Tag Archives: National Security Agency

Microsoft Skype’s Facebook, Twitter accounts hacked!


LOS ANGELES: The Syrian Electronic Army, an amorphous hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, claimed credit for hacking into the social media accounts of internet calling service Skype.

Microsoft Skype's Facebook, Twitter accounts hacked
The Syrian Electronic Army has claimedcreditfor hacking into the social mediaaccounts of internet calling service Skype.

 

The group also posted the contact information of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s retiring chief executive, on its Twitter account along with the message, “You can thank Microsoft for monitoring your accounts/emails using this details. #SEA”

That message was an apparent reference to revelations last year by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, was part of the NSA’s program to monitor communications through some of the biggest US internet companies.

A message posted on Skype’s official Twitter feed, apparently by the hacking group, read: “Don’t use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook), They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments. More details soon. #SEA”

Similar messages were posted on Skype’s official Facebook pages and on a blog on its website before being taken down in late afternoon. The SEA later tweeted out copies of the message “for those who missed it.”

Representatives for Microsoft could not be reached for comment.

The NSA’s practices essentially made Microsoft and other technology companies partners in government surveillance efforts against private citizens in the United States and elsewhere.

Last month Microsoft joined seven other top technology companies in pressing President Barack Obama to rein in the US government’s electronic spying in a meeting at the White House.

Media companies, including the New York Times and the BBC, have repeatedly been targeted by the Syrian Electronic Army and other hacker activist groups that deface websites and take over Twitter accounts.

Obama and his national security team are trying to decide what recommendations to adopt from an outside panel’s review of the NSA’s activities.

A US District judge in December ruled that the US government’s gathering of Americans’ phone records is likely unlawful and raised what he called “serious doubts” about the value of the so-called metadata counter-terrorism program.

A second federal judge ruled later in the month that the program was constitutional, raising the likelihood that the issue will be settled by the US Supreme Court.

This week, a monitoring group said the death toll in Syria’s civil war, which began in March 2011 as peaceful protests against four decades of rule by Assad’s family, had risen to at least 130,000.

Posted By Mantosh Pal

 

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Microsoft Skype’s Facebook, Twitter accounts hacked!


LOS ANGELES: The Syrian Electronic Army, an amorphous hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, claimed credit for hacking into the social media accounts of internet calling service Skype.

Microsoft Skype's Facebook, Twitter accounts hacked
The Syrian Electronic Army has claimedcreditfor hacking into the social mediaaccounts of internet calling service Skype.

 

The group also posted the contact information of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s retiring chief executive, on its Twitter account along with the message, “You can thank Microsoft for monitoring your accounts/emails using this details. #SEA”

That message was an apparent reference to revelations last year by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, was part of the NSA’s program to monitor communications through some of the biggest US internet companies.

A message posted on Skype’s official Twitter feed, apparently by the hacking group, read: “Don’t use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook), They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments. More details soon. #SEA”

Similar messages were posted on Skype’s official Facebook pages and on a blog on its website before being taken down in late afternoon. The SEA later tweeted out copies of the message “for those who missed it.”

Representatives for Microsoft could not be reached for comment.

The NSA’s practices essentially made Microsoft and other technology companies partners in government surveillance efforts against private citizens in the United States and elsewhere.

Last month Microsoft joined seven other top technology companies in pressing President Barack Obama to rein in the US government’s electronic spying in a meeting at the White House.

Media companies, including the New York Times and the BBC, have repeatedly been targeted by the Syrian Electronic Army and other hacker activist groups that deface websites and take over Twitter accounts.

Obama and his national security team are trying to decide what recommendations to adopt from an outside panel’s review of the NSA’s activities.

A US District judge in December ruled that the US government’s gathering of Americans’ phone records is likely unlawful and raised what he called “serious doubts” about the value of the so-called metadata counter-terrorism program.

A second federal judge ruled later in the month that the program was constitutional, raising the likelihood that the issue will be settled by the US Supreme Court.

This week, a monitoring group said the death toll in Syria’s civil war, which began in March 2011 as peaceful protests against four decades of rule by Assad’s family, had risen to at least 130,000.

Posted By Mantosh Pal

 

Top secret program to target iPhones: Australian agencies may have known!


Apple denies knowledge of the tool, saying it ‘has never worked with the NSA to create a back door in any of our products’

 

iPhone 5 appsSlides suggest there were plans to develop software allowing the NSA to remotely access text messages, photos, voice mail and live calls on iPhones

 

Australian intelligence agencies may have had knowledge of a top secret US National Security Agency program for targeting iPhones, according to newly-released documents.

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Slides released on Monday by security researcher Jacob Appelbaum suggest there were plans to develop software called DropoutJeep to allow the NSA to remotely access text messages, photos, voice mail and live calls on the Apple devices.

The slides say that to install the software physical access to the phones would be needed, but flag the possibility of remote access in the future: “A remote installation capability will be pursued for future use.”

The documents, which date to 2008, are classified as top secret but are cleared for release to “FVEY” – shorthand for the Five Eyes agreement to share intelligence between the US, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and UK governments.

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....
The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The classification of the documents means that intelligence organisations such as the Australian Signals Directorate, which maintains a close relationship with the NSA, could have knowledge of the program.

The Department of Defence said it was unable to provide a comment by deadline.

Apple has denied it had any knowledge of the tool, and said in a statement: “Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a back door in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security.”

“Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.”

The new slides were released as part of a presentation Appelbaum gave at the 30C3 conference. His presentation contains a number of slides that outline in great detail the different methods the NSA can use to intercept communications.

 

 

 

Posted By Mantosh Pal

 

Apple insists it did not work with NSA to create iPhone backdoor program!


National Security Agency Seal
National Security Agency Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)
Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Image representing Edward Snowden as depicted ...
Image by None via CrunchBase
Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Tech giant denies knowledge of DropoutJeep tool to retrieve information and insists it ‘cares deeply about customers‘ privacy’

6fd4d5f7-4fb7-40ad-921b-4630b4e3a224-460x276Apple said: ‘We have never worked with the NSA to create a back door in any of our products, including iPhone.’

Apple has denied any knowledge of a National Security Agency tool to hack into iPhones after newly-released documents showed the tech giant’s bestselling phone was targeted by the spying agency.

Documents released Monday showed the NSA had worked on software that would allow it to remotely retrieve virtually all the information on an iPhone including text messages, photos, contacts, location, voice mail and live calls.

The software, DropoutJeep, was first disclosed by Der Spiegel and security researcher Jacob Appelbaum. The NSA slides are dated 2008, a year after the first iPhone was launched.

In a statement, Apple said: “Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a back door in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements.

“Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.”

According to the slides, DropoutJeep required “close access methods” in order to be installed on an iPhone, meaning NSA agents would need physical access to the device. However, the slide notes: “A remote installation capability will be pursued for future use.”

The slides mention iOS5, an iPhone operating system that was launched in June 2011 and updated by iOS6 in September 2012. It is not clear whether the NSA managed to develop the ability to perform remote installation. Given that Apple sold 250m iPhones in its first five years, large scale implementation of DropoutJeep seems unlikely by close access methods.

The spyware is one of the tools employed by the NSA’s ANT (Advanced or Access Network Technology) division to gain backdoor access to various electronic devices. According to Applebaum, the NSA claims a 100% success rate on installation of the program.

Apple, along with its peers, has consistently denied working with the NSA unless it has been legally compelled to do so. The NSA documents, first obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden, have revealed that the NSA has developed the capability to hack other companies, including Google and Yahoo, without their knowledge.

The slide is dated four years before the NSA included Apple in its Prism monitoring program. Apple was the last of the big tech companies to be included in the program, designed to ease data collection for the NSA. Microsoft, by contrast, joined the scheme in 2007, according to the NSA’s slides.

Posted By Mantosh Pal