Unperfect e-mail spam by PerfectMoney

Tuesday, April 7. 2015

Thoughout the last months, we got a lot of e-mails concerning a payment service called „PerfectMoney“. In these mails, a lot of „customers“ tell us their „interest“ in using this service to pay for ours. Almost all of these e-mails had the subject „Payment“ and contained only one or two lines of text. These are some of them:

„Greetings. I want to use your services. Can i
pay with PerfectMoney on your site ? Thanks !“
„Hello sir. I am interested in your services
and i want to ask you , can i use Perfect Money to pay on your
website? Thanks and have a great day“
„Hello. I want to use your services. I was
wondering if i can pay with perfectmoney ? thanks“
„Hello . 
I'm interested in using your services and i was
just wondering if i can pay with Perfect Money on your website ?“

Obviously, this is SPAM. And it originates from PerfectMoney themselves, as there is neither a URL nor an affiliate code in these messages. But how trustworthy can a payment service be, that is advertised by massive spam? We visited their German website and read:

„Genauer, zuverlässiger finanzservice, den deutsches Volk anerkennen wird“

Gipfel der Vollendung in der virtuellen Weltwirtschaft wird von nun an durch ein ideales Finanzinstitut – Gesellschaft Perfect Money vertreten, deren Zielprogramm ist es, Finanzoperationen im Internet auf ideales Niveau zu erheben.“

Source: https://perfectmoney.com/?lang=de_DE (2015-04-07)

This sounds like a very bad google translation... How trustworthy can a payment service be, that – instead of writing all English – relies on quite random translations for „informing“ their customers?

Wouldn't it be more honest and effective to directly contact us in the name of PerfectMoney, and acquire us as a partner rather than as a spam victim? 

Just for clarification: we are not against new payment services. They help us to finance our services. And maybe we would give PerfectMoney a try in other circumstances. But we hate SPAM. Maybe this article helps to stop it.

UK Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill

Friday, July 11. 2014

In April 2014 European Court of Justice (CJEU) struck down the UK’s existing laws on communications monitoring because it breached EU privacy laws.

A new data retention law was prepared and will pass with fast track legislation under conditions of emergency security legislation at short. Telecommunication companies would have to keep records of metadata for each communication and the addresses of websites visited by their customers for at least 12 months.

Prime Minister Cameron said, the emergency security legislation for passing the new bill is required because danger of terrorism, partially because of return of people from terrorism groups in Iraq and Syria:

The ability to access information about communications and intercept the communications of dangerous individuals is essential to fight the threat from criminals and terrorists targeting the UK

NSA and Tor

Friday, July 4. 2014

Half a year ago in October 2013 the Guardian published the NSA presentation "Tor stinks" and we know, the NSA collects all IPs of Tor clients and Tor user get special attention of NSA. Slide 23 of the presentation:

Tor stinks

Yesterday somebody featured out that XKeyscore is used to collect the Tor client IPs. Why not? Not a big news for me, it is more a technical detail.

EVERYBODY is a target for NSA, the slogan is: "Take it all". You have to use more strong privacy enhancing technologies against mass surveillance and Tor is one of the options you have.

Privacy enhancing technologies like Tor or JonDonym may help you but can not stop mass surveillance at all. YOU have to fight on a political level too and it is time to do it NOW.

The evil face of NSA is the biggest danger for democracy. (W. Binney)

Update about FBI's NGI

Tuesday, April 15. 2014

In October 2011 we wrote about the start of the Next Generation Identification Database (NGI) of the FBI. New documents published by EFF.org show that the FBI is on the way toward a fully operational face recognition database by this summer. The NGI database contains biometric records like fingerprints, palm prints, iris scans, and facial recognition data. Biometric datasets are linked with personal information like their home address, age, legal status, and other potentially compromising details. As much as one third of the U.S. population is stored up to now in NGI (criminals and non-criminals).

By EEF.org the most dangerous part is the face recognition component of NGI. At the moment the database contains 13.6 million images representing between 7 and 8 million individuals. Until 2015 the database may contain 52 million images and will be one of the larges face recognition database around the world.

Read the full article FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in its NGI Face Recognition Database at EFF.org.

OpenSSL Bug

Wednesday, April 9. 2014

Some small remarks about the OpenSSL bug CVE-2014-0160 related to JonDonym:

  1. JonDonym services: JonDonym services (mix cascades, JonDos payment instance, infoservices) and our software (JonDo, JonDoDaemon, JonDoBrowser) are not affected by this bug.

  2. JonDo live-cd/dvd: The software compilation of our live-cd/dvd contains affected software. An security update for our live-cd/dvd with bugfixes is ready for download. If you were using the live-cd/dvd an update is highly recommended!

  3. JonDonym webserver: Our webservers got the software updates yesterday and we will change the SSL certificates soon as possible. Because the certification authorities are under pressure now it may may take a few day to get a certification.

  4. Certificate Patrol in JonDoFox: Many other webservers changed the SSL certificates or will change it within the next days. If you were using the Certificate Patrol implementation of JonDoFox for detecting faked SSL certificates (see: "about:jondofox" or "about:jondobrowser") you will get many false warnings about suspicious certificate changes within the next days like the example of DuckDuckGo below.

    Certificate Patrol warning

    If security is really important, you may check the blog of the service provider for notices about new SSL certificates or you may check the certificate in other ways too. The Perspectives project offers a test website, were you can compare the md5 hash of the SSL certificate you got with the certificate seen by notary servers. For DuckDuckGo I got the result:

    Certificate Patrol warning

    Yesterday five notary servers of Perspectives have seen a new SSL certificate with md5 hash c5:c9:d4:ab:1e:1b:fa:a8:d6:34:99:84:97:2d:cd:2d. The warning presented by Certificate Patrol seem to be a false positive.

    If you were using the SSL Observatory of EFF.org for detecting faked SSL certificates you don't get false positive warnings, it is only related to Certificate Patrol.

Improvements in Face Recognition

Thursday, March 20. 2014

If a human will see two photos with unknown persons he will recognize the same person right 97.53 percent of the time. Facebook's AI research group developed the software DeepFace which was right 97.25 percent on the same challenge, regardless of variations in lighting or whether the person in the picture is directly facing the camera. The software DeepFace will be presented on IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in June 2014.

We closely approach human performance. (Y. Taigman, a member of Facebook's AI team)

The results are based on the power of a new approach to artificial intelligence known as "Deep Learning". It uses artificial neuronal networks to learn to recognize patterns in large amounts of data.

The right recognition of unknown faces is a great step in comparison to today commonly used approaches based on face recognition databases. This kind of technology will change video surveillance and automated photo analysis.

Photos may contain the same meta data like email communication or SMS. If person A and person B were more than once recognized in the same photo a connection between both persons can assumed in same way like an email contact between A and B.

Android Remote Code Execution

Tuesday, February 25. 2014

For secure operating systems "remote code execution" is a serious bug, for Android it is a feature.

In the paper Execute This! (PDF) researchers of UC Sante Barabara (US) and University Bonn (Germany) analyzed the security implications of the ability to load additional code for execution from an external source by Android apps.

  • 32.5% out of 1,632 randomly selected apps in the Google Play store were loading code from extern servers after installation.

  • The code loaded from an extern server at runtime is not checked by the Bouncer of Google Play store and is not checked by any tested anti-virus app. An attacker may place a funny game in the Play store and load the malicious code at runtime from an own server.

  • More than 30.000 apps installed by more the ten millions of user load remote code in an insecure way. An attacker may use simple injection attacks to modify the download. It is not required to use an exploit to hack the smartphone.

No comment.

Kein No-Spy-Abkommen

Thursday, December 19. 2013

Es wird kein No-Spy-Abkommen geben, erklärte die US-Sicherheitsberaterin S. Rice bei Gesprächen in Berlin (Heise.de berichtete). Natürlich bekommt man kein No-Spy-Abkommen, wenn man die Chefetage der deutschen Geheimdienste als Verhandlungsführer losschickt. Seit wann können Bökke gärtnern?

Die Verhandlungen über ein Abkommen zur Verbesserung der geheimdienstlichen Kooperation zwischen BND/BfV und NSA werden aber fortgesetzt.

Datensammlungen sind kein Selbstzweck

Im Gegensatz zur Briefmarkensammlung, die in sich selbst einen ästhetischen Wert für den Besitzer hat, sind die die geheimdienstlichen Datensammlungen der n-spying-eyes kein Selbstzweck. Wirtschafts­spionage wird immer wieder als Ziel genannt, Beeinflussung politischer Entscheidungsprozesse ist offensichtlich oder die informations-logistische Unterstützung von Kriegen (z.B. in Afghanistan).

Diese konkreten Aufgaben rechtfertigen aber noch nicht die Sammlung aller menschlichen Kommunikationsdaten (General Keith Alexander: "Collect it all!") und den heimlichen Aufbau des "größten Überwachungssystem der menschlichen Geschichte" (Glenn Greewald).

In der klassischen Reglungstechnik ist das Datensammeln die Aufgabe der "Sensoren". Über eine Analyse­komponente ("Regler") wird mittels Einwirkung / Gegenwirken / Manipulation (realisiert durch "Aktoren") ein Sollwert stabilisiert.

Manipuliertes Dingsbums

Unterschwellig ahnen wir, dass es auch gesellschaftlich die Einwirk-Komponenten ("Aktoren") bereits gibt, kaum sichtbar wie die "Sensoren" in der Ära vor Snowden. Teile der Medien gehören zweifellos dazu, die Identifikation und Beeinflussung von Key-Accounts auf vielen gesellschaftspolitischen Ebenen...

Während uns in in einer Demokratiesimulation alle vier Jahre vorgegaukelt wird, wir hätten eine Wahl (in Wirklichkeit werden nur ein paar Regierungspöstchen neu besetzt), rollt der Zug in eine andere Richtung, in eine "postdemokratische Überwachungs- und Kontrollgesellschaft". (The Logic of Surveillance)

Kryptografie allein wird uns nicht retten. Nur die Verschlüsselung von E-Mails und die Anwendung weiterer Methoden des Digitalen Aikido, die auf Crypto-Partys vermittelt werden. reichen nicht aus, um eine neue Fahrkarte zu lösen. Noam Chomsky formulierte eine wichtigere Aufgabe:

... die Bürger demokratischer Gesellschaften sollten Kurse für geistige Selbstverteidigung besuchen, um sich gegen Manipulation und Kontrolle wehren zu können...

The Hidden Operating System...

Thursday, December 5. 2013
... in your Smartphone

Every smartphone or other device with mobile communications capability (e.g. 3G or LTE) actually runs not only the end-users operating systems (Android, iOS, PalmOS). Aside from the end-users operating system, it also runs a small hidden operating system that manages everything related to radio. Because of highly timing-dependent functionality, a real-time operating system is required. Qualcomm is the leader with 72% market share of AMSS.

This hidden operating system is closed source, stored in firmware, and runs on the baseband processor. The baseband processor is usually the master in your smartphone with full control over all hardware like microphone an camera, whereas the application processor (which runs the Linux kernel and end-users operating system) is the slave.

The closed software of the hidden operating system is poorly understood and poorly documented and not secure, as there's no proper peer review. The standards that govern how the baseband processors work were designed with a '90s attitude towards security. Each security analysis required a reverse engineering of the closed software. Some research results were published in the last years:

  • Security researcher Ralf-Philipp Weinmann presented a remote code execution attack with only 73 bytes on the DeepSec 2010. He opened a backdoor on Androids and iPhones and activated the microphones remotely: All Your Baseband Are Belong To Us.

  • In 2013 Weinmann presented an improved attack Hexagon challenges at PacSec.

  • A telecommunications security research group at the Technical University of Berlin was able to hack phones and block calls and texts intended for nearby people connected to the same cellular network. They demonstrated the usage of very less hardware requirements and used only smartphones for the attack. It was presented on 22nd USENIX Security Symposium: firmware tweak block subscriber.

Law enforcement agencies may have access to the hidden operating system too (by exploit or backdoor?). In 2006 the FBI turned the phones of the mafia bosses Ardito und Peluso into spying bugs by activating the microphones remotely. This was 4 years before the presentation of first civil research results about baseband hacking by Weinmann.

... in your Car

As of Oct. 2015 all new cars in EU have to be equipped with an eCall system. This small "mobile phone" will send automated emergency calls in case of crashes to alert first aid emergency services more quickly.

Privacy advocates are alarmed about this. All location tracking services for mobile phones will work for cars too in a near future?

  • The EU data retention law may force mobile communication providers to keep the location data for each smartphone for 6 month and more. This will affect cars with eCall systems too?

  • The NSA is tracking cellphone locations worldwide. Not only cellphones but cars too in future?

  • Silent SMS may locate cars very exactly without applying a GPS tracking modul.

  • .... and more

Privacy advocates of the EU parliament asked for clear usage restriction of location data of eCall systems only for location of crashes. (Why can't I calm down by reading this?)

A Right to Privacy

Friday, November 22. 2013

A Brazilian and German UN initiative seeks to apply the right to privacy in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to online communications. All states are called "to respect and protect the right to privacy". Violations should be outlined like human rights violations. A final version of the text was scheduled to be presented to U.N. members on Wednesday evening and the resolution is expected to be adopted next week.

Publicly, U.S. representatives say they're open to an affirmation of privacy rights. But a confidential paper highlighting American objectives in the negotiations, Right to Privacy in the Digital Age -- U.S. Redlines.

  1. Clarify that references to privacy rights are referring explicitly to States’ obligations under ICCPR and remove suggestion that such obligations apply extra-territorially.

  2. Clarify that the focus of the resolution is on "unlawful" or "illegal" surveillance and interception of communications.

    (For an example: §215 US PATRIOT Act supports a "sensitive collection program" targeting large numbers of Americans - it has to be ok.)

  3. Clarify that violations of privacy rights to not necessarily violate freedom of expression.

If privacy in online communications became a human rights status it will not stop espionage. But US government's wants to be able to say "we haven't broken the law and our constitution, we're not breaking the law and our constitution, and we won't break ....".

5,9,14...41

Tuesday, November 5. 2013

New documents provided by Snowden/Greenwald show the elite of nations collaborating with the NSA.

  • The "five spying eyes" are the well known inner circle of USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zeeland, based on the UKUSA agreement.

  • First level friends are Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and France. Together with the inner circle we have to talk about "The 9 spying eyes".

  • Second level friends are Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden. (It is little bit strange to call Sweden a second level friend, because the FRA is spying for the NATO. 70% of international Internet traffic of Russia is routed over Sweden and scanned by FRA for spying purposes in cooperation with NSA.)

  • Third level friends are all cooperating intelligence services in Middle East and Afghanistan, 41 countries at all.

Germany has long protested at its exclusion from 9-Eyes and were a little grumpy at not being invited to join the group. Now, using the scandal following the disclosure of Merkels phone tap, the German intelligence service want to became a part of the inner circle. Official it is called "No-spy-agreement", but such an agreement covered by a second secret cooperation agreement forms the basis for entering the inner circle. The partners of the inner circle have to collect large scale of information, pre-processing and send relevant results to the NSA/GCHQ data pool. In this case NSA and GCHQ may stop or reduce the spying in Germany.

Some German politicians are ready to go this way. By an internal paper of CDU/CSU (link only in German) the surveillance of Internet should be extended in NSA-style. German intelligence services should be improved to watch directly at Internet exchange nodes like DE-CIX.

Thunderbird 24.1 and TorBirdy

Tuesday, November 5. 2013

If you were running Thunderbird 24.1 with TorBirdy you have to update to TorBirdy 1.2 (strongly recommended). This version is not available on the Mozilla add-on website at the moment but it is reviewed by Mozilla and will be published soon. At the moment you have to download torbirdy-current.xpi and install it by hand. Install instructions you may find in our online help: Configuration of Mozilla Thunderbird.

For all other user of TorBirdy an update is encouraged too.

Cookieless Cookie Fake Test

Thursday, October 24. 2013

Last time we got some hints about a cookieless cookie test. Some JonDonym user were afraid of being tracked by the test with ETags and want to know our opinion about the Firefox add-on Self-Destructing Cookies, which is promoted on the website.

At short: it is a fake test and the add-on Self-Destructing Cookies is more or less useless.

The Cookieless Cookie Test

On the test page you can find a short description. The author claims, that he don't use Cookies, Javascript, LocalStorage, Flash, Java or other plugins, the IP address, user agent string or any methods employed by Panopticlick. He claims, that he uses only ETags from browser cache for the tracking demonstration.

Let's make a test. I used JonDoFox+JonDo and open the page: Number of visits: 1
Stored text: <empty>

Ok - let's reload the page: Number of visits: 2
Stored text: <empty>

I stored a small text and click the "Store" button: Number of visits: 3
Stored text: <my text>

I closed JonDoFox, open it again and load the test page: Number of visits: 4
Stored text: <my text>

What a fuck! You want to tell me, you can track a JonDoFox by using ETags? Bullshit! Let's make an moose accident test and change the IP address. The author claims, that he don't use the IP address but only ETags from browser cache. I switched the mix cascade and reload the test with a new IP address, without browser restart and without clearing the cache. If it was possible for the test to track my browser I have to see "5" visits and my text, but I got: Number of visits: 2
Stored text: <empty>

Ok - after some more test and logging the HTTP header it was clear. The test uses the IP address for session tracking and the user agent but not ETags. If an ETag was sent or not didn't affect the test result. The claims of the author are lies, it is a fake test.

Firefox add-on "Self-Destructing Cookies"

The main goal of cookieless cookie test is the promotion of the Firefox add-on Self-Destructing Cookies. It should protect you from tracking by cookiesless cookies. To test the add-on I created a fresh Firefox profil, made a try to install the add-on and got an error message: "not for your operating system". Fuck! But I found a laptop with a supported operating system and installed the add-on for a test.

  1. At first I tested the add-on with our Anonymity Test. The add-on works like expected. It removes cookies and ETags if Firefox was closed or if the browser tab was closed. It doesn't protect the surfer from third-party tracking with ETags.

    Firefox offers same protection by default without add-ons. You may delete cookies and ETags at shutdown by configuration settings and you can delete cookies and ETags during websurfing by hit CTRL-SHIFT-DEL. It is not required to close the browser tab.

    JonDoFox and JonDoBrowser offer much better protection against tracking with ETags.

  2. Afterwards I tested the add-on with the cookieless cookie test page. For my first visit I got: Number of visits: 1
    Stored text: <empty>

    After reload the page I got: Number of visits: 1
    Stored text: <empty>

    Reload ... reload ... reload: Number of visits: 1
    Stored text: <empty>

    This result is very strange, because the add-on doesn't protect against tracking with ETags, if you don't close the browser tab. To be sure I logged the HTTP header. The HTTP request sent by the browser for a tracking image was: GET http://lucb1e.com/rp/cookielesscookies/etags.jpg HTTP/1.1 Host: lucb1e.com
    User-Agent: ....
    ... Referer: http://lucb1e.com/rp/cookielesscookies/
    Connection: keep-alive
    If-Modified-Since: Sat, 17 Aug 2013 16:37:37 GMT
    If-None-Match: "6185-4e427532a9640"
    Cache-Control: max-age=0

    The webserver responded with: HTTP/1.0 304 Not Modified
    Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2013 21:05:44 GMT
    Server: Apache
    ETag: "6185-4e427532a9640"
    X-Cache: MISS from none
    Connection: keep-alive
    Proxy-Connection: keep-alive

    Ok - an ETag was send back to the server and the server recognized the ETag - no tracking protection in case. The Test page shows a wrong fake result. It seems, the test page can detect the installed add-on and show a wrong, fake result in this case.

It may be interesting to check the code of the add-on. Why was it not possible to implement a portable solution running on all operating systems for this simple task done by the add-on? I don't have time for fun, but if someone else will have a look at the code...

Information leaks by search plug-ins

Friday, October 18. 2013

If you were using the JonDoFox profile for Firefox you will find search plug-ins installed by default and search plug-ins installed by JonDoFox in the list of search engines:

search plug-ins

The search plug-ins installed by default are not very privacy-friendly and may leak information about the used browser and/or operating system. It is possible to discover the user-agent send by JonDoFox as a fake and use minor differences to discriminate between JonDonym users. Some examples of search URLs by using default installed plug-ins:

Google (Windows, Ubuntu, FreeBSD):

https://www.google.de/search?q=<word>....&rls=org.mozilla:de:official....

https://www.google.de/search?client=ubuntu&q=a<word>....

https://www.google.nl/search?q=<word>....&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial....

DuckDuckGo (Ubuntu, FreeBSD):

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=<word>&t=canonical

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=<word>&t=freebsd

Amazon (Windows, Ubuntu, FreeBSD):

http://www.amazon.de/s?ie=UTF8&field-keywords=<word>....&tag=firefox-de-21

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-keywords=<word>....&tag=wwwcanoniccom-20

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-keywords=<word>....&tag=mozilla-20

Conclusion: Do NOT use the search engines installed by default but use the JonDoFox search plug-ins. You may disable unwanted search plug-ins by "manage search engines" dialog.

manage search plugins

New NSA Datacenter online

Saturday, September 28. 2013

A year ago the whistleblower W. Binney published information about the planned new NSA datacenter in Bluffdale (Utah). This datacenter will be the largest NSA datacenter worldwide and it will be at first a bottomless storage. Among other data it will store all Google searches, alle GMail email and all chats forever. By an article of the newspaper Salt Lake Tribune this new datacenter is (partially) online now.

In Germany the NSA builds a new Consolidated Intelligence Centers for $124 Mio. in Wiesbaden-Erbenheim (US-army headquarters). The first information about the new NSA spying center in Germany was leaked by Snowden and is now confirmed by the NSA partner German Federal Intelligence Service (BND).