Monday, March 30, 2009

Update: CEO to be run out of town on a rail?

Germany - The head of Germany’s state owned rail operator resigned today following a series of scandals over the company’s attempts to spy on its staff...

Describing himself as a “tough man,” he told a press conference in Berlin: “The prejudgement, suspicion and speculation have reached dimensions that are no longer bearable even for me.

This is not about a data protection scandal but rather a campaign to change the firm’s direction,” he added, stressing that investigators have found no evidence of illegal activity by DB’s management. He denied any wrongdoing. “My conscience is clear,” he said. (more) (background)

Super-Secret Spy Lens (oldie but goodie)

from the seller's website...
People have a sixth sense for knowing when someone's taking their photo. Especially so when you've got an SLR and a big lens pointed right at 'em.

Super-Secret Spy Lens is the answer.

It's the ultimate accessory for kids, the photo-shy, street photography or any time you want natural, unposed shots." (more)

Business Espionage - Valspar Corp.

IL - A former Valspar Corp. employee was accused by U.S. prosecutors of stealing trade secrets from the paint maker, then packing his belongings for a one-way trip to China, where a new job in the same business awaited him.

David Yen Lee, 52, appeared Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier in Chicago, one day after FBI agents said they arrested him in possession of a pocket-sized computer "thumb drive" containing Valspar data. (more)

Can't say we haven't been warning you...
Warning 1
Warning 2
Warning 3
Warning 4
Warning 5
Warning 6
Warning 7

Warning 8

ACLU starts cable program on governmental spying and surveillance in America Today

CT - Why are video surveillance cameras not equipped with microphones? How was Governor Spitzer caught? Do you unknowingly have a personal radio frequency ID? If so, who can read it?

These and other questions are answered in a talk by Christopher Calabrese, Esq., Program Counsel of ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Program, in the first of a series of television programs presented by the newly formed Fairfield County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.

The series of programs will be aired on Cablevision’s channel 77 on Monday evenings at 11 P.M. starting April 6, 2009, and continuing through June 29. Programs in the series will tackle the Patriot Act, surveillance and privacy, the relation between government and religion, and other topics, dealt with from multiple progressive points of view. (more)

To learn more about the Fairfield County program, call (203)588-0161 or email

SpyCam Story #523 - Sexting

MA - Police in Holbrook are investigating charges against three minors who allegedly created a video of two of them having sexual intercourse while the third recorded it, then distributed the video to junior high students...

"The video depicts two minors engaging in sexual intercourse," Holbrook police officer Keysha Mitchell said. She said the person recording the scene was also a minor.

The video was then distributed among students at Holbrook Junior-Senior High School, police said, and the charges that may be leveled against the teens are serious as the forwarding of such a video, also known as "sexting," is a felony offense...

... and if there's any audio discovered on the video there's also the possible charge of wiretapping," Mitchell said. (more)

101 Undiscovered Freebies: The List

via PCWorld...
We scoured the Internet to come up with 101 innovative, entirely free downloads and services. Here's the whole collection.

Strange Stories - The International Beat

Turkey - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Show TV on Thursday night. During this conversation, when Erdoğan was asked about the increasing incidence of wiretapping in Turkey, he said that although there were laws to prevent it, wiretapping could not be prevented because it was technically possible for GSM operators to wiretap the phone conversations of their customers. "I pay attention to what I say when I talk on the phone. I am also not very comfortable on the phone," Erdoğan admitted. (more)

Lebanon - As-Safir (newspaper) - Headline: The government legitimizes open wiretapping … until the elections! (

Australia - The Chinese-Australian woman at the centre of a top-level espionage inquiry has met both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former PM John Howard, it has been revealed.

Mr Rudd is believed to have attended a private dinner in Brisbane in 2004, where he met and talked at length in Mandarin with Helen Liu.

Ms Liu is at the centre of allegations that the nation's top spy organisation, the highly-secretive Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), tapped into the laptop of Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, without his knowledge.

The DSD allegedly discovered Ms Liu's bank account details in Mr Fitzgibbon's computer.

The Minister, who denies any wrongdoing, rents a Canberra flat from Ms Liu, a family friend for more than 16 years. (more)

China - ...has denied involvement in the electronic spy network which researchers say infiltrated computers in government offices around the world. The spokesman of the Chinese embassy in London said that there was no evidence to show Beijing was involved. He suggested the findings were part of a "propaganda campaign" by the Tibetan government in exile. The research was commissioned by the Dalai Lama's office alarmed by possible breaches of security. (more)

SpyCam Story #524 - Stretch a CCTV Budget

Poland - of the country's most unusual hotels.

Blow Up Hall 50 50, a luxury hotel themed around electronic art, has opened in the city of Poznan, not far from Poland's border with Germany...

Various visual and musical installations are located throughout the hotel's communal spaces and 22 bedrooms, including Lozano-Hemmer's Blow-up, an interactive display that separates one surveillance camera view into 2,400 virtual cameras. (actually, one camera viewed on 2,400 screens in various ways)

In another innovation, guests at the hotel are given an iPhone instead of a key, which shows them to their room with a beam of light and opens their door using recognition technology. (more)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Security Scrapbook Interrupted

The lack of news this past week was due to local government-blocked access to while on assignment overseas. A good reminder of the value of free speech. ~ Kevin

Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries

An electronic spy network that has infiltrated the computers of government offices, NGOs and activist groups in more than 100 countries has been surreptitiously stealing documents and eavesdropping on electronic correspondence, say a group of researchers at the University of Toronto.

More than 1,200 computers at embassies, foreign ministries, news media outlets and non-governmental organizations based primarily in South and Southeast Asia have been infiltrated by the network since at least the spring of 2007, according to the researchers' detailed 53-page report, as have computers in the offices of the Dalai Lama, the Asian Development Bank and the Associated Press in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong...

The computers were infected either after workers clicked on an e-mail attachment containing malware or clicked on a URL that took them to a rogue web site where the malware downloaded to their computer. The malware includes a feature for turning on the web camera and microphone on a computer in order to secretly record conversations and activity in a room. (

The Information Warfare Monitor, a Canadian cyber-espionage watchdog, goes to pains not to point the finger of blame at the Chinese government for a massive China-based cyberspy ring it has uncovered. "While our analysis reveals that numerous politically sensitive and high-value computer systems were compromised in ways that circumstantially point to China as the culprit," it writes in a report issued March 29, "we do not know the exact motivation or the identity of the attacker(s), or how to accurately characterize this network of infections as a whole."

Beijing has always officially denied undertaking such electronic espionage. But given that the IWM has identified at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries, mostly in the foreign ministries or embassies of various Asian governments; that its investigation was triggered by a request from Beijing's adversary, exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, who was concerned the computers of his network had been hacked; and past accusations that Beijing has engaged in cyberspying, including against the U.S., the old suspicions will not only be reawakened but intensified.
(more) (Doh!)

Understanding the Economic Crisis - Simplified

The recession came to South Park this week. The show's metaphor for our real-world mortgage crisis was a "Margaritaville" machine, an over-priced, pointless gadget that makes the green-colored alcoholic beverages. Stan's dad Randy owned one, Stan tried to sell it so the newly-poor family would have more to eat than "sliced hot dogs and tomato slices," but no store or bank would take the gizmo in exchange for actual money. "Defaulting on your Margaritaville," was one weasel-businessman's phrase. (more with video)

Meanwhile, Spybusters' own research has turned up a hugh price reduction on Margaritaville machines. Hold on to your frozen assets!

"Nice day fura mow!"

NY - A reputed Colombo crime family member has been sentenced to 18 months in prison in a shakedown case that the FBI made in part by bugging a Long Island high school baseball field.

Another figure convicted in the case, Frank Leto, apparently discussed illicit business on the Glen Cove High School ballfield to avoid investigators. But according to trial testimony, FBI agents bugged it and recorded hours of conversation. (more) (trailer)

Monday, March 23, 2009

GSM Bugs Keep Getting Smaller

from the seller's web site...
The PLM-JNGSMTX08, a true technological jewel, is the smallest GSM transmitter implemented to date. The technology of listening to the most advanced GSM concentrated in an incredibly small size of only 43 x 34 x 17mm. Simply insert the SIM and call the number to listen to what happens in your absence.

Thanks to its reduced dimensions, the PLM-JNGSMTX08 can be hidden for almost everything in the home, office and car and is even small enough to be hidden in a purse or a briefcase.

The PLM-JNGSMTX08 offers the best quality audio possible thanks to a new circuit for filtering and a new Digital Sound Processor.

A charging of internal battery operation makes the PLM-JNGSMTX08 for up to 6 days standby or 6 to 8 hours of asocoto high-quality audio. For long-term operations, the device can be connected to 220V power or a 12V car power supply via (optional).

Price: € 1299.00 (VAT included) (more with video)

GSM bugs are one of the newest and fastest-growing class of eavesdropping devices. Basically, they are tiny cell phones, without a keypad or fancy options. All an eavesdropper has to do is plug in a SIM card, hide the GSM bug, and call the phone number whenever they want to listen-in.

This type of device has been very difficult to discover, until now. Murray Associates has a proprietary detection protocol aimed specifically at detecting GSM bugs. Concerned businesses and government agencies are invited to call us for further details.

Claims of Spying and Eavesdropping in Hard Rock Cafe Divorce Case

LA - The trial date has finally arrived in a suit filed in January, 2007, by Tarlton Pauley Morton against Peter Morton, her former husband. He is the Hard Rock Cafe co-founder who once counted the likes of Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise and Barry Diller among his investors — and who fed the rest of the town at his Morton’s restaurant.

Ms. Morton’s suit, which has been working its way through Los Angeles Superior Court’s Department 34, charges that Mr. Morton defrauded her of more than $10 million...

...Ms. Morton charged that Mr. Morton had hired private investigators to “engage in a massive course and practice of reprehensible invasions” of her privacy.

In her detailed complaint, Ms. Morton said she believed Mr. Morton and/or his agents trespassed in her home and hotel rooms, burglarized a personal assistant’s hospital room, cracked a safe, ordered a stalker to aim a recording device at her and her lawyer in a coffee shop and absconded with her pain medication... (

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why Woodpeckers Peck

They may be digging for bugs.
They may be building a home.
But when they are whacking loudly on your roof or tin chimney cap (the louder, the better) we know...

...if a male bird is eavesdropping, the message they get is, "Don't mess with me, I'm the biggest, baddest woodpecker around!"

If a female flicker hears the hammering, she just might think, "Wow, what a hunk," and come a little closer to check him out in person. (more)

Not to be confused, of course, with the old Russian Woodpecker, who pecks peeked over the horizon. Why? To keep an eye on U.S.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Economic Intelligence - The New Oxymoron

Wall Street is laying off and the CIA has a full page recruitment ad in Forbes magazine. Seems oddly logical. When you need smart economic analysts, you go to Wall Street.

No wait...
That was last year.

These are strange days.

Coming up next...
"Let's go to the movies. It's just down this rabbit hole."

Witty Take on Corporate Espionage

A Dann Gire movie review...
After winning seven Oscar nominations for his excellent corporate drama "Michael Clayton," Tony Gilroy lightens up the cloak-and-dagger subculture of American business with "Duplicity," a witty, comic romance well-equipped with snappy dialogue, a time-twisted narrative and the closest character to James Bond that Clive Owen has ever handled...

Gilroy's fascination with corporate intrigue pays off. He immerses us in an authentic world of obsessive corporate competitors who go so far as to buy entire landfills just so they can go through the garbage for useful information...

With a title like "Duplicity," you know there's got to be a payoff waiting in the wings. (
more) (trailer)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Presenters at the CanSecWest security conference detailed on Thursday how they can sniff data by analyzing keystroke vibrations using a laser trained on a shiny laptop or through electrical signals coming from a PC connected to a PS/2 keyboard and plugged into a socket.

Using equipment costing about $80, researchers from Inverse Path were able to point a laser on the reflective surface of a laptop between 50 feet and 100 feet away and determine what letters were typed.

Chief Security Engineer Andrea Barisani and hardware hacker Daniele Bianco used a handmade laser microphone device and a photo diode to measure the vibrations, software for analyzing the spectrograms of frequencies from different keystrokes, as well as technology to apply the data to a dictionary to try to guess the words. They used a technique called dynamic time warping that's typically used for speech recognition applications, to measure the similarity of signals. (

TGIF! Have fun this weekend.
Make a cheap laser microphone yourself.

Gregorian Eavesdropping Countermeasures

RI - Normally, churches invite the faithful in to unburden themselves to a priest in the privacy of a confessional for just a few minutes a week. But St. Joseph's will hear confessions for a seven-and-a-half hour stretch Saturday in its sixth annual “all-day confession” event... Gregorian chants reverberating in the background guarantee confessions will be eavesdrop-proof. (more)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chinese spy who defected tells all... (yawn)

A veteran Chinese intelligence officer, Li Fengzhi, who defected to the United States says that his country's civilian spy service spends most of its time trying to steal secrets overseas... China's spy agency is focused on sending spies to infiltrate the U.S. intelligence community, and also on collecting secrets and technology from the United States. "China spends a tremendous effort to send out spies to important countries like the U.S. to collect information," Mr. Li said. (more)

$559,334. - An example of espionage legal fees.

The federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld an extraordinary ruling in favor of Eagle Hospital Physicians in its bitter dispute with a consultant who accessed Eagle’s confidential e-mails.

The ruling Thursday by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means Steven R. Gerst and his companies, SRG Consulting and Hospitalist Physicians, must pay Eagle $559,334 in legal fees and $44,000 in damages.

When asked under oath how he did his electronic eavesdropping, Gerst invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The 11th Circuit Thursday agreed Gerst’s misconduct deserved such sanctions. (more)

Eavesdropping detection inspections are economical compared with the value of lost information - in this case, $44,000. Trying to recoup in court is the expensive part - in this case, $559,334. A win like this is unusual. Smarter... add eavesdropping detection audits to your security program to deter snoops in the first place.

"Just a min. We're on the phone."

Australia - New South Wales authorities are secretly combing through the phone records of more than 90,000 people a year, snooping on more people's communications than the rest of the country's officials combined...

The director of the Communications Law Centre, Professor Michael Fraser, has told ABC1's Lateline program he is concerned about the possible abuse of power. "Law enforcement can authorise it themselves. We need to have some checks and balances in place," he said...

No-one from the NSW Police or State Government was available to discuss the issue with Lateline... (more)

Not to be outdone by some NSW Aussies...

The UK government is considering a move that would have far-reaching privacy implications: storing all messages sent through web mail and social networking applications. (more)

Eavesdropping the Old Fashioned Way

SC - A Mount Pleasant resident called police because she thought her neighbor was eavesdropping on her from his backyard, reports say.

She told police March 4, that she was on the phone in the backyard by her pool when her dog began to bark at the fence... after seeing the shadow of a man, she called to her dog and then crouched down to catch a better glimpse of the man. She saw him get up and start running to his own pool. She reportedly said her neighbor has done similar things in the past. (more)

Eavesdropping Mom Drops Dime on Son

UT - ...two boys, one a student at Midvale Middle School and another boy also younger than 18, had a plan to “kidnap, torture and kill” at least 3 people, including a fellow student and a school police officer at Midvale Middle School...

...the mother of the older boy called police on March 7th, after eavesdropping on a phone conversation between her son and the younger boy. The mother allegedly heard the boys talk about a plan to kidnap people after luring them to different locations. The court papers say the boys “…wanted to make sure to have cameras and camcorders so they could take pictures of what they were doing, because they wanted people to know who did it, so they could become famous.” (more with video)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"So, why did you think we recorded the calls?"

MI - Two sergeants and three deputies are making a federal case out of their problems with Sheriff Michael Oltersdorf, Undersheriff Scott Wooters and the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department.

In a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids last week, the sergeants and deputies are alleging that their civil rights were violated when the sheriff and undersheriff listened to “private” conversations recorded on a computerized phone system in the Leelanau County Law Enforcement Center last year.

Many of the phone conversations were about grievances filed against the sheriff under a Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) union contract and issues related to former Deputy Bruce Beeker, who resigned last month. (more)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SpyCam Story #522 - The Starbuckeroo

NY - Police are looking for a man who installed a spy camera in the unisex bathroom at the Starbucks Coffee Shop in New Paltz.

The device was discovered a short time later when an employee located it. It is believed the incident occurred on Tuesday, March 10 at about 7 p.m.

New Paltz Police have recovered video and said the suspect appears to be a white man with a build, 35 to 40 years of age and approximately six feet tall. He is bearded with a mustache and is wearing wire rimmed circular glasses. He has a pony tail that does down mid-way on his back.

The police are asking for public assistance it identifying this man. Anyone with information is asked to call the police at 845-255-1323. All calls will remain confidential and police will also take anonymous tips. (more) (more)

"Signs yer' phone be tapped."

Happy St. Patrick's Day
"Is someone listening to your private calls? Know the warning signs." Someone at VoIP-News has had a wee bit too much Guinness. The only thing they didn't mention were the buggin' leprechauns.

Seriously, there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet. If you are concerned about illegal bugging, wiretapping or electronic tracking, please contact a competent counterespionage specialist.

Security Director News
Security Management
International Association of Professional Security Consultants

True Stories from Eavesdroppingland - Auto Bug

"I've never asked Dad if he killed Mum."
...Maureen began to look outside the marriage for affection. In 1998 she kissed plumber John Potter, a friend of her husband's, and in the following March - three months before her disappearance - she began a three-month affair with gardener Andrew Horton.

It was Martin's discovery that Maureen had kissed Mr Potter - after bugging her car - that led to him hitting his wife.

Oliver recalls pulling them apart and seeing his mum with a bloody nose. He believes it was the final nail in his parents' 16-year marriage... (more)

Extortionography: Edison Carter's or TVigilantes?

Australia - A former Sydney mayor has told a court he will plead not guilty to soliciting the murder of a male prostitute last year.

The 71-year-old former mayor of Waverley, James Robert Markham, was secretly filmed by Channel Nine's A Current Affair program, allegedly explaining his motives to hire a hitman to carry out the murder...

The alleged hitman, Channel Nine producer Andrew Byrne and reporter Ben Fordham have been charged with breaching the Listening Devices Act. (more)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Or, about new 2 wiretaps every business hour.

Bulgaria - Sofia City Court approved requests for about 4000 wiretaps in 2008, the court's head, Svetlin Mihailov, let it be understood on March 16 2009.

Presenting the report on the court's activity in 2008, Mihailov said, as quoted by Dnevnik daily, that the court rejected only 30 requests because they dealt with document fraud, in which there was nothing to be gained by tapping the suspects' phones, he said. (more)

Got RFID Credit Cards? Wanna Keep Them?

The Only Stainless Steel Wallet.
Woven using 25,000 stainless steel threads that are three times thinner than a piece of paper --.001"--this is the only wallet with a hand as smooth as silk and the strength that surpasses leather.

Resistant to corrosive materials such as salts, acids, and seawater, the tightly woven steel also passively resists radio-frequency hacking--the latest identity theft technique that attempts to scan newer credit cards. (more)

More wallet and passport protectors. (more) (more) (more)

County Spends Thousands for Bug Sweep...

By Ray Stern, Phoenix New Times Blog...
Maricopa County Supervisors Spend $14,600 Sweeping for Bugs
It seems like the very definition of paranoia: Spending thousands of dollars sweeping for hidden electronic devices -- and finding none.
But that's what Maricopa County Supervisors are doing -- with your money. The county has now spent $14,600 sweeping for bugs on the 10th floor of the county building at 301 West Jefferson Street, and no bugs have been discovered. (more)

Bad press?
Not really
, just the usual sensationalized reporting without all the facts.
To an underpaid reporter, $14,600 sounds like a lot of money. Can't blame him for ranting.

HOWEVER, if our reporter dug deeper...
Bug sweeps protect against fraudulent bidding on multi-million dollar county contracts throughout the year. (Just one of many good examples.) Periodic sweeps are cheap insurance and proper due diligence.

Eavesdropping detection audits are a standard practice in business and government. Combined with other professional security measures the proper outcome is "no bugs found." Not conducting eavesdropping detection sweeps may be considered negligence. And that might be the topic of an even better article!

Even the reporter had to admit that my colleague was above reproach...
The county is using Arizona Technical Security, a Scottsdale company. Jeff Evert, the company's owner, told New Times that if the county had hired him to do anything, he wouldn't talk about it. He wouldn't budge even when told we were looking at the bill. At least someone in this world has ethics, right?

Right, and Ray Stern should interview Jeff to learn the value of bug sweeps. And as for Max Wilson, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, your taxpayers should be proud of you for properly safeguarding their money. ~Kevin

Security Director Alert - Default Admin Codes

David Rusenko sez... Here's a fun little tip: You can open most Sentex key pad-access doors by typing in the following code: ***00000099#*

The first *** are to enter into the admin mode, 000000 (six zeroes) is the factory-default password, 99# opens the door, and * exits the admin mode (make sure you press this or the access box will be left in admin mode!)

Even though you assigned custom passcodes to system users, your system's master code may still be set at the default passcode. This is a vulnerability common to many access control products. Time to check & change.

To see if you have a Sentex lock (mostly used in multi-tenant buildings and for driveway gates) check here and here. ~Kevin

...and I love the smell of my new shoes (BLAMP!)

Finland - The parliament of Finland voted to approve a controversial new law that gives employers the right to monitor their employees’ emails if they suspect any kind of deviant or illegal behaviour is going on. Dubbed the “Lex Nokia” law, or the data retention law, the bill was approved by 96 members of parliament, while 56 voted against it. (more)

Social Networking - Corporate Security Risk

via Forbes...
Social networking already has passed through the firewall of every company on the planet. Now CIOs need to ask, "What else snuck in with it?"

Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace already are a part of employees' lives. They're also one of the greatest tools for hackers to gain entry into the corporate enterprise, no matter how impenetrable a company thinks it is from the bad guys. And it's not just the 20-something employees. With workers of all ages showing growing angst over their jobs, they've been flooding onto LinkedIn to build up their contact lists in case they get laid off.

Top executives at Netragard, which specializes in ethical hacking, claim their team can gain access to any data inside almost any enterprise rather quickly, often in minutes, by latching onto employee names and gaining access through social networking sites. (more)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

...or, $109,589.04 plus flight expenses, per day.

US - The Pentagon said Thursday that it intends to spend $400 million to develop a giant dirigible that will float 65,000 feet above the Earth for 10 years, providing unblinking and intricate radar surveillance of the vehicles, planes and even people below.

”It is absolutely revolutionary,” Werner J.A. Dahm, chief scientist for the Air Force, said of the proposed unmanned airship - describing it as a cross between a satellite and a spy plane. (

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spy News - Made in the USA

Here are a few of the stories capturing our attention here...
Industrial Espionage Negates Reinventing the Wheel
• The global security chief for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. revealed an intellectual property theft. Seems a couple of engineers from another tire company tricked their way into Goodyear, distracted their escort, took cell phone photos of special manufacturing equipment and emailed them to their headquarters.

The information was used to make similar machinery for a Chinese tire manufacturer. That contract was worth about $1.2 million.

The alleged spy guys? Wyko Tire Technology Ltd., West Midlands, UK.

Conclusion: No business safe from industrial espionage. The more your information is worth, the more it will be targeted. The method of theft used here was preventable. Good counterespionage consultants know how. All a business has to do is ask.

Boardroom Bug Hides in Plain Sight
• Our spybusters found a Boardroom speakerphone this month which allowed eavesdropping. We routinely check speakerphone feature settings to see if the auto-answer feature is active. If it is, eavesdropping is easy. Simply dial the Boardroom number when it is is vacant, stay on the line and wait for the meeting to begin. This is a surprisingly well-known (and used) eavesdropping trick.

Solutions: Only connect the Boardroom speakerphone to the outside line when it is actually needed. Next best... Deactivate the auto-answer feature permanently. If permanent deactivation is not possible, program it off. Your countermeasures team will re-inspect it for you each visit. You do have a countermeasures team checking your Boardroom, don't you?

Hotels Are Fertile Ground for Voyeurs
• There has been a recent uptick in hotel voyeurism stories here. Most involve spycams, a few about holes poked in walls, and this odd-ball story out of Florida... with implications for travelers everywhere: A husband and wife checked into their hotel room and noticed the peephole in the door had been reversed! People on the outside could clearly see into their room.

Hotel door peepholes are mandated by law in the U.S. This door had two of them; one at regular height, and lower one three feet from the ground (legally compliant for people in wheelchairs). The lower one was reversed.

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.

Recommendations: Keep a small, high-power flashlight in your kit and a long pin (for poking into pin-holes, of course). Carefully check your hotel room upon arrival. Start with the peephole. Look into unusual holes, open vents, etc. keeping in mind the field of view from that perspective. Bathrooms and beds are usually the targeted viewing areas. Be aware of electronic items which do not look like standard hotel room items. A clock (or clock radio) which looks too new, for example, could be a spycam. If in doubt, face it toward the wall. "Smoke detectors" in strange places, or too many of them, is another clue there might be a problem. If you think you have found something suspicious, call the police, not the front desk, for further investigation. You want your case well-documented, and the evidence properly handled when you say, "See you in court."

If your business is holding an off-site meeting at a hotel or resort, bring along your countermeasures team. In addition to preventing information losses, they can save you from this type of embarrassment.

Want to Spy on the International Space Station?
Click here. While the crew is working you can eavesdrop on their transmissions - often sporadic - and watch the progress map. During sleep periods, they turn on the outside spycams. Just listening to them now. Interesting. They are housecleaning. Sucking lint out of the ducts with a vacuum cleaner! Houston said, "Glad it is all clean and you didn't see a pair of eyes staring back at you."
From America, this is Kevin.

Wrong + Wrong ≠ Right... in any language.

German authorities have searched the offices of mail and logistics company Deutsche Post in connection with a snooping scandal at Deutsche Telekom... Deutsche Telekom acknowledged in June last year that it had illegally monitored phone call records in 2005 and 2006, amid allegations that Telekom had targeted board members and journalists to stop media leaks. (more)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Teleportation v Eavesdropping - Guess Who Wins

MD - Scientists have come a bit closer to achieving the "Star Trek" feat of teleportation.

No one is galaxy-hopping, or even beaming people around, but for the first time, information has been teleported between two separate atoms across a distance of a meter — about a yard.

This is a significant milestone in a field known as quantum information processing, said Christopher Monroe of the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland, who led the effort. (more)

Such long-distance quantum communication theoretically would be completely secure and immune to eavesdropping. (more)

Forgetful? Snoopy? Ask Password Genie

From the website...
Founded in 1998, Passware, Inc. is the worldwide leading maker of password recovery and decryption software for corporations, law enforcement and forensic agencies, help desk personnel, business and home users.

Numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and thousands of private users rely on Passware software products to ensure data availability in the event of lost passwords.

A few of our customers include: Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Department of Justice, US Senate, NASA, FDA, IRS, and many more.

Passware is a privately held corporation with head office in Mountain View, CA and software development and engineering office in Moscow, Russia. The company is self-funded, debt-free, and profitable from its inception. (additional resource)
Interesting two-edged sword.

SpyCam Story #521 - The Landlord's Son

MI - An arrest warrant says a suspect accused of placing hidden video cameras in one of his father's rental properties put the devices in a bedroom and a bathroom, court records reveal.

Bradley Scott-Irving Graves, 25, waived a probable cause hearing Wednesday in Rockford District Court and will face trial on two two-year felony charges for possessing and installing eavesdropping equipment...

The arrest affidavit alleges Graves went to the home and told the tenants he was installing a smoke detector in the bedroom and a mold detector in the bathroom.

A man in the home was suspicious of the claim from Graves, who acts as the maintenance person for his father's rentals, according to court documents.

"(The victim) further investigated and noted that the mold detector was a camera as well as the detector in the bedroom," sheriff's Detective Ed Kolakowski wrote in court records.

Police also found a VCR recording from the devices in a basement. (more) (more) (more) (video)

UPDATE - 5/7/09 - A high tech peeper has admitted to installing a camera in his tenant's shower. This week Bradley Graves entered a guilty plea to a felony charge of eavesdropping, installing and using a device. Graves will be sentenced in June. (more)

Wiretapping threatening Internet, says web inventor Tim Berners-Lee

UK - Inventor of the web Tim Berners-Lee, along with other online security specialists at the Houses of Parliament in London, have warned that the ever-increasing power of computers is threatening the future of the Internet.

The experts are mainly concerned about deep packet inspection (DPI), a technique that makes it possible to peer inside packets of data transmitted across the Internet...

He says that DPI is like wiretapping, and can enable firms to learn a huge amount about peoples "lives, hates and fears". (more)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Business Espionage - Goodyear Tire (update)

UK - A leading British manufacturer has been caught up in an industrial espionage row after two engineers used a mobile telephone to photograph a secret piece of equipment at an American factory.

The photographs are alleged to have been used by Wyko Tire Technology in Dudley, West Midlands, to manufacturer a specialist tyre machine for a Chinese company.

Engineers Clark Roberts and Sean Howley are alleged to have tricked their way into the Goodyear factory in Kansas to take seven photographs of machinery used make large “off the road” tyres for earth moving equipment, it is claimed.

The pictures were emailed to two Wyko employees at the factory in Britain and were used to manufacturer a similar piece of equipment for the Haohau South China Guilin Rubber Company based in north east China. The contract with the Chinese company was worth $1.2million.

Mr Roberts, 46, and Mr Howley, 38 - both employees of Wyko Tire Technology Inc in Greenback, Tennessee - have been charged with 12 offences relating to the theft of trade secrets and wire fraud. They face a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison and a fine of $2.75million (£2million). (more)

Doctor's Cell Phones Bugged by Staph

Cell phones belonging to hospital staff were found to be tainted with bacteria, including the drug-resistant MRSA superbug, and may be a source of hospital-acquired infections, according to a new study.

Ninety-five percent of the mobile phones were contaminated with at least one type of bacteria, with the potential to cause illness ranging from minor skin irritations to deadly disease.

Most worrying, one in eight of the handsets showed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), a virulent strain that has emerged as a major health threat in hospitals around the world. (

Why mention this?

I like to keep my clients safe, healthy, happy and alive.

Your cell phone, desk phone, keyboard and mouse could probably use a cleaning - like right now. Solutions: compressed air, cotton swabs, lint-free cloth, cleaning fluids, antibacterial wet wipes and sprays. "But wait." Look what I found! A new crud-goop product which is easier and more fun to use. (video) (ebay)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Technology Makes Anyone a Spy

Michael Strahan An Example Case Of Surveillance Spyware Used On Loved Ones
An estimated 3.4 million Americans have been subjected to stalking...

When former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan reportedly suspected his girlfriend Nicole Murphy, actor Eddie Murphy's ex-wife, of cheating on him, he allegedly installed a tracking device in her car on two separate occasions, reports CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg reports.

And those weren't the only times Strahan has been accused of using technology to monitor those around him. His ex-wife has accused him of tapping her phone and installing a secret video camera... (more) (video)

Eggs in One Basket - A Cautionary Tale

New Zealand - A promising engineering student who deliberately deleted crucial information from his employer's computer backup systems cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost business and data recovery.

Gareth Pert, 23, nearly crippled Hamilton business Progressive Hydraulics while acting out of "pure vindictiveness", said company director Rodney Sharp...

Pert was arrested last month at Auckland International Airport upon his return from Afghanistan where he had been working since the sabotage was reported.

"His motivation was that he believed he was worth more than he was getting paid. Instead of talking to us, he started adding on five hours on his time card, so we pulled him up on it," Sharp says. "I was probably the first person to sit him down and put him in his place... I said, `You've cribbed your time cards.' He said, `I'm worth it'. I said, `I don't care how good you are, it's just dishonest'." Pert then wiped the backups and never returned to work.

There is evidence he also copied some of the commercially sensitive data but he told police he couldn't remember what he did with it.
Try saying "Afghanistan banana stand" to him.

Crypt Your Stick - A Cautionary Tale

Scotland - A USB drive is missing from Lothian and Borders Police with details of hundreds of police investigations... “It is understood that the information contained on the stick was not encrypted as it was information being transferred within a secure compound within Police Headquarters,” the police spokesman revealed. (more)
How to Crypt Your Stick for FREE.

Monday, March 9, 2009

TSCM Friend & Colleague - Patrick Bennett

The universe of private eavesdropping detection practitioners is small, maybe several hundred.

The world of knowledgeable private practitioners is smaller, maybe fifty.

Then, there is a tiny archipelago of knowledgeable and respected specialists who gravitated to this profession by their innate desire to help others.

Patrick Allan Bennett was one of these Islands. All who knew him, miss him. All who might have known him suffer the loss, unaware.

It is not surprising that one of Patrick's outstanding accomplishments was that he was the first Eagle Scout of Troop 74 in Marinwood, CA.

Professionally, he was a private investigator and Vice President of Walsingham Associates – one of the very best TSCM companies in the business. I know. I regularly entrust my clients to their care; for over 15 years. Fortunately, Walsingham Associates continues under the guidence of William Bennett.

His family's description is moving, "Patrick was a kind, gentle man who loved his family and valued his friendships." You can see it in his face, can't you?

There will be a Memorial Service from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Tuesday, March 10 at the Lima Family Mortuary Chapel, (408) 263-2868, located at 48800 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Marin Council Boy Scouts of America, 225 West End Ave. San Rafael, CA 94901

Good-bye, friend.

Taiwan busts mobile phone spy software

...all Symbian 60 handsets are at risk.
Taiwan - Authorities in Taipei raided a shop accused of selling mobile phone spying software on Friday, warning that many cellphones are vulnerable to surreptitious eavesdropping and monitoring of text messages...

Police said that the cellphone spyware was used by private investigators to catch people in extramarital affairs, but that it had also been used in instances of industrial espionage. (more)

Wiretapping - Crackdown & Self-defense

Turkey - Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin has announced illegal wiretappings will be more severely punished through a planned amendment in the penal code.

Turkey - Phone tapping and bugging scandals caused booming sales of GSM "jamming" device that jams GSM radio signals. Demand mostly comes from businessmen and artists. "The price range is between 380 TL and 30,000 TL for jamming devices which can stop all mobile phone conversations and bugging," says Mustafa Ender, executive of a company selling jammers. "Another device that spots hidden cameras starts from 575 TL," he says. (more)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Business Espionage - Goodyear Tire

TN - Goodyear called in the FBI when the company suspected someone was spying on closely guarded technology for making tires.

The global security chief for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said in a statement Saturday that the company alerted the FBI after an internal investigation into what he called an apparent attempt in 2007 to steal proprietary technology. (more)

This is an excellent example of a properly run corporate security program. Spot the spies during their intelligence collection process. Result: Damage thwarted, cheaply. (formal version of this philosophy)

Interesting back-story...
The FBI probe was followed by federal charges Friday against two engineers for a Tennessee company, Wyko Tire Technology Inc. in Greenback near Knoxville. The engineers, Clark Alan Roberts and Sean Edward Howley, pleaded not guilty to counts including trade secret theft, wire fraud and conspiracy... Wyko, part of Netherlands-based Eriks Group, designs and builds tire making equipment for tire companies, including Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear... Wyko had contracted to provide Haohau South China Guilin Rubber Co. Ltd. under a $1.2 million order. Wyko had never built one of the machines, the indictment says.

Top security marketplace directories...

Security Director News Marketplace
Security Consultants (IAPSC)
Security Industry Buyer's Guide (ASIS)

Taliban kill two on charges of spying

For the past several years, we read in the news that the Taliban are killing "spies" at the rate of 1-7 per week. Discovery of this many "spies" at such a sustained and consistent rate strains credibility. More likely, spy demise is a scared-straight tactic with a personal vendetta side benefit.

This week...
Taliban militants in Pakistan's restive tribal area on Friday killed two men they accused of spying for US forces stationed across the border in Afghanistan, officials said.

The bullet-riddled bodies of Afghan refugee Sher Khan and Pakistani tribal elder Nazar Jan were found early Friday at separate places in the North Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan, officials in those areas said.

"Notes found with the bodies said the men were killed for spying for the US," tribal police official Rukh Niaz Khan told AFP.

Islamist militants frequently kidnap and kill local tribesmen or Afghan refugees on charges of spying for the Pakistani government or US forces, who are battling a Taliban-led insurgency across the border in Afghanistan. (more)

Taiwanese official indicted on spying for China

A senior employee of Taiwan's presidential office was indicted Friday on charges of providing classified information to rival China... Taiwan and China have routinely engaged in espionage against each other since they split amid civil war in 1949. Both have used financial aid in an attempt to lure away the other's allies. (more)

If only lottery numbers were so predictable.

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) (background 2009)

Employee Surveillance - Cameras in the Sandbox

NY - Highway department workers in several Lower Hudson Valley municipalities are finding they will have an extra set of eyes watching as they go about their work.

Clarkstown will become the latest to have surveillance cameras installed in its highway department. Spring Valley recently put in cameras in the village's Department of Public Works, much to the work crews' chagrin...

Workers at the highway department's mechanic shop said that cameras would be put in the area where they repair equipment, and that the surveillance would be invasive.

"Why is it necessary to have these cameras put into the mechanics work area?" they asked in a statement. "This creates a hostile work environment because we don't know the intent of the camera surveillance... This leads us to believe this will be used for disciplinary action," the statement said. (Well, duh.) (more)

Employee Surveillance - Line Drawn in Sand

FutureWatch - Town employees complain of secret surveillance system allegedly installed at mayor's behest.

NY - From his comments in a Feb. 26 article, "Cameras' unannounced installation puzzles Spring Valley DPW employees," you'd think the law applies to everyone except for Spring Valley Mayor George O. Darden.

The last time we checked, eavesdropping was a felony in New York state. If what DPW head Neil Vitiello told our local president is true and Spring Valley DPW workers are being illegally recorded using audio equipment, the village could have legal problems coming that are far bigger than their latest violation of the CSEA contract.

Darden's arrogance knows no bounds. He claims not to know if audio surveillance has been installed. We don't buy that. Isn't this something Darden would be familiar with before using taxpayer dollars to buy or lease cameras? And when were these cameras secured? When CSEA questioned Village Attorney Bruce Levine about the cameras, Levine said he was unaware they had been purchased, let alone installed! (more)
Billy Riccaldo, Beacon, NY — The writer is president, CSEA Southern Region

Friday, March 6, 2009

Easy Mobile & Desk Phone Encryption

Rhode & Schwarz's Telephone Encryption System
The TopSec Mobile is a voice encryption device that can be connected to almost any commercially available mobile phone using a Bluetooth® interface. It provides confidential, tap-proof communications anywhere in the world.

The encryption has been embedded in the TopSec Mobile hardware to avoid the susceptibility of GSM phones to manipulation.

The TopSec Mobile is plug-and-play, compatible with most commercially available mobile phones, interoperable with other TopSec products in analog and digital fixed networks, as well as in mobile radio networks. (more)

Very cool concept. Easy to use with existing phones.
So... if what you have to say is so important, why aren't you using these?

Security Director Budget Booster - Proof a Counterespionage Budget increase is logical

excerpt from an excellent article by Burton and Stewart at
...And one of the first functions cut during tough times often is corporate security...

Espionage is always a problem corporations must face. Competitors, criminals and even foreign governments often seek ways to gather proprietary information from companies, sometimes to boost their own operational capacities (e.g., to apply critical or emerging technologies to their weapons programs) and sometimes to sell on the open market...

When open source collection efforts fail, more invasive measures must be employed. Sometimes the required information can be obtained via technical surveillance. A faulty information technology system, for example, can expose the company's secrets via remote electronic intrusion conducted from a continent away. Other times, information can be obtained by eavesdropping on telephone calls made by corporate leaders or by using other technical surveillance measures...

With many corporate security departments being cut to the bone, many internal security services focused on the counterterrorism mission and many law enforcement agencies chasing white-collar criminals, it is a good time to be in the intelligence business.

One day we will look back on this time through a counterintelligence lens and see that, although it was a time of bear stock markets, it was a tremendous bull market for practitioners of human intelligence. (