Tuesday, May 18, 2021

FutureWatch: A New TSCM Detection Tool is in Development...

The developers just don't know it yet.
It's an Electronic Dog Nose (EDN).

New sensors developed by Otto Gregory at the University of Rhode Island, and chemical engineering doctoral student Peter Ricci, are so powerful that they can detect threats at the molecular level, whether it's explosive materials, particles from a potentially deadly virus or illegal drugs entering the country.

"This is potentially life-saving technology," said Gregory. "We have detected things at the part-per-quadrillion level. That's really single molecule detection."

Because Gregory's sensors are so small and so powerful, there is a wide range of applications. more

Kevin's analysis...
Specially trained dogs have been used to sniff out covert electronic items, like cell phones in prisons, for quite a while now. The secret to detection is the device's electronic circuit boards. They contain these compounds: triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO) and hydroxycyclohexyl phenyl ketone (HPK). This second compound is also found on CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, the old tech floppy disks.

FutureWatch: Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) professionals have many types of technologies at their disposal for detecting illegal electronic surveillance devices. To name a few... Non-Linear Junction Detection, Infrared Thermography, and Radio-frequency Spectrum Analysis. We are now well on our way to adding EDN to our kit.

Italy Appoints First Female Spy Chief

Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced his choice of Elisabetta Belloni as head of the Department of Information Security (DIS) on Wednesday.

The department oversees the country's foreign and domestic intelligence services and reports directly to the Italian government.

Ms Belloni, 63, has a long career of firsts. more

Tin Foil Hat Alert: Tiny, Wireless, Injectable Chips Use Ultrasound to Monitor

Columbia Engineers develop the smallest single-chip system that is a complete functioning electronic circuit; implantable chips... that can be injected into the body with a hypodermic needle to monitor medical conditions.

Researchers at Columbia Engineering report that they have built what they say is the world's smallest single-chip system, consuming a total volume of less than 0.1 mm3. The system is as small as a dust mite and visible only under a microscope. In order to achieve this, the team used ultrasound to both power and communicate with the device wirelessly. The study was published online May 7 in Science Advances.

“We wanted to see how far we could push the limits on how small a functioning chip we could make,” said the study’s leader Ken Shepard, Lau Family professor of electrical engineering and professor of biomedical engineering. “This is a new idea of ‘chip as system’—this is a chip that alone, with nothing else, is a complete functioning electronic system. This should be revolutionary for developing wireless, miniaturized implantable medical devices that can sense different things, be used in clinical applications, and eventually approved for human use.more

Monday, May 10, 2021

Hvaldimir: Seeking Sanctuary for Whale Dubbed a Russian Spy

A mysterious beluga whale was dubbed a spy when he appeared off Norway's coast wearing a Russian harness... The whale seemed to be seeking help... The fisherman put on a survival suit and jumped into the icy water, freed the whale and retrieved the harness. To his surprise it had a camera mount and clips bearing the inscription "Equipment St. Petersburg"... 

Norwegians were captivated by the whale's dramatic rescue. Because of the whale's apparent spy status, he was given a tongue-in-cheek name. In a nod to hval, Norwegian for whale, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the beluga was christened Hvaldimir. more

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Very Long Arm of the Law

UK - A Royal Navy submarine and a bugged Scottish farmhouse were used to try to catch the killers of Stephen Lawrence, it has emerged.

The elaborate surveillance operation was set up in 1999 in an attempt to gather evidence from five men accused of the teenager’s murder, as they enjoyed a two-week break after giving a high-profile TV interview...

But the Daily Mail yesterday revealed how, before they arrived, police had planted hidden microphones in the house, in the Perthshire village of Forteviot. The submarine, which took up position off Dundee, sent the signal back to London...

The Met rigged up the whole venue with hidden listening devices even placing them in golf buggies the suspects rode on in the quaint village of Forteviot.

They relayed their signal to a helicopter circling nearby which passed it onto the sub which in turn fired it down to detectives in Scotland Yard.

Even the friendly minibus driver who showed them the sights during their 15-day Highlands stay was an undercover police officer, reports the Mail.

One source said: “It was pure James Bond. It was run like a big anti-terror operation. The team had every piece of kit you had ever heard of.” more  more

PimEyes: Cool New PI Tool or Privacy Alert - You Decide

You probably haven't seen PimEyes, a mysterious facial-recognition search engine, but it may have spotted you... Anyone can use this powerful facial-recognition tool — and that's a problem.

If you upload a picture of your face to PimEyes' website, it will immediately show you any pictures of yourself that the company has found around the internet. You might recognize all of them, or be surprised (or, perhaps, even horrified) by some; these images may include anything from wedding or vacation snapshots to pornographic images.

PimEyes is open to anyone with internet access. more

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Weird GPS Tracking Story: Shark Seems to Leave Sea for a Road Trip

Australia - A bull shark under surveillance left scientists scratching their heads after it seemed to begin traveling down a major roadway in New South Wales.

Marine biologists noticed the predator – or at least its tag – was moving along the Princes Highway between Shellharbour and Wollongong, having apparently quit the sea at Shell Cove on Wednesday morning. more 

I recall a somewhat similar incident involving a bear here in New Jersey... sing-a-long Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Industrial Espionage: A New Disclaimer Seen in Corporate Report's Fine Print

/PRNewswire/ Corteva, Inc. (NYSE: CTVA) today reported financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2021...

Cautionary Statement About Forward-Looking Statements
This communication contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934...Forward-looking statements are based on certain assumptions and expectations of future events which may not be accurate or realized. Forward- looking statements also involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Corteva's control...

...(xii) effect of industrial espionage and other disruptions to Corteva's supply chain, information technology or network systems;  more

If your company thinks industrial espionage is beyond their control, call us.

Vishing — Phone Call Attacks and Scams

via Jen Fox, SANS OUCH Newsletter...
While some of today’s cyber criminals do use advanced technologies, many simply use the phone to trick their victims...

The greatest defense you have against a phone call attack is yourself. Keep these things in mind:

  • Anytime anyone calls you and creates a tremendous sense of urgency or pressure, be extremely suspicious. They are attempting to rush you into making a mistake. Even if the phone call seems OK at first, if it starts to feel strange, you can stop and say “no” at any time.

  • Be especially wary of callers who insist that you purchase gift cards or prepaid debit cards.

  • Never trust Caller ID. Bad guys will often spoof the number, so it looks like it is coming from a legitimate organization or has the same area code as your phone number.

  • Never allow a caller to take temporary control of your computer or trick you into downloading software. This is how they can infect your computer.

  • Unless you placed the call, never give the other party information that they should already have. For example, if the bank called you, they shouldn’t be asking for your account number.

  • If you believe a phone call is an attack, simply hang up. If you want to confirm that the phone call was legitimate, go to the organization’s website (such as your bank) and call the customer support phone number directly yourself. That way, you really know you are talking to the real organization.

  • If a phone call is coming from someone you do not personally know, let the call go directly to voicemail. This way you can review unknown calls on your own time. Even better, on many phones you can enable this by default with the “Do Not Disturb” feature. more

Apple Airtags - You're It

A new report today says that AirTag stalking is “frighteningly easy” thanks to a number of weaknesses in Apple’s privacy protections...

...three days is a very long time to be tracked without your knowledge if you are an Android user. Additionally, for a stranger stalker, they would be able to track you to your home address or another location you frequently visit, before you are alerted – in other words, after the damage is done...

...An AirTag starts a three-day countdown clock on its alarm as soon as it’s out of the range of the iPhone it’s paired with. Since many victims live with their abusers, the alert countdown could be reset each night when the owner of the AirTag comes back into its range...

...There’s an option in the Find My app to turn off all of these “item safety alerts” — and adjusting it doesn’t require entering your PIN or password. People in abusive situations don’t always have total control over their phones...

...The only protection for Android users is the audible alert after three days, and it’s already been shown that the speaker can be disabled... more

Monday, May 3, 2021

Some Eavesdropping Okay in All Party Consent State (PA)

Recently, in Commonwealth v. Mason, J-44-2020 No. 69 MAP 2019 (March 25, 2021), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that audio interceptions, made in the bedroom of toddler-aged victims of a nanny’s physical and verbal abuse, when such interceptions were captured by a camera hidden in a bedroom of the house by the father (and house owner) of the toddler-aged victims, did not violate the rights of the defendant (the nanny) under the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act (Wiretap Act), 18 Pa.C.S. Sections 5701-5782, and so were admissible. The Supreme Court drew a proper and logical conclusion from the facts and the law and, hopefully, brought us closer to a reasonable look at the issue... more

Coca-Cola Chemist Guilty of Stealing Trade Secrets, Espionage

While Coca-Cola’s namesake syrup for its flagship soft drink is one of the most well-known trade secrets in food manufacturing, the beverage giant’s other secrets apparently are a little more vulnerable.

On April 22, the U.S. Department of Justice said that a federal jury in Tennessee convicted a Michigan woman of conspiracy to steal trade secrets, economic espionage and wire fraud regarding Coke’s formulas for its BPA-free coatings inside its beverage cans. She was originally indicted in February 2019, with a superseding indictment charged in August of last year.

According to court documents and evidence presented during her 12-day trial, 59-year-old Dr. Xiaorong You, who goes by Shannon You, stole the valuable formulation material while working for the company in Atlanta and at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee. The stolen BPA trade secrets belonged to major chemical and coating makers that include Akzo-Nobel, BASF, Dow Chemical, PPG and others, and cost nearly 120 million dollars to develop. more

MI6 is Hiring "Q" Anonymously

Can you turn a wristwatch into an explosive, or perhaps you are able to design some X-ray glasses to see who is carrying a concealed weapon?

If so, perhaps you should apply to be the next "Q" at Britain's MI6 foreign spy service.

The head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service said on Thursday (April 29) that the spy agency was hunting for a new tech chief, "Director General Q", known to all James Bond movie fans simply as "Q".

"We're looking for a new 'Q'. If you want to serve your country by helping MI6 to develop the operational technology of the future, please take a look," Mr Richard Moore wrote on Twitter...

The ad warned that the successful candidate would "not be publicly avowed", while there was no mention of any ability to design watches with lasers or bagpipes that turn into flamethrowers. more

Too Smart for Their Own Good, Smart TVs

A recent revelation regarding privacy violations by Skyworth TV has rattled smart TV users in China...the app that does the job is called Gozen Data, which is pre-installed on the TV’s Android system and which would scan the devices, sending back data from hostname, Mac, ip addresses, network delay times, and even nearby WiFi SSID names to a database called gz-data.com.

The website traces back to Dozen, a big data company. At time of this article’s publication, the official website of Gozen has gone into repair, but other open resources show that this company has long established partnerships with not only Skyworth, but also a series of smart TV manufacturers as well, including Sanyo, TCL, Toshiba and Philips. The firm collects data by implanting system development kits in the system layer, and is able to draw a massive amount of information... more

Guess Who Had Lower Pandemic Numbers

via John Jay College...

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the reasons that national security investigations of possible terrorists and those working for foreign agents fell sharply last year, says a new government report. 

Far fewer targets underwent secret surveillance, according to NPR. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act empowers the FBI to monitor the communications inside the United States of people suspected of being agents of a foreign power. more