From Fort Russ
‘Not the Russians’: John McAfee talks hacking allegations, U.S. government surveillance, and cybersecurity with Larry King (VIDEO)
From RT, Politicking with Larry King
December 30, 2016
McAfee is no stranger to cybersecurity. As the developer of the first commercial antivirus program, he has been a major player in the industry for the past 50 years. He is also the CEO of MGT Capital Investments, and an outspoken former presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.
Based on all of his experience, McAfee does not believe that Russians were behind the hacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), John Podesta’s emails, and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. As he told RT, “if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians.”
The Joint Analysis Report from the FBI contains an appendix that lists hundreds of IP addresses that were supposedly “used by Russian civilian and military intelligence services.” While some of those IP addresses are from Russia, the majority are from all over the world, which means that the hackers constantly faked their location.
McAfee argues that the report is a “fallacy,” explaining that hackers can fake their location, their language, and any markers that could lead back to them. Any hacker who had the skills to hack into the DNC would also be able to hide their tracks, he said
“If I was the Chinese and I wanted to make it look like the Russians did it, I would use Russian language within the code, I would use Russian techniques of breaking into the organization,” McAfee said, adding that, in the end, “there simply is no way to assign a source for any attack.”
However, McAfee does see a problem with the National Security Agency (NSA) being able to listen in on every conversation and read every text message and email of every American. Rather than focusing on disrupting the bad guys in foreign countries, McAfee thinks that “all of that effort has been placed on a country that is afraid of its own citizens.”
He claims that the only way he has been able to fully block the NSA from infecting his phone with spyware is by using a flip-phone too old to be hacked. He even goes as far as to call the iPhone the “ultimate spy device.”
As for the future, McAfee’s biggest fear is that the role of the NSA will change under a President Donald Trump.
“Donald Trump wants the DOJ to head a national task force of law enforcement agencies to create our cybersecurity,” he says.
McAfee predicts that if President-elect Trump follows through with that intention, the FBI will end up heading the NSA, as they are the lead technologists within the DOJ.
McAfee thinks that idea is a recipe for disaster, warning “we don’t need one more attacker, that attacker being our own government.”
“Hotbeds of extremism”?: FBI’s new plan to spy on U.S. high school students
From Project Censored: The top censored stories of 2015-2016
14. FBI’s New Plan to Spy on High School Students across the Country
October 4, 2016
Under new guidelines issued in January 2016, the FBI is instructing high schools across the country to report students who criticize government policies and “western corruption” as potential future terrorists, Sarah Lazare reported for AlterNet. The new guidelines also warn that young people who are poor, are immigrants, or talk about travel to “suspicious” countries are more likely to commit violence. As Lazare wrote, the FBI’s “Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools” guidelines combine “McCarthy-era theories of radicalization”—in which authorities monitor thoughts and behaviors suspected of leading to acts of violent subversion—with elements of a “widely unpopular” and “deeply controversial” British surveillance program, known as Prevent, that monitors Muslim communities and individuals.
The new guidelines depict US high schools as “hotbeds of extremism,” Lazare summarized. Claiming that youth “possess inherent risk factors,” the FBI guidelines describe high school students as “ideal targets” for recruitment by violent extremists. Educational materials prepared by the FBI for schools indicate that activities ranging from using “unusual language” or “private messaging apps” and encryption (“going dark,” in FBI speak) to playing online games outside of school could indicate that “someone plans to commit violence.”
The guidelines draw on a conveyor belt theory of extremism, which contends that extreme ideas lead to violence, a model tracing back to “the first red scare in America, as well as J. Edgar Hoover’s crackdown on civil rights and anti-war activists,” Lazare wrote. As Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project told Lazare, by broadening the definition of violent extremism, “the FBI is policing students’ thoughts and trying to predict the future based on those thoughts.”
The guidelines “are almost certainly designed” to target Muslim-American students. “In its caution to avoid the appearance of discrimination,” Lazare wrote, “the agency identifies risk factors that are so broad and vague that virtually any young person could be deemed dangerous and worthy of surveillance.” Nonetheless, the guidelines’ repeated focus on “immigrant” and “diaspora” populations, as well as cultural and religious differences, reveal an underlying agenda. The FBI “consistently invokes an Islamic threat without naming it,” Lazare reported. Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror, about Islamophobia, told AlterNet, “In practice, schools seeking to implement this document will end up monitoring Muslim students disproportionately.”
Writing for Just Security, an online forum based at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law, Danielle Jefferis of the ACLU’s National Security Project reported that “the FBI’s request that school officials spy and report on students’ ideas and beliefs risks stifling curiosity and free expression, which corrupts the trust that should exist between teachers and students.” Though the FBI asserts that it does not want to limit students’ freedom of speech, the guidelines encourage school officials to identify students who “engage in communications indicating support for extreme ideologies” or who are “curious about” subject matter that could be deemed extreme.
In calling for schools to create threat assessment teams and to “enhance domain awareness,” the FBI engages in what Jefferis characterized as “fear mongering,” which “will almost assuredly ratchet up the pressure on school officials to go to law enforcement before seeking out alternatives.” This forces school principals with the false dilemma of choosing between keeping their schools safe or upholding students’ rights to freedom of expression and equal protection. Instead, Jefferis concluded, “Our kids are safer, and our communities are stronger, when we work to protect—not erode—our fundamental values and freedoms.”
Lazare’s AlterNet report was republished by Salon. PressTV, the Free Thought Project, MintPress News, and the Intercept subsequently ran stories on the FBI’s “Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools” guidelines, but US corporate news media appear not to have covered this story in any detail.
Sarah Lazare, “The FBI Has a New Plan to Spy on High School Students across the Country” AlterNet, March 2, 2016, http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/fbi-has-new-plan-spy-high-school-students-across-country.
Danielle Jefferis, “The FBI Wants Schools to Spy on Their Students’ Thoughts,” Just Security, March 11, 2016, https://www.justsecurity.org/29901/fbi-schools-spy-students-thoughts/.
Student Researcher: Brandy Miceli (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)
Pokeman Go: Self-surveillance for “fun”? Intel for the CIA/U.S. to entrap and overpower
Technology is the new poisoned apple. Was Steve Jobs’ logo a Freudian slip or the ultimate irony?
Beware. Remember the shiny beads and plague-infested blankets the U.S. government “gave” to Native American tribes. Theft and genocide was the goal then and now.
This is a modern day Trojan horse.
|American soldier catches Pokemon in Mosul, Iraq|
Sergey Kolyasnikov (@Zergulio)
Translated from Russian by Kristina Kharlova
Do you want me to tell you something about “Pokemon Go”?
I gave interviews on this subject three times, so I had to delve into English primary sources.
– Game developer: Niantic Labs. Google start-up. Google (lol) Google’s ties to Big Brother yourself, I will go a little deeper.
– Niantic was founded by John Hanke, who founded Keyhole, Inc. – a surface mapping project bought out by the same Google used to create Google-Maps, Google-Earth, Google Streets.
– And now, attention, watch the hands! Keyhole, Inc was sponsored by a venture capital In-Q-Tel, a CIA foundation officially established in 1999.
The above-mentioned applications solved important challenges:
– Updating surface mapping of the planet, including roads, bases and so on. Once such maps were considered strategic and confidential. Civil maps had purposeful errors.
– Google Streets robot-vehicles looked in all the alleys, mapping our cities, cars, faces…
There was one problem. How to peek into our homes, basements, tree-lined avenues, barracks, government offices and so on, down the list?
And what do you think? The same shop Niantic Labs releases a genius viral toy, with the latest virtual reality technology.
Once you download the app and give it the appropriate permissions (to access to camera, microphone, gyroscope, GPS, connected devices, including USB, etc.), and your phone immediately vibrates, informing about the presence of the first three pokémons! (The first three always appear immediately and nearby).
The game requires you to shoot from all sides, happily rewarding you with success, at the same time obtaining a photo of the room where you are located, including the coordinates and phone’s angle.
Congratulations! You have just recorded images of your apartment! Should I explain further?
By the way, installing the game you agree to the terms. And it is not simple. Niantic officially warns you: “We cooperate with government agencies and private companies. We may disclose any information about you or your child…”. But who is reading?
And there is paragraph 6: “Our program does not have the ability to allow your browser’s “Do not track” option, (“Don’t spy on me”). In other words – they spied on you and will spy.
So, in addition to voluntary and joyful mapping of everything, other fun opportunities present themselves.
For example, if someone wants to know what is being done in the building, say, of the State Duma? And phones of dozens of deputies, cleaners, journalists vibrate: “Pikachu is close!!!”. And happy citizens will grab their smartphones, activating cameras, microphones, GPS, gyroscopes… spinning in place, staring at the screen, sending the video through online waves…
Bingo! The world had again changed, the world is different.
Welcome to a new era.
Surveillance Valley: Why Google is eager to align itself with America’s military-industrial complex
It is surprising how many people still use gmail, including those involved in community advocacy and social and environmental issues. All data can be taken, and all email recipients recorded with data archives created. This puts everyone at such risk.
Other writers have reported how the U.S. government sends “relevant” information to private companies and industries, like the fracking industry, to thwart protests, etc. There are many other email services, including encrypted ones like Start Mail, that are far better choices.
By Yasha Levine / AlterNet
March 1, 2015
Is it wise for us to hand over the contents of our private lives to private companies?
The following is an excerpt from Yasha Levine’s ongoing investigative project, Surveillance Valley, which you can help support on KickStarter.
Oakland, California: On February 18, 2014, several hundred privacy, labor, civil rights activists packed Oakland’s city hall.
It was a rowdy crowd, and there was a heavy police presence. The people were there to protest the construction of a citywide surveillance center that would turn a firehouse in downtown Oakland into a high-tech intelligence hub straight out of Mission Impossible — a federally funded project that linking up real time audio and video feeds from thousands of sensors across the city into one high-tech control hub, where analysts could pipe the data through face recognition software and enrich its intelligence with data coming in from local, state and federal government and law enforcement agencies.
Residents’ anger at the fusion surveillance center was intensified by a set of internal documents showing that city officials were more interested in using the surveillance center monitor political protests rather than fighting crime: keeping tabs on activists, monitoring non-violent political protests and tracking union organizing that might shut down the Port of Oakland. It was an incendiary find — especially in Oakland, a city with a large marginalized black population, a strong union presence and a long, ugly history of police brutality aimed at minority groups and political activists.
But buried deep in the thousands of pages of planning documents was another disturbing detail. Emails that showed Google — the largest and most powerful corporation in Silicon Valley — was among several other defense contractors vying for a piece of Oakland’s $11 million surveillance contract. What was Google doing there? What could a company known for superior search and cute doodles offer a controversial surveillance center?
Turns out, a lot.
Nemtsov spent his last day under close surveillance by the killers
Posted on Fort Russ
The investigators have reconstructed the big picture ofNemtsov’s murder
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
While the investigators are working on theories concerning possible organizers of the murder, the investigation was able to reconstruct the full picture of the murder. The preparations took an entire day, during which Nemtsov was trailed by several cars. Nemtsov was likely able to see the face of the killer, who came out of hiding in front of both Nemtsov and Duritskaya, then turned around and opened fire once the two passed him.
Law enforcement sources say that the surveillance was conducted by three cars who have exchanged places six times during the day at various stages of Nemtsov’s and Duritskaya’s travel. The investigation was able to establish this using the Potok surveillance camera system video.
Nemtsov picked up Duritskaya at the Sheremetyevo airport around 11 a.m. on February 27. Already then their Range Rover was being followed by a Chevrolet. It followed Nemtsov’s car almost until Moscow, where it was replaced by the next car. The second car followed Nemtsov almost to his home on Malaya Ordinka.
In the evening, the criminals “accompanied” Nemtsov to the GUM where they saw him dismiss his chauffeur. Then it became clear that he would be returning on foot to his apartment on Malaya Ordynka. The external surveillance established over Nemtsov then gave the killer group to occupy their positions when Boris and Anna left Bosco Café around 23:22.
The car in which both the killer and his driver were sitting was parked on a side street. It made a U-turn around 23:29 under the Bolshoy Moskvoretskiy bridge, slowly approached the stairs, where the killer got out of the car. By that time Nemtsov and Duritskaya were already on the bridge. The killer waited for them on the stairs. He came out in front of them, pass them, then turned around and at 23:31 he shot Nemtsov in the back six times. Four of the bullets struck him, one of them struck Nemtsov’s heart and killed him.
By that time the car which was supposed to pick up the killer had already reached the crime scene. The killer only had to run out into the street and sit in the front passenger seat. Part of the killer’s vehicle route after departing the crime scene was reconstructed using video surveillance recordings.
J.Hawk’s Comment: So it would seem the operation involved at least three cars and at least six individuals (counting the surveillance team that kept tabs on Nemtsov at the GUM). It really seems like too much of a coincidence that Duritskaya came to see him just when he was clearly being targeted for assassination which evidently was supposed to have happened on that or next day, and preferably somewhere close to the Kremlin. The description of the surveillance does suggest the people in question knew what they were doing.
Since Nemtsov was theoretically able to see who the killer was, so was presumably Duritskaya who after all walked right next to him all this time. The description of the events above contradicts what Duritskaya is reported to have said, namely that she did not see the killer because he shot Nemtsov from behind. At no point did Duritskaya indicate the shooter was ever in front of them.
Huge spy program exposed: NSA has hidden software in hard drives around the world
From Business Insider, February 16, 2015
by Joseph Menn, Reuters
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.
That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.
Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen, and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said.
The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyberweapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence on behalf of the United States.
A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the intelligence agency valued these spying programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it.
NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines declined to comment.
Kaspersky published the technical details of its research on Monday, which should help infected institutions detect the spying programs, some of which trace back as far as 2001.
The disclosure could further hurt the NSA’s surveillance abilities, already damaged by massive leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden’s revelations have hurt the United States’ relations with some allies and slowed the sales of U.S. technology products abroad.
The exposure of these new spying tools could lead to greater backlash against Western technology, particularly in countries such as China, which is already drafting regulations that would require most bank technology suppliers to proffer copies of their software code for inspection.
Peter Swire, one of five members of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, said the Kaspersky report showed that it is essential for the country to consider the possible impact on trade and diplomatic relations before deciding to use its knowledge of software flaws for intelligence gathering.
“There can be serious negative effects on other U.S. interests,” Swire said.
According to Kaspersky, the spies made a technological breakthrough by figuring out how to lodge malicious software in the obscure code called firmware that launches every time a computer is turned on.
Disk drive firmware is viewed by spies and cybersecurity experts as the second-most valuable real estate on a PC for a hacker, second only to the BIOS code invoked automatically as a computer boots up.
“The hardware will be able to infect the computer over and over,” lead Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu said in an interview.
Though the leaders of the still-active espionage campaign could have taken control of thousands of PCs, giving them the ability to steal files or eavesdrop on anything they wanted, the spies were selective and only established full remote control over machines belonging to the most desirable foreign targets, according to Raiu. He said Kaspersky found only a few especially high-value computers with the hard-drive infections.
Kaspersky’s reconstructions of the spying programs show that they could work in disk drives sold by more than a dozen companies, comprising essentially the entire market. They include Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, IBM, Micron, and Samsung.
Western Digital, Seagate and Micron said they had no knowledge of these spying programs. Toshiba and Samsung declined to comment. IBM did not respond to requests for comment.
GETTING THE SOURCE CODE
Raiu said the authors of the spying programs must have had access to the proprietary source code that directs the actions of the hard drives. That code can serve as a roadmap to vulnerabilities, allowing those who study it to launch attacks much more easily.
“There is zero chance that someone could rewrite the [hard drive] operating system using public information,” Raiu said.
Concerns about access to source code flared after a series of high-profile cyberattacks on Google Inc and other U.S. companies in 2009 that were blamed on China. Investigators have said they found evidence that the hackers gained access to source code from several big U.S. tech and defense companies.
It is not clear how the NSA may have obtained the hard drives’ source code. Western Digital spokesman Steve Shattuck said the company “has not provided its source code to government agencies.” The other hard drive makers would not say if they had shared their source code with the NSA.
Seagate spokesman Clive Over said it has “secure measures to prevent tampering or reverse engineering of its firmware and other technologies.” Micron spokesman Daniel Francisco said the company took the security of its products seriously and “we are not aware of any instances of foreign code.”
According to former intelligence operatives, the NSA has multiple ways of obtaining source code from tech companies, including asking directly and posing as a software developer. If a company wants to sell products to the Pentagon or another sensitive U.S. agency, the government can request a security audit to make sure the source code is safe.
“They don’t admit it, but they do say, ‘We’re going to do an evaluation, we need the source code,'” said Vincent Liu, a partner at security consulting firm Bishop Fox and former NSA analyst. “It’s usually the NSA doing the evaluation, and it’s a pretty small leap to say they’re going to keep that source code.”
Kaspersky called the authors of the spying program “the Equation group,” named after their embrace of complex encryption formulas.
The group used a variety of means to spread other spying programs, such as by compromising jihadist websites, infecting USB sticks and CDs, and developing a self-spreading computer worm called Fanny, Kaspersky said.
Fanny was like Stuxnet in that it exploited two of the same undisclosed software flaws, known as “zero days,” which strongly suggested collaboration by the authors, Raiu said. He added that it was “quite possible” that the Equation group used Fanny to scout out targets for Stuxnet in Iran and spread the virus.
(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Business Insider)
This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2015.
Used under Fair Use Rules.