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Category Archives: Cybersecurity: Crime and Espionage

More on Pass Phrases and Fingerprints …. Gestures

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Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Yesterday I posted a short blog on an interesting VA decision regarding the application the Fifth Amendment privilege to the question of unlocking cell phones and other devices.  The short summary is that the court held that compelling disclosure of a pass phrase or code was protected and could not be compelled, but that the . . .
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The FBI Impersonates the Media: Some of the Rules Governing Cyber-Subterfuge

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Friday, November 7, 2014 at 2:54 PM

The developing story of the FBI’s impersonation of journalists is, in a way, really the story of Timberline high school in Washington State. In June of 2007 Timberline had received a series of bomb threats, prompting a week of evacuations. The FBI and local law enforcement traced the problem to an anonymous account on the . . .
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How Not to Do Remote Computer Searches

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Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Recently The Guardian reported on FBI demands new powers to hack into computers and carry out surveillance. The FBI is seeking to make several changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which governs how law enforcement can conduct court-approved searches.  Under the proposal, in investigating compromised machines (e.g., those in a botnet), law . . .
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Axiom — A Chinese APT

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 4:39 PM

And just to prove that we are equal-opportunity victims, I also saw, today, this report from Novetta on “Operation SMN” – a report on a Chinese APT dubbed Axiom.  Here’s a bit of the Executive Summary: Axiom is responsible for directing highly sophisticated cyber espionage operations against numerous Fortune 500 companies, journalists, environmental groups, pro-democracy . . .
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Russian APT28

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 11:58 AM

We tend to focus our attention on Chinese APT cyber threats for good reason — they tend to be more overt and focus on American business interests.  But we should not lose sight of the fact that Russian cyber skills are just as good (perhaps even better) than Chinese ones. And now, FireEye has reminded . . .
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So How Does Vladimir Putin Feel About Cyber, Anyway?

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Friday, October 3, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Two days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a significant cybersecurity speech to Russia’s Security Council. For all you Russian speakers, the original text and video can be found on the Kremlin’s website here.  For everyone else, I have translated the speech and posted it below. Though the speech is interesting for all sorts of . . .
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Why Indictments Won’t Stop China’s Cybersnooping

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 8:58 AM

The Chinese government and its proxies have recently ratcheted up harassment of U.S. IT firms doing business in China.  In the last week, China has deployed its antitrust laws against Qualcomm and Microsoft.  This comes on the heels of recent attacks in China on Apple and Cisco and IBM.  China has also increased its harassment of . . .
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New McAfee/CSIS Report on Cybercrime

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Monday, June 9, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I participated today in a CSIS/McAfee roll-out of their latest report on the economic impact of cybercrime.  Their bottom line is that cybercrime has an annual effect of roughly $455 billion globally, with 200K jobs lost in the US alone as a result.  A nice summary of the report by the Washington Post is available here, . . .
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Germany’s Prosecutor Rolls Up His Sleeves On NSA Surveillance

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Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

A few weeks ago, Ben posted some comments about a Der Spiegel article that suggested the tensions between the United States and Germany were likely to die down. Not so fast, it appears. Germany’s top prosecutor has announced that he is opening an investigation into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. A statement . . .
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The GameOver Zeus/CryptoLocker Indictment

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Following up on last weeks indictment of 5 Chinese PLA members for economic espionage, the Department of Justice continued yesterday its apparent prosecutorial offensive against cyber criminals.  The case, brought again in W.D. Pa. charges a Russian gang led by Evgeniy Bogachev with operating a huge botnet, known as GameOver Zeus.  Comprising perhaps as many as . . .
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Bits and Bytes

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Two interesting items today: Shane Harris has a look inside the FBI’s efforts to track the Chinese hackers.  Here’s the intro: “SolarWorld was fighting a losing battle. The U.S. subsidiary of the German solar panel manufacturer knew that its Chinese competitors, backed by generous government subsidies, were flooding the American market with steeply discounted solar . . .
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John Carlin’s Speech at Brookings on “Defending Our Nation by Prosecuting State-Sponsored Cyber Theft”

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Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Watch the event with Assistant Attorney General John Carlin here: And here are his remarks as prepared for delivery: Defending Our Nation by Prosecuting State-Sponsored Cyber Theft Thanks for that kind introduction. I’m grateful to be here at Brookings today discussing emerging national security threats. On Monday, the Department of Justice announced charges against five members of the . . .
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The U.S. Corporate Theft Principle

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

David Sanger’s piece in this morning’s NYT explores the USG’s attempts to justify cracking down on cyber-theft of intellectual property of U.S. firms while at the same time continuing to spy on non-U.S. firms for different purposes.  We are familiar with the USG policy.  As DNI Clapper says in Sanger’s story, the USG does not . . .
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Schneier on Hoarding v. Patching Vulnerabilities

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Bruce Schneier has a very good piece on whether the USG should “stockpile Internet vulnerabilities or disclose and fix them.”  Part of his  answer: If vulnerabilities are sparse, then it’s obvious that every vulnerability we find and fix improves security. We render a vulnerability unusable, even if the Chinese government already knows about it. We . . .
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More Thoughts on the DOJ China Indictment

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Jack has already offered a number of thoughts on the indictment yesterday of 5 Chinese PLA members for cyber espionage.  Let me offer a few additional thoughts that pick up on some of those threads: If the NYT article by Sanger is to be credited, this indictment was part of a strategy adopted more than . . .
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Why Did DOJ Indict the Chinese Military Officers?

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 6:55 AM

Why did the USG indict Chinese military officers for cybertheft?  It knows that there is no practical chance of convictions (because, among other reasons, the defendants will never appear in the United States).  It knows that mere indictments are unlikely to slow China’s corporate cyber-espionage, and thus might make even more obvious the fecklessness of USG . . .
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DOJ’s Summary of the Charges in the Chinese Economic Cyberespionage Case

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Monday, May 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM

A remarkable development out of a grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania: five named members of the Chinese military have been indicted for economic cyberespionage.  Details from the DOJ press release follow: WASHINGTON—A grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania (WDPA) indicted five Chinese military hackers for computer hacking, economic espionage and . . .
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For the Delicious Irony Files

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Friday, May 16, 2014 at 9:20 AM

A report from the cyber underground where most of my Lawfare colleagues don’t normally follow:  File this one as a delicious irony (or, if you prefer, a delightful irrationality).  Many will recall that back in 2010 when WikiLeaks first started releasing classified materials many of the financial intermediaries (Visa, Mastercard, Western Union and PayPal) started . . .
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White House on Disclosing Cyber Vulnerabilities

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Monday, April 28, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Michael Daniel, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, just published this important post on the White House blog about how and when the government decides to disclose cyber vulnerabilities: When President Truman created the National Security Agency in 1952, its very existence was not publicly disclosed. Earlier this month, the NSA sent out a Tweet making clear that . . .
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Heartbleed as Metaphor

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Monday, April 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM

I begin with a paragraph from Wikipedia: Self-organized criticality is one of a number of important discoveries made in statistical physics and related fields over the latter half of the 20th century, discoveries which relate particularly to the study of complexity in nature.  For example, the study of cellular automata, from the early discoveries of . . .
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