Call Yourself A Hacker, Lose Your 4th Amendment Rights…

The US District Court for the State of Idaho ruled that an ICS product developer’s computer could be seized without him/she being notified or even heard from in court primarily because he/she states on his/her web site “we like hacking things and don’t want to stop”.

A little background…

Battelle Energy Alliance LLC is the management and operating contractor for Idaho National Laboratory (INL), and they have brought suit against ex-INL employee Corey Thuen and his company Southfork Security.   It began with the US Department of Energy funding an effort for INL to develop “a computer program aimed at protecting the United States’ critical energy infrastructure (oil, gas, chemical and electrical companies) from cyber attacks.” Corey Thuen was one of the developers of this software program that was later called Sophia.  Sophia identifies new communication patterns on ICS networks.

Battelle wants to license this technology, NexDefense was selected to negotiate for a license, and the suit states that Corey was pushing for it to be open source. Eventually Corey left INL, created Southfork Security, and wrote a similar “situational awareness” program called Visdom.  In simple terms, the suit alleges that Corey stole the code and violated agreements with INL.

But all this is not the important part…

The disturbing part of the ruling is that Battelle asked for and got a restraining order without first notifying Corey/Southfork Security primarily because the Southfork web site said “We like hacking things and we don’t want to stop”. They requested and got an order to knock on his door and seize his computer because he claims to like hacking things on the Southfork web site. From the court decision:

“…The Court finds it significant that defendants are self-described hackers, who say, “We like hacking things and we don’t want to stop”…

“…The Court has struggled over the issue of allowing the copying of the hard drive. This is a serious invasion of privacy and is certainly not a standard remedy, as the discussion of the case law above demonstrates. The tipping point for the Court comes from evidence that the defendants – in their own words – are hackers. By labeling themselves this way, they have essentially announced that they have the necessary computer skills and intent to simultaneously release the code publicly and conceal their role in that act. (underline added) And concealment likely involves the destruction of evidence on the hard drive of Thuen’s computer. For these reasons, the Court finds this is one of the very rare cases that justifies seizure and copying of the hard drive…”

This is bull$hit.  All of a sudden capability = intent?  I guess its really true – “Stupid is as Stupid does…”

Another factor in issuing the restraining order without notice was:

“…Battelle must show that the defendants have “a history of disposing of evidence or violating court orders or that persons similar to the adverse party have such a history.” Id. (citing In the Matter of Vuitton et Fils S.A., 606 F.2d 1, 5 (2d Cir. 1979))…”

“…Battelle asserts generally that defendants who have the technical ability to wipe out a hard drive will do precisely that when faced with allegations of wrongdoing…”

I think the Judge, Battelle and their lawyers either have forgotten or never knew what the term “hacker’ means.  In other words, they have been afflicted with “Hacker Madness.”  They obviously have been watching too many movies.  From a hardware perspective a hacker is someone who innovates, customizes or combines electronic or computer equipment.  From the software side, a hacker may be thought of as one who combines excellence, cleverness or exploration in the job they do.  Basically a person who makes things “smaller, better, faster”.  Any idiot can wipe a hard drive.

SOURCE – digitalbond.com

Obama’s “Inside Job” – Destroying America…

obama-with-muslimsPresident Barack Obama has a plan.  The plan is to overwhelm the system with spending, taxes, entitlements and debt. In doing so, Capitalism would topple, business owners would lose everything, and Americans would be brought to their knees, begging for government to save them. In that way America would become a socialist nation.  This is his plan.  Does this sound crazy?  Just look at the facts:

In Egypt seventy churches have been burned and Christians killed by the Muslim Brotherhood, yet Obama says nothing. As a matter of fact, Obama’s White House spokesman made a joke about the killing of Christians in Egypt.  While the murder of Christians does not pass any “red line,” Obama is mortified when radical Muslims murder other radical Muslims in Syria. That passes Obama’s “red line” and triggers a desperate desire for America to go to war, and risk the lives of our brave soldiers to defend our sworn enemy, Al Qaeda, and risk starting World War III.

The President of the United States seems to be a friend of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. He’ll meet with them, praise them, fund them, and even invite friends of theirs to the White House. Now he wants to enter a civil war in Syria on their behalf. But make friends with Republicans? Actually sit down with Republicans at the White House? Listen to the concerns of Republicans? Now that is too much to ask.

Unimaginable. Until Obama came along.

When George Zimmerman was found innocent of the death of Trayvon Martin, Obama quickly weighed in. Yet our President says nothing about the black-on-black genocide in the streets of Chicago (his hometown), or the out-of-control black-on-white crime wave happening across America.  When a white Australian baseball player was murdered by black youth in Oklahoma or a white 88-year old World War II veteran was murdered by black youth in Spokane or a 12 black youths participated in a brutal gang rape in a Wilmington, Del. park, did Obama say a word?  Hell no.  I’m waiting for Obama to call a press conference and say, “These two women gang raped by black youth in that park could have been my daughters. This violence by black youth must stop.”

I fear I’ll be waiting for…eternity. After all, this is the same President whose Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently ruled that it is racist for employers to conduct criminal background checks on black job applicants, because they might find out the applicant is a criminal. But the EEOC says it’s fine to do it for white job applicants.

Unimaginable. Until Obama came along.

Under Obama our nation is so broke we no longer have the money for White House tours, or to properly staff air traffic controllers, or to keep open our Top Gun training for Navy fighter pilots, or to keep illegal immigrant felons behind bars, or to keep pools open for military families.  Yet somehow we have tens of millions of dollars so our President can vacation in Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard and go on countless golf outings. We somehow have $100 million for him and his family to take a trip to Africa, where he pledged $7 billion of our money to provide electricity for the citizens of Africa. And, what about the millions for the IRS to spend on lavish conferences and the billions Obama is giving the Palestinians and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Oh, and don’t forget the billions Obama has spent to arm Al Qaeda and Hezbollah rebels in Libya and Syria, who will later use these same weapons to kill us. Actually they already have- see Benghazi.

Unimaginable. Until Obama came along.

Amazingly, while our President arms Muslim rebels, he wants to disarm American citizens. Even that pales next to the arming of our own government agencies. Even the Agriculture Department and Department of Education now have militarized SWAT teams. The Department of Homeland Security just bought 1.6 billion rounds of hollow point bullets- enough to fight 30 years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Does the U.S. government fear its own citizens? Is Obama preparing for a revolution in the streets? Civil war?

Unimaginable. Until Obama came along.

In California, Democrats have proposed a bill to allow illegal immigrants to serve on juries. Obama spends millions of our taxpayer dollars for advertising in Mexico telling illegal immigrants in America they are eligible for food stamps. Billions in welfare payments are given to illegal immigrants disguised as “earned tax credits” even though they pay no taxes in the first place. Our government pays commissions to “recruiters” to inform Americans it is their “patriotic duty” to sign up for food stamps. Patriotic duty? Sounds like Soviet-era communist propaganda, doesn’t it?

Unimaginable. Until Obama came along.

And then there’s Obamacare. It’s such a train wreck even Obama’s most loyal supporters – unions – want out. The head of the IRS testified he wants out. Even the company Obama hired to promote Obamacare relies on part-time workers, who have no health benefits. Economic disaster looms.

Unimaginable. Until Obama came along.

SOURCE – The Blaze

Tor remains resistant to the NSA…

The U.S. National Security Agency has repeatedly tried to compromise Tor, the government-funded online anonymity tool, but has had little success, according to a new report in the U.K.’s Guardian.

The NSA has tried multiple strategies for defeating Tor, with its most successful method focused on attacking vulnerable software on users’ computers, including the Firefox browser, according to the report, published Friday. In the Firefox attack, NSA agents have been able to gain “full control” of targets’ computers, said the report, citing documents given to the Guardian by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.  tor_nsaNSA documents provided by Snowden, which the Guardian began  publishing in June, say the agency is collecting bulk phone records in  the U.S. as well as Internet communications overseas.  But in many cases, the NSA has been frustrated in its efforts to  target Tor users, an irony because the open-source project is largely  funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, the NSA’s parent agency, and  the U.S. Department of State.

“We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time,” according to one NSA document quoted by the Guardian. “With  manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users.”  The NSA has had “no success de-anonymizing a user in response” to a  specific request, the document said.

Tor is “the king of high-secure, low-latency internet anonymity,” the report quotes another NSA document as saying.  Tor routes Internet traffic through a number of relays as a way  to keep communications anonymous. The State Department promotes the  software to activists in countries with strong censorship regimes,  including Iran and China.  An NSA spokeswoman referred a request for comments on the story to a previous statement from the agency:

“In carrying out its signals intelligence mission, NSA collects  only those communications that it is authorized by law to collect for  valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, regardless  of the technical means used by those targets or the means by which they  may attempt to conceal their communications. … It should hardly be  surprising that our intelligence agencies seek ways to counteract  targets’ use of technologies to hide their communications.  “Throughout history, nations have used various methods to protect  their secrets, and today terrorists, cybercriminals, human traffickers  and others use technology to hide their activities,” the statement  continued. “Our intelligence community would not be doing its job if we  did not try to counter that.”

NSA efforts to compromise “anonymous online communication” is  justified, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a  statement released late Friday.

SOURCE – Infoworld

Interesting Read – How does the NSA break SSL?

Lavabit fights the good fight…

The U.S. government in July obtained a search warrant demanding that Edward Snowden’s e-mail provider, Lavabit, turn over the private SSL keys that protected all web traffic to the site, according to to newly unsealed documents.  The July 16 order came after Texas-based Lavabit refused to circumvent its own security systems to comply with earlier orders intended to monitor a particular Lavabit user’s metadata, defined as “information about each communication sent or received by the account, including the date and time of the communication, the method of communication, and the source and destination of the communication.”  lavabitThe records in the case, which is now being argued at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, were unsealed by a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia. They confirm much of what had been suspected about the conflict between the pro-privacy e-mail company and the federal government, which led to Lavabit voluntarily closing in August rather than compromise the security it promised users.  The filings show that Lavabit was served on June 28 with a so-called “pen register” order requiring it to record, and provide the government with, the e-mail “from” and “to” lines on every e-mail, as well as the IP address used to access the mailbox. Because they provide only metadata, pen register orders can be obtained without “probable cause” that the target has committed a crime.

“The privacy of … Lavabit’s users are at stake,” Lavabit attorney Jesse Binnall told Hilton. “We’re not simply speaking of the target of this investigation. We’re talking about over 400,000 individuals and entities that are users of Lavabit who use this service because they believe their communications are secure. By handing over the keys, the encryption keys in this case, they necessarily become less secure.”

I love this next part… Levison complied the next day by turning over the private SSL keys as an 11 page printout in 4-point type!  I love this guy!

“To make use of these keys, the FBI would have to manually input all 2,560 characters, and one incorrect keystroke in this laborious process would render the FBI collection system incapable of collecting decrypted data,” prosecutors wrote.  The court ordered Levison to provide a more useful electronic copy. By August 5, Lavabit was still resisting the order, and the judge ordered that Levison would be fined $5,000 a day beginning August 6 until he handed over electronic copies of the keys.  On August 8, Levison shuttered Lavabit, making any attempt at surveillance moot. Still under a gag order, he posted an oblique message saying he’d been left with little choice in the matter.

“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly 10 years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit,” Levison wrote at the time. “After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations.”

Lavabit has raised approximately $30,000 in an online fundraising drive to finance its appeal to the 4th Circuit. Today the appeals court extended the deadline for opening briefs to October 10.  Friends, your absolute right to privacy is under attack.  Spread the word, donate or help out any way you can and helo Lavabit fight the good fight!

SOURCE – Wired

UPDATE – Lavabit to Briefly Reinstate Services for Data Recovery

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