Posts Tagged ‘Tactics’

SOFT ROBOTS THAT can grasp delicate objects, computer algorithms designed to spot an “insider threat,” and artificial intelligence that will sift through large data sets — these are just a few of the technologies being pursued by companies with investment from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, according to a document obtained by The Intercept.

Yet among the 38 previously undisclosed companies receiving In-Q-Tel funding, the research focus that stands out is social media mining and surveillance; the portfolio document lists several tech companies pursuing work in this area, including Dataminr, Geofeedia, PATHAR, and TransVoyant.

Those four firms, which provide unique tools to mine data from platforms such as Twitter, presented at a February “CEO Summit” in San Jose sponsored by the fund, along with other In-Q-Tel portfolio companies.

Full Story @ [The Intercept]

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WASHINGTON — In early 2003, F.B.I. agents hit a roadblock in a secret investigation, called Operation Trail Mix. For months, agents had been intercepting phone calls and emails belonging to members of an animal welfare group that was believed to be sabotaging operations of a company that was using animals to test drugs. But encryption software had made the emails unreadable.

So investigators tried something new. They persuaded a judge to let them remotely, and secretly, install software on the group’s computers to help get around the encryption.

That effort, revealed in newly declassified and released records, shows in new detail how F.B.I. hackers worked to defeat encryption more than a decade before the agency’s recent fight with Apple over access to a locked iPhone. The Trail Mix case was, in some ways, a precursor to the Apple dispute. In both cases, the agents could not decode the data themselves, but found a clever workaround.

Full Story @ [New York Times]

VICE News ran a story about a gang in Detroit, Michigan that was nabbed partly due to their use of social media. This of course caught my attention so I clicked the link to the indictment papers and began to have a read. I find court documents completely fascinating. It’s a weird hobby I will admit. However, I am always one of those people that likes to read more into a story, dig for background, and understand more of the peripheral players, locations and other details. Indictment papers are one of those documents that can help you do all of this. Aside from learning far more about news stories that interest you, this can be exceedingly useful if you are in law enforcement or you’re a journalist and a particular story pops up that interests you. Sometimes digging through a completely different case than one you’re currently working on can give you ideas, or help to hone some of your search skills. As well, a lot of folks taking OSINT training have a tough time finding something to apply their skills to, they can only creep on their own accounts or friends for so long before it becomes boring and repetitive.

There are cases where you can write code to kick off the whole process (such as what I did with Bin Ladin’s Bookshelf) but there are other times that you are going to want to spend some time figuring out where to target your automation. This requires a bit of critical reading, and an eye for extracting relevant pieces of information. Let’s use these indictment papers and do some quick Twitter investigating to see if we can locate other interesting people potentially associated to the folks that are locked up.

Full Story @ [Automating OSINT]

In an extensive profile on Marlinspike, The Wall Street Journal details how an encryption program he wrote was so robust, simple, and efficient that WhatsApp — one of the more popular messaging apps on the planet — “made it a standard feature for many of the app’s 800 million users.”

While he may appear to be like any other dreadlocked dude you might see at a Grateful Dead concert, don’t let the hairstyle fool you. He’s the real deal, having formerly served as the head of Twitter’s security team.

The Journal reports:

In a research paper released Tuesday, 15 prominent technologists cited three programs relying on Mr. Marlinspike’s code as options for shielding communications.

His encrypted texting and calling app, Signal, has come up in White House meetings, says an attendee. Speaking via video link last year as part of a panel on surveillance, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked troves of U.S. spying secrets, urged listeners to use “anything” that Mr. Marlinspike releases.

All the more impressive, the report relays an anecdote detailing how a Johns Hopkins University cryptography class examined Marlinspike’s code only to find that there were no errors to be found. Anywhere.

In typical coder fashion, Marlinspike is extremely private. We don’t know his age or much else about him aside from his elegant code. And while the ultimate functionality of what Marlinspike’s accomplishes may not be new in and of itself, his code stands out because it’s extremely easy to use.

Source: [BGR]

Founder and Director of Oath Keepers Stewart Rhodes urges all Oath Keeper chapters across the country to hold an Emergency Summit by state, in order to prepare for an economic collapse. ‘Assume the worst’ and formulate support teams. Food storage the most crucial.

One of the best books that cracks the code on what we are living through was written by Dutch psychiatrist Joost A. M. Meerloo about 60 years ago. Mull over the first line of his book’s forward, and you will think he is writing about today: “This book attempts to depict the strange transformation of the free human mind into an automatically responding machine – a transformation which can be brought about by some of the cultural undercurrents in our present-day society as well as by deliberate experiments in the service of a political ideology.”

That’s from “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing” (1956). There is indeed a war on the private mind, as Kevin Williamson explained in a recent National Review column. Unfortunately, too many Americans have been sleeping through most of its propaganda battles, and for a very long time. When it comes to understanding the inner workings of social psychology and political correctness, we seem to be at a loss.

Meanwhile, the power elites who now control the media, academia, and Hollywood seem to understand social psychology well enough to exploit it on a massive scale. They have engaged in psychological warfare against the private mind by inducing “collective belief formation.” There’s really nothing new here. Conditioning and nudging the masses into groupthink is a very old trick of all wannabe dictators. The bloody twentieth century is filled to the gills with examples.

Full Story @ [thefederalist]

nato-ground-surveillance

The evening proceeded quietly. The dark drama I experienced earlier was like a strong dose of caffeine that began to wear off. At around 11:30 that evening I went to bed hoping to capture some of the sleep stolen from me the night before. All was quiet . . . but not for long. At exactly 12:00 midnight I was rudely awakened by a sudden eruption of clamor from the apartment above! They’re back! The Scowler (or his henchmen) had returned!

This assault was a perfect replica of what I endured the night before. The noise, stomping, and loud profane voices bounced off my bedroom walls. I now faced a second night of stolen sleep and harassment. What should I do? If law enforcement agents are my antagonists, what would happen if I called the police to complain? I did not want a confrontation, just a good night’s sleep.

Forced to lay awake for the second night in a row by this assault, I began to analyze my situation. This scheme was not the improvised efforts of a ragtag group of local police officers. I sensed that it was a well-crafted, thoroughly rehearsed technique that reflected expertise in psychology and surveillance. The participants knew their roles well and stuck to a script.

Rather than beat me physically, they were seeking to beat me by attacking my emotions and injuring my pride. I had been rudely deprived of sleep for over 36 hours. Also, I was subject to a series of actions designed to humiliate me and provoke an angered response. They had also provided a target for my anger . . . the “Scowler.”

This gang-stalking methodology falls under a system of psychological operations being developed and tested on American citizens by covert quasi-military law enforcement agencies. The basic process described above has been taught by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) since the 1950’s. “The purpose of all coercive techniques is to induce psychological regression in the subject by bringing a superior outside force to bear on his will to resist. Regression is basically . . . a reversion to an earlier behavioral level. As the subject regresses, his learned personality traits fall away in reverse chronological order. He begins to lose the capacity to carry out the highest creative activities, to deal with complex situations, to cope with stressful interpersonal relationships, or to cope with repeated frustrations.” – CIA Human Resource Exploitation Manual

Full Story @ [youarenotmybigbrother]

The above article is actually taken from a now defunct website that was captured by the Way Back Machine.

city-ruins

After searching through websites, books and watching the news or other shows, I’ve found that there are about a million different threats that could play a role in anyone’s life. Extreme weather, natural disasters, governments, war, and the list goes on. These aren’t only threats to preppers but everyone, prepared or not. Oddly enough when you hear about preppers on popular shows like “Doomsday Preppers”, you hear about how they’re prepared for a specific apocalyptic event that the family being showcased predicts will happen. You would assume that by being prepared for their event du jour that they would also be prepared for anything that could come their way. But it’s not. There are other basic threats specific to preppers that most rarely account for.

Prepper Expenses

Of course, there are always ways to save money on food by becoming an “extreme couponer” and by having what amounts to a warehouse in your home to store it all but usually, it’s best to just know how to do it yourself. One way to cut costs is knowing how to grow your own food. Food that has nutritional value that your family can not just survive on, but thrive on, is key. Also if necessary, knowing how to plant food in inconspicuous or hidden ways could be the difference between life and death because if others know you’re growing a hearty garden, guess whose house they’ll hit first when their supplies are exhausted?

Full Story @ [USCrow]

hearts-and-minds

Weak domestic support limits our ability to accomplish strategic goals more than any other factor. Americans perceive most expeditionary counterinsurgencies to be wars of choice. Without the sense of urgency found in wars of necessity, our population rarely provides wars of choice thorough or persistent support. They also rarely receive the clear rewards of a convincingly declared victory like V-E or V-J Day. Instead, most defeated insurgencies gradually fade into extinction without providing a defining moment of victory or a ticker tape parade. In Iraq and Afghanistan, I knew our area of operation was improving, but we did not have a clear, dramatic sign at any point. While we could produce statistics showing a decline in violence, an improving economy, and increased trust for security forces, statistics rarely create the patriotic glow that sustains military efforts. Both a lack of urgency and a lack of visible progress leave citizens less likely to maintain the support wars need.

Popular support is incredibly important for the prosecution of a war in a democracy. Political leaders frequently do not back expeditionary campaigns after their voter base’s feelings sour. When public approval for Vietnam declined, the Congress passed the Case Church Amendment in 1973, significantly reducing support to the South Vietnamese government while the North Vietnamese increased their conventional attacks. The British Parliament handed Iraq over to Faysal in 1920 after popular dissatisfaction caused by the loss of 450 soldiers and 40 million pounds while suppressing a rebellion. More recently, President Obama campaigned in 2008 on a platform that included a plan to withdraw American forces from Iraq.

Forces fighting in a civil war have fewer limiting factors than expeditionary forces. By their very nature, political goals in civil wars are far more absolute, and their consequences are far more immediate. Our goals in Iraq and Afghanistan influenced the nature and composition of governments thousands of miles away in countries many Americans still cannot find on a map. To the Iraqis and Afghans, however, the wars were and are about the character of their own government, how much say they have in its decisions, and often their survival in sectarian or tribal conflicts. Governments managing a civil war also do not face a division of efforts, as the governance of their population automatically ties in either directly or indirectly to the prosecution of the war. Forces fighting in civil wars also know more about their operating environment than foreign forces, reducing a thousand different friction points.

Legitimacy is an excellent approach for domestic forces whose members and supporting population have committed to the results of their conflict, whose government can control its own efforts instead of expressing them through an ineffective host nation, and who know their operating environment. But, applying lessons learned from civil wars to more constrained expeditionary counterinsurgents has unduly burdened us with an approach that mismatches ambitious goals and significant constraints, making future expeditions unlikely to succeed.

Full Story @ [Small Wars Journal]

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey asking for “more specific information about the FBI’s current use of spyware”. The letter includes a list of highly specific questions about the way the FBI uses remote exploitation capabilities and spyware tools. The letter is related to a current effort by the Department of Justice to get more leeway in the way that its agencies use spyware tools in criminal investigations.

Intelligence agencies and military branches are known to use exploits for zero days in their work, some of which are developed internally and others that are purchased from outside vendors. In 2013, a contract surfaced that showed the NSA had subscribed to a zero-day exploit service run by VUPEN, a French company that develops and sells vulnerability and exploit information. And last month the U.S. Navy published a solicitation for zero days in a variety of popular software.

In addition to the information on exploit usage, Grassley also is asking Comey for more details on the FBI’s phishing operations. Last year, it was reported that the FBI at one point ran an operation that involved setting up a site to impersonate the Associated Press in order to get a target to click on a link that would install a remote monitoring tool. AP officials were indignant at the revelation, saying it undermined the organization’s credibility. In his letter, Grassley asks how many other times the FBI has used this tactic and whether the bureau ever informs the companies it is impersonating.

Full Story @ [threatpost]