21 марта, 01:57

NSA Has Been Tracking Bitcoin Users Since 2013, New Snowden Documents Reveal

During his 2015 trial, Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht's defense attorneys raised questions about the government's case that, although they were ultimately disregarded by the jury, have continued to bother crypto users with an affinity for so-called "conspiracy theories." They pointed out vagaries in the FBI's account of its years-long pursuit of Ulbricht, and questioned whether the bureau had truly discovered Ulbricht's involvement on its own, or whether it had help from other deep state elements, namely the National Security Agency. Of course, the judge, who eventually sentenced Ulbricht to life in prison without the possibility of parole, refused to entertain their argument. But if they were correct, it would mean that the government's whole case was built on evidence that was ultimately inadmissible. As it turns out, Ulbricht's lawyers were on to something. In a blockbuster report published Tuesday in the Intercept, reporter Sam Biddle cited several documents included in the massive cache of stolen NSA documents that showed that the agency has been tracking bitcoin users since 2013, and has potentially been funneling some of this information to other federal agencies. Or, as Biddle puts it, maybe the conspiracy theorists were right. It turns out the conspiracy theorists were onto something. Classified documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the National Security Agency indeed worked urgently to target Bitcoin users around the world - and wielded at least one mysterious source of information to "help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoins," according to a top-secret passage in an internal NSA report dating to March 2013. The data source appears to have leveraged the NSA’s ability to harvest and analyze raw, global internet traffic while also exploiting an unnamed software program that purported to offer anonymity to users, according to other documents. Using its ability to siphon data directly from the fiber-optic cables, the NSA managed to develop a system for tracing transactions that went well beyond simple blockchain analysis. The agency relied on a program called MONKEYROCKET, a sham Internet-anonymizing service that, according to the documents, was primarily deployed in Asia, Africa and South America with the intention of thwarting terrorists. The documents indicate that "tracking down" Bitcoin users went well beyond closely examining Bitcoin’s public transaction ledger, known as the Blockchain, where users are typically referred to through anonymous identifiers; the tracking may also have involved gathering intimate details of these users’ computers. The NSA collected some Bitcoin users’ password information, internet activity, and a type of unique device identification number known as a MAC address, a March 29, 2013 NSA memo suggested. In the same document, analysts also discussed tracking internet users’ internet addresses, network ports, and timestamps to identify "BITCOIN Targets." ... The NSA’s budding Bitcoin spy operation looks to have been enabled by its unparalleled ability to siphon traffic from the physical cable connections that form the internet and ferry its traffic around the planet. As of 2013, the NSA’s Bitcoin tracking was achieved through program code-named OAKSTAR, a collection of covert corporate partnerships enabling the agency to monitor communications, including by harvesting internet data as it traveled along fiber optic cables that undergird the internet. ... Specifically, the NSA targeted Bitcoin through MONKEYROCKET, a sub-program of OAKSTAR, which tapped network equipment to gather data from the Middle East, Europe, South America, and Asia, according to classified descriptions. As of spring 2013, MONKEYROCKET was “the sole source of SIGDEV for the BITCOIN Targets,” the March 29, 2013 NSA report stated, using the term for signals intelligence development, “SIGDEV,” to indicate the agency had no other way to surveil Bitcoin users. The data obtained through MONKEYROCKET is described in the documents as “full take” surveillance, meaning the entirety of data passing through a network was examined and at least some entire data sessions were stored for later analysis. Naturally, once the NSA got involved, the notion of anonymity - whether with bitcoin, or even some of the privacy-oriented coins like Zcash - was completely crushed. Emin Gun Sirer, associate professor and co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts at Cornell University, told The Intercept that financial privacy “is something that matters incredibly” to the Bitcoin community, and expects that “people who are privacy conscious will switch to privacy-oriented coins” after learning of the NSA’s work here. Despite Bitcoin’s reputation for privacy, Sirer added, “when the adversary model involves the NSA, the pseudonymity disappears. … You should really lower your expectations of privacy on this network.” Green, who co-founded and currently advises a privacy-focused Bitcoin competitor named Zcash, echoed those sentiments, saying that the NSA’s techniques make privacy features in any digital currencies like Ethereum or Ripple “totally worthless” for those targeted. While bitcoin appeared to be the NSA's top target, it wasn't the agency's only priority. The NSA also used its unparalleled surveillance powers to take down Liberty Reserve - a kind of proto-ICO that was involved in money laundering. Though the company was based in Costa Rica, the Department of Justice partnered with the IRS and Department of Homeland Security to arrest its founder and hand him a 20-year prison sentence. The March 15, 2013 NSA report detailed progress on MONKEYROCKET’s Bitcoin surveillance and noted that American spies were also working to crack Liberty Reserve, a far seedier predecessor. Unlike Bitcoin, for which facilitating drug deals and money laundering was incidental to bigger goals, Liberty Reserve was more or less designed with criminality in mind. Despite being headquartered in Costa Rica, the site was charged with running a $6 billion “laundering scheme” and triple-teamed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and the IRS, resulting in a 20-year conviction for its Ukrainian founder. As of March 2013 — just two months before the Liberty Reserve takedown and indictment — the NSA considered the currency exchange its No. 2 target, second only to Bitcoin. The indictment and prosecution of Liberty Reserve and its staff made no mention of help from the NSA. Of course, several of the agency's defenders argued that the notion that the NSA would use these programs to spy on innocuous bitcoin users is "pernicious", according to one expert source. The hypothesis that the NSA would “launch an entire operation overseas under false pretenses” just to track targets is “pernicious,” said Matthew Green, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute. Such a practice could spread distrust of privacy software in general, particularly in areas like Iran where such tools are desperately needed by dissidents. This “feeds a narrative that the U.S. is untrustworthy,” said Green. “That worries me.” But forget bitcoin: the notion that the NSA has been illegally feeding intelligence to other federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies has been a watershed issue for civil libertarians, with implications far beyond cryptocurrency money laundering. The process, known as "parallel construction", would, if definitive proof could ever be obtained by a defense attorney, render an entire case as inadmissible. Civil libertarians and security researchers have long been concerned that otherwise inadmissible intelligence from the agency is used to build cases against Americans though a process known as “parallel construction”: building a criminal case using admissible evidence obtained by first consulting other evidence, which is kept secret, out of courtrooms and the public eye. An earlier investigation by The Intercept, drawing on court records and documents from Snowden, found evidence the NSA’s most controversial forms of surveillance, which involve warrantless bulk monitoring of emails and fiber optic cables, may have been used in court via parallel construction. The timing of the Intercept's report is also interesting. We reported last year that a Russian national named Alexander Vinnick, the alleged mastermind of a $4 billion bitcoin-based money laundering operation, had been arrested following an indictment that levied 21 counts of money laundering and other crimes that could land him in a US prison for up to 55 years. And given the justice system's treatment of other cryptocurrency-related criminals, the notion that Vinnick might spend multiple decades in prison is not beyond the realm of possibility. Of course, if the case against him is built on illegally obtained evidence, one would think his defense team would want to know. Heavily redacted versions of the Snowden documents are available on the Intercept's website.

20 марта, 13:00

Don’t worry, be happy: счастье по версии Дмитрия Брейтенбихера

К этой теме не раз подступались великие умы, пытаясь раскрыть ее в стихах и прозе. По нашей просьбе своим мнением о том, что значит быть счастливым, делится старший вице-президент ВТБ.

18 марта, 20:51

Посетивший семь участков наблюдатель из Коста-Рики пообещал вернуться в Самару

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Президент палаты по торговле и туризму «Коста-Рика Россия» Эрнесто Хименес Моралес в день голосования на президентских выборах в РФ посетил семь избирательных участков в Самарской области

18 марта, 16:45

Here’s Why More Retirees Are Ditching the U.S. to Retire in a Foreign Country

Retirees can stretch their dollar living abroad. Here's how you can more for your money living outside the U.S.

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17 марта, 07:03

Evangelical conservative leads Costa Rica election race: poll

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Conservative evangelical Christian Fabricio Alvarado Munoz has an effective lead of almost 14 percentage points over ruling party hopeful Carlos Alvarado Quesada in the race to be Costa Rica's next president, an opinion poll showed on Friday.

16 марта, 13:56

The Stan Collymore Show: Backlash over US missing out on 2018 WC, Alexi Lalas recalls USA 94

In this special episode from fantastic Los Angeles: Why did the US fail to qualify for the World Cup? Did they underestimate their rivals or were there other factors? David Beckham’s arrival gave a boost to US soccer back in 2007. How are the things going right now? The US hosted its first World Cup in 1994 – national team star Alexi Lalas shares his memories of the tournament. Bonus track - KAYKOS and DE LA LA bring you their hit ‘Express Yourself.’ [01:11] Public backlash over US team’s failure to qualify for WC [02:47] How Costa Rica and Panama overcame the U.S.? [04:18] Introducing LAFC’s new manager Bob Bradley [04:44] About the growth of soccer in the U.S. [05:10] On young star players and U.S. progression [06:12] Helicopter Ride Around Los Angeles [06:55] Alexi Lalas on 1994 World Cup [08:46] ‘Small countries’ success in WC qualification [10:04] On WC favourites and will U.S. ever have that status? [11:28] Did U.S. underestimate Trinidad, Panama and Costa Rica? [13:47] Sports journalist Scott French on why LAFC will succeed [16:51] What event boosted soccer in the U.S. [17:38] Bob Bradley’s favourite World Cup moments [18:46] Alexi Lalas on meeting Henry Kissinger and Metallica [20:48] KAYKOS and DE LA LA perform ‘Express Yourself’ Check out http://rt.com RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaToday Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnews Follow us on Telegram https://t.me/rtintl Follow us on VK https://vk.com/rt_international Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_com Follow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rt Follow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RT RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Выбор редакции
14 марта, 13:13

Пройдите этот тест и докажите, что вы такой же умный, как среднестатистический семиклассник!

Итак, мы снова спешим к вам с тестом на базовые знания из разных сфер жизни! Его смогут пройти без ошибок 7-классники! А вам слабо? 🤓

13 марта, 16:47

Starbucks (SBUX) Inks Licensing Agreement With SouthRock

Starbucks (SBUX) inks a deal with SouthRock that will enable the latter to develop and operate Starbucks' stores in Brazil.

08 марта, 01:00

Почему в мировом индексе счастья Россия занимает 49 место

Тройка же лидеров выглядит довольно неожиданно - это Коста-Рика, Мексика и Колумбия.

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07 марта, 15:47

Allscripts (MDRX) Launches Avenel to Revamp EHR Platform

Allscripts' (MDRX) innovation team comes up with a user-friendly application, Avenel, to aid patients and clinicians through EHR.

05 марта, 20:30

11 Things We Know About the Casey Affleck Sexual Harassment Allegations

Find out exactly what was said about Casey Affleck in the sexual harassment allegations, and what he has to say in response.

Выбор редакции
04 марта, 15:00

Four Seasons Costa Rica Shines In Peninsula Papagayo After A $35 Million Renovation

Four Seasons Costa Rica continues to set the bar for luxury in Central America.

02 марта, 16:41

Will Segmental Revenues Aid Cooper's (COO) Q1 Earnings?

CooperSurgical sales and broad product spectrum are key catalysts for Cooper's (COO) Q1 earnings. However, falling estimates of other segments are likely to mar prospects.

01 марта, 06:32

Trump decides on steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports

A White House official said an announcement was not planned, but Treasury Department officials had been bracing for its effect on markets.

01 марта, 00:15

Are Mexico's Elections Russia's Next Target?

The warning signs are everywhere, but it’s uncertain whether the country can mount a defense.

28 февраля, 15:04

Latin America poised to agree world's first legal pact for nature defenders

After lengthy negotiations and record deaths of defenders on the continent, sources say a deal is very likely to be reached Latin American countries are poised to agree the world’s first legally binding convention to protect environmental defenders at a conference in Costa Rica. Land activists and indigenous people were killed in record numbers on the continent last year, with more than two nature protectors murdered every week. Continue reading...

27 февраля, 17:49

Allscripts' (MDRX) Fundamentals Strong Amid Stiff Competition

Allscripts' (MDRX) promising fourth-quarter results and international hold are encouraging. Integration risks and cutthroat competition are likely to mar prospects.

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24 февраля, 19:30

Kourtney Kardashian Has Revealed the Details of Her Diet — And It Sounds Impossible

Kourtney Kardashian has such a strict diet, it doesn't even seem worth it.

23 февраля, 04:04

Britain and Europe must ban palm oil in biofuel to save forests, EU parliament told

Forest peoples affected by plantations urge EU to enact ban despite diplomatic oppositionIf Britain and other European nations are to fulfil forest protection goals, they must ban the use of palm oil for biofuel and tighten oversight of supply chains, a delegation of forest peoples told parliamentarians this week.The call for urgent, concrete action comes amid an increasingly heated diplomatic row over the issue between the EU and the governments of major palm-producing nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Costa Rica. Continue reading...