Archive for the ‘Big Brother’ Category

TLA Computer Security


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

There are many agencies that have some degree of charter for computer security – but “defense” has been a bit of a hot potato. Meanwhile, the NSA (and now we know CIA, and probably every other Three Letter Agency) used to go to security conferences like DEFCON and advertise that they were hiring hackers. Of course they were.

If you know anything about how the US empire operates, you’d predict right away that the effort in computer security has been pretty much all offense and no defense – like our Department of “Defense” and you’d be pretty much right. …

stderr 2017/05/18 sounds-about-right

Marcus J. Ranum: The Myth of Homeland Security

Trolling GCHQ


(indy100) – Harriet Marsden:

While the effects were felt all over the world in almost 100 countries, the NHS was the most terrifyingly significant target for us in Britain – literally, the lifeline of the UK.

Malicious ransomware called ‘WannaCry‘ infected thousands of computers, holding patients’ medical records captive via encryption and demanding a BitCoin payment for their release.

In other equally important news, it was also National Limerick Day. …

indy100 7733896

Twitter trolling GCHQ

Walking Back The Cat


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

The origin of the expression “walking back the cat” is lost in the early cold war, but it refers to the process of decompiling and recompiling intelligence after a breach, usually caused by a mole.

I’m quite sure that nowadays it’s got a lot to do with computer forensics; it’s probably a tremendous amount of fun for anyone who hasn’t got a stake in the outcome. For anyone who does, historically, it’s a slice of hell. …

stderr 2017/04/23 walking-back-the-cat

Phoned-Home Info Revealed by Microsoft


(The Register) – Iain Thomson:

Put down your coffee and admire the sheer amount of data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC. …

theregister 2017/04/06 creators_update

Big Brother Microsoft Windows

Strong Encryption Makes us all Safer


(Guardian Comments) – Editorial:

There are many things the web giants could do to help combat terrorism, but weakening privacy protection is not one of them. …

theguardian 2017/mar/27 strong-encryption

It’s Worse Than You Think


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

I’m usually surprised by the coverage regarding NSA/CIA/FBI spying: there’s some stuff we definitely should be scared of, and there’s other stuff that I file under “so, what?”

For example, the fact that the US government has consistently ignored its own laws regarding wiretapping: nobody who has observed any government in action should be surprised by that.

For example, Herbert Yardley published “The American Black Chamber” in 1931, documenting a slightly fictionalized version of his exploits monitoring communications during WWI, before, and after. …

stderr 2017/03/11 worse-than-you-think

Herbert Yardley: The American Black Chamber

Conspiracy Size


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

I suspect that there is an optimal and a peak conspiracy size, beyond which it becomes nearly impossible to keep a secret.

That’s one of the reasons why I tend to disbelieve conspiracy theories that involve a lot of moving parts. I completely suck at math but if I recall how this is calculated, you take the probability that any individual will leak, and then the probability your secret remains secret is the combined probability that all the individuals don’t leak. The way I think of it (because I suck at math) is that you make a saving throw on your Leak Table every year and sooner or later you’re going to come up ’01’. …

stderr 2017/03/07 conspiracy

WikiLeaks CIA Revelations


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

WikiLeaks has issued a blockbuster press release along with a tranche of documents that were leaked to it that describe the CIA’s efforts to infiltrate people’s communications systems. The documents reveal that the CIA targeted smartphones and computers and turned so-called Smart TVs into eavesdropping devices. The documents allege that the CIA then lost control of this spying arsenal which means that others may now possess these same capabilities, which would constitute a massive breach in its security systems. …

singham 2017/03/07 vault-7

WikiLeaks over CIA Information Operations Center logos



(Atlantic Tech) – Kaveh Waddell:

Intellipedia has been around for more than a decade. It’s made up of three different wikis, at different classification levels: one wiki for sensitive but unclassified information, another for secret information, and a third for top secret information. Each wiki can only be accessed by employees in the U.S. intelligence community’s 17 agencies who have the appropriate clearance level.

Built on the same software platform as Wikipedia, Intellipedia’s articles are often cribbed directly from the free encyclopedia, but with sensitive classified information added by analysts. …

theatlantic 2017/03 518508


Virtual Surveillance


(The Intercept) – Joshua Kopstein:

Virtual Reality allows the most detailed, intimate digital surveillance yet. …

theintercept 2016/12/23 virtual surveillance

 Mark Zuckerberg with VR audience