Friday, February 27, 2009

Florida - Land of Love - Wife Turns in Husband

FL - Detectives on Wednesday arrested a 55-year-old Jacksonville Beach man they said hid a camera in a bathroom to record video of a girl while she was naked.

According to police, John Thomas Boyd Jr. put a "nanny cam" in the bathroom of a house to film a nude juvenile. Investigators said more than 60 video clips were found on Boyd's home computer.

Boyd's wife found the video clips and contacted the Jacksonville Beach Police Department. (more)

Bugging & Wiretapping - Arizonia Law

Bugging and Recording Conversations in Arizona: Is it Legal?
Lawyers often receive inquiries about the legalities of recording phone or other conversations in Arizona. In particular, the issue frequently arises in family law cases where child custody is at issue. Related to the recording issue is the “bugging” issue.

There are a number of variables that affect the answer to the central question, whether it is legal to either record or even bug conversations. First, bugging and recording are two different issues under Arizona law, often related, but also potentially very different under the law. Second, the laws regarding bugging and recording vary significantly by jurisdiction so what is legal in one state may be illegal in another. As well, the federal law may vary from state laws.

The following is a very brief analysis of the bugging and recording law in Arizona... (more)

The Core Sweep Offer

A Quarterly Boardroom / Top Executive
Eavesdropping Detection Audit
The basic minimum for corporate security programs.

• Full Inspection - 4 times per year.
• Boardroom, A/V area and three executive offices.
(Additional areas may be added very economically.)
Free – Wi-Fi Security & Compliance Audit included.
Bonus – Radio-frequency test covers a much larger area at no extra charge.

"When was the last time we inspected for bugs and wiretaps?"
If you do not remember, it is time to call Murray Associates.

Wiretap Mafia (with updates)

Colombia domestic spy chief probes alleged illegal wiretapping by 'mafia' within

Colombia's new domestic spy chief said Saturday that he is probing whether agency employees have been eavesdropping on Supreme Court judges, prominent journalists and opposition leaders.

Felipe Munoz, who took over the troubled DAS domestic intelligence agency last month, was reacting to a report by Colombia's leading newsmagazine of widespread interception of phone calls and e-mail by agency officials at least through late last year.

Munoz said he was attempting to establish the existence of a "mafia network that's threatening the security of the state," at a news conference called after the report was published online. (more)

UPDATE: Colombia's General Attorney ordered on Sunday a raid on the Department of Administrative Security (DAS) headquarters in Bogota after the media reported that agency employees have been eavesdropping on Supreme Court judges, prominent journalists and opposition leaders. (more)

UPDATE: Felipe Muñoz, director of Colombia's intelligence service DAS sacked the deputy director of the service's counterintelligence department amid a growing scandal involving illegal wiretaps of judges, opposition politicians and journalists. More people are expected to be fired.

According to the Government, the mafia is behind the widespread illegal use of wiretaps and blames alleged drug lords like 'Don Mario', 'El Cuchillo' and 'El Loco Barrera' of having corrupted the service. (more)

UPDATE: Two more top deputies resigned from Colombia's domestic spy agency on Tuesday as prosecutors investigate allegations of improper eavesdropping on journalists, Supreme Court judges and opposition members... (more) Colombia has had issues in the past with wiretapping. In May 2007, the head of police intelligence and Colombia's police chief were forced to resign after an illegal interception of calls of political figures, government members, and, you guessed it, journalists... (more)

UPDATE: Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe says he was unaware of the telephone bugging activities reportedly practised by the DAS domestic intelligence service... (more)

UPDATE: Uribe fingered as heads roll in wiretap scandal
President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia has been accused of ordering his intelligence agency to engage in illegal wiretapping of opposition politicians, members of the government, judges and journalists in a scandal that has rocked Colombia’s law enforcement apparatus. (more)

UPDATE: President Alvaro Uribe said Thursday that he has ordered a halt to wiretapping by Colombia's domestic intelligence agency as the fallout from an eavesdropping scandal prompted a fourth agency official to resign.

UPDATE: DAS director Felipe Muñoz accepted the resignation of his intelligence director, Muñoz said Thursday. Fernando Tabares if the fourth high official of Colombia's intelligence agency that is forced to leave after the institution was hit by its second wiretap scandal in half a year... The DAS director acknowleged that "there are USB sticks and cd's that have some evidence stored" of the illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court magistrates, media directors and opposition politicans.

Colombia spyservice to be allowed wiretaps again...
Colombia President Álvaro Uribe signed a law that returns the authority to conduct wiretaps to intelligence agency DAS, lawmakers say. The DAS was relieved from that authority ten days ago after news broke the agency was illegally wiretapping political opponents, judges and journalists. (more) (background 2007)

What were they thinking?!?! (Sinophobia)

OK... "copy" "steal" we get the connection. But, geeezzz... an Asian man furtively leaving an office building at night, with a cardboard file box and a stockmarket chart in the background?!?! Nerd dudes, you have just alienated over 13-million American potential customers, and Hewlett Packard won't be pleased either. Duh!

Nobody likes spies, no matter where they come from, but let's keep things in perspective. Want to know what a spy looks like? Click on "What Does A Spy Look Like?".

Thursday, February 26, 2009

CFO's Phone Call Tapped & Leaked to Web Sites

Turkey - Though it’s illegal and subject to three years imprisonment, it seems there is no end to the wiretapping records that have been leaked to some Web sites. The wiretapping and its leakage to certain Web sites of a mobile phone conversation between Soner Gedik, (CFO and also) deputy chairman of the Doğan Media Group, and Mehmet Akif Ulusoy, commissioner of the Revenue Administration, constitute a grave example of this crime, daily Milliyet reported yesterday.

The timing of the leak is also very important as it came days after the Finance Ministry issued a 826 million lira levy against the DMG due to alleged tax evasion, one of the largest penalties set against a media institution. (more)

Bug Proof Window Film (Here we go again...)

(from their press release)
The German security and film technology specialist HAVERKAMP gets ready for electronic bugging and eavesdropping
as well as attacks involving harmful electromagnetic radiation...

As Ulrich Haverkamp, director of HAVERKAMP, stresses, "We know all too well the risks that are associated with wireless and open forms of communication which government institutions and companies are exposed to every day." It is important to bear something in mind: Almost all electronic devices transmit RF signals, as this is either their quintessential function, e.g. mobile phones or wireless microphones - or as technically unavoidable side effect, e.g. computer monitors or hard drives.

Regardless of whether the message is encrypted or not, a broad ‘open' path is made available, upon which information can easily escape from the building and land in the hands of competitors and eavesdroppers. (more)

Can this possibly work?
Think about it...
Do radio waves only travel through windows?
Does "reduced" signal leakage prevent interception?
What are the attenuation measurements?
Perhaps this would be effective if it were presented as part of a larger architectural shielding effort.

In my opinion, the inventors worked hard and developed a clever and potentially useful product. But, to promote a window film as a simple paste-on eavesdropping solution is neither credible, nor honest. If anything, this is one small part of a holistic solution.

Before you go down this road, call me for a map.

Prior art: see
The Emperor's New Shades.

P.S. Yes, I know. The press release photo seems to show a parabolic microphone - an acoustic, not RF, method of eavesdropping. This does not make sense technically vis-à-vis the product, or to portray a viable eavesdropping attack.

...and then they aimed a telephoto lens at the window.

Professor Thomas Little of Boston University would like your house lighting to communicate with your computer, TV, and even the heating thermostat. By piggybacking data communications on to LED lightbulbs, he hopes "smart lighting" will become the next generation of wireless communications technology. lighting is faster and more secure than current Wi-Fi for some uses. An LED lightbulb also uses less energy than radio frequency technology and its light won't go through walls – helping to eliminate eavesdropping. Existing wiring could carry data to smart lightbulbs, providing easy network access points throughout home or office. (more)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Security Director Alert - Inspect, or be Unemployed

Sensitive corporate data are walking right out the door with disgruntled former employees. More than half of workers who lost or left a job in 2008 said they stole confidential company data... (more) Call us. We can help you.

Microsoft Internal Xbox Financials Leaked

Microsoft is known for keeping its paid subscriber stats for Xbox live close to its vest, so when the company said it had topped the 17 million subscriber mark during back-to-back presentations at CES, it was hard to put a financial value on that.

...based on a leaked Excel spreadsheet detailing Xbox Live’s paid subscriber stats for early 2008, sheds a bit of light on this black box: The report found that 60% of Xbox Live members in the U.S. were paying either an annual, three-month or monthly fee to use the service last February; worldwide subscriptions were slightly lower at 56%. (more) (more)

Spy, thy name doth not spell "good fortune."

New York City - The Queens mother accused of hiring a hit man to kill her estranged husband bought a $740 spy camera the night before the murder, prosecutors said Tuesday. Mazoltuv Borukhova, 34, picked up the button-sized hidden camera from a spy supply store just before 6 p.m. on Oct. 27, 2007, prosecutor Brad Leventhal said. She called several times to make sure the shop would be open, he said. (more)

Your Local Drug Store Spy Shop Isle

The Law Pertaining to the Sale of Eavesdropping Devices...
(1) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, any person who intentionally—
(a) sends through the mail, or sends or carries in interstate or foreign commerce, any electronic, mechanical, or other device, knowing or having reason to know that the design of such device renders it primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications;
(b) manufactures, assembles, possesses, or sells any electronic, mechanical, or other device, knowing or having reason to know that the design of such device renders it primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications, and that such device or any component thereof has been or will be sent through the mail or transported in interstate or foreign commerce; or
(c) places in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication or disseminates by electronic means any advertisement of—
(i) any electronic, mechanical, or other device knowing or having reason to know that the design of such device renders it primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications; or... (see last paragraph)

The Reality... even your local drug store has an unabashed Spy Shop isle!
Loud 'N Clear Personal Sound Amplifier

"The Loud N Clear listening device is cleverly designed to look like an expensive cell phone ear piece."

"So powerful, you can even hear conversations from across the street." (
more) (more)

Listen Up Personal Sound Amplifier

"It's so powerful you can even hear the faintest whispers and conversations up to 100' away! Smaller than a credit card, fits easily into a purse, pocket or securely clips to a belt." (more)

But, of course, these items are "primarily useful" for things other than illegal eavesdropping... they're just promoted that way.

But wait!
There's more!
(ii) any other electronic, mechanical, or other device, where such advertisement promotes the use of such device for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications, knowing the content of the advertisement and knowing or having reason to know that such advertisement will be sent through the mail or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

Quality Inn-verse Peephole

Colorado couple finds peephole reversed in Fla. hotel...
A trip to Florida was supposed to be filled with rest and relaxation. But it was more infuriating for a Highlands Ranch couple. Aaron and Amy Cali found a peephole in their room had been reversed. So people on the outside could look inside their room.

The couple ended a Caribbean cruise on Valentine's night at a Quality Inn in Hollywood, Fla. The next morning, Amy got a disturbing surprise. "I noticed a light coming from the hotel door about 3 feet up. I realized it was a peephole. I tried looking out of it and didn't see anything," says Amy. So, she went outside and looked in.

"You could see the entire hotel room, the bed, bathroom. You could see the entire room. Everything," she said. "We don't know if photos were taken. We don't know if videos were taken. We don't know who was looking, how many were looking." (
more, with video)

Hotel door peepholes are mandated by law. This door had two; one at regular height, and lower one three feet from the ground (ADA compliant for people in wheelchairs). The door opened onto an outside shared walkway – not a very safe area to sit and peep.

More likely, a mini wireless spycam was temporarily affixed to the door, with the receiver in another hotel room, or parked car. There, viewing / recording could be accomplished safely.

Additional police work we would like see...
• Check all other doors for reversed peepholes.
• If more than one is reversed, consider this a for-profit, organized crime.
• Match the rooms against customer records. Look for a pattern. The same person might have rented each room once, just to reverse the peepholes.
• Look for 'regular' customers. Are their rooms usually near the the 'reversed' rooms?
• Look for connections between the night managers / staff with any suspicious names found.
• Background check night managers / staff.
• Take a peephole photo. Try to match it with Internet voyeur site photos / movies. If a match is found, many more leads will open up.
• Check other hotels in the area for similar problems.

Hotels in the Hollywood, Florida area cater to young couples visiting on vacation, school breaks and cruise ships. The area is a rich target for pornography manufacturers. It is unlikely this is an isolated incident.

Still think this is an isolated incident?

University of Georgia
...every dorm room is equipped with a peephole in order to provide extra security and precaution for every student.

Yet, the extra security measure has been turned into a practical joke as a peculiar trend circulates through the residence halls - reversing peepholes so their principle function is to peer in on people, rather than allowing residents to peek out.

"I'm not quite sure who started it, but someone said, 'Hey, look in here,' so I did and I saw the people inside," said Ileana Figueroa, a freshman from Augusta residing in Lipscomb Hall in an interview last week.

"The peepholes are pretty easy to unscrew - all you have to do is have the door open," Figueroa said. "Everyone in our hall is pretty close so anything like this is just a joke."

Sam White and his roommate Peri Finch, who both reside in Lipscomb Hall, are victims of the peephole tampering trend... (more)

P.S. "Kramer and Newman did it in a Seinfeld episode so they could check to make sure no one was in their apartments waiting to jump them." ~Tim

World Spy News Round-up

Italian authorities have closed all legal action against McLaren for its part in a spy scandal with Ferrari, McLaren said Monday. (more)

Kazakstan's former defense minister Wednesday accused the country's intelligence services of conducting an illegal wiretapping campaign against him and other members of parliament... (

The Finnish government may silence corporate whistleblowers by supporting a proposal backed by Nokia Oyj that would ease rules on monitoring workers’ emails... (more)

EU's judicial cooperation agency Eurojust will take the lead in finding ways to help police and prosecutors across Europe to wiretap computer-to-computer phone conversations enabled by programs such as Skype... (more)
- Eurojust retracted previous statements saying it was taking the lead in helping national authorities to wiretap Skype conversations, saying they were issued "prematurely" and were "incorrect"... Skype, a Danish-Swedish business developed by Estonian programmers that was sold to E-Bay in 2005 and has over 350 million customers worldwide, is said to be un-spyable by intelligence services. (more)

Two more top deputies resigned from Colombia's domestic spy agency on Tuesday as prosecutors investigate allegations of improper eavesdropping on journalists, Supreme Court judges and opposition members... (more) Colombia has had issues in the past with wiretapping. In May 2007, the head of police intelligence and Colombia's police chief were forced to resign after an illegal interception of calls of political figures, government members, and, you guessed it, journalists... (more) Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe says he was unaware of the telephone bugging activities reportedly practised by the DAS domestic intelligence service... (more)

An Estonian court convicted a former top security official of treason Wednesday for passing on classified information to a foreign power in the Baltic country's biggest espionage scandal since the Cold War. (more)

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration failed to adequately protect a glamorous female spy when she was captured in Colombia in 1995, a Miami judge says. The former DEA informant, identified in court documents only as The Princess, is suing the agency for $33 million... (more)

Information Security and Cryptography Seminar

Date: June 8-11, 2009
Venue: Davos, Switzerland
Lecturers: Prof. David Basin and Prof. Ueli Maurer, ETH Zurich
Organized by Barbara Geiser, Advanced Technology Group
Further information and registration at
A partial list of the topics covered includes:
- Cryptography: Basic Concepts and Mathematical Foundations
- Advanced Cryptography with Applications
- PKI and Key Management
- Nonrepudiation and Digital Evidence
- System and Network Security
- Web Application Security
- Authentication, Authorization, and Access Control
- Privacy and Usage Control
- Digital payment systems
- E-voting
- Security Engineering
- Selected advanced topics

The material is presented in a self-contained way, understandable to
a wide audience. The seminar is aimed at professionals ranging from
system engineers and project managers to cryptographers and security
experts, who wish to better understand, develop, or use systems
employing modern security technologies.

NIST revises guidance for remote access and teleworking security

NIST is revising its "Guide to Enterprise Telework and Remote Access Security," which was first published in 2002. A draft of Special Publication 800-46 Revision 1 has been released for public comment. It is intended to help organizations understand and mitigate the risks of teleworking, emphasizing the importance of securing sensitive information stored on telework devices and transmitted across external networks. The draft also provides recommendations for selecting, implementing, and maintaining the necessary security controls. (more)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

SpyCam Story #519 - Bay City Troller

MI - Brandon D. King of Bay City, who was convicted of videotaping a woman changing clothes inside a Target fitting room, is serving three months of electronic monitoring for violating probation.

...initially sentenced King to three years of probation for using an eavesdropping device to watch the 24-year-old woman, clad in undergarments, try on a pair of shorts June 12, 2007, at the store, 2272 Tittabawassee, Kochville Township.

Sheriff's deputies said the victim was changing clothes when she noticed a pair of hands holding a Sony video camera under the wall. (more)

Vienna, one of the spy capitals of the world

Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, Vienna remains a spy haven, swarming with foreign agents who think nothing of killing in broad daylight, while the Austrian authorities turn a blind eye, experts say.

Vienna formed the backdrop to Orson Welles's legendary spy thriller "The Third Man" in 1949, but even today it remains a hive of secret service activity.

"Austria is still a favourite place for agents. They're frequently known to the authorities, but rarely hindered. Everything is handled courteously and diplomatically. There's a long tradition in that," said Siegfried Beer, director of the Austrian Centre for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies (ACIPSS), at the University of Graz. (more)

Kelly Monroe Turner’s extraordinary eavesdropping device

At 1:07 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 1, 1910, the walls of the Los Angeles Times building succumbed to a immense explosion.

Men, mortar and equipment were dispersed into the night air and a fire erupted. When the dust eventually settled, 21 newspaper employees were dead and 100 others were injured, many seriously.

Newspapers called the tragedy “the crime of the century.”

William J. “Billy” Burns, famed anti-union private detective, was hired to solve the crime...

Burns’ investigation of the dynamiting brought national notoriety to three Terre Haute men: Eugene V. Debs, Frank P. Fox and Kelly Monroe Turner...

The March 30, 1912 issue of “Scientific American” and the Science and Invention section of the June 15, 1912 issue of “The Literary Digest” contained lengthy articles describing Turner’s invention and its use in the case... (Burns extensive use of Dictograph equipment later led to him being investigated for wiretapping.)

Turner, a native of Pimento and later a Terre Haute, Indiana resident, invented the dictograph, an eavesdropping device that “solved the crime” in December 1911 and sent John J. and James B. McNamara, represented by legendary Clarence Darrow, to prison. Placed in the McNamaras’ jail cells, the device “heard” the men admit to the crime...

In the June 1912 issue of “Popular Electricity,” novelist Edward Lyell Fox wrote: “In the past six months the dictograph has revolutionized crime prevention. In walls, under sofas and chairs, in chandeliers, behind desks, beside a window, it is the unseen listener to secret conversations. The secret of prison cells have been tapped, hotel rooms and offices have given up incriminating conversation… It has figured sensationally in the undoing of dynamiters, legislative bribe takers, grafters high and crooks low, across the continent.” (more)

The 100th anniversary of the Dictograph is coming up soon. Turner would be stunned by today's eavesdropping and wiretapping technology. Also stunned are its victims. Make sure you are not one of them. Call me. I have a time-proven (30+ years) protection program waiting to solve your concerns. ~Kevin

Lincoln's spy. In Jefferson Davis' home!

William Jackson was a slave in the home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis during the Civil War. It turns out he was also a spy for the Union Army, providing key secrets to the North about the Confederacy.

William Jackson, a slave, listened closely to Jefferson Davis' conversations and leaked them to the North.

Jackson was Davis' house servant and personal coachman. He learned high-level details about Confederate battle plans and movements because Davis saw him as a "piece of furniture" -- not a human, according to Ken Dagler, (sic) author of "Black Dispatches," which explores espionage by America's slaves...

...slaves who served as spies were able to collect incredibly detailed information, in large part because of their tradition of oral history. Because Southern laws prevented blacks from learning how to read and write, he said, the slave spies listened intently to minute details and memorized them...

Jackson wasn't the only spy. There were hundreds of them... One of the most iconic spies was Harriet Tubman, who ran the Underground Railroad... (more)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Skype in the Crosshairs

Suspicious phone conversations on Skype could be targeted for tapping as part of a pan-European crackdown on what law authorities believe is a massive technical loophole in current wiretapping laws, allowing criminals to communicate without fear of being overheard by the police.

The European investigation could also help U.S. law enforcement authorities gain access to Internet calls. The National Security Agency (NSA) is understood to believe that suspected terrorists use Skype to circumvent detection.

While the police can get a court order to tap a suspect's land line and mobile phone, it is currently impossible to get a similar order for Internet calls on both sides of the Atlantic. (more)

MP3 Player Doubles As SpyCam

from the seller's web site...
"The common Mini MP3 Player, which comes with other useful and powerful features. This Player is included a camera and a mic, which can be used as a video camera recorder, voice recorder and still image camera." $46. (

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Business Espionage - Secret Windows OS Stolen

Australia - An unnamed Telstra executive has sparked a major security scare at Microsoft after a phone loaded with a secret upcoming version of the Windows Mobile operating system was stolen out of his pocket in Spain.

The phone belonged to Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo, who was testing the device before its release at the end of the year, News Ltd reported. But a spokesman for the telco would not confirm this.

The spokesman said the phone - developed by HTC and loaded with Microsoft's top-secret Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system - was in the possession of another unnamed Telstra executive at the time of the theft.

The incident could have serious implications for Microsoft as Windows Mobile 6.5 has hardly been touched by anyone outside the company and high-level telco executives.

Leaks regarding the features and early bugs in the software could mar its launch, which would be damaging as Microsoft is pinning its hopes on Windows Mobile 6.5 to give it an edge over new competitors such as the iPhone and Google's Android operating system. (

Job opportunity...
Telstra is the Australian telephone company. They are probably looking for a new assistant to the president.

Security opportunity...
This loss might have been preventable. Hire a good counterespionage consultant to help protect your company's intellectual property and detect electronic surveillance (eavesdropping, wiretapping and data theft).
Contact me for recommendations, worldwide. ~Kevin

This unfortunate high-value loss was forwarded to us by Jayde Consulting in Australia.
"Jayde Consulting provides professional and discrete services to protect sensitive, confidential and commercially valuable information from electronic eavesdropping, surveillance and espionage."

Credit card numbers stolen... blah, blah, blah.

We hear it every day.
Here we go again...

Hackers broke into a computer at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts last July and stole tens of thousands of customer credit card numbers, the hotel chain warns.

The break-in occurred at a property belonging to a Wyndham franchisee, but that computer was linked to other company systems. "That intrusion enabled a hacker to use the company server to search for customer information located at other franchised and managed property sites," the company said in a statement disclosing the breach.

The data was then uploaded to a Web site during July and August of 2008, Wyndham said. The company estimates that 41 Wyndham hotels and resorts were affected by the breach before it was discovered by the company's information security team in mid-September. (more)

Is data theft preventable?
Lots of people think so.
Explore the solutions being offered...
Voltage Security
PGP Corporation

Make your phone lie.

People are making Caller ID lie for them... "Spoofcard allows me to make my calls truly private. I can display any number on the Caller ID, record my calls and change my voice." Try it yourself. Free. (more)

Make your phone confess.

Hate blocked Caller ID calls?
Force a confession out of them.

Here's how...

"Trapcall will unblock and reveal the actual caller ID (and name) when a call has been blocked. No software or download needed! ...Record all of your incoming calls! ...Read your voicemail messages via SMS while in a meeting, class, movie or other busy area! ...Block unwanted callers! ...Billing name and address!"

Try it out. Free. (more)

FutureWatch - The 10 Trillion Bit, 2-Bit Drive

Keeping track of your data will become soon more difficult...
Ting Xu, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and Thomas Russell, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, have created a technique that could, theoretically, pack a disk the size of a quarter with 10.5 terabits (more than 10 trillion bits) of data, the equivalent of 250 DVDs. (more)

Until then, we can still cram a lot of data into a Murray Associates Spy Coin. They are going fast. Find out how you can get one. (more)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Holy Firewall, Splatman!"

New data shows businesses may be clueless about proxy abuse in their organizations...

Schools long have struggled with savvy students who run anonymous Web proxy tools to bypass Web filters and secretly access banned Websites and content. But the use of these potentially dangerous tools within the enterprise appears to be more widespread than was once thought.

A new study released today indicates that businesses may be clueless about the breadth of the problem: While 15 percent of IT managers report that Web filter bypass tools are in use in their organizations, it turns out that these tools are actually in use in three out of four organizations, according to FaceTime Communications, which polled both IT managers and its own customers on the topic.

"In some cases, the perception is not reality," says Frank Cabri, vice president of marketing and product management for FaceTime, whose customers provided the actual usage data in the study. "This doesn't surprise us -- but the difference [in perception and reality] is dramatic." (more)

"...employee use of Web 2.0 applications such as Instant Messaging, IPTV, VoIP and Social Networking on corporate networks exceeds IT estimates by up to 10 times." (more)

Why is all this important to you?
• Your IT folks are not seeing this end run. ($)
• You are probably paying your employees to surf, not work. ($$)
• It is an open back door to your intellectual property. ($$$)

You know it's a bad law when...

Swedish intelligence official quits over wiretapping law...

Sweden - Anders Björck, a high-ranking Moderate Party politician and former defence minister has resigned from his post as head of Sweden’s intelligence oversight agency in protest against the country’s controversial wiretapping law... because he lacks confidence in the new surveillance measure which came into force January 1st... "I've thought it over carefully. The laws and the oversight activities now under consideration don’t foster privacy or efficacy." (

Greek Olympic Committee President Bugged

via WhiteSparks...
Greek police are investigating the discovery of an object they believe could be a covert listening device in the Athens office of Greek Olympic Committee president Minos Kyriakou.

In a statement released on Friday, Attica regional police confirmed they had been called to Kyriakou's office late on Thursday evening.

"In the evening hours of February 5, 2009 our service was informed about the existence at the office of the president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee of a suspicious object that appeared like a microphone for monitoring conversations," the statement said.

"The police were requested to investigate the incident. The object was collected and was forwarded for further examination, the result of which is still pending."

The investigation comes less than a week before the election for the new president of the committee which Kyriakou is contesting with Spyros Kapralos, the chairman of the Athens Stock Exchange. (more)

WhiteSparks is a free email newsletter sponsored by WhiteRockGlobal, a premier TSCM consultancy located near London. Contact them for a subscription:

Sneaky USB Flash Drives

Sneaking spyware in to plant on your computers?
Sneaking company secrets out from their computers?
Recording your private meetings?
Whatever the goal, drive-by spy devices are becoming harder to catch; especially USB drives.

Here is a quick update so you will know it when you see it.

from the seller's website...
Surveillance style pen containing a micro sized video camcorder with 4 GB of memory. Get the mission completed with this awesome secret agent DV pen, often called a "spy pen" in the trade.

Sitting in your shirt pocket, standing in the pen cup or lying on the desk, no-one will ever notice as you secretly capture their every move. The built in flash stores the video until it is ready to be downloaded to a computer via USB, and with 4GB's of memory you can record hours of surveillance or interviews in between trips back to the office. (more with video)

All metal cross shaped necklace containing an 8 GB USB flash drive.

These days a USB flash drive is as necessary as your house keys. Whether you are taking large work files back and forth from the office or are sharing pictures and music with friends, nothing beats the convenience of a USB thumb drive. Well, why not make sure yours fits the person you are? This is a elegant all-metal cross that has a built in 8GB's of memory so you should have space to keep in its heart. (more)

All metal heart shaped necklace containing an 8 GB USB flash drive.

These days a USB flash drive is as necessary as your house keys. Whether you are taking large work files back and forth from the office or are sharing pictures and music with friends, nothing beats the convenience of a USB storage drive. Well, why not make sure the one you get fits the person who is going to carry it? This is an elegant all-metal and jeweled heart necklace that has a built in 8GB's of memory so you or your loved one will have enough space to keep those treasured memories close at heart. (more)

Realistic looking watermelon containing 8GB of USB flash memory. If you want more than to just plug your old fashioned USB stock in, this novelty USB memory stick that is right up your alley. Just remove the tip to reveal the USB connection, and watch people gape at your one of a kind computer accessory. (more)

Does someone near you always seem to know who's calling you?

Perhaps they have one of these... linked to your cell phone.

Bluetooth bracelet with vibration function and caller ID display.

Spybusters Tip # 429 - Keep Bluetooth turned off when not in use. (more)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Business Espionage - Spanish Spies, Fruit Flies

Throughout the world, Israel is considered a superpower when it comes to the development of new citrus fruit species, but now, Israeli farmers are accusing their Spanish counterparts of stealing a new species, and have recently filed a lawsuit against them. Commercial spying attempts have lead the developers of the new species to grow their fruits in hidden fields , "but afterwards the species grew in an open orchard," said Chai Benyamini, secretary-general of Israel's Citrus Growers’ Association.

"The Spanish send people who enter the orchard for a minute, cut off a citrus branch from the new species, and send it to Spain, and this is how we lose some NIS 200,000 ($48,900) a year," he explained.

The main species in question is a new breed of tangerine, called Or, that was developed in Israel and has been patented. (

Moral: Every business is an espionage target. It's the money. Doesn't matter if your selling Testarossa's or tangerines — you are a target.

Make counterespionage part of your business security program.
We can help.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Italy police warn of Skype threat

Criminals in Italy are increasingly making phone calls over the internet in order to avoid getting caught through mobile phone intercepts, police say... The police say Skype's encryption system is a secret which the company refuses to share with the authorities. (more)

Psssst! Wanna make a few billion dollars?

London - An industry source disclosed that America's supersecret National Security Agency (NSA) is offering "billions" to any firm which can offer reliable eavesdropping on Skype IM and voice traffic.

The spybiz exec, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed that Skype continues to be a major problem for government listening agencies, spooks and police. This was already thought to be the case, following requests from German authorities for special intercept/bugging powers to help them deal with Skype-loving malefactors. Britain's GCHQ has also stated that it has severe problems intercepting VoIP and internet communication in general. (more)

Silvio Strikes Back

Italy - Investigators have become increasingly reliant on wiretaps in recent years... Use of wiretaps by prosecutors in Italy has grown exponentially in recent years.

Investigators say intercepts of telephone calls have become an essential tool of the police, who spend millions of dollars each year tracking down crime through wiretaps of landlines and mobile phones.

But the law may be about to change.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing
government has drawn up a bill which would restrict police wiretaps to only the most serious crimes.

Much crime reporting in the Italian media is based on leaks of wiretaps and leading politicians, including Mr Berlusconi himself, have found to their embarrassment that details of their private telephone conversations have sometimes been leaked to newspapers.

Under the new law reporting of details of criminal investigations obtained through wiretaps would become illegal until a final verdict has been delivered.

Given the extreme slowness of Italian justice, this would mean that details of cases now before the courts might be reported by the press only in 15 years time. (more) (background)

FutureWatch - GPS trackers & Cellular Forensics

Civil liberties groups are watching a New York court case that should decide whether a police officer, acting on his own, can attach a global positioning system to a vehicle to track someone's movements. The case will be argued next month in the New York Court of Appeals.

Last week, for example, area school administrators (Pennsylvania) were wrestling with the question of how far they can go under the wiretapping law in examining cell phones they confiscate from students. (more)

How low will they go in The Land of Limbo?

Trinidad and Tobago - Claims and counter claims of phone tapping and even spying by a government agency.

In the parliament yesterday during debate on the date protection bill, Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Chief Whip Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj threw allegations at each other, saying that people’s privacy has been and are being infringed.

Mr. Maharaj claimed he had solid information that the government was spying on people.

The Prime Minister would later fire another salvo, saying under the United National Congress Government (UNC) there was an agency set up to tap people’s phones and spy on them. (more)

Spy Planes Grounded. No Pilots.

UK - A new billion-pound fleet of spy planes able to spot the roadside bombs that kill troops in Afghanistan will be out of action... because the RAF has failed to train enough crew...

Each aircraft is operated by a five-man team of two pilots, a mission commander and two imagery analysts. The planes, converted Bombardier passenger jets, have been built by the American firm Raytheon at sites in Texas and near Chester...

An air force spokesman said: “You’ve got to have all five aircraft and all 10 crews ready before you have full operating capability. It could be 2011 but everybody is busting a gut to bring that date forward.” (

Friday, February 13, 2009

Where is Paul Garrett when we need him?

TN - Davidson County Dist. Atty. Gen. Victor S. "Torry" Johnson decided against prosecuting state Rep. Jim Cobb for hiding a voice-activated tape recorder under the desk of his legislative assistant last September. Johnson says Cobb apparently did break wiretapping and surveillance statutes, but he won't be prosecuted because he did such a lousy job of it. (more) (background)

PS - In the original report, Cobb described his actions as "just a prank." Now, it is reported, "Cobb claims he did it because he suspected his aide was treating constituents rudely, and he wanted to catch him in the act."

"In other news from the desk of Torry Johnson, it's also OK for a state representative to send a text message to try to extort a committee chairmanship out of the House speaker."
(sing-a-long) (Paul Garrett)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Securing VoIP... "Give up?"

There are too many sources of vulnerability for VoIP to ever be completely secure, says Patrick Park, author of VoIP Security. Here he describes the VoIP threat landscape and offers best practices for making VoIP reasonably secure... (more)

SpyCam Story #518 - Student vs Teacher

via The Smoking Gun...
"Meet Curtis Pickard. The Georgia student was arrested this week after he allegedly used his cell phone to take "upskirt" photos of Greenbrier High School teacher Ellen Hotchkiss, which he then showed to fellow high schoolers... Pickard was charged with unlawful eavesdropping or surveillance and booked into the Columbia County Detention Center..." (more) (Teacher vs Student)

UPDATE - Curtis Jamar Pickard, 17, of the 4200 block of Waterston Courtyard in Evans, was charged with unlawful eavesdropping or surveillance. He was released from the Columbia County Detention Center later that day after posting a $2,600 bond, according to jail records. (more)

"And then, we'll outlaw Uummarmiutun."

Canada - The Conservative government is preparing sweeping new eavesdropping legislation that will force Internet service providers to let police tap exchanges on their systems - but will likely reignite fear that Big Brother will be monitoring the private conversations of Canadians.

The goal of the move, which would require police to obtain court approval, is to close what has been described as digital "safe havens" for criminals, pedophiles and terrorists because current eavesdropping laws were written in a time before text messages, Facebook and voice-over-Internet phone lines. (more)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"The village called. They want their idiot back."

Taliban and al Qaeda fighters are now so aware every phone conversation may be monitored that they actually get on the line to taunt NSA interpreters who sit in relay centers to translate and distribute transcripts as quickly as possible. "They love to get on our bands and taunt us and especially our interpreters," said the intelligence source. (more)

"So, uh, what happened to the ones you did use?"

Tanzania - Police in Dar es Salaam has distanced itself from recording devices found in two hotel rooms rented out to two parliamentarians in Dodoma.

The Director of Criminal Investigations, Mr Robert Manumba, told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that Government intelligence unit, no longer uses such devices because they are of obsolete technology...

Dodoma police commander Omar Mganga, said in a statement on Saturday that preliminary investigation by experts on information technology identified the devices as EDIC-Mini Tiny, with a capacity to record for 10 hours. (more)

So, let's have a peek at this "obsolete technology."
EDIC-Mini Tiny - Miniature Edic-Mini Tiny digital voice recorder (DVR) is intended for professional recording voice messages into flash memory. The DVR features an extremely small size and weight, long record time (varying with the model – from 18 to 300 hours at the sample rate of 8 kHz, and 2 bit ADPCM compression), very low power consumption, wide frequency range (100- 10000Hz), wide dynamic range and a highly sensitive built-in microphone. A built-in real time clock and a calendar are provided, as well as the mode of start-up by timer. Due to the absence of moving parts, the DVR functions in a wide temperature range, under vibration and dusty conditions.

The model records high quality stereo audio signal from two external microphones on built-in flash memory. It is powered by the rechargeable battery (with 120 mAh capacity), which can be charged from USB port of a PC.

The DVR has a Voice Activating System (VAS) which effectively compresses pauses in messages, therefore increasing the actual record time. Using this system saves memory during pauses, but the time intervals remain. When downloading records to PC, the pause length can be either restored (as silence) or passed depending on the settings made.

One might think, being "obsolete technology," one would have a difficult time finding one for sale. (click here)

Privacy Compromiser's Privacy Compromised

Germany - Lax password security allowed hackers to bust into the German interior minister’s website, it has emerged.

Hacktivists pwned the website of Wolfgang Schäuble on Tuesday in protest against new wiretapping and data retention laws. They posted links inviting visitors to a protest website "Vorratsdatenspeicherung". (more)
Divine Internet farfegnugen.

SpyCam Story #517 - Teacher vs Student

KY - Police in Mayfield have arrested a middle school teacher after he was seen under some bleachers allegedly photographing beneath cheerleaders’ skirts.

The Paducah Sun reported 51-year-old Steve L. McCuiston of Murray was charged with voyeurism, eavesdropping, disorderly conduct and evidence tampering.

McCuiston is on paid leave from his job as a science teacher at Livingston County Middle School. (more)

SpyCam Story #516 - They're everywhere, they're...

IA - An admitted peeping Tom is accused of spying on "at least" 100 unsuspecting naked women through holes in the bathroom vents at a Sioux City hotel.

According to court documents, former hotel maintenance worker Robert Ray Campbell, 51, told detectives he had spied on "at least" 100 female guests at the Rodeway Inn and Conference Center, then known as Quality Inn.

Police discovered holes in bathroom vent filters while inspecting a maintenance hallway. Court documents filed Tuesday say holes were cut or torn into the filter of every bathroom vent in the building. The hotel has 153 rooms, according to its Web site. (more)

Cartoonist takes a biting look at HOA drama

CO - Homeowners associations towing away cars over unpaid dues. An HOA president engaging in illegal wiretaps of his neighbors...
These could be the latest horror stories from Colorado Springs' covenant-controlled neighborhoods...These are scenarios created by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Peters for his nationally syndicated "Mother Goose and Grimm" newspaper comic strip. (more) (more cartoons)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Bugs don't kill people. People..." Part I

UK - The wealthy businessman accused of murdering his wife after listing ways to dispose of her body yesterday admitted attacking her in a rage.

Martin Hale, 52, said he hit wife Maureen several times after bugging her car and hearing her say she never loved him.

The jury heard the attack left her with a bloody nose and a sprained neck. Mrs Hale, 42, disappeared on June 22, 1999 - 10 days after she filed a divorce petition in which she said she lived in fear of her husband, the court heard. (more)

Defending, Richard Christie asked: 'Did you kill your wife?' Mr Hale, wearing a dark suit and pale blue shirt, calmly replied: 'No'.

He denied offering a friend £20,000 to hire an incinerator at a pet crematorium a month after his wife disappeared.

The company director, who ran a fruit and veg importing business, also denied borrowing a shovel from work to dispose of her body. (more)