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Ex-NSA Employee Arrested for Trying to Sell U.S. Secrets to a Foreign Government

Ex-NSA Employee Arrested for Trying to Sell U.S. Secrets to a Foreign Government
Oct 03, 2022
A former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) employee has been arrested on charges of attempting to sell classified information to a foreign spy, who was actually an undercover agent working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 30, was employed at the NSA for less than a month from June 6, 2022, to July 1, 2022, serving as an Information Systems Security Designer as part of a temporary assignment in Washington D.C. According to an  affidavit  filed by the FBI, Dalke was also a member of the U.S. Army from about 2015 to 2018 and held a Secret security clearance, which he received in 2016. The defendant further held a Top Secret security clearance during his tenure at the NSA. "Between August and September 2022, Dalke used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents he had obtained during his employment to an individual Dalke believed to be working for a foreign government," the Justice Department (DoJ)  sai

Former Twitter Employee Found Guilty of Spying for Saudi Arabia

Former Twitter Employee Found Guilty of Spying for Saudi Arabia
Aug 10, 2022
A former Twitter employee has been pronounced guilty for his role in digging up private information pertaining to certain Twitter users and turning over that data to Saudi Arabia. Ahmad Abouammo, 44, was convicted by a jury after a two-week trial in San Francisco federal court, Bloomberg  reported  Tuesday. He faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced. The  verdict  comes nearly three years after Abouammo, along with Ali Alzabarah and Ahmed Almutairi (Ahmed Aljbreen) were  indicted in 2019  for acting as "illegal agents" of Saudi Arabia, with the former also charged with destroying, altering, and falsifying records in a federal investigation. Prosecutors accused Abouammo and Alzabarah, both of whom joined Twitter in 2013, of being enlisted by officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for  unmasking its critics  on the social media platform. According to court documents, both individuals leveraged their access to internal systems to unauthorizedly get hold of nonpubli

U.K. Hacker Jailed for Spying on Children and Downloading Indecent Images

U.K. Hacker Jailed for Spying on Children and Downloading Indecent Images
Jan 14, 2022
A man from the U.K. city of Nottingham has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for illegally breaking into the phones and computers of a number of victims, including women and children, to spy on them and amass a collection of indecent images. Robert Davies, 32, is said to have purchased an arsenal of cyber crime tools in 2019, including crypters and remote administration tools (RATs), which can be used as a backdoor to steal personal information and conduct surveillance through microphones and cameras, catching the attention of the U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA). The cyber voyeur's modus operandi involved catfishing potential targets by using fake profiles on different messaging apps such as Skype, leveraging the online encounters to send rogue links hosting the malware through the chats. "Davies was infecting his victims' phones or computers with malicious software by disguising it with the crypters so their antivirus protection would not detect it,&qu

Facebook Bans 7 'Cyber Mercenary' Companies for Spying on 50,000 Users

Facebook Bans 7 'Cyber Mercenary' Companies for Spying on 50,000 Users
Dec 17, 2021
Meta Platforms on Thursday revealed it took steps to deplatform seven cyber mercenaries that it said carried out "indiscriminate" targeting of journalists, dissidents, critics of authoritarian regimes, families of opposition, and human rights activists located in over 100 countries, amid mounting scrutiny of surveillance technologies. To that end, the company  said  it alerted 50,000 users of Facebook and Instagram that their accounts were spied on by the companies, who offer a variety of services that run the spyware gamut from hacking tools for infiltrating mobile phones to creating fake social media accounts to monitor targets. It also removed 1,500 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to these firms. "The global surveillance-for-hire industry targets people across the internet to collect intelligence, manipulate them into revealing information and compromise their devices and accounts," Meta's David Agranovich and Mike Dvilyanski said. "These compa

Eavesdropping Bugs in MediaTek Chips Affect 37% of All Smartphones and IoT Globally

Eavesdropping Bugs in MediaTek Chips Affect 37% of All Smartphones and IoT Globally
Nov 24, 2021
Multiple security weaknesses have been disclosed in MediaTek system-on-chips (SoCs) that could have enabled a threat actor to elevate privileges and execute arbitrary code in the firmware of the audio processor, effectively allowing the attackers to carry out a "massive eavesdrop campaign" without the users' knowledge. The discovery of the flaws is the result of reverse-engineering the Taiwanese company's audio digital signal processor ( DSP ) unit by Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Research, ultimately finding that by stringing them together with other flaws present in a smartphone manufacturer's libraries, the issues uncovered in the chip could lead to local privilege escalation from an Android application.  "A malformed inter-processor message could potentially be used by an attacker to execute and hide malicious code inside the DSP firmware," Check Point security researcher Slava Makkaveev  said  in a report. "Since the DSP firmware h

Chinese Hackers Used Facebook to Hack Uighur Muslims Living Abroad

Chinese Hackers Used Facebook to Hack Uighur Muslims Living Abroad
Mar 25, 2021
Facebook may be banned in China, but the company on Wednesday said it has disrupted a network of bad actors using its platform to target the Uyghur community and lure them into downloading malicious software that would allow surveillance of their devices. "They targeted activists, journalists and dissidents predominantly among Uyghurs from Xinjiang in China primarily living abroad in Turkey, Kazakhstan, the United States, Syria, Australia, Canada and other countries," Facebook's Head of Cyber Espionage Investigations, Mike Dvilyanski, and Head of Security Policy, Nathaniel Gleicher,  said . "This group used various cyber espionage tactics to identify its targets and infect their devices with malware to enable surveillance." The social media giant said the "well-resourced and persistent operation" aligned with a threat actor known as  Evil Eye  (or Earth Empusa), a China-based collective known for its history of espionage attacks against the Muslim m

Experts Find a Way to Learn What You're Typing During Video Calls

Experts Find a Way to Learn What You're Typing During Video Calls
Feb 23, 2021
A new attack framework aims to infer keystrokes typed by a target user at the opposite end of a video conference call by simply leveraging the video feed to correlate observable body movements to the text being typed. The research was undertaken by Mohd Sabra, and Murtuza Jadliwala from the University of Texas at San Antonio and Anindya Maiti from the University of Oklahoma, who say the attack can be extended beyond live video feeds to those streamed on YouTube and Twitch as long as a webcam's field-of-view captures the target user's visible upper body movements. "With the recent ubiquity of video capturing hardware embedded in many consumer electronics, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, the threat of information leakage through visual channel[s] has amplified," the researchers  said . "The adversary's goal is to utilize the observable upper body movements across all the recorded frames to infer the private text typed by the target." To ach

Here's How CIA Spies On Its Intelligence Liaison Partners Around the World

Here's How CIA Spies On Its Intelligence Liaison Partners Around the World
Aug 24, 2017
WikiLeaks has just published another Vault 7 leak, revealing how the CIA spies on their intelligence partners around the world, including FBI, DHS and the NSA, to covertly collect data from their systems. The CIA offers a biometric collection system—with predefined hardware, operating system, and software—to its intelligence liaison partners around the world that helps them voluntary share collected biometric data on their systems with each other. But since no agency share all of its collected biometric data with others, the Office of Technical Services (OTS) within CIA developed a tool to secretly exfiltrate data collections from their systems. Dubbed ExpressLane , the newly revealed CIA project details about the spying software that the CIA agents manually installs as part of a routine upgrade to the Biometric system. The leaked CIA documents reveal that the OTS officers, who maintain biometric collection systems installed at liaison services, visit their premises and se

CouchPotato: CIA Hacking Tool to Remotely Spy On Video Streams in Real-Time

CouchPotato: CIA Hacking Tool to Remotely Spy On Video Streams in Real-Time
Aug 10, 2017
After disclosing CIA's strategies to hijack and manipulate webcams and microphones to corrupt or delete recordings, WikiLeaks has now published another Vault 7 leak , revealing CIA's ability to spy on video streams remotely in real-time. Dubbed ' CouchPotato ,' document leaked from the CIA details how the CIA agents use a remote tool to stealthy collect RTSP/H.264 video streams. Real Time Streaming Protocol, or RTSP, is a network control protocol designed for use in entertainment and communication systems for controlling streaming media servers. CouchPotato gives CIA hackers ability to "collect either the stream as a video file (AVI) or capture still images (JPG) of frames from the stream that are of significant change from a previously captured frame," a leaked CIA manual reads. The tool utilises FFmpeg for video and image encoding and decoding and Real Time Streaming Protocol connectivity. The CouchPotato tool works stealthily without leaving

Source Code for CIA's Tool to Track Whistleblowers Leaked by Wikileaks

Source Code for CIA’s Tool to Track Whistleblowers Leaked by Wikileaks
Apr 28, 2017
Wikileaks has just published a new batch of the Vault 7 leak, exposing the documentation and source code for a CIA project known as "Scribbles." Scribbles, a.k.a. the "Snowden Stopper," is a piece of software allegedly designed to embed 'web beacon' tags into confidential documents, allowing the spying agency to track whistleblowers and foreign spies. Since March, as part of its "Vault 7" series, the Whistleblowing website has published thousands of documents and other confidential information that the whistleblower group claims came from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA itself described Scribbles as a "batch processing tool for pre-generating watermarks and inserting those watermarks into documents that are apparently being stolen by FIO (foreign intelligence officers) actors." Here's How Scribbles Tool Works: Scribbles is coded in C# programming language and generates a random watermark for each docu

7 Things That Happened After WikiLeaks Dumped The CIA Hacking Files

7 Things That Happened After WikiLeaks Dumped The CIA Hacking Files
Mar 10, 2017
This week WikiLeaks published "Vault 7" — a roughly 8,761 documents and files claiming to detail surveillance tools and tactics of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The leak outlined a broad range of flaws in smartphones and other devices that the agency uses to intercept communications and spy on its targets, making even China and Germany worried about the CIA's ability to hack all manner of devices. While WikiLeaks promised the "Vault 7" release is less than one percent of its 'Year Zero' disclosure, and there's more to come, we are here with some new developments on the CIA leak. But, before knowing about the latest developments in the CIA hacking tool leak, I would suggest you read my previous piece to know 10 important things about 'WikiLeaks-CIA Leak .' We believe the US intelligence agencies have access to much bigger technical resources and cyber capabilities than the leak exposed in the leak. The dump so far just

Hackers Are Using Android Malware To Spy On Israeli Military Personnel

Hackers Are Using Android Malware To Spy On Israeli Military Personnel
Feb 17, 2017
A group of highly sophisticated state-sponsored hackers is spying on the Israeli military by hacking into the personal Android phones of individual soldiers to monitor their activities and steal data. A newly released research by Lookout and Kaspersky suggests that more than 100 Israeli servicemen from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) are believed to have been targeted with spyware. Dubbed ViperRAT , the malware has specifically been designed to hijack Israeli soldiers' Android-based smartphones and remotely exfiltrate data of high value, including photos and audio recordings, directly from the compromised devices. Modus Operandi Identified According to the security firms, IDF personnel had been compromised by social engineering techniques — where the soldiers were lured via Facebook Messenger and other social networks into entering communications with hackers who posed as attractive women from various countries like Canada, Germany, and Switzerland. The soldiers were th

5-year-old Skype Backdoor Discovered — Mac OS X Users Urged to Update

5-year-old Skype Backdoor Discovered — Mac OS X Users Urged to Update
Dec 14, 2016
Those innocent-looking apps in your smartphone can secretly spy on your communications or could allow hackers to do so. Hard to believe, but it's true. Recently, Trustwave's SpiderLabs analysts discovered a hidden backdoor in Skype for Apple's macOS and Mac OS X operating systems that could be used to spy on users' communications without their knowledge. The backdoor actually resides in the desktop Application Programming Interface (API) that allows third-party plugins and apps to communicate with Microsoft-owned Skype — the popular video chat and messaging service. Appeared to have been around since at least 2010, the backdoor could allow any malicious third-party app to bypass authentication procedure and provide nearly complete access to Skype on Mac OS X. How an Attacker can Take Complete Control of Your Skype The malicious app could bypass authentication process if they "identified themselves as the program responsible for interfacing with th

Your Headphones Can Spy On You — Even If You Have Disabled Microphone

Your Headphones Can Spy On You — Even If You Have Disabled Microphone
Nov 23, 2016
Have you considered the possibility that someone could be watching you through your webcam? Or Listening to all your conversations through your laptop's microphone? Even a bit of thought about this probability could make you feel incredibly creepy. But most people think that they have a solution to these major issues i.e. simply covering their laptop's webcam and microphone with tape, just like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and FBI Director James Comey . But it's 2016, and a piece of tape won't help you, as a new experiment has proved that how easily hackers can turn your headphones into a microphone to spy on all your conversations in the background without your knowledge. A group of Israeli security researchers at Ben Gurion University have created a proof-of-concept code (malware) that converts typical headphones into microphones and then use them to record all your conversations in the room just like a fully-featured spying device. Speake(a)r Malware Weaponize

LinkedIn to get Banned in Russia for not Complying with Data Localization Law

LinkedIn to get Banned in Russia for not Complying with Data Localization Law
Oct 26, 2016
The world's largest online professional network LinkedIn could face a ban in Russia after the company has failed to comply with a Russian data localization law that compels companies to keep data on Russian users in their country. If you are not aware, LinkedIn is the only major social network which is not banned in China, because the company agreed to cooperate with the Chinese government and remove controversial content. However, LinkedIn could be the first social network in Russia to be blocked by the Russian state's federal media regulator, called Roskomnadzor, for not complying with the rules. In July 2014, the Russia approved amendments to the Russian Personal Data Law which came into force in 1st September 2015, under which foreign tech companies were required to store the personal data of its citizens within the country. However, Russia was not the first country to enforce such law on foreign tech companies. A few months ago, Iran also imposed new regulations
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