Scores of low-flying planes circling American cities are part of a civilian air force operated by the FBI and obscured behind fictitious companies.
Experts traced at least 50 aircraft back to the FBI, and identified more than 100 flights in 11 states over a 30-day period since late April, orbiting both major cities and rural areas. For decades, the planes have provided support to FBI surveillance operations on the ground. But now the aircraft are equipped with high-tech cameras, and in rare circumstances, technology capable of tracking thousands of cellphones, raising questions about how these surveillance flights affect Americans' privacy.Read more
Major tech companies have urged President Obama not to give the FBI backdoor access to smartphone data. Security specialists and privacy groups stating that strong encryption is the cornerstone of the modern information economy's security.
All of the players feel that it's impossible to build a backdoor for governments in email, cellphone encryption and other communications without creating vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers or hostile nations. Obama previously said that while he's in favor of stronger encryption, the only concern is our law enforcement is expected to stop every (terrorist) plot.Read more
A computer security expert, who was recently detained and questioned by the FBI over his hack-a-plane joke on Twitter, had earlier revealed to the agency that he accessed aircraft control systems on up to 20 occasions.
The founder of One World Labs was detained for questioning and had his hardware confiscated in April by federal agents after exiting a United flight from Chicago to Syracuse, New York following his tweet suggesting he might attempt to hack into a flight’s entertainment system. The FBI addressed the tweet urgently and with great seriousness.Read more
The House overwhelmingly approved legislation to end the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records, exerting enormous pressure on the Senate majority leader, who insists that dragnet sweeps continue in defiance of many of those in his Republican Party.
Under the bipartisan bill, the Patriot Act would be changed to prohibit bulk collection by the National Security Agency of metadata charting telephone calls made by Americans. However, while the House version of the bill would take the government out of the collection business, it would not deny it access to the information.Read more
The US Justice Department has been covertly gathering and storing hundreds of millions of records about American motorists for a national database. The database can track the movements of vehicles across the country.
Government documents, as well as former and current government officials, confirmed to the Journal that the license plate-tracking program was initially used by the Drug Enforcement Administration to seize cars, money, and other assets associated with drug trafficking. Use of the database has grown, however, to include hunting for vehicles linked to other possible crimes, including kidnapping, killings, and rape.Read more
Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge.
WikiLeaks has written to Google’s executive chairman to protest that the search giant only revealed the warrants last month, having been served them in March 2012. In the letter, WikiLeaks says it is astonished and disturbed that Google waited more than two and a half years to notify its subscribers, potentially depriving them of their ability to protect their rights to privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches.Read more
The hacked are itching to hack back. So say a dozen security specialists and former law-enforcement officials, who described an intensifying and largely unspoken sense of unease inside many companies after the recent breach of Sony Pictures networks.
U.S. officials have shown little appetite to intervene as banks, retailers, casinos, power companies and manufacturers have been targeted by foreign-based hackers. Private-sector companies doing business in the USA have few clear options for striking back on their own. That has led a growing number of companies to push the limits of existing law to consider ways to break into hackers’ networks.Read more
The State Department's unclassified email network has been temporarily shut down to update security protocols in the wake of a suspected hacking attack that occurred in early October. A senior State Department official confirmed that the Department recently detected activity of concern in portions of its unclassified email system.
As a result of that incident the State Department scheduled an outage this weekend of some Internet systems to implement security improvements to its main unclassified network. The official said the shutdown has impacted some of the State Department's unclassified email traffic as well as access to some public web sites.Read more
When operation first came to light, it looked like a targeted strike against a few high value targets in the Dark Web drug trade. Now the full scope of that international law enforcement crackdown has been revealed, and it’s a scorched-earth purge of the Internet underground.
The European police agency Europol along with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security announced that the operation has now arrested people in as many countries and seized hundreds of Dark Web domains associated with well over a dozen black market websites. Just how law enforcement agents were able to locate the Dark Web sites despite their use of the Tor anonymity software remains a looming mystery.Read more
A cyberattack on federal security clearance contractor USIS, was unnoticed for months before it was revealed by the company and government agencies earlier this year.
Officials and others familiar with an FBI investigation and related official inquiries told that the breach, similar to previous hacker intrusions from China and cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in lost government contracts. In addition to trying to identify the perpetrators and evaluate the scale of the stolen material, the government inquiries have prompted concerns about why computer detection alarms inside the company failed to quickly notice the hackers.Read more