Monday, January 31, 2011

India Squeezes BlackBerry for Emails

The Indian government, only weeks after reaching an agreement with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, now insists on intercepting corporate communications along with the BlackBerry Messenger service.

India cites its reasons to intercept BlackBerrys secure communication systems to combat terrorism, a problem it continues to suffer from with tensions with its neighbours Pakistan and the southern Arabian peninsula.

Research in Motion continues to state that it cannot provide a solution to intercept corporate emails, as the keys to its encryption is held by the entity which owns the server, outside of Research in Motion’s reach.  The company states that it does not possess a ‘master key’ which would allow unrestricted interceptions into corporate email accounts. (more)

Brooklyn state Sen. Eric Adams' YouTube video gives parents advice on how to spy on their kids

A Brooklyn pol wants to teach parents how to spy on their kids, scour their backpacks for guns - and strip-search their dollies for drugs.

State Sen. Eric Adams, who served 22 years in the NYPD before running for office, stars in a new online video (worth watching in entirety) that shows parents how to sniff out hidden contraband in a little suspect's bedroom.

"A small-caliber weapon could be hiding inside a jewelry box," the senator warns in the five-minute video. "Run your hands over the pillows and see if you feel anything that's unusual."...

"It's not spying on your children. It's protecting your home," he said. "If the police come inside a household and those items are in there, the whole house gets arrested. They arrest everybody and sort it out later in the courtroom." (more, with video)

Interesting poll results...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The country is up in arms...

...and this sounded like a good idea? 
Egypt - Mubarak yesterday installed Omar Suleiman, his longtime intelligence chief, as vice president; and former air force commander Ahmed Shafik as prime minister. But the move has won him little popular support...about 25 demonstrators who surrounded a tank outside the Egyptian museum and chanted slogans about the Egyptian intelligence chief. “Suleiman, Suleiman, get on a plane tonight,” was one refrain. (more)

Business Espionage - Rival Tire Company Accused of Spying

PA - The tire salesman in Cleona, Lebanon County, felt a bit uneasy.

He'd been given lists — of consignments, of wholesale tire prices, of customers. Problem was, none of the information had anything to do with the Cleona business, Henise Tire. Instead, it appeared to come from a rival — K&W Tire, based in Lancaster.

The salesman called the police. And earlier this month, three former K&W employees were charged with third-degree felonies after police said they obtained the information illegally, by logging into an e-mail account assigned to a current K&W employee.

The men — Robert E. Biggs, of Lancaster, Jeffrey G. Shultz, of Strasburg, and Edward Roeder, of Bethlehem — were charged Jan. 4 by Lancaster Detective Lt. Clark Bearinger with "unlawful use of computer and other computer crimes." In addition, Biggs was charged with computer theft because the information he obtained via the e-mail account "can be used to deprive KW of sales throughout their area and therefore cost them business and money." (more)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spy Chasing Jobs Attract Whack Jobs

New Zealand's spy agency failed to follow basic procedures when it gave top secret security clearance to a scientist who turned out to live in a fantasy world, Prime Minister John Key said Friday.

Stephen Wilce resigned as head of New Zealand's defence science agency in September after it was revealed he had made a series of false claims about his past, including serving as a helicopter pilot with Prince Andrew... 

Wilce served as chief of the Defence Technology Agency for five years, heading 80 staff and enjoying access to highly classified intelligence as he advised the military on science and technology issues. 

"...and stay off the Internet!"
The British-born scientist quit after a television programme revealed he falsely claimed to be an ex-Marine combat veteran and an Olympic bobsledder who raced against the Jamaican team depicted in the 1993 film "Cool Runnings".

Further inquiries by military investigators found he had told colleagues he was once a helicopter pilot who served with Prince Andrew, a spy with British intelligence and a special forces soldier who was on an IRA death list.

Among numerous other fabrications, he also said he designed the guidance system for the Polaris missile system, was a member of the Welsh rugby union team and once had a career as a guitarist on the British folk music circuit. (more)

Next on The Daily Show... The Funniest Man in Moscow

(...Just, because. So laugh.)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who famously launched his career as a spy, used an old secret service joke to demonstrate the levels of bureaucracy plaguing his country.

The joke in which none of the officials want to assume responsibility for arresting a US agent, came days after a bomb blast killed 35 people in a Moscow airport that critics blamed on lapses in security and bureaucratic corruption

"So an American spy comes to Lubyanka," Putin told a government meeting in remarks broadcast on Russian television late Thursday, referring to the headquarters of the Soviet-era KGB.

"I am a spy and I want to turn myself in," Putin continued with a small smirk on his face.

"Are you armed?" the US spy is asked, to which he responds yes.

"Then you have to go to room number seven," a Russian official tells him, according to Putin.

There the US spy is asked if he is carrying communication equipment -- another affirmative answer sends the US agent to yet another official's office.

In the end, the exasperated spy is asked by yet another official if he has an actual assignment to work on.

"Yes," says the spy.

"Then go carry it out and stop bothering people at work," he is told. (more)

Spying Kickboxing Instructor Kicked Out (and similar)

 WA - A 24-year-old martial arts instructor has been arrested after he was caught spying on one of his female students.

According to Bellingham Police, a 26-year-old woman told the owner of Shayne Simpson's Pacific Northwest Karate Center that she found a video cell phone in her dressing room. The instructor was fired after it was found that the cell phone was placed in position to capture video of the student undressing.

According to Simpson, the instructor asked the student to weigh herself in a private room prior to a kickboxing competition. (more)


NC -A man used his cell phone to take pictures of women trying on clothes at a Goodwill store on South Boulevard, police said. The 29-year-old victim told police the suspect placed his cell phone under the dressing room door to take the pictures. (more)
 Police are looking for a camera-wielding peeping Tom near Duluth.


MN - A female resident of the Breckinridge Station community told police a voyeur has been spying in her windows and popping flash photographs since October. She told police she received a call Saturday afternoon and was asked: “What do you propose we do with the 40-plus pictures I have of you?” (more), "Why does your kid fart so much?"

WI - Investigators believe a woman bugged a child's car seat to keep tabs on her ex-boyfriend.

Jamie Mesang is accused of duct taping a digital recorder underneath a car seat that belongs to her ex. Police say he became suspicious when Mesang started texting him about things she shouldn't have known about.

Eventually, he took apart his son's car seat and found the recorder. She's been charged with a felony and will be in court in March. (more)

More UK Wiretaps and Voicemail Hacks

UK - Nick Brown, the former chief whip and key political ally of former prime minister Gordon Brown, became the latest public figure yesterday to say that he believes his private calls and messages were eavesdropped.

The Newcastle MP revealed that he believes his landline was the subject of an "amateurish" bugging operation around the time his homosexuality was made public in 1998.

Five years later, he was also approached by police investigating voicemail hacking claims and warned that his mobile phone may have been illegally accessed. The former Cabinet minister is the latest senior Labour figure to come forward with claims that his phone calls and messages were hacked. Tessa Jowell, the former culture secretary, revealed that her phone may have been accessed as recently as this week and she has hired lawyers to discover who hacked into her messages on 29 separate occasions in 2006. (more)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Don of Wiretaps... Mr. Austin "I had the powers."

Barbados - The man who knows more about police and other wiretapping of phones, emails and text messages at Cable & Wireless Caribbean has been gently sacked with a large severance and a “consulting” contract designed to keep him loyal and silent.

Donald Austin, Executive Vice President for Legal and Regulatory Matters, and a C&W employee for over two decades, probably knows more about the interception of private communications in Barbados than any other person.

Barbados Police can legally wiretap without a court order or supervision.

Barbados has no laws governing wiretapping by the police. Our Barbados police can legally wiretap your phone or look at your email and internet data for just about any reason they choose – without a warrant, without any judicial oversight and without ever informing you that they have listened to or read everything.

When our police needed technical assistance from Cable & Wireless / LIME, Mr. Austin was the go-to-guy with the authority to dedicate C&W resources to the police. (more)

Toy Fair Spy Ware

With a new age group demographic comes the opportunity to “gadget up” and with that Playmobil has launched a wireless digital video camera and remote control car to appeal to the masses keen on their tech.

The idea is that using the camera to give you a point of view from within the car, with the signal from the video automatically relayed back to a display you’ve bolted on to the remote control and Pocket-lint were at the Toy Fair to have a go. (more)

 Here’s a fun, new and exciting toy to tell you about from Playmobil. It’s the Playmobil Spying Camera Set. According to the PlaymobilUSA website, the camera will be launched in the US in August. Or, you can pay a heftier amount to purchase it now on Amazon.

The Spy Camera Set includes a camera with USB port and a color monitor. The images shot from the camera are displayed on the monitor via wireless transmission.

News of The World Phone Hacking Case Re-Opened

UK - Scotland Yard said Wednesday it has reopened its investigation into illegal phone-hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s News of The World.

The Metropolitan Police said it had received “significant new information” from executives on the paper relating to events going back more than five years. The news comes as News International said it had fired the newspaper’s assistant news editor Ian Edmondson, after spending days trawling through his notebooks and emails in an attempt to establish the extent of phone hacking on the paper. (more)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

PA - The former Pennsylvania state constable awaiting trial for allegedly threatening the lives of two law enforcement officers is now facing felony wiretapping and weapons charges.

An arrest warrant was issued Monday for William David Denny, 31, the elected Republican constable for Chester’s 11th Ward. Denny remains a constable, although he has not been working as such since criminal charges were lodged against him last year...

Denny went so far as to record himself filing the citizen’s complaint with the police chief’s office, investigators allege.

Denny secretly also recorded a May 28, 2008, meeting in Seaton’s district court office. The meeting between Seaton and Denny was allegedly videotaped with audio in violation of state law. In an interview with investigators, Seaton said he was unaware the recording was being made. He recalled the meeting as having been a “closed-door” meeting and gave no one permission for it to be recorded, the affidavit states. (more)

Why Corporate Counsel Should Lose Sleep Over the Federal Wiretap Act

The following is an excerpt from a long article which addresses several Federal Wiretap Act land mines in the corporate environment. 

One vulnerability, not fully explored, is the potential for employee lawsuits based on electronic eavesdropping (authorized or not) which the company failed to protect the employee against.

While not every employee can reasonably be expected to be a target of electronic surveillance, top executives and persons handling unusually valuable information could very well expect their employer to take reasonable security measures to protect them from being victimized.

One wiretap, undiscovered for just a day, could bring a judgment of $10,000.00, not to mention damages and attorneys' fees.

There are many other financial reasons quarterly Eavesdropping Detection Audits (TSCM) make good sense. The Federal Wiretap Act is just one of the reasons people don't think about very often.

via Philip Gordon, Corporate Counsel,
Once seen only in the shadows of the war against organized crime, the Federal Wiretap Act should now be moving steadily and rapidly toward the top of the corporate compliance checklist. Robust civil remedies, recent court decisions and technological developments have transformed the act's risk profile from a nonevent to a statute worthy of significant attention.

Although principally a criminal statute, the Federal Wiretap Act is unique among privacy laws in that it provides for substantial monetary damages without proof of actual harm.

Under the act, an aggrieved party can recover a minimum award of $10,000 or $100 per day of violation — whichever is greater, or, actual damages, plus punitive damages, attorneys' fees and costs. Comparing recent class action litigation involving security breaches with potential class actions involving the Federal Wiretap Act demonstrates the significantly pro-plaintiff aspect of this remedial scheme.

To date, the vast majority of security breach class actions have been dismissed, or resolved in the defendant's favor on summary judgment, because the plaintiff failed to plead or prove that the security breach at issue proximately caused any cognizable damage to class members.

By contrast, under the Federal Wiretap Act, proof that the violation proximately caused cognizable harm is unnecessary, and each individual plaintiff can recover a minimum of $10,000 even in the absence of actual damages. (more)
Philip L. Gordon is a shareholder in Littler Mendelson's Denver office, where he is the Chair of Littler's Privacy and Data Protection Practice Group.

Channel 5 Reports on New Phone Spyware

AL - This software has definitely spurred some debate between parents and their children. Parents love to know they can keep track of their son or daughter. Most teenagers are not too excited about it.

"It gives you as a parent the ability to protect your child, to walk beside them," explained Chase Chandler, the creator of this program. "Not that you're trying to maliciously spy in on your kids, because none of us as parents want to do that."

The program is called Big Daddy Spy, and it was released just a little over a month ago. Creator Chase Chandler admitted it was basically wiretapping, because it allows parents to "tap" into their children's phones without their knowledge. (more

No mention of the debate between spouses and other jealous consenting adults.
FX's hilarious animated spy satire, "Archer," is consistently wrong on multiple levels, which accounts for much of the reason it's consistently hilarious.

Equally important, though, "Archer" doesn't regard racist, sexist, ageist and just plain impolite jokes as an end in themselves.

The tasteless humor instead just flows naturally from the dysfunctional bunch of neurotics and misfits who populate the erratic spy agency ISIS.

Amid a blizzard of appalling dialogue, the viewer becomes genuinely interested in many of the characters. That's not to be confused with liking them, but even though they look and speak like toons, they come across as rather human. Except they're funnier than most humans, because they take full advantage of the fact that toons can say things humans cannot. (more)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Security Director Alert - Yet Another Printer Security Issue

Add one more device to the list of things you need to protect from hackers: The humble printer.

In two separate presentations scheduled for the Shmoocon hacking conference in Washington, D.C., next week, researchers will show how hackers can use printers to compromise a company's computer network. One presentation will reveal how poorly secured printers can even be grouped together to act as online storage for cybercriminals. (more)

Poltergeist Man Eavesdropping Case Slated for Trial

MI - A jury could decide the fate of a 36-year-old Midland parolee charged with hiding an eavesdropping device in his neighbor’s bedroom.
The word poltergeist actually means noisy ghost.

Paul A. Rivard faces is scheduled to go to trial Monday, March 14, in Circuit Judge Michael J. Beale’s courtroom. Rivard is charged with second-degree home invasion, larceny in a building, eavesdropping and aggravated stalking.

Investigators allege Rivard broke into his neighbor’s home several times between August and November, once hiding a baby monitor under a dresser, Bay City Times records show. Authorities also claim Rivard burned and buried clothing belonging to the neighbors, broke furniture and rearranged items inside the house, according to reports. (more)

In what country can you get a 15-year prison sentence for recording your public conversation with a law enforcement officer?

In Illinois, recording a conversation is a Class 1 felony unless all parties consent; just below the prison time you'd spend for murder

via Jason Mick - Daily Tech
 "We've often written on the disconnect between current laws and the reality of the digital age. When a person gets charged over a million dollars for pirating and sharing a few songs, and a robber stealing a dozen CDs might have to a pay a few hundred in fines, the system can seem incredibly flawed at times.

Another example of this disconnect that has recently been brought into sharp focus include laws that police are using to try to prosecute those that digitally record their actions. We already covered how police in some areas can arrest you, if you videotape or photograph them in a public or private setting. Well, in some areas they can arrest you for even recording an audio conversation.

Illinois is one of the states with the toughest laws against audiotaping a conversation between you and another party without their knowledge. The law [text] states that you can face up to 15 years in prison for committing the offense."  (more

Two real life examples... (more) (more)

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Bug-in-a-Book" project at the Spy Museum - January 30th

David Simpson says...
We all love spy gear, from the wacky Maxwell Smart rotary-dial shoephone to the grab bag of goodies Bond always so nonchalantly snares from Q. Thank you, MAKE, for Volume 16, the "Spy Tech" issue, which featured Mad Magazine's iconic Spy vs. Spy on the cover. In that issue, you can find my wireless "Bug-in-a-Book" project. The guts come from readily available Radio Shack components (a mini FM transmitter for listening to your iPod through the car stereo and a grandpa-tech amplified listener). 

Fast forward: I'll be leading that workshop at the Spy Museum January 30th.
The session will open with an "NCIS-like" briefing, laying out an impeding threat and mission, but I can't divulge the full details here. Let's just say that this whole thing was triggered by an encrypted message intercepted by an allied listening post off the coast of Algeria on one of the long wave frequencies known to be used by a US-based black market arms dealer and certain intermediaries representing a radical militant religious group targeting pro-western nations. Maybe by now it's becoming clearer; the well-being of the free world lies in the hands of the young makers that attend this workshop and the intelligence they're able to gather during surveillance using their field-made Bug-in-a-Book. (more)

Cell Phone Bugging Hack

Black Hat, Washington, DC - A European researcher today showed how bugs he has discovered in the baseband chipset firmware of iPhone and Android smartphones could be exploited to ultimately take control of these devices.

Ralf-Philipp Weinmann, a researcher at the University of Luxembourg, was poised here to demonstrate an exploit he created that turns on the auto-answer feature on the affected smartphones and then uses them as remote listening devices. But he was unable to get his demo to run live successfully, in part due to poor cellular reception in the hotel where the conference was held.

Despite the demo glitch, security experts say the research marks a new generation of smartphone hacking. (more)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

SpyCam Story #598 - The Tax Man Attacks

FL - On January 13, 2011, a jury awarded damages of $476,200.00 against Kenneth Wayne Ryals, a landlord who had serially spied on his young female tenants by means of a micro video camera hidden in a DVD player he provided with the rental. 

Mr. Ryals, who is an Internal Revenue Service agent, had confessed to the Davie Police Department that he had watched Plaintiff for his viewing pleasure... 

Further, despite the pendency of the lawsuit, Mr. Ryals willfully destroyed all the physical evidence in the case, eleven pieces of electronic equipment, including the spy cam that he had hidden in the plaintiffs bedroom...

The plaintiff filed the suit in hopes that her suit would appeal to Mr. Ryals conscience and encourage him to stop preying on young women like herself. Mr. Ryals, however, has never shown any remorse for his conduct. Within a week of his arrest by the Davie Police for video voyeurism on September 14, 2007, he was soliciting new female renters through the website (more)

SpyCam Story #597 - Heart Doc Attack

NY - A doctor who hid a video camera in the bathroom of his Manhasset medical office has been sentenced to 45 days in jail.

Prosecutors say 56-year-old cardiologist Vincent Pacienza, of North Hills, installed the camera in an air purifier so he could spy on unsuspecting women. They say he watched the camera's video feed on a monitor hidden beneath his desk.

The camera was discovered after an employee saw an invoice from a surveillance equipment company and became suspicious. (more)
He probably bought it already assembled.

Massive eavesdropping in Bulgaria? You decide.

• Every third eavesdropping in Bulgaria illegal (more)

• Brussels Alarmed over Avalanche of Wiretaps in Bulgaria (more)

• It is not true millions of Bulgarians are being wiretapped: interior minister (more)


Friday, January 21, 2011

We give you justice! Even if it kills you.

S. Korea - The Supreme Court Thursday overturned a guilty verdict on the late Cho Bong-am (1898-1959), 52 years after the nation’s first progressive party leader was executed on charges of espionage by the government of then-President Syngman Rhee.

Cho, who created the Jinbo (progressive) Party in 1956, challenged President Rhee in a presidential election and was executed three years later for espionage charges.

The retrial came after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded in September, 2007 that the original trial was clouded in mystery and the case should be retried. (more)

Continuing Education - - Protecting Secrets

via their literature...
Keynote Address: Defending Against Cyber Threats in Dangerous Times
General Michael V. Hayden, Principal, Chertoff Group and former Director CIA, NSA

Top-notch education, security best practices and practical solutions you can take back to your office and implement right away. The conference is packed with informative sessions and practical workshops targeted to your specific needs so your time is always spent productively. For a complete list of speakers, topics, and schedule, go to:

What you will learn:
-- Step-by-step recommendations for improving your security program
-- Real world tips to prevent security breaches and deficiencies
-- How to ensure timely security clearance processing
-- How to defend against low-tech threats and social engineering
-- Vital intelligence about the latest collection techniques used by spies
-- Best practices for using JPAS, JCAVS and e-QIP
-- How to create a winning strategy for your awareness program
-- Practical countermeasures to defend against terrorism
-- Expert advice on how to avoid the biggest AIS security landmines
-- Best practices to implement NISPOM changes
-- Proven strategies for managing the human side of info security
-- Key steps for certification and accreditation of classified systems
-- How to manage risks to and from the mobile workforce
-- Practical, non-technical understanding of IT security threats
-- Valuable lessons learned from the security trenches

Espionagedottir in Iceland - Mysterious

Iceland - An unmarked computer found in a spare room of parliament, and connected directly to parliament's internet system, was most certainly planted there, a computer expert told the Grapevine. However, he says, the media has a few misconceptions about the matter.

The computer in question was found in a spare room shared by the Independence Party and The Movement last February. It was apparently connected directly to parliament's internet system.

The computer was disconnected and taken to the police. Any identifying serial numbers had been erased from the machine, nor were any fingerprints found, and its origins have not yet been traced. The police believed that the matter was the work of professionals. (more)

"The office had been used by substitute MPs from the Independence Party and The Movement, the Parliamentary group of Birgitta Jonsdottir, whose Twitter account was recently subpoenaed by US authorities. The Icelandic daily Morgunbladid, under the editorship of Mr David Oddsson, former Prime Minister and Central Bank chief, has suggested that this might be an operation run by Wikileaks. The reporter for the Reykjavik Grapevine, Mr Paul Nikolov is a former substitute MP, having taken seat in Parliament in 2007 and 2008." (more)

Prime Minister's Press Secretary Resigns over Phone Hacking

UK - After growing controversy over the role he played in the phone-hacking scandal as editor of Rupert Murdoch's News of The World newspaper, Andy Coulson has resigned as Prime Minister's press secretary, saying his role has become too high profile.

Coulson has come under increasing pressure in recent months, as police widen their investigation into the way the paper's reporters worked, following a succession of civil cases brought by stars including actress Sienna Miller and TV host Chris Tarrant. (more)

SpyCam Story #596 - Your City. Your Drugstore. Our SpyCam.

NY - Sixteen employees of a New York City branch of pharmaceutical giant Duane Reade filed a $110 million lawsuit alleging cameras were planted in a washroom.

The employees at the store in the Maspeth section of Queens said video surveillance and recording devices were secretly installed by a security officer in washroom air vents, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

After the cameras were discovered in January 2008, managers warned that anyone who complained would be fired, the Daily News reported.

Duane Reade denied the allegations. (more)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Security Director Alert: Unsecured Webcams Hacked

Did you know... 
• There is an underground community of people who hack webcams for a hobby?
• Many corporate security webcams are vulnerable to discovery and remote control?

Are you sure your corporate webcams secure? Can someone commandeer them for fun, revenge or profit – from a criminal act? Double-check with your IT department.

To get a feel for the issue, try it yourself. Google "intitle:liveapplet" and see what you come up with. There are many more search phrases which will ferret out unsecured webcams posted elsewhere, but this will get you started.

Here is a live, multi-camera Australian webcam controller in Hobart, Tasmania.

I have a feeling you won't be getting much real work done today. ~Kevin

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Shirley he jests. But wait! There's more...

MA - Fired Shirley Town Administrator Kyle Keady pleaded innocent in Middlesex Superior Court Tuesday to a bevy of illegal-recording charges in the wake of lurid video and wiretapping allegations against him that have shocked the small town.

Keady, 46, of Shirley, was released on $2,500 cash bail after pleading innocent to four counts of breaking and entering, five counts of wiretap violations, and 10 counts of video recording a person in a state of nudity...

Prosecutors allege that between 2006 and 2010, Keady recorded numerous conversations in the Shirley Town Hall, including using special spy pens equipped with cameras in the potted plant to record his female assistant. He is also accused by investigators of hiding a baby monitor in the ceiling in the town accountant's office to record her.

Perhaps most shocking of the allegations is that Keady is accused of using pens with cameras to record video of the ladies' room in Town Hall.

He also allegedly broke into his assistant's home to photograph her undergarments, as well as used photo-editing software to put her photo on top of nude bodies, according to investigators. (more)

Wiretap Tag with Silvio Berlusconi

Italy - A tabloid tidal wave washed over Italy on Tuesday as newspapers published eye-popping wiretapped conversations from a nightclub dancer who said she had dallied with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as a minor, but whether it would sweep the wily prime minister out to sea was still anyone’s guess. (more)

Wiretaps emerged days after a probe was launched against Berlusconi on charges he paid Moroccan-born Karima el-Mahroug, called “Ruby Rubacuori” for sex at his villa when she was a minor.

Berlusconi, 74, is also accused of helping to get her released from custody when she was held for theft. Now 18, she said she had asked Berlusconi for $6.7 million to keep quiet, according to wiretaps. (more)

Cast your mind back to last summer...

June 29, 2010 - Berlusconi to push through wiretap law
Critics say the law would muzzle the press and help organized crime.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, however, is a man on a mission. He has threatened lawmakers that they will have to work well into August to make sure that a new law curbing wiretaps is passed before the fall.

When passed, it will place severe limits on phone intercepts during investigations, as well as imposing heavy fines on newspapers that publish the transcripts of wiretapped phone calls. Wiretapping happens routinely in Italy, even where no charges have been brought.

A law against wiretaps will amount to imposing a "gag" on the Italian media, according to major news outlets. (more)

Is this all starting to make sense now?

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Smart Phone Eavesdrop Attack Coming

More than three years after the iPhone was first hacked, computer security experts think they've found a whole new way to break into mobile phones -- one that could become a big headache for Apple, or for smartphone makers using Google's Android software.

In a presentation set for next week's Black Hat conference in Washington D.C., University of Luxembourg research associate Ralf-Philipp Weinmann says he plans to demonstrate his new technique on an iPhone and an Android device, showing how they could be converted into clandestine spying systems. "I will demo how to use the auto-answer feature present in most phones to turn the telephone into a remote listening device," he said in an e-mail interview.

Weinmann says he can do this by breaking the phone's "baseband" processor, used to send and receive radio signals as the device communicates on its cellular network. He has found bugs in the way the firmware used in chips sold by Qualcomm and Infineon Technologies processes radio signals on the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks used by the majority of the world's wireless carriers. (more)

Local Blimpy's Wants Ad Space on the Side

UT - A proposed unmanned floating airship surveillance system is being hailed by city officials in Ogden, Utah as one way to fight crime in its neighborhoods.

Last tried in Glendale, CA.
 "We believe it will be a deterrent to crime when it is out and about and will help us solve crimes more quickly when they do occur," Ogden City Mayor Matthew Godfrey told Reuters.

The airship entails military technology now available to local law enforcement, he said.

Godfrey floated the idea of a dirigible in the skies above Ogden for his city council members last week. The council is expected to vote on the measure in coming weeks. (more)

Electronic Surveillance Up Down Under

Australia - The number of warrants allowing police to spy on suspected criminals and allegedly corrupt police and public servants increased by 67 per cent over the past year.

But the number of arrests and charges arising from the bugging of houses and cars, and the tracking of cars and computers, remained low, at about one for every 10 device warrants issued.

More than 860 warrants were issued by NSW Supreme Court judges last financial year, triggering the installation of more than 2100 surveillance devices including listening devices, hidden cameras, tracking devices and technology to monitor emails.

The figures do not include the use of other surveillance devices, such as telephone intercepts. (more)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Renault affair heralds era of corporate spying

Forget James Bond and MI-5: the war has changed and espionage has a new industrial face. 

...these days, spy action is more likely to be found in a seemingly dull car factory in the western suburbs of Paris.

It's a diplomatic crisis which looks set to cloud France's future economic ties with China and possibly an omen of similar cases to come.

Renault has fired three high-ranking executives in strategic positions who are accused of industrial espionage. The three are suspected of transmitting information about Renault's flagship electric vehicle programmes to a Chinese entity, which as yet remains unnamed. The stakes are high...

One thing is clear -- the alleged 'spies' were paid very handsomely indeed. According to French broadsheet Le Figaro, one executive was paid a lump sum of $500,000 (€375,000), another $130,000 (€97,500), while a third received a monthly payment of $5,000 (€3,750). 

The French intelligence agency DCRI (Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur) are working with Renault to investigate the case. (more)

Poll results - "Wikileaks should..."

...publish without restrictions" is the winner.

Wall Thermostat GSM Cellular Bugging Device

The seller says...
"This revolutionary surveillance product has a wireless (gsm bug) audio monitoring device hidden inside a Thermostat. The central feature of this GSM--based solution is that it's a sophisticated, totally concealed bugging device.

Now Includes Sound or Voice-Activation!

When used in the spy mode, the Thermostat is called (from anywhere) and will answer immediately without any ringing so it will not alert anyone. The caller can then hear all conversations around the Thermostat and on ending the call, the Thermostat resumes standby. Just plug and play. This model is conveniently portable." (more)

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

TSCM Sweep Featured on the Discovery Channel

The Daily Planet, a popular Canadian show on the Discovery Channel, interviewed the Murray Associates technicians while they conducted an electronic eavesdropping detection audit. The video clip shows them conducting spectrum analysis, non-linear junction detection, infrared detection, a wi-fi security and compliance audit and more. If you ever wanted to look over the shoulder of a bug sweep team in action here is your chance. (video) Note: A short Discovery Channel promo comes first, followed by a promo for the show, followed by the sweep.

Spectrum analyzer catches exam cheats in Taiwan

Police in Taiwan used a set of spectrum analyzers to catch at least three people suspected of cheating on an exam by monitoring them for mobile phone signals, a first case of its type, the equipment maker said on Wednesday.

Officers used three FSH4 analyzers specially configured by the German manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz to monitor an exam in south Taiwan for prospective government workers, said senior company engineer Lai Cheng-heng.

The handheld devices are normally used to help telecom companies check the strength of phone signals, but Taiwan's National Communications Commission had asked the designer for a special order aimed at catching exam cheats. (more)

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean...

Brooklyn College in the Land of the Free had a novel way of dealing with a student who claimed that there was a spy camera in her room.

When she went to the Brooklyn College Campus Security and Safety Office to complain that her off campus landlord was using a spy cam on her, they offered her an involuntary two-week stay at a psychiatric hospital to treat her "paranoia".

The only thing was that the landlord had installed a spy camera in Chinemerem Eze's bedroom. It is not clear why, or what he was doing with the film. However, Eze found the camera after she had been "cured" by the hospital.

By the time she got out of the loony bin she missed her final exams and was not able to complete them.

As a result she wound up losing a scholarship she'd received from the school. (more)

SpyCam Story Update

Michael Lyon, the former CEO of the Sacramento-area's largest independent real estate company, entered a plea of not guilty to four counts of electronic eavesdropping in Sacramento County Superior Court Wednesday.

Lyon, 55, has been accused of secretly video-taping female guests at his home. Criminal complaint

Lyon has been free on $60,000 bail since his November arrest. (more)

"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

French car maker PSA Peugeot-Citroen Thursday said it is well armed to avoid an industrial spying affair like that involving rival Renault SA, adding that affair won't affect its relationship with China. (more)

The head of EADS, Europe's leading aerospace company, never said that industrial spying was a "reality in China," a company spokesman said Thursday.

"We strongly deny the Financial Times' allegation that EADS CEO Louis Gallois declared spying to be a 'reality in China'. This is complete nonsense as he never said that," Pierre Bayle, head of corporate communications for EADS, told Xinhua.

"Mr. Gallois only pointed to the fact that industrial espionage generally is a matter of concern. He did not single out any specific countries. So, to suggest otherwise is totally wrong," Bayle said. (more)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Saudis Declare Vulture Innocent of Espionage

We can all rest easy now...
Prince Bandar bin Saud Al Saud has cleared a vulture of charges that it was spying on behalf of the Israeli government. Last week, Saudi officials had "detained" the vulture, fearing that its GPS tracker, which was labeled "Tel Aviv University," suggested the bird was an Israeli spy. After a long week of international mockery, an apparently embarrassed Prince Bandar bin Saud Al Saud stepped in to order the vulture's release and chide Saudi officials and journalists who had accused it of international espionage. ABC News' Alexander Marquardt reports Saud's statement. (more)

Smiley the SpyCam

HD resolution video spycam. Records for two hours - video and audio! Look for people wearing it at your next trade show... possibly cammo'ed in with a panaply of buttons, name badges and other dorkful signage.

Close-up it reeks of 'what's wrong with this picture', but it could be sooo noticeable that no one will give it a close look. (Hey, how long can you stand to look at a smiley face. I flinch and wretch in under 10 milliseconds.)

Our secret agent in the photo knows that a backup cam is SOP in case someone wretches on her coat and she has to remove it. Underneath is the same thing, just a little more subtle...

Where does she shop?
Our spies tell us right here.

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Renault's next car might be called the "Denial"

China denied any link to the industrial espionage scandal at French carmaker Renault, dismissing reports that French intelligence services were investigating the possibility as "baseless". (more)

One of the three executives suspended by French car giant Renault on suspicion of spying has denied any wrongdoing. (more)

And, I know I had nothing to do with it. 
Heck, maybe it never happened. 
Yeah, that's the ticket. 
It never happened.

Business Espionage - "I worry about it every day... I'm sure it is happening." - GM CEO

The chief executive of one of the world's biggest car makers has acknowledged that industrial espionage is a major threat to the company that worries him "every day".

General Motors' chief executive, Dan Akerson – speaking as revelations of leaked corporate secrets rocked rival Renault – said he is sure there are "attacks on GM's intellectual property". "I worry about it every day," Mr Akerson said, expressing sympathy with Renault's plight. "I don't know of any individual cases but I'm sure it's happening." (more)

You can also bet he is doing something about it. ~Kevin

FutureWatch - New French Laws to Crackdown on Espionage... other countries will follow the lead.

via the Wall Street Journal...
The media buzz surrounding the apparent attempt by three Renault SA executives to pass on confidential data on the car maker's electric vehicle program is spurring the French government to tighten legislation that could result in leaks of sensitive corporate information being treated as a crime akin to selling defense secrets. (more)

The big switch to business espionage was flipped at the end of the Cold War. Economic power trumped military power. Some governments were a little slow to realize this. Businesses were even slower. This may mark an awareness turning point. 

Does your company have a counterespionage consultant on board?

Time/CNN: How Common is Corporate Espionage?

At first glance, news that Renault's cutting-edge electric-car program appears to have fallen victim to industrial espionage is especially remarkable due to the suspects: three top company executives, including a member of the firm's management committee. But the alarm that the revelation has provoked in France is also a measure of how big a threat corporate spying has become to French industry — and an indication of just how common that covert activity has become elsewhere, too.

"It's a broad threat to French industry, [and though] the expression 'economic war' is often outrageous, it is appropriate this time," French Industry Minister Eric Besson told RTL radio on Jan. 6, referring to the Renault saga. "It highlights the risks that our companies face from industrial spying." (more)

He speaks for all countries. ~Kevin

Ex Asst. County Attorney Charged with Eavesdropping

FL - Former Assistant County Attorney Paras Desai was arrested by St. Johns County Sheriff's Office detectives Monday afternoon and charged with eavesdropping and eight counts of illegal interception of communication, all third-degree felonies...

The narrative in the warrant said, "The defendant intentionally intercepted oral communications without the consent of the victim. (He) secretly recorded a phone conversation with (county Environmental Division Director) Jan Brewer. The victim had no knowledge of the recording and did not give her consent." (more)