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Privacy Advocate Jacob Appelbaum Reports Break-In Of Berlin Apartment

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the watch-your-friends'-enemies dept.

Privacy 194

Jacob Appelbaum isn't shy about his role as a pro-privacy (and anti-secrecy) activist and hacker. A long-time contributor to the Tor project, and security researcher more generally, Appelbaum stood in for the strategically absent Julian Assange at HOPE in 2010, and more recently delivered Edward Snowden's acceptance speech when Snowden was awarded the Government Accountability Project's Whistleblower Prize. Now, he reports, his Berlin apartment appears to have been burglarized, and his computers tampered with. As reported by Deutsche Welle, "Appelbaum told [newspaper the Berliner Zeitung] that somebody had broken into his apartment and used his computer in his absence. 'When I flew away for an appointment, I installed four alarm systems in my apartment,' Appelbaum told the paper after discussing other situations which he said made him feel uneasy. 'When I returned, three of them had been turned off. The fourth, however, had registered that somebody was in my flat - although I'm the only one with a key. And some of my effects, whose positions I carefully note, were indeed askew. My computers had been turned on and off.'" It's not the first time by any means that Appelbaum's technical and political pursuits have drawn attention of the unpleasant variety.

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Paranoia (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 10 months ago | (#45760193)

It's not paranoia when they really are out to get you.

Re:Paranoia (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760341)

It's not paranoia when they really are out to get you.

The distance between paranoia and reality has narrowed considerably.

Re:Paranoia (2, Insightful)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 10 months ago | (#45760497)

It's not paranoia when they really are out to get you.

The distance between paranoia and reality has narrowed considerably.

Where's +1 Sad when you need it?

Re:Paranoia (1, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | about 10 months ago | (#45760977)

It's not paranoia when they really are out to get you.

The distance between paranoia and reality has narrowed considerably.

Where's +1 Sad when you need it?

Trust the Computer. Happiness is mandatory. You are happy, aren't you, Citizen?

Re:Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761257)

Sorry? He is most certainly NOT sad by any stretch..

However this does make for depressing news.

Re:Paranoia (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45760393)

It is always an interesting question though as to which "they" it is. Appelbaum has access to documents that Snowden leaked. Is it the Russian government trying to get their hands on the full cache of documents that Snowden leaked, assuming they don't have it already? Germany is crawling with Russian spies. Is it the German government looking for more information on US and British activity? Chancellor Merkel brought a former intelligence officer into her government recently. Is it the US government? Is it the Iranian government looking for ways to avoid detection of its agents? Is it another nation, impatient to see if there are any revelations about intelligence involving it but not wanting to wait for newspaper publication that may never come? Is it another advocacy group looking for information to share in the limelight? Is it another hacker group looking for clues as to how to avoid government surveillance of their activities, or for information they can crib into attacks? It is criminal gangs looking for information that can be exploited in many ways - making a profit and avoiding police surveillance? Is it a former lover looking for revenge? All that can be said is that he claims that something happened, but what it means is very much an open question. Various people will claim to know that it was this, or that, but Appelbaum doesn't know exactly what, how could anyone else but the perpetrators.... if they exist?

Re:Paranoia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760855)

What documents from Snowden has Applebaum had access to? I know that he has been interviewed for some of the pieces that were related to Tor, but not that they had him working directly on the documents.

Re:Paranoia (3)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45761359)

I guess that depends on which group accuses him of having CP on his machine, here in a week or two.

Re:Paranoia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760591)

It's not paranoia when they really are out to get you.

He is paranoid. I know spewing conspiracy theories is the latest trend in getting a quick +5 insightful, but lets look at this rationally. Burglary happens all the time. My apartment was broken into a few months ago and I didn't go write a blog about how "they" are out to get me. Burglars know how to turn alarms off and get through locked doors. It's that simple. If someone powerful enough to be concerned about his political views was really out to get him and break into his apartment, they would also be wealthy enough to afford teams of professionals--the type banks hire to test their security--who wouldn't be outsmarted by this guy's amateur alarm system and wouldn't leave such egregious evidence of a break in. This is just a guy who is delusional and paranoid.

Re:Paranoia (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760625)

Burglars wouldn't bother to touch the computer unless they were going to steal it.

Re:Paranoia (0)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#45761691)

Burglars were an invention of the Summary Writer, Timothy, who is famous for this type of stuff. The link to the story makes no mention of burglars and does not suggest any physical object was stolen.

Who knows how much data may have been siphoned off. That might constitute Burglary, but he was not deprived of anything but piece of mind.

He doesn't seem to be able to tell tell what they took, or what they did on his computers. Seems odd a security researcher
can't determine this, (or maybe he just doesn't want to tip his hand).

In any event, I would't trust those computers again, even to read email.

Re:Paranoia (1)

houghi (78078) | about 10 months ago | (#45760659)

On they Internet NOBODY is paranoia. They ARE following you.

seems a little bit sloppy (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#45760195)

So someone managed to turn off three alarm systems, but didn't think to make sure that the contents of the apartment were all left in the same position that they found them?

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (3, Funny)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 10 months ago | (#45760221)

Just because they are spooks doesn't make them competent.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45760405)

You can't overlook the possibility that they were leaving a message, whoever it was.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (3)

jd (1658) | about 10 months ago | (#45761301)

Very true. Instill an element of fear in someone who you know will talk about it, creating an element of fear over the wider community. PsyOps. Which we know governments practice.

The Russians know no more than the rest of us - Snowden has made it clear he gave all documents to others, and this is extremely believable. It makes it pointless to limit damage - or even establishing what damage there is to be limited - by capturing or killing him.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760413)

Just because they are spooks doesn't make them competent.

Indeed. They're government employees, which I've heard basically defines incompetent.

Always kind of a mystery to me how it can be that in most government functions - teachers, regulators, DMV, they can only hire the least and the dimmest, but the spiez are somehow the best and brightest.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760451)

almost surely *not* gummint employees, which is -to a large extent- the problem...
no, these are prob *EX* gummint spooks who are now private contractors doing the dirty work of unka sam...

can you say : plausible deniability, sure, i knew you could...

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761145)

If you're goal is to become a spy, there isn't a whole lot of non-government agencies you could work for. I suppose there's always corporate espionage, but that just doesn't seem as thrilling.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 months ago | (#45760357)

They may have tried, but you can set things up so that you can notice when even the best has come and gone.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 10 months ago | (#45760425)

Indeed. And even the 3 that were "turned off" are a dead giveaway already. But turning the computers on is just plain gross incompetence. On the other hand, the NSA had all its crown-jewels stolen by a contractor, so the level of incompetence and stupidity in the "intelligence" community seems to be just what you would expect from government employees.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about 10 months ago | (#45761221)

But turning the computers on is just plain gross incompetence.

Turn the computer off/reboot into a forensic linux cd/dvd, examine the hard drive, do what you want, switch some system files for files more under your control, then hope he doesn't notice you've done these things.... then follow his computer activity/trail, his tor activities....

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about 10 months ago | (#45760453)

So someone managed to turn off three alarm systems, but didn't think to make sure that the contents of the apartment were all left in the same position that they found them?

Only if your aim was to hide the fact that you were ever there.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 10 months ago | (#45761543)

And while they turned off three of them, apparently they didn't turn them back on before leaving. So they weren't hiding that they had been there.

OTOH, they also didn't go out of their way to create a mess. So they weren't police.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45760493)

They probably weren't expecting someone who memorises the placement of every pen and paperclip on their desk just in case this happens.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760587)

Sure they were; otherwise they would have, oh, I don't know - perhaps TURNED the alarms back on again? I mean it is pretty obvious someone has been there if the alarms that were active are no longer active (assuming they still had power, etc.). Why bother putting every last thing back in place if you aren't going to be able to arm the alarms again?

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761453)

He might have made it easier to turn the first 3 alarms off than it is to turn them back on again. If they are increasingly hard to turn off, he can use the number of disabled alarms to get a good idea of the sophistication of the people who broke in. If they are hard to turn back on, he can make sure that they can't hide the attempt.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45760731)

My desktop computer moves when I make hardware changes. The dust is medium and consistent. Someone moving the computer to clone a drive or plug something in the back will make it so I can tell, unless they can also clean it and age the dust 8 months. You don't have to be OCD to notice changes. It just helps.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (5, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about 10 months ago | (#45760943)

My desktop computer moves when I make hardware changes. The dust is medium and consistent. Someone moving the computer to clone a drive or plug something in the back will make it so I can tell, unless they can also clean it and age the dust 8 months. You don't have to be OCD to notice changes. It just helps.

I use the same excuse as a reason not cleaning my apartment.

Re: seems a little bit sloppy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761177)

Knowing if papers and effects have been tampered with is basic tradecraft. It's a shame that journalists have to learn the same tricks as diplomats and spies, but that is the world we live in.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 10 months ago | (#45760927)

So someone managed to turn off three alarm systems, but didn't think to make sure that the contents of the apartment were all left in the same position that they found them?

Going to point out since they missed the 4th alarm system, it's not surprising that didn't put everything back in the same place.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761153)

And now that he's made it public, he's going to need FIVE alarm systems from now on.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760959)

My computers had been turned on and off

They were not very good at it as they clearly had to call their tech support and were advised to turn his computers on and off again.

Re:seems a little bit sloppy (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#45761727)

So someone managed to turn off three alarm systems, but didn't think to make sure that the contents of the apartment were all left in the same position that they found them?

They might have had no alternative but to turn off the three alarms. After all a loud ringing alarm will soon bring investigators of one sort or another.

Who knows just how persnickety his staged positioning of items in the room might have been. That magazine might overlap that envelope on the table "just so", and he could have had photos on his smartphone that he could match better than even a professional team could restore.

There's going to be more of this to come. (3, Interesting)

dclozier (1002772) | about 10 months ago | (#45760209)

As we improve our ability to keep private things private the government's orginizations will find it easier to snoop by gaining physical access first. There's no doubt we're on the slippery slope. I have to wonder, which orginization broke into his apartment? Or maybe it was a combined effort and they are sharing in the information gained, if any.

Yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760297)

The retaliation will be blown up power plants, airliners, schools and stuff like that. GREAT! They really accomplished something with this war, didn't they?

For the Lulz (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760217)

I'd break in, move some stuff around, and turn his computers on and off just to fuck with his head.

Re:For the Lulz (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760323)

Common tactic of the German Stasi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi#Zersetzung

Re: For the Lulz (0)

Raf (2925113) | about 10 months ago | (#45760351)

He doesn't need help with a messed up head...who wants to bet this is some stunt? What proof we have besides the word of a wacko?

Re: For the Lulz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760543)

what proof do we have that you are not a bot ? ? ?
surely, more than MR. Applebaum is his own agent provocateur...

time to buy some new equipement (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760249)

There's no way he can trust using the electronic devices that were in the apartment now. In fact, he should probably move to a new place, or go all Gene Hackman on it.

Re:time to buy some new equipement (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760307)

He should put his wireless router in a faraday cage so the US government can't spy on him.

Re:time to buy some new equipement (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45760417)

Although that is clever, in more ways than one, how do you know he doesn't have copper wallpaper?

Re:time to buy some new equipement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761259)

Won't work. The NSA has the ability to intercept packets sent to the wireless router BEFORE they get to the f.c., and they can intercept packets from the wireless router by measuring the audio output from its ASIC hardware.

Time to move to a free country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760375)

There is no way he can keep up with a government that is bent on destroying freedom and privacy. Since his fellow citizens want their government to curtail all freedoms and keep voting for the two parties which stand for the abolishment of freedom, privacy, and justice, he needs to look for other fellow citizens.

What an idiot... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760269)

Seriously, if you don't want the American secret police to dig around through your shit, kidnap, torture, and possibly kill you (while making your body disappear), don't piss off anyone in the American government.

I'm not being sarcastic.

Re:What an idiot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760379)

Why did you get modded down for stating a fact?

Re:What an idiot... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760423)

You got modded down because you were too blunt about your statement. Had you phrased it in a more insightful way you may have received mod points.

The fact is that some of us Americans will mod down posts just because we want to defend our government from outside condemnation. We can bitch and moan about them all we want, but someone else? Not so much.

Re:What an idiot... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760483)

Or it could have been modded down since it was fantasy based rubbish. Where is there an instance of the US doing that to a hacker? The US hasn't even been shown to kidnap and kill al Qaida members let alone website defacers.

Re:What an idiot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761143)

" The US hasn't even been shown to... " Rubbish, lol. You blind old coots are a hoot. Read a book idiot.

Re:What an idiot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761243)

Jack Barnaby

Re:What an idiot... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45760737)

You just pissed off someone in the American Government.

Re:What an idiot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761167)

And if you don't mind watching the world around you turn into a tyrannical police state where you could simply disappear in the middle of the night for not "voting" correctly, then just do nothing!

I'm not being sarcastic either.

Re:What an idiot... (1)

jd (1658) | about 10 months ago | (#45761459)

Nobody knows what would piss off the wrong people to that extent. The CIA apparently had "rogue" missions being launched by "enthused" controllers. We don't know if that's true, but since I am defining the scope of ignorance, anything we can rationally say we are ignorant of is in scope. In this case, we can rationally say that the best information we have makes it possible that upsetting relatively low-level employees of any security agency may be sufficient to warrant (in their eyes) a visit.

I dispute the conclusion that you should avoid saying X, Y or Z, because avoiding the elephant in the room (or the penguin on the television) may be precisely what upsets them. It would be considered suspicious by some and if those some are amongst the controllers, not mentioning things could also get you a visit.

Hell, we know Rumsfeld held prayer sessions as head of the DoD and is alleged to have held strange superstitions about cats. If someone that bizarre could become head of a department, someone just as bizarre could be involved in CIA operations. There is a finite, non-zero probability that being an Odinist or a crazy cat lady could also attract CIA attention.

The fact is, if you are breathing (or not breathing but still functioning), you will upset someone. There is nothing you can do to avoid it, there will almost always be nothing you can do to defend against it (sorry, that's just how it is), so the old advice still holds true. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

Perceptions (2)

Gonoff (88518) | about 10 months ago | (#45760295)

It's surprising that there are still some people in the USA who are surprised that your spooks are generally perceived, all over the world, to be criminals.

Re:Perceptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760325)

Why would it be surprising that people tasked to break the laws as a matter of course...

This assumes it was US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760369)

And not German Intel, who are apparently complicit in much if not all of the NSA spying. Something the rest of the world seems to conveniently elide...

Re:This assumes it was US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760431)

And not German Intel, who are apparently complicit in much if not all of the NSA spying. Something the rest of the world seems to conveniently elide...

The germans, the french even the italian intel agencies are the lapdogs of the americans.
Hell we even renditioned our own citizens to the yanks bypassing our laws.
So no, most of the world doesn't ignore these things. The french especially are duplicitous, they like to beat on their chest how they are independent from the US but when push comes to shove they will align with them all the while telling lies to the french citizens.
It's time for another french revolution. A real one.

Re:Perceptions (1, Redundant)

csumpi (2258986) | about 10 months ago | (#45760419)

Let's just not get carried away and think that Russians, Germans, the Brits, Canadians, you name it, don't engage in similar activities. Maybe it's just that in those countries nobody has the balls to leak the info.

Re:Perceptions (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about 10 months ago | (#45761261)

We lost our balls when we heard our first Celine Dion song... plus when we saw her face, our dicks fell off. Moooooo!

Proud Canadian... except for Celine Dion, Bryan Adams.... and now Stephen Harper. But Bob and Doug Ford/MacKenzie are a RIOT!!! ;)))

Re:Perceptions (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 10 months ago | (#45761311)

So... you'd fuck Bob-n-Doug McKenzie?.... somehow I'm not surprised. It must get awfully boring in the igloo when there's a blizzard out and nowhere to go....

Re:Perceptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761511)

Not Bob or Doug, but Spuds...oh yeah, if it's Spuds we are talking about then a definite yes!

Re:Perceptions (4, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45760443)

It's surprising that there are still some people in the USA who are surprised that your spooks are generally perceived, all over the world, to be criminals.

It is surprising that some people are unable to conceive of the idea that many nations would like to get their hands on the information that Snowden took, and which Appelbaum has access to. For all you know it could be Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Germans, French, Israelis, Swedes, or just about any other country's agents. That is before you consider criminal gangs or hacker groups. Your imagination is far too limited to consider the range of possibilities.

Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | about 10 months ago | (#45760337)

Come on, he installed four alarm system and didn't bother with a single surveillance camera? I am not saying that there wasn't somebody in his apartment, but it's hard not to think this might have just been a case of a malfunctioning alarm system and a whole bunch of paranoia on top. If the government is after you, at least make sure you get some pretty pictures of them, cams are cheap these days.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 10 months ago | (#45760355)

Yup - pics or it didn't happen.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760359)

The problem with cameras is that they are also on while you're at home alone. Once the government catches you on video making a sandwich or writing an email they can use it against you. Better to claim you just sit and watch a blank TV all day.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 months ago | (#45760387)

Better not try to turn off that TV either.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about 10 months ago | (#45760449)

You can set them to be only on when you leave. Wouldnt be too hard, and certainly not too hard for this guy to do.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760523)

...but the fact that he didn't even think of it suggests that all of this might be a ruse.

Maybe he just got drunk and messed up his own apartment. It's far more likely than some bizarre claim of American Zersetzung. Expecting Americans to be smart enough to do something like that is like expecting the USA to recover from its Second Great Depression.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760621)

I see why you post as anonymous coward, but why not petulant and idiotic coward? That certainly applies better than your anonymity.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 10 months ago | (#45760619)

It is very easy to set up a motion capture alarm - Google for 'Linux Motion' for example.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about 10 months ago | (#45760473)

My thoughts exactly. All this security system but no cameras? If you are that worried about people breaking into your house, and think it has happened before, wouldnt you want to know WHO broke into your house?

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 10 months ago | (#45760563)

And then do what, go to the police? What'll they do? Put it on youtube? Who'll see it?

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760525)

maybe one of them was. 3 were turned off.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45760553)

Maybe the cameras were part of one of the three alarm systems that was turned off.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#45760985)

Also, it seems very unlikely that he's the only one with a key to his flat. If it's a flat, that means it's in a shared building. If he's renting the landlord has a key, for emergency and notified inspection purposes. If he's got a condo, the superintendent has a key for emergency purposes. Unless he owns the building and has a pick-proof lock, his claims on physical security seem to be overstated. OK, I guess he could have an extraordinary contract, but a power outage seems more likely given the information we have.

Re:Four alarm systems and not a single camera? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 10 months ago | (#45761365)

If he's got a condo, the superintendent has a key for emergency purposes.

I don't know if you mean something different by "condo"; but I've lived in a couple and live in one now, and there is no 'superindentent'. There is a strata corporation with a president and council who are elected from the owners, a 3rd party management company who provides some legal services, and a variety of contracts with trades... but nobody has a key to all the units. Hell, most owners re-key them as a matter of course when they buy them.

BIOS Attacks (4, Informative)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 10 months ago | (#45760471)

Plug in UEFI bootable USB stick.
Turn off
Turn on
Keylogger and remote backdoor installed.

So those machines are toast. He needs new ones.

Re:BIOS Attacks (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45760511)

And then go over the EFI boot partition, and find some way to compare the firmware with the file from the manufacturer's site. If they have been compromised, don't pass up the chance to document exactly how it was done.

Re:BIOS Attacks (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760555)

Or, he could be real savvy;

Use a computer of a different architectural type, (Say ARM or PPC) and an EEPROM programmer. Clamp the connector onto the compromised system's UEFI bios, and dump it.

Compare the dump against the vendor's stock image.

Note the differences, Decompile the differences.
Report on the hows and whys of the keylogger.

Reflash the bios with the vendor's stock image, then nuke all harddrives from orbit. (Harddrives also contain updatable firmware, which may be harder to ensure are in a sane condition.)

Re:BIOS Attacks (4, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 10 months ago | (#45760657)

I'd swap out the keyboards as well. Just sayin'

Re:BIOS Attacks (1)

multiround (3471289) | about 10 months ago | (#45760827)

it's a toshiba t3200 what he needs! no uefi and enough RF interference from the plasma display to tempest all his (and his neighbor's) RF emissions

Time for some counter-espionage (4, Interesting)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 10 months ago | (#45760495)

This computer holds the latest and greatest they have in espionage software and possibly hardware. I'd say get it thoroughly examined so we know what to look for on other machines.Make good forensic copies of anything that is able to hold data in the device and only work on copies of copies so you'll always be able to start from scratch if you mess up or want to prove your findings.

Re:Time for some counter-espionage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760571)

Probably not. They don't use espionage tools like that, the "latest and greatest" isn't burned on Jacob Applebaum, security researcher.

Re:Time for some counter-espionage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760613)

However, if they DID deploy an espionage kit, even a lackluster, older one-- the analysis of that deployment can help identify the spooks in question.

Remember Flame? Remember how security researchers suggested it smacked of the US and Israel?

Yeah. That.

Re:Time for some counter-espionage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760689)

But that target wasn't a security researcher, it was an air-gapped nuclear enrichment operation in a "secret" facility, with Flame/Stuxnet. Big difference really.
There are NUCLEAR STATE RESOURCES behind that kind of attack program, for a reason. Keeping tabs on Applebaum or other hacktivists is much easier.

The alleged facts are that they broke in to tamper with his machines, presumably because he's in Germany and not the US or "LEO-controlled" nations.
If he were, they wouldn't even need to move, they'd just send a few emails and everything Applebaum did online would be in a file already.

Re:Time for some counter-espionage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760915)

Two words: NIC firmware.

Ugh... (5, Insightful)

koan (80826) | about 10 months ago | (#45760567)

None of your hardware can be trusted any longer, your apartment is bugged, and man do I feel for you having to clean it up.

The Allies kept the Nazi Laws (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760611)

It is a little known fact by the sheeple that when the Allies took control of much of Germany, the first thing they did was codify the Nazi laws of media, corporate and social control into the new constitution. The German people have NEVER been free in the Anglo-Saxon sense of UK and UK derived nations like the USA, Canada and Australia, but the Nazis modernised societal controls so perfectly, the Allies could not resist exploiting their work.

Breaking into the homes of 'dissidents', while sold by zionist propagandist in the West as a trick of 'The East', was always standard practice in West, and now plain old (unified) Germany. The IRONY? Today, the people doing this work all across Germany are the ex-security forces of old Soviet East Germany, under the control of politicians who were born and raised in the Soviet controlled East. These ruthless goons serve the agenda of Tony Blair far better than the 'softer' people from the West.

In Germany, you are free to praise to horrific racist State of Israel, and its genocidal attacks against "sub-humans". You are free to praise the warmongering of the USA. You are free to deify Tony Blair and all he stands for. You are free to call for greater acts of war against Muslims. And THAT is the extent of German freedom.

Germany FRONTS the obscene sanctions against the people of Iran for DARING to think themselves better than sub-Human, and seek the same nuclear projects seen all across the rest of the World. Meanwhile Germany GIFTS submarines specifically designed to carry the nuclear warheads built by the twisted evil zionists of Israel, and imprisons ANYONE who states Israel should not be allowed massive stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Germany is a prouder racist state than it was under Hitler. Iranians, with ***NO*** recent history of attacking their neighbours, are official SUB-HUMAN under German Law. The Jews of Israel, on the other hand, with a continuous history of engaging in the very worst Crimes against Humanity, are the 'Master Race' in German Law, and Germany gifts Israel Billions of dollars every year for specific use in Israel's racist terror attacks against their "sub-Human" neighbours.

 

Privact advocate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760653)

Or spook? Live by the sword...

common sense (1)

aissixtir (2752321) | about 10 months ago | (#45760801)

many agencies would be interested in those files...

So this is the first time he's noticed. (2)

matbury (3458347) | about 10 months ago | (#45760803)

Competent spies can do it without you noticing. Perhaps "they" are getting sloppy? Maybe "they" subcontracted it out to a 3rd party private security agency? Maybe it was deliberately sloppy and intended to send a message to Appelbaum? Or maybe it was aliens? We can speculate about this all week if we want to ;)

Re: So this is the first time he's noticed. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761119)

I can set it up so even the most competent spy can be detected.

Insert USB dongle in laptop that tracks power on/off cycles, motion sensor, etc. with RF transmission as well.

Remotely record the RF transmission with scanner (not a paired device); check that device, which can readily be hidden anywhere (including a block or two away).

A custom device like this is simple, but unless you are truly absolutely exceptional you're not going to bypass it. And that level of exceptional only exists in people's imaginations.

(You could block the rf signal, if you expected the possibility, but how do you fix its flash storage if it's on chip like many low end processor designs? And how do you not trigger the watchdog event timer on the remote device when it expects to be received, but you have it shielded?)

Re: So this is the first time he's noticed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761435)

Arrive prepared.

You dont turn on any of the subject's equipment. Not even a surge supressor. (It could be a pnyplug, afterall.)

Kit includes:
Battery operated 12V DC power supply
portable ARM (due to power constraints) based exploit installation platform, with:
EEPROM programmer
SATA leads
12v MOLEX and SATA power connectors.

You install the UEFI backdoor kit using the eeprom programmer by clamping it to the existing installed BIOS chip, and then reprogramming it with the payload. Motherboard for the target remains unpowered.

Hard drives have their firmware reflashed after being attached to the infiltration kit, and powered by the infiltration kit. Drives are imaged first, for forensic analysis. Additional spyware and espionage payloads are delivered at this time.

Close up shop, and leave.

He must be doing something right (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45760889)

By the sound of it, he's doing a lot of things right. Read his bio. I'm very glad and thankful there are still brave men left.

Someone broke into my house (2)

khelms (772692) | about 10 months ago | (#45760947)

and replaced all my furniture with exact duplicates.

Re:Someone broke into my house (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45761175)

Not that surprising since egg crates are not that hard to come by.

This was a message (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about 10 months ago | (#45761285)

Sure, there are probably some surveillance things tossed in mainly "to be found", but the fact is that a break-in like this - where 3/4 of the systems weren't even turned back on is either a) laughably amateur, or b)(more likely) a deliberate message TELLING him he's under surveillance.

If he's practicing even moderately good security measures, he's likely beyond all but governments' ability to crack. And if they're after him, there are few things that he could do to PREVENT such surveillance.

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