Hey Congress, This Is A Blackout

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It seems that someone has just had enough of laws with lovely names for the media, but with the devastating consequences for the already compromised privacy. All cyber-eyes are on Congress right now. What is going to happen with a few quite notorious surveillance laws?

Both Freedom and Patriotic Act, in the name of our freedom and rights, ask from us to give up our privacy more or less, directly or indirectly. On the other hand, there are more than 1,000 websites and even more people behind them, who strongly believe that the days of greatest dangers are gone.

We have seen all kinds of protests. Some of them were quite simple and obvious, while others were surprisingly creative and complex. Can you protest with a code? This is exactly what is happening right now. Some busy little bees have come up with a brilliant idea to “block” the Congress.

Here is the catch. All users working or “coming” from the Congress will not be able to access quite a few websites. The only thing they will be able to see is a blackout message. Will it work? Time will tell, and in the meantime, this blackout protest is spreading like a wildfire all over the Internet.

NGO vs NSA

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How many times have you wished to file a lawsuit against the bad boys in the black suits? Well, if you do not or cannot do as an individual, there are quite a few organizations that are willing to do your job. Let us mention some of the well-known names, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Is it possible to sue the NSA? Yes, apparently it is. Is it possible to win a case against the NSA? We shall have to wait and see. For what is worth, the mass surveillance program run by the NSA has obviously gone too far. Something needs to be done in order to win back our cyber freedom. What exactly?

Let us start with a lawsuit, which claims that the NSA with its spying and surveillance programs directly put a finger in both eyes of the first and the fourth US constitutional amendments. Somehow, we got an unpleasant feeling that this is going to be David against Goliath scenario. Are we right?

On the other hand, this lawsuit is more of a signal for the busy little cyber bees in the NSA to change or improve their spy programs, than a serious warning as we are hoping right now to be. Our fingers are crossed, that is for sure. At least we will show them that we are helpless, but not blind.

Talk To The Hand

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Here is one of the worst SF nightmares knocking at our doors, right now. More than 700 employees in one Swedish company are being offered with one extremely unusual and above all controversial choice. What do you say about an implant in your hand? Small and cozy microchip inside your own body.

These Swedish humans implant pioneers are not forced. At least, not for the time being. There is a recommendation from the manager’s level that these implants are supposed to ease their everyday’s working duties and use of machines. So, it is supposed to be a helpful and time saving tool.

Then, how come we are not convinced? Are we exaggerating or witnessing the first and most important manifestation of our brave, but bitter new future? We do not even dare to think what could happen to our already endangered and compromised privacy. Do we really need this 1984 scenario?

Is this supposed to improve our working efficiency or eliminate the last stronghold of our privacy? It just does not feel right, does it? What is going to happen to the workers, who refuse to comply with the new company’s implant policy? We were afraid, but this obviously happened too soon. Right?

The Sandworm Team

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As soon as you launch a political, military or an economic crisis, you can rest assured that an avalanche of speculation will inevitably follow. This is exactly what happened with the crisis in Ukraine. On the other side, the NATO and EU were dead worried about the Russian cyber answer in this matter.

This is how the iSight has published its findings about one of the most notorious Russian hacker group called the Sandworm Team. According to some serious rumors this group was directly supported and lead by the Russian secret agencies. There activities were focused primarily on the NATO, EU and Ukraine related structures.

On the other side, there were quite a few interesting information about these cyber shadow warriors from Russia definitely worth mentioning. These SF fans were able to exploit the security flaws in the Windows itself for their actions, which is an interesting thing to witness. So far, we have had the different roles.

Allegedly, the Western secret agencies such as the CIA or NSA were exploiting Windows bugs for spying on the Russian government officials. It seems that someone was quite capable of turning the Windows itself against its countrymen. The secret cyber war has already begun. All what we can see are only the consequences.

Public Interest – Private Security

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This year’s NATO summit passed under the blinding spotlights of the recent events in Ukraine. No wonder so many things associated with this organization went below the radars of our attention almost unnoticed. Yes, cyber boys and girls the NATO had enough time to discuss cyber security, as well.

Are you surprised or intrigued? Or both? The NATO Industry Cyber Partnership (NICP) has obviously decided to thoroughly change some things about its cyber security measures and structure itself. Well, when it comes to this one, we have two important questions to ask. Can you dare to make a wild guess?

The first one is naturally to examine the motivation for this “sudden” and surprising acknowledgment of cyber security’s importance. What went wrong? Or, maybe the NATO prepares itself for something huge. Russia or China, for example? The second question is definitely more important.

Why it has to be a private sector to handle these sensitive things on behalf of the NATO? What is happening with the top government agencies in this field? Should we be worried or flattered? Is this some kind of a recognition for a quality work or an indication of some new waves in the restless cyber sea?

The NSAnet

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DO you work in some of the government agencies such as the DEA or the FBI? Do you know what is the ICREACH? OK. Time for some explaining. This is one more of the Snowden’s lessons about the NSA. The ICREACH stands for the Intelligence Community Reach. What in the world is that?

Well, let us put it in this way. This is the NSA Internet, or to be even more precise a specific form of a social networks for secret agents. As soon as you access this network you get an immediate overview of literally billions and billions of extremely sensitive data. How convenient it is indeed. Impressed?

Or, stressed? So, the next time you want to experience the full scale privacy breach, use the NSA’s ICREACH. Nevertheless, the things are a little bit serious in this matter. Therefore, we will leave poems for some other occasion. If other agencies can access the NSA forbidden data kingdom, how about hackers?

Although, the NSA has locked the door and made the key copies for the limited number of users, who can guarantee us that there is no skilled locksmith with dishonest intentions on his mind. Someone, for example, who is listening this story first hand from the most famous whistleblower in history. You know who is that, don’t you?

Spying On A Spy?

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So, what do you think about this picture? This a nice looking Greenpeace and a bunch of other similar organizations and activists balloon, which is floating over the NSA’s data facilities in Bluffdale, Utah. Why? Well, to draw our attention with the simple sign: The NSA – Illegal Spying Bellow.

How can they do such a thing? Is it illegal? The NSA can call a couple of fighter jets to blow it away from the sky. Yet, here it flies, making itself to be an outstanding object for making fantastic pictures. Can this one change something or is it going to end up its purpose in annoying the NSA guys?

Well, this is hard to say for certain. The main thing is that we are talking and thinking about what the NSA is doing to and with us. And, hopefully something good will come out of it. So, this can easily turn out to be a balloon of hope. However, we should hold our horses with this one and be realistic.

It takes more than one balloon to teach some discipline the guys in the black suits from the NSA. And yet, there is a strong hope that the public pressure can be strong enough to really turn the tide one day. Until then, we will launch balloons, write letters, make movies, and something new you come up with.

FinSpy Don’t Cry For IOS

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The busy little bees from the Gamma Group has come up with an intriguing report. They have used something called the FinSpy to test the malware resistance strength of Android, IOS, BlackBerry, and some older versions of Windows Phone. The results? Well, they are both interesting and controversial.

It seems that the FinSpy was able to do its dirty work on all of these except the IOS. To be honest, even iPhone could not resist the true force of its malware dark side. However, this malware was able to penetrate iPhone’s only when it was in a so-called jailbreak mode. Intriguing enough, isn’t it?

On the other side, we do not want you to get the wrong impression that with an iPhone is nothing to worry about. The SpyFin is the legitimate cyber weapon used by the government agencies. Every iPhone has an open secret backdoor, which is more than enough to keep you restless about your privacy.

Our word of advice is, do not trust to results published by numerous surveys. Do not even trust your own smartphone. As a matter of fact, you should follow the golden NSA rule. If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about. It’s really that simple. For your own good, do not be stubborn about this one. Will you?

The Whistleblower On A Magazine Cover

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When you see Edward Snowden how firmly he holds the US flag close to his heart on the latest Wired Magazine cover, then you think or say or feel what exactly? For the US citizens and government this is an obvious case of bitter joke or inappropriate sense of humor. For the rest of us he will be a symbol.

Or, maybe a tragic figure who used a time machine to get to us from the ancient Greece. One thing is more than certain in this case. There are no chances for this one to become a win-win situation for him. We are very likely to witness a loose-and-then-loose-again situation for Edward Snowden.

Was it worth it? All these troubles and all this pain. This is a question only he knows an answer to. We have been awakened from a fake dream of flawless IT security and privacy, and there is no way back. The similar thing happened to Neo in The Matrix. Edward did not even ask us to choose between the red and blue pill.

He made a choice in our name. Eventually, he will also suffer consequences in our name. We will make a movie about him. Create a foundation with an annual reward carrying his name. What is there for him personally? Does he wish for a time machine while he reads the Wired Magazine at the Moscow airport?

The Cause Justifies The Means?

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Here is a tricky one. When you read something like this, you usually end up with a huge question mark on your face. It seems that the FBI has been using spying programs in order to collect information about users on several websites and forums with the alleged pedophile content.

This is how we get to the point that unjustified means are being used for the justified cause. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to probably know by now that the Internet has become the most popular hideaway place and sharing mean for all kinds of cyber pedophiles. The FBI is definitely not an exception in this case.

However, the use of unauthorized or even prohibited methods in fighting some of the most troubling forms of crime is a little bit problematic. We can argue as long as we like. Pro et contra argumentation between the two parties with the opposite points of view will probably confuse you even more.

We are not saying that some of the pedophiles with a criminal record should be granted with an opportunity to sue the FBI. On the other side, the FBI and similar agencies should not be discouraged in their rightful efforts. Some acceptable modus has to be introduced. But how? We are not quite sure about?