Thursday, December 8, 2016

TSCM Team Finds "Plug Bug" Eavesdropping Device

Japan - An eavesdropping device was found in a waiting room for conservative members of the Mito Municipal Assembly, local city government officials and other sources told the Mainichi Shimbun on Dec. 7.

Example of a "Plug Bug"
Ibaraki Prefectural Police seized the device and are investigating the case which they suspect could constitute trespassing into the building and violation of the Radio Act.

According to Mito Government officials, it was tipped off about the bug on Dec. 6.

Specialized workers hired by the local government began searching for the device from the evening of Dec. 7 and found it in a waiting room for three assembly members from "Suiseikai" -- a conservative parliamentary group -- on the first floor of the temporary two-story prefabricated assembly building. The bug plugs into an electric outlet. more

The example shown operates like a cell phone, but looks (and also operates) as a USB charger. It is powered 24/7, and may be called from a cell phone anywhere in the world. BTW, it can  also automatically call the eavesdropper when it detects sound. Available on eBay for $14.79. 

Don't you think its time to have your offices and conference rooms checked? ~Kevin

Business Espionage: ThyssenKrupp AG Technical Trade Secrets Stolen

Germany - Technical trade secrets were stolen from the steel production and manufacturing plant design divisions of ThyssenKrupp AG in cyber attacks earlier this year, the German company said on Thursday.

"ThyssenKrupp has become the target of a massive cyber attack," the industrial conglomerate said in a statement.

In breaches discovered by the company's internal security team in April and traced back to February, hackers stole project data from ThyssenKrupp's plant engineering division and from other areas yet to be determined, the company said. more

Most "cyber" attacks are made possible by internal security vulnerabilities. Regular information security audits conducted by independent consultants greatly reduce this risk. ~Kevin

Chatty Kathy's Grandkids May be Criminals

Internet-connected toys pose privacy risks to children, and their parents often aren’t aware, according to advocacy groups for children and consumers.

A complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission alleges that two talking dolls—My Friend Cayla and I-Que Intelligent Robot, both made by Genesis Toys Inc.—collect and use personal information from children in violation of rules prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices.

The complaint was drafted by several groups, including the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, a coalition of groups dedicated to ending child-targeted marketing, and Consumers Union. The groups also filed complaints with data protection, consumer protection and product safety regulators for the European Union, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and Norway. more grandma

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pharmacy Bandits Nailed by GPS Cough Syrup

CA - The suspects had no idea that the bottle of cough syrup perched on a shelf at a Tustin pharmacy contained something more than cough relief. 

It wasn’t until the nondescript package was removed from the small Newport Avenue business by burglars that its secret ingredients went to work.

Concealed inside the bottle of cough syrup was a GPS device that began tracking the medicine thieves’ every move, according to police investigators...

Tustin police spokesman Lt. Robert Wright said investigators decided to drop the small piece of technology into a bottle of cough syrup after a half-dozen pharmacy burglaries this year. more

Friday, December 2, 2016

14 Year Old Kid Violates Wiretap Law ...again

PA - Police say a western Pennsylvania teen who recorded his principal making threatening comments toward him has a history of secretly recording school officials.

Chief Allen Park tells The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Churchill police charged the 14-year-old Woodland Hills High School student with violating Pennsylvania's wiretap law earlier this year.

Park says the boy recorded a September meeting called to settle a dispute with another student without permission and then posted the audio on Facebook.

The teen now finds himself at the center of the controversy surrounding Principal Kevin Murray, who was placed on leave Wednesday after the boy produced a recording where Murray can be heard saying he would punch him in the face. more

Pennsylvania is a 2-party consent sate, meaning all parties to a recorded conversation must agree to the recording. 

And no, the principal is not me. I live in New Jersey... where the last words recorded might be, "Take him for a ride." ~Kevin

UPDATE - One of our sharp readers from Pennsylvania points out that the kid may not have broken the law after all. An exemption was amended to the state law in 2012...

§ 5704. Exceptions to prohibition of interception and disclosure of communications.

(17) Any victim, witness or private detective licensed under the act of August 21, 1953 (P.L.1273, No.361), known as The Private Detective Act of 1953, to intercept the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, if that person is under a reasonable suspicion that the intercepted party is committing, about to commit or has committed a crime of violence and there is reason to believe that evidence of the crime of violence may be obtained from the interception.

DHS Whimps Out on IoT Protections

On November 15, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

issued guidance to help stakeholders account for security in the development, manufacturing, implementation, and use of IoT devices.

The set of nonbinding principles and suggested best practices for IoT device security includes the following... more

Come on, DHS. Talk to Congress about regulations. ~Kevin

Spycam News: Security Check Nabs 'Moonlighting' Spy

TX - An employee of the National Security Agency in San Antonio is facing prison time for taking his agency's spying mission a little too far...

James Johannes pleaded guilty in Federal Court in San Antonio on Thursday to sneaking around outside the homes of his neighbors, and using his smart phone to take videos of little girls who were undressing, peeking through their windows and open doors.

Johannes was nabbed in a rather unconventional way. He was attending a meeting at Fort Sam Houston, and as he left, military police asked to check his cell phone. It is standard procedure to check the cell phones of people in secure areas to make sure there is no classified material on them.

The guards found videos of an underage girl getting undressed and stepping into the shower.

Other similar images were found on Johannes' cell phone, and one of the girls recognized him...because he was a youth leader at their church. more

UK Politicians Exempt Themselves from Extreme Spying Laws

UK - Politicians have exempted themselves from Britain's new wide-ranging spying laws.

The Investigatory Powers Act, which has just passed into law, brings some of the most extreme and invasive surveillance powers ever given to spies in a democratic state. But protections against those spying powers have been given to MPs. more

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Martini Olive Bug, or who was Hal Lipset?

He was a private investigator in San Francisco, and chief investigator for Sam Dash on the Senate Watergate Committee...

Francis Ford Coppola considered the implications of the professional eavesdropper when he made The Conversation... It should come as no surprise that Hal Lipset was hired as technical consultant for the picture.

Lipset spoke in Congress using the famous "bug in the martini olive" and other secret surveillance devices that he and his staff pioneered...

In 1964, Time Magazine wrote, "Hal Lipset, a seasoned San Francisco private eye, maintains a laboratory behind a false warehouse from where his eavesdropping ‘genius,' Ralph Bertsche, works out new gimmicks such as a high-powered bug that fits into a pack of filter-tip cigarettes..."

His first chance to go public on the national scene occurred the previous year when he was invited to testify before the Senate Constitutional Rights Subcommittee... "First I thought I’d dazzle them with an array of miniature devices they had never seen before; then I would surprise them by playing back my own testimony from a recorder I had hidden before the hearing."

The great idea worked too well. Lipset’s appearance was seen as a clever but ominous sign of   snooping running amok.
... the next time he was invited to Washington to speak before a Senate subcommittee - this one in 1965 to hear testimony specifically on eavesdropping - he renewed his efforts...

"We came up with the "bug in the martini olive" idea, it didn’t seem all that unusual. The martini glass was simply another example of how ingenious these devices could be."

The glass held a facsimile of an olive, which could hold a tiny transmitter, the pimento inside the olive, in which we could embed the microphone, and a toothpick, which could house a copper wire as an antenna. No gin was used - that could cause a short.

It was the bug in the martini olive that made Lipset "the real star of the day," as UPI reported. Hardly an ominous indication of private snoopers taking over the world, this little olive with its toothpick antenna became a "playful" and charming toy.
This is the very condensed version of his story. The full story is here,  as excerpted from his biography, "The Bug in the Martini Olive," by Patricia Holt, Little Brown, 1991 ~Kevin

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Angry Birdmen of Malta v Scientists in Eavesdropping Spat

Malta - The FKNK Federation for Hunting and Conservation – Malta, said on Friday said that BirdLife Malta was...

“possibly desperately resorting to illegal and corrupt methods to abolish the traditional socio-cultural practice of live-finch capturing from the Maltese islands,” claiming that BirdLife had been using electronic devices to eavesdrop on private mobile phone conversations.

Possibly, a false GSM base station known as ‘IMSI catcher’ or similar was used to intercept the trappers’ mobile traffic in the immediate area,” the hunting federation said.

But MaltaToday has learnt that the would-be “eavesdropping equipment” are actually antennae set up for 15 to 20 minutes in different locations to establish accurate GPS positioning data as part of a research study on coastal land-sliding being carried out by an Italian team of experts on behalf of the University of Malta and with the full cooperation of local authorities. more

Telephone Eavesdropper Learns The Beatles Were Right

UK - A multi-millionaire property developer strangled a burlesque dancer after bugging her home
and learning that she was planning to “fleece him”, a court heard yesterday.

Peter Morgan, 54, had been paying Georgina Symonds, a 25-year-old single mother, up to £10,000 a month to stop seeing other men after meeting her while she was working as an escort.

He decided to murder her after listening in to a telephone conversation in which she told a male friend that she was planning to leave Mr Morgan, a jury was told. more sing-a-long

Personal Security: Your Internet Vanishing Act May Begin Here

Just FYI...
I have not tested this. Use at your own risk.

Remember... If it's "free" you're not the consumer, you're the product.
via Dan Misener, for CBC New
With all the fake news, toxic speech, and online scams out there, you might be feeling like now is a good time to scale back your online footprint. 

There's a new tool that promises to help you do just that — by essentially deleting yourself from the internet.

It's called, and it does one thing and one thing only — it displays a list of all the online services you've ever signed up for.

So if you had a MySpace account in the early 2000s, it'll probably show up in Deseat. If you created an avatar in Second Life, it's likely to show up as well. And of course, so will things like your Facebook or Twitter accounts...

To use, you first log in using a Google account. Then, once it knows your email address, it can find any accounts that have been linked in any way to that Google account.

Now, it will ask for some things which may sound creepy — it will not only ask to view your email address, but also to view your email messages and settings. Based on my experience, scans through your email archives to find sign-up confirmation messages from various services. more

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Business Espionage: The Darknet - Where Industrial Trade Secrets are Sold

Ludwig Sandell, Dignato AS general manager, expressed his concern over how the darknet is a place where sensitive industrial trade secrets can be exchanged without repercussions.

To be more precise, he feels there are multiple local companies affected by espionage, which could significantly hurt their business if these details fall into the wrong hands...

...industrial trade secrets of a Norwegian wind power project run by Statoil are up for grabs on the darknet as we speak. The data itself was found on a memory stick – which was either lost or stolen – and includes vital measurement information. For the company itself, having that information leak to the public could spell the end of their business rather quickly. more

Are your company secrets for sale on the darknet?
Hire a service to find out. ~Kevin

Japanese Singer Calls Police to Report Spycam... gets arrested.

Fallen Japanese pop star Aska has been arrested on drugs charges after calling police to tell them he was being spied on at home by a hidden camera, police and reports said Tuesday.

The singer -- one half of folk rockers Chage and Aska -- was slurring on the call when he insisted he was being watched, Jiji Press and other media said.

Police who visited his Tokyo home on Monday arrested the 58-year-old on suspicion of using stimulants and MDMA, a force spokesman told AFP. more

Brooklyn Prosecutor Allegedly Wiretapped Cop Love Interest's Cell Phone

NY - A Brooklyn assistant district attorney was arrested this week for allegedly wiretapping two cell phones so she could hear conversations between a cop love interest and another woman.

According to a criminal complaint, Tara Lenich, 41, forged judges' signatures to authorize the wiretapping of the aforementioned unidentified cop's cell phone, as well as a phone belonging to an unidentified woman. Lenich, who was in charge of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau at the DA's office, may have been romantically attached to the cop, and tabloid reports speculate the wiretapped woman was his new love interest.

The complaint says Lenich forged warrants related to the wiretapping at least 20 times, using different judges' names, between August 20, 2015 and November 25, 2016. Lenich allegedly called the wiretapping a "secret outside investigation" when discussing it with colleagues. more