Every year, security researchers, hardware hackers and other deep geeks from around the world converge on an English nature reserve for Electromagnetic Field, a hacker campout where participants show off and discuss their research and creations.
Well, there's a second-decade-of-the-21st-century headline for you!
Motherboard used public records requests to extract 3,000+ pages of court docs from a massive 2010 RCMP mafia/drug bust in Montreal, codenamed "Project Clemenza," which revealed the full extent of the Mounties' secret use of Stingrays — AKA "IMSI Catchers," the fake cellular towers that let cops covertly track whole populations by tricking their phones into revealing information about them.
The DHS's newly released policy statement on the use of Stingrays (stationary fake cellphone towers used to track people in a specific location) and Dirt Boxes (airplane-mounted surveillance that tracks whole populations) represents a welcome, if overdue, transparency in the use of cellphone surveillance by federal agencies.
The military surveillance devices known as "Dirtboxes" have been in secret operation for more than a decade, tracking citizens' locations and intercepting their calls, breaking the encryption on hundreds of calls at once.
If you've been struggling to make sense of the stories about Stingrays (super-secretive cellular surveillance tech used by cops and governments) (previously) this week's Note to Self podcast does the best job I've yet seen (heard) of explaining them.
Security researchers at Purdue and U. of Iowa confirm what many security experts have long feared: there are serious security weaknesses in 5G that undermine the promised security and privacy protections.
"You have the right to remain silent." We've heard the Miranda warning countless times on TV, but what good is the right to remain silent if our own cellphones testify against us? Imagine every incriminating and embarrassing secret our devices hold in the hands of prosecutors, simply because you've been accused of a minor crime. — Read the rest
In early June, protesters surged into Hong Kong's streets to protest a change to the country's extradition rules that would allow the Chinese state to demand the extradition of political dissidents to the mainland; as the protests grew, Hong Kong's puppet government had no choice but to withdraw its proposal — but that wasn't enough, and millions of people poured into the streets, demanding the resignation of administrator Connie Lam and the release of imprisoned demonstrators.
The proposal by the tame, Beijing-dominated government of Hong Kong to extradite people to mainland China for a variety of crimes (including political crimes) sparked mass demonstrations that made savvy use of networks and tactics to mobilize a series of actions under the #612strike banner that shut down main arteries and key government buildings.
The millions of Hong Kong people participating in the #612strike uprising are justifiably worried about state retaliation, given the violent crackdowns on earlier uprisings like the Umbrella Revolution and Occupy Central; they're also justifiably worried that they will be punished after the fact.
Hong Kong's previous mass-protest uprisings — 2014's Occupy Central, 2016's Umbrella Revolution — were ultimately smashed by the state through a combination of violent suppression and electronic surveillance, greatly aided by the hierarchical structure of the protest movements (which made it possible to decapitate them by arresting their leaders) and their internal divisions and infighting.
Stingrays (AKA IMSI catchers) are a widespread class of surveillance devices that target cellular phones by impersonating cellular towers to them (they're also called "cell-site simulators").
Stingrays were once the most secretive of surveillance technology: devices whose existence was so sensitive that the feds actually raided local cops and stole their crime files to stop them from being introduced in court and revealing the capability to spy on cellular phones.
Spot the Surveillance is the Electronic Frontier Foundation's first VR app: it's part of the organization's Street-Level Surveillance, which has tracked and resisted the spread of ubiquitous surveillance tools, from license-plate cameras to Stingrays and beyond.
Cops use Stingrays—fake cellular towers that fool cellphones into connecting to them instead of the real thing—to track people and hack into their devices. Sen. Ron Wyden, in a publicized letter to the U.S. Department of Jusice, exposes the fact that these devices disrupt and disable attempts to call emergency services. — Read the rest
An NBC investigative journalism team and a security researcher went wardriving around the DC area with a cell-site-simulator detector that would tell them whenever they came in range of a fake cellphone tower that tried to trick their phones into connecting to it in order to covertly track their locations (some cell site simulators can also hack phones to spy on SMS, calls and data).
The use of fake cellphone towers, known as Stingrays or IMSI catchers, plays well with the nation's spy agencies and in some police jurisdictions. The authorities just can't get enough of being able to locate or listen in on private phone calls! — Read the rest
Connecting voting machines to the internet is a terrible idea: the machines are already notoriously insecure, and once they're online, anyone, anywhere in the world becomes a potential attacker.
Watch these swimmers on Hahei Beach, New Zealand flee from a killer whale, aka an orca, last weekend. "You guys are idiots," says the cameraperson. Killer whales don't attack people in the wild. From the New Zealand Herald:
— Read the rest
"They came in very close, about 10 metres from shore," (said Gary Hinds, chairman of the Hot Water Beach Lifeguard.)