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Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Cox Accuses Rightscorp of Mass Copyright Infringement - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Ernesto on September 24, 2015 C: 7 Breaking Internet provider Cox Communications has hit back at anti-piracy company Rightscorp. While denying responsibility for the alleged copyright infringements of its subscribers, Cox turns the tables, accusing Rightscorp of sharing thousands of copyrighted works without permission."
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    " Ernesto on September 24, 2015 C: 7 Breaking Internet provider Cox Communications has hit back at anti-piracy company Rightscorp. While denying responsibility for the alleged copyright infringements of its subscribers, Cox turns the tables, accusing Rightscorp of sharing thousands of copyrighted works without permission."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

RIAA and Friends Accuse CNET of Hosting 'Pirate' Software - TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    " Ernesto on July 30, 2015 C: 0 News Several prominent music groups including the RIAA, A2IM and ASCAP have accused CNET of hosting infringing apps on Download.com. In a letter sent to the CEO of parent company CBS, the groups urge the company to reconsider whether it's wise to offer "ripping" software."
Paul Merrell

News - Antitrust - Competition - European Commission - 0 views

  • Google inquiries Commission accuses Google of systematically favouring own shopping comparison service Infographic: Google might be favouring 'Google Shopping' when displaying general search results
  • Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Google on comparison shopping service; opens separate formal investigation on AndroidWed, 15 Apr 2015 10:00:00 GMTAntitrust: Commission opens formal investigation against Google in relation to Android mobile operating systemWed, 15 Apr 2015 10:00:00 GMTAntitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Google on comparison shopping serviceWed, 15 Apr 2015 10:00:00 GMTStatement by Commissioner Vestager on antitrust decisions concerning GoogleWed, 15 Apr 2015 11:39:00 GMT
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    The more interesting issue to me is the accusation that Google violates antitrust law by boosting its comparison shopping search results in its search results, unfairly disadvantaging competing shopping services and not delivering best results to users. What's interesting to me is that the Commission is attempting to portray general search as a separate market from comparison shopping search, accusing Google of attempting to leverage its general search monopoly into the separate comoparison shopping search market. At first blush, Iim not convinced that these are or should be regarded as separable markets. But the ramifications are enormous. If that is a separate market, then arguably so is Google's book search, its Google Scholar search, its definition search, its site search, etc. It isn't clear to me how one might draw a defensible line taht does not also sweep in every new search feature  as a separate market.   
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Touche: Deadmau5 Accuses Disney of Pirating His Music | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    "There's an interesting mouse ear battle unfolding between Disney and DJ Deadmau5. Earlier this week the media empire objected to a trademark application the musician filed because of the resemblance with its own logo. In a retaliatory move, Deadmau5 now accuses Disney of pirating his music on their website."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The-Speculative-Invoicing-Handbook.pdf - 0 views

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    "Stage One: Put The Kettle On So you've received a letter, you feel intruded upon and threatened. You're wondering if you even did w hat you've been accused of - well, at least, what your connection , has been accused of... You're not the first and you're unlikely to be the last to get one of these 'nastygrams'. The first step to managing the situation you've been put in is to tackle it calmly. You have been invited to play a game. This particular game requires careful thought and rational, planned actions. It is not best played while emotions are running high; never do anything in haste. You're reading this handbook so you've clearly used your head so far and are on the right track. If you've not already done so, make yourself a cuppa and sit down to read the rest of this. Relax... you're among friends now. Welcome to the team."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

ISP Wants Court to Sanction Piracy Monitoring Firm | TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    " Ernesto on September 15, 2014 C: 11 Breaking After being challenged by Grande Communications, piracy monitoring outfit Rightscorp has withdrawn its request to identify the hundreds or thousands of customers who it earlier accused of piracy. The ISP is not letting Rightscorp walk away that easily though, and has asked the court for sanctions." [# ! #All vs @ll # ! … this is the only '#IP #Enforcement' is #getting: # ! To Establish a #Culture of #Clash. # ! It's this what '#They' really want…?]
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    " Ernesto on September 15, 2014 C: 11 Breaking After being challenged by Grande Communications, piracy monitoring outfit Rightscorp has withdrawn its request to identify the hundreds or thousands of customers who it earlier accused of piracy. The ISP is not letting Rightscorp walk away that easily though, and has asked the court for sanctions." [# all illegal...]
Paul Merrell

Wikipedia takes feds to court over spying | TheHill - 0 views

  • The foundation behind Wikipedia is suing the U.S. government over spying that it says violates core provisions of the Constitution.The Wikimedia Foundation joined forces on Tuesday with a slew of human rights groups, The Nation magazine and other organizations in a lawsuit accusing the National Security Agency (NSA) and Justice Department of violating the constitutional protections for freedom of speech and privacy.
  • If successful, the lawsuit could land a crippling blow to the web of secretive spying powers wielded by the NSA and exposed by Edward Snowden nearly two years ago. Despite initial outrage after Snowden’s leaks, Congress has yet to make any serious reforms to the NSA, and many of the programs continue largely unchanged.The lawsuit targets the NSA’s “upstream” surveillance program, which taps into the fiber cables that make up the backbone of the global Internet and allows the agency to collect vast amounts of information about people on the Web.“As a result, whenever someone overseas views or edits a Wikipedia page, it’s likely that the N.S.A. is tracking that activity — including the content of what was read or typed, as well as other information that can be linked to the person’s physical location and possible identity,” Tretikov and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales wrote in a joint New York Times op-ed announcing the lawsuit. Because the operations are largely overseen solely by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — which operates out of the public eye and has been accused of acting as a rubber stamp for intelligence agencies — the foundation accused the NSA of violating the guarantees of a fair legal system.In addition to the Wikimedia Foundation and The Nation, the other groups joining the lawsuit are the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Pen American Center, the Global Fund for Women, the Rutherford Institute and the Washington Office on Latin America. The groups are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
  • In 2013, a lawsuit against similar surveillance powers brought by Amnesty International was tossed out by the Supreme Court on the grounds that the organization was not affected by the spying and had no standing to sue. That decision came before Snowden’s leaks later that summer, however, which included a slide featuring Wikipedia’s logo alongside those of Facebook, Yahoo, Google and other top websites. That should be more than enough grounds for a successful suit, the foundation said. In addition to the new suit, there are also a handful of other outstanding legal challenges to the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, a different program that has inspired some of the most heated antipathy. Those suits are all pending in appeals courts around the country.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Florida Man, Accused of Terrorism Based on Book Collection, Set Free - The Intercept - 1 views

    • Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.
       
      [# ! Va Janet Innes-Kirkwood's LinkedIn]
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    [The U.S. government had produced "snippets of information from various sources, out of context, to weave together a narrative of terrorist ideation," a Florida judge said Friday, ordering the release of Marcus Dwayne Robertson, an Orlando-based Islamic scholar who stood accused of supporting terrorism. ...]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Pirate Bay Founders Acquitted in Criminal Copyright Case - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " ndy on July 10, 2015 C: 29 Breaking Four key Pirate Bay figures have a little something to celebrate this morning. After standing accused of committing criminal copyright infringement and abusing electronic communications, yesterday a Belgian court acquitted Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström."
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    " ndy on July 10, 2015 C: 29 Breaking Four key Pirate Bay figures have a little something to celebrate this morning. After standing accused of committing criminal copyright infringement and abusing electronic communications, yesterday a Belgian court acquitted Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström."
Paul Merrell

Popular Security Software Came Under Relentless NSA and GCHQ Attacks - The Intercept - 0 views

  • The National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, have worked to subvert anti-virus and other security software in order to track users and infiltrate networks, according to documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The spy agencies have reverse engineered software products, sometimes under questionable legal authority, and monitored web and email traffic in order to discreetly thwart anti-virus software and obtain intelligence from companies about security software and users of such software. One security software maker repeatedly singled out in the documents is Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, which has a holding registered in the U.K., claims more than 270,000 corporate clients, and says it protects more than 400 million people with its products. British spies aimed to thwart Kaspersky software in part through a technique known as software reverse engineering, or SRE, according to a top-secret warrant renewal request. The NSA has also studied Kaspersky Lab’s software for weaknesses, obtaining sensitive customer information by monitoring communications between the software and Kaspersky servers, according to a draft top-secret report. The U.S. spy agency also appears to have examined emails inbound to security software companies flagging new viruses and vulnerabilities.
  • The efforts to compromise security software were of particular importance because such software is relied upon to defend against an array of digital threats and is typically more trusted by the operating system than other applications, running with elevated privileges that allow more vectors for surveillance and attack. Spy agencies seem to be engaged in a digital game of cat and mouse with anti-virus software companies; the U.S. and U.K. have aggressively probed for weaknesses in software deployed by the companies, which have themselves exposed sophisticated state-sponsored malware.
  • The requested warrant, provided under Section 5 of the U.K.’s 1994 Intelligence Services Act, must be renewed by a government minister every six months. The document published today is a renewal request for a warrant valid from July 7, 2008 until January 7, 2009. The request seeks authorization for GCHQ activities that “involve modifying commercially available software to enable interception, decryption and other related tasks, or ‘reverse engineering’ software.”
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  • The NSA, like GCHQ, has studied Kaspersky Lab’s software for weaknesses. In 2008, an NSA research team discovered that Kaspersky software was transmitting sensitive user information back to the company’s servers, which could easily be intercepted and employed to track users, according to a draft of a top-secret report. The information was embedded in “User-Agent” strings included in the headers of Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, requests. Such headers are typically sent at the beginning of a web request to identify the type of software and computer issuing the request.
  • According to the draft report, NSA researchers found that the strings could be used to uniquely identify the computing devices belonging to Kaspersky customers. They determined that “Kaspersky User-Agent strings contain encoded versions of the Kaspersky serial numbers and that part of the User-Agent string can be used as a machine identifier.” They also noted that the “User-Agent” strings may contain “information about services contracted for or configurations.” Such data could be used to passively track a computer to determine if a target is running Kaspersky software and thus potentially susceptible to a particular attack without risking detection.
  • Another way the NSA targets foreign anti-virus companies appears to be to monitor their email traffic for reports of new vulnerabilities and malware. A 2010 presentation on “Project CAMBERDADA” shows the content of an email flagging a malware file, which was sent to various anti-virus companies by François Picard of the Montréal-based consulting and web hosting company NewRoma. The presentation of the email suggests that the NSA is reading such messages to discover new flaws in anti-virus software. Picard, contacted by The Intercept, was unaware his email had fallen into the hands of the NSA. He said that he regularly sends out notification of new viruses and malware to anti-virus companies, and that he likely sent the email in question to at least two dozen such outfits. He also said he never sends such notifications to government agencies. “It is strange the NSA would show an email like mine in a presentation,” he added.
  • The NSA presentation goes on to state that its signals intelligence yields about 10 new “potentially malicious files per day for malware triage.” This is a tiny fraction of the hostile software that is processed. Kaspersky says it detects 325,000 new malicious files every day, and an internal GCHQ document indicates that its own system “collect[s] around 100,000,000 malware events per day.” After obtaining the files, the NSA analysts “[c]heck Kaspersky AV to see if they continue to let any of these virus files through their Anti-Virus product.” The NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit “can repurpose the malware,” presumably before the anti-virus software has been updated to defend against the threat.
  • The Project CAMBERDADA presentation lists 23 additional AV companies from all over the world under “More Targets!” Those companies include Check Point software, a pioneering maker of corporate firewalls based Israel, whose government is a U.S. ally. Notably omitted are the American anti-virus brands McAfee and Symantec and the British company Sophos.
  • As government spies have sought to evade anti-virus software, the anti-virus firms themselves have exposed malware created by government spies. Among them, Kaspersky appears to be the sharpest thorn in the side of government hackers. In the past few years, the company has proven to be a prolific hunter of state-sponsored malware, playing a role in the discovery and/or analysis of various pieces of malware reportedly linked to government hackers, including the superviruses Flame, which Kaspersky flagged in 2012; Gauss, also detected in 2012; Stuxnet, discovered by another company in 2010; and Regin, revealed by Symantec. In February, the Russian firm announced its biggest find yet: the “Equation Group,” an organization that has deployed espionage tools widely believed to have been created by the NSA and hidden on hard drives from leading brands, according to Kaspersky. In a report, the company called it “the most advanced threat actor we have seen” and “probably one of the most sophisticated cyber attack groups in the world.”
  • Hacks deployed by the Equation Group operated undetected for as long as 14 to 19 years, burrowing into the hard drive firmware of sensitive computer systems around the world, according to Kaspersky. Governments, militaries, technology companies, nuclear research centers, media outlets and financial institutions in 30 countries were among those reportedly infected. Kaspersky estimates that the Equation Group could have implants in tens of thousands of computers, but documents published last year by The Intercept suggest the NSA was scaling up their implant capabilities to potentially infect millions of computers with malware. Kaspersky’s adversarial relationship with Western intelligence services is sometimes framed in more sinister terms; the firm has been accused of working too closely with the Russian intelligence service FSB. That accusation is partly due to the company’s apparent success in uncovering NSA malware, and partly due to the fact that its founder, Eugene Kaspersky, was educated by a KGB-backed school in the 1980s before working for the Russian military.
  • Kaspersky has repeatedly denied the insinuations and accusations. In a recent blog post, responding to a Bloomberg article, he complained that his company was being subjected to “sensationalist … conspiracy theories,” sarcastically noting that “for some reason they forgot our reports” on an array of malware that trace back to Russian developers. He continued, “It’s very hard for a company with Russian roots to become successful in the U.S., European and other markets. Nobody trusts us — by default.”
  • Documents published with this article: Kaspersky User-Agent Strings — NSA Project CAMBERDADA — NSA NDIST — GCHQ’s Developing Cyber Defence Mission GCHQ Application for Renewal of Warrant GPW/1160 Software Reverse Engineering — GCHQ Reverse Engineering — GCHQ Wiki Malware Analysis & Reverse Engineering — ACNO Skill Levels — GCHQ
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

NSA Spying: Now It's Personal | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 1 views

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    "Imagine that you watched a police officer in your neighborhood stop ten completely ordinary people every day just to take a look inside their vehicle or backpack. Now imagine that nine of those people are never even accused of a crime. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even the most law-abiding person would eventually protest this treatment. In fact-they have.[1]"
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    "Imagine that you watched a police officer in your neighborhood stop ten completely ordinary people every day just to take a look inside their vehicle or backpack. Now imagine that nine of those people are never even accused of a crime. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even the most law-abiding person would eventually protest this treatment. In fact-they have.[1]"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Piracy Monetization Firm Rightscorp Sued for Harassment and Abuse | TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    "Rightscorp, a piracy monetization company that works with Warner Bros. and other prominent copyright holders, has been sued for harassment, abuse and deception. A class action suit filed in California accuses the company of breaking several laws in their attempt to extract settlements from alleged pirates."
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    "Rightscorp, a piracy monetization company that works with Warner Bros. and other prominent copyright holders, has been sued for harassment, abuse and deception. A class action suit filed in California accuses the company of breaking several laws in their attempt to extract settlements from alleged pirates."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Received a Piracy Letter? UK Solicitor Will Defend You For Free | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Andy on March 20, 2015 C: 0 Breaking In recent weeks customers of UK ISPs have received letters from copyright trolls demanding settlement for alleged downloading of movies. Today they can fight back. Southampton-based lawyer Michael Coyle informs TorrentFreak that if the accused make a charitable donation in support of his London Marathon run, he will provide his time for free."
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    " Andy on March 20, 2015 C: 0 Breaking In recent weeks customers of UK ISPs have received letters from copyright trolls demanding settlement for alleged downloading of movies. Today they can fight back. Southampton-based lawyer Michael Coyle informs TorrentFreak that if the accused make a charitable donation in support of his London Marathon run, he will provide his time for free."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Copyright Troll Partner Threatens to Report Blogger to the Police - TorrentFreak [# ! ':/' Note...] - 0 views

    • Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.
       
      # ! :/ Just another #sad #copyright #trolling #story...
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    " Andy on April 3, 2016 C: 43 Breaking A company assisting US-based copyright troll outfit TCYK LLC has just threatened to report a blogger to the police. Joe Hickster, an anti-troll activist who has helped dozens of wrongfully accused individuals avoid paying settlement fees, was threatened after describing troll services company Hatton and Berkeley as being involved in a smoke-and-mirrors operation."
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    " Andy on April 3, 2016 C: 43 Breaking A company assisting US-based copyright troll outfit TCYK LLC has just threatened to report a blogger to the police. Joe Hickster, an anti-troll activist who has helped dozens of wrongfully accused individuals avoid paying settlement fees, was threatened after describing troll services company Hatton and Berkeley as being involved in a smoke-and-mirrors operation."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Music Royalty Collectors Accused of Copyfraud | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    *History Repeating. [German music royalty collecting agency GEMA has once again stepped up to enforce their strict copyright regime. But this time they picked the wrong target. The group mistakenly demanded money from the nonprofit organization Musikpiraten for publishing five Creative Commons licensed tracks. Musikpiraten is baffled by the false claim and is considering filing a complaint for copyfraud. ...]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

U.N. Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right | Threat Level | Wired.com - 0 views

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    A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law. The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet. It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest (.pdf).
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

EU Court: Open WiFi Operator Not Liable For Pirate Users - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Andy on September 16, 2016 C: 33 Breaking The Court of Justice of the European Union has found that the operator of an open WiFi network can not be held liable for infringements carried out by his users. The case involved Pirate Party member Tobias McFadden who was accused by Sony of enabling music piracy."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Kaspersky accuses Microsoft of anticompetitive bundling of antivirus software | Ars Technica UK - 1 views

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    "In some situations, Windows 10 will disable third party anti-malware products. Peter Bright (US) - Nov 13, 2016 7:35 am UTC"
Paul Merrell

Venezuelan Intelligence Services Arrest Credicard Directors - nsnbc international | nsnbc international - 0 views

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro confirmed Saturday that the state intelligence service SEBIN arrested several directors from the Credicard financial transaction company on Friday night. 
  • The financial consortium is accused of having deliberately taken advantage of a series of cyber attacks on state internet provider CANTV Friday to paralyse its online payment platform–responsible for the majority of the country’s accredited financial transactions, according to its website. “We have proof that it was a deliberate act what Credicard did yesterday. Right now the main people responsible for Credicard are under arrest,” confirmed the president. The government says that millions of attempted purchases using in-store credit and debit card payment machines provided by the company were interrupted after its platform went down for the most part of the day. Authorities also maintain that the company waited longer than the established protocol of one hour before responding to the issues.
  • According to CANTV President Manuel Fernandez, Venezuela’s internet platform suffered at least three attacks from an external source on Friday, one of which was aimed at state oil company PDVSA. CANTV was notified of the attacks by international provider LANautilus, which belongs to Telecom Italia. Nonetheless, Fernandez denied that Credicard’s platform was affected by the interferences to CANTV’s service, underscoring that other financial transaction companies that rely on the state enterprise continued to be operative.
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  • On Friday SEBIN Director Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez also openly accused members of the rightwing coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), of being implicated in the incident. “Members of the MUD involved in the attack on electronic banking service,” he tweeted. “The financial war continues inside and outside the country, internally they are damaging banking operability,” he added. Venezuelan news source La Iguana has reported that the server administrator of Credicard is the company Dayco Host, which belongs to the D’Agostino family. Diana D’Angostino is married to veteran opposition politician, Henry Ramos Allup, president of the National Assembly. On Saturday, the government-promoted Productive Economy Council held an extraordinary meeting of political and business representatives to reject the attack on the country’s financial system.
Paul Merrell

He Was a Hacker for the NSA and He Was Willing to Talk. I Was Willing to Listen. - 2 views

  • he message arrived at night and consisted of three words: “Good evening sir!” The sender was a hacker who had written a series of provocative memos at the National Security Agency. His secret memos had explained — with an earthy use of slang and emojis that was unusual for an operative of the largest eavesdropping organization in the world — how the NSA breaks into the digital accounts of people who manage computer networks, and how it tries to unmask people who use Tor to browse the web anonymously. Outlining some of the NSA’s most sensitive activities, the memos were leaked by Edward Snowden, and I had written about a few of them for The Intercept. There is no Miss Manners for exchanging pleasantries with a man the government has trained to be the digital equivalent of a Navy SEAL. Though I had initiated the contact, I was wary of how he might respond. The hacker had publicly expressed a visceral dislike for Snowden and had accused The Intercept of jeopardizing lives by publishing classified information. One of his memos outlined the ways the NSA reroutes (or “shapes”) the internet traffic of entire countries, and another memo was titled “I Hunt Sysadmins.” I felt sure he could hack anyone’s computer, including mine. Good evening sir!
  • The sender was a hacker who had written a series of provocative memos at the National Security Agency. His secret memos had explained — with an earthy use of slang and emojis that was unusual for an operative of the largest eavesdropping organization in the world — how the NSA breaks into the digital accounts of people who manage computer networks, and how it tries to unmask people who use Tor to browse the web anonymously. Outlining some of the NSA’s most sensitive activities, the memos were leaked by Edward Snowden, and I had written about a few of them for The Intercept. There is no Miss Manners for exchanging pleasantries with a man the government has trained to be the digital equivalent of a Navy SEAL. Though I had initiated the contact, I was wary of how he might respond. The hacker had publicly expressed a visceral dislike for Snowden and had accused The Intercept of jeopardizing lives by publishing classified information. One of his memos outlined the ways the NSA reroutes (or “shapes”) the internet traffic of entire countries, and another memo was titled “I Hunt Sysadmins.” I felt sure he could hack anyone’s computer, including mine.
  • I got lucky with the hacker, because he recently left the agency for the cybersecurity industry; it would be his choice to talk, not the NSA’s. Fortunately, speaking out is his second nature.
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  • He agreed to a video chat that turned into a three-hour discussion sprawling from the ethics of surveillance to the downsides of home improvements and the difficulty of securing your laptop.
  • In recent years, two developments have helped make hacking for the government a lot more attractive than hacking for yourself. First, the Department of Justice has cracked down on freelance hacking, whether it be altruistic or malignant. If the DOJ doesn’t like the way you hack, you are going to jail. Meanwhile, hackers have been warmly invited to deploy their transgressive impulses in service to the homeland, because the NSA and other federal agencies have turned themselves into licensed hives of breaking into other people’s computers. For many, it’s a techno sandbox of irresistible delights, according to Gabriella Coleman, a professor at McGill University who studies hackers. “The NSA is a very exciting place for hackers because you have unlimited resources, you have some of the best talent in the world, whether it’s cryptographers or mathematicians or hackers,” she said. “It is just too intellectually exciting not to go there.”
  • “If I turn the tables on you,” I asked the Lamb, “and say, OK, you’re a target for all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. How do you feel about being a target and that kind of justification being used to justify getting all of your credentials and the keys to your kingdom?” The Lamb smiled. “There is no real safe, sacred ground on the internet,” he replied. “Whatever you do on the internet is an attack surface of some sort and is just something that you live with. Any time that I do something on the internet, yeah, that is on the back of my mind. Anyone from a script kiddie to some random hacker to some other foreign intelligence service, each with their different capabilities — what could they be doing to me?”
  • The Lamb’s memos on cool ways to hunt sysadmins triggered a strong reaction when I wrote about them in 2014 with my colleague Ryan Gallagher. The memos explained how the NSA tracks down the email and Facebook accounts of systems administrators who oversee computer networks. After plundering their accounts, the NSA can impersonate the admins to get into their computer networks and pilfer the data flowing through them. As the Lamb wrote, “sys admins generally are not my end target. My end target is the extremist/terrorist or government official that happens to be using the network … who better to target than the person that already has the ‘keys to the kingdom’?” Another of his NSA memos, “Network Shaping 101,” used Yemen as a theoretical case study for secretly redirecting the entirety of a country’s internet traffic to NSA servers.
  • “You know, the situation is what it is,” he said. “There are protocols that were designed years ago before anybody had any care about security, because when they were developed, nobody was foreseeing that they would be taken advantage of. … A lot of people on the internet seem to approach the problem [with the attitude of] ‘I’m just going to walk naked outside of my house and hope that nobody looks at me.’ From a security perspective, is that a good way to go about thinking? No, horrible … There are good ways to be more secure on the internet. But do most people use Tor? No. Do most people use Signal? No. Do most people use insecure things that most people can hack? Yes. Is that a bash against the intelligence community that people use stuff that’s easily exploitable? That’s a hard argument for me to make.”
  • I mentioned that lots of people, including Snowden, are now working on the problem of how to make the internet more secure, yet he seemed to do the opposite at the NSA by trying to find ways to track and identify people who use Tor and other anonymizers. Would he consider working on the other side of things? He wouldn’t rule it out, he said, but dismally suggested the game was over as far as having a liberating and safe internet, because our laptops and smartphones will betray us no matter what we do with them. “There’s the old adage that the only secure computer is one that is turned off, buried in a box ten feet underground, and never turned on,” he said. “From a user perspective, someone trying to find holes by day and then just live on the internet by night, there’s the expectation [that] if somebody wants to have access to your computer bad enough, they’re going to get it. Whether that’s an intelligence agency or a cybercrimes syndicate, whoever that is, it’s probably going to happen.”
  • There are precautions one can take, and I did that with the Lamb. When we had our video chat, I used a computer that had been wiped clean of everything except its operating system and essential applications. Afterward, it was wiped clean again. My concern was that the Lamb might use the session to obtain data from or about the computer I was using; there are a lot of things he might have tried, if he was in a scheming mood. At the end of our three hours together, I mentioned to him that I had taken these precautions—and he approved. “That’s fair,” he said. “I’m glad you have that appreciation. … From a perspective of a journalist who has access to classified information, it would be remiss to think you’re not a target of foreign intelligence services.” He was telling me the U.S. government should be the least of my worries. He was trying to help me. Documents published with this article: Tracking Targets Through Proxies & Anonymizers Network Shaping 101 Shaping Diagram I Hunt Sys Admins (first published in 2014)
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