Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Free Stuff Alert: Encryption / Compression Program

Sophos Free Encryption
reviewed by
Product Information:
Title: Sophos Free Encryption
Company: Sophos Ltd.
Product URL:
Supported OS: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8
Price: Free
Rating: 5 out of 5
Bottom Line: Sophos delivers an excellent freeware utility for securing document files with sensitive data inside AES encrypted archives. The software is easy to use and offers nice features to boot.

Sophos Free Encryption is a tool that works like a zip program, but with the added aforementioned encryption, which is AES-256-bit for good measure. Digging a bit into this product, I noticed a few niceties that the competition doesn’t really have in the security department, namely in how it handles passwords and the self-extracting archive feature. For a free tool, this beats its competitor SecureZIP by PKWare, which actually costs money to do the same thing. (more)

Also available... FREE Data Security Toolkit ~Kevin

Friday, January 25, 2013

Who's Watching Your Webcam

About this time last year I reported on hacking Internet-connected video security cameras. Now, let's watch another aspect of the problem, personal webcam spying...

Depending upon how old you are, you will recognize this is a reoccurring theme in works of fiction...

1998 - The Truman Show
The film chronicles the life of a man who is initially unaware that he is living in a constructed reality television show, broadcast around the clock to billions of people across the globe.

1964 - Wendy and Me
George Burns as landlord would watch his attractive young tenant on what appears to the modern eye to be a surreptitious closed circuit television transmission with hidden cameras (he also accomplished this with his "TV in the den" in later episodes of The Burns and Allen Show). 

1949 - 1984 
George Orwell predicts a populace kept under constant surveillance by closed-circuit security cameras that transmit footage back to Big Brother.

1939 - Television Spy

FutureWatch: Dual Personality Smartphones

A persistent headache for IT administrators dealing with BYOD in the workplace is how to keep sensitive company data safe even as more and more employee-owned devices are allowed into the corporate network.


Fujitsu Laboratories is working on a solution to the problem which its engineers hope to roll out some time this year. (more)

Security Directors: FREE Security White Paper - "Surreptitious Workplace Recording ...and what you can do about it."   

Security Director Alert: Free Anti-Theft Tracking for PC & Phone

Prey, an open source, cross-platform anti-theft tracker that lets you keep track of all your devices easily in one place. Whatever your device, chances are Prey has you covered as there are installers available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Ubuntu, Android, and iOS.

Prey is easy to use. First off, you download and install the right version for your hardware. Then, after you've created an account and got it set up the way you want, you can forget about it until the day that your device is lost or stolen.

As soon as you discover that your hardware has been lost or stolen, you can activate prey by logging into your account and select the device 'missing-in-action'. Then, Prey's servers send a signal to the device -- either over the Web or with a text message -- that kicks Prey into action, gathering information such as location, hardware details and network status information. You can also capture screen shots, take pictures with the forward-facing camera, and even lock the system down to prevent further intrusion.

Prey offers a free, unlimited, 3-device account for anyone wanting to give the software a try. There are also premium account options that increase the device limit and add features such as automated deployment and full SSL encryption of all gathered data.

Putting a mechanism in place for recovering your lost or stolen hardware before the worst happens gives you a fighting chance of being able to find your hardware, or at worst, keep your data away from prying eyes. (more)

Note: My testing revealed one possible glitch. If your device does not have GPS capability (laptop, for example), the location being reported may belong to a service provider's IP address. In my case, the local phone company's DSL lines terminate in a town about 30 miles away. Otherwise, the system works great. No reason not to have this capability. ~Kevin

Today in Telephone History

On Jan. 25, 1915, the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, inaugurated U.S. transcontinental telephone service. (more)

By this time wiretapping was already over 50 years old. ~Kevin

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Flip Phones Keep Japanese Wives from Flipping Out

Japanese philanderers know their weak spot: the smartphone. 

Afraid that girlfriends and wives will spot incoming calls from certain secret someones, Lotharios in Japan are sticking with Fujitsu's old "F-Series" flip phones, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The so-called "infidelity phones" can easily be programmed to conceal calls and texts from particular contacts.

Fujitsu has added similar privacy features to its new lineup. Like the F-Series, these phones signal users with little changes of the antenna or battery mark. Only problem: they require a separate app. 

US entrepreneur Neal Desai has designed a similar app called Call and Text Eraser that's been downloaded more than 10,000 times—but he cooed when told about the F-Series: "That's more genius than my app," he said. (more)

If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody hears it...

Trees in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are being fitted with mobile phones in an attempt to tackle illegal logging and deforestation.

Devices smaller than a pack of cards are being attached to the trees in protected areas to alert officials once they are cut down and the logs are transported. 

Location data is sent from sensors once the logs are within 20 miles of a mobile phone network to allow Brazil’s environment agency to stop the sale of illegal timber. The technology, called Invisible Tracck, which is being piloted by Dutch digital security company Gemalto, has a battery life of up to a year and has been designed to withstand the Amazonian climate. (more)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Audio Steganography - SkyDe, as in Skype Hide

Those awkward silences during phone calls can communicate a lot. Especially if you're sending hidden messages during them. 

Computer scientists at the Warsaw University of Technology have come up with a way to secretly send nearly 2000 bits of encrypted data per second during a typical Skype conversation by exploiting the peculiarities of how Skype packages up voice data. They reported their findings this week...

First the researchers noted that even when there's silence in a Skype call, the software is still generating and sending packets of audio data. After analyzing Skype calls, they found that they could reliably identify those silence packets, because they were only about half the size of packets containing voices. SkyDe (for Skype Hide) encrypts your hidden message, grabs a certain portion of outgoing silence packets, and stuffs the encrypted message into them. (more)

Important point: Conventional steganography hides data within photos and pictures. Downside... Your hidden message may languish on servers in multiple places for a long time, where it could eventually be discovered. Sky-De reduces this vulnerability. ~Kevin

Who Is Tracking You On-Line - Infographic

How do the digital detectives on the net snare you? 
This infographic makes the mysterious, fathomable...
See the full graphic here.

Need an "I'm not here" outfit to go with the Mysterian glasses?

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or "drones") are fast becoming an ever-present eye in the sky, potentially granting governments greater strike and surveillance capabilities than even Orwell’s fictional Big Brother could hope to wield. In response, NYC artist Adam Harvey has created a series of garments which claim to reduce the effectiveness of UAVs.

Harvey’s garments include an anti-drone hoodie and scarf, which are designed to block the thermal imaging cameras used by many airborne drones. The designer also created a burqa which appears to function in much the same way.

Click to enlarge
Harvey is currently selling the designs, and would-be shoppers can pick up an anti-drone hoodie for £315 (or around US$500).
The Stealth Wear collection is on display in the UK at Primitive London until January 31. (more)

The Mysterians and Question Mark...or viceversa?

Worried about all those security cameras tracking your every move? Try rocking one of these visors and enjoy anonymity once again.

At least that's what Isao Echizen from Japan's National Institute of Informatics is trying to achieve with the Privacy Visor (PDF).

Developed with Seiichi Gohshi of Kogakuin University, the visor has a near-infrared light source that messes up cameras but doesn't affect the wearer's vision, according to the institute.

They're hardly fashionable, but the lights create noise that prevents computer vision algorithms from extracting the features needed to recognize a face. (more) (get the t-shirt) (sing-a-long)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and other Cold War Spy Toys

via one of our Blue Blazer irregulars... (thanks!)
From Russian photoblog comes these great pictures of Cold War-era miniature gadgets
that KGB spies and others used to monitor, smuggle, and kill (via RussiaEnglish).

Seeing as we have just seen the new adaptation of John Le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, these photos are a another great reminder of how paranoid and insane that whole 'Cold War' period was. (many more gadgets)

P.S. If you like seeing Cold War spy tools, your really need The Ultimate Spy Book, by historian H. Keith Melton. It is loaded with large glossy photos of the CIA's Greatest Hits, and the fascinating history of spies and their gadgets.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012 vs. My Baloney Meter

On January 14, 2013, President Obama signed the Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012.

The Act enhances the penalties for certain violations of the Economic Espionage Act.

The purpose of the Act was to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide for increased penalties for foreign and economic espionage.

Under the Act, the upper limit of penalties for individual offenses of Section 1831(a) are increased from $500,000 to $5,000,000 and the upper limit for corporate offenses of Section 1831(b) are increased from $10,000,000 to the greater of $10,000,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen trade secret to the organization, including expenses for research and design and other costs of reproducing the trade secret that the organization has thereby avoided. (more)

Why this approach alone has never worked, and what will work...
"A Cunning Plan to Protect U.S. from Business Espionage"

Book: Britian's Brilliant Bugs Bomb Nazis

Historian Helen Fry, who has written a book called The M Room: Secret Listeners who bugged the Nazis., says the information gleaned by the eavesdropping of the German generals was vitally important to the war effort - so much so that it was given an unlimited budget by the government.
Click to enlarge.

She believes what was learned by the M room operations was as significant as the code-breaking work being done at Bletchley Park.

"British intelligence got the most amazing stuff in bugging the conversations. Churchill said of Trent Park that it afforded a unique insight into the psyche of the enemy. It enabled us to understand the mind-set of the enemy as well as learn military secrets. "If it wasn't for this bugging operation, we may well have not won the war." (more)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Man Sends His Computer Security Token to China... he can outsource his job!

A security audit of a US critical infrastructure company last year revealed that its star developer had outsourced his own job to a Chinese subcontractor and was spending all his work time playing around on the internet.

Verizon investigators found that he had hired a software consultancy in Shenyang to do his programming work for him, and had FedExed them his two-factor authentication token so they could log into his account. He was paying them a fifth of his six-figure salary to do the work and spent the rest of his time on other activities...

Further investigation found that the enterprising Bob had actually taken jobs with other firms and had outsourced that work too, netting him hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit as well as lots of time to hang around on internet messaging boards and checking for a new Detective Mittens video. (more)

The Suspected Fly on the Wall was a Horse

 Not a horse-fly, a real horse. 
 My friend and colleague, Tim Johnson, relates the tail tale...

"I was contacted to do a debugging sweep of a company executive area and an executive residence in a midwestern state. Having concluded the examination of the offices without finding anything I proceeded to the residence where I repeated the process. 

During the radio frequency examination I detected a radio frequency that I noted for additional analysis. In doing a further examination of the signal it was determined to be originating from outside the residence. This was done by moving my receiver to different locations and checking the signal strength. 

There was a barn located in the general direction of the signal path so I went out and did a further check." (more)

(Foal Alert Transmitter)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What Happens When You Lose A Cell Phone?

Vodaphone wondered too...
In The Lost Phone Experiment, Vodaphone planted 100 phones throughout the Netherlands, and tracked their fortunes via a web site.  

They came up with some interesting data about how many are returned, where they traveled to, what they were used for, and by who. Open the site up using Chrome and hit "Translate" so you can read it in English. (more)

Spoiler Alert: About 30% were returned to their owners.

Cautionary Tale - Unsafe Sex, USB Style

Critical control systems inside two US power generation facilities were found infected with computer malware, according to the US Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team.

Both infections were spread by USB drives that were plugged into critical systems used to control power generation equipment, according to the organization's newsletter... (more

(reiteration time) - "If you are not sure where it has been, don't stick it in." 
~ Kevin

Business Espionage: AMD v. Ex-employees

AMD has filed (and been granted) a request for immediate injunctive relief against multiple former employees that it alleges stole thousands of confidential documents. Named in the complaint are Robert Feldstein, Manoo Desai, Nicholas Kociuk, and Richard Hagen. All four left AMD to work at Nvidia in the past year.

The loss of Feldstein was particularly noteworthy, as he’d been the head of AMD’s console initiatives for years. Feldstein was behind the work that landed AMD the Wii U, PS4, and Xbox Durango.

The AMD complaint states that “He [Feldstein] transferred sensitive AMD documents, and in the next six months, the three defendants either did the same thing... 

AMD claims to have forensic evidence that three of the four defendants transferred more than 10,000 confidential files in total, with the names of the files in question matching “either identically or very closely to the names of files on their AMD systems that include obviously confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret materials related to developing technology.” (more)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

One in Four Android Apps Pose "High Risk" to Security

Almost 25 percent of Android apps feature code that can access application permissions and cause security vulnerabilities, according to a new study by mobile security firm TrustGo.

Of the 2.3m Android apps analysed by TrustGo in the fourth quarter of 2012, 511,000 were identified as high risk, defined as being able to make unauthorised payments, steal data or modify user settings.

Not all of the apps are universally available. For example, just 10 percent of apps in the US and Western Europe had a high risk for causing security issues. While China was reported to have the most high risk apps available for download. (more)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stingray - Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool - Fights On

The FBI calls it a “sensitive investigative technique” that it wants to keep secret. But newly released documents that shed light on the bureau’s use of a controversial cellphone tracking technology called the “Stingray” have prompted fresh questions over the legality of the spy tool.

Functioning as a so-called “cell-site simulator,” the Stingray is a sophisticated portable surveillance device. The equipment is designed to send out a powerful signal that covertly dupes phones within a specific area into hopping onto a fake network. 

The feds say they use them to target specific groups or individuals and help track the movements of suspects in real time, not to intercept communications. But by design Stingrays, sometimes called “IMSI catchers,” collaterally gather data from innocent bystanders’ phones and can interrupt phone users’ service—which critics say violates a federal communications law. The FBI has maintained that its legal footing here is firm. Now, though, internal documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties group, reveal the bureau appears well aware its use of the snooping gear is in dubious territory...

It’s likely that in the months ahead, a few more interesting nuggets of information will emerge. The FBI has told EPIC that it holds a mammoth 25,000 pages of documents that relate to Stingray tools, about 6,000 of which are classified. The Feds have been drip-releasing the documents month by month, and so far there have been four batches containing between 27 and 184 pages each. Though most of the contents—even paragraphs showing how the FBI is interpreting the law—have been heavy-handedly redacted, several eyebrow-raising details have made it through the cut. (more) (Stingray explained)

Van Eck Grown Up - Time to look at eavesdropping on computer emissions again.

1985 - Van Eck phreaking is the process of eavesdropping on the contents of a CRT or LCD display by detecting its electromagnetic emissions. It is named after Dutch computer researcher Wim van Eck, who in 1985 published the first paper on it, including proof of concept.[1] Phreaking is the process of exploiting telephone networks, used here because of its connection to eavesdropping.

2009 - A simple experiment showing how to intercept computer keyboard emissions. 

It is notable that there is: 
no connection to the Internet; 
• no connection to power lines (battery operation); 
• no computer screen in use (eliminates the screen emissions possibility); 
• and no wireless keyboard or mouse. 
Intercepted emissions are solely from the hard-wired keyboard.

The interception antenna is located about one meter away. (This is why we look for antenna wires under desks, and metal parts on desks to which wiring is attached.) 
(video 1) (video 2)

The point is, if one can get an antenna withing close proximity of your computer, what you type belongs to them.

December 2012 - Not satisfied with pulling information from your keyboard, injecting information becomes a concern (pay attention investment firms).

"The roughly half-dozen objectives of the Tactical Electromagnetic Cyber Warfare Demonstrator program are classified, but the source said the program is designed to demonstrate ready-made boxes that can perform a variety of tasks, including inserting and extracting data from sealed, wired networks.

Being able to jump the gap provides all kinds of opportunities, since an operator (spy) doesn’t need to compromise the physical security of a facility to reach networks not connected to the Internet. Proximity remains an issue, experts said, but if a vehicle can be brought within range of a network, both insertion and eavesdropping are possible." (more)

2013 is going to be an interesting year. ~Kevin

'Spy News from New York' shows off NYC

New York in stunning 360 degree detail — A photographer has created a stunning interactive image of New York, giving a detailed 360 degree tour of Manhattan.

Click to enlarge.
Sergey Semenov, a Russian, created the image by stitching together thousands of photographs of the city, taken during helicopter tours in 2011.
The interactive graphic has also been "flattened" to create a detailed 2-D image, focused on Central Park and its surrounding skyscrapers.

Mr Semenov won the best amateur award from the International Pano Awards, given out for panoric photographs, for the 2-D image. (more)

Tip: Be sure to click the 'view full screen' link for a spectacular helicopter ride around New York City, without the helicopter.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Business Espionage Alert: China Now Blocking VPNs

The "Great Firewall of China," designed to prevent its citizens from accessing some overseas content, has apparently undergone an upgrade.

And some observers say this may not only be an effort to stop citizens from reading or viewing Western information, but also to spy on international corporations doing business in the country who encrypt their internal communications...

"A number of companies providing virtual private network (VPN) services to users in China say the new system is able to 'learn, discover and block' the encrypted communications methods used by a number of different VPN systems," the report said.

"China Unicom, one of the biggest telecoms providers in the country, is now killing connections where a VPN is detected, according to one company with a number of users in China," the report said.  (more) (more)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"1984" Gets a New Look

You can't judge a book by its cover, but there's no denying that a thoughtful, bold packaging can make all the difference when it comes to picking up a tome from a shelf.

Penguin Press enlisted designer David Pearson to re-do the covers of five classic George Orwell novels. Among them is this standout cover for "1984," with both the title and the author's name "blacked out." In certain lights, you can see the title, however. 

It is of course a nod to the contents of Orwell's dystopian novel, where the misnamed Ministry of Truth rewrites and falsifies history to serve its own purpose. See the covers for other Orwell books by Pearson below. (more)


Investigative Journalist Finds Electronic Listening Device in Apartment

Ukraine - Lviv investigative journalist Taras Zozulinsky said he discovered an electronic listening device in his apartment on Jan. 6. He thinks it was planted because of his investigation into whether high-ranking police officers in Lviv Oblast are involved in the illicit drug trade.

"I didn't snitch on you. You snitched me!"
Police say they have launched criminal proceedings regarding intentional obstruction of journalistic activities, but complain that the newspaper is obstructing their work.

Zozulinsky said he did not trust the police, so the newspaper decided to give the device to a reliable and independent expert in Europe.

Zozulinsky said he found the device sewn to the label of a towel on a shelf and made a complaint to police the same day. Police interviewed him and searched the apartment at his request, but did not find any other bugs. (more)

My take... Until further evidence is brought forth, I'm saying he stole that towel from a hotel or a local gym, brought it home, and later discovered it had something extra in it. You can learn all about that something extra here. ~Kevin

Book Review - A Cybercop's Guide to Internet Child Safety

I am reading Glen Klinkhart's book, "A Cybercop's Guide to Internet Child Safety." After reading only two chapters, it is clear that this is a must-have book for every parent. 

The book begins with an Author's introduction. It sets the tone, i.e. Glen Klinkhart has not written this book to make a buck, he is on a much larger mission, and has the experience-clout to accomplish it. You see, when he was 15, his older sister was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered. Since then, he made cyber-security his life. Having worked with his team, I know first-hand they are very good at it.

Patriculary impressive is the layout and organization of his advice and guidence. The headlines and sub-heads are clear and concise, as are the explanations which follow. It is an instant, easy-to-understand education for every parent, no matter what their previous level of Internet savvy.

Most parents will find this book is THE answer to, "What can I do?" A few may feel policing their child's cyber-activities is an Sisyphean task, and bury their heads in the silicon. But hey, who ever said parenting was easy, or that everyone was up to the task. At least, "A Cybercop's Guide to Internet Child Safety" now makes this part of parenting do-able. All of us no longer can use ignorance as an excuse. Isn't protecting your child worth $25.00?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

From those wonderful folks who brought you Godzilla...

Two moments of security Zen, from Japan... SECOM's rentable private security drones.


and... "Flee, puny humans. FLEE!"


Larry Ellison's Sailing Team Gets Caught Spying - Pay $15,000 Fine

Larry Ellison's Oracle Team has been found guilty of spying on the Italian team by an international jury of sailing experts, reports Julia Prodis Sulek at the Mercury News.

The penalty shouldn't hurt too much: they have to give up five days of practice and pay a $15,000 fine. That couch change for billionaire Ellison, one of the world's richest men with a net worth of about $41 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.  (more)

Spies & SpyCams at the Supermarket

Germany - A former store detective who worked at the German supermarket Aldi has revealed to news outlet Der Spiegel that in addition to looking out for shoplifters, Aldi wanted him to spy on store employees and install hidden cameras.

"I had to say if an employee was working too slowly, engaged in an affair and reveal other private details such as their financial situation," the anonymous source told Der Spiegel, according to Business Insider.

But the alleged demands for staff surveillance didn't stop there. According to the German news site The Local, which reported on the Der Spiegel exposé, the unnamed source said he was asked to install tiny cameras in staff locker rooms and was threatened with losing his job when he refused. (more)

Computer Anti-Virus King Becomes a Spy?!?! decide.

Remember John McAfee? ...the man who, just weeks ago, went on the run from Belize after his neighbor was found murdered, claiming that the police wanted to kill him and frame him for the murder. 

He fled to Guatamala,...arrived in the US shortly after, and now he’s pecking out his tell-all tale via his blog, where he describes himself as the head of his own private spy operation.

According to the post he... purchased 75 laptops, loaded them with “invisible keystroke logging software,” packaged them back up so none would be the wiser, and gave them away to those in positions of power: law enforcement, government employees, etc. The software then sent McAfee text files of what was typed, and he soon had access to a variety of social media and email accounts.

Soon after, he amassed 23 women and six men whom he calls his operatives; eight of the women, he said, were so accomplished at their missions that they ended up living with him...

Of course, it’s important to remember some things: McAfee is known to be involved in drugs, even having had his place in Belize raided at one point on suspicion of meth manufacturing. (more)

Trakdot - Smart Baggage Surveillance

Paranoid about your luggage? 
Did it make the plane? 
Did it make the wrong plane? 
Where is it now? 

In March, you may be able to pinpoint where your luggage is even before the airline!

"Trakdot™ Luggage is constantly monitoring the cellular network to determine it's city location. When you fly, Trakdot™ Luggage knows and goes to sleep. Upon arriving at your destination, Trakdot™ Luggage wakes up and reports it's new location. Depending on your preferences, a text-message or email is sent to you confirming that your luggage has arrived with you." (more)

Apps for Investigators - Takes the legwork out of finding the most useful investigative tools

There are hundreds of thousands of apps out there, but only a select few are truly useful to the private investigator, private detective and law enforcement professional. 

You will find those apps at a new web site called Apps for Investigators.

David Ziegler has done the legwork of testing and evaluating apps for iphones, Androids, Blackberrys and ipad and other tablets. 

The web site lists apps that save investigators time and money, and assists them in the field. A small sampling may be may be seen immediately, and getting to the gold mine requires a simple log-in.

Need to know about new investigator-vetted apps more quickly? Follow Dave on Twitter.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Released: SpyWarn - Android Smartphone Anti-Spyware App

SpyWarn the simple-to-use forensic evaluation tool, used to check Android cell phones for spyware. Its unique forensic methodology makes it impossible to miss active spyware. 

SpyWarn™ begins with a FREE diagnostic survey – like a private consultation with a forensic expert. 

Based on your answers, a vulnerability Threat Level for your phone is computed.

If your Threat Level is low, there is little need to worry. Keep the app handy for future tests. If the Threat Level is medium to high, conduct further testing with SpyWarn PRO (an in-app upgrade). 

Additional features found in SpyWarn PRO:
• Automated analysis of key internal phone functions affected by spyware.
• An eBook version of, "Is My Cell Phone Bugged? Everything you need to know to keep your mobile communications private." (152 pages, $17.95 in hardcover.)
• An automatic Eavesdropping Alert function.
• Data and power statistics.
• A data & power graph.
• A history of every analysis you conduct.

Other "spyware detection" apps only scan for known spyware files. New or well hidden spyware is missed. SpyWarn's unique forensic methodology makes it impossible to miss active spyware. Available at Google Play. (more)

Security Director Alert - VoIP Phone Eavesdropping

Murray Associates warns clients that VoIP phones are inherently less secure than the older style phones. It is one reason they advise disconnecting phones in meeting rooms until they are needed. 

Ang Cui, through his extensive research, has moved this threat from theoretical to very real. 

For in-depth information we recommend viewing his presentation. (video)

High-tech telephones common on many workplace desks in the U.S. can be hacked and turned into eavesdropping devices, researchers at Columbia University have discovered.

The hack, demonstrated for NBC News, allows the researchers to turn on a telephone's microphone and listen in on conversations from anywhere around the globe. The only requirement, they say, is an Internet connection.

Doctoral candidate Ang Cui and Columbia Professor Sal Stolfo, who discovered the flaw while working on a grant from the U.S. Defense Department, say they can remotely order a hacked telephone to do anything they want and use software to hide their tracks. For example, they said they could turn on a webcam on a phone equipped with one or instruct the phone's LED light to stay dark when the phone's microphone has been turned on, so an eavesdropping subject wouldn’t be alerted that their phone has been hacked. (more)

Once upon a time... privacy was the norm.


Obama extends government wireless (should be warrantless) wiretapping for another five years -- and the public reacts with a big yawn... 

"Never say die."
...sound of silence greet(ed) the five-year extension of extraordinary spying powers handed to the National Security Agency. Even in an age when attention deficit disorder seems to be the default mode, this was something else. In the closing days of 2012, President Obama signed into law a bill that lets the government avoid judicial review, leaving the NSA free through the end of his term to intercept international e-mails and phone calls without needing a court order. (The new law is awkwardly named the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012, and it reauthorizes 2008's FISA Amendments Act, which modified the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.) (more)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Private Spy Drone Prompts Criminal Indictments

TX - An anonymous individual or group’s private spy drone’s images have resulted in a criminal indictments for a US meat packing company. The images were taken nearly a year ago and received so much attention that authorities took notice and acted.

The images were taken above an Oak Cliff, Texas-based meat packing company and revealed a large-scale release of pigs blood into a creek flowing into the Trinity river. The business, Columbia Packing Company, and its owner, Joe Ondrusek, are facing 12 indictments for water pollution. 

The consequences for the owner, his relative, and the company could be severe. The company could be forced to pay between $6,000 and $1.5 million in fines, while Ondrusek could receive up to five years in prison and faces a $100,000 fine for each charge. The owner and his relative are facing up to 10 years in prison for the alleged tampering with evidence and could pay a $10,000 fine for each additional count. (more)