JULIAN OLIVER HAS for years harbored a strange obsession with spotting poorly disguised cellphone towers, those massive roadside antennae draped in fake palm fronds to impersonate a tree, or even hidden as spoofed lamp posts and flag poles. The incognito base stations gave him another, more mischievous idea. What about a far better-disguised cell tower that could sit anonymously in office, invisibly hijacking cellphone conversations and texts?

Earlier this week, the Berlin-based hacker-artist unveiled the result: An entirely boring-looking Hewlett Packard printer that also secretly functions as a rogue GSM cell base station, tricking your phone into connecting to it rather than your phone carrier’s tower, effectively intercepting your calls and text messages.

“For quite some time I’ve had an interest in this bizarre uncanny design practice of disguising cell towers as other things like trees,” says Oliver. “So I decided to build one into a printer, the most ubiquitous of indoor flora, and have it actually antagonize people’s implicit trust in these technologies.”

Oliver’s fake printer, which he calls the Stealth Cell Tower, could potentially eavesdrop on the voice calls and SMS messages of any phone that’s fooled into automatically connecting to it. Since it sits indoors near its victims, Oliver says it can easily overpower the signal of real, outdoor cell towers. But instead of spying, the printer merely starts a text message conversation with the phone, pretending to be an unidentified contact with a generic message like “Come over when you’re ready,” or the more playful “I’m printing the details for you now.” If the confused victim writes back, the printer spits out their response on paper as a creepy proof of concept. It’s also programmed to make calls to connected phones and, if the owner answers, to play an mp3 of the Stevie Wonder song “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” After five minutes, the printer drops its connection with the phone and allows it to reconnect to a real cell tower.


SOURCE:  ZDNET.COM (contributed by Bob Wallace)

How did one contractor steal 50TB of NSA data? Easily, say former spies

The massive theft of secret NSA data, thought to be the largest breach of classified data in US history, happened over two decades.

By Zack Whittaker for Zero Day | October 28, 2016 -- 15:09 GMT (08:09 PDT) |

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden might be the most well known leaker of secret government files. But it's contractor Harold Martin who may have carried out the biggest theft of classified information in US history.

Martin, 51, was arrested during an FBI raid on his home in late August. He was accused of stealing dozens of computers and thousands of documents, according to his recently unsealed indictment. The contractor siphoned off more than 50 terabytes of data -- or 50,000 gigabytes -- from government computers over two decades. What was initially a misdemeanor was quickly raised to espionage -- in part because of the vast amount of data he allegedly stole.

He faces 10 years in prison on each guilty charge.

It's not known how the authorities caught Martin. But what's an even bigger question is how he stole so much data -- and stayed undetected -- for so long.

SOURCE: (contributed by our own Bob Wallace)

This is the story of Colonel Mark Tillman.  Col. Tillman was our own Bob Wallace's "best pilot when I was the commander of the VIP unit at Andrews AFB 1996-98."  It's an exceptional account and one that will, most certainly, keep you reading.

Nearly every American above a certain age remembers precisely where they were on September 11, 2001. But for a tiny handful of people, those memories touch American presidential history. Shortly after the attacks began, the most powerful man in the world, who had been informed of the World Trade Center explosions in a Florida classroom, was escorted to a runway and sent to the safest place his handlers could think of: the open sky.

For the next eight hours, with American airspace completely cleared of jets, a single blue-and-white Boeing 747, tail number 29000—filled with about 65 passengers, crew and press, and the 43rd president, George W. Bush, as well as 70 box lunches and 25 pounds of bananas—traversed the eastern United States. On board, President Bush and his aides argued about two competing interests—the need to return to Washington and reassure a nation and the competing need to protect the commander in chief. All the while, he and his staff grappled with the aftermath of the worst attack on American soil in their lifetimes, making crucial decisions with only flickering information about the attacks unfolding below. Bush struggled even to contact his family and to reach Vice President Dick Cheney in the White House bunker.

The story of those remarkable hours—and the thoughts and emotions of those aboard—isolated eight miles above America, escorted by three F-16 fighters, flying just below the speed of sound, has never been comprehensively told.

This oral history, based on more than 40 hours of original interviews with more than two dozen of the passengers, crew and press aboard—including many who have never spoken publicly about what they witnessed that day—traces the story of how an untested president, a sidearm-carrying general, top aides, the Secret Service and the Cipro-wielding White House physician, as well as five reporters, four radio operators, three pilots, two congressmen and a stenographer responded to 9/11. 






Harold Martin III was arrested August 27 in Maryland and poses a "grave danger" to the United States, prosecutors wrote in a filing ahead of a detention hearing set for Friday in Baltimore.

Martin, who has now been fired, worked for Booz Allen Hamilton -- the same firm that hired the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Martin was entrusted to work with classified information for several government agencies and allegedly had been stealing information since 1996.

"The defendant violated that trust by engaging in wholesale theft of classified government documents and property -- a course of felonious conduct that is breathtaking in its longevity and scale," prosecutors wrote.

They said Martin had swiped at least 50,000 gigabytes of information, though not all of it was classified. 

One single gigabyte is enough space to store about 10,000 pages of documents containing images and text.

"The defendant was in possession of an astonishing quantity of marked classified documents which he was not entitled to possess, including many marked (secret)," prosecutors said.

Some of the documents "appear" to contain national defense information and Martin allegedly kept the files in his car and lying around his Maryland home. 

Investigators also allegedly found an "arsenal" of 10 firearms including an assault rifle.

"The government anticipates that the charges will include violations of the Espionage Act, an offense that carries significantly higher statutory penalties and advisory guideline ranges than the charges listed in the complaint," prosecutors wrote.

Martin's lawyers have previously said he loves his family, and said there was no evidence he intended to betray his country.

Martin does not appear to have a valid passport and investigators have not said he sent information to foreign governments. 

But prosecutors noted: "The defendant has also communicated online with others in languages other than English, including in Russian."

Booz Allen has said it reached out to offer full cooperation with the authorities as soon as it learned of the arrest, and quickly fired Martin.

The arrest came after investigators began looking into the theft of source code used by the NSA to hack adversaries' computer systems, such as those of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Such access would enable the NSA to plant malware in rivals' systems and monitor -- or even attack -- their networks.

The case is an embarrassing new blow for both the NSA and Booz Allen, which the New York Times said helps build and operate many of the NSA's most sensitive cyber operations.

Former NSA contractor Snowden has been living in Russia since shortly after leaking documents revealing the scope of the agency's monitoring of private data.