Friday, April 29, 2011

The 12 Step Program to Securing Your Life

Nick Mediati, of PCWorld has written a good security article with very practical advice. The summary of tips appears below, but click (more) to read the full details for each item.

Being Security Scrapbook readers, you probably already know, or have done, all of them. 

I thought so until I hit #12. It had been a while decades, so I checked. Surprise, everything financial was correct, but they listed me as being employed by a company I had never heard of. Hummm. Should I correct it, or use it as a cover for my real work?

Secure Your Life in 12 Steps
1. Use Virtual Credit Card Numbers to Shop Online
2. Secure Your Wi-Fi
3. Encrypt Your Hard Drives
4. Keep Your Software Up-to-Date
5. Upgrade to the Latest Antivirus Software
6. Lock Down Your Smartphone
7. Install a Link-Checker Plug-In

8. Don't Neglect Physical Security
9. HTTPS Is Your Friend
10. Avoid Public Computers and Wi-Fi
11. Be Password Smart
12. Check Your Credit Report Each Year...
If you are a U.S. citizen, you're entitled to receive one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit agencies--Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion--via  (more)

SpyCam Story #607 - Skyped

 Australia - Two cadets from the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) have faced court over allegations they secretly filmed a female cadet having sex and broadcast it over the internet.

Police arrested Daniel McDonald, 19, and Dylan De Blaquiere, 18, early this morning...

The 18-year-old said she had consensual sex with another first-year cadet but it was transmitted via Skype to six cadets in another room without her knowledge. She said still photos were also taken and "then distributed to other people". (more)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Is My Cell Phone Bugged?" - Urgent Reader Update

In the book, Is My Cell Phone Bugged? (just available this week), the chapter Spyware Scams, Misleading Notions & “Experts” warns readers about people who are taking advantage of them. This update is about a new scam.

Summary: Phoney anti-virus program attacks cell phone. Scam'er makes money.

via CA Security Advisory Research...
"We have seen countless number of rogue security products for Windows platform however this one is targeted to trick mobile users.

The sample masquerades itself as a certain AV (a bogus Kaspersky anti-virus program) for mobile and always reports that it has identified two threats in the mobile and pretends that it has encountered an error while trying to cure. It provides the users an error code as a reference token of the error scenario.

This sample is supposedly spread by some social engineering tricks where the users would have been provided with support numbers/email id to contact to resolve these error codes displayed in screen 5. This info was missing to conclude how the malware authors were actually getting the money.

As mentioned in our earlier blogs, the best defense against such social engineering tricks is the education of users coupled with a mobile security solution. With the exponential growth of the smart phone market, it is expected such kind of threats will be growing proportionately.

We advise users to exercise basic security principles while surfing and be skeptical of free downloads, and as always keep your security products up to date." (more)

Is My Cell Phone Bugged? comes with free updates. For now, the updates will be posted here. Eventually they will only be available to purchasers, via private email.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This Shourd ain't Tourin' in the Middle-East

Iran wants Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans arrested in 2009 on spying charges, to return from the United States to stand trial in May, her lawyer was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Sarah Shourd was released on $500,000 bail last September while her two male companions, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, remain in jail in Tehran. (more)

Wiretap Whistleblower - Off the Hook

 The Justice Department has dropped its investigation into a former department attorney who tipped off the media about the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping program.

The department informed Thomas Tamm's attorneys that he will not be prosecuted for the leak that then-President George W. Bush called a breach of national security.

Tamm has said he called The New York Times about the program because it "didn't smell right" and he thought the public had a right to know. (more)

NSA Whistleblower - On the Hook

Closed hearings are being held this week ahead of the trial of a former National Security Agency employee accused of mishandling classified information.

Thomas Drake is charged with violating espionage laws without being accused of spying. Instead, he's accused of shredding documents, deleting files from his computer and lying to investigators. Supporters claim he's being punished for blowing the whistle on inefficiencies and mismanagement at the NSA. (more)

SpyCam Story #606 - The Power of One SpyCam

It's a hammer.
The price of cattle market futures seem to have dropped in response to last week’s release of a whistleblower video documenting severe abuse of dairy calves at E6 Cattle Company in Hart, Texas, according to Reuters and the Wall Street Journal...

The Wall Street Journal’s Lester Aldrich wrote, “The video, which has been posted to the internet, pressured live-cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Traders were concerned its graphic nature would cause a pullback in consumer demand for beef…  

The video helped to push June futures down 1.3% to $1.1565 a pound after the contract hit a two-week high earlier in the trading day.” (more) (disturbing video)

Sony Shuts Down Online PlayStation Network - Personal Data Hacked

Sony Corp. said a hacker has obtained customer information, potentially including credit-card numbers, for the 77 million members of its online PlayStation Network, which has forced the company to take down its service.

The Japanese electronics giant said it has informed PlayStation Network customers that personal information—including names, addresses, billing history and birthdays—was obtained by an "unauthorized person" following a hacking attack that caused Sony to shut down its Internet gaming service last week. Sony said customer credit-card numbers may also have been compromised.

The Japanese game maker said it has hired a security firm to conduct an investigation into what happened. In the mean time, Sony said it expects to restore its Internet gaming service within a week. (more)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Competitive Intelligence - Made to Sound Nasty

Rumors. Inside dirt. Gossip.

Let’s just say you have your sources—moles on the floor of the NYSE, guys who know guys, a certain colonel who’s worked his way up the ranks of Russian intelligence.

And, of course, a little up-and-comer called Facebook.

Which brings us to ContentAide, a new service devoted to spying on the Facebook pages of your enemies, online now. (more)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Brain Sucking Cell Phone Spider

The "Universal Forensic Extraction Device" sounds like the perfect cell phone snooping gadget.

Its maker, Israel-based Cellebrite, says it can copy all the content in a cell phone -- including contacts, text messages, call history, and pictures -- within a few minutes. Even deleted texts and other data can be restored by UFED 2.0, the latest version of the product, it says.

And it really is a universal tool. The firm says UFED works with 3,000 cell phone models, representing 95 percent of the handset market. Coming soon, the firm says on its website: "Additional major breakthroughs, including comprehensive iPhone physical solution; Android physical support – allowing bypassing of user lock code, (Windows Phone) support, and much more." For good measure, UFEC can extract information from GPS units in most cars.

The gadget isn't a stalker's dream; it's an evidence-gathering tool for law enforcement. Cellebrite claims it’s already in use in 60 countries. (more)

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Car Whisperers

With a modest amount of expertise, computer hackers could gain remote access to someone's car -- just as they do to people's personal computers -- and take over the vehicle's basic functions, including control of its engine, according to a report by computer scientists from UC San Diego and the University of Washington.

Although no such takeovers have been reported in the real world, the scientists were able to do exactly this in an experiment conducted on a car they bought for the purpose of trying to hack it. Their report, delivered to the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board, described how such unauthorized intrusions could theoretically take place.

Because many of today's cars contain cellular connections and Bluetooth wireless technology, it is possible for a hacker, working from a remote location, to take control of various features -- like the car locks and brakes -- as well as to track the vehicle's location, eavesdrop on its cabin and steal vehicle data, the researchers said. They described a range of potential compromises of car security and safety. (more) (research paper) (the other car whisperers)


The prospect of rendering objects invisible has intrigued researchers for centuries.

Transformation optics based invisibility cloak design is now bringing this goal from science fictions to reality and has already been demonstrated experimentally in microwave and optical frequencies. However, the majority of the invisibility cloaks reported so far have a spatially varying refractive index which requires complicated design processes. Besides, the size of the hidden object is usually small relative to that of the cloak device. 

Here we report the experimental realization of a homogenous invisibility cloak with a uniform silicon grating structure. The design strategy eliminates the need for spatial variation of the material index, and in terms of size it allows for a very large obstacle/cloak ratio. A broadband invisibility behavior has been verified at near-infrared frequencies, opening up new opportunities for using uniform layered medium to realize invisibility at any frequency ranges, where high-quality dielectrics are available. (more)

"Chaos" - A Spy's Demise

CBS has pulled the low-rated spy series “Chaos” from its schedule after three episodes. The dramedy, which starred Freddy Rodriguez and Eric Close, debuted to 6.4 million viewers in its April 2 premiere but managed only a 1.1 rating in the key demographic of adults 18-49. (more)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

iPhone 4 turns TrackPhone

Two researchers have uncovered a secret file on iPhones that keeps a record of where the phone has been and when it was there — a file that is unencrypted and stored by default.

A sample map built using the program

The security experts, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, created a program that lets you see just what your phone knows of your whereabouts — and it’s a creepy sight. There’s no evidence that the file is transferred to Apple, but the maps produced by the program show details stretching back months.

Ever since iOS 4 arrived, your device has been storing a long list of locations and time stamps,” said Mr. Allan, a technology author, in a post on the website of technology publisher O’Reilly. He and Mr. Warden, a former Apple employee, are presenting their findings Wednesday at the Where 2.0 conference put on by the publisher. The Guardian newspaper also has reported on their discovery.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (more)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Woman Who Drove into River with Kids Victim of Spying

NY - The deadbeat dad of the three drowned Hudson River kids subjected their mother to a campaign of torment that included spying on her and forbidding her from having friends or flings -- even though they were not together, her grieving boyfriend told The Post. (more)

Stalker Uses: SpyCam, GPS Tracker, Bugs and Cell Phone Spyware

Australia - A man has been charged for bugging his ex-girlfriend's house and car with GPS and video devices after their relationship turned sour, police claim.

Police will allege the 53-year-old Alfred Cove man stalked his 40-year-old ex-girlfriend for many months.

It's claimed the couple were in a relationship for eight years, during which the man hired several private investigators to follow the woman.

After their relationship ended in mid-2010 police claim the man entered the woman's home on several occasions and installed listening and recording devices.

It is also claimed he placed a GPS tracker on her car and mobile phone, and followed her consistently. (more)

The Case of the Spying Apps

Cellphone users say they want more privacy, and app makers are listening.

No, they're not listening to user requests. They're literally listening to the sounds in your office, kitchen, living room and bedroom.

A new class of smartphone app has emerged that uses the microphone built into your phone as a covert listening device -- a "bug," in common parlance.

But according to app makers, it's not a bug. It's a feature!

The apps use ambient sounds to figure out what you're paying attention to. It's the next best thing to reading your mind. (more) (the solution)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

SpyCam Spied at Berkeley's Cafe Med

CA - In a "revoltin development" the Med’s 50 year ban on tourist photography and ESPECIALLY an alphabet soup of spying agencies like F.B.I., C.I.A., C.B.S., N.B.C., O.N.I.--has sputtered... Call it big brother; call it the eyeball on high, call it Orwell.

Installers of the eye, Craig Becker, 59, the Med's owner and two university students with a hot business model put up the petite eyeball more than two weeks ago.

The students plan to install the geeky eyeballs in other Berkeley cafes and businesses so that students can spy on their friends.

But--FLASH: Big Brother is now blooie, victim of either chronic neck droop, a staff intervention, or customer sabotage.

Sabotaged, Blooie, blotto, or just plain broke. It now spends its once active filming life mis-aimed at the ceiling with what Berkeley's Poet Laureate, Julia Vinograd calls a "celestial stare." (more)

Friday, April 15, 2011

"So does this mean you won't marry me again, Brian?"

NASCAR chairman Brian France has sued his former wife, accusing her of tape recording telephone conversations to extort money from him.

In a lawsuit filed Friday, Brian France claims his ex-wife, Megan France, has recorded multiple telephone conversations with him without his consent. He is asking a federal judge to issue an injunction barring Megan France from engaging in additional “intercepts of wire communications” between the two and distributing the contents of the recordings.

Brian and Megan France have been married and divorced twice, Brian France noted in his lawsuit. Their second divorce was finalized on April 29, 2008. (more)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eavesdropper Stung by Victim... who happens to be Hugh Grant

Hugh Grant is trending after he turned the tables on an eavesdropping tabloid. Grant, a victim of voice-mail hacking by Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, secretly taped journalist Paul McMullan coming clean about the electronic snooping and then sent the recording to the New Statesman.

According to the transcript, McMullan admits tabloid reporters have listened in on stars, prominent politicians, even Prince Charles.

The News of the World has printed a public apology, but the paper is facing a number of civil claims from celebrity victims, including actress Sienna Miller. (more)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This Week in World Spy News

Iran has expelled three Kuwaiti diplomats in retaliation for the expulsion of three Iranian diplomats accused of spying in the emirate. (more)

Industrial spying cases are on the increase in Korea. Stolen technologies sometimes end up with foreign firms according to police. (more)

ND - Former employees of a Fargo-based engineering company who left to form their own firm reject allegations of corporate espionage. The group of 21 former Ulteig Engineers employees has filed a countersuit seeking tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid fees. (more)

The Algerian authorities sentenced on Thursday to ten years in prison two former soldiers and a computer scientist for spying for France. (more)

Lebanon has filed a complaint with the United Nations Security Council over Israel's planting of a spy system camouflaged as rocks in its southern territory. (more)

UK - Government sources have confirmed that MI5 are set to outsource their spying activities to the world’s most popular internet search engine. ‘Google have shown that they are world leaders in this arena and can provide a far greater range of spying operations than the British security services for a fraction of the price,’ said an MI5 spokesman known only as ‘Z’... (more:

A former CIA agent from Cuba has been cleared of all 11 counts of lying and obstruction during immigration hearings. A jury in El Paso, Texas, took just three hours to reach a verdict... Luis Posada Carriles, 83, described as Public Enemy No 1 in Cuba and a nemesis of former President Fidel Castro, said outside the court afterwards that he just wanted some peace and quiet. (more)

Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa on Friday accused the U.S. embassy of spying on the country's police and military, adding the espionage was a factor in his expulsion this week of the U.S. ambassador. (more)

German prosecutors said Friday that they have indicted a 64-year-old German man for allegedly spying on the country's Uighur community and passing information to Chinese intelligence. (more)

Rupert Murdoch's powerful British news operation reversed course on Friday and admitted responsibility in a phone hacking scandal that had already cost the prime minister's spokesman his job. (more)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Come on. Just staple an RFID tag to my ear and get it over with.

Copenhagen International Airport one recent day was much like that at any airport around the world...

But unlike other airports, the movement of the passengers was being observed in an office here in Geneva, 860 miles away. Stephane Cheikh, innovation manager for the aviation communications and technology company SITA, was using his laptop to demonstrate a new program that tracked travelers’ movements based on the Wi-Fi-emitting devices they carried.

When Copenhagen Airport starts using the program in the next few weeks, airport officials will get a real-time picture of where travelers go and what they do. The officials can use this information to improve the design of the airport, direct the flow of passengers or shift employees to improve the efficiency of security or immigration checkpoints. (more)

...or to pump coupons to your phone to buy stuff you don't need as you approach yet another "Bookstones"?

"16,001 and you could have a case here barrister."

UK - The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped a request bring charges against BT and Phorm - the firm that supplied the monitoring system. (Which snooped on the web browsing habits of its customers.)

The Webwise software used cookies to track people online and then tailored adverts to the sites they visited.

The CPS explained its decision saying that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution. The web tracking trials were carried out in 2006 and involved more than 16,000 BT customers. (more)

In a surprise move...

Click to enlarge.
Russia's domestic security service called for access to encrypted communication providers like Gmail, Hotmail and Skype on Friday, saying the uncontrolled use of such services could threaten national security. (more) (sting-a-long)

In other news...
Seen any good movies lately?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cops Sue Over HQ "Bug" Find

OH - A lawsuit involving two dozen plaintiffs and 18 defendants has been filed over alleged illegal wiretapping at the Newton Falls Police Department.

The lawsuit claims oral communications were illicitly recorded by hidden microphones placed in public and private areas of the police department... The new chief, John Kuivila, has said he found the devices in May of 2009. (more)

Hurdle: They will need to prove the CCTV camera microphones actually transmitted audio.

"When correctly viewed, everything is, Dude."

Russia - Got a dictaphone? A cell phone with voice recording function — say, an iPhone? Or maybe a laptop that can record your Internet phone conversations? It’s up to three years in jail for you, or a fine of 200,000 rubles ($7,000), unless you obtained permission for your gadget from the Federal Security Service. 

This, at least, can be inferred from the Thursday ruling of the Constitutional Court that upheld the law making “spying devices” the exclusive domain of the special services.

The problem is, the list of such devices takes a single page and is vague enough to allow law enforcement agencies to interpret it in wildly varying ways — a privilege officials do not fail to use...

The list of “spy devices” was compiled by the government, which does not specify models or even types of gadgets. Instead, it speaks only of things like “technical devices for covert collection and registration of acoustic information,” a description that most voice recorders fit squarely. (more) (sing-a-long)

...thus making future TSCM sweeps totally unnecessary, mate.

Australia - A simmering conflict between The Australian newspaper and the Greens (a political party) has become open warfare, with Greens leader Bob Brown accusing the national broadsheet of a vendetta against his party and telling it to "grow up".

He also demanded a guarantee from the newspaper that they do not use eavesdropping equipment to secure stories.

Two journalists from the paper's British News Limited stablemate, News of the World, have been arrested over an eavesdropping scandal, where they allegedly hacked into politicians' voicemail. (more)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Android on Security Steroids

PCTEL said Monday that the company had established a supply agreement for the development of a secure Android phone that it will market to government agencies whose employees have "Top Secret" clearance.

The phone will be branded by PCTEL Secure, the partnership between PCTEL and Eclipse Design Technologies, the companies said. The phone, which will be supplied by an unnamed ODM, will contain PCTEL's ProsettaCore solution for thwarting various threats to cell phone security, the company said.

Security will be maintained by a combination of hardware and software, most likely the combination of a plugin SD card and "extensive" software, said Tony Kobrinetz, the vice president of technology and operations for PCTEL. (more)

"Are you a tra- trader if you want to burn money?" - Max Headroom

NJ - Federal prosecutors accused a corporate lawyer and a trader of stealing confidential information about pending mergers and other deals from three prominent law firms in a decades-long scheme that resulted in (they were not just making a little pin money on the side) more than $32 million of profits.

The defendants allegedly used pay phones and prepaid phones paid with cash in order to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities and suspended the alleged scheme for a six-year period out of fear that their alleged criminal activity might be detected, according to a federal criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Newark, New Jersey... 

Mr. Bauer then promised to financial support the co-conspirator if he was charged, saying: "I am sitting with over $20 million in the bank," according to the criminal complaint. He also told him to burn $175,000 from a recent deal, prosecutors said.

"You know what, if you feel better burn the money and I'll give it back to you," Mr. Bauer said, according to the complaint. 

"Burn it?" the co-conspirator said.

"I would burn it...if there is any chance of us getting caught on that," Mr. Bauer said.

SpyCam Story #606 - Another Covert Skype'r

Australia - The Defence Force has confirmed it has called in police to investigate sex allegations made by a first-year female cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.

The 18-year-old, identified as 'Kate', says she had consensual sex with another first-year cadet but it was transmitted by Skype to six cadets in another room without her knowledge. (more)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

...thus leaving us all to wonder which one will get their clock cleaned in court.

NY - A major New York watch dealer has been forced out of his home and arrested after his estranged wife accused him of criminally accessing her email account.
Evan Zimmermann was arrested late last month in his Manhattan apartment on charges of computer trespass, eavesdropping and unauthorized use of a computer.

According to the New York Post, his wife Jennifer Zimmermann took out the charges in order to gain advantage in their pending divorce and as 'retaliation' for his refusal to move out of their Westchester home.

His lawyer Robert Wolf said: 'The charges are all fabricated, she gave him her password to prove she was not cheating on him.' (more)

Hammacher Schlemmer's World's Best Paper Shredder? You decide.

...which they will gladly sell to you. 
"The Best Cross Cut Shredder"
This shredder earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it shredded the most sheets at once and cut paper into unrecognizable, 1/8" x 1" pieces. The Best Cross Cut Shredder's steel gears cut credit cards and CDs into miniscule pieces that were impossible to reassemble or decipher.

Testing Criteria

A consumer panel determined that security, ease of use, shredding capacity, and quietness were the most important attributes when purchasing a cross cut shredder. The importance of each category was weighted proportionally during the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute's tests.

Test Methodology
Security: Analysts shredded paper and CDs with each model and measured the shreds to determine which unit provided the best security.

Ease of Use: The shredders were rated on how easily they accepted paper, maneuverability, and how easy it was to empty each unit's receptacle.

Shredding Capacity: Analysts determined the maximum number of 20-lb. bond paper sheets each model could shred at one time.

Quietness: A digital sound meter was used to measure the amount of noise produced by each shredder.

Never Get a Blocked Caller ID on Your SmartPhone Again

If you have an iPhone, Android or Blackberry... and are willing to spend $5.00 per month for the service, you can defeat Caller ID blocking. Just remember, it can be used against you, if someone else is willing to pay.

TrapCall has just been placed in the iPhone apps store. (more)

Gucci, gucci, goo... - LAN Man Gums Up Works

NY - A former Gucci America Inc. computer network engineer was charged with remotely taking over the company's computers, shutting down servers and deleting emails, Manhattan prosecutors said on Monday.

Sam Chihlung Yun, 34 years old, allegedly created an account in the name of a fictional employee and used it to access the company's network after he was fired in May 2010, prosecutors said. He allegedly caused more than $200,000 in diminished productivity, as well as remediation costs, prosecutors said. (more)

"The world’s #1 private investigation team, EVER!"

Hey, that's how What's Your Problem? is billed. It's an amusing independent film about a private investigations firm, but I'll let the folks at Grey Sky Films speak for themselves...

"The world’s #1 private investigation team, EVER! This was a short comedy film that we wrote, produced, directed, and edited ourselves in 2006 and released in January 2007. The film features current Grey Sky Films team member Matt Horutz who also co-wrote and co-produced the film as well. What’s Your Problem? was accepted into a few film festivals and now can be seen on DVD. If you ask us very nicely we will send you a copy – get in touch!"

Did you get that!
A free DVD.
Wow, better than Netflix!

Why do I mention this? The free DVD, of course, but many of my Scrapbook reader friends are in business for themselves (like real PI's), and they are always looking for marketing tips. Here's a tip. Video. People don't have time to read your message right off the bat. But they will watch something to see if it catches their interest.

Grey Sky Films create quality videos, at surprisingly low cost. How do I know? They did mine! And no, I didn't get a discount or any other favor. I am just a satisfied customer spouting off. Use anybody you like, but do it. Market with video. It's fun. It works.

Here's the guy who helped me ...and can get you the free DVD. Dan Hollis is a real gentleman and is a deep well of movie / entertainment trivia knowledge. Send him your trivia questions, you'll see. He is also the answer man for your video marketing questions. The rest of the gang? Well, they are just as much fun as they look.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This Week in World Spy News

The Pakistani government has given another one-year extension to the chief of its powerful spy organization, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate. (more)

Musa Kusa, the former Libyan intelligence chief who defected to Britain, was acting as a double agent for the MI6 and the CIA for a decade, an official said. (more)

The recently exposed Iranian spy network could just be the tip of the iceberg, a part of Iran’s larger conspiracy against Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Al-Seyassah daily quoted a high-level security source as saying. (more)

Australia (sports spy) - Melbourne and Hawthorn have re-ignited their spy games as the two clubs prepare for the twilight clash at the MCG today. The Demons asked a Hawthorn spy to leave a closed Melbourne training session at Casey Fields in Cranbourne on Friday after he was caught monitoring the Demons from up a tree. (more)

The U.S. military likes to be a little sneaky with its robotic space planes. Unlike typical spacecraft, these vehicles can shift their orbits, frustrating the global network of skywatchers who keep track of just about every man-made object rotating the planet. But the sleuths have their tricks, too. They’ve tracked down the X-37B on its second secret mission. And the information the skywatchers are finding says quite a bit about the classified operations of this mysterious spacecraft. (more)

A federal class action claims that 3-D software developer Transmagic secretly planted surveillance technology in its software that "commandeered the computers of its customers, spied on them, and used the ill-gotten intelligence to build a recurring revenue stream exacted from an involuntary customer base." (more)

Friday, April 1, 2011

As Water Seeks its Own Level... Watergate Redux

CA - Most presidential libraries are as much celebrations of a president as historical repositories. They are packed with official papers, photographs, limousines, proclamations and baby shoes representing the president’s life and times; dark chapters are traditionally ignored or at least understated.

That tradition was exploded Thursday as the Watergate Gallery opened here at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. The unveiling ended a nearly yearlong struggle between national archivists and the Richard Nixon Foundation, a group of Nixon loyalists who controlled the former president’s papers until ceding them to the National Archives four years ago. The fight was over how to portray the scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation.

From the first words a visitor sees entering the gallery — a quotation from Nixon, “This is a conspiracy” — the exhibit offers a searing and often unforgiving account of one of the most painful chapters of the nation’s history. The timeline methodically chronicles the stream of misdeeds leading up to the Watergate break-in, followed by the attempts to cover it up, which led to Nixon’s resignation.

It is a far cry from the library’s original Watergate exhibition, “The Last Campaign,” created by the Nixon Foundation with the former president’s direct involvement. That installment portrayed Watergate as an orchestrated effort by Democrats to overturn the 1972 election. (more)

Security Director Report - Emergency Satellite Phone Review

There are 3 main choices in "global" satellite phones. Here is a quick summary. 
(If you only need coverage in specific regions contact me and I'll fill you in on your other options.)

click to enlarge
• Globalstar (partial global coverage - low Earth orbit satellites)The map above shows expected coverage for all USA Globalstar satellite phone subscribers using the Globalstar GSP phone series. For customers using the Globalstar FAU-200 fixed satellite phone calls can be placed from US/Caribbean Home Service Area and Canada to any standard phone number in the world.

Airtime minutes included in the Globalstar satellite phone service plans only apply to the United States and Caribbean Home Service Area. Roaming rates apply outside of the United States and Caribbean.

The Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phone offers an ergonomic design that makes it comfortable for hand-held operation. The phone measures 225cc in total volume and weighs 200 grams (including battery). The height is 135 mm, the width is 55 mm and the thickness is 37 mm. The satellite antenna, when held in a vertical position, communicates with the Globalstar satellite at elevations more than 10 degrees above the horizon. The Globalstar antenna rotates and stows into the handset for convenience when not in use.

• Inmarsat (global - excepting polar regions - geosynchronous satellites)

click to enlarge
Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro, LandPhone, and FleetPhone Coverage

The map depicts Inmarsat's expectations of coverage, but does not represent a guarantee of service. The availability of service at the edge of coverage fluctuates depending on various conditions.

"The new IsatPhone satellite cell phone provides voice and data over the I4 satellite network. This is the newest satellite phone on the market, now providing some competition with Iridium.

The IsatPhone Pro, using high quality satellite phone service from Inmarsat, currently provides coverage over the entire planet, except the polar regions, using Inmarsat's latest generation Inmarsat-4 satellite network.  This phone is packed with features and compares very competitively with satellite cell phone offerings from Iridum.

The Isatphone Pro is an affordable satellite cell phone option for people who work, live, or travel to areas where communication may be non-existent or emergency back up communications is needed.  The Isatphone Pro is one of the smallest satellite phones on the market today.  It is easy to use, lightweight, and rugged. It even has a built-in GPS receiver. Your can text or email your position!" 

• Iridium (fully global - low Earth orbit satellites)
This is the smallest of the Iridium handsets.

"Iridium provides complete coverage of all ocean areas, air routes and all landmasses - even the Poles. Iridium delivers essential services to users who need communications access to and from remote areas where no other form of communication is available. Select from our range of Iridium satellite phone rental or Iridium satellite phone purchase solutions, and we will deliver a ready-to-use handheld IRIDIUM Satellite Phone kit to you overnight anywhere across North America.

Standard Voice Services
The Iridium system provides true global voice services by covering areas that cellular and landline do not. Voice services are supported using the smaller, lighter, water resistant 9505 satellite phone. The excellent signal strength provided by the Iridium constellation supports reliable connectivity across wide ranging landscapes and situations.

The three Restricted Countries where the Iridium phone will not complete a call to the local phone system are: N. Korea, Poland, and Hungary.

The embargoed countries where a satellite phone will work in these countries (we cannot guarantee service), but there (may be) issues taking an Iridium phone into these areas at customs/border patrols: Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Angola & Yugoslavia. You may need special government permission to bring a satellite phone into embargoed countries.

The Iridium 9555 satellite phone is designed to withstand the toughest environments and will work from anywhere on the planet to anywhere. All that is required is a clear view of sky.

Users can choose from prepaid service plans or monthly service plans to complete the package. With Irdium there are no roaming and no long distance charges, just one simple rate."

I'll keep you posted on worthwhile advancements as they emerge. ~Kevin
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