Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Communications Interception Device Bust Highlights the World of Non-Government Spying

Three men have been arrested by the South African Police Service in an undercover sting operation in which the Hawks posed as buyers for a cellphone locator and eavesdropping machine called a “Grabber”. The three are alleged to have listened in to government tenders related to the Airports Company of South Africa.

The machine is small enough to fit into a car or van and presidential authority is needed to operate one. The Grabber confiscated in South Africa at the beginning of this month was apparently used for corporate spying, reports The Star. The machine, made in Israel and worth over R25 million, was specially installed in a German-made multi-purpose vehicle. Two of the men arrested while trying to find a buyer for the device are a top businessman in the gold industry and a bank employee. more


Earlier this year, we covered the case of Liang Mong-song, a former TSMC engineer who stood unofficially accused of corporate espionage. Not long after we wrote the story, TSMC elected to file a lawsuit against Mong-song, and the Taiwan Supreme Court has now ruled in favor of the foundry company and against the engineer. Mong-song left TSMC and went to Samsung, not long before Samsung’s foundry plans took a significant leap forward. more

Number of Phones Infected by Dendroid Spying App Remains Unknown

An American student who hoped to sell enough malicious software to infect 450,000 Google Android smartphones pleaded guilty to a law meant to prevent hacking of phones and computers...

Infected phones could be remotely controlled by others and used to spy and secretly take pictures without the phone owner's knowledge, as well as to record calls, intercept text messages and otherwise steal information the owners downloaded on the devices...

Morgan Culbertson expected each person who bought Dendroid would be able to infect about 1500 phones with it, or 300,000 and 450,000 phones total. more

Illinois Law Allows Nursing Home Residents to Install Surveillance Equipment

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation Aug. 21 supporters say will help prevent abuse and neglect of nursing home residents. The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act allows nursing home residents to install audio and video surveillance equipment in their rooms.

Residents and their roommates must consent to having video or audio recording devices installed. The act allows legal guardians and family members to give consent for residents, if a physician determines a resident is incapable of doing so. Consent can be withdrawn at any time by residents or their roommates. more

Panel Upholds Christensen’s Conviction on Eavesdropping Charges

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed former powerhouse Los Angeles lawyer Terry N. Christensen’s conviction on charges of illegal eavesdropping and conspiracy.

Christensen—who practiced law in Los Angeles for more than 40 years at the famed Wyman Bautzer firm and at the firm he co-founded, Christensen Miller—was convicted along with former private investigator Anthony Pellicano, well known for his work on behalf of rich and famous clients. U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer of the Central District of California sentenced Christensen to three years in prison in 2008, but he has been free on bail pending appeal.

He has been under interim suspension from the State Bar since his conviction. more

Video Game Trade Secret Theft - Next Adventure - Game of War: Anul Stage

A manager at a maker of a popular videogame was arrested last week as he tried to board a plane for Beijing after allegedly stealing trade secrets, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

Jing Zeng, 42 years old, of San Ramon, Calif., allegedly downloaded data on how users interact with Game of War: Fire Age, one of the top-grossing games in Apple Inc.’s App Store. Mr. Zeng was a director of global infrastructure for the game’s maker, Machine Zone Inc...

On his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Zeng says that he left Machine Zone last month.

His current position: “Ready for next adventure.” more

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Conversation in the Bathroom with the Water Running Can't Beat a Noisebath®

Need to have a private conversation? 
No time to sweep the room for bugs?
Don't want to look like a paranoid hiding in the bathroom with the water running?

Take a Noisebath®... because running the water isn't very effective against determined eavesdroppers with high-tech filtering systems.

from the website...
Playing NOISEBATH masking source material through the speakers of a properly configured system creates a “bath” of noise around the target which mixes with the actual voices or equipment sounds to hinder the exploitation of the target’s acoustics.

NOISEBATH has been shown to be compatible with Secure Telephones. The masking sounds have negligible impact on the remote secure phone user and the local masking level can be adjusted by remote control.

There is up to a 25db reduction in sound level within the protection zone from the sound level outside the protection zone. NOISEBATH can be used with transducers on exterior windows and surfaces to protect against eavesdropping systems outside the room.

Noisebath® is the co-invention of Noel D. Matchet,  employed for 19 years at the National Security Agency where he was presented the Agency’s highest honor – The Exceptional Civilian Service Award for his contributions to information security. He has multiple patents to his credit. more

Surf Like A Spy

The default state of Internet privacy is a travesty. But if you're willing to work hard, you can experience the next best thing to absolute Internet anonymity...

1. Find a safe country
First, you would have to be physically located in a country that doesn't try its hardest to spy on you. Your best option is to find a country with good Internet connectivity that doesn't have enough resources to monitor everything its citizens are doing...

2. Get an anonymizing operating system
Next, you'll need an anonymizing operating system that runs on a resettable virtual machine running on secure portable media. The portable media device should use hardware-based encryption or a secure software-based encryption program. One of the top products on that list is Ironkey Workspace...

3. Connect anonymously
Next, you'll need to connect to the Internet using an anonymous method. The best approach would probably be to jump around random, different, open wireless networks, public or otherwise, as much as possible, rarely repeating at the same connection point. Barring that method, you would probably want to use a device built for anonymous wireless connections, like ProxyGambit...

4. Use Tor
Whatever Live OS and Internet connection method you use, make sure to go with an anonymizing browser, such as a Tor-enabled browser...

5. Don't use plug-ins

It's very important to remember that many of today's browser plug-ins, particularly the most popular ones, leave clues that reveal your identity and location. Don't use them if you want to preserve your anonymity.

6. Stick with HTTP/S
Don't use any protocols other than HTTP or HTTPS. Typically, other protocols advertise your identity or location. When working with HTTPS, use only handpicked, trusted certification authorities that don't issue "fake" identity certificates.

7. Avoid the usual applications
Don't install or use normal productivity software, like word processors or spreadsheets. They, too, will often "dial home" each time they're started and reveal information.

8. Set up burner accounts
You'll need a different email address, password, password question answers, and identity information for each website if you take the risk of creating logon accounts. This particular solution is not only for privacy nuts and should already be practiced by everyone already.

9. Never use credit cards
If you plan to buy anything on the Internet, you can't use a normal credit card and stay anonymous. You can try to use online money transfer services such as PayPal, but most have records that can be stolen or subpoenaed. Better, use an e-currency such as bitcoin or one of its competitors...

Each of these anonymizing methods can be defeated, but the more of them you add to your privacy solution, the harder it will be for another person or group to identify you... more

Monday, August 24, 2015

Report: Colts Still Sweep For Bugging Devices When They Visit Patriots

MA - It appears Peyton Manning left quite the lasting legacy in Indianapolis. Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy caused a major stir Thursday when he admitted Manning used to fear the New England Patriots bugged the visiting locker room at Gillette Stadium and even would go out into the hallway to discuss play-calling.

Manning left Indy in 2011, but apparently the team still takes precautionary measures whenever it comes to Foxboro, according to’s Bob Kravitz. more

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Thousands Of Ashley Madison Clients About To Learn (The Hard Way) That Most Employers Monitor Email

Upwards of 36 million email addresses were compromised when hackers infiltrated Ashley Madison, a site designed to help married people have affairs. Those email addresses, first released as an ungainly data dump, are now easily searchable on a number of different sites, leaving millions of people, some more famous than others, susceptible to personal and, it turns out, professional backlash.

Amazingly, tens of thousands of people, including more than 15,000 military and government personnel, decided to use their work email addresses to sign up for a dalliance, and if you’re wondering whether that puts them at any professional risk, the answer is almost certainly yes. A majority of American businesses monitor what their employees do online in some way or other, and they are not shy about cracking down on misbehavior.

According to a survey conducted by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute, more than one-quarter of employers have fired employees for misusing their work email addresses and more than one-third have fired workers for misusing the Internet. more

Spotify Apologizes for Spying on Its Users

On Wednesday, Spotify quietly updated its terms and conditions to grant itself sweeping abilities to track every location, movement, and online activity of its users, even when those users weren’t using Spotify. That data, including information pulled from friends’ profiles, would then be transmitted to advertising partners.

This morning, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek back-pedaled on those terms and promised an entirely new set of terms of conditions, to be updated next week. He also pointed to the ability for users to opt-out of certain data collection activities, a claim that contradicts language in the recently-updated terms.

The following is a statement on the matter shared with Digital Music News this morning from Ek... more

Mayor Bugged - No, really. He has been indicted.

SC - The mayor of the town of Lyman has been indicted on charges of wiretapping and misconduct in office.

A statement from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division sent to local media outlets says Mayor Rodney Turner was indicted Friday by a Spartanburg County grand jury.

The 58-year-old Turner was charged earlier in August. According to the indictment, Turner used electronic devices to intentionally intercept the communications of employees working in and around Lyman Town Hall. more 

Friday, August 21, 2015

He's Back... The Air Gap Computer Hack

Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) Cyber Security Research Center have discovered that virtually any cellphone infected with a malicious code can use GSM phone frequencies to steal critical information from infected “air-gapped” computers.

Air-gapped computers are isolated -- separated both logically and physically from public networks -- ostensibly so they cannot be hacked over the Internet or within company networks.

Led by BGU Ph.D. student Mordechai Guri, the research team discovered how to turn an ordinary air-gapped computer into a cellular transmitting antenna using software that modifies the CPU firmware. GSMem malicious software uses the electromagnetic waves from phones to receive and exfiltrate small bits of data, such as security keys and passwords...

This is the third threat the BGU cyber team has uncovered related to what are supposed to be secure, air-gapped computers. Last year, the researchers created a method called Air-Hopper, which utilizes FM waves for data exfiltration. Another research initiative, BitWhisper, demonstrated a covert bi-directional communication channel between two close-by air-gapped computers using heat to communicate. more

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Everything You Believed About Telephone Security is Wrong - The SS7 Scandal

The scary version...
A massive security hole in modern telecommunications is exposing billions of mobile phone users in the world to covert theft of their data, bugging of their voice calls, and geo-tracking of their location from by hackers, fraudsters, rogue governments and unscrupulous commercial operators using hundreds of online portals across the planet.

In a world-first, 60 Minutes has proven the worst nightmares of privacy advocates around the world: that mobile phone calls and data are wide open to interception because of flaws in the architecture of the signalling system – known as SS7 - used to enable mobile phone roaming across telecommunications providers. Despite this concern, the Australian Government’s own Cyber Security Threat Report, published in June, makes no mention of what is probably the biggest threat to this country’s commercial secrets and individual privacy.

60 Minutes’ story shows how German hackers working from Berlin, given legal access to SS7 for the purposes of the demonstration, were able to intercept and record a mobile phone conversation between 60 Minutes reporter Ross Coulthart while he was speaking from Germany to Independent Australian Senator Nick Xenophon in Australia’s Parliament House. As further proof of the hack, Coulthart then made another phone call from London, England, to the Senator in Australia which the Berlin hackers were also able to intercept and record, even though they were in Germany 1000 kilometres distant. The Berlin hackers from SR Labs, who first warned of the vulnerability in SS7 in 2008, were also able to intercept and read the Senator’s SMS’ from Australia to Coulthart in London. The hackers were also then able to geo-track the Senator as he travelled to Japan on official business, mapping his movements around Tokyo and Narita down to the nearest cell tower (within a few hundred metres), and later precisely tracking around the streets of his South Australian home suburb when he returned to Australia.

The demonstration also shows how the key fraud protection relied on by banks to protect banking transactions from fraud – verification by SMS message – is useless against a determined hacker with access to the SS7 portal because they can intercept and use the SMS code before it gets to the bank customer. The same technique can also be used to take over someone’s online email account. The call-forwarding capacity of SS7 also allows any mobile to be forcibly redirected to call hugely expensive premium numbers, the cost of which is then billed to that customer’s account. SS7 also allows any number to be blocked, raising the fearful possibility that the vulnerability could be used by criminals or terrorists to stop a victim from calling police or emergency services. Cellular telephony is also used to remotely manage large industrial equipment, to send instructions to gas, electricity and other utililities and factories over 2G and 3G mobile communications. It is not inconceivable that an SS7 hack could be used to change settings or shut down a power station. more

The counterpoint version...
If you own a mobile phone, “you can be bugged, tracked and hacked from anywhere in the world”. That was the throughline of a particularly problematic story on the 60 Minutes program last night. It’s now being hailed as “the end of privacy” for all Australians, but let me assure you, that moment passed a long time ago.

“How it has been done, has never been shown before”, claimed the 20-minute report which demonstrated how a vulnerability in a global forwarding network can be “hijacked” to listen in on a user’s calls and text messages in real time.

After a lot of teasing and set-up, the report eventually took us to a basement in Germany, where security researcher Luca Melette demonstrated how he could intercept a phone call between the reporter and Australian Senator Nick Xenophon. Luca was able to intercept the call (if we’re to believe that there wasn’t any camera trickery going on), as well as a text message sent between the pair. Big drums. The hack has been reveeeeeeealed. more

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Security Director Alert - NLRB Bans Blanket Confidentiality Policies for Workplace Investigations

It is common practice for employers to prohibit their employees from discussing ongoing workplace investigations. 

Many employers believe that this restriction is necessary to ensure the integrity and fairness of investigations involving employee misconduct. As a result, employers often have policies that require confidentiality in all workplace investigations.

According to a 2015 decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), these policies are illegal. The decision, known as Banner Estrella, states that employers cannot enforce a blanket policy requiring confidentiality during workplace investigations. Because of this decision, many employers will need to update their policies and human resources (HR) practices. more

Priest Fleas After Spycam Discovered in Chuch Bathroom

OR - Father Ysrael Bien logged on to a spy-gear website and paid $295 for the hidden camera that was discovered last spring in a Sherwood church bathroom, according to information turned over to police this week.

The camera, designed to look like an electrical outlet, came from the online retailer SpyGuy Security based in Dallas, Texas. Police served a search warrant for transaction records there Monday after the business tipped them off.

A Washington County judge signed a warrant Tuesday for Bien's arrest on misdemeanor charges of invasion of privacy, tampering with evidence and initiating a false report, but police think the priest may not be in the U.S.

They did not find him at his last known address in Sherwood. Another priest there told them that Bien had left the country....

A 15-year-old St. Francis parishioner found the hidden camera affixed to a bathroom wall on April 26. The device looked like a power outlet placed at waist-height near the toilet. Thinking that was odd, the teenager pulled it off the wall and brought it to the priest.  more

Hamas Claims: We Trapped a Dolphin Spying for Israel

Hamas claimed on Wednesday that the terrorist organization trapped a dolphin that was spying for Israel.

Sources in Gaza say that the dolphin was outfitted with spyware and cameras, Army Radio reports. Israel has not confirmed that it has a dolphin spying on its behalf. more

Dressing Room SpyCam'er Convicted - Taped over 30 Females

NY - A Victor businessman is slapped with the maximum sentence after illegally videotaping dozens women in and outside his store.

At least nine women spoke directly to Glen Siembor in court today. Calling him a despicable man.

Glen Siembor was sentenced to 5-15 years for video tapping over 30 females anywhere from the ages of 8 to 49...

Siembor was convicted of 33 counts of 2nd degree unlawful surveillance and one count of possession of child pornography.

Many of his videos were taken in his victor shop's dressing room.. With the victims either nude or partially nude stood. more

Trashnet - Garbage Trucks with License Plate Readers

CA - San Jose may enlist garbage trucks as eyes on the ground for a short-staffed police force.

Equipping trash haulers with license plate readers would turn them into roving scouts for the San Jose Police Department. Already, the trucks travel every city street every single week, covering more ground than a cop car.

Mayor Sam Liccardo proposed the idea with support from council members Raul Peralez—a former policeman—and Johnny Khamis. more

Freaks Tattoo Owner Charged - Spied on Female Employee with (11) Hidden Cameras

MO - In March 2014, a 21-year-old woman who worked at, and lived in an apartment above, Nu Troost Tattoo (4101 Troost) discovered an intricate system of wires and hidden cameras installed inside her apartment that led down to a computer in the basement of the building. When the police were called, they found 11 hidden video cameras in the apartment. Four had been installed in the tenant's bathroom, including one with a view of the shower and one facing the toilet.

The building and the business were owned by a 47-year-old man named Rodney Sanell, who also owned the three branches of Freaks Tattoo and Piercing: Freaks on Broadway, Freaks on 39th, and Freaks on Noland. The woman told police that Sanell had been in her apartment to install smoke detectors while she was out of town the previous October. She also said Sanell had sexually propositioned her several times — advances she had rebuffed.

As we reported at the time, the discovery shook up the local tattoo community. Some Freaks tattoo artists quit on principle, some had to scramble to find new jobs, and others — who had nothing to do with Sanell's activity — tried to repair the Freaks public image.

Today, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced that Sanell will face 42 counts of invasion of privacy for using cameras to "observe victims in states of full or partial nudity without their knowledge," Baker's office says. Five victims — names withheld — are listed in the complaint.  more

Tapes Released - Eavesdropping on Henry Kissinger's Telephone Conversations

CIA director William Colby’s openness about more odious U.S. intelligence practices did not go over well with Henry Kissinger.

Speaking on the phone with McGeorge Bundy, the National Security Advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Kissinger referred to Colby as a “psychopath.”

[A film by the son of CIA spymaster William Colby has divided the Colby clan]

The two men were chatting about congressional investigations into the CIA activities post-Watergate and worried about leaks and misinformation.

“On top of it you have the pysopath(sic)/running the CIA. You accuse him of a traffic violation and he confesses murder,” Kissinger said in the June 1975 telephone conversation. Colby, Loop fans will recall, was replaced soon after as director of CIA by George H.W. Bush.

That conversation is part of 900 final Kissinger phone transcripts from the Gerald Ford administration released Wednesday by the National Security Archive, which sued the State Department in March to have them released. For history buffs the tapes are precious gold... more

...thus making future eavesdropping devices infinitely more effective.

Although the ability tends to wane as we get older, the human auditory system is pretty good at filtering out background noise and making a single voice able to be understood above the general hubbub of a crowded room.

But electronic devices, such as smartphones, aren't quite as gifted, which is why getting Siri or Google Now to understand you in crowded environments can be an exercise in futility. But now researchers have developed a prototype sensor that’s not only able to figure out the direction of a particular sound, but can also extract it from background noise.

To create the sensor, scientists at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina used a class of materials known as metamaterials, which boast properties not found in nature, and a signal processing technique known as compressive sensing. The disk-shaped device is made of plastic and doesn't have any electronic or moving parts. Rather, it features a honeycomb-like structure and is split into dozens of slices which each feature a unique pattern of cavities of different depths. It is these cavities that distort the sound waves and give the sensor its unique capabilities. more 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

See Through Walls by the Glow of Your Wi-Fi

Researchers at University College London (UCL) have devised a system for detecting the Doppler shifts of ubiquitous Wi-Fi and mobile telephone signals to “see” people moving, even behind masonry walls 25 centimeters thick. 

The method, which could be useful in situations from hostage-takings to traffic control, won the Engineering Impact Award in the RF and Communications category at this National Instrument’s NI Week 2015 meeting (which convened in Austin, Tex., 3-9 August). more

Wi-Vi Sees Movement Behind Walls Using Cheap Wi-Fi Tech (2013)
Wireless Network Signals Produce See-Through Walls (2009)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Secrets: Managing Information Assets in the Age of Cyberespionage

The following is from Jim Pooley’s new book on trade secrets — Secrets: Managing Information Assets in the Age of Cyberespionage.

Bankrupt networking giant Nortel reveals that its key executives’ email passwords were stolen and the company’s network hacked for a decade.

Boeing, hiring away Lockheed employees who bring documents to their new employer, pays $615 million to avoid criminal prosecution, while two of its former managers are indicted.

Apple scrambles to recover a sample of its unreleased new model iPhone that was left by an employee in a bar – a year after the same thing happened in a different bar.

Starwood employees leave to join Hilton, taking with them ideas for a new kind of hotel.

And the owner of Thomas’ English Muffins goes to court to protect its “nooks and crannies” recipe from being used by a competitor.

What do these corporate crises all have in common? Trade secrets. They reflect the enormous value of – and threats to – the most important assets of modern business...

Reading my new book — Secrets: Managing Information Assets in the Age of Cyberespionage — will give you a deeper understanding of how your business differentiates itself from the competition, and how it must work to keep its edge. As an executive or manager or small-business owner you will come away armed to protect and exploit your company’s advantages. As an individual you will have a greater appreciation for what intellectually belongs to you and how to use it to advance your career without being sued. And whatever your interest or line of work, you will have a much better understanding of how information has become the global currency of the 21st century.

J. Wallace LaPrade, New York F.B.I. Chief in ’70s, Dies at 89

J. Wallace LaPrade, who oversaw the safe return of several celebrity kidnapping victims and was later fired as the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York chief, accused of not being forthcoming about the bureau’s role in illegally investigating radical groups in the 1970s, died on July 31 in Lexington, Va. He was 89. more 
(Thank you for giving me what I needed to get through college.)

NEW Cyber-Flashing - Thus proving there is a first time for everything.

Police are investigating a "new" crime of cyber-flashing after a commuter received an indecent image on her phone as she traveled to work. The victim received two pictures of an unknown man's (you know what) on her phone via Apple's Airdrop sharing function.

Lorraine Crighton-Smith, 34, said she felt "violated" and reported it to the British Transport Police (BTP). Supt Gill Murray said this particular crime was new to her force and urged people to report any other incidents. more

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Four Things You Didn’t Know Could Be Hacked

At two big hacking conferences in Las Vegas over the past week, security pros revealed new vulnerabilities in daily items we never considered security risks. These events serve as annual displays of the latest hacking tricks.

The Austin, Texas-based company TrackingPoint makes auto-aiming rifles that increase a shooter’s accuracy and have Wi-Fi connectivity. Within the 100- to 150-feet range of the Wi-Fi and using a mobile phone, a hacker can compromise the weapon and change the target of the shooter, says Runa Sandvik, one of the researchers who presented at the annual hacker gathering Def Con last week.

In a demonstration for Wired, Sandvik and a research partner finagled with a rifle’s software to shift aim 2.5 feet to the left, hitting a different target...

Electronic skateboards 
Electric skateboards can make your ride smoother — until the board no longer listens to your controls and throws you off. Two researchers developed a hack they dubbed “FacePlant,” which gave them total control over digital skateboards by manipulating the Bluetooth connection.

An attacker could force the skateboard to connect to a laptop and then stop the board, alter its direction or disable its brakes.

Death records 
It’s pretty simple to kill someone off — at least on paper — Chris Rock, chief executive officer and founder of the security company Kustodian, showed in a presentation at Def Con. Using information found online, anyone can complete state electronic death records, Rock found, and then register to become a funeral director online to complete a certificate of death.

Why kill someone off officially, but not physically? For revenge against an ex-partner or a jerk boss, according to Rock’s presentation, or to enjoy the insurance benefits or access elderly parents’ estates.

We already know that the modern car is like a smartphone on wheels in that it’s susceptible to hack attacks like any other connected device... What they found: Teslas are, in fact, built with more security in mind than the average vehicle. But they also found several vulnerabilities, and were able to remotely open and close trunks, lock and unlock doors and stop a Tesla, depending on what speed it was being driven at.

The researchers worked with Tesla, and Tesla automatically pushed an update to all the cars so drivers could patch the vulnerabilities within one to two weeks — unlike other car companies, which have had to issue recalls on vehicles with security flaws.  more

Four Reasons To See ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'

• 60’s Cool Spy Style
• The Action
• Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki and Hugh Grant
• Perfect Soundtrack

Four Signs Your Boss Is Spying on You

Chances are, your boss is keeping an eye on you. Forty-three percent of companies actively monitor employee emails, according to the American Management Association (AMA), and roughly the same number track the time you spend on the phone and who you call (16% go so far as to record those calls). Nearly half of companies say they use video to reduce theft and workplace sabotage...

1. You’re secretly planning to quit – and your boss already knows
More companies, including Credit Suisse and AOL, are mining big data to make predictions about which employees are likely to leave their job in the near future. VoloMetrix, Inc., an analytics firm, examined employee emails and calendar data and discovered that it could predict up to a year in advance who would be putting in their notice, the Wall Street Journal reported...

2. You’re called out for a conversation that you thought was private
If your boss reprimands you for a less-than-professional conversation or email exchange that you thought was private, there’s a chance you have a tattletale co-worker. Or your supervisor may be spying on you, perhaps by scanning your email, monitoring your phone conversations, or even looking at the text messages you send on your work-issued device. If they’re using a key-logging program or other monitoring software, they may even know what you’re saying in your personal emails.

3. Your boss knows what you did this weekend before you tell him
Does your boss seem to know an awful lot about your personal life? He or she could be checking out your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media profiles, even if you haven’t added him to your network or given him your password (something that some employers really do ask for, though laws about that are changing). Stalking your public profiles is a bit creepy, but it’s not all that unusual...

4. There’s some suspicious software on your devices
If your company’s IT department is monitoring your computer use, it’s not always going to be immediately obvious. However, you can poke around on your desktop to see if there are any telltale signs of monitoring software (Online Tech Tips has some advice on how to do that, if you’re so inclined). The same goes for unusual apps installed on smartphones... more

Monday, August 10, 2015

Spying Claim New Headache for SeaWorld

Accusations of spying have put a new twist on the battle between SeaWorld Entertainment and animal-welfare activists, which experts say could cause more trouble for the theme-park company.

Orlando-based SeaWorld has opened an investigation and placed an employee on paid leave after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accused the employee of attending protests posing as an activist...
It's not unheard of for both corporations and nonprofits to gather intelligence on critics or competitors, said Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

"To me, the line is crossed when one presents oneself deceptively and certainly is crossed when one tries to incite violent action," Hanson said.

Typically companies that snoop on critics hire outside firms to put some distance between them and the surveillance, said Gary Ruskin, who authored a 2013 report on corporate espionage for a nonprofit citizen-activism organization, Essential Information.

If management encouraged its own employee to spy, Ruskin said, "it's espionage incompetence on the part of SeaWorld."

Government-Level Spy Gear Found Used for Blackmail and Bid Rigging

South Africa - In what has been described as a serious compromise of the sovereignty of the state, three men appeared in court this week after they were found in possession of a super-spying device which can tap into more than 10 000 phones and eavesdrop on conversations from as far as 3km away.

The discovery is creating sleepless nights for South African intelligence officials and the police, as the men allegedly acquired the device with the help of government officials.

The Sunday Independent understands the device has been used to bug top politicians, cabinet ministers and prominent business people who do business with the government.

The men behind the acquisition of this powerful device had been using it for almost a year.

They apparently used it to manipulate and blackmail people in powerful positions, as well as sway multibillion-rand tenders in state institutions. more more

10 Gadgets That Will Make You Feel Like a Spy

1. Mini Camera Camcorder Video DV DVR Hidden Web Cam
2. SPY DVR Camera Camcorder Eyewear Sunglasses
3. Voicelok Voice Authenticating 8GB USB Drive
4. Spy Camera Tie with Wireless Audio Recorder with Remote Control – 4GB DVR Built-in
5. Mini Gadgets Inc CD60 Wireless Camera Detector
6. Spy Tec STI_GL300 Mini Portable Real Time GPS Tracker
7. Sport Treavy Lock N’ Load Gun Alarm Clock target Alarm Clock creative Clock – Black
8. US Mint Quarter – Micro SD Card Covert Coin – Secret Compartment US Quarter
9. Seek LW-AAA Thermal Imaging Camera Lightning Connector for iOS Devices, Black
10. Traveling Bartender 7 Piece Set by Brouk & Co. more

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bad Year for Former Spy Chiefs ... and it's only August

Chile - Gen. Manuel Contreras, who headed the feared spy agency that kidnapped, tortured and killed thousands during Chile's military dictatorship, died late Friday at a military hospital while serving a combined sentence of more than 500 years for crimes against humanity. He was 86. more 2013... former spy chief, Gen. Odladier Mena, commits suicide before transfer from luxury jail. more

Bulgaria - Former head of Bulgaria's National Intelligence Service Kircho Kirov was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison on corruption charges. The court said on Friday that Kirov received the minimum sentence possible under Bulgarian law, adding that half of his assets would be confiscated. more

South Korea - South Korea’s Supreme Court has ordered the retrial of the country’s former spy chief, who was jailed in February, in a development likely to ease political pressure on President Park Geun-hye. more

Burundi - The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has expressed shock at the assassination of Burundi’s General Adolphe Nshimirimana, a former army Chief of Staff and head of Burundi’s intelligence service. more

Libya - A Libyan court has sentenced to death former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi's last prime minister, Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, for "genocide" during the 2011 revolt against his rule, the Lana news agency said on Tuesday. more

UK - Former MI5 chief warned of political embarrassment risk over child abuse claims more

Argentina - Carlos Menem, the flamboyant former president of Argentina, has gone on trial for orchestrating a cover-up of his country's worst ever terrorist attack. ... Hugo Anzorreguy, former spy chief, was not in court either – but was following the proceedings by video conference from his hospital bed. more

US - Barack Obama's former spy chief has admitted that drones are causing "more damage than good" and that US prisons in Iraq "absolutely" helped in radicalising young Iraqis who later joined al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn also called the US invasion of Iraq a "strategic mistake," according to reports. more

China - China's former security chief has been given a life sentence for corruption charges following a secret trial, seen as a victory for President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign. more

Syria - Rustom Ghazali, Syria's last chief of intelligence in Lebanon who was a suspect in the killing of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has died in Damascus, Lebanese media reported. A Lebanese source with ties to Damascus also said that Ghazali had died on Friday. The cause and circumstances of his death were not immediately clear. There was no mention of his death on state media and the Syrian government made no statement. more

Colombia - The former head of Colombia's intelligence service was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Thursday for spying on opposition lawmakers, judges and journalists in one of the biggest scandals to mar the government of ex-President Alvaro Uribe. more

Turkey - Turkey's powerful former intelligence chief was on Monday reappointed head of the secret service after dropping a bid to run for parliament in upcoming elections (smell a rat?), a government spokesman said... more

Rwanda - Rwanda has angrily condemned the arrest of the country’s intelligence chief, Karenzi Karake, by British authorities acting on a Spanish indictment... Metropolitan police say Karenzi Karake is wanted in Spain in connection with alleged massacres in wake of 1994 Rwandan genocide more (last year...) I wish we had murdered former spy chief, says Rwandan President Paul Kagame... his country’s former spy chief's body was found in Johannesburg... more

The exception seems to be... Kazakhstan's former spy chief and a presidential family guard were acquitted by an Austrian jury on Friday of double murder in a trial whose main suspect, the president's former son-in-law, was found hanged in jail. more

Still dreaming of becoming a top spy?

EFF Browser Extension That Blocks Spying Ads Officially Launches

After more than a year of testing, 
the Electronic Frontier Foundation is releasing Privacy Badger 1.0, a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that prevents ads and sites from tracking your activity on the web. The EFF says over a 250,000 users have used the early versions of the extension, following a call for testers last May. So how does it work... more

The Android Wiretapping Case Against Apple is Rotting

Apple today asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit against it that claims the company wiretaps Android users by intercepting, and then failing to deliver, texts sent from iPhones to Android phones. 

The motion was made after Apple discovered that two of the three plaintiffs in the case had gotten rid of their old iPhones after they filed the suit against Apple. They are thus unable to demonstrate whether texts sent to their phone numbers went to their Apple or Android devices, Apple claims.

One of the plaintiffs has also asked that she be dismissed as a "named plaintiff" in the case.

And that request came a day after a judge declined to grant the case class-action status. more

A Win for Whistleblowers - Ag-Gag Law Gagged

The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho struck down Idaho’s “ag-gag” law, which criminalized undercover investigations in which animal cruelty was filmed and publicized.

A coalition of animal right groups and activists challenged the law, and the Reporters Committee led a coalition of sixteen news organizations in filing an amicus brief in December, arguing that the law infringed on constitutionally protected newsgathering rights.

The law, Idaho Code § 18-7042, created the new criminal felony offense of “interference with agricultural production,” which occurs when a person, among other things, entered an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation and made audio or video recordings of the facility’s operations. It was enacted in early 2014 after animal rights activists aired videos of workers using a tractor to drag cows with chains around their necks, while also beating and kicking them.

Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill condemned the law as an unconstitutional ban on valuable political speech on food and worker safety, which are matters of public concern.

“§18-7042 seeks to limit and punish those who speak out on topics relating to the agricultural industry, striking at the heart of important First Amendment values,” the opinion states. “The effect of the statute will be to suppress speech by undercover investigators and whistleblowers concerning topics of great public importance: the safety of the public food supply, the safety of agricultural workers, the treatment and health of farm animals, and the impact of business activities on the environment.” more

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New FBI Blockbuster Movie on Economic Espionage (2 Thumbs Up)

The Company Man: Protecting America's Secrets run-time is 36 minutes. Watch it when you have the time. I promise you, it is as suspenseful and entertaining as anything on TV or in the movies. Plus, it is a true story. Be sure to visit the 'movie FAQ' link after the movie ends.

Industries in the United States spend more on research and development than any other country in the world. The amount of effort and resources put into developing a unique product or process that can provide an edge in the business world is not unsubstantial. But what happens if someone comes in and steals that edge—a company’s trade secrets—for the benefit of a foreign country? The damages could severely undermine the victim company and include lost revenue, lost employment, damaged reputation, lost investment for research and development, interruption in production—it could even result in the company going out of business. more movie FAQ

Book: Cell Phone Investigations by Aaron Edens is 50% off.

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Pages: 338
Format: Book
ISBN: 978-1631800061
Release Date: 12/16/2014
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How Your Washing Machine Can Steal Computer Files

(Leave it to CNN to come up with such a misleading lede and headline.)

Imagine hackers stealing top secret files from a military base. Except they don't need the Internet to pull data out of the facility's computers. Instead, they can just infect an office printer and -- with software alone -- turn it into a radio.

This sounds like sci-fi, but it's now possible. Security researchers at a Manhattan startup have discovered how to make any modern device -- printer, washing machine, air conditioner -- broadcast invisible, inaudible signals for miles.

That's a game changer -- and a huge step forward for hackers...

Last week, the team at Red Balloon Security demonstrated how it works to several news reporters.

They infected a Pantum laser printer and toyed with its circuits, making it do something it was never meant to. By quickly switching a chip's energy output back and forth, the printer emits electromagnetic radiation. more

TEMPEST re-packaged.
Note to clients... Please don't worry. We can easily detect this.

Monday, August 3, 2015

No Time for Spycam'er - Video Voyeurism Victims Pissed

Kevin Thomas Roy worked on the production crews of some of Hollywood’s biggest movies,

including the “Lone Ranger,” “Transcendence” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” But it was the filming he was doing in secret that landed him in trouble with law enforcement, according to court documents.

Roy’s computer hard drives contained more than 40 videos and 400 photographs capturing unsuspecting women showering or changing in private areas, on film sets and at shopping centers, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Roy, a Los Angeles County district attorney’s investigator wrote, appeared to be a “prolific collector and producer of voyeuristic matter” with a “voracious appetite and affinity for videos ... depicting women in bathrooms, dressing rooms and other places of privacy.”

As part of a deal with Los Angeles prosecutors, the district attorney’s office said, Roy pleaded no contest June 26 to a single misdemeanor charge of unauthorized invasion of privacy. He was sentenced to three years of probation and required to undergo 52 weeks of sex offender counseling in Georgia, where he now lives.

“It’s an awful feeling knowing that you’re a victim of such a sneaky, disgusting crime, and it is as though the law isn’t protecting us or any other women out there,” said Donna Unsinn, who was identified in the search warrant as being shown in some of the images.

A district attorney’s spokesman declined to respond to the criticism, saying the office’s investigation into Roy is ongoing. Roy, 38, and his attorney did not return calls seeking comment. more

Down Under News - Spy Camera Found in Toilet at Shopping Center

Australia - Detectives are investigating how a small camera came to be hidden inside a smoke alarm in a public toilet at a suburban Perth shopping centre.

Its discovery by a worker, understood to be an electrician, on Friday prompted management at Belmont Forum to conduct a “thorough sweep” of all its facilities to ensure there were no other devices.

WA Police are examining the contents on the camera.

A man posted on Facebook on Friday that he was working at Belmont Forum and when he went to the toilet he noticed the smoke alarm flashing. He said he pulled the smoke alarm cover off the ceiling and found a cordless camera inside.

The man said the discovery made him feel sick. He urged people to be vigilant about anything “dodgy” and to check for “domestic battery-operated smoke alarms” in public toilets.

Images posted on Facebook of what looks like a hidden camera, discovered in a smoke detector.

A spokeswoman for Belmont Forum said: “The device was immediately handed into centre management and subsequently turned over to WA Police.

“Belmont Forum is assisting WA Police with the investigation and has conducted a thorough sweep of all the facilities in the shopping centre. No further devices have been found.” more 

Interesting... This is the same camera I featured in the Basic Cameras chapter of my on-line Spycam Detection training course. Even more interesting... the camera also transmits a wireless signal directly to a smartphone. You can preview the Basic Cameras chapter for FREE. (scroll down to Basic Cameras)

New Ultra Low Light Level Camera for Investigators... named Amos Burke

Ever been poking around in low-light with your camera and thought, "you know what, I could really do with an extra few million ISO"? To be honest, neither have we because such a light-sensitivity would be ludicrous for most users.

Well, that hasn't stopped the folks at Canon stepping things up in a big way with its full-frame ME20F-SH, a 4,000,000 ISO HD video camera that seems sure to bring the noise.

The seeds were sewn for Canon's new shooter in 2013, when the company announced the development of a new 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor specifically for filming in poorly lit environments. This sensor has now found its way into a cubed-shaped 4 x 4.5 x 4.4 in (10.2 x 11.4 x 11.2 cm) body that weighs approximately 2.4 lb (1.1 kg) and features an EF mount for compatibility with the Canon's interchangeable EF glass...

The result is, Canon says in lieu of sample footage, the capture of low-noise, color, Full-HD video of subjects with a minimum illumination of less than 0.0005 lux. For reference, a crescent moon is about 0.3 lux. Infrared illumination has made it possible to capture such dim environments previously, but only in black and white. more

Suggested retail price: US$30,000

Great On-Line Movie - Dr Megavolt: from Geek to Superhero - Pay What You Want to See It

For 30 days, pay what you want is on!
Buy Dr Megavolt: From Geek to Superhero the feature documentary for as little as...

But, please, don't be too cheap. It cost him a lot of money to give you these visual thrills.

Run time 72 minutes.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Interesting Case - Two Lawyers Face Felony Wiretap Charges.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane filed criminal charges against two Pennsylvania lawyers alleging violations of the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, 18 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 5701, et seq. (“Wiretap Act”).

Both lawyers are facing two felony counts under the Wiretap Act, and the charges arise from allegedly using illegally-obtained recordings in court proceedings. More specifically, charges against attorney Stanley T. Booker arise from his alleged use of a recorded telephone call (between his client and the victim of a robbery) during his cross-examination of a witness during a preliminary hearing. Attorney Gerald V. Benyo, Jr., allegedly attached a transcript of an unlawfully recorded call when he filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing. Both attorneys questioned why the Attorney General “would press charges,” but an Attorney General spokesperson stated: “Given all the new technology that is available today, we are aware that there may be more opportunities for potential violations of these laws. We are prepared to act when the situation warrants prosecution.” However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s 2014 decision, Commonwealth v. Spence, which held that telephones are expressly exempt from the devices prohibited by the Wiretap Act, could be a challenge to the Attorney General’s prosecution of these cases. more

Ratters: Hackers spying through computer microphones, webcams

A new report says hackers can take remote control of a computer and not only steal passwords and credit card numbers, but also listen through the microphone and watch through the webcam.

The hackers, known as ratters, can then post that information online with advertising.

It’s done by Remote Access Trojans, or RATs. According to the Digital Citizens’ Alliance, they are a growing threat to innocent people...

Benson shared a few tips to help computer users protect themselves:
  • Cover a webcam when it’s not in use
  • Update the computer’s operating system and make sure its anti-virus software and firewalls are up to date
  • Beware of suspicious links 

Kevin's Spybusters Tip #834: Blind Ratters with this.

Guy Shoots Drone To Smithereens For Spying On Sunbathing Daughter

William Merideth was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment Sunday evening after shooting down an $1800 drone he claims was spying on his teenage daughter sunbathing in Hillview, KY.

“My daughter comes in and says, ‘Dad, there’s a drone out here flying,’ ” William H. Merideth told WDRB, Tuesday.

“I came out and it was down by the neighbor’s house, about 10 feet off the ground, looking under their canopy … in their back yard," Merideth said. "I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property … Within a minute or so, here it came … hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky."

Soon after Merideth shot the drone, four men showed up at his door “looking for a fight” and asked Merideth if he was “the son of a bitch that shot my drone.”

Merideth, with a 10mm Glock holstered on his hip, confirmed he had shot down the drone and told his accuser "if you cross that sidewalk onto my property, there’s going to be another shooting."
The men left, but soon after the police arrived and arrested Merideth. Though Ars Technica reports that law enforcement officials allegedly told Merideth they agreed with his actions, he was being charged due to an ordinance against discharging firearms in the city.

Though Merideth was disappointed in the law enforcement’s response to the situation, he feels “confident” his charges will be reduced or dismissed entirely. more