Canadian Intelligence warns against buying tech from state-owned companies

According to documents obtained by the Canadian Press, the Canadian government has been warning against investing in technology served up by state-owned companies as it's highly likely that the hardware could be used as a conduit for corporate espionage.

From The Globe & Mail:

The RCMP organized two workshops last March — one in Calgary, the other in Toronto — to raise awareness about threats to critical systems, including espionage and foreign interference, cyberattacks, terrorism and sabotage, newly disclosed documents show.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service materials prepared for the workshops advise that “non-likeminded countries,” state-owned enterprises and affiliated companies are engaged in a global pursuit of technology and know-how driven by economic and military ambitions.

The papers surrounding the RCMP and CSIS' warnings were heavily redacted: there's no mention of any specific countries that want to take a peek at what Canuck corporations have to offer. However, we've still got a good idea about some of what they were talking about. According to The Canadian Press, the document had a chunk of text in it pulled from a US government report that China and other competing countries have been swiping "hundreds of billions of dollars" worth of intellectual property every year. Additionally, back in 2016, CSIS warned Canadians that maybe allowing Huawei Technologies to have any part in the building of Canada's 5G telecommunications network might be a really bad idea. According to a number of intelligence sources, Huawei's ties to the Chinese government run deep.

It's fun to be reminded that billion dollar concerns like tech and oil companies have just as much to worry about with phishing, sloppy security practices and other digital hazards as everyone else. Read the rest

Look at this goverment spy truck disguised as a Google Streetview car

Security researcher Matt Blaze noticed this vehicle in Philadelphia. It had a large Google Streetview sticker on the window, but Matt noticed a Philadelphia Office of Fleet Management placard on the windshield. He took a photo of the vehicle and tweeted it, along with the comment, "WTF? Pennsylvania State Police license plate reader SUV camouflaged as Google Street View vehicle."

The PA State Police read Matt's tweet and replied via Twitter, "Matt, this is not a PSP vehicle. If this is LPR [license plate reader] technology, other agencies and companies might make use of it."

So, who is driving around in a vehicle disguised as both a Google Streetview car and is equipped with a license plate reader? Motherboard asked the office of Fleet Management, and got some more information:

A placard on the dashboard indicates that the SUV is registered with the Philadelphia Office of Fleet Management, which maintains city government’s 6,316 vehicles, indicating that the vehicle is being used by a local agency.

Christopher Cocci, who serves as the city’s fleet manager, and whose signature is on the document, says that the vehicle does not belong to the Pennsylvania State Police, which is known to use automated license plate recognition (ALPR), or the Philadelphia Parking Authority, a local agency that also utilizes ALPR. So whose surveillance truck is it?

“All city vehicles such as police, fire, streets etc.…are registered to the city. Quasi [public] agencies like PPA, Housing Authority, PGW and School District are registered to their respective agencies,” fleet manager Christopher Cocci wrote in an email to Motherboard after reviewing photos of the vehicle.

Read the rest