Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Great Seal Bug Story (updated)

Our compendium of first and second-hand accounts about The Great Seal Bug continues to grow. The latest contribution has just been posted, along with this rare schematic of the bug from Scientific American, and a video newsreel of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. showing off the device at the United Nations in 1960.

Our latest voice of history begins... "I am a former Foreign Service Officer.
I have a certain amount of first hand, and a larger amount of 2nd hand knowledge about the thing, having worked for a couple of years in the early 1960s in the organization that was responsible for dealing with it and all similar problems - the division of technical services of the office of security of the department of state: abbreviated as O:SY/T.

I knew the tech who actually discovered the thing (slightly), and heard from him in detail exactly how he found it.
" (more)

Board of Directors' Communication Portals

by Jason Clark, CSO, Websense
Imagine that criminals broke into headquarters and bugged your executive offices for insider information—and then made millions trading on that information.
That's what can happen if you jump into a Board Communication Systems too quickly. It has already happened: They silently monitor your Board of Directors communications until they hear insider information that they can use to strike it rich on the stock market.

A Board Communication System, often called a Board Portal, is supposed to be a secure cloud system that your CEO, CFO and board of directors use to communicate with one another to make sure any highly sensitive information about the company is protected—from insiders, the IT department, and bad guys. Information that is shared between board members can range from company strategy, to M&A plans, to non-public financial performance details. Imagine the havoc that could ensue if anyone was able to access sensitive knowledge and then use it to their advantage. 

Why BCSs Need Proper Security Measures
...If a Board Portal is breached, this could mean every one of your shareholders is a potential plaintiff (arguing that their investment has been placed at increased risk of harm due to insider trading or other stock price manipulation)... And this doesn't just affect public companies. Private companies that do business with public companies may need to start disclosing breaches to keep corporate customers as clients. (more)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

SpyCam Story #659 - This Week in SpyCam News

SpyCam stories have become commonplace and the techniques used, repetitive. We continue to keep lose track of the subject for statistical purposes, but won't bore you with too many details. Only links to the stories will be supplied unless there is something useful to be learned.

AZ - School principal and assistant caught passionately kissing via student cell phone.
Australia - Father jailed for hidden camera in the bathroom where his daughters showered.
CA - Maintenance man at Sears arrested for allegedly filming women in changing rooms.
Internet - Spycam Magazine - A new magazine focusing on hidden and spycam products.
FL - Teacher accused of using a pen camera to video girls changing for gym.
UK - Man rigged up a spy camera to secretly watch a teenage girl in the bath.
IN - Notre Dame pen SpyCam Man escapes jail time.
UK - Man convicted of using spycam pen in toilet.
WA - Voyeurism evidence against father-in-law of missing mother Susan Powell admitted.
CA - York University - At least six incidents of voyeurism this year on campus.
ID - Former high school teacher made plea deal he secretly videotaped students
FL  - Man accused of cellphone video of women in Target, Walmart and Publix.
IN - Mom files half-million dollar lawsuit against a former high school janitor accused of secretly filming her son and 41 other boys in a school locker room
UK - Web designer who spied on three young women given a community order.
IN - High school basketball player charged. Cell phone video in the locker room.
MS - Complainant found videos of herself fully naked of her taking a bath on computer.
TN - A 33-year-old Baptist youth evangelist investigated in three states for video voyeurism.

Friday, April 27, 2012

CISPA: Big Brother's Best Friend

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed the House yesterday, amended but barely improved. (more)

The government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a "cybersecurity crime". Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. (more)

CISPA would "waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity," Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and onetime Web entrepreneur, said during the debate. "Allowing the military and NSA to spy on Americans on American soil goes against every principle this country was founded on." (more)

Sports Quote of the Week

"In my 28 or 29 years in the NFL, I have never listened to an opposing team's communication," ... "I have never asked for the capability to listen to an opposing team's communications. I have never inquired as to the possibility of listening in on an opposing team's communications. And I have never been aware of any capability to listen in on an opposing team's communications at the Superdome or at any NFL stadium." New Orleans Saints, General Manager, Mickey Loomis responding to an ESPN report that accuses him of wiretapping the opposing coaches' booth in the Superdome during the 2002-04 seasons. (more)

A joint Louisiana state police and FBI task force is investigating allegations that the New Orleans Saints set up general manager Mickey Loomis' booth in the Superdome so he could listen in on opposing coaches.

State police Col. Mike Edmonson confirmed the joint effort today after discussing the matter with Dave Welker, special agent in charge at the FBI's New Orleans field office.

"I thought that was an excellent opportunity to share resources to see if federal or state wiretapping laws were in fact broken," Edmonson said by phone from Baton Rouge. (more)

Autistic Boy Wears Wire to Get Help

Stuart Chaifetz is mad. He's so mad, he took his story to YouTube.

Confused as to why his "sweet and gentle" autistic son Akian, 10, was suddenly kicking school employees and throwing chairs, Chaifetz decided to wire the boy. He stuck a digital recorder in his son's pocket and was able to tape 6.5 hours of class time.

What he heard was shocking. The teacher and aide were yelling at Akian and calling him names.

When the district's response wasn't enough, MSNBC reports Stuart Chaifetz posted the following video on the web: 


The above audio includes the teachers talking about having a hangover, calling Akian a bastard and telling him to shut up. At one point, the aide angrily tells the autistic boy, "Go ahead and scream, because guess what? You are going to get nothing until your mouth is shut."

This sounds bad, but it gets worse. (more)

Show of hands. Feeling sorry for Rupert yet? Hands? Anyone???

UK - Rupert Murdoch used his testimony before a U.K. inquiry on Thursday to portray himself as the victim, not perpetrator, of a cover-up over phone hacking -- a twist that could certainly anger those suing his company for invading their privacy to sell newspapers.

The 81-year-old media magnate apologized. He said he had failed. He noted that the corporate cleanup of the British phone hacking scandal had cost his New York-based News Corp. hundreds of millions of dollars and transformed its culture.

"I failed, and I'm sorry about it," Murdoch said, adding later: "We are now a new company altogether." (more)

Hiding all Spies in a "Central" Intelligence Agency was Just Too Obvious to Work

The Pentagon confirmed it would be establishing a new intelligence agency, the Defense Clandestine Service, meant to work with the CIA, that would establish spy networks to monitor long-term threats to U.S. national security interests, pointing to places like Iran and North Korea. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved the program Friday. The DCS would bring the federal government’s intelligence agency total to 17. (more)

Just for the record...
The 16 federal intelligence agencies are: the CIA, the FBI, and, in the Department of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Marine Corps Intelligence Agency, and the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis the Coast Guard Intelligence, the Drug Enforcement Agdministration's Office of National Security Intelligence, the Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, and the Energy Department's Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence

"Chief, I've cracked the case. Would you believe..."

UK - A yoga expert says a British spy found dead in a sports bag could have zipped himself in, though a colleague had failed in more than 100 attempts to do it.

Gareth Williams worked for Britain's secret eavesdropping service GCHQ but was attached to the MI6 overseas spy agency when his remains were found in August 2010 inside the bag, which was found in a bathtub at his London apartment. (more)
China - When Hu Jintao, China’s top leader, picked up the telephone last August to talk to a senior anticorruption official visiting Chongqing, special devices detected that he was being wiretapped — by local officials in that southwestern metropolis.

The discovery of that and other wiretapping led to an official investigation that helped topple Chongqing’s charismatic leader, Bo Xilai, in a political cataclysm that has yet to reach a conclusion.

Until now, the downfall of Mr. Bo has been cast largely as a tale of a populist who pursued his own agenda too aggressively for some top leaders in Beijing and was brought down by accusations that his wife had arranged the murder of Neil Heywood, a British consultant, after a business dispute. But the hidden wiretapping, previously alluded to only in internal Communist Party accounts of the scandal, appears to have provided another compelling reason for party leaders to turn on Mr. Bo.

The story of how China’s president was monitored also shows the level of mistrust among leaders in the one-party state. To maintain control over society, leaders have embraced enhanced surveillance technology. But some have turned it on one another — repeating patterns of intrigue that go back to the beginnings of Communist rule. (more)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Camera Trap Snares Man Allegedly Leaving Bizarre Trinkets for Neighbor

IA - A West Des Moines man who for five years has allegedly been leaving raw meat, dolls and other trinkets on a neighbor’s property has been caught on film and now faces harassment charges, according to police.

The victim, a 45-year-old woman, first reported to police in 2007 that someone was depositing odd items — a plastic bag containing raw meat, a Christmas ornament and small dolls, for example — on her property... Last fall, police installed a trail camera, commonly used to track deer and other wildlife, in hopes of catching the suspect in the act.
Police Navidad

Last week, the woman reported to police she had watched via the camera as the suspect left items on a fire hydrant, including food, Vaseline petroleum jelly, paper clips, a tape measure, a plastic container full of what appears to be motor oil and two caulking tubes...

The investigation is continuing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PI's Spy Plane Vanishes on Easter. Divine Intervention?

Swaziland - A spy plane worth E20 000, belonging to Private Investigator Hunter Shongwe has gone missing.

Shongwe says the unmanned craft which had only three days disappeared while on a mission around Lobamba on Thursday afternoon.

The gadget operates as a spy camera to take pictures of people and places without raising suspicion.

By remote control, he flew the small aircraft in the direction of Somhlolo National Stadium where members of the League of Churches were arriving for the Easter services.

The small plane was on a mission to record everything that was happening at the stadium and surrounding areas during the night.

His mission of spying on the Christians failed when the gadget got lost. (more)

How much information about yourself are you putting online?

As a business owner, you are doubly responsible in safekeeping the information you put online. But before you can protect you business data, you need to learn to protect your personal data first.

Read the Trend Micro Digital Lifestyle e-guide, Be Privy to Online Privacy, and be a better informed digital citizen.

You’ll learn:
How online advertisers are tracking your browsing behavior,
The consequences of what you post in your social media.
How mobile apps can access the information stored in your mobile device, if you allow them.

Irony Alert: You'll have to give up some information about yourself to get it. ~Kevin

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA) Protest

Civil liberties organizations are launching a week of Internet-wide protests against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA), the controversial cybersecurity legislation that would negate existing privacy laws and allow companies to share user data with the government without a court order.

The coalition is urging the public to take part in a Twitter protest directed at their lawmakers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created an interactive tool for people to find their representatives and their Twitter handles, and to share how CISPA's privacy invasions would affect their day-to-day lives. (more)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Indonesia Now a Business Espionage Target

As Indonesia’s economy soars at an impressive rate and with the defense budget expanding aggressively, several state companies and government agencies have increasingly become targets of espionage.

National Intelligence Agency (BIN) head Lt. Gen. Marciano Norman said recently there were indications that espionage activities have been increasing lately.

“We’re worried with such activities. More resources are now allocated to prevent them. It’s part of my priorities,” Marciano said, refusing to elaborate further. He said there were two Asian countries — one of which is a neighboring nation — that have become more aggressive in spying into Indonesia’s economy. (more)
Belgium - Reuters reported that ArcelorMittal workers involved in a bitter dispute over the closure of furnaces in Belgium pointed the finger at the company after discovering that a union meeting was recorded with a camera pen and after being sent secretly filmed footage of workers.

Belgium's heavy industry has been in decline for years and Liege has been the scene of acrimonious protests by workers after ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, said it planned to close operations there. (more)

A Memory Stick that Self-Destructs

Technology has now created the ultimate USB stick - used by the secret service. If you lose it you can track its location and if it falls into the wrong hands you can even remotely scramble its content. (video) (product)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What are spies really like?

via the BBC...
Most people have watched a spy film, but few have ever met someone from the intelligence community. So how close are real spies to the Bournes and the Bonds? Peter Taylor looks at the world of the modern day secret agent... (more)

What does a spy look like? There is no exact answer, but a composite picture was developed by the Business Espionage Controls and Countermeasures Association... (more)

The Cybercrime Wave That Wasn’t

via The New York Times...
In less than 15 years, cybercrime has moved from obscurity to the spotlight of consumer, corporate and national security concerns. Popular accounts suggest that cybercrime is large, rapidly growing, profitable and highly evolved; annual loss estimates range from billions to nearly $1 trillion...

Yet in terms of economics, there’s something very wrong with this picture... numeric surveys, errors are almost always upward: since the amounts of estimated losses must be positive, there’s no limit on the upside, but zero is a hard limit on the downside. As a consequence, respondent errors — or outright lies — cannot be canceled out. Even worse, errors get amplified when researchers scale between the survey group and the overall population...

The cybercrime surveys we have examined exhibit exactly this pattern of enormous, unverified outliers dominating the data. In some, 90 percent of the estimate appears to come from the answers of one or two individuals. In a 2006 survey of identity theft by the Federal Trade Commission, two respondents gave answers that would have added $37 billion to the estimate, dwarfing that of all other respondents combined...

Among dozens of surveys, from security vendors, industry analysts and government agencies, we have not found one that appears free of this upward bias. As a result, we have very little idea of the size of cybercrime losses. (more)

Thus proving once again, fear-mongering is profitable.

• Keep a cool head. 
• View the risk holistically. 

Your valuable information was/is available elsewhere, before it is ever entered into a computer.

• Balance your security budgets appropriately. 

Information risk management isn't solely an IT issue... no matter what the IT security vendors and other vested interests tell you. ~Kevin

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Teen Taps Top Cops

A teenager eavesdropped on highly-sensitive police counter-terror conversations after bypassing technology from the 1980s, hackers have claimed.

The leader of an anarchist group known as Team Poison said it was "easy" to drop "a 24-hour phone bomb" on elite security officers...

Is that, at, at, at you Bryce?
In another recording officers appear to be discussing counter-terror operations while Team Poison listens in. The group - which uses the Twitter name @_TeaMp0isoN - claimed the calls were made to MI6 - but it is understood they were in fact picked up by the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command.

Trick, reportedly a 17-year-old who launched Team Poison in 2010, emailed the Press Association, saying the group bypassed outdated technology to compromise a server from Malaysia to record conversations. He wrote: "Yes, it was easy :)"

Trick said: "The phone denial of service was done via a custom script for Asterisk which was installed on an overseas server. The conversation was tapped into via a private phreaking method, their phone system is old and we found a way to get in via basic but private phreaking technique." (more)

Privacy Journal 2012 Privacy Law Compilation Updated

With a surge in the final days of the 2011 session, the California legislature enacted several new privacy protections that clearly keep the state at the top of the privacy-protecting states in the U.S., according to a new survey of the states by Privacy Journal.

The monthly newsletter reports on new privacy laws enacted by states and Congress each year. The information is available in its Compilation of State and FederalPrivacy Laws, updated yearly. (more)

Two Cell Phone Eavesdropping Attacks Reported

 • Security firm Cryptography Research showed how it's possible to eavesdrop on any smartphone or tablet PC as it is being used to make a purchase, conduct online banking or access a company's virtual private network.

• Researchers at security firm McAfee, a division of chipmaker Intel, highlighted several ways to remotely hack into Apple iOS, the operating system for iPads and iPhones.

McAfee's research team remotely activated microphones on a variety of test devices and recorded conversations taking place nearby. They also showed that it's possible to steal secret keys and passwords, and pilfer sensitive data, including call histories, e-mail and text messages.

"This can be done with absolutely no indication to the device user," says Ryan Permeh, McAfee's principal security architect. (more)

Monday, April 9, 2012

IKEA Apologizes to Workers for Spying

 The management of IKEA in France, where workers have sued the company for allegedly spying on employees, admitted that activities contravening its ethical standards had taken place and pledged to put a stop to them. (more)

SpyCam Story #658 - This Week in SpyCam News

SpyCam stories have become commonplace and the techniques used, repetitive. We continue to keep lose track of the subject for statistical purposes, but won't bore you with the details. Only links to the stories will be supplied unless there is something useful to be learned.

Friday, April 6, 2012

UK - Sky News, a 24-hour news channel in the U.K., twice authorized its reporters to hack into emails of suspected criminals but said the actions were "editorially justified" and in "the public interest."

The disclosure adds to the intensified scrutinty of British reporting tactics. Sky News is a unit of British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, which itself is 39.1%-owned by News Corp., whose U.K. newspapers have been at the center of a storm over reporting methods. (more)

Wheelchair Bug Saves Disabled Child from Cruel Teachers

Two Alabama teachers were caught cruelly taunting and abusing a 10-year-old boy who has celebral palsy after the boy’s mother attached an audio recorder to his wheelchair.

The shocking recording captures two voices chiding Jose Salinas for his ‘disgusting’ drooling and reveals he was left alone with no instruction for long periods of time...

Determined to be sure of what was happening herself she attached a bugging device to Jose’s wheelchair and left it recording over three days. The recording revealed that her son was being cruelly taunted about his disability and ignored for the majority of the day with no-one giving him instruction.

She played the tapes to the school board and the teachers were placed on administrative leave... But within days the teachers were returned to their positions so Salinas and other parents took their children out of the school in protest.

Feeling that ‘nobody was listening’ Salinas took the recordings to her local newspaper and the teachers were placed on leave once again. (more) (audio)

The Woman Who Bugged Her Ex-Boyfriend's Car - Case Closed

WI - Charges are settled for a local woman accused of bugging her ex-boyfriend's car so she could keep tabs on him. 

Jamie Mesang was accused of duct-taping a digital tape recorder underneath a car seat that belonged to her ex. Police say he became suspicious when Mesang started sending text-messages to him about his whereabouts. Eventually he searched his car and found the device, which was recording at that time. 

On Wednesday, Mesang entered a guilty plea. She also admitted she posted a female rival's picture and contact information on a website which led to that woman getting calls from men seeking sexual relationships. But prosecutors agreed to recommend dismissal of the felonies in one year if Mesang stays out of trouble during that time. (more)

Gordon Ramsay's Phone Calls Believed Bugged Not Hacked

UK - Gordon Ramsay was plunged into a sex tape nightmare last night. Self-proclaimed “professional mistress” Sarah Symonds says detectives probing phone hacking found “very sensitive tapes” of her with the TV cook.

The blonde, who claims she had a seven-year fling with Gordon Ramsay, believes an audio sex tape was among a stash of evidence seized by officers probing investigators for the defunct News Of The World.

Sarah, 41, feared the tape was the result of “bugging’” rather than hacking – which has led to scores of celebrities pocketing damages from the tabloid’s publishers News Corp. (more)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Espionage Outrage Reaches the Boiling Point ...and a solution.

...called the continuing, rampant cybertheft “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.” (bio)
Shawn Henry, (FBI) 
...current public and private approach to fending off hackers is "unsustainable.'' Computer criminals are simply too talented and defensive measures too weak to stop them, he said. (bio)
Richard A. Clark, (presidential advisor) 
"Yet the same Congress that has heard all of this disturbing testimony is mired in disagreements about a proposed cybersecurity bill that does little to address the problem of Chinese cyberespionage." (bio)

Letter to the Editor - The New York Times

Dear Editor,

Richard A. Clarke’s op-ed piece, “How China Steals Our Secrets,” (4/2/12) states the current business espionage problem perfectly, but we need a solution. Consider this...

The Chinese secrets of: silk and tea production; making porcelain, gunpowder and paper, could not survive Western espionage attacks – not even when protected with death penalties. Espionage killed their economy, and the damage lasted for centuries. Obviously, competitive advantages are also National Interest Assets.

The one-sided, punish-the-spy security model, still being used today, never worked. We need to make it two-sided. There must be a proactive legal responsibility to protect.

The solution... Corporate caretakers must be held accountable for protecting their valuables; our national treasures. We need a law creating business counterespionage security standards, with penalties for inadequate protection. We already
successfully employ the same concept with medical and financial record privacy.

Kevin D. Murray
Spybusters, LLC

A cybersecurity law alone will not stop spying. 
If implemented, it will force an increase in traditional spy techniques, such as: bugging, wiretapping, physical intrusions and social engineering. (Remember, computer data is available elsewhere long before it is computerized.) 

Protecting our competitive advantages requires a holistic approach; a National Interest Assets law which would also...

• Protect the entire intellectual property timeline, from brainstorming and initial discussions, to the final product or business strategy. 

• Impose a responsibility of due care upon the creators and holders competitive advantage information.

• Specify compliance requirements aimed at countering traditional business espionage practices. Technical Surveillance Countermeasures Inspections (TSCM / bug sweeps), information-security audits, and information-security compliance procedures; safeguards which can be easily mandated and monitored.

This is a no-brainer, Congress.

The cost of keeping National Interest Assets safe is infinitesimal compared to current losses (not to mention the long-term effects). Just ask the Chinese.

Ambassador to Russsia Thinks Cell Phone is Monitored (well, duh)

The Obama administration has complained to Russia about harassment of its outspoken ambassador in Moscow, who has confronted television news crews and taken to social media to raise suspicions that his cell phone and email were being hacked.

Michael McFaul, who has been a frequent target of criticism by state media, seemed to have relished the attention, at least at first. And he may have become a bigger target by taking to Twitter to muse about the alleged surveillance, admitting to learning on the job, correcting his "bad Russian" and engaging in exchanges with a person whose Twitter account was "prostitutkamila."

"There's been a number of incidents since his arrival there that have caused us to have some concerns about his security and safety," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday. "So as we would in following normal protocol, we've raised that with the government of Russia." (more)

Pop Quiz: Should government ambassadors be Tweeting?

Mission Creeps - Cop Tickets via Safety CCTV

Australia - A parking inspector ... has been using a network of security cameras to book drivers. The council says more than 150 tickets were issued in just over a fortnight using the CitySafe CCTV system... But Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says as soon as he heard it was happening he acted. He has decided to not only waive the fines but send a letter of apology as well. (more)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Phones & Polls - Time for the Mexican Tap Dance

The frequency in Mexico of wiretapping politicians' telephones and leaking what's said would make even a British tabloid editor envious. The compressed, three-month presidential campaign leading to July 1 doesn't kick off till Friday, yet already a wiretap scandal is unfolding.

Political commentator Raymundo Riva Palacio calls the drumbeat of leaked wiretaps a "perverse factor in Mexican politics."

In the latest case, the ruling party's candidate, allegedly speaking to an aide on the phone, mocks two top functionaries in her party, among them President Felipe Calderon's highly influential security chief, for her suspicion that they listen in on calls.

In this instance, as in nearly every case of apparent illegal eavesdropping, politicians have greeted the leak with condemnations and demands for a criminal probe. But no successful prosecutions for illegal wiretapping have occurred in recent years. (more)

...thus giving new meaning to 'a back door friend'.

According to Richard Clarke—who warned everyone about a 'spectacular' Al Qaeda attack before 9/11—all electronics made in China could contain back doors that would allow Chinese hackers to spy and attack anyone they want.

He claims that these traps may be hidden in every device, from your iPhone and Android phones to every iPad, laptop and computer. Even your TVs or anything else made in China. His claims sound may sound preposterous, but he claims the evidence is strong:

I'm about to say something that people think is an exaggeration, but I think the evidence is pretty strong. Every major company in the United States has already been penetrated by China. 

Clarke also believes that Chinese hackers have sneaked into the mainframes of companies like Microsoft, Cisco or Boeing, stealing their research and development secrets. He claims that Chinese companies are using these secrets to leapfrog over their Western competition. This claim is not that crazy: only two years ago Google experienced and denounced such an attack. (more) (sing-a-long)

Email Bugging Scandal in New Zealand

New Zealand - Online security has been tightened at ACC after some claimants bugged emails to see what case managers were doing.

Bronwyn Pullar, the woman at the centre of the ACC security scandal, has revealed she used email tracking software to get updates of activity with her file - a detail already revealed by Michelle Boag to ACC minister Judith Collins. (more)

North Miami and The Bugs of City Hall

FL - In the past year, North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre had a nagging suspicion he was being followed. He also thought someone had his City Hall office bugged with listening devices.

It turns out Pierre was right; someone was watching and listening.

...Pierre had secret cameras installed in his City Hall office and a private firm swept the space for bugs and wiretaps, costing taxpayers about $8,200.

Audio recordings obtained by The Miami Herald, and the FDLE report, confirm police conducted surveillance on Pierre, who did not return several telephone calls from a Miami Herald reporter on Monday. (more)

How effective is antivirus software on smartphones?

" recommendation is to not worry about trying to get antivirus software to run on the phones themselves. Not only is it barely effective, but like any background process, it takes up valuable battery life and resources." TechRepublic (more)

"Next bill. The proposed name change to Oceania."

The British government is set to unveil legislation that will allow it to monitor its citizens' phone calls, emails, text messages and internet use. The UK Home Office says technological advances mean it needs new powers to tackle terrorism and crime. Internet firms will be required to give the intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), access to communications on demand. It will allow officers to monitor who is calling who, and for how long, or what websites they are visiting. The legislation also covers social networking sites. (more)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Think Your Intellectual Property is not Worth a few Bucks to Protect? Think Again.

Australia - The Federal Government has described a multi-million-dollar legal settlement over CSIRO's wi-fi technology as a major boost for the organisation.

The settlement secures more than $220 million for CSIRO, which invented the technology in the 1990s.

Wi-fi technology is used in more than 3 billion electronic devices worldwide, including personal computers, video games and mobile phones.

The settlement is the second successful litigation to be conducted by the CSIRO, which patented the technology and now has licence agreements with 23 telecommunications companies. (more)

FutureWatch: You may not know now what your ideas will be worth further down the road. Hook up with a good counterespionage consultant today. No matter where in the world you are, we can recommend someone we know personally to you.

Is You New Date Lying About Their Age? (There's an app for that.)

One’s age can now be detected through scanning a photo, thanks to’s new API (application programming interface).
The API considers factors like the shape of one’s face, wrinkles, and smoothness of skin, among others, in checking for one’s age. The age detector might not be always correct, but after it studies your photo, it also gives an age range which might be more accurate. The API’s accuracy is dependent on the image quality of the photo and one’s pose in the snapshot. (more)

One developer has already used the API to build app called Age Meter, which is available in the Apple App Store. (more)

Cell Phone Tracking - A Routine Tool for Police

Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.

The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations. (more)