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Espionage In Icelandic Parliament

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the maybe-it's-just-the-porn-server dept.

Security 274

bumburumbi writes "An unauthorised computer, apparently running encrypted software, was found hidden inside an unoccupied office in the Icelandic Parliament, Althingi, connected to the internal network. According to the Reykjavik Grapevine article, serial numbers had been removed and no fingerprints were found. The office had been used by substitute MPs from the Independence Party and The Movement, the Parliamentary group of Birgitta Jonsdottir, whose Twiiter account was recently subpoenaed by US authorities. The Icelandic daily Morgunbladid, under the editorship of Mr David Oddsson, former Prime Minister and Central Bank chief, has suggested that this might be an operation run by Wikileaks. The reporter for the Reykjavik Grapevine, Mr Paul Nikolov is a former substitute MP, having taken seat in Parliament in 2007 and 2008."

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274 comments

Rogue servers (3, Interesting)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947100)

I love reading the stories posted by the readership about all of the odd systems found stuck in closets and under desks which nobody knows what are doing.

Specifically... does anyone have any about Wall Street or Congress?

Re:Rogue servers (5, Insightful)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947144)

does anyone have any about Wall Street or Congress?

Why bother? They steal openly now.

Re:Rogue servers (5, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947212)

I love reading the stories posted by the readership about all of the odd systems found stuck in closets and under desks which nobody knows what are doing.

Well, with regard to Congress, there are roughly 535 of them at any given time.

Re:Rogue servers (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947836)

I love reading the stories posted by the readership about all of the odd systems found stuck in closets and under desks which nobody knows what are doing.

Well, with regard to Congress, there are roughly 535 of them at any given time.

Actually, it's the interns that are under the desks.

But lots of CongressCritters still in the closet, I trow.

Run by wikileaks ? (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947106)

An iceland parlementarian's twitter account subpoenaed by u.s. government, yet, the operation to spy on the iceland government, for some godfrigging reason, is proposed to be the operation by wikileaks ?

can anyone provide any actual logic for this proposition ?

Re:Run by wikileaks ? (1, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947146)

Go read the full article.

Supporters of wikileaks had access to the office because it was occupied by "WL friendly" MPs previously.

A subpoena does not plant a computer.

You need feet on the ground for that. And if you have a planted computer you wouldn't need a subpoena.

so ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947196)

isnt it possible that the third parties, who are extremely irritated by wikileaks, have intended to gather information on them ?

Re:so ? (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947226)

Certainly possible.

But but planting a computer on someone's network is pretty much amateur hour don't you think? Unless it was done for "once you find this you will stop looking" purposes.

They said that about some other operations, too... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947630)

> But but planting a computer on someone's network is pretty much amateur hour don't you think?

They said the same thing about the mistakes made in the assassination of that Hamas leader by Israel and about the mistakes made in that virus that attacked Iran's nuclear program. "Wouldn't real spies be more professional than this?"

I think we're seeing the CSI effect applied to spies. In other words, people are so used to seeing perfect operations in James Bond movies and they have absolutely no idea what real spy operations are like.

Re:so ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947886)

Unless it was done for "once you find this you will stop looking" purposes.

BINGO!

I am with you.

Re:Run by wikileaks ? (1)

heidaro (1392977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947534)

The Independence party in Iceland are not Wikileaks friendly at all and the three MPs from The Movement who supposedly could have had access to that office are not exactly likely to do something like this, even if one of them has worked with Wikileaks in the past.

Re:Run by wikileaks ? (3, Interesting)

number11 (129686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947782)

I'm trying to think of some government that is less likely than Iceland's to have interesting fodder for WikiLeaks.

Maybe I'm naive and Iceland is really a hotbed of corruption and intrigue, but somehow it seems unlikely that there's anything to leak, aside from political maneuvers and backbiting that would seem tame in almost any other country. The Icelandic financial institution scandal is pretty long in the tooth at this point. Bugging Iceland would probably be a sign of really poor judgment on the part of any aspiring scandal-monger.

Of course, every society probably has its quota of twits who are interested in eavesdropping on their colleagues. But with the new interest in Iceland evidenced by the US gummint, you do gotta wonder.

Re:Run by wikileaks ? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947906)

I tend to agree. I doubt Iceland was the target.

It would be a haven, more than a target.

Having a machine on a network beyond the reach of any interested government that you could remotely access would be useful.

Just as likely to be a spammer or a bot net controller, or a disgruntled employee as a wikileaks plant if you ask me.

Re:Run by wikileaks ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948076)

So you spy on someone, find out what you want to get them for. Then you subpoena them for a pretty weak reason. Then the subpoena magically leads to all these revelations that you already knew, but now you have legally found them and the fruit of the poisoned tree doesn't apply.

      Sounds like a good idea to me.

Re:Run by wikileaks ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947178)

can anyone provide any actual logic for this proposition ?

The same logic as was behind the "computer expert" who knew that "A professional would have written any acquired data to a public-key-encrypted disk that would only have been accessible to one who possessed the private key"

...but who then followed up with "- like with Wikileaks 'insurance' file. Having a hacker program 'self-destruct' is something someone who has watched too many spy movies would claim. Not even an incompetent hacker would program something that way. This is much more likely a plant followed up by fairy-tale."

You see, computer experts only have so much RAM. And the more you fill them up with talking points and buzzwords like "Wikileaks" and "hacker programs" and "you can't erase a disk instantly like you can in spy movies", the more likely they're to simultaneously remember how full-disk encryption works, while forgetting that keys can be stored in RAM, and that (some RAM-manufacturer-and-temperature-dependent time interval) after a computer is powered off, the key stored in RAM becomes inaccessible, and with it, the data on the disk becomes permanently inaccessible.

The explanation is that in Iceland, 640K is enough for anybody.

Re:Run by wikileaks ? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947640)

True, it can be done easily, but the expert didn't say it couldn't be done. The expert said it wouldn't be done. If you store the key in RAM and there's a power failure, your bug will never work again until someone physically goes in and rebuilds the system from scratch. Determining the difference between an actual detection incident and a harmless condition like a blackout is a nontrivial exercise. And if you have regular access to the area, there's probably no good reason to plant a bug there. You generally would plant a bug in places where you don't regularly go so that you can have access to them when you otherwise wouldn't. Therefore, one can assume that when you amortize the damage over a long enough period of time, a self-destructing bug is a poor value proposition.

In short, the computer expert argued that a self-destructing app was foolish---not because it can't be done, nor even because it is difficult, but because it is self-defeating.

Ack! I've been dealing with product marketing people too much! I'm starting to sound like them! Gaaaaaah!

Re:Run by wikileaks ? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947478)

Because the US government would just have said "bend over" and Jonsdottir would have gladly said "yes master".

So it has to be someone who doesn't have the same easy access to her privates... I mean private information.

Re:Run by wikileaks ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948030)

The enemy has been pointed out.
Get. On. Fucking. Board.

Hang on a second... (5, Insightful)

AceCaseOR (594637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947108)

So, Wikileaks is SPECTRE now?

Re:Hang on a second... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947158)

If we're going to get blamed for random espionage we're going to need a spyjazz theme song to play in the background, as they zoom in on a ream of perforated line printer output on TV with wikileaks printed all over it.

Re:Hang on a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948042)

Two-tone, tractor fed line-printer paper?

Re:Hang on a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947184)

I guess they feel the "Hes a terrorist/Traitor" stuff is selling more papers than the "Hes a pervert" stuff.

Re:Hang on a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947896)

Yes.

captcha: confers

Re:Hang on a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948000)

More like al-queda if you read the mainstream press.

Wikileaks == scapegoat (5, Insightful)

presspass (1770650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947122)

The Icelandic daily Morgunbladid, under the editorship of Mr David Oddsson, former Prime Minister and Central Bank chief, has suggested that this might be an operation run by Wikileaks.

If nothing else, wikileaks will be valuable to governments as a convenient scapegoat.

--

pass

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947368)

Yup. It could just as easily have been left there by the former third assistant clerk to the Finance Minister, who got sacked when Iceland's banking system collapsed, and who was too polite to take his severance pay in used hardware.

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (4, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947450)

When, exactly, has Wikileaks actively gathered evidence? Oh, never. Wikileaks just waits for others to the gathering, they just do the publishing. Next, they will be blaming global warming on Wikileaks.

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947622)

they will be blaming global warming on Wikileaks.
Haven't you noticed all the hot air Wikileaks has been causing?

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947740)

When, exactly, has Wikileaks actively gathered evidence?

You'll recall that the guy who says he was chatting with Manning (of the quarter million stolen US State Department documents) said that Wikileaks actually made special arrangements for Manning. Worked actively with Manning to collect and stash all of that stuff. Whether, or to what degree, that's true is one of the things they (the DoD prosecutors) are still digging through.

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947990)

They made arrangements to help get them the information he had already taken, they did not seek him out nor did they go and say "please go steal this for us", they were involved after the fact.

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947802)

Next, they will be blaming global warming on Wikileaks.

Well, they ARE wasting a lot of energy with all of these spy servers they leave on around the clock in parliament buildings.

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (4, Interesting)

bug (8519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947974)

There's a strong possibility that you're mistaken in your assertions there. There has been some reporting in the press that Wikileaks activists have actively eavesdropped on data by running one or more rogue Tor servers:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian?currentPage=all#ixzz0pWdlAepe [newyorker.com]
There has also been reporting as recently as today that Wikileaks actively gathered data from peer-to-peer file sharing networks:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-20/wikileaks-may-have-exploited-music-photo-networks-to-get-classified-data.html [bloomberg.com]

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (2)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948046)

I'm not sure if running a Tor server or gathering via p2p would be "active" in the same sense I would normally consider "active". This is still on the back side, taking what has already been taken. This is different than doing the initial taking. To do that, you have to be on the inside.

I get what you are saying, but to be clear, when I say "active", I am referring to the initial step of getting the info. Going from "secure" to "no longer secure". After that point, it is mainly courier duty.

Just as on P2P, downloading isn't actively obtaining a movie, it is passively obtaining it. Someone else has already done the real dirty work, the heavy lifting.

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947592)

They've no evidence whatsoever :

TFA: "The computer was disconnected and taken to the police" and "it is possible police bungled the operation and did not clone the hard drive before disconnecting it"

They might have at least sniffed the network to see what, if anything, the machine was sending and where it was sending it to.

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947784)

former Prime Minister and Central Bank chief, has suggested that this might be an operation run by Wikileaks.

      This, brought to you by the mind that collapsed Iceland's economy.

Re:Wikileaks == scapegoat (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947822)

Is Wikileaks trying to obtain the lyrics to the next Bjork single? I mean, what does one spy on in Iceland? Geothermal vents in compromising positions?

Wouldn't be surprised (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947148)

if it was just an old sysadmin's personal download machine. Given that most computers do not have serial numbers but the ones procurement gives them, it could have been a system that was decommissioned and the sticker peeled off. I've got a couple of those myself although they're not hooked up to my companies' gigabit internet service.

Re:Wouldn't be surprised (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947280)

Given that most computers do not have serial numbers but the ones procurement gives them, it could have been a system that was decommissioned and the sticker peeled off.

I haven't seen a single computer without a factory serial number except for the ones I built myself.

Re:Wouldn't be surprised (-1, Flamebait)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947488)

You haven't worked in IT then...

Re:Wouldn't be surprised (2, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947642)

Really? Does 30 years count?
I've also worked for a computer manufacturer.

They all go out the door with serial numbers.

Re:Wouldn't be surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947614)

Where the hell do you work/live? The closest thing to a serial number most OEM boxes have is a service code. Which, by the way, is not a serial number, can't be used like one and usually isn't even unique on a 10 year time scale. I know for a fact that dell reused old service codes from the mid 90's into the early 01's.
 
Laptops are a bit different and tend to have a serial number on the bottom, but we aren't talking about a laptop are we?
 
Serial numbers on hardware are also notoriously worthless for actually tracking the purchase of the hardware. They are fine to figure out which revision you are using, but they are far from useful for tracking ownership. The last time I checked (in 01) Dell and HP didn't put the serial number from the machine (if it has one (mainly laptops)) in the customer file at all. Only the service code shows up. Since I had access to everything else in the files, including unencrypted billing info (don't ask), I have to assume that serial number data (where it exists) is simply not tracked in a significant way. Or at the very least it didn't used to be. It has been a few years.

Re:Wouldn't be surprised (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947722)

You find me one Dell computer without a serial number.

(Hint: They are required by FCC regulation).

Re:Wouldn't be surprised (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948144)

(Hint: They are required by FCC regulation).

I think that you will find that the FCC's jurisdiction doesn't cover Iceland.

Re:Wouldn't be surprised (1)

srodden (949473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947670)

Then you're in an environment where you're only buying brand name computers. About half the computers in my office of 25 staff were purchased pre-built from the local no-name computer shop using standard hobbyist materials. No S/N.

Re:Wouldn't be surprised (-1, Troll)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947988)

Oooooh, sorry Mr Chief Technology Officer, I guess I've been schooled.

So 12 illegal computers probably running 12 pirated OSs?

Re:Wouldn't be surprised (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948188)

Buying a computer from a small, local shop does not mean for a second that it is illegal or uses pirated software. I think that this is another cultural difference (like your comment about the FCC requirements when talking about computers from another country). In my country, the small, local computer shops are everywhere and account for a sizable proportion of computer sales (I don't know the exact breakdown). It is not uncommon to find computers branded with a company of which you have never heard. They still have to use legitimate software, and Microsoft do occasionally crack down on some shop for selling pirated copies of their software.

I understand that in the US that this is nowhere near as common, that it is the large stores that dominate computer sales. In that case, it is certainly understandable that you would consider a serial number to be the norm.

Running encrypted software? (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947154)

An unauthorized computer, apparently running encrypted software, ...

Well, object code is cryptic but it's not encrypted.

Re:Running encrypted software? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947192)

Perhaps they are referring to some sort of fully homomorphic cryptosystem, although the publicly known systems are not exactly practical (it would just be foolish to deploy a classified system here, so I doubt this is the case; the point is that it is possible to encrypt software).

Re:Running encrypted software? (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947410)

If it's actually related to Wikileaks, as opposed to a US-or-Euro-government spook job, it's more likely to be a Tor node. For that matter, even if it is a CIA plant, it could well be a Tor node, and similarly, if it's a fake scapegoat machine that the former bank minister is using to cover his tracks, a Tor node would be a good choice.

Re:Running encrypted software? (1)

BatGnat (1568391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947222)

Did they use ROT13 or XOR 1?

Re:Running encrypted software? (2)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947282)

I prefer placebo encryption. I tell people its encrypted and any methods they try to decrypt it wont work.

Re:Running encrypted software? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947474)

I prefer placebo encryption. I tell people its encrypted and any methods they try to decrypt it wont work.

It looks like donkey porn, but I can't decrypt it into the military secrets I know it must be!

Re:Running encrypted software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947604)

Did they use ROT13 or XOR 1?

Much better to encrypt with XOR $FF It's 254 times more secure than XOR 1. ;)

Someone's in trouble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947160)

Better call Sportacus!

Recovery Fairy Tales again (5, Insightful)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947186)

From TFA:

Stephen Christian, a computer expert at Oxymap ehf, told the Grapevine that ... "Information written to disk can be recovered by experts even after being overwritten several times unless you let the computer run for a few hours constantly 'covering up' its information. Computer hackers know this."

I laugh whenever I see comments like this. Lest we forget that nobody ever accepted The Great Zero Challenge [hostjury.com], let alone beat it.

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (1, Insightful)

norpy (1277318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947288)

I like how the article is written in a condescending tone telling you about "hacker myths" and so on, then pulls out the "data can be recovered after being overwritten many times" myth as a fact.

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947414)

I laugh whenever I see comments like this. Lest we forget that nobody ever accepted The Great Zero Challenge [hostjury.com], let alone beat it.

Hahaha, probably because the challenge only offers a reward of $40 USD and they won't let you disassemble the drive, which is a requirement for any of the wiped-data-recovery papers/theories floating around.

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947554)

Apparently, they will allow a properly incorporated company in data recovery or intelligence agency to disassemble the drive, and hold it for 30 days.

However, as you noted, the challenge is only worth $40, you pay postage to have it delivered, and there is a $60 deposit...

It rather sounds like a really bad scam... but then, it's too stupid to even be logically possible as a scam, so it obviously can't be a scam.

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947692)

Does unplugging the drive cables from the circuit board count as disassembly? Because you don't really need to have physical access to the inside of the drive, but merely access to the raw analog output of the drive heads on a given track (and, ideally, fractional tracks, which you should be able to fudge by rapidly stepping the drive heads one way and then the other).

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947426)

If I could do this, I wouldn't reveal my methods like the "Challenge" requires. In fact, I'd rather that no-one knew that I could do it at all. It's in the interest of safecrackers everywhere that people believe that their safes are uncrackable.

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (1)

georgewilliamherbert (211790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947596)

The Great Zero Challenge rules specifically exclude disassembly of the drive; all the bit-recovery mechanisms discussed in the literature require you to disassemble the drive and use custom heads to scan the surface magnetism map.

I.e., the contest is totally missing the point on what data recovery pros (i.e., the NSA and so forth) said they'd do if they had to scan disks to recover overwritten data.

It's hard to think of a less useful contest.

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (5, Informative)

ladadadada (454328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947948)

There are four problems with the Great Zero Challenge that I could identify at a glance:

1. No incentive. The prize is $40. Data recovery companies charge tens of thousands to recover a drive. (Depending on how hard it is.)
2. No disassembly. Any technique that "reads residual magnetism" is going to require custom read heads and access to the platters.
3. No longer running. The challenge ended in January 2009 and only ran for one year. That blog post is from September 2008.
4. Full disclosure. This is a show-stopper. Data recovery companies guard their secret methods very closely. Those secrets are their only competitive advantage. Telling everyone how they did it for $40 ? I don't think so.

In contrast, the James Randi Paranormal Challenge has a $1,000,000 prize, only has rules that disallow cheating, has been running since 1964 and is still running. The fact that no one has passed the preliminary stage of that challenge means something

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948128)

Disassembly was specifically permitted to incorporated businesses, and intelligence agencies.

However, the rest of your argument is not any more weak because they suddenly started permitted disassembly. In fact, the entire point of "can't disassemble the drive" is practically moot compared to the other reasons.

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947962)

"I laugh whenever I see comments like this. Lest we forget that nobody ever accepted The Great Zero Challenge [hostjury.com], let alone beat it."

While the statement itself is incorrect if taken as if it was accurate, traditionally when you delete a file on a partition table it does not delete the file only deletes the first bit of the filename from the file allocation table.

This is what allowed old DOS utilities like undelete or norton undelete to function. Some days I do miss the old days since it seems no one develops quality tools anymore for win XP +.

Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (2)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948192)

"I laugh whenever I see comments like this. Lest we forget that nobody ever accepted The Great Zero Challenge [hostjury.com], let alone beat it."

While the statement itself is incorrect if taken as if it was accurate, traditionally when you delete a file on a partition table it does not delete the file only deletes the first bit of the filename from the file allocation table.

This is what allowed old DOS utilities like undelete or norton undelete to function. Some days I do miss the old days since it seems no one develops quality tools anymore for win XP +.

You're messing up terms. The "partition table" is in the master boot sector (and yes, there's an additional one at the start of an extended partition table, I know.) The partition table is irrelevant to the way in which files are stored.

What deleting files in DOS and on disks all the way up to FAT32 did was change the first byte of the filename to a known value, which represented a "deleted file". This filename was actually stored directly in the directory listing, not in the file allocation table. The directory listing also included an index into the file allocation table, which was the start of the file. In the file allocation table each entry pointed to the next entry in the table that contained the file.

If you tried to undelete a file of size greater than the block size of the file allocation table, you would not obtain the entire file, because the entries for the file had already been wiped from the file allocation table.

Modern file systems such as NTFS and anything used by the *nix world use a completely different allocation system than FAT, and as a result a simple "undelete" utility would be worthless.

Specifically, the directory listings contain a filename and an "inode" or inode-like pointer, which points to an inode or inode-like entry, which contains information about where the file is stored. If one has deleted all points to the inode or inode-like entry, then the entry is scrubbed, and recovering the point to this inode becomes worthless, because again, the inode entry contains nothing of the file itself.

So, to clarify why "the good old days" can't be brought back for "quality tools", is because FAT was a piece of shit, and undelete was a complete hack exploiting a design failure in the FAT method. It was by no means a "quality tool"...

Serial numbers removed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947218)

I have worked with production of embedded computers for more than a decade. I wonder if they...

  * Changed the MAC address in the MAC EEPROM
  * Removed other proprietary (serial number) data potentially stored in MAC EEPROM
  * Scratched off about ten or twenty other serial labels put on electronics in various steps of the production procedure
  * Removed serial number information from hard drives

The serial number of the computer can likely be found using any of the above if the factory cooperates.

Re:Serial numbers removed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947300)

Hopefully the person who owned it didn't send in the warranty registration card to actualy track those numbers...

Re:Serial numbers removed? (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947620)

Other than the hard drive, none of those serial numbers are tracked by computer vendors. Serials are tracked by manufacturers only for parts likely to fail, and only for parts which the vendor has a RMA agreement with the supplier.

Even mac addresses are usually not on record for any longer than it takes to print the required label.

If that information isn't on the order and shipping documents, chances are very good that the manufacturer has no clue what MAC is in what Computer, and the best you get is that it was in a particular batch of 300 computers which were sold to the Reykjavik Radio Shack.

Who stands to gain? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947230)

Gee, let's see. Who would stand to gain by smearing Wikileaks?

Governments, large financial institutions, covert military operations, corrupt diplomats, racketeers... Who among such entities does not have the necessary resources to set up such a smear?

Meanwhile, this "encrypted" system sure sounds like a load of bollocks. It's all, like, secret. Wow. Yet how convenient, considering that it was "hidden", that it showed up exactly where and when it did.

More like the Kennedy assassination (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947530)

It's more like the Kennedy assassination - who wouldn't gain by smearing Wikileaks here? Even Wikileaks themselves* might have planted it as a diversion as opposed to surreptitiously leaving it behind. Or maybe it's a Murder on the Orient Express plot, where either a whole bunch of players conspired together to do it, or else some stranger walked in the door, planted it, and walked out unseen.

*Yes, I do reject any of the conspiracy suggestions that say Kennedy himself was behind it, except the one on Red Dwarf which might have been true, but between several Mafia families, the CIA, Cuba, anti-Castro Cubans, the Pentagon, Military-Industrial Complex businesses, several jealous ex-husbands, Bobby, Jackie, Frankie, Marilyn, J.Edgar, J.Edgar's dress-maker, and the Lone Gunmen, it really was a race to get there first....

Wikileaks must have hired the CIA to do it (5, Insightful)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947244)

Let's see, there are two possibilities that come to mind since this was done in the proximity of the female Icelandic MP with connection to wikileaks:

  1. The member of parliament who is a friend of wikileaks is in on this and wikileaks conducted the spying as is being ignorantly claimed
  2. Agents on behalf of the US government conducted this in order to spy on the icelandic MP and others nearby because of her connection to wikileaks

Obviously we can throw out #1 because it does not at all fit with wikileaks modus operandi and cannot be carried out by their infrastructure. They're set up to anonymously accept documents and disseminate them, they're not spies. Moreover the icelandic MP in question would be risking much to do this only to access documents she probably already has access to.

So #2 becomes the most obvious culprit.

Re:Wikileaks must have hired the CIA to do it (4, Interesting)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947470)

Well, the other possibility is that this is a backup Wikileaks server, running from within the Icelandic parliament.

Re:Wikileaks must have hired the CIA to do it (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948024)

a single server? and they went to the trouble of ensuring the removal of fingerprints, serial numbers and encryption? I am not a huge fan of wikileaks but this really doesn't seem to fit in at all with how they operate. However it fits in perfectly with more nefarious and far less moral organisations such as the US government.

Re:Wikileaks must have hired the CIA to do it (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947920)

Let's see, there are two possibilities that come to mind since this was done in the proximity of the female Icelandic MP with connection to wikileaks:

  1. The member of parliament who is a friend of wikileaks is in on this and wikileaks conducted the spying as is being ignorantly claimed
  2. Agents on behalf of the US government conducted this in order to spy on the icelandic MP and others nearby because of her connection to wikileaks

Obviously we can throw out #1 because it does not at all fit with wikileaks modus operandi and cannot be carried out by their infrastructure. They're set up to anonymously accept documents and disseminate them, they're not spies. Moreover the icelandic MP in question would be risking much to do this only to access documents she probably already has access to.

So #2 becomes the most obvious culprit.

In this case, the most obvious culprit is the fallacy of your argument’s logic.

Re:Wikileaks must have hired the CIA to do it (0)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948142)

Yes, if it really was the US Government, they would just extraordinary rendition the Icelandic MP to somewhere in Czechoslovakia or Egypt and get all the info they could provide on Wikileaks using officially sanctioned torture, as the US has evidently done many times in the past.

Ah, Wikileaks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947284)

the new universal boogieman.

Re:Ah, Wikileaks... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947550)

Finally. Terrorists and pedos really got stale after a while. But I guess "think of the children" isn't gonna work as a catchphrase anymore, we gotta find a new one.

What terrible spies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947304)

Physically locating a device? That's so 20th century. Let me guess, one of the janitors was suspiciously talking into his shoe.

TrueCrypt (3, Informative)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947330)

It is entirely possible to encrypt a hard drive that once powered down the data is "lost". It's called TrueCrypt System Disk Encryption. Where the decrypter is a boot loader and the decrypted key gets stores in ram. Power off, no more key. The key is needed again to unlock the drive after reboot. To take it to the next level one would put an encrypted file container inside the encrypted system that requires a USB key to unlock. It would take a very long time to decrypt both keys without some very very heavy computing power

Question everything (2)

heidaro (1392977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947344)

This happened one year ago (see article) and what interesting data could one possibly hope to find within the walls of the Icelandic Parliament? And even if there was any, there are easier ways of looking for it than gaining entry to the offices and leaving a laptop there. It's even more silly to think Wikileaks were involved.

Re:Question everything (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947396)

wikileaks IS the newest terroristic fashion a la taliban / al qaeda.

everybody who is using encryption is an honorary member of wikileaks' huge global conspiracy to call people cocksuckers!

herp derp (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947384)

"spam? ohhhhhh iiiiiit might have been a hackkeeerrrrrr!!!"

"ohhhh i have a worm in my apple -- ooh! ooooohhhhh wikileeeaaakkkss!!"

"ooh, ohhh i just discovered there's no way i can look at the contents of my son's computer even if i ground his computer to my room, pull the hard drive out and put it in my packard bell... he says it's PGP and hell i dunno i heard that's what wikileeaakkkss is ussiiingg ... uhhhh hrrrmmmmm i can't believe my son is part of their operation! the government should deeewwww something about this!"

*laugh* Wikileaks spying... (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947458)

This reveals more about David Oddsson than Wikileaks. I bet Mr. Oddsson has some friends who were very deservedly burned by the Icelandic banking scandal that Wikileaks broke the story on. And, of course, that means Wikileaks must be at fault for anything else wrong involving spying or information leakage. It can't possibly be because Mr. Oddsson's friends are nasty people who deserve long jail sentences, no...

It's like a domestic abuse case where the abused refuses to implicate the abuser in anything the abuser has done and it must all somehow be the fault of the abused person or external entities.

*rolls eyes* Get better friends Mr. Oddsson. Accept that you have terrible taste and learn to overcome your shortcoming.

What a tangled web we weave (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947532)

So a strange computer was found in a government office...
... which may have been used by someone affliated with an org that discloses government secrets...
... as insinuated by a newspaper edited by the former head of said government...
... as reported by someone who may also have had access to this office previously, as a government official.

Is this representative of the kind of media bias Iceland has to deal with? Don't get me wrong, it's not like any country has it better, but is it always so blatantly obvious?

"Running encrypted software"? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947610)

Call the MAFIAA, they've been searching for that for ages! If that's true, the money worries of Iceland are at an end, they'll happily pay big bucks for such a technology!

Snideness aside, I guess I needn't mention that no computer on this planet is able to run "encrypted software". The OS has to be able to load the executable, hence it has to conform to standard. CPUs are only able to run instructions that match their instruction set, so that has to conform to that standard. It may be runtime encrypted, but every halfway decent game cracker has been stripping those for ages, and every halfway decent malware analyst for even longer (I sometimes wonder how much these groups overlap, considering how many problems they both have to overcome... but I digress).

Maybe the file system is encrypted (to some degree, the system has to run after all...), but it's hardly possible that the software is running "encrypted".

Re:"Running encrypted software"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947874)

Running encrypted software is possible but no Intel machine can do that, there are some special processors that can encrypt and decrypt programs at fly, they have a minimum of one key burned in a internal ROM to decrypt and encrypt the software/data and the memory controller encrypt and decrypts the external memory plus they only decrypted data is in the cache.

Interesting (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947878)

As a side note a spokesman from CCP hf announced today that the EVE Online Tranquility server has gone offline unexpectedly and they are working on the problem...

(PS: Yes I know EVE is hosted from London, but I couldn't resist!)

Wikileaks because? (1)

He who knows (1376995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948134)

"A professional would have written any acquired data to a public-key-encrypted disk that would only have been accessible to one who possessed the private key - like with Wikileaks 'insurance' file" This is basically saying that the best way the commentator says of doing it is how wikileaks has encrypted their file. There is not even how the harddrive was encrypted
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