Saturday, June 30, 2012

So, how much can you make as an industrial spy?

Japan - Police have arrested two former employees of a Kawasaki-based machine tool maker on suspicion of duplicating confidential blueprints and smuggling them to a Chinese company. 

Industrial espionage: Confidential blueprints from Yoshizuka Seiki Co. in Kawasaki allegedly ended up in the hands of a Chinese company. KYODO 

Seiichi Furuya, 48, and Fumiaki Inoue, 57, were taken into custody Wednesday after allegedly copying blueprints belonging to Yoshizuka Seiki Co...

The Chinese company, a major press maker based in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, was found to have deposited about ¥42 million ($526,183.91) in Inoue's bank account, some ¥38 million ($476,071.16) of which was credited to an account held by Furuya, the police said.

Spy Satellites - The Next Amazing Generation

A new spy satellite launched into orbit on a secret mission for the U.S. military Friday (June 29), roaring spaceward atop the world's most powerful rocket in use today.

The NROL-15 reconnaissance satellite blasted off from a launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT) to begin its classified mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. It rode a towering Delta 4-Heavy booster equipped with new RS-68A first stage engines — the most powerful liquid hydrogen rocket engines ever built, according to their manufactures.

The Ginsu...
The successful launch marked the second space mission in nine days by ULA to orbit a classified payload for the U.S. military. The next ULA launch will be an Atlas 5 rocket slated to loft another NRO spy satellite into orbit in August. (more)

Spy Drones - The Next Amazing Generation

The U.S. Navy has its sight set on this new drone that was recently unveiled by defense company partner Northrop Grumman.

Click to enlarge.
They've been working on the MQ-C4 Triton over the last several years, and it's now ready for test flights. (more)

Click to enlarge.

SpyCam Found in Irish Slammer Slammed

Ireland - Prison chiefs have launched a probe after secret cameras that could have spied on staff were discovered at a top jail.  

Warders at Wheatfield lock-up in Dublin’s west were shocked to find the miniature devices in the tuck shop area which is run by prison officers.

They have demanded to know if there are spying kits in other slammers.

The Prison Officers Association has met senior management to find out why the spy cams were put there. Spokesman John Clinton said: “The POA is deeply concerned about a report of covert surveillance in a location solely used by staff." (more)

John "Jack" Caulfield, Nixon White House operative, dies at 83

John J. Caulfield, a security operative who was responsible for wiretaps and other so-called “dirty tricks” of the Nixon White House died June 17 in Vero Beach, Fla. He was 83. 

Mr. Caulfield was best known as the White House official who extended an offer of clemency, cash and future employment to James W. McCord Jr. if McCord, a convicted Watergate burglar, refused to testify against members of Nixon’s inner circle... Among other things, he revealed that the president’s brother, Donald Nixon, was under surveillance by the Secret Service and had a wiretap on his telephone. 

After Nixon was elected, Mr. Caulfield assumed a vaguely defined role as a White House staff assistant, with responsibilities that ranged from bodyguard to collector of intelligence.

Mr. Caulfield left the White House several months before the Watergate break-in occurred in June 1972 and was never prosecuted. But his Senate testimony did include some jaw-dropping revelations about the Nixon White House’s intelligence-gathering efforts. (more) (book)

Interesting: Caulfield received NYPD shield #911, June 1, 1953, long before the number took on greater meanings. It is also ironic that Nixon called upon 911 to solve his problems.

Friday, June 29, 2012

TSCM Employment Opportunity

Job Title: Security Specialist (TSCM Program Specialist)
Department: Department Of Transportation  
Agency: Federal Aviation Administration  
Job Announcement Number: AWA-AIN-12-MR78807-26265
SALARY RANGE: $91,426.00 to $141,735.00 / Per Year
OPEN PERIOD: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 to Wednesday, July 11, 2012
DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy(s) - Washington DC

Foreign Spying in US on the Rise

DC - Driven in part by the global financial crisis, foreign intelligence services, corporations and computer hackers have stepped up efforts to steal technology and trade secrets from American companies, the FBI’s top spy hunter told Congress on Thursday. (more)

Darwin Award - Surveillance Swipping Snitch Stunned when Caught

IL - An Alton man who was supposed to be helping investigators in an undercover probe now is now accused of making off with electronic surveillance equipment worth thousands of dollars. 

Twenty-seven-year-old William Cole is charged with felony theft and criminal damage to government property.

Investigators tell The (Alton) Telegraph that Cole was working with detectives on an undercover drug buy Monday when he allegedly bolted with the equipment.

Cole was found Tuesday at an Alton home and arrested by an officer who used a stun gun to stop him from fleeing. (more)

Staff Bugs & Wiretaps at South Africa Techno University

South Africa - The Tshwane University of Technology’s investigation into the illegal tapping of staff phones, in which top campus officials have been implicated, has claimed its first dismissal. The suspended head of internal audit at TUT, Vincent Dlamini, is being fired by the university after being found to have been involved in the “conspiracy”...

Dlamini was also found guilty of unlawful conduct, gross dishonesty, non-compliance with TUT policy, gross negligence, and actions that caused a breakdown in the relationship of trust between the employer and himself as a senior employee...
The bugging of the offices of senior managers at TUT was uncovered during Mosia’s investigation into the university’s affairs. Dlamini was among several officials who were suspended on disciplinary charges relating to the bugging. (more)

Fun Fact: Private Investigations on the Rise in India

India's Assn. of Private Detectives and Investigators has 1,200 members, up from 13 in 2005. Much of the industry's business involves premarital investigations. Growing demand spurred the recent opening of Kolkata's Anapol Institute, said to be India's first private-detective school. (more)

"We do Private Investigation either in Kitchen or in Bedroom or anywhere with evidence. We use all available modern Electronic Gadgets." Quote from a local agency.

FutureWatch: The rise of TSCM services.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"What say, you, we go out on the town and swing, baby? Yeah! "

He set up shop as a corporate security consultant, offering his dubious “operational experience” in intelligence to solve delicate problems for customers working in dangerous places...

Some people knew him as Kevin. He told others he was Richard. Everyone could see he had money to burn, and most people thought he was a British spy...

For about three years, until 2008, Halligen spent hundreds of thousands of dollars living large in Washington. He stayed in a Willard Hotel suite for months at a time and drank the days away at pricey Georgetown restaurants. He traveled everywhere in a chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Car, set up high-tech offices in Herndon and bought a grand home in Great Falls.

Smart, charming and favoring black turtlenecks and sunglasses, Halligen told everyone that he was a spy, or a former spy, or connected to spies. He told friends that he was under such deep cover that he took over his fiancee’s place as a “safe house.”... (more)

Jersey Sure - Encrypted & Self-Destructing iPhone Email

Encryption is meant to keep your messages secret from any third-party eavesdropper–what security pros call a “man-in-the-middle” attack. 

But what about that more common problem, the man-on-the-other-end? Even trusted recipients of a message, photo or video can leak secrets, carelessly forward messages, let them fall into the wrong hands, or even betray the sender and dig up evidence years later–a lesson folks like Anthony Weiner and Adrian Lamo have illustrated all too clearly.

Wickr, a free application that launched in the iPhone app store Wednesday, aims to encrypt text, picture and video messages to prevent their interception by men-in-the-middle. But then, as the app’s name implies, those messages also delete themselves after just minutes or even seconds like a burning wick, leaving no trace behind even for forensic investigators. “We want to let people send messages that are easy, secure, and leave no trace,” says Robert Statica, one of the company’s founders and director of Center for Information Protection at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. (more)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interesting: Radar Tracks Your Sleep, Then Wakes You Up

via Robert E. Calem,
...there's a new alarm clock available that was designed to help you avoid sleep inertia by monitoring your sleep cycles—without a wearable sensor—and waking you up only when you're sleeping most lightly. It's called the Renew SleepClock by Gear4 ($199.95 on and combines a motion sensing iOS-device docking station-clock radio with a dedicated app that both wakes you and tracks your sleep habits over time. 

The hardware transmits two channels of 10GHz radio frequency signals in a 45-degree beam. These signals bounce off your body and are received back at the device by a sensor, which then processes them and passes the data to the app. 

The app uses the data to discern your breathing pattern and monitor your movements. Based on these interpretations, the app knows when you've fallen asleep, how long you've slept, when you're sleeping lightly or deeply, and when your sleep has been interrupted (for example, when you get out of bed for a 2 AM bathroom break). 

In the morning, the app uses all the captured data to determine the best time to wake you up within a one-hour time slot that you've preset in one of two built-in alarms. (more)

MI5 Encounters and Counters "Astonishing" Levels of Cyber-Attacks

UK - MI5 is working to counter "astonishing" levels of cyber-attacks on UK industry, the organisation's chief has said.

In his first public speech for two years, Jonathan Evans warned internet "vulnerabilities" were being exploited by criminals as well as states...

In the speech on Monday night, Mr Evans spoke of MI5's efforts to tackle "industrial-scale processes involving many thousands of people lying behind both state sponsored cyber espionage and organised cyber crime".

"Vulnerabilities in the internet are being exploited aggressively not just by criminals but also by states," he said. "The extent of what is going on is astonishing." (more)

Businesses beware...

Cyber attacks by a foreign state resulted in a British company losing £800m ($1,247 million) in revenue, the head of MI5 revealed yesterday.  

This "was not just through intellectual property loss but also from commercial disadvantage in contractual negotiations", said Jonathan Evans. "They will not be the only corporate victims." (more)

It's not just in the UK, even tiny Malta has problems...

Malta - The government’s IT agency deals with about 100 cyber-attacks a month, attempts to retrieve information from the government’s online infrastructure. (more)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Teacher's Threat - Professor accused of bugging colleague's office

TX - A professor with the University of Texas-Pan American is free on a personal recognizance bond after being accused of planting a recording device in a colleague’s office.

FutureWatch: New office decor for college professors.
UTPA police arrested chemistry professor Hassan Ahmad on Thursday, according to a news release from the university. Ahmad appeared before an Edinburg municipal judge who formally charged him with one count of unlawful interception, use or disclosure of wire, oral or electronic communication and set a $20,000 personal recognizance bond. The charge is a second-degree felony, punishable by a prison term of two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000 upon conviction. The investigation began June 8 after another faculty member discovered a recording device in his office... (more)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Business Espionage - Saab Exec Cell Bugged

The head of Swedish defence group Saab alleged on Friday that his cell phone had been bugged repeatedly during negotiations with Switzerland over Saab's sale of 22 Gripen fighter jets.

"I am closely watched and I know that my cell phone has been bugged on several occasions. Text messages have also been sent from my cell phone, in both Swedish and English, on various occasions and to various contacts," Saab chief executive Haakan Buskhe told Sweden's Svenska Dagbladet in an interview.
He suggested he was a target of industrial espionage, but did not identify by name the people or companies which may have been behind the action. (more)

Western Australia Mining Company Reportedly Bugged

Australia - In the past week the buzz around Perth business circles has been that a WA mining company swept its offices recently and found a bug... 

It's the latest variant of other rumours: a cable with a microphone found behind the secretary's photocopier, or a USB device plugged into a computer to record keystrokes to hopefully purloin top secret codes.

Sorting fact from fiction in the shadowy world is tricky, with few executives willing to go on the record in what is an understandably sensitive area... (more)

Bikie TSCM... Fail

Australia - Paranoid Queensland criminals are hiring security experts to sweep their houses for bugs and other hidden police surveillance equipment, leaving detectives frustrated.

They can also buy sophisticated "bug detection" kits, noise generators, hidden camera scanners and phone tap detectors online and in-store for as little as $450.

While police spend months planning operations involving placement of listening devices, their targets can order kits that allow them to identify suspicious points and keep their clandestine activities under even closer wraps.

Bikie gangs, such as the notorious Finks, previously have used security experts to check their homes. (more)

Law enforcement loves stories like these. The more Bikie gangs (motorcycle gangs) rely on spy shop devices and less-than-ethical sweepers, the greater the Bikie's false sense of security. Easy collar. How do we know? The case went to court.

Court documents describe Finks member Tama Lewis talking, in 2008, about enlisting security firm OzSpy to sweep his home...

Business Espionage - Blueprint Blues to Reds

A previously unknown cyber worm preying on machinery blueprints has been exposed in Latin America. The new virus steals the blueprints and sends them to e-mail accounts registered in China. A number of machines in the US have been infected.

The worm dubbed ACAD/Medre.A targets the AutoCAD program used by architects, engineers, project managers and designers to create blueprints, including machines, buildings, household appliances and other inventions...

ACAD/Medre.A is a serious example of suspected industrial espionage, said Richard Zweinenberg, senior research fellow at ESET. (more)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"As always, should you or any of your Walmart Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions."

A public relations officer linked to Walmart posed as a journalist at a press conference held by a labor group highlighting tough working conditions in the warehouses that supply big retailers. 

Stephanie Harnett, a publicist working for Mercury Communications, which has been retained by Walmart to assist in its effort to open a new store in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles, claimed to be a student journalist called "Zoe Mitchell" when she turned up at the event on 6 June.

She then spoke to and recorded an interview with an activist from Warehouse Workers United...

The subterfuge only became apparent on Wednesday, when Harnett turned up at a different event and this time used her real name. She was spotted by members of WWU who recognised her and were stunned to see her handing out Mercury business cards with a completely different identity.

Walmart moved to distance itself from her actions on Thursday, and Mercury said neither it nor
the retail giant had "approved, authorized or directed" her actions. It said she was no longer working for the firm. (more) (audio from the disclaimer experts)

Chinese Upgrade Eavesdropping Center

China has upgraded a key eavesdropping site in southeastern Fujian province opposite Taiwan, according to images taken by new commercial satellites, a U.S. weekly reported Monday.

Defense News reported from Taipei that according to an analysis of the high-definition satellite photos, the facility on Dongjing Shan, near Daqiu village in Fujian province, has been upgraded and can now cover all of Taiwan and even a U.S. base in Okinawa.

With the recent release of high resolution imagery of Google Earth and Terraserver, electronic intelligence specialists said they have spotted parabolic dishes not seen in previous lower resolution imagery from non-classified sources. (More)

...and then Canada's Privacy Commissioner heard about it!

Canada - The federal government has hit the pause button on its plan to eavesdrop at border points after confirmation Tuesday that some travelers at the Halifax airport were secretly recorded.

Privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart
But there were still many unanswered questions about the surveillance plan.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said he has told the Canada Border Services Agency to place audio monitoring on hold until a study of the privacy implications is complete. (more)

Corporate espionage via social media rampant in India

India - Over 35 per cent of companies operating in various sectors across India are engaged in corporate espionage to gain advantage over their competitors and are even spying on their employees via social networking Web sites, according to a just-concluded survey undertaken by apex industry body Assocham.

Mr D.S. Rawat, Secretary-General, Assocham.
Assocham carried out a covert survey during the January-May period and interacted with about 1,500 CEOs and EDs from diverse sectors in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi-NCR and Mumbai to ascertain the measures taken by India Inc to safeguard their data, plans, clients' details, products and other confidential and trade-related secrets.

Besides, Assocham representatives also interacted with about 200 private eye agencies, corporate spooks, detective firms, surveillance agencies and trained sleuths in the five cities, Mr D.S. Rawat, Secretary-General, Assocham, said in a statement here. (more)

And You Thought Spying Was a Lone Wolf Occupation

Turkey has arrested 49 military officers in the second phase of an operation to dismantle a military espionage ring in the country. 
Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman quoted Izmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office as saying that the 49 arrestees were among the 51 officers against whom arrest warrants had been issued...

The officers are accused of blackmailing, and illegally obtaining military information. The gang reportedly used prostitutes to blackmail and obtain classified security information from high-ranking officers and senior bureaucrats.

The first phase of the operation was launched in May when 20 people were arrested for involvement in the espionage gang. (more)

Spybusters Tip #069: Business espionage also uses blackmail, and effort is even more massive. Don't let yourself slip into a compromising position. It's a quicksand pit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fake IDs from Internet Vendors Fool Experts

YIN - Overseas forgers from as far away as China are shipping fake driver's license and other IDs to the United States that can bypass even the newest electronic digital security systems...

Most troubling to authorities is the sophistication of the forgeries: Digital holograms are replicated, PVC plastic identical to that found in credit cards is used, and ink appearing only under ultraviolet light is stamped onto the cards...

The overseas forgers are bold enough to sell their wares on websites, USA TODAY research finds. Anyone with an Internet connection and $75 to $200 can order their personalized ID card online from such companies as ID Chief. Buyers pick the state, address, name and send in a scanned photo and signature to complete their profile.

YANG - For buyers from ID Chief and other companies, the easy-to-use online form does not come without risk. Buyers have reported identity theft and hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt in their names after buying from the Chinese forgers, authorities say. (more)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sports Espionage at Euro 2012

England's challenge at Euro 2012 almost was drastically undermined after the team's tactics were leaked to rival Sweden by a snooping journalist.

Ola Billger, 40, used binoculars to spy on England coach Roy Hodgson as he outlined his defensive plan to his team at a Kiev hotel ahead of last Friday's Group D clash.

The Swedish hack watched for 40 minutes and compiled detailed notes... (more)

Wiretap Law May Soon Include Email Snooping

Adel Abadir and Annabelle Zaratzian got divorced. It came out later that Adel knew too much about his ex-wife's income. He had placed spyware on her computer which secretly forwarded all her emails to him. She sued...

Zaratzian’s suit — first filed Dec. 3, 2010, in U.S. District Court in White Plains — is one of the first in the country to allege a more eye-opening charge: wiretapping, an accusation more reminiscent of Watergate and the Cold War than an otherwise run-of-the-mill divorce case.

Zaratzian’s definition of wiretapping depends on a novel legal theory, that auto-forwarding email represents a “contemporaneous” interception of electronic communications, and experts have been mixed on whether that definition will ultimately prevail in the courts. But if it does it could be the beginning of significant new interpretation of the law, opening up new legal avenues for those looking to sue, in addition to potentially more criminal prosecutions under federal wiretapping statutes, which haven’t been updated since a 1986 revision...

The case is now scheduled for a status conference June 18, before a potential trial later this year. (more)

Pennsylvania Wiretap Law Revamped

PA - Public safety trumped concerns about personal privacy on Wednesday as the state House of Representatives cast a lopsided vote in favor of the first overhaul of Pennsylvania's wiretapping law in 14 years.

The bill, which was sent to the Senate by a 145-52 vote, would ease restrictions on civilians secretly recording other citizens and expand the government's ability to tap cell-phone technology....

Another provision would allow conversations to be recorded without the consent of other parties if the person doing the recording believes it may provide evidence of a first-degree felony or a crime of violence. Current law bars all recordings unless all parties consent.

Even if a civilian makes an illegal recording, the bill would allow the government to use it as evidence in a criminal investigation and prosecution. (more)

Warrantless Wiretapping - The Backlash Begins

Sen. Ron Wyden teamed up with Colorado Democrat Mark Udall to block the Obama administrations effort to extend the surveillance law that has resulted in a broad warrantless wiretapping campaign of American citizens.

Wyden, who has long opposed the wiretapping program offered an amendment last week that would specifically prohibit such unauthorized surveillance. Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee voted overwhelmingly to reject that provision last week. (more) (video rebuttal)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

SpyCam Story #661 - 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. Links supplied.

CopCam Pen - I: lost it, forgot it, my llama ate it, ...

Bolivian custom officers will have to carry special pens, with a hidden micro-camera and voice recorder, as part of a government initiative to tackle corruption.

The measure was announced by customs director Marlene Ardaya, who will be issued with her own pen.

"They will work as an anti-doping mechanism in the department."

She explained that the voice recorders will remain active during all working hours.

The authorities said officials would be selected randomly to have the recordings in their devices checked. (more)

CopCam USA - Not to be outdone by the Wiphala of Qulla Suyu folks...

PA - Philadelphia police will test attaching video cameras to cops...

The cameras cost about $1,000 per officer and Taser provides departments with free one-year access to, which departments can use to upload and store their videos. (more)

What about the Pennsylvania wiretap law?

Pennsylvania's wiretap laws would prohibit audio recording. — Commissioner Charles Ramsey

FutureWatch - Look for a change in the law.

For those departments on a budget. 
The K-Mart Blue Light Special $19.99

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Learn to be a Private Eye

People frequently ask me, "I am really interested in investigations, how can I get into the field?"

It is not an easy answer. There are many faucets to the field of investigations. One universal prerequisite is inquisitiveness. After that, it is simply training.

The folks over at have just made my life easier by publishing The Top Private Investigation Training Programs across the US. This article focuses on private programs (as opposed to universities) and features classroom programs as well as online training options.

Want to learn? This is the first place to go.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Career Tip - Become a Business Espionage Security Specialist

Leading cyber experts warned of a shortage of talented computer security experts in the United States, making it difficult to protect corporate and government networks at a time when attacks are on the rise.

Symantec Corp Chief Executive Enrique Salem told the Reuters Media and Technology Summit in New York that his company was working with the U.S. military, other government agencies and universities to help develop new programs to train security professionals.

"We don't have enough security professionals and that's a big issue. What I would tell you is it's going to be a bigger issue from a national security perspective than people realize," he said on Tuesday.

Jeff Moss, a prominent hacking expert who sits on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council, said that it was difficult to persuade talented people with technical skills to enter the field because it can be a thankless task. (more)

...and this is at the end of the info-train. 
Before information ever enters a computer cattle car, it is vulnerable to theft in many other forms and places. This aspect of business espionage security is handled by analysts who concurrently conduct audits to detect electronic surveillance devices. There is a shortage of talented professionals in this field as well. ~Kevin

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Aerial Cameras Are Coming

Google and Apple are racing to produce aerial maps so detailed they can show up objects just four inches wide.

Hyper-real: 3D mapping services used by C3 Technologies (as purchased by Apple) will form the main part of the software giant's new mapping service

Google admits it has already sent planes over cities while Apple has acquired a firm using spy-in-the-sky technology that has been tested on at least 20 locations, including London.

All powerful: Apple's newly-acquired technology uses military-grade camera equipment to produce realistic 3D maps of big cities and residential streets

Google will use its spy planes to help create 3D maps with much more detail than its satellite-derived Google Earth images.

Great Surveillance Camera Clips Go Commercial

Surveillance cameras have migrated their way from security tools to movie plots (Sliver, Look and Surveillance to name a few), and now... commercials! Grab some American champagne and enjoy. ~Kevin

Surveillance Camera Disobedience

I only hope there is a happy face drawn on it.

William Lamson - NYC Artist

More Surveillance Camera Fun

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Justice at Last for Hero Spy Pilot, Francis Gary Powers

More than 50 years after his U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union, iconic Cold War pilot Francis Gary Powers is to be posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

The medal, the third highest honour the U.S. military can bestow, was presented by Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz to Powers' grandson and granddaughter at a Pentagon ceremony on Friday.

Mr Powers' award is for exhibiting 'exceptional loyalty' during the long and intense interrogation that he endured while being held captive by the KGB and the Soviet Union for nearly two years... Powers was later killed while flying a KNBC helicopter in Van Nuys, California (more)

Some Fun Summer Reading about Private Investigators...

Who knows? You might be inspired to become a private detective novelist.

Fire up your Kindle and start with, How Do Private Eyes Do That? by Colleen Collins

Then read, How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths. by Shaun Kaufman and Colleen Collins, and start writing your own private detective novel.

The authors bill themselves as, "a couple of PIs who also happen to write." Visit them at their blog, Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes. It is full of great information about modern PIs and how they operate. They also provide tips for writers, like The Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make at a Crime Scene.

Professional Lawyers - Amateur Investigators

A lawyer for the International Criminal Court has been detained in Libya after she was found to be carrying suspicious letters for Muammar Gaddafi’s captured son Saif al-Islam, a Libyan lawyer said on Saturday... 

“During a visit (to Saif al-Islam), the lawyer tried to deliver documents to him, letters that represent a danger to the security of Libya,” said Ahmed al-Jehani, the Libyan lawyer in charge of the Saif al-Islam case on behalf of Libya, and who liaises between the government and the Hague-based ICC...

Jehani said the ICC team...had been searched before the meeting.

Without giving details, he said a pen with a camera as well as a watch with a recorder were found during the search. (more)

The Tech Spy Agencies are Buying

Amir Abolfathi, CEO of Sonitus Medical of San Mateo, revealed that the company is developing a tiny, wireless, two-way communications device for "the U.S. intelligence community." Noting that it covertly sits in a person's mouth, he said one of its chief attributes is that "nobody knows you are wearing anything." (more)

Overlooking the PR effect that male mobs molesting women in Tahrir Square has on tourism...

Egyptian state TV stopped airing controversial anti-spying ads Friday night. 

The ads have been widely condemned as being xenophobic and painting all foreigners in the country as spies. 

Many have voiced fears that the ads would negatively affect tourism. (more)

Friday, June 8, 2012

“Ag-gag” Laws and The Jungle

“Ag-gag” laws threaten journalists’ reliance on whistleblowers 

A recent spate of nationwide legislative measures designed to curb undercover recording at farms and other agricultural facilities may potentially restrict reporters’ ability to gather and publish important information about the food industry.

Some of the measures would directly prohibit journalists from photographing or recording farm animals and other items and activities involved in food production in a manner not likely to pass constitutional scrutiny.

Others, however, seek to cut off the dissemination of this information at its source, by criminalizing the actions of whistleblowers. (more)

Dot Connections:
The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by American journalist, socialist, politician, and muckracker Upton Sinclair (1878-1968). The novel was first published in serial form in 1905... It was based on undercover work done in 1904: Sinclair spent seven weeks gathering information while working incognito in the meatpacking plants of the Chicago stockyards at the behest of the magazine's publishers.

Public pressure led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which established the Bureau of Chemistry that would become the Food and Drug Administration in 1930.

2006 - The Police RIP / 2012 - Listening to The Police RIP

Police departments across the country have been steadily switching to encrypted radio communications for more than a decade. 

First Portable Police Radio
Thomas Dwyer and Dispatcher Marvin Gray
The trend has accelerated recently as cell phone apps like Scanner 911 have made public access to traditional unencrypted police radio communications easier than ever...

No legal right
There is no federal law that requires public access to police radio, and unless a state’s Freedom of Information law builds a strong case for disclosure of all police records, there is little legal action that can be taken. (more) (sing-a-long)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

China - Visiting Officials Leave Gadgets Behind & The Car Bugs

Australia - The Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, took extraordinary precautions against Chinese espionage before arriving in Beijing yesterday, revealing the degree of distrust lingering beneath the surface of his goodwill visit...

The Herald has learnt Mr Smith and his entourage left mobile phones and laptops in Hong Kong before proceeding to mainland China, after such devices were reportedly compromised during previous ministerial visits. His staff, including media advisers, were given fresh phones, with different numbers, for the duration. (more)

Spybusters Tip #502 - Act like a smart Defense Minister. Go sterile.
(Engage Murray Associates, the information security analysts, for more tips.) 

In related news...
Click to enlarge.

Cautionary Tales of Laptops and Thumb Drives

Laptop Cautionary Tale
 UK - The former Director-General of UK's internal security service MI5 has had her laptop stolen at London's Heathrow airport on Tuesday. 

Dame Stella Rimington, who headed the agency from 1992 to 1996, has since then become a well-known spy thriller author. According to the report, he laptop contained research for her next book, but it could have also contained sensitive information such as contact details of her former colleagues.

"Dame Stella seems to have forgotten the tricks of her tradecraft since leaving MI5," commented a source... (more)
Tip: Password protect your laptop. Encrypt confidential files. Carry only essential information. Install track and remote erase security software. 

Memory Stick / Thumb Drive Cautionary Tale
The U.S. and Israel were responsible for creating the Stuxnet computer worm that wreaked havoc with Iranian nuclear facilities... And the first salvos in the massive cyberattack were launched via an unassuming piece of technology: a thumb drive... Thumb drives were “critical” in the initial Stuxnet attacks — which began in 2008 — although unspecified “more sophisticated” means were later used... “It turns out there is always an idiot around who doesn’t think much about the thumb drive in their hand,” one of the program’s architects said. (more)

Tip: You know that thumb drive you "found" in the parking lot? 
Don't plug it in. 
Smash it. 

Companies Urged to Security Classify their Information

Australia - Private companies must institute a classification system similar to the one used by spies and the military, assigning confidential, secret or top-secret status to information rather than assuming computer networks can be defended from increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks.

The former head of the Defence Signals Directorate's highly secretive Cyber Security Operations Centre, Tim Scully, has called for a reorganisation of cyber security, saying the present approach focuses too much on protecting networks and not the information in them. 

He said the private sector must begin to think like government and create a classification system that reflects the value and sensitivity of the information in its possession.

From there, risk assessments can be performed about how, if at all, the most sensitive information is conveyed across the internet. Under the new national security classification system information is marked protected, confidential, secret or top-secret.

The most sensitive information is then "air-gapped" - or stored on a closed network not accessible via the internet. (more) (see also) (see also)

Russian Wiretaps Double

Russia - Legal wiretaps have almost doubled in Russia over the past five years due to lack of external control over the secret services, according to official and publicly available statistics unearthed by a leading Russian security analyst.

“This is both a political and a bureaucratic story,” said Andrei Soldatov, editor-in-chief of, an online secret services think-tank. He added that the services often abuse their powers, including for illegal monitoring of political opposition.

The courts issued 466,152 sanctions for telephone wiretaps and inspection of regular and electronic mail in 2011, according to the website of the Judicial Department at the Russian Supreme Court.

The figure stood at 265,937 in 2007, the department said.

Only 3,554 wiretap requests, or under 1 percent of the total, were rejected in 2011, compared to 4,246 in 2007. (more)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Than A Feeling - Boston Rocked by SpyCam Death

Boston singer Brad Delp installed a hidden camera in his fiancee’s sister’s bedroom – and killed himself nine days after he was caught.

Evidence given in the court case between Boston mainman Tom Scholz and a newspaper revealed how Delp, who committed suicide in 2007, was ashamed and apologetic after his spy device was found.

Events came to light as part of Scholz’s claim that the Boston Herald defamed him by suggesting he was to blame for his bandmate’s death. (more)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

One Day - Two Headlines - A Salute to US Spies

"China 'arrests high-level US spy' in Hong Kong" (more)
"Retired Russian colonel has been convicted and sentenced on charges of spying for the United States" (more)

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Be Sociable"

Banners signed by a cult-like Mexican drug gang say that cartel members launched firebombing attacks on a PepsiCo. subsidiary because they believe the snack company let law-enforcement agents use its trucks for surveillance. (more)