Category Archives: India

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

U S Congress probes NY Fed’s handling of Bangladesh Bank heist

Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman/File Photo

A U.S. congressional committee has launched a probe into the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s handling of the cyber theft of $81 million from one of its accounts held by the central bank of Bangladesh, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The letter, addressed to New York Fed President William Dudley and sent Tuesday from the House of Representatives’ Science Committee, requests “all documents and communications” connected to the February heist, the bank’s oversight of the global financial network SWIFT and the status of any reviews related to the Fed’s information technology conducted since the attack occurred.

The letter follows similar probes launched last month by Tom Carper, the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s top Democrat, and Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat.

The latest inquiry comes as policymakers, regulators and financial institutions around the world increase scrutiny into the heist and related attacks on banks in Vietnam and Ecuador, in which hackers sent fraudulent transaction messages across the SWIFT.

“In light of the recent cyber attacks on our global financial systems, the Committee believes it is imperative to receive information from the NY Fed about its response, its oversight of SWIFT, the status of the investigation, and any remedial steps taken to address vulnerabilities,” states the letter, signed by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican.

A New York Fed spokeswoman said it intended to respond to the new request for information. The bank has so far denied responsibility for the Bangladesh Bank intrusion.

The letter said it was “deeply troubling” that cyber security experts believe more attacks will be uncovered as banks review their security systems, and that Bangladesh Bank’s systems appeared to be the “weak link” in the February attack.

SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, last week urged banks to bolster their security, saying it was aware of multiple attacks. Banks around the world rely on SWIFT to issue payment instructions to each other.

The committee requested a response from the New York Fed by June 14.

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Henry Sapiecha