Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Human Intelligence

In the spy game there are various means and methods to gather information. The US has been for several decades building a massive set of technical means, including the NSA and its collection of every bit of useless information. The other side of the spy game is human intel, namely stuff gathered by sitting in a bar or coffee shop, pretending to being someone else, or just looking around to see what is happening. The US under previous Spy Masters and Presidents has eschewed this human form, too messy, and requires certain types of people.

Now along comes the CIA DCI hack. In Wired is the tale, and you really can't make this up It is from the script of Three Days of the Condor. A group of sharp "kids" managed to elicit "secure" information from Verizon, surprise surprise, and then with that hacked the DCI's email account on AOL. Verizon should never have bought that but that is a tale for another day.

They state:

The hacker, who says he’s under 20 years old, told WIRED that he wasn’t working alone but that he and two other people worked on the breach. He says they first did a reverse lookup of Brennan’s mobile phone number to discover that he was a Verizon customer. Then one of them posed as a Verizon technician and called the company asking for details about Brennan’s account.“[W]e told them we work for Verizon and we have a customer on scheduled callback,” he told WIRED. The caller told Verizon that he was unable to access Verizon’s customer database on his own because “our tools were down.” After providing the Verizon employee with a fabricated employee Vcode—a unique code the he says Verizon assigns employees—they got the information they were seeking. This included Brennan’s account number, his four-digit PIN, the backup mobile number on the account, Brennan’s AOL email address and the last four digits on his bank card.

For those who do not remember, that is Human Intel, they did not need to have satellites or massive data centers.I wonder if this will change anything? Doubtful.....after all they are Government employees, perhaps Verizon should shake the tree a bit.