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Seth Martin

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Seth Martin
  last edited: Sat, 21 Jan 2017 11:49:04 -0600  
Suspicion Confirmed.

Schneier on SecuritySchneier on Security wrote the following post Fri, 08 Jul 2016 07:01:18 -0500

Researchers Discover Tor Nodes Designed to Spy on Hidden Services

Two researchers have discovered over 100 Tor nodes that are spying on hidden services. Cory Doctorow explains:
These nodes -- ordinary nodes, not exit nodes -- sorted through all the traffic that passed through them, looking for anything bound for a hidden service, which allowed them to discover hidden services that had not been advertised. These nodes then attacked the hidden services by making connections to them and trying common exploits against the server-software running on them, seeking to compromise and take them over.

The researchers used "honeypot" .onion servers to find the spying computers: these honeypots were .onion sites that the researchers set up in their own lab and then connected to repeatedly over the Tor network, thus seeding many Tor nodes with the information of the honions' existence. They didn't advertise the honions' existence in any other way and there was nothing of interest at these sites, and so when the sites logged new connections, the researchers could infer that they were being contacted by a system that had spied on one of their Tor network circuits.

This attack was already understood as a theoretical problem for the Tor project, which had recently undertaken a rearchitecting of the hidden service system that would prevent it from taking place.

No one knows who is running the spying nodes: they could be run by criminals, governments, private suppliers of "infowar" weapons to governments, independent researchers, or other scholars (though scholarly research would not normally include attempts to hack the servers once they were discovered).

The Tor project is working on redesigning its system to block this attack.

Vice Motherboard article. Defcon talk announcement.


#Tor #Security #Cybersecurity #Spying #Surveillance @LibertyPod+  @Gadget Guru+
Seth Martin
  
This bill would make several pieces of software that I use, Illegal. Even the software running the website you're viewing right now would be illegal.

'Leaked' Burr-Feinstein Encryption Bill Is a Threat to American Privacy

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Every service, person, human rights worker, protester, reporter, company—the list goes on—will be easier to spy on.


#Privacy #Surveillance #Encryption #Freedom #Liberty @LibertyPod+ @Gadget Guru+

Seth Martin
  
The InterceptThe Intercept wrote the following post Thu, 19 Feb 2015 13:25:38 -0600
How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle

AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.

The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands that makes the chips used in mobile phones and next-generation credit cards. Among its clients are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers around the world. The company operates in 85 countries and has more than 40 manufacturing facilities. One of its three global headquarters is in Austin, Texas and it has a large factory in Pennsylvania.

In all, Gemalto produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year. Its motto is “Security to be Free.”

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

As part of the covert operations against Gemalto, spies from GCHQ — with support from the NSA — mined the private communications of unwitting engineers and other company employees in multiple countries.

Gemalto was totally oblivious to the penetration of its systems — and the spying on its employees. “I’m disturbed, quite concerned that this has happened,” Paul Beverly, a Gemalto executive vice president, told The Intercept. “The most important thing for me is to understand exactly how this was done, so we can take every measure to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and also to make sure that there’s no impact on the telecom operators that we have served in a very trusted manner for many years. What I want to understand is what sort of ramifications it has, or could have, on any of our customers.” He added that “the most important thing for us now is to understand the degree” of the breach.

Leading privacy advocates and security experts say that the theft of encryption keys from major wireless network providers is tantamount to a thief obtaining the master ring of a building superintendent who holds the keys to every apartment. “Once you have the keys, decrypting traffic is trivial,” says Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The news of this key theft will send a shock wave through the security community.”

The massive key theft is “bad news for phone security. Really bad news.”


Beverly said that after being contacted by The Intercept, Gemalto’s internal security team began on Wednesday to investigate how their system was penetrated and could find no trace of the hacks. When asked if the NSA or GCHQ had ever requested access to Gemalto-manufactured encryption keys, Beverly said, “I am totally unaware. To the best of my knowledge, no.”

According to one secret GCHQ slide, the British intelligence agency penetrated Gemalto’s internal networks, planting malware on several computers, giving GCHQ secret access. We “believe we have their entire network,” the slide’s author boasted about the operation against Gemalto.

Additionally, the spy agency targeted unnamed cellular companies’ core networks, giving it access to “sales staff machines for customer information and network engineers machines for network maps.” GCHQ also claimed the ability to manipulate the billing servers of cell companies to “suppress” charges in an effort to conceal the spy agency’s secret actions against an individual’s phone. Most significantly, GCHQ also penetrated “authentication servers,” allowing it to decrypt data and voice communications between a targeted individual’s phone and their telecom provider’s network. A note accompanying the slide asserted that the spy agency was “very happy with the data so far and [was] working through the vast quantity of product.”

The Mobile Handset Exploitation Team (MHET), whose existence has never before been disclosed, was formed in April 2010 to target vulnerabilities in cell phones. One of its main missions was to covertly penetrate computer networks of corporations that manufacture SIM cards, as well as those of wireless network providers. The team included operatives from both GCHQ and the NSA.

While the FBI and other U.S. agencies can obtain court orders compelling U.S.-based telecom companies to allow them to wiretap or intercept the communications of their customers, on the international front this type of data collection is much more challenging. Unless a foreign telecom or foreign government grants access to their citizens’ data to a U.S. intelligence agency, the NSA or CIA would have to hack into the network or specifically target the user’s device for a more risky “active” form of surveillance that could be detected by sophisticated targets. Moreover, foreign intelligence agencies would not allow U.S. or U.K. spy agencies access to the mobile communications of their heads of state or other government officials.

“It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable,” said Gerard Schouw, a member of the Dutch Parliament when told of the spy agencies’ actions. Schouw, the intelligence spokesperson for D66, the largest opposition party in the Netherlands, told The Intercept, “We don’t want to have the secret services from other countries doing things like this.” Schouw added that he and other lawmakers will ask the Dutch government to provide an official explanation and to clarify whether the country’s intelligence services were aware of the targeting of Gemalto, whose official headquarters is in Amsterdam.

Last November, the Dutch government amended its constitution to include explicit protection for the privacy of digital communications, including those made on mobile devices. “We have, in the Netherlands, a law on the [activities] of secret services. And hacking is not allowed,” he said. Under Dutch law, the interior minister would have to sign off on such operations by foreign governments’ intelligence agencies. “I don’t believe that he has given his permission for these kind of actions.”

The U.S. and British intelligence agencies pulled off the encryption key heist in great stealth, giving them the ability to intercept and decrypt communications without alerting the wireless network provider, the foreign government or the individual user that they have been targeted. “Gaining access to a database of keys is pretty much game over for cellular encryption,” says Matthew Green, a cryptography specialist at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute. The massive key theft is “bad news for phone security. Really bad news.”

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AS CONSUMERS BEGAN to adopt cellular phones en masse in the mid-1990s, there were no effective privacy protections in place. Anyone could buy a cheap device from RadioShack capable of intercepting calls placed on mobile phones. The shift from analog to digital networks introduced basic encryption technology, though it was still crackable by tech savvy computer science graduate students, as well as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, using readily available equipment.

Today, second-generation (2G) phone technology, which relies on a deeply flawed encryption system, remains the dominant platform globally, though U.S. and European cell phone companies now use 3G, 4G and LTE technology in urban areas. These include more secure, though not invincible, methods of encryption, and wireless carriers throughout the world are upgrading their networks to use these newer technologies.

It is in the context of such growing technical challenges to data collection that intelligence agencies, such as the NSA, have become interested in acquiring cellular encryption keys. “With old-fashioned [2G], there are other ways to work around cellphone security without those keys,” says Green, the Johns Hopkins cryptographer. “With newer 3G, 4G and LTE protocols, however, the algorithms aren’t as vulnerable, so getting those keys would be essential.”

The privacy of all mobile communications — voice calls, text messages and internet access — depends on an encrypted connection between the cell phone and the wireless carrier’s network, using keys stored on the SIM, a tiny chip smaller than a postage stamp which is inserted into the phone. All mobile communications on the phone depend on the SIM, which stores and guards the encryption keys created by companies like Gemalto. SIM cards can be used to store contacts, text messages, and other important data, like one’s phone number. In some countries, SIM cards are used to transfer money. As The Intercept reported last year, having the wrong SIM card can make you the target of a drone strike.

SIM cards were not invented to protect individual communications — they were designed to do something much simpler: ensure proper billing and prevent fraud, which was pervasive in the early days of cell phones. Soghoian compares the use of encryption keys on SIM cards to the way Social Security numbers are used today. “Social security numbers were designed in the 1930s to track your contributions to your government pension,” he says. “Today they are used as a quasi national identity number, which was never their intended purpose.”

Because the SIM card wasn’t created with call confidentiality in mind, the manufacturers and wireless carriers don’t make a great effort to secure their supply chain. As a result, the SIM card is an extremely vulnerable component of a mobile phone. “I doubt anyone is treating those things very carefully,” says Green. “Cell companies probably don’t treat them as essential security tokens. They probably just care that nobody is defrauding their networks.” The ACLU’s Soghoian adds, “These keys are so valuable that it makes sense for intel agencies to go after them.”

As a general rule, phone companies do not manufacture SIM cards, nor program them with secret encryption keys. It is cheaper and more efficient for them to outsource this sensitive step in the SIM card production process. They purchase them in bulk with the keys pre-loaded by other corporations. Gemalto is the largest of these SIM “personalization” companies.

After a SIM card is manufactured, the encryption key, known as a “Ki,” is burned directly onto the chip. A copy of the key is also given to the cellular provider, allowing its network to recognize an individual’s phone. In order for the phone to be able to connect to the wireless carriers’ network, the phone — with the help of the SIM — authenticates itself using the Ki that has been programmed onto the SIM. The phone conducts a secret “handshake” that validates that the Ki on the SIM matches the Ki held by the mobile company. Once that happens, the communications between the phone and the network are encrypted. Even if GCHQ or the NSA were to intercept the phone signals as they are transmitted through the air, the intercepted data would be a garbled mess. Decrypting it can be challenging and time-consuming. Stealing the keys, on the other hand, is beautifully simple, from the intelligence agencies’ point of view, as the pipeline for producing and distributing SIM cards was never designed to thwart mass surveillance efforts.

One of the creators of the encryption protocol that is widely used today for securing emails, Adi Shamir, famously asserted: “Cryptography is typically bypassed, not penetrated.” In other words, it is much easier (and sneakier) to open a locked door when you have the key than it is to break down the door using brute force. While the NSA and GCHQ have substantial resources dedicated to breaking encryption, it is not the only way — and certainly not always the most efficient — to get at the data they want. “NSA has more mathematicians on its payroll than any other entity in the U.S.,” says the ACLU’s Soghoian. “But the NSA’s hackers are way busier than its mathematicians.”

GCHQ and the NSA could have taken any number of routes to steal SIM encryption keys and other data. They could have physically broken into a manufacturing plant. They could have broken into a wireless carrier’s office. They could have bribed, blackmailed or coerced an employee of the manufacturer or cell phone provider. But all of that comes with substantial risk of exposure. In the case of Gemalto, hackers working for GCHQ remotely penetrated the company’s computer network in order to steal the keys in bulk as they were en route to the wireless network providers.

SIM card “personalization” companies like Gemalto ship hundreds of thousands of SIM cards at a time to mobile phone operators across the world. International shipping records obtained by The Intercept show that in 2011, Gemalto shipped 450,000 smart cards from its plant in Mexico to Germany’s Deutsche Telekom in just one shipment.

In order for the cards to work and for the phones’ communications to be secure, Gemalto also needs to provide the mobile company with a file containing the encryption keys for each of the new SIM cards. These master key files could be shipped via FedEx, DHL, UPS or another snail mail provider. More commonly, they could be sent via email or through File Transfer Protocol, FTP, a method of sending files over the internet.

The moment the master key set is generated by Gemalto or another personalization company, but before it is sent to the wireless carrier, is the most vulnerable moment for interception. “The value of getting them at the point of manufacture is you can presumably get a lot of keys in one go, since SIM chips get made in big batches,” says Green, the cryptographer. “SIM cards get made for lots of different carriers in one facility.” In Gemalto’s case, GCHQ hit the jackpot, as the company manufactures SIMs for hundreds of wireless network providers, including all of the leading U.S. — and many of the largest European — companies.

But obtaining the encryption keys while Gemalto still held them required finding a way into the company’s internal systems.

Image/photo Diagram from a top-secret GCHQ slide.

TOP-SECRET GCHQ documents reveal that the intelligence agencies accessed the email and Facebook accounts of engineers and other employees of major telecom corporations and SIM card manufacturers in an effort to secretly obtain information that could give them access to millions of encryption keys. They did this by utilizing the NSA’s X-KEYSCORE program, which allowed them access to private emails hosted by the SIM card and mobile companies’ servers, as well as those of major tech corporations, including Yahoo! and Google.

In effect, GCHQ clandestinely cyberstalked Gemalto employees, scouring their emails in an effort to find people who may have had access to the company’s core networks and Ki-generating systems. The intelligence agency’s goal was to find information that would aid in breaching Gemalto’s systems, making it possible to steal large quantities of encryption keys. The agency hoped to intercept the files containing the keys as they were transmitted between Gemalto and its wireless network provider customers.

GCHQ operatives identified key individuals and their positions within Gemalto and then dug into their emails. In one instance, GCHQ zeroed in on a Gemalto employee in Thailand who they observed sending PGP-encrypted files, noting that if GCHQ wanted to expand its Gemalto operations, “he would certainly be a good place to start.” They did not claim to have decrypted the employee’s communications, but noted that the use of PGP could mean the contents were potentially valuable.

The cyberstalking was not limited to Gemalto. GCHQ operatives wrote a script that allowed the agency to mine the private communications of employees of major telecommunications and SIM “personalization” companies for technical terms used in the assigning of secret keys to mobile phone customers. Employees for the SIM card manufacturers and wireless network providers were labeled as “known individuals and operators targeted” in a top-secret GCHQ document.

According to that April 2010 document, “PCS Harvesting at Scale,” hackers working for GCHQ focused on “harvesting” massive amounts of individual encryption keys “in transit between mobile network operators and SIM card personalisation centres” like Gemalto. The spies “developed a methodology for intercepting these keys as they are transferred between various network operators and SIM card providers.” By that time, GCHQ had developed “an automated technique with the aim of increasing the volume of keys that can be harvested.”

The PCS Harvesting document acknowledged that, in searching for information on encryption keys, GCHQ operatives would undoubtedly vacuum up “a large number of unrelated items” from the private communications of targeted employees. “[H]owever an analyst with good knowledge of the operators involved can perform this trawl regularly and spot the transfer of large batches of [keys].”

The document noted that many SIM card manufacturers transferred the encryption keys to wireless network providers “by email or FTP with simple encryption methods that can be broken…or occasionally with no encryption at all.” To get bulk access to encryption keys, all the NSA or GCHQ needed to do was intercept emails or file transfers as they were sent over the internet — something both agencies already do millions of times per day. A footnote in the 2010 document observed that the use of “strong encryption products…is becoming increasingly common” in transferring the keys.

In its key harvesting “trial” operations in the first quarter of 2010, GCHQ successfully intercepted keys used by wireless network providers in Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Serbia, Iceland and Tajikistan. But, the agency noted, its automated key harvesting system failed to produce results against Pakistani networks, denoted as “priority targets” in the document, despite the fact that GCHQ had a store of Kis from two providers in the country, Mobilink and Telenor. “t is possible that these networks now use more secure methods to transfer Kis,” the document concluded.

From December 2009 through March 2010, a month before the Mobile Handset Exploitation Team was formed, GCHQ conducted a number of trials aimed at extracting encryption keys and other personalized data for individual phones. In one two-week period, they accessed the emails of 130 people associated with wireless network providers or SIM card manufacturing and personalization. This operation produced nearly 8,000 keys matched to specific phones in 10 countries. In another two-week period, by mining just 6 email addresses, they produced 85,000 keys. At one point in March 2010, GCHQ intercepted nearly 100,000 keys for mobile phone users in Somalia. By June, they’d compiled 300,000. “Somali providers are not on GCHQ’s list of interest,” the document noted. “[H]owever, this was usefully shared with NSA.”

The GCHQ documents only contain statistics for three months of encryption key theft in 2010. During this period, millions of keys were harvested. The documents stated explicitly that GCHQ had already created a constantly evolving automated process for bulk harvesting of keys. They describe active operations targeting Gemalto’s personalization centers across the globe, as well as other major SIM card manufacturers and the private communications of their employees.

A top-secret NSA document asserted that, as of 2009, the U.S. spy agency already had the capacity to process between 12 and 22 million keys per second for later use against surveillance targets. In the future, the agency predicted, it would be capable of processing more than 50 million per second. The document did not state how many keys were actually processed, just that the NSA had the technology to perform such swift, bulk operations. It is impossible to know how many keys have been stolen by the NSA and GCHQ to date, but, even using conservative math, the numbers are likely staggering.

GCHQ assigned “scores” to more than 150 individual email addresses based on how often the users mentioned certain technical terms, and then intensified the mining of those individuals’ accounts based on priority. The highest scoring email address was that of an employee of Chinese tech giant Huawei, which the U.S. has repeatedly accused of collaborating with Chinese intelligence. In all, GCHQ harvested the emails of employees of hardware companies that manufacture phones, such as Ericsson and Nokia; operators of mobile networks, such as MTN Irancell and Belgacom; SIM card providers, such as Bluefish and Gemalto; and employees of targeted companies who used email providers such as Yahoo! and Google. During the three-month trial, the largest number of email addresses harvested were those belonging to Huawei employees, followed by MTN Irancell. The third largest class of emails harvested in the trial were private Gmail accounts, presumably belonging to employees at targeted companies.

The GCHQ program targeting Gemalto was called DAPINO GAMMA. In 2011, GCHQ launched operation HIGHLAND FLING to mine the email accounts of Gemalto employees in France and Poland. A top-secret document on the operation stated that one of the aims was “getting into French HQ” of Gemalto “to get in to core data repositories.” France, home to one of Gemalto’s global headquarters, is the nerve center of the company’s worldwide operations. Another goal was to intercept private communications of employees in Poland that “could lead to penetration into one or more personalisation centers” — the factories where the encryption keys are burned onto SIM cards.

As part of these operations, GCHQ operatives acquired the usernames and passwords for Facebook accounts of Gemalto targets. An internal top-secret GCHQ wiki on the program from May 2011 indicated that GCHQ was in the process of “targeting” more than a dozen Gemalto facilities across the globe, including in Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Singapore.

The document also stated that GCHQ was preparing similar key theft operations against one of Gemalto’s competitors, Germany-based SIM card giant Giesecke and Devrient.

On January 17, 2014, President Barack Obama gave a major address on the NSA spying scandal. “The bottom line is that people around the world, regardless of their nationality, should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security and that we take their privacy concerns into account in our policies and procedures,” he said.

The monitoring of the lawful communications of employees of major international corporations shows that such statements by Obama, other U.S. officials and British leaders — that they only intercept and monitor the communications of known or suspected criminals or terrorists — were untrue. “The NSA and GCHQ view the private communications of people who work for these companies as fair game,” says the ACLU’s Soghoian. “These people were specifically hunted and targeted by intelligence agencies, not because they did anything wrong, but because they could be used as a means to an end.”

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THERE ARE TWO basic types of electronic or digital surveillance: passive and active. All intelligence agencies engage in extensive passive surveillance, which means they collect bulk data by intercepting communications sent over fiber optic cables, radio waves or wireless devices.

Intelligence agencies place high power antennas, known as “spy nests,” on the top of their countries’ embassies and consulates, which are capable of vacuuming up data sent to or from mobile phones in the surrounding area. The joint NSA/CIA Special Collection Service is the lead entity that installs and mans these nests for the United States. An embassy situated near a parliament or government agency could easily intercept the phone calls and data transfers of the mobile phones used by foreign government officials. The U.S. embassy in Berlin, for instance, is located a stone’s throw from the Bundestag. But if the wireless carriers are using stronger encryption, which is built into modern 3G, 4G and LTE networks, then intercepted calls and other data would be more difficult to crack, particularly in bulk. If the intelligence agency wants to actually listen to or read what is being transmitted, they would need to decrypt the encrypted data.

Active surveillance is another option. This would require government agencies to “jam” a 3G or 4G network, forcing nearby phones onto 2G. Once forced down to the less secure 2G technology, the phone can be tricked into connecting to a fake cell tower operated by an intelligence agency. This method of surveillance, though effective, is risky, as it leaves a digital trace that counter-surveillance experts from foreign governments could detect.

Stealing the Kis solves all of these problems. This way, intelligence agencies can safely engage in passive, bulk surveillance without having to decrypt data and without leaving any trace whatsoever.

“Key theft enables the bulk, low-risk surveillance of encrypted communications,” the ACLU’s Soghoian says. “Agencies can collect all the communications and then look through them later. With the keys, they can decrypt whatever they want, whenever they want. It’s like a time machine, enabling the surveillance of communications that occurred before someone was even a target.”

Neither the NSA nor GCHQ would comment specifically on the key theft operations. In the past, they have argued more broadly that breaking encryption is a necessary part of tracking terrorists and other criminals. “It is longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters,” a GCHQ official stated in an email, adding that the agency’s work is conducted within a “strict legal and policy framework” that ensures its activities are “authorized, necessary and proportionate,” with proper oversight, which is the standard response the agency has provided for previous stories published by [i]The Intercept
. The agency also said, “[T]he UK’s interception regime is entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.” The NSA declined to offer any comment.

It is unlikely that GCHQ’s pronouncement about the legality of its operations will be universally embraced in Europe. “It is governments massively engaging in illegal activities,” says Sophie in’t Veld, a Dutch member of the European Parliament. “If you are not a government and you are a student doing this, you will end up in jail for 30 years.” Veld, who chaired the European Parliament’s recent inquiry into mass surveillance exposed by Snowden, told The Intercept: “The secret services are just behaving like cowboys. Governments are behaving like cowboys and nobody is holding them to account.”

The Intercept’s Laura Poitras has previously reported that in 2013 Australia’s signals intelligence agency, a close partner of the NSA, stole some 1.8 million encryption keys from an Indonesian wireless carrier.

A few years ago, the FBI reportedly dismantled several of transmitters set up by foreign intelligence agencies around the Washington DC area, which could be used to intercept cell phone communications. Russia, China, Israel and other nations use similar technology as the NSA across the world. If those governments had the encryption keys for major U.S. cell phone companies’ customers, such as those manufactured by Gemalto, mass snooping would be simple. “It would mean that with a few antennas placed around Washington DC, the Chinese or Russian governments could sweep up and decrypt the communications of members of Congress, U.S. agency heads, reporters, lobbyists and everyone else involved in the policymaking process and decrypt their telephone conversations,” says Soghoian.

“Put a device in front of the UN, record every bit you see going over the air. Steal some keys, you have all those conversations,” says Green, the Johns Hopkins cryptographer. And it’s not just spy agencies that would benefit from stealing encryption keys. “I can only imagine how much money you could make if you had access to the calls made around Wall Street,” he adds.

Image/photo GCHQ slide.

THE BREACH OF Gemalto’s computer network by GCHQ has far-reaching global implications. The company, which brought in $2.7 billion in revenue in 2013, is a global leader in digital security, producing banking cards, mobile payment systems, two-factor authentication devices used for online security, hardware tokens used for securing buildings and offices, electronic passports and identification cards. It provides chips to Vodafone in Europe and France’s Orange, as well as EE, a joint venture in the U.K. between France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom. Royal KPN, the largest Dutch wireless network provider, also uses Gemalto technology.

In Asia, Gemalto’s chips are used by China Unicom, Japan’s NTT and Taiwan’s Chungwa Telecom, as well as scores of wireless network providers throughout Africa and the Middle East. The company’s security technology is used by more than 3,000 financial institutions and 80 government organizations. Among its clients are Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JP Morgan Chase and Barclays. It also provides chips for use in luxury cars, including those made by Audi and BMW.

In 2012, Gemalto won a sizable contract, worth $175 million, from the U.S. government to produce the covers for electronic U.S. passports, which contain chips and antennas that can be used to better authenticate travelers. As part of its contract, Gemalto provides the personalization and software for the microchips implanted in the passports. The U.S. represents Gemalto’s single largest market, accounting for some 15 percent of its total business. This raises the question of whether GCHQ, which was able to bypass encryption on mobile networks, has the ability to access private data protected by other Gemalto products created for banks and governments.

As smart phones become smarter, they are increasingly replacing credit cards and cash as a means of paying for goods and services. When Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile formed an alliance in 2010 to jointly build an electronic pay system to challenge Google Wallet and Apple Pay, they purchased Gemalto’s technology for their program, known as Softcard. (Until July 2014, it previously went by the unfortunate name of “ISIS Mobile Wallet.”) Whether data relating to that, and other Gemalto security products, has been compromised by the GCHQ and NSA is unclear. Both intelligence agencies declined to answer any specific questions for this story.

Image/photo Signal, iMessage, WhatsApp, Silent Phone.

PRIVACY ADVOCATES and security experts say it would take billions of dollars, significant political pressure, and several years to fix the fundamental security flaws in the current mobile phone system that NSA, GCHQ and other intelligence agencies regularly exploit.

A current gaping hole in the protection of mobile communications is that cell phones and wireless network providers do not support the use of Perfect Forward Security (PFS), a form of encryption designed to limit the damage caused by theft or disclosure of encryption keys. PFS, which is now built into modern web browsers and used by sites like Google and Twitter, works by generating unique encryption keys for each communication or message, which are then discarded. Rather than using the same encryption key to protect years’ worth of data, as the permanent Kis on SIM cards can, a new key might be generated each minute, hour or day, and then promptly destroyed. Because cell phone communications do not utilize PFS, if an intelligence agency has been “passively” intercepting someone’s communications for a year and later acquires the permanent encryption key, it can go back and decrypt all of those communications. If mobile phone networks were using PFS, that would not be possible — even if the permanent keys were later stolen.

The only effective way for individuals to protect themselves from Ki theft-enabled surveillance is to use secure communications software, rather than relying on SIM card-based security. Secure software includes email and other apps that use Transport Layer Security (TLS), the mechanism underlying the secure HTTPS web protocol. The email clients included with Android phones and iPhones support TLS, as do large email providers like Yahoo! and Google.

Apps like TextSecure and Silent Text are secure alternatives to SMS messages, while Signal, RedPhone and Silent Phone encrypt voice communications. Governments still may be able to intercept communications, but reading or listening to them would require hacking a specific handset, obtaining internal data from an email provider, or installing a bug in a room to record the conversations.

“We need to stop assuming that the phone companies will provide us with a secure method of making calls or exchanging text messages,” says Soghoian.

———

Documents published with this article:———

Additional reporting by Andrew Fishman and Ryan Gallagher. Sheelagh McNeill, Morgan Marquis-Boire, Alleen Brown, Margot Williams, Ryan Devereaux and Andrea Jones contributed to this story.

The post How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle appeared first on The Intercept.


#Snowden #Encryption #Privacy #Spies #Spying #NSA #GCHQ #Snooping #Surveillance #Communications #Security @LibertyPod+ @Gadget Guru+

Seth Martin
  last edited: Mon, 13 Oct 2014 13:14:18 -0500  
Why privacy matters

Image/photo



Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see -- and write about -- the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States' extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide."


#Greenwald #Snowden #Privacy #NSA #Surveillance #Spying #Freedom #Security @LibertyPod+
Seth Martin
  last edited: Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:05:56 -0500  

Seth Martin
  
Glyn MoodyGlyn Moody wrote the following post Thu, 03 Jul 2014 09:42:00 -0500

We learnt about the NSA's XKeyscore program a year ago, and about its incredibly wide reach. But now the German TV stations NDR and WDR claim to have excerpts from its source code. We already knew that the NSA and GCHQ have been targeting Tor and its users, but the latest leak reveals some details about which Tor exit nodes were selected for surveillance -- including at least one in Germany, which is likely to increase public anger there. It also shows that Tor users are explicitly regarded as "extremists" (original in German, pointed out to us by @liese_mueller):
The source code contains both technical instructions and comments from the developers that provide an insight into the mind of the NSA. Thus, all users of such programs are equated with "extremists".

Such is the concern about Tor that even visitors to Tor sites -- whether or not they use the program -- have their details recorded:
not only long-term users of this encryption software become targets for the [US] secret service. Anyone who wants to visit the official Tor Web site simply for information is highlighted.

The source code also gives the lie to the oft-repeated claim that only metadata, not content, is gathered:
With the source code can be proven beyond reasonable doubt for the first time that the NSA is reading not only so-called metadata, that is, connection data. If emails are sent using the Tor network, then programming code shows that the contents -- the so-called email-body -- are evaluated and stored.

As well as all this interesting information, what's important here is that it suggests the source of this leak -- presumably Edward Snowden, although the German news report does not name him -- copied not just NSA documents, but source code too. As in the present case, that is likely to provide a level of detail that goes well beyond descriptive texts.

Source


#NSA #XKeyscore #Tor #Surveillance #Privacy #Spying #Snooping @LibertyPod+

Seth Martin
  last edited: Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:13:23 -0500  
Protestors Launch a 135-Foot Blimp Over the NSA’s Utah Data Center | Threat Level | WIRED

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Activist groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Greenpeace launched the 135-foot thermal airship early Friday morning to protest the NSA's mass surveillance programs and to announce the launch of Stand Against Spying.


(Edit) Here's a better article about it:
https://www.eff.org/press/releases/diverse-groups-fly-airship-over-nsas-utah-data-center-protest-illegal-internet-spying

#Privacy #NSA #Surveillance #Spying #Protest @LibertyPod+
Seth Martin
  last edited: Sun, 25 May 2014 11:54:50 -0500  
Yet another reason to completely switch to open-source, decentralized and distributed communications and content management methods such as the red#, Friendica and XMPP/Jabber.

#^FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites - now - CNET

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CNET learns the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those backdoors mandatory.


#CALEA #Wiretapping #Social Networking #Communications #Privacy #FCC #FBI #Surveillance #Security #Backdoors #Snooping #RedMatrix #Friendica #XMPP @LibertyPod+
Seth Martin
  last edited: Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:27:11 -0500  
Marshall SutherlandMarshall Sutherland wrote the following post Sat, 03 May 2014 15:49:43 -0500
The Strangest Interview Yet With the Outgoing Head of the NSA

On network television, broadcasters tend to be very deferential when interviewing U.S. officials. This is especially true if they're wearing military dress.  In contrast, comedians who appear on fake news programs affect an adversarial, intentionally disrespectful persona for laughs. And sometimes, as in John Oliver's interview with outgoing NSA head Keith Alexander, the result is a U.S. official getting called on his slipperiness in a way that would never happen on more "serious" programs.




General Keith Alexander Extended Interview: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
by LastWeekTonight on YouTube


#NSA #Surveillance #Privacy #Snowden #Liberty #Spying #Freedom #Privacy #Comedy #Humor #Humour

Seth Martin
  last edited: Sun, 08 Jun 2014 13:47:02 -0500  
NSA Said to Exploit Heartbleed Bug for Intelligence for Years

The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.


#NSA #Spying #Privacy #Surveillance #Heartbleed #Bug #SSL #OpenSSL #Security @LibertyPod+

Seth Martin
  last edited: Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:15:51 -0500  
The U.S. National Security Agency managed to have security firm RSA adopt not just one, but two security tools, further facilitating NSA eavesdropping on Internet communications. The newly discovered software is dubbed 'Extended Random', and is intended to facilitate the use of the already known 'Dual Elliptic Curve' encryption software's back door. Researchers from several U.S. universities discovered Extended Random and assert it could help crack Dual Elliptic Curve encrypted communications 'tens of thousands of times faster'.

Exclusive: NSA infiltrated RSA security more deeply than thought - study

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Security industry pioneer RSA adopted not just one but two encryption tools developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, greatly increasing the spy agency's ability to eavesdrop on some Internet communications, according to a team of academic researchers.


#NSA #Spying #Snooping #Liberty #Infiltration #Privacy #RSA #Encryption #Security #Surveillance #Computer Security @LibertyPod
Seth Martin
  last edited: Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:07:48 -0500  
A Skyped interview by Roger Cohen with Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, Laura Poitras, filmmaker and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post.

Recorded: 03-21-2014



Sources and Secrets: The Snowden Revelations
by cunytv75 on YouTube
#Privacy #Rights #Journalism #Liberty #Greenwald #Snowden #Poitras #National Security #NSA #Surveillance #Freedom @LibertyPod+

Seth Martin
  last edited: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 13:45:47 -0600  
Der Spiegel has released more NSA documents detailing the agency's hacking efforts around the globe. The so-called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) is the NSA's group of tech masterminds, deployed to insert the agency into worldwide communications. TAO uses a variety of exploits and backdoors to achieve this access, much of which is detailed in a 50-page document that Der Spiegel likens to a "mail-order catalog."

Another team (ANT -- Advanced or Access Network Technology) creates the exploits and "sells" them to the agency, providing access to communications and data that TAO can't achieve on its own.

In cases where TAO's usual hacking and data-skimming methods don't suffice, ANT workers step in with their special tools, penetrating networking equipment, monitoring mobile phones and computers and diverting or even modifying data. Such "implants," as they are referred to in NSA parlance, have played a considerable role in the intelligence agency's ability to establish a global covert network that operates alongside the Internet.

Some of the equipment available is quite inexpensive. A rigged monitor cable that allows "TAO personnel to see what is displayed on the targeted monitor," for example, is available for just $30. But an "active GSM base station" -- a tool that makes it possible to mimic a mobile phone tower and thus monitor cell phones -- costs a full $40,000. Computer bugging devices disguised as normal USB plugs, capable of sending and receiving data via radio undetected, are available in packs of 50 for over $1 million.


Between TAO and ANT, vast amounts of computer hardware have been compromised. Der Spiegel notes that ANT prefers to deploy its exploits at the BIOS level where they can remain undetected by most security and anti-virus programs. Other programs it creates hitch a ride in device firmware, including that of major American hard drive manufacturers like Western Digital, Seagate and Maxtor. (Apparently, Samsung and Huawei are similarly compromised, making them the only non-American companies listed in the documents.)

ANT also targets communications by compromising network equipment.

Other ANT programs target Internet routers meant for professional use or hardware firewalls intended to protect company networks from online attacks. Many digital attack weapons are "remotely installable" -- in other words, over the Internet. Others require a direct attack on an end-user device -- an "interdiction," as it is known in NSA jargon -- in order to install malware or bugging equipment.


It's unclear whether ANT provides exploits to other agencies, but the fact that a catalog exists suggests ANT isn't solely supplying the NSA. (If it is, one wonders why prices are listed. If it's internal development and deployment only, cost wouldn't be an issue.)

Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum, one of the contributors to the Der Spiegel article, addressed the Chaos Communication Congress over the weekend, delivering more details on ANT's exploits, including exploits affecting iOS devices and any phone using GSM connections. Most surprising perhaps was this exploit-in-a-box device that can deliver its compromising payload from up to eight miles away.

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None of this should be taken to imply the TAO isn't perfectly capable of creating its own high-level exploits and backdoors. If anything, TAO is the more physical and aggressive counterpart to ANT, executing raids to achieve physical access to devices and networks (often with the assistance of the FBI -- or at least its vehicles).

An internal description of TAO's responsibilities makes clear that aggressive attacks are an explicit part of the unit's tasks. In other words, the NSA's hackers have been given a government mandate for their work. During the middle part of the last decade, the special unit succeeded in gaining access to 258 targets in 89 countries -- nearly everywhere in the world. In 2010, it conducted 279 operations worldwide…

To conduct those types of operations, the NSA works together with other intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI, which in turn maintain informants on location who are available to help with sensitive missions. This enables TAO to attack even isolated networks that aren't connected to the Internet. If necessary, the FBI can even make an agency-owned jet available to ferry the high-tech plumbers to their target. This gets them to their destination at the right time and can help them to disappear again undetected after as little as a half hour's work.


Even more disturbing, the NSA's TAO operation waylays purchased hardware en route to customers in order to install exploits.

If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called "load stations," agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.


The NSA's programs continue to make the world less safefor computer users under the guise of "security." Exploits go undiscovered and unpatched. Handcrafted exploits and backdoors are deployed without affected companies' knowledge. TAO has manipulated one of the most infamous Windows error messages in order to gain passive access to computers around the world.

The automated crash reports are a "neat way" to gain "passive access" to a machine, the presentation continues. [via XKEYSCORE, most likely.] Passive access means that, initially, only data the computer sends out into the Internet is captured and saved, but the computer itself is not yet manipulated. Still, even this passive access to error messages provides valuable insights into problems with a targeted person's computer and, thus, information on security holes that might be exploitable for planting malware or spyware on the unwitting victim's computer.


While not as directly useful as TAO and ANT's other tools, it still deployed frequently enough that the dialog box itself has become an agency inside joke.

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[The altered text reads: "This information may be intercepted by a foreign SIGINT system to gather detailed information and better exploit your machine."]

These new revelations will only give foreign customers even more reasons to distrust American hardware. Der Spiegel's article notes that Samsung and Huawei hardware may be similarly compromised, but by and large, most of the "damage" seems to be domestic. Estimates have suggested American companies will potentially lose $150+ billion as a result of the NSA's actions. This should push that number even higher.

The question that needs to be asked is if this damage is worth it. The agency likely believes it is -- or at least believes it shouldn't be held responsible for tanking the overseas prospects of American tech companies. According to its defenders, the real problem here is the leaks, not the exploitation of every piece of hardware and software it can get its hands on. After all, if Snowden hadn't taken those documents, this would still be a secret and foreign companies will still be purchasing compromised goods from US companies.

The NSA has never seriously considered the consequences of its activities being exposed. This should have been factored in when considering the "costs" of programs like these. Nothing operates in a vacuum, not even the most secretive of agencies. Frankly, the level of exploitation exposed here verges on inconceivable. Any crying agency spokespersons have done about methods being exposed now looks like nothing more than diversionary noises delivered with poker faces. The agency has "root access." The rest is just skimming the surface.

Source

#TAO #ANT #NSA #Surveillance #Snowden #Privacy #Spying #Spy #Snooping #Exploits #Backdoors #Freedom #Liberty @LibertyPod
Seth Martin
  
Ladar Levison's legal fight against the federal government is still ongoing.

In September, Campaign for Liberty was proud to feature Ladar as a speaker at the 2013 Liberty Political Action Conference.

So please take a moment to watch this EXCLUSIVE video presentation of Ladar Levison at LPAC 2013 talking about the need for trust when using technology and some of the challenges posed by out-of-control government spying.

Ladar Levison Statement of Support!

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Ladar Levison: Statement of Support...


#Ladar Levison #Lavabit #Government #Privacy #FISA #NSA #Surveillance #Spying #Spy #Constitution #Law #Freedom #LPAC #Campaign for Liberty #Liberty @LibertyPod @Laissez-Faire Capitalism

Seth Martin
  
Americans Have Lost VIRTUALLY ALL of Our Constitutional Rights | Zero Hedge

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This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.  (This is an updated version of an essay we wrote in February.  Unfortunately, a lot of information has come out since then.)



#United States #Constitution #Rights #Freedom #Liberty #Tyranny #Declaration of Independence #Free Speech #Whistleblower #Activism #Protest #Gun Control #Gun Rights #Wealth Redistribution #Fraud #Cronyism #Corporatism #Federal Reserve #Power #USA #NSA #Surveillance #Spying #Spy #Search #Seizure #National Security #Terrorism #Unusual Punishment #Indefinite Detention #Jury Trial #Due Process #Protection #Law @LibertyPod @Laissez-Faire Capitalism

Seth Martin
 
I have noticed lots of people claiming that it's bad to use DuckDuckGo because it's not "NSA-Proof" or affiliated with Bing. I really don't care if there is any affiliation with Bing, so long as it improves search results without compromising my privacy.
My counter argument to the 'not NSA-Proof' claims has been the same as CEO Gabriel Weinberg's in this video. What say you?

'NSA-Proof' Web Surfing?

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DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg on the company's promise that it won't track users or their searches.


#NSA #FISA #PRISM #Upstream #Spy #Government #Intelligence #Surveillance #Law #Whistleblower #Snowden #Justice #Privacy #Liberty #Freedom

Seth Martin
 
Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.

Ethics | Change.gov: The Obama-Biden Transition Team

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Official Web Site of The Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team


#Whistlblower #Snowden #Obama #Government #Spy #NSA #FISA #Surveillance