Tuesday, September 30, 2008

jbond ( 007 ) Power Seller

UK - Police are investigating the sale of a digital camera said to contain MI6 images of
terror suspects, the Foreign Office has said. The camera was bought for £17 on auction website eBay by a 28-year-old from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The pictures were also said to include rocket launchers and missiles. ...refused to comment on the report that the camera was sold by an MI6 agent. (more)

Monday, September 29, 2008

MacSpy - Video Surveillance Goes Franchise

The 1970's dream of Dictograph Surveillance Centers has finally come true. Franchise video monitoring is now real.

Dictograph pioneered franchise security and even had a "Video Surveillance Center" before it was technologically feasible.

The center consisted of a wall of wooden outlines of TV monitor screens with photographs of client locations pasted in the screen spaces. To add realism,
the photos had horizontal TV scan lines superimposed over the picture.

A poster-sized photograph of this wall – complete with an official surveillance person eyeing the wall carefully – was placed at client locations to let employees know that they were being watched. Hollywood, but it worked.

In fact, usually only one of the client location cameras was hooked to a local monitor. The rest of the cameras were empty shells with a big red blinking tally light on the front.

The future is here, and so are new video surveillance franchises, like MonitorClosely.com

and SightMind

FutureWatch – "Neighborhood Watch Alarms" A sales technique to convince entire neighborhoods to sign on with one provider. The hook... When trouble is spotted on one system, all the neighbors will be instantly alerted.

How do I know about the fake video wall?
I was one of those official surveillance persons.
And, I kept the secret, until now.

SpyCam Story #476 - Follow Me Roaming

Singapore - A brain might well be added to those all-seeing eyes along streets, train stations and shopping centres.

The Home Affairs Ministry wants those surveillance cameras put to more pro-active use, with new technology that can detect a face in a crowd, for example.

Last month, it made pu
blic two 'request for information' (RFI) documents asking about two similar types of technology: one that can recognise suspects by their facial features and another that can pick out objects of interest - from video footage. (more) (spoof video)

FutureWatch - Although facial recognition and tracking didn't catch on the first go-around (the Tampa, Florida experiment), it is ripe for a come-back. 5 years from now, this will be commonplace – along with automatic license plate readers and motion-intention evaluators.

Flashback - August 23, 2003
It is with sadness we note the demise of our favorite city motto... Tampa - "You're only a stranger here once."

August 2003 - Tampa police have scrapped their controversial security camera system that scanned city streets for criminals, citing its failure over two years to recognize anyone wanted by authorities.

July 2001 - The Tampa City Council took a fully-informed look at Ybor City's controversial high-tech face-scanning software. When the dust settled, the council split down the middle with a 3-3 vote on whether or not to do away with the face-scanning software.
http://www.spybusters.com/SS018.html (search word: Ybor)

A Nobel Change of Heart

Sweden's ruling four-party coalition added a series of amendments on Thursday to a law for monitoring cross-border internet and telephone traffic, bowing to pressure from privacy advocates and worried legislators.

Under the revised bill, the military National Defence Radio Establishment will be allowed to monitor Swedes' internet usage as well as content from e-mails, phone calls and mobile text messages, but only after getting court approval. (more)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spys Under Fire

Grenada's former spy chief, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Anthony De Gale has finally been questioned in connection with reports of missing files from the department. De Gale was questioned on Tuesday by members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at their location on Hillsborough Street, St. George's. The Spy Master was sent on his 120 days accumulated leave by newly installed Police Commissioner, James Clarkson after it was discovered that at the files at Special Branch were destroyed immediately after the July 8 General Elections which brought the then opposition National Democratic Congress of Tillman Thomas to power. (more)

Former India coach Greg Chappell on Saturday laughed off speculation that he was passing on secret information about the Indian team to Australia. Chappell, who quit as India coach last year after the team's first-round exit at the World Cup, is now touring with the Australian team as their assistant coach. (more)

And... they fire back!
A former MI5 chief, Dame Stella Rimington, has criticised the government's plans to extend the period under which suspects can be held without charge.

In comments cited by the Guardian newspaper, the ex-intelligence supremo said the 42-day detention plans were

Dame Rimington was speaking at the Crime Scene festival where she was lau
nching her espionage thriller, Dead Line. (more)

Bonus points:
Guess who is who.

Update - The winner is my very knowledgeable conterespionage colleague from Australia, who writes...
"Dame Stella Rimington was the former head of the domestic counter intelligence agency 'The Security Service' (aka MI5) whereas Dame Judy Dench plays the role of M (head of the Foreign Intelligence Service 'The Secret Service' aka MI6) in the James Bond Series.
So they don't represent the same agency... small point I know :)"

And I thought the casting department was being clever. Never underestimate the vast knowledge of the Security Scrapbook readership!

Have a spy question? Send it in. If I don't know the answer, I am sure one of our readers knows.

Tracking a Corporate Spy

May 1988: On behalf of the U.S. Surgical Corp., Mary McFate begins monitoring an animal rights group protesting the company's use of dogs in surgical training at its Connecticut headquarters. As an undercover agent, McFate meets activist Fran Trutt at a rally and records her making threats to kill company president Leon C. Hirsch. McFate reports the threat to Hirsch and begins extensively monitoring Trutt.
From here the story gets weirder... (more)

August 2008: After reports of connections to the NRA, gun safety advocates try contacting McFate. Unable to do so, they expel her.

Put us on our team before you corporation has to deal with espionage issues like these.

Eavesdrop on Astronauts

Conversations between astronauts aboard the International Space Station and flight controllers on the ground now are available for the public to hear live, 24 hours a day, seven days a week on NASA's Web site.

The streaming audio of space-to-ground communications includes NASA commentary during specific station mission events and regularly scheduled space station commentary on NASA Television Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. Central time. NASA already provides this space-to-ground communication with commentary during space shuttle missions.

The streaming station and shuttle mission audio is available on the following NASA sites:
- Under the NASA TV (Live) tab at: http://www.nasa.gov
- Under the left navigation at: http://www.nasa.gov/station and http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle
- In the list of channels at: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Spouse Spying Causes More Problems

New Zealand - Suspicious spouses who use spy software to track phone calls and text messages on their cheating partner's cellphone may be breaking the law.

One website to offer the spyware service, Flexispy, allows people to download the software to a suspected adulterer's internet-capable phone for a fee. The virtually undetectable software tracks every text and phone call made from the phone and a summary can be viewed online. But New Zealand Institute of Professional Investigators president Trevor Morley says use of the software would amount to phone-tapping, which is illegal in this country.

"Even if it was not an offence under the... Crimes Act provisions to use that software, we suggest that its use would definitely be a breach of various provisions of the Privacy Act.

Assistant privacy commissioner Katrine Evans said there were cases where spying or surveillance by a parent of a child or within a couple did not breach privacy laws. (more)

The same is generally true in the United States of America.

Low-Tek, Bones

OH - A Strongsville chiropractor was convicted Friday of spying on female patients as they undressed in his offices.

James Starek, 38, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of voyeurism and obstruction of justice. Berea Municipal Judge Mark Comstock found him guilty. A sentencing date was not immediately set.

Mary Ann Suchan said she quit working for Starek after her daughter Stephanie raised concerns about unusual behavior by the doctor and a suspicious mirror in a room where she undressed.

Stephanie Suchan said she suspected the mirror was actually two-sided. Her mother later removed the roughly 8-by-10 mirror while Starek was away and found a large hole in the wall, she said. The women took photos of the hole and shared them with Strongsville police and reporters. (more)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

SpyCam Story #475 - Vermont Made

A former University of Vermont student is admitting he used cameras to spy on people.

Jordan Yarosh, 18, pleaded guilty in court Tuesday to three counts of voyeurism. Yarosh placed hidden cameras, disguised as clock radios, in various bathrooms. (more)

Spycam Story #474 - Sign of the Times

35+ Surveillance cameras spy on the product in a window display.

Overkill for shoplifters?

"Everyone notices you when you carry the right bag, even all the surveillance cameras. It's a sign of the times."

Louis Vuitton: luxury leather luggage, French fashion designer, society's pulse taker. Seen in Century City, CA by Secret Agent AT.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bin there... dunned that.

Pakistan recovers 'US spy drone'
A military spokesman told the BBC that the drone was recovered on Tuesday in the South Waziristan tribal area and the wreckage was being examined. (more)

"Me, too"
Georgia today said it had shot down a Russian drone over territory close to the breakaway province of South Ossetia, which is due to be patrolled by EU observers. (more)

Estonia Catches Its First Spy!

Estonian police have arrested high-ranking member of the Defense Ministry Herman Simm on accusations of espionage. His wife Heete Simm, a police lawyer, faces similarly charges. Estonian authorities have not named the country the couple were providing information to, but Estonian media and local experts claim it was Russia. (more)

SpyCam Story #473 - His Indespensible Disposable

UT - A man is accused of hiding a camera in the bedroom of an acquaintance so he could watch her undress. In charges filed Monday, police wrote that the victim found an electronic surveillance camera May 10 in her Millcreek home. The camera was hidden inside a disposable camera and placed behind her desk, pointed toward the area in the bedroom where she dresses, police wrote. A small antenna was attached to transmit the images, police wrote. In July, another woman told police that her boyfriend admitted to putting the camera there, saying he was "addicted to pornography and wanted to see it in real life," investigators wrote. The man was charged with voyeurism and obstruction of justice, both misdemeanors. (more)

A Different Governmental Drummer

The Guyana Postal and Telecommunications Workers Union (GPTWU) has called on the government to withdraw legislation that will allow the authorities to tap and intercept telephone conversations. (more)

SpyCam Story #472 - Adult Swim

Lorrie John Trites is wanted for allegedly making video and voice recordings of several young women as they changed their clothing in the ladies locker room of the aquatic center of a college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. These recordings were made without the knowledge of the female victims. This occurred between December of 1997 and February of 1998, while Trites was the head swimming coach at the college. Trites was charged with six counts of violating the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act in a local arrest warrant issued on March 10, 1998.
Date of Birth Used: November 19, 1961 Hair: Brown
Place of Birth: New Mexico Eyes: Brown
Height: 6'7" Sex: Male
Weight: 250 to 290 pounds Race: White
NCIC: W150879142 Nationality: American
Occupation: Former swimming coach
Scars and Marks: None known
Remarks: Trites has ties to New Mexico, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, Canada, Trinidad, and the Bahamas. He may have facial hair. Trites is an avid swimmer and may be involved in some way with the swimming community.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SpyCam Story #471 - D'oh!

SD - A Sioux Falls man accused of spying on women in his home bathroom pleaded guilty today. Nate Campbell will have to serve 20 days in jail. He was accused of using a web cam to record women using the bathroom at his former apartment in Sioux Falls. (more) In the complaint, it says authorities were notified after Campbell reportedly showed recordings of the two women on two occasions: one to a friend, the other to one of the victims. (history)

SpyCam Story #470 - Wrong Way Rubbed

TX - Police have arrested an Austin massage therapist accused of improper photography. Austin police investigators have confiscated a computer that belonged to Jason Charles Thompson, 34, that contains 120 files of his clients, and police say they may contain pictures or video of women getting dressed and undressed before and after massages.

"Apparently his room at the spa had towels and candles and a couple of cabinets. He had some personal items, so it would be easy enough to hide a video machine, a video camera," said Stephen Andreini, APD detective. (more) (video)

SpyCam Story #469 - New Record, 20 Years!

PA - A 45-year-old Phoenixville man who owned 16 apartments in Norristown is in custody on charges that he spied on female tenants, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said today.

Ferman said Norristown police, responding to a complaint from a tenant of Thomas Daley, discovered hidden cameras and audio equipment in three of four apartments Daley owns at 566 Stanbridge Street. The charges against him include invasion of privacy and criminal use of a communication facility, Ferman said.

She described the charges as "the tip of the iceberg." She said Daly admitted spying on female tenants for 20 years. The cameras were located in the women's bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms, Ferman said.

She said that investigators are still interviewing potential victims and that more charges are likely. (more)

Thomas Daley, 45, covered his face as he left police headquarters Tuesday under the weight of over 1,000 new counts of spying on his female tenants.

"We have been inundated. Norristown police have been absolutely inundated with more people coming forward, more victims," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Daley stands charged with secretly recording every intimidate detail of the young women who lived in at least seven apartments he owned around Norristown. He has admitted he installed hidden cameras and recording devices in bedrooms, bathrooms and the showers at the women's apartments.

Daley also installed cameras on the outside of the property so he could see when the women came and went. Police said he had an elaborate computerized surveillance setup in the basement of this home. All of it was working and active when police busted in Friday.

Daley told police he installed the cameras himself... Daley was being held Tuesday night on $2 million bail. (more) (video)

SpyCam Story #468 - Uncloaking SpyCams

Wireless SpyCam (color with audio) – $29.90
Amazing size.
Amazing price.
Anyone can be a spy.

SpyCams are just one of the many surveillance devices we detect during the course of our corporate eavesdropping detection audits. One of the detection methods we use is a technique we developed ourselves, Thermal Emissions Spectrum Analysis® (TESA)

The First Real Dick Tracy Wrist Radio

Who invented the first real Dick Tracy wrist radio?

Wendy Rejan, Historian's Office, DCSOPS, Fort Monmouth, NJ knows...

"...yesterday’s science fiction became Fort Monmouth’s latest engineering endeavor in 1953 when scientists here developed one of the first electronic spy gadgets ---the Dick Tracy transistor watch radio.

Weighing in at just over two ounces, the radio could pick up radio stations from here to New York City. A hearing amplifier was connected to the radio by a wire concealed in the wearer’s sleeve. The mercury battery of the first model lasted about ten hours and a knob on the face of the watch allowed the wearer to select a frequency.

Signal Corps scientists here were ordered to come up with the wrist watch transistor radio on a Friday in August 1953. They had accomplished their mission by the following Monday.

First lieute
nant Paul W. Cooper, an electrical engineer, was working in the Search and Intercept Department of the Signal Corps Engineering labs at the time. The department was responsible for research and development work with transistors.

The watch was invented by Cooper and Joseph F. O’Brien. Harry H. French was responsible for the printed wiring board and fabrication. According to Cooper, the scientists manufactured many of the components themselves." (more)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stolen Cell Phone Tracker - Available NOW!

Ken Westin, founder of Gadgettrak advises...
PhoneBak is a unique patent-pending theft recovery solution that allows phone owners to have their phones "call them" in the event they are lost or stolen.

is triggered when the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) in your phone is replaced with an unauthorized one. When this occurs PhoneBak will silently send SMS messages) to pre-defined numbers you have entered (spouse, IT department etc), the information gathered will depend on the platform, but will usually include:

The new phone number of your phone
• The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity)
• The IMSI (International Mobiel Subscriber Identity)

• GSM Area Code

• Cell ID - GSM Localization
With this information you can contact the person who has your phone in the event it was simply "lost," or contact law enforcement with the details who can follow up with the service provider to get locate the phone.

Operating Systems include: Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Symbian.
Network Type: GSM. Not compatible with CDMA networks such as Verizon and Sprint.

OK, so GadgetTrak's PhoneBak doesn't turn your phone into a screamin' mimi, or let you spy on the cretin who glommed your phone, but... you can get protected today ($24.95), and "in the coming weeks," iPhone protection as well!

Other innovative products Ken has developed include:

Lost & Found Tags (Use them on anything!)
Laptop Theft Recovery Software
(Mac version also takes a photo of the thief.)
(PC version allows remote destruction of your data!)
Removable Media Tracking

Maybe it was only "methodical and thorough"

Lidl (a German supermarket chain) has been fined about 1.5m Euros ($2,192,876.00) for spying on its employees, according to Guenter Schedler, the data protection commissioner in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Earlier reports had mentioned unconfirmed figures of a million-euro fine. Lidl said it "accepted" the fines, but denied the existence of any "systematic and comprehensive" company policy to spy on its staff. (more)

FutureWatch - Stolen Cell Phone Alarm / Tracker

Reportedly, coming soon.
From the inventor's web site...

Maverick Secure Mobile (MSM) is a security application.

Secure mobile helps you protect your data, track your stolen device, retrieve your phonebook & disable the stolen device remotely. The application works in hidden mode and cannot be viewed in the device...

1. Protects Your Data In case of theft/loss, the moment SIM change is detected, Secure mobile will encrypt all the data on the device like the phonebook, images, messages etc.

2. Track Device In case of loss/theft the application will send the phone number, device id, country code, operator name and area code(location) to the reporting device through sms. Secure Mobile will also report about activities performed on the stolen device via SMS; like Outgoing Calls made, etc.

3. Retrieve Phonebook The most important data on any device are the contacts. Using MSM one can retrieve phonebook from the stolen device.

4. Spy Call Spy call will switch on the loudspeaker & mic of the stolen device remotely, so that the caller can actually listen to the conversation other person is engaged in. This call will not give any notification/ ring to the stolen device.

5. Raise an alarm and disable the phone To disable stolen device remotely, send sms = hang from the Reporting device to the stolen device, and it will raise an alarm and start playing a loud Siren. MSM will also display a customized message.

6. Data Back-up Secure Mobile has a distinctive feature of incremental Data Back up. Using this feature one can back up all the data from the device to secure remote server using GPRS. So now all your data is very much secured and you can retrieve it without any hassle. All the above mentioned features can be used even if the SIM is not changed,
a. In case the device is lost by sending SMS “Activate” from the reporting device.
b. For Parental control of child’s mobile device by sending SMS “Track” from reporting device (more) (

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Did too." "Did not!" "Did TOO!" "It's my ball..."

New Zealand - The All Blacks will complain to the Australian Rugby Union that Robbie Deans used secretly filmed footage of their trainings to prepare for Saturday night's test. (more)

Australia - The Wallabies were forced to angrily deny All Black allegations of spying yesterday in a bitter postscript to the Kiwis' thrilling triumph in Brisbane on Saturday night. (more)

Laptop Searches at US Borders (update)

Customs and Border Patrol agents can grab your laptop, BlackBerry, or external hard drive without needing so much as a reason,
Good news...
but a new bill introduced last week to Congress would at least put some limits on how border searches could be done.
Bad news...
Coming so close to the end of this Congressional session, Sanchez's bill is unlikely to see action this year. It currently sits in the House Committee on Homeland Security, where it will likely expire when Congress adjourns. (more)
OH - An Oxford man has been busted for setting up computer spying software in a houseful of female college students and even stealing the women’s panties, authorities say.

Andrew Kevin Sizemore, 43, was convicted of nine charges Friday in a bizarre string of incidents involving young women who lived across Rose Street from him in Oxford, Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Lance Salyers said.

“He really was the kind of neighborhood creep that you worry about,” said Salyers. “He was spying on what they did on their computers and trying to solicit the girls to model for photos for him and stealing their panties. Who knows what his plans were for those things?” (more)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wiretapping - Public Reaction Documentary

Wiretapping Sweden (2008) - Documentary about the blogosphere reaction to surveillance laws passed earlier this year in Sweden. (video)

"Hole-y wallet, Batman!"

A six-inch robotic spy plane modeled after a bat would gather data from sights, sounds and smells in urban combat zones and transmit information back to a soldier in real time.

The bat robot's body would be about six inches long. It would weigh about a quarter of a pound and use about 1 W of power.

That's the Army's concept, and it has awarded the University of Michigan College of Engineering a five-year, $10-million grant to help make it happen. The grant establishes the U-M Center for Objective Microelectronics and Biomimetic Advanced Technology, called COM-BAT for short. The grant includes an option to renew for an additional five years and $12.5 million.

U-M researchers will focus on the microelectronics. They will develop sensors, communication tools and batteries for this micro-aerial vehicle that's been dubbed "the bat." Engineers envision tiny cameras for stereo vision, an array of mini microphone
s that could home in on sounds from different directions, and small detectors for nuclear radiation and poisonous gases. (more)

409,686 – available today for the same price!
The Vamp differs from most other flying toys because it’s an ‘Ornithopter’ – which means it flaps its wings to fly through the air – just like a real bat. The flapping wings and glowing red eyes give the eerie illusion that it’s a living (or undead!) thing, swooping through the darkness. (more)

"See, I’m a man of simple tastes. I like gunpowder…and dynamite…and gasoline! Do you know what all of these things have in common? They’re cheap!" – The Joker

What The 'Former' Spies Are Doing This Week

Former spy criticizes IRA involvement in film about his life...
Canada - Former British spy Martin McGartland may have dropped legal proceedings over Fifty Dead Men Walking, the film based on his life story. But that hasn't stopped him from continuing his criticism of the film and its Canadian director Kari Skogland. (more)

Former spy boss Masetlha's trial postponed...
South Africa - The fraud trial of former spy boss Billy Masetlha and his two co-accused was postponed in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday. Masetlha, former National Intelligence Agency manager for electronic surveillance Funokwakhe Madlala and IT expert Muziwendoda Kunene face fraud charges. (more)

Former spy, mom of 2, takes over party...
Israel - Tzipi Livni, 50, now on the road to become nation's second female PM (more)

Shift-Tense Spook-Speak Code... Decyphered

Australia - The deputy-director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, who cannot be named under Australian law, warned attendees of Australia's Security in Government Conference 2008 earlier this week that commercial and national espionage are becoming more intertwined.

The deputy-director general, Australia's No. 2 spy, said that geopolitical tensions and ongoing globalization will fuel espionage activity in the years ahead and that spying will affect(s) both the public and private sectors. (more) (speech)

SpyCam Story #467 - Hong Kong "Wrong"

A Hong Kong primary schoolteacher was arrested after spy cameras were found in a girls changing room, a newspaper reported Saturday. Pinhole cameras were put in a room where girls changed for dance classes at a primary school in the city's Mongkok district, the South China Morning Post said.

A 32-year-old teacher who helped teach dance was arrested in connection with the incident and has been sacked by the school. Police have released him on bail and have not yet charged him.

The school's principal told the newspaper that the teacher said he wanted to film dancing for future use in lessons but added, "Personally, I found the explanation very unconvincing." (more)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quote of the Week - $200 Billion Loss

"Industry's annual loss of intellectual property has been estimated at more than $200 billion a year."
~ Paul B. Kurtz - cyber security expert

U.S. intelligence agencies are unable to share information about foreign cyber attacks against companies for fear of jeopardizing intelligence-gathering sources and methods, cyber security expert Paul B. Kurtz told (congressional) lawmakers yesterday.

Kurtz, who served on the National Security Council in the Clinton and Bush administrations, spoke at the first open hearing on cyber security held by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence...

Kurtz expressed concern about the breadth of the attacks. "American industry and government are spending billions of dollars to develop new products and technology that are being stolen at little to no cost by our adversaries," he said. "Nothing is off limits -- pharmaceuticals, biotech, IT, engine design . . . weapons design." (more)

License to Shoot - Coming Soon

Seeing this camera makes most people immediately think of Bond, James Bond. This is small, really small. It's so wee it disappears in a clenched fist. Or in the heel of a shoe or other ingenious hiding place.

The legendary MINOX spy
camera has now reached the digital age and its launch at the photokina 2008 is causing a sensation. Leisure "secret agents" have something to look forward to: The legend lives on! Further information will be available soon... (more)

Spys love it: small, intelligent and very reliable. MINOX cameras have been the dream tool of undercover agents for almost 75 years.

To allow this legend to continue in the digital age, miniature optics specialists from Wetzlar have designed the MINOX DSC. This is a miniature camera that features the former 8x11
dimensions and at the same time boasts state-of-the-art technology.

This world premiere with cult potential i
s on show for the first time at the photokina 2008: This is also where MINOX is presenting everything the future “private-eye” needs for capturing spontaneous, candid digital images, from belt buckle cameras to a filming fountain pen.

The MINOX booth - designed as a spy workshop – focuses on the new MINOX DSC. Here the visitor can discover the possibilities offered by this new License to Shoot.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Spy Who Loved Me

WowWee unveiled the exciting Rovio Spy Robot at the CES 2008 in January. Now gadget shop Hammacher Schlemmer is first to put the Rovio on sale for $299.95. The robotic sentry will ship on September 26th.

The WowWee Rovio allows you to monitor your home from anywhere in the world. Audio and high-resolution (640 x 480px) video is streamed in MPEG4 format, and it can take still pictures and e-mail them to you; it has a two-way microphone and speaker that enables real-time interaction with subjects - for instance your cat. (more)

New York Issues RFID-Encoded Drivers Licenses

NY - Anyone who lives in fear of an Orwellian future had better put on their tinfoil hats and stock up on bunker supplies, because with the new drivers licenses introduced in New York we are one step closer to that reality. What makes these licenses so special is the inclusion of radio frequency identification chips. RFID chips are already found in credit cards and passports, but New York is the first state in the U.S. to put these chips into its drivers licenses. (more)


Scotland - The government were yesterday urged to hand over intelligence tapes of calls made by the Omagh bombers.

Relatives have been horrified at claims the atrocity may have been stopped by security staff, who were eavesdropping.

A total of 29 people, plus two unborn babies, were killed in the town centre blast in 1998. (more)

Terry and the Pirates (update)

CA - With costs related to a rogue network administrator's hijacking of the city's network now estimated at $1 million, city officials say they are searching for a mysterious networking device hidden somewhere on the network.

The device, referred to as a "terminal server" in court documents, appears to be a router that was installed to provide remote access to the city's Fiber WAN network, which connects municipal computer and telecommunication systems throughout the city. City officials haven't been able to log in to the device, however, because they do not have the username and password. In fact, the city's Department of Telecommunications and Information Services (DTIS) isn't even certain where the device is located, court filings state.

The router was discovered on Aug. 28. When investigators attempted to log in to the device, they were greeted with what appears to be a router login prompt and a warning message saying "This system is the personal property of Terry S. Childs," according to a screenshot of the prompt filed by the prosecution. (more) (history)

16 Extra Eyes in the Florida Eye Institute (update)

FL - Florida Eye Institute founder Dr. Paul Minotty says he had a security system installed in the three-story building because he believed there was a conspiracy against him, threatening his well-being.

Minotty told jurors on Tuesday he wanted protection fearing that he was going to set up for an arrest for drunken driving following a Christmas party in 2007.

He also told jurors he heard a clinic employee bought a 50-caliber military rifle.

Minotty is on trial in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought by three of the institute's six doctor-owners. The three contend Minotty financially mismanaged the firm, over their objections, and allegedly resorted to having electronic surveillance equipment secretly installed in their private offices in violation of state law. (more) (history)

Bavarian Police Seeking Skype Trojan Informant

Germany - Bavarian police searched the home of the spokesman for the German Pirate Party (Piratenpartei Deutschland) looking for an informant who leaked information about a government Trojan used to eavesdrop on Skype conversations. (more)

More Countries Flex Surveillance Muscle

NEW ZEALAND - Police search and surveillance powers are to be broadened under legislation introduced to Parliament. (more)
On second thought...

A bill to give police stronger powers to snoop and search, including in some serious crime cases without a warrant, has been tabled in Parliament. The Search and Surveillance Powers Bill reforms search and surveillance powers and follows a Law Commission report which described the current situation as a mess.
Look for a rewrite, and re-introduction soon.

MACEDONIA - New amendments to laws governing surveillance of communications came into effect earlier this month after parliament adopted what many considered controversial changes earlier this summer. (more)

GEORGIA - Georgia’s eavesdropping operation was made possible because many South Ossetians — including the border officials whose calls were intercepted on Aug. 7 by Georgia’s intelligence services — used the Georgian cellphone network of MagtiCom, a United States-owned Georgian mobile operator.

SWEDEN - Several hundred demonstrators marched from Sergels Torg in central Stockholm to the steps of the Riksdag on Tuesday to protest Sweden’s surveillance law. (more)


Watch scientists create Black Holes. (more)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Second Cold War and Corporate Security

from stratfor.com...
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, foreign corporations have been very busy in Russia as they scramble for market share, attempt to profit from Russia’s massive natural resources and seek to meet growing demand for consumer products. For these companies, growing Russian nationalism and tension with the West increases both the chance of regulatory and legal hassles and the possibility that Russian intelligence activity might be directed their way. In other words, as tensions rise, so could the risk for Western corporations.

Not all these problems are new. As a young KGB officer, Putin earned his living by stealing technology from the West. And he has since encouraged Russian intelligence agencies to expand their collection programs with the awareness that such information can assist the Russian economy and specifically the revival of the defense sector. While the Russians have an advanced weapons research and development infrastructure, they are very pragmatic. They do not see the need to spend the money to develop a technology from scratch when they can steal or buy it for a fraction of the cost and effort. This pragmatism was clearly demonstrated in their early nuclear weapons program...

This surveillance of Western businesses may apply to both corporate offices and employees’ residences. Businessmen may be physically surveilled and their residences subjected to technical surveillance and mail/garbage covers. Domestic workers may also be recruited in an effort to collect information on their employers. Known or suspected NOCs will be carefully watched and will likely even be overtly harassed. (more)

GSM Bug Roundup - September

Catching top honors for the GSM Bug Of the Month is the WT-2803-CV Rearview Mirror Bug.

• Direct dial-in.

• Or, have it call up to three numbers when it hears sounds in the car.

• Uses the vehicle's power.

• Controls may be set remotely.

This is only one of eight covert GSM Bugs found here.

(Rearview Mirror Bug spec. sheet) (August's GSM Bug Roundup)

Industrial Espionage - Other Auto Parts

MI - A Kent County couple likely is headed to federal prison after they pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to steal trade secrets from auto parts supplier Metaldyne Corp. and sell the knowledge to Chinese competitors.

Anne Lockwood, 55, and her husband, Michael Haehnel, 53, were charged in 2006 with stealing Plymouth-based Metaldyne's technology for manufacturing connecting rods and other parts. (more)

Monday, September 15, 2008

How to Bug & Wiretap... Legally.

Kayo Games has announced the launch of PlayDetective: Heartbreakers.

The game puts gamers in the gumshoes of a private investigator as he attempts to solve a series of infidelity cases. To succeed players must conduct surveillance using a range of tools and gadgets, collect and analyze evidence, and solve difficult puzzles.

Features include:

• Investigate 15 unique cases.
• Eavesdrop using phone tapping devices to catch your suspects.
Recover deleted text messages to form evidence.
• Conduct polygraph tests during interviews to unearth the truth.
Buy and sell investigation gadgets – the tools of your trade.
(MAC or PC - $9.95) (more)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Your Trade Secrets Are At Constant Risk

Make your boss open that security budget wallet... Visit and bookmark the Trade Secret Vault for the latest horror stories. Proof, funding proactive security is a no-brainer.

Professor Jon Cavicchi has opened the Vault to the world and shares
a wide range of information on trade secrets. The intent of this blog is to raise consciousness as to the range, extent, predominance and role trade secrets play in day to day business and legal environments.

The sources of the blogs vary from news on the web, proprietary sources on the hidden web, jury verdicts, court opinions, reports by government and NGOs around the globe as well as fun stuff such as trivia questions about products that are the subject of trade secrets.

It is designed as a blog to keep anyone interested in trade secrets coming back for more up to date news and data.

Regular Counterespionage Audits Are Cheap Insurance, compared to this...

TX - Jim Damman thought somebody was looking over his shoulder for months. Little did he know that his office was routinely broken into and more than 150-million dollars worth of trade secrets were stolen without a visible trace according to a federal lawsuit. The President of Exel Transportation Services says his suspicion grew so strong that he took the unusual step of sweeping the company's Addison offices for electronic bugs.

Exel is not a business typically considered a target of corporate spying. It's a shipping broker. Inside its offices, logistic agents sit in front of computer terminals with telephones cradled to their ears. Hundreds of times a day, they match-up shippers to freight carriers and move loads of everything from potatoes to computer chips around the world...

Damman says a new start-up competitor in Plano named Total Transportation Services (TTS) stilled seemed to have an uncanny knack of taking away Exel's customers, "the competitor was like one step ahead of us but they could not have known we were going to see a certain person, they could not have known what we were going to talk about when we were going to see that person unless they were getting information somewhere. We knew something was wrong."

Two of the former Exel executives, Mike Musacchio and Roy Brown, are accused of installing a backdoor into Exel's computer system according to the lawsuit. An exhibit in the lawsuit features a series of email messages titled "You will enjoy this" that were exchanged between Musacchio and Brown last October. Musacchio who had left Exel a month earlier to set-up TTS asked Brown who was still working at Exel, "...how are we going to get into email after you leave?" Brown left Exel three days later for TTS after replying, "Not a problem. I have the back door password that only I know and no one else can change." Musaccho replied, "Beauty!"

The lawsuit alleges that the hackers brazenly created exact replicas of Exel's documents, such as contracts, budget templates, and spreadsheets, for use in connection with TTS's business. Damman says the looted information included a $300-thousand dollar marketing study, "It's scary...it's something we all have to watch out for in this electronic day and age that we are in." (more)

Counterespionage Audits are an important element of corporate security programs. If you don't conduct Counterespionage Audits, you need to. Please contact me for assistance.

Cops Shot While Installing Bug

NZ - The two South Auckland men charged over the shooting of Sergeant Don Wilkinson have been granted name suppression.

One man has been charged with murdering Mr. Wilkinson and another man has been charged with assault. Both have been remanded in custody.

A second police officer is undergoing surgery in hospital after being shot several times. His injuries are not life threatening.

The two police officers were installing a bugging device in a car outside a suspected P lab in the suburb of Mangere in the early hours of this morning when they were attacked. (more)

SpyCam in Cell Phone Headset

from mostreviews.com...
Sometimes the best place to hide something is in plain site. That’s the theory behind this camera set from Brando, which puts its lens inside a clip-on Bluetooth headset...

So, if someone's "Bluetooth" headset is not wire-less, beware.

eyePhone Is Watching You

Have you heard the latest surveillance concern floating around the tech world? Your iPhone may be storing an electronic log of your virtual footsteps, and it could one day be used against you.

iPhone hacker/data forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski explained the issue in a webcasted demo. (more)

A-Bomb of a Confession, "Yeah, yeah, yeah..."

NY - In 1951, Morton Sobell was tried and convicted with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on espionage charges. Through it all, he maintained his innocence.

But on Thursday, Sobell, 91, dramatically reversed himself, shedding new light on a case that still fans smoldering political passions. In an interview, he admitted for the first time that he had been a Soviet spy.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, call it that, I never thought of it as that in those terms," said Sobell. (more)

...taps, you lose.

TX - The BexarMet Board of Directors voted Thursday evening to terminate the contract of its embattled general manager, Gil Olivares.

Olivares was suspended in August days after a Bexar County jury indicted him on charges of official oppression and illegal wiretapping, among other charges. (more)

Eavesdroppers Take Stock

NY - A federal judge on Friday denied a motion by a group of ex-securities brokers and former A.B. Watley Inc. executives to dismiss a criminal case against them in an alleged scheme to misuse brokerage firm "squawk" boxes.

Prosecutors have alleged that three ex-brokers placed open telephone lines next to the internal speaker systems at their companies so that Watley day traders could secretly eavesdrop on block orders by institutional clients. (more)

1/13/09 - UPDATE - The U.S. dropped its sole charge against a former A.B. Watley Group Inc. executive who was set to be retried next month in a case where day traders were accused of eavesdropping on institutional trades using “squawk boxes.”

Michael Picone, Watley’s former chief operating officer, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Green said today. In return, the U.S. dropped the count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, a crime punishable by as long as 25 years in prison.

“In exchange for the defendant’s cooperation, the government agrees to dismiss the charge against him,” Green told U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein. (more)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"...and my loaded gun trick is hysterical!!!"

TN - A state lawmaker said Thursday night he attached a digital recorder under an aide’s desk as “just a prank,” but no one’s laughing now with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation looking into the matter as a potentially serious case of bugging.

Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, said there was “no invasion of privacy done or intended” in the incident which involved his administrative aide, Paul Overhoiser.

The lawmaker, who represents Rhea County and part of Hamilton County, said he used Velcro to lash the recorder to the underside of the desk.

“It was where you could see it from the chair,” Rep. Cobb said in an interview. “I put it there and was going to come in and when Paul found it, he was going to jump up, run in and we were going to laugh about it. It was not hidden. It was not meant to do anything except be a joke.”

...Rep. Cobb, who recalled setting the device up on Tuesday, said he forgot about putting the recorder there until Thursday. (more)

Lawmaker? know better? aghhhh... (sing-a-long)

Your Cellular DNA - the Electronic Snitch Gene

How your cell phone evolved into a personal panopticon...
A recent article in the London Review of Books revealed that a number of private companies now sell off-the-shelf data-mining solutions to government spies interested in analyzing mobile-phone calling records and real-time location information. These companies include ThorpeGlen, VASTech, Kommlabs, and Aqsacom--all of which sell "passive probing" data-mining services to governments around the world.

...while it may be impossible for the NSA to legally obtain large-scale, real-time customer location information from Verizon, the spooks at Fort Meade can simply go to the company that owns and operates the wireless towers that Verizon uses for its network and get accurate information on anyone using those towers--or go to other entities connecting the wireless network to the landline network. The wiretapping laws, at least in this situation, simply don't apply. (more) (webinar pdf)

Update II - The Case of the Blue Mocking Bird

CA - The county has agreed to pay $660,000 to settle a federal civil lawsuit against Sheriff Pat Hedges in regards to an investigation of a secret recording of an October 2006 meeting.

The suit, filed by former Chief Deputy Gary Hoving in regards to the meeting between himself and Sgt. Jay Donovan, alleged Hedges and Undersheriff Steve Bolts had violated Hoving’s civil rights and liberties while illegally using taxpayers’ money to record the meeting. (more)

Why this is important to you in the corporate world...
Post facto discovery of electronic eavesdropping is expensive!

Costs include:
• the investigation,
• the lawyers fees,
• lost employee time,
• and this subsequent civil settlement

Proactive inspections
for bugs, wiretaps, wi-fi system loopholes and other info-leak pressure points – cheap insurance

SpyCam Story #465 - "OK, you help him."

Fury as sheriff spares toilet spycam lawyer from jail
Scotland - A pervert lawyer who filmed female colleagues on the loo was spared jail yesterday after a controversial sheriff branded his actions "clumsy".
Peter Fitzpatrick used a video camera hidden in a pile of cardboard boxes to spy on the ladies toilet. But Stirling sheriff Margaret Gimblett told Fitzpatrick his offence sounded like "a cry for help".

The dad-of-two grinned as he was sentenced. His punishment provoked fury from Mid-Scotland & Fife Tory MSP Liz Smith.

Ms. Smith said: "This man has committed a reprehensible offence and the public will be astonished by the suggestion that his victims were somehow at fault for not being more aware of the circumstances around them.

"How is that an excuse for his actions?" (more)

SpyCam Story #464 - "...another brick in the wall."

OH - A man who was caught placing a concealed video camera in his neighbor's home pleaded no contest on Tuesday. Police said Barry Stacks put a camera in his neighbor's bedroom on Pennsylvania Avenue. The woman discovered the camera in July and also found video cables and other holes in the bathroom where a camera was placed. (more)