Monday, January 30, 2012

Bugging equipment found in Mexico lawmaker offices

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A search of several Mexican lawmakers' offices turned up recording equipment, leading legislators to believe they have been spied on for years, a congressman said Wednesday.
Congressman Armando Rios said security personnel found microphones and other devices that seemed to have been installed years ago.

"Some of the equipment has newer technology, but other devices are from a long time ago, which leads us to believe they were installed years ago," said Rios, a member of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD

Rios said the offices of key committees and of several lawmakers from different political parties were bugged.

"What is at stake is the vulnerability of the legislature, of one of the powers of the union," Rios said.

Congress president Guadalupe Acosta, also of the PRD, on Tuesday filed a complaint with federal prosecutors, who opened an investigation.

Acosta wouldn't identify the lawmakers who were being spied on or who he thinks was behind the espionage. Rios blamed the government of President Felipe Calderon, who belongs to the conservative National Action Party, or PAN.
Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire denied Rios' accusations and said the government has done nothing illegal.

Mexico's main intelligence agency allegedly spied on the government's political opponents during the 71 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

After PAN candidate Vicente Fox won the 2000 presidential election, he announced that the agency, the Center for National Security and Investigation, would no longer spy on political opponents. But in 2008, under Calderon, the agency hired a private company to monitor the activities of legislators.

Legislators complained they were being spied on but the government said it was simply collecting public information.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

DARPA-Funded Hacker's Tiny $50 Spy Computer Hides In Offices, Drops From Drones

Even more embarrassing than a student discovering your GPS tracking device on his car, as the FBI found out last year, is having to ask him to give the expensive piece of equipment back.
So security researcher Brendan O’Connor is trying a different approach to spy hardware: building a sensor-equipped surveillance-capable computer that’s so cheap it can be sacrificed after one use, with off-the-shelf parts that anyone can buy and assemble for less than fifty dollars.
At the Shmoocon security conference Friday in Washington D.C., O’Connor plans to present the F-BOMB, or Falling or Ballistically-launched Object that Makes Backdoors. Built from just the hardware in a commercially-available PogoPlug mini-computer, a few tiny antennae, eight gigabytes of flash memory and some 3D-printed plastic casing, the F-BOMB serves as 3.5 by 4 by 1 inch spy computer. And O’Connor has designed the cheap gadgets to dropped from a drone, plugged inconspicuously into a wall socket, thrown over a barrier, or otherwise put into irretrievable positions to quietly collect data and send it back to the owner over any available Wifi network. With PogoPlugs currently on sale at Amazon for $25, O’Connor built his prototypes with gear that added up to just $46 each.
“If some target is surrounded by bad men with guns, you don’t want to have to retrieve this, but you also don’t want to have to pay four or five hundred dollars for every use,” says O’Connor. “The idea is that it’s as close to free as possible. So you can throw a bunch of these sensors at a target and get away with losing a couple nodes in the process.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Todd Haley's Bugging Allegations
It's no surprise that former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is in the news right now—he is one of the hottest free agent coaching commodities on the market right now—what is odd, however, are the reasons he is showing up right now. 
Reports by the Kansas City Star, which include allegations by Haley, tell of the levels of paranoia and anxiety on Arrowhead drive.
Haley, the most high profile former staffer named in the report, tells of his fears that his phones, both in his office, and his private cell phone, may have been tapped. He spoke of his concerns that his office, and conference rooms at the facility were bugged and monitored for audio.
Others spoke of the levels of secrecy in Arrowhead stadium, which forbid non-football staffers from visiting certain parts of the complex, and which require staff with a view of the practice fields to close their blinds during team practices. They spoke of, on occasion, having meetings and phone calls interrupted by security staff charged with enforcing the rule. 
Haley claimed that he stopped speaking on the telephone altogether during his last year in Kansas City because his concerns were so severe. However, all of this begs the question, is there any substance to Haley's claims, or are these merely the rantings of a disgruntled former employee, who is becoming increasingly out-of-touch with reality?
What do these claims say about Haley, and what, if anything, do they do to his chances of being hired? Join me after the jump, as we take a look.

Alleged spy fed false info in sting to hurt credibility

Authorities fed an alleged Canadian naval spy fabricated information as part of a classic "sour milk" counter-intelligence ploy to taint the credibility of secrets the man is suspected of passing to Russia, Postmedia has learned.
"This was done by the book - sour the milk so that you con-fuse the other side," Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former spy service counter-intelligence officer with sources close to the Halifax case, revealed in an interview Friday.
Once naval officials suspected there was a spy in their midst, deliberately flawed information was baited and designed to eventually be discovered by its foreign recipients, casting doubt on the usefulness of any other classified data related to the case.
Juneau-Katsuya said the deception is believed to have worked, and now "they don't know what is true and what is not [and] will have to be suspicious of pretty much everything [given to] them."
While military and RCMP investigators are still gathering details, Juneau-Katsuya said he believes Russia may have been after North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] secrets.
"When you talk about Halifax, you talk about the Atlantic and the Arctic. And when you talk about the Atlantic and Arctic, you talk NATO. And when you talk NATO, you talk Russia," he said.

Friday, January 20, 2012

10 Sites Skewered by Anonymous, Including FBI, DOJ, U.S. Copyright Office

By the time East Coasters were finishing dinner last night, 10 websites had fallen to what hacktivist group Anonymous calls its “low orbit ion cannon,” or LOIC — a public domain software tool named after a weapon in a popular sci-fi real-time strategy game that’s designed to stress test whether a network can handle a distributed denial of service attack.
According to Anonymous, 10 well-known governmental and corporate sites with ties to the entertainment industry were assaulted and knocked offline in retaliation for the FBI shutting down, one of the world’s largest file-sharing sites. The FBI had closed earlier Thursday afternoon, accusing the company of more than $500 million in revenue losses stemming from copyright violations, and arresting four people in connection with the indictment.
Dubbing its DDoS spree “OpMegaupload,” Anonymous claims it took down usdoj.govand (the U.S. Department of Justice), (Universal Music Group), (the Recording Industry Association of America), (the Motion Picture Association of America), (the U.S. Copyright Office), (France’s copyright-enforcement agency), (Warner Music Group), (Broadcast Music, Inc.) (the Federal Bureau of Investigation). The DOJ’s website was first to fall, about an hour after the Justice Department announced its indictment of

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Facebook names $2m 'Koobface' hacking gang
Facebook has publicly identified a gang of five alleged cyber criminals it believes are behind Koobface, a piece of malicious software that has hijacked hundreds of thousands of Facebook users’ computers and made millions for its creators.

After an investigation by Facebook and several independent security researchers, the gang behind Koobface have been named as a group of Russians operating relatively openly in central St Petersburg.
According to their own social networking profiles, the five men have enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle. On one group holiday, they visited Spain, Nice and Monte Carlo, before ending the trip at a casino in Germany, according to Sophos, a British security firm involved in the investigation.
Facebook said it has known the identities of the gang for some time, but has decided to name them publicly after being frustrated by the lack of law enforcement action against them. The Telegraph has chosen not to name them for legal reasons.
“We’ve had a picture of one of the guys in a scuba mask on our wall since 2008,” said Ryan McGeehan, manager of investigations at Facebook.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cyber-Crimes Pose 'Existential' Threat, FBI Warns

Despite the increased frequency and severity of online crime and espionage in 2011, many American corporations and consumers are still not taking the threat seriously, the FBI's top cyber official said Thursday.

The risk posed by criminal hackers is "existential, meaning it could eliminate whole companies," said Shawn Henry, the FBI's executive assistant director. If hackers were able to tamper with critical infrastructure such as the power grid, "it could actually cause death," Henry said in remarks at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York.

To highlight the growing threat, Henry cited several recent FBI investigations, such as one involving a smaller company that went out of business after hackers stole $5 million from accounts, another concerning a larger firm that "virtually overnight" lost a decade of research and development worth $1 billion, and still another regarding hackers who encrypted millions of records of a health services company and demanded money for the password.

"We've seen the number and sophistication of the attacks by these cyber actors increase dramatically," Henry said.

"Hundreds of millions of dollars have been stolen, primarily through the financial services sector, just in the last couple years," he said. An organized crime ring in Eastern Europe, for example, earned about $750,000 per week from cyber theft, he added.


Note: Does your company have a Cyber TSCM / Cyber Counterespionage plan in place? Contact me, I can help. ~JDL

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cyber Attacks May Be Revealed to Investors as SEC Rules Push Disclosures

Note: This was bound to happen as more and more companies become victims of Cyber Espionage. Has your company become a victim of Cyber Espionage? And, more importantly, does your company have a Cyber TSCM / Cyber Counterespionage strategy in place to mitigate this risk? 
Contact me, I can help. ~JDL

China-based hackers rifled the computers of DuPont Co. (DD) at least twice in 2009 and 2010, hunting the technological secrets that made the company one of the world’s most successful chemical makers.
It’s not something investors would have learned from DuPont’sregulatory filings, or from those of other companies victimized by hackers. The 10-K’s DuPont submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over the period don’t identify hacking as even a significant risk, much less reveal what two U.S. intelligence officials later said was a successful case of industrial espionage.
Over the next three months, as publicly traded companies file 10-K’s, investors may see new admissions of corporate networks being hacked after the SEC said companies can’t continue to hold back the details of those incidents.
As cyberspies from China, Russia and other countries ransack the computer networks of one major U.S. and European firm after the next, the SEC in October offered its new interpretation of disclosure requirements as applied to cybercrime. The amount of information that’s forthcoming will depend on whether company lawyers determine the incidents had, or will have, a material effect on the enterprise.
Daniel Turner, a spokesman for Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont, said, regarding the previously-reported hack, “We let our disclosures speak for themselves.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

Symantec Confirms Anonymous Took Product Source Code

Symantec (NSDQ:SYMC) confirmed Friday that an India-based chapter of hacker collective Anonymous had accessed the network of an unidentified third party and had taken source code from two of its corporate security products.
The vendor said code samples provided Thursday to an online community of security professionals called Infosec Island were from two products: Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 and Symantec AntiVirus 10.2. The vendor supports the latter, but no longer sells it, while the former is currently on version 12.1. The code was four or five years old, according to Symantec.
"It would be very difficult to do anything with (the code), because it is so old," Symantec spokesman Cris Paden said.
Malware designed to take advantage of the code would only work on the older products. Therefore, hackers would have to find a company that had not updated its security software in years, an unlikely scenario. "They would have been annihilated a long time ago from cyber threats," Paden said.
Symantec claimed the theft did not indicate that source code in its current products could be taken. The software today is architected differently, so the techniques used to take code from the older products won't work, Paden said. "It's not possible that they would be able to access current-day code."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brute force tools crack Wi-Fi security in hours, millions of wireless routers vulnerable

If you set WPA/WPA2 security protocol on your home or small business wireless router, and you think your Wi-Fi is secure, there two recently released brute force tools that attackers may use to bypass your encryption and burst your security bubble. The irony is that the vulnerability which can be exploited was intended to be a security strength, a usability issue to help the technically clueless setup encryption on their wireless networks. Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is enabled by default on most major brands of wireless routers including Belkin, Buffalo, D-Link, Cisco's Linksys and Netgear, leaving millions of wireless routers around the world vulnerable to brute force attacks which can crack the Wi-Fi router's security in two to ten hours.
Most wireless routers come with a WPS personal identification number (PIN) printed on the device. When a user is setting up a wireless home network via a network setup wizard, enabling encryption is often as easy as pushing a button on the router and then entering the eight digit PIN which came with it. When an attacker is attempting to brute force the PIN and an incorrect value was entered, a message is sent that basically tells an attacker if the first half of the PIN was right or not. Additionally, according to Stefan Viehbock, the security researcher who reported the flaw, "The 8th digit of the PIN is always the checksum of digit one to digit seven," meaning it only takes an attacker about 11,000 brute force guesses to own the password. Unfortunately most wireless routers don't have a lockout policy after several failed password attempts.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Know If Someone Bugged Your Room

For tips on sweeping a room for surreptitious surveillance devices, look no further than the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That's where members of the federal government have been going for years to find out who's wiretapped their telephone or implanted a microphone in their corner office. And now we know a lot more about the bureau's routine wiretap inspections thanks to, a website that publishes documents from Freedom of Information Act requests. The site has published a 66MB cache of correspondence from 1952 to 1995 detailing various issues of telephone security often involving paranoid government officials from senators to post master generals to secretaries of the Department of Agriculture to President Richard Nixon who think someone is surreptitiously listening to their conversations. 

It's going to take an army of readers to rummage through the entire cache of FBI documents but from what we've read so far, much of the correspondence involves government officials requesting wiretap inspections from the FBI, typically because they fear sensitive information has leaked from their office, and, upon inspection, the FBI finds nothing. Interestingly, they do often provide an informative report on how they went about sweeping the room.
As you can imagine, the descriptions of wiretap sweeps get much more technical from the '50s to the '70s to the '90s. In the old days, a wiretap inspection was simpler. Take this sweep of the office of Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield in 1953. 

Note: A "Do it yourself" sweep, is kind of like "do it yourself" get what you pay for...
Don't let those "leaks" me, I can help. ~JDL

Police group members react to Anonymous hacking
SACRAMENTO, CA - A day after Anonymous hacked into California Statewide Law Enforcement Association's website, CSLEA members are still learning about the security breach.

Plus, the CSLEA homepage is still down.

RELATED STORY: Thousands affected after Anonymous hacks police union website

The well-known international hacking group released the names, home addresses, and phone numbers of public safety professionals, many of them police officers. It also exposed credit card information on purchases made in their online gift shop.

Anonymous claimed on their post that they have 2,500 names and passwords, and in some cases, credit card numbers. The hacker group justified releasing the information asserting, "California law enforcement officers are notorious for brutality."

Union president Alan Barcelona said CSLEA had information taken in November. All members who had their information breached then were contacted by phone or letter. The letter, dated Nov. 10, "confirms that credit card information of customers of the CSLEA online store had been compromised"

It stated, "Fortunately, most of the credit cards that were compromised had expired." And, it went on to state, "Additionally, all of the information which was previously maintained on the site has been purged."

Teresa Dobbins, an employee of the Department of Justice, never got word of the breach in November. And she wasn't informed that her personal information, including her email address, phone number, and home address, were leaked onto the web New Year's Day, until News 10 contacted her.

"If they were aware of it, they should have tried to notify me before the media did," Dobbins said.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

VoIP eavesdropping: Hardening network security to contain VoIP risks

Every organization considering a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone system deployment hears the same dire warnings: “Routing voice calls over a data network exposes calls to eavesdropping.”

While it’s certainly true that any telephone call carries a certain degree of eavesdropping risk, is it true that VoIP calls have an inherently higher degree of risk? In this tip, we explore the ins and outs of VoIP eavesdropping.

VoIP eavesdropping is possible First, it’s important to be clear about one thing: It is absolutely possible to eavesdrop on a VoIP telephone call. It’s also possible to eavesdrop on a telephone call placed using the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN). The difference lies in the tools and skill set needed to conduct the eavesdropping.

On a traditional telephone network, someone seeking to eavesdrop on a call generally must have physical access to either the telephone or telephone cable, at least at the initiation of the attack. This type of attack is typical in the movies. Whether it’s the good guys or the bad guys conducting the eavesdropping, someone gains access to either a telephone handset or the telephone network interface box -- sometimes located outside a home or office -- places a wiretap listening device on the box, and then monitors calls on an ongoing basis.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Anonymous exposes 75,000 credit card numbers

Hacker collective Anonymous has just dumped 200 GB of names, email addresses and passwords for around 860,000 Stratfor users. Anonymous also exposed credit card numbers for 75,000 paying customers of Stratfor.

Stratfor, a security think tank, provides reports on international security and related threats to government and military personnel as well as to the private sector. It is unknown whether Anonymous gained access to other, more sensitive information during the Stratfor hacks, which occurred on December 24.

“The time for talk is over,” wrote Anonymous last night on Pastebin.

“It’s time to dump the full 75,000 names, addresses, CCs and md5 hashed passwords to every customer that has ever paid Stratfor. But that’s not all: we’re also dumping ~860,000 usernames, email addresses, and md5 hashed passwords for everyone who’s ever registered on Stratfor’s site… Did you notice 50,000 of these email addresses are .mil and .gov?”

Anonymous’ motives for the attack are also somewhat hazy. In last night’s statement, representatives of the movement wrote, “All our lives we have been robbed blindly and brutalized by corrupted politicians, establishmentarians and government agencies sex shops, and now it’s time to take it back.”

In addition to the Stratfor attack and exposure, Anonymous is threatening a new action on New Year’s Eve, December 31.