Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Archive for the ‘Profiling’ Category

From John Yoo and Torture to Warrantless Searches of Papers and Effects: Welcome To The Panopticon

with one comment

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Recently, a story has come up in the news concerning certain police departments (Michigan to be precise) have been taking more or less “forensic” images of people’s cell phones and other PDA devices when they have them stopped for traffic violations. Since the reports went live, the Michigan PD has sent out a rebuttal saying that they are in fact asking the citizen if they can scan their data. I say, whether or not they actively are doing it or not, they have the ability to do so per the courts since the loosening of the laws on search and seizure in places like California and Michigan where electronic media is concerned. The net effect is that our due process rights are being eroded in an ever rapid pace.

From Dailytech.com

I. Police Seize Citizens’ Smartphones

In January 2011, California’s Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that police could conduct warrantless inspections of suspects’ cell phones.  According to the majority decision, when a person is taken into police custody, they lose privacy rights to anything they’re carrying on them.

The ruling describes, “this loss of privacy allows police not only to seize anything of importance they find on the arrestee’s body … but also to open and examine what they find.”

In a dissenting ruling, Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar stated, “[The ruling allows police] to rummage at leisure through the wealth of personal and business information that can be carried on a mobile phone or hand-held computer merely because the device was taken from an arrestee’s person.”

But California was not alone.  Michigan State Police officers have been using a device called Cellebrite UFED Physical Pro for the last couple years.  The device scrapes off everything stored on the phone — GPS geotag data, media (pictures, videos, music, etc.), text messages, emails, call history, and more.

Michigan State Police have been reportedly regularly been scraping the phones of people they pull over.

In neighboring Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court has ruled that while such searches are generally illegal, their evidence can become admissible in court if the police demonstrate an exigency (a press need) for the information.

Essentially this ruling offers support for such searches as it indicates that they can give solid evidence and ostensibly offers no repercussions to law enforcement officials conducting the officially “illegal” procedure.

So far the only state to have a high profile ruling against the practice was Ohio.  The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that warrant-less smart phone searching violated suspects’ rights.  The requested the U.S. Supreme Court review the issue, but the request was denied.

II. What Does the Constitution Say?

The United States Constitution ostensibly is the most important government document in the U.S.  It guarantees essential rights to the citizens of the U.S.

Some of those rights are specified in the Fourth Amendment, part of the original Bill of Rights.  It states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Constitution explicitly states that effects of a person cannot be unreasonably seized without a warrant.

Of course courts must play the vital role of defining what a “reasonable” search is.  But by extending the limits of searches to deem nearly all searches “reasonable”, no matter how tenuous the connection to a suspects detainment, this and several other decisions have created an erosion of the protections in the amendment.

Essentially what court rulings in California, Michigan, and Wisconsin indicate is that the courts believe the Constitution is no longer valid, or that certain Constitutional freedoms can be specially selected for elimination.

The law and our losing the path :

The legal battle over the terms here has come down to the nature of papers and effects where they regard digital media as I understand it. I sat in on the EFF talk at Shmoocon where this very topic was brought up. It seems, that the gray areas of just what is a laptop or a phone as opposed to a “cabinet or desk” is a key factor in how some interpret the legalities of searching someone’s hard drive or phone. In my opinion, they are the same thing. A laptop is a case in which my data is stored, just like a desk or a room, which, you MUST get a warrant to search.

But, that’s just me I guess.

Personally, as the title of this post alludes, I believe that all of this started as soon as John Yoo and the Bush administration began to twist the laws concerning not only torture, but moreover, the use of warrant-less wiretaps. Post 9/11 the US went mad for tapping of phones/data at the trunk level in such instances like the one in the MAE West where they put in the NARUS STA6400. This was the biggie for me because that system hoovers ALL of the traffic, there is no selectivity over it at all. Sure the STA6400 can sift the data, but it needs ALL of the data in order to sift and data-mine. Who’s to say what data becomes important other than those who are running the compartmentalised program that has to report nothing to anyone because it is too secret.

What allowed for all of this to happen and then for the over-reaching to continue was 9/11 itself. Having been in NYC at the towers just before the attacks and working there just after in the hole, I know how many felt after it all went down. We here in the US had only had a handful of terrorist attacks within our borders and those were nothing in comparison to what took place on that day.

We all felt vulnerable and wanted the government to take care of us. We wanted vengeance, and we wanted a take charge guy.

Unfortunately that “guy” was GW Bush and his posse of cowboys who then began to run rough shod over the constitution and other documents like the Geneva conventions. It was from this need to be protected that the American people just went along with the things they knew about, as well as a healthy dose of over classification by the Bush administration that kept us in the dark as to what they really were doing. It was only later, toward the end of the second term that the full scope of abuses were coming out, and yet, the American populace really did nothing. Sure, we elected Obama who made promises to end the nightmare of abuse… But.. He hasn’t has he?

So, here we are in 2011. Ten years post 9/11, and we are finding our rights being eroded by legal positions and decisions that remove the most basic and cherished rights to reasonable searches slipping away.

Who’s to blame?

Us.

We the people have failed to keep in check the actions of the government and in some cases the courts because we have taken our collective hand off the tiller steering this country. Perhaps we really have no hand on that tiller to start simply because we have created a beast that is too big to control or have any sway over. By just looking at the state of affairs today within the political arena, one has to admit that its becoming more and more akin to what it used to be back in the days of Boss Tweed than anything looking like the era of J.F.K.

Simply put, without the people standing up and calling a foul on these types of erosions to liberty, then we have nothing to complain about when the liberties are taken away. On that list is the rights granted to us all by the fourth amendment. The tough thing now though is that where once your personal belongings were either in your house or on your person. Now, those “papers and effects” live digitally not only on your device that you have on you, but also may exist “in the cloud” as well. A cloud that you “use” and is not “owned” by you.

So sure, a cop could ask you if they can look at your phone data. Do they have to say that they are taking an “alleged” forensic image? Perhaps not, but, the thing about the whole Michigan PD thing is that independent reports have shown that they were not asking, they were just taking images when they felt they wanted to, and this is where they run afoul of due process. As far as I am concerned, a file on a phone that is not on the screen as a cop looks at it while it sits in front of him in plain view, is NOT a document that he should just have the right to fish for without a warrant.

Sorry cops… It’s a country of laws, no matter how you try to spin them so you can cut corners.

On the other hand, I know how hard it must be for the police forces of the world to do their jobs now in a digital world. Especially one that so few really understand and likely fear. These magic boxes called phones and computers now hold data that could easily make a case for crimes, but, you just can’t take them and rummage through them just like anything else where due process is concerned. What’s more, I know for a fact that unless you are a forensic investigator, AND you have a decent tool, YOU WILL MISS DATA. Which will lead potentially to acquittal because you did not follow processes such as chain of custody in E-Discovery.

For some though, I am sure it’s just about cutting a corner to make a collar… And that is not how the law is supposed to work.

Our complicity in our own privacy erosion:

Meanwhile, in the last few days another spate of news articles warned about how the iOS and Android systems were collecting data on our movements and details. This particular story is not new if you have been paying attention, it was just the aggregate amount of data that we saw being collected by the iOS particularly that shocked the general populace. For these people I have news for you;

This data and even more have been collected on you all for every service that you sign up for on the Internet. Every phone call you make, every text you send, every picture you upload. All of it is available to someone else who has access to the data.

It’s not private.

YOU have been giving away your personal data every minute of every day that you upload or pass through the telco/Internet systems.

So, even if laws are being subverted on personal searches, your data can and will be taken from the likes of Twitter and other services, perhaps even through NSL letters to those hosts and you will be none the wiser. For every post you put up on Facebook with all of your personal details, not only are you sharing that data with your “friends” but the company and whoever they want to sell it to as well.

The privacy you think you have.. Doesn’t exist.

In the case of the iOS data, no one knew about it from a customer perspective, but I am sure that there was some small print somewhere in the EULA when you bought the phone that allows Apple to collect the data… Not that they have to tell you they are doing it in big letters or clear language. So, that data too is not completely yours any more once you have agreed to their agreement to use/own the phone.

The short and long of it is that we are giving up our right to privacy for shiny toys and a sense of security that we can never really have.

In the end, the data that the iOS collects has yet to be proven to be sent to the Apple mother ship. Apple to date, has made no statement on the collection of the data nor the reasons for doing so. One can assume though, that they have some sort of location based software solution that they want to sell down the road and really, it’s caveat emptor. I am just glad that the security community likes to tinker and found this stuff, bringing it to light.

We are all to blame.

Unless we all take up the battle against the loss of privacy then we have none. Just as well, unless we speak truth to power and stop the erosion of rights to privacy within our body of laws, then we have nothing to complain about. We will have done it to ourselves.

K.

Anonymous: Headless, Herd Mentality, or Convergence Theory Driven Entity?

with 10 comments

In my last couple of posts I took a look at what has been going on with Anonymous and HBGary Federal. Within those posts, I began musing on just how decentralised Anonymous really is. By looking at the overall picture of how Anonymous seems to work on the face of it, you might think that they are just a fluctuating group of online personae who sign up for certain operations that they desire to devote time to. However, no matter how many times I look at the big picture, I still see an underlying structure(s) that potentially have more static features that can be analysed and thus, allows for the potential of there being pseudo-anonymity.

Now, this may rankle some within the anonymous camp and likely will cause some comments here but, this is something that interests me as well as really is an academic thought experiment as opposed to Aaron’s little projects. So, you anon’s out there, take this post and my musings as food for thought as you go on about your anonymous lulz. I am not searching you all out to “out” you, just looking at an interesting problem.

With that said, lets move on to my theories.

Motivations, Drivers, Flocking, Herding, and Convergence Theory:

Before I go into the infrastructure of Anonymous as I see it, let me first go into the psychology behind the human side of Anonymous. This bears directly on the infrastructure due to the fact that humans online comprise the entity known as Anonymous. It is the psychology behind that human element, that give rise to the means by which they are carried out in a social media format. (i.e. the internet/IRC/Social media)

Human motivations can and are myriad, however, there are some basic desires that are fulfilled by action as a cohesive group. These desires or goals take shape in differing ways. In the case of Anonymous, they have aligned themselves with a “swarm” mentality, and I ascribed to that at first, but, after thinking about it quite a bit, I have come to the conclusion that a swarm does not really fit the patterns of behaviour exhibited by Anonymous. A swarm implies lack of thought and instead just reaction. The examples used before of bee’s or ants are good ones to use to show in fact, Anonymous does not resemble them. Instead, the Anon’s all have motivations as a whole and on their own individually that motivate them to act as they are. In this simple fact, the aspect of having self awareness and motives, shows that the allusion to swarming is a fallacy.

Instead, I propose that since humans are behind the actions of anonymous, and comprise its ranks, that other theories apply to them that come from a more humanistic approach, much of it being from psychology. The following theories apply as I see it.

From Wikipedia

Herd behavior in human societies
The philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche were among the first to critique what they referred to as “the crowd” (Kierkegaard) and “herd morality” and the “herd instinct” (Nietzsche) in human society. Modern psychological and economic research has identified herd behavior in humans to explain the phenomena of large numbers of people acting in the same way at the same time. The British surgeon Wilfred Trotter popularized the “herd behavior” phrase in his book, Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War (1914). In The Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen explained economic behavior in terms of social influences such as “emulation,” where some members of a group mimic other members of higher status. In “The Metropolis and Mental Life” (1903), early sociologist George Simmel referred to the “impulse to sociability in man”, and sought to describe “the forms of association by which a mere sum of separate individuals are made into a ‘society’ “. Other social scientists explored behaviors related to herding, such as Freud (crowd psychology), Carl Jung (collective unconscious), and Gustave Le Bon (the popular mind). Swarm theory observed in non-human societies is a related concept and is being explored as it occurs in human society.

Information Cascade:

An information (or informational) cascade occurs when people observe the actions of others and then make the same choice that the others have made, independently of their own private information signals. Because it is usually sensible to do what other people are doing, the phenomenon is assumed to be the result of rational choice. Nevertheless, information cascades can sometimes lead to arbitrary or even erroneous decisions. The concept of information cascades is based on observational learning theory and was formally introduced in a 1992 article by Sushil Bikhchandani, David Hirshleifer, and Ivo Welch.[1] A less technical article was released by the authors in 1998.[2][3]

[4][5]

There are two key conditions in an information cascade model:
1. Sequential decisions with subsequent actors observing decisions (not information) of previous actors.
2. A limited action space (e.g. an adopt/reject decision).[6

Classical theories
The main idea of Sigmund Freud’s crowd behavior theory is that people who are in a crowd act differently towards people from those who are thinking individually. The minds of the group would merge to form a way of thinking. Each member’s enthusiasm would be increased as a result, and one becomes less aware of the true nature of one’s actions.
Le Bon’s idea that crowds foster anonymity and sometimes generate emotion has become something of a cliché. Yet it has been contested by some critics, such as Clark McPhail who points out that some studies show that “the madding crowd” does not take on a life of its own, apart from the thoughts and intentions of members. Norris Johnson, after investigating a panic at a 1979 Who concert concluded that the crowd was composed of many small groups of people mostly trying to help each other. However, ultimately, leaders themselves identify themselves to an idea.

Theodor Adorno criticized the belief in a spontaneity of the masses: according to him, the masses were an artificial product of “administrated” modern life. The Ego of the bourgeois subject dissolved itself, giving way to the Id and the “de-psychologized” subject. Furthermore, the bond linking the masses to the leader through the spectacle, as fascism displayed in its public representations, is feigned:

“When the leaders become conscious of mass psychology and take it into their own hands, it ceases to exist in a certain sense. […] Just as little as people believe in the depth of their hearts that the Jews are the devil, do they completely believe in their leader. They do not really identify themselves with him but act this identification, perform their own enthusiasm, and thus participate in their leader’s performance. […] It is probably the suspicion of this fictitiousness of their own ‘group psychology’ which makes fascist crowds so merciless and unapproachable. If they would stop to reason for a second, the whole performance would go to pieces, and they would be left to panic.”[1]

Edward Bernays (1891–1995), nephew of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, was considered the father of the field of public relations. Bernays was one of the first to attempt to manipulate public opinion using the psychology of the subconscious. He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he felt was irrational and dangerous.

Convergence theory

Convergence theory holds that crowd behavior is not a product of the crowd itself, but is carried into the crowd by particular individuals. Thus, crowds amount to a convergence of like-minded individuals. In other words, while contagion theory states that crowds cause people to act in a certain way, convergence theory says the opposite: that people who wish to act in a certain way come together to form crowds. An example of convergence theory states that there is no homogeneous activity within a repetitive practice, sometimes observed when an immigrant population becomes common in a previously homogeneous area, and members of the existing community (apparently spontaneously) band together to threaten those trying to move into their neighborhoods. In such cases, convergence theorists contend, the crowd itself does not generate racial hatred or violence; rather, the hostility has been simmering for some time among many local people. A crowd then arises from convergence of people who oppose the presence of these neighbors. Convergence theory claims that crowd behavior as such is not irrational; rather, people in crowds express existing beliefs and values so that the mob reaction is the rational product of widespread popular feeling.

My money though is on Convergence Theory. While herd mentality works in many respects, the herd seems less actively motivating the outcome as it is reacting to external stimuli or a certain single entity moving them to “herd” in a specific direction. In Convergence Theory however, we have a more nuanced approach to understanding that like minded individuals congregate together socially and then as a crowd, act out on their collective consciousness. I believe that all of these behaviours and observations play a role in the macro-verse of Anonymous.

I also believe that at times, there are leaders who take up the issue that they feel needs redress and then start that herd moving toward a goal by beating the drum. Thus you have the chats and the boards where people take their digital soap boxes out and speak on the target, the reasons, and the method of attack. If the idea gets enough traction vis a vis the oration of the de facto leader at that time, then, a movement begins. Which brings me to the next topic.

Cells vs Spontaneous Headless Entities:

Anonymous has said many times and rather vociferously, that they are a headless organisation. I have always been of the opinion that no matter how many times they make that claim, it is functionally impossible. There will always be a core group of individuals that will be leading an operation. It is also the case that Anonymous is predicated on infrastructure that must be maintained. The IRC rooms, the servers, the web servers etc, all have people who operate them and manage them. In this respect, those persons would be the holders of the keys to the kingdom would they not? If a person in charge of such functions were to turn (or be turned) on the organisation, they could do massive damage to the org by being in charge of key assets.

I would further like to posit that for each “raiding party” as they may be called, would also have de facto leaders. An incidence of this can be seen in the WBC debacle in the response to WBC that claims 20 people had worked on the document. Those twenty people would nominally be leaders of that cell or operation by my accounts. So, to extend this further, for every operation there must be a division of roles and responsibilities doled out to function, it is just our nature to do this. If Anonymous were truly a chaotic system, nothing would get done effectively.

Cells however, also fit as an modus operandi for Anonymous. When I say cells I mean this from the perspective of cells in terrorism. Al Qaeda, as a functional operation has been winnowed down to the point of only being a titular entity in the jihadi movement. Due to the war on terror, AQ has shifted their operations from being rather linear to a cell mentality. All of the cells out there are pretty much self formed at present. The cells consist of like minded people who get subtle and not so subtle information/mandates from the AQ HQ via things like “Inspire Magazine” or the jihadist boards. The same can be applied to the structure of Anonymous. There are still those people who are making suggestions and or are outright perceived leaders, that can be singled out as targets of interest. This may not be the case every time, but, by using the information above on motivations and crowds, you can infer that it is the case more times than not.

Nick Re-Use as De-Anonymization:

Now, once you consider the motivations and the structures that are created or used, one must then consider how would someone go about trying to determine targets of interest. In the case of Anonymous this allusion had been made (poorly) by Aaron Barr. He went after certain parties that he claimed were in fact the core leaders of Anonymous. I can’t say that any of those names were in fact core leaders, however, I will say that the nicknames themselves could have been used to gain intelligence on said users and indeed prove their affiliation.

My premise is this;

1) The more unique a nick is the easier it is to track

2) Nickname re-use on other sites in tandem with uniqueness makes tracking and expanding on social connections easier

3) With the right foot-printing, one can potentially get enough information not only to see affiliations and actions, but also real names of individuals

So, if you are on the Anon boards and you re-use your nick, AND it is unique enough, I know that you can be tracked. Add to this the notion that you use your nick as an email address, then you are adding even more context for someone to search on and cogently put together patterns for recognition. So, the more data points, the more coherence to the picture if you see what I mean. By using tools like Maltego or even Palantir correctly, one can make those connections. In the hands of a trained analyst, the data can really show a person’s online personae and lead to enough data being revealed to have law enforcement breathing down your neck with warrants.

In looking at the Anon sites, one can see regular names turning up. Using Maltego on some of those names have also given returns that would be a good start on locating those people because the used the same nickname for other uses that are inherently insecure. Which is ironic as Anonymous is supposed to be just that. In fact, one can log onto their IRC session just as “anonymous18457” etc. I would do this every time I wanted to go onto their servers so as not to have too much residual data for someone to mine.

Aaron was right in that people are inherently lazy at times. We as a species are also ill equipped to delineate long term threats as opposed to near term. In most cases though, many of the Anon’s are in fact young and likely inured to the idea that the Internet is in fact an anonymous space.

It isn’t, unless you take pains to make it so.

Conclusion:

So there you have it. I have been pondering this for a little while now. I am sure there will be more as I think about it a bit. Aaron was a fool, but let me tell you, there are others out there in spook country who aren’t. These techniques are no secret nor are the theories of behaviour. These are common ideas that are used within the psyops realm and you, “anonymous” legions must take that into account. If the authorities cannot get the core members, they will eventually get round to going after the low hanging fruit.

However, with these techniques, even someone diligent about their anonymity can be defeated. Everyone makes mistakes…

Keep your wits about you.

K.

HB Gary: Hubris, Bad Science, Poor Operational Methodology, and The HIVE MIND

with 2 comments

Algorithms, Social Networks, and COMINT:

When I had heard that HB Gary had been popped and their spool file was on PB I thought that it was unfortunate for them as a fairly well known company. Once the stories started coming out though with the emails being published online, I began to re-think it all. It seems that Aaron Barr really fucked the pooch on this whole thing. He primarily did so due to his own hubris, and for this I cannot fault Anonymous for their actions (within reason) in breaking HB Gary and Barr’s digital spine.

It seems that Barr was labouring not only a flawed theory on tracking social networks, but also in that he planned on selling such a theory and application to the government. One notion was bad, and the other was worse. First off though, lets cover the science shall we? Barr wanted to track users on social networks and show connections that would lead to further data on the users. The extension that he was trying to make was obtaining actual real names, locations and affiliations from disparate sources (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, IRC, etc) While this type of data gathering has been done in the past, it has not usually been culled from multiple sources automatically electronically and then strung together to form a coherent pattern. In short, Barr was wanting to create software/scripts to just scrape content, and then try to connect the dots based on statistics to tie people to an entity like Anonymous. The problem, and what Barr seemed to not comprehend, is that the Internet is a stochastic system, and as such it is impossible to do what he wanted with any kind of accuracy. At least in the way he wanted to do it, you see, it takes some investigation skills to make the connections that a scripted process cannot.

This can be seen directly from the article snippet below where the programmer calls Barr on his flawed logic in what he was doing and wanted to do.

From “How one man tracked down Anonymous and paid a heavy price

“Danger, Will Robinson!”

Throughout Barr’s research, though, the coder he worked with worried about the relevance of what was being revealed. Barr talked up the superiority of his “analysis” work, but doubts remained. An email exchange between the two on January 19 is instructive:

Barr: [I want to] check a persons friends list against the people that have liked or joined a particular group.

Coder: No it won’t. It will tell you how mindless their friends are at clicking stupid shit that comes up on a friends page. especially when they first join facebook.

Barr: What? Yes it will. I am running throug analysis on the anonymous group right now and it definately would.

Coder: You keep assuming you’re right, and basing that assumption off of guilt by association.

Barr: Noooo….its about probabilty based on frequency…c’mon ur way smarter at math than me.

Coder: Right, which is why i know your numbers are too small to draw the conclusion but you don’t want to accept it. Your probability based on frequency right now is a gut feeling. Gut feelings are usually wrong.

Barr: [redacted]

Coder: [some information redacted] Yeah, your gut feelings are awesome! Plus, scientifically proven that gut feelings are wrong by real scientist types.

Barr: [some information redacted] On the gut feeling thing…dude I don’t just go by gut feeling…I spend hours doing analysis and come to conclusions that I know can be automated…so put the taco down and get to work!

Coder: I’m not doubting that you’re doing analysis. I’m doubting that statistically that analysis has any mathematical weight to back it. I put it at less than .1% chance that it’s right. You’re still working off of the idea that the data is accurate. mmmm…..taco!

Aaron, I have news for you, the coder was right! Let the man eat his taco in peace! For God’s sake you were hanging your hat completely on scrape data from disparate social networks to tie people together within a deliberately anonymous body of individuals! Of course one could say that this is not an impossible feat, but, one would also say that it would take much more than just gathering statistical data of logins and postings, it would take some contextual investigation too. This was something Barr was not carrying out.

I actually know something about this type of activity as you all may know. I do perform scraping, but, without real context to understand the data (i.e. understanding the users, their goals, their MO, etc) then you really have no basis to predict what they are going to do or really their true affiliations. In the case of jihadi’s they often are congregating on php boards, so you can easily gather their patterns of friendship or communications just by the postings alone. Now, trying to tie these together with posts on other boards, unless the users use the same nick or email address, is nearly impossible.

Just how Aaron Barr was proposing to do this and get real usable data is beyond comprehension. It was thus that the data he did produce, and then leak to the press enraged Anonymous, who then hacked HB Gary and leaked the data in full claiming that none of the data was correct. Either way, Aaron got his clock cleaned not only from the hack (which now claims to have been partially a social engineering attack on the company) but also from the perspective of his faulty methodologies to harvest this data being published to the world by Anonymous.

OSINT, Counter-Intelligence, and Social Engineering:

The real ways to gather the intelligence on people like Anonymous’ core group is to infiltrate them. Aaron tried this at first, but failed to actually be convincing at it. The Anon’s caught on quickly to him and outed him with relish, they in fact used this as an advantage, spurring on their own efforts to engineer the hack on HB Gary. Without the right kind of mindset or training, one cannot easily insert themselves in a group like this and successfully pull of the role of mole or double agent.

In the case of Anonymous though, it is not impossible to pull this off. It would take time and patience. Patience it seems that Aaron Barr lacked as much as he did on scientific and mathematical method where this whole expedition was concerned. Where his method could have been successful would have only come from the insertion of an agent provocateur into the core group to gather intel and report back those connections. Without that, the process which Aaron was trying would have yielded some data, but to sift through it all with interviews by the FBI and other agencies would have become ponderous and useless in the end.

It is my belief that there is a core group of Anon’s as I have said before. Simply from a C&C structure, there has to be an operational core in order for there to be cohesion. This can be seen in any hive structure like bees, there are drones, and there is a queen. A simple infrastructure that works efficiently, and in the case of anon, I believe it is much the same. So, were one looking to infiltrate this core, they would have a bit of a time doing so, but, it could be done. Take out the core, and you take out the operational ability of the unit as a whole to be completely effective. To do this though, one should be able to understand and apply the precepts of counter intelligence warfare, something Barr failed to grasp.

In the end.. It bit him pretty hard in the ass because he was in a hurry to go to press and to sell the ideas to the military industrial complex. Funny though, the real boys and girls of the spook world would have likely told him the same thing I am saying here… No sale.

Oh well… Arron Icarus Barr flew too close to the anonymous sun on wings made from faulty mathematical designs and burned up on re-entry.

K.

Follow The Email

leave a comment »

As you all know, I have been using Maltego for some time now but I thought that I would just drop a dime on how I do love the connections it can make for you when you are using it for intelligence gathering. With the new V3 Maltego (CE) you have a lot more latitude in data connections and in making ties between entities or in this case emails from entities, to make a more coherent patter emerge. In the case above, you are looking at the root address I started with. tough13_sam@hotmail.com is an old address for Samir Khan, the alleged “creative director” if you want to go all advertising speak, for the Inspire jihad magazine that came out in May/June.

By using Maltego and Google searches I was able to harvest not only the main email that he was using for his now defunct site “inshallahshaheed.wordpress.com” which is, “inshallahshaheed@gmail.com” but also other interesting tidbits like a xanga account on which he mentions his AIM account as well. Though most of the data that is able to be gathered is older 2004-2008 area, it still can be useful in the context of mapping jihad, or at the very least, mapping out just what social connections he had before going underground (aka heading off to Yemmen to head up Al Malahem) Using the Maltego tailored to just look for email connections to and from, you can get a good idea of not only where he was posting online during that time, but also with whom he was talking to potentially.

Many of the email addresses that came up with this search were also posters to a muslim bulletin board islam.tc. So, they are good hits on my scale of probability that they had traffic with Samir. Now, it would be interesting to follow through further and spike out all the connections for each email. This would make for some HUGE maltego maps, but I would hazard a guess that you would begin to see a pattern in the traffic to specific sites and of course patterns of behavior between individuals. Quite interesting…

Reminds one of a certain Gibson novel doesn’t it?

Anyway, by using this tool you can get a sense of your targets behavior and analyze the traffic that can be found between sites and parties. By looking at the macro-verse view you can see just how these sites and people are connected and in the micro view, you can get details of site domains, users, and other pertinent data that you can use to get a quite full picture of the inner workings of online jihad. However, just on the macro side of gathering email addresses that have had connections between them, you can start to give law enforcement a picture that they can use to start connecting the dots.

In the case of ol’ Sammy, it seems that after his sites kept getting knocked offline (inshallahshaheed was one I reported to Google about 2 years ago) he finally wised up and stopped posting so openly. He then went off to Yemmen to head up their media department is what I am hearing. So just where he is online now is a mystery. It is likely though that he is still posting online to boards and working on sites like al-faloja or ansaaar.com, all of whom now are taking more care about being secure.

Another tact I took the other day was to use the “phrase” search of Maltego and put in the sig for Majahden 2.0, the encryption program that the jihadi’s have been using to encrypt email/comms. This turned up quite a bit of traffic between parties when using the “entities” search parameter.

This initial search has given me a group of users to target from there to get email addresses from and any and all data I can from this tool. Rather nice really. So at least if you can’t read what they are writing, you can at least see that they are using the program and who they are conversing with! Of course there is a lot of data to sift and this can be a rather manual process in tracking down leads, but, at least this is targeted research as opposed to trying to read all of their comm’s on the bulletin boards and make connections.

I just wish this program weren’t so dang expensive…

CoB

5 Reasons to Doubt Al-Qaeda Magazine’s Authenticity: Gives One Ideas, False Flag Anyone?

leave a comment »

The 5 reasons:

(1) Bin Laden and Zawahiri are extremely secretive and issue statements rarely and directly to the media. It would be unusual for them to write for a third-party publication, especially one put out by the Yemen-based AQAP, with which they have little or no direct ties. However, it is possible that the magazine’s producers simply copied old statements they had made.

(2) The language of the magazine, such as “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom,” reflects either a poor command of English or a light-hearted sense of self-parody. AQAP is not known for either. Awlaki, whose location in Yemen makes his participation very plausible, is a native, fluent, and very articulate English speaker. His fiery English-language sermons are not funny.

(3) The magazine includes an essay by Abu Mu’sab al-Suri. But Suri, whose connection to al-Qaeda is uncertain, has been locked up in Guantanamo–and possibly a CIA black site–since 2005. However, as with bin Laden, it is possible the magazine simply copied old statements.

(4) Analysts tell me that the magazine PDF file either does not load properly or carries a trojan virus. This is unusual because al-Qaeda and AQAP have produced and disseminated such PDF publications many times without such problems. If the report was produced by U.S. counterintelligence, or if the U.S. operatives attached the virus to the original file, would the trojan really be so easily detectable by simple, consumer-grade virus scanners? Surely U.S. counterintelligence has less detectable viruses at their disposal.

(5) The web-based “jihadi” community itself seems suspicious. The report has received little attention on web forums, especially given its apparent importance. A publication including such high-profile figures would normally receive far more attention than it has so far.

Full article HERE Inspire AQAP Glossy HERE (CLEAN)

Exploit or Ineptitude?

When this file came out I too had some issues with it not downloading fully from the myriad of uploader sites that the Jihadi’s had “ostensibly” uploaded it to. I attributed it to a lack of understanding on their part that the original had been corrupt somewhere along the line between sharing partners and propagated that way. However, given all of the data post release and some looking into, I think there are a couple of scenarios that might fit the bill;

1) The original was sent out to the trusted before going wide. Once sent wide, it was quickly infected with malware per persons unknown and propagated further on the internet.

2) The reason for the placement of the malware could be to sow distrust on the part of the jihadi’s trafficking in the data by persons unknown. This makes it an untrusted channel and more likely people will not download it too quickly in the future. I say this because the malware was easily detectable by current AV products. Had this been a program of the intelligence agencies, they would have indeed used 0day that was not detectable. The same could be said for certain factions of the hacking community who may have an interest in helping the other “community”

3) This was indeed some sort of poorly conceived exploit by some organization as the malware was easily detectable.. They screwed up.

I cannot say either way and I as yet, have not seen a copy of the “infected” file to prove out that it did indeed have malware embedded in it. The current version that I have on my server (linked above) is clean, but I believe that I have another dirty copy on another *nix box. I will check that later and amend this post once I have. All of this though does not lead me to believe that the magazine was part and parcel created by anyone else but a jihadist movement faction that offered it to AQAP.

You can go on the cues from above about the language and the other telltale clues that this is not a straight out work of GIMF or As Sahab. The writer of the article is right on this account in that the language would have been much better constructed by bi-lingual speakers of Arabic and English as you have seen in the past. The Al-Awlaki connection too may be there, but he likely did not have oversight directly of this magazine. In fact, when I pulled the metadata on the PDF file that I got hold of today, there was NONE in it. So it is hard to say who made the file at present. I will check again once I find that dirty copy I downloaded when it came out for metadata in situ.

As for Giving One Ideas..

All of this has given me ideas on perhaps how the information war should be waged against AQ and other online Jihadist movements if it already isn’t being done by the likes of the NSA. What if such PDF files were commonly compromised with 0day? The jihadists usually traffic pretty much only in PDF files nowadays. If you go to their sites you can’t even get a lock on the files there because they have uploaded them all to share sites all over the globe. So, who’s to say that there isn’t some governmental bodies out there with access to those .com .net sites and are infecting the files soon after the uploads happen?

I’d be doing that…

Hell, I’d be loading the files with malware for all the major OS’ out there not just Windows variants… Which, we know a good percentage of these online jihadi’s are using Windows as you may have seen in the posts I have made. The only problem then would be that if you are doing this to the downloaders, it leaves the creators still potentially unaffected.. How to get the creators boxes I wonder….

I guess the question Is… is this already being done? If not.. Why not? Seems to me that we could get a pretty nice haul if you compromised all those down loaders boxes and set up a nice back channel server somewhere to aggregate all the data as well as do some escalation….

Maybe the government just needs a good copy of Core Impact huh?

CoB

Gregory Evans: Psychological Profile of a Lackluster Conman

with 3 comments

Wow Mr Crabyolbastard, you failed the test just like I thought you would. This time you even got your wires all mixed up. You get a NO GO at this station. Sorry that you can’t play with the Big Boys without squeeling like a wild pig. Tut…Tut…Now What?

darby.chuck@yahoo.com
68.153.132.46

This crabbyolbastard guy has way too much time on his hands, but hey, he’s getting Greg more publicity. I tell you, Evans is probably the most popular guy in the cyber security industry! keep em talking Greg and continue to prove them wrong! Im rootin for ya!

…. And as for you, you crabby. old. bastard……. GET A LIFE!

dscraigen@gmail.com
68.153.132.46

Oh Greg, I have a life, and that life now includes removing you from the information security theater stage. You see, you came to me, not I to you in this matter, and well, you made a mistake in judgement with your “n01hack3r” thing. Greg, you pissed off the wrong people like I told you before, ya know, the aphorism about hackers being subtle and quick to temper? Well, you have more than a few out there in the “community” gunning for you now, and yet, you spend time on my blog reading it, looking up the big words on the “Googles” and responding via your cavalcade of BellSouth sip/adsl addresses claiming to be others while we know all along that its you. So this post has a couple of functions for me.. Let me lay them out for you.

1) I get under your skin.. I have a habit of doing that on this blog and well, I enjoy being the cause of your mental anguish. I intend to get further under your skin like an embedded tick. I plan on leaving you after this post with the nagging self doubt that haunts you in your silent spaces during the day. Think of me as your new personal Hannibal Lecter and you, you are my cell mate next door “Multiple Migs”

2) To outlay to the world in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a picture of your inner workings, your fears, your failings, and generally, hasten you to your cataclysmic utter failure oncoming. All packaged up in a neatly ordered and well thought out analysis of you Greg.

So, lets get to it shall we? Oh, and Greg, when you respond, and I know you will, if you can’t follow the conversation even with my little links to help you with the big words, you will have to just move on over to the kids table, this is adult talk now.

Gregory,

I know where you are mentally right now. Your dreams of bling and cheap-n-easy young ladies are quickly becoming nothing but faded ambitions due to your age, your rapidly emptying bank accounts, and the light being shown on you as a charlatan and a con man. It must eat at you during the quiet moments all this failure, it haunts you I am sure. The reason why it does is not so much because you care at all for the shareholders of your company, but more so about your own dreams of self aggrandizement. Its all just a niggling feeling at the back of your mind and then you start to realize that soon, there will be nothing left and your charade will be completely exposed and it makes you break out in a cold sweat all alone at night doesn’t it?

And yet, instead of giving in and moving on to something else, you feel trapped and have to fight against the tide of reason. You strive on to show that you are really all those things that you claim to be, but know that you are not.

Successful

A knowledgeable man on subjects such as computer security

A pillar of the community

A God fearing and righteous man

A raconteur

Generally, a good guy

You must have those momentary pangs when you think of your mother, perhaps of your father, but I guess more about your mother, that she is proud of you. You know though, because you have lied and conned your way to where you are now that she likely is not. It is in these small moments when you are alone at night, that you realize that you are none of those things above. You look back at your life and you think about the places where you might have done things differently.. But, its too late now. This, this is the end of the line.

So it is, with each passing day post your being thrust into the light like a cockroach behind the fridge, your revenue stream being broken by the truths being told, that you increasingly see the only way to fight is to lie more, with more extravagance, and to use what little wits you have to attempt to sway the tide of press.

Yet again, at the end of each day, the failure comes to you at night like a specter doesn’t it Greg? Alone in your bed after all the gold digger girls have gone because you cannot afford them any more, it haunts you. You feel it though Greg, you can see the path to the pain’s release but you just aren’t man enough yet to take the path are you?

The path of admitting you are a failure. You had your time when you passed yourself off and bilked your friends, acquaintances, and shareholders, but those days are gone.

Painful isn’t it… No longer are you the big man Gregory…

Each day you are beset by the news on the internet. The truths being dug up about you and published. I assume the calls from your shareholders that you borrowed all that money from (600K+ last I looked) must be on their minds as you let it go to voicemail. Hard to avoid them too I suppose as you go out of the house or go into one of your marble gilded bathrooms. It must also haunt you, the knowledge that the people you thought you had hoodwinked now see the truths of it all.

Then the possible future teases into your mind. You could be going to jail again. This time, it may not be so short a stay and you know that you are going to have to nut up inside or be passed around for a pack of smokes. All those sticky painful incidents of being someone’s bitch inside must also go through you mind. One shudders to think.

So on you go, posting all kinds of press to make your “company” look better and try to resurrect it all. All in the hopes of those glory days of spending the capital that the shareholders give you for skyboxes, expensive cars, and coochie to impress all of those people you so want to be friends with.

The glitterati.

All the while though now, you know that this is not to be, and it pains you. After all, you are a prideful man aren’t you…

Sometimes though, you think about just disappearing… Starting over…. Perhaps you should.

Of course, then you’d be on the run from the charges surely to be filed. But, after all, you are better suited to running than you are to fighting. Cowardice seems to be your stock in trade. You make veiled threats through emails and you get hot quickly lately don’t you? It must be all the stress.

But you know, they (the security community and the authorities) will not go away…

Best to run Gregory… Before it all collapses in on itself further….

Listen to that niggling little voice Greg….

Written by Krypt3ia

2010/07/20 at 14:26