Nov 162012
 

By Eric Schmitt (NY Times)  David H. Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers on Friday that classified intelligence reports revealed that the deadly assault on the American diplomatic mission in Libya was a terrorist attack, but that the administration refrained from saying it suspected that the perpetrators of the attack were Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers to avoid tipping off the groups.

Mr. Petraeus, who resigned last week after admitting to an extramarital affair, said the names of groups suspected in the attack — including Al Qaeda’s franchise in North Africa and a local Libyan group, Ansar al-Shariah — were removed from the public explanation of the attack immediately after the assault to avoiding alerting the militants that American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were tracking them, lawmakers said.

via Petraeus Says U.S. Tried to Avoid Tipping Off Terrorists – NYTimes.com.

 November 16, 2012  Posted by at 9:19 pm Comments Off
Nov 102012
 

Never mind spies, Gmail reads everything you write so it can feed you the right ads.  –Jules Siegel

By Max Fisher (Washington Post) The beginning of the end came for CIA Director David Petraeus when Paula Broadwell, a younger married woman with whom he was having an affair, “or someone close to her had sought access to his email,” according to the Wall Street Journal’s description of an FBI probe. Associates of Petraeus had received “anonymous harassing emails” that were then traced to Broadwell, ABC’s Martha Raddatz reported, suggesting she may have found their names or addresses in his e-mail.

The e-mail account was apparently Petraeus’s personal Gmail, not his official CIA e-mail, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s still a big deal: Some of the most powerful foreign spy agencies in the world would love to have an opening, however small, into the personal e-mail account of the man who runs the United States’ spy service. The information could have proved of enormous value to foreign hackers, who already maintain a near-constant effort to access sensitive U.S. data.

If Petraeus allowed his Gmail security to be compromised even slightly, by widening access, sharing passwords or logging in from multiple addresses, it would have brought foreign spy agencies that much closer to a treasure trove of information.

via Why David Petraeus’s Gmail account is a national security issue.

 November 10, 2012  Posted by at 9:49 pm Comments Off
Nov 102012
 

(NY Times) My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) I have met with him on several occasions, and he has been gracious. (I doubt if he is aware of my knowledge.) I have watched the affair intensify over the last year, and I have also benefited from his generosity. He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure? Should I suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project I feel must succeed? Should I be “true to my heart” and walk away from the entire miserable situation and put the episode behind me? NAME WITHHELD

Read A Message From Beyond – NYTimes.com for their answer.

 November 10, 2012  Posted by at 3:03 pm Comments Off
May 272012
 

By Sergei Skorobogatov (Cambridge University) Claims were made by the intelligence agencies around the world, from MI5, NSA and IARPA, that silicon chips could be infected. We developed breakthrough silicon chip scanning technology to investigate these claims. We chose an American military chip that is highly secure with sophisticated encryption standard, manufactured in China. Our aim was to perform advanced code breaking and to see if there were any unexpected features on the chip.

We scanned the silicon chip in an affordable time and found a previously unknown backdoor inserted by the manufacturer. This backdoor has a key, which we were able to extract. If you use this key you can disable the chip or reprogram it at will, even if locked by the user with their own key.

This particular chip is prevalent in many systems from weapons, nuclear power plants to public transport. In other words, this backdoor access could be turned into an advanced Stuxnet weapon to attack potentially millions of systems.

via Latest news on my hardware security research.

 May 27, 2012  Posted by at 7:12 pm Comments Off
May 102010
 

Due to its claimed use in terrorism, possession of the Casio F91W watch was listed in Combatant Status Review Tribunal reports and other government documents as a reason for these detainees’ continued detention. The watch was popular all over the Moslem world because it had great prayer alert features. Among those listed:

Abdullah Kamel Abdullah Kamel Al Kandari

* Told his Tribunal he had no idea that the watch was associated with terrorism
* Told his Tribunal that the four Muslim chaplains at Guantanamo all wore this model of watch.
* Described the features of his watch that signal the call to prayers to a devout Muslim.
* Told his Tribunal if he had known Casio watches were tied to terrorism: “I would have thrown (the watch) away.”

    Read the rest: List of detainees accused of possessing Casio F91W watches – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

     May 10, 2010  Posted by at 1:19 pm 1 Response »