Wednesday, July 18, 2007

SpyCam Story #375 - The Three Alarm'er

Couple awarded more than $250,000 because landlord bugged their apartment.

NY - Their 700-square-foot apartment had a large living room, a big kitchen, nice-sized bathroom and bedroom. Perfect for the young newlyweds.
The couple from Oneida was thrilled to be able to rent the space before their wedding in the fall of 2002. They were even happier that they knew the owner of 542 Seneca St., Patrick Kaiser.

Kaiser owned a local electrical business and was also a lieutenant in the Oneida City Fire Department.

When they moved from the apartment on Seneca Street into their new home in October 2003, they hired Kaiser to do electrical work.
He was someone the newlyweds were sure they could trust. They were wrong.

For more than a year, Kaiser was watching and recording their every move, including their private conversations and most intimate moments. Using several cameras that were placed strategically throughout the apartment, including the living room, one hidden in a bedroom alarm clock and another behind a bathroom sink, Kaiser was able to record every detail of their lives.
(more) (more)

Fraud boss wants phone taps used to convict insider dealers

Britian’s top fraud investigator wants more phone tapping and other forms of “directed surveillance” to combat insider dealing and share-ramping.

Robert Wardle, director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), said there was a strong case for allowing phone-intercept evidence to be admitted in court so that “real” crimes such as insider dealing could be more easily prosecuted.

The SFO boss warned that unless measures were taken, the reputation of London as one of the world’s leading financial centres could be undermined. (more)

Monday, July 16, 2007


The world's most populous country will get an opportunity to join the international craze for BlackBerry handsets following approval for Research in Motion to sell its communication devices in China.

The Chinese government has been slow to endorse the BlackBerry in part because of security issues. Some reports have suggested that the regime was concerned that the device's encryption technology would prevent state agents from eavesdropping on suspicious communications.

The BlackBerry will face a local rival, China's second largest mobile phone operator China Unicom markets a mobile email device cheekily called the RedBerry. (more)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Is Your Printer Spying on You? Good!

Privacy advocates are enraged that many printer manufacturers have cooperated with the Secret Service by adding identifying marks to every page that exits their printers.

The MIT Media Lab has even set up a
special web site that explains the process and encourages people to complain to the printer manufacturers.

"This is a direct attack on the privacy of the owners and users of printers, and in particular, on their right to free, anonymous speech." MIT Media Lab

Good point. I'm all for privacy, but stop and think. There is an upside to this; especially for my commercial and government clients. People who want to keep their information private and secure now have one more brick in the security wall. Exclusively employing these printers makes it just a little more difficult for insiders to engage in espionage and information theft.

Stolen intellectual property
(via printing or photocopying) can now be tracked and prosecuted more easily.

Persons who want to counterfeit, or publish anonymously, still have other means to accomplish their goals. ~Kevin

Uncle Sam Wants You...r Hearing Aid

Audio Exploitation
Solicitation Number: Reference-Number-BAA-07-05-IFKA
Posted Date: Jul 11, 2007
Classification Code: A -- Research & Development

"The scope of this effort covers a broad range of audio and speech processing technologies not limited to: speaker identification, language/ dialect identification, obtaining the gist of a conversation by recognition of words and phrases, uncooperative speaker audio language translation, whispered speech detection, audio transmission segmentation in continuous speech, background noise identification, channel effect mitigation, usable speech determination, interference (noise and competing talkers) reduction, voice stress analysis, speaker verification, coding to preserve the characteristics of the talker and channel, watermarking, and correlation." (

Insight - Privacy Mores Differ Internationally

(Direct quotes from the manufacturer follow.)

"Fun New Spy Device From China"

"Chinavasion brings you this fully functional Novelty Tire clock with a hidden surprise. Cleverly hidden inside is a small wireless CMOS camera which can be switch on or off at a touch of the supplied remote Just imagine the fun that can be had

Chinavasion presents yet another incredible gadget; a 2.4GHz hidden spy camera in a nifty looking racing tyre and 2.4GHz Receiver /MP4 player in one. This is definitely a product that can be used for just about any purpose you can think of, without anyone ever being the wiser. Better yet, with the included remote, you can switch the spy camera on and off without anyone even seeing you turn it on. A great gadget that is perfect for anyone." (more)

Here come the SnitchBots

"Wakamaru" recognizes approximately 10,000 words necessary for daily life, recognizes its owner and his family and speaks to them on appropriate topics. Needless to say, "wakamaru" will respond to you also based on information he gets from your daily life." (more)

Friday, July 13, 2007

SpyCam Story #368

Chicago, IL - Channel 2 is despicable and slimy for shooting and/or obtaining, and then airing the covert video of the Stebic pool party. It's getting to the point where the National Enquirer may have more journalistic ethics than some of our local media -- and that's not saying much. ~Martin J. Jacobs

The story that precipitated this remark is fascinating. (more)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SpyCam Story #367

UK - A man from Woodford Halse has appeared in court accused of setting up covert video cameras in his toilet so he could film children who visited his home.

Alan Kench, of South Street, was arrested in December 2006 and appeared before Daventry Magistrates on Tuesday. (more)

Why India Doesn't Need TSCM Technicians

India - Sushma Swaraj, leading the opposition presidential election campaign for vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, says her telephone is being tapped.

She said that whenever anyone called up her phone number, 9868181920, 'the reply comes 'this number does not exist'. I am not being able to call up from my phone. When I called up my residential landline it was being connected to the Police Control Room.'

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ahluwalia, backed her up, saying, 'I have been handling mobile phones since their inception and can make out when they are being tapped or when there is some normal fault in the line and I can tell you this is clearly a case of tapping.' (more)

"Twice on the pipe if the answer is no..."

AR - A former sheriff's deputy who bugged his upstairs neighbor's apartment pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge and will serve one day in jail.

The listening device was discovered April 1 when the neighbor felt something under the carpet and found a microphone. Authorities found four holes in the ceiling of the deputy's apartment below. David Paul, 35, was fired by Baxter County that night. (more)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Software lets parents monitor kids' calls

In March, 15-year-old Joshua Brumfield got a shiny new BlackBerry Pearl, and his parents got a new way to watch out for their son.

The Brumfields signed up to be early users of Radar, software designed to let parents monitor incoming calls on their child's mobile phone. Anytime Joshua gets a call from someone not on a call list approved by his parents, they will receive a real-time text alert on their cell phone or online.

Radar could mark a shift toward greater monitoring by parents through cell phones, much the way it happened on the Web years ago. As more kids live their lives on mobile devices--text messaging, sending photos, scheduling school assignments, surfing the Web and calling their social circle--some parents are using tracking software to protect them from predators or bullies, or to simply stay connected. (more)(more parents monitoring children articles)

Spies in Sports

Allegations that a senior McLaren engineer received stolen documents from Ferrari are just the latest in a long and ignoble tradition of Formula One skullduggery...

- At the end of 1977 former drivers turned team managers Jackie Oliver and Alan Rees, together with designer Tony Southgate, had grown dissatisfied with the management style of Shadow team-owner Don Nichols, and defected - Southgate's Arrows FA1 bore a striking basic resemblance to Shadow's DN9, which he had also penned prior to leaving Nichols.

- (1978) When the gifted Lotus designer Colin Chapman and his staff harnessed undercar ground-effect aerodynamics to enhance the grip that the car could generate, thus creating a very significant performance increase, other designers scratched their heads... At the Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp that year Lotus personnel got a surprise when they returned to the track one night to retrieve something they had forgotten, and discovered Tyrrell's designer, the late Maurice Philippe, lying beneath the 79 taking in all of its secrets.

- Chapman himself was not averse to such underhand practice and at the Austrian Grand Prix in 1979 dispatched his team manager Peter Collins to acquire critical measurements from the successful Williams FW07. Collins duly got the information that Chapman had demanded but was caught red-handed in doing so, causing a minor scandal that soon died down.

- The late Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite, who was Ferrari's technical director, admitted that he had been the mastermind behind a clandestine break-in at the Williams garage during the German Grand Prix in 1980. A group of Ferrari personnel spent the entire night in the garage, wielding their tape measures and taking photographs of the car that would win Australian Alan Jones that year's championship.

- Frank Williams was livid when he heard about Collins and his tape measure that time in Austria, until one of his own team pointed out that every team, including Williams, was doing something similar.

- McLaren mechanics once discovered a senior BAR-Honda aerodynamicist in the back of one of their trucks, trying to measure up their car. They locked him in.

...and in other sports...

Rugby Union
- In the week leading up to the 2003 World Cup final in Sydney, the England coach Clive Woodward ordered their hotel rooms and training grounds to be swept for spying devices. It was feared the Australians were eavesdropping on secret team talks.

- Prior to a Test against England at Twickenham in 2005, New Zealand officials caught two men in camouflage gear in bushes filming the All Black training. They claimed to be from a news agency before running away. Both England and the agency denied any knowledge of them.

- In April 2003 England accused Turkey of filming training prior to a Euro 2004 qualifier in Sunderland. Sven Goran Eriksson had planned to use a diamond formation but his changes were witnessed by a Turkish official posing as a charity worker.

- In November 2005 a newspaper alleged that the Manchester United dressing room had been bugged before a 1-0 home victory over Chelsea. The paper said they were offered the tapes by a "middle man".

- After a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in February this year, the Leeds manager, Dennis Wise, claimed one of his players had leaked team information to the opposition before kick-off. The player's identity was never revealed.

- During England's 2006-07 Ashes tour detailed bowling plans for individual batsman were leaked to an Australian radio station. The plans had been pinned up in England's dressing room.

- In July 2006 the Australia netball coach Norma Plummer accused New Zealand spies of passing on team secrets prior to the two rivals' meeting. She accused former employees who were now working for the Kiwis.

- A diver was found near the Nippon JPN-26 boat as it left San Diego harbour to sail in the first race of the 1992 Louis Vuitton Cup semi-final. The diver turned out to be a friend of Le Défi Français skipper Marc Pajot, and he was said to have been sent to the other boat for a bet.


"Eavesdropping is one example of an overhyped threat," said Lawrence Orans, a researcher with Gartner, in a previous interview. "Sure, it’s technically possible to execute a man-in-the-middle attack and capture packets. The reason that we hear so much about eavesdropping is that it really does illicit this visceral reaction. The main thing is to focus on the greater threats, for example attacking an IP PBX server itself." (more)

Every element of VoIP security is synergistically important.
My advice; think holistic. ~Kevin

SpyCam Story #365

UK - A Hampshire councillor who set up a spy camera to secretly film a woman and two teenage girls using his bathroom has been jailed for four months.

Neil Redrup, a Ministry of Defence database manager at the time, put the camera in an airing cupboard with the lens spying through a hole at his home.

Redrup, 45, regularly invited teenagers to parties at his home, a court heard.

He pleaded guilty to four charges of voyeurism and one for gross indecency between January and December 2005. (more)

Idea! Free Car Wash with Every Bug

Mace Security International, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic surveillance, security and personal defense products, and an owner and operator of car and truck wash facilities, today announced results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2007.

Financial Results
The net loss for the first quarter of 2007 was $658,000, or $(0.04) per share, compared to a loss of $966,000 or $(0.06) per share for the first quarter of 2006.

Total revenues for the quarter ended March 31, 2007 were $11.6 million compared to $13.3 million for the same period in 2006. The decrease in revenues was primarily due to a decrease in revenues from the Security Segment of approximately $1.1 million, or 16.7%, in the first quarter of 2007 compared to the first quarter of 2006. The change in revenues within the Security Segment was principally due to a decrease in sales of our consumer direct electronic surveillance and machine vision camera and video conferencing equipment in Texas and our professional electronic surveillance operation in Florida. The decrease in sales in our professional electronic surveillance operation was partially a result of sales of discontinued and refurbished products at lower prices, the inability of some of Mace’s vendors to supply high volume products in a timely manner, and the impact on operations and management of the Florida embezzlement investigation. This decrease in sales was partially offset by growth in revenues in our personal defense and law enforcement aerosol operations. Car wash and detailing revenues decreased... (more)

Extra! Extra! Spies Gone Wild. Read All About It

CIA Secret Documents Released
The newly released documents known within the Central Intelligence Agency as the "Family Jewels" give a history of the agency's misdeeds covering several decades. (more)

Me too! Me too!

Russia’s FSB security service, successor to the KGB, has opened its archives on the mass persecution of political 'enemies' during the rule of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, but only relatives of victims will be allowed to see any information. (more)

Rocky & His Friends

Iran - According to IRNA, the official Islamic Republic news agency, the national Police chief has implicitly verified the news about the confiscation of a number of squirrels, equipped with eavesdropping devices, on the Iranian borders.

He has declined to give any more details, but, reportedly, when asked about the confiscation of 14 spy squirrels, he stated, “I have heard about it, but I do not have precise information”. IRNA adds, “These squirrels were equipped by foreign intelligence services, but were captured two weeks ago by the Police”.
"I tried searching the IRNA site (in English) and wasn’t able to find any articles on “spy squirrels.”

Kamangir: IRNA, and other news sources, do not translate all their news in English. I assure you that I have given a proper translation of the Persian source. Unfortunately, Google does not provide English-Persian translation, yet. (more) (video)
& His Friends
Iran has arrested 20 people - including some foreigners - near the border with Iraq and accused them of belonging to a spy network, the state-run news agency reported Monday.

The IRNA news agency did not provide the nationalities of the foreigners. Iran last month claimed to have uncovered spy rings organized by the United States and its Western allies.

IRNA, quoting the head of the intelligence department in the Kerman Shah province, said the 20 were trained by intelligence services "of the enemy" for economic, military, political, cultural and social purposes. (more)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Alleged Ferrari 'spy' flees Italy

Former Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney says he has left Italy fearing for his safety after being accused of passing confidential information to McLaren's chief designer.

"There have been high-speed car chases. We've been followed by more than one car, with Italian plates, and when we cornered one of them last Thursday evening the men in it refused to speak," the Observer newspaper quoted him as saying on Monday.

"I don't believe they were journalists," the 47-year-old Briton added.

"There was tracking gear on my car. Someone was going to get hurt. I had no option to get out of Italy."

Stepney was dismissed by Ferrari at the start of the week after Formula One's Italian glamour team took legal action against him for the "theft of technical information". (more)

Eye Loves New York

By the end of this year, police officials say, more than 100 cameras will have begun monitoring cars moving through Lower Manhattan, the beginning phase of a London-style surveillance system that would be the first in the United States.

The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, as the plan is called, will resemble London’s so-called Ring of Steel, an extensive web of cameras and roadblocks designed to detect, track and deter terrorists. British officials said images captured by the cameras helped track suspects after the London subway bombings in 2005 and the car bomb plots last month.

If the program is fully financed, it will include not only license plate readers but also 3,000 public and private security cameras below Canal Street, as well as a center staffed by the police and private security officers, and movable roadblocks. (more)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bug the Judge Blowout - One Week Later

ISLAMABAD: Following the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to purge the Supreme Court, residences and offices of the judges of all bugging devices within a week, intelligence agencies remained busy to comply with the unprecedented orders of the apex court.

Sources seeking anonymity told The Frontier Post that the officials at the intelligence agencies spent a busy week ensuring that no bugging device is left at any of the places mentioned above.

Sources said that most of the devices used for bugging are planted in the vicinity of telephone exchanges or at meeting places but private places are exempted.

They informed that a special team was sent to clear those lodges which have been assigned to judges or judicial officers in Islamabad.

Supreme Court has also ordered the Director General Intelligence Bureau (IB) to file a personal affidavit declaring that all the buildings associated with the judges of the superior court are safe and without any bugging device. The affidavit is likely to be submitted on Monday. (more)

Toys "R" Us - Telephone Bug Kit

Telephone Bug Kit
Elenco Electronics

"Listen in on telephone conversations in your home with this build it your self telephone bug. Its compact size (about the size of a dime) allows it to fit into most telephone handsets. Easy to install and fun to build. No battery are required. Complete with training course. Soldering is required."
Age: 10 years and up (!?!?)
Note: Gift wrap is not available for this item.
(more)(commentary)(Kid Spy Xmas List)

Next project...
Let's make booster-bags and go to Toys-R-Us!

UPDATE - 7/14/07 - This item has disappeared from the Toys-R-Us web site. (cached here)

Quick, name 126 movies which feature eavesdropping

The answer is here.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

When we last left the Best Buy 'Geek Squad'...

...they were being sued for, "dispatching a technician who allegedly videotaped the client's daughter taking a shower." (more)

The latest claim of 'Geek Sneak
Peak' comes from

"To investigate claims by current and former Geek Squad techies (see "The 10 Page Geek Squad Confession - "Stealing Customers' Nudie Pics Was An Easter Egg Hunt"), we loaded a computer with porn and rigged it to make a video of itself. We captured every cursor movement, every program opened, every file accessed. Everything that the user saw and did, we recorded.

We took it to less than a dozen Best Buy Geek Squads and asked them to perform simple tasks, like installing iTunes. Most places were fine, sometimes doing the job right on the counter, sometimes even for free.

Then we caught one well-seasoned Geek Squad Agent copying personal and pornographic images and video from our computer to his company-issued thumb drive (see video, or the logfiles)."

Moral: USB memory sticks (aka thumb drives) can be dangerous to the health of your computer privacy. Info-theft and compuvoyeurism can occur anytime someone has access to your computer. If you have private file, encrypt them now. ~Kevin

Friday, July 6, 2007

Lax USB stick security causing havoc

According to a straw poll carried out at Infosecurity Europe last month, 90 per cent of the 12,000 attendees routinely carried portable storage devices. The survey also showed that 80 per cent of visitors believed their company had lost valuable confidential data through the use of these devices.

SmartLine, a developer of network management and end-point security offerings, conducted a short survey on its stand.

"Although these gadgets are designed to be perfectly harmless, it does not take much for them to become a major security headache. It is all too easy to use them to siphon off valuable data.

"Even legitimate users can simply lose the device, or have it stolen. Organisations need to ensure that they have the right security measures in place to protect themselves from this type of data leakage."(more)

Some companies stamp their logos onto USB sticks and use them as give-a-ways. Keep in mind that this may be the perfect Trojan Horse gift - if pre-loaded with spyware, the infection begins the second you plug it in. Don't let visitors stick you either. ~ Kevin

Take steps to safeguard sensitive data

Whether it’s the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which addresses healthcare information, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), which addresses financial information, or even the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which addresses education information, chances are good that one of these affects your organization in some way.

Compliance is nothing to fool around with. ... Unauthorized disclosure of such sensitive information could adversely impact your organization with both civil and criminal liabilities. To protect yourself and your company, it’s vital that you implement some extra precautions. (more)(we can assist)

Eavesdroppping as a Plot Thickener

Sometimes it works, as in The Conversation.
Sometimes it doesn't, as in...

"Here's how bad "License to Wed" is:
Even the outtakes at the end are lame.

And so Ben and Sadie can't have sex before the wedding, which Frank (Robin Williams) monitors by bugging their apartment, then eavesdropping on them in the back of a van with the choir boy in tow, which is just wrong." (more)

Britney Spears, Wiretapper?!?!

Spears delivered (a poem and audio CD) along with legal papers, to her mother on June 28 on the set of kid sister, Jamie Lynn’s television show, “Zoey 101.” The two are reportedly also battling over the affections of Jamie Lynn.

The CD reportedly contained recordings of phone conversations between Lynne Spears and Britney's estranged husband, Kevin Federline, in which the two are apparently working in cahoots.

Spears is forbidding her mother from seeing her two sons, and in one conversation, Lynne is said to be arranging to meet K-Fed and the boys, and says, “I have to be careful that Britney doesn’t find out!” The recordings were made by a private investigator, according to the tab(loid, Star Magazine).

In another call, Federline assured Spears’ mother that his court battle with the singer was going well. (more)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Death to GPS Trackers

GPS Jammers
Coming to a car near you.

The 60's Version of X-Ray Vision


"Did anyone out there ever actually buy this pen or the glasses?

What was their gimmick?"
(Ripping off impressionable kids who turned into spybusters?)


Strange Spy Synchronism

Israel spy (spying for)
found dead in Egyptian cell

An Egyptian engineer sentenced to 15 years hard labour for spying for Israel has been found dead in his prison cell, a security source said on Monday. (more)

Israel spy (spying against)
gets six months in prison

A Jerusalem Magistrate's Court judge sentenced a nuclear spy to six months in prison for violating conditions of his release. (more)

Judge Bugged. (...which bugs the other judges.)

Pakistan's supreme court judges have ordered a sweep of their homes and courtrooms for spying devices after the government presented "scandalous" evidence in its case against the suspended chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The supreme court rejected a dossier containing surveillance photos of Mr Chaudhry's home and transcripts of apparently bugged conversations, marked "secret", that was presented to the court yesterday.

The 13-judge bench reprimanded the government for producing "vexatious and scandalous" material, suspended the legal license of one of the government's lawyers , and banned intelligence agents from all future hearings of the superior courts.

The court ordered the Intelligence Bureau, Pakistan's main civilian spy agency, to ensure all bugging or other surveillance devices were removed from the homes and offices of supreme court judges within one week. (more)

The Champagne Spy

A son's desire to finally unload the secrets he's been carrying for decades triggers Schirman's documentary, "The Champagne Spy."

Outline -- Mossad undercover agent keeps his real family in the dark while carrying on a lavish lifestyle. Perspectives on the personal costs paid for a life of espionage and the dark side of Israel's spy wars are bracing and dramatic, assuring strong film festival and distribution interest. (more)

The Athens Cell Phone Eavesdropping Affair

On 9 March 2005, a 38-year-old Greek electrical engineer named Costas Tsalikidis was found hanged in his Athens loft apartment, an apparent suicide. It would prove to be merely the first public news of a scandal that would roil Greece for months.

The next day, the prime minister of Greece was told that his cellphone was being bugged, as were those of the mayor of Athens and at least 100 other high-ranking dignitaries, including an employee of the U.S. embassy.

Even before Tsalikidis's death, investigators had found rogue software installed on the Vodafone Greece phone network by parties unknown. ...the Athens affair stands out because it may have involved state secrets, and it targeted individuals—a combination that, if it had ever occurred before, was not disclosed publicly.

Given the ease with which the conversations could have been recorded, it is generally believed that they were. But no one has found any recordings, and we don't know how many of the calls were recorded, or even listened to, by the perpetrators. ... We still don't know who committed this crime. (much more)

Clinton 'Spy' Aide Sued - Wiretapping

Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief strategist (Mark Penn) is accused of illegal eavesdropping in a civil lawsuit that alleges he and his polling firm monitored the personal e-mails of a former associate who started a rival company.

Mitchell Markel claims the firm monitored messages sent from his personal BlackBerry after he had resigned.

Lawyers for the firm and founder Mark Penn, Clinton's strategist, denied the claim. (more)

SpyCam Story #366

Wales - Security guards working at the National Assembly in Wales have been reprimanded after being caught using high-powered CCTV cameras to spy on local residents and hotel guests, it emerged today. (more)

SpyCam Story #365

Lawsuit Over School Spying in Third Week.

Several years ago a team visiting Livingston Middle School noticed cameras in a dressing room. Those cameras allegedly recorded images that were stored on a computer hard drive and could be accessed over the Internet.

The suit states that the images of the children were viewed by at least seven adults without the consent of the children or their parents.

The defendants also say that every successful remote access to the security system's software traces back to the computer in LMS Assistant Principal Robert Jolley's office.
("Hold the jokes, mister.")

...who got them from Toyota.

McLaren have suspended a "senior member" of its technical staff after it was revealed to the team that someone had unlawfully obtained information belonging to rival Ferrari.

McLaren have not named the person in question but reports it is chief designer Mike Coughlan. A search by British police at Coughlan's house on Tuesday turned up documents which allegedly belong to Ferrari. (more)
(the Ferrari/Toyota espionage story)

SpyCam Story #364

Radio Chick Video Trick

New York - Former WFNY afternoon host Leslie Gold, the "Radio Chick," has set up a spycam in her home to record the doings of her boyfriend, Carmine Appice. (more)