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.
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.
Internet service providers from around the world are lodging formal complaints against the UK government’s monitoring service, GCHQ, alleging that it uses “malicious software” to break into their networks.
The claims from seven organisations based in six countries – the UK, Netherlands, US, South Korea, Germany and Zimbabwe – will add to international pressure on the British government following Edward Snowden‘s revelations about mass surveillance of the internet by UK and US intelligence agencies.
The claims are being filed with the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT), the court in London that assesses complaints about the agencies’ activities and misuse of surveillance by government organisations. Most of its hearings are held at least partially in secret.
The IPT is already considering a number of related submissions. Later this month it will investigate complaints by human rights groups about the way social media sites have been targeted by GCHQ.
The government has defended the security services, pointing out that online searches are often routed overseas and those deemed “external communications” can be monitored without the need for an individual warrant. Critics say that such a legal interpretation sidesteps the need for traditional intercept safeguards.
The latest claim is against both GCHQ, located near Cheltenham, and the Foreign Office. It is based on articles published earlier this year in the German magazine Der Spiegel. That report alleged that GCHQ had carried out an attack, codenamed Operation Socialist, on the Belgian telecoms group, Belgacom, targeting individual employees with “malware (malicious software)”.
One of the techniques was a “man in the middle” attack, which, according to the documents filed at the IPT, bypasses modern encryption software and “operates by interposing the attacker [GCHQ] between two computers that believe that they are securely communicating with each other. In fact, each is communicating with GCHQ, who collect the communications, as well as relaying them in the hope that the interference will be undetected.”
The complaint alleges that the attacks were a breach of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and an interference with the privacy rights of the employees under the European convention of human rights.
The organisations targeted, the submission states, were all “responsible and professional internet service providers”. The claimants are: GreenNet Ltd, based in the UK, Riseup Networks in Seattle, Mango Email Service in Zimbabwe, Jinbonet in South Korea, Greenhost in the Netherlands, May First/People Link in New York and the Chaos Computer Club in Hamburg.
What happens when a computer is infected with the malicious software, and what should you do to protect your files?
Cryptolocker is back in the headlines, thanks to a coordinated effort to take down the computers and criminals that run the notorious “ransomware”. But what is it? And how can you fight it?
Cryptolocker is ransomware: malicious software which holds your files to ransom
The software is typically spread through infected attachments to emails, or as a secondary infection on computers which are already affected by viruses which offer a back door for further attacks.
When a computer is infected, it contacts a central server for the information it needs to activate, and then begins encrypting files on the infected computer with that information. Once all the files are encrypted, it posts a message asking for payment to decrypt the files – and threatens to destroy the information if it doesn’t get paid.
The authorities have won users a two-week window of safety
The National Crime Agency (NCA) announced yesterday that the UK public has got a “unique, two-week opportunity to rid and safeguard” themselves from Cryptolocker. The agency didn’t go into more detail, but it seems likely that at least one of the central servers which Cryptolocker speaks to before encrypting files has been taken down.
The NCA has also taken down the control system for a related piece of software, known as GameOver Zeus, which provides criminals with a backdoor into users’ computers. That back door is one of the ways a computer can be infected with Cryptolocker in the first place.
What that means is, until the window is closed – and the virus cycles to new servers – users who are infected with Cryptolocker won’t lose their files to encryption. As a result, these users have the chance to remove the virus before it destroys data, using conventional anti-virus software. In other words, there has never been a better time to update the protection on your computer.
But watch out – while the servers that control Cryptolocker are out of action, it’s possible to be infected with it and not know. If you don’t keep your computer clean, then at the end of the two-week period, you could be in for a nasty surprise.
UK botnet victims have two weeks to escape clutches of invasive ransomware after global cybercrime operation
The FBI and crime agencies from across the globe have temporarily disrupted one of the most aggressive computer viruses ever seen, but are warning victims they have two weeks to protect their computers before the hackers seize it back.
Digital police from across the globe have claimed success in disrupting the criminal operation behind the ransomware, known as Cryptolocker.
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has told British victims that they have a two-week window to protect themselves, after working with the FBI, Europol and other law enforcement bodies to temporarily seize control of the global network of infected computers.
Cryptolocker is now disabled, but the NCA said it was a race against time before the hackers circumvent their block on it.
It follows one of the biggest ever international collaborations between the major crime agencies to prevent a virus of this magnitude.
The Cryptolocker software locked PC users out of their machines, encrypting all their files and demanding payment of one Bitcoin (currently worth around £300) for decryption.
The FBI estimates that the virus has already acquired $27m (£17m) in ransom payments in just the first two months of its life, and that it has infected more than 234,000 machines.
GCHQ, the government’s monitoring agency, acted illegally by developing spy programs that remotely hijack computers’ cameras and microphones without the user’s consent, according to privacy campaigners.
A legal challenge lodged on Tuesday at the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) calls for the hacking techniques – alleged to be far more intrusive than interception of communications – to be outlawed. Mobile phones were also targeted, leaked documents reveal.
The claim has been submitted by Privacy International following revelations by the whistleblower Edward Snowden about the mass surveillance operations conducted by GCHQ and its US counterpart, the National Security Agency (NSA).
The 21-page submission details a host of “malware” – software devised to take over or damage another person’s computer – with such esoteric names as Warrior Pride, Gumfish, Dreamy Smurf, Foggybottom and Captivatedaudience.
Details of the programs have been published by the Guardian and the online magazine The Intercept run by the journalist Glenn Greenwald. They are said to allow GCHQ to gain access to “the profile information supplied by a user in registering a device [such as] … his location, age, gender, marital status, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, and family”.
More intrusively, Privacy International alleges, the programs enable surveillance of any stored content, logging of keystrokes and “the covert and unauthorised photography or recording of the user and those around him”. It is, the claim maintains, the equivalent of “entering someone’s house, searching through his filing cabinets, diaries and correspondence, and planting devices to permit constant surveillance in future, and, if mobile devices are involved, obtaining historical information including every location he had visited in the past year”.
Such break-ins also leave devices vulnerable to attack by others “such as credit card fraudsters, thereby risking the user’s personal data more broadly”, Privacy International argues. “It is the modern equivalent of breaking in to a residence, and leaving the locks broken or damaged afterwards.”