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“Bulk Data Failure” NSA has been collecting so much data that now it cant sift through it

William Binney, the original NSA whistle-blower says NSA is facing "bulk data failure" and congested with data which is no longer competent.

William Binney, the original NSA whistle-blower says NSA is facing “bulk data failure” and congested with data which is no longer competent.

Among a list of other things, controversial ‘Patriotic Act’ seems to be posing threat to the American’s privacy as per William Binney, former NSA official and a whistle-blower.

William Binney, a former National Security Agency official, was the original NSA whistel-blower who has spent more than three decades at NSA.

On Wednesday, at a lunch meet hosted by Contrast Security founder Jeff Williams, William Binney said that U.S. government’s mass surveillance program is just congested with data, to a point that they are no longer competent. He further added that terrorists attacks could succeed because NSA is losing its vital intelligence in the strife.

Binney feels that in the current scenario wherein NSA has abundant data which is overloaded with vital information it is easier for an analyst to run some simple query and get access through NSA’s various databases.

Binney added: “That’s why they couldn’t stop the Boston bombing, or the Paris shootings, because the data was all there. The NSA is great at going back over it forensically for years to see what they were doing before that.” He added: “But that doesn’t stop it.”

As per Binney, NSA has partnered with many agencies across the globe for data collection however it seems NSA has been “just” the collecting the data. Binney pointed out that NSA lacks the methodology to maintain the data in a disciplined way so that it can be used for smarter analysis and he referred this situation as ‘bulk data failure’.

In simple words, Binney feels that NSA programs are engorged with huge data because they are collecting data that is beyond the limits of the agency to process. On the other hand, he also said that the problem is much deeper because this data also has access to various other agencies that includes the law enforcement, FBI, CIA, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The controversial ‘Patriot Act’ came into existence after the September 11 attacks in New York City in 2001, when the counter terrorism legislation was enacted. Binney left the NSA just after a month of this attack when he realized that a foreign intelligence gathering program which he was part of, was being converted into domestic program, he also strongly felt that the attack could have been stopped. Binney blowed the whistle to Congress and soon his house was raided by FBI though he was not arrested and charged with crime. Edward Snowdem says he was inspired by few previous whistle-blowers and that includes Binney as well.

Binney says that since then, NSA is just fetching the data indiscriminately to ‘collect it all’. Binney feels that the intelligence team is interested in the matter of the communication which has also been proved by Snowden’s disclosure and the agency is not actually probing into ‘who calls whom and when and how long’.

As per Binney’s estimation there are in all about 72 companies who are engaged in recording the phone calls in bulk and this includes even the Verizon. He gave reference of PRISM which collects data from Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other important Silicon Valley giants.

As per Binney, NSA successfully gets access to the world’s communications through the fiber optic cables that has been laid undersea. NSA took help of its British counterparts at GCHQ to tap this secret data and is able to buffer more than 21 petabytes per day. He said:”The Upstream program is where the vast bulk of the information was being collected.” Hence ‘collect it all’ slogan is not only ineffective but also adds lots of cost to NSA.

Since his retirement from NSA, Binney has been engaged in bringing about a change and reformation in Congress as well as in the industry. However, he feels that the actual change is required “in” the constitution and not by secretly surveying the constitution. He added: “If they want to change the constitution, there’s a way to do that — and it’s in the constitution.”

NSA spokesperson did not give any comment on this.

So in short, we can conclude that Binney made his point clear that secret surveillance is a threat to the privacy of  Americans and it is not serving the purpose for which was created (i.e. to counter act the terrorist attacks) because it is overloaded with huge data that has been arranged haphazardly.

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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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Equation Group is NSA in Disguise New evidence by Kaspersky researchers suggests

Equation Group is NSA in Disguise New evidence by Kaspersky researchers suggests

New evidence by Kaspersky researchers suggests that the hacking group could be NSA personnel in disguise

Kaspersky reveals that the so called “Equation group” cyber hackers could be NSA personnel in disguise

It was almost after 2 years since the  Snowden leaks that Russian firm Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team presented a report last month where it clearly showed that NSA i.e. National Security Agency is the major suspect in global hacking campaign which attacks the firmware of the hard drives. The action of this hacking group was termed as “Equation Group” by Kaspersky due to the advanced methods used by the hackers to carry out its actions.

The new report which Kaspersky’s researchers published on Wednesday shows that the term “BACKSNARF” was one of the terms which was used by the Equation Group in one of their codes in their online platform and on the other hand NSA’s cyber warfare unit was using the same term for one of its project.

Hence now Kaspersky researchers feel that the hacking group is actually the NSA personnel in disguise. This cyber hacking group has used the firmware method to put a backdoor in the hard drives at the boot level and it has been held responsible for 500 malware infections across 42 countries by now.

NSA seems to have used the firmware method to infect  the computer’s primarily in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Syria and Mali at the top of the list. Kaspersky researchers say it is difficult to arrive at an absolute number of infections done by the Equation Group because of a self-destruct mechanism built into the malware however they feel that majorly NSA victims are centred in critical fields including aerospace, nuclear research, government, telecommunications, Islamic activists, energy, and industries, financial concerns, encryption technologies and infrastructure supply chains.

Kaspersky is not directly pointing at the Equation Group which is a software development team in US. However, Kaspersky suspects that the Equation Group does have some tie up with the US NSA because the kind of cyber hacking which is carried out by the Equation Group does need a strong backup from the higher personnel to carry out their sophisticated activities. The Equation Group aka NSA seems to have used the firmware method to infect some of the prime rivals of US as in Iran, Russia.

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$104 and 8 hours of Amazon’s cloud computing is all it took to hack NSA’s website

$104 and 8 hours of Amazon's cloud computing is all it took to hack NSA's website

Researchers hack NSA’s website with only $104 and 8 hours of Amazon’s cloud computing power using the #FREAK vulnerability

A group of researchers only needed $104 and 8 hours of Amazon’s cloud computing power and off course, FREAK to hack the NSA’s website. The researchers used NSA’s anti-encryption policies, which were the main reason for the newly disclosed internet flaw called FREAK, to make NSA’s own website a guinea pig.

The bug which was disclosed by Akamai and subsequently reported by Techworm on Monday allows any potential hacker to intercept a supposedly secure connection between people using Android or Apple devices and PC’s using Mac OS X and Safari browser. The websites vulnerable to this flaw may be in thousands including NSA.gov, FBI.gov and Whitehouse.gov.

Actually this isnt a flaw, it is a mis-implementation of encryption policies by United States and in a way NSA so that they could have a non-encrypted backdoor on every mobile. It would be stupid to assume that NSA created a massive security dark hole, that allows hackers to impersonate said website and steal confidential data like passwords and logins, without knowing it was doing that.

FREAK is a very good example of how governments across the world implement backdoors to spy on systems and create a Frankenstein monster which they now cant control. Echoing similar thoughts, Ed Felten, professor of computer science at Princeton University said freak was a, “good example of what can go wrong when government asks to build weaknesses into security systems.”

“In the current climate, it felt like the appropriate website to mount a man-in-the-middle attack on,” Said Bhargavan who is the member of the group that disclosed the bug.

What is FREAK

United States laws stipulated that US tech companies can export with  weaker 512-bit keys outside the United States while allowing them to use the best and the strongest cryptographic encryption for domestic consumption.

However when the restrictions were dropped, tech companies who were still using the weaker 512-bit keys did not bother to upgrade to the latest encryption standards letting them become vulnerable to the MiTm flaw called FREAK.

Another group of researchers at University of Michigan ?performed a scan of the Internet to find out how many websites were susceptible to this NSA backdoor bug. According to Motherboard,  as of Tuesday, they found more than 36% of websites that support web encryption (TLS or SSL) were vulnerable, including 12.2% of the top 1 millions websites in the world, including bloomberg.com, americanexpress.com, as well as the NSA website and the FBI’s ?site for anonymous tips.

“We didn’t think there’d be sites supporting this really ancient export cipher suites,” said Karthikeyan, who works for a French research group called ?Prosecco, which is part of Paris-based INRIA.

The researchers said that the bug also affected a Facebook website (connect.facebook.net) which hosts the script for Facebook’s “Like” and login button that are included in innumerable websites on the Internet.

However all is not lost. The major problem with any cyber criminal exploiting this vulnerability is that he/she and the target victim’s computer have to be on the same network. Also it has to be a insecure public network like a coffee shop or airport lounge and finally, the target has to be visiting the vulnerable website (there are quite a few out there) and using a vulnerable device.

Resource : Motherboard.

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“Equation Group” NSA had a backdoor in hardware from 12 major manufacturers for snooping operations in 30 countries

"Equation Group" NSA had a backdoor in hardware from 12 major manufacturers for snooping operations in 30 countries

“Equation Group” Hackers Tied to NSA Has Hidden ‘Fanny Worm’ Malware In Hard Drives, Globally

In what could be most damning revelation this year since the 2013 Snowden leaks, Russian security firm Kaspersky has presented a report that the National Security Agency (NSA), the snooping agency for the United States has been involved in a globally-organised hacking campaign aimed at the firmware of hard drives.

Kaspersky report says that NSA undertook firmware method to put a backdoor in the hard drives manufactured by as many as 12 major HD manufacturers. The operation has been dubbed as “Equation Group” by researchers of Kaspersky Lab and took help of hackers to secretly intercept a package in transit, booby-trapped its contents, and sent it to its intended destination. Kaspersky had dubbed the group as Equation Group because it is apparent use of heavy encryption tools and algos, obfuscation methods and advanced delivery mechanism

Kaspersky report notes that somewhere in mid 2002 or 2003, Equation Group members used the Oracle database installation CD to infect multiple targets with malware from the group’s extensive library.

As per Kaspersky the number of victims of this cyber snooping operating can range in ‘tens of thousands of victims’ in over 42 countries spread across the globe.  NSA apparently used this method to infect PCs primarily in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Syria and Mali at the top of the list.

The NSA victims centred in critical fields including aerospace, nuclear research, government, telecommunications, Islamic activists, energy, and industries, financial concerns, encryption technologies and infrastructure supply chains. Kaspersky researchers say it is difficult to arrive at a absolute number of infections done by the Equation Group because of a self-destruct mechanism built into the malware.

“It seems to me Equation Group are the ones with the coolest toys,” Costin Raiu, director of Kaspersky Lab’s global research and analysis team, told Ars Technica. “Every now and then they share them with the Stuxnet group and the Flame group, but they are originally available only to the Equation Group people. Equation Group are definitely the masters, and they are giving the others, maybe, bread crumbs. From time to time they are giving them some goodies to integrate into Stuxnet and Flame.”

Backdoor through BIOS

Each and every computer may have its own operating system and anti virus/anti snooping detection engines.  But each and every computer has a hardware which runs on its own hardware.  This hardware popularly called as firmware is used at the boot level to start the machine, run system checks and communicate with the PC’s operating system.  NSA and its hacker allies used this part of the PC operation to deliver the tracking backdoor.  This way it not only spied on the victims throughout the PCs lifespan but was also able to avoid detection from all major security service providing software.

Kaspersky’s Costin Raiu has also noted that not only is the malicious payload resistant to any interference at boot-time, but that it can not even be read in normal conditions due to highly leveraged obfuscation methods,

“[For] most hard drives there are functions to write into the hardware firmware area,” says Raiu. “but there are no functions to read it back. It means that we are practically blind, and cannot detect hard drives that have been infected by this malware.”

Though Kaspersky cannot directly connect the “Equation Group’ to the NSA but in the report it says that the backdoor malware called ‘Fanny worm’  had links to the deadly NSA-originated Stuxnet malware.  NSA had written Stuxnet to wage a cyberwar against the Irans’ nuclear facilities and is credited with pushing the Iranian uranium enrichment programme back to the ‘dark ages’ and succeeding in bringing it to the negotiating table with the world powers on nuclear proliferation.

Reuters on the other hand has directly pointed towards NSA by stating to have heard from an ex-NSA employee who confirms the verity of the Kaspersky report. Reuter’s another source has also confirmed that the NSA has developed ‘the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives’, but could not identify which agency or department was making use of the capability.

The Equation Group’s ‘Fanny worm’ malware is designed to map the topology of air-gapped networks i.e. groups of computers which are not directly connected to each other by using infected USB sticks as a delivery vector between the two unconnected machines. Once the ‘Fanny Worm’ is installed into the PC, it starts retrieving information and broadcasting it to a network of command-and-control (C&C) servers.

Kaspersky report notes that they had been able to identify seven different variants of Fanny worm, including one against the fork of the Firefox web browser which is used in the popular online encryption tool Tor anonymiser network.

China apparently knew about the malware and backdoor because in 2014, it decided to replace the IBM technology for its PCs with its Tiansuo K1 system with Chinese-originated servers from Inspur.

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Erich Möchel leaks photos of NSA spying on United Nations

Erich Möchel leaks photos of NSA spying on United Nations

Journalist Erich Möchel leaks photos of alleged NSA monitoring stations in Vienna to spy on United Nations.

In what could be confirmation of the allegations made by the serial NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, Journalist Erich Möchel has published a series of photographs of NSA monitoring facilities on the United Nations regional office in Vienna.

Erich Möchel leaks photos of NSA spying on United Nations

Erich Möchel himself feels so and has stated such in his German language blog, “Wie eine Fotoserie zeigt, befindet sich der in den Snowden-Dokumenten erwähnte “Vienna Annex” in den Dachgeschoßen des IZD-Towers neben der UNO-City.” which loosely translated means that what Snowden documents showed was proved by the photographs which give out details of installation of NSA monitoring facilities on the UN in Vienna

Erich Möchel leaks photos of NSA spying on United Nations

The photos published by him pertain to the National Security Agency’s deployment of monitoring stations on  “Vienna Annex”, in the attics of IZD Towers.  Erich says that though the Snowden leaks didnt mention Austria and/or Vienna explicitly in his leaks, Snowden had maintained that NSA was monitoring United Nations facilities across the world.

Erich Möchel leaks photos of NSA spying on United Nations

The photos published by Erich prove that  NSA has deployed a monitoring station in Vienna used for listening in on what’s happening at the UN complex where nations of the world deliberate on issues surrounding humanity at current juncture.  It also shows that the NSA monitoring station isnt far from the UN headquarters.

The photos show a hut on the roof, which cannot be seen from the street, that is enclosed by solid steel bars and protected by a significant video surveillance system equipped with a ten cameras. Erich explains that that the hut which looks like any other maintenance buildings around the world is in fact hiding high tech spying/snooping equipment used by the US intelligence to monitor mobile networks.

United Nations facility or whole of Vienna?

Erich Möchel leaks photos of NSA spying on United Nations

Though both the monitoring facilities are near to the UN regional headquarters.  He has also found proof that the NSA is spying on whole of Vienna city.  He has deducted the fact that NSA monitoring facility above along with the US Embassy in Vienna’s 9th district and the ‘NSA villa’ in Pötzleinsdorf which he assumes to be a listening post, the NSA could be spying on the whole city.

Erich Möchel leaks photos of NSA spying on United Nations

Erich who specialises in photo journalism speculated that by placing the monitoring facility at the roof of the tower which is about 100 meters in a straight line with the United Nations headquarter,  NSA has a privileged position to intercept most of communications emanating from the United Nations.

Erich Möchel leaks photos of NSA spying on United Nations

NSA will be subjected to another round of public outburst with the release of this photographs.  Vienna citizens, in particular may take offence at a foreign government listening to their personal communications.  This leaks comes nearly a year after the journalists Glenn Greenwald and Stefania Maurizi discovered similar structures also in Italy, and provided further information on the surveillance network that is extended to many other European cities, including Berlin and Milan.

All images in this post are taken courtesy of Erich Möchel

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NSA and GHCQ spied on German Citizens through big German telecom Companies

US and UK spy on Germany, Have access to German telecoms

According to the most recent Snowden leak,  The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and its U.K. counter-part, British Government Communications Headquarters (GHCQ) are able to secretly access information from German telecom operators.

The leak suggested that NSA and GHCQ have access to most of the big German telecom companies like Deutsche Telekom, Netcologne, Stellar, Cetel, and IABG., German magazine Der Spiegel reported.

Both the snooping agencies use a new program called “Treasure Map”, which allows these spymasters, remote access to customers computers, smartphones, tablets, routers and routers connected with the network via an Internet connection provided by the German telecommunication companies.

The ‘Treasure Map’ programme, which the Der Speigel calls “the Google Earth of the Internet, can access all secret and classified information from the devices connected to the network.  It also has abilities to map any user and steal personal information at any instant of time. these information can be further used to plan sophisticated cyber attacks.

Deutsche Telekom and Netcologne when asked to confirm the news, said they have not found any evidence of NSA, GCHQ surveillance on their network. but further added that the matter is under investigation.

We are looking into every indication of possible manipulations but have not yet found any hint of that in our investigations so far,” a German telecom spokesperson said. “We’re working closely with IT specialists and have also contacted German security authorities. he added

Deutsche Telekom’s IT security head Thomas Tschersich said, “The access of foreign secret services to our network would be totally unacceptable.”

The relations between U.S and Germany have hit a rough trough since the last year’s leaks from NSA contractor and whistle blower Edward Snowden.  The leaks made by Snowden in June, 2013 stated that NSA spied on German officials and tapped the phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Both countries were trying hard to ease out the tensions caused by the above leaks but this leak is going to damage the relations further.

Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany had faced a torrid time on home front, post the Snowden leaks and this leak is going to raise further questions from German citizens about their privacy.

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Tor Anonymizer Network says they have unknown spies in NSA and GCHQ who give them information about the hacks being developed by the Government agencies

Tor Anonymizer Network says they have unknown spies in NSA and GCHQ who give them information about the hacks being developed by the Government agencies

It is well known in the tech circles and especially underground forums that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and the Government Communications HeadQuarters (GCHQ) of United Kingdom are working on  various hacks and flaws in the ‘Dark Web’ Tor Anonymizer Network.  Hacking into the Tor is the easiest way for both the agencies to access the ‘hidden sites’ on the Dark Web. However today, Andrew Lewman of Tor Project said that Tor had anonymous spies in NSA and GCHQ how informed them regularly about the flaws and hacks being detected by NSA and GCHQ to undermine the anonymity of Tor.  
Tor Anonymizer Network says they have unknown spies in NSA and GCHQ who give them information about the hacks being developed by the Government agencies
Lewman made this allegations in an interview given to the BBC. He rather candidly admitted that both NSA and GCHQ had unknown leaks who informed them about the flaws being detected by the snooping agencies. The identity of the leak, which were sent  to the core software team were couldnt be identified due to Tor’s anonymity provisions, Lewman said.  However, Tor immediately worked on the flaws and patched and plugged the leaks.  

“There are plenty of people in both organisations who can anonymously leak data to us to say – maybe you should look here, maybe you should look at this to fix this,” he said. “And they have.


As said above, Lewman is part of a core team of software engineers responsible for the Tor Browser.  Tor, for uninitiated is a anonymizer network browser bundle that allows users to surf the net anonymously without leaving any trace of their internet activity. Tor is very useful for people living in highly censored countries like Iran, Turkey etc. to sidestep the censorship and surf the net without leaving any traces.  But Tor also has a very dark side to it. Due to its anonymity, the software also offer access to otherwise hard-to-reach websites.  Many of these websites are used for illegal purposes like drug trafficking etc.  It is also used by child abusers to post unwanted images which would normally earn them a prison sentence in the civilized world.    These sites are hosted,  far from the prying eyes of normal users, authorities, media etc. and that is the reason why it is called the dark web.
 
In the interview, Lewman said that his organisation received tips from sources embedded in both the security agencies on “probably [a] monthly” basis about bugs and design issues that potentially could compromise the Tor’s anonymity. He also acknowledged that because of the way the Tor Project received such information, he could not prove who had sent it.
 
“It’s a hunch,” he said. “Obviously we are not going to ask for any details. “You have to think about the type of people who would be able to do this and have the expertise and time to read Tor source code from scratch for hours, for weeks, for months, and find and elucidate these super-subtle bugs or other things that they probably don’t get to see in most commercial software.”
 
Lewman assessed that the Tor software group was informed by the spied because of the fact that they (leakers) couldnt be traced. “And the fact that we take a completely anonymous bug report allows them to report to us safely.”
 
He added that he had been told by William Binney, a former NSA official turned whistleblower, that one reason NSA workers might have leaked such information was because many were “upset that they are spying on Americans”.
 
NSA spokesperson gave a curt “We have nothing for you on this one” reply when asked for their comments on Lewman’s allegations.  You can watch the full interview of Andrew Lewman on BBC website here.
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‘NSA’ Surveillance-proof Blackphone gets hacked at Def Con 2014 in 5 Minutes

“Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted”– seem familiar with this line? If no, well this is what happened to the so called “Surveillance Proof” Blackphone when it got hacked as soon as it stepped into the Def Con Hacker Conference, 2014, going on in Las Vegas. For those who don’t know what Blackphone is,  it is a collaboration between security firm Silent Circle and Geeksphone to make a smartphone running the firm’s custom PrivatOS, which it touted as “the phone no-one has dared to make yet”.
'NSA' Surveillance-proof Blackphone gets hacked at Def Con 2014 in 5 Minutes
The Blackphone is centered around privacy, and the company is keen to point out that while Google’s Android mobile operating system is at its core, it’s much more secure than the present influx of smartphones running Android. This is fortunate, based on the latest Android security statistics, which reveal that it is the target for 98 percent of all mobile malware.

Hacker Jon “Justin Case” Sawyer, who is known as @TeamAndIRC, claimed to find three vulnerabilities and hack the phone on three separate occasions to gain root access, announcing his findings on Twitter.

“Black phone hack #1, USB debugging/dev menu removed, open via targeted intent”

Blackphone’s CSO Dan Ford responded to @TeamAndIRC in a blog post and said that he didn’t consider the debugging attack to be a vulnerability because the Android Debugging Bridge is part of Android.

“In the final days before manufacture, a bug was found with ADB on the Blackphones which could throw the phone into a boot loop when full device encryption was turned on,” Ford explained.

“Rather than miss the manufacturing window or cause user grief, the developer menu was turned off. Disabling ADB is not a security measure, and was never meant to be?-?it will be returning in an OTA to Blackphone in the future once the boot bug is resolved; the realities of getting a product manufactured and shipped within the available manufacturing window meant a quick fix was needed.”

Ford added that no root or other privilege escalation was required in order to perform this.
But @TeamAndIRC went ahead and did it again via what he claimed was a “remotewipe app” running as system, which he said “is debuggable, attach debugger get free system shell”.

However, Blackphone insisted that the hacks @TeamAndIRC found require user consent, as the vulnerabilities he found are not exploitable via a drive-by-download or other remote activities and will further require intentional user interaction.

“We are under the impression that this vulnerability affects many OEMs and not just Blackphone. When the vulnerability becomes public, we will implement the fix faster than any other OEM,” Ford responded.

“This would mean the user lost physical control of their Blackphone or they wanted to walk around with an exploitable smartphone. Nonetheless, we have a vulnerability and it is important to Blackphone to resolve this vulnerability fast.”

The third and final vulnerability @TeamAndIRC found he was not willing to discuss, but described it as “system user to root, many available”.

“I would like to thank him for not blowing the issue out of proportion and going back to the twittersphere for a little more transparency by explaining that direct user interaction is required and that we had already patched one of the vulnerabilities through the OTA update,” Ford added.

As a fun fact when someone from the Blackphone’s table handed him a T-Shirt(as they don’t have Bug Bounty Program) for the hacks he reported Sawyer refused to take the shirt and said he already got a T-shirt when he bought the phone and modified it with his own message.
 “The shirt was the most impressive part of the hack, considering I had it made in minutes,” Sawyer said. When Ford saw the shirt, Sawyer recounted, he laughed.
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NSA workers often pass your NSFW photos around the office : latest Snowden leaks

How would you like your personal images taken infinite confidence for your partners eyes only are being seen and passed over to other employees of NSA.  In a shocking revelation, 31-year-old former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has warned that during the global surveillance programs initiated by NSA, the NSA system administrators also intercepted and routinely passed the personal photos of people in “sexually compromising” situations among other NSA employees.

NSA workers often pass your nude photos around the office : latest Snowden leaks
The situation is similar to what you receive on your FB or WhatsApp/SnapChat chat.  When you find a good image, you often forward it to your friends.  Only in this case the images procured by the NSA were illegal and taken without the knowledge of the victims.  Passing such images which were often poses of victims compromising positions to other individuals is beyond morality and comprehension.
 
Snowden made this relevation in a video interview with the Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger and reporter Ewen MacAskill in Moscow, which was then published by the Guardian on Thursday.  As per Edward Snowden, NSA employees regularly pass around intimate NSFW images that are intercepted, along with endless amounts of other data, as part of the US government’s vast surveillance efforts. 
 
Snowden made the claims during a seven-hour interview with The Guardian.  In the interview when he was asked about specific instances of power abuse he’d observed during his time as an NSA contractor. “You’ve got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old. They’ve suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records.
 
“THESE ARE SEEN AS SORT OF THE FRINGE BENEFITS OF SURVEILLANCE POSITIONS.”
 
Snowden told the interviewers that these individuals often “stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work” — like a personal photo of someone in “a sexually compromising situation.” If the subject proves attractive enough, these workers are all too eager to let others in on the fun. “So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show their coworker.” That sets off a chain where the most raw and private types of content — assumed to be part of a private conversation — become water cooler topics at NSA HQ. “Sooner or later, this person’s whole life has been seen by all these people. It’s never reported. Nobody ever knows about it because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak.” 
 
That NSA snoops on private individuals under the garb of national security is now well known but to deny the above allegations from Snowden, the NSA honchos will have build a huge cover up story to cover their employees misadventures. Because it would be impossible to deny the sexting part of the surveillance as it was done in private and there no security checks or an audit program in place.
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