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The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

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Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | other press author Tuesday July 15, 2014 00:48author by T Report this post to the editors

From "The Intercept" by Glenn Greenwald based on Snowden leaks

The Intercept -the website setup by Glenn Greenwald and others this week publishes a new summary of intercept capabilities used by the NSA and Britain's GCHQ, this time covering how the intelligence agencies working on behalf of the surveillance state disrupt public discourse on the Internet and seek to control the Internet.

The revelations cover a range of surveillance tools that are used to spy and collect information and as well as to disrupt individuals computers and to attack websites using the very same tools that the same state has imprisoned hackers for.

Here is a summary of the key findings from the site:

The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.

The tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.

But as the U.K. Parliament today debates a fast-tracked bill to provide the government with greater surveillance powers, one which Prime Minister David Cameron has justified as an “emergency” to “help keep us safe,” a newly released top-secret GCHQ document called “JTRIG Tools and Techniques” provides a comprehensive, birds-eye view of just how underhanded and invasive this unit’s operations are. The document—available in full here—is designed to notify other GCHQ units of JTRIG’s “weaponised capability” when it comes to the dark internet arts, and serves as a sort of hacker’s buffet for wreaking online havoc

The “tools” have been assigned boastful code names. They include invasive methods for online surveillance, as well as some of the very techniques that the U.S. and U.K. have harshly prosecuted young online activists for employing, including “distributed denial of service” attacks and “call bombing.” But they also describe previously unknown tactics for manipulating and distorting online political discourse and disseminating state propaganda, as well as the apparent ability to actively monitor Skype users in real-time—raising further questions about the extent of Microsoft’s cooperation with spy agencies or potential vulnerabilities in its Skype’s encryption. Here’s a list of how JTRIG describes its capabilities:

• “Change outcome of online polls” (UNDERPASS)

• “Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign” (BADGER) and “mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign” (WARPARTH)

• “Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery and content removal.” (SILVERLORD)

• “Active skype capability. Provision of real time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.” (MINIATURE HERO)

• “Find private photographs of targets on Facebook” (SPRING BISHOP)

• “A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer” (ANGRY PIRATE)

• “Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website” (GATEWAY) and “ability to inflate page views on websites” (SLIPSTREAM)

• “Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube)” (GESTATOR)

• “Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers” (PREDATORS FACE) and “Distributed denial of service using P2P. Built by ICTR, deployed by JTRIG” (ROLLING THUNDER)

• “A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay (” (ELATE)

• “Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity” (CHANGELING)

• “For connecting two target phone together in a call” (IMPERIAL BARGE)

A PDF version of the Intercept document listing these tools is attached.

But if that is not enough an earlier news report from Greenwald and friends reported:
Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas

The full report is here:

What may not be known is that Irish business man Denis O'Brien owns Digicel which operates mobile phone networks throughout the caribbean. It remains unknown whether he is aware of any of this activity and that the spy agencies may have inflitrated his mobile networks. See

The National Security Agency is secretly intercepting, recording, and archiving the audio of virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas.

According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET – that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government. Instead, the agency appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the “full-take audio” of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas – and to replay those calls for up to a month.

SOMALGET is part of a broader NSA program called MYSTIC, which The Intercept has learned is being used to secretly monitor the telecommunications systems of the Bahamas and several other countries, including Mexico, the Philippines, and Kenya. But while MYSTIC scrapes mobile networks for so-called “metadata” – information that reveals the time, source, and destination of calls – SOMALGET is a cutting-edge tool that enables the NSA to vacuum up and store the actual content of every conversation in an entire country.

All told, the NSA is using MYSTIC to gather personal data on mobile calls placed in countries with a combined population of more than 250 million people. And according to classified documents, the agency is seeking funding to export the sweeping surveillance capability elsewhere.

In March, The Washington Post revealed that the NSA had developed the capability to record and store an entire nation’s phone traffic for 30 days. The Post reported that the capacity was a feature of MYSTIC, which it described as a “voice interception program” that is fully operational in one country and proposed for activation in six others. (The Post also referred to NSA documents suggesting that MYSTIC was pulling metadata in some of those countries.) Citing government requests, the paper declined to name any of those countries.

The Intercept has confirmed that as of 2013, the NSA was actively using MYSTIC to gather cell-phone metadata in five countries, and was intercepting voice data in two of them. Documents show that the NSA has been generating intelligence reports from MYSTIC surveillance in the Bahamas, Mexico, Kenya, the Philippines, and one other country, which The Intercept is not naming in response to specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence. The more expansive full-take recording capability has been deployed in both the Bahamas and the unnamed country.

Related Link:

PDF Document jtrig_tools_and_techniques.pdf 1.3 Mb

author by Tpublication date Mon Jul 21, 2014 00:08Report this post to the editors

A recent article discusses why Tor is probably not as safe as the media would have you believe. It is always a bit suspicious when the NSA drone on about how they don't like Tor pretending they can't crack it. It is more likely they actually run many of the Tor sites.

From CounterPunch: The NSA Wants You to Trust Tor, Should You?

Though advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation openly claim that “Tor still works[i]” skepticism is warranted. In fact anyone risking incarceration (or worse) in the face of a highly leveraged intelligence outfit like the NSA would be ill-advised to put all of their eggs in the Tor basket. This is an unpleasant reality which certain privacy advocates have been soft-pedaling....

Tor proponents often make a big deal of the fact that the NSA admits in its own internal documents that “Tor Stinks,” as it makes surveillance more work-intensive[ii]. What these proponents fail to acknowledge is that the spies at the NSA also worry that Internet users will abandon Tor: “[A] Critical mass of targets use Tor. Scaring them away from Tor might be counterproductive”
Another method involves “staining” data with watermarks. For example, the NSA has been known to mark network traffic by purchasing ad space from online companies like Google. The ads cause web browsers to create a cookie artifact on the user’s computer which identifies the machine viewing the ad[viii]. IP addresses may change but the cookie and its identifiers do not.

De-cloaking Tor users doesn’t necessarily require a federal budget either. According to a couple of researchers slated to speak at Black Hat in a few weeks[ix]:

“In our analysis, we’ve discovered that a persistent adversary with a handful of powerful servers and a couple gigabit links can de-anonymize hundreds of thousands Tor clients and thousands of hidden services within a couple of months. The total investment cost? Just under $3,000.”

Related Link:
author by fredpublication date Fri Jul 25, 2014 01:13Report this post to the editors

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

new hard to block supercookies ask your browser draw an image then fingerprint it uniquely from that

even the secure "Tails" Linux based operating system is currently not secure:

Apple backdoor services spill your information:

You can secure your idevice much better by limiting what it can pair with (careful though!):

Mozilla firefox has some security critical bugs which need an update to V.31

author by Gary Boynepublication date Thu Aug 14, 2014 19:27Report this post to the editors

Great article T and a good list of stuff there to read Fred.

It was inevitable that the masters of the corporate state would tighten their controls over this latest human space to inhabit - the net

But actions like Wiki-leaks and Edward Snowden is showing up the "Free World" for what it really is.

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