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Nicolas Collignon

Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago

We parked a 17-foot motor boat in a lagoon about 800 feet from the back lawn of The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and pointed a 2-foot wireless antenna that resembled a potato gun toward the club. Within a minute, we spotted three weakly encrypted Wi-Fi networks. We could have hacked them in less than five minutes, but we refrained.

A few days later, we drove through the grounds of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with the same antenna and aimed it at the clubhouse. We identified two open Wi-Fi networks that anyone could join without a password. We resisted the temptation.

We have also visited two of President Donald Trump’s other family-run retreats, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and a golf club in Sterling, Virginia. Our inspections found weak and open Wi-Fi networks, wireless printers without passwords, servers with outdated and vulnerable software, and unencrypted login pages to back-end databases containing sensitive information.

The risks posed by the lax security, experts say, go well beyond simple digital snooping. Sophisticated attackers could take advantage of vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi networks to take over devices like computers or smart phones and use them to record conversations involving anyone on the premises.

To read the full article, click on the title.

Nicolas Collignon

How Cloudflare Helps Serve Up Hate on the Web - ProPublica

Cloudflare, a prominent San Francisco outfit, provides services to neo-Nazi sites like The Daily Stormer, including giving them personal information on people who complain about their content.

Last week we found out about Cloudbleed , a bug on Cloudflare services ...

To read more, click on the title.

Nicolas Collignon

Cybersecurity should protect us – not control us | openDemocracy

What do the election in Mexico, a hospital in California, baby monitors around the world and tinned fruit in Thailand have in common? They were all were involved in the great ‘cybersecurity’ failures of 2016. They also highlight the spectrum of cybersecurity issues that potentially impact us all: Governments, public services, companies, you and I. 

The dizzying scale, technical complexity and downright panic accompanying ‘cyberattacks’ and data breaches often overshadow the fact that human rights are at the heart of cybersecurity, and that attacks mostly impact individuals. The personal information of over 93 million voters in Mexico, including home addresses, were openly published on the internet after being taken from a poorly secured government database. Up to 100,000 people are reportedly kidnapped in Mexico each year. A hospital in California had to cancel surgeries and move patients after attackers took down their network with ransomware. Internet connected devices such as baby monitors were reportedly co-opted by malware and utilised as part of a DDOS attack, which brought down popular websites including Twitter and The New York Times.


British NGO Privacy International recently published a series of State of Privacy reports, which aim to summarise privacy and surveillance laws and practices in a variety of countries. [...]

The result is that, in some parts of the world, the cybersecurity debate can undermine human rights and the international obligation on governments to protect them. Too quickly the debate turns to increasing state surveillance capacity, closing down transparency, criminalising legitimate behaviour and speech and undermining encryption rather than promoting it. For example, using encrypted messaging services is illegal in Pakistan, and using them in Morocco will land you in prison and a $10,000 fine. What constitutes certain crimes is unclear in the cybercrime laws of Jordan, Kenya and Tunisia. The Computer Misuse Act in Uganda has been used to criminally charge a journalist. These examples demonstrate the range of issues that appear in cybercrime laws presented as cybersecurity.

Read more on openDemocracy