” Just because you turned off your phone doesn’t mean the NSA isn’t using it to spy on you.
Edward Snowden’s latest revelation about the NSA’s snooping inspired an extra dose of shock and disbelief when he said the agency’s hackers can use a mobile phone as a bug even after it’s been turned off. The whistleblower made that eye-opening claim when Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News, holding his iPhone aloft during last Wednesday’s interview, asked, “What can the NSA do with this device if they want to get into my life? Can anyone turn it on remotely if it’s off? Can they turn on apps?
“ They can absolutely turn them on with the power turned off to the device,” Snowden replied.
Snowden didn’t offer any details on this seemingly magical feat. But a group of particularly cunning iPhone hackers say it’s possible. They also say you can totally and completely turn off your iPhone so no one—not even the NSA—can use it to spy on you.”
Learn mored at Wired
” It’s the age-old problem of deciding where to store your valuables at the beach while enjoying a day-time snooze or a dip in the sea.
However, an entrepreneur has invented a unique locker that can screw into the sand and hold personal items such as purses, mobile phones, small tablets and money.”
” Marcal DaCunha’s Beach Vault, which is expected to retail for £18, is closed by a special waterproof lid to stop any liquid seeping inside, and then covered by a towel and pillowcase.”
” DaCunha, a church pastor from New Jersey in the US, said: ‘The whole thing started when my wife, Krystal, and I were travelling back from the beach.
‘ She said “What if we had a container you could put underneath your towel that could hide all of your stuff?”
‘The idea was that if you were lying on the towel and you fell asleep you wouldn’t have to worry about watching your stuff or trying to keep hold of it while closing your eyes.
‘ We spoke about it and spent a while making prototypes and coming up with ideas and we have now worked with engineers to come up with the Beach Vault.”
” We’re living in a crazy world,” Karl Martin says, “where, to prove who we are to our computers, we have to remember a long string of letters and numbers.”
Martin, the chief executive of the biometric identity startup Bionym, is only half right. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has given up actually remembering my passwords and outsourced the job to a password manager. (Current tally: 112 separate strings of letters and numbers.) Experts agree that the only reliable way to secure a password is to memorize it so there is no record. But, really. Come on.
Bionym is hoping to shape a more sensible and intuitive way of proving your identity to devices, databases, and financial instruments. In the fall, Bionym will release the Nymi, a wristband that replaces conventional passwords with a reading of a person’s electrocardiogram pattern.
But Bionym is dreaming bigger. One day, the Nymi could turn out the lights when you leave the house, lock the front door, start your car with a gesture, help a restaurant remember your name, then let you pay for your meal — all with empty pockets.
The Nymi has competition for the role in that future scenario. One contender is a small black fob called the AxisKey, made by Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based Sonavation, that uses ultrasound to authenticate a person. The device is expected to go on sale in mid-June.”
” When it comes to tracking the cost of Obama family vacations there are two primary challenges. First, the Obamas are prolific jet-setters, so there are many details to track. And second, the Obama administration, clearly embarrassed by these lavish and frequent family vacations, stonewalls the release of records at every turn.
But we have been relentless in pursuit of this information. Our attorneys file the lawsuits and make our case, and our investigators pour through pages of records and crunch the numbers. And the information we’ve uncovered – information that would otherwise remain under lock and key – shows that the Obamas have a disturbing lack of regard for taxpayer resources.
Most recently, when reviewing the Obama family travel log, Judicial Watch recently obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealing that President Obama’s June 2013 trip to Belfast, Ireland, including a Dublin sightseeing side trip by Michelle Obama, her daughters, and her entourage, cost the taxpayers $7,921,638.66. (Per usual, and owing to the enormous public interest in Michelle Obama’s luxury travel, our discovery earned quite a bit of press coverage.)
Here’s the breakdown from the two agencies.
- According to the Department of Air Force documents, the flights to, from, and around Ireland for the June 17 – 19, 2013 trip totaled 33.6 hours at $228,288 an hour, which comes to a flight expense alone of $7,670,476.80 (These records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information lawsuit filed on January 13, 2014.)
- According to the DHS documents, the total cost for “security and/or other services” for the Dublin side-trip by Michelle Obama and her entourage was $251,161.86, including $55,004.85 at the Shelbourne Hotel and $70,855.44 at the Westbury Hotel. Vehicle rental charges were $114,721. (These records also came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information lawsuit filed on January 13, 2014.)
Now I can hear the White House’s defense. This was a business trip. It’s all about diplomatic relations, etc., etc. And while this might at times be true for the president, it is certainly not true for the other members of the First Family.”
” We are all besieged daily by bad news. It is easy to become depressed about the present state of the nation, but there is some very good news as well.
This is not to say there aren’t legitimate problems and concerns. The last two elections put a President in office that lies all the time. The nation’s economy has been so awful that 100 million Americans are either out of work or have ceased looking for work. Democrat political leaders are actually telling Americans that being unemployed is a good thing because it leaves them free to pursue their hobbies.
The President has been pursuing a campaign to make Americans believe that there is massive income inequality when, in fact, there is relatively little. There has always been a very wealthy class and a very poor one. What there is, however, is a loss of wealth primarily in the Middle Class. As for poverty, America has long provided income mobility to those who wish to study and work hard to improve their status.
What is rarely addressed is the seething power of American entrepreneurship which, at present, is trapped by a largely socialist federal government imposing a mountain of regulations that thwart growth and take money from the private sector that would otherwise be invested in the creation or expansion of business and industry nationwide.
Americans have repeatedly suffered, survived, and overcome financial crises to come back to build the greatest economy in the world. Part of the reason for this are the long established values that Americans of every description embrace.
That is why Wayne Baker’s new book, “United America: The Surprising truth about American values, American identity and the 10 beliefs that a large majority of Americans hold dear” is a welcome review that the author’s extensive research confirms.
The beliefs are:
- Respect for others
- Symbolic patriotism
- Self-Reliance & Individualism
- Equal Opportunity
- Getting ahead
- Pursuit of happiness
- Justice & Fairness
- Critical patriotism “
Division is the tool of tyrants and their lackies in the MSM . Contrary to the endless attempts by our current rulers to foment class warfare we are more united in our core beliefs than the common media memes would have you believe .
A company from Virginia that specializes in hidden tactical storage for your firearms has come up with a new item(s) that are due to ship this month . Tactical Walls.com is a family owned and operated business in the beautiful Shenandoah valley .
” The founder, Tim Matter, is a husband and father. After four years of active duty in the USAF where he served as a crew chief on F-16′s, he attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia where he received a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design. He enjoys, creating and designing, as well as shooting, and riding motorcycles. He loves to make people laugh, and he is always working on some new project. In addition to running TACTICAL WALLS, he is still a full-time designer in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Several weekends out of the year he can be found instructing high performance riding techniques at Cornerspin in North Carolina. He always seems to be on the go, but you can easily get in touch with him here, he’d love to talk with you. (He LOVES to talk!). “
They offer a nice line of hidden storage units that are 100% American made and very reasonably priced , but what really caught our eye is the new Tactical Shelf unit that they are just now bringing to market .
The Tactical Shelf is available in two models , the larger (above) that will hold a rifle/shotgun and pistol(s) and a smaller unit that will hold a couple of handguns . Here are the specs for the larger unit which sells for $380.00 :
” Our 1242 RLS (Rifle Length Shelf) is handmade right here in the United States! This product is an elegant storage solution for handguns and accessories. Comes standard in black with cherry finished wooden shelf. Includes: (1) 1242 RLS Shelf, (2) Magnetic Keys, (1) 42”x12”x1.5” Customizable Foam Pad, Mounting Hardware.
This is currently available for preorder and will ship in February. Shipping is completely FREE for all preordered items.”
The 825 PLS – Pistol Length Shelf sells for $280.00 and looks like this :
In addition to the tactical shelves they offer a range of other decorative firearm storage solutions to choose from including the wall unit described in the video below .
These units look like just the ticket to keep your guns safe and handy while at the same time placating your partner’s decorating sensibilities . Learn more at TacticalWalls.com and see more at their YouTube channel .
” David Kennedy, the hacking expert that shook the country this week with his congressional testimony about the security failures of HealthCare.gov, explained Sunday how he was able to penetrate the site.
“ There’s a technique called, what we call ‘passive reconnaissance,’” Kennedy explained to “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, “which allows us to query and look at how the website operates and performs.”
“ And these type of attacks that I’m mentioning here, and the 70,000 [personal records Kennedy found] that you’re referencing, is very easy to do,” Kennedy continued. “It’s a rudimentary type attack that doesn’t actually attack the website itself. It extracts information from it without actually having to go into the system.” “
” Security researcher builds grenade in under 8 minutes using items available in airport terminal.All materials required to build this weapons were purchased in an airport AFTER the security screening.”
This is a profoundly disturbing video .
” Security experts have warned the notorious Stuxnet malware has likely infected numerous power plants outside of Russia and Iran.
Experts from FireEye and F-Secure told V3 the nature of Stuxnet means it is likely many power plants have fallen victim to the malware, when asked about comments made by security expert Eugene Kaspersky claiming at least one Russian nuclear plant has already been infected.
“[The member of staff told us] their nuclear plant network, which was disconnected from the internet [...] was badly infected by Stuxnet,” Kaspersky said during a speech at Press Club 2013.
Stuxnet is sabotage-focused malware that was originally caught targeting Windows systems in Iranian nuclear facilities in 2010. The malware is believed to originally have been designed to target only the Iranian nuclear industry, but subsequently managed to spread itself in unforeseen ways.
F-Secure security analyst Sean Sullivan told V3 Stuxnet’s unpredictable nature means it has likely spread to other facilities outside of the plant mentioned by Kaspersky.
“It didn’t spread via the internet. It spread outside of its target due to a bug and so it started traveling via USB. Given the community targeted, I would not be surprised if other countries had nuclear plants with infected PCs,” he said.”
Here is a very thorough and detailed article for those readers interested in learning more about the history of Stuxnet .
” Computer cables snake across the floor. Cryptic flowcharts are scrawled across various whiteboards adorning the walls. A life-size Batman doll stands in the hall. This office might seem no different than any other geeky workplace, but in fact it’s the front line of a war—a cyberwar, where most battles play out not in remote jungles or deserts but in suburban office parks like this one. As a senior researcher for Kaspersky Lab, a leading computer security firm based in Moscow, Roel Schouwenberg spends his days (and many nights) here at the lab’s U.S. headquarters in Woburn, Mass., battling the most insidious digital weapons ever, capable of crippling water supplies, power plants, banks, and the very infrastructure that once seemed invulnerable to attack.
Recognition of such threats exploded in June 2010 with the discovery of Stuxnet, a 500-kilobyte computer worm that infected the software of at least 14 industrial sites in Iran, including a uranium-enrichment plant. Although a computer virus relies on an unwitting victim to install it, a worm spreads on its own, often over a computer network.
This worm was an unprecedentedly masterful and malicious piece of code that attacked in three phases. First, it targeted Microsoft Windows machines and networks, repeatedly replicating itself. Then it sought out Siemens Step7 software, which is also Windows-based and used to program industrial control systems that operate equipment, such as centrifuges. Finally, it compromised the programmable logic controllers. The worm’s authors could thus spy on the industrial systems and even cause the fast-spinning centrifuges to tear themselves apart, unbeknownst to the human operators at the plant. (Iran has not confirmed reports that Stuxnet destroyed some of its centrifuges.)”
Further reading :
” The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said ObamaCare’s Web site, already a tangled mess, might need to be rebuilt from scratch to to protect against cyber-thieves because he fears it’s not a safe place right now for health-care consumers to deposit their personal information.
“ I know that they’ve called in another private entity to try to help with the security of it. The problem is, they may have to redesign the entire system,” Rep. Mike Rogers said on Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” political talk show. “The way the system is designed, it is not secure.” “
“People are under the impression that the Internet is sort of anonymous by default,” says Karen Reilly, development director of the Tor Project. “They don’t know how many digital trails they’re leaving behind.”
“There’s a lot of everyday reasons why people would use Tor,” Reilly says. “You don’t necessarily have to be somebody who’s under a particular threat to want privacy.” Among the half million people who use Tor include victims of violence, people with medical conditions, people who don’t trust their Internet service provider, and those who object to government surveillance on principle.”
” The NSA, through secret court orders served to U.S. telecommunications firms, scoops up metadata relating to almost all calls made into and within the U.S., which it can later query as part of a terror investigation. U.S. officials say that kind of work, in concert with other techniques, has helped thwart “dozens” of terrorist plots in the U.S. and overseas. Critics charge it represents an invasion of privacy.
The typical smartphone user can give off a total of nearly 100 pieces of highly technical data through calls, texts and other activities, according to research by Tracy Ann Kosa, a digital-privacy expert at the University of Ontario. This information includes the time that phones make contact with cellphone towers, the direction of the tower with respect to the phone and the signal strength at the time.
Ms. Kosa said much of the data is “insignificant on its own.” But “every little piece counts,” she said. “Think of it like footsteps—or calories.” “
” How complicit are tech companies in the National Security Agency’s massive spying scheme? They certainly bear some responsibility, but the rules under which the surveillance is conducted make it unclear — perhaps deliberately — the extent to which companies have resisted or folded, and also limit the channels available to the more privacy-minded to put up a fight.
News reports make it clear that many companies not only cooperated with the NSA, but even modified their systems to allow government spooks easier access to data. Others are known to have been less willing to make life easy for snoops.
Make no mistake, even the Twitters of the world are required to surrender information about their users when ordered to do so under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. And, they are forbidden to tell targeted users, civil liberties advocates or the public at large anything about such orders. Resistant companies can appeal, but only through the secretive process allowed them by the law. And we know that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved all but one of the 1,856 surveillance requests it received in 2012. One was withdrawn. None were disapproved. So, even the most privacy-minded tech executives have limited options when it comes to protecting their cutomers’ information.
U.S. Internet companies that want to resist government demands to hand over customer data for intelligence investigations have few legal options, due to the classified nature of such probes and a court review process shrouded in secrecy.
Some of the complaints about government pressure from business executives are, no doubt, sincere. But take them all with a grain of salt.”
” On Wednesday, at least three State Department employees will testify before the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Benghazi. They are expected to say that yes, there was a stand-down order during the battle. They may also testify that the State Department itself has tried to bully them into silence. What else they may say is not yet known.
As the Benghazi story has unfolded, many mysteries have persisted. Why wasn’t the Benghazi mission’s security enhanced? Where was President Obama? What role, if any, did Obama campaign officials play in crafting the government’s communications after the attack? Perhaps Wednesday’s witnesses can help shed some light on them.”
” In the aftermath of 9/11 and the run-up to the Iraq war, the Bush administration raised the specter of terrorists using weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Indeed, then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice made the case for toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime by ominously stating, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
Yet, the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon is a tragic reminder that the more likely terrorist threat has been (and will continue to be) old-fashioned explosives — otherwise known as improvised explosive devices or IEDs.
And unlike WMDs, IEDs are relatively cheap and easy. McVeigh’s truck bomb is estimated to have cost him $5,000 for the truck and all the materials. Backpack IEDs probably cost a few hundred dollars, if that. None of the component parts needed to build an IED are illegal (the Boston backpack bombs are believed to have been built using pressure cookers as the containers, black powder or gunpowder as the explosive charges, and nails, BBs, and ball bearings as shrapnel). And the know-how to build IEDs is pervasive.
So what should we do now that threat has come to roost at home?”
” I recently came upon a company called AR500 Armor, primarily a web-based enterprise which started in 2012. My first impression: This stuff is too cheap to be real. The tactical market has conditioned us to believe that everything needs to be at least $100.00 and painted black before it is worth buying. My SRT unit has attempted to acquire modern body armor over the past three years while their existing carriers, soft armor, and single polymer front plates put overall cost at an approximate $2700.00 per officer. The rifle plates alone can range in prices of $500.00 – $900.00 depending on the material, vendor, and multi-hit capability. The low cost of AR500ARMOR.COM’s 10” x 12” trauma plates had me believing it was a scam, with costs ranging between $65.00 and $110.00 plus shipping.
I began with 10 rounds of .223 PMC Bronze FMJ training ammunition. Following the first few rounds I happened to notice where the surrounding vest carrier material was becoming absolutely shredded. The next observation was that not a single round had penetrated the plate. I examined the vest and found that none of the fragments had penetrated through the final layer. Although the plate was slightly bent and indentations could be seen on the strike face, there was no loss of material and no indentation that could be measured at more than 1mm.”