Monday, April 29, 2013

The KGB Bugged the Hell Out of Estonia Hotel Guests

Old Town Tallinn in Estonia feels like it should be on top of a wedding cake, the old city walls, church steeples, narrow cobblestone streets, and pastel colors putting forth a true Medievil vibe. Aside from aesthetics, the main draw of the city is the deep and relatively recent history – Estonia gained its independence from Soviet power less than 25 years ago, in 1991.

Men and women in their late 20s and early 30s can share stories of the communistic culture they experienced as children, including long lines at food markets and loss of property, all of which took place under the careful watch of the KGB. Estonians were forced to vacate or share their households with Soviets depending upon their income.

There are many hotels located within the Old Town walls to choose from, but if you want a true taste of KGB history during your visit, consider the Sokos Hotel Viru just outside Old Town. Opened in 1972, it's the largest hotel in Estonia with over 500 rooms, and during Soviet occupation, the KGB had an office on the top floor (the 23rd floor, which did not have a button on the elevator).
They always denied their presence, but they bugged the guests, literally.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Is a Hacked Pacemaker Capable of Mass Murder?

When you are a patient in a hospital, you tend to expect that the electronics are either top of the line or at least functioning correctly. You expect that the devices doctors implant in your body are reliable and safe. These seem like safe assumptions.

Unfortunately, you could be mistaken.

There is a very low level of security on medical devices and medical equipment, leaving them vulnerable to malware and hacking, and the person taking the unknown risk is the patient.

Luckily, the risk has been relatively low, particularly when compared to the medical advantages the technology provides. Unfortunately, as researchers and professional hackers begin to discover to what extent the devices can be hacked, it’s possible those with more sinister plans will see the security gap as an opportunity.

Implanted Devices
In a presentation that seems to belong in a horror film and not at a conference, Barnaby Jack, an IOActive researcher at the BreakPoint Security Conference in Melbourne, Australia, demonstrated that he could reverse-engineer a pacemaker to change from a life-saver to a weapon.

The problem is that updates used to be provided to the device by a medical professional who had to be within a few inches of the patient, according to CIO. However, because of the increase in wireless technology, the inches have expanded to a larger radius, leaving the devices vulnerable to more attacks.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Iranian Spy Arrested with False Israeli Passport

An Iranian citizen has been arrested for spying on Israeli sites in an apparent search for a targetChannel 2 news reports. The man was found to be in possession of a false Israeli passport.

He had received the false passport in Malaysia and had successfully used it to enter Nepal and Sri Lanka.

He was seen by an Israeli as he spied on the Israeli embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal. He reportedly confessed to the suspicions against him.

Last year an Iranian agent was deported from India for spying on the Chabad House in Koregaon Park and other Jewish targets. Later in the year an Iranian spy ring was discovered in Turkey.
United States intelligence sources have reported that Iran may be spying on Israel from its northern border with Syria.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cyberattacks, corporate espionage now targeting smaller companies

Intellectual property theft, corporate espionage growing

Smaller companies, their websites and their intellectual property are increasingly being targeted by cyberattacks, a new report on IT security trends says. 

Targeted attacks were up 42 per cent in 2012 compared to the year before, and businesses with fewer than 250 employees are the fastest growing segment being targeted, according to the annual internet security threat report issued Tuesday by Symantec.

Based on data from 69 million "attack sensors" around the world, the report said small businesses were hit by 31 per cent of targeted attacks in 2012, up from 18 per cent a year earlier. That represents a 72 per cent increase.

The type of information being targeted by attackers is also changing — financial information is now losing ground to other kinds of competitive data, the report found.
More here:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chinese Hackers Suspected Of Mass Cyber Espionage On Games Industry

A group of hackers believed to be based in China have been hacking computer games companies, stealing plenty of vital data, including games’ source code, as part of a big cyber espionage campaign.
the affected businesses, of which there are at least 30, are mostly based in South East Asia but with some in the US and elsewhere. Most are massively multiplayer online games developers, but the affected companies have opted to stay anonymous.
At the heart of the attacks lie digital certificates, supposed to prevent attacks by proving the legitimacy of code and its provenance. The Winnti hacking group has pilfered over 1000 digital certificates from developers in order to spread their malware over the last year and a half.

Cyber espionage on gaming businesses

Kaspersky started tracking the attackers in 2011 when their malware was accidentally sent out by a games company as an update, having been signed with a genuine certificate. Users are likely to download malware masquerading as updates if they are signed with what appears to be a legitimate certificate.
Vitaly Kamluk, researcher from Kaspersky Lab, said acquiring such certificates was as useful for hackers as uncovering zero-day vulnerabilities, flaws that the software makers are unaware of and have not patched.
Certificates were also being sold on the underground market, as the Winnti group sought to make as much money as possible from their campaign. It’s likely they were selling for tens of thousands of dollars.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

GOP leader McConnell's campaign alleges 'Watergate-style bugging' at headquarters; asks FBI to probe

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The FBI has been asked to look into whether Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign headquarters was bugged after a recording of a private campaign meeting surfaced in a liberal-leaning magazine.
McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said his staff is working with the FBI because of what he called "Watergate-style tactics" to bug the office.
Mother Jones magazine published the recording of the February meeting in which McConnell aides were discussing research into potential Democratic challengers, including actress Ashley Judd, who later decided not to run. Aides talked on the recording about Judd's political positions, religious beliefs and mental health.
Benton said a recording device had been placed in McConnell's office without consent. Neither the FBI in Louisville nor the magazine immediately returned telephone calls seeking comment.

Read more:

Monday, April 8, 2013

New Bitcoin Skype Malware Spreading At 2,000 Clicks Per Hour

A new piece of malware is rocking the Internet society now as it has been found that it is spreading through Skype which basically  uses the infected computers to mine for Bitcoins and then make the owner of the malware money. 

It was discovered by by security firm Kaspersky, the malware is named “Trojan.Win32.Jorik.IRCbot.xkt,” and is spreading at an alarming rate. The malware is thought to have started in Europe, with the worst hit places including Italy, Russia, Poland, Costa Rica, Spain, Germany, and Ukraine. The average clicking rates have hit around 2,000 clicks per hour,meanwhile The initial piece of malware is thought to have been developed in India, but also relies on servers in Germany (the IP of the server is: Once the user clicks the malware link, the trojan releases other pieces of malware which, using Hotfile, download additional information while the software awaits further instructions. The network of infected computers can be used to mine Bitcoins, as the more CPU power you have, the more Bitcoins you get. The people behind the malware then sell the Bitcoins at a profit, while the host computer is slow or unstable due to the load.

More here:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Washington and Beijing Draw Lines in the Sand over Cyber Spying

(Beijing) – The United States and China have long debated industrial spying and intellectual property rights issues. However, recent reports accusing China of widespread hacking activities have intensified the exchanges.
On February 20, the White House released a strategy paper outlining an approach for protecting the trade secrets of U.S. companies. "Emerging trends indicate that the pace of economic espionage and trade secret theft against U.S. corporations is accelerating," the report said.
It noted that "cyber intrusion activity" targeting trade secrets in particular posed a threat to American businesses.
The strategy paper said the United States would put in place five measures to protect its trade secrets. It would focus diplomatic efforts on protecting trade secrets overseas and applying diplomatic pressure; help private industry protect trade secrets by supporting and promoting best practices; enhance domestic law enforcement operations; improve domestic legislation; and promote public awareness.
Although the White House has denied the strategy paper was aimed at China, its content and the timing of its release indicated it had a lot to do with China.
In the 141-page paper, China appears on 31 pages, sometimes as many as 14 times per page. An appendix from the Department of Justice described 20 economic espionage and trade secret criminal cases between January 2009 and January 2013, and 17 involved China.

Google, beyond the CIA: Insurgency and espionage factory

Intercepted emails expose Google as an intelligence contractor openly involved in aiding terror organizations throughout Africa, Asia and the world, working well outside any official oversight and authority, far beyond even the CIA’s wildest abuses.

STRATFOR, in an email exchange says this of Google: 
“GOOGLE is getting White House and State Department support & air cover. In reality, they are doing things the CIA cannot do. But, I agree with you. He's going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov. can then disavow knowledge and GOOGLE is left holding the (expletive deleted) bag.”

Among the STRATFOR emails Wikileaks received were some exposing Google as, not just an intelligence contractor for the CIA and Department of Defense but foreign governments as well. 
Text within the highly sensitive cables outlines criminal and even terrorist activities on the part of Google including the planning of insurgency operations. Sources have confirmed Google has helped plan military operations against Syria and has been directly involved, working with Arab states, Turkey and Azerbaijan to plan destabilization of Iran. 

Emails expose meetings between Google executives and insurgency groups in Azerbaijan operating against Iran. 

More here:

Mom's Phone Bugged

Police have arrested a 59-year-old Lincoln man, saying they suspect him of bugging his 90-year-old mother's phone.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the man was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of unlawful interception of communications.
Police spokeswoman, Officer Katie Flood, says the man's sister called police on March 28 to report that she had found a recording device connected to her mother's phone line and recognized her brother's voice recorded on the device.
Police say a letter written by the man to his sister demands documentation of his mother's savings and threatens the sister with legal repercussions if she stands between him and his mother.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

FBI agent speaks out on Medical College espionage case

WAUWATOSA (WITI) — The FBI on Wednesday, April 3rd spoke with FOX6 News following the arrest of a Medical College researcher — accused of stealing vials of a compound intended for cancer research — and shipping them to China.
A federal criminal complaint says there is evidence 42-year-old Hua Jun Zhao, a Medical College researcher sent vials of a compound called C-25 to China. Investigators also found his ticket for China on Tuesday, April 2nd — and did not make that flight.
Zhao is being held in the Milwaukee County Jail for the FBI.
Zhao is accused of stealing cancer research and shipping it to China, where he allegedly intended to take the compound to a Chinese university to develop further.
A complaint says Zhao was working under Dr. Marshall Anderson at the Medical College — researching an organic compound called C-25. The compound had promise of helping drugs destroy cancer cells, while not harming healthy cells.
An FBI agent says Dr. Anderson left three bottles of C-25 on his desk, and left the room for a moment. The three bottles were gone when he returned. Surveillance video shows Zhao entering the office during that time in late February.
Examining Zhao’s personal computer, officials discovered hundreds of items related to Dr. Anderson’s research on C-25. There was also a grant application written by Zhao in Mandarin Chinese, asking for Chinese funding to continue his research.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The GUNMAN Project

In March of 1985, CBS news anchor Dan Rather opened the telecast with: “In another US-Soviet development, Pentagon correspondent David Martin has been told how Soviet secret police in Moscow have been getting the latest word on sensitive US embassy documents even before US officials read them.” This talk, drawn from a recently declassified paper on the web site, discusses Project GUNMAN, which involved discovery and evaluation of typewriter bugs found in the US Embassy in Moscow.
Glenn Lilly received his doctorate from the University of Kentucky in 1991. He joined the National Security Agency shortly thereafter. He spent the bulk of his career in crypto-algorithm and protocol design and evaluation. He is currently the chief of the Mathematics Research Group at NSA.