nsa Stories March 7

GOOG: 831.91

4.13

Wikileaks claims that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has a specialized unit within its Center for Cyber Intelligence that is devoted to developing and obtaining zero-day exploits for Android devices, in addition to one targeting Apple’s iOS. A zero-day exploit is one unknown to Google or security researchers, so cannot be protected against.

A similar unit targets Google’s Android which is used to run the majority of the world’s smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year. “Year Zero” shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 “weaponized” Android “zero days” which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.

The CIA is also said to have teams working on attacking Windows and Samsung TVs, ‘which are turned into covert microphones.’

Wikileaks further claims that the CIA recently ‘lost control’ of the majority of the malware it uses to attack devices …

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nsa Stories November 3, 2015

GOOG: 722.16

1.05

Edward Snowden, the famed leaker of many a confidential NSA document, clearly needs some kind of encrypted communication medium. Yesterday, he came out on Twitter to say that at least one of the apps he uses is called Signal every day. And it just so happens that the app, which has been available on the iPhone for quite a while, is now available for Android…. expand full story

Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

nsa Stories May 21, 2015

A multinational government group known as the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – the spy group comprising Canada, the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand – planned to hack Android phones by compromising both Google and Samsung app stores. The plan was revealed in newly-released Snowden files dating back to 2012, reports CBC News.

Five Eyes specifically sought ways to find and hijack data links to servers used by Google and Samsung’s mobile app stores [trying] to find ways to implant spyware on smartphones by intercepting the transmissions sent when downloading or updating apps.

The alliance planned to begin by analyzing traffic to the stores to identify the Internet usage habits of targets (such as which apps they used), but the ultimate goal was to plant spyware that would enable them to extract data from targeted smartphones, or even to take control of them …  expand full story

nsa Stories May 19, 2015

Google among those asking Obama to reject calls for government access to encrypted data

Google and Apple have co-signed a letter calling on President Obama to reject any government proposal to allow the government backdoor access to encrypted data on smartphones and other devices. The Washington Post says the letter, due to be delivered today, is signed by more than 140 tech companies, prominent technologists and civil society groups.

The signatories urge Obama to follow the group’s unanimous recommendation that the government should “fully support and not undermine efforts to create encryption standards” and not “in any way subvert, undermine, weaken or make vulnerable” commercial software.

The FBI has been pushing increasingly hard to require tech companies to build in backdoor access to their encryption systems to allow access by law enforcement, even going so far as to say that Apple could be responsible for the death of a child. a NY District Attorney has also cited public safety as justification for demanding access to encrypted data.

The letter calling on Obama to reject this argument is also signed by five members of a presidential review group appointed by Obama in 2013 to assess technology policies in the wake of leaks by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Many in the tech industry have pointed out that, aside from the obvious concerns over government intrusion into the private lives of its citizens, any backdoor used by the government could potentially be discovered and exploited by hackers and foreign governments.

nsa Stories May 8, 2015

Several Google executives held a question and answer session on Reddit today to address (and avoid) a variety of different topics. Perhaps most notably, the Google executives voiced their support for the federal appeals court ruling on Thursday that said bulk collection of telephone records by the NSA is not lawful.

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nsa Stories April 14, 2015

Prankster games Google Maps business listing to place Edward Snowden in the White House

A prankster has gamed the Google Maps business listing function to make it appear that NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden is resident in the White House.

Google said that the listing, first spotted by Marketing Landwas originally verified for a snowboard shop of that name elsewhere, with the location subsequently edited. Either the prankster or others have added reviews, one of which says that it’s a “great source of classified information.”

Google says that it has removed the listing, but it was still showing up (as above) in Google Maps at the time of writing.

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