Entries Tagged "Germany"
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This sort of thing is still very rare, but I fear it will become more common:
…hackers had struck an unnamed steel mill in Germany. They did so by manipulating and disrupting control systems to such a degree that a blast furnace could not be properly shut down, resulting in “massive”—though unspecified—damage.
Last week, the German government arrested someone and charged him with spying for the US. Buried in one of the stories was a little bit of tradecraft. The US gave him an encryption program embedded in a—presumably common—weather app. When you select the weather for New York, it automatically opens a crypto program. I assume this is a custom modification for the agent, and probably other agents as well. No idea how well this program was hidden. Was the modified weather app the same size as the original? Would it pass an integrity checker?
Related: there is an undocumented encryption feature in my own Password Safe program. From the command line, type: pwsafe -e filename
The Chaos Computer Club has disassembled and analyzed the Trojan used by the German police for legal intercept. In its default mode, it takes regular screenshots of the active window and sends it to the police. It encrypts data in AES Electronic Codebook mode with—are you ready?—a fixed key across all versions. There’s no authentication built in, so it’s easy to spoof. It sends data to a command-and-control server in the U.S., which is almost certainly against German law. There’s code to allow the controller to install additional software onto the target machine, but that’s not authenticated either, so it would be easy to fool the Trojan into installing anything.
The German Federal Criminal Police (the “Bundeskriminalamt” or BKA for short) recently warned consumers about a new Windows malware strain that waits until the victim logs in to his bank account. The malware then presents the customer with a message stating that a credit has been made to his account by mistake, and that the account has been frozen until the errant payment is transferred back.
When the unwitting user views his account balance, the malware modifies the amounts displayed in his browser; it appears that he has recently received a large transfer into his account. The victim is told to immediately make a transfer to return the funds and unlock his account. The malicious software presents an already filled-in online transfer form with the account and routing numbers for a bank account the attacker controls.
I’m not surprised:
The weekly Welt am Sonntag, quoting a police report, said 35 percent of the 730,000 passengers checked by the scanners set off the alarm more than once despite being innocent.
The report said the machines were confused by several layers of clothing, boots, zip fasteners and even pleats, while in 10 percent of cases the passenger’s posture set them off.
The police called for the scanners to be made less sensitive to movements and certain types of clothing and the software to be improved. They also said the US manufacturer L3 Communications should make them work faster.
In the wake of the 10-month trial which began on September 27 last year, German federal police see no interest in carrying out any more tests with the scanners until new more effective models become available, Welt am Sonntag said.
However, this surprised me:
The European parliament backed on July 6 the deployment of body scanners at airports, but on condition that travellers have the right to refuse to walk through the controversial machines.
I was told in Amsterdam that there was no option. I either had to walk through the machines, or not fly.
Here’s a story about full-body scanners that are overly sensitive to sweaty armpits.
This story is just plain weird. Regularly, damaged coins are taken out of circulation. They’re destroyed and then sold to scrap metal dealers. That makes sense, but it seems that one- and two-euro coins aren’t destroyed very well. They’re both bi-metal designs, and they’re just separated into an inner core and an outer ring and then sold to Chinese scrap metal dealers. The dealers, being no dummies, put the two parts back together and sold them back to a German bank at face value. The bank was chosen because they accept damaged coins and don’t inspect them very carefully.
Is this not entirely predictable? If you’re going to take coins out of circulation, you had better use a metal shredder. (Except for pennies, which are worth more in component metals.)
Included in the items the German army allowed humanitarian groups to distribute in care packages to imprisoned soldiers, the game was too innocent to raise suspicion. But it was the ideal size for a top-secret escape kit that could help spring British POWs from German war camps.
The British secret service conspired with the U.K. manufacturer to stuff a compass, small metal tools, such as files, and, most importantly, a map, into cut-out compartments in the Monopoly board itself.
The PDF document holds a single paged scan of an internally distributed mail from German telecommunications company T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom), revealing over two dozen secret IP address ranges in use by the German intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). Independent evidence shows that the claim is almost certainly true and the document itself has been verified by a demand letter from T-systems to Wikileaks.
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.