Chinese Hackers Stole Plans For Israel’s Iron Dome

China-based hackers stole plans for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system in 2011 and 2012, according to an investigation by a Maryland-based cyber security firm first reported by independent journalist Brian Krebs.

The hackers also stole plans related to other missile interceptors, including the Arrow 3, which was designed by Boeing and other U.S.-based companies.

According to Krebs, “the attacks bore all of the hallmarks of the ‘Comment Crew,’ a prolific and state-sponsored hacking group associated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and credited with stealing terabytes of data from defense contractors and U.S. corporations.” The hackers gained access to the systems of three Israeli companies working on missile defense. Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services could prove that 700 documents were stolen in the breach although it’s likely that the actual number is higher. Continue reading

China builds listening station in Hong Kong

 

The existence of a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) communications installation atop Hong Kong’s tallest mountain – the 957 m-high peak of Tai Mo Shan – recently came to light.

Construction began around 2010, with a geodesic dome first appearing in satellite imagery in 2011. The facility has been operational for approximately three years. Continue reading

U.S. Navy admiral says he’s open to idea of giving Chinese Navy tour of carrier

A top U.S. Navy official said he is “receptive” to idea of letting his Chinese crewmen tour a U.S. aircraft carrier based in Japan, but experts warn such access could be a risky intelligence giveaway.

Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, told The Wall Street Journal that his Chinese counterpart mentioned the idea of a U.S. carrier crew touring its lone Liaoning carrier and a Chinese crew touring the USS George Washington.

“I’m receptive to that idea,” Greenert, who saw the Liaoning and other Chinese ships on a recent trip, told the paper.

Nan Li, an associate professor in the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute, however, said Beijing would likely benefit more from a tour than the U.S. Navy. Continue reading

Germany to ‘spy on US and UK intelligence gathering’ for the first time in 45 years

Germany has ordered surveillance of British and American intelligence gathering on its soil to begin for the first time since 1945, according to reports.
Under the decision, US and British intelligence operations in Germany will be subject to the same counter-espionage measures as those of Russia, China and Iran.

“We need to send a strong signal,” a source close to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government told Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. The unprecedented move is a direct response to a series of spy scandals that have rocked British and American relations with Germany in the past year.

Mrs Merkel’s government has given the go-ahead to surveillance plans that first emerged after two suspected double agents were found allegedly spying for the Americans inside the German security establishment a few weeks ago. Continue reading

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren’t poisoned

If you were Vladimir Putin, you could be forgiven for feeling a little paranoid right now, as the Western world takes turns to blame, excoriate, vilify and condemn you over the Malaysian airline disaster.

You might well wonder whether a bullet, a Jiffy bag full of ricin or a lunchtime polonium sandwich were most likely to be the means of your imminent dispatch from this life. So it’s no surprise to learn that the Russian president employs a professional food taster on his full-time staff. Continue reading

600 million Apple devices contain secret backdoors, researcher claims

A security researcher considered to be among the foremost experts in his field says that more than a half-billion mobile devices running Apple’s latest iOS operating system contain secret backdoors.

Jonathan Zdziarski, also known by his online alias “NerveGas,” told the audience attending his Friday morning presentation at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference in New York City that around 600 million Apple devices, including iPhones and tablets, contain hidden features that allow data to be surreptitiously slurped from those devices.

During Zdziarski’s HOPE presentation, “Identifying Backdoors, Attack Points and Surveillance Mechanisms in iOS Devices,” the researcher revealed that several undocumented forensic services are installed on every new iPhone and iPad, making it easier that ever for a third-party to pull data from those devices in order to compromise a target and take hold of their personal information, including pictures, text messages, voice recordings and more.

Among the hidden functions running on iOS devices, Zdziarski said, are programs called “pcapd,” “file_relay” and “file_relay.” If used properly, he added, those programs can allow anyone with the right means and methodology to pull staggering amounts of data from a targeted phone, even when the rightful owner suspects the device is sufficiently locked. Continue reading

Chinese spy ship arrives at giant U.S.-led naval exercise off the coast of Hawaii

A giant U.S.-led naval exercise with 22 nations from around the world got an unexpected visitor on Sunday — a Chinese spy ship perched in international waters.

The 24th Rim of the Pacific exercises (RIMPAC) in and around the Hawaiian Islands features more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. China is part of a host of nations taking part, which also includes Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, the United Kingdom and others. Continue reading

How Russian Hackers Stole the Nasdaq

In October 2010, a Federal Bureau of Investigation system monitoring U.S. Internet traffic picked up an alert. The signal was coming from Nasdaq (NDAQ). It looked like malware had snuck into the company’s central servers. There were indications that the intruder was not a kid somewhere, but the intelligence agency of another country. More troubling still: When the U.S. experts got a better look at the malware, they realized it was attack code, designed to cause damage.

As much as hacking has become a daily irritant, much more of it crosses watch-center monitors out of sight from the public. The Chinese, the French, the Israelis—and many less well known or understood players—all hack in one way or another. They steal missile plans, chemical formulas, power-plant pipeline schematics, and economic data. That’s espionage; attack code is a military strike. There are only a few recorded deployments, the most famous being the Stuxnet worm. Widely believed to be a joint project of the U.S. and Israel, Stuxnet temporarily disabled Iran’s uranium-processing facility at Natanz in 2010. It switched off safety mechanisms, causing the centrifuges at the heart of a refinery to spin out of control. Two years later, Iran destroyed two-thirds of Saudi Aramco’s computer network with a relatively unsophisticated but fast-spreading “wiper” virus. One veteran U.S. official says that when it came to a digital weapon planted in a critical system inside the U.S., he’s seen it only once—in Nasdaq.

The October alert prompted the involvement of the National Security Agency, and just into 2011, the NSA concluded there was a significant danger. A crisis action team convened via secure videoconference in a briefing room in an 11-story office building in the Washington suburbs. Besides a fondue restaurant and a CrossFit gym, the building is home to the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), whose mission is to spot and coordinate the government’s response to digital attacks on the U.S. They reviewed the FBI data and additional information from the NSA, and quickly concluded they needed to escalate. Continue reading

FBI: Chinese hacker accessed gold mine of data on F-22, F-35 and 32 U.S. military projects

A Chinese hacker allegedly broke into the network of world’s largest aerospace company and other defense contractors to steal sensitive information on the United States’ F-22 and F-35 fighter jets, as well as Boeing’s C-17 cargo plane.

The FBI believes that Su Bin, formerly of the Chinese aviation firm Lode Technologies, and two Chinese-based co-conspirators accessed a gold mine of information from Boeing and other contractors in Europe. The plan was to gather enough information so that the communist nation might “stand easily on the giant’s shoulders,” The Register reported Monday. Continue reading

American Federation of Communists

Communist pamphleteers are using the American Federation of Teachers annual convention as a recruiting ground, according to a new video.

Men with Mao Zedong-emblazoned messenger bags distributed fliers to union members as they entered the Los Angeles convention center, where thousands of teachers have gathered to discuss the state of the nation’s second largest teachers union.

Communist literature has appeared throughout the convention floor. Issues of the communist newspaper Red Flag have also been handed out to teachers as they gathered to reelect president Randi Weingarten, one of the most influential Democrats in the nation and a leader of the shadowy Democracy Alliance. Continue reading

Germany weighs how to hit back in US spying row

Berlin (AFP) – Germany debated retaliatory measures against the United States on Tuesday after the discovery of an alleged double agent stoked still smouldering public anger over the NSA scandal.

The case of a German intelligence operative suspected of spying for Washington drew a fierce response from Berlin, where indignation against one of its closest allies has run high since reports last year that the US National Security Agency (NSA) tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

Merkel fumed over the latest allegations on a visit to China, saying on Monday that if they proved to be true it “would be for me a clear contradiction as to what I consider to be trusting cooperation between agencies and partners.” Continue reading

KGB papers, kept in secret since 1992, released by British archive

Original documents from one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history — a who’s who of Soviet spying — were released Monday after being held in secret for two decades.

Intelligence historian Christopher Andrew said the vast dossier, released by the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge University, was considered “the most important single intelligence source ever” by British and American authorities.

Mitrokhin was a senior archivist in the KGB’s foreign intelligence headquarters — and a secret dissident. For more than a decade, he secretly took files home, copied them in longhand and then typed them and collated them into volumes. He hid the papers at his country cottage, or dacha, some stuffed into a milk churn and buried.

The world did not learn of Mitrokhin until Andrew published a book based on his files in 1999. It caused a sensation by exposing the identities of KGB agents including 87-year-old Melita Norwood, the “great-granny spy,” who had passed British atomic secrets to the Soviets for years. Continue reading

U.S. Nuke Sites Dismantled Security to Save Money, Report Warns

Problems persist two years after major security breach

The organization responsible for securing America’s highly sensitive nuclear sites has been suffering from a “chaotic” and “dysfunctional” security policy that has endangered the country’s nuclear sites and left them vulnerable to attack, according to a new report by the government’s watchdog group.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which is tasked with managing the nation’s nuclear stockpile and securing classified research sites, has “increased risks and reduced security” over the past several years in a bid to reduce overhead costs, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Continue reading

Out with Keystone XL, In with Enbridge Northern Gateway

Claiming it could no longer abide the Obama administration’s five-year refusal to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline designed to bring 830,000 barrels a day of much-needed Alberta shale oil to U.S. refineries, the Canadian government recently approved plans for a huge new pipeline and port project to ship that oil to Asia instead. 

When completed, the $7.9 billion Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, approved by Canada’s federal government on June 17, will consist of an environmentally safe, 730-mile oil pipeline. It will be capable of moving 600,000 barrels a day of Alberta oil to the pacific coast town of Kitimat, British Columbia, where a new state-of-the-art super tanker port facility will be built to ship the oil to thirsty Asian ports. Continue reading

Congress to Cut Key U.S. Missile Defense System

Funding cut comes as Chinese, Iranian, Russian cruise missile threat grows

Congress is poised to significantly cut funding for a key U.S. missile defense system that is slated to be deployed against threats in the Washington, D.C., area, prompting outrage from former military leaders and defense industry insiders.

Congress is seeking to slash $25 million from JLENS, or the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor, an advanced missile detection radar system capable of finding and intercepting missiles, drones, and planes far before they reach the homeland.

Major cuts to the system are coming down the pike just as JLENS is to be deployed in the nation’s capital and integrated into the region’s air defense system. Continue reading