Posts Tagged ‘security’

Trump Golf: Hole-in-One for Hackers

May 19, 2017

Trump Golf: Hole-in-One for Hackers

“We parked a 17-foot motor boat in a lagoon about 800 feet from the back lawn of The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and pointed a 2-foot wireless antenna that resembled a potato gun toward the club. Within a minute, we spotted three weakly encrypted Wi-Fi networks. We could have hacked them in less than five minutes, but we refrained.

A few days later, we drove through the grounds of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with the same antenna and aimed it at the clubhouse. We identified two open Wi-Fi networks that anyone could join without a password. We resisted the temptation.

We have also visited two of President Donald Trump’s other family-run retreats, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and a golf club in Sterling, Virginia. Our inspections found weak and open Wi-Fi networks, wireless printers without passwords, servers with outdated and vulnerable software, and unencrypted login pages to back-end databases containing sensitive information.

The risks posed by the lax security, experts say, go well beyond simple digital snooping. Sophisticated attackers could take advantage of vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi networks to take over devices like computers or smart phones and use them to record conversations involving anyone on the premises.

“Those networks all have to be crawling with foreign intruders, not just ProPublica,” said Dave Aitel, chief executive officer of Immunity, Inc., a digital security company, when we told him what we found.”

— “Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago,”  Jeff Larson and Julia Angwin, with Surya Mattu of Gizmodo, ProPublica.com

While the president travels with secure communication equipment, he tweets on an older model Android phone. And members and their guests could have their phones hacked to record conversations at the clubs.

Related:

“Trump’s Mar-a-Lago is heaven — for spies,” Darren Samuelsohn, Politico

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Trump White House: ‘Get Off the Sidewalk!’

May 4, 2017

Trump White House: 'Get Off the Sidewalk!
The sidewalk in front of America’s Executive Mansion, site of centuries of political dissent, has been permanently closed by the Trump Administration. That section of Pennsylvania Avenue was closed to traffic by a reluctant Bill Clinton after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

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Pentagon Won’t Punish ‘Pillow-Talk’ Petraeus

February 4, 2016

Pentagon Won’t Punish 'Pillow-Talk' Petraeus
David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director after revelations he’d shared classified information with his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell, won’t be punished any further by the Pentagon, reported the Washington Post. General Petraeus pleaded guilty to a single count of unauthorized use of classified material last year in a …, um, “sweetheart deal.” Now he won’t even be demoted and will continue to receive a four-star general’s retirement benefits, including a pension of nearly $220,000 a year.

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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Drones Over Paris

February 28, 2015

Drones Over Paris

Mysterious drones have flown over Paris for two nights, hovering over the Bois de Boulogne, Elysee Palace, Place de la Concorde, Les Invalides, U.S. Embassy, the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks. Reporters are having a field day speculating about the little unmanned aerial vehicles. Reporters from AJ made things even worse with their coverage, flying a camera drone over the City of Light for some POV footage before they were nabbed by panicky gendarmes.

The remote-controlled mini aircraft have been whizzing around France since October, over major roads and nuclear power plants, but these earlier drone flights were by hobbyists. It’s likely these Parisian ones were, too. Flying drones in French cities without a permit is forbidden, even in daylight, and there’s a steep fine. You can see why people would want to do it, though:

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

January 28, 2015

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

An employee of a Federal intelligence agency got drunk at a party and crashed his friend’s DJI Phantom aerial drone on the White House grounds. The Chinese drone manufacturer says it’s updating the quad copter‘s software to keep it out of no-fly security zones in future. Maybe what the thing really needs is a breathalyzer interlock.

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Who Watches the Watchers? Thieves.

August 22, 2014

Who Watches the Watchers? Thieves.

“The high-security building housing Interpol’s South Africa office has been burgled for the fifth time in three weeks.”

— “South Africa: Interpol building raided five times,” BBC News

The International Criminal Police Organization, (INTERPOL) is an intergovernmental organization with 190 member countries facilitating international police cooperation.

 “Our high-tech infrastructure of technical and operational support helps meet the growing challenges of fighting crime in the 21st century.”

— INTERPOL website

 The Pretoria office certainly inspires confidence in that.

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Your City is Watching You

October 15, 2013

Your City is Watching You
“From the first known use of closed-circuit television cameras to monitor crowds in London’s Trafalgar Square during a state visit by the king and queen of Thailand in 1960, urban video surveillance has come a long way. The Brookings Institution calculates that today it would cost $300 million in storage capacity to capture a year’s worth of footage from Chongqinq’s vast camera network. But by 2020, thanks to the steady decline of cost for digital storage devices, that figure could be just $3 million per year. ‘For the first time ever,’ they warn, ‘it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders — every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner.’ What’s worse is the active involvement of American firms like Cisco, which is supplying the city with network technology optimized for video transmission for an undisclosed sum.”

— “Your city is spying on you: From iPhones to cameras, you are being watched right now,” Anthony M. Townsend, Salon [links added]

More:

“Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Governments,” John Villasenor, Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution

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Internet Surveillance

March 19, 2013

Internet Surveillance
“The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.”

— “The Internet is a surveillance state,” Bruce Schneier, CNN Opinion

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Romney Charm, Offensive

July 27, 2012

Romney Charm, Offensive

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney sought to demonstrate his statesmanship with a trip to the Old World, but he seems to have an odd sense of diplomacy. As a guest in the United Kingdom he opined that London’s arrangements for the 2012 Olympics were “disconcerting” and “obviously is not something which is encouraging,” and “it’s hard to know just how well” the Games will succeed.

Having arranged snowball fights at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (population 190,000), Mr. Romney is well qualified to assess the 2012 Olympics in London (population 8,000,000). Certainly the organizer of London’s Games should have solved his logistical problems the way Mitt Romney did, by becoming a registered lobbyist and getting $1.3 Billion in earmarks from the national government. Ladies and gentlemen, that is superior business management.

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Le Grand Frère Vous Regarde à Paris

December 23, 2011

Le Grand Frère Vous Regarde à Paris

Tourists aren’t the only ones in Paris with cameras; les flics have them as well. 200 new surveillance cameras now spy on the streets of the French capital, and by spring there will be 1200 more. Police at video monitors will be on the lookout for crime, terrorists, traffic jams, and inappropriate tutoiement. You have been warned.

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Image (“Le Grand Frère Vous Regarde à Paris, after Caillebotte”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.