Don’t sweat it: MyFitnessPal users unfazed despite hacking of 150mn accounts

The hack took place in late February but was revealed on March 29. Under Armour shares fell by as much as 4.6 percent to $15.59 in after-hours trading following the announcement, according to Bloomberg. Given the somewhat sensitive nature of this particular information, many users chose to make light of the breach.

“On March 25, 2018, we became aware that during February of this year an unauthorized party acquired data associated with MyFitnessPal user accounts. The affected information included usernames, email addresses, and hashed passwords – the majority with the hashing function called bcrypt used to secure passwords,” Under Armour’s Chief Digital Officer Paul Fipps wrote in an emailed statement. That said he needn’t have worried judging by how the Twitterati have taken it in their stride.

“Once we became aware, we quickly took steps to determine the nature and scope of the issue. We are working with leading data security firms to assist in our investigation. We have also notified and are coordinating with law enforcement authorities.” Some online even praised how the company dealt with the situation.

User names, email addresses and passwords were all stolen in what is one of the largest data breaches in recorded history. However, given that the hack didn’t include any credit card information (payment information is collected and processed off-platform) or government-issued data like social security numbers and driver’s license numbers, reaction online has been somewhat lighthearted.

“Email addresses are valuable for spammers because the attackers would know that active, real users are behind these addresses,” said Engin Kirda, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston as cited by Bloomberg. “The dark web is usually where data like this is sold to the highest bidder.”

Under Armour did not disclose how the breach was carried out and the perpetrator has yet to be identified. The breach was the largest known hack of consumer data announced this year and ranks in the top five data breaches of all time.

READ MORE: Equifax exec charged with insider trading, profiting $1mn in ‘largest data breach in US history’

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/422775-150mn-myfitnesspal-accounts-hacked/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Victoria Nuland, wife of Arch-Neocon Robert Kagan on Russian ‘hacking’– ‘The Hairs Really Went Up on the Back of Our Necks’

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,870 other followers

Source Article from https://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/victoria-nuland-wife-of-arch-neocon-robert-kagan-on-russian-hacking-the-hairs-really-went-up-on-the-back-of-our-necks/

‘Nation’ Writer on Russia ‘Hacking’: ‘I’ve Never Seen Media Malpractice Like This’

On Friday, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson interviewed Stephen F. Cohen, a contributing editor at The Nation. Cohen sharply criticized coverage at the Washington Post and the New York Times, and more generally stated that he has “never seen media malpractice” like the establishment press’s year-long effort to breathe life into what he insists has been a completely ginned-up claim that Russia tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Given that it has leaned hard-left during its entire existence, it might stun readers here to know that Cohen, who is married to magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, strongly believes, based on what he claims is his own extensive research, that there is no evidence of Russian U.S election influence.

Readers should keep in mind, as they view and digest Cohen’s contentions, that they, if true, completely refute the “fact-checkers” at Politifact, who have decided that “Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story'” is 2017’s “Lie of the Year.”

Politifact, which concedes that “It seems unlikely — though not impossible — that Russia interference changed the outcome of the election,” contends that “one man” — President Donald Trump — “keeps saying it didn’t even happen,” strongly implying that Trump is all alone in his belief. That’s wrong — and Cohen is on Politifact’s side of the aisle.

Carlson began by pointing to the print edition version of a Friday Washington Post story. The print story, which has a different headline (“How Trump’s pursuit of Putin has left the U.S. vulnerable to the Russian threat”) from the online version (“Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked”), has a subhead — “Hacking Democracy” — which assumes facts Cohen contends are not in evidence.

The full video segment from the show is here. The first excerpt which follows begins after Cohen was introduced, and deals with that Washington Post item:

Transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):

(Snip 1, from 0:28 to 1:47 of full segment)

TUCKER CARLSON: So I’m reading the Washington Post today, which is the Jeff Bezos publication. And right on the front page, there’s a piece about Russia. And the subhead says here, “Hacking Democracy,” as if it is a known and universally accepted fact that our democracy was, quote, “hacked.”

Do we know that?

STEPHEN COHEN: We do not. It’s been alleged. Originally it was said that 17 intelligence agencies made that finding. Turned out it was a few people in a couple intelligence agencies.

If you read on in the Washington Post story in the first paragraph, they go back to this claim that it’s the consensus of intelligence agencies. So it’s simply not true.

I have to say that in addition to being a professor, for a long time I was also a paid consultant of a major American television network. I admire mainstream media. I learned a lot. But I have never seen media malpractice like this before in my life.

What that constitutes is essentially making allegations for which there is no verified facts, information, or evidence, and then basing your commentary on it.

So briefly put, it said that somehow Trump has been compromised by Putin, the leader of Russia. Then, when Trump does diplomacy with Putin, the New York Times literally calls it “treason.” I haven’t seen anything like this before.

The next video below contains two snips. In the first, Cohen reacts to the press’s heavy reliance on leaks in the absence of substance, and notes the heavy irony in the left completely switching sides on the intelligence agencies’ presumptive credibility. In the second, Carlson directly asks Cohen if he seen any evidence of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election:

Transcript:

(Snip 2, from 2:12 to 2:35 of full segment)

COHEN: … A leaker, by definition, has a political agenda. We’d agree on that, right?

CARLSON: Yes, of course.

COHEN: You may not be old enough to remember, but I remember when the media, and particularly the liberal media, was deeply suspicious of intelligence agency sources.

CARLSON: Yes.

COHEN: And now we have a situation where they seem to be the Holy Writ. If they whisper it to you on the telephone, it’s true, and you print it.

(Snip 3, from 3:20 to 3:48)

CARLSON: … Do we have and have you seen any evidence at all that the Russian government materially affected the outcome of the 2016 election?

COHEN: I have heard you say repeatedly there is no evidence. I’ve looked harder than you have. I’ve looked here in America, but I also have looked in Moscow. I mean, when I am there, as people I know, and yes, I confess, I do know people who are or have been Russian intelligence agents. I haven’t found anybody in Moscow who believes this story.

Cohen has been consistently critical of media conduct and the Russian narrative for months. Headlines at a few of his recent columns at The Nation include the following:

  • December 12 — “Media Malpractice Is Criminalizing Better Relations With Russia”
  • November 27 — “Russia Is Not the ‘No. 1 Threat’—or Even Among the Top 5”
  • November 15 — “‘Russiagate’ Zealots (Mainly Democrats) Have Become a Major Threat to US National Security”

<<< Please support MRC’s NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

How utterly fascinating it is that a longtime leftist fellow traveler at one of its furthest-left publications completely disputes the Washington Post’s “Hacking Democracy” assumption, and insists, in the face of Politifact’s contention that there is “a mountain of evidence” supporting Russia’s alleged attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, that there is none.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tom-blumer/2017/12/16/contributing-editor-nation-russia-2016-election-ive-never-seen-media

WikiLeaks begins publishing source code for CIA hacking tools

WikiLeaks began publishing the source code of alleged CIA hacking tools Thursday in a new series dubbed “Vault 8.”

The source code, according to a press release from the anti-secrecy organization, is intended to “enable investigative journalists, forensic experts and the general public to better identify and understand covert CIA infrastructure components.”

“Source code published in this series contains software designed to run on servers controlled by the CIA,” WikiLeaks writes, stressing that the material does not contain 0-day or undisclosed vulnerabilities that could be utilized by others.

Hive, the first tool featured in Vault 8, aids the agency in controlling malware installed on target devices.

“Even the most sophisticated malware implant on a target computer is useless if there is no way for it to communicate with its operators in a secure manner that does not draw attention,” WikiLeaks writes. “Using Hive even if an implant is discovered on a target computer, attributing it to the CIA is difficult by just looking at the communication of the malware with other servers on the internet.”

“Hive provides a covert communications platform for a whole range of CIA malware to send exfiltrated information to CIA servers and to receive new instructions from operators at the CIA.”

Details on Hive were first revealed last April as part of WikiLeaks’ release of CIA hacking tool documentation known as Vault 7.

While the source code for Hive is unlikely to do little more than assist forensics analysts, the code for more powerful tools in Vault 7, if released, could potentially enable malicious attackers.

These latest leaks, likely from the same source as the Vault 7 files, are believed to have originated from a CIA employee or contractor.

In April of last year it was learned that a joint investigation by the FBI and CIA had begun looking into hundreds of agency members who would have had access to the material.

That same month CIA Director Mike Pompeo criticized WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange during his first public speech as head of the agency.

“Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today,” Pompeo said at the time. “Yes, they try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy; in reality, however, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is clickbait; their moral compass, nonexistent.”

Although then-presidential candidate Donald Trump repeatedly praised WikiLeaks during his campaign, reports claimed last April that Trump’s Justice Department had prepared charges seeking the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared to hint at the alleged charges during a press conference that month, Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack, stated that the Department of Justice has not attempted to make contact.

Copyright Information: This article was reprinted with permission from Infowars.com. Please contact the author directly for republishing information.


For almost a decade Gov’t Slaves has worked tirelessly to bring its readers the most critical news the corporate media does not want you to see. We have no intrusive ads, pop-ups or clickbait, just NEWS. If you happen to be in a position to support my work, PLEASE consider making a one-time donation to fund the site. Your support is humbly appreciated. Thomas @ Gov’t Slaves



Source Article from http://govtslaves.info/2017/11/wikileaks-begins-publishing-source-code-for-cia-hacking-tools/

‘UK teen almost hacking US officials a serious concern for American security’

British teenager Kane Gamble pleaded guilty to trying to hack top US officials’ personal computers.

Gamble is autistic and was only 15 years old when he attempted to hack the computers of former CIA chief John Brennan and the head of security of the Obama administration. He was released on bail and is due to be sentenced by a British regional court in December.

While it is not clear how close Gamble was to getting hold of sensitive information, red flags have been raised about the ability of the US government network to defend itself against hacking.

RTKane Gamble is charged with attempting to hack the computers. Did he actually get access to sensitive information?

Mark Chapman: The important thing to recognize here is that he’s pleaded guilty to the hacking allegations. That is certainly something that we don’t condone. But there is a serious concern here – vulnerability of American computers – because if a British teenager can get access, or even look to get enough access that he has been caught, that is something that other hackers, be they from rogue states, be they from anyone wishing to do the US harm… that is very concerning.

RT:  Were they personal computers with highly sensitive personal information, or just somebody’s laptops?

MC: As I understand it, they were personal computers. But that distinction isn’t perhaps as significant as people would often make out. If you can access somebody’s personal computer, you learn all about their life, you can then use that information to get the passwords, to get everything that they know, that they have, to enable to then use that information to access further. 

RT:   So the guy just admitted that he attempted to get this information. So, if he didn’t manage to enter the system, doesn’t that mean that the security here actually worked?

MC: That is one for the CIA to be looking at themselves. Clearly it is very concerning that however close he got, whether or not he got in, that it was close enough for them to be concerned, for them to not just brush it off, but go to the effort of informing the UK government of putting the arrest in place for him to have to plead guilty to the charges.

RT:  Kane is autistic and was about 15 years old when he committed the crimes. Will they go lightly on him because of that?

MC: It is hard to tell. I think it would be the right thing to do if that was the case. However, we saw with Gary McKinnon that the element of autism isn’t something that will be taken into account. His age might well be. This is a child, when he was committing those crimes. We will have to see what happens in due course.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/usa/406040-us-computers-vulnerable-hackers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

The not-so-genius effects of hacking your brain with smart drugs

    

When you talk to brain-hackers from Silicon Valley, they talk of creating the perfect stack – a combination of natural and pharmaceutical nootropics that can help make them into a super-powered genius that can go hours without sleep while maintaining massive focus. It sounds like a cool way to hack the brain, but this practice can come at a price.

The problem is that many of the pharmaceutical versions (and sometimes even the natural ones) can be damaging.

In the early days, people trying to crank out loads of computer code, write the next best-selling novel, cram for a university exam, or simply party like it was 1999, used micro-doses of LSD or Adderall, a prescription drug normally used to treat ADHD, and some of these practices are still used today.

The thinking behind this phenomenon is that if supplements like glutamate, an excitatory substance to the brain and nervous system can successfully be utilized for people who have cognitive dysfunction like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, ADHD, etc., certainly these supplements could help enhance memory creativity, and cognitive performance in “normal” people.

This assumption is not entirely wrong. We already know that even changing our nutrition, getting better sleep (not even necessarily more), and lowering our stress, frees up the brain to take in more, and process experiences and make memories faster. This can translate into all sorts of benefits, from super learning to even increased psychic awareness.

There’s just one caveat. Everyone’s brain is very different.

For example, a natural substance called choline is highly available in breast milk, and in certain foods we eat. There’s a lot of it in breast milk because babies need it to help their brains grow, but choline does tons of stuff like help our cells form, our muscles work normally, and even the liver to function properly.

It would seem that more choline would be a “no-brainer” when it comes to boosting brain power even in grown adults, but the more is better attitude in the west is proven wrong once again – and this is a natural substance. Choline in high doses can also cause low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, excessive salivation, diarrhea, constipation, anorexia, dizziness, insomnia and headaches.

To be fair, many people take excessive doses of things like ginseng or ginkgo biloba extract and experience intestinal issues that can be excruciatingly painful; this can be true of consuming too much fish oil even – also natural brain boosters, but the pharmaceutical brain hacking drugs pose even riskier potentials.

The Popularity of Nootropics is Growing

Despite potential dangers, there are already more than 70,000 subreddit subscribers to the subject “nootropics.”

It seems more and more of us are looking for a way to be the best version of ourselves, but depending on who you ask – even the pharmaceutical nootropics on the market, which can be stacked and combined in an infinite number of ways, changing the chemical dance going on in our brains – are totally safe, or dangerously side-effect causing.

Originally, the criteria for nootropics were that they had to be brain protective, and promote brain health. It seems that original definition of nootropics has gone by the wayside.

Who the Heck Knows?

“Who the heck knows?” says Kim Urban, a Philadelphia neurophysiologist talking about the possible negative side effects of pharmaceutical grade nootropics. “So few studies have been done, and those that have were not the most controlled trials.”

For example, a study found that Ritalin – a drug often “Stacked” by bio-hackers can eventually reduce brain plasticity. Other nootropics can cause the jitters, insomnia, muscle spasms, and brain fog, and we still don’t know what happens to someone’s brain or nervous system once they go off the smart drugs after prolonged use.

Nonetheless, brain hackers are impatient, often not even waiting for clinical trials for smart drugs that are being developed. They go to sites like selfhacked and figure out which chemical compounds they can experiment with to create a “super-brain.”

It’s like the movie Breaking Bad on their kitchen counters.

A Safer Alternative

In the West is seems we’re always look for a short-cut. Nootropics may provide some benefits when used mindfully, but the risks could possibly outweigh the rewards. Conversely, there are ample studies proving that a mindfulness practice can eventually create brain waves that cause “super-learning,” without causing negative side effects.

In the brain wave frequency above 40 Hz, Tibetan Buddhist monks have been able to learn, memorize, and think exceptionally fast – tapping into brain functions that brain-hackers could only dream of.

This is the gamma wave state. It translates to higher mental activity, expanded perception and problem solving abilities, and higher levels of consciousness.

On Earth, nuclear explosions and lightning produce gamma rays. You can just imagine what gamma waves at that level of energy can do for our thought processes. But hey, you can’t just pop a pill to reach this state of mind, or so it appears.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/363302-The-not-so-genius-effects-of-hacking-your-brain-with-smart-drugs

Abbott Lab’s 465,000 pacemakers recalled as vulnerable to hacking attacks

    

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a recall of 465,000 pacemakers after the devices were found to be vulnerable to hacking.

The pacemakers in question were manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. The devices are all radio-controlled, which means a hacker could potentially access the network that the pacemakers interface with to change their settings or even stop them entirely. That could prove fatal.

Yes, hackers can now literally stop your robot heart with their smartphone. Yes, we are living in a cyberpunk dystopia.

“As medical devices become increasingly interconnected via the internet, hospital networks, other medical devices, and smartphones, there is an increased risk of exploitation of cybersecurity vulnerabilities,” read the FDA statement accompanying the recall.

There have been “no known reports of patient harm related to the cybersecurity vulnerabilities,” the FDA added.

“The pacemaker devices to which this update applies include the RF telemetry versions of the following devices in the US: Accent SR RF™, Accent MRI™, Assurity™, Assurity MRI™, Accent DR RF™, Anthem RF™, Allure RF™, Allure Quadra RF™, and Quadra Allure MP RF™,” read the St. Jude Medical website. St. Jude has been owned by Abbott Laboratories since January 2017.

As we’ve said before, Abbott is resolving all old St. Jude Medical issues,” they added. “These planned updates further strengthen the security and device management tools for our connected cardiac rhythm management devices. The cybersecurity landscape is always changing, which is why we’re working across the healthcare sector to proactively address issues that affect all connected technologies.”

Abbott did not use the term ‘recall,’ preferring instead “firmware update.” They intend to install a cybersecurity patch that will close this vulnerability. Those with one of the affected pacemakers already installed in their chests won’t need them replaced: they just need to go to the hospital for a three-minute firmware update.

In 2016, research group Muddy Waters wrote that St. Jude pacemakers might be vulnerable to hacking, calling the medical device company’s “apparent lack of device security is egregious, and in our view, likely a product of years of neglect.”

In May 2017, medical device security consultancy WhiteScope extended that warning to the other three major manufacturers of pacemakers.

“The FDA reminds patients, patient caregivers, and health care providers that any medical device connected to a communications network (e.g. wi-fi, public or home internet) may have cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could be exploited by unauthorized users,” the federal agency wrote. “However, the increased use of wireless technology and software in medical devices can also often offer safer, more efficient, convenient, and timely health care delivery.”

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/360887-Abbott-Labs-465000-pacemakers-recalled-as-vulnerable-to-hacking-attacks

Heart Hack: 465,000 Pacemakers Recalled as Vulnerable to Hacking Attacks

The pacemakers in question were manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. The devices are all radio-controlled, which means a hacker could potentially access the network that the pacemakers interface with to change their settings or even stop them entirely. That could prove fatal.

Yes, hackers can now literally stop your robot heart with their smartphone. Yes, we are living in a cyberpunk dystopia.

“As medical devices become increasingly interconnected via the internet, hospital networks, other medical devices, and smartphones, there is an increased risk of exploitation of cybersecurity vulnerabilities,” read the FDA statement accompanying the recall.

There have been “no known reports of patient harm related to the cybersecurity vulnerabilities,” the FDA added.

“The pacemaker devices to which this update applies include the RF telemetry versions of the following devices in the US: Accent SR RF™, Accent MRI™, Assurity™, Assurity MRI™, Accent DR RF™, Anthem RF™, Allure RF™, Allure Quadra RF™, and Quadra Allure MP RF™,” read the St. Jude Medical website. St. Jude has been owned by Abbott Laboratories since January 2017.

“As we’ve said before, Abbott is resolving all old St. Jude Medical issues,” they added. “These planned updates further strengthen the security and device management tools for our connected cardiac rhythm management devices. The cybersecurity landscape is always changing, which is why we’re working across the healthcare sector to proactively address issues that affect all connected technologies.”

Abbott did not use the term ‘recall,’ preferring instead “firmware update.” They intend to install a cybersecurity patch that will close this vulnerability. Those with one of the affected pacemakers already installed in their chests won’t need them replaced: they just need to go to the hospital for a three-minute firmware update.

In 2016, research group Muddy Waters wrote that St. Jude pacemakers might be vulnerable to hacking, calling the medical device company’s “apparent lack of device security is egregious, and in our view, likely a product of years of neglect.”

In May 2017, medical device security consultancy WhiteScope extended that warning to the other three major manufacturers of pacemakers.

“The FDA reminds patients, patient caregivers, and health care providers that any medical device connected to a communications network (e.g. wi-fi, public or home internet) may have cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could be exploited by unauthorized users,” the federal agency wrote. “However, the increased use of wireless technology and software in medical devices can also often offer safer, more efficient, convenient, and timely health care delivery.”

Source Article from http://govtslaves.info/heart-hack-465000-pacemakers-recalled-vulnerable-hacking-attacks/

Food samples given away at grocery stores rely on "hacking" the brains of consumers with a clever influence strategy

Image: Food samples given away at grocery stores rely on “hacking” the brains of consumers with a clever influence strategy

(Natural News)
If you’ve ever gone to a supermarket and taken a free sample of one of the store’s products – maybe a slice of cheese or a small cup of soup, for example – then chances are somebody tried to hack into your brain. Of course, “hacked” in this sense doesn’t mean using some kind of mind reading super power that you’d see in a science fiction film; rather, it is a persuasion technique that has been written about and studied by psychologists for many years.

A report published earlier this month by the American Psychological Association discussed this very concept, and how psychological persuasion techniques really can have an effect on the consumers’ behavior. “When someone offers a free sample, it’s not really free. It comes with the implied expectation that if a person accepts it, he or she will feel obligated to return the favor and eventually pay for the full product,” said the report, which was published on ScienceDaily.com. “That’s just one of the many insights psychology has uncovered about the subtle mechanics of persuasion and how people can recognize and respond to attempts to influence their behavior.” (Related: Read about how different colors can affect our moods and emotions.)

Speaking at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Robert Cialdini, a professor emeritus of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, said, “Persuasion is no longer just an art; it’s an out-and-out science.” Professor Cialdini continued, “Indeed, a vast body of scientific evidence now exists on how, when and why people say yes to influence attempts.”

With respect to trying free samples at the grocery store, many of us have most likely experienced this feeling of guilt after walking away from a vendor. Even if you didn’t end up purchasing the full product, chances are you at least gave it some thought because of this unspoken obligation you felt to return the favor. Truth be told, this is actually a psychological persuasion technique, and it is intentionally used more often than you think.

It is fair to say that the majority of persuasion techniques used today to get you to buy certain products or services use this same type of “brain hacking” strategy as the one described by the American Psychological Association. The website FastCompany.com has compiled an entire list of these persuasion tactics, including the scarcity principle, which states that people generally want products more when they are in short supply. This is why department stores often hang a sign on their products that says “just for today,” and why car companies often air commercials that say “you better act fast before it’s too late.”

Another “brain hacking” technique, called the Conversion Theory, states that the minority in a group of people are the most effective voices when it comes to persuading those in the majority, because those in the majority are the most likely to have joined simply because they felt there were no alternatives.

One persuasion tactic that many businesses use is informally known as the Yale Attitude Change Approach, which is based on years of research and analysis. Yale found that factors such as attractiveness and the way in which you speak can have an impact on how effective one is at persuading others.

Whether it’s in a grocery store or elsewhere, one thing we know for sure is that as research into persuasion techniques continues, psychology will play an increasingly significant role. Gone are the days when businesses simply went out and told consumers why their product is better than everybody else’s. Today, they know how to get inside your head – how to “hack your brain,” if you will – and get you to do things that you otherwise may not have done.

Sources include: 

ScienceDaily.com

FastCompany.com

<!–

–>

Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-28-food-samples-given-away-at-grocery-stores-rely-on-hacking-the-brains-of-consumers-with-a-clever-influence-strategy.html

Leaked docs reveal German police to gain greater ‘hacking’ powers by end of 2017

    

German police will be able to use surveillance software by the end of the year that can hack into people’s smartphones and read encrypted messages in such services as WhatsApp, says a report that cites a leaked document.

A new version of the German police’s Remote Communication Interception Software (RCIS), which is used for surveillance over electronic devices, will be ready by the end of the year, a German independent media outlet, the Netzpolitik, reports, citing a leaked Interior Ministry internal progress report it obtained.

Unlike the previous version of the program, which was limited to surveillance only over desktop computers, the new software will be able to hack into smartphones and tablets with Android, iOS and Blackberry operating systems.

It can also circumvent the encryption systems built into various anonymous messaging services such as WhatsApp or Telegram by hacking directly into the devices themselves and obtaining the messages directly from the “source” – the users’ screens.

In June, the German Bundestag adopted a law that allowed the police to hack into messengers such as WhatsApp using “state trojans” to intercept user communications before they are encrypted on their devices as well as to gain full access to their chat messages, video recordings or other private data.

The law also gave police power to hack into the devices of all people suspected of any criminal activity – not just those who are suspected of terrorism.

However, the leak showed that the new version of the surveillance software that allowed hacking into smartphones and spying on anonymous messengers has been in development by the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) since at least the beginning of 2016 – almost a year and a half before the security service was legally allowed to develop such software.

The document obtained by Netzpolitik also revealed that the BKA purchased commercially developed surveillance software, the FinSpy, as early as in 2012. It was originally regarded as a potential substitution for state-developed software that could be used during a”transition period” between the BKA receiving allowance to hack into people’s devices and developing its own surveillance program.

Later, the BKA decided to keep it as a backup in case of its own software being compromised.

However, it has not yet used the software, despite paying some €150,000 for it over five years, as it is able to go well beyond the restrictions set in the law, the document says.

FinSpy, developed by Gamma International in Munich, is able to record all calls and messages on a mobile device as well as remotely turn on its microphone and camera and locate and track the device in real time.

FinSpy’s manufacturer has already altered the software three times to make it compatible with German law, Netzpolitik reports.

The latest developments have provoked criticism from activists and politicians, who believe that massive state surveillance will eventually compromise people’s security instead of protecting them against any threats.

“To sell state hacking as just another surveillance measure like any other is, in the face of the newly published papers, a brazen distortion of the truth,” the Chaos Computer Club spokesman, Falk Garbsch, told Netzpolitik. “An arsenal of Trojans is being built as if it were already normal for the state to hack the digital brains of its citizens.”

Frank Herrmann, a member of Germany’s Pirate Party, warned that hacking directly into mobile devices could lead to more serious consequences than monitoring phone calls. “People don’t realize that this malware endangers the security of the whole device,” he told Deutsche Welle, adding that “the technological intervention is much more severe than just listening in on a phone call.”

In the meantime, Erin Omanovic, an activist of the UK-based NGO Privacy International, told Deutsche Welle that similar measures aimed at giving security services the right to hack into people’s electronic devices are being taken not only in Germany but also in many other countries.

“We’re seeing efforts to legislate for hacking powers in the UK, in Austria, in Italy, and Germany,” he said.

“Some of these capabilities have already been practiced across Europe,” Omanovic said. “The UK, for example, has been engaged in hacking, but just hasn’t legalized it. There’s a complete lack of safeguards and oversight over the use of this type of technology.”

“And there have been some examples of misuse by governments around the world. For example, there’s evidence that FinSpy was used to target human rights activists and lawyers in Bahrain,” the activist added.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/357428-Leaked-docs-reveal-German-police-to-gain-greater-hacking-powers-by-end-of-2017