Moment That Provoked GCHQ to Slap Down White House

Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer is making news again this morning after repeating claims first made on Fox News that GCHQ had been involved in ‘wire tapping’ the then President Elect. The network’s ‘Senior Judicial Analyst‘ Judge Napolitano claimed on Tuesday that Fox had “three intelligence sources” for this. “What the heck is GCHQ?”, he asked.

Responding to Spicer, GCHQ took the step of issuing this statement overnight:

“Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”

What’s the English for kompromat?

GCHQ Director Resigns Only Two Years Into Job

GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan has quit after just two years in the job, citing personal reasons:

“Dear Foreign Secretary.

I have had the great privilege of leading the men and women of GCHQ since 2014. I am proud of what we have achieved in those years. not least setting up the National Cyber Security Centre and building greater public understanding of our intelligence work. I am equally proud of the relentless 24 hour operational effort against terrorism, crime and many other national security threats. While this work must remain secret, you will know how many lives have been saved in this country and overseas by the work of GCHQ.

Underpinning this is our world-class technology and, above all, our brilliant people. As you know, I have also initiated the greatest internal change within GCHQ for thirty years, and l feel that we are now well on the way to being fit for the next generation of security challenges to the UK in the digital age.

After a good deal of thought I have decided that this is the right time to move on and to allow someone else to lead GCHQ through its next phase. I am, like you, a great enthusiast for our history and I think it is right that a new Director should be firmly embedded by our centenary in 2019. I am very committed to GCHQ’s future and will of course be happy to stay in post until you have been able to appoint a successor.

I have been lucky enough to have some extraordinary roles in public service over the last twenty years, from Northern Ireland to No.10, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign Office. But they have all demanded a great deal of my ever patient and understanding family. and new is the right time for a change in direction.

I want to thank you and the many Ministers I have served over the years. and to thank the Prime Minister and her three predecessors. for the opportunities I have been given. I have worked with outstanding people, whether politicians or Crown Servants, and none more so than in GCHQ. I am very confident that they will continue to achieve even greater things in the future.”

Curious…

Guido is Secure

Co-conspirators may have noticed that a little lock now appears in their browser when they come to read Guido. This is because we have switched to HTTPS, the industry standard for providing encryption, authentication, and integrity for content on the web.

We have done this because the news you read can provide intimate details about your interests, your work, and your personal life that you may want to keep private from prying eyes. Without HTTPS, an eavesdropper—whether it’s a snooper on public wifi, or GCHQ collecting information about websites you visit—can trivially see exactly what news articles you read when you go to sites. Eavesdropping on people reading the news is a real threat, as demonstrated by the NSA and GCHQ spying on visitors to WikiLeaks.org.

HTTPS prevents this type of spying, and while an eavesdropper might be able to determine that you visited the website that the Russian Foreign Ministry instructs diplomats to read to find out what is going on in Westmnster, they wouldn’t be able to see which specific stories you read.

According to Der Spiegel GCHQ takes advantage of the lack of encryption to inject malware into a website, which can lead to the complete compromise of a user’s computer and all of their data. A version of this technique, codenamed “Quantum Insert,” was used by GCHQ to attack network sysadmins who read Slashdot, the popular news website in the IT community. (Slashdot has since deployed HTTPS site-wide). Guido wants to protect you from government spies…

MPs Emails’ Accessed by GCHQ

MPS EMAILS HACKED THERESA MAY

MPs voting on the Snooper’s Charter next week might be swayed to oppose Theresa May’s anti-privacy laws by the revelation that GCHQ are already accessing their emails. New documents released by Edward Snowden show GCHQ not only intercepts MPs’ communications – it also scans them in bulk using security software installed to supposedly filter spam emails. GCHQ has been able to skirt around strict rules governing the interception of internal UK communications due to parliament’s decision to switch to Microsoft Office for its email service. This means private emails sent by MPs are routed through servers in Ireland and the Netherlands, with each one being scanned and recorded by GCHQ. MPs should remember they’re governed by the laws they create…

H/T Computer Weekly

Hello @GCHQ

GCHQ says: “In joining social media GCHQ can use its own voice to talk directly about the important work we do in keeping Britain safe”. #ListeningToOurCustomers

We want GCHQ to be more accessible and to help the public understand more about our work. We also want to reach out to the technical community and add our voice to social media conversations about technology, maths, cyber security, and other topics where we have a view. We will be using Twitter to talk about our history, mission outcomes, languages, maths, cyber security, technology and innovation, job opportunities and as a way of signposting events, publications, news, blogs, and opinion pieces.

More realistically, it is becoming essential for recruitment when they are competing with higher-paying tech firms…

GCHQ Can Snoop on Politicians

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the only judicial body with the power to investigate MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, has ruled today that it’s completely fine for spooks to snoop on the communications of MPs. The ruling lays firmly to rest any pretence that the Wilson Doctrine – the principle that MPs’ and peers’ phones should not be tapped, holds any water with GCHQ. If it ever really did…

“We do not accept that the Wilson Doctrine was ever absolute. The policy or general policy of which Mr Wilson spoke was one of not tapping the telephones of Members of Parliament. It seems unlikely to us that such policy, particularly once RIPA was passed by Parliament, with its statutory justification for warrants by reference to the necessity for the interests of national security or the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime etc , was intended to rule out any tapping of such telephones or other similar direct surveillance and certainly not any incidental interception. It is difficult to see how there could be an absolute policy which would rule out interception of any communications with parliamentarians, as opposed to a policy relating to those involving confidential communications with constituents etc.”

Maybe MPs will be more interested now they know all their calls, texts and emails are being logged…

GCHQ Overfill Their Doughnut

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

There are so many new spooks flooding into GCHQ’s iconic doughnut building in Cheltenham that the intelligence agency is applying to build a new temporary block to put them in. It’s only 12 years since GCHQ moved into their shiny headquarters, yet they are applying to lump a 4,500 square meter building on their car park and to tarmac over a nearby field in order to lay down hundreds of parking spaces.

The new building will somewhat negate the raison d’être of the doughnut that was designed to facilitate talking among staff, with a circular walkway that means staff are never more than a 5 minute walk away from each other. They’ll have to start using the phone

GCHQ Failed to “Sway” Judges

judge gchq

GCHQ consider the judiciary rather than political and parliamentary oversight as the “main issue” they have to face when it comes to following the law according to a recently leaked internal slide show. In an indictment of the political class, GCHQ notes that judges are not “swayed by personal contact“.

“Senior High Court judges they are INDEPENDENT, non govt and not openly swayed by personal contact”

Worryingly, the inference is that politicians can be swayed by personal contact. What exactly do the spooks mean by “personal contact”?

GCHQ Hacking School

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

GCHQ have certified six more Masters of Cyber Security degrees, doubling the number of hacking courses offered by British Universities rubber stamped by the Cheltenham spooks. By creating competition between cyber security degrees to receive their official seal of approval, GCHQ are hoping to boost the quality of potential recruits. And have first dibs at snapping up the top graduates…

This latest round of certification comes at a time of unprecedented ‘outreach’ from GCHQ, as they tour the country visiting hacking conferences and offering university students places on their intensive cyber security summer school. Phishing for talent…

GCHQ Guilty of Unauthorised Spying – On Itself

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

GCHQ was rapped last year by the Intelligence Services Commissioner Sir Mark Waller for excessive spying on its own staff. The revelation is made today in Sir Mark’s annual report which describes the over-zealous internal monitoring at GCHQ as an “error” caused by a lack of understanding:

“In 2014, GCHQ reported one error to me which happened when an internal monitoring system of some staff communications was found to be capturing more information than it was authorised to. I followed up on this error during my May inspection and the team explained that because of a lack of understanding of the systems’ full capability more data than had been authorised had been collected.

It was clear to me that this was a technical error and not deliberate. Following the discovery of the error GCHQ deleted the captured data and reconfigured the system to ensure that it only collected the information that it was authorised to collect.”

Let’s hope the spooks don’t make any “technical errors” while they’ve hoovering up the public’s personal data…

Privacy International Launch Legal Bid Against GCHQ

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

Civil Liberty group Privacy International have today filed a legal claim against GCHQ, demanding that the government spooks stop collecting data from those who are not suspected of committing a crime. The existence of “Bulk Personal Datasets” that contain “personal information about a wide range of people” was revealed in Intelligence and Security committee report released in March.

The complaint was filed to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the only judicial body with the power to investigate GCHQ. For the first time this year, the IPT ordered the Cheltenham spooks to destroy illegally obtained documents. Let’s hope they’ve started a precedent…

British Spooks Use Super Secret WiFi Connection In Bavaria

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers

The security service are on tour at the G7 with the the PM and if seems they may not a made too much of an effort to hide their WiFi connection.

Or maybe ze German hosts are having a laugh…

GCHQ Given Licence To Hack

gchq hack

The government has snuck through legislation that exempts the police and security services from prosecution for hacking people’s computers. The legislation was passed into law as an amendment to the Computer Misuse act, bypassing parliamentary debate. Coincidentally, the new legislation was revealed just hours before a hearing into a claim lodged by Privacy International that GCHQ’s hacking activities were unlawful under the Computer Misuse Act…

Not only was parliament not consulted, it appears that none of the relevant regulators such as the Information Commissioner’s Office were included in the decision that gives GCHQ and others carte blanche to launch cyber attacks in the UK. GCHQ, the police, the National Crime Agency, the Crown Prosecution Sevice and the Ministry of Justice were consulted…

GAY-CHQ

The modern Alan Turings at GCHQ are marking International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia with a rainbow…

GCHQ Ordered to Destroy Ilegally Obtained Docs

gchq-always-listening-to-our-customers
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the only judicial body with the power to investigate MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, has for the first time ordered GCHQ to destroy illegally obtained documents. In today’s judgement and determination in a case brought by Amnesty International and other claimants, the IPT found that GCHQ had illegally obtained two documents that were subject to legal professional privilege and humiliatingly, ordered the Cheltenham spooks to destroy them.

“The Tribunal is satisfied that the legally privileged information contained in the two relevant documents will be adequately protected from any unlawful use or disclosure in the future. However in order to emphasise the importance of the protection of legally privileged material the Tribunal has required GCHQ to give an undertaking that the parts of the documents containing legally privileged information will be destroyed or deleted so as to render such information inaccessible to the agency in the future.”

Alan Rusbridger must be having a chuckle…

Telegraph Three Years Late To Spook Scoop

GCHQ at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

The Telegraph ran what appeared to be something of an exclusive this week, reporting that GCHQ are telling business to consider stripping smart phones from staff in order to avoid cyber attacks. Ben Riley-Smith bragged about documents “seen by The Telegraph” that warn firms that their employees are the weakest link in the security chain.

Where did the Telegraph get hold of these top secret documents? Surely they’re not this publicly available advice first published by GCHQ three years ago? 

GCHQ Builds Identity Database of ‘Personal Information’

bulk personal datasets

GCHQ have invented a new doublespeak to justify their use of Mass Surveillance – they now collate “Bulk Personal Datasets.” These datasets contain “personal information about a wide range of people”. Sounds suspiciously like an identity database.

In the spirit of transparency and openness, the revelation about the Bulk Personal Datasets in today’s Privacy and Security report from the Intelligence and Security committee helpfully listed the types of information held in the datasets.

bulk personal datasets information

Worryingly, there is no official oversight for these datasets, leaving the security services free to collect masses of personal data without being held accountable by government.

Surprised they didn’t call it “Nothing to See Here”…

GCHQ Have Broken Encryption, Maybe

gchq break encryption

GCHQ claim to have developed a programme that enables “them to read encrypted communications”. The revelation is made in today’s extensive Privacy and Security report from the Intelligence and Security Committee. It’s also extensively redacted, or as they might say… encrypted. 

The redactions mean there’s no way to tell how far reaching GCHQ’s decryption program has come, but the fact that they are admitting to having the ability to break the encryption used by terrorists, hostile states and sexting teenagers means they are far more capable than Digital Dave has been letting on.

**** *** **** ******* *******!

GCHQ Scares School Children with ‘OctaPi’

Octopic Front

GCHQ are attempting to inspire schoolchildren by showing off an internal build project know as the ‘Bramble OctaPi.” Made from 66 of the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computers, the Bramble Ocatpi is to be unleashed on youngsters as part of the intelligence agency’s PR drive to cultivate a more cuddly image.

GCHQ claims that the “fun and interesting” Bramble is the largest cluster of Pi computers ever assembled. Somewhere in a NSA basement, engineers are furiously hacking together a HexaPi…

GCHQ Lift Slogan From ‘Saw’ Horror Movie

game gchq

GCHQ were at the Securi-Tay ethical hacking conference today, trying to lure young programmers into a career with the security services by inviting them to “play a game“. The tag line “Do you want to play a game” is shared by the Saw horror film franchise, where an anonymous protagonist forces his victims to mutilate themselves and kill their friends in order to survive.[…] Read the rest

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Michael Crick on Safe Seats:

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