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Expert who disabled ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack indicted over bank malware ‘Kronos’

A British-based malware researcher has been indicted in connection to the “Kronos” malware which targets banks....
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Video: ‘Elsa’ Malware: Wikileaks dumps new docs on CIA hacking tools

Wikileaks continues to reveal more of the alleged tools used by the CIA with the latest batch of documents showing how the US intel...
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Video: ‘Cyber warfare is a new frontline’: CIA created malware designed to penetrate software...

WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever batch of confidential documents on the CIA, revealing the breadth of the agency's ability...

‘Russian hackers’ penetrate US power grid with ‘outdated Ukrainian malware’

A Vermont utility sounded the alarm after finding malware code on a laptop that the FBI...
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Video: Snowden 2.0: NSA contractor arrested for stealing malware

The FBI 'secretly arrested' a National Security Agency contractor on suspicion of stealing and revealing malware the NSA used to hack foreign governments, the...

Former Tor developer makes malware for FBI

A developer of the Tor software has been exposed for creating malware for the FBI to...

Hacking Team Malware Targeted Saudi Arabia Protestors

Pratap Chatterjee Malicious software from Hacking Team of Italy that can be used to spy on cell phones has been found by Citizen Lab activists to...

Malware “Industrialises Spying”: The NSA has “Automated its Spying Operations”

Jonathan Cook  RINF Alternative News The report from Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher, based on the Edward Snowden leaks reveals that the NSA — surprise, surprise...

NSA ‘installing’ spy malware on laptops

According to a new report from Der Spiegel based on internal NSA documents, the signals intelligence agency's elite hacking unit (TAO) is able to...

NSA Intercepting Laptops Bought Online to Install Spy Malware

This National Security Agency complex in San Antonio, Texas, located in a former Sony chip factory, is one of the central offices of the...

New Snowden document reveals NSA’s international malware operation

By Kevin Reed28 November 2013 A presentation slide provided by Edward Snowden and published by the Dutch media outlet NRC on November 23 shows...

NSA Surveillance Infected 50,000 PCs With Malware

Mathew J. Schwartz The National Security Agency (NSA) has hacked into more than 50,000 PCs to install malware that monitors US government targets. So said a...

Map shows NSA huge malware ops

A yellow dot on the map signifies a CNE infection. A new map details how many companies across the world have been infected by malware...

Map Shows The NSA’s Massive Worldwide Malware Operations

CONNOR SIMPSONThe Atlantic WireNovember 24, 2013 A new map details how many companies across the world have been infected by malware by the National Security...

British intelligence reportedly intercepted LinkedIn and Slashdot traffic to plant malware

T.C. Sottek The Verge November 11, 2013 German newspaper Der Spiegel reports that British spy agency GCHQ set up fake LinkedIn and Slashdot pages to plant malware within Belgacom, a Belgian telecommunications...

Made-in-China kitchen appliances found to contain hidden Wi-Fi circuitry that installs malware on your...

J.D. HeyesNatural NewsNovember 6, 2013 As the author of the insightful, prophetic book “1984,” even George Orwell's discussed “surveillance society” wasn't so sinister as to...

“Stuxnet” and “Flame”: With New Malware Virus, Israel Fans A Virtual Flame Against Iran

The IPS article below originally posted by Global Research on May 31, 2012 sheds light on what is now “official” following the alleged leak...

Malware Infects PCs Even Before They Reach Retail Shops, Says Microsoft Study

A new study conducted by Microsoft dubbed Operation b70, from Aug. 2011, shows that several computers carry malware installed in the factory, BBC News...

Danger! Google Warns Drudge Report and Infowars.com are Malware

Kurt NimmoInfowars.comMay 7, 2013 How best to scare people away from alternative media? Make them think Drudge Report and Infowars.com web pages contain malicious software. In...

The Design Flaw at the Core of Humanity’s Malaise | By Judith Schwartz

Many of us—read: anyone paying attention—are worried about problems like climate disruption, biodiversity loss, toxins in our foods, income inequality and the hollowing out...

White House releases rules on reporting cybersecurity flaws — RT US News

After a hacker stole cyber tools from an NSA “stockpile” to carry out the WannaCry cyberattack,...

‘US will never retract accusations against Kaspersky

Even with no evidence and damage to the company, the US won’t distract spying allegations against...

FBI hackers targeted users in 120 countries, incl. Russia, China & Iran — RT...

During the largest known law enforcement hacking campaign, the FBI reportedly hacked into thousands of computers...

Ultrasonic hack ‘DolphinAttack’ sends inaudible voice commands to Siri, Alexa

Hackers can take control of smart devices using ultrasonic frequencies the human ear cannot detect, according...

Pentagon wants to search 80% of world’s IP addresses for viruses – DARPA docs

The US Department of Defense wants to identify and neutralize cyber viruses by deploying software bugs...

Can’t hack it: US court orders hackers to leave Microsoft computers & trademarks alone

An alleged Russian hacking group has been permanently banned from hacking Microsoft computers or using their...

Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void

Exclusive: A cyber-warfare expert sees no technical evidence linking Russia to the Democratic email releases, but The New York Times...

Google cancels neo-Nazi website’s registration over Terms of Service violation

Published time: 15 Aug, 2017 00:49 Edited time: 15 Aug, 2017 08:06 Already dropped by another...
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Video: From Hero to Zero: Hacker who stopped WannaCry may get 40yrs of jail

The British computer hacker credited with stopping the notorious WannaCry cyber-attack has allegedly admitted to police that he created and sold malware ... Via Youtube

Hackers retrieve $140K+ in WannaCry ransom

An unidentified person has cashed out more than $140,000 worth of bitcoins in ransom collected from...

US vs hackers: America’s crusade against cybercrime

Cyberattacks across the world have grown ever-larger in scale, inflicting billions of dollars of damage –...

Hacker who stopped WannaCry gets $30,000 bail

Published time: 5 Aug, 2017 08:09 Bail has been set at $30,000 by a judge in...

‘State actor’ behind NotPetya cyberattack, expect ‘countermeasures’ – NATO experts

Published time: 4 Jul, 2017 14:26 NATO officials have warned that last week’s global cyberattack...

London’s Metropolitan Police uses Windows XP, vulnerable to hacking & ransomware

The UK’s largest police force remains highly vulnerable to hacking and ransomware attacks, as it...

House subcommittee largely rubber stamps Trump’s 2018 special ops budget

Published time: 21 Jun, 2017 03:20 Cyber warfare weapons and drone aircrafts are among the technology...

America’s Real Loss of Prestige and Leadership Abroad

Because we traded the smooth talking guy for the clumsy boob with no manners, it is popular to bleat that America has given up...

Britain’s Trident nukes vulnerable to hack attack – report

Published time: 1 Jun, 2017 10:50 Britain’s Trident nukes could be rendered useless by hackers...

Microsoft and the CIA

Recently, an instalment of WikiLeaks’ Vault7 documents came to light that exposed two CIA malware programs that specifically infect Microsoft computers with the purpose...

America’s Reign of Terror

“The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” ― James Madison Who designed the malware worm that...

Ex-spy chief condemns Microsoft for leaving Windows XP users vulnerable to cyberattacks

A former UK spy chief has hit out at Microsoft for cutting support for its...

The World for Ransome: The Effects of Wannacry

What a stealthy bugger of a problem. Malware deftly delivered, locking the system by encrypting files and making them otherwise impossible to access unless...

WannaCry hackers have not withdrawn any ransom bitcoin, surveillance shows

Published time: 15 May, 2017 15:40 Hackers collecting bitcoin following Friday’s cyberattack have not yet...

NHS braces for more ransomware hack attacks… but where’s Britain’s health secretary?

The National Health Service (NHS) warns of a day of chaos as doctors return to work and switch on their ransomware-infected computers. Some operations...

‘Like letting Tomahawk missiles get stolen’: Microsoft slams NSA mishandling of exploits

Microsoft has criticized the NSA for their major role in spreading the WannaCry ransomware epidemic which paralyzed hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. The...

UK defence secretary insists nuclear subs safe despite concerns over #WannaCry vulnerability

Published time: 14 May, 2017 14:34 British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon insists he has “complete...
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Video: NHS cyberattack: follow NSA means, money & motive + German police on trail...

Today's cyberattack on the NHS, just follow the money – mass surveillance, data mining, Peter Thiel and Palantir criminal data mining firm - NSA...

'97% of NHS trusts working as normal after cyberattack’ – Home Secretary Rudd

Published time: 13 May, 2017 20:04 All but six of the 248 NHS trusts in...

NHS still reeling following ransomware attack as govt remains in dark over culprit

Patients are facing a weekend of delays as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) battles...

Leaked NSA exploit blamed for global ransomware cyberattack

A zero-day vulnerability tool, covertly exploited by US intelligence agencies and exposed by the Shadow Brokers...

Wikileaks Publishes Secret CIA Tools That Attacked Computers Inside Offices

WikiLeaks published on May 5 “Archimedes”, a tool used by the CIA to attack a computer inside a Local Area Network (LAN), usually used...

‘Google Docs’ phishing scam spreads across web through disguised emails

Google Docs users came across a new sophisticated type of phishing scam after many clicked a...

Cyberattacks on British hospitals & universities on the rise – report

State-sponsored and criminal gang hackers are increasingly targeting British hospitals and universities, researchers claim. ...

Teenage cyberhacker-for-hire jailed for masterminding global attacks on Sony, Microsoft

A British teenager has been jailed for masterminding a cyber-hacking business that carried out more...

31% of Americans view Russia as ‘greatest danger’ to US, highest rate in 3...

Answering an open-ended question, 31% of Americans said Russia currently represents the “greatest danger” to the US, according to a new poll. It is...

Total Chaos: Multiple Cities Hit with Simultaneous Power Grid Failures

The U.S. power grid appears to have been hit with multiple power outages affecting San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Officials...

Shadow Brokers hackers release NSA hacking tools to punish Trump for ‘abandoning’ his base

Hacking group Shadow Brokers has released the password to a trove of NSA exploits in what...

Chinese gangs targeted Britain in ‘large-scale espionage operation,’ say cybersecurity experts

UK firms are targets of “serious” cyberattacks from China that seek to steal trade secrets and customers’ personal information, a new report has said. A...

WikiLeaks Reveals ‘Marble’

WikiLeaks’ latest Vault 7 release contains a batch of documents, named ‘Marble’, which detail CIA hacking tactics and how they can misdirect forensic investigators...

Newest Wikileaks Release Details CIA's Ability to Frame Foreign Nations for Its Hacking Attacks

WikiLeaks has published hundreds more files today which it claims show the CIA went to great lengths to disguise its own hacking attacks...

CrowdStrike Rewrites Part of Disputed Russian Hacking Report

U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of Russian hacking during last year's American presidential...

The Dirty Truth About the US Gov’t

“The greatest danger to the State is independent intellectual criticism.” – Murray WikiLeaks may have finally done what many small and anti-government advocates have only dreamed...

#Vault7 hacking leak clearly an 'inside job' – former CIA deputy director

The WikiLeaks could’ve only obtained documents from CIA’s covert hacking program from somebody within the agency,...

#Vault7: Intel Security releases new detection tools following WikiLeaks’ CIA revelations

Published time: 11 Mar, 2017 13:31 In the wake of WikiLeaks’ revelation that the CIA has developed...

Fresh Doubts about Russian ‘Hacking’

Exclusive: The gauzy allegations of Russia “hacking” the Democrats to elect Donald Trump just got hazier with WikiLeaks’ new revelations...

Spies, Killers, Thieves, Liars

WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever release of confidential documents on the CIA. It includes more than 8,000 documents as...

Vault 7: Wikileaks Begins New Series of Leaks on CIA

Editor's Note: The following is the Wikileaks press release. A press conference was scheduled for this morning, but attacks on Assange's Facebook...

US govt allows child porn suspect off hook in bid to protect Tor hack...

Published time: 6 Mar, 2017 14:51 The anonymous nature of the search engine Tor is in question...

Pentagon's supplier & Tomahawk missiles manufacturer to protect US power utilities from cyberattacks

One of the world’s top military contractors, Raytheon, has teamed up with another American company that...

All Russian Hacking ‘Evidence’ Is Fake

(RINF) - The only thread that holds the DNI report together at first glance is the false testimony and fake evidence Crowdstrike and Dmitri...

‘Who gave them this and why?’ Trump blasts leaks of secret report on ‘Russian...

Donald Trump criticized leaks to several media outlets detailing contents of a classified report on alleged...

‘Propaganda intended to incite Americans’: John McAfee to RT on ‘Russian hacking’ claims

The sloppiness of the alleged DNC hack by itself proves it was not organized by a nation state, and the “utter nonsense” presented as...

‘What is going on?’ Trump wonders why FBI never requested access to the DNC’s...

Amid an avalanche of self-replicating reports of “Russian hacking”, Donald Trump has questioned how the task...

WaPo Spreading Own Falsehoods Shows Real Power of Fake News

Washington Post story (12/31/16) with revised headline and a never-mind editor’s note. Is this “fake news”? The putative scourge of “fake news” has been one...

Why Crowdstrike’s Russian Hacking Story Fell Apart- Say Hello to Fancy Bear

(RINF) - In the wake of the JAR-16-20296 dated December 29, 2016 about hacking and influencing the 2016 election, the need for real evidence...

WAPO Admits: Russia Didn’t Hack US Electrical Grid

It took a few days to get there, but the Washington Post has finally made the circuitous voyage from a headline declaring “Russian operation...

Facts force Washington Post to backtrack on report that Russia hacked US power grid

The Washington Post has corrected an article in which it said that Russian hackers had infiltrated the US power grid at a Vermont utility....

Trump questions claim of Russia hacking DNC, says he ‘knows things other people don’t’

US President-elect Donald Trump said it was possible “somebody else” compromised the Democratic campaign’s servers as...

Details Still Lacking on Russian ‘Hack’

Exclusive: The mainstream U.S. media is all atwitter about Russia having to pay a price for hacking into Democratic emails...

Investigating Law Enforcement’s Possible Use of Surveillance Technology at Standing Rock

One of the biggest protests of 2016 is still underway at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, where Water Protectors and their...

FBI gets expanded hacking powers despite Senate fight

Senate lawmakers failed to delay a rule that will enhance the government’s hacking powers. The change...

Jill Stein’s Vote-Recounts Aim for a Hillary Clinton Victory

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Prior to the U.S. election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and the Obama White House, were saying that Russia’s President Vladimir...

FBI hacked into 8k computers in 120 countries using single disputed warrant – report

The FBI hacked into more than 8,000 computers in 120 countries during an investigation into a child pornography website with just one warrant, a...

FBI ran 23 Dark Web child porn sites to gather visitor info

The FBI was authorized to operate 23 child-porn websites on the Tor network in order to collect data on users via malware, according to...

US security chiefs stumped over source of global DDoS attack – Obama

US President Barack Obama has admitted security chiefs have not yet identified those behind a sophisticated cyber-attack which crippled some of the world’s biggest...

Internet denied: What’s behind the massive DDoS attacks

An attack on a major DNS service provider literally broke the internet Friday, impacting more than 80 popular websites, including PayPal, Reddit and Twitter....

#PodestaEmails7: WikiLeaks releases 7th batch of emails from Clinton campaign chair

WikiLeaks has released a seventh tranche of emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta, comprising...

'We interpret every govt request' – Yahoo responds to e-mail scanning revelations

Yahoo called the report that the company scanned its customers’ incoming emails “misleading.” This comes as...

GCHQ to build ‘great firewall’ to protect against cyber threats

The new cyber agency of UK spy center GCHQ is gearing up to build a...

'Unprofessional': Porn now featured on FBI-seized Megaupload site

FBI-owned Megaupload.org, the domain that feds seized from Kim Dotcom, is now serving something hotter than...

Hack of NSA ‘cyber weapons’ verified by Snowden docs – report

Newly liberated NSA files from whistleblower Edward Snowden remove any doubt that the “ShadowBrokers” hack on...

NSA website down for 1 day after hackers take out its affiliate – media

A statement by the ‘Shadow Brokers’ hacking collective, claiming they have hacked an NSA affiliate and...

‘You’re welcome’: Snowden casts light on NSA hack

The files released by a hacker group that claims to have breached the NSA are authentic,...

Linux vulnerability leaves top sites wide open to attackers

A flaw in the Linux operating system lets hackers inject malware into downloads and expose the...

Chip-and-PIN credit cards hacked easily, Black Hat conference proves

The new credit card with a chip in it in your wallet ‒ touted as being...

Clinton campaign, Democratic campaign group target of new hack – report

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic Party's fundraising committee for its US House...

Pentagon frustrated at slow pace of digital war against Islamic State

Cybercom was created to develop digital weapons to damage and destroy the Islamic State’s network, computers...

4 ISIS-inspired plotters arrested in US; could Cuba become point of entry for terrorists?

The FBI arrested four people this month in order to disrupt ISIS-inspired plots and has 1,000...

Holy macaroni! Noodles & Co. faces customer data breach in 27 states

Oh, manicotti. If you’ve eaten at a Noodles & Company restaurant in the first half of...

FBI can collect home IP addresses without warrant when probing websites – court

The FBI doesn’t need a warrant to collect private IP addresses and other computer-related data during...

Cyber-attack threat to nuclear facilities underestimated by UK – report

British authorities underestimate the risk posed by malicious cyber-attacks, spy drones and data breaches to...

FBI refusal to divulge Tor hack code sees child porn evidence thrown out of...

A US District court judge has thrown out evidence submitted by the FBI because they refuse...

Brits hit by cyber theft could be forced to foot bill as banks shirk...

Brits who use online banking services vulnerable to criminal hackers could be made liable for...

‘Dangerous expansion’: Senate challenges government surveillance powers with new bill

Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul will introduce a bill this week to halt implementation of...

Brits blindly walking into Orwellian surveillance state, survey suggests

Britain is sleep-walking into an Orwellian surveillance state, with most of its citizens unaware of...

US government dead last in cybersecurity compared to private sectors – report

Despite President Obama often noting the need to bolster protections against hackers, the US government is...

Sony hack suit: Court approves multimillion dollar class action settlement

A US district court has approved a multimillion dollar settlement deal in a lawsuit brought by...

UK's top cop tells banks not to refund cyber-crime victims, even as online defenses...

Banks shouldn't compensate customers who are victims of cyber-crime because it “rewards” them for sloppy...

NSA Chief Warns Black Energy Attack On U.S. Power Grid A “Matter Of When,...

On March 1, 2016, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, U.S. Navy, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service, was a keynote...

‘UK nukes could be hacked’

A newly-published report has cast serious doubts about the security of the UK’s nuclear weapons. A study for think tank the European Leadership Network (ELN)...

The Mossad Caucus Exposed

Once again, a scandal involving spying and the state of Israel is rocking Capitol Hill, with one big difference. This time, instead of the usual...

Osborne slashes welfare, injects £1.9bn into cybersecurity to counter ISIS hackers

Islamic State terrorists could launch cyberattacks on power stations, the National Grid and hospitals, Chancellor George Osborne warned in a speech outlining his commitment...

‘Brave new world’ of hacking: Feds charge 3 men for stealing data from 100...

Federal prosecutors called it “the largest theft of financial-related data in history” when they unsealed an indictment against three men at the center of...

Eavesdropping virus ‘stealing millions’ from UK bank accounts — NCA

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has warned internet users to protect themselves from cyber-attacks which have seen hackers harvest online banking details and steal...

Giant security flaw makes 950 million Android phones vulnerable to texting hack

Android is by far the most dominant smartphone operating system in the world, and it has just been found to be vulnerable to a...

Surveillance Company Hacking Team Exposed

A 400 gigabyte trove of internal documents belonging to surveillance company Hacking Team has been released online. Hacking team sells intrusive hacking tools that have allegedly been used by...

Leaked memo reveals NSA searches for hackers

The Obama administration has stepped up the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program on U.S. soil to search for signs of hacking. by Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, and...

UK Government can legally hack you even if you’re not under suspicion

The British Government has admitted its intelligence services have the broad power to hack into personal phones, computers, and communications networks, and claims they...

5 Ways Mass Surveillance Is Destroying the US Economy

Via Washington's Blog with permission Prosperity Requires Privacy Privacy is a prerequisite for a prosperous economy. Even the White House admits: People must have confidence that data will travel...

FBI wants to hack computers globally, seeks search warrant expansion

The Justice Department is looking to remove restrictions on the FBI's ability to hack into and monitor computer systems everywhere by easing the requirements...

FBI Quietly Seeks Broader Hacking Powers

The FBI is seeking to expand its hacking and surveillance powers through "an apparently backdoor route," the Guardian reported Wednesday, a move that civil...

Mass Surveillance Destroys Freedom

It’s longstanding. It’s institutionalized. It’s lawless. It has nothing to do with domestic or foreign threats. Or anything related to national security. America’s only enemies...

The Dubious ‘Internet Safety Software’ That Hundreds of Police Agencies Have Distributed to Families

DAVE MAASS For years, local law enforcement agencies around the country have told parents that installing ComputerCOP software is the “first step” in protecting their children...

Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

NATE CARDOZO Earlier this week, EFF told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Ethiopia must be held accountable for its illegal wiretapping of...

Snowden discusses US surveillance and cyber-warfare programs

Thomas Gaist Wired magazine published an extended interview this week with former US intelligence agent and famed whistleblower Edward Snowden. Conducted in a hotel room somewhere...

Leaked Docs Show Spyware Used to Snoop on U.S. Computers

Software created by the controversial U.K. based Gamma Group International was used to spy on computers that appear to be located in the United...

NSA partnering with Saudi regime ‒ Snowden leak

The National Security Agency has increasingly been working hand-in-glove with the repressive Saudi Arabian government since 2013, sharing intelligence and assisting with surveillance, according...

Cybersecurity bill will expand surveillance powers of US military and intelligence agencies

Thomas Gaist The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12-3 last week in favor of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2014, new legislation that massively...

What Were They Thinking? Microsoft Seizes, Returns Majority of No-IP.com’s Business

NATE CARDOZO Last week, Microsoft completed a legal attack on two large and quite nasty botnets by obtaining a court order transferring 23 domain names to Microsoft’s control. The...

Dozens More Military Programs To Control Social Media Revealed

Controversial Facebook study is just tip of an iceberg Steve Watson In the wake of last week’s revelations that Facebook allowed researchers with direct links to the Department...

‘Smart’ Lightbulbs Reveal Wi-Fi Passwords

Researchers have found a way to reveal Wi-Fi passwords by hacking mobile phone controlled LED “smart” lights. Hackers uncover yet another "Internet of things" vulnerability Mikeal...

Facebook Emotional Experiment Linked To Pentagon Research On Civil Unrest

Facebook’s controversial “emotional study”, which subjected over half a million unwitting users of the social network to a psychological conditioning experiment, has direct ties...

5 Ways that Mass Surveillance Destroys the Economy

Reprinted with permission Privacy is a prerequisite for a prosperous economy.   Even the White House admits: People must have confidence that data will travel to its destination...

U.S. Government at War With Itself Over Civil Liberties

Over the past year, the United States government has been in the news a lot for its efforts to undermine the Internet’s basic privacy...

Orwell’s Oceania in ‘1984’

Allen Mendenhall George Orwell, novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, was born 111 years ago on June 25th. His novel 1984, a disturbing reminder of the dangers...

On 6/5, 65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance That We Didn’t Know a...

It’s been one year since the Guardian first published the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that demonstrated...

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: UNDERSTANDING ISRAEL’S CORROSIVE INFLUENCE ON WESTERN DEMOCRACY

                UNDERSTANDING ISRAEL’S CORROSIVE INFLUENCE ON WESTERN DEMOCRACY John Chuckman   Something troubling is quietly underway in the Western world, that portion of the world’s governments who style themselves as liberal democracies and free societies. Through a number of avenues, people’s assumptions about the role of government are […]

Understanding Israel’s Corrosive Influence On Western Democracy

John Chuckman Something troubling is quietly underway in the Western world, that portion of the world’s governments who style themselves as liberal democracies and free societies. Through...

“Reset the Net” anti-surveillance protest planned

The NSA has corrupted the Internet. On June 5, we will Reset the Net. We hope you’ll join us. June 5 is the one-year anniversary of the first...

How the NSA & FBI made Facebook the perfect mass surveillance tool

Harrison Weber The National Security Agency and the FBI teamed up in October 2010 to develop techniques for turning Facebook into a surveillance tool. Documents released alongside security...

My Device Is Me. GCHQ — Stop Hacking Me

Eric King RINF Alternative News Spy agencies have long sought to turn the technologies that improve all our lives against us. From some of the very...

UK tax office unlawfully hid export data of cyber-espionage tech to dictatorships

The UK's tax office acted in "irrationally" and unlawfully, according to the UK High Court, after it systematically refused to discuss the status of...

Google Updates Terms of Service to Officially Allow it Scan Your Emails

Google has officially changed its Terms of Service to make it quite clear that users are consenting to the search giant scanning the content of their...

‘Just Salute and Follow Orders’: When Secrecy and Surveillance Trump the Rule of Law

“The Secret Government is an interlocking network of official functionaries, spies, mercenaries, ex-generals, profiteers and superpatriots, who, for a variety of motives, operate outside the legitimate institutions of government. Presidents have turned to them when they can’t win the support of the Congress or the people, creating that unsupervised power so feared by the framers […]

Snowden Reveals Industrial Espionage Against China’s Huawei

Tom Carter  RINF Alternative News Documents released by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in the New York Times over the weekend confirm that the...

How the NSA Targets Those with ‘Keys to Digital Kingdoms’

Jon Queally  RINF Alternative News Though accused of no wrongdoing whatsoever, spy agency targets personal computers of individuals whose job it is to protect online networks The...

Manufactured Crisis. The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare

Dr. Ludwig Watzal  RINF Alternative News Since the early 1990s, Israel, U.S. officials and their submissive European allies, supported by their uncritical and subservient media, have...

Docs Reveal ‘Disturbing’ Scale of NSA’s Global Hacking Abilities

Automated hacking by US agency can infect millions with malware Jon Queally RINF Alternative News The "most significant revelations to date." "This is huge, in scale and...

Ed Snowden, the NSA and the American Fear Mime

Herbert Calhoun RINF Alternative News This, book, "The Ed Snowden Files," is a story about what one American saw atop the tip of an iceberg...

Welcome to Orwellian America, the Land of the Silent, the Home of the Submissive

Michael Payne  RINF Alternative News Something very ominous is taking place right before the eyes of the people of this nation; far too many Americans don't...

NSA Uses Radio Waves to Snoop on Off-line Computers Worldwide

Fox NewsJanuary 15, 2014 Nothing will stop the NSA from trying to capture all the digital...

The NSA’s Band of Technology Criminals

On this website, we've speculated that one outcome of the flood of NSA-centered revelations has been to desensitize U.S. citizens and diminish outrage at...

The NSA’s Band of Technology Criminals

On this website, we've speculated that one outcome of the flood of NSA-centered revelations has been to desensitize U.S. citizens and diminish outrage at...

“Democratic Dictatorship”: The Transition towards Authoritarian Rule in America

Dr. Robert P. Abele RINF Alternative News As must appear self-evident to both historians and astute observers by now, the United States, in its history, has...

Snowden reveals Massive National Security Agency Hacking Uunit

The US National Security Agency (NSA) runs an Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO), described by Germany's Der Spiegel as the “NSA's top operative...

The NSA can hijack your Wi-Fi from 8 miles away

Sarah Weber If you're already hyperventilating over a report published this weekend offering new details on National Security Administration spying, an enlightening presentation by the...

Is The NSA Quartering “Digital” Troops Within Our Homes?

Are “Digital” Troops Being Sent Into Our Digital Devices Like British Troops Were Sent Into American Colonists' Homes? Washington's Blog We...

NSA’s Top Hacking Unit

NSA's Top Hacking Unit

by Stephen Lendman

On December 29, Der Spiegel headlined "Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit."

It's "considered to be (its) top secret weapon." Its covert network "infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by" whomever it targets.

More on this below. Snowden documents remain the gift that keeps on giving. Doing so made him a world hero. Washington calls exposing wrongdoing illegal. Lawlessness is official US policy.

Since 1993, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast an alternative Christmas message. It's an antidote to Queen Elizabeth's Royal Christmas Message.

In 1932, King George began them on radio. In 1957, Queen Elizabeth delivered the first televised broadcast. It's typical royal mumbo jumbo. Why Brits tune in they'll have to explain.

Snowden's comments are important. Orwell's warnings "are nothing compared to what we have available today," he said.

"We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person."

Children "born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all." 

"They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought."

"And that's a problem because privacy matters. (It's) what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be."

Snowden wants ordinary people to decide how governments monitor them. "All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they're governed," he explained.

He's doing it by revealing the extent of NSA spying.

"The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it," he said.

"Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance, and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying."

"I already won," he said. "As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated."

"Because, remember, I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself."

"All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed."

Not as long as NSA has its way. Not while Congress and US administrations let it. Previous articles discussed its Office of Tailored Operations (TAO).

It's top secret. It has over 1,000 military and civilian hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.

It identifies computer systems and supporting telecommunications networks to attack.

It successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecom systems. It's been doing it for over 15 years. It does the same thing globally.

Most NSA employees and officials know little or nothing about TAO. Its operations are extraordinarily sensitive. Only those needing to know are kept informed.

Special security clearances are required to gain access to its top secret work spaces. Armed guards keep others out.

Entering requires a correct six digit code. Retinal scanner checks are used. TAO targets foreign computer systems.

It collects hard to get intelligence. It does it by hacking, cracking passwords, compromising computer security systems, stealing hard drive data, and copying all subsequent emails and text messages.

TAO personnel penetrate, steal, damage, destroy or otherwise compromise targeted sites. It's perhaps the most important component of NSA's Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate.

It lets NSA get information not otherwise available. It can do it without being detected.

Der Spiegel called TAO NSA's 'top operative unit." It's "something like a squad of plumbers," it said. They're "called in when normal access to a target is blocked."

They're "involved in many sensitive operations conducted by American intelligence agencies." They range from counterintelligence to cyberwar to espionage.

Snowden's documents revealed TAO sophistication. It exploits technical weaknesses. It does so secretly, discreetly and efficiently.

It gets the "ungettable." According to a former unnamed TAO chief:

"It is not about the quantity produced but the quality of intelligence that is important," she said. (It's gotten) some of the most significant intelligence our country has ever seen." 

It "access(es) our very hardest targets. (It) needs to continue to grow, and must lay the foundation for integrated Computer Network Operations."

It must "support Computer Network Attacks as an integrated part of military operations. (It has to acquire) pervasive, persistent access on the global network."

Its mandate is conducting aggressive attacks. Through the middle of the last decade, it accessed 258 targets. It did so in 89 countries globally. In 2010, it conducted 279 operations.

It penetrated protected networks of targeted world leaders. It did so against European telecommunications companies.

It cracked Blackberry's encrypted BES email servers. One document said doing so required "sustained TAO operation(al)" effort.

In 1997, TAO was created. At the time, only 2% of the world's population had Internet access. It was a year before Google was founded. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube weren't around. Yahoo was a fledgling operation.

TAO personnel work at NSA's Fort Meade, MD headquarters. They're in San Antonio, TX. They're in other locations. They're housed in their own wings. They're separate from other NSA operations.

Their match Star Trek. They do it for real. They go where no one went before. They do it round-the-clock. They do it globally.

They find ways to hack into global communications systems. They penetrate the most heavily protected ones. 

They do what never before was possible. They do it secretly. They do it without being detected.

TAO employs new kinds of people. They're much younger than other NSA personnel. They're expert hackers. "Their job is breaking into, manipulating, and exploiting computer networks," said Der Spiegel.

They resemble geeks. They act like them. NSA director Keith Alexander is involved in recruiting. He attends major hacker conferences.

Sometimes it's in formal military attire. Other times, he wears jeans and t-shirts. It's to look and act like the geeks he's recruiting. It works.

TAO has operations in Wahiawa, Hawaii, Fort Gordon, GA, Buckley Air Force Base near Denver, Fort Meade, MD, San Antonio, TX and a liaison office near Frankfurt, Germany.

It's the European Security Operations Center (ESOC) "Dagger Complex. It's at a US military compound in Griesheim. It's a suburb of Darmstadt near Frankfort.

It's secured by a tall wire fence. It's topped with barbed wire. It's in relatively modest buildings. They're surrounded by green space. It's for added security.

It's one of Hesse state's best protected sites. NSA's European Cryptologic Center (ECC) is headquartered there. A 2011 NSA report calls it the "largest analysis and productivity (site) in Europe."

Information obtained ends up in Obama's daily briefings. He gets them on average twice weekly. 

NSA considers Germany a prime target. Espionage is prioritized. So is German foreign policy.

Weeks after NSA spying on Angela Merkel was revealed, Berlin still awaits answers on what it's up to in Germany.

Documents Der Spiegel saw revealed intense NSA spying. Its personnel consider German intelligence gotten a "success story."

Tons of information were collected. Former NSA director Michael Hayden told Der Spiegel: "(T)he damage for the German-American relationship is huge."

Post-9/11, he tried working cooperatively with Germany's BND intelligence, he said. "I tried to avoid acting as an occupier," he claimed.

"We extended our cooperation." It's now jeopardized. He admits NSA espionage. "We steal secrets," he said. "We're number one in (doing) it."

NSA isn't malicious, he claims. "We steal stuff to make you safe, not to make you rich." NSA steals everything it gets its hands on. It compromises public safety. It does so globally.

Former NSA employee/whistleblower Thomas Drake said "September 11 was the trigger that (made) Germany a target of high priority." 

Powerful tools are used to do whatever NSA wishes. To infiltrate wherever it wants to go. To steal as much as it can about virtually everything. NSA director Alexander says "get it all."

Der Spiegel called its Texas operations "uniquely impressive." The Texas Cryptologic Center employs less than 60 TAO specialists.

By 2015, plans are to increase staff to about 270. Another 85 specialists work in the Requirements & Targeting division. In 2008, they numbered 13.

Software developers are expected to increase from three in 2008 to 38 in 2015. San Antonio-based operations target Middle East Countries, Cuba, Venezuela, Columbia and Mexico.

According to Washington's planned intelligence operations, around 85,000 computers worldwide were expected to be infiltrated by year end 2013. Most involve TAO operations.

Cyber criminals run them. They hack into computer systems. They send emails disguised as spam. They contain links directing users to virus-infected web sites.

They implant NSA malware this way. They do it without targeted subjects knowing.

A major TAO goal is "subvert(ing) endpoint devices." They include "servers, workstations, firewalls, routers, handsets, phone switches, (and) SCADA systems, etc."

According to Der Spiegel: 

"SCADAs are industrial control systems used in factories, as well as in power plants…(The) most well-known and notorious use of this type of attack was the development of Stuxnet..." 

In spring 2010, Iranian intelligence discovered its malware contamination. It infected its Bushehr nuclear facility. At the time, operations were halted indefinitely.

Israel was responsible. So was Washington. Had the facility gone online infected, Iran's entire electrical power grid could have been shut down.

One of NSA's "most productive operations" is its direct "interdiction." Goods are rerouted from suppliers to secret TAO locations.

According to Der Spiegel:

TAO personnel "carefully open...package(s) in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies." 

"All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer." Operations are conducted globally.

NSA targets virtually everyone. Its ultimate goal is leaving no one behind. Most important are "entire networks and network providers," said Der Spiegel.

Fiber optic cables handling global Internet traffic "along the world's ocean floors" are prime targets.

NSA responded to Der Spiegel's query. It lied saying TAO "is a unique national asset that is on the front lines of enabling NSA to defend the nation and its allies."

Domestic spying has nothing to do with national security. It's for control. It's global espionage for economic advantage. It's to be one up on foreign competitors. 

It's for information used advantageously in trade, political, and military relations. It's lawlessly obtained. It's unconstitutional. It doesn't matter.

NSA is one of many US rogue operations. America's 15 other intelligence agencies operate the same way.

Congress, administrations and federal courts are worst of all. They function lawlessly. They legitimize the illegitimate. 

They threaten humanity in the process. Imagine what they plan this year. Expect worse conditions perhaps than earlier. Rogue states operate that way. America is by far the worst.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour


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US/Israeli Iran Policy Remains Unchanged

US/Israeli Iran Policy Remains Unchanged

by Stephen Lendman

Dark forces run both countries. They want Geneva agreed on terms subverted. On November 30, Fars News headlined "Riyadh, Tel Aviv Cooperating to Sabotage Iran's (Nuclear) Program."

They're cooperating on a new computer worm. They want one more destructive than Stuxnet. In 2010, it infected Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility.

Operations were halted. Israel was blamed. So was Washington. Had the facility gone online infected, Iran's entire electrical power grid could have been shut down.

Experts say Flame malware is 20 times more harmful than Stuxnet. Perhaps Israeli and Saudi dark forces want something even more destructive.

Fars News quoted an unnamed "informed source," saying:

"Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and director of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency Tamir Bardo sent their representatives to a meeting in Vienna on November 24 to increase the two sides' cooperation in intelligence and sabotage operations against Iran’s nuclear program."

"One of the proposals raised in the meeting was the production of a malware worse than the Stuxnet (a comprehensive US-Israeli program designed to disrupt Iran's nuclear technology) to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran's nuclear program."

Netanyahu called Geneva a "historic mistake." Bandar called it "West(ern) treachery." An Israeli/Saudi alliance plans to subvert it.

Washington's approach represents new wine in old bottles. Longstanding objectives remain unchanged. 

Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping once said "(i)t doesn't matter if a cat is black or white so long as it catches mice."

America wants Iranian governance it controls. How it's achieved is optional. War is currently unpopular. 

US-style diplomacy substitutes. It includes more than meets the eye. It's more duplicitous than sincere. How long current tactics continue remains to be seen.

Bottom line objectives haven't changed. If current strategy fails, expect Plan B. It'll be more confrontational. I'll include stiffer sanctions. 

Expect hawks to urge war. Attack plans were readied years ago. They can be implemented straightaway if ordered. 

False flag deception may precipitate it. Duplicity is longstanding US tradition. Trustworthiness isn't its long suit. 

Deals it offers aren't worth the paper they're written on. Anti-Iranian sentiment is decades old. Geneva reflected marked overt change from past policy. It did so tactically.

Plans may shift going forward. Don't expect smooth sailing. Obama is no peacemaker. He's waged multiple direct and proxy wars. He's done so since day one in office.

Syria is his war. He wants Assad toppled. Planned January peace talks change nothing. Conflict persists. Dozens die daily.

On Thursday, insurgents attacked Russia's Damascus embassy. A statement followed, saying:

"Today, the area where the embassy is located has undergone yet another intense mortar fire." 

"One mine exploded on the territory of the diplomatic mission." 

"There are no injuries on the site of the explosion. Another mine exploded near the fence outside the embassy."

US support makes these type incidents possible. The State Department issued a disingenuous statement, saying:

"We condemn any attack against individuals or facilities protected by international law." 

"The United States continues to emphasize that those responsible for atrocities on all sides must be held accountable."

One side alone bears full responsibility. It's done so for over two and half years. Washington's dirty hands facilitate things. High-level US manipulation controls what's ongoing.

America's imperial policy remains firm. It wants Syrian and Iranian regime change. It wants governments in place it controls. 

Waging multiple regional direct and proxy wars shows how far US policy goes to achieve strategic aims. 

Iranian officials know what challenges they face going forward. They know Washington and Israel can't be trusted.

Negotiating with America in Geneva wasn't easy. Nor were reported secret talks preceding them. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif excludes Israel from future negotiations. He does so for good reason.

"We will not attend a meeting in which the occupying regime participates," he said. His remark responded to possible future Israeli involvement.

It negotiates like Washington. It's up to no good. It demands. It's all take and no give. Decades of failed Palestinian peace talks reflect its duplicity.

It deplores conflict resolution. So does Washington. Violence, instability and deception serve their agenda. Longstanding policy calls for toppling Iran's government.

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) "advocate(s) on behalf of a strong US military, a robust national security policy and a strong US security relationship with Israel and other like-minded democracies."

It supports the worst of US and Israeli crimes. It's militantly anti-Iranian. In October, it issued a report titled "The 2013 JINSA Generals and Admirals Trip to Israel and Jordan."

Pentagon officials involved recently retired. They're not household names. They're all high-ranking. 

They met with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. IDF chief of staff General Benny Gantz was involved. So were various other senior Israeli military and intelligence officials.

JINSA's report covered lots of ground. One section dealt with Iran. It largely focused on its nuclear program. It called Geneva an "ugly deal."

It referred to enrichment as one element. It wants strict limits imposed. It wants operational centrifuges restricted to between 1,000 and 3,000. 

Iran wants thousands more for nuclear power generation. It wants an adequate supply of medical isotopes produced. It wants rights no different from other states operating nuclear facilities. It has every right to demand them.

Israel falsely calls an Iranian "nuclear weapons capability (an) existential threat...and cannot be allowed."

"Containment is not a viable option." Israeli consensus is that attacking Iran at most will delay its (nonexistent) "weapons program" three to five years.

Plans going forward require stiffer sanctions, "diplomatic engagement, covert operations, regime change, and a credible military option," it said.

Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. Annual US intelligence assessments say so. IAEA inspectors concur. Israeli officials know it. So do visiting retired US generals and admirals.

They falsely blamed Iran for a regional arms buildup. America is by far the world's leading merchant of death and destruction.

Tens of billions of dollars annually are involved. It's big business. The Commerce and State Departments actively promote arms sales.

In October, the Obama administration relaxed exporting rules. Doing so bypassed longstanding federal export controls.

According to the State Department, new rules "strengthen the US defense and aerospace industrial base." They let Washington "focus (its) export control resources on the most sensitive items."

Independent groups explain otherwise. Arms and munitions exports serve Washington's imperial agenda. They fatten warprofiteers' bottom lines. They prop up friendly dictators. 

They further regional conflicts. They prevent peace and stability. Israel is a major beneficiary. 

According to JINSA:

"Covert operations have had a demonstrable effect on the pace of Iran’s nuclear development." 

Iran's "goal of 40,000 operational centrifuges by summer 2012 has been reduced to the 12,000 to 13,000 today by a wide range of special operations, though Iran recently began installing more advanced centrifuges."

Tehran "exploits the P5+1's eagerness for diplomatic engagement to buy time for additional uranium enrichment."

"Therefore the regime feigns interest in continued negotiations, only to drag its heels before ultimately rejecting compromise settlements proposed by the P5+1."

Washington dominates negotiations. It's dirty hands prevented resolution numerous times before. 

Israel wants Iran's nuclear program entirely dismantled. Its Lobby exerts enormous pressure in Washington.

Last May, Israel said Iran "would only consider a deal if sanctions generated far more pressure and if the US conveyed a much more credible threat of military action."

Iran never wanted confrontation in the first place. It sought rapprochement years ago. Washington precipitated conflict. It stoked it for years. It subverted normalized relations. It still does.

Iran is blamed for US duplicity. Syria is blamed for US-backed terrorist atrocities. All governments America targets face false charges. 

Big Lies substitute for truth and full disclosure. Doing so aims to advance America's imperium. It comes at the expense of world peace, equity and justice.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Is Copyright Infringement Now Seen As Terrorism? Government Uses Law As a Sword Against...

policestate

We reported last year:

The government treats copyright infringers as terrorists, and swat teams have been deployed against them. See thisthisthis and this.

As the executive director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School notes:

This administration … publishes a newsletter about its efforts with language that compares copyright infringement to terrorism.

The American government is using copyright laws to crack down on political dissent just like China and Russia.

We noted last month that the “cyber-security” laws have very little to do with security.

The Verge reported last month:

In the State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama announced a sweepingexecutive order implementing new national cybersecurity measures, opening the door for intelligence agencies to share more information about suspected “cyber threats” with private companies that oversee the nation’s “critical infrastructure.” The order is voluntary, giving companies the choice of whether or not they want to receive the information, and takes effect in four months, by June 12.

***

“Cyber threats cover a wide range of malicious activity that can occur through cyberspace,” wrote Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, in an email to The Verge. “Such threats include web site defacement, espionage,theft of intellectual property, denial of service attacks, and destructive malware.”

***

“The EO [executive order] relies on the definition of critical infrastructure found in the Homeland Security Act of 2002,” Hayden wrote.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (PDF), passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, was what created the Department of Homeland Security. At that time, the US was still reeling from the attacks and Congress sought to rapidly bolster the nation’s defenses, including “critical infrastructure” as part of its definition of “terrorism.” As the act states: “The term ‘terrorism’ means any activity that involves an act that is dangerous to human life or potentially destructive of critical infrastructure or key resources…”

But again, that act doesn’t exactly spell out which infrastructure is considered “critical,” instead pointing to the definition as outlined in a 2001 bill, also passed in response to September 11, which reads:

“The term “critical infrastructure” means systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.”

This is the same exact definition that was originally provided in the president’s cybersecurity order as originally published on Tuesday, meaning that the White House appears to be relying to some degree on circular reasoning when it comes to that definition. Some in Washington, including the right-leaning think tank The Heritage Foundation, are worried that the definition is too broad and “could be understood to include systems normally considered outside the cybersecurity conversation, such as agriculture.”

In fact, the Department of Homeland Security, which is one of the agencies that will be sharing information on cyber threats thanks to the order, includes 18 different industriesin its own label of “critical infrastructure,” from agriculture to banking to national monuments. There’s an argument to be made that including such a broad and diverse swath of industries under the blanket term “critical” is reasonable given the overall increasing dependence of virtually all businesses on the internet for core functions. But even in that case, its unclear how casting such a wide net would be helpful in defending against cyber threats, especially as there is a limited pool of those with the expertise and ability to do so.

It’s not just intellectual property.  The government is widely using anti-terror laws to help giant businesses … and to crush those who speak out against their abusive practices, labeling anyone who speaks out as a potential bad guy.

MiniDuke: New cyber-attack ‘hacks governments’ for political secrets

Published time: February 27, 2013 21:35

Image from flickr.com user@dustball

The governments of at least 20 countries may have fallen victim to a sophisticated new cyber-attack. Security experts believe the hackers are attempting to steal political intelligence.

The governments of at least 20 countries may have fallen victim to a sophisticated new cyber-attack. Security experts believe the hackers are attempting to steal political intelligence.

Computer security firms Kaspersky Lab and CrySyS Lab discovered that the malware, dubbed "MiniDuke," targeted government computers in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal and Romania along with think tanks, research institutes and healthcare providers in the United States.

“The technical indicators from our analysis show this is a new type of threat actor that hasn't been seen before,” Kurt Baumgartner, a senior security researcher with Kaspersky Lab, told RT.

Although experts avoid speculating on who the attackers may be, Baumgartner clarified that “based on the target victims and the functionality of the malware” the objective of MiniDuke’s authors is “to collect geopolitical intelligence.”

The threat operates on low-level code to stay hidden, and uses Twitter and Google to get instructions and updates. It allegedly infected PCs when ‘victims’ opened a cleverly disguised Adobe PDF attachment to an email.

“The high level of encryption in the malware and the flexible system it used to communicate with the C2 via Twitter and Google indicates this was a strategically planned operation,” Baumgartner said.

The PDF documents were specifically tailored to their targets, according to the researchers. The attachments referred to highly relevant topics subjects like “foreign policy,” a “human rights seminar,” or “NATO membership plans."

When the files were opened, MiniDuke would install itself on the user's computer.

So far it is only known that the malware then connects to two servers, one in Panama and one in Turkey, but security researchers say there are no clear indications of who was behind the online attacks.

According to Karpersky Lab the spyware was written in “assembler language,” a low-level code where each statement corresponds to a specific command, and is very small in size, only 20 kilobytes. Assembler language codes are written specifically for each system they are meant to attack, as opposed to higher-level codes, which can infect multiple types of technologies.

The way the malware was created and used indicates that the attackers “have knowledge from the elite, ‘old school’  type of malicious programmers who were extremely effective at creating highly complex viruses in the past,” Baumgartner says. “MiniDuke’s attackers have combined these skills with the newly advanced sandbox-evading exploits to target high-profile victims, which is unique and something we haven’t seen before.”

MiniDuke is a three-stage attack, technology news and information website, Arstechnica, explains. First it tricks a victim into opening an authentic-looking PDF document, and then infected machines start using Twitter or Google “to retrieve encrypted instructions showing them where to report for additional backdoors.”

"These accounts were created by MiniDuke’s Command and Control (C2) operators and the tweets maintain specific tags labeling encrypted URLs for the backdoors,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement. “Based on the analysis, it appears that the MiniDuke’s creators provide a dynamic backup system that also can fly under the radar - if Twitter isn’t working or the accounts are down, the malware can use Google Search to find the encrypted strings to the next C2.

Stages two and three are hidden inside a GIF image file which is downloaded from the command server and “disguised as pictures that appear on a victim’s machine.”

Image from securelist.com

Eugene Kaspersky, founder and chief executive of Kaspersky Lab, compared the highly-advanced MiniDuke to “malicious programming from the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s”, saying it has the potential to be "extremely dangerous" because it was an "elite, old-school" attack.

"This is a very unusual cyber-attack," the statement emailed to RT read.

"I remember this style of malicious programming from the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s. I wonder if these types of malware writers, who have been in hibernation for more than a decade, have suddenly awoken and joined the sophisticated group of threat actors active in the cyber world. These elite, “old school” malware writers were extremely effective in the past at creating highly complex viruses," Kaspersky's CEO added.

Neither Kaspersky nor CrySyS is disclosing what the malware does once it takes hold of a victim until they have had a chance to privately warn infected organizations, Arstechnica reported.

According to the technology news and information website, at least 60 victims have been affected. Kaspersky has identified at least 23 affected countries, including the US, Hungary, Ukraine, Belgium, Portugal, Romania, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Germany, Israel, Japan, Russia, Spain, the UK, and Ireland.

Revelations about the new malware come two weeks after Silicon Valley security firm FireEye discovered security flaws in Reader and Acrobat software.

Leaked document sample. Image from securelist.com


Cyber-gang extorted millions by posing as cops, copyright holders

European police have busted a cybercriminal ring that extorted millions of euros with a computer virus that locked machines up and demanded a ransom. They also posed as police, accusing victims of viewing child pornography and infringing copyrights.

­Eleven suspects were detained in an operation by Europol and Spanish police, police reported on Wednesday. A 27-year-old Russian who allegedly created and distributed the virus was detained in the United Arab Emirates in December, while on vacation. Ten others were detained in Spain last week, including Russians, Ukrainians and Georgians, Spanish police said.

"This is the first major success of its kind against a very new phenomenon that we have only identified in the last two years,"
Europol Director Rob Wainwright said at a news conference at the Spanish Interior Ministry in Madrid.

The cyber-gang used so-called ‘ransomware,’ a type of malware that locks down an infected computer until a ransom is paid. This particular operation targeted users with false accusations from national and international police forces, and occasionally organizations defending copyright holders. A message would demand payment of a fine of 100 euro ($134) over alleged wrongdoings, including searching for child pornography, visiting terrorist websites and illegal file-sharing.

"It used the idiom and logo of each specific police service,"
Wainwright said. "Even Europol and my own name have been used to defraud citizens."

Cybersecurity expert have found at least 48 variations of the malware, the oldest dating back to 2005, which used different logos and accusations. They also believe the gang had specifically targeted users who may have been involved in illegal online activities, making their ransom claims more plausible.

Police believe that about 3 percent of those targeted actually paid the ransom – enough to make the criminal operation quite lucrative, netting them millions annually. In Spain alone, they are believed to have collected more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million), according to Spanish police.

The gang operated in six countries when police first detected their activities two years ago. As the investigation proceeded, they expanded to as many as 30 nations, mostly in Europe.

Spanish police seized hardware and more than 200 credit cards in the raid. They said the suspects also had 26,000 euros ($35,000) in cash with them.

Of the 10 suspects detained, six have been charged with laundering, fraud and involvement in a criminal organization; the four others remain under investigation. The police offered no detail on the prosecution of the alleged author of the malware, who is also believed to be the gang’s leader.

Obama Declares Global Cyberwar

Cyber Warfare: US Military Hackers and Internet Spies

Throughout his tenure, Obama governed lawlessly for the monied interests that own him. He’s waged no-holds-barred war on humanity.

Strategy includes homeland tyranny, fear-mongering, saber rattling, hot wars, proxy ones, drone ones, domestic political ones, geopolitical ones, financial ones, anti-populist ones, sanctions, subversion, sabotage, targeted assassinations, mass murder, cyberwar, and more.

In May 2009, Obama prioritized cybersecurity. He called cyber-threats “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.”

“America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”

He ordered a top-to-bottom review. A Cyberspace Policy Review report followed. He waged cyberwar on Iran. He did so cooperatively with Israel.

In spring 2010, Iranian intelligence discovered Stuxnet malware contamination. The computer virus infected its Bushehr nuclear facility. At the time, operations were halted indefinitely.

Israel was blamed. Washington was involved. Had the facility gone online infected, Iran’s entire electrical power grid could have been shut down.

A more destructive virus called Flame malware is known. Internet security experts say it’s 20 times more harmful than Stuxnet. Iran’s military-industrial complex is targeted. So is its nuclear program. Maximum disruption is planned.

Obama supports draconian cybersecurity bills. Passage threatens constitutional freedoms.

Targeted assassinations eliminate America’s enemies. Lawless domestic spying is policy. So is warrantless wiretapping. Americans are as vulnerable as others.

Obama’s waging war on humanity. He’s doing it multiple ways. Last October, he signed an executive order. It expanded military authority. It authorized cyberattacks. It redefined defense. Doing so lawlessly legitimizes aggression.

In November, Presidential Policy Directive 20 followed. It’s secret. It set guidelines for confronting cyberspace threats.

Last fall, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of a “cyber Pearl Harbor.” It could “cause physical destruction and loss of life,” he said. It could “paralyze and shock the nation and create a new profound sense of vulnerability.”

US officials never lack for hyperbole. Fear-mongering is longstanding policy. So are Big Lies, false flags, and other pretexts for wars, other military actions, and disruptive ones.

Cyberwar capability adds to America’s arsenal. Preemption adds another dirty tactic.

In early February, US media reports headlined stepped-up cyberwar. Preemption is prioritized. Nation states, organizations, and individuals are fair game.

US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) has full operational control. It’s a cyber hit squad. It’s part of the US Strategic Command.

It’s based at Fort Meade, MD. General Keith Alexander serves as National Security Agency (NSA) director and US Cyber Command head.

The New York Times cited a secret legal review. It affords Obama sweeping preemptive cyberattack powers.

It permits him “to order a preemptive strike if the United States detects (allegedly) credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad.”

His word alone is policy. Corroborating evidence isn’t needed. Efforts to protect classified and proprietary information are increasing.

The Washington Post said wireless and technology giants are battling over a plan to create super Wi-Fi networks.

The Wall Street Journal said Google, Microsoft and Amazon are competing to control cloud computing business.

The Christian Science Monitor said preemptive cyberwar entered America’s arsenal. It “nugded up along side other” approved tactics and techniques.

New policies govern how intelligence agencies work. They’ve been unrestrained before. They’ll have greater powers now.

The New York Times said they’ll be able to “carry out searches of faraway computer networks for signs of potential attacks on the United States and, if the president approves, attack adversaries by injecting them with destructive code – even if there is no declared war.”

Rules of engagement are classified. Effectively there are none. Cyber-warriors are freewheeling. They’re unrestrained.

They’ll operate anywhere globally. China is a target of choice. It’s America’s main economic and geopolitical competitor.

An unnamed US official said new cyberwar strategy is “far more aggressive than anything” used or recommended before. The gloves are off. Anything goes.

Major disruptions can occur without firing a shot. Military and/or civilian power grids can be crippled. So can financial systems and communications networks.

Another unnamed US official said cyberweapons are so powerful that “they should be unleashed only by” presidential order. Exceptions would be tactical strikes.

Examples include disabling command and control as well as ground radar ahead of conventional strikes. At the same time, most cyberoperations are presidential prerogatives.

Expect Obama to take full advantage. Extrajudicial operations are prioritized. Rule of law principles are spurned. Operational procedures have been in development for over two years.

They’re headlined now. They coming out when cyberattacks more often target US companies and critical infrastructure. An unnamed US power station was crippled for weeks.

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal reported cyberattacks. Obama prioritizes preemption. Doing so has no legal standing. Self-defense alone is justified. Acting on suspicions without evidence is aggression.

New rules serve Washington. Lawyers get marching orders. They’re well paid to subvert accepted legal standards. Doing so doesn’t change them.

What constitutes “reasonable and proportionate force” resides in the eye of the aggressor. New guidelines exclude the Pentagon from defending US companies or individuals without presidential authority.

Doing so is Homeland Security’s prerogative. The FBI has investigatory authority. Cybersecurity legislation remains stalled in Congress. Expect stepped up efforts for passage.

Doing so will more greatly comprise freedom. Full-blown tyranny approaches. It’s a hair’s breadth away. Whistleblowers are targeted. Dissent is endangered.

There’s no place to hide. Big Brother’s expanding exponentially. Cyber-preemption adds greater police state power.

On February 3, a Washington Post editorial headlined “Cyberwar, out of the shadows,” saying:

US Cyber Command is expanding exponentially. Doing so “is indicative of how conflict is moving toward center stage for the military, a domain similar to land, sea, air and outer space.”

It’s heading America toward unchallenged dominance.

In May 2000, the Pentagon’s Joint Vision 2020 called for “full spectrum dominance” over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary.

Doing so includes nuclear weapons use preemptively. Non-nuclear countries and adversaries are fair game.

Cyber Command includes:

(1) “Combat mission forces” cooperatively with military units.

(2) “Protection forces” to defend Pentagon networks.

(3) “National mission forces” to head off threats to critical infrastructure. They’ll operate outside America. They’ll function anywhere if authorized. They’ll strike US adversaries preemptively.

Targeting cuts both ways. Incoming attacks can precede or follow US ones. Secrecy is prioritized but compromised. Spies have clever ways of doing it.

Rules of engagement aren’t clear. Public information is limited. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Policy need generous doses.

“If conflict in cyberspace is underway,” said the Post, “then it is important to sustain support for the resources and decisions to fight it, and that will require more candor.”

Expect little forthcoming from the most secretive administration in US history. Obama’s first term prioritized homeland repression and lawless aggression. Imagine what he has in mind for term two.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/obama-declares-global-cyberwar/

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Australian Secret Services wants Powers to Hack Personal Computers

SPY agency ASIO wants to hack into Australians' personal computers and commandeer their smartphones to transmit viruses to terrorists.

‘Red October’: Global cyber-spy network uncovered by Russian experts

Picture by Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research & Analysis Team

Picture by Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research & Analysis Team

A sophisticated cyber-espionage network targeting the world's diplomatic, government and research agencies has been uncovered by the Kaspersky Lab, whose experts say the malware's complexity could rival that of the notorious Flame virus.

­The system's targets include a wide range of countries, with the primary focus on Eastern Europe, former Soviet republics and Central Asia – although many in Western Europe and North America are also on the list.

In addition to attacking traditional computer workstations, Rocra – a shortened name for Red October, the name given the network by the Kaspersky team – can steal data from smartphones, dump network equipment configurations, snatch files from removable disk drives, including those that had been erased, and scan through email databases and local network FTP servers.  

Unlike other well-known highly automated cyber-espionage campaigns like Flame and Gauss, the Rorca's attacks all appear to be carefully chosen. Each operation is apparently driven by the configuration of the victim’s hardware and software, native language and even habit of document usage.

The information extracted from infected networks is often used to gain entry into additional systems. For example, stolen credentials were shown to be compiled in a list for use when attackers needed to guess passwords or phrases.

The hackers behind the network have created more than 60 domain names and several server hosting locations in different countries – the majority of those known being in Germany and Russia – which worked as proxies in order to hide the location of the “mothership” control server.

That server's location remains unknown.

Experts have uncovered over 1,000 modules belonging to 30 different module categories. While Rocra seems to have been designed to execute one-time tasks sent by the hackers’ servers, a number of modules were constantly present in the system executing persistent tasks. For example, retrieving information about a phone, its contact list, call history, calendar, SMS messages and even browsing history as soon as an iPhone or a Nokia phone is connected to the system.

The hackers' primary objective is to gather information and documents that compromised governments, corporations or other organizations and agencies. In addition to focusing on diplomatic and governmental agencies around the world, the hackers also attacked energy and nuclear groups and trade and aerospace targets.

No details have been given so far as to who the attackers could be. However, there is strong technical evidence to indicate that the attackers have Russophone origins, as Russian words including slang have been used in the source code commentaries. Many of the known attacks have taken place in Russian-speaking countries.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The hackers designed their own authentic and complicated piece of software, which has its own unique modular architecture of malicious extensions, info-stealing modules and backdoor Trojans. The malware includes several extensions and malicious files designed to quickly adjust to different system configurations while remaining able to grab information from infected machines.

These included a ‘resurrection’ module, which allowed hackers to gain access to infected machines using alternative communications channels and an encoded spy module, stealing information from different cryptographic systems such as Acid Cryptofiler, which is known to be used by organizations such as NATO, the European Parliament and the European Commission since 2011.

The first instances of Red October malware were discovered in October 2012, but it has been infecting computers since at least 2007, according to Kaspersky. The Kaspersky Lab worked with a number of international organizations while conducting the investigation including the US, Romanian and Belorusian Computer Emergency Readiness Teams. 

The EU has attempted to counter the huge rise in cyber-espionage by launching the European Cybercrime Center, which opened on Friday.

Picture by Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research & Analysis Team
Picture by Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research & Analysis Team

United States ill-prepared for skyrocketing cyberattacks against critical infrastructure

Cyber security analysts work to defend a network during a drill at a Department of Homeland Security cyber security defense lab at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

Cyber security analysts work to defend a network during a drill at a Department of Homeland Security cyber security defense lab at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

Cyberattacks against the United States’ critical infrastructure are increasing, but even the Department of Homeland Security is reporting that the country is ill-prepared to respond.

America’s cyberdefense situation is in need of improvement, according at least to a newsletter published by the Homeland Security Department’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, the ICS-CERT Monitor [PDF].

In the late-2012 edition of the Monitor, cyber experts working for the United States government confirm that as attacks waged against America’s essential sectors are on the rise, the number of qualified personnel able to respond is hardly adequate.

Between October 1, 2011 and September of last year, ICE-CERT claims to have received and responded to 198 cyber incidents as reported by asset owners and industry partners. In an analysis of the report by CNN, they report that the figure for Fiscal Year 2012 is 52 percent larger than the year before.

Elsewhere in the Monitor, ICE-CERT quotes noted security expert Alan Paller as saying that there are no more than 20 individuals in the entire country that could counter a substantial attack against the States’ cyber infrastructure.

“Paller believes there are only 18 to 20 people in the whole country qualified to protect the nation’s infrastructure from a concerted cyberattack,” the Monitor says, quoting from a Wall Street Journal article published in November.

“That’s an incredible small number of people considering the hundreds of thousands of engineers working in the private, public and military sectors,” says the Journal.

Of those nearly 200 incidents reported to DHS, several resulted in successful break-ins. In one example given of a power generation facility in the US, the Monitor says DHS employees identified malware installed on their systems that were so sophisticated that they posed the possibility of a very real disaster to the plant’s control environment.

“Detailed analysis was conducted as these workstations had no backups, and an ineffective of failed cleanup would have significantly impaired their operations,” the report reads.

While The Monitor neglects to name individual companies that found malware and other attempted cyber-intrusions, the DHS says that the nation’s energy, water, communications and transportation sectors were all subject to attack during the last year. Also at risk, the Monitor reports, is America’s nuclear infrastructure, where at least 6 incidents were identified during a 12-month span.

Compared to recent years, the cyberassaults waged during 2012 demonstrate an alarming trend. While ICS-CERT identified 198 incidents last year, in 2009 that number was only nine.

"I believe that people will not truly get this until they see the physical implications of a cyberattack," former FBI cybercrime official Shawn Henry said last year, as quoted by CNN. "We knew about Osama bin Laden in the early '90s. After 9/11, it was a worldwide name. I believe that type of thing can and will happen in the cyber environment."

Leading figures in Washington have warned just as much, equating an eventual assault on the United States’ cyber-grid as being on par with national tragedies of historic proportions. In October, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the country was at risk of facing a “Cyber Pearl Harbor.” In December, former National Security Agency Director Mike McConnel said a “Cyber 9/11” should be imminent.

"We have had our 9/11 warning. Are we going to wait for the cyber equivalent of the collapse of the World Trade Centers?" McConnell told Financial Times in an interview published last month.

"All of a sudden, the power doesn't work, there's no way you can get money, you can't get out of town, you can't get online, and banking, as a function to make the world work, starts to not be reliable," McConnell said. "Now, that is a cyber-Pearl Harbor, and it is achievable."

In the latest edition of The Monitor, the DHS acknowledges that one particular power company in the US was infected with a virus as recently as this October that damaged the facility’s turbine control system and around 10 computers connected to it. By the time the country’s cyber-experts identified and treated the issue, the facility suffered from three weeks of setbacks. In another instance noted in the report, a team of DHS researchers found 98,000 organizations within the United States that had Internet-facing devices that could easily be hijacked by hackers.

Cyberattacks against the United States’ energy sector accounted for 40 percent of all reported incidents last year, with the water sector targeted in around 30 separate attacks, the Monitor reports.

Only one banking or financial institution contacted the DHS about a possible cyberattack last year, but skyrocketing numbers suggest that assaults are likely to increase in Fiscal Year 2013. Just in the last few months, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Capital One have all been targeted by computer criminals.

"These attacks are representative of the longest persistent cyberattack on an industry sector in history – in fact, nearly every major commercial bank has been affected," Carl Herberger, vice president of security solutions at Radware, tells CSO Online.

Anti-American hackers from Iran are believed responsible for the renewed series of attacks aimed at the computer of US banks, according to Washington sources. On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency has been approached by a number of US banks in hopes that they will be able to protect them against the increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks waged at the American financial sector.

Iran refutes cyber strike allegations

Iran’s mission to the United Nations has dismissed allegations of the Iranian government being behind cyber attacks on the US banking system.

The mission said in a statement on Thursday that the Islamic Republic condemns any use of malware that target important service-providing institutes by violating the national sovereignty of states.

“Unlike the United States, which has, per reports in the media, given itself the license to engage in illegal cyber-warfare against Iran, Iran respects the international law and refrains from targeting other nations’ economic or financial institutions,” the statement said.

The US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has claimed that Iran has orchestrated cyber attacks on US financial institutions.

“We believe that raising such groundless accusations are aimed at sullying Iran’s image and fabricating pretexts to push ahead with and step up illegal actions against the Iranian nation and government,” the Iranian mission’s statement noted.

KA/HN

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