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Internet privacy bulletin, 2016

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[Dec 29, 2016] Cell phones can track their location, hoover up their personal info, record their conversations but that doesn't stop most people from owning one anyway. The populace has been convinced that owning the device that constantly spies on them is a necessity

Notable quotes:
"... I'd wager that most people know that cell phones can track their location, hoover up their personal info, record their conversations, etc, etc but that doesn't stop most people from owning one anyway. The populace has been convinced that owning the device that constantly spies on them is a necessity. ..."
"... I've often wondered whether the relatively high difficulty in buying a smartphone with less than two cameras has something to do with the SIGINT Enabling Project. ..."
Dec 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
PQS , December 28, 2016 at 11:30 am

I was paranoid about the Roomba and I'm pretty sure it doesn't have any connectivity, nor does it record anything.
Personal assistant connected to both the 'net and Large Corp? No. Way.

lyman alpha blob , December 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm

I'd wager that most people know that cell phones can track their location, hoover up their personal info, record their conversations, etc, etc but that doesn't stop most people from owning one anyway. The populace has been convinced that owning the device that constantly spies on them is a necessity.

Don't think learning that Echo is doing the same thing would deter most people from using it. 'Convenience' and all

cocomaan , December 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Fortunately, I can barely hear the person I'm talking to through my smartphone, so I am not optimistic that it can actually hear me from someplace else in the house, especially compared to someone's Echo I have experience with. But point taken.

hunkerdown , December 28, 2016 at 6:20 pm

The microphoneS (often there is an extra mic to cancel ambient noise) in a phone are exquisitely sensitive. The losses you're hearing are those from crushing that comparatively high-fidelity signal into a few thousand bits per second for transmission to/from the base station.

I've often wondered whether the relatively high difficulty in buying a smartphone with less than two cameras has something to do with the SIGINT Enabling Project. (Not that I'm foily )

carycat , December 28, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Wonder if Mr. B gave Mr. T and all the other attendees an Echo at Mr. T's tech summit. ATT and all the other big telcom players all said, scout's honor, they don't listen in on their customer's phone calls, so no worries because Fortune 500 companies are such ethical people. That may even be technically true because the 3 letter agencies and their minions (human or otherwise) are doing the actual listening. So if you are too lazy to go to Amazon.com to delete your idle chit chat, I can sell you a cloth to wipe it with (maybe I'll even list it on Amazon's marketplace).

Daryl , December 28, 2016 at 8:09 pm

It should be fairly simple to determine whether it's sending everything home by analyzing network traffic.

Of course, just because it doesn't right now, doesn't mean that Amazon or your local three letter agency cannot alter it to do so in the future

[Dec 29, 2016] Cell phones can track their location, hoover up their personal info, record their conversations but that doesn't stop most people from owning one anyway. The populace has been convinced that owning the device that constantly spies on them is a necessity

Notable quotes:
"... I'd wager that most people know that cell phones can track their location, hoover up their personal info, record their conversations, etc, etc but that doesn't stop most people from owning one anyway. The populace has been convinced that owning the device that constantly spies on them is a necessity. ..."
"... I've often wondered whether the relatively high difficulty in buying a smartphone with less than two cameras has something to do with the SIGINT Enabling Project. ..."
Dec 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
PQS , December 28, 2016 at 11:30 am

I was paranoid about the Roomba and I'm pretty sure it doesn't have any connectivity, nor does it record anything.
Personal assistant connected to both the 'net and Large Corp? No. Way.

lyman alpha blob , December 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm

I'd wager that most people know that cell phones can track their location, hoover up their personal info, record their conversations, etc, etc but that doesn't stop most people from owning one anyway. The populace has been convinced that owning the device that constantly spies on them is a necessity.

Don't think learning that Echo is doing the same thing would deter most people from using it. 'Convenience' and all

cocomaan , December 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Fortunately, I can barely hear the person I'm talking to through my smartphone, so I am not optimistic that it can actually hear me from someplace else in the house, especially compared to someone's Echo I have experience with. But point taken.

hunkerdown , December 28, 2016 at 6:20 pm

The microphoneS (often there is an extra mic to cancel ambient noise) in a phone are exquisitely sensitive. The losses you're hearing are those from crushing that comparatively high-fidelity signal into a few thousand bits per second for transmission to/from the base station.

I've often wondered whether the relatively high difficulty in buying a smartphone with less than two cameras has something to do with the SIGINT Enabling Project. (Not that I'm foily )

carycat , December 28, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Wonder if Mr. B gave Mr. T and all the other attendees an Echo at Mr. T's tech summit. ATT and all the other big telcom players all said, scout's honor, they don't listen in on their customer's phone calls, so no worries because Fortune 500 companies are such ethical people. That may even be technically true because the 3 letter agencies and their minions (human or otherwise) are doing the actual listening. So if you are too lazy to go to Amazon.com to delete your idle chit chat, I can sell you a cloth to wipe it with (maybe I'll even list it on Amazon's marketplace).

Daryl , December 28, 2016 at 8:09 pm

It should be fairly simple to determine whether it's sending everything home by analyzing network traffic.

Of course, just because it doesn't right now, doesn't mean that Amazon or your local three letter agency cannot alter it to do so in the future

[Dec 26, 2016] Snowden: 'The Central Problem of the Future' Is Control of User Data

Dec 26, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org
(techcrunch.com) 157 Posted by BeauHD on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @05:00AM from the no-place-to-hide dept. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey interviewed Edward Snowden via Periscope about the wide world of technology. The NSA whistleblower " discussed the data that many online companies continue to collect about their users , creating a 'quantified world' -- and more opportunities for government surveillance," reports TechCrunch. Snowden said, "If you are being tracked, this is something you should agree to, this is something you should understand, this is something you should be aware of and can change at any time." TechCrunch reports: Snowden acknowledged that there's a distinction between collecting the content of your communication (i.e., what you said during a phone call) and the metadata (information like who you called and how long it lasted). For some, surveillance that just collects metadata might seem less alarming, but in Snowden's view, "That metadata is in many cases much more dangerous and much more intrusive, because it can be understood at scale." He added that we currently face unprecedented perils because of all the data that's now available -- in the past, there was no way for the government to get a list of all the magazines you'd read, or every book you'd checked out from the library. "[In the past,] your beliefs, your future, your hopes, your dreams belonged to you," Snowden said. "Increasingly, these things belong to companies, and these companies can share them however they want, without a lot of oversight." He wasn't arguing that companies shouldn't collect user data at all, but rather that "the people who need to be in control of that are the users." "This is the central problem of the future, is how do we return control of our identities to the people themselves?" Snowden said.

[Dec 26, 2016] NSA's Best Are 'Leaving In Big Numbers,' Insiders Say

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(cyberscoop.com) 412 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 11, 2016 @11:34AM from the blaming-Oliver-Stone dept. schwit1 quotes CyberScoop: Low morale at the National Security Agency is causing some of the agency's most talented people to leave in favor of private sector jobs , former NSA Director Keith Alexander told a room full of journalism students, professors and cybersecurity executives Tuesday. The retired general and other insiders say a combination of economic and social factors including negative press coverage -- have played a part... "I am honestly surprised that some of these people in cyber companies make up to seven figures. That's five times what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes. Right? And these are people that are 32 years old. Do the math. [The NSA] has great competition," he said.

The rate at which these cyber-tacticians are exiting public service has increased over the last several years and has gotten considerably worse over the last 12 months, multiple former NSA officials and D.C. area-based cybersecurity employers have told CyberScoop in recent weeks... In large part, Alexander blamed the press for propagating an image of the NSA that causes people to believe they are being spied on at all times by the U.S. government regardless of their independent actions.
"What really bothers me is that the people of NSA, these folks who take paltry government salaries to protect this nation, are made to look like they are doing something wrong," the former NSA Director added. "They are doing exactly what our nation has asked them to do to protect us. They are the heroes."

[Dec 26, 2016] HP Shutting Down Default FTP, Telnet Access To Network Printers

Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(pcworld.com) 83 Posted by msmash on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @11:00AM from the business-as-usual dept. Security experts consider the aging FTP and Telnet protocols unsafe, and HP has decided to clamp down on access to networked printers through the remote-access tools . From a report on PCWorld: Some of HP's new business printers will, by default, be closed to remote access via protocols like FTP and Telnet. However, customers can activate remote printing access through those protocols if needed. "HP has started the process of closing older, less-maintained interfaces including ports, protocols and cipher suites" identified by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology as less than secure, the company said in a statement. In addition, HP also announced firmware updates to existing business printers with improved password and encryption settings, so hackers can't easily break into the devices.

[Dec 26, 2016] New Stegano Exploit Kit Hides Malvertising Code In Banner Pixels

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(bleepingcomputer.com) 207 Posted by BeauHD on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @08:25PM from the hidden-in-plain-sight dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: For the past two months, a new exploit kit has been serving malicious code hidden in the pixels of banner ads via a malvertising campaign that has been active on several high profile websites. Discovered by security researchers from ESET , this new exploit kit is named Stegano, from the word steganography , which is a technique of hiding content inside other files. In this particular scenario, malvertising campaign operators hid malicious code inside PNG images used for banner ads. The crooks took a PNG image and altered the transparency value of several pixels. They then packed the modified image as an ad, for which they bought ad displays on several high-profile websites. Since a large number of advertising networks allow advertisers to deliver JavaScript code with their ads, the crooks also included JS code that would parse the image, extract the pixel transparency values, and using a mathematical formula, convert those values into a character. Since images have millions of pixels, crooks had all the space they needed to pack malicious code inside a PNG photo. When extracted, this malicious code would redirect the user to an intermediary ULR, called gate, where the host server would filter users. This server would only accept connections from Internet Explorer users. The reason is that the gate would exploit the CVE-2016-0162 vulnerability that allowed the crooks to determine if the connection came from a real user or a reverse analysis system employed by security researchers. Additionally, this IE exploit also allowed the gate server to detect the presence of antivirus software. In this case, the server would drop the connection just to avoid exposing its infrastructure and trigger a warning that would alert both the user and the security firm. If the gate server deemed the target valuable, then it would redirect the user to the final stage, which was the exploit kit itself, hosted on another URL. The Stegano exploit kit would use three Adobe Flash vulnerabilities (CVE-2015-8651, CVE-2016-1019 or CVE-2016-4117) to attack the user's PC, and forcibly download and launch into execution various strains of malware.

[Dec 26, 2016] Backdoor Accounts Found in 80 Sony IP Security Camera Models

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(pcworld.com) 55 Posted by msmash on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @12:20PM from the security-woes dept. Many network security cameras made by Sony could be taken over by hackers and infected with botnet malware if their firmware is not updated to the latest version. Researchers from SEC Consult have found two backdoor accounts that exist in 80 models of professional Sony security cameras , mainly used by companies and government agencies given their high price, PCWorld reports. From the article: One set of hard-coded credentials is in the Web interface and allows a remote attacker to send requests that would enable the Telnet service on the camera, the SEC Consult researchers said in an advisory Tuesday. The second hard-coded password is for the root account that could be used to take full control of the camera over Telnet. The researchers established that the password is static based on its cryptographic hash and, while they haven't actually cracked it, they believe it's only a matter of time until someone does. Sony released a patch to the affected camera models last week.

[Dec 26, 2016] Yahoo Fixes Flaw Allowing an Attacker To Read Any User's Emails

Dec 26, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org
(zdnet.com) 30 Posted by msmash on Thursday December 08, 2016 @11:45AM from the security-woes-and-fixes dept. Yahoo says it has fixed a severe security vulnerability in its email service that allowed an attacker to read a victim's email inbox . From a report on ZDNet: The cross-site scripting (XSS) attack only required a victim to view an email in Yahoo Mail. The internet giant paid out $10,000 to security researcher Jouko Pynnonen for privately disclosing the flaw through the HackerOne bug bounty, In a write-up, Pynnonen said that the flaw was similar to last year's Yahoo Mail bug, which similarly let an attacker compromise a user's account. Yahoo filters HTML messages to ensure that malicious code won't make it through into the user's browser, but the researcher found that the filters didn't catch all of the malicious data attributes.

[Dec 26, 2016] Zeus Variant 'Floki Bot' Targets PoS Data

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(onthewire.io) 25 Posted by BeauHD on Friday December 09, 2016 @05:00AM from the out-of-the-woodwork dept. Trailrunner7 quotes a report from On the Wire: Malware gangs, like sad wedding bands bands, love to play the hits. And one of the hits they keep running back over and over is the Zeus banking Trojan, which has been in use for many years in a number of different forms. Researchers have unearthed a new piece of malware called Floki Bot that is based on the venerable Zeus source code and is being used to infect point-of-sale systems, among other targets. Flashpoint conducted the analysis of Floki Bot with Cisco's Talos research team, and the two organizations said that the author behind the bot maintains a presence on a number of different underground forums, some of which are in Russian or other non-native languages for him. Kremez said that attackers sometimes will participate in foreign language forums as a way to expand their knowledge. Along with its PoS infection capability, Floki Bot also has a feature that allows it to use the Tor network to communicate. "During our analysis of Floki Bot, Talos identified modifications that had been made to the dropper mechanism present in the leaked Zeus source code in an attempt to make Floki Bot more difficult to detect. Talos also observed the introduction of new code that allows Floki Bot to make use of the Tor network. However, this functionality does not appear to be active for the time being," Cisco's Talos team said in its analysis .

[Dec 26, 2016] 5-Year-Old Critical Linux Vulnerability Patched

Dec 26, 2016 | linux.slashdot.org
(threatpost.com) 68 Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday December 10, 2016 @12:34PM from the local-Linux-attacks dept. msm1267 quotes Kaspersky Lab's ThreatPost: A critical, local code-execution vulnerability in the Linux kernel was patched more than a week ago, continuing a run of serious security issues in the operating system, most of which have been hiding in the code for years. Details on the vulnerability were published Tuesday by researcher Philip Pettersson , who said the vulnerable code was introd in August 2011.

A patch was pushed to the mainline Linux kernel December 2, four days after it was privately disclosed. Pettersson has developed a proof-of-concept exploit specifically for Ubuntu distributions, but told Threatpost his attack could be ported to other distros with some changes. The vulnerability is a race condition that was discovered in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel, and Pettersson said that a local attacker could exploit the bug to gain kernel code execution from unprivileged processes. He said the bug cannot be exploited remotely.
"Basically it's a bait-and-switch," the researcher told Threatpost. "The bug allows you to trick the kernel into thinking it is working with one kind of object, while you actually switched it to another kind of object before it could react."

[Dec 26, 2016] Vulnerability Prompts Warning: Stop Using Netgear WiFi Routers

Dec 26, 2016 | mobile.slashdot.org
(securityledger.com) 147 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 11, 2016 @01:34PM from the nixing-the-network dept. "By convincing a user to visit a specially crafted web site, a remote attacker may execute arbitrary commands with root privileges on affected routers," warns a new vulnerability notice from Carnegie Mellon University's CERT. Slashdot reader chicksdaddy quotes Security Ledger's story about certain models of Netgear's routers: Firmware version 1.0.7.2_1.1.93 (and possibly earlier) for the R7000 and version 1.0.1.6_1.0.4 (and possibly earlier) for the R6400 are known to contain the arbitrary command injection vulnerability . CERT cited "community reports" that indicate the R8000, firmware version 1.0.3.4_1.1.2, is also vulnerable... The flaw was found in new firmware that runs the Netgear R7000 and R6400 routers. Other models and firmware versions may also be affected, including the R8000 router, CMU CERT warned.

With no work around to the flaw, CERT recommended that Netgear customers disable their wifi router until a software patch from the company that addressed the hole was available... A search of the public internet using the Shodan search engine finds around 8,000 R6450 and R7000 devices that can be reached directly from the Internet and that would be vulnerable to takeover attacks. The vast majority of those are located in the United States.
Proof-of-concept exploit code was released by a Twitter user who, according to the article, said "he informed Netgear of the flaw more than four months ago, but did not hear back from the company since then."

[Dec 26, 2016] Malvertising Campaign Infects Your Router Instead of Your Browser

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(bleepingcomputer.com) 137 Posted by BeauHD on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @07:45PM from the connected-devices dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: Malicious ads are serving exploit code to infect routers , instead of browsers, in order to insert ads in every site users are visiting. Unlike previous malvertising campaigns that targeted users of old Flash or Internet Explorer versions, this campaign focused on Chrome users, on both desktop and mobile devices. The malicious ads included in this malvertising campaign contain exploit code for 166 router models, which allow attackers to take over the device and insert ads on websites that didn't feature ads, or replace original ads with the attackers' own. Researchers haven't yet managed to determine an exact list of affected router models , but some of the brands targeted by the attackers include Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, Comtrend, Pirelli, and Zyxel. Because the attack is carried out via the user's browser, using strong router passwords or disabling the administration interface is not enough. The only way users can stay safe is if they update their router's firmware to the most recent versions, which most likely includes protection against the vulnerabilities used by this campaign. The "campaign" is called DNSChanger EK and works when attackers buy ads on legitimate websites and insert malicious JavaScript in these ads, "which use a WebRTC request to a Mozilla STUN server to determine the user's local IP address," according to BleepingComputer. "Based on this local IP address, the malicious code can determine if the user is on a local network managed by a small home router, and continue the attack. If this check fails, the attackers just show a random legitimate ad and move on. For the victims the crooks deem valuable, the attack chain continues. These users receive a tainted ad which redirects them to the DNSChanger EK home, where the actual exploitation begins. The next step is for the attackers to send an image file to the user's browser, which contains an AES (encryption algorithm) key embedded inside the photo using the technique of steganography. The malicious ad uses this AES key to decrypt further traffic it receives from the DNSChanger exploit kit. Crooks encrypt their operations to avoid the prying eyes of security researchers."

[Dec 26, 2016] Newly Uncovered Site Suggests NSA Exploits For Direct Sale

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(vice.com) 33 Posted by BeauHD on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @08:25PM from the buy-one-get-one dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: The Shadow Brokers -- a hacker or group of hackers that stole computer exploits from the National Security Agency -- has been quiet for some time. After their auction and crowd-funded approach for selling the exploits met a lukewarm reception, the group seemingly stopped posting new messages in October. But a newly uncovered website, which includes a file apparently signed with The Shadow Brokers' cryptographic key, suggests the group is trying to sell hacking tools directly to buyers one by one , and a cache of files appears to include more information on specific exploits. On Wednesday, someone calling themselves Boceffus Cleetus published a Medium post called "Are the Shadow Brokers selling NSA tools on ZeroNet?" Cleetus, who has an American flag with swastikas as their profile picture, also tweeted the post from a Twitter account created this month. The site includes a long list of supposed items for sale, with names like ENVOYTOMATO, EGGBASKET, and YELLOWSPIRIT. Each is sorted into a type, such as "implant," "trojan," and "exploit," and comes with a price tag between 1 and 100 bitcoins ($780 -- $78,000). Customers can purchase the whole lot for 1000 bitcoins ($780,000). The site also lets visitors download a selection of screenshots and files related to each item. Along with those is a file signed with a PGP key with an identical fingerprint to that linked to the original Shadow Brokers dump of exploits from August. This newly uncovered file was apparently signed on 1 September; a different date to any of The Shadow Brokers' previously signed messages .

[Dec 26, 2016] Netgear Releases 'Beta' Patches For Additional Routers Found With Root Vulnerability

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(netgear.com) 26 Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday December 17, 2016 @10:34AM from the but-they-might-not-work dept. The Department of Homeland Security's CERT issued a warning last week that users should "strongly consider" not using some models of NetGear routers, and the list expanded this week to include 11 different models. Netgear's now updated their web page, announcing eight "beta" fixes, along with three more "production" fixes. chicksdaddy writes: The company said the new [beta] firmware has not been fully tested and " might not work for all users ." The company offered it as a "temporary solution" to address the security hole. "Netgear is working on a production firmware version that fixes this command injection vulnerability and will release it as quickly as possible," the company said in a post to its online knowledgebase early Tuesday.

The move follows publication of a warning from experts at Carnegie Mellon on December 9 detailing a serious "arbitrary command injection" vulnerability in the latest version of firmware used by a number of Netgear wireless routers. The security hole could allow a remote attacker to take control of the router by convincing a user to visit a malicious web site... The vulnerability was discovered by an individual...who says he contacted Netgear about the flaw four months ago , and went public with information on it after the company failed to address the issue on its own.

[Dec 26, 2016] McAfee Takes Six Months To Patch Remote Code Exploit In Linux VirusScan Enterprise

Dec 26, 2016 | linux.slashdot.org
Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday December 17, 2016 @05:34PM from the jeopardized-in-June dept. mask.of.sanity writes: A researcher has reported 10 vulnerabilities in McAfee's VirusScan Enterprise for Linux that when chained together result in root remote code execution. McAfee took six months to fix the bugs issuing a patch December 9th.
Citing the security note , CSO adds that "one of the issues affects Virus Scan Enterprise for Windows version 8.7i through at least 8.8 ." The vulnerability was reported by Andrew Fasano at MIT's federally-funded security lab, who said he targeted McAfee's client because "it runs as root, it claims to make your machine more secure, it's not particularly popular, and it looks like it hasn't been updated in a long time."

[Dec 26, 2016] Massive Mirai Botnet Hides Its Control Servers On Tor

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday December 17, 2016 @06:34PM from the catch-me-if-you-can dept. "Following a failed takedown attempt, changes made to the Mirai malware variant responsible for building one of today's biggest botnets of IoT devices will make it incredibly harder for authorities and security firms to shut it down," reports Bleeping Computer. An anonymous reader writes: Level3 and others" have been very close to taking down one of the biggest Mirai botnets around, the same one that attempted to knock the Internet offline in Liberia , and also hijacked 900,000 routers from German ISP Deutsche Telekom .The botnet narrowly escaped due to the fact that its maintainer, a hacker known as BestBuy, had implemented a domain-generation algorithm to generate random domain names where he hosted his servers.

Currently, to avoid further takedown attempts from similar security firms, BestBuy has started moving the botnet's command and control servers to Tor . "It's all good now. We don't need to pay thousands to ISPs and hosting. All we need is one strong server," the hacker said. "Try to shut down .onion 'domains' over Tor," he boasted, knowing that nobody can.

[Dec 26, 2016] LinkedIn Warns 9.5 Million Lynda Users About Database Breach

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(neowin.net) 35 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 18, 2016 @02:34PM from the profile-views dept. Less than four weeks after Microsoft formally acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion , there's been a database breach. An anonymous reader writes: LinkedIn is sending emails to 9.5 million users of Lynda.com, its online learning subsidiary, warning the users of a database breach by "an unauthorized third party" . The affected database included contact information for at least some of the users. An email to customers says "while we have no evidence that your specific account was accessed or that any data has been made publicly available, we wanted to notify you as a precautionary measure." Ironically, the breach comes less than a month after Russia blocked access to LinkedIn over privacy concerns .
LinkedIn has also reset the passwords for 55,000 Lynda.com accounts (though apparently many of its users don't have accounts with passwords).

[Dec 26, 2016] The FBI Is Arresting People Who Rent DDoS Botnets

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(bleepingcomputer.com) 211 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 18, 2016 @04:44PM from the denial-of-liberty-counterattack dept. This week the FBI arrested a 26-year-old southern California man for launching a DDoS attack against online chat service Chatango at the end of 2014 and in early 2015 -- part of a new crackdown on the customers of "DDoS-for-hire" services. An anonymous reader writes: Sean Krishanmakoto Sharma, a computer science graduate student at USC, is now facing up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Court documents describe a service called Xtreme Stresser as "basically a Linux botnet DDoS tool," and allege that Sharma rented it for an attack on Chatango, an online chat service. "Sharma is now free on a $100,000 bail," reports Bleeping Computer, adding "As part of his bail release agreement, Sharma is banned from accessing certain sites such as HackForums and tools such as VPNs..."

"Sharma's arrest is part of a bigger operation against DDoS-for-Hire services, called Operation Tarpit ," the article points out. "Coordinated by Europol, Operation Tarpit took place between December 5 and December 9, and concluded with the arrest of 34 users of DDoS-for-hire services across the globe, in countries such as Australia, Belgium, France, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States." It grew out of an earlier investigation into a U.K.-based DDoS-for-hire service which had 400 customers who ultimately launched 603,499 DDoS attacks on 224,548 targets.
Most of the other suspects arrested were under the age of 20.

[Dec 26, 2016] Russians Used Malware On Android Devices To Track and Target Ukraine Artillery, Says Report

Dec 26, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(reuters.com) 101 Posted by BeauHD on Thursday December 22, 2016 @06:25PM from the come-out-come-out-wherever-you-are dept. schwit1 quotes a report from Reuters: A hacking group linked to the Russian government and high-profile cyber attacks against Democrats during the U.S. presidential election likely used a malware implant on Android devices to track and target Ukrainian artillery units from late 2014 through 2016, according to a new report released Thursday. The malware was able to retrieve communications and some locational data from infected devices, intelligence that would have likely been used to strike against the artillery in support of pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine, the report from cyber security firm CrowdStrike found. The hacking group, known commonly as Fancy Bear or APT 28, is believed by U.S. intelligence officials to work primarily on behalf of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency. The implant leveraged a legitimate Android application developed by a Ukrainian artillery officer to process targeting data more quickly, CrowdStrike said. Its deployment "extends Russian cyber capabilities to the front lines of the battlefield," the report said, and "could have facilitated anticipatory awareness of Ukrainian artillery force troop movement, thus providing Russian forces with useful strategic planning information."

[Dec 26, 2016] Security Researchers Can Turn Headphones Into Microphones

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(techcrunch.com) 122 Posted by BeauHD on Thursday November 24, 2016 @08:00AM from the proof-of-concept dept. As if we don't already have enough devices that can listen in on our conversations, security researchers at Israel's Ben Gurion University have created malware that will turn your headphones into microphones that can slyly record your conversations. TechCrunch reports: The proof-of-concept, called " Speake(a)r ," first turned headphones connected to a PC into microphones and then tested the quality of sound recorded by a microphone vs. headphones on a target PC. In short, the headphones were nearly as good as an unpowered microphone at picking up audio in a room. It essentially "retasks" the RealTek audio codec chip output found in many desktop computers into an input channel. This means you can plug your headphones into a seemingly output-only jack and hackers can still listen in. This isn't a driver fix, either. The embedded chip does not allow users to properly prevent this hack which means your earbuds or nice cans could start picking up conversations instantly. In fact, even if you disable your microphone, a computer with a RealTek chip could still be hacked and exploited without your knowledge. The sound quality, as shown by this chart, is pretty much the same for a dedicated microphone and headphones. The researchers have published a video on YouTube demonstrating how this malware works.

[Dec 26, 2016] Personal Data For More Than 130,000 Sailors Hacked: U.S. Navy

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(reuters.com) 57 Posted by msmash on Thursday November 24, 2016 @10:04AM from the security-woes dept. Hackers gained access to sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, for 134,386 current and former U.S. sailors, the U.S. Navy has said . According to Reuters: It said a laptop used by a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services employee working on a U.S. Navy contract was hacked. Hewlett Packard informed the Navy of the breach on Oct. 27 and the affected sailors will be notified in the coming weeks, the Navy said. "The Navy takes this incident extremely seriously - this is a matter of trust for our sailors," Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Robert Burke said in a statement.

[Dec 26, 2016] Muni System Hacker Hit Others By Scanning For Year-Old Java Vulnerability

Dec 26, 2016 | developers.slashdot.org
(arstechnica.com) 30 Posted by BeauHD on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @09:05PM from the thank-God-for-backups dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The attacker who infected servers and desktop computers at the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Agency (SFMTA) with ransomware on November 25 apparently gained access to the agency's network by way of a known vulnerability in an Oracle WebLogic server . That vulnerability is similar to the one used to hack a Maryland hospital network's systems in April and infect multiple hospitals with crypto-ransomware. And evidence suggests that SFMTA wasn't specifically targeted by the attackers; the agency just came up as a target of opportunity through a vulnerability scan. In an e-mail to Ars, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said that on November 25, "we became aware of a potential security issue with our computer systems, including e-mail." The ransomware "encrypted some systems mainly affecting computer workstations," he said, "as well as access to various systems. However, the SFMTA network was not breached from the outside, nor did hackers gain entry through our firewalls. Muni operations and safety were not affected. Our customer payment systems were not hacked. Also, despite media reports, no data was accessed from any of our servers." That description of the ransomware attack is not consistent with some of the evidence of previous ransomware attacks by those behind the SFMTA incident -- which Rose said primarily affected about 900 desktop computers throughout the agency. Based on communications uncovered from the ransomware operator behind the Muni attack published by security reporter Brian Krebs , an SFMTA Web-facing server was likely compromised by what is referred to as a "deserialization" attack after it was identified by a vulnerability scan. A security researcher told Krebs that he had been able to gain access to the mailbox used in the malware attack on the Russian e-mail and search provider Yandex by guessing its owner's security question, and he provided details from the mailbox and another linked mailbox on Yandex. Based on details found in e-mails for the accounts, the attacker ran a server loaded with open source vulnerability scanning tools to identify and compromise servers to use in spreading the ransomware, known as HDDCryptor and Mamba , within multiple organizations' networks.

[Dec 26, 2016] Russia Says Foreign Spies Plan Cyber Attack On Banking System

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(reuters.com) 88 Posted by msmash on Friday December 02, 2016 @12:20PM from the hmmm dept. Russia said on Friday it had uncovered a plot by foreign spy agencies to sow chaos in Russia's banking system via a coordinated wave of cyber attacks and fake social media reports about banks going bust . From a report on Reuters: Russia's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), said that the servers to be used in the alleged cyber attack were located in the Netherlands and registered to a Ukrainian web hosting company called BlazingFast. The attack, which was to target major national and provincial banks in several Russian cities, was meant to start on Dec. 5, the FSB said in a statement. "It was planned that the cyber attack would be accompanied by a mass send-out of SMS messages and publications in social media of a provocative nature regarding a crisis in the Russian banking system, bankruptcies and license withdrawals," it said. "The FSB is carrying out the necessary measures to neutralize threats to Russia's economic and information security."

[Dec 26, 2016] Sysadmin Gets Two Years In Prison For Sabotaging ISP

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 04, 2016 @02:39PM from the BOFH dept. After being let go over a series of "personal issues" with his employer, things got worse for 26-year-old network administrator Dariusz J. Prugar, who will now have to spend two years in prison for hacking the ISP where he'd worked. An anonymous reader writes: Prugar had used his old credentials to log into the ISP's network and "take back" some of the scripts and software he wrote... "Seeking to hide his tracks, Prugar used an automated script that deleted various logs," reports Bleeping Computer. "As a side effect of removing some of these files, the ISP's systems crashed, affecting over 500 businesses and over 5,000 residential customers."

When the former ISP couldn't fix the issue, they asked Prugar to help. "During negotiations, instead of requesting money as payment, Prugar insisted that he'd be paid using the rights to the software and scripts he wrote while at the company, software which was now malfunctioning, a week after he left." This tipped off the company, who detected foul play, contacted the FBI and rebuilt its entire network.

Six years later, Prugar was found guilty after a one-week jury trial, and was ordered by the judge to pay $26,000 in restitution to the ISP (which went out of business in October of 2015).

Prugar's two-year prison sentence begins December 27.

[Dec 26, 2016] Crooks Need Just Six Seconds To Guess A Credit Card Number

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(independent.co.uk) 110 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 04, 2016 @07:39AM from the one-Mississippi-two-Mississippi dept. schwit1 quotes The Independent: Criminals can work out the card number, expiration date, and security code for a Visa debit or credit card in as little as six seconds using guesswork , researchers have found... Fraudsters use a so-called Distributed Guessing Attack to get around security features put in place to stop online fraud, and this may have been the method used in the recent Tesco Bank hack ...

According to a study published in the academic journal IEEE Security & Privacy, fraudsters could use computers to systematically fire different variations of security data at hundreds of websites simultaneously . Within seconds, by a process of elimination, the criminals could verify the correct card number, expiration date and the three-digit security number on the back of the card.
One of the researchers explained this attack combines two weaknesses into one powerful attack. "Firstly, current online payment systems do not detect multiple invalid payment requests from different websites... Secondly, different websites ask for different variations in the card data fields to validate an online purchase. This means it's quite easy to build up the information and piece it together like a jigsaw puzzle."

[Dec 17, 2016] You think Putin personally supervised the Yahoo hacking? This could make many people patriotic in a hurry.

Notable quotes:
"... this will probably be in tomorrow's washington post. "how putin sabotaged the election by hacking yahoo mail". and "proton" and "putin" are 2 syllable words beginning with "p", which is dispositive according to experts who don't want to be indentified. ..."
"... [Neo]Liberals have gone truly insane, I made the mistake of trying to slog through the comments the main "putin did it" piece on huffpo out of curiosity. Big mistake, liberals come across as right wing nutters in the comments, I never knew they were so very patriotic, they never really expressed it before. ..."
"... Be sure and delete everything from your Yahoo account BEFORE you push the big red button. They intentionally wait 90 days to delete the account in order that ECPA protections expire and content can just be handed over to the fuzz. ..."
"... It's a good thing for Obama that torturing logic and evasive droning are not criminal acts. ..."
"... "Relations with Russia have declined over the past several years" I reflexively did a Google search. Yep, Victoria Nuland is still employed. ..."
"... With all the concern expressed about Russian meddling in our election process why are we forgetting the direct quid pro quo foreign meddling evidenced in the Hillary emails related to the seldom mentioned Clinton Foundation or the more likely meddling by local election officials? Why have the claims of Russian hacking received such widespread coverage in the Press? ..."
"... I watched it too and agree with your take on it. For all the build up about this press conference and how I thought we were going to engage in direct combat with Russia for these hacks (or so they say it is Russia, I still wonder about that), he did not add any fuel to this fire. ..."
"... The whole thing was silly – the buildup to this press conference and then how Obama handled the hacking. A waste of time really. I don't sense something is going on behind the scenes but it is weird that the news has been all about this Russian hacking. He did not get into the questions about the Electoral College either and he made it seem like Trump indeed is the next President. I mean it seems like the MSM was making too much about this issue but then nothing happened. ..."
Dec 17, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
pretzelattack , December 16, 2016 at 3:46 pm

this will probably be in tomorrow's washington post. "how putin sabotaged the election by hacking yahoo mail". and "proton" and "putin" are 2 syllable words beginning with "p", which is dispositive according to experts who don't want to be indentified.

HBE , December 16, 2016 at 4:13 pm

[Neo]Liberals have gone truly insane, I made the mistake of trying to slog through the comments the main "putin did it" piece on huffpo out of curiosity. Big mistake, liberals come across as right wing nutters in the comments, I never knew they were so very patriotic, they never really expressed it before.

B1whois , December 16, 2016 at 6:45 pm

The great sucking pit of need that keeps on giving. when will it abate?

different clue , December 16, 2016 at 6:49 pm

They are only hurt at the loss of their beloved Clintron, and are seizing on the Puttin Diddit excuse.

polecat , December 16, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Did they happen to offer you some Guyana Kool-Aid with that order of vitriol ?

Brad , December 16, 2016 at 10:26 pm

Unfortunately the whole "grief cycle" will get a reboot after next Monday's "Election II".

The rest of us are to be pissed off that the CIA and Clinton clique have continued to agiprop this.

Knot Galt , December 16, 2016 at 10:48 pm

Since the ex-Correct The Record key jockeys are out of a job they have to practice their craft somewhere.

hunkerdown , December 16, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Be sure and delete everything from your Yahoo account BEFORE you push the big red button. They intentionally wait 90 days to delete the account in order that ECPA protections expire and content can just be handed over to the fuzz.

auntienene , December 16, 2016 at 8:07 pm

I don't think I've looked at my yahoo account in 8-10 years and I didn't use their email; just had an address. I don't remember my user name or password. I did get an email from them (to my not-yahoo address) advising of the breach.

Do I need to do anything at all?

hunkerdown , December 16, 2016 at 8:22 pm

auntienene, probably not, but as a general principle it's better to close accounts down properly than to abandon them.

Tvc15 , December 16, 2016 at 10:50 pm

I was amazed as I watched a local am news show in Pittsburgh recommend adding your cell phone number in addition to changing your password. Yeah, that's a great idea, maybe my ss# would provide even more security.

Jeremy Grimm , December 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm

I use yahoo email. Why should I move? As I understood the breach it was primarily a breach of the personal information used to establish the account. I've already changed my password - did it a couple of days after the breach was reported. I had a security clearance with DoD which requires disclosure of a lot more personal information than yahoo had. The DoD data has been breached twice from two separate servers.

As far as reading my emails - they may prove useful for phishing but that's about all. I'm not sure what might be needed for phishing beyond a name and email address - easily obtained from many sources I have no control over.

So - what am I vulnerable to by remaining at yahoo that I'm not already exposed to on a more secure server?

polecat , December 16, 2016 at 7:53 pm

You are vulnerable to the knowledge that Marissa Mayer is STILL employed as a high-level corporate twit --

Lee , December 16, 2016 at 3:05 pm

It's a good thing for Obama that torturing logic and evasive droning are not criminal acts.

Ranger Rick , December 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

"Relations with Russia have declined over the past several years" I reflexively did a Google search. Yep, Victoria Nuland is still employed.

Pat , December 16, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Yeah, it isn't like Mr. 'We go high' is going to admit our relationship has declined because we have underhandedly tried to isolate and knee cap them for pretty much his entire administration.

Jeremy Grimm , December 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Are you referring to Obama's press conference? If so, I am glad he didn't make a big deal out of the Russian hacking allegations - as in it didn't sound like he planned a retaliation for the fictional event and its fictional consequences. He rose slightly in stature in my eyes - he's almost as tall as a short flea.

With all the concern expressed about Russian meddling in our election process why are we forgetting the direct quid pro quo foreign meddling evidenced in the Hillary emails related to the seldom mentioned Clinton Foundation or the more likely meddling by local election officials? Why have the claims of Russian hacking received such widespread coverage in the Press?

Why is a lameduck messing with the Chinese in the South China sea? What is the point of all the "fake" news hogwash? Is it related to Obama's expression of concern about the safety of the Internet? I can't shake the feeling that something is going on below the surface of these murky waters.

Susan C , December 16, 2016 at 5:44 pm

I watched it too and agree with your take on it. For all the build up about this press conference and how I thought we were going to engage in direct combat with Russia for these hacks (or so they say it is Russia, I still wonder about that), he did not add any fuel to this fire.

He did respond at one point to a reporter that the hacks from Russia were to the DNC and Podesta but funny how he didn't say HRC emails. Be it as it may, I think what was behind it was HRC really trying to impress all her contributors that Russia really did do her in, see Obama said so, since she must be in hot water over all the money she has collected from foreign governments for pay to play and her donors.

The whole thing was silly – the buildup to this press conference and then how Obama handled the hacking. A waste of time really. I don't sense something is going on behind the scenes but it is weird that the news has been all about this Russian hacking. He did not get into the questions about the Electoral College either and he made it seem like Trump indeed is the next President. I mean it seems like the MSM was making too much about this issue but then nothing happened.

Pat , December 16, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Unfortunately the nightly news is focusing on Obama says Russia hacked the DNC and had it in for Clinton!!! He warned them to stay out of the vote! There will be consequences! Russia demands the evidence and then a story about the evidence. (This one might have a few smarter people going "huh, that's it?!?!")

I do like the some private some public on that consequences and retaliation thing. You either have to laugh or throw up about the faux I've got this and the real self-righteousness. Especially since it is supposedly to remind people we can do it to you. Is there anyone left outside of America who doesn't think they already do do it to anyone Uncle Sam doesn't want in office and even some they do? Mind you I'm not sure how many harried people watching the news are actually going to laugh at that one because they don't know how how much we meddle.

Knot Galt , December 16, 2016 at 10:55 pm

Obamameter. ty L. Scofield ;-)

[Dec 17, 2016] Yahoo's Hack Could Force Paying $145 Million Verizon Break-up Fee - Breitbart

Notable quotes:
"... potential material adverse event ..."
"... exploring a price cut or possible exit ..."
"... Net Neutrality . ..."
"... These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services ..."
"... communicated with a total of 51 parties to evaluate their interest in a potential transaction ..."
"... 32 parties signed confidentiality agreements with Yahoo ..."
"... Payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system the company believes was affected ..."
Dec 17, 2016 | www.breitbart.com
Given that the Donald Trump victory already made Yahoo less attractive for Verizon, the latest billion-account-hack at Yahoo could let Verizon dump their buy-out and still collect a $145 million break-up fee .

Yahoo's stock plunged over 6 percent after the company admitted its customer data had been hacked again, with at least 1 billion accounts exposed in 2014. The horribly bad news for Yahoo followed an equally bad news report in September that 500 million e-mail account were hacked in 2013. Yahoo unfortunately now has the distinction of suffering both of the history's largest client hacks.

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Verizon's top lawyer told reporters after the first Yahoo hack that the disclosure constituted a " potential material adverse event " that would allow for the mobile powerhouse to pull out of the $4.83 billion deal they announced on July 25, 2016.

Less than 24 hours after Yahoo disclosed the even larger hack of client accounts by a "state-sponsored actor," Bloomberg reported that Verizon is " exploring a price cut or possible exit " from its proposed Yahoo acquisition.

Breitbart reported that Google and other Silicon Valley companies were huge corporate winners when Chairman Tom Wheeler and the other two Democrat political appointees on the FCC voted on a party-line vote in mid-February 2015 for a new regulatory structure called ' Net Neutrality . ' Although Wheeler claimed, " These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services ," they were a huge economic disaster for Verizon's high-speed broadband business model.

Verizon responded last year by paying $4.4 billion to buy AOL in order to pick up popular news sites, large advertising business, and more than 2 million Internet dial-up subscribers. Buying Yahoo was expected to give the former telephone company to achieve "scale" by controlling a second web content pioneer.

After President and CEO Marissa Mayer began organizing an auction in March, Yahoo stock doubled from $26 a share to $51 by September. But she announced on Wednesday the new hack, Yahoo's stock has been plunging to $38.40 in after-market trading.

The buyer normally has to pay a break-up fee if an acquisition fails. But Yahoo chose to run its own auction that " communicated with a total of 51 parties to evaluate their interest in a potential transaction ." Then between February and April 2016, a "short list" of " 32 parties signed confidentiality agreements with Yahoo ," including 10 strategic parties and 22 financial sponsors.

Yahoo's 13D proxy statement filed with the SEC was mostly boilerplate disclosure, but it seemed that something must have been a potential problem at Yahoo for the company to offer a $145 million termination fee to Verizon if the deal did not close.

Yahoo on Wednesday issued a statement saying personal information from more than a billion user accounts was stolen in 2014. The news followed the company's announcement in September that hackers had stolen personal data from at least half a billion accounts in 2013. Yahoo said it believes the two thefts were by different parties.

Yahoo admitted that both hacks were so extensive that they included users' names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, scrambled passwords and security questions and answers. But Yahoo stated, " Payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system the company believes was affected ."

Yahoo said they have invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers in user accounts. They are in the process of notifying potentially affected users and is requiring them to change their passwords.

Yahoo was already facing nearly two dozen class-action lawsuits over the first breach and the company's failure to report it on a timely basis. A federal 3 judge panel last week consolidated 5 of the suits into a mass tort in the San Jose U.S. District Court.

Undoubtedly, there will be a huge number of user lawsuits filed against Yahoo in the next few weeks.

[Dec 15, 2016] Georgia asks Trump to investigate DHS cyberattacks

Dec 15, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Pavlo Svolochenko , December 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm
Georgia asks Trump to investigate DHS 'cyberattacks'

If you want to know what Washington is doing at any given time, just look at what they're accusing the competition of.

yalensis , December 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm
As the Worm Turns!
For all those Amurican rubes out there who beleived that Homeland Security was protecting them against foreign terrorists – ha hahahahahaha!

[Dec 14, 2016] Yahoo discovers hack affecting 1 billion users, breaking its own world record

www.dailynews.com
Yahoo has discovered a 3-year-old security breach that enabled a hacker to compromise more than 1 billion user accounts, breaking the company's own humiliating record for the biggest security breach in history.

The digital heist disclosed Wednesday occurred in August 2013, more than a year before a separate hack that Yahoo announced nearly three months ago . That breach affected at least 500 million users, which had been the most far-reaching hack until the latest revelation.

Yahoo has more than a billion monthly active users, although some have multiple accounts and others have none at all. An unknown number of accounts were affected by both hacks.

In both attacks, the stolen information included names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and security questions and answers. The company says it believes bank-account information and payment-card data were not affected.

[Dec 10, 2016] The head of the worlds largest private surveillance operation, billionaire Eric Schmidt

Notable quotes:
"... the world's largest private surveillance operation ..."
"... Ha! I wish I'd thought of that line! I just laughed out loud on the train and my fellow commuter drones are shuffling and wondering to themselves if I'm on day release from an institution. ..."
"... Of course, the joke's on us, because that's exactly what they (Google) are with all the right friends in high places to boot ..."
"... Something that has been occurring lately with Chrome makes me think that Google is truly watching. A lot of sites (RT et al) are having the https// crossed out in red implying that the connection is no longer secure. ..."
Dec 10, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Clive December 9, 2016 at 2:42 am

" the head of the world's largest private surveillance operation , billionaire Eric Schmidt "

Ha! I wish I'd thought of that line! I just laughed out loud on the train and my fellow commuter drones are shuffling and wondering to themselves if I'm on day release from an institution.

Of course, the joke's on us, because that's exactly what they (Google) are with all the right friends in high places to boot .

heresy101 December 9, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Something that has been occurring lately with Chrome makes me think that Google is truly watching. A lot of sites (RT et al) are having the https// crossed out in red implying that the connection is no longer secure.

For instance, the "true" link in the article above has the https// in red when using Chrome, but Firefox does not make it unsecure (at least it isn't showing it). https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/maxim-eristavi/terror-against-ukraine-s-journalists-is-fueled-by-political-elites Does this have something to do with certificates or is something more sinister going on?

Chrome puts each tab in a new process versus Firefox creating one big file that becomes unstable if you open too many tabs.

There was a comment on ZH recently that referenced a secure browser but now I can't find the link. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Clive December 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Probably TOR but I would caution this is far from foolproof and may even incur The Panopticon's more intrusive surveillance attention.

I value my privacy as much as anyone but I don't use TOR or similar simply because if they are not a guaranteed solution, what's the point? And besides, why should I have to? It's just another tax on my time and resources.

Dopey Panda December 9, 2016 at 7:08 pm

The opendemocracy link you gave shows up as having issues in firefox also. It looks like they have some insecure images on the page, which is probably what chrome is complaining about.

[Dec 05, 2016] Peggy Noonan What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy by Peggy Noonan

Notable quotes:
"... A loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and intimate, and it will have broader implications. ..."
"... Mr. Hentoff sees the surveillance state as a threat to free speech, too ..."
"... An entrenched surveillance state will change and distort the balance that allows free government to function successfully. ..."
"... "When you have this amount of privacy invasion put into these huge data banks, who knows what will come out?" ..."
"... Asked about those attempts, he mentions the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the Red Scare of the 1920s and the McCarthy era. Those times and incidents, he says, were more than specific scandals or news stories, they were attempts to change our nature as a people. ..."
"... What of those who say they don't care what the federal government does as long as it keeps us safe? The threat of terrorism is real, Mr. Hentoff acknowledges. Al Qaeda is still here, its networks are growing. But you have to be careful about who's running U.S. intelligence and U.S. security, and they have to be fully versed in and obey constitutional guarantees. ..."
"... Mr. Hentoff notes that J. Edgar Hoover didn't have all this technology. "He would be so envious of what NSA can do." ..."
Aug 16, 2013 | WSJ

...Among the pertinent definitions of privacy from the Oxford English Dictionary: "freedom from disturbance or intrusion," "intended only for the use of a particular person or persons," belonging to "the property of a particular person." Also: "confidential, not to be disclosed to others." Among others, the OED quotes the playwright Arthur Miller, describing the McCarthy era: "Conscience was no longer a private matter but one of state administration."

Privacy is connected to personhood. It has to do with intimate things-the innards of your head and heart, the workings of your mind-and the boundary between those things and the world outside.

A loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and intimate, and it will have broader implications. That is the view of Nat Hentoff, the great journalist and civil libertarian. He is 88 now and on fire on the issue of privacy. "The media has awakened," he told me. "Congress has awakened, to some extent." Both are beginning to realize "that there are particular constitutional liberty rights that [Americans] have that distinguish them from all other people, and one of them is privacy."

Mr. Hentoff sees excessive government surveillance as violative of the Fourth Amendment, which protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" and requires that warrants be issued only "upon probable cause . . . particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

But Mr. Hentoff sees the surveillance state as a threat to free speech, too. About a year ago he went up to Harvard to speak to a class. He asked, he recalled: "How many of you realize the connection between what's happening with the Fourth Amendment with the First Amendment?" He told the students that if citizens don't have basic privacies-firm protections against the search and seizure of your private communications, for instance-they will be left feeling "threatened." This will make citizens increasingly concerned "about what they say, and they do, and they think." It will have the effect of constricting freedom of expression. Americans will become careful about what they say that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, and then too careful about what they say that can be understood. The inevitable end of surveillance is self-censorship.

All of a sudden, the room became quiet. "These were bright kids, interested, concerned, but they hadn't made an obvious connection about who we are as a people." We are "free citizens in a self-governing republic."

Mr. Hentoff once asked Justice William Brennan "a schoolboy's question": What is the most important amendment to the Constitution? "Brennan said the First Amendment, because all the other ones come from that. If you don't have free speech you have to be afraid, you lack a vital part of what it is to be a human being who is free to be who you want to be." Your own growth as a person will in time be constricted, because we come to know ourselves by our thoughts.

He wonders if Americans know who they are compared to what the Constitution says they are.

Mr. Hentoff's second point: An entrenched surveillance state will change and distort the balance that allows free government to function successfully. Broad and intrusive surveillance will, definitively, put government in charge. But a republic only works, Mr. Hentoff notes, if public officials know that they-and the government itself-answer to the citizens. It doesn't work, and is distorted, if the citizens must answer to the government. And that will happen more and more if the government knows-and you know-that the government has something, or some things, on you. "The bad thing is you no longer have the one thing we're supposed to have as Americans living in a self-governing republic," Mr. Hentoff said. "The people we elect are not your bosses, they are responsible to us." They must answer to us. But if they increasingly control our privacy, "suddenly they're in charge if they know what you're thinking."

This is a shift in the democratic dynamic. "If we don't have free speech then what can we do if the people who govern us have no respect for us, may indeed make life difficult for us, and in fact belittle us?"

If massive surveillance continues and grows, could it change the national character? "Yes, because it will change free speech."

What of those who say, "I have nothing to fear, I don't do anything wrong"? Mr. Hentoff suggests that's a false sense of security.

"When you have this amount of privacy invasion put into these huge data banks, who knows what will come out?"

Or can be made to come out through misunderstanding the data, or finagling, or mischief of one sort or another.

"People say, 'Well I've done nothing wrong so why should I worry?' But that's too easy a way to get out of what is in our history-constant attempts to try to change who we are as Americans."

Asked about those attempts, he mentions the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the Red Scare of the 1920s and the McCarthy era. Those times and incidents, he says, were more than specific scandals or news stories, they were attempts to change our nature as a people.

What of those who say they don't care what the federal government does as long as it keeps us safe? The threat of terrorism is real, Mr. Hentoff acknowledges. Al Qaeda is still here, its networks are growing. But you have to be careful about who's running U.S. intelligence and U.S. security, and they have to be fully versed in and obey constitutional guarantees.

"There has to be somebody supervising them who knows what's right. . . . Terrorism is not going to go away. But we need someone in charge of the whole apparatus who has read the Constitution."

Advances in technology constantly up the ability of what government can do. Its technological expertise will only become deeper and broader.

"They think they're getting to how you think. The technology is such that with the masses of databases, then privacy will get even weaker."

Mr. Hentoff notes that J. Edgar Hoover didn't have all this technology. "He would be so envious of what NSA can do."

[Dec 05, 2016] The internet is at risk of transforming from an open platform to myriad national networks

Notable quotes:
"... Far from being seen as the guardian of a free and open online medium, the US has been painted as an oppressor, cynically using its privileged position to spy on foreign nationals. The result, warn analysts, could well be an acceleration of a process that has been under way for some time as other countries ringfence their networks to protect their citizens' data and limit the flow of information. ..."
"... At the most obvious level, the secret data-collection efforts being conducted by the US National Security Agency threaten to give would-be censors of the internet in authoritarian countries rhetorical cover as they put their own stamp on their local networks. ..."
"... But the distrust of the US that the disclosures are generating in the democratic world, including in Europe , are also likely to have an impact. From the operation of a nation's telecoms infrastructure to the regulation of the emerging cloud computing industry, changes in the architecture of networks as countries seek more control look set to cause a sea change in the broader internet. ..."
www.ft.com

Revelations about US surveillance of the global internet – and the part played by some of the biggest American internet companies in facilitating it – have stirred angst around the world.

Far from being seen as the guardian of a free and open online medium, the US has been painted as an oppressor, cynically using its privileged position to spy on foreign nationals. The result, warn analysts, could well be an acceleration of a process that has been under way for some time as other countries ringfence their networks to protect their citizens' data and limit the flow of information.

"It is difficult to imagine the internet not becoming more compartmentalised and Balkanised," says Rebecca MacKinnon, an expert on online censorship. "Ten years from now, we will look back on the free and open internet" with nostalgia, she adds.

At the most obvious level, the secret data-collection efforts being conducted by the US National Security Agency threaten to give would-be censors of the internet in authoritarian countries rhetorical cover as they put their own stamp on their local networks.

But the distrust of the US that the disclosures are generating in the democratic world, including in Europe, are also likely to have an impact. From the operation of a nation's telecoms infrastructure to the regulation of the emerging cloud computing industry, changes in the architecture of networks as countries seek more control look set to cause a sea change in the broader internet.

[Nov 25, 2016] Is Obama presiding over a national security state gone rogue? by Michael Cohen

National security state gone rogue is fascism. Frankly, I don't see evidence of huge abuse of US liberties. But I do see our foreign policy distorted by a counter-terror obsession
Notable quotes:
"... the government's interpretation of that law ..."
"... "One reports a crime; and one commits a crime." ..."
"... but does not include differences of opinion concerning public policy matters ..."
Jun 21, 2013 | The Guardian

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Two weeks ago, the Guardian began publishing a series of eye-opening revelations about the National Security Agency and its surveillance efforts both in the United States and overseas. These stories raised long-moribund and often-ignored questions about the pervasiveness of government surveillance and the extent to which privacy rights are being violated by this secret and seemingly unaccountable security apparatus.

However, over the past two weeks, we've begun to get a clearer understanding of the story and the implications of what has been published – informed in part by a new-found (if forced upon them) transparency from the intelligence community. So here's one columnist's effort to sort the wheat from the chaff and offer a few answers to the big questions that have been raised.

These revelations are a big deal, right?

To fully answer this question, it's important to clarify the revelations that have sparked such controversy. The Guardian (along with the Washington Post) has broken a number of stories, each of which tells us very different things about what is happening inside the US government around matters of surveillance and cyber operations. Some are relatively mundane, others more controversial.

The story that has shaped press coverage and received the most attention was the first one – namely, the publication of a judicial order from the Fisa court to Verizon that indicated the US is "hoovering" up millions of phone records (so-called "metadata") into a giant NSA database. When it broke, the story was quickly portrayed as a frightening tale of government overreach and violation of privacy rights. After all, such metadata – though it contains no actual content – can be used rather easily as a stepping-stone to more intrusive forms of surveillance.

But what is the true extent of the story here: is this picture of government Big Brotherism correct or is this massive government surveillance actually quite benign?

First of all, such a collection of data is not, in and of itself, illegal. The Obama administration was clearly acting within the constraints of federal law and received judicial approval for this broad request for data. That doesn't necessarily mean that the law is good or that the government's interpretation of that law is not too broad, but unlike the Bush "warrantless wiretapping" stories of several years ago, the US government is here acting within the law.

The real question that should concern us is one raised by the TV writer David Simon in a widely cited blogpost looking at the issues raised by the Guardian's reporting, namely:

"Is government accessing the data for the legitimate public safety needs of the society, or are they accessing it in ways that abuse individual liberties and violate personal privacy – and in a manner that is unsupervised."

We know, for example, that the NSA is required to abide by laws that prevent the international targeting of American citizens (you can read more about that here). So, while metadata about phone calls made can be used to discover information about the individuals making the calls, there are "minimization" rules, procedures and laws that guide the use of such data and prevent possible abuse and misuse of protected data.

The minimization procedures used by the NSA are controlled by secret Fisa courts. In fact, last year, the Fisa court ruled that these procedures didn't pass constitutional muster and had to be rewritten.

Sure, the potential for abuse exists – but so, too, does the potential for the lawful use of metadata in a way that protects the privacy of individual Americans – and also assists the US government in pursuit of potential terrorist suspects. Of course, without information on the specific procedures used by the NSA to minimize the collection of protected data, it is impossible to know that no laws are being broken or no abuse is occurring.

In that sense, we have to take the government's word for it. And that is especially problematic when you consider the Fisa court decisions authorizing this snooping are secret and the congressional intelligence committees tasked with conducting oversight tend to be toothless.

But assumptions of bad faith and violations of privacy by the US government are just that assumptions. When President Obama says that the NSA is not violating privacy rights because it would be against the law, we can't simply disregard such statements as self-serving. Moreover, when one considers the privacy violations that Americans willingly submit to at airports, what personal data they give to the government in their tax returns, and what is regularly posted voluntarily on Facebook, sent via email and searched for online, highly-regulated data-mining by the NSA seems relatively tame.

Edward Snowden: is he a hero or a traitor?

One of the key questions that have emerged over this story is the motivation of the leaker in question, Edward Snowden. In his initial public interview, with Glenn Greenwald on 9 June, Snowden explained his actions, in part, thus:

"I'm willing to sacrifice because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."

Now, while one can argue that Snowden's actions do not involve personal sacrifice, whether they are heroic is a much higher bar to cross. First of all, it's far from clear that the US government is destroying privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world. Snowden may sincere about being "valiant for truth", but he wouldn't be the first person to believe himself such and yet be wrong.

Second, one can make the case that there is a public interest in knowing that the US is collecting reams of phone records, but where is the public interest – and indeed, to Snowden's own justification, the violation of privacy – in leaking a presidential directive on cyber operations or leaking that the US is spying on the Russian president?

The latter is both not a crime it's actually what the NSA was established to do! In his recent online chat hosted by the Guardian, Snowden suggested that the US should not be spying on any country with whom it's not formally at war. That is, at best, a dubious assertion, and one that is at odds with years of spycraft.

On the presidential directive on cyber operations, the damning evidence that Snowden revealed was that President Obama has asked his advisers to create a list of potential targets for cyber operations – but such planning efforts are rather routine contingency operations. For example, if the US military drew up war plans in case conflict ever occurred between the US and North Korea – and that included offensive operations – would that be considered untoward or perhaps illegitimate military planning?

This does not mean, however, that Snowden is a traitor. Leaking classified data is a serious offense, but treason is something else altogether.

The problem for Snowden is that he has now also leaked classified information about ongoing US intelligence-gathering efforts to foreign governments, including China and Russia. That may be crossing a line, which means that the jury is still out on what label we should use to describe Snowden.

Shouldn't Snowden be protected as a whistleblower?

This question of leakers v whistleblowers has frequently been conflated in the public reporting about the NSA leak (and many others). But this is a crucial error. As Tara Lee, a lawyer at the law firm DLA Piper, with expertise in defense industry and national security litigation said to me there is an important distinction between leakers and whistleblowers, "One reports a crime; and one commits a crime."

Traditionally (and often technically), whistleblowing refers to specific actions that are taken to bring to attention illegal behavior, fraud, waste, abuse etc. Moreover, the US government provides federal employees and contractors with the protection to blow the whistle on wrongdoing. In the case of Snowden, he could have gone to the inspector general at the Department of Justice or relevant congressional committees.

From all accounts, it appears that he did not go down this path. Of course, since the material he was releasing was approved by the Fisa court and had the sign-off of the intelligence committee, he had good reason to believe that he would have not received the most receptive hearing for his complaints.

Nevertheless, that does not give him carte blanche to leak to the press – and certainly doesn't give him carte blanche to leak information on activities that he personally finds objectionable but are clearly legal. Indeed, according to the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA), whistleblowers can make complaints over matter of what the law calls "urgent concern", which includes "a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinion concerning public policy matters [my italics]."

In other words, simply believing that a law or government action is wrong does not give one the right to leak information; and in the eyes of the law, it is not considered whistleblowing. Even if one accepts the view that the leaked Verizon order fell within the bounds of being in the "public interest", it's a harder case to make for the presidential directive on cyber operations or the eavesdropping on foreign leaders.

The same problem is evident in the incorrect description of Bradley Manning as a whistleblower. When you leak hundreds of thousands of documents – not all of which you reviewed and most of which contain the mundane and not illegal diplomatic behavior of the US government – you're leaking. Both Manning and now Snowden have taken it upon themselves to decide what should be in the public domain; quite simply, they don't have the right to do that. If every government employee decided actions that offended their sense of morality should be leaked, the government would never be able to keep any secrets at all and, frankly, would be unable to operate effectively.

So, like Manning, Snowden is almost certainly not a whistleblower, but rather a leaker. And that would mean that he, like Manning, is liable to prosecution for leaking classified material.

Are Democrats hypocrites over the NSA's activities?

A couple of days ago, my Guardian colleague, Glenn Greenwald made the following assertion:

"The most vehement defenders of NSA surveillance have been, by far, Democratic (especially Obama-loyal) pundits. One of the most significant aspects of the Obama legacy has been the transformation of Democrats from pretend-opponents of the Bush "war on terror" and national security state into their biggest proponents."

This is regular line of argument from Glenn, but it's one that, for a variety of reasons, I believe is not fair. (I don't say this because I'm an Obama partisan – though I may be called one for writing this.)

First, the lion's share of criticism of these recent revelations has come, overwhelmingly, from Democrats and, indeed, from many of the same people, including Greenwald, who were up in arms when the so-called warrantless wiretapping program was revealed in 2006. The reality is that outside a minority of activists, it's not clear that many Americans – Democrats or Republicans get all that excited about these types of stories. (Not that this is necessarily a good thing.)

Second, opposition to the Bush program was two-fold: first, it was illegal and was conducted with no judicial or congressional oversight; second, Bush's surveillance policies did not occur in a vacuum – they were part of a pattern of law-breaking, disastrous policy decisions and Manichean rhetoric over the "war on terror". So, if you opposed the manner in which Bush waged war on the "axis of evil", it's not surprising that you would oppose its specific elements. In the same way, if you now support how President Obama conducts counter-terrorism efforts, it's not surprising that you'd be more inclined to view specific anti-terror policies as more benign.

Critics will, of course, argue – and rightly so – that we are a country of laws first. In which case it shouldn't matter who is the president, but rather what the laws are that govern his or her conduct. Back in the world of political reality, though, that's not how most Americans think of their government. Their perceptions are defined in large measure by how the current president conducts himself, so there is nothing at all surprising about Republicans having greater confidence in a Republican president and Democrats having greater confidence in a Democratic one, when asked about specific government programs.

Beyond that, simply having greater confidence in President Obama than President Bush to wield the awesome powers granted the commander-in-chief to conduct foreign policy is not partisanship. It's common sense.

George Bush was, undoubtedly, one of the two or three worst foreign policy presidents in American history (and arguably, our worst president, period). He and Dick Cheney habitually broke the law, including but not limited to the abuse of NSA surveillance. President Obama is far from perfect: he made the terrible decision to surge in Afghanistan, and he's fought two wars of dubious legality in Libya and Pakistan, but he's very far from the sheer awfulness of the Bush/Cheney years.

Unless you believe the US should have no NSA, and conduct no intelligence-gathering in the fight against terrorism, you have to choose a president to manage that agency. And there is nothing hypocritical or partisan about believing that one president is better than another to handle those responsibilities.

Has NSA surveillance prevented terrorist attacks, as claimed?

In congressional testimony this week, officials from the Department of Justice and the NSA argued that surveillance efforts stopped "potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11". Having spent far too many years listening to public officials describe terrifying terror plots that fell apart under greater scrutiny, this assertion sets off for me a set of red flags (even though it may be true).

I have no doubt that NSA surveillance has contributed to national security investigations, but whether it's as extensive or as vital as the claims of government officials is more doubtful. To be honest, I'm not sure it matters. Part of the reason the US government conducts NSA surveillance in the first place is not necessarily to stop every potential attack (though that would be nice), but to deter potential terrorists from acting in the first place.

Critics of the program like to argue that "of course, terrorists know their phones are being tapped and emails are being read", but that's kind of the point. If they know this, it forces them to choose more inefficient means of communicating, and perhaps to put aside potential attacks for fear of being uncovered.

We also know that not every terrorist has the skills of a Jason Bourne. In fact, many appear to be not terribly bright, which means that even if they know about the NSA's enormous dragnet, it doesn't mean they won't occasionally screw up and get caught.

Yet, this gets to a larger issue that is raised by the NSA revelations.

When is enough counter-terrorism enough?

Over the past 12 years, the US has developed what can best be described as a dysfunctional relationship with terrorism. We've become obsessed with it and with a zero-tolerance approach to stopping it. While the former is obviously an important goal, it has led the US to take steps that not only undermine our values (such as torture), but also make us weaker (the invasion of Iraq, the surge in Afghanistan, etc).

To be sure, this is not true of every anti-terror program of the past dozen years. For example, the US does a better job of sharing intelligence among government agencies, and of screening those who are entering the country. And military efforts in the early days of the "war on terror" clearly did enormous damage to al-Qaida's capabilities.

In general, though, when one considers the relatively low risk of terrorist attacks – and the formidable defenses of the United States – the US response to terrorism has been one of hysterical over-reaction. Indeed, the balance we so often hear about when it comes to protecting privacy while also ensuring security is only one part of the equation. The other is how do we balance the need to stop terrorists (who certainly aspire to attack the United States) and the need to prevent anti-terrorism from driving our foreign policy to a disproportionate degree. While the NSA revelations might not be proof that we've gone too far in one direction, there's not doubt that, for much of the past 12 years, terrorism has distorted and marred our foreign policy.

Last month, President Obama gave a seminal speech at the National Defense University, in which he essentially declared the "war on terror" over. With troops coming home from Afghanistan, and drone strikes on the decline, that certainly seems to be the case. But as the national freakout over the Boston Marathon bombing – and the extraordinary over-reaction of a city-wide lockdown for one wounded terrorist on the loose – remind us, we still have a ways to go.

Moreover, since no politician wants to find him- or herself in a situation after a terrorist attack when the criticism "why didn't you do more?" can be aired, that political imperative of zero tolerance will drive our counterterrorism policies. At some point, that needs to end.

In fact, nine years ago, our current secretary of state, John Kerry, made this exact point; it's worth reviewing his words:

"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''

What the NSA revelations should spark is not just a debate on surveillance, but on the way we think about terrorism and the steps that we should be willing to take both to stop it and ensure that it does not control us. We're not there yet.

007Prometheus

No GCHQ - MI5 - MI6 - NSA - CIA - FBI etc........... ad nausem!

How many Billions / Trillions are spent on these services? If 11/9 and 7/7 were homegrown attacks, then i think, they will take us all down with them.

NOTaREALmerican

@007Prometheus

Re: How many Billions / Trillions are spent on these services?

The wonderful thing about living in a "Keynesian" perpetually increasing debt paradise is you NEVER have to say you can't afford anything. (Well, unless you want to say it, but if you do it's just political bullshit).

So, to answer your question... A "Keynesian" never asks how much, just how much do you want.

bloopie2

"Frankly, I don't see evidence of huge abuse of US liberties"

Just wait until they come for you.

bloopie2

"When one considers the privacy violations that Americans willingly submit to at airports, what personal data they give to the government in their tax returns, and what is regularly posted voluntarily on Facebook, sent via email and searched for online, highly-regulated data-mining by the NSA seems relatively tame."

Dear Sir: Please post your email addresses, bank accounts, and passwords. We'd like to look at everything.

Got a problem with that?

Tonieja

"When one considers the privacy violations that Americans willingly submit to at airports, what personal data they give to the government in their tax returns, and what is regularly posted voluntarily on Facebook, sent via email and searched for online [...]"

Wow! I don't really care about my personal email. I do care about all political activists, journalists, lawyers etc. That a journalist would support Stasi style surveillance state is astonishing.

gisbournelove

I wish I had the time to go through this article and demolish it sentence by sentence as it so richly deserves, but at the moment I don't. Instead, might I suggest to the author that he go to the guardian archive, read every single story about this in chronological order and then read every damn link posted in the comment threads on the three most recent stories.

Most especially the links in the comment threads. If after that, he cannot see why we "civil libertarian freaks" are not just outraged, but frightened, he frankly lacks both historical knowledge and any ability to analyze the facts that are staring him in the face. I can't believe I am going to have to say this again but here goes: YOU do not get to give away my contitutional rights, Mr. Cohen.

I don't give a shit how much you trust Obama compared to dubya. The Bill of Rights states in clear, unambiguous language what the Federal government may NOT do do its citizens no matter WHO is president.

goodkurtz

Michael Cohen
Frankly, I don't see evidence of huge abuse of US liberties.

Well of course you wont see them.
But the abuses are very probably already happening on a one to one basis in the same shadows in which the intelligence was first gathered.

[Nov 21, 2016] Apples iCloud retains the entire call history of every iPhone for as long as four months, making it an easy target for law enforcement and surveillance

Nov 17, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Rusty tell us of Android hacking by the Chinese and today we learn the iphone has issues too

http://bgr.com/2016/11/17/iphone-security-secret-call-history-icloud/

"Russian security firm says iPhone secretly logs all your phone calls"

By Mike Wehner...Nov 17, 2016...10:36 AM

"A Russian security firm is casting doubt on just how big of an ally Apple is when it comes to consumer privacy. In a new report, the company alleges that Apple's iCloud retains the entire call history of every iPhone for as long as four months, making it an easy target for law enforcement and surveillance.

The firm, Elcomsoft, discovered that as long as a user has iCloud enabled, their call history is synced and stored. The log includes phone numbers, dates and durations of the calls, and even missed calls, but the log doesn't stop there; FaceTime call logs, as well as calls from apps that utilize the "Call History" feature, such as Facebook and WhatsApp, are also stored.

There is also apparently no way to actually disable the feature without disabling iCloud entirely, as there is no toggle for call syncing.

"We offer call history syncing as a convenience to our customers so that they can return calls from any of their devices," an Apple spokesperson told The Intercept via email."Device data is encrypted with a user's passcode, and access to iCloud data including backups requires the user's Apple ID and password. Apple recommends all customers select strong passwords and use two-factor authentication."

But security from unauthorized eyes isn't what users should be worrying about, according to former FBI agent and computer forensics expert Robert Osgood. "Absolutely this is an advantage [for law enforcement]," Osgood told The Intercept. ""Four months is a long time [to retain call logs]. It's generally 30 or 60 days for telecom providers, because they don't want to keep more [records] than they absolutely have to."

If the name Elcomsoft sounds familiar, it's because the company's phone-cracking software was used by many of the hackers involved in 2014's massive celebrity nudes leak. Elcomsoft's "Phone Breaker" software claims the ability to crack iCloud backups, as well as backup files from Microsoft OneDrive and BlackBerry."

[Nov 18, 2016] On Clapper resignation

Notable quotes:
"... "Top US intelligence official: I submitted my resignation" As of January 20th or so. When he was going to be gone anyway. Just had to get his name in the news one more time. ..."
"... Clapper has been like a difficult to eradicate sexually transmitted disease in the intelligence community. Unfortunately, I suspect he may have already infected others who will remain and pass it around. ..."
Nov 18, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

paulmeli November 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm

"Top US intelligence official: I submitted my resignation" As of January 20th or so. When he was going to be gone anyway. Just had to get his name in the news one more time.

Peter Pan November 17, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Clapper has been like a difficult to eradicate sexually transmitted disease in the intelligence community. Unfortunately, I suspect he may have already infected others who will remain and pass it around.

fresno dan November 17, 2016 at 6:54 pm

paulmeli
November 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm

So, is Obama gonna pardon him? Silly me, I keep forgetting that indisputable violations of the law are not prosecuted when done by those at the top

[Nov 18, 2016] Physical access is not equal to game over

Notable quotes:
"... What if the disk is passworded? What about that not all systems are exclusively for business/corporate use (see also BYOD) and therefore may be tuned to varying security postures owing to other factors? ..."
"... Physical access ≠ game over. Physical access + unguarded time + experience + tooling = game over. One used to could safely leave someone alone with their computer while one went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Now this tooling has made the time and experience components a bit less relevant to successful, quick pwnage with few or no tracks. Neato! ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
LarryB November 17, 2016 at 2:59 pm

The "Poison Tap" is not really that big of deal. It's usually trivially easy to break into any computer that you can physically access. You can boot from a CD or USB drive, for instance, or even just steal the hard drive. Security on USB needs to be improved, but this is not even close to being the end of the world.

Knifecatcher November 17, 2016 at 4:07 pm

+1. If someone has direct physical access to your device – PC or smartphone – you're pretty much hosed.

Daryl November 17, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Yep. Physical access is root access.

River November 17, 2016 at 7:35 pm

If you have the time with the physical machine anyway.

I could see kids having fun with this though. Going into a box store that has computers on display, getting access (even better if they have a web cam on it). Upload porn or shocking material and showing the customers and watching/recording the reactions and putting it on youtube.

Or more nefarious, the same thing but for casing a store (limited vantage from the web cam .but may better than nothing).

Etc. lots you could do and more importantly not a lot of skill required. Lower bar for entry for hacking mischief and a low cost.

hunkerdown November 17, 2016 at 7:51 pm

LarryB, and how long will that take you? And will you have the computer back together by the time they see you? And will logs suggest anything funny happened around that time? What if the disk is passworded? What about that not all systems are exclusively for business/corporate use (see also BYOD) and therefore may be tuned to varying security postures owing to other factors?

Physical access ≠ game over. Physical access + unguarded time + experience + tooling = game over. One used to could safely leave someone alone with their computer while one went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Now this tooling has made the time and experience components a bit less relevant to successful, quick pwnage with few or no tracks. Neato!

[Nov 11, 2016] In the last few years, the Federal Trade Commission has sued more than dozen debt relief companies. They simply lie to consumers, says the FTC's Alice Hrdy.

Nov 11, 2016 | www.nbcnews.com

A widespread problem
In the last few years, the Federal Trade Commission has sued more than dozen debt relief companies. "They simply lie to consumers," says the FTC's Alice Hrdy.

FTC ad IRS investigators have also found some counseling services that claim to be non-profit when they are actually a for-profit company. The non-profit pitch can make a potential client feel confident about signing up for the service. "They're preying on the consumer's trust," Hrdy says.

Some of the bad apples in this industry mislead people about their charges. "They either say there are no fees involved or just a small fee," Hrdy explains. Sometimes, they don't mention fees at all.

Bruce, who lives near Seattle, signed up with a company that promised to lower his interest rates. He was told to send them a check for $265.

"It was my clear understanding that money was going to pay off my credit card bills," Bruce told me. It turned out to be a "referral fee" to find him a company that would supposedly help him.

"It was a nasty experience," Bruce says. "They basically stole my money."

Warning: Debt settlement programs
Some companies now claim they can negotiate a one-time settlement with all of your creditors that will reduce your principal by as much as 50 to 70 percent. By doing this, they say, your monthly payments will drop dramatically.

"That is virtually impossible under any circumstances," says Travis Plunkett, Legislative Director of the Consumer Federation of America. That's why CFA warns consumers not to use debt settlement programs. "They are promising something they can't deliver," Plunkett says.

Credit counselors - a better option
Charles Helms, president of Consumer Counseling Northwest, sees a lot of people who have been burned by these phony debt relief programs. "It's horrible," he says. Because most of them have a large up-front fee, they'll take anyone who can pay.

"Their goal is to get you to sign up, not to successfully complete the program," Helms says. "So here's someone who is financially damaged to begin with and then these companies just go out and take the last of their resources and kill any hope they have of getting out of that situation."

With a legitimate credit counselor, there is no right answer for everyone. They sit down with you and give you a free and objective assessment of your financial situation. At Credit Counseling Northwest, they saw 6,000 people last year and found that debt management was the right option for only 19 percent of them. The rest were given a plan to work things out on their own.

With a customized consolidated payment plan you should be able to pay off your credit card debt in 3 to 5 years. You write the counseling agency one check each month and they pay all your creditors.

Do your homework
Facing mounting bills can be frightening, but getting debt relief is not a decision that should be based on hearing a radio commercial or getting a sales call. You want to find an organization that will design a debt relief plan specifically for you.

Shop around. Compare a couple of services and get a feel for how they operate. The credit counselor should spend at least 20 to 30 minutes with you in order to get a complete picture of your finances. If they don't do that, you're not really getting any counseling.

Ask a lot of questions and get those answers in writing. Find out about the fees. The Consumer Federation of America says you shouldn't pay more than $50 for the set-up fee and no more than a $25 monthly maintenance fee. If the agency is vague or reluctant to talk about fees, go someplace else.

Don't rely on names or the claim of a non-profit status. Check them out with the Better Business Bureau or your local consumer protection office.

By doing your homework you should be able to find a service that doesn't over-charge or over-promise. Here's a good place to start: The National Foundation for Credit Counseling . They'll help you find a certified counselor near you.

More Information:

[Nov 07, 2016] Under the Din of the Presidential Race Lies a Once and Future Threat Cyberwarfare

This neocon propagandists (or more correctly neocon provocateur) got all major facts wrong. And who unleashed Flame and Stuxnet I would like to ask him. Was it Russians? And who invented the concept of "color revolution" in which influencing of election was the major part of strategy ? And which nation instituted the program of covert access to email boxes of all major webmail providers? He should study the history of malware and the USA covert operations before writing this propagandist/provocateur opus to look a little bit more credible...
Notable quotes:
"... Email, a main conduit of communication for two decades, now appears so vulnerable that the nation seems to be wondering whether its bursting inboxes can ever be safe. ..."
www.nytimes.com

The 2016 presidential race will be remembered for many ugly moments, but the most lasting historical marker may be one that neither voters nor American intelligence agencies saw coming: It is the first time that a foreign power has unleashed cyberweapons to disrupt, or perhaps influence, a United States election.

And there is a foreboding sense that, in elections to come, there is no turning back.

The steady drumbeat of allegations of Russian troublemaking - leaks from stolen emails and probes of election-system defenses - has continued through the campaign's last days. These intrusions, current and former administration officials agree, will embolden other American adversaries, which have been given a vivid demonstration that, when used with some subtlety, their growing digital arsenals can be particularly damaging in the frenzy of a democratic election.

"Most of the biggest stories of this election cycle have had a cybercomponent to them - or the use of information warfare techniques that the Russians, in particular, honed over decades," said David Rothkopf, the chief executive and editor of Foreign Policy, who has written two histories of the National Security Council. "From stolen emails, to WikiLeaks, to the hacking of the N.S.A.'s tools, and even the debate about how much of this the Russians are responsible for, it's dominated in a way that we haven't seen in any prior election."

The magnitude of this shift has gone largely unrecognized in the cacophony of a campaign dominated by charges of groping and pay-for-play access. Yet the lessons have ranged from the intensely personal to the geostrategic.

Email, a main conduit of communication for two decades, now appears so vulnerable that the nation seems to be wondering whether its bursting inboxes can ever be safe. Election systems, the underpinning of democracy, seem to be at such risk that it is unimaginable that the United States will go into another national election without treating them as "critical infrastructure."

But President Obama has been oddly quiet on these issues. He delivered a private warning to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia during their final face-to-face encounter two months ago, aides say. Still, Mr. Obama has barely spoken publicly about the implications of foreign meddling in the election. His instincts, those who have worked with him on cyberissues say, are to deal with the problem by developing new norms of international behavior or authorizing covert action rather than direct confrontation.

After a series of debates in the Situation Room, Mr. Obama and his aides concluded that any public retaliation should be postponed until after the election - to avoid the appearance that politics influenced his decision and to avoid provoking Russian counterstrikes while voting is underway. It remains unclear whether Mr. Obama will act after Tuesday, as his aides hint, or leave the decision about a "proportional response" to his successor.

Cybersleuths, historians and strategists will debate for years whether Russia's actions reflected a grand campaign of interference or mere opportunism on the part of Mr. Putin. While the administration has warned for years about the possibility of catastrophic attacks, what has happened in the past six months has been far more subtle.

Russia has used the techniques - what they call "hybrid war," mixing new technologies with old-fashioned propaganda, misinformation and disruption - for years in former Soviet states and elsewhere in Europe. The only surprise was that Mr. Putin, as he intensified confrontations with Washington as part of a nationalist campaign to solidify his own power amid a deteriorating economy, was willing to take them to American shores.

The most common theory is that while the Russian leader would prefer the election of Donald J. Trump - in part because Mr. Trump has suggested that NATO is irrelevant and that the United States should pull its troops back to American shores - his primary motive is to undercut what he views as a smug American sense of superiority about its democratic processes.

Madeleine K. Albright, a former secretary of state who is vigorously supporting Hillary Clinton, wrote recently that Mr. Putin's goal was "to create doubt about the validity of the U.S. election results, and to make us seem hypocritical when we question the conduct of elections in other countries."

If so, this is a very different use of power than what the Obama administration has long prepared the nation for.

Four years ago, Leon E. Panetta, the defense secretary at the time, warned of an impending "cyber Pearl Harbor" in which enemies could "contaminate the water supply in major cities or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country," perhaps in conjunction with a conventional attack.

[Nov 06, 2016] Russia expects Washington to provide an explanation after a report claimed that Pentagon cyber-offensive specialists have hacked into Russias power grids, telecommunications networks, and the Kremlins command systems for a possible sabotage

Nov 06, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

Molin | Nov 5, 2016 7:21:49 AM | 52

Obama hack Russia openly,

"Russia expects Washington to provide an explanation after a report claimed that Pentagon cyber-offensive specialists have hacked into Russia's power grids, telecommunications networks, and the Kremlin's command systems for a possible sabotage."

https://www.rt.com/news/365423-russia-us-hacker-grid/

[Nov 03, 2016] And Now For Some Comic Relief by Jonathan V. Last

Nov 03, 2016 | www.weeklystandard.com
Presenting...the Clinton IT Department! This has not been an especially ennobling election. Or a rewarding one. Or even entertaining. Pretty much everything about 2016 has been boorish and grotesque. But finally it is time to laugh.

This has not been an especially ennobling election. Or a rewarding one. Or even entertaining. Pretty much everything about 2016 has been boorish and grotesque. But finally it is time to laugh.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Clinton IT department.

Over the weekend we finally found out how Clinton campaign honcho John Podesta's emails were hacked. But first a couple disclaimers:

1) Yes, it's unpleasant to munch on the fruit of the poisoned tree. But this isn't a court of law and you can't just ignore information that's dragged into the public domain.

2) We're all vulnerable to hackers. Even if you're a security nut who uses VPNs and special email encryption protocols, you can be hacked. The only real security is the anonymity of the herd. Once a hacker targets you, specifically, you're toast.

I'm a pretty tech-savvy guy and if the Chinese decided to hack my emails tonight, you'd have everything I've ever written posted to Wikileaks before the sun was up tomorrow.

But that is … not John Podesta's situation.

What happened was this: On March 19, Podesta got what looked--kind of, sort of--like an email from Google's Gmail team. The email claimed that someone from the Ukraine had tried to hack into Podesta's Gmail account and that he needed to change his password immediately.

This is what's called a "phishing" scam, where hackers send legitimate-looking emails that, when you click on the links inside them, actually take you someplace dangerous. In Podesta's case, there was a link that the email told him to click in order to change his password.

This was not an especially good bit of phishing. Go have a look yourself. The email calls Podesta by his first name. It uses bit.ly as a link shortener. Heck, the subject line is the preposterous "*someone has your password*". Why would Google say "someone has your password?" They wouldn't. They'd say that there had been log-in attempts that failed two-step authentication, maybe. Or that the account had been compromised, perhaps. If you've spent any time using email over the last decade, you know exactly how these account security emails are worded.

And what's more, you know that you never click on the link in the email. If you get a notice from your email provider or your bank or anyone who holds sensitive information of yours saying that your account has been compromised, you leave the email, open your web browser, type in the URL of the website, and then manually open your account information. Again, let me emphasize: You never click on the link in the email!

But what makes this story so priceless isn't that John Podesta got fooled by an fourth-rate phishing scam. After all, he's just the guy who's going to be running Hillary Clinton's administration. What does he know about tech? And Podesta, to his credit, knew what he didn't know: He emailed the Clinton IT help desk and said, Hey, is this email legit?

And the Clinton tech team's response was: Hell yes!

No, really. Here's what they said: One member of the team responded to Podesta by saying "The gmail one is REAL." Another answered by saying "This is a legitimate email. John needs to change his password immediately."

It's like the Clinton IT department is run by 90-year-old grandmothers. I half-expect the next Wikileaks dump to have an email from one Clinton techie to another asking for help setting their VCR clock.

As the other guy likes to say, "only the best people."

[Oct 30, 2016] Speaking also of Pedesta email it is interesting that it was Podesta who make mistake of assessing phishing email link, probably accidentally

turcopolier.typepad.com

mistah charley, ph.d. said... 30 October 2016 at 09:13 AM

Speaking also of Podesta's email, not Huma's, the following is interesting:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/28/politics/phishing-email-hack-john-podesta-hillary-clinton-wikileaks/index.html

Briefly, it seems Podesta received an email "You need to change your password", asked for professional advice from his staff if it was legit, was told "Yes, you DO need to change your password", but then clicked on the link in the original email, which was sent him with malicious intent, as he suspected at first and then was inappropriately reassured about - rather than on the link sent him by the IT staffer.

Result - the "phishing" email got his password info, and the world now gets to see all his emails.

Personally, my hope is that Huma and HRC will be pardoned for all their crimes, by Obama, before he leaves office.

Then I hope that Huma's divorce will go through, and that once Hillary is sworn in she will at last be courageous enough to divorce Bill (who actually performed the Huma-Anthony Weiner nuptials - you don't have to make these things up).

Then it could happen that the first same-sex marriage will be performed in the White House, probably by the minister of DC's Foundry United Methodist Church, which has a policy of LBGQT equality. Or maybe Hillary, cautious and middle-of-the-road as usual, will go to Foundry UMC sanctuary for the ceremony, recognizing that some Americans' sensibilities would be offended by having the rite in the White House.

As Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan wrote, "Love is all there is, it makes the world go round, love and only love, it can't be denied. No matter what you think about it, you just can't live without it, take a tip from one who's tried."

[Oct 29, 2016] A recent linguistic analysis cited in the New York Times speculates without any real trace of evidence that the hackers language in threats against Sony was written by a native Russian speaker and not a native Korean speaker

Notable quotes:
"... An important thing about that Time article regarding the Sony Hack is that it is almost two years old. Important because I'm still having to tell people that despite what the President and the government said North Korea didn't hack Sony because of a really bad movie, but that insiders did it for reasons that were never part of the media blitz about it. And believe me, considering that Clinton is lying through her teeth beyond even the government about this, I point this out a lot. ..."
"... Something that jumped out at me in December 2014 was a blog post by David E Martin. His blog post more or less laid out the whole game plan–and in so doing, I suspect he thwarted the planned story line. It was amazing to read that the whole plot had actually been presented to Congress years before. ..."
"... I'm inferring his intention in writing the post was to spill enough beans to prevent a catastrophic false flag event, as that is why he wrote his book "Coup d'Twelve" . (He spoke about this on numerous radio interviews at the time, and as also discussed it in person.) ..."
"... Never let an opportunity for a bit of Russian bashing go to waste it seems. Is there anything at all in the history of the entire world that the Russians aren't responsible for? ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Pat October 26, 2016 at 2:21 pm

An important thing about that Time article regarding the Sony Hack is that it is almost two years old. Important because I'm still having to tell people that despite what the President and the government said North Korea didn't hack Sony because of a really bad movie, but that insiders did it for reasons that were never part of the media blitz about it. And believe me, considering that Clinton is lying through her teeth beyond even the government about this, I point this out a lot.

TheCatSaid October 26, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Something that jumped out at me in December 2014 was a blog post by David E Martin. His blog post more or less laid out the whole game plan–and in so doing, I suspect he thwarted the planned story line. It was amazing to read that the whole plot had actually been presented to Congress years before.

I'm inferring his intention in writing the post was to spill enough beans to prevent a catastrophic false flag event, as that is why he wrote his book "Coup d'Twelve" . (He spoke about this on numerous radio interviews at the time, and as also discussed it in person.)

Foy October 26, 2016 at 9:09 pm

I had to laugh when I read this in the article though:

"A recent linguistic analysis cited in the New York Times found that the hackers' language in threats against Sony was written by a native Russian speaker and not a native Korean speaker."

Never let an opportunity for a bit of Russian bashing go to waste it seems. Is there anything at all in the history of the entire world that the Russians aren't responsible for?

[Oct 29, 2016] Phishing for Fools, Hipster Edition

Oct 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
allan October 28, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Phishing for Fools, Hipster Edition:

Emails show how Clinton campaign chairman apparently hacked [AP]

New evidence appears to show how hackers earlier this year stole more than 50,000 emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, an audacious electronic attack blamed on Russia's government and one that has resulted in embarrassing political disclosures about Democrats in the final weeks before the U.S. presidential election.

The hackers sent John Podesta an official-looking email on Saturday, March 19, that appeared to come from Google. It warned that someone in Ukraine had obtained Podesta's personal Gmail password and tried unsuccessfully to log in, and it directed him to a website where he should "change your password immediately."

Podesta's chief of staff, Sara Latham, forwarded the email to the operations help desk of Clinton's campaign, where staffer Charles Delavan in Brooklyn, New York, wrote back 25 minutes later, "This is a legitimate email. John needs to change his password immediately."

But the email was not authentic. …

Lambert Strether Post author October 29, 2016 at 12:49 am

And if the ploy was that low-grade, that means that the Russki superbrains in the KGB didn't have to be behind it. Dear Lord.

This really is a hubris followed by nemesis thing, isn't it? And how sad it is, how tragic, that it was Brooklyn that brought Podesta down. Somehow I think Delavan is going to have a hard time getting a job in politics again, but he did the country a great service.

TheCatSaid October 29, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Social engineering wins again. This was something I learned about long ago when Black Box Voting.org started (approx. 2004). It was one of the many vulnerabilities in various points of election systems, both with paper and paperless. Very easy to get officials to reveal passwords that allowed access–that's in addition to the corruption situations. (Or rather, the social engineering angle would be just one of the tools used by insiders.)

[Oct 28, 2016] Note on propagandists masquerading as security experts

All their arguments does not stand even entry level programmer scrutiny. Especially silly are "Russian keyboard and timestamps" argument. As if, say Israelis or, say, Estonians, or any other country with sizable Russian speaking population can't use those to direct investigation at the wrong track ;-).
If I were a Russian hacker trying to penetrate into DNC servers I would use only NSA toolkit and libraries that I can find on black market. First on all they are reasonably good. the second that help to direct people to in a wrong direction. and if knew Spanish or English or French reasonably well I would use them exclusively. If not I would pay for translation of set of variables into those languages and "forget" to delete symbol table in one of the module giving raw meat to idiots like those.
Actually you can find a lot of such people even in London, Paris, Madrid and NYC, and some of them really do not like the US neoliberal administration with its unending wars of expansion of neoliberal empire :-) But still they are considered to be "security expert". When you hear now the word "security expert", please substitute it for "security charlatan" for better comprehensions -- that's almost always the case about people posing as security experts for MSM. The only reliable exception are whistleblowers -- those people sacrifices their lucrative carriers for telling the truth, so they can usually be trusted. They might exaggerate things on the negative side, though. I personally highly respect William Binney.
The "regular" security expects especially from tiny, struggling security companies in reality they are low paid propagandists amplifying the set of prepared talking point. The arguments are usually pretty childish. BTW, after the USA/Israeli operation against Iran using Stixnet and Flame in Middle East, complex Trojans are just commonplace and are actually available to more or less qualified hacker, or even a unqualified person with some money and desire to take risks.
I especially like the phrase "beyond a reasonable doubt that the hack was in fact an operation of the Russian state." Is not this a slander, or what ? Only two cagagiry of peopel: impetcils and paid presstitutes has think about complex hacking operation origin "beyond reasonable doubt")
observer.com

Oct 28, 2016 | observer.com

Original title: 7 Reasons Security Firms Believe the Russian State Hacked the DNC

Originally from: Bloomberg

• 10/26/16 1:02pm

How do we really know that the breaches of the Democratic National Committee were conducted by organizations working on behalf of the Russian state? With the CIA considering a major counterstrike against the superpower, as NBC has reported , it's worthwhile for the public to measure how confident we can be that Putin's government actually deserves retribution.

"When you're investigating a cybersecurity breach, no one knows whether you're a Russian hacker or a Chinese hacker pretending to be a Russian hacker or even a U.S. hacker pretending to be a Chinese hacker pretending to be a Russian hacker," reporter Jordan Robertson says during the third episode of a solid new podcast from Bloomberg, called "Decrypted." In the new episode, he and fellow reporter Aki Ito break down the facts that put security experts beyond a reasonable doubt that the hack was in fact an operation of the Russian state.

Here are the key points:

From there, the podcast asks: what does this hack mean for the U.S. election. They come to basically the same conclusions that the Observer did in September : voting systems are very safe-voter rolls are less so, but nation-states probably want to discredit our system more than they want to change outcomes.

How sure can we be? Buratowski says, "Barring seeing someone at a keyboard or a confession, you're relying on that circumstantial evidence." So, we can never really know for sure. In fact, even Crowdstrike's attribution is based on prior experience, which assumes that they have attributed other hacks correctly in the past. Former congressional staffer Richard Diamond in USA Today argues that the hacks can be explained by bad passwords, but he also neglects to counter Crowdstrike's descriptions of the sophisticated code placed inside the servers. From Bloomberg's version of events, how the hackers got in was really the least interesting part of their investigation.

So what does it all mean? It's natural for political junkies to wonder if there might be further disclosures coming before Election Day, but - if this is an information operation-it might be even more disruptive to hold documents until after the election in order to throw doubt on our final choice. Either way, further disclosures will probably come.

[Oct 28, 2016] I find the whole hysteria over Russian hacking very one-sided.

Notable quotes:
"... I find the whole hysteria over Russian hacking very one-sided. If the US takes it upon itself, out of sincere concern, to help out "moderates" in overthrowing a repressive, evil government in Syria, Libya and Iraq, maybe the same thing happening to the US itself is not that weird? Here is a tyrannical government with little regard for its demotivated and demoralized citizens who can not on their own displace it. This government threatens nuclear war and kills an unjustified number of its own citizens. Its public infrastructure is in ruins and oligarchy is everywhere. In the past the US has set the example for dealing with such troubled states; its time the doctor took his own medicine. ..."
"... Ahhhh, but that exactly where the "exceptional" clause kicks in. You see, America is justified in intervening in other countries' business because we see further, with a clearer gaze and a purer heart, than any other country in the world. Mired as they are in ignorance or inertia, no other country is qualified to judge us, and any mistakes that we make only occur because of the depths of our love for others and our passion for freedom. ..."
"... America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse that the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War. ~John le Carre ..."
"... It is terrifying to watch Clinton rave about adopting a more "muscular, aggressive" approach to foreign affairs - with little or no push back from the national media, either party or even many citizens. Hell, they are applause lines at her rallies. ..."
"... If 15 years of endless wars, trillions of dollars of wasted money, hundreds of thousands of casualties on all sides and metastasizing terrorist threat with no end in sight doesn't give one a little pause before advocating more of the same, then we might have a problem. ..."
"... Hillary said twice during the debates that "America is great because America is good." Translation: We can do whatever we damn well please because we can. Lord, help us all. I'm so sick of hearing this and our endless criminal wars. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

Bjornasson October 26, 2016 at 3:20 pm

I find the whole hysteria over Russian hacking very one-sided. If the US takes it upon itself, out of sincere concern, to help out "moderates" in overthrowing a repressive, evil government in Syria, Libya and Iraq, maybe the same thing happening to the US itself is not that weird? Here is a tyrannical government with little regard for its demotivated and demoralized citizens who can not on their own displace it. This government threatens nuclear war and kills an unjustified number of its own citizens. Its public infrastructure is in ruins and oligarchy is everywhere. In the past the US has set the example for dealing with such troubled states; its time the doctor took his own medicine.

reslez October 26, 2016 at 5:07 pm

The "evidence" for Russian hacking is so suspect that anyone who repeats the story instantly stamps themselves as either a con or a mark. It's depressing to see media corruption so blatantly displayed. Now I know what 2003 must have felt like (I was too young to have much of an opinion back then).

Gareth October 26, 2016 at 6:21 pm

The "17 intelligence agencies" claim is complete Clinton bullshit. I'm kind of amazed that journalists are now stating this as fact. I could say I'm shocked but nothing the presstitutes do surprises me anymore. They are busy preening for their future White House access. It kind of makes me want to get drunk and vote for the orange haired guy.

Kokuanani October 26, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Just finished trying to "re-educate" my husband after he listened to [and apparently believed] a report in the CBS Evening News on the "Russian hacking of Clinton's e-mails." They reported it as complete "fact," without even a perfunctory "alleged."

Too difficult to do this correction one person at a time, while the networks have such massive reach.

Kurt Sperry October 26, 2016 at 9:42 pm

It *is* highly asymmetric warfare. And as is normal when working the insurgent side, the trick isn't to try to win by a large number of winning individual engagements, but rather of delegitimatizing the side with the resource advantage in a broader, cultural way. Delegitimize the mainstream media actively. If you win the culture war, you win the political war too just as a bonus. Tell the truth, unapologetically. That's as bad-ass as it gets.

WJ October 26, 2016 at 10:30 pm

This is sound advice. Problem is, how to delegitimate media generally? Actual insurgents avoid direct confrontations with superior occupying power and opt for a variety of other strategies of attack, including: IED's, flash attacks, suicide bombings, disruption of civilian life, etc. What are some equivalent, concrete (and legal) strategies for disrupting the order of imposed media? The use of social media seems to be one option, and maybe the most successful. Yet this tends to reach only certain segments of population who are unlikely to watch CNN or read the Post in any case. How can one harm the media powers where it hurts them most, by reaching and disrupting their actual consumers, who tend to be older, establishment-minded, white, etc…?

Kurt Sperry October 26, 2016 at 11:36 pm

How to delegitimize the media? They are doing that themselves. In spades. Listen to the people around you, they are getting wise to it. Just point it out to anyone who'll listen. It isn't the bombs and attacks that win an insurgency, none of that stuff works if the cause isn't widely understood and shared. The victory is won–to recycle a cliché–in the hearts and minds of the ordinary people. Naked Capitalism is a big ammo depot and we are the grunts and the munitions are ideas. And as I alluded to above, the power of truth. Truth will kick ass and take names if you let it.

Ulysses October 27, 2016 at 10:30 am

"Truth will kick ass and take names if you let it."

Thanks for the spirit-raising exhortation Kurt!! Many Americans are walking around with heads like over-inflated cognitive dissonance balloons. If you listen closely, you can hear these balloons popping off all the time, resulting in yet another person able to confront reality.

Massinissa October 26, 2016 at 7:26 pm

What other intelligence agencies are there than the CIA and NSA? Does anyone know the other 15, and why are these intelligence agencies never spoken of in the media except when its useful for Clinton?

xformbykr October 26, 2016 at 7:33 pm

see http://www.businessinsider.com/17-agencies-of-the-us-intelligence-community-2013-5#

JTMcPhee October 27, 2016 at 3:14 pm

Why is it called a "community?" Cabal? Coven? Hey, isn't the proper collective noun for lawyers (Clintons, Yoo, Meese, Obama, etc.) a "conspiracy?"

Bjornasson October 26, 2016 at 6:09 pm

The idea is essentially that even if the evidence did exist, it should be welcomed with the same enthusiasm that US interventions have in Syria and Libya.

dennison p nyberg October 27, 2016 at 11:24 am

truth

Tom October 26, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Ahhhh, but that exactly where the "exceptional" clause kicks in. You see, America is justified in intervening in other countries' business because we see further, with a clearer gaze and a purer heart, than any other country in the world. Mired as they are in ignorance or inertia, no other country is qualified to judge us, and any mistakes that we make only occur because of the depths of our love for others and our passion for freedom.

abynormal October 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm

America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse that the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War. ~John le Carre

KILLING MACHINES AND THE MADNESS OF MILITARISM
http://www.artsandopinion.com/2014_v13_n5/giroux-6.htm
by Henry Giroux

Tom October 26, 2016 at 6:48 pm

historical madness/hysterical madness … take your pick.

It is terrifying to watch Clinton rave about adopting a more "muscular, aggressive" approach to foreign affairs - with little or no push back from the national media, either party or even many citizens. Hell, they are applause lines at her rallies.

If 15 years of endless wars, trillions of dollars of wasted money, hundreds of thousands of casualties on all sides and metastasizing terrorist threat with no end in sight doesn't give one a little pause before advocating more of the same, then we might have a problem.

abynormal October 26, 2016 at 7:12 pm

she's a scorned woman beginning with her father. she's passive-aggressive with women…projects her never ending insecurities. SO she has something to prove…vengeance is mine.

First, she'll drone Mercy Street(s)…

Elizabeth October 26, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Hillary said twice during the debates that "America is great because America is good." Translation: We can do whatever we damn well please because we can. Lord, help us all. I'm so sick of hearing this and our endless criminal wars.

[Oct 22, 2016] Botnets can use internet enabled devices other then PC, tablets and phones

Oct 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Not mentioned in the News of the Wired snips: the Dyn DDOS was the latest using a megascale IOT botnet. Coming soon to a Smart Toaster|Thermostat|Fridge|WasherDryer|EggTimer|PencilSharpener|Dishwasher|GarbageCompacter|BabyMonitor near you!

hunkerdown October 21, 2016 at 7:36 pm

I suspect various enforcement agencies are using those cameras for something else, like mass video surveillance, and having just lost a lot of TLS vulnerabilities, are motivated to keep their sources' name out of the news (as befits TS/SI NOFORN projects), though steering the industry's and the commercial market economy's Confidence Fairy out of an imminent uncontrolled landing would suffice to explain the quiet.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL October 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm

For people who understand what that means it is mind-blowing, the processors in your parking garage gate or your nursery's NannyCam being used in a giant global concerto of digital disruption. Smells like the NSA in a desperate attempt to disrupt the flows from Wiki, they already gave the Clinton camp their best spyware (FoxAcid) and this would be par for the course given the level of lawbreaking and dirty tricks.

cm October 22, 2016 at 1:13 am

Will be illuminating to see if Congress demands IOT accountabilty. IMO the IOT manufacturers should be held to the same level of accountability as car manufacturers,

[Oct 18, 2016] Dear Clinton Team We Noticed You Might Need Some Email Security Tips

Notable quotes:
"... Well-crafted spear-phishing emails can be incredibly hard to spot, but if you ever end up on a website asking you for a password, you should be skeptical. Check the URL and make sure you're at a legitimate login page before typing in your password, or navigate to the login page directly. ..."
theintercept.com

Here are some easy ways the Clinton team could have avoided getting hacked and might prevent it in the future.

There is probably no one more acutely aware of the importance of good cybersecurity right now than Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta, whose emails have been laid bare by WikiLeaks, are being mined for news by journalists (including at The Intercept), and are available for anyone with internet access to read.

So as a public service to Podesta and everyone else on Clinton's staff, here are some email security tips that could have saved you from getting hacked, and might help you in the future.

Use a strong password

There's a method for coming up with passwords that are mathematically unfeasible for anyone to ever guess by brute force, but that are still possible for you to memorize. I've written about it before, in detail, including an explanation of the math behind it.

But in short: You start with a long list of words and then randomly select one (by rolling dice), then another, and so on, until you end up with something like: "slinging gusty bunny chill gift." Using this method, called Diceware, there is a one in 28 quintillion (that is, 28 with 18 zeros at the end) chance of guessing this exact password.

For online services that prevent attackers from making very many guesses - including Gmail - a five-word Diceware password is much stronger than you'll ever need. To make it super easy, use this wordlist from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

.... ... ...

Use a unique password for each application

The same day that WikiLeaks published Podesta's email, his Twitter account got hacked as well. How do you think that happened? I have a guess: He reused a password that was exposed in his email, and someone tried it on his Twitter account.

... ... ...

Turn on two-factor authentication

Last year, when I asked National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden what ordinary people could do to improve their computer security, one of the first pieces of advice he gave was to use two-factor authentication. If Podesta had enabled it on his Gmail account, you probably wouldn't be reading his email today.

Google calls it "2-Step Verification" and has an excellent website explaining why you need it, how it works, and how it protects you. In short: When you log in to your account, after you type in your password you'll need one more piece of information before Google will allow you to proceed. Depending on how you set it up you might receive this uniquely generated information in a text message, a voice call, or a mobile app, or you could plug in a special security key into your USB port.

Once you start using it, hackers who manage to trick you into giving up your password still won't be able to log in to your account - at least not without successfully executing a separate attack against your phone or physically stealing your security key.


Watch out for phishers

... ... ...

Well-crafted spear-phishing emails can be incredibly hard to spot, but if you ever end up on a website asking you for a password, you should be skeptical. Check the URL and make sure you're at a legitimate login page before typing in your password, or navigate to the login page directly.

Encrypt your email

.... ... ...

To get started, check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Surveillance Self-Defense guide for using email encryption for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. If enough people in your organization use encrypted email, consider using our newly released tool GPG Sync to make it somewhat simpler.

Don't listen to the wrong people

... ... ...

[Oct 09, 2016] All your ISP's have been carrying NSA gear within their infrastructure for how long now

Oct 09, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com

poeg -> junction: Oct 8, 2016 2:30 PM

You cats haven't had end to end encryption for more than 5 years and while not at all difficult to accomplish, the resistance to using such code has amazed all in the ITSEC community not feeding at the .gov trough. All your ISP's have been carrying NSA gear within their infrastructure for how long now? Juniper's back door in their gear wasn't to push firmware updates. The whole system has been left open for a number of reasons, none of which would be capitalism, free markets or satisfied consumers.

Kirk2NCC1701 -> junction •Oct 8, 2016 2:59 PM

Well, if you use Yahoo, Outlook or Google mail, then you're the Village Idiot, if you use those free services for anything other than harmless, boring stuff. You know, Yoga and Cooking recipes -- like Hillary.

IF you're serious about email privacy, use an email service that is OUTSIDE the US.

As you know, I use Hushmail.me for my Kirk2NCC1701 handle and ZH friends. Hushmail is in Canada and after speaking with them in person, I am confident that they take their customer's Privacy seriously, especially for their paying customers. Now, I may have used a Yahoo alt-persona account, but only for "Trumping". I also may have used Google and Outlook for "vanilla" stuff, and I may have used other offshore emails for "secure" purposes where lawful business and personal privacy matters were involved (but No illegal activities, as I'm not an "illegal" type. Devious, curious, inquiring, opinionated? Hell yes. Illegal? No.)

"Trunping" (copyright 2016, Kirk2NCC1701) -- behaving Trump-like: bombastic, pleasure-seeking, pussy-seeking, pussy-pleasuring

Dugald -> Kirk2NCC1701 •Oct 8, 2016 5:35 PM

Been using Pidgeon and Forked stick for years for private stuff.....

as for my Gmail account, I don't give a shit.....

Parrotile -> Kirk2NCC1701 •Oct 8, 2016 8:46 PM

I very rarely need to send anything particularly confidential. My employers expect me to use the systems they provide for all "Medical in Confidence" stuff, and so since that requirement is part of my Contract, they are entirely liable for any failures, not me.

EMail - Outlook. It works and again nothing of "interest" is ever sent. If I DO need to send information that's "Sensitive", I have one of these: -

http://thumbs.picclick.com/00/s/OTAwWDExMTk=/z/GWMAAOSw3YNXbDD6/$/Canon-typestar-10-ii-portable-electronic-typewriter-_57.jpg

- Which works very well, and the cartridges are easily available. Person-to-Person, or Recorded Delivery mail. Works just fine and of course NO "electronic paper trail" . . . .

[Oct 08, 2016] As the Surveillance Expands, Best Way to Resist is to Bury the NSA in Garbage

Notable quotes:
"... Waihopai, INFOSEC, Information Security, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Priavacy, Information Terrorism, Terrorism Defensive Information, Defense Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, National Information Infrastructure, InfoSec, Reno, Compsec, Computer Terrorism, Firewalls, Secure Internet Connections, ISS, Passwords, DefCon V, Hackers, Encryption, Espionage, USDOJ, NSA, CIA, S/Key, SSL, FBI, Secert Service, USSS, Defcon, Military, White House, Undercover, NCCS, Mayfly, PGP, PEM, RSA, Perl-RSA, MSNBC, bet, AOL, AOL TOS, CIS, CBOT, AIMSX, STARLAN, 3B2, BITNET, COSMOS, DATTA, E911, FCIC, HTCIA, IACIS, UT/RUS, JANET, JICC, ReMOB, LEETAC, UTU, VNET, BRLO, BZ, CANSLO, CBNRC, CIDA, JAVA, Active X, Compsec 97, LLC, DERA, Mavricks, Meta-hackers, ^?, Steve Case, Tools, Telex, Military Intelligence, Scully, Flame, Infowar, Bubba, Freeh, Archives, Sundevil, jack, Investigation, ISACA, NCSA, spook words, Verisign, Secure, ASIO, Lebed, ICE, NRO, Lexis-Nexis, NSCT, SCIF, FLiR, Lacrosse, Flashbangs, HRT, DIA, USCOI, CID, BOP, FINCEN, FLETC, NIJ, ACC, AFSPC, BMDO, NAVWAN, NRL, RL, NAVWCWPNS, NSWC, USAFA, AHPCRC, ARPA, LABLINK, USACIL, USCG, NRC, ~, CDC, DOE, FMS, HPCC, NTIS, SEL, USCODE, CISE, SIRC, CIM, ISN, DJC, SGC, UNCPCJ, CFC, DREO, CDA, DRA, SHAPE, SACLANT, BECCA, DCJFTF, HALO, HAHO, FKS, 868, GCHQ, DITSA, SORT, AMEMB, NSG, HIC, EDI, SAS, SBS, UDT, GOE, DOE, GEO, Masuda, Forte, AT, GIGN, Exon Shell, CQB, CONUS, CTU, RCMP, GRU, SASR, GSG-9, 22nd SAS, GEOS, EADA, BBE, STEP, Echelon, Dictionary, MD2, MD4, MDA, MYK, 747,777, 767, MI5, 737, MI6, 757, Kh-11, Shayet-13, SADMS, Spetznaz, Recce, 707, CIO, NOCS, Halcon, Duress, RAID, Psyops, grom, D-11, SERT, VIP, ARC, S.E.T. Team, MP5k, DREC, DEVGRP, DF, DSD, FDM, GRU, LRTS, SIGDEV, NACSI, PSAC, PTT, RFI, SIGDASYS, TDM. SUKLO, SUSLO, TELINT, TEXTA. ELF, LF, MF, VHF, UHF, SHF, SASP, WANK, Colonel, domestic disruption, smuggle, 15kg, nitrate, Pretoria, M-14, enigma, Bletchley Park, Clandestine, nkvd, argus, afsatcom, CQB, NVD, Counter Terrorism Security, Rapid Reaction, Corporate Security, Police, sniper, PPS, ASIS, ASLET, TSCM, Security Consulting, High Security, Security Evaluation, Electronic Surveillance, MI-17, Counterterrorism, spies, eavesdropping, debugging, interception, COCOT, rhost, rhosts, SETA, Amherst, Broadside, Capricorn, Gamma, Gorizont, Guppy, Ionosphere, Mole, Keyhole, Kilderkin, Artichoke, Badger, Cornflower, Daisy, Egret, Iris, Hollyhock, Jasmine, Juile, Vinnell, B.D.M.,Sphinx, Stephanie, Reflection, Spoke, Talent, Trump, FX, FXR, IMF, POCSAG, Covert Video, Intiso, r00t, lock picking, Beyond Hope, csystems, passwd, 2600 Magazine, Competitor, EO, Chan, Alouette,executive, Event Security, Mace, Cap-Stun, stakeout, ninja, ASIS, ISA, EOD, Oscor, Merlin, NTT, SL-1, Rolm, TIE, Tie-fighter, PBX, SLI, NTT, MSCJ, MIT, 69, RIT, Time, MSEE, Cable & Wireless, CSE, Embassy, ETA, Porno, Fax, finks, Fax encryption, white noise, pink noise, CRA, M.P.R.I., top secret, Mossberg, 50BMG, Macintosh Security, Macintosh Internet Security, Macintosh Firewalls, Unix Security, VIP Protection, SIG, sweep, Medco, TRD, TDR, sweeping, TELINT, Audiotel, Harvard, 1080H, SWS, Asset, Satellite imagery, force, Cypherpunks, Coderpunks, TRW, remailers, replay, redheads, RX-7, explicit, FLAME, Pornstars, AVN, Playboy, Anonymous, Sex, chaining, codes, Nuclear, 20, subversives, SLIP, toad, fish, data havens, unix, c, a, b, d, the, Elvis, quiche, DES, 1*, NATIA, NATOA, sneakers, counterintelligence, industrial espionage, PI, TSCI, industrial intelligence, H.N.P., Juiliett Class Submarine, Locks, loch, Ingram Mac-10, sigvoice, ssa, E.O.D., SEMTEX, penrep, racal, OTP, OSS, Blowpipe, CCS, GSA, Kilo Class, squib, primacord, RSP, Becker, Nerd, fangs, Austin, Comirex, GPMG, Speakeasy, humint, GEODSS, SORO, M5, ANC, zone, SBI, DSS, S.A.I.C., Minox, Keyhole, SAR, Rand Corporation, Wackenhutt, EO, Wackendude, mol, Hillal, GGL, CTU, botux, Virii, CCC, Blacklisted 411, Internet Underground, XS4ALL, Retinal Fetish, Fetish, Yobie, CTP, CATO, Phon-e, Chicago Posse, l0ck, spook keywords, PLA, TDYC, W3, CUD, CdC, Weekly World News, Zen, World Domination, Dead, GRU, M72750, Salsa, 7, Blowfish, Gorelick, Glock, Ft. Meade, press-release, Indigo, wire transfer, e-cash, Bubba the Love Sponge, Digicash, zip, SWAT, Ortega, PPP, crypto-anarchy, AT&T, SGI, SUN, MCI, Blacknet, Middleman, KLM, Blackbird, plutonium, Texas, jihad, SDI, Uzi, Fort Meade, supercomputer, bullion, 3, Blackmednet, Propaganda, ABC, Satellite phones, Planet-1, cryptanalysis, nuclear, FBI, Panama, fissionable, Sears Tower, NORAD, Delta Force, SEAL, virtual, Dolch, secure shell, screws, Black-Ops, Area51, SABC, basement, data-haven, black-bag, TEMPSET, Goodwin, rebels, ID, MD5, IDEA, garbage, market, beef, Stego, unclassified, utopia, orthodox, Alica, SHA, Global, gorilla, Bob, Pseudonyms, MITM, Gray Data, VLSI, mega, Leitrim, Yakima, Sugar Grove, Cowboy, Gist, 8182, Gatt, Platform, 1911, Geraldton, UKUSA, veggie, 3848, Morwenstow, Consul, Oratory, Pine Gap, Menwith, Mantis, DSD, BVD, 1984, Flintlock, cybercash, government, hate, speedbump, illuminati, president, freedom, cocaine, $, Roswell, ESN, COS, E.T., credit card, b9, fraud, assasinate, virus, anarchy, rogue, mailbomb, 888, Chelsea, 1997, Whitewater, MOD, York, plutonium, William Gates, clone, BATF, SGDN, Nike, Atlas, Delta, TWA, Kiwi, PGP 2.6.2., PGP 5.0i, PGP 5.1, siliconpimp, Lynch, 414, Face, Pixar, IRIDF, eternity server, Skytel, Yukon, Templeton, LUK, Cohiba, Soros, Standford, niche, 51, H&K, USP, ^, sardine, bank, EUB, USP, PCS, NRO, Red Cell, Glock 26, snuffle, Patel, package, ISI, INR, INS, IRS, GRU, RUOP, GSS, NSP, SRI, Ronco, Armani, BOSS, Chobetsu, FBIS, BND, SISDE, FSB, BfV, IB, froglegs, JITEM, SADF, advise, TUSA, HoHoCon, SISMI, FIS, MSW, Spyderco, UOP, SSCI, NIMA, MOIS, SVR, SIN, advisors, SAP, OAU, PFS, Aladdin, chameleon man, Hutsul, CESID, Bess, rail gun, Peering, 17, 312, NB, CBM, CTP, Sardine, SBIRS, SGDN, ADIU, DEADBEEF, IDP, IDF, Halibut, SONANGOL, Flu, &, Loin, PGP 5.53, EG&G, AIEWS, AMW, WORM, MP5K-SD, 1071, WINGS, cdi, DynCorp, UXO, Ti, THAAD, package, chosen, PRIME, SURVIAC ..."
Oct 08, 2016 | www.counterpunch.org
by Dave Lindorff

Word that Yahoo! last year, at the urging of the National Security Agency, secretly developed a program that monitored the mail of all 280 million of its customers and turned over to the NSA all mail from those who used any of the agency's thousands of keywords, shows that the US has become a total police state in terms of trying to monitor every person in the country (and outside too).

With the courts, especially at the appellate and Supreme Court level, rolling over and supporting this massive evisceration of basic freedoms, including the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure and invasion of privacy, perhaps the best way for us to fight back is to overload the spy system. How to do this? Just copy and paste random fragments of the following list (a bit dated, but useable), provided courtesy of the publication Business Insider, and include them in every communication - email, social media, etc. - that you send out.

The secret Yahoo! assault (reported on here by Alfredo Lopez in yesterday's article ), works by searching users' emails for keywords on an NSA list of suspected words that might be used by alleged terrorists or anti-government activists, and then those suspect communications are forwarded to the NSA, where humans eventually have to separate the wheat from the chaff. Too much chaff (and they surely have too much chaff anyhow!) and they will be buried with work and unable to read anything.

In fact, critics of the government's metastasizing universal surveillance program, including former FBI agents and other experts, have long criticized the effort to turn the US into a replica of East Germany with its Stazi secret police, cannot work and is actually counter-productive, because with spy agencies' limited manpower looking at all the false leads provided by keyword monitoring, they are bound to miss the real dangerous messages. In fact, this was also the argument used against the FBI's program of monitoring mosques and suspecting every Muslim American who expressed criticism of the US. Most are just people saying what a lot of us say: that the US wars in the Middle East are wrong or even criminal, but they are just citizens or immigrants exercising their free speech when they do this, not terrorists, and spying on them is and has been a huge waste or time and resources.

... ... ...

a sample of the NSA's keyword list:

Waihopai, INFOSEC, Information Security, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Priavacy, Information Terrorism, Terrorism Defensive Information, Defense Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, National Information Infrastructure, InfoSec, Reno, Compsec, Computer Terrorism, Firewalls, Secure Internet Connections, ISS, Passwords, DefCon V, Hackers, Encryption, Espionage, USDOJ, NSA, CIA, S/Key, SSL, FBI, Secert Service, USSS, Defcon, Military, White House, Undercover, NCCS, Mayfly, PGP, PEM, RSA, Perl-RSA, MSNBC, bet, AOL, AOL TOS, CIS, CBOT, AIMSX, STARLAN, 3B2, BITNET, COSMOS, DATTA, E911, FCIC, HTCIA, IACIS, UT/RUS, JANET, JICC, ReMOB, LEETAC, UTU, VNET, BRLO, BZ, CANSLO, CBNRC, CIDA, JAVA, Active X, Compsec 97, LLC, DERA, Mavricks, Meta-hackers, ^?, Steve Case, Tools, Telex, Military Intelligence, Scully, Flame, Infowar, Bubba, Freeh, Archives, Sundevil, jack, Investigation, ISACA, NCSA, spook words, Verisign, Secure, ASIO, Lebed, ICE, NRO, Lexis-Nexis, NSCT, SCIF, FLiR, Lacrosse, Flashbangs, HRT, DIA, USCOI, CID, BOP, FINCEN, FLETC, NIJ, ACC, AFSPC, BMDO, NAVWAN, NRL, RL, NAVWCWPNS, NSWC, USAFA, AHPCRC, ARPA, LABLINK, USACIL, USCG, NRC, ~, CDC, DOE, FMS, HPCC, NTIS, SEL, USCODE, CISE, SIRC, CIM, ISN, DJC, SGC, UNCPCJ, CFC, DREO, CDA, DRA, SHAPE, SACLANT, BECCA, DCJFTF, HALO, HAHO, FKS, 868, GCHQ, DITSA, SORT, AMEMB, NSG, HIC, EDI, SAS, SBS, UDT, GOE, DOE, GEO, Masuda, Forte, AT, GIGN, Exon Shell, CQB, CONUS, CTU, RCMP, GRU, SASR, GSG-9, 22nd SAS, GEOS, EADA, BBE, STEP, Echelon, Dictionary, MD2, MD4, MDA, MYK, 747,777, 767, MI5, 737, MI6, 757, Kh-11, Shayet-13, SADMS, Spetznaz, Recce, 707, CIO, NOCS, Halcon, Duress, RAID, Psyops, grom, D-11, SERT, VIP, ARC, S.E.T. Team, MP5k, DREC, DEVGRP, DF, DSD, FDM, GRU, LRTS, SIGDEV, NACSI, PSAC, PTT, RFI, SIGDASYS, TDM. SUKLO, SUSLO, TELINT, TEXTA. ELF, LF, MF, VHF, UHF, SHF, SASP, WANK, Colonel, domestic disruption, smuggle, 15kg, nitrate, Pretoria, M-14, enigma, Bletchley Park, Clandestine, nkvd, argus, afsatcom, CQB, NVD, Counter Terrorism Security, Rapid Reaction, Corporate Security, Police, sniper, PPS, ASIS, ASLET, TSCM, Security Consulting, High Security, Security Evaluation, Electronic Surveillance, MI-17, Counterterrorism, spies, eavesdropping, debugging, interception, COCOT, rhost, rhosts, SETA, Amherst, Broadside, Capricorn, Gamma, Gorizont, Guppy, Ionosphere, Mole, Keyhole, Kilderkin, Artichoke, Badger, Cornflower, Daisy, Egret, Iris, Hollyhock, Jasmine, Juile, Vinnell, B.D.M.,Sphinx, Stephanie, Reflection, Spoke, Talent, Trump, FX, FXR, IMF, POCSAG, Covert Video, Intiso, r00t, lock picking, Beyond Hope, csystems, passwd, 2600 Magazine, Competitor, EO, Chan, Alouette,executive, Event Security, Mace, Cap-Stun, stakeout, ninja, ASIS, ISA, EOD, Oscor, Merlin, NTT, SL-1, Rolm, TIE, Tie-fighter, PBX, SLI, NTT, MSCJ, MIT, 69, RIT, Time, MSEE, Cable & Wireless, CSE, Embassy, ETA, Porno, Fax, finks, Fax encryption, white noise, pink noise, CRA, M.P.R.I., top secret, Mossberg, 50BMG, Macintosh Security, Macintosh Internet Security, Macintosh Firewalls, Unix Security, VIP Protection, SIG, sweep, Medco, TRD, TDR, sweeping, TELINT, Audiotel, Harvard, 1080H, SWS, Asset, Satellite imagery, force, Cypherpunks, Coderpunks, TRW, remailers, replay, redheads, RX-7, explicit, FLAME, Pornstars, AVN, Playboy, Anonymous, Sex, chaining, codes, Nuclear, 20, subversives, SLIP, toad, fish, data havens, unix, c, a, b, d, the, Elvis, quiche, DES, 1*, NATIA, NATOA, sneakers, counterintelligence, industrial espionage, PI, TSCI, industrial intelligence, H.N.P., Juiliett Class Submarine, Locks, loch, Ingram Mac-10, sigvoice, ssa, E.O.D., SEMTEX, penrep, racal, OTP, OSS, Blowpipe, CCS, GSA, Kilo Class, squib, primacord, RSP, Becker, Nerd, fangs, Austin, Comirex, GPMG, Speakeasy, humint, GEODSS, SORO, M5, ANC, zone, SBI, DSS, S.A.I.C., Minox, Keyhole, SAR, Rand Corporation, Wackenhutt, EO, Wackendude, mol, Hillal, GGL, CTU, botux, Virii, CCC, Blacklisted 411, Internet Underground, XS4ALL, Retinal Fetish, Fetish, Yobie, CTP, CATO, Phon-e, Chicago Posse, l0ck, spook keywords, PLA, TDYC, W3, CUD, CdC, Weekly World News, Zen, World Domination, Dead, GRU, M72750, Salsa, 7, Blowfish, Gorelick, Glock, Ft. Meade, press-release, Indigo, wire transfer, e-cash, Bubba the Love Sponge, Digicash, zip, SWAT, Ortega, PPP, crypto-anarchy, AT&T, SGI, SUN, MCI, Blacknet, Middleman, KLM, Blackbird, plutonium, Texas, jihad, SDI, Uzi, Fort Meade, supercomputer, bullion, 3, Blackmednet, Propaganda, ABC, Satellite phones, Planet-1, cryptanalysis, nuclear, FBI, Panama, fissionable, Sears Tower, NORAD, Delta Force, SEAL, virtual, Dolch, secure shell, screws, Black-Ops, Area51, SABC, basement, data-haven, black-bag, TEMPSET, Goodwin, rebels, ID, MD5, IDEA, garbage, market, beef, Stego, unclassified, utopia, orthodox, Alica, SHA, Global, gorilla, Bob, Pseudonyms, MITM, Gray Data, VLSI, mega, Leitrim, Yakima, Sugar Grove, Cowboy, Gist, 8182, Gatt, Platform, 1911, Geraldton, UKUSA, veggie, 3848, Morwenstow, Consul, Oratory, Pine Gap, Menwith, Mantis, DSD, BVD, 1984, Flintlock, cybercash, government, hate, speedbump, illuminati, president, freedom, cocaine, $, Roswell, ESN, COS, E.T., credit card, b9, fraud, assasinate, virus, anarchy, rogue, mailbomb, 888, Chelsea, 1997, Whitewater, MOD, York, plutonium, William Gates, clone, BATF, SGDN, Nike, Atlas, Delta, TWA, Kiwi, PGP 2.6.2., PGP 5.0i, PGP 5.1, siliconpimp, Lynch, 414, Face, Pixar, IRIDF, eternity server, Skytel, Yukon, Templeton, LUK, Cohiba, Soros, Standford, niche, 51, H&K, USP, ^, sardine, bank, EUB, USP, PCS, NRO, Red Cell, Glock 26, snuffle, Patel, package, ISI, INR, INS, IRS, GRU, RUOP, GSS, NSP, SRI, Ronco, Armani, BOSS, Chobetsu, FBIS, BND, SISDE, FSB, BfV, IB, froglegs, JITEM, SADF, advise, TUSA, HoHoCon, SISMI, FIS, MSW, Spyderco, UOP, SSCI, NIMA, MOIS, SVR, SIN, advisors, SAP, OAU, PFS, Aladdin, chameleon man, Hutsul, CESID, Bess, rail gun, Peering, 17, 312, NB, CBM, CTP, Sardine, SBIRS, SGDN, ADIU, DEADBEEF, IDP, IDF, Halibut, SONANGOL, Flu, &, Loin, PGP 5.53, EG&G, AIEWS, AMW, WORM, MP5K-SD, 1071, WINGS, cdi, DynCorp, UXO, Ti, THAAD, package, chosen, PRIME, SURVIAC

[Oct 08, 2016] Yahoo Email Scanner Was Installed by Government

Oct 07, 2016 | news.antiwar.com
Software Could've Given NSA Much More Access Than Just Emails
Former employees of Yahoo have corroborated this week's stories about the company scanning all emails coming into their servers on behalf of the NSA, saying that the "email scanner" software was not Yahoo-built, but actually made and installed by the US government .

The employees, including at least one on Yahoo's own internal security team, reported finding the software on the email server and believing they were begin hacked, before executives informed them the government had done it. They described the software as a broader "rootkit" that could give the NSA access to much more than just emails.

To make matters worse, the employees say the government's software was "buggy" and poorly-designed , meaning it could've given other hackers who discovered it the same access to the Yahoo server, adding to the danger it posed to customers' privacy.

Yahoo itself has been mostly mum on the matter, issuing a statement claiming the initial reports were "misleading" but not elaborating at all. The NSA denied the claim outright, though they have been repeatedly caught lying about similar programs in the past.

[Sep 28, 2016] Yahoo email capture FT Alphaville

Sep 28, 2016 | ftalphaville.ft.com

Izabella Kaminska joined FT Alphaville in October 2008. Before that she worked as a producer at CNBC, a natural gas reporter at Platts and an associate editor of BP's internal magazine.

If your email provider suffered a security breach would you:

a) prefer to be informed about it as soon as possible so as to take evasive action?

or

b) prefer not to be informed until years later, by which time any evasive actions may have become pointless?

On the basis you chose the first option and a security breach happened, would you:

a) appreciate the warning and the password reset nudge, dismiss the incident to a Smeg happens scenario and continue using the service provider because at least they're vigilant about security?

or

b) Recoil in disgust at the very idea your email provider's security systems were lax enough to allow this to happen and immediately defect to a rival provider?

On the basis you would have chosen the first option and then the first option again (and then a security breach happened), how would you then react if your email provider determined that a) it was better to keep you in the dark about it and b) this was because they anticipated you would defect?

To wit, here's a nice insight from Nicole Perlroth and Vindu Goel at the New York Times for the legacy loyal yahoo email users still out there (h/t @melaniehannah):

Mr. Stamos, who departed Yahoo for Facebook last year, declined to comment. But during his tenure, Ms. Mayer also rejected the most basic security measure of all: an automatic reset of all user passwords, a step security experts consider standard after a breach. Employees say the move was rejected by Ms. Mayer's team for fear that even something as simple as a password change would drive Yahoo's shrinking email users to other services.

Two points on the back of that.

As a yahoo email user, I can testify to the fact that being continuously told by friends and family that: "Hey there, I think your email may have been hacked" is incentive enough to defect to an alternative provider.

Second, when I tried to download our complete email history so as to shutter the account formally, we found that this was in fact impossible unless we had the time and temperament to forward up to 20 years worth of email individually to a new account.

To date I am yet to get a reply from the Yahoo service team with respect to how I might get my hands on my own data in a more practical manner.

Speaking of frictions, here's another relevant snippet from the article:

The "Paranoids," the internal name for Yahoo's security team, often clashed with other parts of the business over security costs. And their requests were often overridden because of concerns that the inconvenience of added protection would make people stop using the company's products.

All of which suggests the crux of Mayer's Yahoo strategy was focused on maximising the security/access paradox to her own benefit. Namely, maximising access to the detriment of user security if it helped to bolster Yahoo's user numbers, but minimising user access to their own data if it helped to maximise the security of yahoo's own stock valuation.

Nice. This entry was posted by Izabella Kaminska on Wednesday September 28th, 2016 17:02 . Tagged with cyber security , yahoo .

Terra_Desolata 5pts Featured 5 hours ago

The choice between security and ease of access is a difficult one, and shouldn't be trivialized. Password policies are a good example - overly loose, and hackers will be able to guess users' passwords; overly strict (e.g., requiring a password change every month), and users will resort to passwords on sticky notes stuck to their monitors. If you make things too difficult for users, they will find ways to ease the burden, and some of those ways will actually make security significantly worse.

That's not to say that Yahoo made the right decision, but it is to say that it isn't as easy as assuming that more security is always better.

Patience 5pts Featured 8 hours ago

I have managed to use the web for 20 years without ever visiting yahoo.com - by intention. I got the impression that they try to imprison their users rather than empower them.

I assume their e-mail service was 'free'. If so their users got exactly what they paid for.

In an ideal world each e-mail would cost the sender a cent. This would solve the problem of spam, and generate funds to develop and promote better web security.

Simple Simon 5pts Featured 8 hours ago

Oooh, you had a Yahoo email account? You've just lost a big chunk of credibility.

I mean I have a Yahoo account (as well as a Netscape account and a Hotmail, sorry, whatever they call it) plus one or two others. Every time a new email provider has popped up I check their tech credentials and migrate to the provider that seems to hire the best techies. They get the sensitive mail. I keep the old accounts and use them for spam-associated registrations and whatnot.

Presently Google and Proton are my principal providers. Anyone who carried on with Yahoo for sensitive mail has nobody to blame other than him/herself.

blocker 5pts Featured 5 hours ago

Settle down. Changing email accounts is a hassle, particularly for one's contacts.

OBA 5pts Featured 9 hours ago

@izabellakaminska - setup up your yahoo account and your new email account on an email client like mac mail or microsoft outlook- make sure they are both setup as an IMAP account. Wait for all the yahoo email to download and then simply select all messages and drag them across to your new account.

Steven in DC 5pts Featured
7 hours ago

@ OBA Better yet, just leave the digital past...proud achievements and baggage alike...and step into the future with a clean slate.

Terra_Desolata 5pts Featured 5 hours ago

@ OBA Thank you, this is a great suggestion. I've been trying to figure out how to backup my Yahoo! account - I only use it for signing up for things where I might get spam, but still wanted an easy way to back it up. I already used an e-mail client to get e-mails for one of my other accounts, I don't know why it never occurred to me to do the same for Yahoo!.

[Sep 28, 2016] Scan and go as surveillance tool

Notable quotes:
"... Another goal of course is to track even further every single purchase - what, and where, and when. And then sell the consumption data to the insurers perhaps… a packet of cigs per day? Or too many bottles of booze? ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

temporal September 25, 2016 at 9:08 am

Scan and go.

Swapping standing in line at the check-out for the line at the exit. And when there is an issue then the greeter calls in the check-out police thereby pissing off the customer. Brilliant.

While Apple fanboys are willing to work for their iPhone's company for free by doing their own check-out I doubt that is likely for people going to Sam's Club. As well many customers, even if they have a smartphone, will not enjoy using up their data plan as they try to check and process the details online.

All these smartphone apps have one major goal, besides collecting credit fees. Reduce store overhead by getting customers to do more of the work while eliminating employees. The winners are not the customers or people looking for a way to make ends meet.

Pavel September 25, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Another goal of course is to track even further every single purchase - what, and where, and when. And then sell the consumption data to the insurers perhaps… a packet of cigs per day? Or too many bottles of booze?

Of course they are already doing that with the store "fidelity cards", but the mobile apps will be more precise and less optional.

[Sep 26, 2016] Probe of leaked U.S. NSA hacking tools examines operatives mistake

Notable quotes:
"... A U.S. investigation into a leak of hacking tools used by the National Security Agency is focusing on a theory that one of its operatives carelessly left them available on a remote computer ..."
"... The tools, which enable hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc, were dumped onto public websites last month by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers. ..."
"... But officials heading the FBI-led investigation now discount both of those scenarios, the people said in separate interviews. NSA officials have told investigators that an employee or contractor made the mistake about three years ago during an operation that used the tools, the people said. ..."
"... That person acknowledged the error shortly afterward, they said. But the NSA did not inform the companies of the danger when it first discovered the exposure of the tools, the sources said. Since the public release of the tools, the companies involved have issued patches in the systems to protect them. ..."
"... Because the sensors did not detect foreign spies or criminals using the tools on U.S. or allied targets, the NSA did not feel obligated to immediately warn the U.S. manufacturers, an official and one other person familiar with the matter said. ..."
Reuters
A U.S. investigation into a leak of hacking tools used by the National Security Agency is focusing on a theory that one of its operatives carelessly left them available on a remote computer and Russian hackers found them, four people with direct knowledge of the probe told Reuters.

The tools, which enable hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc, were dumped onto public websites last month by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers.

The public release of the tools coincided with U.S. officials saying they had concluded that Russia or its proxies were responsible for hacking political party organizations in the run-up to the Nov. 8 presidential election. On Thursday, lawmakers accused Russia of being responsible

... ... ...

But officials heading the FBI-led investigation now discount both of those scenarios, the people said in separate interviews. NSA officials have told investigators that an employee or contractor made the mistake about three years ago during an operation that used the tools, the people said.

That person acknowledged the error shortly afterward, they said. But the NSA did not inform the companies of the danger when it first discovered the exposure of the tools, the sources said. Since the public release of the tools, the companies involved have issued patches in the systems to protect them.

Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the former NSA person, who has since departed the agency for other reasons, left the tools exposed deliberately. Another possibility, two of the sources said, is that more than one person at the headquarters or a remote location made similar mistakes or compounded each other's missteps.

Representatives of the NSA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the office of the Director of National Intelligence all declined to comment.

After the discovery, the NSA tuned its sensors to detect use of any of the tools by other parties, especially foreign adversaries with strong cyber espionage operations, such as China and Russia.

That could have helped identify rival powers' hacking targets, potentially leading them to be defended better. It might also have allowed U.S officials to see deeper into rival hacking operations while enabling the NSA itself to continue using the tools for its own operations.

Because the sensors did not detect foreign spies or criminals using the tools on U.S. or allied targets, the NSA did not feel obligated to immediately warn the U.S. manufacturers, an official and one other person familiar with the matter said.

In this case, as in more commonplace discoveries of security flaws, U.S. officials weigh what intelligence they could gather by keeping the flaws secret against the risk to U.S. companies and individuals if adversaries find the same flaws.

[Sep 18, 2016] Long-Secret Stingray Manuals Detail How Police Can Spy on Phones

Sep 18, 2016 | theintercept.com

Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the " manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of" Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the "Stingray II" device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.

[Sep 16, 2016] Edward Snowdens New Revelations Are Truly Chilling

Notable quotes:
"... Submitted by Sophie McAdam via TrueActivist.com, ..."
"... He disclosed that government spies can legally hack into any citizen's phone to listen in to what's happening in the room, view files, messages and photos, pinpoint exactly where a person is (to a much more sophisticated level than a normal GPS system), and monitor a person's every move and every conversation, even when the phone is turned off. ..."
"... "Nosey Smurf": lets spies turn the microphone on and listen in on users, even if the phone itself is turned off ..."
"... Snowden says: "They want to own your phone instead of you." It sounds very much like he means we are being purposefully encouraged to buy our own tracking devices. That kinda saved the government some money, didn't it? ..."
"... It's one more reason to conclude that smartphones suck. And as much as we convince ourselves how cool they are, it's hard to deny their invention has resulted in a tendency for humans to behave like zombies , encouraged child labor, made us more lonely than ever, turned some of us into narcissistic selfie – addicts , and prevented us from communicating with those who really matter (the ones in the same room at the same time). Now, Snowden has given us yet another reason to believe that smartphones might be the dumbest thing we could have ever inflicted on ourselves. ..."
Oct 08, 2015 | Zero Hedge reprinted from TrueActivist.com

Submitted by Sophie McAdam via TrueActivist.com,

In an interview with the BBC's 'Panorama' which aired in Britain last week, Edward Snowden spoke in detail about the spying capabilities of the UK intelligence agency GCHQ. He disclosed that government spies can legally hack into any citizen's phone to listen in to what's happening in the room, view files, messages and photos, pinpoint exactly where a person is (to a much more sophisticated level than a normal GPS system), and monitor a person's every move and every conversation, even when the phone is turned off. These technologies are named after Smurfs, those little blue cartoon characters who had a recent Hollywood makeover. But despite the cute name, these technologies are very disturbing; each one is built to spy on you in a different way:

Snowden says: "They want to own your phone instead of you." It sounds very much like he means we are being purposefully encouraged to buy our own tracking devices. That kinda saved the government some money, didn't it?

His revelations should worry anyone who cares about human rights, especially in an era where the threat of terrorism is used to justify all sorts of governmental crimes against civil liberties. We have willingly given up our freedoms in the name of security; as a result we have neither. We seem to have forgotten that to live as a free person is a basic human right: we are essentially free beings. We are born naked and without certification; we do not belong to any government nor monarchy nor individual, we don't even belong to any nation or culture or religion- these are all social constructs. We belong only to the universe that created us, or whatever your equivalent belief. It is therefore a natural human right not to be not be under secret surveillance by your own government, those corruptible liars who are supposedly elected by and therefore accountable to the people.

The danger for law-abiding citizens who say they have nothing to fear because they are not terrorists, beware: many peaceful British protesters have been arrested under the Prevention Of Terrorism Act since its introduction in 2005. Edward Snowden's disclosure confirms just how far the attack on civil liberties has gone since 9/11 and the London bombings. Both events have allowed governments the legal right to essentially wage war on their own people, through the Patriot Act in the USA and the Prevention Of Terrorism Act in the UK. In Britain, as in the USA, terrorism and activism seem to have morphed into one entity, while nobody really knows who the real terrorists are any more. A sad but absolutely realistic fact of life in 2015: if you went to a peaceful protest at weekend and got detained, you're probably getting hacked right now.

It's one more reason to conclude that smartphones suck. And as much as we convince ourselves how cool they are, it's hard to deny their invention has resulted in a tendency for humans to behave like zombies, encouraged child labor, made us more lonely than ever, turned some of us into narcissistic selfieaddicts, and prevented us from communicating with those who really matter (the ones in the same room at the same time). Now, Snowden has given us yet another reason to believe that smartphones might be the dumbest thing we could have ever inflicted on ourselves.

[Sep 16, 2016] More Passwords, Please: 98 Million Leaked From 2012 Breach Of 'Russia's Yahoo'

Sep 16, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(arstechnica.com) 23 Posted by manishs on Tuesday September 06, 2016 @02:00PM from the security-woes dept. Sean Gallagher, writing for ArsTechnica: Another major site breach from four years ago has resurfaced. Today, LeakedSource revealed that it had received a copy of a February 2012 dump of the user database of Rambler.ru , a Russian search, news, and e-mail portal site that closely mirrors the functionality of Yahoo. The dump included usernames, passwords, and ICQ instant messaging accounts for over 98 million users. And while previous breaches uncovered by LeakedSource this year had at least some encryption of passwords, the Rambler.ru database stored user passwords in plain text -- meaning that whoever breached the database instantly had access to the e-mail accounts of all of Rambler.ru's users. The breach is the latest in a series of "mega-breaches" that LeakedSource says it is processing for release. Rambler isn't the only Russian site that has been caught storing unencrpyted passwords by hackers. In June, a hacker offered for sale the entire user database of the Russian-language social networking site VK.com (formerly VKontakte) from a breach that took place in late 2012 or early 2013; that database also included unencrypted user passwords, as ZDNet's Zach Whittaker reported.

[Sep 16, 2016] Unredacted User Manuals Of Stingray Device Show How Accessible Surveillance Is

Sep 16, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(theintercept.com) 94 Posted by manishs on Monday September 12, 2016 @04:00PM from the truth-is-out-there dept. The Intercept has today published 200-page documents revealing details about Harris Corp's Stingray surveillance device , which has been one of the closely guarded secrets in law enforcement for more than 15 years. The firm, in collaboration with police clients across the U.S. have "fought" to keep information about the mobile phone-monitoring boxes from the public against which they are used. The publication reports that the surveillance equipment carries a price tag in the "low six figures." From the report: The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department alone has snooped via Stingray, sans warrant, over 300 times. Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the "manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of " Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the "Stingray II" device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.

[Sep 03, 2016] There is interesting and expert commentary to NSO group software in the Hacker News forum

Sep 03, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Pavel , September 3, 2016 at 8:11 am

I just found this via Hacker News… perhaps it was in yesterday's links and I missed it. Truly scary in the Orwellian sense and yet another reason not to use a smartphone. Chilling read.

SAN FRANCISCO - Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like - just check out the company's price list.

The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user's location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.

Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.

–NY Times: How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

There is interesting and expert commentary in the Hacker News forum: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12417938.

Pat , September 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I could be wrong, but the promos for Sixty Minutes on the local news make it seem they might be about this subject. Either way it is another scare you about what your cell phone can do story, possibly justified this time.

Jeotsu , September 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm

An anecdote which I cannot support with links or other evidence:

A friend of mine used to work for a (non USA) security intelligence service. I was bouncing ideas off him for a book I'm working on, specifically ideas about how monitoring/electronics/spying can be used to measure and manipulate societies. He was useful for telling if my ideas (for a Science Fiction novel) were plausible without ever getting into details. Always very careful to keep his replies in the "white" world of what any computer security person would know, without delving into anything classified.

One day we were way out in the back blocks, and I laid out one scenario for him to see if it would be plausible. All he did was small cryptically, and point at a cell phone lying on a table 10 meters away. He wouldn't say a word on the subject.

It wasn't his cellphone, and we were in a relatively remote region with no cell phone coverage.

It told me that my book idea was far too plausible. It also told me that every cellphone is likely recording everything all the time, for later upload when back in signal range. (Or at least there was the inescapable possibility that the cell phones were doing so, and that he had to assume foreign (or domestic?) agencies could be following him through monitoring of cell phones of friends and neighbors.)

It was a clarifying moment for me.

Every cellphone has a monumental amount of storage space (especially for audio files). Almost every cellphone only has a software "switch" for turning it off, not a hardware interlock where you can be sure off is off. So how can you ever really be sure it is "off"? Answer- you can't

Sobering thought. Especially when you consider the Bluffdale facility in the USA.

[Sep 03, 2016] How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

Sep 03, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

The New York Times

There are dozens of digital spying companies that can track everything a target does on a smartphone. Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO - Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like - just check out the company's price list.

The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user's location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.

Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.

The company is one of dozens of digital spying outfits that track everything a target does on a smartphone. They aggressively market their services to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. The industry argues that this spying is necessary to track terrorists, kidnappers and drug lords. The NSO Group's corporate mission statement is "Make the world a safe place."

Ten people familiar with the company's sales, who refused to be identified, said that the NSO Group has a strict internal vetting process to determine who it will sell to. An ethics committee made up of employees and external counsel vets potential customers based on human rights rankings set by the World Bank and other global bodies. And to date, these people all said, NSO has yet to be denied an export license.

But critics note that the company's spyware has also been used to track journalists and human rights activists.

"There's no check on this," said Bill Marczak, a senior fellow at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. "Once NSO's systems are sold, governments can essentially use them however they want. NSO can say they're trying to make the world a safer place, but they are also making the world a more surveilled place."

The NSO Group's capabilities are in higher demand now that companies like Apple, Facebook and Google are using stronger encryption to protect data in their systems, in the process making it harder for government agencies to track suspects.

The NSO Group's spyware finds ways around encryption by baiting targets to click unwittingly on texts containing malicious links or by exploiting previously undiscovered software flaws. It was taking advantage of three such flaws in Apple software - since fixed - when it was discovered by researchers last month.

The cyberarms industry typified by the NSO Group operates in a legal gray area, and it is often left to the companies to decide how far they are willing to dig into a target's personal life and what governments they will do business with. Israel has strict export controls for digital weaponry, but the country has never barred the sale of NSO Group technology.

Since it is privately held, not much is known about the NSO Group's finances, but its business is clearly growing. Two years ago, the NSO Group sold a controlling stake in its business to Francisco Partners, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, for $120 million. Nearly a year later, Francisco Partners was exploring a sale of the company for 10 times that amount, according to two people approached by the firm but forbidden to speak about the discussions.

The company's internal documents detail pitches to countries throughout Europe and multimillion-dollar contracts with Mexico, which paid the NSO Group more than $15 million for three projects over three years, according to internal NSO Group emails dated in 2013.

"Our intelligence systems are subject to Mexico's relevant legislation and have legal authorization," Ricardo Alday, a spokesman for the Mexican embassy in Washington, said in an emailed statement. "They are not used against journalists or activists. All contracts with the federal government are done in accordance with the law."

Zamir Dahbash, an NSO Group spokesman, said that the sale of its spyware was restricted to authorized governments and that it was used solely for criminal and terrorist investigations. He declined to comment on whether the company would cease selling to the U.A.E. and Mexico after last week's disclosures.

For the last six years, the NSO Group's main product, a tracking system called Pegasus, has been used by a growing number of government agencies to target a range of smartphones - including iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry and Symbian systems - without leaving a trace.

Among the Pegasus system's capabilities, NSO Group contracts assert, are the abilities to extract text messages, contact lists, calendar records, emails, instant messages and GPS locations. One capability that the NSO Group calls "room tap" can gather sounds in and around the room, using the phone's own microphone.

Pegasus can use the camera to take snapshots or screen grabs. It can deny the phone access to certain websites and applications, and it can grab search histories or anything viewed with the phone's web browser. And all of the data can be sent back to the agency's server in real time.

In its commercial proposals, the NSO Group asserts that its tracking software and hardware can install itself in any number of ways, including "over the air stealth installation," tailored text messages and emails, through public Wi-Fi hot spots rigged to secretly install NSO Group software, or the old-fashioned way, by spies in person.

Much like a traditional software company, the NSO Group prices its surveillance tools by the number of targets, starting with a flat $500,000 installation fee. To spy on 10 iPhone users, NSO charges government agencies $650,000; $650,000 for 10 Android users; $500,000 for five BlackBerry users; or $300,000 for five Symbian users - on top of the setup fee, according to one commercial proposal.

You can pay for more targets. One hundred additional targets will cost $800,000, 50 extra targets cost $500,000, 20 extra will cost $250,000 and 10 extra costs $150,000, according to an NSO Group commercial proposal. There is an annual system maintenance fee of 17 percent of the total price every year thereafter.

What that gets you, NSO Group documents say, is "unlimited access to a target's mobile devices." In short, the company says: You can "remotely and covertly collect information about your target's relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities - whenever and wherever they are."

And, its proposal adds, "It leaves no traces whatsoever."

[Aug 29, 2016] Transfere of technology with the help of three letter agencies

Notable quotes:
"... Some "American" companies and public research institutions are surely victims of espionage, but for the most part private industry has brought this on itself by building offshore offices and *actively* directing their workers to transfer the knowledge and "train their replacements", so that they can do the work instead of US workers who are let go (or not again hired) because their skills are now "irrelevant". ..."
"... In "defense" or "national interest" related work, for the most part citizens of or even people originating from countries that are considered military or geopolitical adversaries are excluded from participation. This makes it much harder to infiltrate people in the US, as long as it is not offshored. But then the US govt and its contractors will pay higher rates for the product/service than US consumers who will have to do "more with less" (money). ..."
"... Oh, China (public and private entities) surely engages in those things it is accused of, but this is by far outweighed by US business captains shoving the "free" know-how and innovation down their throats to enable the short term "cost savings" (which will in short order be compensated for by declining aggregate demand when the formerly well paid local staff can only buy the cheapest stuff, and retail adjusts and mostly orders the cheapest). ..."
"... Likewise most "everybody else" also. I have a good number of colleagues from China and other Asian countries. Many of them take pride in coming up with their own solutions instead of copying stuff, like people everywhere. ..."
"... A German language article where this and other cases are mentioned: http://www.zeit.de/1998/28/199828.spionage.neu_.xml Nobody is squeaky clean in this game. ..."
"... At the time I was working in a tech company there, and new security protocols were instituted, like not sending certain confidential information by email or fax. There was even an anecdote (unverified) of how a foreign service (not US in that case) was allegedly intercepting business documents/negotiations that were conducted by fax, and making the information available to "their" own companies bidding for the same project. Whether true or not, that's what the management was concerned about. ..."
Aug 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael : August 28, 2016 at 11:14 AM

"Transfer" has more than one meaning.

" If spying is the world's second oldest profession, the government of China has given it a new, modern-day twist, enlisting an army of spies not to steal military secrets but the trade secrets and intellectual property of American companies. It's being called "the great brain robbery of America."

The Justice Department says that the scale of China's corporate espionage is so vast it constitutes a national security emergency, with China targeting virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, and costing American companies hundreds of billions of dollars in losses -- and more than two million jobs.

John Carlin: They're targeting our private companies. And it's not a fair fight. A private company can't compete against the resources of the second largest economy in the world."

John Carlin: This is a serious threat to our national security. I mean, our economy depends on the ability to innovate. And if there's a dedicated nation state who's using its intelligence apparatus to steal day in and day out what we're trying to develop, that poses a serious threat to our country.

Lesley Stahl: What is their ultimate goal, the Chinese government's ultimate goal?

John Carlin: They want to develop certain segments of industry and instead of trying to out-innovate, out-research, out-develop, they're choosing to do it through theft.

All you have to do, he says, is look at the economic plans published periodically by the Chinese Politburo. They are, according to this recent report by the technology research firm INVNT/IP, in effect, blueprints of what industries and what companies will be targeted for theft."

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-great-brain-robbery-china-cyber-espionage/

cm -> EMichael, August 28, 2016 at 12:38 PM

Some "American" companies and public research institutions are surely victims of espionage, but for the most part private industry has brought this on itself by building offshore offices and *actively* directing their workers to transfer the knowledge and "train their replacements", so that they can do the work instead of US workers who are let go (or not again hired) because their skills are now "irrelevant".

Likewise if a manufacturer outsources to an offshore supplier, they have to divulge some of their secret sauce and technical skill to their "partner" if they want the product to meet specs and quality metrics.

In "defense" or "national interest" related work, for the most part citizens of or even people originating from countries that are considered military or geopolitical adversaries are excluded from participation. This makes it much harder to infiltrate people in the US, as long as it is not offshored. But then the US govt and its contractors will pay higher rates for the product/service than US consumers who will have to do "more with less" (money).

Paine -> cm... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 02:02 PM
Important

We have a serious industry in dis info about china

cm -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 03:47 PM
Oh, China (public and private entities) surely engages in those things it is accused of, but this is by far outweighed by US business captains shoving the "free" know-how and innovation down their throats to enable the short term "cost savings" (which will in short order be compensated for by declining aggregate demand when the formerly well paid local staff can only buy the cheapest stuff, and retail adjusts and mostly orders the cheapest).
cm -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 03:54 PM
Likewise most "everybody else" also. I have a good number of colleagues from China and other Asian countries. Many of them take pride in coming up with their own solutions instead of copying stuff, like people everywhere.

"Stealing" of ideas is practiced everywhere. I know an anecdote from a "Western" company where a high level engineering manager suggested inviting another academic/research group on the pretext of exploring a collaboration, only to get enough of an idea of their approach, and then dump them. Several of the present staff balked at this and it didn't go anywhere. But it was instructive.

Paine -> cm... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 05:05 PM
I'd suggest stolen " recipes " to use Paul Romers term
Only encourage the parallel Han project
You can't really build something significantly novel
Simply out of specs
Paine -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 05:05 PM
Classic case
The soviet a bomb project
cm -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 05:43 PM
There are two aspects of "stealing ideas":

(1) How is it done (because we don't know)
(2) Which approach has been proven to work (out of many that we would have to try)

The focus in discussing the topic is often on (1), and it is certainly an important aspect, perhaps the most important one if the adversary is in bootstrapping mode.

However once you are at a certain level, (2) becomes more important - the solution space is simply too large, and knowing what has already worked elsewhere can cut through a lot of failed experiments (including finding a better solution of course).

(2) also relates somewhat to "best practices" - don't try to innovate and create yet another proprietary thing that only the people who created it understand, do what everybody else is doing, then you can hire more people who "already know it", or if "others" improve or build on the existing solution, that immediately applies to your version as well.

The downside is that your solution is not "differentiated". But if it is cheaper it doesn't have to.

ilsm -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 04:20 PM
To sell F-35 the US gives everything needed to manufacture parts of the aircraft to the buying country...

To do that or any other kind of manufacturing the processes with all drawings and accurate parts lists are in the plant.........

If you can keep that stuff 'under wraps' you spend a lot, fill the plant with US personnel , endure inefficiencies, create bottlenecks....

cm -> EMichael... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 01:05 PM
Then there was a story about this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enercon#Patent_dispute

where US electronic surveillance was allegedly involved in a business dispute. In this case there is no explicit claim about technology theft, but two companies were accusing each other of patent violations, and espionage techniques were used to "obtain evidence".

cm -> cm... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 01:07 PM
A German language article where this and other cases are mentioned: http://www.zeit.de/1998/28/199828.spionage.neu_.xml Nobody is squeaky clean in this game.
cm -> cm... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 04:12 PM
BTW note the date - this kind of stuff was going on in the 90's. It is not a recent invention. BTW this here was mentioned, you may have heard of it, in any case it was a big deal in Germany where the US had several operational bases:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON

At the time I was working in a tech company there, and new security protocols were instituted, like not sending certain confidential information by email or fax. There was even an anecdote (unverified) of how a foreign service (not US in that case) was allegedly intercepting business documents/negotiations that were conducted by fax, and making the information available to "their" own companies bidding for the same project. Whether true or not, that's what the management was concerned about.

Paine -> EMichael... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 02:00 PM
Pure propaganda

You have a embark able tolerance for manipulation

Paine -> EMichael... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 02:04 PM
Trump talk modulated by the manhattan elites

The same pokes that play the other end of the stick
That de industrialized the rust belt

[Aug 21, 2016] The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm by Sam Biddle

Notable quotes:
"... The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, "ace02468bdf13579." That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE. ..."
Aug 19, 2016 | theintercept.com
On Monday, a hacking group calling itself the "ShadowBrokers" announced an auction for what it claimed were "cyber weapons" made by the NSA. Based on never-before-published documents provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept can confirm that the arsenal contains authentic NSA software, part of a powerful constellation of tools used to covertly infect computers worldwide.

The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA's virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.

The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, "ace02468bdf13579." That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE.

SECONDDATE plays a specialized role inside a complex global system built by the U.S. government to infect and monitor what one document estimated to be millions of computers around the world. Its release by ShadowBrokers, alongside dozens of other malicious tools, marks the first time any full copies of the NSA's offensive software have been available to the public, providing a glimpse at how an elaborate system outlined in the Snowden documents looks when deployed in the real world, as well as concrete evidence that NSA hackers don't always have the last word when it comes to computer exploitation.

But malicious software of this sophistication doesn't just pose a threat to foreign governments, Johns Hopkins University cryptographer Matthew Green told The Intercept:

The danger of these exploits is that they can be used to target anyone who is using a vulnerable router. This is the equivalent of leaving lockpicking tools lying around a high school cafeteria. It's worse, in fact, because many of these exploits are not available through any other means, so they're just now coming to the attention of the firewall and router manufacturers that need to fix them, as well as the customers that are vulnerable.

So the risk is twofold: first, that the person or persons who stole this information might have used them against us. If this is indeed Russia, then one assumes that they probably have their own exploits, but there's no need to give them any more. And now that the exploits have been released, we run the risk that ordinary criminals will use them against corporate targets.

The NSA did not respond to questions concerning ShadowBrokers, the Snowden documents, or its malware.

A Memorable SECONDDATE

The offensive tools released by ShadowBrokers are organized under a litany of code names such as POLARSNEEZE and ELIGIBLE BOMBSHELL, and their exact purpose is still being assessed. But we do know more about one of the weapons: SECONDDATE.

SECONDDATE is a tool designed to intercept web requests and redirect browsers on target computers to an NSA web server. That server, in turn, is designed to infect them with malware. SECONDDATE's existence was first reported by The Intercept in 2014, as part of a look at a global computer exploitation effort code-named TURBINE. The malware server, known as FOXACID, has also been described in previously released Snowden documents.

Other documents released by The Intercept today not only tie SECONDDATE to the ShadowBrokers leak but also provide new detail on how it fits into the NSA's broader surveillance and infection network. They also show how SECONDDATE has been used, including to spy on Pakistan and a computer system in Lebanon.

The top-secret manual that authenticates the SECONDDATE found in the wild as the same one used within the NSA is a 31-page document titled "FOXACID SOP for Operational Management" and marked as a draft. It dates to no earlier than 2010. A section within the manual describes administrative tools for tracking how victims are funneled into FOXACID, including a set of tags used to catalogue servers. When such a tag is created in relation to a SECONDDATE-related infection, the document says, a certain distinctive identifier must be used:

The same SECONDDATE MSGID string appears in 14 different files throughout the ShadowBrokers leak, including in a file titled SecondDate-3021.exe. Viewed through a code-editing program (screenshot below), the NSA's secret number can be found hiding in plain sight:

All told, throughout many of the folders contained in the ShadowBrokers' package (screenshot below), there are 47 files with SECONDDATE-related names, including different versions of the raw code required to execute a SECONDDATE attack, instructions for how to use it, and other related files.

.

After viewing the code, Green told The Intercept the MSGID string's occurrence in both an NSA training document and this week's leak is "unlikely to be a coincidence." Computer security researcher Matt Suiche, founder of UAE-based cybersecurity startup Comae Technologies, who has been particularly vocal in his analysis of the ShadowBrokers this week, told The Intercept "there is no way" the MSGID string's appearance in both places is a coincidence.

Where SECONDDATE Fits In

This overview jibes with previously unpublished classified files provided by Snowden that illustrate how SECONDDATE is a component of BADDECISION, a broader NSA infiltration tool. SECONDDATE helps the NSA pull off a "man in the middle" attack against users on a wireless network, tricking them into thinking they're talking to a safe website when in reality they've been sent a malicious payload from an NSA server.

According to one December 2010 PowerPoint presentation titled "Introduction to BADDECISION," that tool is also designed to send users of a wireless network, sometimes referred to as an 802.11 network, to FOXACID malware servers. Or, as the presentation puts it, BADDECISION is an "802.11 CNE [computer network exploitation] tool that uses a true man-in-the-middle attack and a frame injection technique to redirect a target client to a FOXACID server." As another top-secret slide puts it, the attack homes in on "the greatest vulnerability to your computer: your web browser."

One slide points out that the attack works on users with an encrypted wireless connection to the internet.

That trick, it seems, often involves BADDECISION and SECONDDATE, with the latter described as a "component" for the former. A series of diagrams in the "Introduction to BADDECISION" presentation show how an NSA operator "uses SECONDDATE to inject a redirection payload at [a] Target Client," invisibly hijacking a user's web browser as the user attempts to visit a benign website (in the example given, it's CNN.com). Executed correctly, the file explains, a "Target Client continues normal webpage browsing, completely unaware," lands on a malware-filled NSA server, and becomes infected with as much of that malware as possible - or as the presentation puts it, the user will be left "WHACKED!" In the other top-secret presentations, it's put plainly: "How do we redirect the target to the FOXACID server without being noticed"? Simple: "Use NIGHTSTAND or BADDECISION."

The sheer number of interlocking tools available to crack a computer is dizzying. In the FOXACID manual, government hackers are told an NSA hacker ought to be familiar with using SECONDDATE along with similar man-in-the-middle wi-fi attacks code-named MAGIC SQUIRREL and MAGICBEAN. A top-secret presentation on FOXACID lists further ways to redirect targets to the malware server system.

To position themselves within range of a vulnerable wireless network, NSA operators can use a mobile antenna system running software code-named BLINDDATE, depicted in the field in what appears to be Kabul. The software can even be attached to a drone. BLINDDATE in turn can run BADDECISION, which allows for a SECONDDATE attack:

Elsewhere in these files, there are at least two documented cases of SECONDDATE being used to successfully infect computers overseas: An April 2013 presentation boasts of successful attacks against computer systems in both Pakistan and Lebanon. In the first, NSA hackers used SECONDDATE to breach "targets in Pakistan's National Telecommunications Corporation's (NTC) VIP Division," which contained documents pertaining to "the backbone of Pakistan's Green Line communications network" used by "civilian and military leadership."

In the latter, the NSA used SECONDDATE to pull off a man-in-the-middle attack in Lebanon "for the first time ever," infecting a Lebanese ISP to extract "100+ MB of Hizballah Unit 1800 data," a special subset of the terrorist group dedicated to aiding Palestinian militants.

SECONDDATE is just one method that the NSA uses to get its target's browser pointed at a FOXACID server. Other methods include sending spam that attempts to exploit bugs in popular web-based email providers or entices targets to click on malicious links that lead to a FOXACID server. One document, a newsletter for the NSA's Special Source Operations division, describes how NSA software other than SECONDDATE was used to repeatedly direct targets in Pakistan to FOXACID malware web servers, eventually infecting the targets' computers.

A Potentially Mundane Hack

Snowden, who worked for NSA contractors Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton, has offered some context and a relatively mundane possible explanation for the leak: that the NSA headquarters was not hacked, but rather one of the computers the agency uses to plan and execute attacks was compromised. In a series of tweets, he pointed out that the NSA often lurks on systems that are supposed to be controlled by others, and it's possible someone at the agency took control of a server and failed to clean up after themselves. A regime, hacker group, or intelligence agency could have seized the files and the opportunity to embarrass the agency.

Documents

Documents published with this story:

[Aug 07, 2016] Commentary The worlds best cyber army doesn't belong to Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The NSA identified Peña's cellphone and those of his associates using advanced software that can filter out specific phones from the swarm around the candidate. These lines were then targeted. The technology, one NSA analyst noted, "might find a needle in a haystack." The analyst described it as "a repeatable and efficient" process. ..."
"... Another NSA operation, begun in May 2010 and codenamed FLATLIQUID, targeted Pena's predecessor, President Felipe Calderon. The NSA, the documents revealed, was able "to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon's public email account." ..."
"... At the same time, members of a highly secret joint NSA/CIA organization, called the Special Collection Service, are based in the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and other U.S. embassies around the world. It targets local government communications, as well as foreign embassies nearby. For Mexico, additional eavesdropping, and much of the analysis, is conducted by NSA Texas, a large listening post in San Antonio that focuses on the Caribbean, Central America and South America. ..."
"... Unlike the Defense Department's Pentagon, the headquarters of the cyberspies fills an entire secret city. Located in Fort Meade, Maryland, halfway between Washington and Baltimore, Maryland, NSA's headquarters consists of scores of heavily guarded buildings. The site even boasts its own police force and post office. ..."
"... One top-secret operation, code-named TreasureMap, is designed to have a "capability for building a near real-time interactive map of the global Internet. … Any device, anywhere, all the time." Another operation, codenamed Turbine, involves secretly placing "millions of implants" - malware - in computer systems worldwide for either spying or cyberattacks. ..."
"... Yet there can never be a useful discussion on the topic if the Obama administration continues to point fingers at other countries without admitting that Washington is engaged heavily in cyberspying and cyberwarfare. ..."
"... The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America ..."
Aug 4, 2016 | Reuters
National attention is focused on Russian eavesdroppers' possible targeting of U.S. presidential candidates and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Yet, leaked top-secret National Security Agency documents show that the Obama administration has long been involved in major bugging operations against the election campaigns -- and the presidents -- of even its closest allies.

The United States is, by far, the world's most aggressive nation when it comes to cyberspying and cyberwarfare. The National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on foreign cities, politicians, elections and entire countries since it first turned on its receivers in 1952. Just as other countries, including Russia, attempt to do to the United States. What is new is a country leaking the intercepts back to the public of the target nation through a middleperson.

There is a strange irony in this. Russia, if it is actually involved in the hacking of the computers of the Democratic National Committee, could be attempting to influence a U.S. election by leaking to the American public the falsehoods of its leaders. This is a tactic Washington used against the Soviet Union and other countries during the Cold War.

In the 1950s, for example, President Harry S Truman created the Campaign of Truth to reveal to the Russian people the "Big Lies" of their government. Washington had often discovered these lies through eavesdropping and other espionage.

Today, the United States has morphed from a Cold War, and in some cases a hot war, into a cyberwar, with computer coding replacing bullets and bombs. Yet the American public manages to be "shocked, shocked" that a foreign country would attempt to conduct cyberespionage on the United States.

NSA operations have, for example, recently delved into elections in Mexico, targeting its last presidential campaign. According to a top-secret PowerPoint presentation leaked by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden, the operation involved a "surge effort against one of Mexico's leading presidential candidates, Enrique Peña Nieto, and nine of his close associates." Peña won that election and is now Mexico's president.

The NSA identified Peña's cellphone and those of his associates using advanced software that can filter out specific phones from the swarm around the candidate. These lines were then targeted. The technology, one NSA analyst noted, "might find a needle in a haystack." The analyst described it as "a repeatable and efficient" process.

The eavesdroppers also succeeded in intercepting 85,489 text messages, a Der Spiegel article noted.

Another NSA operation, begun in May 2010 and codenamed FLATLIQUID, targeted Pena's predecessor, President Felipe Calderon. The NSA, the documents revealed, was able "to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon's public email account."

At the same time, members of a highly secret joint NSA/CIA organization, called the Special Collection Service, are based in the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and other U.S. embassies around the world. It targets local government communications, as well as foreign embassies nearby. For Mexico, additional eavesdropping, and much of the analysis, is conducted by NSA Texas, a large listening post in San Antonio that focuses on the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

Unlike the Defense Department's Pentagon, the headquarters of the cyberspies fills an entire secret city. Located in Fort Meade, Maryland, halfway between Washington and Baltimore, Maryland, NSA's headquarters consists of scores of heavily guarded buildings. The site even boasts its own police force and post office.

And it is about to grow considerably bigger, now that the NSA cyberspies have merged with the cyberwarriors of U.S. Cyber Command, which controls its own Cyber Army, Cyber Navy, Cyber Air Force and Cyber Marine Corps, all armed with state-of-the-art cyberweapons. In charge of it all is a four-star admiral, Michael S. Rogers.

Now under construction inside NSA's secret city, Cyber Command's new $3.2- billion headquarters is to include 14 buildings, 11 parking garages and an enormous cyberbrain - a 600,000-square-foot, $896.5-million supercomputer facility that will eat up an enormous amount of power, about 60 megawatts. This is enough electricity to power a city of more than 40,000 homes.

In 2014, for a cover story in Wired and a PBS documentary, I spent three days in Moscow with Snowden, whose last NSA job was as a contract cyberwarrior. I was also granted rare access to his archive of documents. "Cyber Command itself has always been branded in a sort of misleading way from its very inception," Snowden told me. "It's an attack agency. … It's all about computer-network attack and computer-network exploitation at Cyber Command."

The idea is to turn the Internet from a worldwide web of information into a global battlefield for war. "The next major conflict will start in cyberspace," says one of the secret NSA documents. One key phrase within Cyber Command documents is "Information Dominance."

The Cyber Navy, for example, calls itself the Information Dominance Corps. The Cyber Army is providing frontline troops with the option of requesting "cyberfire support" from Cyber Command, in much the same way it requests air and artillery support. And the Cyber Air Force is pledged to "dominate cyberspace" just as "today we dominate air and space."

Among the tools at their disposal is one called Passionatepolka, designed to "remotely brick network cards." "Bricking" a computer means destroying it – turning it into a brick.

One such situation took place in war-torn Syria in 2012, according to Snowden, when the NSA attempted to remotely and secretly install an "exploit," or bug, into the computer system of a major Internet provider. This was expected to provide access to email and other Internet traffic across much of Syria. But something went wrong. Instead, the computers were bricked. It took down the Internet across the country for a period of time.

While Cyber Command executes attacks, the National Security Agency seems more interested in tracking virtually everyone connected to the Internet, according to the documents.

One top-secret operation, code-named TreasureMap, is designed to have a "capability for building a near real-time interactive map of the global Internet. … Any device, anywhere, all the time." Another operation, codenamed Turbine, involves secretly placing "millions of implants" - malware - in computer systems worldwide for either spying or cyberattacks.

Yet, even as the U.S. government continues building robust eavesdropping and attack systems, it looks like there has been far less focus on security at home. One benefit of the cyber-theft of the Democratic National Committee emails might be that it helps open a public dialogue about the dangerous potential of cyberwarfare. This is long overdue. The possible security problems for the U.S. presidential election in November are already being discussed.

Yet there can never be a useful discussion on the topic if the Obama administration continues to point fingers at other countries without admitting that Washington is engaged heavily in cyberspying and cyberwarfare.

In fact, the United States is the only country ever to launch an actual cyberwar -- when the Obama administration used a cyberattack to destroy thousands of centrifuges, used for nuclear enrichment, in Iran. This was an illegal act of war, according to the Defense Department's own definition.

Given the news reports that many more DNC emails are waiting to be leaked as the presidential election draws closer, there will likely be many more reminders of the need for a public dialogue on cybersecurity and cyberwarfare before November.

(James Bamford is the author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. He is a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine.)

[Aug 07, 2016] Edward Snowden Tweets Cryptic Code Was it a Dead Man's Switch

sputniknews.com
© Photo: Screenshot: Council of Europe News 21:57 06.08.2016 (updated 04:45 07.08.2016) Get short URL 31 62487 109 20

After posting a 64 character hex code that is believed to be an encryption key, the internet worries that the famed whistleblower may have been killed or captured resulting in the triggering of a dead man's switch and potentially the release of many more US national secrets.

Edward Snowden talks with Jane Mayer via satellite at the 15th Annual New Yorker Festival on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 in New York © AP Photo/ Christopher Lane Edward Snowden Not Dead: 'He's Fine' Says Glenn Greenwald After Mysterious Tweet On Friday night, famed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted out a 64 character code before quickly deleting the message along with a mysterious warning earlier this week that "It's Time" which had called on colleagues of the former contractor to contact him leaving the internet to speculate that the characters could be an encryption key for a major document leak, it may be a "dead man's switch" set to go in effect if the whistleblower were killed or captured, or potentially both.

A dead man's switch is a message set up to be automatically sent if the holder of an account does not perform a regular check-in. The whistleblower has acknowledged that he has distributed encrypted files to journalists and associates that have not yet been released so in Snowden's case, the dead man's switch could be an encryption key for those files.

As of this time, Edward Snowden's Twitter account has gone silent for over 24 hours which is far from unprecedented for the whistleblower but is curious at a time when public concern has been raised over his well-being. The 64 hex characters in the code do appear to rule out the initial theory that Edward Snowden, like so many of us, simply butt dialed his phone, but instead is a clearly a secure hash algorithm that can serve as a signature for a data file or as a password.

The timing shortly after the "It's Time" tweet also have caused concern for some Reddit theorists such as a user named stordoff who believes that the nascent Twitter post "was intended to set something in motion." The user postulates that it is an encrypted message, a signal, or a password.

Snowden's initial data release in 2013 exposed what many had feared about the NSA for years, that the agency had gone rogue and undertaken a massive scheme of domestic surveillance. However, it is also known that the information released was only part of the document cache he had acquired from government servers.

A chair is pictured on stage as former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. © REUTERS/ Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/NTB Scanpix 'It's Time': Whistleblower Edward Snowden Tweets Mysterious Warning

It has been reported that additional government data was distributed in encrypted files to trusted journalists who were told to not release the information unless they received a signal urging them to – information that the whistleblower determined was too sensitive for release at the time.

The possibility also exists that Snowden has decided that after three years in hiding that additional information needed to be released to the public independent of some physical harm to himself, but the whistleblower's fans and privacy advocates across the world will continue to sit on the edge of their seats in worry until and unless he tweets to confirm that he is safe.

[Jun 06, 2016] Got privacy If you use Twitter or a smartphone, maybe not so much

www.pcworld.com
May 18, 2016

PCWorld

You're probably giving away more than you think

The location stamps on just a handful of Twitter posts can help even low-tech stalkers find you, researchers found.

The notion of online privacy has been greatly diminished in recent years, and just this week two new studies confirm what to many minds is already a dismal picture.

First, a study reported on Monday by Stanford University found that smartphone metadata-information about calls and text messages, such as time and length-can reveal a surprising amount of personal detail.

To investigate their topic, the researchers built an Android app and used it to retrieve the metadata about previous calls and text messages-the numbers, times, and lengths of communications-from more than 800 volunteers' smartphone logs. In total, participants provided records of more than 250,000 calls and 1.2 million texts.

The researchers then used a combination of automated and manual processes to understand just what's being revealed. What they found was that it's possible to infer a lot more than you might think.

A person who places multiple calls to a cardiologist, a local drug store, and a cardiac arrhythmia monitoring device hotline likely suffers from cardiac arrhythmia, for example. Based on frequent calls to a local firearms dealer that prominently advertises AR semiautomatic rifles and to the customer support hotline of a major manufacturer that produces them, it's logical to conclude that another likely owns such a weapon.

The researchers set out to fill what they consider knowledge gaps within the National Security Agency's current phone metadata program. Currently, U.S. law gives more privacy protections to call content and makes it easier for government agencies to obtain metadata, in part because policymakers assume that it shouldn't be possible to infer specific sensitive details about people based on metadata alone.

This study, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests otherwise. Preliminary versions of the work have already played a role in federal surveillance policy debates and have been cited in litigation filings and letters to legislators in both the U.S. and abroad.

It takes as few as eight tweets to locate someone

Researchers at MIT and Oxford University, meanwhile, have shown that the location stamps on just a handful of Twitter posts can be enough to let even a low-tech snooper find out where you live and work.

Though Twitter's location-reporting service is off by default, many Twitter users choose to activate it. Now, it looks like even as few as eight tweets over the course of a single day can give stalkers what they need to track you down.

The researchers used real tweets from Twitter users in the Boston area; users consented to the use of their data and also confirmed their home and work addresses, their commuting routes, and the locations of various leisure destinations from which they had tweeted.

The time and location data associated with the tweets were then presented to a group of 45 study participants, who were asked to try to deduce whether the tweets had originated at the Twitter users' homes, workplaces, leisure destinations or commute locations.

Bottom line: They had little trouble figuring it out. Equipped with map-based representations, participants correctly identified Twitter users' homes roughly 65 percent of the time and their workplaces at closer to 70 percent.

Part of a more general project at MIT's Internet Policy Research Initiative, the paper was presented last week at the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

"Many people have this idea that only machine-learning techniques can discover interesting patterns in location data, and they feel secure that not everyone has the technical knowledge to do that," said Ilaria Liccardi, a research scientist at MIT's Internet Policy Research Initiative and first author on the paper. "What we wanted to show is that when you send location data as a secondary piece of information, it is extremely simple for people with very little technical knowledge to find out where you work or live."

Twitter said it does not comment on third-party research, but directed users to online information about its optional location feature.

[May 30, 2016] Secret Text in Senate Bill Would Give FBI Warrantless Access to Email Records

Notable quotes:
"... Actually, you can hide nothing, and anything you said, wrote, or plausibly thought can and will be held against you at a time convenient for the Security State to whip it out if they have their way. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

JerseyJeffersonian , May 27, 2016 at 11:28 am

In related developments ( in the matters of legitimacy, and most especially, control ) here are two links:

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/26/secret-text-in-senate-bill-would-give-fbi-warrantless-access-to-email-records/

My comment on this in an email to others…

Amendment IV [1791]

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.

Obviously, this paints our (overblown) liberties with an over-wide brush, and the Wise Solons of our Senate know just how to get around this superannuated and flawed conceptual framework. Just ignore this amendment. You've got nothing to hide, right , so what are you worried about? Actually, you can hide nothing, and anything you said, wrote, or plausibly thought can and will be held against you at a time convenient for the Security State to whip it out if they have their way.

C'mon, it's an Empire now, and it plays by its own rules, and is not to be chained to some fossilized, starry-eyed claptrap from the Enlightenment. Sheesh.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/05/26/special-operations-troops-assaulted-downtown-tampa-all-to-thunderous-applause/

And my comment in that email on this matter…

Wait, military special forces from over a dozen countries are running an exercise in the supposedly sovereign territory of the United States? What, is this the transnational elite's super-special SWAT team taking off the wraps? And Idiot America loves it. The Founding Fathers weep, just as they do concerning that first item.

Let those malcontents from Green Day whine about the Idiocracy…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1BS7XnEZqc

[May 21, 2016] The 10 Most Disturbing Snowden Revelations

February 11, 2014 | pcmag.com

This time last year, no one knew Edward Snowden. But by the end of 2013, his name was on every top 10 list, and the revelations contained with the NSA documents he leaked have inspired today's "The Day We Fight Back" protests.

For a while the information contained with the leaked documents took a backseat to the cultural impulse to dissect Snowden as a celebrity-his Reddit posts about sex and Cosmo asking "What the hell is Edward Snowden's girlfriend thinking right now?" Then Sunday talk shows debated whether Snowden was a was fink, traitor, whistleblower, or spy - as the elusive former contractor made an escape to Russia worthy of a spy-thriller chase scene.

But the Snowden documents contained serious information. Since June, we have learned about a variety of NSA programs, including PRISM, a multilayered, multiagency program that mines the data of suspected terrorists, as well as that of anyone even marginally associated with them. And the information that has been released is reportedly just a fraction of what exists.

Still, we have about eight months worth of data dumps, information that has prompted the promise of action from the White House, bills in the Congress, and today's "Day We Fight Back" protest, which is calling on people around the globe to protest NSA surveillance on the Web and in person. Below, we look back at some of the most alarming revelations from Edward Snowden thus far.

  1. The NSA intercepts deliveries According to documents published by German newspaper Der Spiegel, the NSA uses a tactic called "method interdiction," which intercepts packages that are en route to the recipient. Malware or backdoor-enabling hardware is installed in workshops by agents and the item then continues on its way to the customer.
  2. The NSA can spy on PCs not connected to the Internet Der Spiegel also published a document from an NSA division called ANT, which revealed technology the NSA uses to carry out operations, including a radio-frequency device that can monitor and even change data on computers that are not online.
  3. Phone companies must turn over bulk phone data In April, Verizon was ordered to hand over telephony metadata from calls made from the United States to other countries over the course of three months. The metadata included originating and terminating phone numbers, mobile subscriber identity numbers, calling card numbers, and the time and duration of calls. The secretive nature of the FISA court that made the request for data, however, meant that Verizon and other companies could not discuss the data requests.
  4. The NSA hacked Yahoo and Google data centers In October, The Washington Post accused the NSA of secretly monitoring transmissions between the data centers of Internet giants Yahoo and Google. Both companies denied giving the NSA permission to intercept such traffic. Google's Eric Schmidt called the move "outrageous," if true, while Yahoo moved to encrypt its data after the revelation.
  5. The NSA collects email and IM contact lists Hundreds of thousands of contact lists are collected by the NSA in a single day, The Washington Post also revealed. While the targets are outside of the United States, the scope of the collection means that info from U.S. citizens is inevitably included.
  6. RSA created a backdoor into its encryption software at the NSA's request In December, Reuters reported that the NSA paid RSA $10 million to create a "back door" in its encryption products, which gave the NSA access to data protected by RSA products like Bsafe. RSA denied the report, but the revelation prompted speakers to bow out of this month's RSA Conference.
  7. The NSA eavesdrops on the phone calls of world leaders. The U.S. government's friends and family calling plan reportedly extends to the content of calls, including tapping into German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone calls from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Berlin. The news prompted German officials to consider creating their own Internet.
  8. The NSA knows how many pigs you've killed in Angry Birds. The Flappy Bird flap may be bigger, but last month, The New York Times reported that the NSA and British intelligence teamed up to collect and store user data generated by "dozens of smartphone apps," including popular games like Angry Birds. Rovio denied it, but anti-surveillance activists still defaced the developer's website.
  9. The NSA engages in industrial espionage. The U.S. government has framed the NSA's activities as necessary to keeping citizens safe, but Snowden said on German television, "If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to U.S. national interests-even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security-then they'll take that information nevertheless."
  10. Tech companies cooperated with the NSA and then were asked not to talk about it. Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple were all named in the PRISM documents and struggled with how to talk to the public about it because of gag orders.

wguerrero

Big brother is watching us all.

[Apr 10, 2016] Government Hackers, Inc.

April 6, 2016 | The American Conservative
The revelation that an Israeli firm cracked the iPhone raises questions about state-corporate espionage.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) court battle with Apple over the security system in place on iPhones appears to be over. But some experts in the communications security community are expressing concern because of the

Bureau's unwillingness to reveal what exactly occurred to end the standoff.

According to government sources speaking both on and off the record, the FBI succeeded in breaking through the Apple security measures with the assistance of an unidentified third party. The technique used was apparently not a one-off and is transferable as the Bureau has now indicated that it will be accessing data on a second phone involved in a murder investigation in Arkansas and is even considering allowing local police forces to share the technology. That means that the FBI and whatever other security and police agencies both in the U.S. and abroad it provides the information to will have the same capability, potentially compromising the security of all iPhones worldwide.

The breakthrough in the case leads inevitably to questions about the identity of the company or individual that assisted the Bureau. It means that someone outside government circles would also have the ability to unlock the phones, information that could eventually wind up in the hands of criminals or those seeking to disrupt or sabotage existing telecommunications systems.

No security system is unbreakable if a sophisticated hacker is willing to put enough time, money and resources into the effort. If the hacker is a government with virtually unlimited resources the task is somewhat simpler as vast computer power will permit millions of attempts to compromise a phone's operating system.

In this case, the problem consisted of defeating an "Erase Data" feature linked to a passcode that had been placed on the target phone by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in December's San Bernardino terrorist attack. Apple had designed the system so that 10 failures to enter the correct passcode would lock the phone and erase all the data on it. This frustrated FBI efforts to come up with the passcode by what is referred to as a "brute force" attack where every possible combination of numbers and letters is entered until the right code is revealed. Apple's security software also was able to detect multiple attempts after entry of an incorrect passcode and slow down the process, meaning that in theory it would take five and a half years for a computer to try all possible combinations of a six-character alphanumeric passcode using numbers and lowercase letters even if it could disable the "Erase Data" feature.

Speculation is that the FBI and its third party associate were able to break the security by circumventing the measure that monitors the number of unsuccessful passcode entries, possibly to include generating new copies of the phone's NAND storage chip to negate the 10-try limit. The computer generated passcodes could then be entered again and again until the correct code was discovered. And, of course, once the method of corrupting the Erase Data security feature is determined it can be used on any iPhone by anyone with the necessary computer capability, precisely the danger that Apple had warned about when it refused to cooperate with the FBI in the first place.

Most of the U.S. mainstream media has been reluctant to speculate on who the third party that aided the FBI might be but the Israeli press has not been so reticent. They have identified a company called Cellebrite, a digital forensics company located in Israel. It is reported that the company's executive vice president for mobile forensics Leeor Ben-Peretz was recently in Washington consulting with clients. Ben-Peretz is Cellebrite's marketing chief, fully capable of demonstrating the company's forensics capabilities. Cellebrite reportedly has worked with the FBI before, having had a contract arrangement entered into in 2013 to provide decryption services.

Cellebrite was purchased by Japanese cellular telephone giant Suncorporation in 2007 but it is still headquartered and managed from Petah Tikva, Israel with a North American office in Parsippany, New Jersey and branches in Germany, Singapore and Brazil. It works closely with the Israeli police and intelligence services and is reported to have ties to both Mossad and Shin Bet. Many of its employees are former Israeli government employees who had worked in cybersecurity and telecommunications.

If Cellebrite is indeed the "third party" responsible for the breakthrough on the Apple problem, it must lead to speculation that the key to circumventing iPhone security is already out there in the small world of top level telecommunications forensic experts. It might reasonably be assumed that the Israeli government has access to the necessary technology, as well as Cellebrite's Japanese owners. From there, the possibilities inevitably multiply.

Most countries obtain much of their high grade intelligence from communications intercepts. Countries like Israel, China, and France conduct much of their high-tech spying through exploitation of their corporate presence in the United States. Israel, in particular, is heavily embedded in the telecommunications industry, which permits direct access to confidential exchanges of information.

Israel has in fact a somewhat shady reputation in the United States when it comes to telecommunications spying. Two companies in particular-Amdocs and Comverse Infosys-have at times dominated their market niches in America. Amdocs, which has contracts with many of the largest telephone companies in the U.S. that together handle 90 percent of all calls made, logs all calls that go out and come in on the system. It does not retain the conversations themselves, but the records provide patterns, referred to as "traffic analysis," that can provide intelligence leads. In 1999, the National Security Agency warned that records of calls made in the United States were winding up in Israel.

Comverse Infosys, which dissolved in 2013 after charges of conspiracy, fraud, money laundering and making false filings, provided wiretapping equipment to law enforcement throughout the United States. Because equipment used to tap phones for law enforcement is integrated into the networks that phone companies operate, it cannot be detected. Phone calls were intercepted, recorded, stored, and transmitted to investigators by Comverse, which claimed that it had to be "hands on" with its equipment to maintain the system. Many experts believe that it is relatively easy to create an internal cross switch that permits the recording to be sent to a second party, unknown to the authorized law-enforcement recipient. Comverse was also believed to be involved with NSA on a program of illegal spying directed against American citizens.

Comverse equipment was never inspected by FBI or NSA experts to determine whether the information it collected could be leaked, reportedly because senior government managers blocked such inquiries. According to a Fox News investigative report, which was later deleted from Fox's website under pressure from various pro-Israel groups, DEA and FBI sources said post-9/11 that even to suggest that Israel might have been spying using Comverse was "considered career suicide."

Some might argue that collecting intelligence is a function of government and that espionage, even between friends, will always take place. When it comes to smartphones, technical advances in phone security will provide a silver bullet for a time but the hackers, and governments, will inevitably catch up. One might assume that the recent revelations about the FBI's capabilities vis-à-vis the iPhone indicate that the horse is already out of the stable. If Israel was party to the breaking of the security and has the technology it will use it. If the FBI has it, it will share it with other government agencies and even with foreign intelligence and security services.

Absent from the discussion regarding Apple are the more than 80 percent of smartphones used worldwide that employ the Google developed Android operating system that has its own distinct security features designed to block government intrusion. The FBI is clearly driven by the assumption that all smartphones should be accessible to law enforcement. The next big telecommunications security court case might well be directed against Google.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

[Apr 02, 2016] Google builds a permanent profile on you and stores it at their end. 

www.zerohedge.com

PoasterToaster Thu, 03/31/2016 - 23:43 | 7389203

You can't just clear a cookie. Google builds a permanent profile on you and stores it at their end. They use a variety of means to do this, such as taking your MAC address and every other bit transmitted on the internet and linking it to a database they have built that records your popular searches and clicks.

This is how people get filter bubbled and steered; dirty internet searches. A clean search would see actual societal interests and trends instead of the contrived ones pushed by the State narrative. It's also part of the meta- and direct data that goes into secret profiles in the "intelligence community".

They think they can use this trendy (yet largely mythical) Big Data to create a precrime division. It's also nice to have dirt on the whole country in case anyone gets out of line and challenges the aristocracy.

wee-weed up

Yep, war has always been the best automatic "go to" solution to deflect attention away from elite politician's gross malfeasance.

[Mar 12, 2016] Edward Snowden Interview on Apple vs. FBI, Privacy, the NSA, and More

Video... Go here for full transcript http://reason.com/reasontv/2016/02/25...
Notable quotes:
"... And he reminds us that governments also have unprecedented potential to surveil their populations at a moment's notice, without anyone ever realizing what's happening. ..."
www.youtube.com

"There's a very real difference between allegiance to country–allegiance to people–than allegiance to state, which is what nationalism today is really more about," says Edward Snowden. On February 20, the whistleblowing cybersecurity expert addressed a wide range of questions during an in-depth interview with Reason's Nick Gillespie at Liberty Forum, a gathering of the Free State Project (FSP) in Manchester, New Hampshire.

FSP seeks to move 20,000 people over the next five years to New Hampshire, where they will secure "liberty in our lifetime" by affecting the political, economic, and cultural climate of the state. Over 1,900 members have already migrated to the state and their impact is already being felt. Among their achievements to date:

getting 15 of their brethren in the state House, challenging anti-ridehail laws, fighting in court for outre religious liberty, winning legal battles over taping cops, being mocked by Colbert for heroically paying off people's parking meters, hosting cool anything goes festivals for libertarians, nullifying pot juries, and inducing occasional pants-wetting absurd paranoia in local statists.

Snowden's cautionary tale about the the dangers of state surveillance wasn't lost on his audience of libertarians and anarchists who reside in the "Live Free or Die" state. He believes that technology has given rise to unprecedented freedom for individuals around the world-but he says so from an undisclosed location in authoritarian Russia.

And he reminds us that governments also have unprecedented potential to surveil their populations at a moment's notice, without anyone ever realizing what's happening.

"They know more about us than they ever have in the history of the United States," Snowden warns. "They're excusing themselves from accountability to us at the same time they're trying to exert greater power over us."

In the midst of a fiercely contested presidential race, Snowden remains steadfast in his distrust of partisan politics and declined to endorse any particular candidate or party, or even to label his beliefs. "I do see sort of a clear distinction between people who have a larger faith in liberties and rights than they do in states and institutions," he grants. "And this would be sort of the authoritarian/libertarian axis in the traditional sense. And I do think it's clear that if you believe in the progressive liberal tradition, which is that people should have greater capability to act freely, to make their own choices, to enjoy a better and freer life over the progression of sort of human life, you're going to be pushing away from that authoritarian axis at all times."

Snowden drews laughs when asked if he was eligible to vote via absentee ballot. "This is still a topic of...active research," he deadpans.

But he stresses that the U.S. government can win back trust and confidence through rigorous accountability to citizens and by living up to the ideals on which the country was founded. "We don't want Russia or China or North Korea or Iran or France or Germany or Brazil or any other country in the world to hold us up as an example for why we should be narrowing the boundaries of liberty around the world instead of expanding them," says Snowden.

Runs about 50 minutes.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

0:00 - Edward Snowden, welcome to New Hampshire. Meet the Free State Project.

0:53 - Apple vs. the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Why should strong encryption be legal?

5:02 - Is privacy dead? Should we just get over it?

10:48 - What would a legal and effective government surveillance program look like?

14:53 - Could we have stopped the slide into mass surveillance? Shouldn't we have seen it coming?

19:04 - How can government earn back the trust and confidence of the American people?

21:40 - What's wrong with our political parties?

24:27 - What are Snowden's political beliefs? Is he a libertarian?

26:27 - How did Snowden educate himself? Is he helped or hurt by his lack of formal education?

28:48 - Why did Snowden see bulk surveillance differently than his NSA co-workers?

33:03 - Was the NSA involved in gathering evidence against Ross Ulbricht?

35:39 - Will the government eventually give up fighting internet commerce? Or will they just change tactics?

37:32 - How can Snowden advocate freedom from a place like Russia?

41:00 - How should we teach children about the Internet?

43:43 - Under what conditions would Snowden return to the United States?

Go here for full transcript, downloadable versions, and more links and videos: http://reason.com/reasontv/2016/02/25...

Produced by Todd Krainin and Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Meredith Bragg and Krainin.

Visit http://reason.com/reasontv/2016/02/22... for full text, links, and downloadable versions. And subscribe to Reason TV to be notified when new videos are released.

jabbermocky
As an analytical thinker, communicator and recovering professional journalist, I can thoroughly appreciate Ed Snowden's take on the benefits of using pseudonyms when releasing potentially incendiary ideas to the greater population. Fairly sure we both know that no critical thinking goes unpunished in America these days. Mission 1: Stay safe!

Michael O'Rourke

Being a former Army Ranger I find it difficult to understand how Americans support the Right to bear Arms but not the Right of Free speech and Privacy of communication. all three amendments have equal rights. While I don't agree with how Snowden leaked the 1984 Surveillance Corporations, I'm glad he did. Sua sponte, Uncle Mike

Robert Van Tuinen2

I am. the government intentionally hid this information and discredited and fire previous whistleblowers. What he did was right and necessary.

Q Queuenstein

"We want a government that is...small...and legitimate". SPEAK FOR YOURSELF! GOVERNMENT IS THE OPPOSITE OF LEGITIMATE. Government is a monopoly on violent coercive force, no matter how small. "Representing the people" is impossible without perpetrating evil on a large percentage. Demand 100% voluntary interaction now. No government=no rulers. We are not a government of law when The Constitution is up for "interpretation". The government is the biggest breach of contract and coersive force ever perpetrated on people. It's historical existance does not argue for its continued existance. Think: zero coersion. Pessimistic? Me too, but look at the social change enabled by digital communication. Look at the Free State Project, Look at cryptography; We may at least find a piece of freedom in this world of coersion and distrust. Things are bad but we are bound to hit bottom. Please applause.j/k.

robinbuster

amazing! This person's value system, sense of morality, loyalty to humanity and liberty is admirable. The people are starving for politicians with that kind of ethos. I wish Ron Paul run for president. I kinda like Bernie Sanders most out of the options offered in this election.

Vlad Ratzen2

snowden said "im an engineer not a politican". when you listen to Ed Snowden, you must recognize that he is in fact a great philosopher.

when i listen to his answers when he was asked about the apple case. the things he said are exactly right without a single flaw in his descriptions. he described every single aspect and he showed us by doing that, what the apple case is really all about.

he points out: it is important to make sure that a goverment does not allow backdors in encryption, but we have also to accept the reality that we are simply unable to protect us against the NSA surveillance apparatus. again snowden talks about NSAs (in my opinion) the very dangerous ability to store all communication data in advance. by the way: Russ Tice said more then once "they store everything indefinitely".

what Snowden said about the apple case destroys the sophisticated narrative the media has created on purpose to suggest that surveillance can be avoided somehow. there is a nice article on reason.com talking in detail about the Apple case, and how it was planned well in advance.

if i had a single chance to ask mr snowden one question i would ask him "Mr Snowden, do you believe what the goverment has told us about 9/11"? i am sure there was enough time for mr snowden to listen to a guy named David Chandler, or to take a look at the movie "HYPOTHESIS" for example.

it might be interesting to watch his reaction.

Fork Unsa1

If EVERY gubermant agency had ONE person with BALLS like Snowden and told the truth about tyranny the American people (not to be confused with it's slimeball government) would be on the good path to taking our Republic back. Those who perform unconstitutional tasks, or enforce unconstitutional laws against their fellow Americans are TRAITORS and the modern day equivalent to Hitlers SS.

dman john2

Edward Snowden is a gifted outlier, born with genius brain. How I wish to be born with such mind.

[Mar 12, 2016] Edward Snowden Speaks Out: I will not be able to return form exile

Video... on 12.30 some assessment of Hilary email scandals. he think that she should face criminal procecution for mishanding emails while being Secretery State...
www.youtube.com

UPDATE 9/05/2015: In a rare exclusive interview from Russia, Edward Snowden states he would come back to the United States if he was guaranteed a fair trial. A fair trial is unlikely says ex-whistle-blower, Daniel Ellsberg. He would not be allowed to confront his accusers. He would not be allowed to testify in front of a jury. It would be like a closed military tribunal, and he would be locked up with no detailed press coverage.

tags: update, edward snowden, hillary clinton, whistle blower, NSA, barack obama

[Mar 10, 2016] Using a decent VPN for everything is rapidly becoming a must.

www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jason , March 7, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Using a decent VPN for everything is rapidly becoming a must. It probably won't protect you from the NSA, but it will do the job of protecting you from your own ISP.

That you have to protect yourself from your ISP is becoming just one more part of the sad reality that is the modern United States.

Reply

NeqNeq , March 7, 2016 at 6:09 pm

+1 to the VPNs.

I would say Tor is about as good except that Google, Akami, and Cloudflare sites (cough NC cough) regularly block Tor exit nodes. Still, you get a little more hardening using Tor browser than other browsers (using defaults).

bob , March 7, 2016 at 6:24 pm

"Verizon Wireless" Even if it were possible to use a VPN with a phone, it would still be affected. It's a MITM (man in the middle) attack.

The story talks about verizon wireless, not what would be called an ISP by most people- home internet. Fios, time warner, Comcast…etc

Tor? Hahahahahahaha

Jump right into that military intel briar patch, for security®.

NeqNeq , March 7, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Umm… I am not sure if you confusing VPN with something else, but yes. Its trivially easy to use VPN with almost any smartphone.

As for Tor: i agree that State sponsor surveillance is still a risk, but as noted above, the topic was ISPs (and i mentioned websites). When you use a phone, your carrier acts as the ISP.

Reply

NeqNeq , March 7, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Oh and for those who might care…

The header with your unique identifier can be scrubbed out when your using a VPN. Verizon only sees that you "went" to the VPN address…all sites you visit see you as coming from the VPN address. Neither the two shall meet without further snooping (which is not covered by the injection Verizon does…that we know of).

Pat , March 7, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Damn, I knew I should have gone through the process to remove the drm from my e books. I might have to look into doing that immediately. But first I should check how my couple of nook newstand subscriptions will be handled.

Whew, I have time. That is in the UK. Still a good warning shot over the bow…

Benedict@Large , March 7, 2016 at 4:07 pm

"… But U.S. critics say that could allow foreign companies to use the agreement to invalidate U.S. safety rules and regulations."

One thing no one much mentions is that the TPP allows foreign corporations the ability to sue to invalidate regulations, but does not all local corporations the same. In this, TPP privileges foreign over local production, and ensures a race to the bottom on product place of origin.

hunkerdown , March 7, 2016 at 7:40 pm

"A Party may exclude from patentability inventions, the prevention within their
territory of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect ordre public
or morality, including to protect human, animal or plant life or health or to avoid
serious prejudice to nature or the environment, provided that such exclusion is not
made merely because the exploitation is prohibited by its law."

I thought I saw the word morality some place else in the TPP, but apparently, the IP chapter was the only place. Bad research on my part! In any case, beware the ratchet clauses and the enemies within, lest your health system become just "Canadian™" enough for the world market.

[Feb 13, 2016] US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you

Notable quotes:
"... The American public has been living under collective Stockholm syndrome. The have secretly been deceived and betrayed while our freedoms, rights and national security has been compromised. The surveillance state was never for our protection. ..."
"... Various rogue agencies have intentionally and illegally subverted our constitution, rights and freedoms while secretly targeting Americans committing various crimes, including murder. ..."
"... When Clapper says "they might" then they are already doing so. ..."
"... Tea party never was. It always was promoted by the media and big business. Financed by the same. Look at the coverage: Occupy was ridiculed by big Media into no existence. Not the same at all. ..."
"... USSR has won! Now we treat our people the same way they did. Soon we can blackmail everyone into compliance. And we can easily plant evidence should we not find any - if they're in they can do anything they want. ..."
"... She is an opportunist, not a feminist. ..."
"... Ban Ki Moon and the Pope saying capitalism is destroying the life AND economy of the entire fricken globe, may be an opportunity for a popular movement, and this Bernie thing has the potential to be part of a wake up moment. ..."
"... I said I wouldn't ever do that again after O'bummer, but as Woodie Guthrie said, Hope is what makes us human and is the driver of evolution. Or something like that. ..."
"... You lost me on "equality is women having all the same opportunities as men". Actually many of us want entirely different "opportunities" and these women who play the patriarch, like Thatcher and Rice, and Shillary, do not represent the diverse and rich culture of "feminism" that is enmeshed in people's real lives. ..."
"... I'm an aussie and I can tell you America Bernie Sanders is what you need to keep you guys from becoming a laughing stock. Hillary, trump is on the same brush as the elitist of your country. Bernie may or not be able to do what he wants to as he will get stonewalled but if everyone is united and keeps fighting with him they will have no choice to implement some of them. ..."
www.theguardian.com
Fgt 4URIGHTS, 2016-02-09 22:59:16
The American public has been living under collective Stockholm syndrome. The have secretly been deceived and betrayed while our freedoms, rights and national security has been compromised. The surveillance state was never for our protection.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg1-vao5Ta8

Various rogue agencies have intentionally and illegally subverted our constitution, rights and freedoms while secretly targeting Americans committing various crimes, including murder.

YeeofLittleFaith -> Individualist , 2016-02-09 22:37:44
I'll say this, if this inevitable surveillance can prevent actual criminals from committing actual crimes, it might be useful.

And I'll say this: if that is the intention of these devices - and if your bog-standard criminal is ever caught using them - I'll eat your smart fridge.

neiman1 -> JinTexas , 2016-02-09 22:29:54
When Clapper says "they might" then they are already doing so.
Hillary Assad , 2016-02-09 22:26:15
Surveillance video of San Bernardino released on 01/05/16 Enjoy!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHH7gvHXLzQ
mirandawest -> Dan B , 2016-02-09 22:20:40
Tea party never was. It always was promoted by the media and big business. Financed by the same. Look at the coverage: Occupy was ridiculed by big Media into no existence. Not the same at all.
mirandawest -> John Leehane , 2016-02-09 22:15:38
USSR has won! Now we treat our people the same way they did. Soon we can blackmail everyone into compliance. And we can easily plant evidence should we not find any - if they're in they can do anything they want.
bcarey -> harrywarren , 2016-02-09 20:53:30

She is an opportunist, not a feminist.

Absolutely correct.
(And a panderer.)

Lisa Wood -> kirili, 2016-02-10 07:17:32
Hear ya, I plan to hold him to the fire. I'm a realist, and married to an uber realist, so not gonna argue with ya here, but, as this article actually says really well, is that the holistic embrace of all inequity opens the landscape to the big conversations we do Need to have right now.

I know i know, the UN is at one hand a weak tool and on the other a NWO franchise, but Ban Ki Moon and the Pope saying capitalism is destroying the life AND economy of the entire fricken globe, may be an opportunity for a popular movement, and this Bernie thing has the potential to be part of a wake up moment.

I have let my Hope thing vibrate a bit, and I said I wouldn't ever do that again after O'bummer, but as Woodie Guthrie said, Hope is what makes us human and is the driver of evolution. Or something like that.

Lisa Wood -> MajorMalaise , 2016-02-10 07:08:42
You lost me on "equality is women having all the same opportunities as men". Actually many of us want entirely different "opportunities" and these women who play the patriarch, like Thatcher and Rice, and Shillary, do not represent the diverse and rich culture of "feminism" that is enmeshed in people's real lives.
keepinitreal2000, 2016-02-10 06:12:18
I'm an aussie and I can tell you America Bernie Sanders is what you need to keep you guys from becoming a laughing stock. Hillary, trump is on the same brush as the elitist of your country. Bernie may or not be able to do what he wants to as he will get stonewalled but if everyone is united and keeps fighting with him they will have no choice to implement some of them.

As an Aussie it is important that his message is heard and implemented as America can then show the world there is good in the world and that we all can live in a fair, just and equal world. Something America has stopped showing for a very longtime. This hopefully will filter down to other countries as America rightly or wrongly leads the world and many countries do follow suit.

[Jan 29, 2016] US government finds top secret information in Clinton emails

Notable quotes:
"... Oh, but it is serious. The material is/was classified. It just wasn't marked as such. Which means someone removed the classified material from a separate secure network and sent it to Hilary. We know from her other emails that, on more than one occasion, she requested that that be done. ..."
"... fellow diplomats and other specialists said on Thursday that if any emails were blatantly of a sensitive nature, she could have been expected to flag it. "She might have had some responsibility to blow the whistle," said former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, "The recipient may have an induced kind of responsibility," Pickering added, "if they see something that appears to be a serious breach of security." ..."
"... Finally whether they were marked or not the fact that an electronic copy resided on a server in an insecure location was basically like her making a copy and bringing it home and plunking it in a file cabinet... ..."
"... In Section 7 of her NDA, Clinton agreed to return any classified information she gained access to, and further agreed that failure to do so could be punished under Sections 793 and 1924 of the US Criminal Code. ..."
"... The agreement considers information classified whether it is "marked or unmarked." ..."
"... According to a State Department regulation in effect during Clinton's tenure (12 FAM 531), "classified material should not be stored at a facility outside the chancery, consulate, etc., merely for convenience." ..."
"... Additionally, a regulation established in 2012 (12 FAM 533.2) requires that "each employee, irrespective of rank must certify" that classified information "is not in their household or personal effects." ..."
"... As of December 2, 2009, the Foreign Affairs Manual has explicitly stated that "classified processing and/or classified conversation on a PDA is prohibited." ..."
"... Look, Hillary is sloppy about her affairs of state. She voted with Cheney for the Iraq disaster and jumped in supporting it. It is the greatest foreign affair disaster since Viet Nam and probably the greatest, period! She was a big proponent of getting rid of Khadaffi in Libya and now we have radical Islamic anarchy ravaging the failed state. She was all for the Arab Spring until the Muslim Brotherhood was voted into power in Egypt....which was replaced by yet another military dictatorship we support. And she had to have her own private e-mail server and it got used for questionable handling of state secrets. This is just Hillary being Hillary........ ..."
"... Its no secret that this hysterically ambitious Clinton woman is a warmonger and a hooker for Wall Street . No need to read her e-mails, just check her record. ..."
"... What was exemplary about an unnecessary war, a dumbass victory speech three or so months into it, the President's absence of support for his CIA agent outed by his staff, the President's German Chancellor shoulder massage, the use of RNC servers and subsequently "lost" gazillion emails, doing nothing in response to Twin Towers news, ditto for Katrina news, the withheld information from the Tillman family, and sanctioned torture? ..."
"... Another point that has perhaps not been covered sufficiently is the constant use of the phrase "unsecured email server" - which is intentionally vague and misleading and was almost certainly a phrase coined by someone who knows nothing about email servers or IT security and has been parroted mindlessly by people who know even less and journalists who should know better. ..."
"... Yet the term "unsecured" has many different meanings and implications - in the context of an email server it could mean that mail accounts are accessible without authentication, but in terms of network security it could mean that the server somehow existed outside a firewall or Virtual Private Network or some other form of physical or logical security. ..."
"... It is also extremely improbable that an email server would be the only device sharing that network segment - of necessity there would at least be a file server and some means of communicating with the outside world, most likely a router or a switch, which would by default have a built-in hardware firewall (way more secure than a software firewall). ..."
"... Anything generated related to a SAP is, by it's mere existence, classified at the most extreme level, and everyone who works on a SAP knows this intimately and you sign your life away to acknowledge this. ..."
"... yeah appointed by Obama...John Kerry. His state department. John is credited on both sides of the aisle of actually coming in and making the necessary changes to clean up the administrative mess either created or not addressed by his predecessor. ..."
"... Its not hard to understand, she was supposed to only use her official email account maintained on secure Federal government servers when conducting official business during her tenure as Secretary of State. This was for three reasons, the first being security the second being transparency and the third for accountability. ..."
"... You need to share that one with Petraeus, whos career was ruined and had to pay 100k in fines, for letting some info slip to his mistress.. ..."
"... If every corrupt liar was sent to prison there'd be no one left in Washington, or Westminster and we'd have to have elections with ordinary people standing, instead of the usual suspects from the political class. Which, on reflection, sounds quite good -- ..."
"... It's a reckless arrogance combined with the belief that no-one can touch her. If she does become the nominee Hillary will be an easy target for Trump. It'll be like "shooting fish in a barrel". ..."
"... It is obvious that the Secretary of State and the President should be communicating on a secure network controlled by the federal government. It is obvious that virtually none of these communications were done in a secure manner. Consider whether someone who contends this is irrelevant has enough sense to come in out of the rain. ..."
www.theguardian.com

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time on Friday that Hillary Clinton's unsecured home server contained some of the US government's most closely guarded secrets, censoring 22 emails with material demanding one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes just three days before the Iowa presidential nominating caucuses in which Clinton is a candidate.


jrhaddock -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 23:04

Oh, but it is serious. The material is/was classified. It just wasn't marked as such. Which means someone removed the classified material from a separate secure network and sent it to Hilary. We know from her other emails that, on more than one occasion, she requested that that be done.

And she's not just some low level clerk who doesn't understand what classified material is or how it is handled. She had been the wife of the president so is certainly well aware of the security surrounding classified material. And then she was Sec of State and obviously knew what kind of information was classified. So to claim that the material wasn't marked, and therefore she didn't know it was classified, is simply not credulous.

Berkeley2013 29 Jan 2016 22:46

And Clinton had a considerable number of unvetted people maintain and administer her communication system. The potential for wrong doing in general and blackmail from many angles is great.

There's also the cost of this whole investigation. Why should US taxpayers have to pick up the bill?

And the waste of good personnel time---a total waste...

Skip Breitmeyer -> simpledino 29 Jan 2016 22:29

In one sense you're absolutely right- read carefully this article (and the announcement leading to it) raises at least as many questions as it answers, period. On the other hand, those ambiguities are certain not to be resolved 'over-the-weekend' (nor before the first votes are cast in Iowa) and thus the timing of the thing could not be more misfortunate for Ms. Clinton, nor more perfect for maximum effect than if the timing had been deliberately planned. In fact I'm surprised there aren't a raft of comments on this point. "Confirmed by the Obama administration..."? Who in the administration? What wing of the administration? Some jack-off in the justice dept. who got 50,000 g's for the scoop? The fact is, I'm actually with Bernie over Hilary any day, but I admit to a certain respect for her remarkable expertise and debate performances that have really shown the GOP boys to be a bunch of second-benchers... And there's something a little dirty and dodgy that's gone on here...

Adamnoggi dusablon 29 Jan 2016 22:23

SAP does not relate to To the level of classification. A special access program could be at the confidential level or higher dependent upon content. Special access means just that, access is granted on a case by case basis, regardless of classification level .


Gigi Trala La 29 Jan 2016 22:17

She is treated with remarkable indulgence. Anywhere with a sense of accountability she will be facing prosecution, and yet here she is running for even higher office. In the middle of demonstrating her unfitness.


eldudeabides 29 Jan 2016 22:15

Independent experts say it is highly unlikely that Clinton will be charged with wrongdoing, based on the limited details that have surfaced up to now and the lack of indications that she intended to break any laws.

since when has ignorance been a defence?


nataliesutler UzzDontSay 29 Jan 2016 22:05

Yes Petraeus did get this kind of scrutiny even though what he did was much less serious that what Clinton did. this isn't about a rule change. And pretending it is isn't going to fool anyone.


Sam3456 kattw 29 Jan 2016 21:18

Thats a misunderstanding on your part First lets look at Hillary's statement in March:

"I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I'm certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material."

She later adjusted her language to note that she never sent anything "marked" classified. So already some Clinton-esque word parsing

And then what people said who used to do her job:

fellow diplomats and other specialists said on Thursday that if any emails were blatantly of a sensitive nature, she could have been expected to flag it.
"She might have had some responsibility to blow the whistle," said former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, "The recipient may have an induced kind of responsibility," Pickering added, "if they see something that appears to be a serious breach of security."

It is a view shared by J. William Leonard, who between 2002 and 2008 was director of the Information Security Oversight Office, which oversees the government classification system. He pointed out that all government officials given a security clearance are required to sign a nondisclosure agreement, which states they are responsible if secrets leak – whether the information was "marked or not."

Finally whether they were marked or not the fact that an electronic copy resided on a server in an insecure location was basically like her making a copy and bringing it home and plunking it in a file cabinet...

beanierose -> dusablon 29 Jan 2016 21:08

Yeah - I just don't understand what Hillary is actually accused of doing / or not doing in Benghazi. Was it that they didn't provide support to Stevens - (I think that was debunked) - was it that they claimed on the Sunday talk shows that the video was responsible for the attack (who cares). Now - I can think of an outrage - President Bush attacking Iraq on the specious claim that they had WMD - that was a lie/incorrec/incompetence and it cost ~7000 US and 200K to 700K Iraqi lives. Now - there's a scandal.

Stephen_Sean -> elexpatrioto 29 Jan 2016 21:07

The Secretary of State is an "original classifier" of information. The individual holding that office is responsible to recognize whether information is classified and to what level regardless if it is marked or not. She should have known. She has no true shelter of ignorance here.

Stephen_Sean 29 Jan 2016 21:00

The Guardian is whistling through the graveyard. The FBI is very close to a decision to recommend an indictment to the DOJ. At that point is up to POTUS whether he thinks Hillary is worth tainting his entire Presidency to protect by blocking a DOJ indictment. His responsibility as an outgoing President is to do what is best for his party and to provide his best attempt to get a Democrat elected. I smell Biden warming up in the bullpen as an emergency.

The last thing the DNC wants is a delay if their is going to be an indictment. For an indictment to come after she is nominated would be an unrecoverable blow for the Democrats. If their is to be an indictment its best for it to come now while they can still get Biden in and maintain their chances.

Sam3456 29 Jan 2016 20:57

In Section 7 of her NDA, Clinton agreed to return any classified information she gained access to, and further agreed that failure to do so could be punished under Sections 793 and 1924 of the US Criminal Code.

According To § 793 Of Title 18 Of The US Code, anyone who willfully retains, transmits or causes to be transmitted, national security information, can face up to ten years in prison.

According To § 1924 Of Title 18 Of The US Code, anyone who removes classified information " with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location," can face up to a year in prison.

The agreement considers information classified whether it is "marked or unmarked."

According to a State Department regulation in effect during Clinton's tenure (12 FAM 531), "classified material should not be stored at a facility outside the chancery, consulate, etc., merely for convenience."

Additionally, a regulation established in 2012 (12 FAM 533.2) requires that "each employee, irrespective of rank must certify" that classified information "is not in their household or personal effects."

As of December 2, 2009, the Foreign Affairs Manual has explicitly stated that "classified processing and/or classified conversation on a PDA is prohibited."

kus art 29 Jan 2016 20:54

I'm assuming that the censored emails reveal activities that the US government is into are Way more corrupt, insidious and venal as the the emails already exposed, which says a lot already...

Profhambone -> Bruce Hill 29 Jan 2016 20:53

Look, Hillary is sloppy about her affairs of state. She voted with Cheney for the Iraq disaster and jumped in supporting it. It is the greatest foreign affair disaster since Viet Nam and probably the greatest, period! She was a big proponent of getting rid of Khadaffi in Libya and now we have radical Islamic anarchy ravaging the failed state. She was all for the Arab Spring until the Muslim Brotherhood was voted into power in Egypt....which was replaced by yet another military dictatorship we support. And she had to have her own private e-mail server and it got used for questionable handling of state secrets. This is just Hillary being Hillary........


PsygonnUSA 29 Jan 2016 20:44

Its no secret that this hysterically ambitious Clinton woman is a warmonger and a hooker for Wall Street . No need to read her e-mails, just check her record.


USfan 29 Jan 2016 20:41

Sorry to be ranting but what does it say about a country - in theory, a democracy - that is implicated in so much questionable business around the world that we have to classify mountains of communication as off-limits to the people, who are theoretically sovereign in this country?

We've all gotten quite used to this. In reality, it should freak us out much more than it does. I'm not naive about what national security requires, but my sense is the government habitually and routinely classifies all sorts of things the people of this country have every right to know.

Assuming this is still a democracy, which is perhaps a big assumption.


Raleighchopper Bruce Hill 29 Jan 2016 20:40

far Left sites like the Guardian:

LMAOROFL
Scott Trust Ltd board
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Trust_Limited

FirthyB 29 Jan 2016 20:36

Hillary is in that class, along with Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bush, Cheney etc.. who believe the rule of law only pertains to the little guys.


MooseMcNaulty -> dusablon 29 Jan 2016 20:28

The spying was illegal on a Constitutional basis. The Fourth Amendment protects our privacy and prevents unlawful search and seizure. The government getting free access to the contents of our emails seems the same as opening our mail, which is illegal without a court order.

The drone program is illegal based on the Geneva accords. We are carrying out targeted killings within sovereign nations, usually without their knowledge or consent, based on secret evidence that they pose a vaguely defined 'imminent threat'. It isn't in line with any international law, though we set that precedent long ago.


makaio USfan 29 Jan 2016 20:08

What was exemplary about an unnecessary war, a dumbass victory speech three or so months into it, the President's absence of support for his CIA agent outed by his staff, the President's German Chancellor shoulder massage, the use of RNC servers and subsequently "lost" gazillion emails, doing nothing in response to Twin Towers news, ditto for Katrina news, the withheld information from the Tillman family, and sanctioned torture?

Those were just starter questions. I'm sure I missed things.


Raleighchopper -> Popeia 29 Jan 2016 20:05

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-clinton-idUSN2540811420080326


Rowan Walters 29 Jan 2016 19:51

Another point that has perhaps not been covered sufficiently is the constant use of the phrase "unsecured email server" - which is intentionally vague and misleading and was almost certainly a phrase coined by someone who knows nothing about email servers or IT security and has been parroted mindlessly by people who know even less and journalists who should know better.

As an IT professional the repeated use of a phrase like that is a red flag - it's like when people who don't know what they're talking about latch on to a phrase which sounds technical because it contains jargon or technical concepts and they use it to make it sound like they know what they're talking about but it doesn't actually mean anything unless the context is clear and unambiguous.

The phrase is obviously being repeated to convey the impression of supreme negligence - that sensitive state secrets were left defenceless and (gasp!) potentially accessible by anyone.

Yet the term "unsecured" has many different meanings and implications - in the context of an email server it could mean that mail accounts are accessible without authentication, but in terms of network security it could mean that the server somehow existed outside a firewall or Virtual Private Network or some other form of physical or logical security.

Does this term "unsecured" mean the data on the server was not password-protected, does it mean it was unencrypted, does it mean that it was totally unprotected (which is extremely unlikely even if it was installed by an ignorant Luddite given that any modern broadband modem is also a hardware firewall), and as for the "server" was it a physical box or a virtual server?

It is also extremely improbable that an email server would be the only device sharing that network segment - of necessity there would at least be a file server and some means of communicating with the outside world, most likely a router or a switch, which would by default have a built-in hardware firewall (way more secure than a software firewall).

And regarding the "unsecured" part, how was the network accessed?
There are a huge number of possibilities as to the actual meaning and on its own there is not enough information to deduce which - if any - is correct.

I suspect that someone who knows little to nothing about technology has invented this concept based on ignorance a desire to imply malfeasance because on its own it really is a nonsense term.


seanet1310 -> Wallabyfan 29 Jan 2016 19:37

Nope. Like it or not Manning deliberately took classified information, smuggled it out and gave it to foreign nationals.
Clinton it would appear mishandled classified material, at best she failed to realise the sensitive nature and at worst actively took material from controlled and classified networks onto an unsecured private network.


dusablon 29 Jan 2016 19:28

Classified material in the US is classified at three levels: confidential, secret, and top secret. Those labels are not applied in a cavalier fashion. The release of TS information is considered a grave threat to the security of the United States.

Above these classification levels is what is as known as Special Access Program information, the release of which has extremely grave ramifications for the US. Access to SAP material is extremely limited and only granted after an extensive personal background investigation and only on a 'need to know' basis. You don't simply get a SAP program clearance because your employer thinks it would be nice to have, etc. In fact, you can have a Top Secret clearance and never get a special access program clearance to go with it.

For those of you playing at home, the Top Secret SAP material Hillary had on her server - the most critical material the US can have - was not simply 'upgraded' to classified in a routine bureaucratic exercise because it was previously unclassified.

Anything generated related to a SAP is, by it's mere existence, classified at the most extreme level, and everyone who works on a SAP knows this intimately and you sign your life away to acknowledge this.

What the Feds did in Hillary's case in making the material on her home-based server Top Secret SAP was to bring those materials into what is known as 'accountability .'

That is, the material was always SAP material but it was just discovered outside a SAP lock-down area or secure system and now it must become 'accountable' at the high classification level to ensure it's protected from further disclosure.

Hillary and her minions have no excuse whatsoever for this intentional mishandling of this critical material and are in severe legal jeopardy no matter what disinformation her campaign puts out. Someone will or should go to prison. Period.

(Sorry for the length of the post)


Sam3456 -> Mark Forrester 29 Jan 2016 19:22

yeah appointed by Obama...John Kerry. His state department. John is credited on both sides of the aisle of actually coming in and making the necessary changes to clean up the administrative mess either created or not addressed by his predecessor.

Within weeks of taking the position JK implemented the OIG task forces recommendations to streamline the process and make State run more in line with other government organizations. I think John saw the "Sorry it snowed can't have you this info for a month" for what it was and acted out of decency and fairness to the American people. I still think he looks like a hound and is a political opportunist but you can't blame him for shenanigans here


chiefwiley -> DoktahZ 29 Jan 2016 19:18

The messages were "de-papered" by the staff, stripping them from their forms and headings and then scanning and including the content in accumulations to be sent and stored in an unclassified system. Taking the markings off of a classified document does not render it unclassified. Adding the markings back onto the documents does not "declare" them classified. Their classified nature was constant.

If you only have an unsecured system, it should never be used for official traffic, let alone classified or special access traffic.

dusablon -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 19:05

Give it up.

She used a private server deliberately to avoid FOIA requests, she deleted thousands of emails after they were requested, and the emails that remained contained Top Secret Special Access Program information, and it does not matter one iota whether or not that material was marked or whether or not it has been recently classified appropriately.


chiefwiley -> Exceptionalism
29 Jan 2016 19:04

18USC Section793(f)

$250,000 and ten years.

dusablon -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 19:00

False.

Anything related to a special access program is classified whether marked as such or not.

dalisnewcar 29 Jan 2016 18:58

You would figure that after all the lies of O'bomber that democrats might wake up some. Apparently, they are too stupid to realize they have been duped even after the entire Middle Class has been decimated and the wealth of the 1% has grown 3 fold under the man who has now bombed 7 countries. And you folks think Clinton, who personally destroyed Libya, is going to be honest with you and not do the same things he's done? Wake up folks. Your banging your head against the same old wall.

fanUS -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 18:46

She is evil, because she helped Islamic State to rise.


Paul Christenson -> Barry_Seal 29 Jan 2016 18:45

20 - Barbara Wise - Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.

21 - Charles Meissner - Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.

22 - Dr. Stanley Heard - Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton 's advisory council personally treated Clinton 's mother, stepfather and Brother.

23 - Barry Seal - Drug running TWA pilot out of Mean Arkansas , death was no accident.

24 - John ny Lawhorn, Jr. - Mechanic, found a check made out to Bill Clinton in the trunk of a car left at his repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.

25 - Stanley Huggins - Investigated Madison Guaranty. His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.

26 - Hershel Friday - Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994, when his plane exploded.

27 - Kevin Ives & Don Henry - Known as "The boys on the track" case. Reports say the two boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. The initial report of death said their deaths were due to falling asleep on railroad tracks and being run over. Later autopsy reports stated that the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.

THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE IVES/HENRY CASE:

28 - Keith Coney - Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.

29 - Keith McMaskle - Died, stabbed 113 times, Nov 1988

30 - Gregory Collins - Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.

31 - Jeff Rhodes - He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989. (Coroner ruled death due to suicide)

32 - James Milan - Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was due to natural causes"?

33 - Jordan Kettleson - Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.

34 - Richard Winters - A suspect in the Ives/Henry deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.

THE FOLLOWING CLINTON PERSONAL BODYGUARDS ALL DIED OF MYSTERIOUS CAUSES OR SUICIDE
36 - Major William S. Barkley, Jr.
37 - Captain Scott J . Reynolds
38 - Sgt. Brian Hanley
39 - Sgt. Tim Sabel
40 - Major General William Robertson
41 - Col. William Densberger
42 - Col. Robert Kelly
43 - Spec. Gary Rhodes
44 - Steve Willis
45 - Robert Williams
46 - Conway LeBleu
47 - Todd McKeehan

And this list does not include the four dead Americans in Benghazi that Hillary abandoned!


Paul Christenson Barry_Seal 29 Jan 2016 18:42

THE MANY CLINTON BODY BAGS . . .

Someone recently reminded me of this list. I had forgotten how long it is. Therefore, this is a quick refresher course, lest we forget what has happened to many "friends" and associates of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

1- James McDougal - Convicted Whitewater partner of the Clintons who died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr's investigation.

2 - Mary Mahoney - A former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown (Washington, D. C.). The murder happened just after she was to go public with her story of sexual harassment by Clinton in the White House.

3 - Vince Foster - Former White House Councilor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock 's Rose Law Firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide. (He was about to testify against Hillary related to the records she refused to turn over to congress.) Was reported to have been having an affair with Hillary.

4 - Ron Brown - Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown's skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people on the plane also died. A few days later the Air Traffic controller committed suicide.

5 - C. Victor Raiser, II - Raiser, a major player in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992.

6 - Paul Tulley - Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock on September 1992. Described by Clinton as a "dear friend and trusted advisor".

7 - Ed Willey - Clinton fundraiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day His wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.

8 - Jerry Parks - Head of Clinton's gubernatorial security team in Little Rock .. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock . Park's son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton . He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.

9 - James Bunch - Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a "Black Book" of people which contained names of influential people who visited Prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas

10 - James Wilson - Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to the Clintons ' Whitewater deals.

11 - Kathy Ferguson - Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson , was found dead in May 1994, in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she were going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones Lawsuit, and Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.

12 - Bill Shelton - Arkansas State Trooper and fiancée of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancée, he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancée.

13 - Gandy Baugh - Attorney for Clinton 's friend Dan Lassater, died by jumping out a window of a tall building January, 1994. His client, Dan Lassater, was a convicted drug distributor.

14 - Florence Martin - Accountant & sub-contractor for the CIA, was related to the Barry Seal, Mena , Arkansas Airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot Wounds.

15 - Suzanne Coleman - Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died Of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a Suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.

16 - Paula Grober - Clinton 's speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.

17 - Danny Casolaro - Investigative reporter who was Investigating the Mean Airport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in the middle of his investigation.

18 - Paul Wilcher - Attorney investigating corruption at Mean Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 "October Surprise" was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993, in his Washington DC apartment. Had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death. (May have died of poison)

19 - Jon Parnell Walker - Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his Arlington , Virginia apartment balcony August 15,1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.

Thijs Buelens -> honey1969 29 Jan 2016 18:41

Did the actors from Orange is the New Black already endorsed Hillary? Just wondering.

Sam3456 -> Sam3456 29 Jan 2016 18:35

Remember as soon as Snowden walked out the door with his USB drive full of secrets his was in violation. Wether he knew the severity and classification or not.

Think of Hillary's email server as her home USB drive.

RedPillCeryx 29 Jan 2016 18:33

Government civil and military employees working with material at the Top Secret level are required to undergo incredibly protracted and intrusive vetting procedures (including polygraph testing) in order to obtain and keep current their security clearances to access such matter. Was Hillary Clinton required to obtain a Top Secret clearance in the same way, or was she just waved through because of Who She Is?

Sam3456 29 Jan 2016 18:32

Just to be clear, Colin Powell used a private email ACCOUNT which was hosted in the cloud and used it only for personal use. He was audited (never deleted anything) and it was found to contain no government records.

Hillary used a server, which means in electronic form the documents existed outside the State Department unsecured. Its as if she took a Top Secret file home with her. That is a VERY BIG mistake and as the Sec of State she signed a document saying she understood the rules and agreed to play by them. She did not and removing state secrets from their secure location is a very serious matter. Wether you put the actual file in your briefcase or have them sitting in electronic version on your server.

Second, she signed a document saying she would return any and ALL documents and copies of documents pertaining to the State Department with 30 (or 60 I can't remember) of leaving. The documents on her server, again electronic copies of the top secret files, where not returned for 2 years. Thats a huge violation.

Finally, there is a clause in classification that deals with the information that is top secret by nature. Meaning regardless of wether its MARKED classified or not the very nature of the material would be apparent to a senior official that it was classified and appropriate action would have to be taken. She she either knew and ignored or did not know...and both of those scenarios don't give me a lot of confidence.

Finally the information that was classified at the highest levels means exposure of that material would put human operatives lives at risk. Something she accused Snowden of doing when she called him a traitor. By putting that information outside the State Department firewall she basically put peoples lives at risk so she could have the convenience of using one mobile device.


Wallabyfan -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 18:10

Sorry you can delude yourself all you like but Powell and Cheney used private emails while at work on secure servers for personal communications not highly classified communications and did so before the 2009 ban on this practice came into place . Clinton has used a private unsecured server at her home while Sec of State and even worse provided access to people in her team who had no security clearance. She has also deleted more than 30,000 emails from the server in full knowledge of the FBI probe. You do realise that she is going to end up in jail don't you?

MtnClimber -> boscovee 29 Jan 2016 18:07

Are you as interested in all of the emails that Cheney destroyed? He was asked to provide them and never allowed ANY to be seen.

Typical GOP

Dozens die at embassies under Bush. Zero investigations. Zero hearings.
4 die at an embassy under Clinton. Dozens of hearings.

OurNigel -> Robert Greene 29 Jan 2016 17:53

Its not hard to understand, she was supposed to only use her official email account maintained on secure Federal government servers when conducting official business during her tenure as Secretary of State. This was for three reasons, the first being security the second being transparency and the third for accountability.

Serious breach of protocol I'm afraid.

Talgen -> Exceptionalism 29 Jan 2016 17:50

Department responses for classification infractions could include counseling, warnings or other action, officials said. They wouldn't say if Clinton or senior aides who've since left government could face penalties. The officials weren't authorized to speak on the matter and demanded anonymity."

You need to share that one with Petraeus, whos career was ruined and had to pay 100k in fines, for letting some info slip to his mistress..

Wallabyfan 29 Jan 2016 17:50

No one here seems to be able to accept how serious this is. You cant downplay it. This is the most serious scandal we have seen in American politics for decades.

Any other US official handling even 1 classified piece of material on his or her own unsecured home server would have been arrested and jailed by now for about 50 years perhaps longer. The fact that we are talking about 20 + (at least) indicates at the very least Clinton's hubris, incompetence and very poor judgement as well as being a very serious breach of US law. Her campaign is doomed.

This is only the beginning of the scandal and I predict we will be rocked when we learn the truth. Clinton will be indicted and probably jailed along with Huma Abedin who the FBI are also investigating.


HiramsMaxim -> Exceptionalism 29 Jan 2016 17:50

http://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/HRC-SCI-NDA1.pdf


OurNigel 29 Jan 2016 17:42

This is supposed to be the lady who (in her own words) has a huge experience of government yet she willingly broke not just State Department protocols and procedures, by using a privately maintained none secure server for her email service she also broke Federal laws and regulations governing recordkeeping requirements.

At the very least this was a massive breach of security and a total disregard for established rules whilst she was in office. Its not as if she was just some local government officer in a backwater town she was Secretary of State for the United States government.

If the NSA is to be believed you should presume her emails could have been read by any foreign state.

This is actually a huge story.


TassieNigel 29 Jan 2016 17:41

This god awful Clinton family had to be stopped somehow I suppose. Now if I'd done it, I'd be behind bars long ago, so when will Hillary be charged is my question ?

Hillary made much of slinging off about the "traitor" Julian Assange, so let's see how Mrs Clinton looks like behind bars. A woman simply incapable of telling the truth --

Celebrations for Bernie Sanders of course.


HiramsMaxim 29 Jan 2016 17:41

They also wouldn't disclose whether any of the documents reflected information that was classified at the time of transmission,

Has nothing to do with anything. Maybe the author should read the actual NDA signed by Mrs. Clinton.

http://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/HRC-SCI-NDA1.pdf


beneboy303 -> dusablon 29 Jan 2016 17:18

If every corrupt liar was sent to prison there'd be no one left in Washington, or Westminster and we'd have to have elections with ordinary people standing, instead of the usual suspects from the political class. Which, on reflection, sounds quite good !


In_for_the_kill 29 Jan 2016 17:15

Come on Guardian, this should be your lead story, the executive branch of the United States just confirmed that a candidate for the Presidency pretty much broke the law, knowingly. If that ain't headline material, then I don't know what is.


dusablon -> SenseCir 29 Jan 2016 17:09

Irrelevant?

Knowingly committing a felony by a candidate for POTUS is anything but irrelevant.

And forget her oh-so-clever excuses about not sending or receiving anything marked top secret or any other level of classification including SAP. If you work programs like those you know that anything generated related to that program is automatically classified, whether or not it's marked as such. And such material is only shared on a need to know basis.

She's putting out a smokescreen to fool the majority of voters who have never or will never have special access. She is a criminal and needs to be arrested. Period.

Commentator6 29 Jan 2016 17:00

It's a reckless arrogance combined with the belief that no-one can touch her. If she does become the nominee Hillary will be an easy target for Trump. It'll be like "shooting fish in a barrel".

DismayedPerplexed -> OnlyOneView 29 Jan 2016 16:40

Are you forgetting W and his administration's 5 million deleted emails?

http://www.salon.com/2015/03/12/the_george_w_bush_email_scandal_the_media_has_conveniently_forgotten_partner/

Bob Sheerin 29 Jan 2016 16:40

Consider that email is an indispensable tool in doing one's job. Consider that in order to effectively do her job, candidate Clinton -- as the Secretary of State -- had to be sending and receiving Top Secret documents. Consider that all of her email was routed through a personal server. Consider whether she released all of the relevant emails. Well, she claimed she did but the evidence contradicts such a claim. Consider that this latest news release has -- like so many others -- been released late on a Friday.

It is obvious that the Secretary of State and the President should be communicating on a secure network controlled by the federal government. It is obvious that virtually none of these communications were done in a secure manner. Consider whether someone who contends this is irrelevant has enough sense to come in out of the rain.

[Jan 24, 2016] I Ramped Up My Internet Security, and You Should Too by Julia Angwin

Actually you should use separate PC for you banking transaction and taxes. this can be older PC or a cheap laptop bought specifically for this purpose, or at least a VM. But it should be a separate operating system from OS that you use to browse internet. Doing such things on Pc you use for regular internet browsing is playing with fire.
Notable quotes:
"... mmmm missed the best security resolution of all: go to 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all email financial services accounts: gmail, schwab, paypal, etc, etc - makes 30 character passwords much less important ..."
"... if a financial service provider does not have 2FA, then drop them for incompetence ..."
"... one of the best advise i received is; when doing banking on your PC make sure that is the only page open ..."
"... The main issue with a full Linux system is you need a technical support person to back you up if you're not doing it yourself. Linux had the most CVE vulnerabilities after OS X ..."
"... We really don't need more kooks thinking their messages to Aunt Tillie need strong encryption. ..."
Jan. 20, 2016 | ProPublica

Next up is ditching old, unused or poorly maintained software. Using software is a commitment. If you don't update it, you are wearing a "hack me" sign on your forehead. So if there are programs or apps that you don't use, delete them.

This year, I decided to ditch my instant messaging client Adium. I was using it to enable encrypted chats. But like many cash-strapped open source projects, it is rarely updated and has been linked to many security vulnerabilities.

m krosse, 4 days ago
mmmm missed the best security resolution of all: go to 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all email & financial services accounts: gmail, schwab, paypal, etc, etc - makes 30 character passwords much less important

if a financial service provider does not have 2FA, then drop them for incompetence

Fred Garven

one of the best advise i received is; when doing banking on your PC make sure that is the only page open (actually you should have a separate Pc for such transactions, or at least a VM -- NNB) the only item running on your PC at the time no other software or open web page should be running, because those other open software can possible view your account info.
gilbert satchell , 4 days ago
The greatest thing I did to upgrade my security was to dump anything and everything related to apple. Moved on over to open source Linux Mint and yes, I still use Tor.
JV -> gilbert satchell, 4 days ago
The main issue with a full Linux system is you need a technical support person to back you up if you're not doing it yourself. Linux had the most CVE vulnerabilities after OS X: http://www.cvedetails.com/top-...

Jonathan

So for Mr & Ms Average Internet user you are going to suggest they switch to Tor and the dark web? Before they worry about password security? Perhaps for a journalist anonymity is paramount but most folks are only going to expose themselves to even more malware down that path. Better to suggest that users switch to a browser that autoupdates itself and install the HTTPS Everywhere plugin. We really don't need more kooks thinking their messages to Aunt Tillie need strong encryption.

Gordon Bartlett

Sorry, but it's not clear what you mean by "updating your software." Try giving specific examples of, say, what a person running Windows on their PC or Android on their mobile phone would do on their own to upgrade, assuming, as you do, that the patches we periodically receive from MSFT, etc. are inadequate.

JSF

I am a retired IT professional from a federal government agency. Most of our users who needed secure communication were rather techno phobic. Try Explaining public/private keys. I have tried some programs like signal, PGP etc. They all require the recipient to use the same software. Signal said "invite your contacts" I am pretty sure any one getting this invite would consider it spam, pfishing or a virus.

The sender might not know where the recipient is located. If the Corp locks their users machines it requires IT intervention to install anything which could be days or longer not really conducive to time sensitive information. We need to develop better technical solutions for people who are not tech savvy


[Jan 20, 2016] Facebook the new social control paradigm

Notable quotes:
"... The Filter Bubble ..."
"... Facebook and Your Marriage ..."
"... In a presentation titled Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Rosen presented his findings based on a number of computer-based surveys distributed to 1,000 urban adolescents and his 15-minute observations of 300 teens in the act of studying. ..."
"... Some of the negative side effects of Facebook use for teens that Rosen cited include: ..."
"... Development of narcissism in teens who often use Facebook; ..."
"... Presence of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies, in teens who have a strong Facebook presence; ..."
"... Increased absence from school and likelihood of developing stomach aches, sleeping problems, anxiety and depression, in teens who overdose in technology on a daily basis, including Facebook and video games; ..."
"... Lower grades for middle school, high school and college students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period; ..."
"... Lower reading retention rates for students who most frequently had Facebook open on their computers during the 15-minute study period. ..."
Zero Hedge

We ARE what we THINK - not what we look at, or what we look like, or what we think we look like. In fact, the visual cortex can be highly deceptive when it comes to the functioning of the brain. Optical illusions exploit this brain trick.

Most practically, overloading of the visual cortex reduces higher brain function to nearly zero. It's a very subtle process, not understood by many TV watchers. TV makes you stupid by overloading your visual cortex, at a certain Hz frequency, which affects your reptilian brain. This is why you get the munchies when you watch TV, or laugh without reason. Facebook is a lot more effective at this because the associations are stronger (i.e. your friends) and it's interactive - making the users feel as if they are controlling their reality.

The fact is that users are not controlling Facebook - Facebook is controlling you. They have set the stage which is limited, and allow users few useful tools to manage this barrage on your mind. The only way to really stop this invasive virus from spreading: turn it off!

Reasons to delete your Facebook:

No one can argue that Facebook has provided families with means of keeping in touch at long distances. Many grandparents wouldn't otherwise see photos of their growing grandchildren. But there are hundreds of other social networks, private networks, and other methods, of doing the same thing - without all the 'crap' that comes with Facebook. Remember the days when we would email photos to each other? We'd spend time even cropping photos and choosing the best one. Now, users on Facebook will even snap away photos of their daily dinner, or inform the world that they forgot to wash their socks. Facebook users who engage in the practice of 'wall scanning' have little room in their brains for anything else.

Children are also a consideration with Facebook. Web Filters actually block facebook the same way they block other illicit sites. Parents can probably relate to this article more than the average user. Average users have accepted spam crap as part of life. It's in our mailboxes, it's on billboards on our highways, it's everywhere. But really - it's not!

Facebook has been banned in corporate networks, government offices, schools, universities, and other institutions. Workers at times would literally spend all day posting and reading Facebook. It's as useless as TV - but much more addicting. From Psychology Today:

Below we review some research suggesting 7 ways that Facebook may be hurting you.

  1. It can make you feel like your life isn't as cool as everyone else's. Social psychologist Leon Festinger observed that people are naturally inclined to engage in social comparison. To answer a question like "Am I doing better or worse than average?" you need to check out other people like you. Facebook is a quick, effortless way to engage in social comparison, but with even one glance through your News Feed you might see pictures of your friends enjoying a mouth-watering dinner at Chez Panisse, or perhaps winning the Professor of the Year award at Yale University. Indeed, a study by Chou and Edge (2012) found that chronic Facebook users tend to think that other people lead happier lives than their own, leading them to feel that life is less fair.
  2. It can lead you to envy your friends' successes. Did cousin Annabelle announce a nice new promotion last month, a new car last week, and send a photo from her cruise vacation to Aruba this morning? Not only can Facebook make you feel like you aren't sharing in your friends' happiness, but it can also make you feel envious of their happy lives. Buxmann and Krasnova (2013) have found that seeing others' highlights on your News Feed can make you envious of friends' travels, successes, and appearances. Additional findings suggest that the negative psychological impact of passively following others on Facebook is driven by the feelings of envy that stem from passively skimming your News Feed.
  3. It can lead to a sense of false consensus. Sit next to a friend while you each search for the same thing on Google. Eli Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble (2012), can promise you won't see the same search results. Not only have your Internet searches grown more personalized, so have social networking sites. Facebook's sorting function places posts higher in your News Feed if they're from like-minded friends-which may distort your view of the world (Constine, 2012). This can lead you to believe that your favorite political candidate is a shoe-in for the upcoming election, even though many of your friends are saying otherwise…you just won't hear them.
  4. It can keep you in touch with people you'd really rather forget. Want to know what your ex is up to? You can…and that might not be a good thing.Facebook stalking has made it harder to let go of past relationships. Does she seem as miserable as I am? Is that ambiguous post directed at me? Has she started datingthat guy from trivia night? These questions might better remain unanswered; indeed, Marshall (2012) found that Facebook users who reported visiting their former partner's page experienced disrupted post-breakup emotional recovery and higher levels of distress. Even if you still run into your ex in daily life, the effects of online surveillance were significantly worse than those of offline contact.
  5. It can make you jealous of your current partner. Facebook stalking doesn't only apply to your ex. Who is this Stacy LaRue, and why is she constantly "liking" my husband's Facebook posts? Krafsky and Krafsky, authors of Facebook and YourMarriage (2010), address many common concerns in relationships that stem from Facebook use. "Checking up on" your partner's page can often lead to jealousy and even unwarranted suspicion, particularly if your husband's exes frequently come into the picture. Krafsky and Krafsky recommend talking with your partner about behaviors that you both consider safe and trustworthy on Facebook, and setting boundaries where you don't feel comfortable.
  6. It can reveal information you might not want to share with potential employers. Do you really want a potential employer to know about how drunk you got at last week's kegger…or the interesting wild night that followed with the girl in the blue bikini? Peluchette and Karl (2010) found that 40% of users mention alcoholuse on their Facebook page, and 20% mention sexual activities. We often think these posts are safe from prying eyes, but that might not be the case. While 89% of jobseekers use social networking sites, 37% of potential employers do, as well-and are actively looking into their potential hires (Smith, 2013). If you're on the job market, make sure to check your privacy settings and restrict any risqué content to "Friends Only", if you don't wish to delete it entirely.
  7. It can become addictive. Think society's most common addictive substances are coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol? Think again. The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) includes a new diagnosis that has stirred controversy: a series of items gauging Internet Addiction. Since then, Facebook addiction has gathered attention from both popular media and empirical journals, leading to the creation of a Facebook addiction scale (Paddock, 2012; see below for items). To explore the seriousness of this addiction, Hofmann and colleagues (2012) randomly texted participants over the course of a week to ask what they most desired at that particular moment. They found that among their participants, social media use was craved even more than tobacco and alcohol.

Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids

The highlights of a Facebook study via endgadget article:

In a presentation titled "Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids" at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Rosen presented his findings based on a number of computer-based surveys distributed to 1,000 urban adolescents and his 15-minute observations of 300 teens in the act of studying.

Some of the negative side effects of Facebook use for teens that Rosen cited include:

Facebook will cause lower grades for students, but it's OK for adults? hmm...

Facebook (FB) Investment Advice

It's just a matter of time when this will result in a major scandal, FB stock will crash, and class action investigations will pile up. Lawyers will have to hire companies that automate workflow just to deal with the huge amount of securities class action settlements for this case. The Facebook (FB) IPO disaster was a telling sign about this issue. Sell it, block it, delete it, disgard it. Facebook is a bunch of trash. There's no technology behind it. There are a huge amount of struggling companies that have developed really ground breaking technology that will change the life of humans on this planet earth. Facebook (FB) is not one of those companies. Facebook (FB) is a disaster waiting to happen. It's a liability. And it's unsolveable.

Delete your Facebook account, sell your Facebook stock if you have it - it's guaranteed that by doing so, you can grow your portfolio, increase your IQ and overall well being. Save your business, save your family, save your life - and delete this virus!

[Jan 11, 2016] Obama seeks Silicon Valley aid to spy on social media

Notable quotes:
"... New spy programs launched by the administration will seek to collect and analyze data from social media networks and develop covert operations that allow the government to use the networks for its own counter-radicalization schemes, the US officials said. ..."
"... The events of the past decade-and-a-half have made clear that the entire corporate and political establishment favors an agenda of police-state spying on the American population. ..."
"... The NSA has been privatized. All American institutions are now dedicated to our destruction. ..."
www.wsws.org
During the tech summit, the White House delegation circulated proposals calling for tech firms to develop tools to "measure radicalization" levels among different populations ... the White House announced new programs against "violent extremism" in the United States, including the establishment of a new Countering Violent Extremism task force

... [which] ... will seek to "integrate and harmonize" the operations of "dozens of federal and local agencies," ... [which] ... will "coordinate all of the government's domestic counter-radicalization efforts,"

... The State Department will also create a new Global Engagement Center to coordinate US government social media work internationally, a White House statement said.

New spy programs launched by the administration will seek to collect and analyze data from social media networks and develop covert operations that allow the government to use the networks for its own counter-radicalization schemes, the US officials said.

Media reports this week highlighted one recent contribution, ludicrously titled "ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa," published in December 2015 by George Washington University's "Program on Extremism."

The events of the past decade-and-a-half have made clear that the entire corporate and political establishment favors an agenda of police-state spying on the American population.

jfl | Jan 9, 2016 7:25:14 AM | 66

He'll get it, too. Google, Facebook, the whole parasitic silicon valley culture is on board since the passage of the omnibus budget act in the last dark days of December 2015, bearing DIVISION N-CYBERSECURITY ACT OF 2015 within. The NSA has been privatized. All American institutions are now dedicated to our destruction.

I have an email account at posteo.de . How much longer can it be before a similar effort is mounted outside the USA to take over the search function and social media on the internet? If it's 'free' - you're the product.

This should write the end to American technical dominance of the internet. I hope it will. American based TNCs, operating under American 'law', now working hand-in-glove with the American government simply cannot be trusted.

And they wrote the law that granted them immunity for betraying their 'customers and supported it. They're on board for our betrayal and destruction. Always have been.

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