10.08.13

Gemini version available ♊︎

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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 19/05/2022: Rust 1.61.0 and Lots of Security FUD

    Links for the day



  2. EPO Eating Its Own (and Robbing Its Own)

    António Campinos is lying to his staff and losing his temper when challenged about it; Like Benoît Battistelli, who ‘fixed’ this job for his banker buddy (despite a clear lack of qualifications and relevant experience), he’s just robbing the EPO’s staff (even pensioners!) and scrubbing the EPC for ill-gotten money, which is in turn illegally funneled into financialization schemes



  3. [Meme] EPO Budget Tanking?

    While the EPO‘s António Campinos incites people (and politicians) to break the law he’s also attacking, robbing, and lying to his own staff; thankfully, his staff isn’t gullible enough and some MEPs are sympathetic; soon to follow is a video and publication about the EPO’s systematic plunder (ETA midnight GMT)



  4. EPO.org (Official EPO Site) Continues to Promote Illegal Agenda and Exploit Ukraine for PR Stunts That Help Unaccountable Crooks

    epo.org has been turned into a non-stop propaganda machine of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos because the EPO routinely breaks the law; it’s rather tasteless that while Ukrainians are dying the EPO’s mob exploits Ukraine for PR purposes



  5. [Meme] EPO Applicants Unwittingly Fund the War on Ukraine

    As we’ve just shown, António Campinos is desperately trying to hide a massive EPO scandal



  6. EPO Virtue-Signalling on the Ukrainian Front

    António Campinos persists in attention-shifting dross and photo ops; none of that can change the verifiable facts about the EPO’s connections to Lukashenko’s 'science park' in Minsk



  7. Links 19/05/2022: PostgreSQL 15 Beta 1 and Plasma 5.25 Beta

    Links for the day



  8. A Libera.Chat Anniversary and Happy Birthday (Maybe the Last) to 'Leenode'

    What became known as the so-called ‘Leenode’ is a cautionary tale, but maybe it is also a blessing in disguise because IRC as a whole seem to have become a lot more decentralised (as everything should be)



  9. Links 19/05/2022: The Gradual Fall of Netflix/DRM

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 18, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 18, 2022



  11. Links 18/05/2022: Qt Company Loses Chief; OpenSUSE Leap Micro 5.2 and RHEL 9 Final

    Links for the day



  12. Jim Zemlin's Wife is Funded by Puppies (Microsoft)

    Jim Zemlin — like his wife — is bagging millions from Microsoft, but that’s clearly a conflict of interest for the Linux Foundation



  13. Links 18/05/2022: More Defections From WordPress to Gemini

    Links for the day



  14. Links 18/05/2022: PikaScript and cURL's Annual User Survey

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 17, 2022



  16. Phoronix: Microsoft and Phoronix Sponsor (and Close Microsoft Partner) AMD All Over the Place

    When you’re taking massive 'gifts' from AMD (and also some from Microsoft) maybe it’s not surprising that editorial decisions change somewhat…



  17. EPO Has No F-ing Oversight

    Earlier today SUEPO mentioned this new article demonstrating that EPO President António Campinos can very obviously and blatantly violate the Code of Conduct of the Office without facing any consequences; there are translations too, so the report is now available in four languages



  18. [Meme] Linux-Rejecting Foundation

    The Linux Foundation never really leads by example; by default, it uses proprietary software



  19. Linux Foundation Almost Never Uses Open Source

    The Linux Foundation uses proprietary software (look where they hire and take money from) and be sure they're probably not even aware of it



  20. Links 17/05/2022: Many More Games on GNU/Linux, YaST Development Report

    Links for the day



  21. Links 17/05/2022: Rocky Linux 8.6 and Budgie Desktop in Fedora

    Links for the day



  22. Patent Examiners Rising Up Against EPO Abuse

    Unhappy with the law-breaking autocracy (the EPO‘s management breaks the law as a matter of routine), fast-deteriorating working conditions and rapidly-decreasing quality of work (or lack of compliance with the law), workers have escalated further, topping off strikes and industrial actions with a large-scale petition



  23. [Meme] What Managers (Really) Mean by Acting Professionally

    The myth of 'professionalism' needs to die along with the façade of conformity as prerequisite for employment (Linus Torvalds can work just fine in a bathrobe in his own home)



  24. Internal Poll: 93% of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers Are Unhappy With the EPO

    On top of strike/s and industrial action/s there are now also petitions; at the EPO, almost all staff is "disgruntled" because of utterly corrupt and defunct leadership



  25. Links 17/05/2022: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Release Candidate

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, May 16, 2022



  27. Links 16/05/2022: FreeBSD 13.1 and Inkscape 1.2 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Archiving Latest Posts in Geminispace (Like a Dated Web Directory But for Gemini)

    Earlier today we saw several more people crossing over from the World Wide Web to Gemini; we're trying to make a decent aggregator and archive for the rapidly-expanding Geminispace, which will soon have 2,500 capsules that are known to Lupa alone



  29. Microsoft Vidal Does Not Want to Listen (USPTO is Just for Megacorporations)

    Microsoft Vidal knows her real bosses. They’re international corporations (multinationals like Microsoft), not American people.



  30. Links 16/05/2022: China Advances on GNU/Linux and Maui 2.1.2 is Out

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts