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Phishing Attacks Against Trump and Biden Campaigns

Google’s threat analysts have identified state-level attacks from China.

I hope both campaigns are working under the assumption that everything they say and do will be dumped on the Internet before the election. That feels like the most likely outcome.

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China google intelligence Intelwars Phishing threatalerts Voting

Phishing Attacks Against Trump and Biden Campaigns

Google’s threat analysts have identified state-level attacks from China.

I hope both campaigns are working under the assumption that everything they say and do will be dumped on the Internet before the election. That feels like the most likely outcome.

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academicpapers Cryptanalysis GCHQ historyofsecurity intelligence Intelwars

Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and France SIGINT Alliance

This paper describes a SIGINT and code-breaking alliance between Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and France called Maximator:

Abstract: This article is first to report on the secret European five-partner sigint alliance Maximator that started in the late 1970s. It discloses the name Maximator and provides documentary evidence. The five members of this European alliance are Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and France. The cooperation involves both signals analysis and crypto analysis. The Maximator alliance has remained secret for almost fifty years, in contrast to its Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes counterpart. The existence of this European sigint alliance gives a novel perspective on western sigint collaborations in the late twentieth century. The article explains and illustrates, with relatively much attention for the cryptographic details, how the five Maximator participants strengthened their effectiveness via the information about rigged cryptographic devices that its German partner provided, via the joint U.S.-German ownership and control of the Swiss producer Crypto AG of cryptographic devices.

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China Coronavirus intelligence Intelwars

Report: Majority of US intelligence agencies believe COVID-19 originated in Wuhan lab

The majority of American intelligence agencies believe the coronavirus outbreak originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to Fox News’ John Roberts, the network’s top White House reporter.

Roberts reported on Saturday, citing a senior intelligence source, that there is “agreement” among the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies “that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab.”

However, according to Roberts, U.S. intelligence officials believe the release was “a MISTAKE, and was not intentional.”

“Sources say not all 17 intelligence agencies agree that the lab was the source of the virus because there is not yet a definitive ‘smoking gun’. But confidence is high among 70-75% of the agencies,” Roberts added.

Intelligence sources who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation corroborated Roberts’s reporting, adding that those agencies that do not currently believe the virus leaked from the Wuhan lab remain open to the possibility that it did.

The news outlet reported:

While not all of the 17 agencies that make up the IC are fully behind the idea that the novel coronavirus was an accidental laboratory leak, most believe that to be the case, according to the senior official. The official added that the holdouts are still open to the possibility that the virus leaked from a laboratory.

The unanimous view of the IC is that the virus was not the result of an intentional act, the senior official noted.

Indeed, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed in a statement last week that the U.S. is “rigorously” investigating whether the virus came from the Wuhan lab.

“The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan,” the agency said.

President Donald Trump has also said he believes the COVID-19 outbreak originated from the Wuhan lab, not wet markets like China’s communist government claims.

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#FakeNews China Covid19 DISINFORMATION intelligence Intelwars propaganda

Chinese COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign

The New York Times is reporting on state-sponsored disinformation campaigns coming out of China:

Since that wave of panic, United States intelligence agencies have assessed that Chinese operatives helped push the messages across platforms, according to six American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to publicly discuss intelligence matters. The amplification techniques are alarming to officials because the disinformation showed up as texts on many Americans’ cellphones, a tactic that several of the officials said they had not seen before.

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backdoors CIA Cryptography intelligence Intelwars privacy Surveillance

More on Crypto AG

One follow-on to the story of Crypto AG being owned by the CIA: this interview with a Washington Post reporter. The whole thing is worth reading or listening to, but I was struck by these two quotes at the end:

…in South America, for instance, many of the governments that were using Crypto machines were engaged in assassination campaigns. Thousands of people were being disappeared, killed. And I mean, they’re using Crypto machines, which suggests that the United States intelligence had a lot of insight into what was happening. And it’s hard to look back at that history now and see a lot of evidence of the United States going to any real effort to stop it or at least or even expose it.

[…]

To me, the history of the Crypto operation helps to explain how U.S. spy agencies became accustomed to, if not addicted to, global surveillance. This program went on for more than 50 years, monitoring the communications of more than 100 countries. I mean, the United States came to expect that kind of penetration, that kind of global surveillance capability. And as Crypto became less able to deliver it, the United States turned to other ways to replace that. And the Snowden documents tell us a lot about how they did that.

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intelligence Intelwars Metadata nationalsecuritypolicy NSA Phones

Newly Declassified Study Demonstrates Uselessness of NSA’s Phone Metadata Program

The New York Times is reporting on the NSA’s phone metadata program, which the NSA shut down last year:

A National Security Agency system that analyzed logs of Americans’ domestic phone calls and text messages cost $100 million from 2015 to 2019, but yielded only a single significant investigation, according to a newly declassified study.

Moreover, only twice during that four-year period did the program generate unique information that the F.B.I. did not already possess, said the study, which was produced by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and briefed to Congress on Tuesday.

[…]

The privacy board, working with the intelligence community, got several additional salient facts declassified as part of the rollout of its report. Among them, it officially disclosed that the system has gained access to Americans’ cellphone records, not just logs of landline phone calls.

It also disclosed that in the four years the Freedom Act system was operational, the National Security Agency produced 15 intelligence reports derived from it. The other 13, however, contained information the F.B.I. had already collected through other means, like ordinary subpoenas to telephone companies.

The report cited two investigations in which the National Security Agency produced reports derived from the program: its analysis of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., in June 2016 and of the November 2016 attack at Ohio State University by a man who drove his car into people and slashed at them with a machete. But it did not say whether the investigations into either of those attacks were connected to the two intelligence reports that provided unique information not already in the possession of the F.B.I.

This program is legal due to the USA FREEDOM Act, which expires on March 15. Congress is currently debating whether to extend the authority, even though the NSA says it’s not using it now.

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