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Current Topic: Security

Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology -
Topic: Security 11:17 am EDT, Jun 22, 2009

The Iranian regime has developed, with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world's most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale.

Interviews with technology experts in Iran and outside the country say Iranian efforts at monitoring Internet information go well beyond blocking access to Web sites or severing Internet connections.

Instead, in confronting the political turmoil that has consumed the country this past week, the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection, which enables authorities to not only block communication but to monitor it to gather information about individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes, according to these experts.

Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology -

Teenage Bomb Threat Suspect Was Internet Prank-Call Star | Threat Level
Topic: Security 7:08 pm EDT, May 11, 2009

It turns out I was right to be suspicious of this story. This turns out to be a text book case of sensational journalism that a large number of people took at face value. Apparently Amanda Lamb doesn't like fact checking.

Much of the online fury was triggered by Lundeby’s incorrect claim — uncritically reported by the station — that the boy was being held without any legal rights on the authority of the 2001 USA Patriot Act. In truth, making telephone bomb threats has been a federal crime since 1939. The teenager is being held without bail in Indiana, but he’s been formally charged, has a court-appointed attorney, and has already made three appearances in front of a judge. The case is sealed because the suspect is a minor.

Responding to the internet outrage on Thursday, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Indiana issued a press release (.pdf) emphasizing the the teenager is not being held on terrorism charges. The case “alleges a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(e), which prohibits sending false information about an attempt to kill, injure or intimidate any individual or to unlawfully to damage any building through an instrument of interstate commerce,” the prosecutors wrote.

The kid is _not_ being held on Patriot Act charges or being denied any due process. The kid's mother is completely full of shit.

The kid was taking money on Paypal to call in bomb threats to schools:

The case came to a head on March 4, when Tyrone made a series of rapid-fire bomb threats against five different schools around the United States. Bennett recorded the calls.

“This is a warning to every staff, student and anybody else who may be in the school tomorrow afternoon at 11:00 a.m.,” the caller is heard saying in a voicemail message for Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kansas.

“There are twelve bombs located throughout the entire campus at the school,” the caller continues (.mp3). “They are in random lockers throughout the school — I will not tell you which lockers they are located in. There are also two in the bathroom and there is one in the gym. You have exactly one hour after 11:00 a.m. to find and disarm the bombs. That is all I have to say. All will be cleansed.”

I bet one of the reasons they are holding him without bail is because his mother is completely delusional and they can't rely on her recognizance.

Teenage Bomb Threat Suspect Was Internet Prank-Call Star | Threat Level

US teen, 16, held under patriot act
Topic: Security 8:40 pm EDT, May  3, 2009

This could be an example of some seriously federal law enforcement over-reaction and abuse of powers... There are only two local news outlets that have any coverage at all, and it's all got that sensational feel that makes details seem questionable.

This news outlet (WRAL) posted the story on the 29th, last Wednesday. It's making the rounds around the net now.. Hopefully we can get some more in-depth reporting about what's going on. If this is what it looks like on it's face, something must be done.

Here are the bits that provide useful information:

But according to the United States government, the tenth-grade home-schooler is being held on a criminal complaint that he made a bomb threat from his home on the night of Feb. 15.

Around 10 p.m. on March 5, Lundeby said, armed FBI agents along with three local law enforcement officers stormed her home looking for her son. They handcuffed him and presented her with a search warrant.

Lundeby told the officers that someone had hacked into her son's IP address and was using it to make crank calls connected through the Internet, making it look like the calls had originated from her home when they did not.

Her argument was ignored, she said. Agents seized a computer, a cell phone, gaming console, routers, bank statements and school records, according to federal search warrants.

Ashton now sits in a juvenile facility in South Bend, Ind. His mother has had little access to him since his arrest. She has gone to her state representatives as well as attorneys, seeking assistance, but, she said, there is nothing she can do.

Lundeby said the USA Patriot Act stripped her son of his due process rights.

Because a federal judge issued a gag order in the case, the U.S. attorney in Indiana cannot comment on the case, nor can the FBI. The North Carolina Highway Patrol did confirm that officers assisted with the FBI operation at the Lundeby home on March 5.

Some sunshine needs to come down on this situation...

US teen, 16, held under patriot act

The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown
Topic: Security 2:32 pm EDT, Apr 22, 2009

On the night of March 8, cruising 22,000 miles above the Earth, U.S. Navy communications satellite FLTSAT-8 suddenly erupted with illicit activity. Jubilant voices and anthems crowded the channel on a junkyard's worth of homemade gear from across vast and silent stretches of the Amazon: Ronaldo, a Brazilian soccer idol, had just scored his first goal with the Corinthians.

It was a party that won't soon be forgotten. Ten days later, Brazilian Federal Police swooped in on 39 suspects in six states in the largest crackdown to date on a growing problem here: illegal hijacking of U.S. military satellite transponders. null

This is so ridiculously and awesomely Gibson-esque. Hordes of low tek from The Sprawl hacking military satellites with homebrew gear and hacker know-how.

Unbelievably Excellent!

The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown

Hoder arrested in Iran, faces death penalty
Topic: Security 7:08 pm EST, Nov 19, 2008

An Iranian blogger has been arrested in Iran and charged with spying for Israel. He could face the death penalty if found guilty.

Hossein Derakhshan, known around the world as the father of the Iranian blogosphere, was recently arrested upon returning to Iran from Canada.

Jahan News, an Iranian website affiliated with Iran’s intelligence community, reported on Monday that he admitted to spying for Israel.

Hoder has been discussed on MemeStreams before.

Hoder was on a round table event in Nashville at the 1st Amendment Center that Decius and I participated in.

Hoder arrested in Iran, faces death penalty

Problems Voting in the General Election? Report Your Issue Here | Threat Level
Topic: Security 8:14 pm EDT, Oct 15, 2008

Had a problem casting your ballot in this year's general election? We want to hear from you. has created a map to track your issues, but we need your help to complete it.

Over the next weeks, if you have trouble at the polls, either during early voting or on Election Day, we'd like you to add your issue to our map. Be sure to provide as much detail as possible. You may also include links to video or audio.

It looks like the Threat Level team and Wired are going to stay on top of the voting system integrity meme through the election.

Problems Voting in the General Election? Report Your Issue Here | Threat Level

From Air Command to War Games to Cyber Command
Topic: Security 2:57 am EDT, Sep  9, 2008

Via Danger Room:

In the past year, as the Air Force's nuclear problems have come to life, there have been calls to bring back Strategic Air Command (or, at least, an SAC-esque organization). That talk is growing louder in the Air Force. The service plans to “craft a roadmap, organizational construct, and associated implementation strategy to reinvigorate our strategic nuclear deterrent capability,”according to a letter from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, obtained by Inside Defense.

But that's not all. This roadmap will also have “far-reaching impacts on other areas, such as cyber.”

I've been hearing similar things. Air Force nuclear and cyber troops, well-place Air Force sources say, could be combined into a single "Global Effects Command." These forces would work with U.S. Strategic Command, to deter foes with missiles, bombers, or electrons. In effect, it would be Strategic Air Command, revamped for the Internet age. In other words, America's cyber forces wouldn't just protect military networks. They'd go on the attack, against online foes.

The blog post notes that the logos for SAC and USAF Cyber Command are basically the same.

Apparently, we started with this:

Added this:

And wound up with this:

It's only fitting.. Every single NOC ever built since that movie came out has been directly inspired by the NORAD set.

From Air Command to War Games to Cyber Command

No, You Can't Search My Laptop
Topic: Security 12:13 pm EDT, Jun 25, 2008

Peter Swire testifies to a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on why laptop searches of Americans returning from overseas is a violation of privacy.

Peter is a co-worker of mine. Click through to read his testimony.

No, You Can't Search My Laptop

China denies hacking into US computers - Yahoo! News
Topic: Security 6:43 pm EDT, Jun 13, 2008

China denied accusations by two U.S. lawmakers that it hacked into congressional computers, saying Thursday that as a developing country it wasn't capable of sophisticated cybercrime.

"Is there any evidence? ... Do we have such advanced technology? Even I don't believe it," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regularly scheduled news conference.

This deflection is actually really quite insulting. They played the developing country card? Seriously?? What a load of crap!

Once information technology is widely available to people who take an interest in it, it's only a matter of time before there are hackers capable of preforming offensive information operations exist. The biggest factor I can think of, is if there are numbers of kids that have easy access to computers. The only universal thread in common with all the rockstar hackers I know is that they all got interested in the stuff real young, and just got more and more devastatingly capable as they matured and got more access to information and other hackers.

No one expects the avenues of Xinjiang to start flowing with 0day anytime soon.. But I assure you, places like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Guangdong have no shortage of capable hackers. Beijing damn well knows that, and isn't afraid to use it strategically.

Hackers sprout given enough people, time, technology, and access to information. They manifest themselves in different ways. If you have an economy that can support a technology sector, you get one. If you don't, you get cybercrime. If your military wants the capability to do information operations, it will get it. Even the DPRK was claiming to have infowar capabilities at one point..

China denies hacking into US computers - Yahoo! News

Danger Room - The MySpace Generation & The Military
Topic: Security 3:47 pm EDT, Oct  1, 2007

The MySpace generation is a "somewhat alien life force," a Navy recruiting presentation contends -- with a language and lifestyle that's almost unrecognizable to adults. And because the kids are such "coddled," "narcissistic praise junkies," they'll be beyond tough to bring into the military. Propensity to join the armed forces among these so-called "millennials" has dropped to as little as 3%; that's down from 26% in 2001.

Danger Room - The MySpace Generation & The Military

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