Monday, August 31, 2009

Buck Howdy - Wiretapper DNA Gone Good

Life is strange. Take a moment to listen to a Roy Rodgers / Rolling Stones mash-up “Hey! You! Get off of my cow!” The artist is Buck Howdy, a singing cowboy, specializing in kid-friendly tunes. He’s also a genuine, tractor-driving, turkey farmer.

Ok, now that you have stopped laughing...

Buck Howdy: “I inherited my geek DNA from my dad [Jim Vaus Jr.]. As a kid my dad helped me build a ham radio and then I got my broadcast license WN2FEZ was my call sign.

He was a HUGE geek - he invented wiretapping and tracing phone calls - and then employed his skills at the same time for the L.A. Syndicate (mob), the police and Hollywood movie stars all at the same time!

He also invented the machine that they patterned the big sting in the movie “The Sting” after - where they were supposedly intercepting horse race results on the wire service - and then delaying those results just long enough to place bets on the horses.”

(Jim Vaus cleaned up his act, by the way. You can find out more in his book, “Why I Quit Syndicated Crime,” the basis of the 1955 movie Wiretapper.) (more)

I know a few folks from the Vaus clan.
They are really wonderful people. ~Kevin

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Unsolicited "Gift" USB Stick

This is the scariest thing I saw during our bug sweeps this past week. It was sitting on top of a corporate president's desk.

Anyone can have custom printing put on USB sticks. (Not knowing if the printing on this one was legitimate or fake, I blurred the top two lines.) They can also load the stick with a megaton blast of spyware, destructive malware or a fast spreading virus that hits your corporate nervous system like Tourette's Syndrome.

Put the trick-stick into a pretty package. Mass mail it to company employees. Good chance one of them will open their Pandora's Box.

My new corporate client was not completely naive. They had a USB lock-out policy in place. The USB ports were turned off on all employee computers... except top executives, who were exempt from the policy.

Worried about your USB ports?
Good, here is a plan...
• Try USB lock-out software. You can get a Free 30-day trial from Lumension.
• Identify employees who have a real need to have their ports unlocked.
• Give them a clear education about the USB vulnerability.
• Let them know they will be responsible for their security lapses.
• Ask them if they are really sure they want their ports left open.

YG, phone home. (YG = Your Gadget)

If your gadget can connect to the Internet, it can probably call you when it is lost or stolen...

A while back, I discussed a FREE way to get you laptop back using a combination of Adeona and isightcapture. If you are willing to spend a few bucks, and also need to protect: Mac or PC laptops, BlackBerrys, Smart mobile phones, cameras, GPS devices, external hard drives and even USB thumb drives, GadgetTrak can help.

Not electronic?
No problem.
GadgetTrak also offers "
Trak Tags" so honest people have a way of returning lost, non-electronic items.

Companies even put
GadgetTrak technology into their own products. (see FLIR ThermaTrak™) Smart!

TV Station - Closed for Spying?

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa announced Saturday he is seeking to definitively shut down a private television station that he accused of "espionage" on his office.

The station Teleamazonas, a private broadcaster that has been critical of Correa and his government, has already been fined multiple times for breaking broadcasting law, notably for reporting opposition charges of voter fraud during April's general elections.

This week the station broadcast a secretly recorded conversation between Correa and a Quito lawmaker...

"They have spied on a meeting in the office of the president -- that's an attack on national security.... We will not accept these things," said Correa. (more)

Update: (computer translation) The Policy Coordinating Minister Ricardo Patino and Legal Secretary of the Presidency, Alexis Mera, presented today at the Attorney General, two complaints against Fernando Balda, Patriotic Society member. Patino said the allegations against Balda are for having disseminated a clandestine recording of a meeting in the Presidency and unjustifiable introduction at police and insulting the President. The secretary of the Prosecutor indicated that he immediately informed the minister will Fiscal Washington heaviness, to arrange for further investigation on this case.

Julia Child's Best Recipe

Julia McWilliams’ post was with the Office of Strategic Services, or the OSS, which was the predecessor to the CIA. She held several positions, and at one point she and co-workers solved a unique problem for the U.S. Navy: Sharks bumping into underwater explosives were setting them off and warning the German U-boats they were intended to sink. According to Linda McCarthy, curator of the Clandestine Women: The Untold Stories of Women in Espionage exhibit at the National Women's History Museum, “Julia Child and a few of her male compatriots got together and literally cooked up a shark repellent," to coat the explosives. (more)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Business Espionage - Once A Discreet Craft

Now, it is just blatant.

Fight back.

SpyCam Story #551 - The Tech Guy Spy

MI - The former technology manager for Citizens Gas Fuel Co. is facing criminal charges for allegedly spying on women inside bathrooms at the company office at 127 N. Main St.

Richard Neal Gramling Jr., 54, was arraigned Wednesday in Lenawee County District Court on seven felony counts involving a hidden camera offense and use of a computer to commit a crime. He remains free on personal recognizance pending a Sept. 3 preliminary examination...

“Detroit Edison has done a complete sweep of the building and is confident there are no recording devices left,” said Detective Greg Lanford of the Adrian Police Department. (more)

Recommendation: Add bathroom inspections to your pro-active sweep schedule. If you don't have a pro-active sweep schedule (you should) stop by and see us. We will help you reduce the chances of embarrassing incidents and employer negligence lawsuits.

Robin Squeals on Batman

The son of a disgraced CIA agent convicted of funneling classified information to the Russians has pleaded guilty to charges of helping his imprisoned father collect overdue bills for his dad’s nefarious activities.

The 25-year-old son, Nathaniel James Nicholson of Eugene, Oregon, traveled throughout the world using coded e-mail messages to plot meeting locations with the Russians, and received tens of thousands of dollars on behalf of his convicted spy father, Harold James Nicholson, according to a January indictment. (.pdf)

The father, nicknamed “Batman,” is already serving 23 years
... FBI affidavit (.pdf). (more)

Skype Scalper Double-Crosses Swiss Patron

The Swiss creator of a Skype Trojan that can intercept calls made using the VoIP program has released the Trojan's source code online in an attempt to allow for its widespread detection.

In a translated interview with, Ruben Unteregger says that with the Trojan's publication, "it will get analysed... signature patterns will be created by antivirus companies, the malware will be detected, blocked and deleted, if it tries to infect a system."

Previous reports from the IDG News Service tied the in-development Skype Trojan to the Swiss Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, which reportedly hired Unteregger's company to create the digital wiretap. (more)

Secret Enclosures Made From Everyday Items

Many years ago, I did some work for an odd company in New Mexico; they specialized in building secret enclosures for the government.

Whatever you could dream up they could make. A desk with a hollow leg for an embassy in Romania - no problem. A toothbrush transmitter for a secret agent - no problem. Need a place to hide some microfilm in
a nail file - no problem.

An item like a car could be decked out with 100+ secret compartments for bugs, smuggled manuscripts or a handler's stash of baksheesh.

It was a cool place run by brilliantly deceptive minds. Not open to the public.

You probably don't need that level of deception, but you may need...
A place to: stash some cash, cool your jewels or just hide a spare key.

Visit The International Spy Museum Store.
Here, you can obtain...

Arizona Iced Tea Diversion Safe
Peanut Butter Safe
Dr. Pepper Can Safe
Suave Can Safe
Book Safe
...and more secret safes made from everyday items.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eight Million-Dollar Businesses You've Never Heard Of

Ever since taking a part-time job manning surveillance equipment for the Dennisport, MA, police department, Kevin D. Murray has been a spy buster. Businesses and governments hire him to suss out hidden bugs and such, which he does using everything from sensitive thermal-imaging equipment (which picks up the heat given off by any hidden sensors bugs) to just lots of plain old looking around. Murray Associates now handles about 125 cases per year. He claims to have protected "more than $100 trillion worth of information*" in the last three decades. (more)

* Just a rough guess, of course. We used this figure in conjunction
with our recent give-a-way of 100 Trillion dollar bills from Zimbabwe.

If you are a Security Director, CEO, President, Chairman, Chief Legal Counsel, HR director, etc. from a Forbes 1000 company, and would like one of these very rare bank notes (the largest denomination ever printed), just look over our Web site, put us in your Rolodex and let me know. I will make it happen. ~Kevin

Wi-Fi Encryption Cracked in a Minute

Computer scientists in Japan say they've developed a way to break the WPA encryption system used in wireless routers in about one minute.

The attack gives hackers a way to read encrypted traffic sent between computers and certain types of routers that use the WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption system. The attack was developed by Toshihiro Ohigashi of Hiroshima University and Masakatu Morii of Kobe University, who plan to discuss
further details at a technical conference set for Sept. 25 in Hiroshima. (more)

"Is nothing sacred?"
When it comes to security, "Nope nothing."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Who is Number One?"

NV - You might have noticed an unuusal sight if you passed by the Reno-Stead Airport recently. The giant white sphere has generated quite a few calls to our newsroom.
So what is it ?

It turns out its a prototype airship being developed by a private company called Sierra Nevada Corporation. Jim McGinley at SNC says the round airship could be used to monitor crowds or border crossings.

McGinley says the airship could be valuable to anyone who desires a persistent surveillance presence in a remote location.

Answer: Rover c.1967
(At least when it comes to surveillance balloons.)

Mass Hack Attack - GSM Cell Phone Eavesdropping

Security researcher Karsten Nohl has issued a hacking challenge that could expose T-Mobile and AT&T cell phone users -- including Gphone and iPhone patrons -- to eavesdropping hacks within six months.

Nohl, a computer science Ph.D/ candidate from the University of Virginia, is calling for the global community of hackers to crack the encryption used on GSM phones. He plans to compile this work into a code book that can be used to decipher encrypted conversations and data that gets transmitted to and from GSM phones.

Nohl’s motive: he wants to compel the telecoms to address a security weakness that has been known for years. (more)

"The machines are starting to talk, Master... each other!"

First the superintendent and the handyman checked the oven from top to bottom. Then they tested the electrical outlet that supplied ignition power for the oven. Everything worked. Finally, they gave their verdict to the tenant, Andrei Melnikov.

It was simply not possible, they said, that his oven, a Magic Chef made by Maytag, had turned itself on full blast, as Mr. Melnikov maintained...

“Maybe the ringing cellphone turned it on,” Mr. Melnikov suggested to the two men.

He laid the phone next to the stove. They dialed it. Suddenly, the electronic control on the stovetop beeped. The digital display changed from a clock to the word “high.” As the phone was ringing, the broiler was heating up. (more, with video)

If you have a Maytag Model CGR1425ADW oven, contact Maytag.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SpyCam Story #550 - Take the Poll

Plug "SpyCam" into Google and you get about 2,020,000 hits!
Not bad for a word that is not even in

Whole Web sites are devoted to selling them.

SpyCams are selling... BIGTIME.
• Many Web sites offer "How to spycam" instructions.
• A few offer "How spycams are detected" information.
• Some spycam videos get posted on the Internet.

...and once in while, we read about some inept TVpeepcreep who gets caught and prosecuted.

Given what you now know, what do you think the ratio is between the people who get caught spycam'ing ...and the people who do it but never get caught?
Let us know via our anonymous on-line Poll, in the right column.

If you have ever been the victim of a spycam please tell us about it in the Other: section of the Poll.

Poll Results - Info at Work

The valuable information I handle at work is...
Not protected. 17%

Somewhat protected. 46%
Adequately protected. 21%
Over protected. 13%

Other 4%

According to this unscientific sampling, the employers of 79% of our respondents could use some help. ~Kevin

New Wireless LAN Vulnerability Identified

AirMagnet Inc., a security, performance and compliance solutions for wireless LANs, today announced that its AirMagnet Intrusion Research Team has uncovered a new wireless vulnerability and potential exploit associated with Cisco wireless LAN infrastructure.

The vulnerability involves Cisco's Over-the-Air-Provisioning (OTAP) feature found in its wireless access points (APs). The potential exploit, dubbed SkyJack by AirMagnet, creates a situation whereby control of a Cisco AP can be obtained, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to gain access to a customer's wireless LAN. (more)

Solution: Disable the OTAP feature until a fix is released. ~Kevin
Extra Credit Reading: Understanding Over-the-Air Provisioning (OTAP)

Meanwhile, back in Washington...

A proposed plan to reorganize the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST's) IT Laboratory would close the Computer Security Division and distribute its resources and functions throughout the lab, despite objections from former officials and warnings that the move would be a backwards step for security. (more)

SpyCam Story #549 - The Boyfriend

MI - A man accused of using hidden cameras to videotape a teen in her bedroom could avoid a prison term.

Brain J. Nowak on Monday pleaded no contest to knowingly possessing child sexually abusive material and installing an eavesdropping device. In return, Bay County prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges of using a computer to create child sexually abusive material and manufacturing an eavesdropping device.

Investigators claim from January through March, Nowak spied on his then-girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter. He installed hidden cameras on a toilet tank in the bathroom and in an air duct in the girl's bedroom. The mother found the tapes stored in a file on her computer. (more)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Business Espionage - Bugging at Feed the Children

Oklahoma City police have begun an investigation at Feed The Children after a private investigator found evidence three offices had been illegally bugged.

The investigator "found remnants of wiretapping devices above the ceilings” during an almost six-hour sweep Wednesday evening of the charity’s Oklahoma City headquarters, according to a police report.

Officials with the charity would not identify what three offices were bugged.
The Christian relief organization is widely known because of its heart-wrenching televised appeals for funds to feed starving children. It claims to raise more than $1 billion in donations a year. The charity has been in turmoil for months because of a lawsuit over who was in charge there. (more)

Pimp My Pipe ...or... Who's Stringing Who Along?

Scientists have perfected a new technology that can transform a fibre optic cable into a highly sensitive microphone capable of detecting a single footstep from up to 40km away.

Guards at listening posts protecting remote sensitive sites from attackers such as terrorists or environmental saboteurs can eavesdrop across huge tracts of territory using the new system which has been created to beef up security around national borders, railway networks, airports and vital oil and gas pipelines.

Devised by QinetiQ, the privatised Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), the technology piggybacks on the existing fibre optic communication cable network, millions of miles of which have been laid across.

At present, the microphones are not able to pick up the sound of human speech. right:] (more)

Mason & Hanger and two other companies had similar products about 15 years ago. It had a switchable filter (10 Hz to 1 kHz / no filtering) and a headphone jack.

French Spy Escapes from Dubai

Herve Jaubert, a former French spy, dressed in scuba diving gear and covered up like an Arab woman to flee from threatened torture... As befits a former French naval officer and spy, he had made immaculate preparations for his escape from the United Arab Emirates.

The night before, he claims he had donned wetsuit and scuba diving gear, which had smuggled to him from France in pieces. He dressed himself in women's clothes, and covered himself with a black abaya, the all-enveloping burka-like robe worn to preserve modesty in the Gulf.

Not a small man, he shuffled awkwardly out of the hotel where he was staying under an assumed name, made his way to the seafront and slipped in.

From there, he swam underwater to the nearby coastguard station, on a remote outpost of the emirate of Fujairah, where he cut the fuel lines on a police patrol boat. He knew it was the only one in the area, and the coast would now be clear.

On his dinghy the next day... (
more) Yes, the story gets better.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Possession of Wiretap Gear by Attorney

via The New York Post & The New York Daily News...
NY - The former lawyer for "Goodfellas" turncoat Henry Hill was convicted yesterday on a slew of witness-tampering charges.

Robert Simels, 62, glowered as the jury handed down its guilty verdict on 12 counts of conspiring to threaten and bribe witnesses and possessing illegal wiretapping equipment. Simels had done his dirty work on behalf of a powerful Guyanese drug lord.

Once a legal commentator on FOX News and CNN, Simels was done in by his big mouth. An informant taped him discussing plans to "neutralize" a witness.
He faces disbarment and between 12 and 15½ years in jail. (more) (more)

The Cove - a covert op to tell the story.

To reveal a gruesome dolphin slaughter to the world, the makers of the documentary The Cove used spy drones, cameras disguised as rocks and a lot of daring... Military-grade heat-sensing cameras were used to track the movements of guards.

The cameras were so cutting-edge that manufacturer Sony hadn’t yet released the software necessary to pull data off the hard drives and edit it. The team hid the drives in a hotel air conditioning duct, and within a day of retrieving each one had runners take them to Tokyo or Osaka and send them out of the country.

The movie depicts a hunt in the waters off Taiji, Japan, where at least 2,000 dolphins are killed every year, with a few caught and sold to aquariums. The meat, containing toxic levels of mercury is sold to people, often passed off as whale meat...

The next dolphin hunting season will begin in Japan in September. (

"The Cove" tells the amazing true story of how an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers embarked on a covert mission to penetrate a hidden cove in Japan, shining light on a dark and deadly secret. The shocking discoveries they uncovered were only the tip of the iceberg...

Britney Peeper Offers Equally Dumb Defense

Peeping into Britney Spears’ home in California has landed a woman three years’ probation, and a court order do 240 hours of community service.

Miranda Tozier-Robbins, 26, was arrested in April after being spotted by Britney’s security guards in the grounds of the singer’s Calabasas property. Miranda, claimed that she was filming a documentary. (more)

Business Espionage - "Has anyone told the Pope?"

A campaign group calling for Switzerland to give up its army has accused the weapons industry of planting a spy within its organisation. The Group for Switzerland without an Army says the Farner communications firm, acting on behalf of the armaments industry, sent a spy to observe them in the lead up to a vote on weapons exports. The group is demanding to know who exactly the sensitive information was passed on to and are threatening to sue both the spy and the communications company. (more)

FREE Concert - Music to Spy By


PA - The acclaimed 15-piece City Rhythm Orchestra concert features music from the soundtracks of your favorite spy movies and television shows. The scores from these classics are as memorable as the characters themselves, and City Rhythm's "arresting" arrangements will bring them to life on stage.

The band will perform works by Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin, and Billy May, including the themes from Mission Impossible, Pink Panther, James Bond, Peter Gunn, Live and Let Die, and much more. Free admission. Seating is limited. (more)

Doors Open 2:00pm
2:30pm, Sutherland Auditorium PENN STATE ABINGTON / OGONTZ CAMPUS

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You don't know her, but she could be...

...anybody sitting right near you.

This time, she is:
Alicia DeLeon-Torres, a Commissioner for the City of San Diego’s Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, and the National Director for National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse.

We thank her for sharing her story with the San Diego News Network.

"I’m on the Los Angeles to San Diego Amtrak afternoon commuter train. The guy across from me is looking at his laptop screen. As he scrolls through his documents, I easily see the pretty graphics, staff assignments and other information I’m sure that I - and others on the train - are not meant to see. If you think I’m spying, I’m not. I’m annoyed!" (more)

Summary - Don't blab your sensitive business in public. You never know who may be listening... or what they will do with what they hear.
Do you have what it takes to be a spy?
Better yet do you even have a clue what it takes to be a spy photographer and what it takes to be on the leading edge?

Last Night ABC News showcased probably the most prolific of the professional photographers in the business, the legendary Brenda Priddy. (more) (ABC News video)

Positively 4th Street

A former US government informant, who hacked into retail networks to steal 130 million debit and credit card numbers, has been charged over the country's largest financial data theft.

Albert Gonzalez, 28, of Florida, is accused of stealing 130 million accounts, on top of 40 million he himself stole previously, according to prosecutors.

He was an ex-informant for the US Secret Service, which he helped hunt hackers, authorities say. (more) (sing-a-long)

SpyCam Story #548 - Sick Hospital Cam

Canada - A Grande Prairie man has pleaded guilty to voyeurism, in connection with a bathroom video-taping scandal. The Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune reports 30 year-old Blair Stouffer made the plea Wednesday in provincial court.

A ten-year employee at the Q.E.II hospital, Stouffer is the second person to be picked up by police in the scandal, but the first to face formal charges.

The Herald-Tribune says he admits that he is the man seen in some of the footage, setting up the camera, in a bathroom at the Q.E.II hospital. Before its discovery, the camera captured 70 videos of three different victims. (more)

Monday, August 17, 2009

New BlackBerry OS Leaked

News is spreading quickly within the underground BlackBerry community of a leak within Research in Motion, the company that makes the phone, of the latest BlackBerry operating system. Designed for the Curve, the new OS (which has been rumored for some time) could easily be the upcoming release for other models such as the popular Bold. (more)

Undeclared Warfare with an Unknown Enemy's sortalike shadowboxing with The Shadow.

Australia's diplomats have been targets of a cyber espionage attack strongly suspected to have originated from China.

According to an internal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade briefing, a fake email was sent to a number of DFAT officers in the week beginning July 12, just over a week after the arrest in China of Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu.

DFAT insiders said the format and content of the email strongly suggested that it originated in China and was designed to collect intelligence from department computers. (

- Warfare (political and commercial) continues to morph, with human combatants being replaced by technobots. The enemies are stepping out of uniform ...and into obscurity.

"One never knows, do one?" opines Fats Waller.
"The Shadow knows," smirks Lamont Cranston.

The Big Security Mistake...

Focusing the security budget on hardware and personnel.

Today's losses are coming at you from the shadows.
• Eavesdropping on your strategies.
• Viewing your private moments.
• Stealing your intellectual property.

Budget for electronic countermeasures.
Get a knowledgeable specialist on your side.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

SpyCam Story #547 - Nurse Kimberly

FL - A nurse working at the assisted living facility Hawthorne House was arrested after she admitted to taking medication from the residents there.

According to her arrest report, Kimberly Shannon King, 27, had been taking prescription medicine from resident rooms for about two months. King was working each time medicine was taken, the report said. That’s when the administrators asked permission from one of the residents to install a covert video camera in his room to try and catch the thief in action.

One night, King entered the room and stole one and a half Oxycodone pills. King also stole the camera, so Hawthorne House administrators could not prove she was the culprit.

Administrators then installed a second camera in the same room.

When administrators watched the video, they saw King go to the drawer, remove a medicine bottle and take medication out of it. She placed the pills in her pocket, replaced the bottle and left the room, the report said. (more)

SpyCam Story #546 - Street Cams

Ever wonder about municipal street cameras?
What do they see?
What about picture quality?
Is anybody really watching them?
Check here for three fascinating videos.

Opening Soon - Lebanese Phone Bugging Center

A new phone monitoring station is nearing completion in Lebanon and will be capable of recording up to 72,000 calls every day. (more)

Apple Keyboard Secret Keystroke Logger

Keystroke logging software may be inserted directly into some keyboards. A physical inspection won't find it. Reloading your system software won't destroy it.

"The security posture of a computer can be adversely affected by poorly-designed devices on its USB bus. Many modern embedded devices permit firmware to be upgraded in the field and the use of low-cost microcontrollers in these devices can make it difficult to perform the mathematical operations needed to verify a cryptographic signature. The security of many of these upgrade mechanisms is very much in question. For a concrete example, we describe how to tamper with a firmware upgrade to the Apple Aluminum Keyboard. We describe how an attacker can subvert an off-the-shelf keyboard by embedding into the firmware malicious code which allows a rootkit to survive a clean re-installation of the host operating system." K. Chen - Georgia Institute of Technology (more)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How to Be a Corporate Mole

Some co-workers may have mole-like personal habits, but a true corporate mole is a dangerous animal. They burrow in, keep a low profile and eat profits buy selling intellectual property.

Why do they do it?
Primarily money. They are on two payroll at the same time, and one of them may be very remunerative. A sense of power, adventure or righteousness are also motivating factors.

How does one learn how to be a corporate mole?
There are many books, but one can also learn for free at where you can learn "How to do just about everything."

Part of the How to Be a Corporate Mole training (listed under
Resources) is to Review counterespionage practices. Guess who that links to. I am flattered. ~Kevin

P.S. You may also want to read their How to Spot a Corporate Mole tutorial which is missing...
Step 8: Conduct electronic eavesdropping detection audits regularly. Moles are in the best position, and have the highest motivation, to plant electronic eavesdropping devices.

Trial by Fire... or, You're a Pane

Testing Bulletproof Glass - 1952 far would your significant other go for you?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Shoot the little spy satellite, win a prize!"

The U.S. Navy is preparing to shoot a faltering U.S. spy satellite out of the sky in the next two weeks using a tactical missile that was manufactured as a defensive weapon to head off enemy aircraft, the Pentagon announced.

While it's not uncommon for space junk to fall out of the sky, military officials said they are particularly concerned in this case because much of the 1,000 pounds of the frozen rocket fuel called hydrazine on the spacecraft could survive the descent and pose health risks, such as damage to skin and lung tissue, if it lands in a populated area. (more)

SpyCam Story #545 - All in the Family

GA - A Chatsworth man has been arrested on eavesdropping charges that officials said include installing a video camera in his daughter’s bathroom.

Douglas Harrison Keith, 59, of 1253 Stafford Road in Chatsworth, was charged by the Murray County Sheriff’s Office with unlawful eavesdropping/surveillance with audio equipment and unlawful eavesdropping/surveillance with hidden video cameras (four counts).

“The eavesdropping warrant by audio regards a telephone conversation being recorded without the people on the phone being aware of it,” said District Attorney Kermit McManus. “According to Georgia law, at least one person must be aware (the conversation is being recorded).”

McManus said another eavesdropping charge came when a video camera was discovered in a bathroom used “solely” by his daughter, with the images being fed into an office where Keith had sole access. A spokesman with the sheriff’s office said the daughter discovered the camera in the bathroom. (more)

Wiretap Scandal Heats Up in Spain

Spain - A scandal over alleged corruption and wiretaps in Spain heated up Tuesday as the opposition leader accused Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of "persecuting" his party. (more)

Spy Numbers Become Art

The Palais de Tokyo's ongoing exhibition, Spy Numbers, takes as its starting point the mysterious and vaguely distressing Numbers Stations. These shortwave radio stations have been broadcasting for several decades, yet their precise function and origin are an enigma. Artificially generated voices are reading streams of numbers, words, letters, tunes or Morse code...

On the short waves of our radios, voices read out uninterrupted series of numbers. 2… 11… 58… 35… 23… Whether they are encrypted instructions intended for sleeping agents, messages exchanged between traffickers, or simple telephone settings, the “Spy Numbers Stations” have been broadcasting for several decades without their precise function becoming known.

New Bugging & Eavesdropping Movie Coming

HONG KONG -- Now that financial crime thriller “Overheard” has become the top Chinese-language film in China so far this summer, writer-director Alan Mak and Felix Chong are planning a follow-up that revolves around eavesdropping...

“It wouldn’t be a prequel that involves the same characters, as their lives before what happened in ‘Overheard’ wouldn’t be dramatic enough for a story,” Mak told the Hollywood Reporter. “But we think there’s a lot to be explored about bugging and eavesdropping, and are developing a script around this theme.” (more)

Synopsis for "Overheard"
A major stock exchange in the world, Hong Kong attracts not only money but anyone who tries to manipulate the market. At the Hong Kong Police Force Commercial Crime Bureau, an operation is underway to infiltrate a trading company where a man nicknamed Boss is the chief suspect. The team, led by Inspector Leung (Lau Ching Wan) together with Yeung (Louis Koo) and Lam (Daniel Wu) installs bugs to monitor the communications. When crucial information on a surging share is intercepted, a moment of greed now puts them in a crossfire between the Bureau and the boss.

Security Director Alert - 911Headcount

True security innovations don't show up every day. Locks are still locks. Alarms are still alarms. Models, designs and features change, but functions remain the same. You get the idea.

Here is truly innovative and useful idea... a system that can quickly account for employees during emergency situations (an OSHA requirement).

The system - 911HEADCOUNT - is a clever combination of technologies. The brains behind 911Headcount is Bo Mitchell, the Former Police Commissioner of Wilton, CT and a respected consultant in the private security industry.

from their Web site...
"911 Headcount is the first and only automatic two-way, triple redundancy Mass Emergency Notification System that you can launch and manipulate on the run to account for employees, visitors and contractors in any emergency."
How it works.

The Un-Welcome Mat

Coming this Fall (in Japan)...
The Un-Welcome Mat
or, as we call it around here, Kevin's Home Alone Safety Zone Burglar Atone and Drop Zone Rat Mat. It is a giant sticky mat! Strategically place them at your portals when you leave. Stuck like a bug in a rug, your burglar will be playing Ultimate Twister instead of carting off your goodies. Just don't forget it's there when you come home. Look for it to be sold here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Video over IP. Convenient, but not secure.

Video about video being hacked, hijacked and insert-attacked...
A security assessment of an IP Video Camera; think Ocean’s Eleven.

Man-in-the-middle attacks tamper with video surveillance feeds, eavesdrop on IP video phone conversations

In one attack, researchers from Viper Lab showed how a criminal could tamper with an IP video surveillance system to cover up a crime by replacing the video with another benign clip. In another demo, they eavesdropped on a private IP video call. (more)

Disaster Recovery Plan time...

Hey, how's your disaster recovery plan looking?
Just missing?
Don't have one yet?
I see a lot of raised hands.

Every business, large and small, needs a "what if... what do we do?" plan.

Creating one need not be hard, nor expensive.
There is a lot of expert help out there.

How to Create a Disaster Recovery Plan. (free basic outline)
Disaster Recovery Journal (free magazine)
D-I-Y Template ($)

A smarter way is to enlist the aid of a professional consultant.
International Association of Professional Security Consultants
BAM - "BAM has a crackerjack team of ex-military strategists, FBI trainers, intelligence and security professionals, mathematicians, and 3D creative agents who use the latest technology, including mobile devices and social media networks, to arm their clients with the most appropriate tools for dealing with disaster, as it happens." Kevin Burton is their CEO.

or, you could use the Dilbert Disaster Recovery Plan.

SpyCam Story #544 - Monkey Business

TX - Surveillance video at a Dallas-area store caught the theft of several dozen plants, flowers and small statues on tape. But the culprit turned out to be a very unusual thief, a monkey with serious sticky fingers. (video) (sing-a-long)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Business Espioange - Goldman Sachs

via The Wall Street Journal...
A Goldman Sachs Group Inc. computer programmer who quit last month was arrested and charged with stealing codes related to a high-speed trading program that he helped develop.

The programmer, Sergey Aleynikov, 39 years old, was arrested Friday by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents as he got off a plane at Newark Liberty International Airport. According to a complaint filed Saturday, Mr. Aleynikov downloaded 32 megabytes of data from Goldman's computer system with "the intent to convert that trade secret to the economic benefit of someone other than the owner."...

According to the FBI, Mr. Aleynikov got a job offer earlier this year at an unnamed Chicago firm that planned to triple the $400,000-a-year salary he was paid at Goldman. The unnamed company is "new" and "intended to engage in high-volume automated trading," the FBI said in the court filing. (more)

"He kicked me around, tried to drown me, burned me, and now he wants to swap me!"

Apple says it has had enough of giving people replacement iPhones and iPods when, in their view, it is the consumer who has abused the gadget and rendered it inoperable.

So today the firm has filed a patent on a kind of spy system that sits inside gadgets to record "consumer abuse events" and reveal them to Apple staff when you ask for a replacement.

"Often, particularly at a point of sale, personnel receiving the returned device may be unqualified or untrained to determine whether or not a device has failed due to manufacturing defects or due to consumer abuse," the company explains in US patent application 20090195394. (more)

SpyCam Story #543 - The Tell-Tale Tape

OR - Last year the woman told police told police she thought her landlord was spying on her through a hidden camera in the shower.

The woman lived in an upstairs apartment inside the home the landlord shared with a second renter.
That landlord - former Kalama City Council member Paul Stickel - has been charged with voyeurism, but he claims he did no such thing.

Police searched Stickel's home last Spring and confiscated videotapes, televisions and cable. They also found a hole in the wall in the woman's bathroom.

In a March 2008 affidavit, police said videotape taken from Stickel's home "shows Stickel simulating taking a shower" to test the camera-equipped shower stall. Detectives also cited a "secret viewing area" - a covered peephole - that looks out through a mirror on the woman's medicine cabinet.

Stickel claims the investigators are bluffing. (more) (video)

Solar Assisted SpyCam from Australia

from the seller's Web site...
Xtern-Cam® is a rugged outdoor standalone surveillance camera
with inbuilt GPRS modem (receive the photos on your cell), digital image recording function, integrated night vision and inbuilt Solar Panel to give extraordinary long battery life.

The camera captures high-resolution black & white images when motion is detected and emails a selection of these to a monitoring station or mobile phone as well as storing all the high resolution images to a removable memory card for easy viewing later, on a computer or PDA. The camera can also be powered by an external 12VDC power source and can be externally triggered from a gate or door opening.

Outdoors in time lapse mode using its inbuilt Solar panel to recharge the battery during the day, Xtern-Cam® can capture and transmit wirelessly, one image every 5 minutes at night time without ever requiring the battery to be re-charged. Similarly, if Motion activated, it can capture and transmit up to 150 images every night without ever having to charge the battery.

In busy environments where the Camera may capture and transmit up to 330 images per night, the battery would still last around one month! The camera can store up to 65,000 VGA images and will optionally overwrite the oldest images when the memory card is full to enable ‘set and forget’ operation.

Xtern-Cam® is also available with a colour camera for daytime operation with optional 16mm or 8mm telephoto lenses. (more)

"So, how long had your phone been tapped?"

Wharton School professor Andrea Matwyshyn has attended Defcon for the past five years. This year, her radar is pointing to corporate disclosure of computer security threats.

Most consumers, she says, find out about them primarily through news reports and after-the-fact data breach notifications. Big business, Matwyshyn says, needs to do a much better job of keeping customers abreast of how they're dealing with big security threats. "Companies need to be aware that their customers are going to start asking questions about their security and what they're doing," she told Forbes. (more)

Having quarterly TSCM inspection logs in your files can help stave off stockholder lawsuits. ~Kevin