` Artwork near the Listening Post of the `GCHQ ‘ in Cheltenham Could be Guerilla Artist Banksy ‘

#AceNewsServices – April 14 – (BBC) – The “guerrilla artist” Banksy is believed to be behind a piece of street art depicting three shadowy figures eavesdropping – three miles from the Government listening post GCHQ.

The artwork, which appeared in Cheltenham on Sunday, depicts three men wearing sunglasses and using listening devices to “snoop” on a telephone box.

The piece has already attracted hundreds of visitors.

Banksy has not yet claimed the work but it bears his hallmarks, say experts.

Read More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-27021675

#ANS2014

#banksy, #cheltenham, #gchq

` Journalist’s are Honoured at ` Pulitzer Prize Awards ‘ in Difficult and Dangerous Times ‘

#AceBreakingNews – April 14 – (RT) – The Guardian US and the Washington Post are among the winners of a prestigious journalistic Pulitzer award. The newspapers shared the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Reporting for coverage of NSA surveillance and whistleblower Snowden’s leaks.

The prize is awarded “for a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site through the use of its journalistic resources,” according to the Pulitzer Committee. This includes the use of “stories, editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or other visual material.”

The committee stated that it was awarded to the Washington Post for “its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.”

It also awarded joint gold to Guardian US for its “revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

#BREAKINGNEWS: We have won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for our coverage of Snowden’s NSA leaks, along with @GuradianUS.
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 14, 2014
Among Guardian US and Washington Post revelations were some of the most wide-scale and high-profile disclosures of government secrets since 1971’s Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War.

Glenn Greenwald headed up reporting at the Guardian alongside Ewen MacAskill and film-maker Laura Poitras. Poitras has also collaborated with the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman, who was also honoured.

The impact of both newspapers’ revelations has sparked global outrage at the extent of US covert surveillance of its own citizens and those of other nations. With the help of documents leaked by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, details of clandestine PRISM operations and UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) collaboration emerged.

#ANS2014

#gchq, #guardian, #national-security-agency, #nsa, #pulitzer-award, #snowden, #washington-post

NSA and GCHQ : ` Targeted Private and German Companies ' Spying on 122 World Leaders '

#AceSecurityNews – UNITED STATES – The NSA’s data-base contains information obtained during the surveillance of over a hundred world leaders, new leaks by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed.

Der Spiegel has looked through a top secret presentation by NSA’s Centre for Content Extraction, which is responsible for automated analysis of all types of text data.

According to the document, the leaders of 122 states were among the high-ranked targets of the US intelligence.

However, only 12 names were revealed by the German journalists in the publication as an example – http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/gchq-and-nsa-targeted-private-german-companies-a-961444.html

ANS2014

#ans2014, #gchq, #nsa, #snowden, #united-states, #us

` UK and US branded `Enemies of the Internet ‘ by `Reporters without Borders’ which disrupt `Freedom of Information’

#AceSecurityNews – United Kingdom and the US have been branded ‘Enemies of the Internet’ for the first time by Reporters Without Borders on their annual list of countries which disrupt freedom of information through surveillance and censorship.

Both the US and the UK were included in the list for first time as a result of revelations from the Whistleblower Edward Snowden into the activities of the American and British spy agencies.

In fact Edward Snowden branded the UK, where the government has largely ignored calls to reign in the nation’s spooks and the public remain apathetic, as “worse than the US”.

Snowden outlines various “widespread surveillance practices” operated by GCHQ as part of its plan called “Mastering the internet”.

“The Internet was a collective resource that the NSA and GCHQ turned into a weapon in the service of special interests, in the process flouting freedom of information, freedom of expression and the right to privacy,” say the report’s authors.

The UK, says the press watchdog, paid scant heed to any legal considerations when harvesting huge amounts of data.

“Supported by the NSA and with the prospect of sharing data, the British agency brushed aside all legal obstacles and embarked on mass surveillance of nearly a quarter of the world’s communications,” the report says.

RT News – AP – AFP – News Sources

#ANS2014

#edward-snowden, #afp, #ap, #freedom-of-information-act, #gchq, #nsa, #reporters-without-borders, #rt-news, #uk, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #us

` Snowden says in an interview with European Parliament ‘ US spy agency pressures allies to Spy ‘

#AceSecurityNews says that in an interview National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden answered questions before the European Parliament on Friday, and said that the United States spy agency pressures its allies to take steps further enabling widespread and indiscriminate surveillance.

“One of the foremost activities of the NSA’s FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance,” Snowden said in a testimony delivered remotely from Russia. “Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK’s GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers.”

“These efforts to interpret new powers out of vague laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public opposition and lawmakers’ insistence that legal limits be respected,” Snowden insisted.

#ASN2014

#edward-snowden, #eu, #european-parliament, #gchq, #national-security-agency, #nsa, #snowden, #uk

#GCHQ & #NSA : `Intercepted Yahoo users’ Private Photographs’ and `Webcam Chat’ feature 2008 -2012′

#AceSecurityNews says that British and American surveillance agencies teamed up to develop a system that collected millions of images from the webcams of unsuspecting and innocent internet users, new leaked documents reveal.

This “Optic Nerve” program — administered by the UK’s GCHQ with the assistance of the National Security Agency — routinely intercepted and stored those webcam images in secret starting in 2008, according to documents disclosed by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian on Thursday.

The program indiscriminately collected millions of images from people who used Yahoo’s webcam chat function, the Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman and James Ball reported, “including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications.”

According to the journalists, the GCHQ relied on Optic Nerve to experiment with facial recognition programming to monitor existing targets and search for new persons of interest.

But the GCHQ didn’t stop at targeting solely suspected terrorists, the report continues, and instead collected intelligence by seemingly anyone unfortunate enough to log-in to Yahoo’s webcam chat feature, at least between 2008 and 2012.

#ANS2014 #Edward-Snowden #GCHQ #NSA

#american, #british, #guardian, #optic-nerve, #yahoo

#GCHQ : `Don’t just need `Spies’ but Magicians’ that can make things `Appear like Magic’ as they `Disappear’

#AceSecurityNews says `Western Spy Agencies’ build ‘cyber magicians’ to manipulate on-line discourse! 

Published time: February 25, 2014 03:40
Edited time: February 26, 2014 16:35
 
Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters/Kieran Doherty)Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ’s outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters/Kieran Doherty)
Secret units within the ‘Five Eyes” global spying network engage in covert on-line operations that aim to invade, deceive, and control on-line communities and individuals through the spread of false information and use of ingenious social-science tactics.

Such teams of highly trained professionals have several main objectives, such as “to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet” and “to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate on-line discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable,” The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwaldreported based on intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The new information comes via a document from the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), entitled The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations,’ which is top-secret and only for dissemination within the Five Eyes intelligence partnership that includes Britain, the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Image from firstlook.orgImage from firstlook.org

The document outlines what tactics are used to achieve JTRIG’s main objectives. Among those tactics that seek to “discredit a target” include “false flag operations” (posting material online that is falsely attributed to a target), fake victim blog posts (writing as a victim of a target to disseminate false information), and posting “negative information” wherever pertinent online.

Other discrediting tactics used against individuals include setting a honey-trap(using sex to lure targets into compromising situations), changing a target’s photo on a social media site, and emailing or texting “colleagues, neighbours, friends etc.”

To “discredit a company,” GCHQ may “leak confidential information to companies/the press via blog…post negative information on appropriate forums [or] stop deals/ruin business relationships.”

JTRIG’s ultimate purpose, as defined by GCHQ in the document, is to use“online techniques to make something happen in the real world or cyber world.”These online covert actions follow the “4 D’s:” deny, disrupt, degrade, deceive.

Image from firstlook.orgImage from firstlook.org

As Greenwald pointed out, the tactics employed by JTRIG are not used for spying on other nations, militaries, or intelligence services, but for “traditional law enforcement” against those merely suspected of crimes. These targets can include members of Anonymous, “hacktivists,” or really any person or entity GCHQ deems worthy of antagonizing.

“[I]t is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption,” Greenwald wrote.

In addition, the targets do not need to have ties to terror activity or pose any national security threat. More likely, targets seem to fall closer to political activists that may have, for instance, used denial of service tactics, popular with Anonymous and hacktivists, which usually do only a limited amount of damage to a target.

Image from firstlook.orgImage from firstlook.org

“These surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they have been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats,” Greenwald wrote.

In addition to the personal attacks on targets, JTRIG also involves the use of psychological and social-science tactics to steer on-line activism and discourse. The document details GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell,” which focuses on “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”that are used to dissect how targets can be manipulated using “leaders,” “trust,” “obedience,” and “compliance.”

Using tested manipulation tactics, JTRIG attempts to influence discourse and ultimately sow discord through deception.

When reached for comment by The Intercept, GCHQ avoided answering pointed questions on JTRIG while insisting its methods were legal.

“It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position,” GCHQ stated.

Image from firstlook.orgImage from firstlook.orgRT 

 

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#acesecuritynews, #art-of-deception, #bude, #discrediting-tactic, #edwardsnowden, #gchq, #glenn-greenwald, #government-communications-headquarters, #intelligence-and-security-committee, #jtrig, #national-security-agency, #ukusa-agreement

#GCHQ : “Denies `Launch of Denial-of-Service {DOS} Attack’ Against Hacktivist’s”

#AceSecurityNews says `British Spy Unit Launches DOS Cyber-Attack on Anonymous‘    

ddos-attack-concept-pd-4832425--700x525Edward Snowden‘s latest leak reveals that a division of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) launched a denial-of-service (DOS) attack against chat servers used by hacktivists, particularly Anonymous and LulzSec.

classified document obtained by NBC News reveals that the British secret service is brandishing a cyber-sword in the guise of the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), an intelligence unit not constrained by domestic or international laws.

A PowerPoint presentation prepared for a 2012 NSA conference called SIGDEV, obviously from the collection of documents obtained by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, contains information about operation ‘Rolling Thunder’ targetting Anonymous hacktivists. JTRIG organized a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack on the internet relay chat (IRC) server used by Anonymous, which reportedly resulted in 80 percent of users quitting internet chat rooms.

In June 2012, administrators of the VoxAnon IRC Network informed their users that a “heavy DOS attack” disrupted their operations.

“#VoxAnon is down due to DDOS. Haters will hate. We won’t stop doing what we do best,” they said at the time. It’s possible that the “haters” were agents of the British spy agency.

The GCHQ division is also responsible for identifying hacktivists who attacked PayPal and government websites, the documents show. Many Anonymous and LulzSec hackers had no idea that the people they were talking to were actually undercover agents.

For instance, Edward Pearson, known online as GZero, was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in 2012. GCHQ agents had been provided by Pearson with malicious code designed to infect the devices of a certain website’s visitors and turn them into botnet zombies that could be used for DDOS attacks.

The same spy unit is also said to have contributed to the arrest and conviction of Jake Davis, aka Topiary, and Mustafa al-Bassam, known as Tflow. Authorities targeted another hacktivists known as p0ke, but did not apparently indict him.

A DDoS attack is a criminal offence in most countries, the US and UK included.

For example, in the UK a person found guilty of a cyber attack would be charged in accordance with the Computer Misuse Act, while in the US such illegal activities are prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

Courtesy of NBC News, Voice of Russia and RT for their Contributions:    

 

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#acesecuritynews, #edward-snowden, #denial-of-service-attack, #gchq, #government-communications-headquarters, #lulzsec, #nbc-news, #paypal, #topiary

#UK: #GCHQ Order’s Destruction of Snowden Files, Hard Drive’s, Memory Cards, Under `Watchful Gaze’ of Surveillance Agency”

#AceNewsServices says `Video Released by Guardian shows   destruction of `Snowden Fles’ on `GCHQ’s’ Orders’

guardian-destroy-snowden-video.siThe Guardian has released a video of the newspaper’s editors destroying hard drives and memory cards with encrypted files leaked by Edward Snowden – under the watchful gaze of experts from GCHQ, the government’s surveillance agency.

It is the first time the footage has been published on-line since The Guardian’s hard drives were demolished on July 20, 2013, in the basement of the newspaper’s London offices.

Three Guardian staff members – deputy editor Paul Johnson, executive director Sheila Fitzsimmons and computer expert David Blishen – are seen taking angle-grinders and drills to the internal components of computers to destroy information on them.

The journalists were watched by two Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) technical experts, named in Guardian’s recent report as“Ian” and “Chris.” They recorded the process on their iPhones.

It took three hours to smash up the computers. The journalists then fed the pieces into the GCHQ-provided degausser high-tech equipment, which destroys magnetic fields and erases data, The Guardian said.

Initially, GCHQ officials wanted to inspect the material before destruction, carry out the operation themselves and take the remnants away. But the Guardian refused to let them.

The classified information was stored on four computers, none of which was ever connected to the Internet or any other network.

The UK government saw the destruction of the computers as a way to stop further publications of leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It gave The Guardian an ultimatum to either hand the Snowden material back, destroy it, or face an injunction. UK Prime Minister David Cameron sent Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood to convey the message.

“We can do this nicely or we can go to law,” Heywood told The Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger during one of their meetings in June and July.

“A lot of people in government think you should be closed down,” he added, The Guardian reported.

Initially reluctant to comply with the government’s demand, The Guardian eventually took the decision to demolish the hard drives with the information on them – as it was seen as the only way to protect the newspaper and its team.

The measure, however, did not stop the flow of #NSA- and #GCHQ- related revelations. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger told government officials that several copies of the secret documents existed, but only one in the UK. It was known that The Guardian’s columnist Glenn Greenwald, who met Snowden in Hong Kong, had leaked material in Rio de Janeiro. There were further copies in the US, according to Rusbridger.

After the destruction of the hard drives, the paper continued to consult with the government before publishing national security stories.

“There were more than 100 interactions with No. 10 Downing Street, the White House and US and UK intelligence agencies,” The Guardian said in a recent report.

The release of the video comes a week before a new book by Guardian correspondent Luke Harding, “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man,” is due to be published.

 

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#acenewsservices, #edward-snowden, #edward-snowden-gchq, #david-cameron, #glenn-greenwald, #government-communications-headquarters, #government-of-the-united-kingdom, #guardian, #jeremy-heywood

#NSA & #GCHQ : “Collects Millions of SMS Text Messages`More than Any other Data’ Daily”

#AceSecurityNews says just hours ahead of a speech in which United States President Barack Obama will announce changes to the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, newly leaked documents reveal the NSA collects hundreds of millions of text messages a day.

NSA-SMS2The results of a joint investigation conducted by Britain’s Guardian newspaper and Channel 4 News has revealed that the NSA and its UK sister-agency, the GCHQ, pair two previously unreported and top-secret national security programs to collect in bulk and then analyze millions of SMS text messages and other digital data sent around the world each day.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who left the US last year with a trove of sensitive intelligence documents, supplied the outlets with the evidence, both outlets reported on Thursday.

Mr. Snowden, 30, has shared files contained within a cache of pilfered NSA documents with select reporters in the seven months since he first helped reveal that the NSA has in total secrecy been compelling the nation’s major telecommunications companies to routinely give up the metadata records of millions of customers daily. Pres. Obama is expected to announce changes to that program during a rare address this Friday.

sms.siWith only hours to spare, however, the commander-in-chief may now be stuck scrambling to put together an explanation to warrant to the world the latest NSA revelation to be made public by Mr. Snowden.

According to leaked files obtained by the British media, the NSA has collected nearly 200 million text messages from the world’s cellphones every single day, occasionally using those records to further extract sensitive information such as location data, address book contacts and even financial details.

One program, code-named Dishfire, collects “pretty much everything it can,” a document cited by the Guardian reads. Once that information is logged, another tool known as “Prefer” conducts what the paper calls “automated analysis” of untargeted communication.

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#acesecuritynews, #edward-snowden, #barack-obama, #channel-4-news, #gchq, #government-communications-headquarters, #national-security-agency, #nsa, #short-message-service, #united-states

” Obama’s Transparency and Open Government”

Stop Watching US

#AceNewsServices says “Government Should Be Transparent” as transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Sounds great in saying it ,problem is with the #Edward-Snowden and #NSA together with #GCHQ debacle’s all that is spoken does not reach fruition.
The words “Though, Word and Deed” should mean just that giving #truth to any speech. This is not so in the case of any “Government Being Transparent” as they thought about what to do, wrote and spoke the words and then committed a “Cardinal Sin” they lied ,covered up and used covert tactics to spy on the citizens of their country.
Big Brother is Watching YouWELL HERE IS OBAMA’S SPEECH:  
SUBJECT:      Transparency and Open Government
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.
Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the Government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government.
Government should be collaborative.  Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.  Executive departments and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.
I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.
This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.

#acenewsservices, #edward-snowden, #barack-obama, #edwardsnowden, #federal-government-of-the-united-states, #gchq, #government, #national-security-agency, #nsa, #open-government, #open-government-directive, #united-states

Author and Investigative Journalist Wayne Madsen says US and UK Government Spying is Nothing New

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US and British governments’ spying on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is nothing new, says American author and investigative journalist Wayne Madsen.

Based on documents obtained from former intelligence contractor #Edward-Snowden, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Monday that the US National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters are both spying on OPEC.

According to the documents obtained by Der Spiegel, the NSA and the GCHQ have infiltrated OPEC’s computer systems to access an internal study in the organization’s research division.

“The National Security Agency and the GCHQ, its British counterpart, are very much involved in surveillance to get a hold of economic and political intelligence,” said Madsen in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

“So, why would they be interested in OPEC? Well, they’ve always been interested in OPEC. OPEC was the target for the NSA and the GCHQ surveillance way back in the 70s during the oil embargos by the Arab members of the OPEC organization. They want to know what the plans are for price increases or production increases. This is why the listen in on OPEC,” he added.

Documents after documents disclosed by Snowden since June have shed some light on the scope and scale of US spying activities across the globe.

Some documents showed that US spy agencies hacked into the computer systems of other countries’ diplomatic missions.

A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham

A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The leaked documents also revealed that Washington has eavesdropped on phone calls of at least 35 world leaders including that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of Europe’s most influential leaders.

Cortesy of: PressTV, Der Speigel,

#acesecuritynews, #angela-merkel, #der-spiegel, #gchq, #government-communications-headquarters, #national-security-agency, #nsa, #opec, #united-states, #wayne-madsen

Edward Snowden Revelation’s Has Caused the #NSA to Erode Our Security Foundation’s

National Security Agency Seal

National Security Agency Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Threatpost’s Dennis Fisher It’s no fun being a cynic, thinking that everything is bad and getting worse. It’s easy–especially in the security community–but it’s not fun. But, in light of the latest in the interminable string of revelations about the NSA’s efforts to eat away at the foundation of the security industry, the only alternative available is the equivalent of believing in unicorn-riding leprechauns.

The security community did not invent the concept of fear, uncertainty and doubt, but it has perfected it and raised it to the level of religion. It’s the way that security products are marketed and sold, but it’s also the way that the intelligence community justifies its extra-legal and, sometimes, unconstitutional, data-gathering practices. Just as vendors use the specter of catastrophic hacks, data loss and public embarrassment to push their wares, the NSA and its allies have used the dark shadow of 9/11 and global terrorism to justify their increasingly aggressive practices, some of which have now been shown to have deliberately weakened some of the fundamental building blocks of security.

The most damning bit of string in this ball is the news that the NSA likely inserted a back door into a key cryptographic algorithm known as DUAL EC DRBG. That’s bad. What’s worse is that RSA on Thursday sent a warning to its developer customers warning them to immediately stop using the random number generator and select a new one when using the company’s BSAFE crypto libraries.

While this is the most recent, and probably the worst, piece in all of this, the steady accumulation of evidence over the last three months makes it difficult to come to any conclusion other than this: nothing can be trusted.

More to the point, we don’t know whether anything can be trusted. And that’s actually far worse than knowing that products X, Y and Z are compromised. If you know that, you can avoid those products. But now that we have direct evidence that the NSA is in fact actively working to undermine certain cryptographic protocols and partnering with technology vendors to produce certified pre-owned software and hardware, the big question is, what’s not broken?

Unfortunately, the answer is, we just don’t know.

Image representing Edward Snowden as depicted ...

Image by None via CrunchBase

In a much simpler and less cynical time–say, May–we thought that our intelligence agencies were in the business of spying on our enemies. Then came the first Edward Snowden leaks, and we discovered that the NSA was collecting all of our phone records. You know, just in case. Then we hear that the agency also vacuuming up much of the Internet traffic flowing through U.S. pipes because BOO! terrorism. But we still have encryption. As long as we can encrypt our email and Internet traffic, we’re safe from snooping, right? Oops. Turns out the NSA is in that henhouse too, working to weaken standards and crypto algorithms and also has some capabilities to circumvent things such as SSL.

And now, into this environment of accusation and innuendo comes the news that theattack on Belgian telco Belgacom revealed earlier this week reportedly was the work of the British spy agency GCHQ. The connection to NSA? GCHQ apparently used exploit technology developed by the NSA.

And on and on and on.

So we’ve come to the point now where the most paranoid and conspiracy minded among us are the reasonable ones. Now the crazy ones are the people saying that it’s not as bad as you think, calm down, the sky isn’t falling. In one sense, they’re right. The sky isn’t falling. It’s already fallen.

Courtesy: Threatpost  

Image from Flickr photos of David Sedlmayer

 

 

#edward-snowden, #belgacom, #belgium, #bitcoin, #dual-ec-drbg, #gchq, #government-communication-headquarters, #national-security-agency, #nsa, #rsa, #security

GCHQ Can Tap your Fibre Optic Cables To Access Your Privacy

According to the Guardian – The sheer scale of the agency’s ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much on-line and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate.
One key innovation has been GCHQ’s ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months. Read the whole sorry saga at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa

#data-mining, #gchq, #guardian, #nsa, #privacy, #security