Monday, February 25, 2019

FutureWatch: Invisible-Light-Powered Eavesdropping Devices

Wi-Charge uses safe infrared light to deliver power from a distance. Our products provide enough power to charge a phone across a room, to power smart devices and enable new experiences. With Wi-Charge, mobile and IoT devices appear to charge autonomously. New applications open for homes, offices, factories and public spaces.

Battery-powered devices are portable, but battery capacity limits functionality and the need to replace batteries degrades the user experience. Moving wired devices, routing or hiding the power cords is a pain. Wi-Charge delivers 100x the power budget of battery solutions. With Wi-Charge, you can have the convenience of wire-free portability with a power budget approaching to a wired solution. more

Lots of good uses, and possibly some evil ones. 
Thanks to another Canadian Blue Blaze Irregular for spotting this one!

Electronic Footprint Army Boots Discovered

Hamas-run security forces at the Kerem Shalom crossing in the Gaza Strip have seized a shipment of army boots outfitted with tracking devices, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu reported on Saturday, citing a security source in the coastal enclave.

Hamas security forces were carrying out “a precise inspection of the tracking devices in order to… understand how they work,” the security source said. more

Looks like the same technology as shoplifting tags and card-keys. Clever.

Thanks to our Canadian Blue Blaze irregular for spotting this one!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Book - JUDGEMENT by Joe Finder - Fast-Paced Thriller with Technical Surveillance Overtones

Just Released
JUDGEMENT by Joe Finder
"It was nothing more than a one-night stand. Juliana Brody, a judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, is rumored to be in consideration for the federal circuit, maybe someday the highest court in the land.

At a conference in a Chicago hotel, she meets a gentle, vulnerable man and has an unforgettable night with him—something she’d never done before. They part with an explicit understanding that this must never happen again.

But back home in Boston, Juliana realizes that this was no random encounter. The man from Chicago proves to have an integral role in a case she's presiding over—a sex-discrimination case that's received national attention. Juliana discovers that she's been entrapped, her night of infidelity captured on video.

Strings are being pulled in high places, a terrifying unfolding conspiracy that will turn her life upside down. But soon it becomes clear that personal humiliation, even the possible destruction of her career, are the least of her concerns, as her own life and the lives of her family are put in mortal jeopardy.

In the end, turning the tables on her adversaries will require her to be as ruthless as they are..."

Inside Information: Several Technical Surveillance Countermeasures practitioners (including myself) were consulted for plot twists and technical realism. New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder does this kind of homework on all his novels. ~Kevin

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ultrasonic Microphone Jammers — Do They Really Work?

It’s a question I get asked occasionally when one of our clients sees one of these devices being advertised on the internet.

Who can blame them for asking? The ads claim they can stop microphones from working properly. Instant privacy from electronic eavesdroppers, and anyone who is attempting to record your conversations.

Finally, Kryptonite for microphones!?!? Wow, how does that work?

The ultrasonic microphone jammer explanation is really simple... more

FutureWatch: Smartphone Comes with Optical Spy Pen

Click to enlarge.
Electronic pen device having optical zoom – Patent # US 10,198,649 – Feb. 5, 2019


The electric pen device includes an optical system including a lens and an image sensor configured to convert an image signal of light that has passed through the optical system to an electrical signal. The electric pen device includes a control board configured to interact with an electronic device and a communication module configured to communicate by wire or wirelessly with the electronic device, so that an image or a picture taken by a camera is confirmed and an optical zoom is controlled from the external electronic device. more

FutureWatch spy implications: Phone may be concealed in the pocket, backpack, or nearby desk drawer. Take high quality photos by aiming the top of the pen, pressing a button, and automatically transmitting the photo back to the phone. Pretty covert. No word about it transmitting audio, yet. Leaving phones outside of the conference room won't be enough. You'll have to check the pens, too. 

Need a spy pen camera you can actually buy today, or worry about being used to steal your secrets? Check here. ~Kevin

Thanks to our sharp-eyed Blue Blaze Irregular in the shadows of Pennsylvania for this.

Smart Light Bulbs May Not Be a Bright Idea

Your discarded smart lightbulbs reveal your wifi passwords, because they are stored in the clear.

Not to mention, someone replacing your bulb and getting the password that way.

Yes, I know, the spy might not program the replacement bulb to operate like the old one. Dead give-a-way, right? My bet is that you'll think the bulb just forgot it's settings, or not notice at all.

This hack was publicized here, and originally researched here, if you want to know more.

Thanks to our Blue Blaze Irregular from the Jersey shore for this one.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Business Espionage: The Case of the Broken Unbreakable Glass

In what sounds like a half-baked movie script about corporate espionage, an FBI sting conducted in collaboration with a specialized glass maker (and watched from a gelato stand by a reporter from Bloomberg) led investigators to a meeting at a burger joint in Vegas during CES... Akhan Semiconductor, reached out to potential customers regarding its recently developed Miraj Diamond Glass, a new take on the protective screens used in devices like smartphones that Akhan claims is six times stronger and ten times more scratch-resistant than Corning Gorilla Glass. Among Akhan’s potential clients was Huawei... more more sing-a-long

This Week in Technical Surveillance

Ukraine - Head of the election headquarters of the presidential candidate of Ukraine, leader of the Civil Position Party Anatoliy Hrytsenko, independent deputy, Viktor Chumak, has said that wiretapping devices were found in their headquarters, and therefore, called on other candidates to be vigilant. more

Israel - The Israel Police admitted on Tuesday that it eavesdropped on journalists’ telephone conversations with suspects, despite these conversations being protected by journalistic privilege. more

Australia - Australia is to establish a new sweeping anti-corruption regime which will be overseen by a national watchdog which will tackle both cheating and match-fixing in the Australian sports sector...  It would also have the power to conduct electronic surveillance of coaches, sports officials, and athletes and look for signs of suspected match-fixing... more

U.S. - A head custodian for the city's public school district was arrested after a female co-worker found a hidden camera that had recorded her using a restroom... Francisco Javier Lopez-Martinez, 59, was arrested...after an overnight police search... Lopez-Martinez was found hiding...police said he threatened suicide while holding a handgun...the gun was determined to be an air-soft weapon... A day earlier, a woman reported to police that she had discovered the camera while using a bathroom...she found footage of her and also a clip of, Lopez-Martinez, installing the camera. more

...and one for the birds...

New Zealand - In a technology that's been heralded as a breakthrough in conservation, a remote recording device is 'eavesdropping' on one of the rarest birds in New Zealand to monitor how they're adjusting after being released back into the wild. more

Facilities Manager Alert: Your Smart Building May Start Doing Dumb Things

Researchers at enterprise security vendor ForeScout have warned that malware specifically targeting smart buildings is an inevitable next step given the rapidly expanding attack surface that building automation systems expose.

The operational technology researchers at ForeScout should know: they created proof-of-concept malware that revealed smart building vulnerabilities every business should be concerned about.

...just yesterday, Tenable Research revealed it had discovered several zero-day vulnerabilities in a premises access control system used by Fortune 500 companies. Among the many attack scenarios these vulnerabilities could facilitate was 'unfettered access to the badge system database' which in turn meant an ability to create fraudulent access badges and disable building locks. more

Spybusters Tip #847: Stop Car Theft via Key Fob Signal Intercept

By simply wrapping your key FOB in aluminum foil you can prevent a thief from intercepting the signal. 

If you park your car outside at home then you might consider using a foil-lined container or placing your keys in a coffee can.

I’m going to start wrapping mine in aluminum foil when I travel and stay in a hotel. If you doubt that this issue is a serious threat then watch How Thieves Unlock A Car. more

A big thank you to our Blue Blaze Irregular ensconced in Illinois for alerting us to this tip. ~Kevin

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Hackers Now Banking on Two-Factor Authentication for Profit

Sophisticated hackers have long exploited flaws in SS7, a protocol used by telecom companies to coordinate how they route texts and calls around the world. Those who exploit SS7 can potentially track phones across the other side of the planet, and intercept text messages and phone calls without hacking the phone itself. 

This activity was typically only within reach of intelligence agencies or surveillance contractors, but now Motherboard has confirmed that this capability is much more widely available in the hands of financially-driven cybercriminal groups, who are using it to empty bank accounts. So-called SS7 attacks against banks are, although still relatively rare, much more prevalent than previously reported. Motherboard has identified a specific bank—the UK's Metro Bank—that fell victim to such an attack...

One source familiar with SS7 attacks across banks said the exploitation has targeted banks globally, but that American banks seem to be less impacted. more

Reader comment: "Please note the Motherboard reporter carefully differentiates between "sophisticated hackers" and "financially-driven cybercriminal groups".  I hope you'll consider being equally judicious in your own reporting and online comments."

Friday, February 1, 2019

Book Review Request: Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures a Complete Guide

If any TSCM'er out there buys this book. Please send me a review.

Thank you, Kevin

Evil Child Watch Spies

In late 2017, the Norwegian Consumer Council published its audit of kids' smart-watches, reporting that the leading brands allowed strangers to follow your kids around and listen in on their conversations; a year later, Pen Test Partners followed up to see if anything had changed (it hadn't).

Now, a year and a half later, Pen Test Partners have done another security audit of kids' smart watches and you'll never guess what they found! Kids' smart-watches are still a dumpster-fire: anyone can access the entire database of kids' data, including "real time child location, name, parents details etc," and since most leading brands use the same back-end from Gator, virtually every kid's smart-watch is vulnerable. more

Smartphone Security Tips

2/4/19 UPDATE: European Commission orders mass recall of creepy, leaky child-tracking smartwatch. more