Items tagged with NSA

I'm not sure we needed another example of just how opportunistic malware creators can be, but thanks to Android.AntiObscan, we got one. This is a piece of malware that's been floating around the Web recently that mimics Jay-Z's brand-new album app, Magna Carta Holy Grail. Weeks before its launch, this album hit the headlines in a big way due to a Samsung deal that would see 1 million Galaxy device owners receive the album for free (in effect making the album Platinum certified even before its release). That, along with the fact that we're dealing with Jay-Z here, is enough grab a lot of people's attention. As its name suggests, Android.AntiObscan refers to government spying. This is further proven... Read more...
It appears that the Swiss have turned a reputation for having the most secure banks in the world into a possible refuge for corporations trying to keep data from the spying eyes of the NSA. The NSA’s PRISM program used the shadowy Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and a secret court to request data on U.S. citizens from major providers of Internet services such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. If you missed it, we’ve had quite a bit to say about the subject. Now, according to Ibtimes, it seems that U.S. companies are losing faith in domestic cloud storage providers, from large-scale operations such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to smaller-scale (but frequently... Read more...
Now that the NSA has apparently assented to allow companies from which it culled personal user data to post some numbers about how many requests were made, more companies are disclosing that information. Facebook and Microsoft posted some numbers this weekend, and now Yahoo! has some as well. According to a post written by Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! General Counsel Ron Bell, law enforcement agencies made between 12,000 and 13,000 requests for data from Yahoo!, (including FISA requests) between December 1st, 2012 and May 31st, 2013. Yahoo! HQ Yahoo! says that “The most common of these requests concerned fraud, homicides, kidnappings, and other criminal investigations.” The... Read more...
More information is coming out regarding the NSA’s PRISM program wherein the agency has been requesting/demanding data on U.S. citizens from major Internet companies. (We have further reading on the subject here, here, and here.) After adamant declarations from some companies, perhaps most notably Facebook--Mark Zuckerberg wrote a personal, angry post about it--that they refused to allow the NSA direct access to company servers, there were plenty of questions remaining about how much data the NSA requested, and from whom. Facebook's Menlo Park campus Facebook has directly addressed the situation via a blog post written by the company’s general counsel, Ted Ullyot. First, Ullyot claims... Read more...
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, personality-wise, was the yin to Steve Jobs yang, and the effervescent and jovial Woz is typically an entertaining fellow, always good for a fresh perspective on mobile devices or other technology. Not so the other day in the airport. FayerWayerTV snagged some one-on-one time with Woz as he was waiting for his flight, and the topic of conversation turned to the NSA’s PRISM spying program as well as cloud services. Woz teed off on the NSA by comparing its spying on the American public as akin to communist Russia. “Communist Russia was so bad because they followed their people, they snooped on them, they arrested them, they put them in secret prisons,... Read more...
In the week since word of the NSA's Boundless Informant and Prism programs leaked online, there's been a great deal of concern over to what degree various companies cooperated with the NSA's requests. Some companies, like Google, have pointed to their repeated requests for greater transparency. Twitter, of course, is the major social app that isn't on Prism's list at all. And then, there's Microsoft. It's been notably quiet since the Prism leak, and while the PR team has had its hands full dealing with the fallout over the Xbone E3 debacle, there's certainly been bandwidth for a situation as serious as the idea that MS is facilitating the NSA's access to its user databases. Worse, the company... Read more...
In the wake of the Washington Post leaks, there's been a great deal of discussion over how, exactly, companies like Google share data with the government. The original report implied that the NSA has direct datacenter access and either grabs the information directly  from Google or was copying and analyzing traffic as it flowed through the tubes. Google has gone on the offensive in recent days to simultaneously clarify its own cooperation with the NSA and to push for greater transparency where access requests are concerned. It should be noted, in fairness to Google, that this greater transparency push lines up with the company's pre-Snowden statements. In recent months, Google has filed... Read more...
Yesterday, we talked about PRISM, the NSA's tool for spying on all foreign Internet traffic routed through the United States. Today, we've got news a fresh leak and another troubling aspect of the NSA's spying capabilities. The newly revealed program, dubbed Boundless Informant, is an analysis tool that creates heat maps of where NSA information comes from and who provides it. PRISM, in other words, provides the raw data -- Boundless Informant analyzes that data and breaks it down by source, volume, and capability. According to Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian, Boundless Informant collected roughly three billion pieces of information in a 30 day window during March, 2013. According to the declassified... Read more...
There have been two major leaks this past week that we want to talk about. First, news that Verizon turns over all phone call metadata -- the numbers called, dialed, and the duration of the phone call in question -- to the NSA. Second, news that the NSA has agreements with major tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, that require those companies to turn over information. Every firm named in these slides has come out and said it does not reveal information about US citizens without an appropriate court order. The NSA has released a statement confirming this, saying: "It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located... Read more...
This sounds like the definition of a slippery slope: According to Reuters, the U.S. government is expanding its Internet traffic-scanning cybersecurity program to include more private sector workers, such as those at large banks, utility companies, and “key transportation” companies, and the NSA will use the Department of Homeland Security as a data-gathering middleman. The DHS will send the data on to certain telecommunication companies and cybersecurity firms for processing; those groups will aggregate certain statistics and report back to the government, which should keep some sensitive data veiled from federal eyes. This screening and data collection will be used to hunt for cybersecurity... Read more...
Yesterday, the newly minted head of the United States' Cyber Command team and NSA head General Keith Alexander told assembled lawmakers that the US has created offensive cyberwarfare divisions designed to do far more than protect US assets from foreign attacks. This is a major change in policy from previous public statements -- in the past, the US has publicly focused on defensive actions and homegrown security improvements. "I would like to be clear that this team, this defend-the-nation team, is not a defensive team,” General Alexander told the House Armed Services Committee. "This is an offensive team that the Defense Department would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace.... Read more...
The National Sheriffs' Association has announced it supports mandatory logging provisions incorporated into a proposed federal law that would require ISPs to store all customer data for 18 months. The bill (HR 1981) is intended to amend title 18 of the USC and is known as the "Protecting Children From Internet Pornagraphers Act of 2011," At a Congressional hearing today, Michael Brown, a sheriff in Bedford County, VA and board member of the NSA stated: ""The limited data retention time and lack of uniformity among retention from company to company significantly hinders law enforcement's ability to identify predators when they come across child pornography." Wireless providers have managed to... Read more...
Using an old browser?  If you're planning to use PayPal, you might consider updating.PayPal, one of the brands most spoofed in phishing attacks, is working on a plan to block its users from making transactions from Web browsers that don't provide anti-phishing protection.The eBay-owned company, which runs a Web-based payment system that allows the transfer of funds between bank accounts and credit cards, said browsers that do not have support for blocking identity theft-related Web sites or for EV SSL (Extended Validation Secure Sockets Layer) certificates are considered "unsafe" for financial transactions.Honestly, although some may consider PayPal's "threat" draconian, it's in your own... Read more...
The Sectera Edge was developed under the NSA Secure Mobile Environment/Portable Electronic Device program (SME PED) and will eventually be supplied to the DOD and Homeland Security.  It will be able to switch between the government's Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet).   I'll bet you think I'm making those up, don't you? The National Security Agency has authorized military and government personnel to order up a bunch of General Dynamics' Sectera Edge secure, wireless smartphones, which will not only allow them to make secure calls but also to email and Web-browse in either classified or unclassified mode.... Read more...
So, you think you have the most impressive home office workstation this side of the galaxy? Before you say yes, you have to see what Stefan Didak set up in his home.  Up to 9 screens, numerous machines, tons of network equipment, storage galore, and even an Amiga 1000 thrown in for good measure. "The pictures on this page are of my home office desktop which, since I first published these pictures, have been causing a lot of chatter on various web forums and blogs. The attention my home office has received is quite stunning and way more than I would have expected." There are a ton of pics... Read more...
What do you get when you mix a golden P4 sample with a fully volt-modded Asus P5B and a vat of liquid nitrogen? Yup, you guessed it! Some SERIOUS overclocking. And we mean SERIOUS. A couple of fellow Italianos recently broke the 8GHz barrier and have the evidence posted up in the XtremeSystem's forum. "Yesterday we and our dear friend qballe tested again our golden p4 631, with a fullmod P5B; the results are simply awesome! Here's the setup: P$ 631 alien, Asus p5b dlx full mod, 2 x 1Gbyte Cellshock (1 giga Adata for max screen), Ali PC P&C 1kw. Thx to everyone that believed in us and to our friend Marco for the fantastic day. Insane."... Read more...
In an effort to help clarify some marketing terms that have been thrown around in terms of LCD Panels, X-Bit labs takes a look at 7 different LCD monitors, discussing(in detail) response time compensation. This isn't a light read folks, so grab some coffee, and emerge yourself in 20 pages of LCD technology."The ISO 13406-2 method to measure the monitor's response time as the total time necessary to change the state of a pixel from pure black to pure white and back again brings but very little information about the real performance of the monitor and easily misleads the user. Today we are going to reveal all secrets about this parameter and discuss the response time compensation that affects the... Read more...
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