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Merkel staffer’s laptop infected by US/UK spy malware – report

RT | December 29, 2014

An aide to the German chancellor has become the victim of a cyber-attack, according to media. The highly-sophisticated Regin virus that was found on her infected USB stick is reported to be a product of British and US spy agencies.

Having written a draft of a speech at work, one of Angela Merkel’s senior staff members decided to take it home to polish it on her private laptop in the evening. When the head of the Department of European Policy brought the USB stick with the document back to her work computer, virus scanning software revealed that it was infected, according to Monday’s report of Bild newspaper.

The USB stick was infected with the Regin spying software, but additional checks revealed no other infections on any of the 200 other high-security laptops in the Chancellery, sources from German security services said.

Regin was first warned of at the end of November by cyber-security company Symantec. A back door-type Trojan is able to “provide its controllers with a powerful framework for mass surveillance.”

According to the report, the virus demonstrates such a “rare degree of technical competence” that indicates it has probably been developed by a nation state – and it could have taken years. Regin is able to fulfill a range of customizable tasks, such as making screenshots, controlling the mouse cursor and stealing passwords, depending on the target of a spying operation.

Media reports associated Regin with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The virus is believed to begin operating in 2008, targeting governments, infrastructure operators, researchers, as well as private individuals and businesses.

READ MORE:

Germany to drop investigation into US spying on Merkel – report

Sophisticated ‘state-sponsored’ spying tool targeted govts, infrastructure for years

December 29, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

Security firm says Sony hack might have been an inside job

RT | December 25, 2014

Despite claims by the FBI that North Korea was behind the massive hack against Sony, several cybersecurity experts have come forward to raise questions about the allegation, with some suggesting that insiders at the company could be to blame.

One such expert, Kurt Stammberger from the Norse cybersecuirty firm, told CBS News that his team believes a woman identified only as “Lena” was heavily involved in the hack – not North Korea.

“We are very confident that this was not an attack master-minded by North Korea and that insiders were key to the implementation of one of the most devastating attacks in history,” he told the news outlet.

“Sony was not just hacked, this is a company that was essentially nuked from the inside,” Stammberger added.

Little is known about Lena, but Norse believes the woman is somehow linked with the hacking group behind the attack, known as the ‘Guardians of Peace.’ The firm also suspects the woman was a former employee of Sony who worked there for 10 years before leaving in May 2014.

According to Stammberger, Lena’s position in the company would have given her the access and knowledge needed to identify the servers that hackers ultimately stole troves of data from.

Stammberger didn’t completely rule out North Korea’s role in the cyber attack, but he told CBS that evidence pointing to the country could actually be a case of misdirection.

“There are certainly North Korean fingerprints on this but when we run all those leads to ground they turn out to be decoys or red herrings,” he said.

Last week, the FBI officially pinned the hack on North Korea, saying the breach involved lines of code, methods, and encryption algorithms previously developed by the country.

“Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korea actors previously developed,” the FBI said in its statement. “The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the US government has previously linked directly to North Korea.”

“Separately, the tools used in the SPE attack have similarities to a cyberattack in March of last year against South Korean banks and media outlets, which was carried out by North Korea.”

Still, some remain unconvinced. Cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier wrote that the code used by the hackers seems “to point in all directions at once.” Looking at the evidence cited by the FBI, Schneier said it’s the kind that is “easy to fake, and it’s even easier to interpret it incorrectly.” He also cast doubt on the “insider threat” theory, arguing that such an individual wouldn’t need the hacking tools used to breach Sony’s servers.

Schneier noted that the FBI has not revealed all the reasons for its claim, though, and acknowledged that classified evidence could clearly point the finger at North Korea. Unless that evidence is known, it’s hard to say with any certainty.

Other possibilities include the idea that North Korea “co-opted” the initial attack after an embarrassing glut of information was made public, using that as an opportunity to strike Sony, as it was reeling and facing pressure to cancel ‘The Interview’ movie.

While Sony did cancel the premiere and release of ‘The Interview’ – a comedy which tells the story of a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – it has since relented in the face of public criticism, which included harsh words from President Barack Obama. The movie is now available on streaming services and will be in theaters in limited release on Christmas Day.

Regarding the film’s release, a North Korean envoy to the United Nations said the country will condemn the decision but will not have any “physical reaction.” He added that the movie is an “unpardonable mockery of our sovereignty and dignity of our supreme leader.”

The diplomat also told the Associated Press that his country was not involved in the hack.

READ MORE:

FBI formally accuses North Korea in Sony hack

Senator urges Obama to host White House screening of ‘The Interview’

N. Korea threatens US, demands apology for Obama’s ‘reckless rumors’ of Sony hack

December 25, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sophisticated ‘state-sponsored’ spying tool targeted govts, infrastructure for years

RT | November 24, 2014

A sophisticated malware dubbed Regin has been used to spy on governments, infrastructure operators and other high-profile targets, security company Symantec has revealed. It also targeted private individuals and businesses, particularly in Russia.

A back door-type Trojan displays a “degree of technical competence rarely seen,” Symantec said in a press release. The complexity of the virus enabled the intruder to create a framework for mass surveillance. Targets include private companies, government entities and research think tanks. Attacks on telecoms companies were allegedly carried out to gain access to calls being routed through their infrastructure.

Confirmed Regin infections by sector (image from symantec.com)

Confirmed Regin infections by sector (image from symantec.com)

The company believes that the Trojan was likely developed by a nation state as it took months, if not years to develop such a piece of software and cover up its tracks. Analyzing its further capabilities the company has drawn a conclusion that Regin could be one of the main cyber espionage tools used by the implicated nation state.

Almost a third of the confirmed infections were discovered in Russia with a further 24 percent in Saudi Arabia. Mexico, Ireland, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Belgium, Austria and Pakistan are also on the list.

“Regin is a highly complex threat which has been used in systematic data collection or intelligence gathering campaigns. The development and operation of this malware would have required a significant investment of time and resources,” Symantec said.

Symantec found that the virus has been used between 2008 and 2011, before being suddenly withdrawn until a new version of the malware resurfaced from 2013 onwards.

Confirmed Regin infections by country (image from symantec.com)

Confirmed Regin infections by country (image from symantec.com)

Regin uses a modular approach allowing it to load features that exactly fit the target, enabling a customized spying.“Its design makes it highly suited for persistent, long-term surveillance operations against targets,” the security company says.

And it’s five-stage loading architecture with special and hidden encryption at each stage makes it similar to Duqu/Stuxnet threats, Symantec said. “Executing the first stage starts a domino chain of decryption and loading of each subsequent stage for a total of five stages. Each individual stage provides little information on the complete package. Only by acquiring all five stages is it possible to analyze and understand the threat,” the press release reads. Furthermore Regin is equipped with a number of stealth features so that even after Trojan’s presence is detected, it is “very difficult to ascertain what it is doing.”

Researchers say many components of the virus remain undiscovered while the threat of additional functionality and versions may still exist.

Image from symantec.com

November 24, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

FBI pushing for new domestic and global internet hacking powers

By Robert Bridge | RT | October 31, 2014

In a move that watchdog groups are calling an unconstitutional power grab, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is reportedly looking to rewrite the espionage rulebook, giving it the authority to hack into computers at home and abroad.

With little public debate and congressional oversight on the issue, the FBI appears set to make the fourth amendment to the Constitution wholly redundant, which protects Americans against “illegal searches and seizures,” The Guardian reported.

The Department of Justice will present its case on November 5 to the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules.

“This is a giant step forward for the FBI’s operational capabilities, without any consideration of the policy implications. To be seeking these powers at a time of heightened international concern about US surveillance is an especially brazen and potentially dangerous move,” Ahmed Ghappour, an expert in computer law at the University of California, who will participate in next week’s meeting, told the Guardian.

Ghappour warned the passage of the new legislation would represent the greatest expansion of “extraterritorial surveillance abilities since the FBI’s inception.” He told the British daily that “for the first time the courts will be asked to issue warrants allowing searches outside the country.”

Concerning the threat of damaging America’s diplomatic relations, already wobbly following the Snowden revelations, Ghappour went on to add that in “the age of cyber attacks, this sort of thing can scale up pretty quickly.”

Presently, the FBI is reasonably restricted in its power to hack into domestic computers, requiring it to be granted court approval by judges working in the region where the surveillance will occur. The amendments that the domestic spy agency is seeking, however, would give judge’s the legal authority to issue a warrant to the FBI in a “district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means.”

Moreover, the amendments – something internet watchdog groups have been warning might eventually happen – would apply to all criminal cases, not just those related to “terrorists.”

In euphemistic terms, the new surveillance powers the FBI is seeking are known as “network investigative techniques,” which allows malware to be exported to a targeted computer, thereby giving agents nearly full control over the machine – even allowing it to conduct surveillance on any other computers within the user’s social group.

“This is an extremely invasive technique,” Chris Soghoian, principal technologist of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Guardian. “We are talking here about giving the FBI the green light to hack into any computer in the country or around the world.”

Just this week, Soghoian obtained documents from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that in 2007 the FBI had planted a bogus Seattle Times/Associated Press story on a criminal suspect’s computer as a ploy to export the spyware onto the computer.

Soghoian underscored the feelings of many watchdog groups when he emphasized that next week’s hearing “should not be the first public forum for discussion of an issue of this magnitude.”

READ MORE:

FBI pretended to be Seattle newspaper in order to hack suspect’s computer

FBI impersonates repairmen in Las Vegas hotel to bust gambling ring

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Former CBS reporter accuses government agency of bugging her computer

RT | October 27, 2014

A journalist formerly with CBS News claims in her new memoir that a United States “government-related entity” hacked into her computer to conduct surveillance and set her up for possible criminal charges.

Sharyl Attkisson, a former anchor for the CBS Evening News and a multi-time Emmy Award winner, says in her forthcoming book that government spies tried not only to keep track of her digital habits, but to potentially put her in jail.

According to an article published in the New York Post on Monday this week, Attkisson says in her book that she was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” over what was supposedly revealed through a forensics analysis of her laptop conducted in 2013.

Previously, media sources alleged that Attkisson’s March 2014 resignation from CBS News was a result of disagreements she had with the network’s supposed liberal bias. After she announced she was leaving the network earlier this year, Politico writer Dylan Byers reported that unnamed sources said Attkisson “had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting.”

“Feeling increasingly stymied and marginalized at the network, Attkisson began talking to CBS News President David Rhodes as early as last April about getting out of her contract,” Byers added.

Now Attkisson writes in her memoir, “Stonewalled,” that a source “connected to government three-letter agencies” took the reporter’s laptop to be inspected for malware last year and concluded after the fact that it had been compromised by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, non-attributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” Attkisson claims she was told.

According to the Post journalists who have read Attkisson’s new book, the former CBS reporter was surprised to see that not only had her computer been hacked to contain keylogging software and other spyware, but was compromised in such a way that secret, classified documents were “buried deep” within her operating system, “In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”

“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Attkisson said she heard from the unnamed government source who set-up the examination of her laptop.

“This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America,” Attkisson quoted the source as saying of the analysis.

Currently, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter James Risen is sought by federal authorities to testify as to the source of classified documents provided to him that later served as fodder for a book he authored about the Central Intelligence Agency’s efforts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. Risen, who refuses to disclose the source of the classified files, faces potential jail time if he continues to keep quiet.

Both CBS News and the White House declined to comment to the Post ahead of Monday’s publication,

October 27, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

China rejects latest US hacking accusation

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China’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying

Press TV – June 11, 2014

China has dismissed the recent allegation by the US that the Chinese military has been involved in hacking a US security firm, describing Washington’s approach on the issue as unconstructive.

A private US cyber security firm accused a unit of China’s military on Monday of hacking attempts to access information on US satellite and aerospace programs, Xinhua reported.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying rejected the allegation at a press briefing on Tuesday.

“I have noticed the report you mentioned, its wording and style looks familiar, citing the names of the hackers and their claims of their military identity,” she said, responding to a question about US reports alleging Chinese hacking attempts. “Have you ever seen thieves bearing a name tag saying ‘thieves?’” she said.

Washington had issued an indictment against five Chinese military officers on charges of cyber theft earlier on May 19.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman further challenged the integrity of the US allegations against her country, referring to the massive American espionage efforts across the globe as part of its PRISM program under the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The program, which was revealed by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden in 2013, showed that the US was spying on the phone and email communications of top world leaders, including those of Washington’s allied countries as well as China.

“The US is a hacking empire,” Hua said. “It is not constructive for the US to attack others instead of repenting and correcting its own mistakes.”

The Chinese official further pointed out that cyber attacks are a global challenge – transnational and anonymous in nature – requiring cooperation among all countries to be countered.

June 11, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

FBI provided Anonymous with targets, new leaks show

RT | June 5, 2014

Leaked documents pertaining to the case against an American computer hacker currently serving a 10-year prison sentence have exposed discrepancies concerning the government’s prosecution and raise further questions about the role of a federal informant.

The documents — evidence currently under seal by order of a United States District Court judge and not made public until now — shines light on several aspects of the case against Jeremy Hammond, a 29-year-old hacktivist from Chicago, Illinois who was arrested in March 2012 with the help of an online acquaintance-turned-government informant. Last May, Hammond entered a plea deal in which he acknowledged his role in a number of cyberattacks waged by the hacktivist group Anonymous and various offshoots; had his case gone to trial, Hammond would have faced a maximum of life behind bars if found guilty by jury.

Articles published in tandem by The Daily Dot and Motherboard on Thursday this week pull back the curtain on the government’s investigation into Hammond and reveal the role that Hector Monsegur, a hacker who agreed to cooperate with authorities in exchange for leniency with regards to his own criminal matters, played in directing others towards vulnerable targets and orchestrating cyberattacks against the websites of foreign governments, all while under the constant watch of the US government.

Two-and-a-half years before Hammond pleaded guilty, Monsegur did the same upon being nailed with hacking charges himself. In lieu of risking a hefty sentence, however, Monsegur immediately agreed to aid the authorities and serve as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, eventually helping law enforcement nab Hammond and others. Last week, Monsegur was finally sentenced for the crimes he pleaded guilty to back in 2012 and was spared further jail time by the same judge who in November sent Hammond away for a decade.

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Hector Xavier Monsegur

According to this week’s revelations, Monsegur did more than just inform for the FBI after his arrest. The articles suggest rather that from behind his internet handle “Sabu,” Monsegur solicited vulnerabilities and targets from a wide range of hackers and then handed them off to other online acquaintances, including Hammond, in order to pilfer, plunder and otherwise ravage the websites and networks of foreign entities and at least one major American corporation.

Combined, the articles and the evidence contained therein corroborate very serious allegations concerning the Justice Department’s conduct in the case against Hammond and numerous other hacktivists, while raising numerous questions surrounding the FBI’s knowledge in hundreds of cyberattacks and its documented efforts to coordinate those campaigns using their informant.

Excerpts from previously unpublished chat logs and other evidence used in the Hammond case and obtained by the Dot and Motherboard are cited to provide a new point-of-view concerning two matters in particular: the December 2011 hacking of Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor; and a January 2012 campaign led by Anonymous against government websites in Brazil and the US.

Contrary to the government’s claims, the Dot article alleges that Hammond did not mastermind the hack against Stratfor, but was rather told to target the Texas-based intelligence firm after Monsegur was made aware of a vulnerability in its network by a mysterious hacker who used the handle “Hyrriiya.” Weeks’ worth of private chats and group messages logged by Monsegur for the FBI after his arrest confirm that Hyrriiya breached Stratfor first, then sent details to the hacker he knew as “Sabu,” who in turn personally recruited Hammond to take the attack to the next level. For the first time, a clear timeline now exists to show exactly how the hack was hatched first by Hyrriiya, then Monsegur. A claim made ahead of Hammond’s sentencing hearing in which he claimed to have never even heard of Stratfor until he was fed the target by Sabu is authenticated with the logs.

Motherboard’s report focuses on a span of time only weeks after the Stratfor hack earned Anonymous headlines around the globe. Monsegur at that time was maintaining a list of targets in Brazil that would then be dispersed among members of Anonymous and other hackers to be defaced en masse as part of at least two concurrent cyber operations carried out in early 2012: an anti-corruption campaign against the Brazilian government; and another op in response to the shutdown of file-sharing site Megaupload.

“Sabu would say he wanted so-and-so, that another hacking team wanted this particular target,” Hammond told Motherboard from prison last month. “Some Brazilian was looking for people to hack them once I gave him the keys.”

Previously, Hammond said that Monsegur directed Anonymous to target websites belonging to no fewer than eight foreign governments while he was fully cooperating with the FBI. Only now, however, has documentation surfaced to verify that claim and others about alleged acts of cyberwar carried out by the the government by proxy.

“It’s completely outrageous that they made Sabu into this informant and then, it appears, requested him to then get other hackers to invade sites and look for vulnerabilities in those sites,” Michael Ratner, an attorney for WikILeaks, told Motherboard. “What that tells you is that this federal government is really — it’s really the major cybercriminal out there.”

The articles were first published Thursday morning and were a joint effort by journalists Dell Cameron of the Dot, Daniel Stuckey of Motherboard and RT’s Andrew Blake.

June 5, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

China to ditch US consulting firms over espionage suspicion

RT | May 26, 2014

State-owned Chinese companies will cease to work with US consulting companies like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group over fears they are spying on behalf of the US government.

US consulting companies McKinsey, BCG, Bain & Company, and Strategy&, formerly Booz & Co., will all be snubbed by state-owned Chinese companies, the Financial Times reported, citing sources close to senior Chinese leaders.

“The top leadership has proposed setting up a team of Chinese domestic consultants who are particularly focused on information systems in order to seize back this power from the foreign companies,” a senior policy adviser to the Chinese leadership was quoted by the FT as saying.

“Right now the foreigners use their consulting companies to find out everything they want about our state companies,” the adviser said.

Last Thursday China announced that all foreign companies would have to undergo a new security test. Any company, product or service that fails will be banned from China. The inspection will be conducted across all sectors – communications, finance, and energy.

China has already banned Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system from government computers, according to Chinese state media agency Xinhua.

“Under President Xi Jinping, technology and implementation will look to be converging, so foreign tech firms should be very worried about their prospects,” Bill Bishop, an independent consultant based in Beijing, told the FT.

Chinese officials have said that government ministries, companies, universities, and telecoms networks are victims of US hacking, and will try to avoid using US technology in order to protect “public interest”.

The dictate follows the US Justice Department’s indictment of five Chinese military officers it suspects of committing cyber crimes against a number of major US companies, including US Steel, Westinghouse and Alcoa. The US accused the army officers of stealing trade secrets and even published their photos.

Beijing responded by calling the US a ‘robber playing cop’, and more recently said the US is a “mincing rascal” and involved in “high-level hooliganism”.

The US-China fallout came after revelations made by NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the US uses economic cyber espionage to spy on international competitors, including China.

The dispute is only the latest setback in relations between the world’s two largest economies. Issues like Ukraine, Syria, and North Korea have been divisive topics between the two superpowers.

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FBI threatens to go after Russian hackers

RT | May 23, 2014

On the heels of a high-profile indictment announced earlier this week by the United States Department of Justice against five Chinese military officers, sources say Russian hackers could be among the next individuals targeted by the DOJ.

The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy magazine and the Chicago Tribune all reported this week that officials close to the US government’s hunt for foreign hackers say Russians are on the radar of the Justice Department, and could be named in the next DOJ indictment.

All three outlets hesitated to name their sources, but the Journal reported that people familiar with the government’s investigations said alleged cybercriminals in Russia are likely to be charged soon.

“For several years, the Obama administration has put Chinese and Russian cyber spies and criminals at the top of its list of worst offenders in what officials describe as a relentless campaign targeting American businesses for the benefit of those countries’ own industries,” Shane Harris wrote for FP. “Estimates on the true cost of cyber-espionage range widely, but are generally believe by experts and officials to be in the tens of billions of dollars annually.”

As Harris reported, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that the FBI was aggressively pursuing further criminal investigations pertaining to foreign hacking cases, but fell short of announcing the filing of new charges. Now with Monday’s indictment out of the way and the US officially charging members of the Chinese military for the first time ever, however, multiple sources said that American authorities are gearing up to throw the book at Russian hackers.

Earlier this week, the Justice Dept. said that five Chinese individuals working within a highly-secretive cyber unit inside the People’s Liberation Army have stolen trade secrets and sensitive communications from six American entities, including major metal companies that compete with Chinese businesses and the US Steel Workers union.

“The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response,” US Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement on Monday.

“This administration will not tolerate actions by any nation that seeks to illegally sabotage American companies and undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market,” Holder added.

Nevertheless, the Chinese government fired back and accused the US of hypocrisy, and its Foreign Ministry demanded a withdrawal of the indictment and called the US “the biggest attacker of China’s cyberspace.” As RT reported earlier this week, leaked National Security Agency documents released by former US government contractor Edward Snowden have revealed that the US does, in fact, conduct economic cyberespionage in order to spy on competitors in Brazil, France, Mexico and, indeed, China. As with China, the Russian government has adamantly denied any involved in cyber spying, and claims to lack the same technical abilities as the NSA.

And although the Justice Dept. declined to name any other targets of investigation while touting their latest cyber indictment on Monday, reports for years have suggested that Russian hackers have targeted US businesses in a similar way to what China’s PLA Unit 61398 are accused of doing.

Most recently, American cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike reported in January that the Russian government spied on hundreds of US, European and Asian companies, which Reuters called the first time ever that Moscow has been linked to conduct economic espionage over the web.

“These attacks appear to have been motivated by the Russian government’s interest in helping its industry maintain competitiveness in key areas of national importance,” Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, said to Reuters at the time.

“They are copying the Chinese play book,” he said. “Cyber espionage is very lucrative for economic benefit to a nation.”

In March, researchers in the US also traced a piece of malicious malware known as Turla back to Moscow.

“It is sophisticated malware that’s linked to other Russian exploits, uses encryption and targets western governments,” Jim Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Reuters then. “It has Russian paw prints all over it.”

May 23, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Crimean govt: Referendum website downed by cyber-attack from US

RT | March 16, 2014

The official website of the Crimean referendum is down due to a cyber-attack that originated from the US, Crimean authorities say.

The exact location from which the website’s servers were attacked was Illinois University, Crimean minister of information and mass communications Dmitry Polonsky told Itar-Tass news agency.

“This place turned out to be the Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign. A massive scanning of the servers took place from there before the attack,” Polonsky said.

The assault started during the night (2300 GMT Saturday). At 1000 GMT Sunday, the referendum2014.ru site still wasn’t functioning.

Polonsky stressed that the referendum website has been “DDoS-attacked regularly since its launch.” The portal with .ua domain was replaced with .ru after several attacks.

The referendum is taking place in Crimea, with the vote reported to be peaceful and with high turnout, according to both international observers and Crimean authorities.

On Friday, major Russian government web resources were attacked with DDoS malware – those included the Russian president’s website, as well as those of the Foreign Ministry and the Central Bank.

Also, state media websites – the Channel One and Russia-24 TV channels – were under attack, reportedly from Kiev. The targeted Russian media said the attacks were linked to their editorial policy in covering Ukraine.

Finally, on the same day, an attempted radio-electronic attack on Russian TV satellites from the territory of Western Ukraine was recorded by the Ministry of Communications.

DDoS is the kind of cyber-attack during which requests are sent to the attacked website from many computers, usually virus-infected.

March 16, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada’s intelligence service asked foreign agencies to spy on Canadians

RT | December 22, 2013

Canada’s intelligence agency deliberately kept the country’s Federal Court “in the dark” to bypass the law in order to outsource its spying on Canadian citizens abroad to foreign security agencies, a federal judge said.

Federal Court Judge, Richard Mosley, has slammed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for knowingly misleading him on numerous occasions.

Since 2009, Mosley has issued a large number of warrants to the CSIS, authorizing interception of electronic communications of unidentified Canadians abroad, who were investigated as threats to domestic security.

The spy agency assured the judge that the surveillance was to be carried out from inside Canada and controlled by and the Communication Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC), the country’s foreign signals intelligence service.

But, after the warrants were obtained, Canada’s foreign partners from the Five Eyes intelligence-gathering alliance (US, UK, Australia and New Zealand) were asked to perform the interceptions.

Canada’s Federal Court wasn’t notified of the foreign involvement and never approved it, Mosley wrote in a redacted version of a classified court decision which was made public on Friday.

“It is clear that the exercise of the court’s warrant issuing has been used as protective cover for activities that it has not authorized,” the document stressed. “The failure to disclose that information was the result of a deliberate decision to keep the court in the dark about the scope and extent of the foreign collection efforts that would flow from the court’s issuance of a warrant.”

Under Canada’s current legislation, the Federal Court has no authority to issue warrants that involve surveillance of Canadians by foreign intelligence agencies, he added.

The actions of CSIS and CSEC put the Canadian citizens abroad at risk as they “may be detained or otherwise harmed as a result of the use of the intercepted communications by the foreign agencies,” Mosley wrote.

“Given the unfortunate history of information sharing with foreign agencies over the past decade and the reviews conducted by several royal commissions, there can be no question that the Canadian agencies are aware of those hazards,” the document said. “It appears to me that they are using the warrants as authorization to assume those risks.”

Mosley demanded explanations from the security agencies after an annual report by CSEC commissioner, Robert Decary, this August.

The judge became suspicious after Decary suggested that CSIS should provide the Federal Court with “certain additional evidence about the nature and extent” of the help, it received from his agency.

The results of the Federal Court’s inquiry into the matter were made public on Friday.

By misleading him, the CSIS and CSEC have been in “breach of the duty of candor,” which resulted in misstatements on the public record about the scope of the authority granted to the service,” Mosley wrote.

Mosley, who used to be a former assistant deputy minister in the Justice Department, was intimately involved in the creation of the 2001 Anti-terrorism Act, which the CSIS and CSEC violated.

December 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN to probe security agencies’ snooping

RT | December 3, 2013

The United Nations is set to carry out an investigation into the spying activities of the US and UK, a senior judge has said. The probe will examine the espionage programs and assess whether they conform to UN regulations.

UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC told British newspaper The Guardian that the UN will conduct an inquiry into the NSA and the GCHQ’s spying antics. Following Edward Snowden’s revelations, which blew the whistle on both agencies’ intelligence gathering programs, Emmerson said the issue was at “the very apex of public interest and concerns.”

The report will broach a number of contentious issues, said Emmerson, including whether Snowden should be granted the legal protection afforded to a whistleblower, whether the data he handed over to the media did significant harm to national security, whether intelligence agencies need to scale down their surveillance programs and whether the UK government was misled about the extent of intelligence gathering.

“When it comes to assessing the balance that must be struck between maintaining secrecy and exposing information in the public interest, there are often borderline cases,” Emmerson told The Guardian.

Emmerson also mentioned the raid this summer on The Guardian’s London offices in search of hard drives containing data from Snowden. Addressing the allegations made by the chiefs of British spy agencies MI5, GCHQ and MI6, that publishing Snowden’s material was “a gift to terrorists,” Emmerson said it was the media’s job to hold governments to account for their actions.

“The astonishing suggestion that this sort of responsible journalism can somehow be equated with aiding and abetting terrorism needs to be scotched decisively,” said Emmerson, who will present the conclusions of his inquiry to the UN General Assembly next autumn.

Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger is set to appear before a Commons home affairs committee in a hearing about the newspaper publishing of Snowden’s security leaks. British Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement in September, warning of a possible crackdown if media continued to publish information on covert intelligence gathering programs.

He said the government had not yet been “heavy-handed” in its dealings with the press, but it would be difficult not to act if the press does not “demonstrate some social responsibility.” Cameron added that the UK was a more dangerous place after the Guardian published Snowden’s material.

Snowden’s revelations of the international spying activities of the UK and US have embarrassed the White House and Downing Street. Recent leaks show that the NSA and GCHQ not only monitored millions of civilian communications using programs such as PRISM and Tempora, but also eavesdropped on high-profile businessmen and politicians. Moreover, it was revealed that the NSA also spied on the UN’s headquarters in New York.

Both nations have sought to justify their intelligence gathering programs as being in the interests of national security.

December 3, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment