Google Security Researchers Claim That 80 Percent of News Organizations Get Attacked by State Actors
Researches from Google, speaking at the Black Hat Conference 2014 in Singapore, have claimed that over eighty percent of news organizations get attacked by state actors. This represent a disproportionately large group of attacks by highly sophisticated hackers backed by large budgets and shielded legally by state sponsorship.
In the short stub written by The Guardian, they discuss loosely what kind of attacks these represent. It appears that Google has technology to detect attempts to spoof users into divulging information or opening malicious attachments in order to steal user information or directly steal data from the target computer.
If the technology is tripped, you are notified by a banner in your Gmail that says "Warning We believe that attackers backed by certain states may be attempting to compromise your account or computer" with a link to "protect yourself now" in the banner.> read more
In a remote teleconference by a high tech bot, Edward Snowden gave a talk in British Columbia about the issue of government surveillance.
He covers the huge issues surrounding the NSA/GCHQ scandal and how important the trajectory of surveillance is for weaponizing the internet.
He talks about the traditional dual mission of the NSA, and how the balance of attack and defense is significantly skewed toward attack. He also talks about the specifics of Prism and how Prism is about full content, not just metadata.
The full TED Talk can be viewed here: http://www.ted.com/talks/edward_snowden_here_s_how_we_take_back_the_internet> read more
Watchdog group Reporters Without Borders makes an annual report titled "Enemies of the Internet". In the report they name countries that utilize internet technologies to suppress, oppress, surveil, or manipulate their populations. This can include false information campaigns, censorship of the press, terminating internet and cellular connectivity to suppress uprising, and intimidating or imprisoning dissenters.
For the first time in their annual report, they name the United States and the United Kingdom as Enemies of the Internet. They cite the Snowden NSA revelations and the mountain of evidence that has surfaced from the documents as the primary reasoning.
Last week, Missouri passed HB1388 which bans law enforcement from tracking cellphone location data without warrant. It also explicitly bans location data being used a probable cause to issue a warrant. The bill passed with overwhelming support with a 134-13 vote.
It is a step in the right direction for privacy advocates, who are concerned that law enforcement agencies are increasingly deploying systems for tracking the location of ordinary citizens under no suspicion of crimes. Cellular location tracking is one of many technologies being used including license plate readers, wireless toll transmission data, social networking tracking, and more.
This law will also give leverage to people in Missouri who are concerned about the actions of the American agencies performing dragnet surveillance in the state.> read more
The scandals surrounding the American intelligence agencies seem to have no bounds. In a new article at the New York Times, the CIA has allegedly been caught hacking into computers of the investigative committee that is looking into their torture activities.
Careful not to disclose exactly what the CIA did, members of the committee call it "unprecedented action" taken by the CIA to compromise information related to the case. An educated guess would be that they destroyed information that they felt the committee should not have access to, but had in their possession.
It is alarming to think that the even the Senate Intelligence Committee is not immune to tampering by the intelligence agencies. It is becoming more and more clear that these entities answer to no one. Congress has made a formal complaint to the Inspector General who is now performing an internal investigation into the CIA's conduct on the matter.
In a stark change in the overall tone of his ideas, respected cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier, in his blog, called for the breakup of the NSA and delegating their duties to other US intelligence agencies.
His argument, which i largely agree with, is that the NSA's dual-missions are directly adversarial with one another. The National Security Agency is supposed to both assist in creating and validating technologies that help keep the US and its allies safe from intrusion, and at the same time, develop an arsenal of its own intrusion efforts.
This dual mission is in conflict with itself because there is great incentive to weaken protection of data to increase the scope and power of tools to intrude into networks, servers, and devices.
A new animated video detailing the pitfalls and dangers of extreme government overreach has been made with the help of kickstarter funding. The video gives examples of why government surveillance limits the freedom of the world and can even endanger the lives of others. It is very well presented and thought-out.
> read more
Whistleblower Edward Snowden, exiled to Hong Kong and eventually coming under protection of the Russian government for exposing classified US government activities to the public, has had a new television interview with Germany's NDR TV.
I have been unable to locate an HTTPS link to the interview.
Interestingly enough, none of the major news sites are talking about the interview, and every time the interview is posted on the American version of YouTube, it is torn down within minutes.
Some of the more interesting points in the interview include:
He strongly implies that tapping Chancellor Merkel's phone was highly unlikely to be an isolated incident.
On January 17th Obama gave his official response to the NSA scandal that has pushed the privacy community to take further steps to protect their privacy and data, and created a "smog of mistrust" around American technology companies.
First we get a history lesson: He begins with four minutes on the history of surveillance against the enemies of the state. Interestingly none of those descriptions contain spying on ordinary Americans or their closest allies. It was always surveillance targeted with pinpoint accuracy at the enemies of the state, even after the initial creation of the NSA.