Showing posts with label spyware. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spyware. Show all posts

NSA = Not So Adept: Hackers Loot Brash Stash Of NSA Exploits & Data

Who watches the watchers?  Apparently, now it’s…well, everybody with a computer.  A massive hack against the NSA has revealed a treasure trove of previously-private exploits and other data, and it doesn’t make our “security agency” look very secure at all…

If the future won't let us have space-war, we'll have cyberspace-war.
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Crushing Bugs: Snowden To Sever Secret Smartphone Radio Transmissions

Oh, Edward Snowden.  A hero to any modern man who doesn’t want every other modern man, woman, and robot peeking into his business, the young former NSA operator has sacrificed his safety (and effectively the rest of his life) in pursuit of reform of the sickening surveillance state.  Now, he’s created a new device that shows his mission has not subsided in the slightest…

How can you cut a cord you can't see?
Snowden knows.
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X Marks The Spotted: Windows 10 Is Watching You

As citizens of the cyber-community, we've unfortunately become conditioned to seeing ads that are eerily targeted to things we say, emails that appear from long-forgotten websites, and other evidence of deep data gathering made manifest for use of moneymaking.  Now, with the launch of Windows 10 becoming a necessity for some users, Microsoft seems to have pulled out even more stops to speed up their spying...

Seriously, what ISN'T spying on us these days?
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Grounding Big Brother: Amnesty International Releases Anti-Government-Spyware Detection Software

Are you a closet revolutionary who is constantly aware of the deterioration of society and informs themself on ways it can be fixed?  Are you a casual bystander who once googled a song by a band that prided themselves on questioning authority?  Are you just paranoid as hell that the Man is out to get you?  Now, you can stop governmental cyber-peeping for sure, thanks to new technology released by Amnesty International.

As reported by the BBC, it is no secret that governments use "sophisticated spying tools that could grab images from webcams or listen via microphones to monitor people." Amnesty International knows how wrong that is, and has released the Detekt software to combat Big Brother's unsavory advances. Detekt scans your computer for government-grade spyware that might be missed (or intentionally looked over) by other more mainstream virus or malware detectors.

They're not this overt, but they are this unpleasant.
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Created through a collaboration between Amnesty International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Privacy International and Digitale Gesellschaft, the free software is designed to operate on Windows (the platform which most spied-on people are apparently using.) Its availability should be helpful in putting a damper on the $5 billion international government spyware market.

That's your tax money, getting spent to indiscriminately spy.  Kill the idea that this could ever be acceptable.
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"People think the uses of spyware by governments are isolated cases. They are not," said Claudio Guarnieri, the German creator of Detekt. "Their discovery is isolated...Spyware is becoming the final solution for surveillance operations to overcome encryption.

"The real problem is nobody really asked the public whether that's acceptable and some countries are legitimizing their use without considering the consequences and inherent issues."

One of those inherent issues being that average civilians shouldn't be covertly spied on by their government.  Better fire up the Detekt, we probably just got put on a list.

There is nothing noble about blindly swinging a cyber bat at peoples' computers, hoping a pinata of prosecutable info will explode.  Even if it did, that candy is probably supposed to be helping the people.
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Reverse Undercover: Get The Full Picture With "Sousveillance" Jacket

It's no secret that a variety of devices and their masters are going to be watching you every time you leave the house.  Instead of being infuriated or marginalized by this, why not use their own powers against them?  Now you can shoot first (well, photos, at least) with the new Aposematic Jacket.

As reported by, this new wearable technology protects not just with surveillance, but with the threat of it as well.  Welcome to the world of "sousveillance", taken from the idea that you are watching from below, not being watched from above (the "sur" in "surveillance.)  The Aposematic's South Korean creators, artists Kim Yong Hun and Shin Seung Back, stitched four working cameras (and eight dummies) onto a regular black blazer, daring any passersby to mess with the wearer.

The Aposematic, spotted in the wild.
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The Aposematic is named for the bright frogs and other creatures who use their overt threat of danger to ward off predators.  These days, too much information can sting worse than a dose of too much poison venom. Four cameras are triggered from a discreet button hidden in the Aposematic's sleeve, immediately offering a panoramic image which can be beamed to a website for realtime extreme exo-monitoring.  It's the ultimate selfie, plus a sort of security.  “Cameras make people act ‘properly,’ ” Kim says. “Once someone’s behavior is recorded, it will exist beyond time and space so that will have the possibility of being ‘judged’ by others anytime and anywhere.”

What're you lookin' at?
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Kim raises serious questions about the state of our society and how surveillance/sousveillance now acts as a built-in behavior modifier.  He ponders, “How will people act when everything is recorded all the time? Will people have to always behave themselves? Or will we have to re-invent the concept of the ethics of humanity?”

Even though the Aposematic is an art project rather than a fashion movement, it makes it neatly known that accountability is for everyone.  We must first observe and affect our own surroundings before we can hope to do so with others.  We must be the checks and balances that the surveillance of the powers-that-be lacks.  Hopefully the changes that are enacted as we progress further into a surveillance society aren't just because someone is watching...they'll be because some people should have been acting better all along, and will shape up in a world where they have nowhere to hide.  And now, that includes the watchers too.

Bling bling, sousveillance is a thing.
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Sink "Fin Fisher": Wikileaks Combats Spy Platforms By Releasing Software To Public

It's no secret now that governments routinely spy on their citizens, for reasons ranging from interest in actual criminal activities to simply wanting to try to intercept naked selfies.  However, now the team at Wikileaks has released the exact software used to spy on you, hoping that once it is more completely understood, it can be more effectively stopped.

As reported by, Julian Assange and his colleagues have openly posted the FinSpy PC and Fin Fisher spy platforms in an effort to spur developers to update more thorough privacy measures against them.  The Wikileaks team also hopes to make it more difficult for governments to abuse the technology to root out whom they consider undesirable.  Australia, Italy, Pakistan and other nations have been proven to use the software against "dissidents" on their turf, regardless of what computer platform the suspicious party is running.

Although keylogging and webcam monitoring are among the elements of the revealed software, it is hoped that these will not be abused by the masses and if they are, that a quick antidote will be available soon.  Now we know what weapons the powers-that-be have chosen, we can fight them more intelligently.

Sometimes the surveillance state needs a faceful of e-mace.

Government Spyware Disguised as Mozilla Firefox

Is there no limit to the mendacity of government and business?  Mozilla reports that it has sent a cease and desist letter to spyware firm Gamma International to prevent them from hiding their malicious code behind the Firefox brand.  Excerpt:
A recent report by Citizen Lab uncovered that commercial spyware produced by Gamma International is designed to trick people into thinking it’s Mozilla Firefox. We’ve sent Gamma a cease and desist letter today demanding that these illegal practices stop immediately.

As an open source project trusted by hundreds of millions of people around the world, defending Mozilla’s trademarks from this type of abuse is vital to our brand, our users and the continued success of our mission. Mozilla has a longstanding history of protecting users online and was named the Most Trusted Internet Company for Privacy in 2012 by the Ponemon Institute. We cannot abide a software company using our name to disguise online surveillance tools that can be – and in several cases actually have been – used by Gamma’s customers to violate citizens’ human rights and online privacy.

It’s important to note that the spyware does not affect Firefox itself, either during the installation process or when it is operating covertly on a person’s computer or mobile device. Gamma’s software is entirely separate, and only uses our brand and trademarks to lie and mislead as one of its methods for avoiding detection and deletion.

Through the work of the Citizen Lab research team, we believe Gamma’s spyware tries to give users the false impression that, as a program installed on their computer or mobile device, it’s related to Mozilla and Firefox, and is thus trustworthy both technically and in its content.