Thursday, April 24, 2014

Voyeurgler Caught - Check Your Vents

CA - On March 18, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of a burglary at a home in the area of Bonita Place and Verde Place in San Miguel. A suspect was identified at that time.

During the course of the investigation, deputies discovered the suspect had gained access to three homes in that area and installed a camera in the ventilation system. In each case, a camera was positioned behind a vent in the master bedroom of the house.

The suspect was able to record images by use of a wireless camera and receiver. The suspect has been identified as Eutimio Contreras Anguiano, 34 of San Miguel. Anguiano was arrested on April 13 and faces charges of burglary, eavesdropping, and making criminal threats. (more)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Security Alert: iPhones, iPads, iMacs, etc.

Apple has patched versions of its iOS and OS X operating systems to fix yet another extremely critical cryptography vulnerability that leaves some users open to surreptitious eavesdropping. Readers are urged to install the updates immediately. (more)

An Extraordinary Collection of Spy Cameras

'Willie Feinberg was not a spy as far as we know," says Charles Leski of Mossgreen Auctions, "but he certainly understood their tradecraft."

Click to enlarge.
Evidence of this is his extraordinary collection of 225 miniature cameras, many designed especially for spying and espionage. These went on sale through Mossgreen in Melbourne on April 13, and sold well, fetching a total of $75,847 (including buyer's premiums, IBP). The average result was 10 per cent above estimates.

Click to enlarge.
Leski says there were about 50 people in the rooms and another 150 participating by phone, on the web and through prior bids. Foreign interest came from Germany, China and the United States.

There was strong interest in Feinberg's spy cameras, with some having the joke-shop quality of Get Smart. (more)
Click to enlarge.

Conversnitch Brings New Meaning to... "A little bird told me."

As former NSA director Michael Hayden learned on an Amtrak train last year, anyone with a smartphone instantly can become a livetweeting snoop. Now a whole crowd of amateur eavesdroppers could be as close as the nearest light fixture.

Two artists have revealed Conversnitch, a device they built for less than $100 that resembles a lightbulb or lamp and surreptitiously listens in on nearby conversations and posts snippets of transcribed audio to Twitter. Kyle McDonald and Brian House say they hope to raise questions about the nature of public and private spaces in an era when anything can be broadcast by ubiquitous, Internet-connected listening devices...

The surveillance gadget they unveiled Wednesday is constructed from little more than a Raspberry Pi miniature computer, a microphone, an LED and a plastic flower pot. It screws into and draws power from any standard bulb socket. Then it uploads captured audio via the nearest open Wi-Fi network to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform, which McDonald and House pay small fees to transcribe the audio and post lines of conversation to Conversnitch’s Twitter account. “This is stuff you can buy and have running in a few hours,” says McDonald, a 28-year-old adjunct professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts. (more)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Business Espionage: A Victim Business Speaks

Zimbabwe - Savanna Tobacco says industrial espionage by its tobacco industry arch rivals is suffocating its potential and capacity to increase exports by a factor of at least 50 percent.

Executive chairman Mr Adam Molai said in an interview last week that customers were being haunted and their products confiscated in what could throw the victims out of business.

Mr Molai said Savanna, one of Zimbabwe's biggest cigarette makers, could instantly increase exports by 50 percent if the issue of the alleged industrial espionage is resolved. (more)

FutureWatch: How Police Can Spy on a Whole City

CA - In a secret test of mass surveillance technology, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sent a civilian aircraft over Compton, California, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality.

Compton residents weren't told about the spying, which happened in 2012. 

"We literally watched all of Compton during the times that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people," Ross McNutt of Persistent Surveillance Systems told the Center for Investigative Reporting. 

The technology he's trying to sell to police departments all over America can stay aloft for up to six hours. Like Google Earth, it enables police to zoom in on certain areas. And like TiVo, it permits them to rewind, so that they can look back and see what happened anywhere they weren't watching in real time.  (more) (video)

Weird Science: Bugging Plants & Reading Minds

Spying on plant communication with tiny bugs...
Internal communications in plants share striking similarities with those in animals, new research reveals. With the help of tiny insects, scientists were able to tap into this communication system. Their results reveal the importance of these communications in enabling plants to protect themselves from attack by insect pests. (more)

Scientists explore possibilities of mind reading...

At Yale University, researchers recently used a brain scanner to identify which face someone was looking at — just from their brain activity. At the University of California-Berkeley, scientists are moving beyond "reading" simple thoughts to predicting what someone will think next. 

And at Carnegie Mellon, in Pittsburgh, cognitive neuroscientist Marcel Just has a vision that will make Google Glass seem very last century. Instead of using your eye to direct a cursor — finding a phone number for a car repair shop, for instance — he fantasizes about a device that will dial the shop by interpreting your thoughts about the car (minus the expletives).

Mind reading technology isn't yet where the sci-fi thrillers predict it will go, but researchers aren't ruling out such a future.

"In principle, our thoughts could someday be readable," said Just, who directs the school's Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging. (more)

Business Espionage: 2-Day Seminar in Australia

Today, in many countries, espionage has become a paramount threat to business corporations. Asia Pacific is no exception to economic espionage where the act of information theft, misappropriation, acquisition of sensitive financial, business or trade data, stealing proprietary and technology information, receiving, purchasing, or possessing a trade secret is becoming rampant. Many think it is fine to do this... 

Today espionage committed across the corporate landscape accounts for up to 100 billion US$ per year. This figure is a reflection of the premise: We know what we know but the total losses per annum are probably unknown. 

The vast majority of espionage activities are conducted by employees of those companies or by contractors employed by them. Statistically, 75 percent of proprietary information is lost from physical actions (bugging and traditional tactics), rather than hacking...

This course is a comprehensive and practical workshop on Economic Espionage... designed for security and business professionals who recognize the critical importance of protecting their intellectual property and sensitive data to predators.

Today espionage is the most lethal bug that spreads faster than diseases and cripples businesses.
If it is not the decision of the Senior Management than who else to plug the gaps and do the wrong right. 

This specialized training will be held on 18-19 Jun 2014 in Australia, Sydney. (more)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

SpyWarn™ 2.0 Anti-spyware App for Smartphones

According to The New York Times, anti-spyware apps don't work very well.

The reason...
Most "spyware detection" apps only scan for known spyware. New and well hidden spyware goes unnoticed, and detecting baseband eavesdropping (very serious) isn't even considered. 

(patent pending)
SpyWarn™ 2.0 is a new and unique forensic methodology. It provides the functionality to detect all active spyware by monitoring what the infection is doing, and... ALL spyware is doing something.  

Plus, SpyWarn™ 2.0 detects both spyware and baseband eavesdropping in real-time.

Not just spyware detection... 
This forensic app also contains an eBook version of, "Is My Cell Phone Bugged?" at no extra charge. This informative eBook is about regaining your overall communications privacy, and keeping snoops out of your life.

A forensic examination by a specialist generally costs between $200.00 - $300.00 per inspection, and the end result is not as informative as SpyWarn™.

SpyWarn™ 2.0 is priced to help everyone, only $2.99. 

Don't wait until you have a spyware problem. Get SpyWarn™ on your phone now. Start conducting benchmark tests and saving them to SpyWarn's History file. When you do get a spyware infection it will be very apparent.

Privacy Policy - We are serious about privacy. Only you get to see the data SpyWarn™ collects; it never leaves your phone.

100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Try SpyWarn™ for 7 days. If you are not satisfied with its performance, tell me why so I can improve it, and I will refund the full purchase price to you. You keep the app and eBook.

If SpyWarn™ helps you, help others regain their privacy by writing a positive review on Google Play.

Thank you,
Kevin D. Murray CPP, CISM, CFE, MPSC
and The SpyWarn™ Team

Bugging Fears Force a Conference to Switch Hotels.

Turkey - AK Party officials decided not to hold their biannual meeting at the Asya Termal, a hotel run by a Gülen Movement affiliate, over concerns that the venue may be bugged.

The hotel in Ankara's Kızılcahamam district was the traditional venue for the biannual consultation meetings of AK Party members until after private conversations in the previous meeting were secretly recorded and leaked.
Gülenists are also accused of secretly recording private meetings at hotel rooms via hidden cameras. (more)

Abandoned Spy Stations & Tunnels

Germany - A Cold War relic lies abandoned on top of a mountain made of rubble, built over a Nazi college that couldn't be destroyed after the end of World War II. 

Click to enlarge.
The gates of the former US spy station are locked and secure; its perimeter sealed by an uncompromising high fence, an angry crisscross mesh of wires that clearly imply: “Eintritt Verboten!”
Welcome to Teufelsberg, literally “Devil's Mountain,” a hill reaching 114.7 meters above sea-level, made from an estimated 12 million cubic meters of war rubble (apparently about 400,000 bombed houses) pushed together in the north of the Grunewald forest in West Berlin. (more) (video)

Canada - Driving aimlessly along country roads you never know what you will come across, and earlier this week while looking for visiting snowy owls, we came across something that seemed worthy of investigation. A lone government sign in a farmer’s field north of Richmond, simply labeled “Area 9” with a locked gate to a long abandoned road...

“The site was part of a Cold War Project for over the horizon radio detection finding, likely used to listen to embassy communications. It consisted of a very large array of receiver antennas laid out in a NS and EW axis. The array was almost a mile long and antennae wiring fed back to a building south along the lane-way.” (more)

...and David W. Brown chronicles... 
5 Spy Tunnels From Around the World

FutureWatch: Belkin Secure Web Camera Adapter

The Belkin Secure Web Camera Adapter is designed to securely connect USB web cameras to computers in a secure environment. It is the perfect security solution where classified or sensitive information is presented in an environment where computers are present.

A time-limited activation button disconnects the web camera’s USB connection when it is not actively used, making it impossible to keep the web camera active when a video call is not in progress. The user must periodically press the button to extend the video call if needed.

The Belkin Secure Web Camera Adapter is easy and intuitive to operate, and should be used whenever web cameras are used in boardrooms, offices, and other areas where sensitive conversations take place. (more)

Note: This product was announced March 5th, but does not appear in any on-line stores as of today.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Süleyman Shah Tomb Bugging Case - Solved

Turkey - Investigations carried out by the MİT concluded how the recordings were made and exposed, and who was responsible for them. It appears that a lower-level official working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and affiliated with the Gülen Movement placed a bugging device in a phone located in Davutoğlu's office and removed it immediately after the meeting concluded.  

The issue will reportedly be taken to the courts once all the details are finalized by the MİT's investigation. (more)

Sports Espionage aka Business Espionage but All About the Money

UK - A spying scandal has rocked the English Premier League, with Cardiff City demanding its defeat against Crystal Palace earlier this month be wiped from the record.

The Welsh club has delivered a five-page letter to Premier League officials claiming that Palace manager Tony Pullis was given the exact starting line-up Cardiff would play several days before the teams met on April 5.

And Cardiff didn’t pull any punches in the letter, pointing the finger squarely at Palace sporting director Iain Moody as the man that obtained the team sheet...
How was it all uncovered? The BBC reports that Moody “accidentally” texted the line-up to Crystal Palace legend Dougie Freedman, who happens to be a friend of Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He called him to let him know that the opposition had received inside information. (more)

Walter Mitty Alert - Spy Based Team Building in the UK

Our mission (should you choose to accept it) is to provide your group with some competitive outdoor fun!

Espionage is a game designed for companies and groups looking for an exciting event to inspire and engage. It is particularly effective as a team-building platform. The event is a hi-tech and fast paced treasure hunt around the City-Centre, that involves various gadgets, tasks and challenges. All of the action is tracked online so the teams can follow their progress using our special mapping scoreboard. Strong teamwork and tactics are essential in order to win the challenge. Both the half day mission and full day mission events are available. (more)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Special ed student records proof of bullying, threatened with charges of wiretapping - RESOLVED

The Allegheny County district attorney will drop a disorderly conduct conviction being appealed by a high school student who recorded others who bullied him. 

The prosecutor's decision Wednesday comes a day after South Fayette High School student, Christian Stanfield, publicly criticized the charge.

Township police charged Stanfield with violating the state's wiretapping law for using his iPad to record the taunts of other students in February. (more) (original post) (more coverage)

PM Bugs Out Over Tap

Romania's prime minister has moved out of his office because he believes the country's president has bugged his phone.

Victor Ponta cleared his desk in an office in the defense ministry to escape the alleged surveillance
by President Traian Basescu.

It is the latest development in a bitter feud between the two politicians. (more)

Putin on the Taps

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that his country is not conducting mass wiretapping of its citizens... 

Click to enlarge.
"Certainly, we do not take liberty of such a vast scale, an uncontrolled scale. Hopefully, we will never take this liberty," Putin said in his four-hour live chat with Russian citizens. "Besides, we do not have the hardware and funds the United States currently possesses..." (more)

BlackBerry Q10 $349.99 + Spyware $2.99 = Live Eavesdropping, and more...

via BlackBerry World...
"This app allows users to remotely control their BlackBerry 10 device using commands sent via email messages. 

For example if the user has to lend their device to a friend or family for a period of time. In the meantime, the user would still like to know if there are any messages that came for them, or would still like to access some files that are stored in the device file system but since they do not have their device, they are currently out of reach. With this app, the user can simply send commands to the device to fetch this information even while they do not physically have access to the device. 

Another example of a use case is if the user loses their phone, or misplaces it somewhere but they are in urgent need of their messages and some files stored in the file system. They might also want to actually track down where their phone is by using additional means outside of BlackBerry? Protect. For example, they might want to hear the background noise around where the phone is currently to help narrow down where the phone may have been placed..." (rolls eyes)

Two of the many features:
-Spy tools: Remotely turn on/off microphone and get live feed.
-Commands can be sent from anywhere as long as the device has access to the mailbox. This means no additional installation of any other software or plugins is necessary!

Permissions Explanation:
1) Calendar: App uses this to process the 'calendar' commands to let you access your calendar events remotely.
2) Camera: App uses this to process the 'flash' command to access the camera and turn on the flashlight.
3) Contacts: App uses this to process the 'contact' query commands to let you access your contact details remotely.
4) Email/PIN Messages: App uses this to monitor your target inbox to actually listen for command messages and reply to them with the requested data.
5) GPS Location/Location: App uses this to process the 'location' commands to let you access your device's location remotely.
6) Microphone: App uses this to process the 'mic' commands to let you access your device's microphone to record audio remotely.
7) Shared Files: App uses this to process the 'get' commands to let you access your files and media remotely.
8) Text Messages: App uses this to process the 'unread sms' commands to let you access your unread SMS messages remotely.
(more) (video)

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

You probably don't even own a BlackBerry, but if you are in a meeting and somebody else does, beware. 
• Don't talk behind their back when they go to the restroom and leave their BlackBerry behind. They may have a second phone in their other pocket.
• Be aware they may have an accomplice remotely recording the meeting. 
• Be skeptical if you hear, "Oh, I left my phone in your office/car by mistake."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Don't Be a Pawn: A Warning to Students Abroad

Former American college student Glenn Duffie Shriver studied abroad in Shanghai, People's Republic of China.

There, he became a target of Chinese intelligence services and crossed the line when he agreed to participate in espionage-type activity.

He pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit espionage for a foreign government and was sentenced to a four-year term in federal prison.

This video contains excerpts from a prison cell interview where Shriver tells his own story, and warns U.S. students about the foreign intelligence threat. (more)

“There are friendly countries, but there are no friendly intelligence services."

TX - Students and visitors caught a glimpse of the complex and deadly world of counterintelligence Monday evening at “Spy Games: The Art of Counterintelligence” as two espionage experts discussed security issues the U.S. faces at home and abroad.

James Olson, former chief of counterintelligence at the CIA and senior lecturer at Texas A&M’s Bush School, and Michael Waguespack, former senior counterintelligence executive with the FBI, described how the U.S. faces a threat rarely seen or heard of by the public — spying.

“There are friendly countries, but there are no friendly intelligence services,” Olson said. 

Olson and Waguespack described a world hidden from the public, where countries use sophisticated spy networks to steal U.S. political and technological secrets and to compromise U.S. spy networks abroad.

Olson named China, Russia and Cuba as the primary threats in U.S. counterintelligence.

“Never in my memory has our country been more in peril at home and abroad than it is right now,” Olson said. (more)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Banksy on Government Spying

UK - It looks as though mysterious street artist Banksy may have been in Cheltenham, after a mural pocking fun at government surveillance resembling the Bristol artist’s style have appeared on the side of a house on the corner of Fairview Road and Hewlett Road overnight.

They depict 1950s-style spies, clad in trench coat and trilby hats, carrying listening devices.

They provide a perfect foil to Cheltenham’s role as the home for listening post, GCHQ.

The painted figures, on a wall surrounding a BT telephone box appeared overnight on Sunday morning. (more)

FutureWatch: Infrared Night Scope in a Contact Lens

Thermal imaging has already found its way onto smartphones, but a team of researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M) have gone even further with the creation of an ultrathin graphene-based light detector

Being only slightly thicker than two sheets of graphene, the approach has the potential to put infrared heat detecting technology into a contact lens...

“We can make the entire design super-thin,” states Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at U-M, "It can be stacked on a contact lens or integrated with a cell phone." (more)

UK Universities to Offer Spy Degrees - "Take your seat, Mr. Bond."

Britain's cyber spy agency - the GCHQ is working on the country's first ever certified degrees for spies.

GCHQ is supposedly working on approving MSc in cyber security or spying according to the briefing note the surveillance agency has sent out to universities that offer MSc courses in cyber security.

These universities have been asked to apply for certification of their course by June 20.  

This means graduates will soon be able to boast about having passed a GCHQ-certified degree. (more)

Why Your TSCM Team Avoids Checking for Government Surveillance... or should.

Baltimore - A Pasadena man faces up to five years in prison for tipping off a drug trafficker about a federal wiretap last year.

Joshua Taylor Ferguson, 34, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Tuesday to unlawfully providing notice of electronic surveillance. His sentencing is scheduled for June. (more)

Perch App - spy on your competitors … and steal a few moves

Closely helps small businesses keep track of the competition with Perch, a social monitoring app for iOS and Android... 

In addition to enabling companies to see their competitors’ social chatter — posts, reviews, promotions, etc. — Perch also recommends technology products to business owners based on the data it collects about its competitors’ operations. (more)

The Spy’s Toolkit: Espionage Gadgets Throughout the Ages [Infographic]

Everyone loves a good spy gadget. 

From the childhood days of wearing mirrored sunglasses and writing in invisible ink to watching Q’s ridiculous gadgets in James Bond movies, there is a fondness I have for all things ‘spy’. Here in this infographic we go back in history to some of the best real-life spy gadgets. I stress the ‘real life’ aspect because although you won’t find anything quite like James Bond’s underwater-car or wristwatch grapple-guns (though camera pigeons come close to that level of awesome), there are however some pretty incredible stories behind some of these gadgets... (more) (original)

Click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Second Eavesdropping Bug is Found in Google Chrome

A security blogger has discovered a flaw in Google Chrome that allows attackers to turn any victim's machine into a listening post.

A blogger named Guya explained that a deprecated speech API known as "x-webkit-speech" can be harnessed to run in the background without any indication to the end user that their microphone is on. His blog post includes a video that demonstrates the flaw, which you can view below.

A developer simply needs to add a single line of code to a website to exploit the bug and gain access to an audio feed of the victim's environment. (more)

Secret WW1 Spy Files Have Been Made Available Online

UK - Interrogation reports and photographs are among secret MI5 files about World War One spies being made available online for the first time.

Among the spies detailed are Swallows and Amazons author Arthur Ransome and Dutch spy Mata Hari, who was executed for spying for the Germans.

More than 150 files are being made available in the digitized release.

It is part of a series by the National Archives to mark the centenary of World War One. (more)
The files can be accessed at the National Archives link - First World War 100.

Turkish government rocked by illegal wiretapping

Turkey - Some150 officials were dismissed from the various government agencies regarding illegal wiretapping, the Turkish Interior Minister Efka Ala says.

At present time, the measures are being taken for identification of the organizers of illegal wiretapping, the Turkish Anadolu newspaper quotes the minister as saying.

Turkish media reported on Feb. 25 that in 2011 telephone conversations of about 7,000 people associated with the representatives of both the ruling and opposition parties, including family members of the PM were wiretapped, as part of the anti-terrorist operation carried out by the Istanbul prosecutor's office against the Salam terrorist organization. (more)

Irish government rocked by exposure of secret police wire-tapping

Ireland - A major scandal over a long-running programme of secret surveillance by the Garda (police) has engulfed the Fine Gael/Labour Party government in Dublin.

Leaks show that for over 30 years Garda stations and prisons across the country have been bugged with listening devices, which have been used to record outgoing and incoming telephone calls. The phones of journalists involved in investigations relating to police activity have been tapped.

Among the thousands of calls on record are hundreds between suspects and their solicitors, a grave infringement on the basic right of defendants to consult in private with a legal representative. According to the information so far made public, such practices continued until November last year before former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan supposedly stopped them. (more)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Special ed student records proof of bullying, threatened with charges of wiretapping

PA - A special education high school student made an audio recording of a bullying incident and was later threatened with charges of wiretapping.

School administrators agreed to reduce the sentence, and March 19 the student, from South Fayette High School in McDonald, Pa., was charged with disorderly conduct.

The student and his mother, Shea Love, testified in front of District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet that he had been repeatedly shoved and tripped at school, and that a fellow student had even attempted to burn him with a cigarette lighter. (more)

SpyCam Found in NYC Subway

Be careful on the subway. Sure, the platforms are safer than ever, and the cars are even pretty clean. But credit card thieves seem to come up with a new way to steal your personal information every day. The latest ploy: a card-reading spy camera, hiding above the MetroCard machine. 

The MTA just put out a call for customers "to be vigilant" when buying MetroCards, after finding the hidden camera inside of a power outlet in the heavily trafficked 59th St-Columbus Circle station. A passenger noticed the device and ripped it down before taking it to the station agent. The MTA also found a card-skimming device installed on one of the machines. (more)

SpyCams Found in Leeds United Stadium Boardroom... and Toilets

UK - Police have begun an investigation at Leeds United after spy cameras were apparently found at the Elland Road stadium in a security sweep ordered by controversial new boss Massimo Cellino.

West Yorkshire Police would not confirm details of their inquiry but, according to reports, officers were called to the ground on Wednesday after surveillance equipment was found in the boardroom and toilets.

The police inquiry centered around an allegation of theft, relating to the club funds apparently used to buy the cameras. (more)

In-Flight Wi-Fi: Privacy Going GoGoing Gone

The NSA is harvesting the online data of millions of airline passengers who use inflight WiFi across the U.S., a secret letter has revealed.

Gogo, the main supplier of WiFi to airlines in the U.S., are among a host of network providers that have been handing over information gleaned from air travelers' browsing history.

The news has enraged privacy campaigners who say the data exchange may be in violation of U.S. law.

A letter, leaked to Wired, Gogo admitted violating the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) - a 1994 wiretapping law that gave a backdoor to government agencies to monitor telecom and broadband activity.

But Gogo states in the letter that it added a raft of new measures to its service that made spying on users easier for the authorities. (more)

NSA Issues "Best Practices for Keeping Your Home Network Secure"

All right. Stop giggling. 

If you can get past the double irony (recommendation #5 being the second), this 8-page pdf document is really quite good. (more)

Friday, April 11, 2014

App Scam: Top Ranked Anti-Spyware App Removed from Google Play

Until Sunday night, the top new paid app on the Google Play store was a complete scam. Google Inc. quickly removed “Virus Shield” from the Google Play store, but not before thousands of people downloaded the fake anti-malware app, exposing a major flaw in the open strategy Google has taken with its mobile app marketplace.

"Virus Shield" claimed that it protected Android smartphone users from viruses, malware and spyware, and that it even improved the speed of phones. It touted its minimal impact on battery life and its additional functionality as an ad blocker. At only $3.99, "Virus Shield" sounded like a pretty good deal to the tens of thousands of people who downloaded it in less than two weeks. 

Virus Shield downloads Google Play Store (screenshot by Android Police)

Those 10,000 people even seemed to enjoy "Virus Shield," as the app maintained a 4.7-star rating from about 1,700 users. Another 2,607 users recommended it on the Google Play store, helping “Virus Shield” get ranked as the No. 1 new paid app and third overall top paid app. (more)

Coming soon to Google Play, something that really works.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Red Flag - Doing Business in China? Using Your Intellectual Property? Take Note...

Knowles, a supplier of microphones to Apple and Samsung Electronics, said its lawyers were shut out of court proceedings in an intellectual property suit filed by a Chinese rival, highlighting the uncertainties foreign companies can face in China’s legal system.

Itasca, Ill.-based Knowles is the world’s largest supplier of micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) microphones, which are widely used in smartphones. The company has a factory in Suzhou, near Shanghai. Since 2012, Knowles has faced stronger competition from business with Apple from Chinese competitors Goertek and AAC Technology Holdings. Knowles and Goertek have been locked in legal battles in the U.S. and China since June, with each accusing the other of patent infringements...

Knowles said Wednesday the Weifang Intermediate People’s Court in China denied its lawyers access to the courthouse as the trial against Goertek proceeded on March 31.

“The Weifang Court’s decision to bar Knowles from the legal proceedings makes a fair trial impossible,” said Knowles Chief Executive Jeffrey Niew.

Intellectual property has long been a major issue for foreign companies that operate in China...

Lawyers in China said the situation Knowles is alleging is unusual and raises questions of whether other companies could face such a situation. (more)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

If You Don't Sweep, Don't Try to Sweep it Under the Rug When it Happens

Days after the chief financial officer of a Tampa maintenance company was accused of recording videos of female employees using the bathroom and showering, the former information technology employee who exposed the chief financial officer's alleged actions has sued the company and his ex-boss.

On March 28, Jeremy Lenkowski, the former information technology director for MaintenX , filed a lawsuit accusing the company's president and vice president, among others, of failing to act after Lenkowski showed them videos he'd discovered on CFO James Stanton Jr.'s laptop in 2010. (more)

Nearly Invisible, Lens-Free Camera is the Future of Spying

The camera modules used in today's smartphones are typically pretty small, as you can see from the image below. However if you look to the left, you'll see something even smaller that's set to be the future of spying.  

Researchers at Rambus have developed a miniscule camera with a 200 micron (µm) sensor, which is smaller than the tip of a pencil. It's also completely lens-free, with the tiny sensor mapping out light signals before a processor compiles the data into a viewable image. (more)

Sports Spying (aka business espionage): Spying on Earthquakes

Mexico's Deportivo Toluca has been handed a $5,000 fine by CONCACAF's disciplinary committee for spying on a San Jose Earthquakes training session.

San Jose Earthquakes claimed that Toluca had filmed, without authorization, parts of a closed training session on March 18 at Estadio Nemesio Diez, before the return leg of their Champions League quarter final...

The Mexican/US spygate scandal is not the first time one club has been caught illegally watching another's training session. 

In a slightly more light-hearted incident in Italy last year a coach from Genoa was caught "spying" on local rivals Sampdoria of their derby clash. The agent was dressed in Rambo-style camouflage and hiding in the training ground bushes.

Sampdoria said in a statement he was hiding "like Rambo" but "failed to overcome Sampdoria's intelligence and counter-intelligence operations". (more)

Moral: Have a counter-intelligence strategy. Professional counterespionage help here.

Privacy: On-line Search Privacy Options

Explore services that allow you to search online without compromising your privacy.

Covert Video Nails Greek Politico

The Greek prime minister’s chief political adviser has resigned over a secretly filmed video in which he allegedly says the government was behind a judicial clampdown on the far-right. Panayiotis Baltakos was reportedly filmed last autumn during a meeting at the Greek parliament with an MP from the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party. (more)

Murray Security Tip #416 - Evil Photo Double Extension Trick

                     Isn't this the cutest kitty?
Click CuteKitty.jpg to enlarge.
DON'T CLICK, it might be the old double extension trick. 

Although this photo does NOT contain a virus, others might.

Many Windows computers will display emailed CuteKitty.jpg.exe – an executable program – as CuteKitty.jpg – which seems harmless.

When you click, you might be shown a cute kitty... while a virus is loading in the background.

Tip 1 - Don't click on stuff if you don't know where it has been. 
Tip 2 - If you want to click anyway, open Windows search; enter "folder options"; select Folder Options; View tab, uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types." Check for the double extension trick.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Privacy - The Diamond Principle

Privacy is a multifaceted gem. Like a diamond, the sum of its part is what makes the whole. Lose clarity, lose value. Lose the right color, lose value. Lose weight, lose value.

Electronic surveillance privacy is only one facet of your privacy diamond. Get to know the folks make up some of privacy's other angles...

Why Is Privacy So Damn Important Anyway?
Privacy is so much more than the right to keep information secret within yourself. It provides the right to express yourself and expose yourself within small groups of trusted associates precisely because confidentiality is respected within the group. The current collection of online executives belittle privacy as no longer relevant in the new digital age. And they are precisely the ones who protect their privacy with the most vehemence. Look how revealing Mark Zuckerberg is not, on his own Facebook page. He sued in Massachusetts to keep information about his career secret.

Privacy is essential for mental health, for a quality of life. And so it is not about whether you “don’t have anything to hide.” It’s about all of us, and the value to society in having autonomous, assertive individuals with the opportunity to learn and take risks and make good decisions in dignity and uninterrupted contemplation. Call it privacy. 

~Robert Ellis Smith, author / publisher, expert witness on privacy, credit reporting, surveillance, medical confidentiality, Social Security numbers, and identity theft. Keep current on privacy topics with his newsletter Privacy Journal, and all of his books. (more

Ultimate Privacy... How to Become Invisible.
In 1959, J. J. (Jack) Luna sold his outdoor advertising business in the Upper Midwest and moved with his wife and small children to the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa. Outwardly, he was a professional writer and photographer. Secretly, he worked underground in an activity that was at that time illegal under the regime of Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

In 1970 Franco yielded to intense pressure from the western world and moderated Spain's laws, leaving Luna free to come in from the cold. By that time, however, privacy had become an ingrained habit. In the years that followed he started up various one-person low-profile businesses, built them up and then sold them.

Luna is especially interested in designing and building secret spaces and hiding places. He currently has a 3300-square foot three-level safe house for sale that is set in an almost-invisible location despite being within city limits. The exterior is complete but the interior is unfinished, awaiting a buyer who will decide which spaces or rooms are to have secret entrances. The approximate price, when finished according the buyer’s instructions, will be $795,000, plus (if desired) the cost of a secret escape tunnel into the adjoining forest. The location is in the Pacific Northwest. (...or so we are told. Remember, we are dealing with the Invisible Man here.) (more)
~JJ Luna, International Privacy Consultant, and author — How to Become Invisible.

Smartphone kill-switch could save consumers $2.6 billion per year...

...and why you will probably never see it.
Technology that remotely makes a stolen smartphone useless could save American consumers up to $2.6 billion per year if it is implemented widely and leads to a reduction in theft of phones, according to a new report...

Americans currently spend around $580 million replacing stolen phones each year and $4.8 billion paying for handset insurance... (more)

Do you really think phone and insurance companies are going to kill this goose?

Nikola Tesla Redux - Wireless Power Finally Arrives

via one of our top Canadian Blue Blaze irregulars...
"We're going to transfer power without any kind of wires,"
says Dr Hall, now Chief Technology Officer at WiTricity, a startup developing wireless "resonance" technology.

"But, we're not actually putting electricity in the air. What we're doing is putting a magnetic field in the air." ...

In the house of the future, wire-free energy transfer could be as easy as wireless internet.

If all goes to WiTricity's plans, smartphones will charge in your pocket as you wander around, televisions will flicker with no wires attached, and electric cars will refuel while sitting on the driveway. (more)

In 1891, Nikola Tesla gave a lecture for the members of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in New York City, where he made a striking demonstration. In each hand he held a gas discharge tube, an early version of the modern fluorescent bulb. The tubes were not connected to any wires, but nonetheless they glowed brightly during his demonstration. Tesla explained to the awestruck attendees that the electricity was being transmitted through the air by the pair of metal sheets which sandwiched the stage. He went on to speculate how one might increase the scale of this effect to transmit wireless power and information over a broad area, perhaps even the entire Earth. As was often the case, Tesla's audience was engrossed but bewildered. (more)

No more replacing batteries in wireless bugging devices, voice recorders and spycams! 

Interesting side note... Leon Theremin invented a wireless bugging device that didn't need batteries back in the 1940's. (more)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

FCC Frees More Bandwidth - Wireless Eavesdropping Becomes Harder to Detect

The Federal Communications Commission approved measures on Monday that will free up more airwaves for Wi-Fi and wireless broadband...

Unlike the airwaves used for mobile phone traffic, which are licensed to a specific company, unlicensed spectrum can be used by anyone. Previous establishments of unlicensed airwaves led to innovations like garage-door openers, baby monitors, wireless microphones* and Wi-Fi networks. (more)

* Want to hear a Broadway play, live, for free? Park your butt near any Broadway theater at showtime. Bring along a scanning radio receiver and search for the wireless microphones. This trick will work in most other cities as well, as long as the wireless microphones are using frequency modulation (FM). Most still do.

The same trick works near Boardrooms, and hotel conference centers...

The Tale of the Eavesdropping Husbands, or Peek-A-Boo, SEC You

A man is being charged with violating a duty of trust by trading during a blackout window after he overheard work calls made by his wife.

“Spouses and other family members may gain access to highly confidential information about public companies as part of their relationship of trust,” said Jina L. Choi, director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office. “In those circumstances, family members have a duty to protect and safeguard that information, not to trade on it.

Tyrone Hawk of Los Gatos, Calif., overheard his wife, a finance manager at multinational computer technology corporation Oracle Corp speaking of her company’s plan to acquire Acme Packet Inc. Hawk also had a conversation with his wife in which she informed him that there was a blackout window for trading Oracle securities because it was in the process of acquiring another company, the SEC said.

In an unrelated case, the SEC alleges that Ching Hwa Chen of San Jose, Calif., profited from gleaning confidential information in mid-2012 that his wife’s employer, Informatica Corp., would miss its quarterly earnings target for the first time in 31 consecutive quarters. During a drive to vacation in Reno, Nev., Chen overheard business calls by his wife, who previously advised Chen not to trade in Informatica securities under any circumstances. (more)

Hawk agreed to pay more than $300,000 to settle the SEC’s charges.

Chen agreed to pay approximately $280,000 to settle the SEC’s charges.

Business Espionage: Invisibility & Examples of Tactics

There are three primary reasons that we don't hear more about corporate espionage:
  1. Because businesses often don’t realize they’ve been compromised. 
  2. If they do find out, a public announcement would be counterproductive, eroding investor confidence. 
  3. Finally, industrial espionage works both ways — companies may keep compromises quiet to preserve their own business intelligence gathering activities.
Five recent court cases highlighting business espionage tactics...
  • Buying Trade Secrets
  • Digging Up Dirt, Literally
  • Employee Poaching
  • Classified Ads
  • Cyber Theft
Click on more for all the details. (more)