It’s Not Smart to Go Smart (Open Thread)

Illustraphon743 - CopyAs if it’s not outrageous enough that the government, assisted by complicit corporations, is spying on our Internet usage, our phone calls, our Facebook “chats“, and our email, now comes news that “hackers” (government or freelance) can watch us watch TV!

 [emphasis added to quotes]

Today’s high-end televisions are almost all equipped with “smart” PC-like features, including Internet connectivity, apps, microphones and cameras. But a recently discovered security hole in some Samsung Smart TVs shows that many of those bells and whistles aren’t ready for prime time.

The flaws in Samsung Smart TVs, which have now been patched, enabled hackers to remotely turn on the TVs’ built-in cameras without leaving any trace of it on the screen. While you’re watching TV, a hacker anywhere around the world could have been watching you. Hackers also could have easily rerouted an unsuspecting user to a malicious website to steal bank account information.

Samsung quickly fixed the problem after security researchers at iSEC Partners informed the company about the bugs. Samsung sent a software update to all affected TVs.

But the glitches speak to a larger problem of gadgets that connect to the Internet but have virtually no security to speak of.

Security cameras, lights, heating control systems and even door locks and windows are now increasingly coming with features that allow users to control them remotely. Without proper security controls, there’s little to stop hackers from invading users’ privacy, stealing personal information or spying on people.

Who believes that the Myrmidons at the NSA don’t similarly avail themselves of the same entry points?  No wonder the head of the NSA is speaking to conventions of hackers and trying to recruit them!  Birds of a feather.

Time to return to the days of “dumb” electronic devices, like the TV set illustrated above.

Long ago, I taped over the “eye” on my computer, after learning how school administrators in Pennsylvania stealthily activated webcams on laptops, so that teachers could spy on students at home. Who knew?

Can they listen in, too?  Why not? Mics are installed in many devices that connect to the Internet, including laptops.

How about a speakerphone, connected to a DSL?

I’m not tech savvy enough to know the answer.  Others are, however, and they say that the possibilities are endless: smart locks, smart appliances, smart cars, you name it. But how “smart” is it is for us to possess these “smart” items?  Not very, apparently.

Can “they” watch and listen to us through our cell phones, even follow us around? Why, yes they can:

Our cellphones have almost unlimited access to our daily lives—not just because we use them to talk, text, and search the Web, but because it’s really easy to turn on the GPS, microphone, or camera secretly from another location. If you’ve ever lost an iPhone, you may have used Apple’s “Find My iPhone” feature to remotely activate your phone’s GPS signal…. If Apple really is working with the NSA as part of PRISM, the technical requirements to locate a person through their phone would be no more difficult than that. For spy agencies, it’s no more difficult to activate your phone’s microphone the same way, letting them listen in on your conversations even when you aren’t making a phone call.

If we have “smart locks”, then hackers (or the government) can open them up!

If we have “smart security cameras”, then they can use our own cameras to make sure we’re not home before entering.

Thieves can even scope out the premises in advance.  What a deal!  They can identify what we have worth stealing, and then devise a map to make their “visits” most efficient.  Needless to say, they can turn off our security alarms first.

If we have “smart appliances”, the possibilities for mischief are limited only by a hacker’s evil imagination. Crank that oven on full blast or turn that fridge up to the maximum? Why the heck not?  What fun!

Got a “smart” thermostat?  How’d you like your furnace on in the summer or the A/C on in the winter? Pity the poor pets.

Got a disgruntled former spouse, partner, or employee? Be afraid. Be very afraid, because it’s easy for a determined person:

It’s stunning what can be found with a simple search on Shodan. Countless traffic lights, security cameras, home automation devices and heating systems are connected to the Internet and easy to spot.

Shodan searchers have found control systems for a water park, a gas station, a hotel wine cooler and a crematorium. Cybersecurity researchers have even located command and control systems for nuclear power plants and a particle-accelerating cyclotron by using Shodan.

What’s really noteworthy about Shodan’s ability to find all of this — and what makes Shodan so scary — is that very few of those devices have any kind of security built into them.

It’s a massive security failure,” said HD Moore, chief security officer of Rapid 7, who operates a private version of a Shodan-like database for his own research purposes.

A quick search for “default password” reveals countless printers, servers and system control devices that use “admin” as their user name and “1234” as their password. Many more connected systems require no credentials at all — all you need is a Web browser to connect to them. In a talk given at last year’s Defcon cybersecurity conference, independent security penetration tester Dan Tentler demonstrated how he used Shodan to find control systems for evaporative coolers, pressurized water heaters, and garage doors.

He found a car wash that could be turned on and off and a hockey rink in Denmark that could be defrosted with a click of a button. A city’s entire traffic control system was connected to the Internet and could be put into “test mode” with a single command entry. And he also found a control system for a hydroelectric plant in France with two turbines generating 3 megawatts each.

If you have a “smart car”, you’re at risk, too.

You’re driving in your car and suddenly the wheel turns. You know you didn’t do it, but suddenly you’re in oncoming traffic and scramble to pull the vehicle back into your lane. …

Theoretically, a hacker could get you to connect your car’s Bluetooth to a rogue device and be able to daisy-chain his way into your car’s system.

What he can do from there is scary stuff. …

Yes, very scary stuff–like allegedly taking over a car to eliminate someone who asks inconvenient questions.

Do we have to disconnect every device from the Internet to be secure in our houses and effects?

Amendment IV

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.

Wow. How easy for them to describe “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,” when they can have a “look see” first by hacking into our own devices and turning them against us.

What we need now is a good dose of old-fashioned capitalism (coupled with freedom, of course). There are billions of dollars waiting to be made by entrepreneurs who will develop privacy features for us ordinary citizens.

But will those features themselves be resistant to hacking? Or will those companies get leaned on in turn by this government, forcing them to give up the knowledge necessary to circumvent our own devices (again)? 

The Brave New World is here, and Big Brother probably is watching YOU.


223 responses to “It’s Not Smart to Go Smart (Open Thread)

    • For a smart woman, she sure can be dumb.

      • Rosemary Woodhouse

        Who said she’s smart? Another affirmative action hag who knew how to play the game. Tired of gilding lilies. Just telling the truth straight up, these days.

      • I should have said allegedly smart, but sure she’s smart enough to make millions, if not billions, off the kind of drivel she shovels everyday. She’s milking it for all it’s worth. The first AA daytime talk show diva. Just like Barry and his “first AA president”. Affirmative action by any other name.

        • Rosemary Woodhouse

          And “gilding the lily” implies something already positive. “Lipstick on a pig”( the is a more apt comparison. Of course, someone AA such as our presumptive mulatto president can get away with saying such a thing about Sarah Palin. But if one of us “crackers” (thanks, Charlie Rangel) says it……we’re racist. NO MORE DOUBLE STANDARD! Am speaking out against it at every opportunity. As should everyone. Silent no more!

          • That reminds me, RW. I caught a little of Glenn Beck this morning (or maybe it was yesterday). Anyway, he said almost verbatim what we’ve been saying: That if Zimmerman is a white hispanic, then Obama is a white black. He even talked about how Barry is a white black who identifies as a black man. We’re on the cutting edge, I tell you! 😉

            Oprah is doing an excellent job, imho, of driving WHITE people away from going to see her new movie. iirc, Beck was talking about that, too. Oprah and her racist blather lately.

  1. The Big Terror Alert and the Benghazi Attack make no apparent sense.
    I have no evidence and I haven’t been reading lame cherry.
    But the Benghazi attack makes less and less sense as a reported narrative.
    I have some questions:

    Q) Who said that “if the winds turn ugly I will stand with them (moslems)” ?
    A) That would be our president.

    Q2) What was the purpose of the Arab Spring?
    A2) Judging by the results – the installation of fundamentalist (Sunni) islamist regimes replacing the secular dictators that were previously in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria.

    Q3) Which powerful nation said “No further” and began supplying the Syrian regime with massive amounts of modern weaponry with which
    Bashar Assad is successfully defending agaiinst their version of the “freedom fighters” ?
    A3) Let’s leave that one for a moment.

    Jake Tapper of CNN published a news story that said we had dozens of
    covert operators in Benghazi, they were funneling easily available Libyan weaponry to the freedom fighters (ie. Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood) in Syria and these same operatives, now back in the US,
    are being polygraphed every month – so worried are their handlers that the story will come out.

    Q4) Is it believable that if we had that many operatives in Benghazi there would be no plan to extract them militarily or to take note of the anniversary of September 11?
    A4) No.

    Q5) If those operatives were indeed getting heavy weapons to Al-Qaeda
    in Syria, why would Al-Qaeda choose that moment to kill as many of them as they could – effectively ending their supply chain?
    A5) They wouldn’t.

    Q6) Would the president be afraid to counter attack Al-Qaeda?
    A6) History says No, he likes to boast of his accomplishments in killing Al-Qaeda.

    Q7) So why, once the attack was underway, did we not counter-attack to save the lives of our people?
    A7) Because we did not dare to counter attack the forces on the ground that night.

    Q8) Why is our government so determined to keep this story silent,
    and that includes Congress as well as the president?
    A8) Because they are panicked and dare not let the information surface.

    Q9) OK, so who killed our guys in Benghazi, that night?

    You can figure it out now.

  2. Name That Tune:

    • Ink a dink a dink?

      • who’s the guy in the left corner? hmmm.

        at first I thought ‘Home on the Range’ but then i noticed that guy might be snapping his fingers…

        where’s that wharf picture? we haven’t peeked at that one for a long time.

        • I know. That guy on the left looks simultaneously extremely creepy and also strangely familiar. Who is he?

          • that flag looks awfully lot like malaysia’s flag, which is black with crescent and star and white on the left side like that. Or Terenagganu, which I think is Malaysia…..the Islamic party of Malaysia

            • Yeah. Or could be Pakistan or Turkey. Depends upon what color the background is. Too bad it’s a black and white photo. It does look like the Islamic Party of Malaysia, as you say; but, again, depends upon the background color:

          • Miri could you post the two photos from the grad student get togethers next to this one? The ones where they’re all sitting around on someone’s floor?

            • I put them in the comment with the other two photos. See above.

            • ladysforest reveals where she found the photo:

              “… Caption reads: International recreation for students of five continents
              Found in the 1961 University of Hawaii Summer Session Catalog

              The photo was obviously taken between September 1960 (Fall Session) and February 1961.

              Oh, I forgot to mention, I found this while poking around looking for anything interesting on Mr. Lafforges’ address at the time he supposedly owned the address the Dunhams were listed as occupying after first arriving in HI, and at the time of barack obamas birth. …”

              So, were any of those ladies named Ann? Are the two other men Russians that BHO Sr. met in class?

          • I think I know what he’s singing now! Tiptoe through the Tulips!

      • I went to LC and typed in “Bar Obama” … a page full of great oldies…
        type away for more results… of course FEW really really……..likes (loves,loves) LC BUTT’ me… so you have to fetch it if you care 2..!
        I don’t think it’s Bill Lederers Bar? but maybe some ladies of the night

        ~ LC ~ …. The consensus of the WND informants is that it was Bill Lederer’s Bar located at Two Hotel Street.
        WND informants told WND that Ann Dunham frequented Bill Lederer’s bar, unaccompanied, in the rebellious months when she first arrived in Honolulu, after finishing high school in Washington in June 1960.
        Gee a bar, two hotels, folks who barter sex for position and a young Mama Obama………what…. oh let’s have a poem instead.

        Sugarland and spice
        Makes every things nice
        That’s what Stan Ann’s career
        Was made of…….

    • I agree with you both. When I first looked at the picture yesterday the guy on the left instantly stood out, he looked very familiar but from where? I myself keep leaning too – was he someone we had seen before connected to Lolo also? I’m sure you all notice the Islamic flag..ha! no surprise there! also keep in mind Obama was a bar hopper, a drunk. He liked too give his Marxist views and speech’s in the bar’s too whom ever would listen.He could have learned how too play the guitar bar hopping? just a guess. I may be way over reaching here…But B.H.O and the Filipino wife from the Philippines…the connects/dot’s lately! Just a huge humm..


      • Sorry , but there was no flag like this in the Phillipines ,not back then especially, and not in any bar….and the Al Caida black flag looks nothing like this flag. This photo is somewhere in South East Asia….and it’s likely with that flag , that it’s some sort of staged event…..
        There has been a Muslim (the muslim pirates) faction in the phillipines since 1500’s or so, but it was very small on one end of the islan. Of course now it has grown and there’s been strife their before Obama came to town, but this photo has nothing to do with Phllipines.

        • The ladies remind me of (the one in front) Soong mei ling, Kai Cheks wife, or the Viet nam Madame ngo dinh nhu , viet nams leader diem’s sister inlaw and her sister to the right and the other viet nam leaders wife inthe back…the one killed by Mao(can’t remember her name). I know they may not be these people,but they are dressed like it. I know one of them was invited to something by Sukarno in the 60’s and there is a photo somewhere with one of those ladies sitting beside Sukarno at a dinner and festivities.

          • Or it’s the Pakistani flag (Islamic Republic of Pakistan), but it’s green and white ,not black, but this photo you can’t tell. Only thing is the sybol here is upside down from Pakistans .

          • The more I checked out, that flag Wickapedia showed a flag like that for Malaysia islamic party, but I checked that out and their flag is green with a big white circle and that party hasn’t been in control of Malaysia till recent years. The more I thought about it….those ladies sure were representing anything Islamic anyway….Weird…..they wouldn’t be uncovered like that in teh sixites in a bar or anywhere.

        • Alfy, it’s late…re-read my comment in the a.m. I did not say anything about the flag being related in anyway to the Phillipines 😉

          • Oh , OK… I’m perplexed about the flag….the whole photo for that matter.

          • I’ve been running off at the mouth here lately anyway and don’t think anything I’ve said will get anywhere….however wherever that post about Bertrand Obama , henry Obama with addresses in Maryland,, that’s one I have saved info on before , that is still intriguing to me. I’ll have to look back to see for sure all the names and combos I have for that stuff, because sometimes the middle intial.. intial O., I tried Okoth as a last name and got more of these same names associated with these same places and people I’ll look back when I get the chance and maybe we can put more of them together in one place

          • For what it’s worth: The creepy guy on the left looks Russian to me. Remember the trip that Sukarno took to the USA (his world tour) where he stopped off in Honolulu and Japan and where they talked in the news articles about all the partying that went on on the jet plane out of LA? I’m just saying. Who was in the entourage? Those women sort of seem to represent different cultures. Mandarin collars on two and then the woman standing between the men looks Pacific Islander? The dude with the logo on his blazer–now he looks like a Brit to me. Red headed, it seems. Just my impression but he could also be a Ruskie. Now that I look closer, looks more Russian than Brit. Reminds me of that hockey player Gretzky, who was Russian/Belarussian/Polish but family from Russian empire:

          • Miri, just thought about it and if this is anything to do with Indon. or Sukarno,instead of a Brittish dude, maybe Dutch, or Nederland.

            • ladysforest let it out of the bag. The photo is from a publication of the U of HA from Feb. 1961 (right when BHO Sr. and Ann allegedly got married). It’s the school catalog for that semester. Where she found it, she doesn’t say. I’m guessing it’s not online. I don’t know if the people in the photo were identified by name. But I know who we DON’T see in that photo. Whether any of the Asian ladies are in other photos with BHO Sr., remains to be seen. Again, as I’ve said many times, too bad WE don’t have access to facial recognition software. btw, I did see this somewhere online VERY recently. It didn’t register in my mind–there are so many photos out there. I think, however, that the pic was cropped. I don’t remember seeing the others but do remember seeing BHO Sr. I’m pretty sure it was on Free Republic; I don’t read that many other blogs. As if! No time.


    oh my gosh and golly!

    Seems the new intercepts aren’t new, been around for quite a while,
    maybe everybody just forgot they had them until all of a sudden
    the bottle they were in fell off the wall.

    BBC reporting today the intercept has Zawahiri telling somebody in Yemen that they should mount an attack. Doesn’t he do that all the time anyways?
    The response to the intercept seems as unlikely as us counter attacking a russian proxy force attacking our guys.

    Well, ya got to say something.

  4. Thanks for the article Papoose. It suggests the Iranians did it. I think the probability is higher that the Russians did it and that’s why no rescue happened. Whatever lame cheery says about the rothchilds (sic) and
    other global would be kings, I don’t think the president had the courage to fulfill that mission.
    If ww3 happened, Syria would be a really stupid reason. Syria is the
    monkey and the organ grinder is Iran. Syria has nothing we want so why bother with it? If the russians told us to back off by stopping the presidents arms smuggling activities with proxy force, I don’t mind if we do back off.
    Why pick a fight with russia to further enable sharia law and islam??
    But Iran, whether we want conflict with them or not, they do intend to destroy us, (and probably the russians too once the hidden imam returns from the well at qom).
    What I do know is that we won’t be safe until Obama is out of the oval office.
    Even Hillary, with same Bilderberger connections, is probably less of a
    threat (in my opinion).

    • Barry’s going to visit Russia soon, or so the buzz goes.

      As for that article, it lays the groundwork, saying that the Turk didn’t warn Stevens, so if the Turk (“Sunni corner”) is NOT on the side of Russia et al (“Shiite corner”), then WHY would the “logical” conclusion be that this was carried out by the Russians in the Shiite corner? (Makes no sense, because the Turk in the Sunni corner allowed it to happen, leading me to believe that it was a “clean up” operation because the truth was going to come out, or they feared it would, during the election.)

      Maybe all this international intrigue is too much for my pea brain to decipher. To me, knowing Barry, it seems more likely that this was the BEGINNING of the coverup because it was fixing to be exposed. The subsequent coverup was preferable to the truth blowing up in their faces. They can (and will continue to) rope a dope through 2016, unless McLame helps them to sweep it all under a Middle Eastern rug.

      I agree that McLame supports the Sunnis AND Hillary Clinton. They’re “friends”. He was selected to take the fall in 2008, and he did, despite Palin nearly pulling out a victory for him, which is why he had to turn on his own choice. They’re ALL “friends” of Saudi Arabia.

    • Foreign debt[edit source | edit]Syria has made progress in easing its heavy foreign debt burden through bilateral rescheduling deals with virtually all of its key creditors in Europe.In December 2004, Syria and Poland reached an agreement by which Syria would pay $27 million out of the total $261.7 million debt. In January 2005, Russia and Syria signed a deal that wrote off nearly 80% of Syria’s debt to Russia, approximately €10.5 billion ($13 billion). The agreement left Syria with less than €3 billion (just over $3.6 billion) owed to Moscow. Half of it would be repaid over the next 10 years, while the rest would be paid into Russian accounts in Syrian banks and could be used for Russian investment projects in Syria and for buying Syrian products. This agreement was part of a weapons deal between Russia and Syria. And later that year Syria reached an agreement with Slovakia, and the Czech Republic to settle debt estimated at $1.6 billion. Again Syria was forgiven the bulk of its debt, in exchange for a one time payment of $150 million. Syria has also settled its debt with Iran and the World Bank.[19]
      just a reminder

  5. Didn’t get to hear Rush, but check this out…..Valerie Jerrett issued the stand-down command:

  6. Ooh, this is good. I went to the place Rush named, Conservative Report:

    BREAKING! Benghazi Bombshell: Valerie Jarrett, Commander in Chief

    Might be true.

    • Oh, so when did Barry abdicate the throne? (Oops, I mean when did he go awol on the presidency?) (Oops, oops I mean who IS Valerie Jarret?)

    • From your link ^
      …The telephone call between Obama and Netanyahu carried on for a full two-hours, creating the appearance of respect between the two world leaders.

      As that meeting drew to a close, Ms. Jarrett, who is also the Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, went from the living quarters to the White House Situation Room, where the attack in Benghazi was being monitored by Dempsey, Panetta and other top-ranking officials.

      Whether she was instructed by the President to go there, or if she went of her own volition, is only known by the President and herself.

      A critical question that needed to be answered, and the sole military-order that could have launched offensive-actions, neutralizing the Ansar al Sharia terrorists attacks on the Mission (the purpose of which is detailed here) and its subsequent attacks on the adjacent CIA Annex, was the issuance of “Cross Border Authority”, an order that can only be issued by the Commander in Chief, himself…

      Where was the President?

      • But shouldn’t Barry, speaking to Netty….shouldn’t he have said “Uh, excuse me Benjamin , but I have a major problem going on just now in Benghazi, a great disaster going on….could I get back to you on that? Seems some weapons might be going to Syria as we speak, let me call you back”. No, he talks for two hours sittin somewhere with his feet propped up , relaxing with a cup of hot Chocalatee’.!!! That’s just not very believable either, or Obama is really, reallly dumb.

        • I’d love to hear what Netanyahu has to say about this kiss and makeup call, in the midst of an attack on American soil in Libya.

          More from Kittycat77’s link on the phone call in the living quarters:

          …Valerie Jarrett was present for that conference, which was held due to problems the President was having with the perception of him snubbing Netanyahu in previous, formal encounters…


        • They need to find out where Reggie Loooooooove was that night. Then they might have their answer. Or else whoever supplies the blow.

          • i was thinking he was out on the town somewhere. slip out. slip in.

          • Oh, that could be. Remember that side trip when he was supposed to go to one of the girls’ athletic events? Hmmm. Wherever he was, he was incommunicado, apparently. I was thinking he was stoned out of his gourd, perhaps. Or maybe doing one of those exorcist-like, chanting ceremonies, like someone reported about before. They already subpoenaed Panetta. They ought to call him back again and ask, except I have a sneaking suspicion that the McLames of Congress already know and all are covering for Barry. Apparently, CNN is supposed to have run a big Benghazi story tonight, but the folks at Conservative Treehouse are saying it’s just a bunch of SPIN. Well, of course. We’ve come to expect it. Barry is like Teflon. It all rolls off.

  7. the BLAZE…. saw this earlier… BUTT’… they ALL are SICKO’S
    more on Valerie JARRETT…. our little sick… “SHOT KEEPERS” !

  8. Rosemary Woodhouse

    I was so excited today. As I was running errands I saw a group of people waving American flags with huge signs held aloft for all on the highway to see which read “IMPEACH OBAMA”

    • omigosh!

      • Rosemary Woodhouse

        If it were at a more accessible place I would have run out and joined them, or at least found out who they were and have gotten involved.

        There were plenty of protests after ’08. Now, people are very quiet…afraid, I believe. I was the ONLY car to have honked, but I just know I could not possibly have been the only person driving past in agreement with the sentiment!

    • That IS exciting. Hope for change?

    • Especially the comment where “Judy” reports a story by Paul Harvey about the Black Panther murderer who befriended Al Gore. You cannot make this stuff up.

      The shooter, Warren Kimbro,managed to get a scholarship to Harvard and became good friends with none other than Al Gore.

      He later became an assistant dean at an Eastern Connecticut State College. Isn’t that something?

      As a ’60s radical you can pump a bullet into someone’s head and a few years later, in the same state, you can become an assistant college dean! Only in America !

      Erica Huggins was the woman who served the Panthers by boiling the water for Mr. Rackley’s torture. Some years later Ms. Huggins was elected to a California School Board.

      How in the world do you think these killers got off so easily? Maybe it was in some part due to the efforts of two people who came to the defense of the Panthers.

      These two people actually went so far as to shut down Yale University with demonstrations in defense of the accused Black Panthers during their trial.

      One of these people was none other than Bill Lan Lee. Mr. Lee, or Mr. Lan Lee, as the case may be, isn’t a college dean. He isn’t a member of a California School Board. He is now head of the United States Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, appointed by none other than Bill Clinton.

      O.K., so who was the other Panther defender?

      Is this other notable Panther defender now a school board member? Is this other Panther apologist now an assistant college dean? No,neither!

      The other Panther defender was, like Lee, a radical law student at Yale University, at the time. She is now known as The “smartest woman in the world.” She is none other than the Democratic senator from the State of New York, our former First Lady, the incredible Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

  9. And a special, special thank you to What A Hoot. You know for what, What. 😉 Luv u, 2.

  10. I want to share some stuff from this long article:

    Law-enforcement officials in the U.S. are expanding the use of tools routinely used by computer hackers to gather information on suspects …

    [C]ourt documents and interviews with people involved in the programs provide new details about the hacking tools, including spyware delivered to computers and phones through email or Web links—techniques more commonly associated with attacks by criminals. …

    The FBI develops some hacking tools internally and purchases others from the private sector. With such technology, the bureau can remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google Inc.’s Android software to record conversations, one former U.S. official said. It can do the same to microphones in laptops without the user knowing, the person said. [So there you go! I said I’m not tech savvy enough to know, but I suspected this could be done. So how do we guard against the government LISTENING IN on everything that goes on in our homes?!!!!] Google declined to comment. …

    Earlier this year, a federal warrant application in a Texas identity-theft case sought to use software to extract files and covertly take photos using a computer’s camera, [TAPE OVER IT!!!! Store your files offline.] according to court documents. …

    A search warrant would be required to get content such as files from a suspect’s computer, said Mark Eckenwiler, a senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP who until December was the Justice Department’s primary authority on federal criminal surveillance law. Continuing surveillance would necessitate an even stricter standard, the kind used to grant wiretaps. [But they can still READ the damned files and not be worried about the search warrant if all they want to do is KNOW and not prosecute.]

    But if the software gathers only communications-routing “metadata”—like Internet protocol addresses or the “to” and “from” lines in emails—a court order under a lower standard might suffice if the program is delivered remotely, such as through an Internet link, he said. That is because nobody is physically touching the suspect’s property, he added. …

    In 2001, the FBI faced criticism from civil-liberties advocates for declining to disclose how it installed a program to record the keystrokes on the computer of mobster Nicodemo Scarfo Jr. to capture a password he was using to encrypt a document. …

    Officers often install surveillance tools on computers remotely, using a document or link that loads software when the person clicks or views it. In some cases, the government has secretly gained physical access to suspects’ machines and installed malicious software using a thumb drive, a former U.S. official said. …”

    How do they get around a person’s anti-virus software? Gordo? Any ideas?

    • THEY can probably do just about anything THEY want to a OUR computers.

      I’ll say it again – USE “Sandboxie” when browsing. It’s not 100% protection against malware, but close to it.

      • But WE should do the best WE can to protect ourselves.

        Anti-malware software just goes so far in providing protection. You need a very strong firewall that alerts you to ‘phone-home’ attempts in addition to blocking ‘break-ins’ [I use an older version of “Comodo Firewall” with “Defense +” de-activated. The company recently made changes because their ‘new & improved’ version was horrible – people hated it. I haven’t tried the ‘latest & greatest’ – staying with what is installed on my PC.]

        The version I have is available here:

        “Comodo Internet Security 5.10.228257”

        “Comodo claim that their firewall is unique in that it passes all known leak tests to ensure the integrity of data entering and exiting your system. Comodo has put firewall through all kinds of sophisticated tests to ensure its firewall powerful enough to ward off these attacks with default settings. No other firewall has had to work this hard.”
        Comodo’s “Defense +” is HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System). It’s very good, but I have “Spyshelter” installed which also has a HIPS component and seems to cause fewer conflicts – at least on my system.

        “Spyshelter” info here:

      • Rosemary Woodhouse

        Anything for Macs, Gordo?

        • I don’t know anything about Macs.

          Below are three links to download sites – you could go to the “anti-virus”, “firewall”, and “security” pages at these sites. Installing/un-installing software can create serious problems, I have multiple c-drive images on three external harddrives in case something goes wrong. If your Mac is performing OK, might be better to leave as is – it’s extremely easy to ‘mess’ things up.

          [cnet often tries to ‘trick’ you into downloading/installing ‘junk’ along with the desired software.]

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