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  1. Obtaining, disclosing "National Defense Information" charges could trigger 1st Amendment battle. Enlarge / Supporters of Julian Assange protest outside the Ecuadorian embassy as the WikiLeaks founder awaits a High Court hearing to determine whether he will be extradited to Sweden on sexual charges. Now, new US charges have been added to a previous indictment: 17 counts of espionage. Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Media via Getty Images Today, the Department of Justice filed a new indictment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia—adding 17 more charges atop the original hacking charge used to file for Assange's extradition from the United Kingdom. The new charges are all espionage-focused: conspiracy to receive, obtaining, and disclosure of "national defense information. Each of the 17 counts carries a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years. In a statement announcing the filing, a Justice Department spokesperson said, "The superseding indictment alleges that Assange was complicit with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the US Army, in unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defense." The new counts allege, among other things, that Assange conspired with Manning to steal "national defense information," obtained that information from Manning, and "aided and abetted her in obtaining classified information with reason to believe that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States or the advantage of a foreign nation." In a Twitter post, a WikiLeaks spokesperson wrote, "This is madness. It is the end of national security journalism and the First Amendment." The charges will no doubt raise First Amendment arguments, as the laws they are based upon have been largely untested in court in cases against public disclosure. In the indictment delivered by the grand jury—the same grand jury that Chelsea Manning went to jail for refusing to testify before—the Justice Department asserted that "Assange and WikiLeaks have repeatedly sought, obtained, and disseminated information that the United States classified due to the serious risk that unauthorized disclosure could harm the national security of the United States. WikiLeaks' website explicitly solicited censored, otherwise restricted, and until September 2010, 'classified' materials." The indictment calls out Assange's repeated solicitations of specific sensitive data, including both unclassified but non-public sources and explicitly classified data. Assange's "Most Wanted Leaks" were cited, which included: Intellipedia—the intelligence community's shared database of open source intelligence maintained by the CIA Open Source Center; Other "Bulk Databases" of military and intelligence data Classified "Military and Intelligence" documents, including "Iraq and Afghanistan Rules of Engagement 2007-2009 (SECRET);" operating and interrogation procedures at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; documents relating to Guantanamo detainees; CIA detainee interrogation videos; and Information about certain weapons systems "Assange intended the 'Most Wanted Leaks' list to encourage and cause individuals to illegally obtain and disclose protected information, including classified information, to WikiLeaks contrary to law," the indictment states. The indictment asserts that Assange published classified documents that "contained the unredacted names of human sources who provided information to United States forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and to US State Department diplomats around the world," the Justice Department spokesperson said. "These human sources included local Afghans and Iraqis, journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents from repressive regimes." The indictment claims that Assange "created a grave and imminent risk that the innocent people he named would suffer serious physical harm and/or arbitrary detention." The indictment even links WikiLeaks to Osama bin Laden and noted that the Taliban used WikiLeaks documents to hunt down informants working for the US military and Afghan government. When US Navy SEALs raided bin Laden's compound on May 2, 2011, the indictment states: They collected a number of items of digital media, which included the following: (1) a letter from bin Laden to another member of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda in which bin Laden requested that the member gather the DoD material posted to WikiLeaks, (2) a letter from that same member of al-Qaeda to Bin Laden with information from the Afghanistan War Documents provided by Manning to WikiLeaks and released by WikiLeaks, and (3) Department of State information provided by Manning to WikiLeaks and released by WikiLeaks. Assange is currently jailed in London, serving a sentence for breaching his bail while facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges. Swedish authorities have also begun to seek Assange's extradition on some of the rape charges. The new indictment comes before the US has formally filed for Assange's extradition—which the US must do by June 11. Source: New Assange indictment adds 17 espionage charges (Ars Technica)
  2. Late last year, the U.S. government accidentally revealed that a sealed complaint had been filed against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Shortly before this was made public, the FBI reconfirmed its investigation of WikiLeaks was ongoing, and the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice was optimistic that it would be able to extradite Assange. Soon after, portions of sealed transcripts leaked that implicate WikiLeaks and Assange in directing hackers to target governments and corporations. The charges against Assange have not been officially revealed, though it’s plausible that the offenses are related to Russian hacking and the DNC emails. The alleged offenses in the complaint notwithstanding, the government has an abundance of data to work with: over a dozen WikiLeaks’ computers, hard drives, and email accounts, including those of the organization’s current and former editors-in-chief, along with messages exchanged with alleged Russian hackers about DNC emails. Through a series of search warrants, subpoenas, equipment seizures, and cooperating witnesses, the federal government has collected internal WikiLeaks data covering the majority of the organization’s period of operations, from 2009 at least through 2017. The filing that committed a copy and paste error revealing charges against Assange. In some instances, the seized data has been returned and allegedly destroyed, such as in the case of David House, a technologist and friend of Chelsea Manning when she famously became a source for WikiLeaks. In others, the seized materials include communications between WikiLeaks and their sources. Some of these discussions show WikiLeaks discussing their other sources and specific identifying details about them. A copy of a chat log between Chelsea Manning and a WikiLeaks staff member IDed as Assange by government prosecutors and witnesses. Other seizures gave authorities a deeper view of the internal workings of WikiLeaks, including one of the earliest known seizures of WikiLeaks-related data, executed on December 14, 2010, when the messages and user information of several WikiLeaks-linked Twitter accounts were ordered. This search-and-seizure order included direct messages associated with WikiLeaks and its founder, former Army private first class and WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks editor Rop Gongrijp, former WikiLeaks associate Jacob Appelbaum, and former WikiLeaks associate and Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, between November 1, 2009, and the order’s execution. A couet order for information relating to people associated with WikiLeaks. On January 4, 2011, a sealed order filed in the Eastern District of Virginia requested all emails, address book, subscriber information, and other account information associated with Appelbaum’s email address [email protected], and another order would target his internet traffic. Appelbaum was a friend and confidant of Assange as well as a WikiLeaks volunteer. In 2010, Appelbaum was known as “the American WikiLeaks hacker,” and he was, at that time, referred to as WikiLeaks’ only known American member. In a private chat in 2015, WikiLeaks described Appelbaum as being “sort of” part of the group, though following multiple accusations of sexual abuse, the group publicly distanced itself from him. The emails obtained by the government extended from November 2010 at least through January 2011. The timing of the government’s acknowledgment of the order, along with other similar orders, suggest that the monitoring of the account may have continued through late 2014, when it and several orders were made public. A copy of a court order for information relating to Jacob Appelbaum, a hacker who worked with WikiLeaks (now credibly accused of multiple sexual assaults). Publicly released and leaked documents from Assange and his legal team allege that several laptops and hard drives belonging to the organization were intercepted by an intelligence agency during this time period. According to an affidavit from Assange, “three laptops ... assorted electronics [and] additional encrypted hard drives” were taken along with his suitcase in late September 2010. Assange’s legal team produced several additional affidavits and supporting documents detailing the existence and disappearance of the suitcase. The suitcase contained at least five hard drives, all of which were encrypted, according to Assange. However, the government has had eight years to guess or recover the passwords or break the encryption on the hard drives. Several other drives, numerous emails, and at least one cooperating witness may have aided in the process. Affadavit from Julian Assange. In mid-2011, the FBI had developed a major source who would become at least their second information with an eye into WikiLeaks’ operations. Soon after the arrest and cooperation of Hector Xavier Monsegur, a.k.a. Sabu, his hacking group (LulzSec) made contact with WikiLeaks. Sabu and LulzSec would become some of WikiLeaks’ most significant sources. The Syria files and Global Intelligence files LulzSec provided WikiLeaks increased their number of publications tenfold and still account for roughly half of their total number of publications. Communications between Sabu and WikiLeaks were monitored by the FBI. And some of the group’s communications with others were later seized in their arrest or turned over by Sigurdur Thordarson, a WikiLeaks volunteer who became an informant for the FBI that August. A section from the sentencing document for “Sabu.” It was later ID’d by WikiLeaks as about them. In addition to briefing the FBI in a series of meetings, Thordarson reportedly provided them with thousands of pages of WikiLeaks chat logs. Further, in March 2012, Thordarson allegedly provided the FBI with eight WikiLeaks hard drives containing up to 1020GB of data, according to a purported FBI document. Officials have not confirmed the authenticity of the document, though the amount of data provided is corroborated by additional sources. In an interview with Ars Technica, Thordarson claimed that Icelandic authorities had seized an additional 2 TB of WikiLeaks-related data from him, which he assumed was then shared with the U.S. American and Icelandic authorities had previously cooperated on Thordarson’s case and portions of the WikiLeaks investigation. According to leaked letters from WikiLeaks’ legal team, at least some of the hard drives had belonged to Assange. Thordarson’s debriefings and the hard drives of up to 3 TB of data may have contained the decryption keys or passwords needed to decrypt the hard drives Assange alleged had been seized earlier. A receipt given to Sigurdur Thordarson from the FBI for WikiLeaks hard drives. There are several hints as to the contents of these drives. According to the affidavit from Assange, the information on the hard drives included, in addition to the possible staff emails, “chat communications ... copies of passports [and] video footage taken in secret.” Following an Associated Press article based off of a cache of “WikiLeaks emails, chat logs, financial records, secretly recorded footage and other documents” from within the organization, WikiLeaks alleged that the cache was the same that had been provided to the FBI. In October 2011, amidst Thordarson and Sabu’s tenure as cooperating witnesses, American authorities issued a search warrant for the contents of WikiLeaks volunteer Herbert Snorrason’s Gmail account. The warrant requested all of the account’s information, “including stored or preserved copies of e-mails sent to and from the account, draft e-mails, deleted e-mails, emails preserved pursuant to a request made under 18 U.S.C. § 2703(f), the source and destination addresses associated with each e-mail, the date and time at which each e-mail was sent, and the size and length of each e-mail.” The volunteer had helped WikiLeaks with a minor technical issue. After learning that his account’s contents had been seized by the U.S. government, Snorrason told Mother Jones that he thought “pretty much everyone with both a Google account and a WikiLeaks connection will be getting one of those notices eventually.” Snorrason was correct in that other WikiLeaks-associated Google accounts had their information seized by the government. Six months after the order for Snorrason’s emails was issued, a trio of search orders were issued for the email accounts of senior WikiLeaks personnel. On April 5, 2012, sealed warrants were executed for the Google accounts of WikiLeaks editors Sarah Harrison and Joseph Farrell, as well as then-spokesman and future editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson on suspicion of espionage and violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as conspiracy and theft of government property. The warrants appear to have covered the entirety of the accounts and were disclosed by Google at the close of 2014. A court order for information relating to Kristinn Hrafnsson, current editor in chief of WikiLeaks, on suspicion if charges including but not limited to espionage. In late October 2017, a new government request was issued for portions of WikiLeaks’ communications. A letter from Sen. Diane Feinstein requested that Twitter provide copies of all direct messages that were over 180 days to or from the accounts belonging to WikiLeaks, the WikiLeaks Task Force, “Guccifer 2.0,” Assange, and Margaret Ratner Kunstler. As written, the request would include some of my communications with WikiLeaks and “Guccifer 2.0.” Ultimately, at least some messages between WikiLeaks and the “Guccifer 2.0” were obtained by the U.S. government, although the method of communication for those messages remains unconfirmed. In late October 2017, a new government request was issued for portions of WikiLeaks’ communications. A letter from Sen. Diane Feinstein requested that Twitter provide copies of all direct messages that were over 180 days to or from the accounts belonging to WikiLeaks, the WikiLeaks Task Force, “Guccifer 2.0,” Assange, and Margaret Ratner Kunstler. As written, the request would include some of my communications with WikiLeaks and “Guccifer 2.0.” Ultimately, at least some messages between WikiLeaks and the “Guccifer 2.0” were obtained by the U.S. government, although the method of communication for those messages remains unconfirmed. According to what’s informally known as “the GRU indictment,” WikiLeaks sent Guccifer 2.0 a message on June 22, 2016. The message instructed Guccifer 2.0, a persona the U.S. government believes was used by Russian operatives, to send new material to them so it would “have a much higher impact.” On approximately July 6, the organization sent another message encouraging Guccifer 2.0 to send “anything [H]illary related” in time for the Democratic National Convention, which WikiLeaks thought Clinton would use to solidify support. The quoted portion of the exchange ends with WikiLeaks saying they thought conflict between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Clinton would be “interesting.” These exchanges, about maximizing impact and damage, are relevant to one of the theories of Assange’s potential prosecution outlined by noted national security journalist Marcy Wheeler. An excerpt from a Mueller indictment. If the charges against Assange are related to Russian hacking and the Democratic National Committee email leak, this exchange could be one of the most likely pieces of evidence to be directly relevant to the initial charges against him. However, the entirety of the government’s evidence, including materials seized from alleged Vault 7 leaker Joshua Schulte and the alleged recordings of him transferring additional files to WikiLeaks regarding the organization, may be used to help make the case. Past statements and communications may be used to help establish a modus operandi, a pattern or an intent. As noted by the AP, some of the materials may point to the early beginnings of Assange’s reported relationship with Russia. Leaked copies of sealed files, statements by people familiar with the grand juries, and documents released through FOIA by independent journalist Alexa O’Brien—who also identified a number of sealed search orders—all indicate that the investigations converged and pooled evidence at times. The government’s information could be further augmented by recent surveillance of Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has lived under asylum since 2012, the fruits of which may have reportedly been shared with the United States. Regardless of what the charges against Assange are, the government has terabytes of data with which to try to make its case, data that’s come from WikiLeaks supporters, sources, key personnel, and Assange himself. The full depth of the government’s sources, however, have yet to be revealed. Emma Best is a national security reporter and transparency activist. She has published millions of pages of government documents and is a member of the leak collective Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets). Source
  3. Julian Assange has stepped aside as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, with the group saying his departure was “due to the extraordinary circumstances” of him being unable to communicate with anyone but his lawyers for the last six months. Assange has appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson to replace him. Hrafnsson is an Icelandic journalist who served as WikiLeaks’ spokesperson from 2010 to 2016. Assange has been unable to communicate with the outside world since the end of March, when his internet access was shut off. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK to avoid arrest or extradition, first for questioning around sexual assault allegations and later largely due to the presumption that the US plans to file charges once he leaves. Ecuador granted him asylum in 2012, and he’s been living inside the country’s embassy ever since. He continued to operate WikiLeaks from there, releasing, among other things, stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman that helped to influence the 2016 presidential election. But in March, Ecuador had apparently had enough. The country said he violated an agreement to, essentially, not piss off other countries, so it cut off his internet access. WikiLeaks says the country installed signal jammers to prevent him from accessing the internet in any way and have prevented him from seeing anyone but his lawyers. Assange will continue to serve as the publisher of WikiLeaks, which is more of an honorary title that implies his stewardship of the site. Hrafnsson, the new editor-in-chief, says he “welcome the responsibility to secure the continuation of the important work based on WikiLeaks ideals.” Source
  4. After nearly six years, Ecuador may have had it with Julian Assange. CNN reports that while there have been threats to boot the WikiLeaks founder from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London before, his current situation is “unusually bad” and he could be forced out “any day now.” Ecuador’s new president Lenín Moreno is reportedly facing increasing pressure from the U.S. to eject Assange. Spain may have also weighed in after Assange tweeted his support for the separatist movements in Catalonia. The embassy recently cut off Assange’s internet access and blocked him from meeting with anyone but his lawyers. If Assange leaves the embassy he could face charges from three different countries. Though Sweden recently stopped investigating the rape allegation that led to Assange hiding away in the embassy, the probe could be revived if he leaves. Since he refused to surrender for extradition to Sweden, he’s also facing charges for breaching bail in the U.K. While President Trump has publicly declared his love for WikiLeaks, last month there were reports that federal prosecutors are preparing charges against Assange. The Obama administration held off on charging Assange because it was unclear how they could charge him for publishing government secrets but not mainstream news outlets. But they may have found a way around that, since Chelsea Manning admitted that Assange helped her figure out how to anonymously gain access to government systems. (That charge could have consequences for journalists too, but the Trump administration generally seems less concerned about that.) U.S. intelligence agencies also concluded that Russian intelligence used WikiLeaks to publish stolen emails meant to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and on Thursday the Wall Street Journal reported that former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone sought access to those emails in September 2016 through an acquaintance who knows Assange. So Assange’s relationship with the U.S. government may be about to get even more complicated. Source
  5. WikiLeaks, a secret sharing organization accused of playing a key role in Russian attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has released documents that it claims offer details of how Moscow uses state surveillance to spy on Internet and mobile users. The release, dubbed “Spy Files Russia,” appears to mark a shift for an organization that has long been accused of a reluctance to publish documents that could be embarrassing for the Russian state. As Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency whistleblower who now lives in Russia, put it in a tweet: “Plot twist.” However, other experts are less impressed. “I don't think it's a real expose,” said Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist and co-author of the “The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries.” “It actually adds a few details to the picture, [but] it's not that much.” The documents released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday appear to show how a St. Petersburg-based technology company called Peter-Service helped state entities gather detailed data on Russian mobile users, part of a national system of online surveillance called System for Operative Investigative Activities (SORM). “This system [SORM] has been known for some time, though the documents seem to provide additional technical specifications,” said Ben Buchanan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center and author of the book “The Cybersecurity Dilemma.” Buchanan added, however, that he was intrigued that WikiLeaks would release it at all. “I'm curious if there is more to come,” he said. Although WikiLeaks has shared secrets from a variety of other governments, it has been accused of refusing to publish leaks on the Russian government. WikiLeaks also has been publicly critical of the Panama Papers — a leak about offshore banking entities that is believed to have embarrassed Russian President Vladimir Putin. In interviews, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has suggested that as his organization lacks Russian speakers, whistleblowers prefer to leak to local media. The latest leak is unlikely to dispel the impression that WikiLeaks turns a blind eye to Moscow's failings, said Andrew Weiss, a vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It's very hard for WikiLeaks to somehow exonerate itself or remove the very clear pattern of cooperation with Russian authorities,” Weiss said. “This looks like a classic attempt to change the subject,” he added. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the documents is whom they were leaked by — a detail WikiLeaks generally refuses to discuss. Soldatov said that they may well have been leaked by someone who understood the lack of major revelations contained. “I would say it's coming from the company, sent by people who obviously understand it doesn't constitute a state secret, so it's safe,” he said. However, although the release wasn't a bombshell, it could still prove to be a positive force, some observers said. “If it prompts people to talk about SORM, so be it,” Soldatov said. Source
  6. Julian Assange’s data-leaking site defaced via DNS attack, showing humiliating messages for organisation that prides itself on being tech savvy. • The message posted by OurMine to WikiLeaks’ website URL. Photograph: Twitter WikiLeaks suffered an embarrassing cyber-attack when Saudi Arabian-based hacking group OurMine took over its web address. The attack saw visitors to WikiLeaks.org redirected to a page created by OurMine which claimed that the attack was a response to a challenge from the organisation to hack them. But while it may have been humiliating for WikiLeaks, which prides itself on technical competency, the actual “hack” appears to have been a low-tech affair: the digital equivalent of spray-painting graffiti on the front of a bank then claiming to have breached its security. The group appears to have carried out an attack known as “DNS poisoning” for a short while on Thursday morning. Rather than attacking WikiLeaks’ servers directly, they have convinced one or more DNS servers, which are responsible for turning the human-readable “wikileaks.org” web address into a machine-readable string of numbers that tells a computer where to connect, to alter their records. For a brief period, those DNS servers told browsers that wikileaks.org was actually located on a server controlled by OurMine. It is unlikely WikiLeaks own servers were breached. The DNS protocol is a notoriously weak link of the internet due to the ease with which it can be compromised by both malicious individuals and state actors. The WikiLeaks hack also takes a different approach in its substance. In the message it posted to the organisation’s web address, OurMine jokingly begins to claim to be “testing your …” before breaking off and reminding WikiLeaks about the time “you challenged us to hack you”. It’s the third time the hackers have gone after WikiLeaks, after twice launching a DDoS attack – a form of cyber-attack where a site is overloaded with connections in an attempt to bring it to its knees – against the organisation, in December 2015 and July 2016. That spat caused Anonymous, the online collective, to post personal information of individuals they claimed to be members of OurMine. The hackers argued the so called “doxing” was incorrect. It’s the latest in a string of high-profile yet ultimately low-impact attacks from OurMine, which first rose to fame after hacking the social media accounts of a string of tech titans in the summer of 2016. Mark Zuckerberg, Dick Costolo, Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pichai were amongst those who had embarrassing messages posted to their feeds. Those hacks almost always followed the same template: finding re-used passwords in a previously-released data breach (for instance, Mark Zuckerberg’s password “dadada” was discovered in a 2011-era LinkedIn database), and testing them in as many services as possible until finding one that works. The group then typically posts a message claiming to be “testing [the victim’s] security”, before linking to their website, which offers penetration testing for $30 upwards. Most recently they took over HBO’s Twitter accounts, as the TV company was in the midst of a separate ransomware attack. OurMine and WikiLeaks have not responded to requests for comment. Source
  7. WikiLeaks has released new documents in their Vault 7 series of leaks exposing the CIA’s hacking tools. The new documents cover tools that the CIA uses to hack the Secure Shell (SSH) cryptographic protocol. SSH allows users to securely access other computers remotely over an unsecured network. Two exploits that allow the CIA to capture and exfiltrate SSH credentials are covered in the new release by WikiLeaks. These SSH exploits target SSH users who are running Windows or Linux operating systems. The two SSH hacks are known as BothanSpy and Gyrfalcon. BothanSpy is used by the CIA to steal the usernames and passwords for all active SSH sessions of Windows users who are using Xshell. It “officially” supports Xshell Version 3, build 0288, Version 4, build 0127, Version 5, build 0497, and Version 5, build 0537. The documentation for BothanSpy states that it is risky to use the implant against certain versions of Xshell, and that it does not conduct a version check. If public key authentication is utilized, BothanSpy will intercept and exfiltrate the filename of the private SSH key and the key password. Xshell is a proprietary SSH and Telnet client, and also functions as a terminal emulator. It is produced by NetSarang Computer, Inc. and was first released in 2002. The BothanSpy implant is installed as an extension for Shellterm 3. The stolen data can be sent to a server that is controlled by the CIA, thereby avoiding saving any data onto the victim’s hard drive. Stolen data can also be stored on a victim’s computer in an encrypted file, and be exfiltrated at a later date by other means. Previously, WikiLeaks published documents which exposed the CIA’s ability to gain remote access to computers running Windows by using the Athena and Hera malware. The CIA had worked with a private corporation known as Siege Technologies to develop the Athena and Hera malware for Windows operating systems. In late June, WikiLeaks published documents on the CIA’s ELSA program. ELSA is malware which impacts Windows users who are using WiFi and enables the CIA to track someone using geo-location by monitoring ESS identifiers, WiFi signal strength, and MAC addresses. Gyrfalcon is an implant that consists of two binaries that allow the CIA to hack OpenSSH on Linux operating systems. It is unclear if Gyrfalcon impacts all Linux operating systems, but the documentation for the implant states that it can target users of Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Suse, and Red Hat. It allows the CIA to intercept and exfiltrate usernames and passwords of active SSH sessions. The implant also has the ability to intercept some or all of the traffic from an OpenSSH session. The data that is collected is then compressed and stored in an encrypted file on the victim’s computer and exfiltrated at a later time. Gyrfalcon is installed using the CIA’s JQC/KitV rootkit, and effects both 32bit and 64bit versions of Linux. In late June WikiLeaks released documents on the CIA’s OutlawCountry program which targets Linux operating systems. OutlawCountry enables the CIA to redirect the entire outbound traffic of a victim’s computer. It allows the CIA to both exfiltrate and infiltrate data onto a victim’s computer. OutlawCountry uses a kernel module that the CIA can install through shell access on the victim’s computer. The CIA malware then installs a hidden Netfilter table. The hidden Netfilter table allows rules to be made using the iptables command. These rules will supersede any pre existing rules on the victim’s computer and administrator can only discover it if they know the table name. OutlawCountry creates an obscure table name. The CIA relies on other exploits and backdoors to infect victims with OutlawCountry. Version 1.0 of OutlawCountry is limited to infecting only certain Linux kernel modules such as the 64bit versions of CentOS and Red Hat 6. The new documents detailing BothanSpy and Gyrfalcon marks the 15th release in the Vault 7 series of CIA leaks. WikiLeaks began publishing its Vault 7 series of CIA documents in March. They have been regularly releasing new documents every few weeks. More CIA leaks are expected to be published. Article source
  8. By Kate Sheppard 01/15/2014 12:22 pm EST Updated: 01/15/2014 5:18 pm EST WASHINGTON -- WikiLeaks published a leaked draft of the environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Wednesday, and environmental groups are lining up to take a swing. The leaked documents come from a meeting of the trade deal's chief negotiators held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from Nov. 19 to 24, 2013. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes 12 countries - the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei - and would govern a number of international environmental and trade issues. The draft indicates the pact will include a number of promises on the environment, but will lack strong enforcement tools. "When compared against other TPP chapters, the Environment Chapter is noteworthy for its absence of mandated clauses or meaningful enforcement measures," wrote WikiLeaks in its release. The chapter is intended to deal with issues like overfishing, trade of wood products, wildlife crime, and illegal logging. But most of the measures in the chapter are voluntary, rather than binding, and do not include penalties or criminal sanctions for violations. Compliance is largely left to the respective countries. Enviros offered similar criticism. "The lack of fully-enforceable environmental safeguards means negotiators are allowing a unique opportunity to protect wildlife and support legal sustainable trade of renewable resources to slip through their fingers, said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, in a statement. The leaked document from November is only a draft, but if the trade pact's final environmental chapter looks like it, it would make the Obama administration's environmental trade record "worse than George W. Bushs," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. This draft chapter falls flat on every single one of our issues -- oceans, fish, wildlife, and forest protections -- and in fact, rolls back on the progress made in past free trade pacts. According to a report from the chairs of the TPP Environmental Working Group drafting the chapter, also released by WikiLeaks, there remains significant disagreement among the parties on many of the pact's provisions. The chairs wrote that Vietnam, Peru and Malaysia object to a provision calling for countries to "rationalize and phase out" fossil fuel subsidies "that encourage wasteful consumption." They also noted that the United States and Australia object to the climate change portion of the pact as it is written. Negotiation of the pact has been underway since 2010, but all discussions take place entirely outside of public view. The Obama administration has already received backlash for leaked portions of the pact that indicate it would grant greater rights to corporations to challenge national laws in private courts. Efforts to fast-track the trade deal met resistance from Democrats in Congress this week. UPDATE: 5:15 p.m. -- The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a response to the release on Wednesday afternoon. From the statement: The United States' position on the environment in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations is this: environmental stewardship is a core American value, and we will insist on a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter in the TPP or we will not come to agreement. Our proposals in the TPP are centered around the enforcement of environmental laws, including those implementing multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) in TPP partner countries, and also around trailblazing, first-ever conservation proposals that will raise standards across the region. Furthermore, our proposals would enhance international cooperation and create new opportunities for public participation in environmental governance and enforcement. Read the full statement here. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/15/tpp-environment_n_4602727.html?ir=Politics Wikileak Document PDF https://wikileaks.org/tpp2/static/pdf/tpp-treaty-environment-chapter.pdf
  9. In November, WikiLeaks published a rare draft of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty — revealing the United States' covert international push for stronger intellectual property rights. Now, nearly a month after the first documents were published, the group is back on the case, publishing a new raft of documents from the TPP negotiations currently taking place in Singapore. The revelations are mostly the same, with the United States leading the charge for SOPA-like penalties on file-sharing and stringent patent reforms, but the new documents suggest that the public outcry against these proposals has had little effect on the negotiations. The leaks come at a particularly inconvenient time for negotiators, as they enter into their fourth day of talks in Singapore amid growing criticism. The talks are premised on secrecy, allowing countries to push for particular proposals without having to justify their positions publicly, but the continued pressure from WikiLeaks has brought unintended attention to the proceedings. These latest documents highlight the United States' role in the process, as it attempts to force the smaller nations to adopt more stringent rules. "The US is exerting great pressure to close as many issues as possible this week," says a state-of-play summary included in the leaks. "This pressure will increase with every passing day." Source
  10. International ban could make it difficult to change US law for the better. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty pushed by the Obama administration could complicate efforts to loosen restrictions on jailbreaking and unlocking smartphones, tablets, or other consumer electronics. A working draft of the treaty published by WikiLeaks prohibits the manufacturing or distribution of devices or services "for the purpose of circumvention of any effective technological measure." It goes on to prohibit devices and services that "have only a limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent any effective technological measure, or are primarily designed, produced, or performed for the purpose of the circumvention of any effective technological measure." Derek Khanna, a Yale Law Fellow who submitted a White House petition that led to the Obama administration publicly supporting the end of a ban on unlocking, wrote in Slate that "while the White House was publicly proclaiming its support of cellphone unlocking, it was secretly negotiating a treaty that would ban it." The treaty text never specifically mentions jailbreaking or unlocking, but the lack of an exemption to the ban on circumventing technological measures has Khanna worried. "The treaty as proposed would stop all methods of circumvention," Khanna wrote in an e-mail to Ars. "The key is that there must be an exemption to allow for unlocking. In the draft text, there is no exemption for unlocking." Canada submitted an amendment that could be interpreted to exempt unlocking and jailbreaking. For example, Canada's amendment would allow "circumvention of a technological measure on a radio apparatus for the sole purpose of gaining or facilitating access to a telecommunication service by means of the radio apparatus." The treaty is still being negotiated, although 151 Democratic US representatives have come out against Obama's "use of outdated 'Fast Track' procedures that usurp Congress’s authority over trade matters." Twenty-two House Republicans similarly opposed Obama's use of Fast Track authority that lets him "sign trade agreements before Congress has an opportunity to vote on them." Besides the US and Canada, the treaty negotiations include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, and Mexico. Congress still has a voice The actual impact TPP would have on US consumers isn't entirely straightforward, in part because the TPP mirrors existing US law. "The US has proposed this whole set of laws around DRM based on our existing DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act]," and it's trying to export them to the rest of the world with the treaty, Sherwin Siy, VP of legal affairs at consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, told Ars. TPP itself is "consistent with our law today," he said. The treaty wouldn't make it impossible for the US to reform its laws, but it could make it difficult, Siy said. Unlocking a phone removes restrictions placed on it by carriers, allowing a consumer to hook it up to any other carrier's network provided it is compatible. It is illegal for a consumer to unlock a phone today because the Librarian of Congress did not provide an exemption for unlocking under the DMCA. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is urging carriers to let consumers unlock phones once they've completed their contracts and has threatened to issue regulations if they refuse. Jailbreaking is different. It frees a device from restrictions imposed by the manufacturer. For instance, jailbreaking an Apple iPhone or iPad makes it possible to install any application that can work with the device instead of just those Apple has approved for inclusion in its App Store. Under our strange set of laws, jailbreaking a smartphone is legal under the DMCA, but jailbreaking a tablet is not. According to Siy, the treaty shouldn't affect Wheeler's attempt to loosen restrictions around unlocking or a bill that would bring back the expired DMCA exemption for unlocking cell phones. But it might make it difficult for Congress to pass legislation such as the "Unlocking Technology Act of 2013," which offers a more broad and permanent fix. Instead of providing a temporary exemption, that bill "Amends the prohibition under federal copyright law on the circumvention of a technological measure that controls access to a copyright-protected work to require that such prohibition apply only to circumventions carried out in order to infringe or facilitate infringement of a protected work." In other words, the bill lets consumers do what they wish with their devices as long as they're not also infringing someone's copyright. Congress could still pass the law, but it would be complicated. "If they do that and pass a permanent cell phone exemption, someone can say, 'hey isn't this in violation of the TPP?'" Siy noted. The answer would be "yes," but the outcome would "depend on what our trading partners in this agreement can and want to do about that." Such a matter could go to the World Trade Organization. But ultimately, Congress could do what it wants. "Congress isn't prevented from doing their jobs," Siy said. "There's no way you can have one of these agreements overturn US law. No one is going to be able to take anyone to court for something that is A-OK under a law passed by Congress even if they contradict an international agreement." In a blog post, Siy lamented that "so many of the major events in copyright law of the last two years have failed to alter the course of the administration in its push for increasingly outdated policies. "Between February of 2011 and November of 2013, we’ve seen the unprecedented grassroots opposition to copyright enforcement expansion in SOPA; a similar international outcry against IP trade agreements in ACTA; and a groundswell of outrage that copyright law would prevent people from doing something as basic (and as unrelated to copyright’s purpose) as unlocking their cell phones... Congress and the White House both agree with the hundreds of thousands of Americans that cell phone unlocking shouldn’t be barred by copyright law, yet the language proposed by USTR [uS Trade Representative] would be used as an excuse to prevent conclusive solution to the problem." A White House spokesperson did not answer a request for comment. Source: Ars Technica
  11. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement aimed at deepening economic ties between the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and eight other countries in the region, has been largely shrouded in secrecy. Today, however, whistleblower outfit Wikileaks leaked a copy of the agreement’s “most controversial chapter” which has prompted immediate criticism of its SOPA-like provisions that have Internet freedom-limiting potential. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is currently working towards the creation of a regional free-trade agreement between several Asia-Pacific countries which together account for around 40% of the world’s GDP. The agreement aims to create deep economic ties between a dozen countries – Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, United States, Vietnam, Mexico, Canada and New Zealand – by easing trade in goods and services, encouraging investment, and forging understandings across a wide range of policy issues. Negotiations between the nations have been running for around two and a half years and the TPP agreement itself is now reportedly more than 1,000 pages deep. Overall the negotiations have drawn criticism for their secrecy but today Wikileaks announced that they had obtained a copy of the “most controversial chapter” from the TPP agreement which reveals the negotiation positions for all 12 countries on IP and copyright issues. Many topics are covered in the chapter including DRM and other ‘technical measures’, extended copyright terms, increased penalties for infringement and ISP liability, the latter with a proposal for “adopting and reasonably implementing a policy that provides for termination in appropriate circumstances of the accounts of repeat infringers.” Reception to the leaked agreement has so far been highly critical. Knowledge Ecology International notes that the TPP IPR chapter not only proposes the granting of more patents, expansion of rightsholder privileges and increased penalties for infringement, but also plans the creation of intellectual property rights on data. “The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights. Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine, and profoundly bad for innovation,” KEI concludes. Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property lawyer with Public Citizen, says that some of the proposals in the text evoke memories of the controversial SOPA legislation in the United States. “The WikiLeaks text also features Hollywood and recording industry inspired proposals – think about the SOPA debacle – to limit Internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force Internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s Internet access,” Kilic says. Collectively the items in this version of the leaked draft reveal argument and opposition on dozens if not hundreds of points from one or several countries. In fact while there are many, many proposals, it is striking that there is a clear lack of final agreement across the board on almost all of the issues. Kilic describes the proposals as having reached a “negotiation stalemate.” His colleague, Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s global access to medicines program, lays the blame for that at the feet of the United States. “Given how much text remains disputed, the negotiation will be very difficult to conclude,” Maybarduk says. “Much more forward-looking proposals have been advanced by the other parties, but unless the U.S drops its out-there-alone demands, there may be no deal at all.” The full agreement can be downloaded here (PDF). Source: TorrentFreak
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