… Read the rest
It’s been known for a while that the NSA will intercept and bug equipment to spy on its soon-to-be owners, but the intellgency [sic] agency’s techniques are apparently more clever than first thought. Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have discovered apparently state-created spyware buried in the firmware of hard drives from big names like Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. When present, the code lets snoops collect data and map networks that would otherwise be inaccessible — all they need to retrieve info is for an unwitting user to insert infected storage (such as a CD or USB drive) into an internet-connected PC. The malware also isn’t sitting in regular storage, so you can’t easily get rid of it or even detect it.
Kaspersky isn’t explicitly naming the culprits, but it also isn’t shy about pointing a finger in the US government’s direction.
Tag Archives | Spying
via The New York Times:
… Read the rest
WASHINGTON — The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.
At the Supreme Court, small teams of undercover officers dress as students at large demonstrations outside the courthouse and join the protests to look for suspicious activity, according to officials familiar with the practice.
At the Internal Revenue Service, dozens of undercover agents chase suspected tax evaders worldwide, by posing as tax preparers, accountants drug dealers or yacht buyers and more, court records show.
At the Agriculture Department, more than 100 undercover agents pose as food stamp recipients at thousands of neighborhood stores to spot suspicious vendors and fraud, officials said.
Undercover work, inherently invasive and sometimes dangerous, was once largely the domain of the F.B.I.
Is anyone surprised by this?
… Read the rest
The news: The U.S. Justice Department released a pair of decade-old memos Friday night that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says suggest that the “president’s power to monitor the communications of Americans is virtually unlimited” when trying to gain foreign intelligence.
The memos provide legal justification for the warrantless wiretapping started by the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11. Written by Jack Goldsmith, who was the head of Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel, they detail a program called “Stellar Wind” that allowed the NSA to monitor communications in the U.S. as long as one end of the communication was overseas and at least one person taking part was thought to be related to al-Qaida, according to the Washington Post.
The program was put under court control in 2007 after the New York Times exposed it two years earlier. But these memos provide the most thorough view we’ve ever had of the Bush administration’s surveillance efforts.
I hope that it comes as no surprise you that many of the world’s governments are carrying on passionate love affairs with the NSA even as they publicly condemn the agency. Disinfonauts probably knew as much already, but there are still a few people out there who think that their own nation is above such things. Maybe they’re right in that their government doesn’t run their own NSA-like program, but they might as well be doing so given the intimate nature of their relationships with the agency. Their public hypocrisy remind me of technical virgins: (Link goes to TVtropes.com. See you in a few hours.) young people who feel comfortable claiming that they’re sexually “pure” as long as Tab P doesn’t go into Slot V.
The NSA might not have gotten their Tab into Germany’s slot V, but it looks like everything else has been on the table for a long time.… Read the rest
The FBI is accused of threatening to put American Muslims who won’t spy for them on the government’s no-fly list, among other things.
… Read the rest
Jameel Algibhah is an American citizen who lives in New York City. His wife and three daughters live in Yemen, where he used to visit them for several months each year. Starting in 2010 he was denied permission to board airplanes. As usual, the government won’t provide any official explanation. According to the lawsuit, however, the No-Fly List is being used as leverage.
This is the version of events in the complaint:
In late 2009, FBI agents came to the store where the plaintiff works. “They proceeded to ask him questions about his friends, his acquaintances, other Muslim students who attended his college, and the names of Muslim friends with whom he worked at a hospital library, one of several jobs he held as a college student.
A Cuban social media platform called ZunZuneo with tens of thousands of users was in fact an espionage project concocted by the U.S. government. Although, what social network isn’t about covert data mining? The Independent reports:
… Read the rest
In an apparent throwback to the Cold War, the US government spent $1.6m building a social media network with the aim of undermining the communist government in Cuba, it has emerged.
Documents obtained during an investigation by the Associated Press show that the project, which lasted more than two years and drew thousands of subscribers, was built with secret shell companies and was financed through foreign banks.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was reportedly behind the project which saw the creation of a ‘Cuban Twitter’ dubbed “ZunZuneo” – slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet. Users of “ZunZuneo” were entirely unaware of the involvement of the United States government agency and that American contractors were gathering personal data about them.
During a recent appearance on Meet the Press, President Jimmy Carter prefers snail mail over email when it comes to sensitive communications with foreign leaders because he suspects the NSA monitors his email. Perhaps he’s right, but what makes him think that Washington’s spooks won’t intercept and steam open his physical correspondence, too?
Because of privacy concerns, former President Jimmy Carter has returned to snail mail to avoid surveillance. Carter told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that he thinks the NSA may be monitoring his email.
“I have felt that my own communications were probably monitored,” he said. “And when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write the letter myself, put it in the post office and mail it. … I believe if I sent an email, it will be monitored.”
Read the rest
Carter said in the interview that he thought the government has “abused our own intelligence agencies.”
At possibly the most poignant time in the last 30 years, the man who valiantly did battle with the US intelligence octopus in the 1970s, Otis Pike, has died. All liberty-minded Americans should be celebrating his character and accomplishments, but there is a pervasive and undeserved lull. Mark Ames of Pando.com writes:
… Read the rest
Pike asked questions never asked or answered since the start of the Cold War: What was America’s intelligence budget? What was the purpose of the CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies and programs? Were they succeeding by their own standards? Were taxpayers getting their money’s worth? Were they making America safer?…The problem was that Pike asked the right questions—and that led him to some very wrong answers, as far as the powers that be were concerned.
…Today, there’s an underlying assumption that exposing dark government secrets is somehow transformative in itself, even without a wider politics to frame it.
Are virally popular, addictive phone games nothing more than a fiendish plot to get us to install spyware on our devices?The latest from the Snowden document trove via the Guardian:
The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users’ private information across the internet.
The data ranges from phone model to personal details such as age, gender, current location (through geolocation), education level, sexual orientation – one app recorded even specific sexual preferences such as whether or not the user may be a swinger.
One mobile ad platform, Millennial Media, appeared to offer particularly rich information. Millennial Media’s has partnered with Rovio on a special edition of Angry Birds; with Farmville maker Zynga; with Call of Duty developer Activision, and many other major franchises.
Jody Avirgan of The Brian Lehrer Show on NPR is compiling a list of the NSA’s fearsome powers to spy on us. All of us. Here’s a sample of what he’s got on his list so far:
- It can track the numbers of both parties on a phone call, as well location, time and duration. (More)
- It can hack Chinese phones and text messages. (More)
- It can set up fake internet cafes. (More)
- It can spy on foreign leaders’ cell phones. (More)
- It can tap underwater fiber-optic cables. (More)
- It can track communication within media organizations like Al-Jazeera. (More)
- It can hack into the UN video conferencing system. (More)
- It can track bank transactions. (More)
- It can monitor text messages. (More)
- It can access your email, chat, and web browsing history. (More)
- It can map your social networks.