Security expert (and personal hero) Bruce Schneier on the subject of movie plot threats
: Sometimes it seems like the people in charge of homeland security spend too much time watching action movies. They defend against specific movie plots instead of against the broad threats of terrorism.
This month, Schneier announces a contest
for readers of his blog and newsletter - submit the most unlikely, yet still plausible, terrorist attack scenarios you can come up with.
From the announcement : "The prize will be an autographed copy of Beyond Fear. And if I can swing it, a phone call with a real live movie producer."
posted by Afroblanco
on Apr 8, 2006 -
Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott
[Defenders of the Bush/Dubai deal argue that we ought to be fair and not be racist in being anti-Arab...that is "un-American."]
"The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.....Moreover, the Post found that the website for Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone Area, which is also part of the PCZC, advises importers that they will need to comply with the terms of the boycott....
posted by Postroad
on Feb 28, 2006 -
"To tell the truth ... I'm sorta surprised they haven't caught me yet,"
The Washington Post ran an interesting interview with a botmaster, a young man who made serveral thousands of dollars a month installing XXX spyware on machines that he controlled. He installed the software on the machines of people he did not know by hacking into them remotely. The lenghty article included a partial photo of the botmaster along with vauge descriptions of the small midwestern town where the man lives, and was published with the understanding that the man's identity would be kept secret.
Someone should have told that to the person that manages photos at the Washington Post. An estute reader over at Slashdot was able to locate some extra information stored in the picture's metadata
including the photographer and the location the picture was taken, Roland, Oklahoma, a town of less than 3000 people. Whoops.
posted by daHIFI
on Feb 21, 2006 -
FTC imposes $10M fine against ChoicePoint for data breach
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has fined ChoicePoint $10 million for a data breach that allowed identity thieves posing as legitimate businesses to steal social security numbers, credit reports, and other data from nearly 140,000 people. This is the largest fine ever levied by the FTC. ChoicePoint also has to set up a 'trust fund' for people victimized by identity thieves. From the article: 'As part of its agreement with the FTC, ChoicePoint will also have to submit to comprehensive security audits every two years for the next 20 years.'" BusinessWeek has additional info.
Perhaps there might be hope for individual privacy after all. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.
posted by mk1gti
on Jan 26, 2006 -
Tired of standing in line at the airport? Worried that you might share a name with a known terrorist or subversive on the TSA's mysterious no-fly lists? Relax. Get fingerprinted and/or iris scanned. And pay $79.95 a year to become a Registered Traveler
, and fly Clear
in the fast lane. (And note how quickly conceptual art projects
become indistinguishable from reality
.) Meanwhile, the Feds settle an ACLU lawsuit
over the no-fly lists... while revealing no information about them. [Lists recently discussed here
posted by digaman
on Jan 25, 2006 -
E-voting systems hacker sees ‘particularly bad’ security issues ...On Tuesday, Dec. 13, we conducted a hack of the Diebold AccuVote optical scan device. I wrote a five-line script in Visual Basic that would allow you to go into the central tabulator and change any vote total you wanted, leaving no logs....
More from the Washington Post here,
where ... Four times over the past year Sancho told computer specialists to break in to his voting system. And on all four occasions they did, changing results with what the specialists described as relatively unsophisticated hacking techniques. ..."Can the votes of this Diebold system be hacked using the memory card?" Two people marked yes on their ballots, and six no. The optical scan machine read the ballots, and the data were transmitted to a final tabulator. The result? Seven yes, one no. ... Verified Voting
and Black Box Voting
have much much more on all of this.
posted by amberglow
on Jan 23, 2006 -
A revolution is the solution
We talked about how Ebaum's World sucks before
in the Blue, but it's looks like things have been taken a step futher with Eric Bauman's latest theft of an animated GIF of Lindsey Lohan. While script kiddies have already been concentrating on wiping Ebaum's World off the net completely, the latest swipe from ytmnd.com
(NSFW?) has caused a 'massive' DoS war against Bauman as this wonderful writeup from Vitalsecurity.org
posted by daHIFI
on Jan 9, 2006 -
Private Mail--Not. ...Goodman, an 81-year-old retired University of Kansas history professor, received a letter from his friend in the Philippines that had been opened and resealed with a strip of dark green tape bearing the words “by Border Protection” and carrying the official Homeland Security seal. ...the agency can, will and does open mail coming to U.S. citizens that originates from a foreign country whenever it’s deemed necessary. ...
posted by amberglow
on Jan 6, 2006 -
America seems a little less evil today. The outrage and indignation expressed in a previous MeFi story
was unjustified. The Department of Homeland Security did not visit a student after he made an interlibrary request for Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book. The student made it all up
posted by Meridian
on Dec 24, 2005 -
of over a hundred homes, businesses, mosques, warehouses and other sites has been conducted without warrants, according to a new USNews report. Indications are that the persons so targeted were US citizens. "In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts."
posted by darkstar
on Dec 23, 2005 -
This is what we know--or do not know--about NSA prgram called Echelon, from 60 Minute show (TV) in 2000. If we assume this what had been going on and there were some sort of restraints for internal spying, then what is going on now? This evening I had heard on radio that the White House claimed that only calls going in and out of the country might be monitored. But this early interview suggests that such calls were monitored previous to the "new" approach. Why were legal restraints put in place calling for judicial hearings? Because of spying abuse done under Nixon. Those restraints are now removed.
posted by Postroad
on Dec 19, 2005 -
Global Options, Inc.
Have you been unfairly attacked by: the media? trial lawyers? disgruntled workers? terrorists? overzealous federal regulators? competitors? hackers? industrial spies? one-issue activists? extortionists? intellectual property thieves? or even the Russian mafia? Global Options has your back. [warning: radar beeps.]
posted by panoptican
on Dec 4, 2005 -
David Brin -- hoping to rescue modernity
"... I have spoken before of the blatant -- and yet never-reported -- pattern shown by more than a hundred members of the United States Congress, appointing young cadets to the US Military Academies according to one criterion above all others -- their depth of religious zealotry. This infusion of young officers who believe in a coming apocalypse is discreetly worrisome at West Point and Annapolis, but it has already had newsworthy effects at the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs. A town that is also now known as a main locus and training center for fanatics bent on dominating American civilization. (see
) This coincidence... one of many that simply cannot be coincidence... should be tallied and noted.
See also this in recent -- 11/26 -- news
"... Among the steps already taken by the Pentagon that enhanced its domestic capabilities was the establishment after 9/11 of Northern Command, or Northcom, in Colorado Springs
, to provide military forces to help in reacting to terrorist threats in the continental United States. Today, Northcom's intelligence centers in Colorado and Texas fuse reports from CIFA, the FBI and other U.S. agencies, and are staffed by 290 intelligence analysts. That is more than the roughly 200 analysts working for the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and far more than those at the Department of Homeland Security...."
posted by hank
on Nov 28, 2005 -
Mainstream Media to American Democracy: Drop Dead!
Brad Friedman ask alarming questions about the complete lack of attention which has been paid to the GAO report on electronic voting technology
(PDF link) released more than a month ago, which confirms what security experts have been saying for years: these systems are vulnerable to multiple independent attacks targeting system and network vulnerabilities, access controls, hardware controls, and overall management practices. If you're short of time, at least read Rep. Waxman's fact sheet
Ultimately, there is no real security on these machines; the report shows that overturning election results would not be at all difficult for even a single moderately skilled attacker. And now Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are wondering if American Democracy has died an electronic death
in the wake of massive discrepancies between final pre-election opinion polls and the results of several citizen initiatives designed to reform Ohio's electoral processes.
posted by dinsdale
on Nov 16, 2005 -
Interesting "New Yorker" article
about online extortion via DDoS attacks. Call me naive and underinformed, but I had little understanding of how this works.
"In the most common scenario, the bots surreptitiously connect hundreds, or thousands, of zombies to a channel in a chat room. The process is called “herding,” and a herd of zombies is called a botnet."
posted by dersins
on Oct 7, 2005 -
Petroleum Industry Christmas Wishlist
Conservative pundits are quick to point out that no "new refineries have been built since 1976
", and even quicker to blame "environmentalists". But the facts just don't support that. Refiners have chosen the environment that they do business in, and in some cases have willingly contributed to it. (Plenty of data here
.) Here's why:
- The government has allowed the industry to merge, consolidate, and restrict refining capacity, thus impacting pricing, supply, and demand.
- The quest for profits has caused the need to run extremely lean supplies (ie. no stockpiles of crude - it arrives when you need it, not before) and has resulted in susceptability to wild volatility in prices, but has allowed refiners to operate at very high efficiency but with no margin of excess capacity for temporary shortages, disasters, etc.
- Oil refiners trimmed back capacity after the Oil Crash of the early 1980s and have been unwilling to reinvest in new technologies unless environmental restrictions and local fuel cleanliness mandates are reduced.
As one would expect, Bush's solutions nicely match up with the wishlists of OPEC
and US refiners
, who in the past few decades have largely undone the breakup of Standard Oil (via
) via mergers and joint ventures. Representative Joe Barton
, (R-TX), Chairperson of the Energy and Commerce Committee
, incidentally up for reelection and well funded
, by "the industry
" through various Political Action Committees
, has released a draft of the predictably named (to be found here
when released) Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005
(committee discusion and webcast are scheduled for 9/28 at 8 am.)
Given that new refineries are years away, there is still no solution for current prices or the (90%?) increase in prices since January of 2001
posted by rzklkng
on Sep 27, 2005 -
Closed Circuit TV and Data Confluence Qinetiq
is bringing their CCTV
confluence technology, codenamed Praetorian
, to the UK. "The system automatically tracks and stitches 3D images with CCTV video, maps and other real-time information. It automatically alerts operators to intruders, unusual behaviour, left objects or anything it is told to spot." And it looks more like a video game than a video feed. This new tech is perhaps not as controversial
as Qinetiq's Millimetre Wave Imaging System
that allows passive scanning through clothing
to detect guns, knives or bombs.
Yes, it is very Big Brother-esque but its also pretty amazing technology too.
Qinetiq previously discussed on MeFi here, here, here and here.
posted by fenriq
on Aug 12, 2005 -
"Israeli technology firm Blue Security has set up a scheme to batter spam websites
with thousands of complaints. The plan is to fill order forms...offering pills, porn and penile health tonics with complaints about the products advertised for sale in junk messages." I signed up
posted by JPowers
on Jul 23, 2005 -
Alarming Article on Security Procedures
What is alarming is not necessarily that there is a "no-fly" list, or that we have security measures in response to a percieved terrorist threat. What's alarming is that there seems to be no accountabity or due process demanded from public officials. Without accountability, what's to stop public officials from acting arbitrarily, or for some political endeavor? (See the Plame case.)
Combined with the Right's seeming position that the president is above the law in prosecuting a war, U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 03-1027 (Rumsfield v. Padilla) and Case No. 03-6696 (Hamdi v. Rumsfield), (see also the recent DOJ position papers), and for the 1st time I am becoming nervous that America might devolve into something like a police state.
posted by JKevinKing
on Jul 7, 2005 -
Rocker Jeff Baxter Moves and Shakes in National Security
• "Jeff Baxter played psychedelic music with Ultimate Spinach, jazz-rock with Steely Dan and funky pop with the Doobie Brothers. But in the last few years he has made an even bigger transition: Mr. Baxter, who goes by the nickname "Skunk," has become one of the national-security world's well-known counterterrorism experts."
posted by dhoyt
on May 25, 2005 -
Be afraid: The national threat-alert level today is yellow or "elevated
," with "significant risk of terrorist attacks," says the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, the alert level has been elevated since December of 2003, when it was raised from orange. During the election season, the Fox News network flashed the terror alert level in their "crawl" as if there was breaking news -- the sort of thing that prompted some liberal wags
to ridicule the entire system. Now former DHS secretary Tom Ridge says that the Bush administration was "really aggressive" about raising the threat-alert level
during his tenure, even when the agency felt that the intelligence didn't warrant it.
posted by digaman
on May 11, 2005 -
Loose lips sink ships!!!1 (There be images, some quite big here)
I suspect a lot of MeFi shares my obsession with propaganda
(and propaganda-style) posters
, both domestic and foreign
, as well as the photoshops
that the Something Awful
crowds generate. CoolGov has a link today to the Office of the National National Counterintelligence Executive
and their Anti-Espionage poster collection
. Some are great
, some are almost pure propaganda
, and some show how obsessed with secrecy
our government has become. That lead me to Google to look for posters on the *.gov
domains. Check out the posters for "Venemous Snakes of Afghanistan and Pakistan"
, or what the well dressed airmen
is wearing (*note the "Essentials"), posters from the NOAA telling you that "lightning kills"
, the Code of Ethics for Government Officers and Employees
, and this one telling GI's why smoking could kill them
posted by rzklkng
on Apr 18, 2005 -
Think your Prox Card system is secure?
Guess again. Some Sophomores at Olin College reverse-engineered the prox card system on campus and built their own reader. Rumor has it they have a spoofer (self-contained copier/transmitter) too, but nothing on the site about it.
posted by Brockstar
on Mar 5, 2005 -
Want to know the hardware behind Echelon?
The other day I posted a book (Chatter) review about NSA. In this follow-up, the equipment used.
"Aside from using the system for industrial espionage and bypassing international and national laws to listen in on people, it is also used to listen out for people like Osama bin Laden and assorted terrorists in the hope of preventing attacks."
posted by Postroad
on Mar 3, 2005 -
Empty your pockets
before attending the Presidential Inauguration. Among items forbidden are pocket tools
, animals -- and in case they forgot to mention something, "any other items at the discretion of the security screeners that may pose a potential safety hazard
posted by ThePrawn
on Jan 16, 2005 -
Safe Personal Computing.
Bruce Schneier, cited frequently on Metafilter
, has a new article on his blog
in which he gives home users concrete actions they could take to improve security
. As the holidays come and I make the rounds to disinfect and repair all my family's computers, I'll be printing this out and sticking copies to their monitors.
posted by sohcahtoa
on Dec 13, 2004 -
French police on Sunday ended their practice of hiding plastic explosives in air passengers' luggage to train bomb-sniffing dogs after one such bag got lost, possibly ending up on a flight out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.
WTF were they thinking? Isn't there a better way to train the dogs without making innocent people unwittingly carry plastique?
posted by Vidiot
on Dec 5, 2004 -
I feel safer already!
Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security
lowered the terror alert-level for the financial-services sector in the NY/DC area from orange to yellow, which has nothing, repeat nothing, to do with the election. "We don't do politics here at this department," days DHS deputy secretary James Loy. When the alert was jacked up back in August, some felt otherwise
posted by digaman
on Nov 11, 2004 -