Dutch police get OK to exploit zero-days: So will that just mean more surveillance?

Uncategorized | Posted by admin December 6th, 2016

Despite its previously tough stance against encryption backdoors, the Netherlands has now given the green light for its secret services and police to exploit zero-day software vulnerabilities.
By Tina Amirtha for Benelux | December 6, 2016

Last month, the Netherlands government gave its police and central intelligence agency official approval to exploit zero-day vulnerabilities.

These hardware and software flaws, which are unknown to the public and often also to the product makers themselves, are seen by Dutch law-enforcement agencies as key tools in understanding potential cyberattacks.

But critics believe that allowing security agencies to exploit zero-days amounts to a license to conduct covert surveillance programs on the public.

Zero-day vulnerabilities can be unknown or known to manufacturers. In either case, the public is not aware of them until the manufacturer issues a software or firmware patch or update.

Manufacturers usually issue swift updates, but sometimes end users do not download them right away. The Dutch government will also allow law enforcement to exploit known vulnerabilities that users or manufacturers have left untreated for a period.

In a memorandum to parliament, the Netherlands government called the use of hardware and software vulnerabilities by law enforcement an urgent matter of national security, as increasingly more criminals commit crimes via the internet.

As part of new guidelines, government officials are required to make any newly-discovered zero-day vulnerability known to the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre, or NCSC, under a “responsible disclosure” policy. In turn, the NCSC will notify the manufacturer of the flaw.

The new zero-day ruling is a U-turn for the government’s stance on backdoors. In December last year, the Dutch voted to make the public’s digital infrastructure more secure and prevent backdoors by funding three different open-source encryption projects.


Articles | Posted by admin November 4th, 2016

Drugs, guns and counter-surveillance equipment found during DEA raids

Articles | Posted by admin November 4th, 2016

FLINT, MI – Federal agents claim they discovered drugs, guns and counter-surveillance equipment when they executed search warrants at four Southeast Michigan buildings believed to be used for drug trafficking.

Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant at 6:55 a.m. on Oct. 19 at a Flint commercial building investigators say is being used for drug trafficking, according to search warrants filed Oct. 25 in Detroit U.S. District Court.


The warehouse at 3711 Gorey Ave., near Center Road and Robert T. Longway Boulevard, had a “Diverse Business Center” sign on the front, a six-foot fence around the parking lot and “private property” signs on the fence.

The building is located almost at the very end of Gorey Avenue off of Center Road.

A phone number listed for the facility was disconnected.

Federal authorities executed search warrants Oct. 19 at three other locations in Metro Detroit they believed were associated with the investigation. All of the searches were done within 10 minutes of each other.

Names of individuals associated with the investigation are not being released because they have not been charged with a crime related to the searches. The case is currently filed under seal in Detroit U.S. District Court.

Court records show officials believe a man targeted in the investigation was using the Flint building as part of a drug trafficking organization, particularly using it to store drugs, drug paraphernalia and assets purchased with drug proceeds.

Agents seized four bags with suspected marijuana, an ammunition magazine for a .40-caliber handgun and miscellaneous documents from the building, court documents said.

Federal drug agents also searched a home in Southfield and two in Detroit believed to be used by the same suspect.

A home on Negaunee Street in Southfield was believed to be the man’s primary residence, court records claim.

DEA agents seized seven bags and a dozen smaller baggies of suspected marijuana, four handguns, three rifles, ammunition, miscellaneous medical marijuana cards, multiple cell phones and other electronics, a Rolex watch and other assorted jewelry, according to court records.

Agents also searched a home on Greydale Avenue in Detroit that investigators believed the man used to traffic drugs.

Investigators claim they found more marijuana, various pills and and packages of an unknown brown substance in the home.

Court records claim they also discovered a portable bug detector, a fake iPhone recording device, a hidden camera locator, shotgun, suspected ledgers, money counter, scales and more cellphones.

DEA agents allegedly discovered 340 suspected marijuana plants when they searched the fourth location, a home on Westbrook St. in Detroit.

MLive-The Flint Journal could not reach DEA officials for comment.