A new variant of mobile ransomware that encrypts the content of Android smartphones is putting a new spin on both how it communicates with its masters and how it spurs its victims into action.
The updated version of Simplocker masquerades on app stores and download pages as a legitimate application, and uses an open instant messaging protocol to connect to command and control servers. The malware requests administrative permissions to sink its hooks deep into Android. Once it's installed, it announces itself to some victims by telling them it was planted by the NSA — and to get their files back, they'll have to pay a fine.Read more
In order to obtain a copy of the NSA's main XKeyscore software, whose existence was first revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013, Germany's domestic intelligence agency agreed to hand over metadata of German citizens it spies on.
After 18 months of negotiations, the US and Germany signed an agreement in April 2013 that would allow the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution to obtain a copy of the NSA's most important program and to adopt it for the analysis of data gathered in Germany. This was a lower level of access compared to the non-US "Five Eyes" nations which had direct access to the main XKeyscore system.Read more
The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.
While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed NSA documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.Read more
China's cyber spies have accessed the private emails of "many" top Obama administration officials, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official and a top secret document obtained, and have been doing so since at least April 2010.
The email grab was detected in April 2010, according to a top secret NSA briefing from 2014. The intrusion into personal emails was still active at the time of the briefing and, according to the senior official, is still going on. In 2011, Google disclosed that the private gmail accounts of some U.S. officials had been compromised, but the briefing shows that private email accounts from other providers were compromised as well.Read more
Leaked e-mails from Hacking Team show that the company developed a piece of rugged hardware intended to attack computers and mobile devices via Wi-Fi.
The capability, marketed as part of the company's Remote Control System Galileo, was shown off to defense companies at the International Defense Exposition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, and it drew attention from a major defense contractor. But like all such collaborations, it may have gotten caught up in the companies' legal departments. Co-founder Marco Valleri outlined the roadmap for a number of Hacking Team's platforms, including its "Tactical Network Injector".Read more
The US National Security Agency undertook systematic mass surveillance of Japanese politicians, ministries and corporations over a number of years, according to recently published documents. The revelations come from whistleblowing organisation WikiLeaks, which released a list of top secret targets in Japan.
The most high-profile target listed in the "Target Tokyo" documents is the current Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, while corporations named include car-manufacturing giant Mitsubishi. The documents also reveal that the US bugged Japan's confidential G8 proposals on climate change, as well as spying on Japan's secret World Trade Organisation plan.Read more
The White House has rejected a petition to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, dubbing the former contractor’s revelations about the US government’s surveillance apparatus as “dangerous” and compromising to national security.
Responding to a “We the People” petition, launched after Snowden’s initial leaks were published two years ago, the Obama administration reiterated its belief that he should face criminal charges for his actions. The US government filed espionage charges against Snowden shortly after his revelations were made public. He has been living under asylum in Moscow, after fleeing the US for Hong Kong in the wake of the leaks.Read more
The Wikileaks website says it has evidence that a number of senior Brazilian government officials were routinely spied on by the National Security Agency in the United States. It says the NSA was particularly active in economic espionage against Brazil.
Wikileaks published a list of 29 phone numbers of Brazilians in banking, finance and the economy. According to the website the espionage apparently began in early 2011 or even earlier. President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a state visit to Washington two years ago when former CIA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that her phones and emails were being spied on.Read more
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the National Security Agency may temporarily resume its once-secret program that systematically collects records of Americans’ domestic phone calls in bulk.
But the American Civil Liberties Union said that it would ask the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which had ruled that the surveillance program was illegal, to issue an injunction to halt the program, setting up a potential conflict between the two courts. Congress revived that provision on June 2 with a bill called the USA Freedom Act, which said the provision could not be used for bulk collection after six months.Read more
The US National Security Agency spied on French Presidents in 2006-12, Wikileaks says. The whistleblower website cites top secret intelligence reports and technical documents from the NSA.
A French official said spying between allies was unacceptable. The US would not confirm the veracity of the documents. In 2013 the NSA was accused of spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Wikileaks said it began publishing the files under the heading "Espionnage Elysee" - a reference to the French presidential palace. It said the secret files derive from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications of the three French presidents.Read more