Friday, September 30, 2016

Hackers Infect Army of Cameras, DVRs for Massive Internet Attacks

Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks last week, prompting fresh concern about the vulnerability of millions of “smart” devices​in homes and businesses connected to the internet.
The assaults raised eyebrows among security experts both for their size and for the machines that made them happen. The attackers used as many as one million Chinese-made security cameras, digital video recorders and other infected devices to generate webpage requests and data that knocked their targets offline, security experts said. It is unclear whether the attackers had access to video feeds from the devices.

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"The Cone of Silence" ...Tehas invented at MIT

Once heralded as an ingenious design strategy for saving money and fostering collaboration, the open-plan office has fallen from grace. 
It's increasingly viewed by employees as a stressful, noisy nuisance, but with real estate prices soaring, it's not an easy trend for many companies to reverse. That's why some of the best solutions have been small-scale interventions that reconfigure existing open-plan spaces to fit employees' needs in the moment.
But ask Skylar Tibbits to design a reconfigurable space for your open office and you're going to get a whole different animal. That's what happened after Drew Wenzel, a civil and environmental engineer who is part of the campus development team at Google, met Tibbits and started collaborating with him earlier this year...

The original Cone of Silence.
The lab's latest project brings its wild material experimentation to the everyday office: a wooden pod that lowers down from the ceiling and expands into a temporary work space. Born out of a conversation Tibbits had with Wenzel and others at Google, the transformable workspace offers a real-world application of the lab's future-focused work. more
Could also be used to secure open-area desks and cubicles from after-hours snoops. ~Kevin

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How The Great Seal Bug Became Your Electronic Toll Tag

The story of the electronic tollbooth begins at the turn of the century, in St. Petersburg, Russia. That's where Leon Theremin was born.

Yes, that Theremin — the creator of the musical instrument you play without even touching.

"Just as World War I was starting, and then the Russian Revolution, he found himself in the middle of that and was pulled into the new Soviet inner circle and told he was now a Soviet scientist," says Albert Glinksy, who wrote the biography Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage.

Playing with electromagnetic fields while working on a gas detection meter, Theremin discovered a trick: Using the radio frequency between two antennas, he'd wave one hand for volume and the other for pitch...

Theremin was sent to New York City, where he performed and continued to invent. But he also had another mission.

"He was carrying out espionage, so he had this sort of double life in New York," Glinsky says.

In 1938, Theremin returns to Russia.

But the political winds had changed, and he was sent to a Siberian labor camp, then transferred to a prison for scientists.

It was there that Theremin took spying to a new level when he was ordered to build a bugging device to spy on the U.S. ambassador in Moscow.

"The brilliance of this device was it had no batteries, it needed no electrical external source," Glinsky says. "And it was perfectly inert until it was activated, when they wanted to externally, by microwave beams from a companion device that was a few buildings down."


The bug was the size of a quarter and placed in the office of the U.S. ambassador in Moscow. It was hidden in a seal of the United States, where it stayed for seven years before being accidentally discovered.  (Not true. It was found during a TSCM search.)

Theremin may have created the first RFID-like device. But it took a Brooklyn inventor to connect another technology — friend or foe radar — with modern computing that gets us to electronic toll collection. more

Industrial Espionage: An update on what it includes.

Industrial espionage comes in many forms; the most commonly seen is the surveillance type methods, usually seen in the secret spy books and television programs. However, the truth is far from the glamour of the fictitious man who find out about the wrong, puts it right and gets the girl. In the real world this problem is a very real thing and one of the worst types of industrial espionage is the selling of trade secrets.
But this is only one cell of a much bigger definition, in recent years the definition of what is seen as industrial espionage has increased to cover such areas as; attempts to sabotage a corporation, in some cases, malware and spyware has even entered the arena of corporate espionage. And as earlier mentioned there are the more obvious kinds of industrial espionage such as theft of trade secrets, bribery, blackmail, and technological surveillance. more

Keep all this in mind when you suspect business espionage. The attack vectors are many; about half people, half technological. Solving the problem requires a holistic strategy, and working with specialists who have holistic mindsets. ~Kevin

Two answers to, "How can corporate espionage firms exist when hacking people is illegal?"

Answer #1. You have to prove the espionage firm did something illegal. This is sometimes much harder than it might seem.

I was once interviewed by an IT manager of a major telecoms company. They had security like nothing I had ever seen - it was like the introduction of the old spy comedy Get Smart - layer after layer of heavy doors, big muscle doormen, ID checks, cameras…

 

I asked why they had all the security. The IT manager said “our main rival is hiring investigators to learn anything about us, any way they can”. Of course, his firm was doing the same to the rival firm - so they were in no position to complain about illegal tactics.

And of course, if the other firm had snuck someone in, someone who planted say a radio network bug, to give the spy direct access to the firm’s internal network - how could anyone prove who they were, and why they were there? I’m sure that “copping a trespass charge” was part of the deal for spies who entered the premises illegally.

Answer #2. Simple : Spying is not limited to hackingmore

Monday, September 26, 2016

Chinese Spy Museum - Now Open to All

The Yuhuatai Memorial Park of Revolutionary Martyrs is hallowed ground for the Chinese Communist Party...

...the most recent addition to the site has garnered less interest than the memorial, or the souvenir stalls nearby — but serves as a tangible testament to China’s perennial preoccupation: espionage.

Billed as the country's only such institution, the Brutalist, barrel-shaped Jiangsu National Security Education Exhibition Hall — a.k.a. the Spy Museum — opened in 2009, closed for more than a year and reopened in mid-April after a face-lift. The reopening came on China’s inaugural national security education day.

The newly renovated exhibition hall has emerged as a showcase of curated propaganda about the myriad threats posed by foreign spies. Gone is a warning sign in four languages that once barred all foreign visitors. more

Surveillance Camera Installer 'Scopes It Out'

NJ—A 38-year-old Franklin Township business owner... Thomas Canales was arrested at his South Lawrence Avenue home in the Somerset section of Franklin Township...
 
He owns a security based company "Scope It Out" in Somerset, according to authorities, who also charged him in connection with his work installing a surveillance system at a private residence.

The charge of "computer theft" came after he installed a surveillance system in a customer's home, and then monitored the residence from his computer and mobile phone. more

Business Espionage: Tram Boss Quits due to Buses Spying

Scotland - The former boss of Edinburgh Trams quit his job in anger over the “outrageous” spying carried out against his colleagues by rival transport firm Lothian Buses. 

According to his leaked resignation letter, Tom Norris left his £80,000 a year post last year over the bus company’s covert monitoring of staff.

He also wrote it was “extraordinary” the individual behind the snooping had not been fired and hit out at the “gross mishandling” of the scandal.

Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses are separate companies, but they share IT, media relations and human resources and are ultimately owned by the city council. more

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Alert Security Guard Nails Corporate Espionage Spy

South Korea - A senior official at Samsung Electronics Co. was arrested for trying to steal a core chip-making technology...


The international crime investigation unit at Gyeonggi Police Agency on Thursday arrested an unnamed executive vice president at Samsung Electronics of the semiconductor division on suspicion of committing industrial espionage.

A security guard at the company reportedly found confidential documents in his car during a routine security check.

The company immediately searched his house and called the police upon discovering thousands of classified documents he kept at his house. more

Bird, James Bird - Suspected of Fowl Play

The Indian police on Saturday detained another pigeon that flew into a village near the heavily militarised border with Pakistan on a suspicion of 'spy'. 

The state intelligence and army officers were inspecting the pigeon that might have flown across border from Pakistan and landed in Punjab's Hoshiarpur district with some words in Urdu inscribed on its wings.

The bird was handed over to police by a local Naresh Kumar who spotted some 'suspicious text' on the wings which were actually names of the week days. The pigeon was X-rayed to verify if something was hidden inside but no clues were discovered having any links with Pakistan.

It is pertinent to mention here that in 2015, Indian authorities had captured a pigeon which was claimed to be a 'spy' pigeon from Pakistan. In 2013, Indian security forces found a dead falcon fitted with a small camera, and in 2010 another pigeon was detained over espionage fears. more

When the porn hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a-problem.

WA - Ferino’s Pizzeria owner Adam Burns says he may not reactivate the interactive part of his Facebook page ever again after it was hacked and photos of female employees using a restroom were posted online.

Burns said he first thought that someone was prank-calling the Port Hadlock business, but then he looked on the business’s Facebook account and “it was blowing up with disgusting comments.”

The videos showed females, in various levels of undress, using the restroom...

Brett Anglin, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office detective, confirmed that the sheriff's office received a call from Adams about a video recording device having apparently been used inside an employee restroom...

Deputies came and checked the restaurant for hidden cameras. Burns did not reopen the restaurant that day.

“They found nothing,” he said. “Whatever was in here is gone now. Never in a million years did I feel like this would happen here. It's like it's not real,” he said. more 

WA - Redmond Police arrested a 25-year-old lifeguard for allegedly taping a cell phone to a wall in the female locker room of Redmond’s Hartman Pool.

Redmond Police said the man was suspended from his job and prohibited from returning to the property as detectives continue their investigation. A female coach discovered the phone and immediately called 911. more

IN - The man accused of recording topless women in his Granger Tiki Tan tanning salon pleaded guilty to four felony charges; three counts of voyeurism and one count of obstruction of justice. Albert Reasonover was arrested in April when an alleged victim discovered she was being filmed during a spray tan. more

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Talk to Real Secret Agents on New 'Call a Spy' Hotline

If you ever wanted to chat to a spy, now's your chance – a group of German artists have set up the "Call a Spy" hotline.

Ariel Fischer from the art group "Peng!" told Sputnik Deutschland that they can set up the hotline anywhere with a stable internet connection. It looks like an ordinary telephone, but is connected to the "Call a Spy" server.

The server contains a database of spy's numbers, and randomly selects one to connect the caller with. Calls are routed through a private network that masks the original source of the call.


Fischer said that despite the secrecy of intelligence work, the majority of the numbers were freely available on the internet, and come from a range of different countries.  more

USB Warning: Treat Unsolicited USB Sticks Like Junk Mail

Police in the Australian State of Victoria have warned citizens not to trust un-marked USB sticks that appear in their letterboxes.

The warning, issued today, says “The USB drives are believed to be extremely harmful and members of the public are urged to avoid plugging them into their computers or other devices.”... 

(...and who could forget the attempt at industrial espionage that saw USB sticks left in the parking lot of Dutch chemical giant DSM?) more

Photons FUBAR Eavesdropping

In a first, scientists have successfully teleported a photon – particle of light – over a distance of six kilometres, an advance that may enable secure communication without having to worry about eavesdropping.

Researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada, led by professor Wolfgang Tittel, set a new record for distance of transferring a quantum state by teleportation, using fibre optics cable infrastructure.

“Such a network will enable secure communication without having to worry about eavesdropping, and allow distant quantum computers to connect,” said Tittel.

The experiment is based on the entanglement property of quantum mechanics, also known as “spooky action at a distance” – a property so mysterious that not even German physicist Albert Einstein could come to terms with it. more

Spying & Espionage Infographic

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