Thursday, May 29, 2014

Snowden responds to email NSA released via ICON

I Blogged here about supposedly only email NSA could find where Snowden seemed to be following procedure for complaints, concerns, & whistle blowing.

I had more than one sad chuckle reading Snowden's response at The Washington Post

Like I speculated in my previous blog post, Snowden realized the official system wasn't designed to correct problems.

He states that in the article linked above.

But more telling, he mentions another specific correspondence that they certainly have:

"Today’s release is incomplete, and does not include my correspondence with the Signals Intelligence Directorate’s Office of Compliance, which believed that a classified executive order could take precedence over an act of Congress, contradicting what was just published. It also did not include concerns about how indefensible collection activities - such as breaking into the back-haul communications of major US internet companies - are sometimes concealed under E.O. 12333 to avoid Congressional reporting requirements and regulations."

Source for quote same as link at top

Sure sounds to me like Snowden's focus is to bring accountability to NSA & other agencies under the DNI

I'd also suggest reading

TrueCrypt Alternatives

Updated:  Wanted to add green shaded box (scroll down a little) shows correspondence from devs of Truecrypt.

TL:DR Confirms that this was just an odd way of quitting.


For the couple people that might have missed drama with TrueCrypt see

TL:DR Looks like people(s) behind TrueCrypt are done supporting it & suggest people use something else, additionally version released with this information only decrypts previously encrypted data, won't encrypt.

In light of this situation, many people are looking for alternatives, best list I have found so far, though I know very little about the suggestions, is

Security & Hacking: NSA & Snowden email correspondence is link for most recently released email, released by NSA, of correspondence between Snowden & Office of General Counsel.

[Edited to add:  Strange that they released this email, they claimed Snowden's emails were exempt from FOIA & that they didn't have records, because he was never a NSA or CSS employee? see]

He asks for some clarification about Executive Orders, that they are of lesser authority than Federal Statues.

In addition to the email, IC On The Record states that they can't find any other evidence that Snowden was trying to fix problems through official procedures or channels.

Based on this statement:
"There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations. We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims."
It seems clear they (Executive Branch of Government) are continuing to portray Snowden as someone who refused to follow correct procedures and just wanted some personal gain or revenge.

That doesn't fit the facts very well.

Consider that Snowden turned over the document collection to the reporters that he had decided to trust.  And refused to dictate the agenda.

He certainly could have released fewer documents, or only documents that targeted what he wanted revenge against, or even had sold the documents.

He didn't do that.

Funny thing is, many of the claims of government officials & politicians have repeatedly been proven to be false by the documents released so far.

Not to mention court cases that had been denied because standing couldn't be proved until documents Snowden released were published by reporters.  Or in other words, Snowden enabled Courts to actually provide a check on Executive branch of government, including NSA, like they are supposed to do.

More on US Seperation of Powers:

More on IC On The Record, according to info on their site at the direction of the President of the United States, IC ON THE RECORD provides immediate, ongoing and direct access to factual information related to the lawful foreign surveillance activities carried out by the U.S. Intelligence Community

Despite that data, some still try to claim Snowden did this for fame/notoriety or out of spite.

I suppose that is possible based on the evidence we have so far, but it doesn't seem targeted, or focused, with that as a primary goal.

Also based on the pattern of denials by Government, followed by documentation that prove those denials false, I wouldn't be surprised if eventually, documentation surfaces showing that Snowden did attempt to resolve at least some issues through official means.

Need to remember that Snowden seems smart, one of the most frequent comments from people that meet him.

Note smart people tend to learn quickly, I doubt it would have taken many failures to fix things through official means for Snowden to realize the official means were designed to maintain status quo, not fix things.

Being a smart nerd, he would have then searched for some way to fix that problem.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Security & Hacking: DEFCON 20 "Can You Track Me Now?"

DEFCON 20: Can You Track Me Now? Government And Corporate Surveillance Of Mobile Geo-Location Data

This was posted on Youtube November 22, 2012, so was well before Snowden release of information in May of 2013.

Main emphasis of this talk was tracking of cell phones.

But Christopher Soghoian briefly covers, at 31:05, that both Android (Google) & iOS (Apple) device encryption can be defeated by Google & Apple respectively.

This is a service they provide for Law Enforcement & other Government agencies.

Google can force a password reset for Android device, they don't require physical access.

Apple appears to use what Soghoian calls a "Master Skeleton key," they require departments to provide actual device (ie physical access).  They then provide unencrypted data on a CD, while device remains encrypted.

I wonder if they might actually need device to decrypt data with way devices since iPhone 4S & iPad 2 have been designed (they have hardware based encryption).

Entire video is worth watching, though it is rather long, they joke about having 3 different audience during the course of the talk.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pen Testing: Pwnie Express new Nexus 5 based phone

1/13/15 Updated link to software download page due to changes on Pwnie Express site: new link to download page, confusingly labelled IMHO "Community" is


Pwnie Express is a pretty awesome company,, you have probably heard of their Pwn Plug even if you don't recognize the company's name.

They have a new Pen Testing phone out called:  Pwn Phone 2014

Product link

They aren't cheap, but Pwnie Express also provides free downloads for the entire software suite they use in their products.

It usually take a little time for new product's software to be added, but they already have software for 2014 Pwn Pad, Nexus 7 based, available.

Download [Updated link 1/13/15] if you want to use your existing Nexus 7, they should have the Nexus 5 download available in near future as well.

The downloads for DIY are listed under "Community Editions & Legacy Product Downloads"

If I can find the time this week, I will also track down current hardware accessories they offer, & update this post or make post dealing with accessories.

Meanwhile you can view hardware accessories I listed for the 2013 Pwn Pad

Probably newer options available for some of those products, but those should work.

Just click following labels for more blog posts on Pwnie Express or Pen Testing, labels can be found at bottom left of every blog post, easy way to find similar or related content.

Select labels can also be found in label cloud at left side of Blog.

Hardware Hacking: "MacBook Pro Thunderbolt 2 Sonnet III-D GTX 780 Ti

Link for Youtube

Link with details

Anandtech article:

Very Interesting!

Something I have been interested in since Thunderbolt came out, though I don't think it is going to be practical enough for me.

I've decided for my needs & wants the new (2014) 14" Razer Blade laptop makes lot more sense & what I am saving up to get as replacement for my Windows 7 laptop.

Still think external GPU, specially combined with docking station or high res monitor & docking connector (something like Apple's Thunderbolt display, but with 4K, and external GPU(s) to game on it) makes a lot of sense.

Problem is most people just want cheap netbook or a tablet.

Plus, since many (most?) gamers either make their own machines or have friends build them a gaming rig, I doubt the companies that could reasonably make dock with external GPU would ever be able to make profit.