Belgians Aid Police With Cat Pictures

After the recent events in Paris, police in Belgium have been operating to find Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris attacks. The operations came to a height on Sunday when a search of Brussels was conducted amid requests from the police for people to not post information about their activities.

So how did the internet respond? By tweeting cat pictures! The hash tag #BrusselsLockdown became awash with images of kittens as people swamped out any reports of police activity amongst a sea of kittens.

The initial tweet reads as follows:

This (roughly) translates as:

For safety, please observe the radio silence on social media regarding ongoing police operating in Brussels. Thank you

The public’s response was simply amazing with the following tweets showing that not only do they care, they will do anything to help hinder those who weren’t willing to listen.

 

 

The police even posted this message in response to the overwhelming public support for their actions:

This translates to:

For cats who helped us last night, help yourself!

With both the public and the police using social media to not only help one another but also to help calm and entertain others in a time like this it goes to show that the internet does have a good side.

Thank you to the BBC for bringing these amazingly heroic cats to light.

U.S. Judge Tried to Bribe FBI Agent with Beer for Text Messages

We’ve all heard the stories, governments and agencies using every method under the sky for obtaining information. Although, I think this is the first time that I’ve heard someone try to obtain information by offering beer, at least that’s what Wayne County Superior Court Judge Arnold Ogden Jones is accused on.

According to initial reports, the judge asked the FBI official to obtain the text messages of two phone numbers on the 27th October, with it being clearly outlined by offering a few cases of beer for the action. The next issue arrived on November 3rd, when the Judge stated the had the FBI agents “paycheck” in his back seat. It was then changed to $100 and in return the agent provided a disk that was meant to contain the text messages from the two numbers. The judge was then arrested the next day and release without bond.

The total sentence for the three crimes committed is set at 37 years, with two charges of bribing a public official and one for attempted corruption of an official proceeding.

Do you think that sentence is a little too lenient? Clearly he could have gotten away with it if he had offered the Agent a new Apple Watch or maybe a Drone.

Image courtesy of JMIR.

US, UK, New Zealand and France – Who’s Spying On Who?

Over the past few years, people have been told more and more about countries which have been part of or are actively spying on one another. The biggest revelation coming when it was revealed by Edward Snowden the extent at which the American government was spying not only on foreign entities but also on their own citizens. If the latest reports are correct it would seem France has joined the list of countries spying on foreign entities.

In a report from the L’Observateur, it claims that the french agency DGSE tapped several undersea fiber cables in an attempt to gain access to the information transmitted via them. This action was conducted and completed with cooperation from both the telecom supplier Alcatel-lucent and the operator Orange.

The received information was then shared with GCHQ, the British security agency responsible for digital and online security. If these reports are confirmed it could be a little trouble with GCHQ, given that they also received information from the American’s PRISM program. The PRISM program is reported to have recorded the conversations and communications of several high-ranking French officials including the President himself but also tried to access and gather all information relating to French companies which were valued over $200 million. PRISM then shared the information with the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

It seems that everyone is shocked when they find out  that someone spied on them, but then it all changes when it turns out they were spying on that country at the same time. I’ve lost track of who’s spying on who and sharing that information with what country.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Reuters.

WhatsApp Messages Led to Belgian Terror Arrests

The FBI have been trying hard to get unlimited access messages passed by encrypted messaging services. However, it apparently didn’t need that level of access to WhatsApp messages sent between members of an alleged Chechen jihadist group operating in Belgium. According to reports released. A pair of men were arrested and warrants were issued for three others for allegedly preparing for a terrorist attack in Belgium.

Ars Technica posted:

“The arrests followed raids in which 16 people were detained, which Belgian law enforcement officials said was the result of “working with U.S. authorities to monitor suspects’ communications on WhatsApp Inc.’s messaging service,” Bloomberg’s Gaspard Sebag reported. The police investigation began after they obtained information about a man who had returned to Belgium after fighting as a jihadi in Syria.

Ars reached out to WhatsApp and to Facebook, which completed its acquisition of WhatsApp in October. A spokesperson from Facebook declined to comment on the matter.”

WhatsApp began encrypting their messages last November. In theory, if the encryption service was in use by the alleged terrorists, the content of their messages would have been very difficult to read; the protocol continuously changes pairs of encryption keys with each new message. But it’s uncertain that the messages were encrypted—particularly since the version of encryption is not supported by the Apple iOS version of WhatsApp, and group messages and images aren’t supported by WhatsApp for Andriod yet.

“Even if some of the messages remained protected by encryption, it’s possible that the FBI or NSA gathered metadata at the server for the messages. That metadata could have been used to establish the connections between the suspects and the wounded jihadi, which would have allowed the US agencies or Belgian law enforcement to do more targeted surveillance.”

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of  RedmondPie

Russian Snowboarder’s iPhone Crashes After Receiving 2000+ Messages During Olympics

We now know that an iPhone has its limits in terms of text messages, thanks to Russian Olympic snowboarder, Alexey Sobolev, who wrote his phone number on his helmet and wore it during a run.

Now I know everyone would ask why on earth did he do that. Well, some may think that he was bored, but an obvious reason would be to get admirers, especially female ones. In the end he got what he wanted, more than he was expecting even. He go over 2000 text messages from people all around the world.

And this is the most interesting part though. It is said that when he tried to respond to one of his admirers, his iPhone crashed. Now how about that? You really do have a limit it seems. Luckily though, he was able to to start it again and all was fine.

However, the stunt did not go unnoticed, since he was banned by the committee from showing his number again on the next run and had to cover it up. No matter though, because his number is already out there, generating virtual tears for his iPhone, which is expected to be flooded by messages in the following days.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Phonearena