EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.08.13

Privacy and Security in the Age of Criminal Activity Perpetrated by the NSA, CIA, and FBI

Posted in GNU/Linux, Security, Windows at 2:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings became an “Enemy of the State” when he criticised the CIA/Pentagon

Summary: The importance of one’s privacy and personal security when lawlessness prevails, especially in the realms of shady agencies that are unaccountable and state-protected

LAST night I watched “Enemy of the State” together with my wife because it deals with the NSA, even 15 years ago (a lot of it is still very relevant). A great deal of the film may be hogwash (unrealistic scenarios and impossibilities, like one satellite hovering over the same point), but surveillance and bugging is something that the producers got quite right. Based on some statements [1], the US government wants less transparency for the NSA (no surprise there), perhaps because transparency helps reveal the government’w complicity in violation of the law which it’s supposed to defend. Here in Europe, the European Parliament, which was bugged by the NSA, is now learning from former spies. European developers sure developed an interest in privacy [3] because it’s becoming an important selling point for GNU/Linux and Free software.

“he NSA spies even on US allies, which really says a lot about the value of privacy in the digital age. It’s all about control.”The FBI turns out to have engaged in criminal activities like spreading malware in order to carry out surveillance again [4] (we gave more examples even years ago) and following suspicions and reports that the FBI harassed a journalist’s family while he (Michael Hastings) was preparing a report about the CIA and shortly before he died in a fiery car crash (his car was controlled by a microchip) we now learn about the risks of cyber attacks on cars, with whole a consortium being formed to deal with this issue [5]. Meanwhile, details surface about the NSA’s cyber attacks programme [6,7] (the NSA is a cyber criminal, in essence doing exactly what criminals do) and a former NSA CIO ridicules the security of systems all over the place [8] while new flaws in Windows emerge [9] which continue to remain unpatched.

What we can learn from all this is simple. The US government — through the secret agencies it harbours — is actively engaging in criminal activities such as cyber attacks. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but we should be prepared for the possibility of such attacks by making informed software choices (e.g. cars that are not driven by proprietary software, operating systems that are not proprietary, access restrictions and so forth).

40 years ago the CIA helped crush democracy in Chile, putting a tyrant in place and protecting his militant henchmen [10]. This is one example among many where not only the lives of individuals got compromised and even ended because of criminal activity from secret agencies; even the sovereignty of entire nations could be compromised. The NSA spies even on US allies, which really says a lot about the value of privacy in the digital age. It’s all about control. To achieve these spying capabilities, systems are being broken into, so it’s not about social engineering. The only route to security is inherently hardened systems. GNU/Linux is one notable option.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. U.S. gov’t argues tech companies should not be allowed to report data request figures

    The U.S. government doesn’t want Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and other major technology companies to disclose figures on how many requests it makes for user data.

  2. LIBE whistleblower hearing at the European Parliament

    This week I was invited to give a state­ment to the LIBE Com­mit­tee at the European Par­lia­ment about whis­tleblow­ing and the NSA mass sur­veil­lance scandal.

  3. Videos about the Freedombox project – for inspiration and learning
  4. FBI Admits It Controlled Tor Servers Behind Mass Malware Attack

    It wasn’t ever seriously in doubt, but the FBI yesterday acknowledged that it secretly took control of Freedom Hosting last July, days before the servers of the largest provider of ultra-anonymous hosting were found to be serving custom malware designed to identify visitors.

  5. Consortium plans to protect cars from cyber attacks

    As vehicles become increasingly dependent on embedded computers for functions such as engine timing, acceleration, braking, and in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), the risk of cyber attacks on cars is growing dramatically. With this in mind, Southwest Research Institute has formed the Automotive Consortium for Embedded Security (ACES), which will have an informal initial meeting on Oct. 23.

  6. How the NSA Thinks About Secrecy and Risk

    As I report in The Guardian today, the NSA has secret servers on the Internet that hack into other computers, codename FOXACID. These servers provide an excellent demonstration of how the NSA approaches risk management, and exposes flaws in how the agency thinks about the secrecy of its own programs.

  7. The NSA is Making Us All Less Safe

    Every casual Internet user, whether they know it or not, uses encryption daily. It’s the “s” in https and the little lock you see in your browser—signifying a secure connection—when you purchase something online, when you’re at your bank’s website or accessing your webmail, financial records, and medical records. Cryptography security is also essential in the computers in our cars, airplanes, houses and pockets.

  8. Former NSA CIO slams Fortune 100 companies’ security

    “It’s about looking at all the types of data you have got, assembling pictures and understanding what is happening and what has to stop.”

  9. Microsoft IE Zero-Day Flaw Exposure Widens

    There is still no official patch from Microsoft as weaponized exploits for Internet Explorer begin to appear, but there is a simple step that enterprise users can take to mitigate the risk.

  10. Chile shuts luxury jail for Pinochet henchmen
Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  2. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)



  3. Korean Press Slams Microsoft Over Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android as New Abuses Resurface

    Harsh words from the national press of South Korea as Nokia's role in Microsoft's anti-Linux tactics becomes more apparent



  4. More Good News About Patents and Their Demise in the United States

    A roundup of news about software patents and patent trolls in the land where these thrive



  5. Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  6. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  8. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  9. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  10. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  11. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  12. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  13. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  14. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  15. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  18. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  19. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  20. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  21. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  22. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  23. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  24. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  25. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  26. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  27. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  28. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  29. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  30. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts