• Tag Archives surveillance
  • Cell phone Users can be Secretly tracked Across the globe thanks to SS7 Tracking System

    Since we are living in an era of Mass surveillance conducted by Government as well as private sector industries, and with the boom in surveillance technology, we should be much worried about our privacy.
    According to the companies that create surveillance solutions for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the surveillance tools are only for governments. But, reality is much more disappointing. These surveillance industries are so poorly regulated and exceedingly secretive that their tools can easily make their way into the hands of repressive organizations.
    Private surveillance vendors sell surveillance tools to governments around the world, that allows cellular networks to collect records about users in an effort to offer substantial cellular service to the agencies. Wherever the user is, it pinpoint the target’s location to keep every track of users who own a cellphone — here or abroad.
    We ourselves give them an open invitation as we all have sensors in our pockets that track our every move wherever we go.
    WHAT WENT WRONG
    The tracking technology takes advantage of the SS7, a global network, which is unfortunately vulnerable.
    SS7 or Signaling System Number 7 is a protocol suite used by most telecommunications operators throughout the world to communicate with one another when directing calls, texts and Internet data. It allows cell phone carriers to collect location information from cell phone towers and share it with each other. A United States carrier will find its customer, no matter if he or she travels to any other country.
    The Washington Post published an awesome article on surveillance technology that can track cell phone users anywhere in the world. Surveillance vendors also now have access to SS7, so that their customers can home in on somebody’ locations as precisely as within a couple of city blocks (or in rural areas, a couple of miles).
    These systems are so effective that it can even detect how fast a person on a city street is walking, or the speed a person’s car is traveling!

    The system was built decades ago, when only a few large carriers controlled the bulk of global phone traffic. Now thousands of companies use SS7 to provide services to billions of phones and other mobile devices, security experts say,” explains the post.

    All of these companies have access to the network and can send queries to other companies on the SS7 system, making the entire network more vulnerable to exploitation. Any one of these companies could share its access with others, including makers of surveillance systems.

    SS7 TRACKING SYSTEM PAIRED UP WITH ‘CATCHERS’
    It is believe that dozens of countries have bought or leased this surveillance technology in the last few years. Having a close look at such tools, it has been discovered that some of the companies that sell SS7 tracking system are advising their customers to pair them with “IMSI catchers” or StingRays.
    StingRays are common surveillance devices that allow law enforcement to mimic a cell phone tower, and track users position who connect to it, and sometimes even intercept calls and Internet traffic, send fake texts, install spyware on a phone, and determine precise locations.

    What’s interesting about this story is not that the cell phone system can track your location worldwide,” said Bruce Schneier, a senior security researcher. “That makes sense; the system has to know where you are. What’s interesting about this story is that anyone can do it.”

    Privacy advocates are not only worried by governments getting their hands on these systems, but also about hackers and criminal gangs using it.

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  • Dirty NSA hacked into Webcam of millions of Yahoo users for Private images

    Once again, a new revelation showed the ugly side of the Government who are conducting Global Mass surveillance and previous documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden have defaced the US Intelligence Agency NSA, who were taking care of a number of projects like PRISM, XKeyscore, DROPOUTJEEP, and various others to carry out surveillance of millions of people.

    Now, it has been revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) helped its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), to allegedly capture and store nude images and others from webcam chats of millions of unsuspecting Yahoo users, The Guardian reported.

    Documents handed to the Guardian by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that the GCHQ’s worked with the US intelligence agency NSA on a joint project dubbed as ‘Optic Nerve’. The project carried out a bulk surveillance program, under which they nabbed webcam images every five minutes from random Yahoo users’ video chats and stored them in a database.

    The project didn’t target individual users; rather it targeted Yahoo webcam chats between 2008 and 2010. Indeed, the method of collection appears somewhat recklessly, and in just six months of period alone, the still images of about 1.8 million users were captured and stored in the government servers in 2008.

    Instead of saving full videos, the program logged one image every five minutes from a user’s chat. The document says that between 3 and 11 percent of the images taken contain “undesirable nudity.

    One GCHQ document states, “It would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.

    The collected webcam information was stored in the NSA’s XKeyscore search tool, and the NSA research was used to build the tool which identified Yahoo’s webcam traffic, reads the report.

    NSA Optic Nerve Webcam hacking

    GCHQ webcam spying program, Optic Nerve, was still active in 2012, according to an internal GCHQ wiki page accessed that year.

    Why Images??? It is known from the revealed documents that the images were collected by the government agency, so that the group could experiment with facial recognition.

    Face detection has the potential to aid selection of useful images for ‘mugshots’ or even for face recognition by assessing the angle of the face,” it reads. “The best images are ones where the person is facing the camera with their face upright.

    NSA Optic Nerve Webcam hacking

    The GCHQ agency staffs were allowed to display “webcam images associated with similar Yahoo identifiers to your known target”, the document reads, also it states “Bulk surveillance of Yahoo users was begun” as “Yahoo webcam is known to be used by GCHQ targets.

    Not Surprising, because your knotty private webcam sex session you loved and enjoyed with your lover four years back was potentially pored over by the suits at GCHQ.

    Yahoo has reacted furiously and denied any prior knowledge of the webcam interception program, and said that it had no awareness of or involvement with the GCHQ collection, describing the activity as “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy.

    And a GCHQ spokesman said in a statement, “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 service commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee,” adding, “All our operational processes rigorously support this position.

    The NSA spokesperson declined to respond saying, “As we’ve said before, the National Security Agency does not ask its foreign partners to undertake any intelligence activity that the US government would be legally prohibited from undertaking it.

    This is how our privacy is getting ruined by the government intelligence officials that we all trust blindly.

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  • Intelligence Agencies going to Deploy Internet Surveillance project NETRA

    Think twice before using some words like ‘Bomb’, ‘Attack’, ‘Blast’ or ‘kill’ in your Facebook status update, tweets or emails, because this may flag you as a potential terrorist under a surveillance project of Indian Security agencies.

    This Indian Internet surveillance project named as NETRA (Network Traffic Analysis), capable of detecting and capture any dubious voice traffic passing through software such as Skype or Google Talk, according to the Economic Times.

    In Hindi, NETRA means “eye” and this project is an Indian version of PRISM i.e. A spying project by US National Security Agency (NSA), that also allows the government to monitor the Internet and telephone records of citizens.

    Read more: http://thehackernews.com/2014/01/indian-intelligence-agencies-going-to.html

    In Hindi, NETRA means “eye” and this project is an Indian version of PRISM i.e. A spying project by US National Security Agency (NSA), that also allows the government to monitor the Internet and telephone records of citizens.

    Reportedly, NETRA is under testing right now by the Indian Intelligence Bureau and Cabinet Secretariat and after on success will be deployed by all Indian National security agencies. Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a lab under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is still hardworking on ‘Netra’ project to give it extraordinary features like NSA’s PRISM. One of the fun fact about the project is that, NETRA is defined to use only 300 GB of storage space for storing the intercepted internet traffic… Are they serious..? HOW is it POSSIBLE? and this data will be shared with only maximum three security agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Cabinet Secretariat. At this time, even I am not sure that what does they mean by “300 GB of storage space”, but we are trying to contact DRDO guys for more further information on this matter.

    Read more: http://thehackernews.com/2014/01/indian-intelligence-agencies-going-to.html

    Reportedly, NETRA is under testing right now by the Indian Intelligence Bureau and Cabinet Secretariat and after on success will be deployed by all Indian National security agencies.

    Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a lab under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is still hardworking on ‘Netra’ project to give it extraordinary features like NSA’s PRISM.

    One of the fun fact about the project is that, NETRA is defined to use only 300 GB of storage space for storing the intercepted internet traffic… Are they serious..? HOW is it POSSIBLE? and this data will be shared with only maximum three security agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Cabinet Secretariat.

    At this time, even I am not sure that what does they mean by “300 GB of storage space”, but we are trying to contact DRDO guys for more further information on this matter.

    Anyway, NSA has a 100,000 square foot “mission critical data center”, where they are intercepting 1.7 billion American electronic records and communications a day, using 5 Zettabytes (1 Trillion GB) space to keep every information stored for next 500s years at least.

          Also some questions arise here that:

    • Do they have the capability to handle and analyze such huge amount of data? (If it is not 300GB only)
    • Other than terrorist attacks, will they also deal with Computer Security Incidents and vulnerabilities?
    • What does that 300 GB of storage space mean?

    The government should clear the objectives and ability of the NETRA project. Because according to the population of Internet users in India, words like ‘Bomb’, ‘Attack’, ‘Blast’ or ‘kill’ will trigger RED ALARM millions of times a day and if they don’t have the capability to trace down right mischief people, rather than disturbing elements, which may purposefully divert the attention of security agencies for various means.

    Another major concern is Privacy, unwarranted digital intrusions and interference with citizens’ online communications.

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  • What It’s Like When The FBI Asks You To Backdoor Your Software

    At a recent RSA Security Conference, Nico Sell was on stage announcing that her company—Wickr—was making drastic changes to ensure its users’ security. She said that the company would switch from RSA encryption to elliptic curve encryption, and that the service wouldn’t have a backdoor for anyone.

    As she left the stage, before she’d even had a chance to take her microphone off, a man approached her and introduced himself as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He then proceeded to “casually” ask if she’d be willing to install a backdoor into Wickr that would allow the FBI to retrieve information.

    MORE HERE: http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/secu…en-the-fbi-asks-you-to-backdoor-your-software

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