Israeli Cyber Defense Interview

Cyber defense war room [llustrative] Photo: Reuters and Marc Israel Sellem
IDF war room [llustrative] Photo: Reuters and Marc Israel Sellem

Not sure if anyone has seen this yet, but Al-Monitor/Israel Pulse has a great interview with two members of the Israeli Defense Force Cyber Security Team.

In the article, “IDF Hackers Test Israeli Preparedness For Cyberattacks” Lt. Col M. and Capt. A. discuss what it is like being on Israel’s crack team of cyber ninjas. They cover several key topics including thoughts on current threats and the current hot button topic, NSA spying.

Lt. Col M. and Capt. A. lead opposing teams in red team drills. They practice constantly to hone and perfect their skills, but also teach and train those under them to think out of the box in cyber security.

How will the IDF cyber team deal with increasingly sophisticated attacks from Islamic countries and are they concerned about NSA espionage practices?

Our job is to monitor the goings-on and keep track of the technological developments, and we need to know what the threats and risks in cyberspace are. In any event, to protect strategic assets, encryption systems that we develop ourselves in-house, rather than off-the-shelf products, are customarily used,” said Lt. Col M.

The best hackers and security teams create their own programs and work on developing their own exploits. But where would the IDF look to find exploits or weaknesses?

Security holes can be found anywhere. The point of hacking is to find the system vulnerability and leverage it to undermine the entire system,” says Lt. Col. M.

The best way to break into a system is not by running head-on into it. Rather, the most sophisticated attacks, the ones that you can brag about, are those that take advantage of a hidden security hole,” added Capt. A.

It is a very good article and well worth the read as it offers a glance into the security mindset of our Middle East allies.

Check it out!

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The Jester’s Website Seized by the DHS ICE

Jester Seized

Popular Patriot Hacker seems to have had his website seized by the Government. Anyone surfing to his website today (http://www.jesterscourt.cc/) were greeted with the message above.

According to the notice, the website was seized by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – Homeland Security Investigations division.

According to their website:

“The ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) directorate is a critical asset in the ICE mission, responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States.”

That sounds pretty odd, but you would think the next paragraph would seem more pertinent:

“HSI investigates immigration crime, human rights violations and human smuggling, smuggling of narcotics, weapons and other types of contraband, financial crimes, cybercrime and export enforcement issues. ICE special agents conduct investigations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation.”

But the kicker is the message about “Willfull copyright infringement”. That is rather odd. Not sure how that corresponds to his website, other than he was selling “Jester” themed merchandise from it through the Zazzle store.

Going to the Zazzle store and clicking on any of the Jester Shirts produces an error message saying the shirts are no longer available or have been deleted:

Jester Zazzle

Haven’t seen any mention of the seizure on the Jester’s Twitter page, though it seems from his posts that he is currently at the Black Hat conference in Vegas.

Wow, copyright infringement, how odd. Not at all how I imagined the feds coming after the Jester.

** Update ** Jester’s Page back online, Questions remain

Snowden Granted One Year Asylum in Russia

Snowden has left the Russia airport and been granted a one year Asylum to live and work in Russia.

The latest news from RT.com, stated that the embroiled former CIA employee and NSA hacker has received papers from the Russian Immigration Service granting him permission to leave the airport and live and work in Russia:

“In July, Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia, a status that would allow him to live and work in the country for one year. Kucherena earlier said the fugitive whistleblower is considering securing permanent residency in Russia, where he will attempt to build a life.”

According to the news agency he has been relocated to a safe undisclosed location.

So, Russia it is apparently. Though many see him as a hero for blowing the whistle on the government spying program, with this latest news, can we safely assume now that he will be updated to traitor status?

With Government Spying is the US Becoming a Police State?

PRISM_Collection_Details

News of the US PRISM government spying program was made public by whistle blower Edward Snowden. Yesterday the House voted to reject an amendment that would remove the authority for the government to collect phone use records of US citizens. With all of this monitoring and spying on its civilians, one would have to wonder, is the US becoming a police state?

According to information leaked by Snowden, which included 41 PowerPoint slides, industry leaders who participated in the program included Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, YouTube, AOL, Skype and Apple. The government program that, “extracts e-mail, audio, video, photos, documents, search history and logs” was started as early as 2007.

AlexanderPortraitOn Tuesday, General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, urged Capitol Hill lawmakers to oppose the amendment that would defund the NSA phone collection program.

“We oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a late-night statement. “This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open or deliberative process.”

Republicans and Democrats were divided amongst themselves on the issue. Some thinking the program necessary while others thought it a violation of constitutional rights.

“Have 12 years gone by and our memories faded so badly that we forgot what happened on Sept. 11?” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) chairman of the Intelligence committee.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., founder of the bill amendment, “told the House that his effort was to defend the Constitution and ‘defend the privacy of every American.'”

I find it odd that WH Press secretary would complain about the move to “hastily dismantle” part of the NSA’s data collection program, and that it was a “blunt approach” that was not “informed, open or deliberative.”

Many NY citizens were enraged over these same issues when in a secretive and hurried over-night session, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the NY SAFE act. One of the toughest gun control programs in the US. A law that is still opposed by many Upstate NY citizens and law enforcement officials as being unconstitutional.

Privacy and Civil Rights groups were also upset about how the citizens of Boston were treated when Law Enforcement groups were looking for the two Boston Bombers. Images of heavily armed military looking police units flooding the streets and performing mandatory door to door searches caused quite a stir.

Some think the searches were illegal, though there is an exception to the rule, exigent circumstances:

“An exigent circumstance, in the American law of criminal procedure, allows law enforcement to enter a structure without a search warrant, or if they have a “knock and announce” warrant, without knocking and waiting for refusal under certain circumstances. It must be a situation where people are in imminent danger, evidence faces imminent destruction, or a suspect will escape.”

Courts look at it differently when there’s a threat of public safety than if the police just want to search,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, in a phone interview with The Atlantic Wire.

Many seem to think that the monitoring of US citizens is necessary to prevent another 9/11 type terrorist attack. Many too are very upset and concerned about the erosion of American’s constitutional rights and privacy, with some thinking that the US is heading very rapidly to becoming a police state.

What do you think?