Thursday, February 22, 2018

FutureWatch: Tomorrow's Spys Today

"Help young people. Help small guys. Because small guys will be big. Young people will have the seeds you bury in their minds, and when they grow up, they will change the world." 
~Jack Ma

Teens at the Library for grades 6-10: Spy Academy 
Categories: Community
Date: Thursday, February 22, 2018
Start Time: 6:30 PM (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
End Time: 7:30 PM
Location Northeast Regional Library, 14401 Green Elm Ln, Raleigh, NC 27614
Google Calendar Yahoo! Calendar Windows Live Calendar iCal/Outlook

Put your sleuth skills to the test. Come for a night of code breaking, laser-beams, memory, and more!

For more information...


Two drones headed north above Capitol Boulevard toward the Idaho statehouse. Lt. Gov. Brad Little stood to Gov. Butch Otter’s right at the top of the Capitol steps and watched...

The demonstration by Black Sage Technologies showed off the Boise company’s system to immobilize drones that might be carry a bomb, drop contraband or weapons into prison recreation yards, or spy on sensitive operations.

Black Sage uses cameras, radar and other tools to detect drones. It can see them at least three and a half miles away. The company sometimes demonstrates its anti-drone system at military bases. Wednesday’s exhibition was one of the few times the public has gotten to see it. more

The Employee Competitor: Spy in the Yogurt

Click here.
The American yogurt market has remained pretty steady over the past few years, yet the yogurt areas in all my go-to grocery stores keep expanding, meaning it’s an increasingly competitive industry, and this fosters the sort of tense environment that sometimes can lead to suspicions of corporate espionage.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Dannon Co. sued its former senior vice president, Federico Muyshondt, alleging he divulged trade secrets to colleagues at his new job, which is with Chobani LLC. Both of these companies, obviously, are renowned for their yogurt.

According to the complaint—filed in a federal court in White Plains, New York—Muyshondt stands accused of pilfering details of Dannon’s business strategy, plans for forthcoming products, and lists of customers before he left the company in January to take a job with Chobani, which was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. more

Report Reveals 50% of Organizations Don't Provide Employee Information Security Training

New cybersecurity reports just released by Cisco and Verizon Wireless say that businesses are faced with more sophisticated security threats from wireline and wireless devices running on their networks.

Perhaps the more disturbing revelation of Verizon’s study is that it’s not hacktivists, criminals or those engaging in corporate espionage that pose the greatest threat, but a company’s own employees. However, only 50% of all organizations provide IT training when a new employee joins a company. more

Observation: Interestingly, even fewer businesses proactively check for all the other methods of corporate espionage, e.g. regular information security surveys and technical surveillance countermeasures inspections

Coincidentally, the few that are pro-active seem to be among the most successful and profitable companies in America. Just coincidence?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

You Are Never a Stranger in Our City - Facial Recognition Street Cams

Nvidia has partnered with AI developer AnyVision to create facial recognition technology for "smart cities" around the world. The two companies will work to install automatic facial recognition into CCTV (closed-circuit television) surveillance cameras.

AnyVision claims the technology enables cameras that can continuously scan for faces 24/7, automatically identifying and tracking individuals within a large crowd with 99% accuracy.

Algorithms working with human monitors can then compare the faces identified against a database of known terrorists or criminals.

The company also says it's committed to protecting the personal data that CCTV cameras collect.

So... is this technology terrifying, and possibly everything Orwell warned us about? Absolutely.

But it could also save thousands of lives. The technology could be useful not only for catching at-large criminals, but also for quickly identifying suspects, and tracking down individuals who have gone missing. more

You may recall, this has been tried before and its comeback was predicted here in 2008.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Slick and Wise Espionage Ethics Discussion

NM - Two former U.S. intelligence officials will discuss the cloak-and-dagger world of espionage and the difficult ethical dilemmas it poses for U.S. spies at a lecture in Albuquerque on Feb. 25.

Stephen Slick, director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Intelligence Studies Project, and Douglas Wise, retired senior CIA operations officer, will wrestle with the question of whether a profession that requires lying, cheating, stealing, manipulating, exploiting and deceiving should have ethical boundaries. In a Journal interview, Slick said every potential intelligence officer must answer that question for themselves, and that their ultimate responsibility is adhering to U.S. and international law.

The panel discussion – part of the Albuquerque International Association’s ongoing lecture series – is Sunday, Feb. 25, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the UNM Continuing Education Auditorium.

Slick said the subject of espionage and ethics is popular among his students, who are often contemplating careers in intelligence. more

Just when you thought there were no more places to hide a spycam...

FL - A 54-year-old Southside man is behind bars after a young woman found a tiny camera hidden inside a loofah as she was taking a shower in their home, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Kelly Lloyd Birkley remains jailed on $25,000 bail after being charged Monday with video voyeurism of someone 19 or older. Responding officers found Birkley sitting in a car in the driveway, reporting that he told them “I’m a dirty old man” when they approached, according to his arrest report...

Court records show Birkley’s wife filed a temporary injunction for protection against him the same day he was arrested. more

Hacktivists - Hackers Who Hack For Privacy

Another day, another data breach – This time it is Retina-X Studios, a well know spyware developing firm.

There are different types of hackers, some hack for profit while some hack for good and then there are hacktivists who do it for the cause...

...the company suffered a security breach in April 2017 revealing that Retina’s software are also used to spy on customers to keep an eye on their partners without their consent which is unlawful...

Retina-X has once again suffered a data breach in which a hacker going by the online handle of Precise Buffalo on Mastodon server has targeted Retina-X and completely erased 1 terabyte of data from its cloud server including photos customers stole from unsuspecting users including kids who installed Retina-X’s Phonesheriff application on their smartphone...

“None of this should be online at all. “Aside from the technical flaws, I really find this category of software disturbing. In the US, it’s mainly targeted to parents,” the hacker said, explaining his motivations for going after Retina-X. “Edward Snowden has said that privacy is what gives you the ability to share with the world who you are on your own terms, and to protect for yourself the parts of you that you’re still experimenting with. I don’t want to live in a world where younger generations grow up without that right,” said the hacker.

This is not the first time when a spyware developer has been hacked. Previously mSpy was compromised when a hacker stole personal data of 400,000 users and leaked it online. more

Friday, February 16, 2018

EU Kills Nanny, and other covert cams used to spot theft and wrong-doing.

EU - Employers looking to monitor the conduct of their employees should consider their actions carefully, particularly in light of the requirements of the new data protection laws coming into force in May.

In a recent legal case, a Spanish supermarket set up hidden CCTV cameras to monitor its employees after it uncovered theft at one of its stores. The footage collected showed five employees stealing items. The employees were confronted and admitted to theft, after which they were dismissed.

They pursued unfair dismissal claims, arguing that the use of the covert video evidence was an infringement of their privacy rights. The European Court of Human Rights agreed that the use of covert cameras constituted a violation of the employees' right to privacy and breached Spanish data protection law.

How does this apply in the UK? more

Minion nanny cams. Soon to be discounted.

Sunshine Disinfects Fortune Over iPhone Spyware, or Tobacco Rode... away.

Fifty dollars worth of spy gear just cost this Yale grad a fortune.

Brooklyn Heights dad Crocker Coulson forfeited any claim to his estranged wife’s tobacco fortune after he bugged her iPhone with $50 software that allowed him to record confidential meetings with her lawyer and shrink to gain an advantage in their divorce.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Sunshine doled out the “drastic” punishment because of the “unprecedented, contumacious conduct” of the Yale-educated investment consultant. Sunshine added that the punishment was a signal to other divorcing spouses not to violate attorney-client and doctor-patient confidentiality by playing private eye. more

Concerned about your smartphone?

Spyscape Opens in New York City Today

Calling all spies: Announcing the opening of SPYSCAPE, a truly unique permanent destination that combines three distinct elements:
• a contemporary museum,
• an immersive experience,
• and a journey of personal discovery. 

SPYSCAPE opens at 10am ET on Friday, February 16.  (928 8th Avenue, New York, NY)
Students (with valid student ID) can reserve free admission online for the opening weekend (February 16-19).

The Experience:
Upon entry, visitors will receive a unique Identity Band, which uses RFID technology to personalize their experience. They then enter the Briefing, a high-tech theater which rises up through the building as it introduces the world of secret intelligence via an immersive film developed with the studio that creates VFX for films such as Avengers, Ex-Machina and Blade Runner 2049.

Their Spy Profiles are then analyzed in Debrief, where they discover which of the 10 archetypal Spy Roles they are best suited to. This authentic profiling system was developed with a former Head of Training at British Intelligence and top industrial psychologists. The Spy Roles are: Agent Handler, Cryptologist, Hacker, Intelligence Analyst, Intelligence Operative, Special Ops Officer, Spycatcher, Spymaster, Surveillance Officer, Technical Ops Officer. more

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cuba - Concussion-like Symptoms Found in US Diplomats - Updates

Members of the US diplomatic community in Havana began visiting the embassy’s medical unit in late December 2016 with symptoms, such as headache and ear pain, that they said began after they encountered strange sounds or sensations...

In this preliminary report of a retrospective case series, persistent cognitive, vestibular, and oculomotor dysfunction, as well as sleep impairment and headaches, were observed among US government personnel in Havana, Cuba, associated with reports of directional audible and/or sensory phenomena of unclear origin. These individuals appeared to have sustained injury to widespread brain networks without an associated history of head trauma...

Neurological Manifestations Among US Government Personnel Reporting Directional Audible and Sensory Phenomena in Havana, Cuba 

More Questions Raised by Concussion-like Symptoms Found in US Diplomats Who Served in Havana

Neurological Symptoms Among US Diplomats in Cuba

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Havana, Cuba (February 14, 2018)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Email Bugs Are Tracking You

Do you want to know exactly when a friend or colleague opens your email? How about where they are when they do?

Free services now allow us to do a little spying through the email we send. But it's raising some questions about privacy.

A growing number of people are using this technology. One More Company OMC, a company that makes software to detect this kind of email bugging, released a report last year. It says marketers put bugs in virtually all of the email they send.

But surprisingly, last year 16 percent of all conversational email-- the messages you send to friends, family and colleagues-- was also tracked. And that's up from 10 percent the year before. video more


Counter Measures for Users
Possible measures to restrict the functioning of tracking pixels:
  • Set browser and email settings to be as restrictive as possible such that external graphics are only supported after permission, and HTML emails are not supported. Appropriate firewall settings can also be used to do this.
  • Some browser extensions can be used to make tracking pixels visible.
  • Anonymous surfing with the Tor Browser or use of proxy servers to prevent the download of tracking pixels.
  • In order to prevent the collection of additional user data such as browser type or operating system, the support of scripts in the browser can be deactivated. This can however restrict other functions on the Internet under certain circumstances. more

Rango - Spy Mission in Iran

A former high-ranking Iranian military leader recently claimed that Israel used lizard spies that "attract atomic waves" in order to identify the location of Iranian uranium mines.

The remarks, by Hassan Firuzabadi, a military advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were made in response to the recent arrest of local environmentalists, The Times of Israel reported.

"We found out that their skin attracts atomic waves and that they were nuclear spies who wanted to find out where inside the Islamic Republic of Iran we have uranium mines and where we are engaged in atomic activities," Firuzabadi told the Iranian Labour News Agency...

...the bizarre claim is ridiculous, two reptile experts told Live Sciencemore

Seattle's $3,750,000.00 Lightpole Art Exhibit Closes, or Sightless in Seattle

Back in 2013, the Security Scrapbook featured Seattle's new citywide surveillance system.

"A New Apparatus Capable of Spying on You Has Been Installed Throughout Downtown Seattle. Very Few Citizens Know What It Is, and Officials Don’t Want to Talk About It."

Five years after activists forced Seattle's mayor to return the city's surveillance drones to their manufacturer, the city has announced that it is terminating its warrantless mass-surveillance program altogether.

The DHS gave the city a $3.6m grant to build out a mesh wireless network that could be enjoyed by the public and also provide communications services during emergencies -- but it was also specked to do continuous location-based surveillance as well as CCTV surveillance from lightpoles all over the city.

Activists worked with the ACLU to pressure the city to work with police to produce a privacy policy that would explain when this data would be gathered, how long it would be retained, and how it would be used. The devices were switched off while these questions were to be answered.

Five years on, the police and city were unable to articulate an answer to these questions, and so now they're spending $150,000 to tear all the gear (including the mesh networking access points) out, rather than accept any limitations on their use. more