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Five Eyes, Nine Eyes & 14-Eyes Countries and VPNs Important to know when using (or planning to use) a VPN

The content herein is part of an article published in a VPN site where at the end of this short introduction there will be a link to take you to a lot more viewpoints & info. ENJOY.

This article will discuss available VPNs in relation to the 5 Eyes, the 9 Eyes and the 14 Eyes government surveillance alliances.

Encryption is the only way to protect private communications. While there are encrypted messaging systems that can be used for direct correspondence, virtual private networks (VPNs, also based on encryption) are the best tools for hiding internet activity, such as which websites are visited. Again, there are valid reasons to do so: to protect the privacy of religion, sexual orientation and sensitive medical conditions; all of which can be inferred from visited websites.

Background

During the second world war, US and UK intelligence agencies worked closely on code-breaking. After the war, the UK center at Bletchley Park evolved into the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The American service evolved into the National Security Agency (NSA). In 1946, the working relationship between the two countries was formalized in the UKUSA agreement. It worked on signals intelligence (SIGINT); that is, the interception and analysis of adversarial telecommunications.

In order to provide global coverage for communications interception, Australia, New Zealand and Australia joined the UK and the USA – and became known as the Five Eyes.

However, such is the NSA’s global dominance of intelligence gathering, other countries have sought to cooperate in return for specific ‘threat’ information from the NSA. This has led to other SIGINT groupings: the 9 Eyes and the 14 Eyes.

The operation of these intelligence agencies was long kept secret. As global communications have increased – and as perceived threats have grown (first in the Cold War between east and west and more recently in the ‘war on terror’), the 5 Eyes in particular began to secretly use technology to gather everything for later analysis. GCHQ, for example, had a secret project called Mastering the Internet. None of this was publicly known.

In 2013, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked thousands of top secret NSA and GCHQ documents showing, for the first time, the extent to which national governments spy on everybody. It is always done in the name of ‘national security’, and both the relevant agencies and their governments insist on their right to do so.

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Henry Sapiecha

Ashley Madison hack: Hackers claim cheaters’ details dumped online

ASHLEY MADDISON SCREEN PAGE IMAGE www.intelagencies.com

Many feel that the 30 million people whose identities could be revealed following a hack into Ashley Madison’s servers deserve everything they get. Photo: Chris Wattie

Australian names have started to trickle out in the huge Ashley Madison data leak.

Users who claim they have access to the data have posted 22 email addresses linked to the University of Western Sydney on an online message board.

Fairfax Media, the publisher of this article, has not been able to confirm the post’s legitimacy but spoke with two people from UWS whose email addresses appeared in the list

Ashley Madison databases enclosed in the 10GB compressed torrent file.CHART IMAGE www.intelagencies.com
The various Ashley Madison databases enclosed in the 10GB compressed torrent file.

One declined to comment and the other said he had never visited the website.

The Ashley Madison leak allegedly reveals the names, addresses and sexual fetishes of more than 30 million Ashley Madison members. Several computer security researchers who have managed to download the file claim it is legitimate.

“This [data] dump appears to be legit. Very, very legit.,” wrote computer security researchers from TrustedSec, an information security consulting service, on their company’s blog.

Ashley Madison boats its ability to privately facilitate affairs between married individuals. Its slogan is “life is short, have an affair” — hence making the release of user accounts and personal details potentially very damaging for individuals involved.

Fairfax Media has was unable to independently verify the file, which was initially posted as an almost-10-gigabyte torrent file on a web page accessible only on the anonymous Tor network, which requires a special web browser to access.

Hack appears real

Internet message boards Reddit and 8chan lit up with news of the hack on Wednesday, as users frantically tried to download the file — but because of its large size and the number of people trying to download it, few people were able to look at the data quickly.

One Reddit user did appear to confirm that their data had been exposed in the leak.

“Going back through my credit card statements online, I found the days I signed up and opened the portions of the leaked file … associated with those days,” the user said.

“Each time my credit card was hit, all of my information shows up in the leaked credit card file.

“I do not know yet if the [credit card] info can be associated with the information that was contained in profiles, but it’s bad guys.”

Shortly after the users’ message was posted, Reddit banned the thread where users were discussing the alleged hack.

Australian security researcher Troy Hunt said he was uploading anonymised data to his popular website, Have I Been Pwned, so users could check if their log-in details had been exposed. He said that the leak appeared legitimate.

However Raja Bhatia, Ashley Madison’s former chief technology officer, who is currently working to hunt down the hackers, said immediately after the leak that it was too early to tell whether the data was legitimate.

Despite this, high-profile security writer Brian Krebs said he had spoken with sources who “all have reported finding their information and last four digits of their credit card numbers in the leaked database”.

“I’m sure there are millions of Ashley Madison users who wish it weren’t so, but there is every indication this dump is the real deal,” Krebs said on Twitter.

Security researcher Per Thorsheim posted in his blog on Tuesday that the dumped data contained an account that he was using on Ashley Madison for research purposes, and that he’d verified several of the accounts contained in the dump were real.

Credit card data included in the dump and attached to user accounts also appeared to be real. Thorsheim claimed to have verified at least one credit card number.

Emails may not reveal identities

Ashley Madison allows account sign ups without verifying email addresses. That means, theoretically, users could sign up without using their real email address — meaning the email addresses in the database could be fake.

According to the logs of email addresses posted online so far, that appears to be the case, with several obviously fake email addresses — including former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s — in use

However, the data dump also contains other information, including names, addresses, biographies, and credit card information that may directly identify users.

In a statement to WIRED magazine, the company behind Ashley Madison, Avid Life Media, condemned the reported leak.

“This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality,” it said.

“It is an illegal action against the individual members of AshleyMadison.com, as well as any freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities.”

Hacking originally came to light in July

The hacking originally came to light in July when the hackers behind it posted a small amount of data online and demanded Avid Life Media pull AshleyMadison off the internet.

The hackers claim their actions were motivated by AshleyMadison’s $19 “full delete” feature, which purports to fully scrub account details and personal information from the site’s database. The hackers claim that feature did not work as promised and actually left user information in the site’s database.

Fairfax Media has confirmed a mission statement — supposedly by Impact Team, the hackers behind the leak — was posted to a website on the Tor network.

Hacking group Impact Team posted this message on the Tor network. times up notice image www.intelagencies.com

Hacking group Impact Team posted this message on the Tor network.

“Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men. We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data,” it said.

“Find someone you know in here? Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles. See ashley madison fake profile lawsuit; 90-95 per cent of actual users are male. Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.

“Find yourself in here? It was ALM that failed you and lied to you. Prosecute them and claim damages. Then move on with your life. Learn your lesson and make amends. Embarrassing now, but you’ll get over it.”

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Henry Sapiecha

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