Thursday, June 14, 2018

World Cup Tip - Leave Your Electronics at Home

The top U.S. counterintelligence agent has warned Americans traveling to Russia for the 2018 World Cup against taking any electronics with them, saying soccer fans could be targeted by hackers.

William Evanina, an FBI agent and the director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in a Tuesday statement that even those who see themselves as insignificant could become victims of Russian spying.

“If you’re planning on taking a mobile phone, laptop, PDA, or another electronic device with you—make no mistake—any data on those devices (especially your personally identifiable information) may be accessed by the Russian government or cyber criminals,” Evanina said, according to Reuters. more

Three Tips for Protecting a Business's Passwords

One of the common areas we see companies and technology groups struggling to manage securely and effectively is… passwords.  We know we need them (passwords), we know they need to be “secure”, and we know they’re a pain in the neck to keep organized.  That’s exacerbated exponentially when you factor in shared passwords and accounts for teams.
Tip 1:  Quit Using Excel to Manage Your Passwords...
Tip 2:  Know All of Your Org’s Accounts...
Tip 3:  Know Your Password Security Options...

Read the full details about each tip at

Cell Phone Passcode of 1+2+3+4 = 18 Years in Prison

A man serving 18 years in prison in South Carolina for burglary was rightfully convicted in part because he left his cellphone at the crime scene and a detective guessed his passcode as 1-2-3-4 instead of getting a warrant, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

Lawyers for Lamar Brown argued detectives in Charleston violated Brown’s right to privacy by searching his phone without a warrant.

After storing the cellphone in an evidence locker for six days in December 2011, the detective guessed right on Brown’s easy passcode, found a contact named “grandma” and was able to work his way back to Brown.

The justices ruled in a 4-1 decision that Brown abandoned his phone at the Charleston home and made no effort to find it. The law allows police to look at abandoned property without a court-issued warrant allowing a search. more

X-Ray Vision Using Wi-Fi

The Machines now have X-ray vision. A new piece of software has been trained to use wifi signals — which pass through walls, but bounce off living tissue — to monitor the movements, breathing, and heartbeats of humans on the other side of those walls. The researchers say this new tech’s promise lies in areas like remote healthcare, particularly elder care, but it’s hard to ignore slightly more dystopian applications.

Click to enlarge.
 While it’s easy to think of this new technology as a futuristic Life Alert® monitor, it’s worth noting that at least one member of the research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology behind the innovation has previously received funding from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Another also presented work at a security research symposium curated by a c-suite member of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s high-tech venture capital firm.

Inverse recently caught up with project’s leader Dina Katabi, a 2013 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow who teaches electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, to talk about how the new tech may be used... more

Auction - Original artwork from Carry On Spying (1964)

Original artwork from Carry On Spying (1964) and Carry On Cowboy (1965) will go under the hammer with an estimate of £2,000 - 3,000 and £3,000 - 5,000 respectively

Both artwork pieces were illustrated by legendary British cinema poster designer, Tom Chantrell of Star Wars fame.

The auction will be live-streamed online for fans to track the bidding on auction day. Registration and bidding is now open. Bids can be placed online at, over the phone or in person.

Prop Store's Cinema Poster Live Auction is on Thursday 28th June.  more

Friday, June 8, 2018

U.S. Embassy in China Sends Alert About Mystery Health Issue

The U.S. Embassy in China sent its second alert in two weeks Friday to its citizens over unexplained health issues that have prompted the evacuation of a number of U.S. government employees working at a consulate in a southern city...

The incidents have raised fears the unexplained issues that started in Cuba in 2016 have expanded to other countries. China says it has uncovered no information that could point to a cause...

Friday's alert called for people to be attentive of symptoms including "dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping." It urged them "not to attempt to locate the source of any unidentified auditory sensation. Instead, move to a different location." more

Two theories. One solution.

A new theory.
Attackers can cause potentially harmful hard drive and operating system crashes by playing sounds...

The attacks use sonic and ultrasonic sounds to disrupt magnetic HDDs as they read or write data. The researchers showed how the technique could stop some video-surveillance systems from recording live streams. Just 12 seconds of specially designed acoustic interference was all it took to cause video loss in a 720p system made by Ezviz. Sounds that lasted for 105 seconds or more caused the stock Western Digital 3.5 HDD in the device to stop recording altogether until it was rebooted.

U.S. to Thwart Spying at Singapore Summit with TSCM Bug Sweeps

U.S. officials say they are preparing to counter the Chinese spies they expect to be all over Singapore next week seeking inside information on the talks.

The Chinese, who have been known to bug everything from hotel keys to the gifts given to American visitors, are expected to deploy their increasingly sophisticated repertoire of intelligence gathering techniques, both human and electronic, in Singapore.

Areas of concern for the U.S. at the summit include:
  • U.S. officials are concerned China has recruited informants among the waiters and other staff in Singapore’s restaurants and bars, who are paid to eavesdrop on American customers and report back to their Chinese handlers.
  • Officials also expect electronic surveillance of the summit meeting sites. Americans will sweep for bugs (TSCM) in rooms at the Capello Hotel that could be used for side discussions, and could erect tents inside hotel meeting rooms to block any concealed cameras from viewing classified documents.
  • Chinese intelligence agencies have shown the ability to penetrate mobile phones even when they are off, and U.S. officials are now told to take their batteries out when they are concerned about eavesdropping, according to a U.S. intelligence official.
According to three U.S. officials, in one recent case a top U.S. official working in China repeatedly had trouble with his hotel key card. He had to replace it several times at the front desk because it wouldn’t open his door.

He brought one of the key cards back to the U.S., where security officials found a microphone embedded inside, according to the U.S. officials.

The Chinese have placed listening and tracking devices in chips embedded in credit cards, key chains, jewelry, and even event credentials, the officials said, often with the intent of capturing secret conversations among American officials. more

You can be sure same eavesdropping techniques and technology are being used for economic espionage here in the U.S. 

Fortunately, savvy private sector businesses are successfully employing similar Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) bug sweeps on a regular basis. Businesses that do not are getting their intellectual property pockets picked. ~Kevin

Woman Faces 4 Years in Jail, in Siberia, for GPS-Tracking Her Partner

Russia - A woman is facing up to four years in jail after trying to spy on her husband using a hidden GPS tracking and recording device.

The 33-year-old resident of Russia’s Siberian region of Omsk bought the GPS tracker online and installed the device in her husband's car as she suspected him of infidelity, according to a statement by Russia’s Investigative Committee.

After listening to her partner's comings and goings for “several months,” the woman, whose name has not been released by authorities, decided to sell the device online for 1,000 rubles ($16). It was during the money handover that police arrested the woman and charged her with “illegal acquisition and sale of special technical equipment intended for secretly receiving information," state news agency RIA Novosti reported. more

Click-bait headline, of course. The woman was already in Siberia. Which, reminds me of a 12 year old cut-up classmate in my math class. Teachers would try to give him a detention because of his antics, but for the longest time he wiggled out of them. "My mother is coming home from the hospital today. I can't stay." He fooled a lot of teachers, for many months, until they learned his mother was a nurse. ~Kevin

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

136 Old NSA Security Posters

In the 1950s and 1960s, the NSA made a bunch of posters to remind its employees that security is the most important thing, and that they must work hard to protect the country’s most important secrets.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the transparency site Government Attic, we can now see these quaint, sometimes hilarious, but also menacing, posters.

Here are all the 136 posters the NSA released. We’ve chosen a few that we thought were the best ones. Some of them are cutesy, some are kind of lame, others are dark and dystopian, and others are straight up incredible. more

Don't it just give you, "The locking pneumonia and floppy-copy flue."

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Stingrays in Washington DC Attacking Cell Phones – How they Work

A federal study found signs that surveillance devices for intercepting cellphone calls and texts were operating near the White House and other sensitive locations in the Washington area last year...

The discovery bolsters years of independent research suggesting that foreign intelligence agencies use sophisticated interception technology to spy on officials working within the hub of federal power in the nation’s capital. Experts in surveillance technology say that IMSI catchers — sometimes known by one popular brand name, StingRay — are a standard part of the tool kit for many foreign intelligence services, including for such geopolitical rivals as Russia and China...

 The devices work by simulating cell towers to trick nearby phones into connecting, allowing the IMSI catchers to collect calls, texts and data streams. Unlike some other forms of cellphone interception, IMSI catchers must be near targeted devices to work.

When they are in range, IMSI catchers also can deliver malicious software to targeted devices for the purpose of stealing information stored on them or conducting longer-term monitoring of communications. more
Smartphone Security Tips

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fred Kovaleski, International Tennis-Playing CIA Spy Dies

Just coincidence?

Fred Kovaleski, whose international tennis-playing career became his cover in the 1950s while he was working as a spy for the C.I.A., died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 93.

Mr. Kovaleski was well into his career on the tennis circuit, having played at Wimbledon and in tournaments abroad and in the United States, when he joined the C.I.A. in 1951 and began training in spycraft at Camp Peary, near Williamsburg, Va.

Within three years, his ability to play tennis and his Russian-language training with the C.I.A. became essential when Yuri Rastvorov, a K.G.B. lieutenant colonel and avid tennis player, defected to the United States. more

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Randy Tanning Salon Spycam'er Nailed

WI - A man was arrested here Wednesday, May 23, after police discovered he had used a “spy camera” to view clients undressing in a tanning salon.

Randy J. Schamberger, 42, was being held in the Barron County Jail on a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge, according to a press release.

Police know of eight victims caught on camera at Sunshine Fitness and Tanning Salon in Cumberland. There could be more victims, as Schamberger admitted to viewing and deleting up to 70 other files, police said.

On April 5, a client noticed what she thought was a USB phone charger plugged into one of the wall outlets in the tanning room. When she looked closely, she realized it was actually a covert digital video camera with a memory card inside.

She turned it over to police, who found 67 video files showing numerous persons undressing and in stages of full or partial nudity inside the tanning room.

Police discovered Schamberger had used his wife’s customer key fob to gain access to the room. He admitted to buying the spy camera from Amazon in October. more
Fight back!

Drones: For Criminals and Corporate Spies, the Sky’s the Limit

Switzerland - A rogue drone found on Credit Suisse HQ’s roof; fears of acid drops into data centres: drones are the latest security threat for businesses...

Besides carrying missiles or capturing images on powerful cameras, drones are now known to carry sophisticated computers too. These can be used to hack into mobile devices – and wi-fi networks...
Up in Zurich, alarms were raised at Credit Suisse’s HQ because of a rogue drone that was found lying on the office’s rooftop 12 months ago, a source tells Spear’s. The episode was presented as a potential security breach in a confidential conference at the bank, when the drone’s hacking abilities were revealed to some of its employees worldwide. The Swiss multinational declined to comment.

As well as stealing data potentially worth millions, these drones can drop acid into data centres to achieve a complete system shutdown... more

War-Flying Drone - WiFi Hacking video

Micro HD Video Camera

Just a reminder about how small spycams can be...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Amazon Echo/ Google Home/ HomePod spying on you? Fight Back!

The recent incident of a smart speaker secretly recording a couple’s conversation and sending it to one of their contacts has implanted a seed of doubt in every smart speaker’s user. 

While manufacturers assure their customers of protecting their privacy, it often gets tough to believe in their claims.

Following some simple steps can ensure you aren’t spied by your smart speaker.
  • Mute the microphone/camera when not needed...
  • Turn up the volume to the max...
  • Keep it disconnected from the Wi-Fi...
  • Don’t give access to contacts...
  • Turn off calling and messaging...
  • Lastly, don’t buy one, if you are suspicious... more
Need some smartphone security tips?
Check here.

In other news...
Facebook is now delaying the release of its smart speaker, based on widespread fears of eavesdropping and unauthorized audio recording. Those fears appeared in a recent focus group conducted by the social network... or, Because There’s No Way In Hell Any Sane Person Is Buying That Right Now. more