Archive for the ‘Meddling’ Category

Separate And Unequal: Gen. Petraeus Facing Mild Wrist Slap For Leaking Eight Books Full Of Classified Info To His Mistress

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Can’t wait to see Ed Snowden offered the same sweet deal. I’m sure that will happen, right?

The administration still wants to punish whistleblowers and leakers, but only if it can do it with logic borrowed from Animal Farm. When it comes to prosecution, some leakers are more equal than others.

John Kiriakou — who exposed a single CIA operative’s name while exposing its waterboarding tactics — spent more time in jail than former CIA director Leon Panetta, who has spent (at last count) a grand total of 0 days locked up for leaking tons of classified info to Zero Dark Thirty’s screenwriter, Mark Boal.

Of course, some leaks just aren’t leaks, at least not according to the government. Kiriakou’s were wrong. Panetta’s were right. And Kiriakou spent three years in prison for a lesser "crime."

via Techdirt..

Detectives suspect inside job in North Carolina gold heist | abc11.com

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Stating the obvious, exhibit 34,532.

Search warrants obtained by ABC11 show that detectives suspect an inside job in the robbery of $4.8 million worth of gold from a truck along I-95 Sunday.It was originally reported that guards working for Transvalue Inc. of Miami said they pulled off to the side of the interstate about 6:30 p.m. after their vehicle began having mechanical problems.

But the warrants made public Wednesday show a passenger in the truck said he was feeling sick and requested the truck pull over so he could vomit.

via Detectives suspect inside job in North Carolina gold heist | abc11.com.

Reporters on the CIA take

Friday, February 20th, 2015

The story of Ken Dilanian playing footsie with the CIA brought to mind a comment I heard a few years back from someone in a position to know who insisted that news anchor Ted Koppel was a paid CIA asset. That was quite an extraordinary claim but I did not follow up and I could not find much evidence on the web to back it up.

It is not, however, a new phenomenon. Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein wrote a lengthy story about improper CIA involvement with the media. Wikipedia describes “Operation Mockinbgird” as a CIA plan to influence media and speaks of it in the past tense, though there is no indication that the operation has ended. Perhaps it hasn’t.

AP reporter soft-pedals phone key theft

Friday, February 20th, 2015
Ken Dilanian

Ken Dilanian

Associated Press Intelligence reporter Ken Dilanian reports on the NSA/GCHQ’s theft of mobile phone keys, as reported by The Intercept.

WASHINGTON AP — Britain’s electronic spying agency, in cooperation with the U.S. National Security Agency, hacked into the networks of a Dutch company to steal codes that allow both governments to seamlessly eavesdrop on mobile phones worldwide, according to the documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden.

via AP News | The Times-Tribune | thetimes-tribune.com.

Dilanian’s soft-pedaling arrives in the second paragraph:
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The Great SIM Heist: How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

NSA hacked SIM card manufacturer Gemalto and stole millions of encryption keys without the company’s knowledge. While I don’t particularly mind NSA targeting bad guys (that’s why we have NSA), I consider hacking the good guys to get the bad guys to be very poor form.

I am not surprised that this took place on Obama’s watch, either. His record is just as bad as George W. Bush’s. Perhaps worse.

The monitoring of the lawful communications of employees of major international corporations shows that such statements by Obama, other U.S. officials and British leaders — that they only intercept and monitor the communications of known or suspected criminals or terrorists — were untrue. “The NSA and GCHQ view the private communications of people who work for these companies as fair game,” says the ACLU’s Soghoian. “These people were specifically hunted and targeted by intelligence agencies, not because they did anything wrong, but because they could be used as a means to an end.”

via The Great SIM Heist: How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle.

Lenovo shipping laptops with pre-installed adware that kills HTTPS | CSO Online

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Whoops. Lenovo shipped computers with adware that breaks ALL SSL on its laptops. Not only that, but the private key is also widely available, meaning anyone can spoof any website on an unsuspecting Lenovo owner’s computer. Major security fail!

Lenovo is in hot water after it was revealed on Wednesday that the company is shipping consumer laptops with Superfish Adware pre-installed. Security experts are alarmed, as the software performs Man-in-the-Middle attacks that compromises all SSL connections.

It’s a fact of life; PC manufacturers are paid to install software at the factory, and in many cases this is where their profit margin comes from. However, pre-installed software is mostly an annoyance for consumers. Yet, when this pre-installed software places their security at risk, it becomes a serious problem.

via Lenovo shipping laptops with pre-installed adware that kills HTTPS | CSO Online.

Update: More technical info here and here.

New Snowden Docs Indicate Scope of NSA Preparations for Cyber Battle – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Germany’s Der Spiegel published Snowden documents last month that describe an NSA project to modify hard drive firmware for spying purposes. This pretty much fingers the NSA as the “Equation Group” Kaspersky mentioned in its report.

Normally, internship applicants need to have polished resumes, with volunteer work on social projects considered a plus. But at Politerain, the job posting calls for candidates with significantly different skill sets. We are, the ad says, "looking for interns who want to break things."

Politerain is not a project associated with a conventional company. It is run by a US government intelligence organization, the National Security Agency (NSA). More precisely, it’s operated by the NSA’s digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations (TAO), the department responsible for breaking into computers.

via New Snowden Docs Indicate Scope of NSA Preparations for Cyber Battle – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Equation Group: NSA-linked spying team have software to hack into any computer – News – Gadgets and Tech – The Independent

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Astonishing. The apparent creators of Stuxnet have learned how to alter the firmware in hard drives to hide spying software in hidden sectors.

The US security services have developed software that has enabled it to spy on home computers almost anywhere in the world.Russian researchers at Kaspersky Lab have claimed that the software gave those behind it, thought to be the US National Security Agency, the power to listen in on the majority of the world’s computers.

It could be installed on practically any of the world’s most common hard drives and spy on the computer while going undetected.

It was used to break in to government and other important institutions in 30 countries across the world, they claim.

via Equation Group: NSA-linked spying team have software to hack into any computer – News – Gadgets and Tech – The Independent.

Update 10:20 PM: Read Kaspersky’s blog post on the Equation Group and it’s Equation Group Q&A [PDF].

MicLoc – DIY acoustic triangulation

Friday, February 13th, 2015

On the the East CAC Facebook page, some neighbors recently asked if the police department was using acoustic triangulation systems for tracking gunfire. I responded that systems like ShotSpotter were interesting but that the police department couldn’t afford the $300k cost.

Ah, the joys of open source! It turns out one enterprising hacker has built his own Arduino-based triangulation system using easy-to-obtain parts. This has me thinking that if a few neighbors here and there were willing to station these near their homes, the fixes that could be plotted would be extremely accurate. Even a small network of these would do wonders. In this way, neighbors could be helping to fight crime in their area without actually having to do anything. It sounds like a great solution!

MicLoc is an effort to develop a device capable of passively identifying a sound based event position on a given map, therefor pinpointing its location. The whole idea is to achieve this goal with everyday electronics and reduced development costs.With the event of small, affordable, powerful microprocessors and electronics in general, this technology now seems accessible to potential commercial applications and general public use.The main goals of this project are:

  • Develop a low cost, compact device capable of identifying a source source location on a map with sub-meter precision.
  • Develop, detail and open-source the hardware and plans used so anyone can build this device.
  • Develop, detail and open-source the software needed to interface the device with a computer.

via rural hacker: MicLoc.

Street closing hints of Google Fiber disruption

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Traffic backs up on Edmund St.

Traffic backs up on Edmund St.


Tuesday night, street crews began blocking off Glascock Street and side streets in preparation for a traffic calming and sewer line replacement project. Glascock’s traffic was detoured down the normally serene side street of Edmund, where traffic now roared down the 25MPH road. Understandably, the neighbors were livid with this gigantic disruption, especially in light of no notice being given to the community outside of the few neighbors who live on Glascock itself. Hopefully in the future, the city will choose to notify the neighbors on the detour street, too, as they get impacted just as strongly as those on the street getting the construction.

The whole mess got me thinking of what it might be like in the next few years when Google Fiber gets started here in earnest. Tuesday’s closure affected just one block whereas Google likely will be tearing things up everywhere. How will people react to this kind of disruption happening all over town?