Sunday, August 31, 2014

Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage

In this penetrating work of investigative and historical journalism, Eamon Javers explores the dangerous and combustible power spies hold over international business.

Today's global economy has a dark underbelly: the world of corporate espionage. Using cutting-edge technology, age-old techniques of deceit and manipulation, and sheer talent, spies act as the hidden puppeteers of globalized businesses... Readers meet the spies who conduct surveillance operations, satellite analysts who peer down on corporate targets from the skies, veteran CIA officers who work for hedge funds, and even a Soviet military intelligence officer who now sells his services to American companies.

Intelligence companies and the spies they employ are setting up fake Web sites to elicit information, trailing individuals and mirroring travel itineraries, dumpster-diving in household and corporate trash, using ultrasophisticated satellite surveillance to spy on facilities, acting as impostors to take jobs within companies or to gain access to corporations, concocting elaborate schemes of fraud and deceit, and hacking e-mail and secure computer networks.

This globalized industry is not a recent phenomenon, but rather a continuation of a fascinating history. The story begins with Allan Pinkerton, the nation's first true "private eye," and extends through the annals of a rich history that includes tycoons and playboys, presidents and FBI operatives, CEOs and accountants, Cold War veterans and military personnel. (more)

A Good Short Spy Story...

The green metal file box was about the size and shape of an ammunition case. 

It was scuffed and serious-looking and packed tight with personal letters and papers that had belonged to my grandfather, who died in 1989. The line in the family had always been that he “did intelligence work in Washington after the war.” This file box gave up a better story: My grandfather was an operations officer with the C.I.A. from January 1948 to August 1951. But that revelation brought up another question: Why only three years? (more)

Dyson Project N223 - Coming Spetember 4th

FutureWatch: Teaser video suggests Dyson’s new vacuum cleaner may spy on you...

BAT Hauled to Court Over Spy Claims

Cigarette giant British American Tobacco (BAT) could have its dirty linen aired in court following a sensational high court application launched by local "value brand" producer Carnilinx for alleged "corporate espionage". 

In the application, Carnilinx director Kyle Phillips claimed BAT paid Pretoria attorney Belinda Walter for commercially sensitive information she obtained while "infiltrating " the company and the FairTrade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) in 2012 and 2013. If this goes to trial, these spy claims could be extremely damaging for BAT, which is based in London and is the largest company listed on the JSE Securities Exchange, worth R1.26-trillion.

"BAT has used unlawful means to interfere in the business of the applicant. It has paid [Walter] monies to spy [on Carnilinx]," Mr Phillips claimed. (more)

Start Protecting Your Trade Secrets - Yes, You Have Trade Secrets

Every company has information, business methods or techniques or a unique service delivery model that has competitive value worth protecting. Some information, processes and techniques may benefit from patent, trademark or copyright protection, but there is a much broader universe of your company's R&D, business analysis and process improvement that is potentially protectable as a trade secret.

The first step in securing that protection is to identify your trade secrets. Once trade secrets have been identified, you can then design documents and procedures to maximize the available protections and to preserve the value of your business. 

Protectable trade secrets may be found in many aspects of your business. Common examples could include your marketing strategies, key analysis of your customers' purchasing habits and preferences, proprietary statistical models and the terms of your strategic alliances with business partners. 

Less obvious, but no less important, examples could include an innovative risk management strategy, unique processes to continuously evaluate and improve the delivery of your products and services, or methodologies to assist in evaluating and responding to RFPs. (more)

Before you discuss all these things, make sure the room is not bugged. The folks at can help.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Green Group Suggested Video Cameras to Spy on Farmer

An environmental group that stands accused of overstepping its inspection authority and trespassing across a Virginia farm also tried to have video cameras installed to monitor the property. 

An officer of the Piedmont Environmental Council proposed that one of that group’s board members “runs a security company and could offer the use of security cameras to record visitors,” according to documents examined by The Daily Signal. 

Documents obtained by The Daily Signal show the environmental group sought not only to monitor Liberty Farm through increasingly invasive inspections but also to install the video cameras to monitor visitors.

However, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, a quasi-state agency created by the state legislature to preserve open space, would not go along. (more)

John Walker Jr., spy. Dead at 77.

John Walker Jr., a former American sailor convicted during the Cold War of leading a family spy ring for the Soviet Union, has died in a prison hospital in North Carolina, officials said Friday. (more)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Oil Ministry to Install Cameras in Sensitive Locations to Guard Against Espionage

India - A lower-level functionary of the oil ministry, keen to deliver a copy of a file to a corporate (mole), made a fatal mistake while photocopying the paper: he forgot to remove the original document from the photocopier. This created a stir when an attendant spotted the paper while dusting the machine next morning. 

The fate of the corporate mole is not clear but incidents such as these have resulted in the oil ministry moving rapidly to install surveillance cameras in sensitive locations to guard against espionage...

The surveillance system is intended to deter such moles or catch them red-handed. "The idea is to keep corporate lobbyists at bay. Cameras will be installed in sensitive locations of Shastri Bhawan," an oil ministry source said. (more)

Video Review of the Spy Gear Undercover Spy Cam Phone

A $30.00 toy with some interesting possibilities...

How Anyone Can Turn Your Computer Into a Bugging Device

by Null Byte...
Now that nearly everyone and everyplace has a computer, you can use those remote computers for some good old "cloak and dagger" spying. No longer is spying something that only the CIA, NSA, KGB, and other intelligence agencies can do—you can learn to spy, too.

In this brand new series, we will explore how we can use the ubiquity of the computer to peek in on just about anyone and anyplace. Unlike the spy movies of yesteryear where the spy had to place a listening device in the lamp or in a houseplant, as long as there is a computer in the room, it can be used as a "bug."

We will examine how to turn that commonplace computer into our own bug to listen in on conversations, use as a spy camera, track Internet searches, and more.
James Bond and Q have nothing on us!

In this first part, I will show you how to convert any computer, anywhere, into a listening device. As nearly every room now has a computer in it, you can put a bug in nearly every room, unnoticed and undetected. (more)

• Don't open any Word or Excel files from anyone who might want to bug you. 
• Reboot your computer often.

Business Espionage: Corporations Spy on Nonprofits With Impunity

by Ralph Nader...
Here's a dirty little secret you won't see in the daily papers: Corporations conduct espionage against U.S. nonprofit organizations without fear of being brought to justice.

Yes, that means using a great array of spycraft and snoopery, including planned electronic surveillance, wiretapping, information warfare, infiltration, dumpster diving and so much more.

The evidence abounds.

For example, six years ago, based on extensive documentary evidence, James Ridgeway reported in Mother Jones on a major corporate espionage scheme by Dow Chemical focused on Greenpeace and other environmental and food activists...

This is hardly the only case of corporate espionage against nonprofits. Last year, my colleagues produced a report titled Spooky Business, which documented 27 sets of stories involving corporate espionage against nonprofits, activists and whistleblowers. Most of the stories occurred in the US, but some occurred in the UK, France and Ecuador. (more)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Denny’s Daily Zinger: Is a Thief Running Rampant in Your Office?

By Denny Hatch 

Julian Assange (Wikileaks), Edward Snowden  and Pfc. Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning became household names overnight. 

They downloaded U.S. Government secrets. Diplomatic relations, American politics and military secrets were seriously compromised.
How'd it happen? Up to 4 million peopleOpens in a new window—including 500,000 government contractors—hold Top Secret clearances.

That's how.

The Lions Gate Film Studios' $100 Million Theft
In late July at Lions Gate film studios, a perfect copy of the upcoming Sylvester Stallone  movie, "Expendables 3Opens in a new window," was stolen. The film cost an estimated $100 million to produce.

It was immediately offered free all over the Internet on such sites as KickassTorrents, or KAT, and The Pirate Bay, or TPB, and a slew more.

Millions of co-conspirators downloaded the film for private viewing resulting in a box office catastropheOpens in a new window when it opened in theaters.

Reuters headlineOpens in a new window
August 11, 2014:
U.S. judge orders websites to stop 'Expendables 3' film piracy
 Lotsa luck. 

Takeaways to Consider  
  • In your organization, who has the equivalent of Top Secret clearance?
  • Who has keys to your digital vault and access to the most sensitive R&D?
  • Does a system exist whereby every time a major asset is in transit-not in its usual place-it can be tracked by user?
  • Should you monitor employees' email to see who in your organization may be feeling underpaid or contemplating retribution?
  • Two-thirds of companies monitor employees' InternetOpens in a new window use and "almost 33 percentOpens in a new window of 140 North American businesses nationwide conduct regular audits of outbound email content."
  • Your future could depend on it.
Denny Hatch 's new book is "Write Everything Right!" Drayton Bird writes, "Just had to say again how bloody good this is. Who else could tell me in one book how to write a resume, which words irritate people and how to review a film? (Sent from my iPhone)." Click here to download (Opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on KindleOpens in a new window. Reach Denny at in a new window

Friday, August 15, 2014

The 1-Click Conference Call Trick - Ease or Espionage?

from the website...
"We made CCALL because it’s a pain in the axx to enter conference codes from a mobile phone. If you've ever had a calendar invite with a long conference ID and scribbled it on the back of your hand to avoid jumping between the email, your calendar and your phone app then you understand why we did this."

Question: Do you think this a clever public service, or a clever social engineering eavesdropping / espionage trick? Doesn't matter. I know what I am telling my clients.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Need a Reason to Buy an iPhone?

Spies hate iPhones...
The secrets of one of the world’s most prominent surveillance companies, Gamma Group, spilled onto the Internet last week, courtesy of an anonymous leaker who appears to have gained access to sensitive corporate documents. And while they provide illuminating details about the capabilities of Gamma’s many spy tools, perhaps the most surprising revelation is about something the company struggles to do: It can’t easily hack into your typical iPhone. (more)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The NSA is Inventive - Just Look at Their Patents

What do a voice identifier, an automated translator, a "tamper-indicating" document tube, and a supersecure manhole cover have in common? They're all technologies for which the secretive National Security Agency (NSA) has been granted patents by the U.S. government, giving the agency the exclusive rights to its inventions.

The four technologies represent a tiny fraction of the more than 270 sleuthy devices, methods, and designs for which the nation's biggest intelligence agency has been granted a patent since 1979, the earliest year for which public figures are available. As the patent holder, the NSA can license the particular technology -- for a fee -- to anyone who wants to use it, so long as the patent hasn't expired.

The NSA's cryptologists and computer scientists have been busy over the years inventing methods of encrypting data, analyzing voice recordings, transferring digital files, and removing distortion from intercepted communications -- all things you'd expect from the world's largest and most sophisticated eavesdropping agency. And the digital spooks have patented gadgets straight out of a James Bond flick, such as tamper-indicating envelopes and finely tuned radio antennas. (more) (The List)