The ‘Real-Life Q’

Gizmodo has an interesting interview with Ralph Osterhout, a man who builds spy gadgets for a living, interview by Sean Hollister.

As a boy, Osterhout was so enamored with Ian Fleming’s Bond novels that he decided to become a spy himself. He trained himself to shoot, drive, fight, even build his own weapons and gadgets. He studied the Bond films and, at the age of 22, built his own miniature submarine like the ones in the Bond classic Thunderball. He started a company building high-tech dive gear, and traveled around Europe to visit the exotic Bond locales he’d read about.… [Read more of this post]

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In a ‘nation of eavesdroppers’, everyone can hear you!

If it’s trending in Britain, you can be sure it’s happening all over. British telecom company O2 surveyed 2000 people about casual eavesdropping. If you don’t have a “Cone of Silence”, you may need to heed their warning.

Here are some of the results from O2‘s survey:

  • Over 80 per cent of Brits admit to eavesdropping on other people’s phone conversations while on a train or platform
  • Nearly 9 in 10 think that people have no reservations while talking on the phone in public
  • 60 per cent of Brits think people would benefit from some kind of etiquette guide when it comes to talking on the phone whilst using public transport
  • O2 has produced the very first public transport mobile phone etiquette guide to help Brits use their phone considerately

Maxwell Smart’s Cone of Silence


84 per cent of people admitted to listening in on their fellow commuters’ phone conversations while on a train or platform.… [Read more of this post]

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Dating apps pose corporate security risk, says IBM

Reporting by Bill Rigby, ReutersThe millions of people using dating apps on company smartphones could be exposing themselves and their employers to hacking, spying and theft, according to a study by International Business Machines Corp.

IBM security researchers said 26 of 41 dating apps they analyzed on Google Inc’s Android mobile platform had medium or high severity vulnerabilities, in a report published on Wednesday.

IBM did not name the vulnerable apps but said it had alerted the app publishers to problems.… [Read more of this post]

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LA Confidential; West Hollywood council deputy suspended in eavesdropping case

We’re not sure how this eavesdropping was accomplished, whether through a bugging device or perhaps just through the phone. Phone call recording is often a built in feature for phone systems, but can also be performed through the use of external devices. Phone technicians could have access to the recordings. Even digital phones and VOIP phones can be recorded easily. It could be legal in many locations, if the person doing the recording is part of the conversation. What happens with the content of recordings, on the other hand, could be illegal and can often lead to detrimental results.[Read more of this post]

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Locations revisited- record of frequent locations stored on iPhone

Last September we mentioned how the Location Reporting services built into your smart phone was keeping track of where you’ve been, using an opt-in Google service.  Mike Leclair, of Sumuri, creators of Mac and PC forensics software, while investigating his iPhone, came across a “Frequent Locations” option buried withing iOS privacy settings. Here is some of his report from the Sumuri blog: Surviving Digital Forensics

Mike Leclair, 1/28/2015;

iOS has a built in feature that, as far as I can tell, is working like GPS locator.  

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Wearable Tech Alert: Store and forward 60 seconds of audio from your wrist- anytime, anyplace

From smart TV’s to Amazon Echo, new devices all around us are listening. A new tech item scheduled for shipping this month promises to bring personal eavesdropping and BYOD threats to a new level.

The Kapture device, funded by Kickstarter, is a wearable device that constantly records all audio in it’s vicinity.  It is designed to be worn on the wrist, with a clip-on option, a little like a cross between a Fitbit and Apple Watch. It is constantly recording, but remembers only the last 60 seconds.… [Read more of this post]

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TV vs Reality: former intelligence officers discuss new NBC spy show “Allegiance”

NBC’s new spy drama “Allegiance” was previewed at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, along with a panel discussion with former intelligence officers including Vince Houghton, historian and curator at the Spy Museum, CIA analyst Mark Stout, and former KGB General Oleg Kalugin. Their comments offer some insight into the real world of spying.

10 Things We Learned Watching Allegiance at The International Spy Museum,
By Nancy Dunham, February 7, 201,

If you watched the premiere of Allegiance, NBC’s new spy drama, on Thursday night, you likely wonder what the creators can possibly do to top it.… [Read more of this post]

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Hacked phone systems lead to credit card fraud

Phone system and voicemail hacking have been going on ever since they were invented it seems. Recent attacks, though, show a new level of complexity and severity.


In the 80’s hackers would get hold of DISA numbers (Direct Inward System Access- numbers that were often used to allow remote workers make long distance calls on a company’s phone account). These numbers allowed the hackers to route their dial-up modems through toll free numbers that passed the call through the company PBX phone system.… [Read more of this post]

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Spy cam found in corporate restroom.

When inspecting or sweeping corporate offices, it is good to pay attention to restrooms that the executives may use. While trade secrets may not be discussed there, tremendous embarrassment could occur if improper images were distributed. It is also good for staff to be aware of such threats and take them seriously. In this instance the camera was reported by the building maintenance supervisor.


A Chelsea building that hosts high-end brands and services, including fashion shoots, had a hidden pinhole camera in its unisex bathroom, sources said.… [Read more of this post]

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FBI arrests Russian spies in NYC

FBI busts alleged Russian spy ring in New York City

They “tried to recruit U.S. citizens as intelligence sources in New York… Their targets included people working for ‘major companies’ and ‘young women with ties to a major university located in New York,’ according to authorities.”
New York (CNN) The men would sometimes say they needed to meet to exchange tickets, but they never seemed to end up actually attending or discussing a sporting event or a concert. They once talked about going to a movie. But that was it.
The reason for the puzzling behavior, according to a federal complaint unsealed Monday, is that the men were Russian spies exchanging intelligence information in New York City. 
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