Sunday, March 30, 2014

Murray Security Tip # 415 - iPhone - The Spy in Your Pocket

Did you know, your iPhone keeps track of where you go? 

Check it out. Buried deep in your Settings menu is the proof. To see it, navigate this path:
  • Settings
  • Privacy
  • Location Services
  • System Services
  • Frequent Locations
  • History
WOW! Locations, dates, times, number of visits, and a map!
You can turn it off and clear the history.
One more reason to use quality password protection.

Business Espionage: BAT Spies Smoking Gun

Sensational recordings and documents show how South Africa’s largest JSE-listed company, cigarette giant British American Tobacco (BAT), appears to be committing “industrial espionage” on a grand scale, running a network of “agents” placed to spy inside rival organisations.

This evidence, uncovered as part of a year-long Business Times investigation, raises questions about the tobacco company’s ethics, and highlights shady dealings that are understood to have been reported to the authorities in South Africa and the UK, where it is headquartered.

One agent, who was placed in a senior position within BAT’s rivals, said that BAT’s “worldwide” practice of making secret payments to agents could be considered “international money-laundering”.

“They had a deal to pay me for industrial espionage, and may I say I’m not the only one in our little circle. There are [government intelligence agents] who have left the state, and gone to work for BAT,” said the agent.

The claim that BAT was involved in spying on rivals is corroborated by affidavits, audio and video recordings, copies of financial transactions and the accounts of five cigarette manufactures, a state informant, sources close to the South African Revenue Services and one of BAT’s senior agents...

Business Times has a recording of a conversation between a senior BAT official and one of its secret agents, in which the tobacco executive tells the agent not to “sell us out” by spilling the beans on the spying. (more)

History - Nixon's Plumbers Tap More Pipes

Jeff Stein provides new information that suggests the Nixon White House may have bugged the Pentagon telephones of senior American military officials.

Why is this man laughing?
Stein managed to track down Dave Mann, a former member of the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Force, who in 1971 stumbled upon a classified report claiming that listening bug signals had been detected emanating from offices in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The signals had been picked up by a technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM) team during a routine sweep of the Pentagon, in search of unauthorized interception devices. 

Mann ran some tests to verify the TSCM team’s report, and discovered that the bug signals originated from the personal office telephone line of General William Westmoreland, who was then the US Army’s Chief of Staff.  He also discovered that the telephone of his assistant had been compromised, as well as the telephone lines belonging to the US Army’s assistant secretary, its logistics director, and at least one general. 

Mann’s personal conclusion was that the phone lines were most likely bugged with the cooperation of the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, which was at that the time considered an operational wing of the FBI, under Director J. Edgar Hoover...

Mann, who is now semi-retired from the military and lives in Tennessee, told Stein that “there was a lot —and I mean a lot— of pressure to prove GRAPPLE TRIP to be a fluke or a miswired telephone”. Which is precisely what happened: the investigation concluded that the bug signals were emitted due to “crossed wires in the telephone system”.  (more)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

NY Private Detective Firm Keeps Corporate Spies at Bay

Private investigators are most commonly associated with scorned spouses and cheap motels, but one PI firm based in New York is sniffing out scandal in a much more upscale (and more unusual) venue: the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies. 

Murray Associates, a counterespionage security company, has been de-bugging conference rooms and securing trading floors from the prying eyes of sneaky competitors since 1978. (more)

10 Years Ago - 120 Coke Cans Spur a Military TSCM Alert

"Into the Wayback, Sherman."


The SSCC Security Office was recently informed that the Coca Cola Company has a summer game promotion running from 5/17 - 7/12/04 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia that has the capability to compromise classified information. 

The company has intermixed approximately 120 Coca-Cola cans that actually contain GPS locators equipped with a SIM card, keypad and GPS chip transponder so it functions as a cell phone and GPS locator. The cans are concealed in specially marked 12, 18, 20, or 24 can multi-packs of Coca-Cola Classic, Vanilla Coke, Cherry Coke and Caffeine Free Coke. 

The hi-tech Coke "Unexpected Summer" promotion can has a button, microphone, and a tiny speaker on the outside of the can. Pressing the larger red button starts the game in process, thus activating the GPS signal and a cell phone used by the customer to call a special hotline. Consumers who find these cans, activate the technology, and call the hot line must agree to allow Coke "search teams" using the GPS tracker (accurate to within 50 feet), to surprise them anyplace, anytime within three weeks to deliver a valuable prize.

Until such time as this sales promotion ends and all 120 cans are accounted for, Coca-Cola packages should be opened and inspected before taking them into any area marked as a "Restricted Area" or where the location is sensitive or classified meetings/discussions, etc. are in progress or have the potential to occur at any time.

If one of these hi-tech game cans is found in snack bars, cafeterias, vending machines, etc. immediately report it to the Security Manager. While the can is your personal property, you must report obtaining it and immediately remove it from NSWC Crane work spaces.

As with any other two-way communications device, the hi-tech cans are not to be brought into any NSWC Crane classified facility under any circumstances.

While high technology is our livelihood, everyone must be alert to technology applications that can endanger National Security and the effectiveness of our support to the war fighters. Please report similar applications by marketers, etc. to the Security Office so the information can be widely disseminated. (source) (T-shirt)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Over 50% of Android Users Don't Use Passwords, Pins or Meaningful Swipes

An ad hoc survey conducted by Google's anti-abuse research lead Elie Bursztein has shown that over half of Android users don't lock their phones in any meaningful way. 
Click to enlarge.

After polling 1,500 users, he discovered that 52 percent of those users "open" their device with a simple slide or gesture, 25.5 percent have opted to locking their phones with drawing a pattern on a grid, and 15.1 percent are using a PIN.

Only 3.3 percent have opted for using a password, 2.3 percent for the option where the phone can recognize their face, and 1.8 percent are using other, 3rd party forms of authentication... security is perfect. Both lock patterns and PIN codes can be vulnerable to smudge attacks, as a 2010 Usenix paper illustrates. So whether you use a PIN or a pattern you should change it from time to time. You might also want to go to your phone’s options screen and disable the display of the pattern so people can’t “shouldersurf” it. (more)

Google Explains Search Warrant Requests - for ages 2 and older

P.S. Word on the street... the cow is a spy.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

From our, "You can't make this spy stuff up" file. - Spy Dolphins Defect

Ukraine’s secret unit of spy DOLPHINS that can plant bombs and attack divers with guns have defected to Russia.
  • The Ukraine Army has been using dolphins and seals since the 70s
  • After the fall of the USSR, the 'dolphin spies' remained in the Ukraine
  • The dolphins have been trained to hunt for mines and plant bombs
  • They can also attack divers with knives or pistols attached to their heads
  • Now, military dolphins in Crimea will be transferred to the Russian Navy
While the dolphins show extraordinary intelligence, sometimes they disobeyed their Ukrainian commanders.

Last year three of five spy dolphins went absent without leave in the Black Sea - apparently in search of love, but returned to their duties shortly afterwards.

Yury Plyachenko, a former Soviet naval anti-sabotage officer, explained that this was something that had to be taken into account in working with the 007 mammals.

‘If a male dolphin saw a female dolphin during the mating season, then he would immediately set off after her. But they come back in a week or so.’ (more)

In Washington, DC this Spring? Need Something Cool to Do?

Check out The International Spy Museum...

U.S. Notified 3,000 Companies About Cyberattacks in 2013

Federal agents notified more than 3,000 U.S. companies last year that their computer systems had been hacked, White House officials have told industry executives, marking the first time the government has revealed how often it tipped off the private sector to cyber intrusions.

The alerts went to firms large and small, from local banks to major defense contractors to national retailers...

“Three thousand companies is astounding,” said James A. Lewis, a senior fellow and cyberpolicy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The problem is as big or bigger than we thought.”

The number reflects only a fraction of the true scale of cyberintrusions into the private sector by criminal groups and foreign governments and their proxies, particularly in China and Eastern Europe. The estimated cost to U.S. companies and consumers is up to $100 billion annually, analysts say. (more)

How do the FBI and Secret Service know...

...your network has been breached before you do?

Knock, knock! Secret Service here. "Is this your customer payment card data?"

By all accounts, many of the massive data breaches in the news these days are first revealed to the victims by law enforcement, the Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). But how do the agencies figure it out before the companies know they have been breached, especially given the millions companies spend on security and their intense focus on compliance?

The agencies do the one thing companies don’t do. They attack the problem from the other end by looking for evidence that a crime has been committed. Agents go undercover in criminal forums where stolen payment cards, customer data and propriety information are sold. They monitor suspects and sometimes get court permission to break into password-protected enclaves where cyber-criminals lurk. 

They have informants, they do interviews with people already incarcerated for cybercrime, and they see clues in the massive data dumps of information stolen from companies whose networks have been breached. (more)

Spyware & Malware Odds & Ends

A spyware app developed by two researchers has shown that Google Glass can be used to secretly take photos of whatever a Glass wearer is looking at without their knowledge - making the Glass user the one whose privacy and security is potentially compromised. (more)

Security researchers said they have uncovered bugs in Google's Android operating system that could allow malicious apps to send vulnerable devices into a spiral of endlessly looping crashes and possibly delete all data stored on them. (more)

Stingray is a US law enforcement spoof cell tower used to track the location of mobile phones. Snoopy is a project conducted by London-based Sensepost Research Labs that does similar and much more with any WIFI-enabled device. Now Snoopy has gone airborne – mounted on a drone it can hover above a target area and trick mobile devices into connecting: a form of flying man-in-the-middle attack... The drones collect the devices' probe requests, which could be looking for networks that the user has recently connected to, and mimic them. "If your device is probing for 'Starbucks', we'll pretend to be Starbucks, and your device will connect." Once that connection is made, Snoopy can listen in. (more)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Capital One Bank Settles in $3 Million Wiretp Law Suit (Now we know what's in cardholder's wallets.)

A putative class of Capital One Bank NA cardholders in five states have secured a $3 million settlement of claims that the bank covertly recorded outbound customer service calls, according to documents filed Monday in California federal court.

 The pact puts to rest a suit over the bank’s alleged violations of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act and the similar two-party consent laws of Florida, Maryland, Nevada and New Hampshire. (more)

Is your organization doing any recording? What's in your policy?

The Bug Stopped Here - Ireland's Police Chief Resigns

Ireland's police chief resigned Tuesday following months of criticism of how his force handled allegations of illegal wire-tapping and corrupt enforcement of traffic laws. 

Underscoring a growing sense of public unease at police standards and behavior, government leaders announced that they would open a judge-led probe into new revelations that telephone calls at many police stations had been illegally recorded since the 1980s.

The government said it didn't yet know why the widespread recording was secretly happening. Security analysts said it could partly reflect an effort by senior commanders to monitor rank-and-file officers' communications...

It said a judge would be appointed to examine why police had secretly recorded telephone conversations in and out of many police stations for several years, a practice ended only in November after the first wire-tap scandal became public knowledge. (more)

New Bot Targets Apple iOS Devices - Tip: Don't Jailbreak

A new bot with the name Zorenium has landed in the criminal underground, with the ability to target Apple iOS devices like iPhone and iPad. It's not widely known, nor is it widely detectable...

The analysis suggests that Apple devices must be jail-broken to be vulnerable, which makes sense given Apple’s tight control over the iOS ecosystem—there’s a reason after all that virtually all mobile malware targets Android. (more)

Ex-President Spills His Secret to Ducking Electronic Surveillance

Former US President Jimmy Carter has said he hand-writes letters to foreign and US leaders in an effort to evade what he described as pervasive US electronic surveillance.

Mr Carter, 89, told the Associated Press he had "no doubt" the US monitored and recorded "almost every telephone call" and email.

His humanitarian efforts bring him in contact with a range of foreign and US political leaders. (more)

Man Head-Butts 'Spying' CCTV Operator

UK - A man who thought someone was using a security camera to spy on his girlfriend tried to break the devices, a court has heard.

The man, 33-year-old Richard Hill, later assaulted the operator (Mr. Jordan) when confronting him over his use of the devices...

Peter Love, prosecuting, told Worcester Magistrates’ Court...

“He was swearing at him (Mr. Jordan) and punched him in the face.

“He then head-butted him in the nose and ran off towards the city centre.”

When Hill was interviewed about the offences he said he struck the camera because he was told Mr Jordan was using the device to watch his girlfriend. He said he assaulted him because he had made him angry. (more)

Monday, March 24, 2014

TSCM Quote of the Month

"It's a well-known fact that businesses world-wide invest thousands or even millions protecting themselves from hackers and perceived cyber threats, but often fail to protect themselves against the threat of technical surveillance." –Peter Rucinski of Assure Technical, speaking about lack of attention businesses pay to finding bugs, wiretaps, spycams and other forms of electronic surveillance. (source)

5 Cool Spy Gadgets and Weapons You Probably Never Knew About

What do you get when you combine 368, 5.0-megapixel smartphone cameras into a mosaic and then add some other classified parts?

The DARPA-funded Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (or ARGUS-IS) of course. According to PetaPixel, "ARGUS-IS is a 1.8 Gigapixel drone-mounted surveillance system that took 30 months and $18.5M to become a reality. The video above is a clip from a new PBS documentary titled 'Rise of the Drones'. It offers a fascinating peek at what the drone cam is capable of." (more)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Leaving us to wonder what everyone else said...

Wireless surveillance (company) iWatchLife today released the results of a new poll indicating that nearly one in three people are completely comfortable with the idea of using electronic surveillance to watch over their elderly parents who live alone.

The poll, commissioned by iWatchLife and undertaken by Persona Research on March 16, 2014, surveyed 500 people. Respondents were asked if they would ever consider using electronic surveillance to ensure that their parents were safe. Over 30 percent said yes. (more)

A Business Espionage Front Line Warning - Pay Attention

While classified and clearly-defined national security information will always be sought-after by our adversaries, there is a rapidly growing interest in corporate America’s intellectual property.

By Doug Thomas, Lockheed Martin Corporation, a 2014 CSO40 award recipient

Throughout much of my 35 years of government service, I was focused on what many people are still focused on today: cleared people, classified programs, and traditional national security... 

Yesterday’s spies were government employees or military personnel, stealing classified information... Today’s depiction of espionage takes on a very different picture.

Today’s spies also come from private industry -- financial institutions, industrial fabricators, defense contractors, members of academia, etc. ...stealing information on behalf of the intelligence service of a foreign nation state, or industrial espionage, where information is stolen to benefit a competitor, either foreign or domestic...

Today there is no difference between national security and economic security. By failing to safeguard the fruits of our innovative labor... we face the prospect of losing our position as a leader in the global marketplace.

The threat... is very real and growing at an aggressive rate...

I urge private industry leadership to take steps to counter this growing threat to our economic prosperity and national security. (more)

My two cents. 
My other two cents.

From our "You can't make this eavesdropping stuff up" file...

A former Idaho lawmaker decided to hide in a Senate chamber closet for five to six hours on Tuesday, presumably to eavesdrop on her colleagues.

A rule in the Idaho Legislature allows floor privileges for former state senators. But the state Senate voted 28-6 on Wednesday to suspend that rule for one of their former colleagues—Nicole LeFavour. The day before, LeFavour—Idaho's first openly gay state lawmaker—had been discovered hiding in a closet behind the Senate chamber and was asked to leave.

"Closets are never safe for gay or transgender people," she told the Spokesman-Review. (more)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Illinois Supreme Court – Audio Recording Law too Broad

IL - The Illinois Supreme Court this morning struck down the state’s eavesdropping law, one of the strictest in the nation that made audio recording of any person, even in public, illegal unless that person gave their consent.

The court ruled that the law "criminalizes a wide range of innocent conduct."

"The statute criminalizes the recording of conversations that cannot be deemed private: a loud argument on the street, a political debate on a college quad, yelling fans at an athletic event, or any conversation loud enough that the speakers should expect to be heard by others," the court said in its ruling.

"None of these examples implicate privacy interests, yet the statute makes it a felony to audio record each one. Judged in terms of the legislative purpose of protecting conversational privacy, the statute’s scope is simply too broad," the justices ruled. (more)

Business Espionage: AT&T May Pay 1.5 Million to Settle Eavesdropping Lawsuit

AT&T is reportedly about to shell out some $1.5 million, in payments of $4,000 each, to hundreds of class action plaintiffs who say they were victimized as a result of illegal conduct by so-called private investigator to the stars Anthony Pellicano.

The phone company is a defendant in civil litigation because rogue employees at AT&T's Pacific Bell allegedly helped Pellicano with illegal investigative techniques. including wiretapping, according to the Hollywood Esq. blog of the Hollywood Reporter. Pellicano was convicted in 2008 of crimes related to his alleged violation of wiretap laws. (more)

Windows Spy Tool Also Monitors Android Devices

Researchers have discovered that a commercial Windows-based spy program now comes equipped with capabilities for spying on Android devices as well... 

“The Android tool has multiple components allowing the victim’s device to be controlled by another mobile device remotely over SMS messages or alternatively through a Windows-based controller,” said researchers at security company FireEye who discovered GimmeRAT...

Remote access Trojans for Android are nothing new; Dendroid and AndroRAT are two that have been in circulation for some time. But this is the first time that a multiplatform Windows RAT featuring Android capabilities has been discovered. (more)

Former Microsoft Employee Arrested for Allegedly Stealing Windows 8 Trade Secrets

Alex Kibkalo, a former senior architect at Microsoft who most recently served as a Director of Product Management in 5nine Software (according to his LinkedIn profile), has been arrested for allegedly stealing Windows-related trade secrets while working for Microsoft.

Kibkalo was arrested on Wednesday, according to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

According to a complaint filed on March 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Kibkalo -- a Russian national and former Microsoft employee based in Lebanon -- passed on trade secrets involving Windows 8 to an unnamed technology blogger in France. (more)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Facilities Managers: Everything You Need to Know about Counterespionage Bug Sweeps

You know everything about managing facilities, but a request from management to debug your building can throw even the most seasoned FM for a loop. With the help of an outside professional, you can ensure speech privacy and business security.

Business espionage is a growing concern, yet it’s mistakenly thought of as an IT department problem. The reality is that the information IT protects is vulnerable to theft long before it is put into the computer – what people talk about and with whom provides the most valuable information.

Electronic eavesdropping has also become cheap and easy. Spy gadgets, such as bug transmitters, micro voice recorders, and covert video cameras, were once expensive and hard to come by. All are now available online for under $100. Some even use Wi-Fi, Internet, and cell phone networks as communication conduits.

Because building owners are focused on physical security, the chances are slim that a corporate spy will be detected or caught. A technical information security survey, however, can put an end to electronic eavesdropping and remote surveillance. (more) P.S. If you like the article, please give it a nice star rating, and have it help others via a social media plug. Thank you.

"OK, which one of you said 'coool'?"

The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden. (more)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

MIT's Crytophone Round-Up

Ever since Edward Snowden came forward with a trove of secret documents about the National Security Agency, business has been booming for Les Goldsmith, CEO of ESD America.

Goldsmith’s company sells a $3,500 “cryptophone” that scrambles calls so they can’t be listened in on. Until recently, the high-priced smartphone was something of a James Bond–style novelty item. But news of extensive U.S. eavesdropping on people including heads of state has sent demand from wary companies and governments soaring. “We’re producing 400 a week and can’t really keep up,” says Goldsmith...

For the most part, consumers haven’t joined the security rush. According to Gartner, a firm that tracks technology trends, few have even purchased antivirus software for their phones. Sales of mobile security software are about $1 billion a year, a fraction what’s spent on desktops, even though mobile devices now outnumber PCs.

Yet secure communication products could eventually have mass appeal as consumers tire of being tracked online. Some of the most successful apps of the past year have featured self-destructing messages or anonymous bulletin boards. (more)

Officer 'Bugged Force Office' Without Permission

UK - A Greater Manchester Police officer has been accused of bugging a force room without authorization, as the police watchdog begins an investigating a range of allegations.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating whether a GMP detective chief inspector bugged the office and whether their actions “put public safety at risk”. The force has confirmed the bugging took place, the watchdog said. (more)

Monday, March 17, 2014

"And there are plenty more court orders where that came from."

A South Korean intelligence agency official was arrested on charges of forging official documents for the spy agency's pursuit of an espionage case against a North Korean defector, prosecutors said Sunday. (more)

Spouse Spying a Sin... unless, of course, you have a good reason.

Kuwaiti religious scholar has said that checking a spouse's cell phone or computer without his or her permission amounts to committing a sin.

Ajeel Al Nashmi, the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Scholars' League, said that from the religious perspective, a spouse must not access his or her spouse's mobile phone or computer without his or her authorization, Gulf News reported.

He added that neither the wife nor the husband may spy on each other or check each other's emails or messages without a proper permission, and whoever does it is a sinner. 

The only exception is when there is strong and reasonable suspicion about unacceptable behavior, he said. (more)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Zuckerberg Calls Obama Over Spying

Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg blasted the U.S. government's electronic surveillance practices on Thursday, saying he'd personally called President Barack Obama to voice his displeasure. 

"When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting you against criminals, not our own government," Zuckerberg said in a post on his personal Facebook page.

"I've called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform," the 29-year-old Zuckerberg continued. (more)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Japan Vows to Tackle Corporate Spying

Japan vowed on Thursday to fight industrial espionage after domestic media reported technology and information from local companies, including chipmaker Toshiba Corp, had been leaked to rivals from other countries.

"Safeguarding Japan's cutting-edge technology and preventing leaks are extremely important," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters. "The government as a whole will respond to ensure that such a thing doesn't occur again."

Suga declined to discuss specific cases but several media outlets said police had arrested a former engineer at a Toshiba affiliate on suspicion of improperly providing technical data to South Korea's SK Hynix Inc.

The Nikkei newspaper also reported on Thursday that police had arrested in 2012 an unspecified number of people in Yokohama and Aichi for alleged leaks of industrial secrets to Chinese companies. (more)

So, the question is not what's in your wallet, but what's on your key ring...

via Futility Closet...
After observing security measures at a number of organizations, University of California psychologist Robert Sommer reflected that a person’s status seems to be tied to his keyring:

S is a person’s status within the organization, D is the number of doors he must open to perform his job, and K is the number of keys he carries. A janitor who can open 20 doors but must carry 20 keys has a status of 1; he’s outranked by a secretary who can open only two doors but can do it with a single key. A staff scientist who can open six doors or cupboards using two keys has status 3, and the lab director might open 15 doors with three keys, giving him a status score of 5.
They’re all outranked by the president of the company, who never has to carry keys at all, since there’s always someone around to open doors for him. “With a K of zero and a high D,” Sommer concluded wryly, “his status rank in the company reaches infinity.”

(“Keys, Kings and Kompanies,” from The Worm Runner’s Digest, 3:1 [March 1961], 52-54)

Chinese-Made Bugs in Demand in Vietnamese City

Bugging devices smuggled in from China are widely sold in Ho Chi Minh City though lawyers say their use is illegal. 

Also available on eBay.
A shopkeeper named Duong in an alley in District 3 offered a Thanh Nien reporter two bugging devices smaller than a matchbox for VND900,000 (US$43).

“They can hear clearly within a 15-30 meters radius,” he said, offering a 12-month guarantee.

One needs to buy a prepaid SIM card, an unregistered one which is also widely available illegally so that it cannot be traced, insert it into the device, and call to activate it, he said.

A call to that SIM card then will pick up sounds from around the device.

Another bug costing VND1.6 million automatically sends signals to one’s phone number when there is any noise in the vicinity.

But their prices vary largely around the city...
A company, only identified as N.N., rents an office building in Vo Van Tan Street to provide bugging services. 

Tai, a representative, said a full package of calls, messages, history of web browsing and online chats, images from a ’s mobile phone, and the location of the target costs VND10 million a year and VND3-4 million the second year. 

He said it only takes 15 minutes to install a software on the target’s mobile phone. An Internet connection is needed to activate the software, and once that is done all information from the phone is sent to the customer’s email. A contract is signed to offer a guarantee, he said. 

Several companies like Tai’s operate in the city, labeling themselves as detective agencies. (more)

Wiretapped Doctor Sues Med Center $5 Million+

GA - A trial date was set for September 15, 2014 in a highly publicized lawsuit alleging wiretapping and racketeering against Tanner Medical Center. An amended lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of Carroll County by law firm Gary Bunch, P.C. on behalf of prominent Atlanta physician Randy Warner, seeks monetary damages in excess of $5 million.

According to the lawsuit, Tanner Medical Center, a subsidiary of Tanner Health System, eavesdropped on a private telephone conversation of Warner and used the contents of that conversation to "coerce and functionally blackmail" him. In addition, the suit claims that Tanner interfered with Warner's business relationships and engaged in wire fraud, mail fraud and a pattern of racketeering that damaged Warner... (more)

Scientists Create a Real 'Cone of Silence'

Metamaterials are already being used to create invisibility cloaks and "temporal cloaks," but now engineers from Duke University have turned metamaterials to the task of creating a 3D acoustic cloak. 

In the same way that invisibility cloaks use metamaterials to reroute light around an object, the acoustic cloaking device interacts with sound waves to make it appear as if the device and anything hidden beneath it isn't there.

Steven Cummer, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his colleagues at Duke University constructed their acoustic cloak using several sheets of plastic plates dotted with repeating patterns of holes. The plastic sheets, which were created using a 3D printer, were stacked on top of each other to form a device that resembles a pyramid in shape. 
The geometry of the sheets and the placement of the holes interact with sound waves to make it appear as if the device and anything sitting underneath it isn't there. (more)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Comprehensive Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings

The first thing you have to realize about Facebook: Nothing you put there is truly private.

Yes, you can control how users see or don’t see your profile. But every time you like a product or even look at a page, the company itself is taking note. This doesn’t mean that some day Facebook will malevolently release your every click to the world. But it does mean that Facebook is not your private diary, and what you do on the website gets collected and catalogued. That's worth keeping in mind whenever you use the service.

So let’s go over the various settings you can change to ensure pictures of your wacky jaunt to Vegas don’t end up at the top of your boss's news feed... (more)

Georgia On Their Mind

Georgia - NGOs are launching the campaign It Concerns You once again. After undertaking moves in terms of the election system in 2013, the current campaign aims at combating illegal eavesdropping and surveillance.

The organizers of the campaign demand creating a legal base against the action and systemic guarantees. According to them, the situation has not changed after the change of the government and the coalition leadership still owns a mechanism to eavesdrop on 21,000 people simultaneously.

Under the leadership of the previous government, special black boxes were installed at the headquarters of the mobile operators that enabled the Interior Minister of Georgia to eavesdrop on thousands of people. After the Georgian Dream coalition came to power, thousands of such illegal recordings and videos were destroyed. However, the black boxes still remain at the offices and the lever is still in hands of the MIA. (more)

Greek Eavesdropping News

Greece - Former PASOK minister Michalis Karchimakis, who is being charged in connection with a wiretapping scandal that showed the telephones of former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his cabinet were being listened to, has been released on one million euros bail and ordered not to leave the country. (more)

And, in other Greek eavesdropping news...
Théodore Jacques Ralli (Greek, 1852-1909) Eavesdropping 55.5 x 37 cm. Sold for £62,400 (US$ 103,675)

The French Connection

French magistrates bugged the phones of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, his lawyer and two former ministers, Le Monde newspaper claimed on Friday. The news comes after raids on the lawyer's home and office in a new investigation into alleged influence-peddling. (more)

This is why people are sitting on their cell phones in Turkey...

Turkey’s telecommunication authority has revealed that more than half a million people were wiretapped in the last two years.

Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) has been preparing a report on wiretapping amid reports that calls of several politicians, journalists and businessmen had been tapped.

A total of 257,545 people were wiretapped in 2012, and 252,062 people were wiretapped in 2013, according to the report. Over the two years, some 1.1 million phone calls of 509,516 people were tapped.

A total of 217,863 court decisions were made for wiretappings in that period.

Minister of National Defense İsmet Yılmaz said the numbers had gotten out of hand. (more)

The businessman who sits on his cell phone to avoid wiretapping...

Turkey - The other day, a friend of mine told me this anecdote about his meeting with a famous constructor.

“We took our seats. I put my mobile on the table. He gave me my mobile and said ‘Take this and sit on it.’ I did not understand. ‘What am I going to sit on?’ I asked. ‘Sit on the telephone. This is how I do it. That way they cannot listen,’ he said. He sat on his own telephone. I just put it in my pocket, without him seeing. He was relieved and only then could we continue to speak.” As you might understand, we are now passing through a period of time when people sit on their phones. (more)

Hummm... Maybe there is a market for... stay tuned for my solution.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

PI Job Opportunity - Spy Agency Hires PIs to do its Snooping

New Zealand - It might be an organization dedicated to snooping - but the nation's spy agency has still forked out $50,000 to hire private investigators.

Details released under the Official Information Act show that during the past three years the Government Communications Security Bureau has paid contractors to investigate two matters. Director Ian Fletcher said they were "personnel-related issues".

The investigations ran concurrently and lasted five months, costing $46,009.

Mr Fletcher declined to give further details - and would not reveal the outcome of the investigations "in order to protect the privacy of the persons involved". (more)

Former Soviet Spy Chief Claims Putin Regime is an ‘Intelligence Agency Dictatorship’

The highest ranking defector to flee from the old Soviet bloc has a message to share about Vladimir Putin — he’s still a KGB agent at heart and that mindset is heavily influencing his tactics for furthering Russia’s interests.

Ion Mihai Pacepa was the head of the Romanian communist regime’s foreign intelligence service before he defected to the West in 1978. Due to the threats on his life, Pacepa refuses to appear in public, but he has communicated his message to the co-author of his most recent book ”Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism.”...

“About five years ago, Pacepa was warning me about Putin. He’s saying Putin is former KGB, Putin has surrounded himself with KGB people everywhere, it is now in essence an ‘intelligence agency dictatorship’,” Rychlak, a professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law, told TheDC. (more)

Dendroid Spying RAT Malware Found on Google Play

A new Android malware toolkit called Dendroid is being offered for sale by its creators, and at least one of the malicious APKs created with it has managed to fool Google Play's Bouncer...
The malicious APKs can purportedly intercept, block, and send out SMSes; record ongoing phone calls; take pictures, record video and audio by using the device's camera and microphone; download pictures the device owner has already made, as well as his or her browser history and bookmarks; and extract saved login credentials and passwords for a variety of accounts.

"Dendroid also comes bundled with a universal 'binder application.' This is a point-and-click tool that a customer can use to inject (or bind) Dendroid into any innocent target application that they choose with minimal effort," the researchers added.
"This means that all a wannabee malware author needs in order to start pumping out infected applications is to choose a carrier app, download it and then let Dendroid’s toolkit take care of the rest."

Sold for $300 (in crypto currencies), the toolkit comes with a warranty that the malware created with it will remain undetected.
The researchers have discovered one app created with Dendroid that managed to get included and offered on Google Play by leveraging anti-emulation detection code that fools Google Play's Bouncer, the automated app scanning service that analyzes apps by running them on Google’s cloud infrastructure and simulating how they will run on an Android device. The app has since been removed from the market. (more)

Why this is important...
It means that any jerk with $300 and some computer skills can turn any other app into your worst nightmare. BTW, it can be detected. q.v. SpyWarn™ — coming soon.

5 Apps for Spying on your Spouse

Americans have good reason to wonder if there is such a thing as privacy anymore. After former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. government monitors calls, emails and texts, many people might think twice about what they share online. But that same technology is being used for another purpose: “There are a growing number of apps that will spy on your husband or wife and keep tabs on your kids,” says Theodore Claypoole, privacy attorney and co-author of “Privacy in the Age of Big Data: Recognizing Threats, Defending Your Rights, and Protecting Your Family.”

These apps may raise moral and legal questions too. The most invasive can be downloaded onto a phone and will quietly forward emails, calls and texts. 

It’s a criminal offense under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1965 to access a computer—including modern computers like tablets and smartphones—without authorization. But if ownership of the smartphone in question is under someone else’s name—say, a spouse, a parent or an employer—it’s a legal gray area, Claypoole says. “That raises the question of whether the user has a reasonable expectation of privacy,” he says. “If you own your husband or wife’s smartphone and you’re paying your child’s phone bill, it could be a moral issue rather than a legal one.” (more)

Bugging at Riga International Airport Being Investigated

Latvia - The wire-tapping scandal at Riga International airport is being investigated by Security Police. This whole situation has created a great deal of concern for Latvian politicians. During a recent closed meeting of the Saeima National Security Committee, they attempted to determine if there are any recordings of conversations that could compromise officials and sponsors of political parties whose names have surfaced during the investigation...
Even though the actual meeting was closed and information classified, Pietiek managed to uncover that politicians are concerned over the news that Riga airport’s VIP lounge was being monitored as well. Officials often use this are of the airport to meet in an informal environment to discuss matters away from prying eyes. (more)

FutureWatch: Germans Sweep Parliament for Bugs and Tapped Phones

The German parliament building may be soon checked for bugs and eavesdropping landlines to ensure privacy. Berlin is ramping up security amid a scandal over electronic surveillance by the US National Security Agency.

A plan to secure the Bundestag complex was prepared by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and approved by the IuK, the parliamentary commission on information technology and communications, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Monday citing its sources. It is to be presented to MPs later this week.

One of the prime areas of interest for the BSI is posed by supposedly secure rooms, which are meant to be used for negotiations of officials related to confidential matters. The office wants to ensure that they are actually free of bugs, the report says.

They also want to check landlines in the building, because they can be used for remote eavesdropping on the parliament. (more)

The amazing part of the story is that TSCM inspections are apparently not routine.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Two All Beef Paddies, Special Sauce, Let Us Cheese the Spycam!

Ireland - MCDONALD’S has defended the use of a hidden camera in the bathroom of a Dublin restaurant.

The primitive device, hidden in a smoke alarm in men’s bathroom in its Temple Bar branch, is pointed towards the sink area.

This leaves urinals and cubicles out of view.

A statement from McDonald’s noted that means the camera is “fully compliant with all appropriate legislation and guidelines in this area”.

Data Protection laws state that there are circumstances in which a camera can be installed in a bathroom. (more)

Mobile Malware Sees ‘Exponential’ 614 Percent Growth

Chinese cybercriminals are increasingly targeting mobile users as they develop ever more sophisticated hacking tools, according to new research from security firm Trend Micro.

Its Mobile Cybercriminal Underground Market report revealed that Chinese hackers are using a variety of in-depth malware and malicious code programs to target users both at home and in the West, with mobile malware kits available to buy from as little as 100 yuan (around £10) on the black market.

“The barriers to launching cybercriminal operations are less in number than ever,” the report stated. “Toolkits are becoming more available and cheaper; some are even offered free of charge.” (more)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Turkish Watergate - First Audio Eavesdropping Tapes - Now Video

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government has been ensnared by a series of anonymously leaked audio tapes of purported corruption, said his administration may face a new threat from covertly recorded video recordings.

“In these incidents, there is not just wiretapping, there is also filming,” Erdogan said in Ankara yesterday, according to state-run Anatolia news agency. “It’s even been stretched to the extreme of filming extramarital affairs, invading a family’s privacy and totally ignoring moral values.”

Speaking to local reporters after the release of audio tapes that the opposition said placed Erdogan at the center of a bribery scheme, the premier lashed out at the tactics. (more)

Kuwait Minister Warns on Eavesdropping Device Sales

KUWAIT -- Maximum penalties will be taken against any telecommunication company trading in eavesdropping devices, warned Minister of Communications Essa Al-Kanderi on Wednesday. Offenders will be referred to the public prosecution, the minister warned further, during a debate at the National Assembly. Some MPs charged during the discussions that a number of companies "possess" listening bugs, in violation of the Constitution and State Laws. (more)

County Jail Official Retires Amid Wiretap Charges

NJ - The deputy director of the Hudson County jail, who is facing federal charges he used a website to illegally wiretap fellow employees, has put in his retirement papers, officials said.

The retirement papers of Kirk Eady, 45, of East Brunswick, are dated retroactively to Feb. 1, Hudson County spokesman Jim Kennelly said.

Eady turned himself in to federal authorities on Feb. 15 after being charged with intentionally intercepting the wire, oral or electronic communications of others, according to a criminal complaint. (more)

Update - Rayney Phone Bugging Case

Australia - Former Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney will be making an application to put a permanent hold on charges of bugging his wife's phone, a court has heard. Rayney is accused of intercepting the calls of his wife Corryn in the lead up to her death in 2007. (more)

Previously reported in 2007...
She bootscoots. He taps. What could possibly go wrong? 
The Continuing Saga of the Rayney Wiretap 
Update - Rayney ‘phone’ man in key talks

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bogus Boris Netflix App

Android phones and tablets from four different manufacturers are arriving with malware “pre-installed” – a bogus version of Netflix which sends password and credit card information to Russia, according to app security specialist Marble Security.

David Jevans, CTO and founder of the company said that he was alerted to the problem by a company testing his product, software to help organizations manage mobile devices, after it repeatedly flagged Netflix as malicious, according to PC World’s report.

Jevans’ team analysed the app, and found that it was bogus, using tools including one that analyzed the app’s network traffic for signs of communication with known malicious servers. Jevans says, “This isn’t the real Netflix. You’ve got one that has been tampered with, and is sending passwords and credit card information to Russia.” (more)

A Black Eye for Blackphones

Australian law enforcement agencies are increasingly unable to monitor the communications of some of the country's most powerful criminals due to the rising prevalence of uncrackable encrypted phones. 

The phones are linked to a series of the underworld killings that rocked Sydney, several senior law enforcement officials told the ABC on condition of anonymity.

The phones are sold by dozens of companies worldwide and have legitimate uses.

But the law enforcement officials say thousands of the phones have been obtained by Australian criminals and they are using them to commit serious crimes, including murder. (more)
(video report)

Interesting article, but... one half of my brain is saying wouldn't the LE's want criminals to think these phones are secure? And, once the general public views encryption as a criminal tool, the politicians would be free to pass laws restricting communications encryption so then only the outlaws (and selected others) would use it... kind-of-like gun silencers.

Or, maybe I've been "Snowed-in" over the long winter and have become cynical.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Crypto Bug Leaves Linux, Hundreds of Apps Open to Eavesdropping

Hundreds of open source packages, including the Red Hat, Ubuntu, and Debian distributions of Linux, are susceptible to attacks that circumvent the most widely used technology to prevent eavesdropping on the Internet, thanks to an extremely critical vulnerability in a widely used cryptographic code library.

The bug in the GnuTLS library makes it trivial for attackers to bypass secure sockets layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protections available on websites that depend on the open source package. Initial estimates ... indicate that more than 200 different operating systems or applications rely on GnuTLS to implement crucial SSL and TLS operations, but it wouldn't be surprising if the actual number is much higher. 

Web applications, e-mail programs, and other code that use the library are vulnerable to exploits that allow attackers monitoring connections to silently decode encrypted traffic passing between end users and servers. (more)

Chevron Wins Suit Fighting $9.5 Billion Ecuador Judgment - The Spy Pen Helped

Back in 2009, I posted this: Spy Pen May Kill $27 Billion Lawsuit. A little later: The Chevron Secret Recordings Case Continues. Chevron claimed that the Ecuadorian legal system was corrupt and they were not getting a fair hearing. 

They backed up their claim with covert videos showing the bribery and corruption. For a while they hosted the videos on their website, while saying they had nothing to do with the making of them.

The videos were made with nothing more than a cheap spy pen and video wristwatch bought from a SkyMall catalog. 

Now, a $9.5 Billion lawsuit is $0.00. If this doesn't prove the power of spy gadgets, nothing does. 

Got any cheap spy gadgets hanging around your offices? You don't know, do you? Call me.

Here is how the lawsuit ended today...
A federal judge ruled in favor of Chevron Corp. on Tuesday in a civil racketeering case, saying a record $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador against the oil giant was "obtained by corrupt means."

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan found that New York lawyer Steven Donziger and his litigation team engaged in coercion, bribery, money laundering and other criminal conduct in pursuit of the 2011 verdict.
The decision barred Mr. Donziger and his two Ecuadorean co-defendants from profiting from the verdict.

The case in New York stems from a 2003 lawsuit filed by a group of Ecuadorean villagers from the Lago Agrio region over decades-old pollution from oil exploration in the Amazon rain forest by Texaco Inc., which Chevron acquired in 2001. The decision could hamper efforts to enforce the 2011 judgment by pursuing Chevron's assets in Canada and elsewhere. (more)

Monday, March 3, 2014

G-Men Chase Sprint'er Over Inflated Wiretap Billing

Sprint Corp. overcharged the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law-enforcement agencies by more than 50% to facilitate eavesdropping on phone calls, the U.S. Justice Department alleged in a lawsuit filed Monday.

The suit accuses Sprint of inflating the bills it submitted to federal law-enforcement agencies for wiretaps and other surveillance services to cover capital expenditures necessary to respond to the requests—something prohibited by federal law and Federal Communications Commission rules, according to the complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco.

Sprint covered up the fact that the extra charges were included in the bills paid by the FBI and others by disguising them as regular surveillance costs, the suit alleges. As a result, the federal government overpaid Sprint by $21 million over a period of three and a half years.
Sprint said it didn't break the law and will fight the charges. (more)

Florida Cops’ Secret Weapon: Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

Police in Florida have offered a startling excuse for having used a controversial “stingray” cell phone tracking gadget 200 times without ever telling a judge: the device’s manufacturer made them sign a non-disclosure agreement that they say prevented them from telling the courts. (more)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Business Espionage: Rival CEO Posed as Exec to Get Secrets

The CEO of a sporting goods chain who once appeared on the TV show "Undercover Boss" pretended to be an executive from a rival company in an effort to get confidential information, according to a lawsuit.

Artist's conception. Not a real executive spying.
Dick's Sporting Goods claims in a lawsuit filed Feb. 20 in Mercer County Court that Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods, showed up at a Dick's store in Princeton in February saying he was a Dick's senior vice president.

Dick's alleges Modell told employees he was to meet the Dick's CEO there and persuaded workers to show him the backroom of the store and to answer questions about the business. Modell gathered information about online sales, including a "ship from store" program that gets products to customers' doors quickly, the lawsuit said. (more)

Security Director Alert: Like electronic eavesdropping, business espionage via social engineering is one of the more common spy tricks. In addition to TSCM, make employee awareness about social engineering part of your counterespionage strategy. This story makes an excellent talking point.

If Your are Calling the FBI or Secret Service, ...

...don't get the phone number from a Google Maps listing.

Don't trust Google Maps, warns former map-jacker after he was ironically called a 'hero' by the feds he wiretapped.

The incident in question involves an individual posting their own phone number as a Secret Service field office phone number on Google Maps. When unsuspecting citizens utilize this incorrect third party phone number to contact the Secret Service the call is directed through the third party system and recorded. This is not a vulnerability or compromise of our phone system. Virtually any phone number that appears on a crowdsourcing platform could be manipulated in this way.

The Secret Service encourages the general public to visit their website at to obtain accurate contact information for our field offices. (more) (video)