Posts Tagged spying

How Governments Spy On You

From Wired:

Newly uncovered components of a digital surveillance tool used by more than 60 governments worldwide provide a rare glimpse at the extensive ways law enforcement and intelligence agencies use the tool to surreptitiously record and steal data from mobile phones.

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What The Snowden Leaks Have Revealed

From the EFF:

It’s been one year since the Guardian first published the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that demonstrated that the NSA was conducting dragnet surveillance on millions of innocent people. Since then, the onslaught of disturbing revelations, from disclosures, admissions from government officials, Freedom of Information Act requests, and lawsuits, has been nonstop. On the anniversary of that first leak, here are 65 things we know about NSA spying that we did not know a year ago:

1. We saw an example of the court orders that authorize the NSA to collect virtually every phone call record in the United States—that’s who you call, who calls you, when, for how long, and sometimes where.

2. We saw NSA Powerpoint slides documenting how the NSA conducts “upstream” collection, gathering intelligence information directly from the infrastructure of telecommunications providers.

Full Article

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Keeping the NSA in Perspective

Keeping the NSA in Perspective is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

Editor’s Note: The following Geopolitical Weekly originally ran in July 2013. We repost it today in light of the April 21 awarding of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service to The Washington Post and The Guardian US for their reporting on the National Security Agency’s large-scale surveillance programs.

By George Friedman

In June 1942, the bulk of the Japanese fleet sailed to seize the Island of Midway. Had Midway fallen, Pearl Harbor would have been at risk and U.S. submarines, unable to refuel at Midway, would have been much less effective. Most of all, the Japanese wanted to surprise the Americans and draw them into a naval battle they couldn’t win.

The Japanese fleet was vast. The Americans had two carriers intact in addition to one that was badly damaged. The United States had only one advantage: It had broken Japan’s naval code and thus knew a great deal of the country’s battle plan. In large part because of this cryptologic advantage, a handful of American ships devastated the Japanese fleet and changed the balance of power in the Pacific permanently. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dirigibles Making A Comeback As Spies

From Wired.com:

Without a launcher, StratoBus floats to the lower stratosphere at an altitude of about 13 miles where developers say it will be in a perfect position to carry out a range of functions, including surveillance, border security monitoring, communications reinforcement and facilitating navigation — all from a stationary position with the help of two self-adjusting electric motors. The StratoBus will be able to endure missions of up to a year with a total lifetime of five years.

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Secure Mobile Phone: Blackphone

The company Silent Circle which makes encrypted communication apps for mobile phones will soon release its own hardware called the Blackphone on Feb. 24. It is designed from the ground up to be a secure and encrypted method of communication. They are designing the hardware and creating their own secure version of the Andriod OS.

Press release:

Blackphone, powered by a security-oriented Android™ build named PrivatOS, is a carrier- and vendor-independent smartphone giving individuals and organizations the ability to make and receive secure phone calls, exchange secure texts, transfer and store files, and video chat without compromising user privacy on the device.

It is the culmination of several careers’ worth of effort from leading figures in the industry, including Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP; Javier Aguera, co-founder of Geeksphone; Jon Callas, co-founder of PGP Inc. and CTO of Silent Circle; Rodrigo Silva-Ramos, co-founder of Geeksphone; and Mike Janke, CEO of Silent Circle and former US Navy SEAL.

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NSA “CO-TRAVELER” Program Revealed

From EFF:

With neither public debate nor court authorization, CO-TRAVELER collects billions of records daily of cell phone user location information. It maps the relationships of cell phone users across global mobile network cables, gathering data about who you are physically with and how often your movements intersect with other cell phone users. The program even tracks when your phone is turned on or off.

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RSA Paid $10 Million By NSA To Keep Backdoor In Crypto

From Ars Technica:

Security company RSA was paid $10 million to use the flawed Dual_EC_DRBG pseudorandom number generating algorithm as the default algorithm in its BSafe crypto library, according to sources speaking to Reuters.

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NRA and ACLU Team Up Against NSA Surveillance

From TribLive:

“Under the government’s reading of Section 215, the government could simply demand the periodic submission of all firearms dealers’ transaction records, then centralize them in a database indexed by the buyers’ names for later searching,” the NRA wrote in an amicus brief supporting the ACLU lawsuit against James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

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Press Release: Dark Mail Alliance

Today at the Inbox Love conference in Mountain View, CA, Silent Circle along with Ladar Levision, Founder of Lavabit officially announced the creation of the Dark Mail Alliance.

Silent Circle and Lavabit, as privacy innovators have partnered to lead the charge to replace email as we know it today – fundamentally broken from a privacy perspective – we have collaborated in developing a private, next-generation, end-to-end encrypted alternative. Read the rest of this entry »

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NSA May Have Impersonated Google

From Cnet.com:

Earlier this week, Techdirt picked up on a passing mention in a Brazilian news story and a Slate article to point out that the US National Security Agency had apparently impersonated Google on at least one occasion to gather data on people. (Mother Jones subsequently pointed out Techdirt’s point-out.)

A technique commonly used by hackers, a MITM attack involves using a fake security certificate to pose as a legitimate Web service, bypass browser security settings, and then intercept data that an unsuspecting person is sending to that service. Hackers could, for example, pose as a banking Web site and steal passwords.

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Silent Circle Comments on the NSA

Here is an excerpt of Silent Circle’s  editorial from their company blog:

We at Silent Circle believe these revelations and disclosures are some of the best things that could happen to the technology sector. In fact, the battle for your digital soul has turned strongly towards Privacy’s corner because we now know what we are up against. We are beginning to define the capabilities and tactics of the world’s surveillance machine. Before all of this -we speculated, guessed and hypothesized that it was bad –we were all way off. It’s horrendous. It’s Orwell’s 1984 on steroids. It doesn’t matter –we will win the war.

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The NSA and the Obama Administration

Just after the revelations about the NSA’s encryption-breaking abilities, there is now a story that the Obama administration let the leash off the NSA in 2011. In the encryption story published by The Guardian, New York Times and Pro Publica there was an interesting nugget of information. The programs run by the NSA are named after Civil War battles. Does that mean that the NSA sees the American public as its enemy? I have no problem with the NSA doing what they do and focusing that effort outward but as soon as that capability is turned inward on our own citizens that is when we have a problem. There is that pesky Fourth Amendment to the Constitution that specifically prohibits looking at our “effects”:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Bruce Schneier, a security technologist, is now calling on engineers who work in the government or for companies that contract with the government to start blowing the whistle on these type of programs. This administration has a history of citing the dangers that certain citizens pose while ignoring the explicit threats from outside. Targeting Americans with these programs is unacceptable.

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NSA Employing 35,000 to Break Encrypted Communications

From Wired.com:

The Post’s article doesn’t detail the “groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities” Clapper mentions, and there’s no elaboration in the portion of the document published by the paper. But the document shows that 21 percent of the intelligence budget — around $11 billion — is dedicated to the Consolidated Cryptologic Program that staffs 35,000 employees in the NSA and the armed forces.

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US Government Resorting to Mob Tactics

According to Reason.com the owner of the Lavabit email service has been threatened with arrest for shutting down the service rather than cooperate with the government.

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Danish Double Agent Helped Kill Anwar Al-Awlaki

60 Minutes has a fascinating piece on a man who claims to be the key person who helped the CIA kill the American born terrorist.

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