A newly published Snowden leak reveals that the NSA planned to hack the Android store so that it could covertly install malware on its targets' phones.
The plan, codenamed IRRITANT HORN, involved exploiting a bug in a browser from Alibaba that is used by hundreds of millions of people, which the NSA kept a secret, leaving all those users vulnerable to attacks from criminals and other spy agencies.
Update: Here's the original research on the program from the always-excellent Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.
Their goal, in tapping into UC Browser and also looking for larger app store vulnerabilities, was to collect data on suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets — and, in some cases, implant spyware on targeted smartphones.
The 2012 document shows that the surveillance agencies exploited the weaknesses in certain mobile apps in pursuit of their national security interests, but it appears they didn't alert the companies or the public to these weaknesses. That potentially put millions of users in danger of their data being accessed by other governments' agencies, hackers or criminals.
"All of this is being done in the name of providing safety and yet … Canadians or people around the world are put at risk," says the University of Ottawa's Michael Geist, one of Canada's foremost experts on internet law.
Spy agencies target mobile phones, app stores to implant spyware [Amber Hildebrandt and Dave Seglins/CBC]
(via The Intercept)
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating a tip-off from a current or ex-London police officer that the London Metropolitan Police’s National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit asked Indian police to use their hacker contacts to break into the private communications of hundreds of British people and groups, from journalists to Greenpeace.
Say what you will about Sean Hannity, the beleaguered Fox News talking head. You can’t say the man isn’t capable of changing his point of view on highly sensitive topics like the NSA and surveillance, and national security.
Richard Mosse uses military-grade surveillance equipment intended for detecting enemy movement for an unintended use: to document the plight of refugees, an extension of an earlier project titled Incoming.
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