Gobiernos en guerra contra WhatsApp por su cifrado de extremo a extremo – El Mostrador

Tras el ataque al Parlamento Británico ocurrido la semana pasada, los políticos británicos han exigido que Whatsapp y otras aplicaciones de mensajería instantánea proporcionen acceso a la policía y fuerzas de seguridad para así poder monitorear conversaciones terroristas. Sin embargo, los expertos en tecnología discuten que abrir las “puertas traseras” de los servicios de mensajería popular, las cuales usan cifrado de extremo a extremo, arrojaría una serie de problemas.

Fuente: Gobiernos en guerra contra WhatsApp por su cifrado de extremo a extremo – El Mostrador


WikiLeaks publishes ‘biggest ever leak of secret CIA documents’ | Media | The Guardian

The US intelligence agencies are facing fresh embarrassment after WikiLeaks published what it described as the biggest ever leak of confidential documents from the CIA detailing the tools it uses to break into phones, communication apps and other electronic devices.

Fuente: WikiLeaks publishes ‘biggest ever leak of secret CIA documents’ | Media | The Guardian


El fantasma del espionaje durante la guerra fría se instala en la Universidad de Cambridge – El Mostrador

Tres académicos renunciaron a organizar un seminario sobre temas de seguridad e inteligencia, porque sospechan que una editorial ligada a la actividad pueda ser usada como pantalla por espías del Kremlin. “Cambridge es un maravilloso lugar de teorías conspirativas pero la idea de que haya un complot maquiavélico es ridículo”, dijo Neil Kent, uno de los principales impulsores del evento.

Fuente: El fantasma del espionaje durante la guerra fría se instala en la Universidad de Cambridge – El Mostrador


In Major Privacy Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against Mass Surveillance

The European Union’s top court has severely undermined the British government’s mass surveillance powers in a new ruling that could rein in police and spy agency investigations.In a judgment handed down in Luxembourg on Wednesday, the European Court of Justice declared that the “general and indiscriminate retention” of data about people’s communications and locations was inconsistent with privacy rights. The court stated that the “highly invasive” bulk storage of private data “exceeds the limits of what is strictly necessary and cannot be considered to be justified, within a democratic society.”

Fuente: In Major Privacy Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against Mass Surveillance


UK spy chief warns on ‘profound’ propaganda threat

“The connectivity that is at the heart of globalisation can be exploited by states with hostile intent to further their aims deniably,” said Mr Younger. “They do this through means as varied as cyber attacks, propaganda or subversion of democratic process.”

Fuente: UK spy chief warns on ‘profound’ propaganda threat


U.K. Parliament Approves Unprecedented New Hacking and Surveillance Powers

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the new law is that it will give the British government the authority to serve internet service providers with a “data retention notice,” forcing them to record and store for up to 12 months logs showing websites visited by all of their customers. Law enforcement agencies will then be able to obtain access to this data without any court order or warrant. In addition, the new powers will hand police and tax investigators the ability to, with the approval of a government minister, hack into targeted phones and computers.

Fuente: U.K. Parliament Approves Unprecedented New Hacking and Surveillance Powers


‘Extreme surveillance’ becomes UK law with barely a whimper | World news | The Guardian

A bill giving the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world has passed into law with barely a whimper, meeting only token resistance over the past 12 months from inside parliament and barely any from outside.The Investigatory Powers Act, passed on Thursday, legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.

Fuente: ‘Extreme surveillance’ becomes UK law with barely a whimper | World news | The Guardian


HELP US FIGHT SWEEPING STATE HACKING POWERS | Privacy International

Following on from our recent victory against unlawful surveillance by the British intelligence services, Privacy International is taking the British Government to court again. Why? Because it is using ‘general warrants’ to hack the electronic devices (computers, phones, tablets, and the increasing number of things that ‘connect’ to the internet) of sweeping groups of unidentified people at home and abroad. General warrants permit the government to target wide categories of people, places or property (e.g. all mobile phones in London) without any individualised suspicion of wrongdoing.

Fuente: HELP US FIGHT SWEEPING STATE HACKING POWERS | Privacy International


Three New Scandals Show How Pervasive and Dangerous Mass Surveillance Is in the West, Vindicating Snowden

While most eyes are focused on the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, three major events prove how widespread, and dangerous, mass surveillance has become in the West. Standing alone, each event highlights exactly the severe threats that motivated Edward Snowden to blow his whistle; taken together, they constitute full-scale vindication of everything he’s done.

Fuente: Three New Scandals Show How Pervasive and Dangerous Mass Surveillance Is in the West, Vindicating Snowden


Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden

Ten organizations – including Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amnesty International – are taking up the landmark case against the U.K. government in the European Court of Human Rights (pictured above). In a 115-page complaint released on Thursday, the groups allege that “blanket and indiscriminate” surveillance operations carried out by British spy agencies in collaboration with their U.S. counterparts violate privacy and freedom of expression rights.

Fuente: Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden


El MI6 contratará casi mil espías para combatir el terrorismo – El Mostrador

Según afirmaciones de Younger publicadas por The Times el mundo digital “representa una amenaza porque los que se oponen a nosotros pueden utilizar esta capacidad para tener acceso a nuestras actividades, lo que significa que tenemos que cambiar completamente la forma en que hacemos las cosas”.

Fuente: El MI6 contratará casi mil espías para combatir el terrorismo – El Mostrador


The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing

in the heart of the tranquil English countryside, is the National Security Agency’s largest overseas spying base. Originally used to monitor Soviet communications through the Cold War, its focus has since dramatically shifted, and today it is a vital part of the NSA’s sprawling global surveillance network.

Fuente: The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing


Bulk data collection vital to prevent terrorism in UK, report finds | World news | The Guardian

The bulk collection of personal data by British spy agencies is vital in preventing terrorist attacks, an independent review of draft security legislation has found.David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, concluded that laws giving MI5, MI6 and GCHQ the right to gather large volumes of data from members of the public had a “clear operational purpose”.

Fuente: Bulk data collection vital to prevent terrorism in UK, report finds | World news | The Guardian


Facing Data Deluge, Secret U.K. Spying Report Warned of Intelligence Failure

A secret report warned that British spies may have put lives at risk because their surveillance systems were sweeping up more data than could be analyzed, leading them to miss clues to possible security threats.

Fuente: Facing Data Deluge, Secret U.K. Spying Report Warned of Intelligence Failure


Documents Reveal Secretive U.K. Surveillance Policies

NEWLY DISCLOSED DOCUMENTS offer a rare insight into the secretive legal regime underpinning the British government’s controversial mass surveillance programs.The London-based group Privacy International obtained the previously confidential files as part of an ongoing legal case challenging the scope of British spies’ covert collection of huge troves of private data.

Fuente: Documents Reveal Secretive U.K. Surveillance Policies


Reino Unido espía a los refugiados hackeando sus móviles y ordenadores

Los refugiados no tienen derechos. De ahí se deriva que sus teléfonos pueden ser hackeados y sus ordenadores también. Al parecer, esto es lo que ha hecho -legalmente y según The Observer – los funcionarios de la oficina de inmigración británica. En 2013 recibieron poderes para hackear los dispositivos electrónicos de todos los refugiados y peticionarios de asilo que considerasen necesario. Y lo consideran.

Fuente: Reino Unido espía a los refugiados hackeando sus móviles y ordenadores


Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks' malware checklist / Boing Boing

Boing Boing is proud to publish two original documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, in connection with “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Extraordinary Rendition,” a short story …

Fuente: Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks’ malware checklist / Boing Boing


MPs warn increased internet surveillance will hit tech companies – FT.com

The UK government’s plans to increase internet surveillance risk imposing uncertain costs on British technology businesses, and impeding their ability to compete in a global market, a committee of MPs has warned. The draft Investigatory Powers Bill

Fuente: MPs warn increased internet surveillance will hit tech companies – FT.com


Big tech groups warn UK against spy bill – FT.com

Silicon Valley’s biggest companies have urged the UK government to reconsider swaths of its proposed surveillance law, saying it will have far-reaching implications for how other countries upgrade their spying regimes. In a rare show of unity,

Fuente: Big tech groups warn UK against spy bill – FT.com


Apple's Tim Cook defends encryption. When will other tech CEOs do so? | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian

More high-profile titans need to use their platforms to make crystal clear how important encryption is to users everywhere

Fuente: Apple’s Tim Cook defends encryption. When will other tech CEOs do so? | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian


Apple believes bill creates ‘key under doormat for bad guys’ – FT.com

Shortly after Theresa May introduced the draft Investigatory Powers bill in November to update the UK’s surveillance laws for the internet age, the home secretary met privately with Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive. He laid out a number of

Fuente: Apple believes bill creates ‘key under doormat for bad guys’ – FT.com


The hype over metadata is a dangerous myth – FT.com

Communications data — and the government’s powers to collect them — are at the heart of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill introduced by Theresa May, UK home secretary, which is currently under scrutiny. Such metadata are the digital exhaust of our

Fuente: The hype over metadata is a dangerous myth – FT.com


GCHQ conducted illegal surveillance, investigatory powers tribunal rules | UK news | The Guardian

GCHQ conducted illegal surveillance, investigatory powers tribunal rules | UK news | The Guardian.

 Documents relating to Sami al-Saadi must be destroyed, tribunal has ruled.Documents relating to Sami al-Saadi must be destroyed, tribunal has ruled. Photograph: Marco Longari/AFP

GCHQ, Britain’s national security surveillance agency, has been ordered to destroy legally privileged communications it unlawfully collected from a Libyan rendition victim.

The ruling marks the first time in its 15-year history that the investigatory powers tribunal has upheld a specific complaint against the intelligence services, lawyers have said. It is also the first time the tribunal has ordered a security service to give up surveillance material.

The IPT says GCHQ must destroy two documents which are legally privileged communications belonging to a former opponent of the Gaddafi regime, Sami al-Saadi, who was sent back to Libya in 2004 in a joint MI6-CIA “rendition” operation with his wife and four children under 12.

The tribunal, chaired by Mr Justice Burton, ruled that GCHQ must give an undertaking that parts of those documents must be “destroyed or deleted so as to render such information inaccessible to the agency in the future”. The agency has to submit a secret report within 14 days confirming that the destruction has been carried out.

GCHQ has also been ordered to hand over a hard copy of the papers to the interception of communications commissioner within seven days. They will be kept safe for five years in case there are further legal proceedings or an inquiry.

The tribunal says that although the two documents contain information covered by legal privilege they did not disclose or refer to any legal advice: “The tribunal, after careful consideration, is [also] satisfied that there was no use or disclosure of the privileged information for the purpose of defending the civil claim brought by [Saadi] and others.”

This is a compensation claim against Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, and the Foreign Office, being brought by Saadi along with another prominent opponent of Gaddafi, Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his family, for their role in their rendition and subsequent torture in Libya in 2004.


StanChart recruits former GCHQ director to tackle financial crime – FT.com

StanChart recruits former GCHQ director to tackle financial crime – FT.com.

 

In this image taken from TV, Iain Lobban director of electronic surveillance agency GCHQ gives evidence as the heads of Britain's intelligence agencies face UK lawmakers to give televised testimony for the first time in public, in London Thursday Nov. 7, 2013. The three spy agency leaders Andrew Parker head of Britain's domestic security agency MI5, John Sawers head of Britain's foreign spy service MI6 and Iain Lobban director of electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, are taking questions from Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, questioned on the work of their agencies, their current priorities and threats to the U.K., but not on ongoing operations.(AP Photo / Parliamentary Recording Unit)©AP

The trend of former spies joining banks has continued with Standard Chartered’s appointment of Sir Iain Lobban, former director of GCHQ, to advise its board of directors on financial crime.

The emerging markets-focused bank, which has twice been fined by US regulators for compliance failures in recent years, said Sir Iain’s appointment was “part of the group’s strategic priority of combating financial crime and continuing to invest in its conduct and compliance capabilities”.

Two years ago HSBC hired Lord Evans, former director of MI5, the UK secret services agency, to join its board of directors and sit on its financial system vulnerabilities committee.Big banks are scrambling to improve their defences against cyber crime, especially after high profile attacks by hackers, such as last year’s theft of data on millions of customers at JPMorgan Chase.

Sir Iain was director of GCHQ, the UK state communications monitoring agency, from 2008 until he stepped down last year. He was forced to defend the Cheltenham-based agency from international criticism over its extensive online eavesdropping activities that were revealed by leaks from former US intelligence worker Edward Snowden.

 


UK surveillance laws need total overhaul, says landmark report | US news | The Guardian

UK surveillance laws need total overhaul, says landmark report | US news | The Guardian.

 

The report was prompted by the revelations of Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency contractor. Photograph: The Guardian/AFP/Getty Images

Britain’s laws governing the intelligence agencies and mass surveillance require a total overhaul to make them more transparent, comprehensible and up to date, parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) has said in a landmark report prompted by the revelations of Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency contractor.

The 18-month inquiry finds that the existing laws are not being broken by the agencies and insists the bulk collection of data by the government does not amount to mass surveillance or a threat to individual privacy.

But it also says that the legal framework is unnecessarily complicated and – crucially – lacks transparency. The current laws could be construed as providing the agencies with a “blank cheque to carry out whatever actives they deem necessary”, it says.

In what it describes as its key recommendation it calls for all the current legislation governing the intrusive capabilities of the security and intelligence agencies to be replaced by a new, single act of parliament.

This new legal framework should for the first time explicitly set out surveillance capabilities, detailing the authorisation procedures, privacy constraints, transparency requirements, targeting criteria, sharing arrangements, oversight, and other safeguards.

The report will form a central pillar of the discussions in the next parliament on how to redraft UK surveillance laws, including a report from the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) commissioned by Nick Clegg and work being undertaken by the commissioner on intelligence law.

This inquiry, disrupted by the last-minute resignation of the committee chairman, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, over allegations concerning cash for influence, has always been viewed sceptically by libertarians, who regard the ISC as the democratic voice for the agencies as opposed to their scrutineers.


Edward Snowden's message to Guardian readers – video | Membership | The Guardian

Edward Snowden’s message to Guardian readers – video | Membership | The Guardian.

Guardian defence and intelligence correspondent Ewen MacAskill reads out a message to Guardian readers at a Members’ screening of Citizenfour in London. MacAskill joined editor-in-chief Alan Rusbriger, Janine Gibson and Stuart Millar to discuss the Snowden story in Kings Place on 2 March 2015.


ARGENPRESS.info – Prensa argentina para todo el mundo: Espionaje de Estados Unidos: El cuento de nunca acabar

ARGENPRESS.info – Prensa argentina para todo el mundo: Espionaje de Estados Unidos: El cuento de nunca acabar.

lunes, 2 de marzo de 2015

Carmen Esquivel (PL)

Cuando aún está fresco en la memoria el escándalo por el espionaje masivo contra ciudadanos, instituciones y hasta dignatarios europeos, el tema vuelve a la palestra al revelarse ahora que otros objetivos estuvieron en la mira de los servicios de inteligencia estadounidenses.

El nuevo blanco de los ataques es la compañía holandesa Gemalto, primera de su tipo en el mundo en la fabricación de tarjetas SIM (Subscriber Identity Module), en español Módulo de Identificación de Abonados, usada en teléfonos celulares y módems.

Para dar una idea de la magnitud de lo que esto significa baste señalar que la firma produce cerca de dos mil millones de estos dispositivos al año para 450 empresas de telecomunicaciones, entre ellas T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange, Verizon y Sprint.

Gemalto trabaja, además, con unas tres mil instituciones financieras porque elabora chips para tarjetas de crédito.

De acuerdo con documentos filtrados recientemente por Edward Snowden, ex analista de la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés), las inteligencias estadounidense y británica lograron apropiarse de las claves de la compañía, lo cual les abrió las puertas a los celulares de medio mundo.

La NSA y el Cuartel General de Comunicaciones del gobierno de Gran Bretaña (GCHQ) obtuvieron las llaves al acceder a los servidores centrales de Gemalto, valiéndose de información privada de algunos ingenieros, fabricantes de tarjetas y proveedores.

De esta manera pudieron espiar las llamadas, mensajes y correos electrónicos de una persona o empresa sin necesidad de pasar por una operadora o de obtener una orden judicial y, lo más alarmante, sin dejar ningún tipo de rastro.

“Es imposible saber cuántos códigos robaron la NSA y el GCHQ, pero si nos basamos en hipótesis modestas, el número es impresionante”, afirmó el sitio digital The Intercept, que filtró la información.


British refusal to cooperate with spy inquiry causes row in Germany | World news | The Guardian

British refusal to cooperate with spy inquiry causes row in Germany | World news | The Guardian.

Angela Merkel Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Downing Street and the German chancellery are embroiled in a worsening dispute over intelligence-sharing and the covert counter-terrorism campaign because of conflicts arising from the surveillance scandals surrounding the US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ.

According to German newspaper reports citing government and intelligence officials in Berlin, the Bundestag’s inquiry into the NSA controversy is being jeopardised by Britain’s refusal to cooperate and its threats to break off all intelligence-sharing with Berlin should the committee reveal any UK secrets.

The weekly magazine Focus reported last month that a national security aide to David Cameron had written to Peter Altmaier, Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, refusing all requests for help in the inquiry and warning that Britain would cease supplying terrorism-related intelligence to the Germans unless Berlin yielded.

It emerged during the NSA revelations that the Americans had hacked into Merkel’s mobile phone, generating outrage in Germany and feeding growing anti-American sentiment.

Internationally, the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, is viewed as less than vigorous. In the secret war on terror, the Germans are said to be dependent on signals intelligence from the British and the Americans.


Gemalto Doesn't Know What It Doesn't Know – The Intercept

Gemalto Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know – The Intercept.

Featured photo - Gemalto Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know

Gemalto CEO Olivier Piou shows a cellphone SIM card before a press conference on February 25, 2015 in Paris.

Gemalto, the French-Dutch digital security giant, confirmed that it believes American and British spies were behind a “particularly sophisticated intrusion” of its internal computer networks, as reported by The Intercept last week.

This morning, the company tried to downplay the significance of NSA and GCHQ efforts against its mobile phone encryption keys — and, in the process, made erroneous statements about cellphone technology and sweeping claims about its own security that experts describe as highly questionable.

Gemalto, which is the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, launched an internal investigation after The Intercept six days ago revealed that the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ hacked the company and cyberstalked its employees. In the secret documents, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the intelligence agencies described a successful effort to obtain secret encryption keys used to protect hundreds of millions of mobile devices across the globe.

The company was eager to address the claims that its systems and encryption keys had been massively compromised. At one point in stock trading after publication of the report, Gemalto suffered a half billion dollar hit to its market capitalization. The stock only partially recovered in the following days.

After the brief investigation, Gemalto now says that the NSA and GCHQ operations in 2010-2011 would not allow the intelligence agencies to spy on 3G and 4G networks, and that theft would have been rare after 2010, when it deployed a “secure transfer system.” The company also said the spy agency hacks only affected “the outer parts of our networks — our office networks — which are in contact with the outside world.”

Security experts and cryptography specialists immediately challenged Gemalto’s claim to have done a “thorough” investigation into the state-sponsored attack in just six days, saying the company was greatly underestimating the abilities of the NSA and GCHQ to penetrate its systems without leaving detectable traces.

“Gemalto learned about this five-year-old hack by GCHQ when the The Intercept called them up for a comment last week. That doesn’t sound like they’re on top of things, and it certainly suggests they don’t have the in-house capability to detect and thwart sophisticated state-sponsored attacks,” says Christopher Soghoian, the chief technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. He adds that Gemalto remains “a high-profile target for intelligence agencies.”

Matthew Green, a cryptography specialist at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute, said, “This is an investigation that seems mainly designed to produce positive statements. It is not an investigation at all.”


Cybercriminals ‘often start out with minor thefts in online games’ | Technology | The Guardian

Cybercriminals ‘often start out with minor thefts in online games’ | Technology | The Guardian.

A screengrab from World of Warcraft


 World Of Warcraft is an online role-playing game which can feature thousands of players from around the world interacting with each other in a virtual universe. Photograph: World of Warcraft screenshot

People who go on to commit serious cybercrime often start out with minor thefts in online games such as World Of Warcraft, a leading detective has said.

Looking at how people end up on a particular criminal path could help with early intervention, said Dr Jamie Saunders of the National Crime Agency.

In an interview with the Independent, the director of the National Cyber Crime Unit said cybercriminals can do “a great deal of damage, but not in a traditional criminal way”, and explained that the crimes can start out on a small scale.


In Historic Ruling, UK Surveillance Secrecy Declared Unlawful – The Intercept

In Historic Ruling, UK Surveillance Secrecy Declared Unlawful – The Intercept.

Featured photo - In Historic Ruling, UK Surveillance Secrecy Declared Unlawful

The United Kingdom’s top surveillance agency has acted unlawfully by keeping details about the scope of its Internet spying operations secret, a British court ruled in an unprecedented judgment issued on Friday.

Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, was found to have breached human rights laws by concealing information about how it accesses surveillance data collected by its American counterpart, the National Security Agency.

The ruling was handed down by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, a special court that handles complaints related to covert surveillance operations conducted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. In its 15-year history, the tribunal has never before upheld a complaint against any intelligence agencies.

The legal challenge was brought by human rights groups, including Privacy International and Liberty, following disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The groups alleged that GCHQ was unlawfully obtaining data through the NSA’s online spying program PRISM, which collects data stored by Internet giants such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The groups also focused on GCHQ’s role in obtaining private communications swept up by the NSA directly from internet cables, known as so-called “upstream” collection.


UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful ‘for seven years’ | UK news | The Guardian

UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful ‘for seven years’ | UK news | The Guardian.

Britain's Britain's GCHQ

 The legal challenge was the first of dozens of GCHQ-related claims to be examined in detail by the IPT. Photograph: Ho/Reuters

The regime that governs the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk was unlawful until last year, a secretive UK tribunal has ruled.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) declared on Friday that regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law.

Advocacy groups said the decision raised questions about the legality of intelligence-sharing operations between the UK and the US. The ruling appears to suggest that aspects of the operations were illegal for at least seven years – between 2007, when the Prism intercept programme was introduced, and 2014.

The critical judgment marks the first time since the IPT was established in 2000 that it has upheld a complaint relating to any of the UK’s intelligence agencies. It said that the government’s regulations were illegal because the public were unaware of safeguards that were in place. Details of those safeguards were only revealed during the legal challenge at the IPT.

An “order” posted on the IPT’s website early on Friday declared: “The regime governing the soliciting, receiving, storing and transmitting by UK authorities of private communications of individuals located in the UK, which have been obtained by US authorities … contravened Articles 8 or 10” of the European convention on human rights.


Secret 'BADASS' Intelligence Program Spied on Smartphones – The Intercept

Secret ‘BADASS’ Intelligence Program Spied on Smartphones – The Intercept.

BY MICAH LEE 

British and Canadian spy agencies accumulated sensitive data on smartphone users, including location, app preferences, and unique device identifiers, by piggybacking on ubiquitous software from advertising and analytics companies, according to a document obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The document, included in a trove of Snowden material released by Der Spiegel on January 17, outlines a secret program run by the intelligence agencies called BADASS. The German newsweekly did not write about the BADASS document, attaching it to a broader article on cyberwarfare. According to The Intercept‘s analysis of the document, intelligence agents applied BADASS software filters to streams of intercepted internet traffic, plucking from that traffic unencrypted uploads from smartphones to servers run by advertising and analytics companies.

Programmers frequently embed code from a handful of such companies into their smartphone apps because it helps them answer a variety of questions: How often does a particular user open the app, and at what time of day? Where does the user live? Where does the user work? Where is the user right now? What’s the phone’s unique identifier? What version of Android or iOS is the device running? What’s the user’s IP address? Answers to those questions guide app upgrades and help target advertisements, benefits that help explain why tracking users is not only routine in the tech industry but also considered a best practice.

For users, however, the smartphone data routinely provided to ad and analytics companies represents a major privacy threat. When combined together, the information fragments can be used to identify specific users, and when concentrated in the hands of a small number of companies, they have proven to be irresistibly convenient targets for those engaged in mass surveillance. Although the BADASS presentation appears to be roughly four years old, at least one player in the mobile advertising and analytics space, Google, acknowledges that its servers still routinely receive unencrypted uploads from Google code embedded in apps.

For spy agencies, this smartphone monitoring data represented a new, convenient way of learning more about surveillance targets, including information about their physical movements and digital activities. It also would have made it possible to design more focused cyberattacks against those people, for example by exploiting a weakness in a particular app known to be used by a particular person. Such scenarios are strongly hinted at in a 2010 NSA presentation, provided by agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and published last year in The New York TimesPro Publica, andThe Guardian. That presentation stated that smartphone monitoring would be useful because it could lead to “additional exploitation” and the unearthing of “target knowledge/leads, location, [and] target technology.”

The 2010 presentation, along with additional documents from Britain’s intelligence service Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, showed that the intelligence agencies were aggressively ramping up their efforts to see into the world of mobile apps. But the specifics of how they might distill useful information from the torrent of internet packets to and from smartphones remained unclear.


Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights, says European report | World news | The Guardian

Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights, says European report | World news | The Guardian.

Europe’s top rights body says scale of NSA spying is ‘stunning’ and suggests UK powers may be at odds with rights convention

Intelligence agencies may be hoovering up data on a massive scale.
Intelligence agencies and their allies may be hoovering up data on a massive scale.Photograph: Fleix Clay, Graeme Robertson, Getty Images

Europe’s top rights body has said mass surveillance practices are a fundamental threat to human rights and violate the right to privacy enshrined in European law.

The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe says in a report that it is “deeply concerned” by the “far-reaching, technologically advanced systems” used by the US and UK to collect, store and analyse the data of private citizens. It describes the scale of spying by the US National Security Agency, revealed by Edward Snowden, as “stunning”.


Ex-MI6 chief calls for new compact between internet firms and spy agencies | UK news | The Guardian

Ex-MI6 chief calls for new compact between internet firms and spy agencies | UK news | The Guardian.

Sir John Sawers says Snowden revelations shattered informal relationship but cooperation is necessary to prevent attacks

 

 

Former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers
Sir John Sawers said it was impossible to monitor terrorist activities without intruding upon the lives of others. Photograph: Elyse Marks/Edelman/PA

 

The former head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, has called for a new surveillance compact between internet companies and the security services in the UK and US in the wake of the Snowden revelations.

 

In his first speech since standing down as “C” at the end of last year, Sawers said the two could work together as they had in the past to prevent a repeat of events such as the Charlie Hebdo attack, the always present threats from militant Islamists in places such as Yemen, and the advance of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

 

In other parts of the speech, he aligned himself with Pope Francis in calling for restraint in offending the religious sensitivities of others after the Paris attack. He also, surprisingly, distanced MI6 from the CIA over what he called “lethal” operations.

 

Sawers, who is going into the private sector after decades in the Foreign Office and latterly at MI6, said the Snowden revelations in 2013 had shattered the previous informal relationship between tech companies and the surveillance agencies.

 

Companies such as Google and Microsoft had suffered a consumer backlash as a result of the revelations and are increasingly unwilling to cooperate to the same degree, creating a headache for the surveillance agencies in the US and the UK.


GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media | UK news | The Guardian

GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media | UK news | The Guardian.

 

• Snowden files reveal emails of BBC, NY Times and more
• Agency includes investigative journalists on ‘threat’ list
• Editors call on Cameron to act against snooping on media

 

GCHQ
The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by GCHQ. Photograph: GCHQ/EPA

GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.

The disclosure comes as the British government faces intense pressure to protect the confidential communications of reporters, MPs and lawyers from snooping.

The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in the space of less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by one of GCHQ’s numerous taps on the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet.

The communications, which were sometimes simple mass-PR emails sent to dozens of journalists but also included correspondence between reporters and editors discussing stories, were retained by GCHQ and were available to all cleared staff on the agency intranet. There is nothing to indicate whether or not the journalists were intentionally targeted.

The mails appeared to have been captured and stored as the output of a then-new tool being used to strip irrelevant data out of the agency’s tapping process.

New evidence from other UK intelligence documents revealed by Snowden also shows that a GCHQ information security assessment listed “investigative journalists” as a threat in a hierarchy alongside terrorists or hackers.


Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance | US news | The Guardian

Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance | US news | The Guardian.


British prime minister takes tougher line on internet companies than US president at White House talks on Islamist threats

In Washington, David Cameron announces the creation of a joint group between the US and the UK to counter the rise of domestic violent extremism in the two countries

Barack Obama and David Cameron struck different notes on surveillance powers after the president conceded that there is an important balance to be struck between monitoring terror suspects and protecting civil liberties.

As Cameron warned the internet giants that they must do more to ensure they do not become platforms for terrorist communications, the US president said he welcomed the way in which civil liberties groups hold them to account by tapping them on the shoulder.

Obama agreed with the prime minister that there could be no spaces on the internet for terrorists to communicate that could not be monitored by the intelligences agencies, subject to proper oversight. But, unlike Cameron, the president encouraged groups to ensure that he and other leaders do not abandon civil liberties.

The prime minister adopted a harder stance on the need for big internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to cooperate with the surveillance of terror suspects. In an interview with Channel 4 News he said they had to be careful not to act as a communications platform for terrorists.


Maniobras de ciberguerra a orillas del Atlántico | Internacional | EL PAÍS

Maniobras de ciberguerra a orillas del Atlántico | Internacional | EL PAÍS.


EE UU y Reino Unido lanzan ejercicios y equipos mixtos de expertos para responder a la oleada de ataques informáticos

 /  /  Londres / Washington / Madrid 17 ENE 2015 – 02:33CET2

Cameron y Obama en Washington / E.V. (AP) / VÍDEO: REUTERS LIVE

A lo largo de 2015 los poderosos sectores financieros de Estados Unidos y Reino Unido, posiblemente el Banco de Inglaterra y Wall Street, serán objeto de un ciberataque. Será, en realidad, un ataque ficticio. Un simulacro. El primero de una serie de ejercicios conjuntos entre los servicios de espionaje, que se producirán en el marco de un acuerdo “sin precedentes” entre los dos aliados, para poner a prueba los mecanismos de seguridad en las “infraestructuras nacionales críticas” ante la amenaza de los cibercriminales.

Así lo confirmaron el viernes en Washington el primer ministro británico, el conservador David Cameron, y el presidente estadounidense, Barack Obama. “Dado el urgente y creciente peligro de los ciberataques, hemos decidido expandir nuestra cooperación en ciberseguridad para proteger nuestra infraestructura más crítica, nuestros negocios y la privacidad de nuestros pueblos”, dijo Obama.

A renglón seguido, el primer ministro británico coincidió en la necesidad de forjar una estructura conjunta que pueda proteger “mejor” a sus países ante los ciberataques, en referencia al asalto atribuido a Corea del Norte contra la compañía Sony a finales de año o el que esta semana afectó a la cuenta en Twitter del Mando Central de EE UU, lanzado presuntamente por simpatizantes del Estado Islámico (EI).

Cameron, que ya adelantó los planes conjuntos de ambos aliados antes de reunirse con Obama, ha intensificado, tras el ataque contra el semanario francés Charlie Hebdo, su campaña para lograr que los Gobiernos dispongan de más poderes para acceder a la actividad en Internet de los sospechosos de terrorismo, y busca aliados en su empeño.


David Cameron seeks cooperation of US president over encryption crackdown | UK news | The Guardian

David Cameron seeks cooperation of US president over encryption crackdown | UK news | The Guardian.

PM to ask Barack Obama to put pressure on US internet companies to work more closely with UK intelligence agencies

 

 

David Cameron talking on the telephone to US president, Barack Obama
David Cameron talking on the telephone to US president, Barack Obama, from No 10 Downing Street, London. Photograph: Sergeant Dave Rose/PA

 

David Cameron is to urge Barack Obama to pressure internet firms such as Twitter and Facebook to do more to cooperate with Britain’s intelligence agencies as they seek to track the online activities of Islamist extremists.

 

As he becomes the first European leader to meet the president after the multiple shootings in Paris last week, the prime minister will seek to win Obama’s support for his plans to secure a new legal framework to deny terrorists a “safe space”.

 

The prime minister arrives after he proposed earlier this week that British intelligence agencies have the power to break the encrypted communications of suspected terrorists and insisting that the likes of Twitter and Facebook do more to cooperate with Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping centre.