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February 06, 2014

Russian official claims they are surveilling Olympic journalists as they shower

What's worse: having showers that leak or being watched while you shower by the security apparatus of Russia? Russian Officials Defend Decrepit Facilities By Citing Surveillance Footage Inside Hotel Showers | ThinkProgress
Journalists, spectators, and athletes in town for the Sochi Olympics (which start today) have been reacting to their unfinished hotel rooms, dirty water, and unfamiliar lavatory setups with a mix of amusement and frustration on social media. Less genial are the Russian officials tasked with running the games, who have begun accusing their detractors of deliberately sabotaging the Olympic village in an effort to embarrass Russia. And they can prove it too, thanks to the surveillance cameras installed in visitors’ showers. At least that seemed to be the admission from Dmitry Kozak, a deputy Prime Minister who is responsible for overseeing the Sochi Olympics. He spoke with the Wall Street Journal about the endless stream of criticism, and was eager to offer his evidence that much of it is fabricated. “We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day,” he told the paper. Before the Journal could inquire as to how Russian officials were able to see inside the showers of hotel guests, an aide stepped in and pulled the reporter away from Kozak. Whether or not the claim by Kozak is true, Russia’s Olympic games are already rife with privacy concerns. NBC News reporter Richard Engel filed a report from Sochi on Tuesday documenting how hackers in Russia were able to gain access to both of his computers and his cell phone in a matter of minutes, and the U.S. State Department has issued a warning to anyone traveling to the games that they should have “no expectation of privacy, even in their hotel rooms.”

January 13, 2014

German researcher discovers the NSA's security backdoors are open to anyone clever

The problem with putting backdoors into everyone's systems is that at the end of the day there are backdoors in everyone's security. Researcher describes ease to detect, derail and exploit NSA's Lawful Interception | ZDNet
While headlines from European hacking conference 30c3 featured speakers vying for U.S. National Security Agency revelation sensationalism, one notorious hacker delivered an explosive talk that dismantled one thing the NSA, law enforcement, and global intelligence agencies depend on: "Lawful Interception" systems. And German researcher Felix "FX" Lindner did exactly that, in what was stealthily 30c3's most controversial bombshell of the conference. In a talk titled CounterStrike: Lawful Interception, Lindner explained to a standing-room-only theater of 3,000 hackers how easy it is to find out if you're under legally imposed surveillance, detailing how easily a user can jam the shoddy legacy systems running Lawful Interception (LI). In explaining how LI works, Lindner revealed the shocking lack of accountability in its implementation and the "perverted incentive situation of all parties involved" that makes it easy to perform interception of communications without any record left behind.

December 27, 2013

NSA surveillance has stopped no terror attacks at all

A White House panel revealed that the NSA's extensive, probably illegal, spying efforts have successfully stopped exactly zero terror attacks. NSA surveillance stopped no terror attacks, says White House panel member | Pandagon
A member of the White House review panel on NSA surveillance said he was “absolutely” surprised when he discovered the agency’s lack of evidence that the bulk collection of telephone call records had thwarted any terrorist attacks, said Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, in an interview with NBC News. “The results were very thin.” While Stone said the mass collection of telephone call records was a “logical program” from the NSA’s perspective, one question the White House panel was seeking to answer was whether it had actually stopped “any [terror attacks] that might have been really big.” “We found none,” said Stone. Under the NSA program, first revealed by ex-contractor Edward Snowden, the agency collects en-masse the records of the time and duration of phone calls made by persons inside (and sometimes outside) the United States. Stone was one of five members of the White House review panel – and the only one without any intelligence community experience – that this week produced a sweeping report recommending that the NSA’s collection of phone call records be terminated to protect Americans’ privacy rights. The panel made that recommendation after concluding that the program was “not essential in preventing attacks.” “That was stunning. That was the ballgame,” said one congressional intelligence official, who asked not to be publicly identified. “It flies in the face of everything that they have tossed at us.” . . .

November 12, 2013

Is China planting spam-broadcasting chips in home appliances?

Russian hackers claim they are. China is planting spying microchips in Electric Iron and kettles that can scan Wi-Fi devices to serve malware - The Hacker News
We have discussed many times in our stories the network of Intelligent devices, their capabilities and the possibilities that cyber criminals could exploit them for illegal activities.

Hidden chips are used by cyber criminals and state-sponsored hackers to infiltrate company networks and organizations for various purposes, to send out spam or for cyber espionage.