Nepal Earthquake : BSNL cuts rates to Nepal by half to help quake victims

#Earthquake BSNL slashes calling rates to Nepal by half to help quake victims communicate with their dear ones in India

#Earthquake BSNL slashes calling rates to Nepal by half to help quake victims communicate with their dear ones in India

Today a severe earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale hit Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The earthquake whose epicenter was near Nepal’s capital Kathmandu and has caused severe damage to human life and property. At the time of writing this article, the destruction has claimed 1000 lives in Nepal while at least 25 people have been killed in the state of Bihar in India.

Due to the fact that large number of Indian’s visit Nepal and may have been caught up in the destruction, the state run telecom major has announced that all calls originating from India to Nepal will be charged at rate of local call.

The Indian government has also sent relief materials and doctors in addition to the National Disaster Management Authority NDMA) personnel to assist the Nepalese government to overcome their tragedy.

The Ministry of External affairs has launched a full fledged call center to help the tourists visiting Nepal to co-ordinate and provide relief efforts.

This are the numbers of helpline in Kathmandu

Further, the Minister has requested the Indian’s caught up in the Earthquake zone to contact the Indian embassy immediately.

So if you have your near and dear one caught up in the earthquake, kindly pass on this message.

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Life threatening e-mail from ISIS to the RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan

Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan gets life threatening e-mail from ISIS

Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan gets life threatening e-mail from ISIS

The governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Raghuram Rajan has received a threatening e-mail to eliminate him, on his personal e-mail id.

As per reports, Raghuram Rajan had received the mail earlier this month from the ID [email protected]. This is the first time such threat has been received by any Indian government official from ISIS.  The Mumbai Police had to take this mail seriously as the ID bears the name of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The received goes as follows: “I have been given money by somebody to eliminate you. If you will pay me more than I have been paid, then we can decide on it”. RBI officials alerted the office of the joint commissioner of crime branch.

Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria confirmed the development,” Yes it is correct. It could be a mischief, but we are looking into it. The matter is given to the cyber cell officer (CCIC). They are looking into it.”

Rakesh Maria said: “We have received a complaint that a threat email was sent to the RBI governor. The email also contained the name of ISIS. We are not taking this lightly and all efforts are being made to trace the culprits”.

As per the report, the Mumbai Police has approached the US-based Google Inc to sought details about the ID.

The report further added that the e-mail ID was accessed from outside India, but the mystery was the discovery that the mail ID was being accessed from 10 different countries, including Australia, Italy, US, Canada, Nigeria, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong and Ukraine.

Police is suspecting that a proxy Internet Protocol address was used to sent the e-mail.

From the looks of it, the email looks like a extortion note but considering the threat of ISIS and the importance of the RBI Governor’s seat, the police department has accorded highest priority to this threat.

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Police planted NSIS downloader malware in Lawyer’s computer to spy on him

Lawyer from Arkansas, U.S. claims cops planted spying malware on drive containing evidence

Police are there to protect us but what happens when they start to plant malware on our computers to spy on us. This claim was made by a lawyer in Arkansas, who alleged that the police had planted  malwares on his PC.

According to him the malware, which was identified by Ars Technica as,  a variant of the Zbot information stealer Trojan, the NSIS downloader Trojan, and two instances of the Cycbot backdoor were planted on his PC and specifically in a folder containing case evidence and privilege information of his client.

This bizarre allegation was done by Matthew Campbell according to an affidavit filed in a whistleblower case against the Fort Smith Police Department (Arkansas).

He is representing the three officers who blew the lid on overtime pay practices and were subsequently removed by the Fort Smith Police Department. The three officers are suing the department through Campbell for wrongful termination of employment. The court ordered the police department to produce emails and other documentation that could serve as evidence in the case.

In the affidavit, attorney Matthew Campbell alleges that apart from deleting entire email accounts and “failing to preserve and provide deleted emails that, by their own admission, were recoverable,” the department tried to spy on the Campbell by planting malware on the external hard drive on which they were instructed to put the aforementioned documents.

Ars Technica reports that the malware in question was located in a subfolder titled D:\Bales Court Order.

A security consultant working for the attorney noted that the malware seems to have been planted on the lawyers PC intentionally.  He said that all the malware was planted in a folder and not the root directory. Malwares are generally installed or get installed in the root directory of the system.

Laying further credence to the lawyers claims is the fact that the police department claimed to have used real-time AV protection. In that case the malware which was in plain view would have been flagged off.-

Surprisingly the Arkansas State Police declined to investigate this particular matter, and so did the prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ 12th Judicial District. Both of them cited lack of technical resources and expertise for refusing to investigate into the matter.

The case in under trial and we would know if the police in United States are really using such illegal methods to obtain evidence.

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President Obama signed a new executive order that will punish any assistance to Edward Snowden and any other whistle blowers

obama signing

President Obama signed into law a new executive order this week with the law’s loose wording effectively ruling out donating to Edward Snowden and other whistle blowers like him.

In the new executive order, signed into law on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama declared all cyber-threats aimed at the US a “national emergency.” The loosely worded order threatens sanctions against those (including US residents) who engage in cyberattacks and espionage activities that threaten US interests at home and abroad.

The wording of the order specifically addresses any person whose

“property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States.”

Bitcoin subreddit, members pledged to donate to the whistleblower’s relief fund, despite the wording of the new executive order signed by President Obama, suggesting that doing so was illegal.

When the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower was asked during a Reddit question-and-answer session if he had any regrets, he said

“I’d have come forward sooner”

Redditors assume that this includes Edward Snowden, who for more than a year-and-a-half has lived in Russia, evading US justice and stated

“This is almost as bad as the Patriot Act,”

One Reddit user Kristopher Ives was so infused with President Obama’s order he said that he donated to the Snowden fund in bitcoin, a virtual currency used online. In a comment on the thread, Ives, who resideds in Lafayette, Oregon, called the donation a “matter of principle.” He even posted his phone number online, and called on the authorities to “come arrest me.”

Snowden, a 31-year-old former US government contractor, fled the US to Hong Kong and on to Russia after leaking tens of thousands of classified documents pertaining to the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations.

Within days, he outed himself, and was subsequently charged with espionage.

Several people in and out of the US have also donated to the Snowden fund over the past few days, ranging from a few cents to thousands of dollars. It is estimated that, more than 50 transactions have been made on the Snowden fund’s bitcoin account, which saw an large spike of donations earlier this year with the release of the documentary, “Citizenfour,” filmed and directed by Laura Poitras.

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Two former federal agents who investigated the Silk Road, charged with stealing from it

dea court

Two former federal agents, DEA officer Carl Mark Force IV and Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges who investigated the Silk Road, the infamous online black marketplace seized by the FBI in 2013. Both have been charged for their own outrageous digital crimes, including stealing money they acquired on their druggie undercover assignment additional charges include wire fraud and money laundering and theft of government property.

DEA officer Carl Mark Force IV was actually the lead agent tasked with establishing communication with the Dread Pirate Roberts, but the complaint against him alleges that he did a lot more than that, according to a Justice Department memo stating he “developed additional online personas and engaged in a broad range of illegal activities.” The complaint says he stole from the government and third parties.

Possibly the most condemning charge against DEA officer Carl Mark Force IV which involves the undercover officer secretly screwed with the investigation to make money. The complaint says Force tried to extort Dread Pirate Roberts by saying he’d give the government information unless DPR paid $250,000. The complaint also says that Force created a persona called “French Maid” and convinced DPR to pay “French Maid” $100,000 for information on the government’s investigation.

Meanwhile, Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges used his knowledge of Mt. Gox, the Bitcoin exchange he was also investigating, to divert $820,000 of the money he used undercover into secret personal accounts on the now-defunct exchange. Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges self-surrendered today.

Now we know during the investigation that led to the arrest and controversial trial of Ross Ulbricht, who was convicted on drug kingpin charges for running the site. Two federal agents, DEA officer Carl Mark Force IV and Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges were siphoning off Bitcoin they obtained while sneaking around the drug site undercover.

This looks very promising for Ulbricht, since it makes the Silk Road investigation look enormously corrupt. Two officers full-on breaking the law on the job isn’t exactly a good sign that the case was conducted above-board. With the government agency sketchiness Ulbricht’s defense lawyer Joshua Dratchel filed for a retrial: Dratchel said the government didn’t provide exculpatory evidence in time, and that it conducted warrantless surveillance.

While, Dratchel’s accusations remain unproven, but now it’s clear there was some fraudulent behavior going down on the government’s side.

The full affidavit against Force and Bridges here:

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NSA considered Ending Phone Program, even Before Edward Snowden Leaks

nsa phone

In the months before leaker Edward Snowden revealed the practice, The NSA (National Security Agency) considered abandoning its secret program to collect and store American calling records

The NSA leaders strongly defended the phone records program to Congress and the public, but without disclosing the internal debate.

The behind-the-scenes NSA concerns, which have not been reported previously and only discovered as a result of the Snowden leak, could be relevant as Congress decides whether to renew or modify the phone records collection when the law authorizing it expires in June.

After the program was disclosed, it was obvious to argue, saying the records could give a secret intelligence agency a road map to Americans’ private activities. NSA officials presented a forceful rebuttal that helped shaped public opinion.

President Barack Obama in January 2014 proposed that the NSA stop collecting the records, but instead request them when needed in terrorism investigations from telephone companies, which tend to keep them for 18 months.

The president insisted that legislation is required to adopt his proposal, and Congress has not acted yet. So, in the mean time, the NSA continues to collect and store records of private U.S. phone calls for use in terrorism investigations under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Alexander argued, that it allows the FBI and the NSA to hunt for domestic plots by searching American calling records against phone numbers associated with international terrorists. He and other NSA officials support Obama’s plan to let the phone companies keep the data, as long as the government quickly can search it in the 18 months they are required to retain it.

The actual proposal to halt phone records collection that was circulating in 2013 was separate from a 2009 examination of the program by NSA, sparked by objections from a senior NSA official, reported in November by The Associated Press.

In that case, a senior NSA code breaker learned about the program and concluded it was wrong for the agency to collect and store American records. The NSA enlisted the Justice Department in an examination of whether the search function could be preserved with the records stores by the phone companies.

By 2013, some NSA officials were ready to finally stop the bulk collection even though they knew they would lose the ability to, without a warrant, search a database of U.S. calling records. As always, the FBI still would be able to obtain the phone records of suspects through a court order warrant.

After the Snowden leaks, A presidential task force, composed of included Michael Morell, a former deputy CIA director, and Richard Clarke, a former White House counter terrorism adviser they examined NSA surveillance and recommended ending the phone records collection, saying it posed unacceptable privacy risks while doing little if anything to stop terrorism.

They concluded saying

“We cannot discount the risk, in light of the lessons of our own history, that at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking,”

David Medine, chairman of that board, said the concerns raised internally by NSA officials were the same as theirs, yet when NSA officials came before the privacy board, said

“put on a pretty strong defense for the program. Except their success stories didn’t pan out.”.

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European Union says leave Facebook if you value your privacy

European Union says leave Facebook if you value your privacy

Leave Facebook if you value your says EU Attorney General, here are the reasons why

European Union Attorney General, Yves Bot warned the citizens within the European Union (EU) to close their Facebook accounts if they wish to keep their private information away from the prying eyes of the US security services.

In a hearing that could have significant bearing on the future of the EU-US Safe Harbor agreement, European Commission attorney Bernhard Schima as good as admitted that the current agreement was not fit for purpose, telling attorney-general Yves Bot:

You might consider closing your Facebook account, if you have one.

Schima’s remark came during a case brought by Austrian law student Max Schrems following complaints filed against Facebook and four other US companies – Apple, Microsoft, Skype, and Yahoo – with the relevant data protection authorities in Ireland, Luxembourg and Germany.

Here are a few reasons why Facebook has been linked with NSA and snooping on its users

  • In his leaks, NSA contractor, Edward Snowden had revealed details about NSA’s notorious PRISM surveillance program had provided NSA with unlimited access to a number of US tech companies and social media services, including Facebook.
  • On one hand Facebook, Apple and Google have argued they had no idea the NSA was illegally snooping on customer data while, last year, Rajesh De, the NSA’s general counsel had categorically stated that all the tech companies knew about this practice.
  • In 2009, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg himself made a shocking assertion that Facebook is in essence a platform for harvesting data and conducting surveillance.

Zuckerberg told an audience at the 2009 Crunchies Awards ceremony that “People have really gotten comfortable sharing more information and different kinds,”  Zuckerberg added that “sharing” data — that is, surrendering private data to the government and corporations — has become the “social norm.” Zuckerberg’s statement at that time had caused quite a stir among cyber fraternity.

In 2007, Matt Greenop had documented Facebook’s funding and the investors who seemed quite closed to the surveillance agencies.

  • Facebook’s first round of venture capital funding  of $500,000 came from former Paypal CEO Peter Thiel. Thiel has been on the board of radical conservative group VanguardPAC.
  • The second round of funding into Facebook  of around $US12.7 million came from venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its manager James Breyer was formerly chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, and served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm established by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999. One of the company’s key areas of expertise are in “data mining technologies”.

Considering the above facts and the EU advisory it is not far from truth that Facebook seems to have some sort of working relationship with the United States National Security Agency and CIA.

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Cisco will ship boxes to vacant addresses to foil NSA’s interception campaign

cisco box

In an attempt to blatantly thwart the NSA from spying through its router products, Cisco will now ship boxes to vacant addresses to foil the NSA’s efforts and protect their customers.

Since the initial reports of the NSA, was revealed last May. The NSA interception campaign was reported to actively intercept the delivery of Cisco routers and install back-doors before the delivered Cisco routers reached their customers in order to have root access of the routers and actively monitor them. Because of this NSA interception campaign some Cisco customers cannot trust the mail service and now drive up to a distributor to pick up Cisco hardware at the door.

In reaction to the NSA’s interception campaign Cisco will ship to fake identities for its most sensitive customers, in the hope that the NSA’s interceptions are targeted and exposed. Cisco has been pro-active and has inspected their routers for possible embedded spy chips, but to date has not found anything because it necessarily does not know precisely what NSA taps may look like.

According to security chief John Stewart of Cisco

“We ship [boxes] to an address that’s has nothing to do with the customer, and then you have no idea who ultimately it is going to. When customers are truly worried … it causes other issues to make [interception] more difficult in that [agencies] don’t quite know where that router is going so its very hard to target – you’d have to target all of them. There is always going to be inherent risk.”

Borg boss John Chambers of Cisco wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama saying the spying would undermine the global tech industry. But is seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Mike Burgess, chief security officer for Australia’s dominant telco Telstra, says the carrier is confident it will be able to secure the swelling pools of data the nation’s government will force it to collect under soon-to-be-enacted data retention laws. However, the swelling data pools will turn companies into honeypots for hackers, and staff with access to the databases as prime targets for phishing campaigns.

There was not much clarity over how much data retention will cost the telco, but it would impose a significant monetary overhead and that prompted telcos to write to Federal Attorney General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull requesting additional government subsidizes.

John Stewart of Cisco points out that hacking groups are likely with sufficient time and effort be successful at targeting systems specifically government mandated data retention databases. Imposing a greater security risk.

And goes on to say

“If a truly dedicated team is coming after you for a very long period of time, then the probability of them succeeding goes up. Telcos should not focus on the financial cost of protecting those databases and instead ensure that acceptable risk levels are met, he says. Checkbox compliance should be all but binned.”

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‘Patriot Act 2.0’? Senate CISA Cybersecurity Bill, Isn’t About Cybersecurity, It’s About Surveillance

patriot act

In another secret session on Thursday the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee approved a cybersecurity bill ( CISA ) during a secret session on Thursday, expanding the government’s already substantial surveillance powers.

The bill, aka ‘Patriot Act 2.0’ is the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which passed by 14-1 vote, with a lone dissenting voice on the committee Sen. Ron Wyden (Democrat from Oregon.) who denounced the measure as “a surveillance bill by another name,” and said,

This bill would open the door for continued invasive and unlawful government spying operations.” 

When Wyden emerged after the vote from the secret meeting he warned the bill

“lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of American consumers, and that it will have a limited impact on U.S. cybersecurity.”

The claim of the CISA bill would ostensibly protect against large-scale data thefts of private consumer information, exemplified by recent hacks of Target, Sony, and Home Depot. The CISA bill, reportedly underwent a many changes during the meeting, and will next go to the full Senate for debate. The passage in on the committee level, however, means it has already succeeded where other recent cybersecurity proposals have failed.

The Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told reporters after the vote that

CISA would allow for private-to-private, private-to-government, and government-to-private information sharing, in a voluntary capacity. This current bill is critically important both for our agencies that keep the country safe, and the institutions that hold millions of Americans’ personal information”.

It was noted by Rachel Nusbaum, a ACLU media strategist, that making the information-sharing “voluntary” during criminal proceedings means that the government would, in-fact, be able to obtain private data without a warrant.

Rachel Nusbaum said,

“This bill is arguably much worse than CISPA [Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act] and, despite its name, shouldn’t be seen as anything other than a surveillance bill—think Patriot Act 2.0,”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the panel, said,

The newest version of the bill would allow companies to defend themselves against cyberattacks but would prohibit them from taking countermeasures if a breach occurred.”

The Wall Street Journal writes:

The bill would attempt to funnel corporate intelligence about cybersecurity threats and breaches through the Department of Homeland Security, an important distinction for many companies that don’t want the data to be housed in a military agency or an intelligence agency. DHS could share the information, if applicable, with other companies or other federal agencies, though it is supposed to be scrubbed to prevent the transfer of personal data about consumers.”

Last month a draft (pdf) of the measure was released (and met with resistance from privacy advocates) and because of its vague language could give license to the government to increase unwarranted surveillance of U.S. citizens.

Robyn Greene, policy counsel with New America’s Open Technology Institute, said

“We are glad that the Senate Intelligence Committee heard the privacy community’s concerns, and we’re eager to see if the changes to the bill will adequately address the significant threats to privacy and internet security that CISA has raised, Based on how dangerously broad and vague the last version of the bill was, it would be surprising if the bill agreed to in secret today will garner the support of the privacy community.”

Greene called the earlier draft “as much a backdoor for surveillance as it is a cybersecurity information-sharing bill.” In an interview with Wired, Greene criticized the secretive nature of the meeting, stating, “This bill has the potential to seriously harm Americans’ privacy rights and it wasn’t even debated in public.”

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Discovered IP addresses linked to the NYPD used to sanitize Wikipedia entries of police brutality

nypd wikileaks

IP addresses directly linked to the New York Police Department’s computer network have been used to sanitize Wikipedia entries about cases of police brutality.

A reported cover up on a network level now the NYPD has been caught red-handed attempting to cover up their un-warranted brutality against people.

Up to a total of 85 IP addresses connected to the 1 Police Plaza’s servers modified entries for the most high-profile police abuse cases, especially including victims Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo. Edits have been made to entries covering scandals involving NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, and the details on department leadership.

There were even alterations concerned Eric Garner, who was killed by police last year during an arrest that was captured on video by an onlooker. When the mobile phone video went viral, it prompted widespread protests and a grand jury investigation.

One of the edits were from “Garner raised both his arms in the air” and into “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke.” Another was “push Garner’s face into the sidewalk” changed into “push Garner’s head down into the sidewalk.” even one twice replaced to “chokehold or headlock” and to “respiratory distress.”  Links to the alterations can be seen here and here.

On December 3, despite the medical examiner ruling it a homicide. the Staten Island grand jury agreed not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in connection to Garner’s death, and the same day of the grand jury announcement the “Death of Eric Garner” page on Wikipedia was altered from IP addresses traced back to 1 Police Plaza.

The disclosure of NYPD’s entries are now known as the Justice Department announced a national initiative for “building community trust and justice” with the nation’s policing agencies.

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