Western Spy Agencies Secretly Rely on Hackers for Intel and Expertise – The Intercept

Western Spy Agencies Secretly Rely on Hackers for Intel and Expertise – The Intercept.

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The U.S., U.K. and Canadian governments characterize hackers as a criminal menace, warn of the threats they allegedly pose to critical infrastructure, and aggressively prosecute them, but they are also secretly exploiting their information and expertise, according to top secret documents.

In some cases, the surveillance agencies are obtaining the content of emails by monitoring hackers as they breach email accounts, often without notifying the hacking victims of these breaches. “Hackers are stealing the emails of some of our targets… by collecting the hackers’ ‘take,’ we . . .  get access to the emails themselves,” reads one top secret 2010 National Security Agency document.

These and other revelations about the intelligence agencies’ reliance on hackers are contained in documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents—which come from the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters agency and NSA—shed new light on the various means used by intelligence agencies to exploit hackers’ successes and learn from their skills, while also raising questions about whether governments have overstated the threat posed by some hackers.

By looking out for hacking conducted “both by state-sponsored and freelance hackers” and riding on the coattails of hackers, Western intelligence agencies have gathered what they regard as valuable content:

Recently, Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) and Menwith Hill Station (MHS) discovered and began exploiting a target-rich data set being stolen by hackers. The hackers’ sophisticated email-stealing intrusion set is known as INTOLERANT. Of the traffic observed, nearly half contains category hits because the attackers are targeting email accounts of interest to the Intelligence Community. Although a relatively new data source, [Target Offices of Primary Interest] have already written multiple reports based on INTOLERANT collect.

The hackers targeted a wide range of diplomatic corps, human rights and democracy activists and even journalists:

INTOLERANT traffic is very organized. Each event is labeled to identify and categorize victims. Cyber attacks commonly apply descriptors to each victim – it helps herd victims and track which attacks succeed and which fail. Victim categories make INTOLERANT interesting:

A = Indian Diplomatic & Indian Navy
B = Central Asian diplomatic
C = Chinese Human Rights Defenders
D = Tibetan Pro-Democracy Personalities
E = Uighur Activists
F = European Special Rep to Afghanistan and Indian photo-journalism
G = Tibetan Government in Exile

In those cases, the NSA and its partner agencies in the United Kingdom and Canada were unable to determine the identity of the hackers who collected the data, but suspect a state sponsor “based on the level of sophistication and the victim set.”


When it comes to surveillance, there is everything to play for | James Ball | Comment is free | theguardian.com

When it comes to surveillance, there is everything to play for | James Ball | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Against a backdrop of hacks and terror attacks, it’s possible that surveillance powers will be further strengthened
Man looking through binoculars
‘Major players are starting to regard privacy as a selling point: Google and others are encrypting ever more of their traffic.’ Photograph: Tom Jenkins

Looking back at 2014 from the perspective of a surveillance reformer is a short and dispiriting task: almost nothing good happened.


La red Tor sufre un ataque que puede haber dejado a sus usuarios al descubierto

La red Tor sufre un ataque que puede haber dejado a sus usuarios al descubierto.

Los desarrolladores han anunciado que las conexiones a la red han sido vulneradas desde finales de enero

Es probable que el atacante anónimo haya obtenido las direcciones IP y el historial de navegación de un número de usuarios indeterminado

Los nodos maliciosos fueron bloqueados el pasado 4 de julio. Si usas Tor debes actualizar a la última versión lo más rápido posible

 

 

Logotipo Tor

Miles de usuarios se conectan diariamente a la red Tor para salvaguardar su privacidad. / The Onion Router

 

 

¿Te has conectado a la red Tor en el último medio año? Si tu respuesta es afirmativa es posible que tu conexión haya sido rastreada por un atacante anónimo. Según han anunciado los desarrolladores en el blog oficial del proyecto el 30 de enero de este año se introdujeron unos nodos maliciosos que pasaron desapercibidos durante cinco meses hasta el pasado 4 de julio, cuando finalmente se descubrieron y eliminaron de la red.

El proyecto de software libre The Onion Router intenta construir una red superpuesta a internet que proporcione un alto nivel de anonimato, y es usada a diario por millones de activistas, periodistas e individuos preocupados por su privacidad online.

Se rumorea que el ataque se basa en un paperque se iba a presentar a principios de agosto en la conferencia Black Hat, uno de los encuentros sobre ciberseguridad más importantes del mundo. Los dos investigadores de la universidad Carnegie Mellon cancelaron la charla por las presiones de sus abogados. Esto lleva a que los responsables de Tor barajen la posibilidad de que el ataque fuera el resultado de esa investigación, aunque no se puede descartar que haya detrás alguna agencia gubernamental como la NSA o el GCHQ.


Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet – The Intercept

Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet – The Intercept.

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The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.

The tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.

But as the U.K. Parliament today debates a fast-tracked bill to provide the government with greater surveillance powers, one which Prime Minister David Cameron has justified as an “emergency” to “help keep us safe,” a newly released top-secret GCHQ document called “JTRIG Tools and Techniques” provides a comprehensive, birds-eye view of just how underhanded and invasive this unit’s operations are. The document—available in full here—is designed to notify other GCHQ units of JTRIG’s “weaponised capability” when it comes to the dark internet arts, and serves as a sort of hacker’s buffet for wreaking online havoc.