#CyberFLASH: The price of privacy

mobile-securityThe same encryption you trust to keep your information private on your cell phone is now a critical tool for child predators and other criminals. A joint investigation by Scripps News Washington Bureau and the Toronto Star reveals how law enforcement in the U.S. and Canada is losing access to the very evidence needed to solve crimes. The FBI takes Scripps investigators for a first-ever look inside the National Domestic Communications Assistance Center, a hub of knowledge on electronic surveillance established to help all U.S. law enforcement agencies in the growing battle over “Going Dark.” Top FBI officials share details about new strategies in the agency’s next chapter of the war on Going Dark.

This investigation, “The Price of Privacy,” covers extensive ground stretching from Canada to New York to Louisiana. It ventures into the dark world where pedophilia is plotted, crimes are committed and police agencies say they are increasingly handcuffed in preventing and solving crimes due to the encryption that protects the perpetrators. But it is a battle that law enforcement is losing on Capitol Hill and at The White House. After Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government was collecting bulk data about Americans from telecommunications and Internet companies, Apple and Google changed the security measures on cell phone operating systems so that only individuals with the password can unlock the phone and view its contents. The companies themselves no longer have that ability, they claim, and the technology they created prohibits access to information stored on the device—even with a search warrant.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, homicide detectives blame this heightened level of encryption for halting their investigation of the murder of Brittney Mills, who was eight months pregnant. Authorities believe clues to the murderer’s identity are locked inside the victim’s Apple iPhone, found at the scene. But, they say they cannot get past the encryption on the phone even though they have permission from the victim’s family.

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#CyberFLASH: FBI watched as hacker dumped Bell Canada passwords online

10712553When Bell Canada’s website was hacked last year — and the accounts and passwords of more than 12,000 Canadians posted online — the Federal Bureau of Investigation was not only watching, but letting the hackers stage the attack from what was secretly an FBI server.

The bureau had spent more than a year keeping tabs on the 15-year-old Canadian teenager, who discovered the vulnerability then passed it to an American counterpart. It was the American who carried out the cyberattack on behalf of a collective calling itself NullCrew.

The details emerged in an Ottawa courtroom last month after the Canadian teen pleaded guilty to a single count of unlawfully using a computer.

The 15-year-old teen, who used the online nickname “Null”, discovered a weakness in a Bell Canada login page. It allowed someone to gain access to the usernames and passwords of small and medium-sized business customers that were contained within a database maintained by a third-party supplier to Bell.

The teen didn’t post the data, but instead shared how to access it using what is known as a SQL injection attack with another NullCrew member named “Orbit.”

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#CyberFLASH: RCMP shuts down servers in Russian cyber-crime crackdown

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As part of a major crackdown in a dozen countries against Russian cyber-criminals, the RCMP has shut down two computer servers in Montreal that were part of a network that extorted millions of dollars from businesses and consumers.

The operation disrupted malicious software called Gameover Zeus (GOZ), which has infected up to a million computers around the world and caused losses of more than $100-million (U.S.).

Also known as GOZeus, the malware steals banking credentials, impersonates legitimate websites and infects computers with CryptoLocker, a ransomware that blackmails victims by locking down their hard drive until a payment is made.

On Friday, the RCMP seized two servers in Montreal in co-ordination with a two-and-a-half-year operation initiated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to an FBI affidavit filed in Pittsburgh, key servers in the CryptoLocker infrastructure were located in Canada, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

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RCMP arrest Alberta man who US says is a suspect in international cyber crime

RED DEER, Alta. – Police in central Alberta have arrested a man wanted by the FBI as a suspect in an international ring that allegedly used the Internet to obtain and trade personal credit card and bank information.

RCMP say Eric Bogle, 23, of Red Deer was arrested on July 2 on a warrant that was issued in the U.S.

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Thousands could lose internet access July 9 due to virus

On July 9, thousands of Canadians and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide could be without access to the internet after the FBI shuts down temporary DNS servers used to assist victims of a massive internet fraud ring.

All computers that still use these servers will meet a virtual brick wall on July 9 and be unable to connect to the internet until their computers are cleared of the associated ‘DNSChanger’ virus.

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