The US National Security Agency and British intelligence services are able to secretly access data from telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom and several other German operators, according to Der Spiegel weekly. An NSA programme called “Treasure Map” gives the US agency and Britain’s electronic eavesdropping GCHQ near real-time information about the operators’ networks, right through to end users on computers, smartphones or tablets, Der Spiegel said in a report to appear in its Sunday edition.
Before Edward Snowden smashed its digital doors wide open, the National Security Agency was seen as the mysterious keeper of an arsenal of dark-voodoo hacking weapons. Now we know the truth: NSA employees are almost too good at what they do–as are their counterparts at Israel’s elite military signal intelligence group, Unit 8200. Unlike people at most government agencies, NSAers and Unit 8200 alums include world experts in their craft, in this case hacking and defending networks and devices.
U.S. allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, along with Syria, are using malicious email and Facebook messages to track and entrap journalists, dissidents and campaigners, who face jail and torture if identified and arrested, according to a new study. The cyberattacks are often very simple — just a plausible email, Twitter or Facebook message with a malicious link. Clicking that link reveals the IP address of the user, linking a particular computer or home network to targeted email or other account.
The attackers, suspected to be based in China, also copied pages of details on U.S. missile technology from the foreign defense firms. Three Israeli contractors that architected the “Iron Dome” anti-missile system, which is currently protecting Israel from rocket strikes, were robbed of huge quantities of sensitive documents pertaining to the shield technology. Much of the information purloined from the contractors was intellectual property involving the Arrow III, drones, ballistic rockets and other technical documents in the same fields of study.
The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has announced the first stage of a pilot scheme allowing communications service providers to receive intelligence regarding cyber attacks earlier than was previously possible. The initiative will help those involved in the scheme act as the UK’s first line of defence in countering cyber threats to the nation from state actors and cyber criminals, Lobban explained.
Much of this shadowy world is top secret, but the military’s goal is to have complete control over the range of wireless frequencies at the heart of all aspects of war: satellites, radio and radar. Jammers, for instance, are designed to identify enemy radar installations, then spew radio waves and beams of electromagnetic noise to electronically disable and destroy them. Though the technology does not result in the sort of fiery blasts produced by heat-seeking missiles or laser-guided bombs, the effect is the same.
The Agency for Defense Development (ADD) has successfully developed an ELINT (electronic intelligence) and image intelligence collection systems, which are installed on F-16s. “We now have the ability to design the signal intelligence collection equipment in the same class or better than that of advanced countries, by securing core technologies such as ultra-wideband signal high-precision direction finding and multiple signal digital analyzing technology obtained from the development of the “ELINT collection system.
South Korea’s Cyber command’s psychological warfare unit under probe over smear campaign during election
Widening its probe into the cyber command, the military has investigated all officials in charge of psychological warfare over an alleged smear campaign against the opposition candidate during the presidential election, military sources said. The defense ministry’s cyber command has come under investigation after some of its officials were caught posting political messages against the opposition camp ahead of December’s poll. Some cyber warfare officials posted or spread writings on social networking sites such as Twitter that were critical of opposition.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, citing warnings by President Barack Obama and National Intelligence Director James Clapper about the threat of attacks on computer networks, on Wednesday announced the creation of the city’s first “Cyber Intrusion Command Center.” The command center, which will be operated with the assistance of the FBI and Secret Service, will be staffed by cyber security experts who will scan the city’s computer networks for threats and quickly respond to breaches, according to the mayor’s office.
The US Department of Transportation has high hopes of standardizing the way autos talk to each other and with other intelligent roadway systems of the future. The department recently issued a call for public and private researchers and experts to help it build what the DOT called “a hypothetical four layer approach to connected vehicle devices and applications certification.” The idea is to develop certification ensures that different components of intelligent travel systems that are manufactured according to connected vehicle technology requirements will be trusted by the system and by users, the DOT stated.
A British intelligence report said Wednesday that other nations are hiring hackers to launch attacks against their enemies, a trend it described as particularly worrying. The warning over cybermercenaries came in an annual report published by Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee, a watchdog body of senior lawmakers that oversees Britain’s spy agencies. Citing testimony from British eavesdropping agency GCHQ, the report described the mercenaries as “skilled cyber professionals undertaking attacks on diverse targets such as financial institutions and energy companies.
After almost seven decades of maintaining a limited defense posture, Japan should develop its amphibious and pre-emptive strike capability while bolstering sea- and ground-based ballistic-missile defenses, according to policy proposals by the country’s ruling party.
The proposals, obtained by Defense News and released to a select group last week ahead of widespread distribution, were drawn up by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). They also call for Japan to beef up its space-based early warning systems and invest in cyber defense.
Bitcoin has come onto the radar of the UK government, with officials gathering in London on Monday to discuss the security threats and tax concerns posed by the digital currency.
About 50 civil servants from HM Revenue and Customs, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Home Office and GCHQ – the intelligence listening service – held a one-day conference which examined how bitcoin works and how criminals might seek to exploit the electronic cash system, which is currently unregulated by any financial authority.
Russia’s facebook like service accused of collaborating with FSB to strangle anti-Putin user activity
Russia’s leading social network, Vkontakte.ru (also known as VK.com), has cooperated with the FSB – the post-Soviet successor to the KGB – in manipulating user trust and disregarding its own privacy rules, charged opposition-minded daily Novaya Gazeta.
In a denunciation that has galvanized opinions in Russia’s digital domain for the last ten days, Novaya accused the social network of behind-the-scenes political scheming back in late 2011 and early 2012. Amid the political turmoil that followed the controversial parliamentary and presidential elections, Vkontakte is reported to have given away users’ personal data to the FSB and also blocked some users who supported the political opposition.
In an attempt to make some sense of the mess, NATO (basically the Western powers-that-be) commissioned a report from a bunch of legal experts at the ‘NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence’ to suggest some rules for cyber-warfare. Well, the report’s in, and the suggestions are kinda surprising.
Basically, cyber attacks which cause “physical damage, injury or death” constitute a ‘use of force’, and thus can be retaliated to with real physical weapons. Equally surprising is the classification of civilian hacktivists as legitimate targets during war.
Less than six months ago, U.S. Under Secretary of State Robert D. Hormats gave an exclusive interview to Caixin, in which he said that one of the most important tasks in US-China relations was to define differences on intellectual property rights protection and find common solutions within the next six months.
On Feb. 20, the White House released a strategy paper outlining an approach for protecting the trade secrets of U.S. companies. “Emerging trends indicate that the pace of economic espionage and trade secret theft against U.S. corporations is accelerating,”
The U.S. government green-lighted a program in March to retain data on U.S. citizens for up to five years as part of a counterterrorism monitoring and analysis effort, despite privacy concerns raised by high-ranking homeland-security and justice officials.
The concerns, first reported in the Wall Street Journal this week, suggest that the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is trying to build an extensive monitoring system that can find terrorists using large datasets. Established in 2004, the NCTC brings together analysts from a variety of agencies and tasks them with sifting through intelligence reports for signs of terrorism activity.
The plan includes creating a new system to “map” the digital battlefield of cyberspace and defining a playbook for deploying cyber weapons, all coordinated by a management facility that would be based in Arlington, Va.
The task is complicated, and while the Defense Department has developed superior capabilities in the physical domains of land, sea, air and space, it will now have to show its mettle in policing cyberspace. In short, it would have to acquire capabilities to rapidly plan, execute and assess the full spectrum of military operations in cyberspace.
The website’s headlines trumpet al-Shabab’s imminent demise and describe an American jihadist fretting over insurgent infighting. At first glance it appears to be a sleek, Horn of Africa news site. But the site — sabahionline.com — is run by the U.S. military.
The site, and another one like it that centers on northwest Africa, is part of a propaganda effort by the U.S. military’s Africa Command aimed at countering extremists in two of Africa’s most dangerous regions — Somalia and the Maghreb.
It’s 2025 and an American “triple canopy” of advanced surveillance and armed drones fills the heavens from the lower- to the exo-atmosphere. A wonder of the modern age, it can deliver its weaponry anywhere on the planet with staggering speed, knock out an enemy’s satellite communications system, or follow individuals biometrically for great distances. Along with the country’s advanced cyberwar capacity, it’s also the most sophisticated militarized information system ever created and an insurance policy for U.S. global dominion deep into the twenty-first century.
Canadian spies’ ‘Camelot’: Defence hoping to attract world-class talent with $880M intelligence complex
Canada’s electronic spy organization says that the state-of-the-art headquarters now being built in an Ottawa suburb will make it a leader among its allies and attract the best and brightest of spies, according to newly released government documents obtained by The Ottawa Citizen.
When finished in 2015-16, Communications Security Establishment Canada’s new $880-million spy campus in Gloucester is expected to be home to more than 1,800 employees.
CleanIT is duplicating much of the work of the CEO Coalition (child protection), which is also financed by the European Commission. Both create “voluntary” rules for notification and removal of possibly illegal content, explained EDRI.
Within the “best practices” to be discussed described in the leaked document we can find: “removal of any legislation preventing filtering/surveillance of employees’ Internet connections”, “law enforcement authorities should be able to have content removed, without following the more labour-intensive and formal procedures for ‘notice and action” and “Governments should use the helpfulness of ISPs as a criterion for awarding public contracts.”
Syrian activists and FSA leaders have confirmed spotting UAVs in the skies above Syria, suggesting that drones are often seen on reconnaissance missions of targets that are subsequently bombarded.
Meanwhile, military sources and experts have reported the flight of Iranian, as well as “American and Israeli” drones, over Syria. This means that what might look like a domestic confrontation in Syria can also double as a war by “remote control” between Western and regional intelligence groups, especially between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Iranian Republican Guard Corps (IRGC).
Up to 8,000 companies doing business with the Pentagon may be qualified to join a newly expanded U.S. effort to guard sensitive information on private networks, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.
The Pentagon on Friday invited all of its eligible contractors to join the voluntary pact aimed at fighting what U.S. officials have described as growing cyber threats that allegedly originate, above all, in Russia and China.
The Defense Department will provide intelligence-derived information on malicious Internet traffic to the companies; the firms are to share information on any cyber penetrations of their networks with the government.
“The Schriever Wargame, set in the year 2023, will explore critical space issues and investigate the integration activities of multiple agencies associated with space systems and services. Schriever Wargame 2012 will also include international partners from Australia, Canada and the U.K.,” said a press release from U.S. Air Force Space Command.
“This is a significant development in what was predominately a U.S. event and reflects the need to cooperate and share information to develop future capabilities that benefit NATO collectively,” a NATO official said.
Iran’s oil ministry has called a crisis meeting after its main website and internal communications system were hit by an apparent cyber-attack that forced authorities to cut off the country’s oil export terminal from the internet.
Local news agencies reported on Monday that a virus had struck the computer and communication systems of Iran’s main oil export facilities on Kharg Island as well as the internal network and the websites of its oil ministry and subsidiary organisations.
The semi-official Mehr news agency quoted ministry officials as saying an investigation was under way. “We are making plans to neutralise this cyber-attack,” said the deputy oil minister in charge of civil defence, Hamdollah Mohammadnejad.
The Kharg Island oil terminal, which exports 80% of the country’s daily 2.2m barrels, was hit by the virus, along with terminals on the islands of Gheshm and Kish.
The Shaparak can operate up to 50 kilometers from the operator and at altitudes as high as 4.5 kilometers (15,000 feet).
The aircraft is capable of three and half hours of non-stop flying, and can carry an 8-kilogram (17-pound) payload,the unmanned aircraft is powered by a two-cylinder engine, and is equipped with three digital color cameras, that can transmit high-resolution footage to the base on the ground.
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma witnessed another milestone recently in Corps aviation history when Marine Attack Squadron 214 flew a new electronic warfare system.
Intrepid Tiger II, a government-built system whose ground work began in 2008, is meant to expand the circumference of electronic warfare capabilities.
The pod will provide AV-8B Harriers with an electronic attack capability, expanding their utility on the modern battlefield and paving the way for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force electronic warfare concept that will replace the Prowlers.
The British government is preparing proposals for a nationwide electronic surveillance network that could potentially keep track of every message sent by any Brit to anyone at any time, an industry official briefed on the government’s moves says.
Plans for a massive government database of the country’s phone and email traffic were abandoned in 2008 following a public outcry.
But James Blessing of the Internet Service Providers’ Association says the government appears to be “reintroducing it on a slightly different format”.
Blessing said the move was disclosed to his association by Britain’s Home Office during a meeting in recent weeks.
Whether by land, sea or air, Defense Department leaders have long crafted rules of engagement to determine how, where and when forces can attack the enemy. They expect soon to complete the same for their newest domain: cyberspace, the assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs said today.
“We are working closely with the Joint Staff on the implementation of a transitional command-and-control model for cyberspace operations” while reviewing existing rules of engagement,Madelyn R. Creedon told the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities.
Trapped In The Grid: How Net-Centric Devices And Appliances Provide Voluminous Information To Intelligence Agencies And Their Business Partners
The Internet has revolutionized our world. It has shaped the way most people live and think. The Internet can be used to bring families together or it can be used to organize riots around the world. At this point in time it is not enough to be able to access websites, music and games at home, we need devices that can do this as well as any desktop computer. Today we have tablets and smart phones and they have been built so that you can connect to the web from wherever you are. The massive appetites of Internet users have created fortunes for those who were quick to act on it.
India’s government is considering setting up a national agency to monitor Internet traffic as well as assess cybersecurity threats on a real-time basis.
The Times of India reported Monday that the proposal for a National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) was discussed at a “recent” meeting called by the country’s National Security Council Secretariat. Officials from India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB), external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Home Ministry, and army, were in attendance, it said.
The multi-agency NCCC is intended for “real-time assessment of cybersecurity threat in the country” and to generate “actionable report or alerts for proactive actions” according to minutes taken during the meeting.
A surveillance drone flying over western Afghanistan had gone out of control late last week and may be the one Iran said it had shot down over its own airspace, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has said.
“The UAV to which the Iranians are referring may be a US unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week. The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status,” an ISAF statement said on Sunday.
The statement was issued in Kabul and released to reporters covering an international conference on Afghanistan in the German city Bonn.
A panel of experts presented some startling findings at the Hacker Halted conference, prompting the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Prisons to re-evaluate their digital security systems. A study conducted by a former CIA officer has shown that for less than $2,500, hackers could overload the circuits in prison doors, springing them permanently open.
Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burketold The Washington Times that the government is “aware of this research and [is] taking it very seriously.”
The mission to keep a closer eye on agents comes at a time when the intelligence community is also trying to open up the flow of information internally. At the intelligence technology magazine Defense Systems, Amber Corrin reports that some agencies are experimenting with using more open-source software and trying to take advantage of mobile apps. “When our content is easily accessible, when it’s usable within an open environment and with a different delivery model–those three [capabilities] are going to help us get to deeper analytics,” Letitia Long, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), said at a GEOINT symposium on Monday. “We free up the time of our analysts to be focused on the ‘so what?’ to be focused on the context, experiment with the new sensor data and the new phenomena, developing new analytic tools and techniques.”
Imagine a weapon sailing over an enemy city or military target and effectively paralyzing all electronics in its wake while causing almost no physical damage? Sci-fi writers and military planners have dreamed of such things for years. The problem is, the electromagnetic pulse often associated with cooking electronic systems is usually generated by the detonation of a nuclear warhead — not exactly a low-collateral damage tool.
It’s no secret that the military has been working on weapons that can knock out enemy electronics without causing physical damage for a looong time. Now the Air Force is one step closer to making such devices a reality.
Following revelations by Bloomberg Markets Magazine that a spun-off intelligence unit of German electronics giant Siemens, Trovicor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Perusa Partners Fund 1 LP, a shadowy investment firm headquartered in Guernsey, had sold surveillance gear to Bahrain deployed against the pro-democracy movement, it has since emerged that Microsoft established an IT training program for Ministry of Justice and Interior officials in Tunisia.
A secret State Department cable published by the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, 06TUNIS2424, “Microsoft Inks Agreement with GOT,” 22 September 2006, noted that “during the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in South Africa July 11-12, the GOT and the Microsoft Corporation signed a partnership agreement that provides for Microsoft investment in training, research, and development, but also commits the GOT to using licensed Microsoft software.”
The export of high-tech products, included software suites employed for spying on political dissidents, are said to be closely regulated under U.S. law to prevent abuse by repressive governments.
Hackers sponsored by the Chinese government and other nations are collaborating with profit-driven malware gangs to infiltrate corporate networks storing government secrets and other sensitive data, researchers say.
In many ways, the relationship between state-sponsored actors and organized crime groups that target online bank accounts resembles the kind of mutually benefiting alliances found in nature everyday. Just as human intestines create the ideal environment for certain types of bacteria – and in turn receive crucial nutrients and digestive assistance – crimeware operators often cooperate with government-backed spies perpetrating the kinds of APTs, or advanced persistent threats, that have pillaged Google , RSA Security , and other US companies .
To the potential benefit of state-sponsored hackers, profit-driven malware gangs frequently have control of large numbers of infected machines belonging to government contractors  and Fortune 500 companies. Because most of the machines never conduct business online, they may not represent much of an asset to the criminal gangs, which often allow the infected machines to sit dormant for months or years.
CCTV that can automatically monitor criminal behaviour and track suspects is being developed by UK scientists.
Researchers at Kingston University have created a system that uses artificial intelligence to recognise specific types of behaviour, such as someone holding a gun.
The technology is capable of following a person across multiple cameras.
Privacy campaigners warned that it might be used to target groups such as political protesters.
However, the developers insisted that their invention would allow police to focus on law breakers and erase images of innocent civilians.
The latest report offers the balanced assessment that China will need several decades to develop the capacity to project and sustain large high-intensity military operations far from Chinese territory, but it still expects the Chinese armed forces to acquire considerable regionally focused capabilities by 2020. It also estimates that China spent more than $160 billion for its military in 2010, well above China’s official figure, which sounds about right since the Chinese government excludes several categories from the official defence budget.
True to form, on Friday, China’s Defence Ministry, in the first official Chinese response to the report, accused the United States of exaggerating China’s military power. In its faxed comments to Reuters, the Ministry said that: ‘It is very normal for the Chinese military to develop and upgrade some weapons and armaments.’ Chinese officials have repeatedly denounced the annual reporting process as inherently divisive and hypocritical in light of the enormous US defence budget, which is several times greater than even the highest estimate of Chinese military spending.
In censoring and controlling the flow of information reaching its citizens, the democratic South is mirroring — albeit to a lesser degree — the notoriously closed North.
The relationship between the North and South has worsened since North Korea’s sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan and its shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year — and, more recently, another live-fire incident in the Yellow Sea and reports that a North Korean assassination team was targeting the South’s defense minister. As tensions rise, Lee Myung-bak’s conservative government in Seoul is wielding the National Security Law to cut off even ostensibly innocuous attempts at engagement and understanding.
Before South Korea achieved its inchoate democracy in the early 1990s, the National Security Law was used by successive military governments to detain, torture, and sometimes kill student dissidents and others thought to have pro-North Korean sympathies. The law can be radical, broad, and arbitrary in its application.
Her operation, carried out from 2007 to 2009, was not only illegal but, according to Colombia’s attorney general’s office, designed to find incriminating evidence on judges and debilitate their investigation of the president’s congressional allies. The ensuing scandal has led to criminal investigations against Uribe’s top advisers and ensnared the former president himself, who served from 2002 to 2010.
A close U.S. ally in the war against drug trafficking, Uribe’s conduct is now under investigation by a special congressional commission. He denies giving orders to infiltrate the court.
It’s horrifying enough when a computer crook breaks into your PC, steals your passwords and empties your bank account. Now, a new malware variant uses a devilish scheme to trick people into voluntarily transferring money from their accounts to a cyber thief’s account.
The German Federal Criminal Police(the “Bundeskriminalamt” or BKA for short) recently warned consumers about a new Windows malware strain that waits until the victim logs in to his bank account.
When the history of 2011 is written, it may well be remembered as the Year of the Hack.
Long before the saga of News of the World phone hacking began, stories of computer breaches were breaking almost every week. In recent months, Sony, Fox, the British National Health Service, and the Web sites of PBS, the U.S. Senate, and the C.I.A., among others, have all fallen victim to highly publicized cyber-attacks.
The man who headed the NSA and CIA under President George W. Bush suggested Friday that mercenaries were needed to deal with growing cyber threats.
Gen. Michael Hayden told the Aspen Security Forum that in the near future, the Department of Defense may have to allow the creation of a “digital Blackwater.”
State-owned Internet company China Telecom tricked relays from around the world into routing traffic through its servers for about 18 minutes.
It isn’t publicly known what happened to that traffic when it passed through China. But a report filed late last year by Congress’ U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said the hijacked traffic could easily have been captured, censored, or even replaced with other data without anyone’s knowledge
Source: Washington Times China’s military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday. Portions of a National Ground Intelligence Centerstudy on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are […]
Source: Bloomberg Investigators probing the recent ransacking of International Monetary Fund computers have concluded the attack was carried out by cyber spies connected to China, according to two people close to the investigation. Computer specialists have spent several weeks piecing together information about the attack, which the IMF disclosed on June 8. Evidence pointing to China […]
Source: Business Week By Michael Riley and Ashlee Vance In the early morning hours of May 24, an armed burglar wearing a ski mask broke into the offices of Nicira Networks, a Silicon Valley startup housed in one of the countless nondescript buildings along Highway 101. He walked past desks littered with laptops and headed […]