Wednesday, March 25, 2015

ISSWorld Conferences

ISS - Intelligence Support Systems for Lawful Interception

Today I saw a visit to my website from someone that seemed to be interested in Vupen. They landed on my page on ISSWorld Spnsors.

VUPEN were mentioned in an article by Glen Greenwald on the relationship between hackers and government agencies on his website The Intercept.

Vupen are a French security company that were cited as selling information that they find during their surveillance activities to Law Enforcement agencies. However, they claim not to share this information unless the countries and government agencies are "trusted".  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

TalkTalk and BT Telephone Scams

It appears that there is a resurgence in cold calls that are supposedly from Talk Talk or BT claiming that your computer or router is sending out errors. The caller will then try to fool you to grant them access to your computer. If you do you will soon find that you will be in bad shape and you will have a problem with your computer. The scam-artist with control of your computer can do pretty much as they wish including locking you out and definitely asking for a payment to let you back in and/or remove the viruses and malware that is sending out the errors.

I have documented this before with a company called Fast Heal. There are many others and they seem to originate from call centres in India or another Asian location. Other names that I have come across are Andrea International, BT support team, PC Experts and various people with the surname Watson.

The common theme is that the caller tries to convince the victim by showing the computer owner (Microsoft Windows in this case) messages generated by the Windows operating system in its normal operation. Eventviewer and TeamViewer also factor in this scam.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The ISC Report

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament makes some interesting points.

There is a claim that MI5 could have had a significant possibility to prevent the attack and murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby if they had access to the online exchange between Michael Adebowal and an extremist overseas at the time before the attack. They DID know, or claim to know about the exchange AFTER the attack - as far as I know nothing had changed before or after the attack with respect to the capabilities or the actual activities of the Security Agencies. So did they know? or didn't they know? It is also highly speculative (IMO) that they could have prevented the attack.

The quote:

However, others consider that liberty is most real where security also exists: if the internet is an ungoverned space it can also be a dangerous space, threatening the liberty of all. This was illustrated in this Committee’s Report into the intelligence relating to the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, in which we outlined how Michael Adebowale had expressed his desire to carry out his murderous terrorist attack in an online exchange with an extremist overseas. The Agencies did not have access to this exchange before the attack: had they had access to it at the time, there is a significant possibility that MI5 would have been able to prevent the attack.

The significant possibility that they could prevented the attack is highly dubious as it would seem that the Security Agencies have not had a good track record in this including terror attacks and school girls traveling to Syria.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The technical competence of politicians

The technical competence of politicians.

I wonder when I read and hear some of the arguments that politicians and world leaders make when it comes to technological matters related to security. I think that it is safe to say that they are not experts in this field and have to rely on those that are. However, there are those that are supposed to be these experts and are the key people in agencies such as GCHQ and the NSA who when interviewed show a similar lack of understanding of what capabilities the security services have and what they would like to be able to do.

This phenomenon is  not restricted to any one particular country or administration. In my case it is the governments of the UK and the US that are of primary interest. However I am also interested in what the Steven Harper government are suggesting that will keep the Canadian population and businesses safe from cyber criminals. This is minor to the pronouncements from the likes of David Cameron, Teressa May and those that claim to speak for the NSA and GCHQ.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Artificial Intelligence

Was woken in the twilight to a discussion on Artificial Intelligence - probably BBC World Service.

Similar to a lot of things you hear when you are half asleep there are some things that make sense others that are either too complex for you to understand or they are nonsense. I have no doubt that those that were being interviewed on the programme were experts in their fields but I am not so sure that teaching computers to think and the discussion of "Machine Learning" techniques does actually make any sense.

This was further compounded by an article on the BBC Morning programme where the merits and dangers of living with A.I. is going to be an issue in the near future. In both cases it seemed to me a case of putting the cart before the horse - A.I. is still a subject of science fiction in my mind (and I have worked in related fields and consider myself cognizant of such matters).