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. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  2. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  3. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  5. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  6. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  7. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  8. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  9. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  10. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  12. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  13. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  14. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  15. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  16. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  18. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  19. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  20. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  21. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court



  22. Letter Signed by Two German Officials Becomes a Microsoft Weapon of Propaganda

    Microsoft and its minions refuse to leave Munich alone, even though the vast majority in Munich are perfectly happy with Free/libre software



  23. Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

    Links for the day



  24. Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl Should Take Note as Russia -- Like China -- is in the Process of Banning Microsoft Windows for Security Reasons

    A look at a strange suggestion, signed by Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl, who suggest going back to Microsoft which is basically a spyware company now



  25. Microsoft Windows Leads to Espionage and Blackmail: Latest Examples

    Another news overview, detailing high-profile examples of high-cost Windows deployments (including the cost of litigation and settlement)



  26. Links 23/8/2015: BcacheFS Benchmarks, Blackphone 2

    Links for the day



  27. Links 22/8/2015: Chromebook Gains, GNOME 3.18 Clues

    Links for the day



  28. Alice v. CLS Bank (the Alice Case/§101) Continues to Crush Software Patents in the United States

    Patent scope in the United States continues to be narrowed down as more software patents get their wings clipped



  29. Company of Hype and 'Fanbois' Continues Its Patent Attacks on Android/Linux

    Apple's attacks on Android (using bogus patents) may be soon be escalated to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)



  30. EPO Corruption of Patent Boundaries: Business Methods and Algorithms Patented

    How the European Patent Office (EPO) not only turns a blind eye to European law while patenting or granting patents on software but also openly advocates this now


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