Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Big House Family Taps Each Other

CO - Felony eavesdropping charges have been filed against three Arapahoe County Jail employees accused of listening in on conversations on the jail's phone system.

Two other employees have been placed on administrative leave and another resigned after jail administrators said they would investigate eavesdropping by jail employees on other employees.

Lt. Chris Manos and civilian employees Sue White and Jaella Rangel were all charged with class six felonies. All are set to appear in court next month. (more)

Just the thing for a Black Friday gift list...

The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception

From Publishers Weekly
Intelligence historian Melton and retired CIA officer Wallace (coauthors of Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to al-Qaeda) reunite for this unremarkable reproduction of a long-lost cold war–era relic.

In 1953, the fledgling CIA hired professional magician John Mulholland to adapt his techniques of stealth and misdirection to the craft of espionage. Mulholland produced two illustrated manuals featuring a range of tricks from placing pills into drinks to stealing documents and avoiding detection.

The classified manuals were believed to have been destroyed in 1973, but the authors discovered a copy in 2007 among recently declassified CIA archives.

Like Grand Theft Auto?

Some Twin Falls teenagers are promising to pay attention to the road. And if the preservation of life isn’t enough of an incentive, they can also win video games...

Enrollment in the program provides parents with a high-tech method of conducting covert surveillance on their kids’ driving habits. A video and audio unit in the vehicle captures dangerous driving behavior and gives parents access to a “driving report card,” along with tips for improvement. (more)

Coach, is that you Duckman?

At a tense, emotional moment during Denver's crucial 26-6 victory over the New York Giants, McDaniels went nuclear, dropping a verbal bomb on his players. Thanks to an eavesdropping camera and microphone from the NFL Network, the tirade on the sideline was telecast to prime-time viewers across America in all its profane glory. (more)

Jackie Chan - The Spy Next Door

Coming January 15, 2010.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Eyes for Spies

Prototype contact lenses developed by Babak Parviz at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

Dr. Parviz’s prototype lenses can be used as biosensors to display body chemistry or as a heads up display (HUD). Powered by radio waves and 330 microwatts of power from a loop antenna that picks up power beamed from nearby radio sources, future versions will also be able to harvest power from a cell phone. (more)

Alright, knock it off with the "See I A" and "eyes buggin' out" jokes.

SpyCam Story #562 - The play is the thing.

Australia - A former drama teacher at a Melbourne girls school has been accused of installing a spy camera to capture students undressing and making child pornography. Mark Stratford, 49, was employed as director of drama at Lauriston Girls School when the alleged offences took place from early last year. He pleaded guilty today in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to possessing child pornography and installing an optical surveillance device. (more)

"Quick. Name the Top Ten Spy Agencies."

We'll give you one...

Now, name the rest.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Every-body wants to get into the act."

Make 4 Cool Spy Gadgets With Your Windows Mobile Phone...

Have you ever wanted to live like a real spy, even for just a little while? Just to help you inch just a little bit closer to that cloak and dagger lifestyle, I’d like to offer 4 Windows Mobile downloads that you can use to transform your regular mobile phone into an honest-to-goodness cool spy gadget.

• Cool Spy Gadget #1 – A Room Bug To Record Conversations
• Cool Spy Gadget #2 – See In The Dark With Sonar

• Cool Spy Gadget #3 – Disk Encryption Software
• Cool Spy Gadget #4 – Remote Video Streaming (more)
"Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are."

S.E.C. Enforcement Chief: ‘Creative Investigation Techniques’ Coming

The use of wiretaps and recordings of conversations to help underpin the insider trading case against the Galleon Group hedge fund struck legal experts as unusual, for an investigation involving the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“It is unusual,’’ said Robert S. Khuzami, the director of enforcement at the S.E.C., at a discussion of hedge fund regulation at the Practising Law Institute in New York Monday. But, a year from now, “I hope it’s more common.’’ (more)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Need a safe place to store your surveillance video...

A new service called Motionbox may be the answer. Unlike, Motionbox makes it easy to share videos with a select group of viewers instead of broadcasting to the world.

There are plenty of other features, too.

You may even want to consider this for personal use. Store all those home videos (and films, once converted to digital video). Allow relatives and others access as you see fit. Even watch your library on your TV...

Motionbox is soon to be a featured Channel on the Roku digital video player. You'll be able to hook the player up to your television and enjoy instant access to all the videos you’ve uploaded to Motionbox. All you need is a TV, a high-speed Internet connection (wired or wireless), and a finger to click the remote! (Win a FREE Roku drawing.)

Like any new business, they want to build momentum quickly. Hence, this special offer aimed at business users...

"I thought that you and the readers of Kevin's Security Scrapbook would be interested. We'll waive the pro-account setup fee for you or any of your readers who sign up - it's a $50 value. There are now 3 levels of Motionbox service - Basic, Premium, and PRO." Lowell Dempsey, Motionbox (more)

For personal use, choose the free Basic package, or the Premium upgrade. ~Kevin

The Real Spy's Guide to Becoming a Spy (update - Book Signing)

Remember this book? The Real Spy's Guide to Becoming a Spy by Peter Earnest with Suzanne Harper. It was listed here last September.

Peter Earnest is former CIA and the founding executive director of the International Spy Museum, located in Washington D.C.

Get signed copies... for you, and every shady character (or future shady character) on your holiday gift list.

• Have you ever wondered what spies really do?
• What kind of training is involved?
• How do you live your “cover”?

• How does your work life affect your relationships with your friends and family?

Join the International Spy Museum's Founding Executive Director and Former CIA Operations Officer, Peter Earnest, as he discusses his new book The Real Spy's Guide to Becoming a Spy. This fascinating, fact-filled book answers these questions and more while providing a historical timeline, definitions of key terms, suggestions for further reading, an index, quizzes, and exercises to see if you have the right spy stuff. The author will be available for book signing and informal Q&A.

FREE. No registration required.

Saturday, November 21, 2009
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The International Spy Museum
800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA

Spy Tip: A good spy knows the ropes. Use the secret password "I SPY" and get a 25% discount to the museum. Also enter to win a basket of top-secret spy tools and a one-year museum membership!

Some Courts Raise Bar on Reading Employee Email

via The Wall Street Journal...
US - Companies Face Tougher Tests to Justify Monitoring Workers' Personal Accounts; Rulings Hinge on 'Expectation of Privacy'

Big Brother is watching. That is the message corporations routinely send their employees about using email.

But recent cases have shown that employees sometimes have more privacy rights than they might expect when it comes to the corporate email server. Legal experts say that courts in some instances are showing more consideration for employees who feel their employer has violated their privacy electronically. (more)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Amazing Surveillance Video

Train track inspector almost gets smooshed... twice!

Just when cell phone companies inched past used car dealers in the "who do you trust more" race.

UK - Staff at mobile phone company T-Mobile passed on millions of records from thousands of customers to third party brokers, the firm has confirmed...

Christopher Graham said brokers had sold the data to other phone firms, who then cold-called the customers as their contracts were due to expire. (more)

Suggestion... Find out who keeps the data key at you company. Review the security checks and balances. Let them know you are minding the store.

This just in!
Used car dealers take the lead...

NY - Starting next week, Verizon will double the early-termination fee for smartphones... "David, I read your posts about how the cell carriers are eating up our airtime with those 15-second 'To page this person, press 5' instructions, but I think Verizon has a bigger scam going on: charging for bogus data downloads.

"Virtually every bill I get has a couple of erroneous data charges at $1.99 each—yet we download no data.

"Here's how it works..." (more)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote of the Week

"A surprising number of otherwise smart people find themselves remarking on the phone that they hope the line isn't tapped."
~Ann Woolner, Bloomberg News, commenting on federal wiretaps investigating insider trading.

Other great quotes we hear...
"I hope the room isn't bugged."
"I hope you're not recording this."
"I hope there are no hidden cameras here."

Of course, 'hoping don't help'.
You need this.

SpyCam Story #561 - The New Miranda Warning

FL - A woman who is suing her former landlord over allegations he secretly set up a spy camera in her bedroom is asking a judge to add punitive damages to her claim.

Miranda Goldston, 26, filed her lawsuit seeking compensatory damages against Kenneth Ryals, 59, in December 2007, three months after she discovered the spy camera hidden inside a DVD player in her bedroom. (more)

Illegal Wireless Phone Tap Found

Israel - Knesset security officials are concerned over what may be a case of illegal wiretapping of phones of the Ravitz family of Beitar Illit.

It appears the concerns began with “strange noises” heard on the phone by members of the family. A routine inspection into the cause of the noise revealed a wireless eavesdropping device.

According to the Chareidim report, those involved are more than a bit curious as to who is eavesdropping on the phone of Yitzchak Ravitz, who heads Degel HaTorah in the community, or perhaps the eavesdropping is intended to listen in on the conversations of his daughter Rivke, who is Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin’s bureau chief. She has been an employee of Speaker Rivlin for over a decade. (more) (Update: Rivke is his wife; not his daughter.)

The Eves Drop a Dime

India - Wiretaps, hidden listening devices and binoculars may be the usual paraphernalia to maintain surveillance over Commonwealth Games delegates, participants and spectators. But there may be more. Games authorities have devised a novel method to eavesdrop: Use thousands of eves.

An estimated 5,000 trained private security girls are likely to provide intelligence cover to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, one of the biggest sporting events that India will host after the 1982 Asiad Games...

“They will comprise women from all linguistic backgrounds, and with suave and comely personalities who will be responsible for a dual preemptive and protective role,” said Singh, a former Intelligence Bureau officer who was appointed a security consultant for the 1982 Asiad by Indira Gandhi.

While CCTVs will keep a watch on the movements of people entering stadia, the security girls will play an undercover role to snoop on conversations around them. They have been instructed to pick up interesting nuggets of conversations that will help the authorities nip any mischevious activity in the bud. (more)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Compliance departments on red alert for insider trading

In the wake of the alleged insider-trading ring involving hedge fund manager Galleon Group, compliance departments at asset management firms and broker-dealers are stepping up their vigilance.

As regulators increase their scrutiny of insider trading, firms are actively reviewing their compliance policies, making sure that employees understand them and conducting more audits of their trading patterns to make certain that nothing is potentially amiss...

The main worry at firms is that employees could be sharing information and unwittingly contributing to an insider-trading scheme...

Compliance departments also are making sure employees are careful with how they use other forms of media, such as voice-over-Internet, social-networking websites such as Twitter, and blogs.

“People need to understand that the law is the law, no matter what communication medium they are using,” said Ralph “Chip” MacDonald, a partner at Jones Day. (more)

An unpublicized element of this due diligence are Eavesdropping Detection Audits (TSCM).

Mobile Phone Bug Allows Wiretapping

Fact or Netmyth?
You decide.
Report back.

Erricson's WAP, Wireless Application Protocol, suffers from a security flaw that allows attackers to listen into other WAP sessions traveling on the cellular carrier wave.

Erricson Mobile Phone allows attackers to wiretap other lines. This attack is limited, since you cannot choose which number to wiretap on, and you cannot talk at the same time that you are wiretapping a line. This vulnerability shows the lack of security of WAP as it is offered in today's cellular networks.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Wiretapping is illegal. The following information is just a proof of concept that shows a potential vulnerability in Erricson's WAP implementation.

How to wiretap from an Erricson Cell Phone:
1) Type 904059
2) Menu
3) Yes
4) 1
5) RCL
6) Yes
7) 8300**
8) Yes
9) 86
(Instead of the ** you can write any number you wish, except for the number 00)

To stop the wiretapping:
1) Type RCL
2) 3
3) Yes

Our spies report back...
"I am with cellular operator and today I asked my technical staff about this method. They replied
this is very old news, about year 2001. This bug was on very old Ericsson (before Sony Ericsson) phones and modern phones do not respond to this code sequence."
Thank you!

Eat Like a Spy

Next time your mission brings you to The Big Apple (aka New York City), and you need a little comfort food, come in from the cold.

Shake your tail (a quick double-back through Stuyvesant Town should do it) and head to The Village (you can leave this one). Duck into the
Northern Spy Food Co.

They know spies need to stay fit. Northern Spy co-owner Chris Ronis calls his seasonal menu, "very homey but not heavy—not the fat-fried explosion that gets all the attention."

Psst... Chris, ixnay onway ethay explosionway alktay. It makes the patrons nervous.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New - GSM Audio Video Bug

from the manufacturer's advertising...
• See your monitoring place anywhere, anytime by your mobile phone

• Wire tap your monitoring place by your mobile
• Know the urgent things in first time by your mobile
• Wireless installation, can move freely
Can control the camera with your mobile to get the monitoring place image by MMS anywhere
Successfully combine moving detect technology and GSM wireless network transmission technology apply in defense and security area, it break the distance and electrical wire restriction compare with normal defense and security products
Any changes or dangerous in the monitoring place, camera will notify you by calling, SMS, or MMS
Can dial the preset emergency number once the sensor active
With cute appearance, practical functions, and bright design
Applicable in family, office, factory, store etc place, especially for garage, stock house, and more where fixed lines are hard to reach
With monitor, can see your home any time, know your child arrive home in first time, and know your office is safe during holiday


Mobile alarm: capture images and send to your mobile phone by MMS
SMS remote control: control the camera by sending SMS commands
Real time audio: call the camera and listen in
Motion detection: detect any motion within the monitoring area and send alarm
External connection: connect wireless sensors (maximum of 15), such as door magnet, PIR sensor, smoke sensor, gas sensor, and more
Camera can report alarm from all sensors connected
Infrared light: built-in IR light enables the camera to capture images in dark environment
Resolution: 300 pixels CMOS camera
Watch images directly

Why do I mention it?
So you will know what you are up against.

Warning: industrial espionage on the rise

Denmark - Companies are being warned by both an industry organisation and the national intelligence agency that industrial spies are ever present.

Jakob Scharf, head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), recently warned that industrial espionage has been growing steadily in the last number of years and Danish companies are not impervious to it. (more)

UK - Universal Knowledge?

UK - The British government has decided to go ahead with its plans under what it calls the Intercept Modernisation Programme to force every telecommunication company and Internet service provider to keep a record of all of its customers' personal communications, showing who they have contacted, when and where, as well as the web sites they have visited, according to the London Telegraph and various other British papers.

The information gathered, the Telegraph says, will be able to be accessed by 653 public bodies, "including police, local councils, the Financial Services Authority, the ambulance service, fire authorities and even prison governors."

"They will not require the permission of a judge or a magistrate to obtain the information, but simply the authorisation of a senior police officer or the equivalent of a deputy head of department at a local authority," the Telegraph says. (more)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Number Six, Number Two & Rover are back

The 1960s sci-fi phenomenon, The Prisoner TV series, is back. AMC and British network ITV re-made the cult show into a six-part mini-series that will begin airing this Sunday.

Patrick McGoohan co-created the original Prisoner series, directed it, and starred in it as well. The show centers on the imprisonment of a resigned British secret agent (McGoohan) in a seemingly serene and beautiful village of unknown location.

The captive agent, renamed Number Six (all prisoners in the village are numbered), is constantly interrogated, manipulated and tormented by sinister figures known only as Number Two.

In addition to being a psychological thriller that was way ahead of its time, The Prisoner demonstrated a number of political metaphors for the corruption of power, struggl
es for freedom, and the enslavement of the masses by commercial/political interests.

Sir Ian McKellen will take on the role of the evil Number Two and James Caviezel will play persecuted Number Six. It’s rumored that McGoohan (who died January 13, 2009) may have a cameo in the remake as well. (AMC)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Charity President Fired for Bugging

Feed The Children President Larry Jones was fired Friday from the charity he founded 30 years ago. ... He and his wife, Frances, were the main fundraisers, making repeated, often heart-wrenching televised pleas for money to help starving children in Africa and elsewhere.

The firing came after Jones admitted to the charity’s investigator and to police that he authorized the installation of hidden microphones in three executives’ offices last April. "I did nothing wrong there. … I knew what the law was… They used wiretapping as the excuse,” Jones said Friday.

Jones in April had hidden microphones installed in the offices of his daughter, the chief financial officer and the chief operating officer before they returned to their jobs, according to two of his attorneys.

Oklahoma City police became involved Aug. 19 after a private investigator found "remnants of wiretapping devices” in the ceilings of the three offices. The owner of the company that installed the microphones told police his employees never could get a recorder to work.

Jones has been the face of the Oklahoma City-based Christian relief organization. It reports collecting more than $1 billion in donations a year. (more)

PTL deja vu.

iPhone Bug Directions Published on Net

As if we didn't have enough evesdropping and wiretap problems to worry about, now this headline...

Turn your iPhone into a bugging device!

7 Steps to turn your iPhone into a bugging device and then listen in over Wi-Fi.

Step 1) Open the free
Blue FiRe iPhone app...
Step 6) Set your iPhone down and leave the area to start gathering intel.

Step 7) Via any computer on the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone go to the url you noted from the Browser Access window and download the audio file! TA DA!

For extra credit use your iPhone to record in STEREO with Mikey. (more)

Tech gadgets help corporate spying surge in tough times

via USA Today...
Corporate espionage using very simple tactics — much of it carried out by trusted insiders, familiar business acquaintances, even janitors — is surging. That's because businesses large and small are collecting and storing more data than ever before. What's more, companies are blithely allowing broad access to this data via nifty Internet services and cool digital devices. (more)

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Pocket Eavesdropping Device

Product Notes...
"Works on wooden walls, doors, windows, steel plates, etc. Highly Sensitive, carefully adjust audio slowly, as not to cause discomfort to your ear-buds. This product is being sold as an investigative tools for law enforcement or licensed investigators. Anyone else ordering this device should only be ordering it as a simple toy since MANY COUNTRIES STRICTLY PROHIBIT OWNERSHIP OF SPY DEVICES." (more)
Why do I mention it?
So you will know what you are up against.

Want to build one yourself? (start here)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hedge fund insider-trading scandal expands

One man snapped his cellphone in half and bit the memory card to conceal his actions, complaints allege. Fourteen more are charged in the continuing investigation.

Reporting from New York - As an eavesdropping-detection specialist, Kevin D. Murray normally works for companies concerned about possible spying by competitors.

But since a blockbuster insider-trading prosecution built on wiretaps and microphone-wearing informants became public last month, frantic hedge fund managers have raced to hire him.

"The nature of the question is 'Can you tell me if the government's bugging me?' " Murray said, adding that he turned down the three firms that approached him. (more)

All businesses need a counterespionage strategy and should inspect their premises periodically for illegal electronic surveillance. Illegal eavesdropping is a serious problem with costly consequences.

If you are the target of a government investigation, however, you are on your own. There isn't anybody who can tell you if your phones are tapped (even if they are willing to take your money to do so). Modern government electronic surveillance methods do not change the electrical characteristics of your phone. There is nothing to detect.

USB Sticks that Stick it to You

Short Story: Beware the "free" USB memory stick.
Long Geeky Story:
From: David Lesher
Subject: AMEX sends USB trojan keyboards in ads

A fellow user group member reported getting a USB-fob from American Express. When he plugged in to a port, it attempted to send his xterm command line to {the dots were hex digits, it appears.... [and PGN changed x to dot to avoid filtering]} but didn't succeed. [It may be Windows and Mac compatible, but not Linux...]

That address redirects to an Amex URL:

It identified itself on the USB chain as: Bus 003 Device 003: ID 05ac:020b Apple, Inc. Pro Keyboard [Mitsumi, A1048/US layout]

Since it's clearly NOT an Apple Pro Keyboard; one wonders why the manufacturer chose that false identity. The masquerade as a keyboard might also have been to penetrate those machines that do not blindly mount USB storage devices.

Risks: While we now look for incoming malware on the TCP/IP connections, clearly we need to similarly monitor the other ports as well; you can do just as much damage (or more) with a insider keyboard attack, given some social engineering. Is the power line next?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cautionary Tale: The administrator who didn't administrate.

Federal authorities on Wednesday filed intrusion charges against two men accused of accessing the computer systems of their former employer.

Scott R. Burgess, 45, of Jasper, Indiana, and Walter D. Puckett, 39, of Williamstown, Kentucky, both worked as managers for Indiana-based Stens Corporation until taking jobs with a competing company in Ohio, according to an indictment filed in federal court. On at least 12 occasions, they used old passwords to access their former employer's computer and access proprietary information, prosecutors allege.

Although the men left their jobs in 2004 and early 2005, they were able to use the outdated passwords successfully as late as September of 2006. On at least two occasions, administrators at Stens grew suspicious and terminated old passwords. The men simply tried different login credentials - and succeeded several times. (more)

Details of an Attorney's Tactics Revealed

"For years, Broward County's socially and politically connected marveled at the astonishing success of Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein and wondered: How does he do it?...

...Sakowitz said Rothstein boasted of having sophisticated eavesdropping equipment and that former cops would sift through potential defendants' garbage. With compromising evidence in hand, the firm urged the targets of the claims to pay a settlement without a public lawsuit." (more)

Oculis Labs Stops Computer Shoulder Surfers

Until now, there were few ways to stop shoulder surfers from reading your computer screen: place a polarizing screen over your computer screen (not very practical for laptops), or mount a mirror on the side of your screen so you could see someone sneaking a peek from behind.

This way sends peepers to the eye doctor...
Oculis Labs has a product called PrivateEye, a simple, low-cost (from $19.95), easy-to-deploy software application for enterprise and consumer use. It requires no special hardware, just a standard embedded webcam.

PrivateEye significantly improves on older technologies such as 3M privacy filters, and screen savers by performing active user-centric protection of all content displayed on the screen.

PrivateEye uses a webcam sensor to continuously assess the user’s area of interest, and uses this information to control what is displayed.

In the simplest mode, when PrivateEye determines that the user is looking at the display, the contents are presented normally. When the user looks away, the display is quickly blurred to protect the contents and when the user looks back, display is instantly cleared again. The effect is that contents are displayed only as needed by the authorized user. This feature alone significantly reduces the opportunities for eavesdroppers.

In addition to protecting the display when the user is not attending to it, the system will reduce susceptibility to eavesdropping when the user is actively reading the screen. PrivateEye can identify when unauthorized viewers are looking at the display, and take action to reduce potential eavesdropping. (Video demonstration)

Oculis Labs also sells a higher-priced version, Chameleon, which lets the user see clearly, and scrambles the view for others... all at the same time. Cool, eh?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The NSA may be looking for you...

Where Intelligence Goes to Work

It's the ability to think abstractly. Challenge the unknown. Solve the impossible. And at NSA, it's about protecting the Nation.

A career at NSA offers the opportunity to work with the best, shape the course of the world, and secure your own future. Isn't it time to put your intelligence to work? (

Spy vs. Spy - Finally, one of them wins...

US - The government has agreed to pay $3 million to a former agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration who sued CIA officers for illegal eavesdropping.

The proposed settlement followed a ruling by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in July that CIA officials committed fraud to protect a former covert agent against the eavesdropping allegations.

The lawsuit was brought by former DEA agent Richard Horn, who says his home in Rangoon, Burma, was illegally wiretapped by the CIA in 1993. He says Arthur Brown, the former CIA station chief in Burma, and Franklin Huddle Jr., the chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Burma, were trying to get him transferred because they disagreed with his work with Burmese officials on the country's drug trade.

Horn sued Brown and Huddle in 1994, seeking monetary damages for violating his civil rights. The CIA itself was a defendant in the lawsuit until early this year. (

The Video Backlash Begins

UK - Councils have been criticised for using surveillance powers designed to combat serious crime and protect national security to spy on the public for minor crimes such as littering or unlawfully selling pot plants.

They were also found to be using them to investigate parents accused of lying about where they live to get their children in to better schools.

But Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, will today announce plans to change the law to ensure authorities only use the intrusive techniques, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa), for serious offences. (more)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spokesman Resigns Over Secret Phone Recordings

CA - Scott Gerber, the communications director for Attorney General Jerry Brown who admitted recording phone conversations with reporters without their permission --- including Chronicle senior political writer Carla Marinucci -- resigned Monday. (more)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

You're not crazy... "The thought would not have occurred to you if everything were fine."

People are often ashamed, scared or afraid of being called paranoid when they suspect eavesdropping or wiretapping. In most cases, something is wrong. The information leaks and subsequent feedback may not always be caused by a bug or wiretap, but something is wrong.

Take the case of Courtney Love...

Courtney Love's Paranoid Sounding Claims Backed Up By Other Sources

...the New York Daily News quotes not only Love, but also a few corroborating sources who back up her story...investigator hired by Love not only co-signs her story, but states that there's proof! From the News:

Adam DelMonte and Michael Kenworthy of AC Digital Services...say they recorded the "blitz" on security cameras they installed in Love's house. "These impostors then flipped the situation on Mrs. Cobain and tried to strong-arm her and scare her into feeling she needed to hire them for protection," DelMonte and Kenworthy assert in a letter. "Fortunately, we were get them out of her life."

They go on to say that Love's former staffers installed "numerous types of spyware on her computers and her phone. Both her camera and microphone on her cell phone were bugged at one point."

...she says she's called law enforcement to look into her case, she's gotten no response. She chalks the disinterest in her claims, rightfully, to a less-than-stellar reputation, saying, "My biggest problem is that I'm Courtney Love."

That doesn't mean, however, that she has a lesser right to privacy than anyone else.

You can begin to solve your own spying problems without: buying spy detection gadgets, hiring a private investigator or sweep team, or even admitting your suspicions to anyone. Read Quit Bugging Me.

Alert - Free Blackberry Spying App Released

The US-CERT has issued a warning about a new, free BlackBerry application that transforms the phone into a bugging device.

PhoneSnoop, which runs on the victim's phone, lets an attacker stealthily call the targeted BlackBerry, answer the call, turn on the speakerphone, and let the attacker listen in on the victim. The app has to be configured to recognize the attacker's phone number, and it automatically and quickly answers it to evade detection.

Sheran Gunasekera, the developer of PhoneSnoop, says he was surprised US-CERT identified his app in an advisory. "I am happy that they did, though, because it's one step further in getting the word out," says Gunasekera, who is director of IT security at Hermis Consulting in Jakarta, Indonesia.

"I think the reason my app was flagged was because it's free and more easily accessible" than more expensive commercial spy tools
. (more) (video)

Side note: The attacker either needs to have physical access to your Blackberry to load the spyware program, or in some way, trick you into doing it.

Police Chief Charged in Bugging Scheme

MN - The police chief of Gaylord is now charged with two gross misdemeanors in an alleged "bugging" scheme.

Police Chief Dale Lee Roiger is accused of having one of his officers secretly plant a digital recorder to see if City Council members were meeting illegally at the Chamber of Commerce office. (more)

Oddly, the article mentions a digital recorder, which stores the recording in a solid-state memory, yet shows a photo of analog cassette tapes.

Example photo of a digital recorder...

This one is high quality, voice activated and stores up to 300 hours of conversation; about $375. on ebay. Lower fidelity digital recorders are also being sold in the $10.-$40. price range. Be careful what you say, and have your office swept periodically.

Data Loss Almost Doubles

UK - An article this week at The Register states that between November 2008 and September 2009, there were 356 self-reported data losses this year by UK companies and government departments. In the same time frame a year before, there were 190 such incidents reported.

The information was compiled by Software AG, which used a Freedom of Information Act request to get the data from the UK Information Commissioner's Office. (more)

Spyware fine, $476. Getting X's e-mails, priceless.

WI - An Appleton man charged with installing spyware on his ex-wife's computer was fined after he entered into a plea agreement on a lesser charge.

Brent J. Walbrun, 47, W3291 Hartland Court, originally was charged with interception of an electronic communication under the state's electronic eavesdropping law for installing the spyware on the computer.

In October, Walbrun's ex-wife discovered the spyware program when she realized Walbrun was intercepting her e-mails. Walbrun entered a no-contest plea Oct. 19 to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and was fined $476. (more)

Spyware Goes Legit

Australia - Distributors for new software that allows parents to spy on their children's text messages say they are still hopeful, as they try to get approval for their product.

The software, which allows parents to see every text message their child sends and receives, was due to be on sale in August, but the earliest it will now be available is early next year.

Civil libertarians and technology experts have deep concerns about the privacy implications of the product. (more)