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15 bits of crypto should be enough for anybody

On May 13, security advisories published by Debian and Ubuntu revealed that, for over a year, their OpenSSL libraries have had a major flaw in their CSPRNG, which is used by key generation functions in many widely-used applications, which caused the "random" numbers produced to be extremely predictable. [lolcat summary] [more inside]
posted by finite on May 16, 2008 - 81 comments

Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S. Part 2

"The United States Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe Haven in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas" (PDF). A recent GAO report claims that the Bush administration has failed to prevent Al Qaeda's reemergence in Pakistan, and that we're basically right back where we started in 2001.
posted by homunculus on Apr 30, 2008 - 38 comments

Bovine terrorism is a bomb in a bull.

Slate asks, "What's behind the boom in homeland-security and emergency-management majors?"
posted by Afroblanco on Mar 29, 2008 - 28 comments

outsourcing the country

The Governmental Printing Office prints all United States passports but they decided that it was time to outsource part of the work. They claim it is secure [pdf].
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel on Mar 27, 2008 - 22 comments

NECs new biometric security cam will guess your age, gender, (and it would be nice if it could size you up according to how you dress).

NEC plans to market a system later this year that can derive someone's gender and age from images captured with a camera "The system compares the photo against a database of several thousand faces to figure gender and age based on such factors as facial shape and wrinkles. " According to Nikkei Weekly 01/28/2008 Edition. Link goes to Ubergizmo. "It's called FieldAnalyst and it's from NEC. The system homes in on faces of people who pass by the video camera. It then rapidly compares the image against samples in a database. It then spits out what it believes is your approximate age is and your gender." .."NEC scientists may next try to add clothing as a characteristic and classify people by whether they wear a suit or a T-shirt." more here
posted by celerystick on Mar 23, 2008 - 9 comments

what did we tell you

The owners of the domain donotreply.com get a lot of mail. [via]
posted by Armitage Shanks on Mar 19, 2008 - 68 comments

Remember Total Information Awareness?

Two years ago, then NSA-chief Gen. Michael Hayden said its domestic surveillance program was "not a driftnet over Lackawanna or Fremont or Dearborn, grabbing all communications and then sifting them out." Today, a story in the Wall Street Journal alleges this is precisely what is happening. Total Information Awareness seems to not have died, but to have just been quietly absorbed into the NSA's already extensive surveillance apparatus, all without the hassle of any kind of transparency or oversight.
posted by [expletive deleted] on Mar 10, 2008 - 70 comments

Watch Lists

ACLU Watch List Counter: U.S. Terror List Now Exceeds 900,000 Names. That's an awful lot of terrorists. More Privacy and Surveillance Filter: Bruce Schneier on The Myth of the 'Transparent Society', Glenn Greenwald on The Banality of the Surveillance State, and Stephen Colbert on AT & Treason. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Mar 8, 2008 - 46 comments

Improved Billboard Touts AT&T and NSA Collaboration

"The Billboard Liberation Front today announced a major new advertising improvement campaign executed on behalf of clients AT&T and the National Security Agency. Focusing on billboards in the San Francisco area, this improvement action is designed to promote and celebrate the innovative collaboration of these two global communications giants." [Via Threat Level.]
posted by homunculus on Feb 28, 2008 - 67 comments

lil komsomol playkit

Ready, kids! Unsatisfied with your kids slow adoption of very important homeland security adjustments? Buy them the Playmobil Security Check Point! How does this stack up against increased TSA checks of toys?
posted by yonation on Feb 27, 2008 - 48 comments

SurveillanceSaver: "A haunting live soap opera."

"SurveillanceSaver is an OS X screensaver that shows live images of over 400 network surveillance cameras worldwide." There is also a Windows version. Or check out the camera feeds without installing a screensaver (here are the feeds from Axis network cameras, for example). [Via.]
posted by milquetoast on Feb 23, 2008 - 31 comments

"Leaving no trace [of our daily lives] is nearly impossible."

The Anonymity Experiment. Is it possible to hide in plain sight? Privacy-minded people have long warned of a world in which an individual’s every action leaves a trace, in which corporations and governments can peer at will into your life with a few keystrokes on a computer. Now one of the people in charge of information-gathering for the U.S. government says, essentially, that such a world has arrived.
posted by amyms on Feb 16, 2008 - 44 comments

Come and take it

The president of The University of Texas at Brownsville has refused to sign a right of entry request granting access to surveyors planning the U.S./Mexico border fence. This comes shortly after Cameron County landowners were forced to allow the government access to their land. Meanwhile, landowners in Hidalgo County are filing the next wave of lawsuits.
posted by fiercecupcake on Feb 6, 2008 - 46 comments

Ramak Fazel: 49 State Capitols

Odyssey of State Capitols and State Suspicion. "The story behind an exhibition: postcards, designs, photography, travels, history, stamps and law enforcement." [Via BB.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 22, 2008 - 10 comments

Sears Wants To Hack Your Computer

Online communities to become more 'all-encompassing.' If you join the SHC community on Sears.com, all web traffic to and from your computer thereafter will be copied and sent to a third party marketing research firm - including, for example, your secure sessions with your bank! The Sears.com proxy will send your logins and passwords along with a cleartext copy of all the supposedly secure data. But wait, it gets better: you can only view the true TOS once the proxy has already been installed. [more inside]
posted by ikkyu2 on Jan 3, 2008 - 70 comments

Homeland Security for Sale

Heckuva Job DHS! 5 Years of Corporate Cronyism. CREW and Brave New Foundation have joined forces to create this video and a report, Homeland Security for Sale, documenting five years of waste, fraud and abuse at the Department of Homeland Security. [Via Think Progress.]
posted by homunculus on Dec 5, 2007 - 28 comments

Amazing discoveries in plain-text Tor exit traffic.

This is an ironic tale of the consequences of inept application of cryptographic tools. Or is it? Dan Egerstad, a Swedish hacker, gained access to hundreds of computer network accounts around the world, belonging to various embassies, corporations and other organizations. How did he do it? Very easily: by sniffing exit traffic on his Tor nodes. [more inside]
posted by Anything on Dec 4, 2007 - 27 comments

Big Brother Is Watching You... Pack

The TSA wants you to know, dear American, that if you don't pack your bags neatly, the terrorists have already won. This busiest Thanksgiving travel week ever, why not Simplifly? [more inside]
posted by dw on Nov 20, 2007 - 95 comments

Algorithms for dumb security questions

Algorithms for dumb security questions
posted by nthdegx on Nov 18, 2007 - 19 comments

Throw the tourist from the train.

Throw the tourist from the train. Ejected from a train for refusing to stop taking pictures from the train. Well, for not stopping anyway; the refusing part is unclear. The nation is now secure.
posted by Bovine Love on Nov 8, 2007 - 73 comments

Ron Paul Spam

When Ron Paul email spam started hitting inboxes in late October, UAB Computer Forensics Directory Gary Warner published findings on the spam's textual patterns and the illicit botnet used to spread it -- findings which were picked up by media outlets and tech websites like Salon, Ars Technica, and Wired Magazine's "Threat Level" blog, the latter in a set of followup posts by writer Sarah Stirland: 1, 2, 3. [more inside]
posted by brownpau on Nov 5, 2007 - 306 comments

Looky Here

Say hello to the newest police method for human identification: iris scanning. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office is preparing to become the first public agency in the Bay Area to scan the irises of convicted sex offenders.
posted by fandango_matt on Nov 5, 2007 - 31 comments

too quiet...

If Bruce Schneier, the expert voice of security moderation, is "worried" than so am I. Since the beginning of the year Storm, an advanced, distributed worm network has been growing quietly as its authors tweak its social engineering attack. Now it seems that it is in place and waiting. Schneier's article. Digital Intelligence and Strategic Operations Group has been monitoring Storm for a year. OWL.
posted by shothotbot on Oct 15, 2007 - 89 comments

God is a DJ. He doesn't do requests.

Attention Scum! You can now catch Simon Munnery's occasionally brilliant comedy series on YouTube. If you only have three minutes to spare then make do with this fuzzy three minute clip of The Security Guard. If video is not your thing then you can enjoy Munnery's superb articles here (you could start with this one). Finally, you could treat yourself to his book How To Live which contains large chunks of all the above.
posted by dodgygeezer on Oct 13, 2007 - 10 comments

You and I were/weren't meant to fly....

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is proposing new rules regarding passenger pre-screening both domestically and internationally. Interestingly, this includes flights that overfly the continental US without ever touching the ground. [more inside]
posted by never used baby shoes on Oct 12, 2007 - 40 comments

The kids are allright

This is what happens when paranoia overwhelms common sense. A high school in NY state banned backpacks and bags from the student body. The whole situation reached a critical mass when a security guard pulled a young woman out of class because she had a small purse. He asked her if she was on her period. Way to humiliate teenagers. [more inside]
posted by wuwei on Oct 7, 2007 - 78 comments

Water is for life.

Because water is a basic need for all life and good health, access to enough safe water, or water security, is defined as a human right by international law. [mostly pdfs]
posted by bigmusic on Sep 16, 2007 - 16 comments

The Age of Disaster Capitalism

The Age of Disaster Capitalism [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Sep 12, 2007 - 124 comments

Homeland Insecurity

Homeland Insecurity. "What happened to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which Democratic leaders promised to make one of their top legislative priorities? What are the most deadly potential terrorist targets no one talks about—and who's lobbying against securing them? What's the one measure that could improve our chances of preventing an attack—without costing a penny? Why are the 2008 presidential candidates—Republicans and Democrats alike—nowhere on this issue? In this seven-part series Mother Jones' senior correspondent James Ridgeway examines how the government has let homeland security languish since September 11, 2001, with dire consequences."
posted by homunculus on Sep 11, 2007 - 51 comments

"If you scratch a paranoid, you find a narcissist"

What's the Big Secret? Four surveillance experts try to figure out what the NSA's superclassified wiretapping program really is (hint: it may have something to do with the filters). They don't seem to realize that this kind of reckless public discussion means some Americans are going to die. [Via Threat Level.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 30, 2007 - 47 comments

Paranoia vs Preparation

Traditionally, media doesn't print names/photos of people only accused, but not yet convicted, but not always. Lots of towns have a police blotter section where arrests are listed. Here in Seattle, the FBI recently asked the public for help in identifying two men seen acting suspicious on the ferry system. The Seattle PI has decided not to publish the photos. Other local media have. The commentary on if the PI made the right choice follows predictable paths...
posted by nomisxid on Aug 21, 2007 - 33 comments

We're Not Gonna Take It Anymore!

I now know what to do in case I ever got stuck on an airplane that's not going anywhere- organize and stage a revolt, like the passengers of Continental flight 1669.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Aug 16, 2007 - 82 comments

NBC Dateline reporter busted at hacker conference

To Catch a Reporter. NBC Dateline producer Michelle Madigan tries to go undercover at the DefCon 14 security convention - and bites off more than she can chew. Having been alerted to her presence days before the event, DefCon staff baits the trap with a fake “Spot the Fed” contest. Once she is seated, DefCon organizer Jeff Moss suggests they play “Spot the Undercover Reporter” instead. Knowing the gig’s up, Madigan bolts – and a comical parking lot chase ensues. (Not a good week for Dateline NBC – its producers are being sued for bribing local law-enforcement officials to help them arrange their stings.)
posted by micketymoc on Aug 5, 2007 - 75 comments

Infrastructure Report Card

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published their latest Infrastructure Report Card in 2005. America's infrastructure got a D. The ASCE estimate that it will cost $1.6 trillion over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to good condition. They also have a Critical Infrastructure blog. [Via Gristmill.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 3, 2007 - 49 comments

Bring these back tomorrow

How Ohio lost 800,000 Social Security numbers. The Inspector General identified Jared Ilovar as "a 22-year-old, $10.50-an-hour employee" hired just three months earlier, who received his assignment from…another intern. The intern reported to a $125-an-hour consultant, who reported to another $200-an-hour consultant… too bad for Ohio that Jared decided to speak out.
posted by mrgrimm on Jul 30, 2007 - 38 comments

Chattin' With Kip

Conversation with Kip Hawley, TSA Administrator (Part 1) Part one of five, Bruce Schneier chats it up with Kip, TSA Administrator. The TSA and airport security have long been hot topics on Metafilter; here is a chance to read some hard questions put to the man himself and his answers.
posted by Bovine Love on Jul 30, 2007 - 29 comments

LAN Party in the Senate Chamber? Call Terry.

The Sergeant at Arms of the US Senate, as chief law enforcement officer of the "greatest deliberative body in the world", wears many hats. Capitol security, IT support and network security, telecommunications, videography and photography, human resources, getter of you out of bed and dragger of your ass to work, and house mother for the occasional slumber party.
posted by litfit on Jul 24, 2007 - 28 comments

FBI-CIPAV.exe is an unknown application. Install anyway?

FBI's CIPAV nabs first victim: Former Timberline High School student is the first (known) person to be caught by the FBI's secret spyware program, known as CIPAV (Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier). Wired broke the story Wednesday, then received a form letter from the FBI in response to a few key questions. (more inside)
posted by mrgrimm on Jul 20, 2007 - 27 comments

Harry Potter and the Red Herring

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows recently leaked on a few torrent sites... or did it? Security measures taken included pallets of books protected by alarms, baited lawyers, and even delivery trucks with satellite tracking, which seems at odds with this UPS delivery truck stacked with loose boxes 5 days before they are to be delivered. A spokeswoman at Scholastic, the book's US publisher, said "she was aware of at least three different versions of the file 'that look very convincing' with what she described as 'conflicting content.'" So what's real and what's fake? We'll just have to wait and see.
posted by jwells on Jul 17, 2007 - 124 comments

Geek Squad Steals Porn?

Using a computer set to auto-screencast, The Consumerist catches a Geek Squad technician copying porn from a client's computer to a thumbdrive, and they've got video and logfiles (CSV) to prove it. Also, the Geek Squad CEO responds, and an anonymous Geek Squad tech confesses that this is not an uncommon practice: "stealing customers' nudie pics was an easter egg hunt." Consumerist users suggest that this practice might not be limited to Geek Squad. Via.
posted by charmston on Jul 6, 2007 - 73 comments

The Audacity

Apparently, The Secret Service's code name for Barack Obama is "Renegade". Former agents told the Washington Post that military officials chose the code names without particular reference to the characteristics of the politician. Sadly, Bush's code name isn't "The Decider" but rather "Tumbler" and, later, (shockingly) "Trailblazer". If you're feeling left out, you budding Junior Secret Service Agents can make up your own.
posted by chuckdarwin on Jun 18, 2007 - 30 comments

I'm in ur address book, callin ur peeps

How secure is your password? If you're like some people, it's probably not secure enough. When did you last change yours?
posted by chuckdarwin on Jun 13, 2007 - 66 comments

Interesting times

Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security "By far the most ambitious and integral project in the burgeoning field of cold war history"
posted by Abiezer on May 7, 2007 - 3 comments

The low-tech way around RFID

The guy over at Make Your Nut is facing a dilemma I've wondered about myself: what to do about the security risks that are inherent in the many RFID-chipped credit and ATM cards that banks are so keen on issuing today? There's a lot of evidence out there that indicates that the highly personal information these cards (and the new US passports as well) carry can be stripped away by a thief with a little motivation and access to relatively low-cost equipment. You can go with the nifty RFID-blocking wallets (discussed here previously), or, according to some, you could just grab a hammer.
posted by shiu mai baby on Apr 30, 2007 - 26 comments

Patriot Search

Patriot Search Whether you are a normal searcher, someone trying to download illegal material, a terrorist looking to build a bomb, or just hunting porn, we at Patriot Search welcome you! Our mission is to provide the best possible search engine to you while at the same time, making sure the government is informed should you search for something obscure, illegal, or unpatriotic
posted by Postroad on Apr 15, 2007 - 13 comments

Pink panther in Iran

Is now captured Robert A. Levinson a spy? a government agent?
Perhaps someone on non-official cover (NOC)? or just a guy doing some research for a book in Iran. The WaPo cuts through the mumbo jumbo here.
posted by specialk420 on Apr 3, 2007 - 11 comments

Big Brother is Watching You. On CCTV.

George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house. With CCTV. Perhaps the Surveillance Camera Players could put on a performance there. It looks like Britain really is becoming a surveillance society. [Via Digg.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 2, 2007 - 44 comments

Introducing Jikto

Klaatu barada...Jikto? First there was Nikto. Then along came Wikto. Last Saturday at Shmoocon Billy Hoffman introduced the world to Jitko, a client-side vulnerability scanner that exploits your browser & turns your PC into a platform for finding holes in computers across the Internet (or behind your firewall). Reactions were mixed. Does Jikto go too far?
posted by scalefree on Mar 28, 2007 - 11 comments

WordPress cracked, considered armed and dangerous

Upgraded your install of WordPress to 2.1.1 in the last few days? You'll want to upgrade again to 2.1.2 real quick-like. Seems somebody gained access to the server hosting the download file, added some bad code, and now your barn doors are wide open.
posted by 40 Watt on Mar 5, 2007 - 24 comments

The politics of chemical security

The Next Attack. "Terrorists in Iraq are becoming proficient at blowing up oil refineries. Similar plants in a handful of American cities represent our greatest vulnerability. We could easily be making them less dangerous. But we’re not." And one of the key players in keeping things that way happens to be Dick Cheney’s son-in-law.
posted by homunculus on Mar 1, 2007 - 38 comments

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