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   ISSUE 22

 20 May  2013

Article of the Month   Around the World

Social Networking Tools for a Surveillance Society

Part 01   

Imagine tracking your location via your mobile phone, locating your vehicle via its GPS system, traffic cameras which monitor our movements, super markets, banks and recording and logging every email or sms you send to your loved one! This all may sound like a science fiction that might become a reality in another 10 years time but actually this is real and it is happening right now .



Knowingly or unknowingly we are living is a Surveillance Society where we are watched always. Especially in developed countries this has even reached to sub ways, busses and even your medical records and bank records are being monitored and it is being recorded.

Surveillance Society

Within hours of the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, as federal officials shut down airports and US strategists began plotting a military response, Attorney General John Ashcroft was mobilizing his own forces. In meetings with top aides at the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Centre - during which the White House as well as the State and Defence departments dialled in via secure videoconference – Attorney General pulled together a host of antiterrorism measures.

Days later, the Attorney General sent a bill that would make it easier for the government to tap cell phones and pagers, give the federal officialss broad authority to monitor email and Web browsing, strengthens money-laundering laws, and weakens immigrants' rights

Almost immediately, there were unmistakable signs that new surveillance tools would be a linchpin in the war on terrorism. The FBI met with AOL, EarthLink, and other large Internet Service Providers, and there was renewed talk of using DCS 1000 to let the FBI monitor their email traffic.

Though USA proposed to strengthen its Surveillance Society programme after 9/11 Attack, it already existed in the country. Traffic Camera network, ATM/Bank Camera Network, Visionics - a maker of face-recognition software used in surveillance cameras in London and Tampa, Florida, and in the databases of close to a dozen state law enforcement agencies, GPS Locator devices in vehicles were already in place even before the 9/11.


Cameras are not the only method or tool in Surveillance Society. Telephones, mobile phones, bank accounts, emails, travel itinerary, credit cards are also methods that are used in the Surveillance Society. In many developed countries such as USA, UK, these methods are used extensively and in 2006, Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) named UK being 'the most surveilled country' among the industrialized Western states.

Below listed are few methods and techniques used by many countries to enforce a Surveillance Society:-

• CCTV Camera Networks
• Unmanned Air Craft Vehicle Systems- ie; drones
• Public Transport System- ie; cards used to travel in busses
• Analogue Communication- ie; telephone, fax records
• Mobile Phone Tracking
• Vehicle Tracking- ie; via GPS, automatic number plates recognition
• DNA Database- ie; fingerprints and other bio metrics
• Overseas Travel- ie; airport, ports tacking systems
• Internet/Digital Communication- ie; email/electronic communication tracking via systems like tracking, Carnivore, Echelon
• Data Mining- ie; gathering information on financial records, internet usage patterns, social networking sites

(Please refer next month's eNews letter for part 02)

- Rangamini Werawatta

Rangamini is a ICT Consultant and a freelance journalist who contributes to national newspapers. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology (BSc-IT) from the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) and he is a Member of the British Computer Society (MBCS), the Chartered Institute of IT.
He is also the author of the book “Cyber Security: 01 Byte from the Cyberspace”; ISBN: 978-955-658-253-6







  The Internet Is Actually Surprisingly Good at Fighting Crime

'.... On Monday, three days after Boston police arrested 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings, Reddit general manager Erik Martin issued an apology. It had not been the best of weeks for his online community. Law enforcement officials had explained that one of their motivations for releasing surveillance camera footage of the Tsarnaev brothers was to put an end to the wild speculation on sites like Reddit, where anyone with a backpack was being floated as a possible suspect.......'

  Dutch Suspect Sven Olaf Kamphuis Arrested for Biggest Cyber Attack in Internet History

'....A suspect, believed to be Dutchman Sven Olaf Kamphuis, has been arrested in Spain in relation to the cyber-attack on Spamhaus, which has been called the biggest in the history of the internet......'

Phone scammers call the wrong guy, get mad and trash PC


'....Have you ever received a call from someone with a heavy Indian accent from Microsoft saying your computer had errors or viruses?The purpose of these calls is to get an easy $299 (or whatever amount they choose) by scaring you into thinking there's something really wrong with your computer and that they can fix it for you.These telephony scams have been going on for many years and scammers keep robbing innocent people sadly because their success ratio is still worth their time and effort......'

Chinese Hacking Suspects 'Back In Business'


'....A group of Chinese hackers suspected of being behind a cyber-attack on the New York Times earlier this year may be restarting their campaign.BAE Systems, the defence contractor, says it has unearthed evidence that indicates the group is active for the first time since February, when the hackers were accused of being linked to a Chinese military unit in Shanghai.Although the connection has not been proven, the hacking group went immediately quiet on the day the allegation was made. Now analysts believe the hackers are ready to strike again.David Garfield, managing director of cyber security at Detica, a BAE Systems subsidiary, told Sky News: "The activity we have detected indicates that the espionage group was lying low until the attention around their activities died down, before getting back to 'business-as-usual'."Detica researchers have obtained a copy of malware that has all the hallmarks of being crafted by this espionage group......'

Got Malware? Three Signs Revealed In DNS Traffic
'....Monitoring your network's requests for domain lookups can reveal network problems and potential malware infections .....'

Month in Brief
Facebook Incidents Reported to Sri Lanka CERT|CC in April 2013
  Fake + Harassment
  Statistics - Sri Lanka CERT|CC
  Out going Threats from Sri Lanka during April 2013


Beware Twitter password check sites - there are fakes, and there are fake fakes!

'....In the aftermath of the recent Associated Press Twitter hack, and of the Twitter attacks claimed by SEA, the Syrian Electronic Army, it's not surprising to see a site named ismytwitterpasswordsecure dot com.It was created by New York based web developer Alastair Coote, and it looks fairly straightforward:If you start to enter anything at all on this web page, you get Coote's unreconstructed warning:No No No No No No No No Don't be an idiot Do you see "twitter.com" in the address bar? No, you don't. Don't ever type your login and password to Twitter on a site that isn't twitter.com. Same with Facebook. And LinkedIn. I guess what I'm trying to say here is, don't be an idiot. Short, sweet, and clear.Don't click login links in emails.Check the address bar.And watch out for the HTTPS (secure HTTP) padlock in the address bar whenever you are entering PII of any sort, from passwords to account numbers.Nicely done, Mr Coote: a fake fake site!.....'

A Guide to Facebook Security For Young Adults, Parents, and Educators

'....This guide is all about empowering you to Own Your Space?to understand what Facebook is doing to make the site safe and secure and to take the actions that are needed in this new digital world to protect yourself and your account. While the focus of this guide is on Facebook, the lessons here apply to every site you visit online.Throughout the guide, we will highlight the unique tools that Facebook provides so that you can harness your power by protecting your account, using advanced security settings, recovering a hacked Facebook account, and stopping imposters......'

Critical flaw in Viber allows full access to Android Smartphones, bypassing lock screen

'....More than 50 millions of Smartphone users worldwide are facing a risk posed by a critical flaw in Viber app. Bkav Internet Security Corporation detected the flaw, which allows unauthorized users to access and take full control of Android smartphones installed with Viber even when the phones have been locked. Smartphones of all popular brands like Samsung, Sony, HTC, etc. are vulnerable......'

Notice Board
  Training and Awareness Programmes - May 2013
Date EventVenue
- 6th -8th  May Joomla Training Programme on LCMS Computer Laboratory of ICT Branch, Ministry of Education
- 15th to 17th of May Workshop on Multimedia for Learning Management System  Computer Laboratory of ICT Branch, Ministry of Education 
- 27 to 31 of May Workshop for  uploading content to “e-thaksalawa” Learning Management System Computer Laboratory of ICT Branch, Ministry of Education

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