Beluga Whale, Accused of Spying, Continues Mysterious Journey off Sweden's Coast
May 30, 2023
A beluga whale named Hvaldimir, previously accused of being a Russian spy, has resurfaced off the coast of Sweden, drawing attention and speculation from scientists and the public alike. The whale, sporting a camera harness when first discovered in Norway, has been observed moving southwards at an unusually fast pace, prompting theories of hormonal urges or loneliness driving its behavior. As it navigates unfamiliar waters, concerns about its well-being and ability to find food have arisen. While some humorously suggest granting the alleged spy whale political asylum, the true motives behind its journey remain a mystery.
Ring, Amazon's Smart Doorbell Subsidiary, Settles Privacy Lawsuit with $5.8 Million Fine
May 31, 2023
Amazon's smart doorbell subsidiary, Ring, has settled a privacy lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by agreeing to pay a $5.8 million fine. The lawsuit accused Ring of allowing employees and contractors unauthorized access to customers' private recordings and violating children's privacy by collecting their voice and geolocation data through Alexa. The FTC claimed that Amazon retained this data despite promising its deletion, using it to train algorithms. The settlement requires Amazon to delete inactive child accounts and certain data and implement a data security program. Ring was also accused of failing to secure its devices from hacking attacks. Amazon disputes the allegations but acknowledges the need to address privacy concerns.
How TikTok Used a Cat's Account to Spy on a British Journalist
May 8, 2023
TikTok tracked the IP address of London-based journalist Cristina Criddle to establish who was secretly meeting with the press without her knowledge or consent. The app was used to spy on her via her cat Buffy's account. TikTok has confirmed that members of its internal audit department "misused their authority" by comparing the location of Cristina's IP address with the IP data of some of their own staff. Western users' data is never accessed or stored inside China, TikTok says. The company "deeply regrets" what it calls a "significant violation" of its code of conduct and is committed to ensuring it never happens again.
Spyware and Hackers-for-Hire: Emerging Corporate Espionage Threats
April 30, 2023
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) report highlights the threat posed by the proliferation of commercial cyber tools and services to state and non-state actors. The report reveals that the commercial cyber sector, which includes off-the-shelf capability (Hacking-as-a-Service), bespoke hacking services (hackers-for-hire), and the sale of enabling capabilities such as zero-day exploits and tool frameworks, can lower the barrier to entry to obtaining capability and intelligence that they would not otherwise be able to develop or acquire. The report also points out that commercially available spyware for mobile devices has almost certainly been used by some states in the targeting of journalists, human rights activists, political dissidents and opponents and foreign government officials. Hacker-for-hire groups pose a potential corporate espionage threat against organisations and individuals with privileged or valuable confidential information in multiple sectors. The report concludes that the proliferation of commercial cyber capability will result in an expanding number of elements for cyber defence to detect and mitigate, and a similarly expanding number and type of victims.
President of Mexico Accuses U.S. of "Interference" in Drug Cartel Investigation
April 22, 2023
Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has criticized the U.S. for "spying" and "interference" in Mexico following the announcement of charges against 28 members of the Sinaloa cartel for smuggling fentanyl into the United States, including the three sons of former drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, known as the "Chapitos." López Obrador suggested that the case had been built on information gathered by U.S. agents in Mexico, and said "foreign agents cannot be in Mexico." He also described the Sinaloa investigation as "abusive, arrogant interference that should not be accepted under any circumstances." The president's comments were criticized by a former top U.S. drug enforcement agent, Mike Vigil, who argued that López Obrador was mistaken in assuming that U.S. agents needed to be in Mexico to collect intelligence for the case, and that much of the case appeared to have come from trafficking suspects caught in the U.S.
Leaked Documents Reveal US Officials Knew of More Chinese Spy Balloons
April 21, 2023
Leaked intelligence documents allegedly show that US officials were aware of at least four Chinese surveillance balloons, including one that flew over a US carrier strike group in the Pacific Ocean, beyond the one shot down in February. The leaked information also suggests that US officials had unanswered questions about the February Chinese spy balloon. The documents were allegedly leaked by Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts air national guard member, who was recently arrested and charged under the Espionage Act. The leaked documents include verbatim transcripts and classified documents that were photographed and shared. The Pentagon and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on the report.
Leaked Pentagon documents reveal US spying on allies
April 5, 2023
Recently leaked classified documents revealed that the US has been spying on its allies including South Korea, Ukraine, Israel, and the UK. The documents also provided a clear picture of the depleted state of Russia's military capacity. The leak has raised concerns that Russia may now have a better understanding of US intelligence gathering tactics, providing them an opportunity to cut off sources of information. The breach has been described as one of the most damaging national security breaches in recent memory and may have further implications on the legitimacy of US espionage.
US Government Uses Apple's AirTag to Spy on Packages for Drug Enforcement Case
April 4, 2023
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has used an AirTag device for surveillance in a case related to drug manufacturing, marking the first reported instance of a government agency using Apple's object tracker for legal surveillance.
The FBI employed an undercover officer with pink hair to surveil activists and fabricate offenses
April 3, 2023
Very interesting article sheds light on the FBI's undercover investigation into left-wing activist groups in Colorado Springs during the summer of 2020.
Poland uncovers Russian spy network planning sabotage; 6 accomplices apprehended
April 2, 2023
Poland uncovers Russian spy network planning sabotage; 6 accomplices apprehended. The Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW) has uncovered a Russian spy network that was planning sabotage operations in Ukraine. Six individuals, alleged to be working for the Russian secret services...