Sunday, January 04, 2009

Check your firewalls, people

Via Timmy, I see that our real government has approved yet more disgustingly illiberal powers for the police.
THE Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant.

The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives “a coach and horses” through privacy laws.

The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room.

Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.

Seriously, what the FUCK? There is, quite simply, absolutely no excuse for this at all. The police should not have the power to examine people's personal records without showing that they have evidence to suspect them of a crime (and then only in extremis).

This measure allows government agents to bypass the law; what better demonstration do you need that these cunts are now moving to rule by ministerial fiat, and not by law?

And should we be surprised? The law is there to protect us against tyrannical governments and, bit by bit, the state is sidelining the law in order to gain complete power over us serfs.

And if we turn around and protest, these fucking cunts will simply point at the EU and say, "it's their fault." And if we say, "if that is the case then we should leave" (although precious few of the morons in this country will notice), the government starts waving lies about "three million unemployed as a consequence" in front of us.

Dear fucking shitting hell, can we fucking well leave yet?


Anonymous said...

Since this won't work against anyone with even half a clue, the next step, of course, will be for the Eurocrats to ban any operating system or firewall which doesn't include an approved backdoor for government access.

I'd give it five years max; and Microsoft are probably salivating at the thought of all those 'upgrade' fees.

JuliaM said...

"This measure allows government agents to bypass the law..."

You mean, gives them legal coverage for what they were certainly already doing in secret...

Mr Handcart said...

I've got a physical lock on my Power Mac, password protection and my network is MAC-address filtered and WPA-2 encrypted. To be honest, if they can get past that lot then let them have it. Mind you, plod's computer experts are usually clueless. But it's the principle. We're slowly being stripped naked by these jackasses. Why did the unelected council of ministers ask for this and why did our government roll over and let them have it? My guess is half the problem is the way this government has allowed muslim extremists to flourish and thrive in the UK. The multicultural monster has gone out of control. The government thought it could manage the fuzzy-wuzzies.

Roger Thornhill said...

"our" government rolled over because they work for them.

Maybe we should have a website, instead of "they work for you" a "they work for them" showing who is in the pocket of the EUdenrat.

These people see a pan-European "employment zone" for lickspittles like themselves. Gordon is on a promise, for sure, as are all the other traitors.

Bob Dowling said...

How can they get away with this without a search warrant?

On to the technical issues:
Are the writers of anti-malware software going to be told to not report HMG's malware? If so then it must have a recognisable signature to be excluded. So that signature can leak and we can go looking for it. Or we can import anti-malware software without HMG's exclusion.

Does giving out security advice that may block HMG's malware constitute aiding and abetting terrorists? ("Don't run with system privileges. Especially don't browse the web, read email, read IM or receive any other data from the Internet except as a user without system privileges.")

This whole thing makes no technical sense at all. I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose. I still wonder if it has been mis-reported.

The one ray of hope is that HMG will screw up this IT project as badly as all the others.

Trixy said...

And of course the meetings are in secret. Which our government approves of.

Only a few months until you get to send them a message, people, and a few more until you have the ability to actually leave the EU.

But you probably won't because what would the neighbours say, or some other shit.

And DK, don't forget that Call Me Dave also used the 3 1/2 million unemployed figure when asked why he wanted to keep us chained to the EU.

wv: twally. I like that word

Anonymous said...

You are a computer expert--how about a quick guide to stopping them from reading our computers for those of us who are not. This would be a handy help and would be a practical way of hitting back instead of just venting rage.

Loki said...

I have nothing to add to the comments above, except to say that the wv is logyn - which I may never do again if this story is true!

Kevin said...

The point is, of course, that we need to leave the corrupt EUSSR. But we won't with the present political setup. Lobby your MP or potential MP and let them know why you think the present system is shite.

Devil's Kitchen said...


"You are a computer expert--how about a quick guide to stopping them from reading our computers for those of us who are not."

I am not a networking expert. However, I shall try to get some stuff together and publish a guide if I can.


Mr Handcart said...

Here are a few suggestions for starters...

1 Use Apple OS X or Linux operating systems. Micro$hite is not open with its code and could well sell a back door key to any government or public body.

2 Install a program such as Little Snitch on OS X that tells you if and when stuff is being relayed to another computer without your authorisation.

3 Protect your computer with a good password and if you have a laptop, lock it up or keep it with you so the bastards can't get to it in order to install anything.

4 Make sure your firewall is turned on and either use a wired network or make sure you have really good encryption and MAC address filtering on your router. Anything you can do to slow them down or put up another barrier is worth implementing.

5 Don't open suspicious emails or emails with attachments from people you don't know. Encrypt your emails if they contain sensitive information.

6 If you do have anything on your computer that you're concerned about, then don't simply wipe the hard drive... take a sledge hammer to it and then drop it in some water! A new hard drive costs less than £50. Cheap at the price.

Anyone else got any good ideas?

Anonymous said...

I don't get it DK. You complain against this sort of intrusion but are less inclined to complain about innocent civilians being killed in Gaza as We speak. Out of the two what really riles you more?

Anonymous said...

'Anyone else got any good ideas?'

Yes. Turn your telly off, get out of your fucking armchairs, get on the streets and slay the fucking inept Member of Parliament cunts in their beds (with the honourable exception of Douglas Carswell).

Anonymous said...

"I don't get it DK. You complain against this sort of intrusion but are less inclined to complain about innocent civilians being killed in Gaza as We speak. Out of the two what really riles you more?"

You are a complete and utter cunt. Hopefully you will go and flush yourself down the nearest public bog and stop posting such utter bollocks.

Your intrusion upon my thoughts is easily more offensive than what Hamas have coming to them. Civilians my arse.

Devil's Kitchen said...


"You complain against this sort of intrusion but are less inclined to complain about innocent civilians being killed in Gaza as We speak. Out of the two what really riles you more?"

Yawn. But, "this sort of intrusion", of course.

First, the Israelis and Palestinians will carry on killing each other regardless: we should not get involved on either side. Otherwise, we would be the intruders. Or were you pro the Iraq War?

Second, naturally I care about the standard of living of myself and my countrymen over and above a bunch of armed terrorists half a world away. See Smith and Hobbes.

Third, how can we moralise about "freedom" when our own politicians are turning their citizens into serfs?

Fourth, there is a slim hope that I might be able to help here.


Shug Niggurath said...

The site I read earlier on this topic (via Old Holborn) clearly stated that the Home Office were working with the EU on this.

There is a degree of paranoia here, after all there are millions of connected machines and not so many snoopers so I tend to not be totally worried (or get the tin hat on) about it. That does not prevent me from being utterly disgusted about it. Nor am I suggesting that paranoia about these officious little pricks is a bad thing.

But here's an interesting thing for you.

I am currently on my Windows laptop as I spent the afternoon working. It's a work machine and runs VNC by default. Twice today an authorisation window has popped up to allow someone control of my machine - and then quickly disappeared again. I've used this laptop from home many times and this has never happened before.

(VNC is a bit of software that allows remote users to connect to and use my machine as if they were sitting at the keyboard, a bit like Remote Desktop Assistance on a PC or Remote Desktop Connection on a Mac)

I also run VNC on my Mac at home now and again so I think I may set it up as a startup item and see if it happens again.

@Mr Handcart, sounds like you would at least be able to tell should your machine get blasted. Your list of what to do's looks pretty comprehensive.

@Bob Dowling: again looks like good advice, for those not sure generate a username that is not an administrator (your default login probably is if you set it up yourself).

I would also suggest that a Devil or a Guido would be more likely to get a knock than people simply commenting. So when they come for you mr D can I get your Libertarian Party pin badge? The back fell off mine and I lost it!

Dr Dan H. said...

Ok... where to start to scotch the little darlings' plans...?

First off, remember this: anything radio-based can be listened to, so if you're talking over a wifi network, someone can sniff it, from a surprising distance away. So, don't use wifi; those through-the-powercables networking things give much better throughput and security anyway.

Secondly, the first thing your broadband feed hits has to be a dedicated firewall. I prefer Netgear's "blue box" style business routers, mostly because they're no-nonsense machines built to do a job and do it well. They also do stateful firewalling, NAT routing and anti-portscanning and effectively mean that unless you open a port through them, then the only thing HM Government is going to see is NetgearOS slamming the door in their faces.

After the NAT router, then, we come to the PC. Ignore Microsoft completely here, and run one of Linux (Ubuntu preferred here, but pick one you like), Mac OS or BSD, and for goodness sakes keep it up to date.

Install or activate the firewall on the PC; Firestarter is a good Linux app for this, and if you must install an SSH server, install something like Fail2Ban or Denyhosts to monitor the SSH server, and ban anyone trying to brute-force their way in.

Do all that, and the odds of HM Government hacking the system are somewhere between zilch and bugger all.

For extra security, install Truecrypt and create as many encrypted enclosures as you feel you need; Truecrypt also has a nifty "box inside a box" feature designed especially for circumventing the heinous RIP Act, should you feel that sidestepping this foul legislation is needed in your line of work.

If you are completely unable to do without the Blight of Redmond, install Sun's inestimable Virtualbox software, and run the Windows inside a virtual enclosure. Once you have Windows installed and updated (remember, always update software!), use the Virtualbox snapshot system to take an image of a known-working Windows install; this is useful for when Windows throws a wobbly and decides to cease working since you can then ditch the duff image and replace it with a working one.

Anyway, that's about it; share the info and help remain free!

The Empty Suit said...

More disgusting illberaility here:

Chalcedon said...

We are going to have 3 million unemployed soon anyway so we should leave. Or preferably stop paying the absurd amount we do pay to the corrupt fuckers and let them boot us out!

Mr Handcart said...

I doubt we'll be allowed to leave. More likely is internal exile... but where? Where would be Gordon's Gorky?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr Dan, never understood a word!! shit, come and get me HMG

zeno said...

And, of course, if you want to send anything sensitive via e-mail use GnuPG. It runs on almost anything and there's a handy plugin to most e-mail clients. It's easy to set up and about as secure as you can get.

Now, does anyone know a GnuPG plug-in for web developers that would allow them to encrypt their pages on the fly? Combine that with a system like Tor and it would be practically impossible for someone to see where and what you're browsing.

Anonymous said...

The ability of government agencies to intercept communications is nothing new.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 gave legal authority to do so and ISPs were obliged to cooperate.
The use of "carnivore" and "omnivore" are well documented....( just google...or check wikpeadia)

"Auscanzukus" is similarly well documented as is its use of "echelon".

However, tracking stations to intercept communications are somewhat hampered by the relative decline in the use of satellite systems, the preference being to use fibre optics these days. In effect that means that to monitor communications across national borders requires either that there are "illegal"intercept sites on the territories of foreign ( very possibly friendly) countries.....or that there is some kind of agreement between these countries. This is where the current EU wide initiative is important; it permits and allows cross border cooperation and extends the informal arrangements that previously existed ( eg between Germany and Austria) to all EU states.

In case if anybody's interested my PC isn't password protected and my wifi isn't protected or encrypted either; and since I don't have particularly sophistocated firewalls or antispyware/malware ( just the usual commercial and or freeware) it wouldn't pick up or identify "magic lantern" type sniffers. Now of course I've got nothing to hide, so i've got nothing to worry about and in any event i've got some ( some) sympathy with the position that our security services might need access to the hard disks and communications of criminals, perverts and terrorists.

But here's the rub......let's assume that I do trust our government ( whom we collectively elected) and that I trust our police and security services to behave responsibly with these new powers ( which remember aren't really that new).......but do I and should I trust the governments and security services of foreign powers who can now legitimately get access to my hard disk , communications and internet browsing history? EU partners they may be, but Johnnie Foreigner elected his government..not me, and Johnnie Foreigner's government controls and regulates their own police and security services....not my government. Do i want the German or Latvian security forces rummaging around in my temporary cache........or ( heaven forbid) THE FRENCH?

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that the Human rights act would have stopped this kind of intrusion - but there we are, We have a government that is obsessed with tracking our every move and defying us of the liberties that were fought for at a heavy price in WW1 &WW2. It is an insult to those who were killed to have our freedoms stripped away and I would only hope that the british public will all band together and fight to remove these scum from power - and also tell the EU to fuck off - they hate us anyway - just look at the fucking song contest voting!!

Time for the british people to take control -these twats will destroy internet confidence for shopping/banking online and even decent porn surfers (not kiddie porn of course) - screw this fucking government and the EU- I hate this fucking country

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