with facts, figures and strategies for success. 
Professor Basie Von Solms – University of Johannesburg and Director of the Centre for Cyber Security, presented on “The Evolving Cyber Threat Against Business Information”. This presentation covered: Newest Statistics on Cyber Crime in SA, Small Companies as a Growing Target for Cyber Attacks, The Potential Impact of the Protection of Personal Information Bill on Companies, The Potential Impact of the New SA Cyber Security Policy Framework on Companies, Cyber Risks Caused by Off-the-Shelf Infected Hardware and Software, and The Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime.
Pete Denson – TSCM Specialist, Research Electronics International (REI), presented on “Telephone Insecurities in the Business Environment” Mr. Denson’s presentation covered Telephone Components, Various Telephone Systems, Telephone Vulnerabilities, and Modern Telephone Attacks Solutions.
I (JDL) presented on “The Dragon in the Machine – A Case Study of Nation State Corporate Espionage.” This presentation covered: Factors that Influence State Sponsored Corporate Espionage, Internal Vulnerabilities that Contribute to Penetration;, Undetected Exploitation: Disguising the Threat, Incidence Response, Covert Cyber Espionage, and Multi-National Espionage Risks.
There were so many excellent presentations over the three-day conference! Below are additional conference presenters:
Christopher Shear – Office of Information Security, City of Seattle, USA
Andrew Seldon – Editor, Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Jenny Reid – CEO, iFacts and President of SASA
Dr George Nel – CEO, Paradigm Alpha and Behavioural & Communication Intelligence Specialist
Steve Jump – Head: Corporate Information Security Governance, Telkom SA Ltd 
Craig Rosewarne – Managing Director, Wolfpack Risk and Chairman of ISG Africa
Andrea Muller – Editor, Security Focus Magazine Peter Fryer – CEO, Risk Diversion 
Peter Fryer – CEO, Risk Diversion 
There was also plenty of time to relax and network during the cocktail functions and dinner in the evenings at the lodge. As well as other lodge activities such as the “Game Drive” that my wife Lisa & I enjoyed one afternoon, and a South African “Braai” (barbeque) out in the bush the next evening. Absolutely Fantastic!
This is a very “compartmented” debrief, and in no way covers all of the South African hospitality, excellence and fun experienced during this trip! So, colleagues please set your alerts and mark your calendars now to attend this excellent conference next year! It is truly a first class professional counterintelligence conference you won’t want to miss. 
For more information on the conference, contact:

Steve Whitehead, Managing Business Insight & Awareness (CBIA)
Business Espionage Countermeasures South Africa (BECSA) Steve Whitehead, Chairman
Eavesdropping Detection Solutions:
End debrief.
--J.D. LeaSure, Director
Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) 
4445 Corporation Lane Suite 291C. Virginia Beach, VA 23462 USA 

2012 Espionage Research Institute International Conference Debrief

The 2012 ERII Conference brought together a group of TSCM, Counterespionage & Counterintelligence practitioners and associates for a three day conference in northern Virginia to brief each other on new and emerging espionage threats. The threats levied against corporations from either electronic surveillance (bugs) or the latest threats from malware (Advance Persistent Threats) require these specialists to keep abreast of the latest threats. Adhering to motto of the founder and inspiration of ERI, Glenn H. Whidden (1928-2011): "The Biggest Mistake That We Can Make Would Be To Miss The Changes", the membership meets annually to ensure they remain aware of the changes in the espionage industry and can effectively detect threats.

This year’s keynote address was given by: David G. Major, Founder and President of The Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI Centre) in Washington, DC – A Retired Senior FBI Supervisory Special Agent and First Director of Counterintelligence, Intelligence and Security Programs at the National Security Council at the White House. Mr. Major addressed the threats levied against corporations from both foreign and domestic competitors. Mr. Major provided crucial insight on how many corporations are responding to these incidents and are holding the rogue employee and/or competitor accountable for their actions.

Other conference presentations included:
Jarrett Kolthoff, CEO – SpearTip, a former U.S. Counterintelligence Agent, addressed “Binary Bilking – Cyber Forensics”
In this presentation, Mr. Kolthoff covered a systematic response to a malware incident initiated by employee malfeasance or external threats. This sequence of activity should be considered as a strong practice for effective risk mitigation and a baseline for any organization’s incident response practices utilizing both cyber forensic and HUMINT (Human Intelligence) techniques. Providing real-world studies of his most recent cases; to include analyzing the various market studies on the insider threat.

Mr. Paul Turner, President of Professional Development TSCM Group Inc., presented on: “Understanding The TSCM (RF) Spectrum Environment”. This presentation included an operational overview of the typical TSCM (RF) spectrum (signal) environment; including a discussion of where we should be looking; and what we should be looking for; when faced with complex ambient spectrum environments, typical of major urban areas. The presentation rounded out with a review of possible deployment techniques designed to better focus the operator’s attention on what perhaps may be one (1) seemingly insignificant signal event out of thousands of friendly signal events that requires further attention.

Other presenters at the conference brought some of their latest technology, such as the OSCOR GREEN presentation from Mr. Lee Jones of Research Electronics International (REI). The OSCOR Green was designed for commercial applications to detect illicit eavesdropping signals, perform site surveys for communications systems, conduct radio frequency (RF) emissions analysis, and investigate misuse of the RF spectrum. Mr. Jones shared a new remote tunnel option to link the OSCOR to an iPad or laptop PC.

AIR Patrol Corp’s Chairman, Mr. Bradley Rotter shared their latest in cellular detection technology. “The Security Convergence of the Physical & Cyber Worlds”.

Other notable presentations from ERII members and TSCM Specialists included:

Charles Patterson, President of Patterson Communications. Tarrytown, NY, presented on: “An Overview of PBX and Voicemail Vulnerabilities”.

I (JDL) presented on: “The Dragon in The Machine” A case study of Nation State Corporate Espionage while on assignment in the PRC.

A special “Thank You” to all of those who worked behind the scenes to make this years ERII Conference a success.
For more information on ERII please visit:

End Debrief


--J.D. LeaSure, Director
Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) 
4445 Corporation Lane Suite 291C. Virginia Beach, VA 23462 USA 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Washington confirms Chinese hack attack on White House computer

White House sources partly confirmed an alarming report that U.S. government computers -- reportedly including systems used by the military for nuclear commands -- were breached by Chinese hackers.
“This was a spear phishing attack against an unclassified network,” a White House official told “These types of attacks are not infrequent and we have mitigation measures in place.”
A law enforcement official who works with members of the White House Military Office confirmed the Chinese attack to on Monday, but it remains unclear what information, if any, was taken or left behind.
"This [White House Communications Agency] guy opened an email he wasn't supposed to open," the source said.
That email contained a spear phishing attack from a computer server in China, the law enforcement source told The attack was first reported by the conservative blog Free Beacon. Spear phishing involves the use of messages disguised to appear as valid; in fact, they contain targeted, malicious attempts to access sensitive or confidential information.
By opening the email, which likely contained a link to a malicious site or some form of attachment, the agency member allowed the Chinese hacker to access a system, explained Anup Ghosh, founder and CEO of security company Invincea.

Read more: