Tuesday, June 29, 2010

FBI arrest 10 alleged Russian spies in biggest espionage swoop since Cold War

THE FBI arrested 10 people for allegedly serving for years as secret agents of Russia's intelligence service, the SVR, with the goal of penetrating US government policymaking circles...
Intercepted messages showed they were asked to learn about a broad sweep of topics including nuclear weapons, US arms control positions, Iran, White House rumours, CIA leadership turnover, the last presidential election, the Congress and political parties.

The court papers made public on Monday (PDF and PDF) include details of 21st century spycraft more high-tech than anything Jason Bourne knew about... used private Wi-Fi networks, flash memory sticks, and text messages concealed in graphical images to exchange information... (more)

After a secret multi-year investigation, the Justice Department announced the arrests in a blockbuster spy case that could rival the capture of Soviet Colonel Rudolf Abel in 1957 in New York. (more)

Colonel Abel, who hide his microfilm inside a hollowed out nickel, inspired one of our client gifts... The Official Espionage Spybuster Spy Coin! Our coin holds a microSD chip and contains the official FBI story about Abel's nickel. 
(click photos to enlarge)

Russia Denounces Arrests over Alleged Espionage

Russia angrily denounced the U.S. arrest of 10 alleged Russian spies as an unjustified throwback to the Cold War, and senior lawmakers said some in the U.S. government may be trying to undercut President Barack Obama's warming relations with Moscow. (more)

Germans Concerned About Industrial Espionage

Companies failing to protect themselves from external attack risk losing their competitive edge. In the information age, the threat of industrial espionage is all too real, with thousands of jobs at stake in Germany.

Some might describe the Cold War era as the good old age of espionage. Everything was clear cut: it was West versus East, capitalism versus communism... the fine art of spying is not dead...

And when it comes to economic espionage – something that is common in this day and age – the methods are generally a touch more subtle, and the prying eyes may be more familiar than you'd think. (more)

Russians Deny Industrial Espionage in Germany

The Russian government rejected Monday claims made by Berlin that its intelligence services were actively involved in industrial espionage in Germany.

The accusations, made in the annual security report published by the Berlin Interior Ministry on June 21, were "from the Cold War era," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said according to the Interfax news agency. (more)

Meanwhile, in the Ivory Towers...

The Netherlands' three Universities of Technology have no plans to take extra steps to prevent spying by foreign delegations, the Nederlands Dagblad reports on Tuesday.

The paper say in April the security service AIVD warned that foreign secret services are sending students to Dutch universities to gather information. In one case, half a delegation was made up of security officials, the AIVD said. 

Delft, Twente and Eindhoven Universities of Technology are most vulnerable to spying because of their focus on nuclear science, biotechnology and nano technology, the paper said.

University officials told the paper combating spying is not a task for academics. (more)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Corporate Espionage... There's an app for that.

A new report from SMobile Systems who specializes in security issues on mobile phones and in the wireless infrastructure, 20% of the available applications on Android Market allow third parties access to personal information of users.

The report says that 20% of Android applications enable third parties to access private or sensitive information that could be used by crooks for malicious purposes including identity theft, mobile banking fraud and corporate espionage. (more)

The SpyCam & Computer Tapping Neighbor

NY - A North Syracuse man was indicted today on charges he spied on one neighbor and illegally used the computer access of another neighbor.

Jesse Reed, 29, of 115 Crystal Drive, was indicted on a felony charge of second-degree unlawful surveillance and a misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of a computer.

Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey Ciereck said the investigation began with Syracuse police looking into the downloading of child pornography. The person initially under scrutiny turned out to have been the victim of someone using his computer access to obtain the pornography, the prosecutor said.

That led authorities to Reed, Ciereck said. While police were investigating the child pornography matter, they also discovered equipment had been set up in Reed’s home to spy into the bedroom window of a female neighbor, the prosecutor said. (more)

Proof DIY TSCM Doesn't Work

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged Wednesday with fraud and tax crimes as the government accused him of enriching himself and others by milking $640,000 from the Civic Fund, a tax-exempt charity that he created as a good-works effort to enhance Detroit and improve the city's image.

Kilpatrick instead used it to pay for yoga, golf, camp for his kids, travel, a video about his family's history, cars, polling, college tuition for relatives and much more, including "counter-surveillance and anti-bugging equipment," according to the indictment. (more)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

SpyCam Story #580 - The Cardial Infarction

NY - A North Hills cardiologist has been convicted of illegally installing a hidden camera in the office bathroom of his Manhasset practice to secretly spy on patients and employees, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced on Monday.

Vincent Pacienza, 54, was found guilty of unlawful surveillance in the second degree, a felony. He will face up to four years in prison in his July 30 sentencing...

...Pacienza told his female employees that he would be installing an air purifier in the office restroom shared by employees and patients. However, the air purifier, which faced the toilet, contained a hidden wireless camera with a direct video feed to a monitor under Pacienza’s desk.

He was caught later that same month when an employee opening the office mail discovered a receipt for the camera and purifier from a website specializing in surveillance equipment... (more)

Dammit Jan...

Transsexual who waged five-year spying campaign on neighbors faces jail...

UK - Jan Krause, 44, videotaped the family and posted the recordings on YouTube, crashed into their cars and erected a roof-mounted device which emitted a high-pitched whine in their direction. One Christmas morning, nurse Carol Story opened the curtains to find Krause sitting outside dressed all in black and wearing a balaclava while taking notes. 

The campaign left 53-year-old Miss Story, a mother of three, upset and angry and she even put the family home on the market.

But she hopes her ordeal is over after Krause, a transsexual, was convicted of harassment at Chester Magistrates' Court. She was remanded on bail for sentence and banned from keeping cameras or recording equipment. (more) (cap)

Monday, June 21, 2010

How To Make a Cell Phone a Spy Phone For Free

In the early days of cell phones simply turning off the ringer and activating an auto-answer feature turned mobile phones into a spyphones.  
Times changed. Manufacturers adjusted the software to counter criticism. Now, as a publicity stunt to sell Internet speedup software, a Scottish firm created this work-around...
1st: You will need the 'Spy' ringtone: Click on the type of ringtone you want and then upload the ringtone to your phone just as normal.

1. Download the Spy.mp3 Ringtone

2. Download the Spy.wav Ringtone

3. Download the Spy.rtx Ringtone

2nd: On your phone select the Spy ringtone, turn off call alert lights (if you can), turn off vibration alert and set your phone to auto-answer; (note - some phones are set up in such a way that you must attach the 'handsfree' wire to allow auto-answer to work.)

That's it! You're done! You now have a top quality, undetectable, spy bugging / listening device that equals the quality of the best and most secret on the market. (more) 

Why mention it?
So you will know what you're up against.
The old auto-answer spyphone trick is back!

Hot Kid Spy Gear

This spy-kid toy is getting rave reviews

via thingiemajig.com
"The Ultimate Spy Watch is equipped with 8 thrill seeking features. First is the motion sensor with alarm and date stamp to protect your valuables and to alert intruders whenever they might come. Second is the message decoder to read messages from your fellow spies. For sending messages, it can drop message capsules with a spy paper. A night vision light is included to gain an advantage against your enemies during night time covert operations. A crosshair can definitely make a shot hit or miss, making it an indespensable tool for a spy, is built in too. Of course, watch functions are also a must such as world time for some international missions, stopwatch for time critical missions up to the last mili second, and a wake up alarm which can be very handy for some early morning operations or training. As for an added feature, this 10 inch watch is protected by a locking armor for increased durability - a must for tough agents."

Need more Paper for your Capsules? 
Download and Print Spy Messaging Paper Here." 

Blagojevich Wiretaps in PDF

The federal government's case against Rod Blagojevich centers on recorded conversations involving the former Illinois governor and his associates. Prosecutors are also making those recordings available to the public.

The FBI wiretaps are being played in federal court but anyone with an internet connection can also listen (PDF transcipts at this point in time). Prosecution evidence is posted on the U.S. Attorney's website. (more)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Some things just can't be covered-up.

France's convoluted L'Oréal family fraud scandal became even more convoluted and even more gripping yesterday. Tapes of bugged conversations involving the L'Oréal owner, Liliane Bettencourt, 87, implied that President Nicolas Sarkozy had meddled in legal proceedings in which a society photographer is accused of defrauding France's richest woman of almost a billion euros.

The tapes, leaked to a French investigative website, also suggest that the supposedly senile billionairess was involved in elaborate schemes to hide some of her money abroad. There are cryptic references to campaign payments to ensure the "friendship" of two cabinet ministers, including the employment minister, Eric Woerth.

Ms Bettencourt's former butler was arrested yesterday and faces charges of "invasion of privacy", for allegedly bugging conversations between the L'Oréal heiress and her financial adviser. He has not been named. Tapes of the conversations were sent last week to Ms Bettencourt's only daughter, Françoise, who sent them to the police. (more)

SpyCam Story #579 - "Step right this way."

AL - Shocking allegations against the tourism director for the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. Police say Justin Hasting set up a hidden camera in a public restroom and video taped women.

Police say the crime happened in the employee restroom at the scenic overlook in Daphne.

Investigators say they were tipped off when two women went in to use the restroom, but Hastings stopped them and told them it was out of order and they would have to use the employee restroom...

Hasting is charged with two counts of criminal eavesdropping and installing an eavesdropping device, which is a federal offense. Hasting is a former radio-host. (more)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bug Building is Back in Style

As seen on TV...
Building homemade bugs is back in style.

Why mention it?
So you will know what you're up against.

Keep those TSCM bug sweeps current.


The OSS Simple Sabotage Field Manual from 1944
 "The purpose of this paper is to characterize simple sabotage, to outline its possible effects, and to present suggestions for inciting and executing it."

Sample Tips
"Fuel lines to gasoline and oil engines frequently pass over the exhaust pipe. When the machine is at rest, you can stab a small hole in the fuel line and plug the hole with wax. As the engine runs and the exhaust tube becomes hot, the wax will be melted; fuel will drip onto the exhaust and a blaze will start."

"Jam paper, bits of wood, hairpins, and anything else that will fit, into the locks of all unguarded entrances to public buildings."

And, every teen's favorite... "'Misunderstand' orders. Ask endless questions or engage in long correspondence about such orders. Quibble over them when you can." (more)

So, who's minding your intellectual property store?

More than half of Fortune 1000 companies lack a full-time chief information security officer, only 38% have a chief security officer, and just 20% have a chief privacy officer. As a result, a majority of companies are failing to adequately assess and manage the risks that information security and privacy issues pose to their business. 

Those findings come from "Governance of Enterprise Security," a new study released yesterday by Carnegie Mellon University's CyLab. The report is based on a survey of 66 board directors or senior executives who work at Fortune 1000 companies. Nearly half of respondents work at critical infrastructure companies. CyLab conducted a similar survey in 2008. (more)

If you business does not have a C-level IP warden in the watchtower, at least engage a good counterespionage consultant. You can find one here, or at one of the several URLs which hosts Kevin's Security Scrapbook.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Employee monitoring: When IT is asked to spy

With staff surveillance on the rise, high-tech types can be put in the awkward position of having to squeal on their fellow workers.

As corporate functions, including voice and video, converge onto IP-based networks, more corporate infractions are happening online. Employees leak intellectual property or trade secrets, either on purpose or inadvertently; violate laws against sexual harassment or child pornography; and waste time while looking like they are hard at work.

In response -- spurred in part by stricter regulatory, legal and compliance requirements -- organizations are not only filtering and blocking Web sites and scanning e-mail. Many are also watching what employees post on social networks and blogs, even if it's done from home using noncompany equipment.

They are collecting and retaining mobile phone calls and text messages. They can even track employees' physical locations using the GPS feature on smartphones. 

 Long story, but here is the bottom line...
It's more common that the IT manager doesn't know how to correctly preserve evidence, and probably doesn't even know what information might be legally relevant, says Jason M. Shinn, an attorney with Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin PC who specializes in electronic discovery and technology issues in employment law. (more)

SpyCams Gone Wild

OH - A 24-year veteran of the Mayfield Heights Fire Department could face dozens of charges after police accused him of placing hidden cameras in a Geauga County YMCA and his home in Chardon, where he secretly taped at least two teenage boys, investigators said.

Daniel J. Serge, 51, was charged Monday morning with pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor...

Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland said he expects more charges to come after his deputies and state investigators finish combing through 60 videotapes, which average eight hours, and analyzing Serge's computer...

The investigation into Serge began last Tuesday when a worker at the Munson YMCA found an air freshener with a blinking light in a men's bathroom stall. The worker discovered the freshener contained a camera. Investigators think it had been there less than a day...

They found pinhole cameras, about an ⅛-inch in diameter, hidden in three of the four walls in Serge's bathroom. Wires hidden in the walls connected the cameras to recording equipment in a closet, McClelland said...

Serge worked for about three years with the nonprofit Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation, which organizes hunting trips for children and teenagers who have life-threatening illnesses. (more)

Eavesdropping Gone Wild

MA - The Middlesex District Attorney's office has announced that Shirley Town Administrator Kyle Keady was arrested yesterday in connection with an illegal wire tapping and videotaping scheme.

Keady was charged with illegal recording, illegal possession of a recording device, and video recording a person in a state of nudity...
State police went to town hall yesterday and talked to 46-year-old Keady where he allegedly admitted to using a baby monitor to record conversations of town employees.

Keady told police he did it because he didn't trust anyone and first started recording his secretary using a recorder he put in a plant on her desk without her knowledge.

During their interview with Keady, police asked him to empty the contents of his pockets where he had 9 zip drives with recordings and two camera pens wrapped in tape. (Yes, it gets worse.)

Update - Police Chief Bugging Case

MN - The former Gaylord police chief will serve one year probation after he was sentenced in Sibley County yesterday. 61 year old Dale Roiger was found guilty back in April of misconduct of a public officer - a gross misdemeanor - after having a "bug" planted in the Gaylord Chamber of Commerce office. (more)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Secret Agent Jobs - Full-time / Summer-time

The Clandestine Life  
Operations Officers and Collection Management Officers spend a significant portion of their time abroad. Typically, Operations Officers will serve 60% to 70% of their careers overseas, while Collection Management Officers will be overseas for 30% to 40% of their careers. Staff Operations Officers, although based in the Washington, D.C. area, travel overseas on a temporary basis. Language Officers also are primarily based in Washington, though short-term and some long-term foreign travel opportunities are available.

Officers in each of these careers are under cover. By the very nature of this clandestine business, officers can expect limited external recognition for themselves and their families. Instead, the Agency has its own internal promotions, awards and medals, and makes every effort to recognize the accomplishments of its personnel.

In addition to competitive pay, Officers are provided housing and receive overseas allowances and schooling benefits for their children when serving abroad. There are also other benefits, such as language pay incentives, that Officers can receive depending on their skills set and position duties. Collectively, the benefits enable Officers to make significant contributions that impact our national security, and experience a high level of job satisfaction and camaraderie throughout their career. (more) (full-time job openings) (summer jobs)

Smart Phones Smart

...via The Wall Street Journal 
In 2009, security experts identified 30 security flaws in the software and operating systems of smartphones made by companies like Apple, Nokia Corp. and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd., up from 16 the previous year, according to a review of records in the National Vulnerability Database, a repository created in 2005 by an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Submissions are vetted and rated according to their severity... 

None of the companies contacted would discuss specific vulnerabilities, but all said they take security seriously. (more)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Muffin Maker Miffed as Secrets Walk

Chris Botticella knows the secret to those "nooks and crannies" in Thomas' English Muffins — the way they cradle butter and jam, and after a good toasting, produce just the right crunch.

It's a secret that the muffins' makers have gone to great lengths to protect over 75 years, allowing it to rack up $500 million in sales annually of the toaster treats.

The company says only seven executives know all three parts of its winning formula for making the muffins — including how much dough to use, the right amount of moisture and the proper way to bake them.

So it became alarmed and sued in January when Botticella, one of the trusted seven, decided to bolt and join rival Hostess, maker of Wonder Bread and Twinkies.

...lawyers say Botticella hid his new employment deal for months while attending high-level Bimbo meetings and debating strategies for competing with Hostess. They also accuse him of copying a dozen files onto a USB thumb drive in his final days, a charge he denies. (more)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

CIA Report Helps You Spot Espionage Before it Happens

Project Slammer, now partially declassified, was based on extensive prison interviews with some 30 former military and intelligence personnel who had been convicted of spying for Russia, China and other hostile powers during the Cold War, from the lowest enlisted men to senior CIA officers like Aldrich Ames. It sought to answer why they had violated the trust their agencies had bestowed on them.

Two of the most important factors in a mole’s decision to steal secrets... emotional distress, and lax security...

...the authors of the highly classified Project Slammer report, delivered to CIA management on April 12, 1990, emphasized that behavioral changes were often associated with acts of espionage. 

“Heavy drinking, drug dependence, signs of depression or stress, extramarital affairs and divorce could be warning signs of a security problem...” (more)

What type of person is pre-disposed to becoming a spy? 

Mobile Phone Spyware Crackdown

Romanian authorities arrested 50 individuals for using a special mobile-phone program to spy on their spouses, business partners or the competition. The spyware was able to steal call logs, e-mails, SMS messages or GPS data from smartphones and allowed attackers to eavesdrop on active phone calls and private discussions held in the vicinity of the device...

Police also arrested Dan Nicolae Oproiu, 30, of Deva, Hunedoara, an IT specialist who sold the surveillance program through a variety of websites. ...the spyware application was available for Symbian, Windows Mobile, iPhone OS and BlackBerry OS and came in three versions - Light, Pro and ProXRecorder, which differed in features.

Most of Oproiu's clients who were arrested two days ago did not have a criminal background and many were members of the so-called upper class. The list includes several businessmen, doctors, engineers, as well as a government official, a former member of the Parliament, a police officer, a prosecutor and even a judge. There are also strong indications that the software was also unlawfully used by several detective agencies and private investigators. (more)

Phone Eavesdropping in Vogue Again

The huge rise in physical data security measures has inadvertently triggered a new line of attack for criminals: phone correspondence.  

With traditional identity theft channels now closing, fraudsters are increasingly targeting unprotected voice conversations to obtain confidential insider information, passwords and PIN codes without detection. Voice correspondence is almost always uncharted territory for business security armour under the false assumption that phone hacking is a highly sophisticated and expensive means of attack.

The days of phone fraud involving thousands of pounds of equipment and an extensive army of technology experts are long gone. Only in December it was revealed that a computer engineer had broken the algorithm used to encrypt the majority of the world’s digital mobile phone calls online, and published his method...

...when assessing the threat posed by phone fraudsters and criminals, we need look no further than the regular examples of celebrity phone eavesdropping that is becoming commonplace. Even high profile national newspapers like the News of the World have become embroiled in the scandal, resulting in one of their reporters being jailed for listening in on calls between members of the royal family. Liberal Democrat Lembit Opik recently went public saying he was concerned his phone calls were being intercepted and PR guru Max Clifford settled a hacking dispute out of court for a six-figure sum. And who can forget the case of Tiger Woods, who found himself in hot water after several voicemail and text messages fell in the lap of numerous national newspapers and celebrity magazines.

These celebrity incidents are serious enough, but business leaders and public sector chiefs now need to readdress their approach to voice and message security, to protect themselves against this growing threat. 

Increasingly, phone fraudsters are being hired or trained by rival businesses, getting insider information and critical data without ever being suspected. (more)

Information about Cell Phone Privacy is available with a google search. Businesses, however, require additional assistance with making sure their phones (analog, digital and VoIP digital) remain untapped. Quarterly inspections by a TSCM security specialist are the norm. For additional information about these services click here, or contact the company who provided this link to Kevin's Security Scrapbook.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Twenty Minutes into the Future

Australia - Companies who provide customers with a connection to the internet may soon have to retain subscriber's private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested, a move which has been widely criticised by industry insiders.

Currently, companies that provide customers with a connection to the internet don't retain or log subscriber's private web browsing history unless they are given an interception warrant by law enforcement, usually approved by a judge. It is only then that companies can legally begin tapping a customer's internet connection. (more)

FutureWatch - Ask Blank Reg over at Max Headroom. Watch out for Murray, he's clueless. Bilp-def... "Blanks, a counter-culture group of people who lived without any official numbers or documentation for the sake of privacy."

Hackers plant viruses in Windows smartphone games

3D Anti-Terrorist and PDA Poker Art -- are available on sites that provide legitimate software for mobile devices, according to John Hering, CEO of San Francisco-based security firm Lookout.

Those games are bundled with malicious software that automatically dials premium-rate telephone services in Somalia, Italy and other countries, sometimes ringing up hundreds of dollars in charges in a single month.

Victims generally do not realize they have been infected until they get their phone bill and see hundreds of dollars of unexpected charges for those premium-rate services, he said. (more

FutureWatch - Expect this trend to continue. Un-vetted software apps (unlike Apple apps) are currently the easiest targets.

Nineteen Minutes into the Future

Italy - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi advanced a draft law through the senate that restricts the use of wiretaps by prosecutors and introduces fines and prison sentences for journalists who issue reports on tapped conversations.

The draft law's passage on Thursday by the senate prompted a torrent of criticism from Italian prosecutors, newspapers and opposition lawmakers. Mr. Berlusconi, a media magnate, says the bill aims to protect the privacy of Italians. Critics say the draft legislation, which still faces a vote in the lower house of Parliament, is an attempt by Mr. Berlusconi to weaken the judiciary branch's investigative powers and muzzle criticism of the prime minister in Italian media.

"The massacre of freedom has begun," said Anna Finocchiaro, a senator in the center-left Democratic Party. (more)

No pun intended?
Headline: "Italy's daily runs blank page"
Italy's left-leaning La Repubblica daily on Friday ran an all-white front page to protest a bill curbing police wiretaps and setting hefty fines on media for publishing transcripts of them. 'The muzzling law denies citizens the right to be informed,' reads a message, styled as a yellow Post-It note, on the otherwise blank space under the La Repubblica banner. (more)

Eighteen Minutes into the Future - Teleportation and the end of wiretapping?

A group of Chinese scientists has successfully achieved teleportation up to 9.9 miles, using quantum entanglement of photons...

"This is the longest reported distance over which photonic teleportation has been achieved to date, more than 20 times longer than the previous implementation," Discovery News quoted Cheng-Zhi Peng, one of the co-authors of the study and a scientist at University of Science and Technology of China and Tsinghua University in Beijing, as saying.

In science fiction, teleportation usually describes the transfer of matter from one point to another, more or less instantaneously - a spooky aspect of quantum mechanics.

According to the theory, bits of light and matter can become entangled with one another and anything that happens to one particle will happen to the other, regardless of the distance or intervening matter...

A teleported telephone call, although no faster than a regular one, would however, be impenetrable and eavesdropping on a teleported telephone call would be impossible. (more)

The research is published in the current issue of the journal Nature Photonics.

FutureWatch: Teleportation's integration with communications. Then, teleportation as it relates to synchronicity... and a possible explanation to "it's a small world" and other coincidences.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why do we eavesdrop?

Did you know, "that five and six centuries ago, English citizens had, in impressive numbers, been arrested for eavesdropping."
Want to know more? 
Eavesdropping: An Intimate History, by John Locke, is going to be released June 25th. (ISBN 13: 9780199236138)

The author writes...
Eavesdropping: An Intimate History "I wondered what, in the medieval mind, would have caused this behavior to be criminalized, and what the “criminals” themselves were doing, or thought they were doing, when they went out at night and listened to their neighbors’ conversations...

...until I began to study eavesdropping... I had never, in many years of research, encountered a behavior whose actual significance was so greatly at variance with its recognized importance. Look for books on social behavior with the word “eavesdropping” in the index section and you are likely to be severely disappointed. Enter the same word in computerized literature searches and your screen will display a list of books on wiretapping and other forms of electronic surveillance. But the word was coined centuries before telephones and recording equipment were invented, and the practice of eavesdropping documented nearly a thousand years earlier, when people were happy to entrust to unaided senses the question of who was doing what to whom." (more) (review)


Now they really have something to kick about...

During this FIFA world cup, England’s football coach, Fabio Capello, plans to spy on his players using hi-tech TVs installed in their hotel rooms in order to keep out their wives and girlfriends (called as WAGs) and ensuring that the players are getting proper rest. Apparently, he believes that a sex ban will ensure that the players are bursting with energy right through the world cup. (more)

Bad Day for Spies Worldwide

France - A former senior spy accused of revealing French state secrets and the identities of fellow operatives in his recently-released memoir was being questioned by French police today. Defence Minister Herve Morin filed a complaint against Pierre Siramy, whose real name is Maurice Dufresne, author of "25 Years in the Secret Services," released in April. (more)

S. Korea - South Korea's military on Wednesday sought an arrest warrant for a two-star army general accused of leaking the country's war plan and other secrets to North Korea, a news report said. The Defence Security Command asked military prosecutors to arrest the major-general identified only as Kim for leaking classified information, Yonhap news agency said. (more)

India - The army has started probing the charges of espionage against an army officer posted in Andaman and Nicobar. He is being suspected of spying for Pakistan. About a month ago, when reports emerged that a major in Port Blair was caught spying for Pakistan, the army had dismissed it saying that his computer had been hacked by an external agency. But the government is now expecting to unearth a much larger spy network embedded in the military. (more)

Afghanistan - Suspected Taliban militants executed a seven-year-old boy in southern Afghanistan after accusing him of spying for the government, a provincial official said Wednesday. The child was captured by the militants in Sangin district of southern province of Helmand Tuesday, Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said. "The militants killed the seven-year-old boy in Heratiyan village of the district, on charges of espionage for Afghan government," Ahmadi said, citing information provided to police by relatives. (more)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Beware the Attack of the Killer Apps

Security researchers and government officials are growing increasingly concerned about the security of smartphone applications. Those concerns have been prompted by the discovery of a number of potentially dangerous apps in the app stores run by smartphone makers...

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cyber Division, meanwhile, is investigating a number of malicious programs that have appeared in app stores, including apps designed to compromise mobile banking services and programs designed to be used by foreign countries to conduct espionage. (more)

"Just don't let the birds see them." ~Hitchcock

The way light hits a tropical butterfly's wings could make your bank card safer, according to a new U.K. study.

That's because scientists are now able to mimic the cell structure of butterfly scales to encrypt information on banknotes and other secure cards, researchers at Britain's Cambridge University say.

"We have unlocked one of nature's secrets and combined this knowledge with state-of-the-art nanofabrication to mimic the intricate optical designs found in nature," said lead researcher Mathias Kolle on the university's website. (more)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Run a shadow OS on your computer for super secrecy...

...if you're really serious about protecting your data, you can actually hide your entire operating system. Here's how to do it.

To accomplish this task, we'll be using TrueCrypt, our favorite free and open-source disk encryption software that runs on all platforms, supports hidden volumes, and can even encrypt your entire hard drive.

Once we've completed the setup, you'll have two Windows installations and two passwords. One password will activate a hidden Windows installation as your real operating system, and the other, a decoy install to throw intruders off the trail. (more)

Mobile Smart Phone Spying... There are apps for that!

 As smartphones and the applications that run on them take off, businesses and consumers are beginning to confront a budding dark side of the wireless Web....

"Mobile phones are a huge source of vulnerability," said Gordon Snow, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cyber Division. "We are definitely seeing an increase in criminal activity."

The FBI's Cyber Division recently began working on a number of cases based on tips about malicious programs in app stores, Mr. Snow said. The cases involve apps designed to compromise banking on cellphones, as well as mobile "malware" used for espionage by foreign nations, said a person familiar with the matter. To protect its own operations, the FBI bars its employees from downloading apps on FBI-issued smartphones. (more)

Buy, buy anonymous pre-paid cell phones...

A bipartisan pair of Senate leaders have introduced a first-of-its-kind bill aimed at stopping terrorist suspects such as the would-be Times Square bomber from hiding their identities by using prepaid cellphones to plot their attacks.

The legislation sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) would require buyers to present identification when purchasing a prepaid cellphone and require phone companies to keep the information on file, as they do with users of landline phones and subscription-based cellphones. The proposal would require the carriers to retain the data for 18 months after the phone's deactivation. (more
...while you can.

"Y" ??? Because I liked you.

A former assistant to a top Disney executive was arrested for allegedly trying to sell the company's quarterly earnings to buyers who wanted to trade on inside information.
Prosecutors say Bonnie Hoxie, 33, who has worked as a secretary for Disney's PR chief since 2007, passed along inside information such as quarterly earnings statements to her boyfriend, Yonnie Sebbag aka Jonathan Cyrus, who was also arrested for his alleged role in the crime.
Sebbag, 29, then tried to sell the inside information to investors by sending anonymous letters to hedge funds and investment companies, according to the complaint in Federal Court. (more)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

iPhone PIN Prick

Basically, plugging an up-to-date, non jail-broken, PIN-protected iPhone (powered off) into a computer running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx will allow the people to see practically all of the user's data--including music, photos, videos, podcasts, voice recordings, Google safe browsing databases, and game contents. The "hacker" has read/write access to the iPhone, and the hack leaves no trace. (more)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Poll: Is '21st Century Living' worth the privacy tradeoffs?

Kevin's Security Scrapbook Poll Results
"Is '21st Century Living' worth the privacy tradeoffs?"
56.25%  No, not at all!
31.25%  Yes, definitely!
12.5%  The tradeoffs balance it all out.

A Data Loss Statistics Repository

DataLossDB is a research project aimed at documenting known and reported data loss incidents world-wide. The effort is now a community one.  

Help keep this Museum of Bitten Bytes going.
Open Security Foundation is the non-profit organization which runs the project. Their Web site, DataLossDB.org, asks for contributions of new incidents and new data for existing incidents. You can also contribute money.

Here is how some of their information is used...
The world's coolest data breach map!
Guaranteed to scare the dollars out of any tight-fisted CFO.
Voltage Data Breach Index

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

3 Graphic Arts Spy Techniques

If you use Photoshop or Illustrator you can send secret messages...
"You’re mission, if you choose to accept, is to learn how to smuggle secret information out of a building using Illustrator, encrypt a simple message using Photoshop and send a yes/no type of answer to a network of spies using a picture without any direct interaction. Enjoy!" (more)

Another Formula One Spy Scandal?

Formula One seems to thrive on scandal. Hardly a year goes by without some kind of dispute putting the sport on the front pages rather than the sports pages.

In recent years we have had Tyregate, Spygate, Liegate, Crashgate and even Spankgate. What next?

Well, according to a report in the Express by Pitpass' business editor Chris Sylt, it looks like a Spygate sequel is on the horizon.

Records at the UK's High Court show that Force India has launched a damages claim against the companies which run Lotus Racing alleging that they copied the windtunnel model which its car is based on.

The claim has echoes of the row which erupted in 2007 when the FIA fined McLaren $100m for possessing blueprints from Ferrari. (more)

"Place of the gods" gets CCTV

Hotels in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, are being forced to install electronic surveillance equipment amid an ongoing security clampdown in the city, industry sources said... The hotel security measures come hard on the heels of tighter curbs on the cultural lives of Tibetans, including the use of print shops to replicate Tibetan-language material. (more)

Guess who runs CCTV.com.