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Submission + - Malware in European Union Attack linked to U.S and British Intelligence Agencies (firstlook.org)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: The Regin malware, whose existence was first reported by the security firm Symantec on Sunday, is among the most sophisticated ever discovered by researchers. Symantec compared Regin to Stuxnet, a state-sponsored malware program developed by the U.S. and Israel to sabotage computers at an Iranian nuclear facility. Sources familiar with internal investigations at Belgacom and the European Union have confirmed to The Intercept that the Regin malware was found on their systems after they were compromised, linking the spy tool to the secret GCHQ and NSA operations.

Submission + - US says it can hack into foreign-based servers without warrants (arstechnica.com)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: The US government may hack into servers outside the country without a warrant, the Justice Department said in a new legal filling in the ongoing prosecution of Ross Ulbricht. The government believes that Ulbricht is the operator of the Silk Road illicit drug website. Monday's filing in New York federal court centers on the legal brouhaha of how the government found the Silk Road servers in Iceland. Ulbricht said last week that the government's position—that a leaky CAPTCHA on the site's login led them to the IP address—was "implausible" and that the government (perhaps the National Security Agency) may have unlawfully hacked into the site to discover its whereabouts

Submission + - U.S. threatened massive fine to force Yahoo to release data (washingtonpost.com) 1

Advocatus Diaboli writes: The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user data that the company believed was unconstitutional, according to court documents unsealed Thursday that illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the NSA’s controversial PRISM program. The documents, roughly 1,500 pages worth, outline a secret and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands. The company’s loss required Yahoo to become one of the first to begin providing information to PRISM, a program that gave the National Security Agency extensive access to records of online communications by users of Yahoo and other U.S.-based technology firms.

Submission + - NSA built "Google-like" interface to scan 850+ billion metadata records (arstechnica.com)

mpicpp writes: Data like unique phone identifiers, e-mail addresses, and chat handles now being shared.

According to newly published documents, the National Security Agency has built a “Google-like” search interface for its vast database of metadata, and the agency shares it with dozens of other American intelligence agencies. The new documents are part of the Snowden leaks and were first published on Monday by The Intercept.

The new search tool, called ICREACH, is described in an internal NSA presentation as a “large scale expansion of communications metadata shared with [intelligence community] partners.” That same presentation shows that ICREACH has been operational since the pilot launched in May 2007. Not only is data being shared to more agencies, but there are more types of such data being shared—ICREACH searches over 850 billion records.

New data types being shared include IMEI numbers (a unique identifier on each mobile handset), IMSI (another unique identifier for SIM cards), GPS coordinates, e-mail address, and chat handles, among others. Previously, such metadata was only limited to date, time, duration, called number, and calling number.

Submission + - NSA BIOS Backdoor a.k.a. God Mode Malware Part 1: DEITYBOUNCE (infosecinstitute.com)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: This article is the first part of a series on NSA BIOS backdoor internals. Before we begin, I’d like to point out why these malwares are classified as “god mode.” First, most of the malware uses an internal (NSA) codename in the realms of “gods,” such as DEITYBOUNCE, GODSURGE, etc. Second, these malwares have capabilities similar to “god mode” cheats in video games, which make the player using it close to being invincible. This is the case with this type of malware because it is very hard to detect and remove, even with the most sophisticated anti-malware tools, during its possible deployment timeframe.

Submission + - NSA Tried To Delete Court Transcript In Lawsuit Over Deleting Evidence (yahoo.com)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: The National Security Agency secretly tried to delete part of a public court transcript after believing one of its lawyers may have accidentally revealed classified information in a court case over alleged illegal surveillance. Following a recent hearing in the ongoing Jewel v. NSA case, in which the Electronic Frontier Foundation is challenging NSA’s ability to surveil foreign citizen’s U.S.-based email and social media accounts, the government informed U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White it believed one of its attorneys mistakenly revealed classified information. The government then requested that the select portion of the hearing’s public transcript be secretly deleted without alerting the public to the alteration. According to the EFF, the open courtroom case — which has been steadily picking up media coverage following NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s bulk surveillance revelations — was “widely covered by the press” and “even on the local TV news on two stations.”

Submission + - The FBI Is Infecting Tor Users with Malware with Drive-by Downloads (wired.com)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: For the last two years, the FBI has been quietly experimenting with drive-by hacks as a solution to one of law enforcement’s knottiest Internet problems: how to identify and prosecute users of criminal websites hiding behind the powerful Tor anonymity system. The approach has borne fruit—over a dozen alleged users of Tor-based child porn sites are now headed for trial as a result. But it’s also engendering controversy, with charges that the Justice Department has glossed over the bulk-hacking technique when describing it to judges, while concealing its use from defendants.

Submission + - The NSA's New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police (firstlook.org)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudis on “internal security” matters. The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that “Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse,” specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly “poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat” of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI’s use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents.

Submission + - Photoshopping of adult porn nets man 10-year child-porn conviction (arstechnica.com)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: A federal appeals court upheld Thursday the child pornography conviction and accompanying 10-year prison term handed to a Nebraska man who superimposed the image of an underaged girl's face onto a picture of two adults having sex. The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected (PDF) claims from 28-year-old Jeffrey Anderson that his actions were protected by the First Amendment. Anderson sent the doctored image to his 11-year-old half-sister via Facebook, resulting in the charge of distributing child pornography. Anderson had superimposed the half sister's face onto the photo, the court said.

Submission + - Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet (firstlook.org)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call. The tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.

Submission + - Snowden Revelations Reveal GCHQ Is Just Like 4Chan Trolls, But With More Power (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: So you misspent your teenage years as a 4chan troll and are trying to figure out what to do for a career? Given the latest revelations from the Snowden Files by Glenn Greenwald over at The Intercept, you might want to consider taking a job for the UK's equivalent to the NSA, better known as GCHQ. As Greenwald details (and the embedded document below reveals), among GCHQ's capabilities in its Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) are a bunch of things that sound quite a bit like traditional internet trolling efforts. These include juicing internet polls to vote for GCHQ's favorite candidate (remember when moot was voted Time's Person of the Year in an online poll?) as well as flooding email inboxes or websites and even connecting two people on the phone and listening to the conversation.

Of course, this is not the first time that JTRIG has been called out by Glenn Greenwald for its sneaky online practices. Last time, Greenwald highlighted its practice of putting a bunch of false info online about someone to destroy their reputation. This just digs deeper into some of the other "tricks" in JTRIG's trick bag. Still, it is rather astounding to me just how similar many of the items sound to the kinds of things generally associated with trolling behavior. It really makes you wonder if the folks working in JTRIG are just 4chan trolls who never really had to grow up.

Submission + - Facebook Experiments Had Few Limits (wsj.com)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: "Thousands of Facebook Inc. users received an unsettling message two years ago: They were being locked out of the social network because Facebook believed they were robots or using fake names. To get back in, the users had to prove they were real. In fact, Facebook knew most of the users were legitimate. The message was a test designed to help improve Facebook's antifraud measures. In the end, no users lost access permanently. The experiment was the work of Facebook's Data Science team, a group of about three dozen researchers with unique access to one of the world's richest data troves: the movements, musings and emotions of Facebook's 1.3 billion users"

and there is more..

"Until recently, the Data Science group operated with few boundaries, according to a former member of the team and outside researchers. At a university, researchers likely would have been required to obtain consent from participants in such a study. But Facebook relied on users' agreement to its Terms of Service, which at the time said data could be used to improve Facebook's products. Those terms now say that user data may be used for research. "There's no review process, per se," said Andrew Ledvina, a Facebook data scientist from February 2012 to July 2013. "Anyone on that team could run a test," Mr. Ledvina said. "They're always trying to alter peoples' behavior." He recalled a minor experiment in which he and a product manager ran a test without telling anyone else at the company. Tests were run so often, he said, that some data scientists worried that the same users, who were anonymous, might be used in more than one experiment, tainting the results."

Submission + - U.S. justices limit police right to search cell phones (reuters.com)

Advocatus Diaboli writes: The court said on a 9-0 vote that the right of police to search an arrested suspect at the scene without a warrant does not extend in most circumstances to data held on a cell phone.

Here is a link to the actual judgement. (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-132_8l9c.pdf)

Submission + - HackingTeam Mobile Malware, Infrastructure Uncovered (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: Controversial spyware commercially developed by Italy’s HackingTeam and sold to governments and law enforcement for the purpose of surveillance, has a global command and control infrastructure and for the first time, security experts have insight into how its mobile malware components work.

Collaborating teams of researchers from Kaspersky Lab and Citizen Lab at the Monk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto today reported on their findings during an event in London. The breadth of the command infrastructure supporting HackingTeam’s Remote Control System (RCS) is extensive, with 326 servers outed in more than 40 countries; the report also provides the first details on the inner workings of the RCS mobile components for Apple iOS and Android devices.

Submission + - German Intel Agency Helps NSA Tap Fiber Optic Cables in Germany 2

An anonymous reader writes: Der Spiegel has written a piece on the extent of collaboration between Germany's intelligence agency, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), and the U.S.'s National Security Agency (NSA). The sources cited in the piece do reveal BND's enthusiastic collusion in enabling the NSA to tap fiber optic cables in Germany, but they seem inconclusive as to how much information from the NSA's collection activity in the country is actually shared between the NSA and BND. Of note is evidence that the NSA's collection methods do not automatically exclude German companies and organizations from their data sweep; intelligence personnel have to rectro-actively do so on an individual basis when they realize that they are surveilling German targets. Germany's constitution protects against un-warranted surveillance of correspondence, either by post or telecommunications, of German citizens in Germany or abroad and foreigners on German soil.

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