GCHQ Releases Open-source Spy Tool on GitHub

Open source surveillance has changed the ball game somewhat after British Intelligence security service GCHQ has created an account on well-known code repository site, and one of the fairly recent targets of China’s Great Cannon attack tool, GitHub.

What has exactly been created? It’s an open sourced tool by the name of “Gaffer”, which according to Google is a British slang term for boss; anyway, the tool is written in Java and according to the tools official GitHub page, is a framework that simplifies the storage of “large-scale graphs in which the nodes and edges have statistics such as counts, histograms and sketches,” not exactly Spectre, but hey ho.  The tool has been primarily developed as a graph database with the aim of offering the capability to retrieve data on nodes of interest.

Below is a summary of the tool and its key features

  • Allow the creation of graphs with summarised properties within Accumulo with a very minimal amount of coding.
  • Allow flexibility of statistics that describe the entities and edges.
  • Allow easy addition of new types of nodes and edges.
  • Allow quick retrieval of data on nodes of interest.
  • Deal with data of different security levels – all data has a visibility, and this is used to restrict who can see data based on their authorizations.
  • Support automatic age-off of data.

Gaffer is being distributed under the Apache 2.0 licence which allows you and me to modify and distribute the code in any way, as long as the original copyright notice and disclaimer are preserved.

For those who are excited about updates to this tool, anyone? The official GitHub page for this tool also announces that Gaffer 2 is in development and aims to “create a more general framework that offers the best of Gaffer with improvements”

It will be rather worthwhile to follow this tool through various developments and applications to see how it’s being utilized in the wider world; it would not surprise me if it’s in the news very soon.

Image courtesy of theregister

Google Announces Cloud Source Repositories

Working on a project is difficult, working on a project with multiple people is difficult, working on a project with multiple people, in multiple locations and with multiple devices is difficult. What I’m saying is working on something is difficult, anyone that’s ever programmed can attest to this. People often use things like Github, Microsoft’s Azura cloud or Amazons web service to keep your work up to date, this means that if you (or a friend) made a change to your work everyone would have access to the newly created work without any difficulty.

Google is going to try become a part of this market, with the announcement of its latest service, Cloud Source Repositories. The service is currently in beta and hopes to become a go-to for group projects and people who enjoy coding. In its description Google has stated that it will have a private Git repository, which will not only integrate and work with a majority of the existing tools but will also feature a high level of encryption, making sure that your files are secure and for your eyes only. With access to the Google Cloud Platform, and later in the year a new API launcher and a new cloud debugger, the system looks to provide you with all the tools you take for granted while guaranteeing you access to Google’s knowledge and support for your projects.

Do you use a cloud repository for your work? If so would you be tempted to try out Google’s new service or are you happy with your current one?

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Google.

Sourceforge Hijacks GIMP and Nmap with Trojans

Sourceforge has been found to be hijacking orphaned open source projects and adding malware to their repositories. Notable victims of this practice are the popular GIMP and Nmap accounts, using them to distribute third-party “bundle-ware” installers. GIMP fell victim to this scheme last week, and now Nmap has been “adopted” by Sourceforge, as Gordon “Fyodor” Lyon, creator of Nmap, reports:

Hi Folks!  You may have already read the recent news about Sourceforge.net hijacking the GIMP project account to distribute adware/malware. Previously GIMP used this Sourceforge account to distribute their Windows installer, but they quit after Sourceforge started tricking users with fake download buttons which lead to malware rather than GIMP.  Then Sourceforge took over GIMP’s account and began distributing a trojan installer which tries to trick users into installing various malware and adware before actually installing GIMP.  Of course this goes directly against Sourceforge’s promise less than two years ago:

“we want to reassure you that we will NEVER bundle offers with any project without the developers consent”

http://sourceforge.net/blog/advertising-bundling-community-and-criticism/

So much for that promise!  Anyway, the bad news is that Sourceforge has also hijacked the Nmap account from me.  The old Nmap project page is now blank:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/nmap/

Fyodor asks Sourceforge to remove the hijacked Nmap page, and reminds users to only download Nmap from the official SSL Nmap website.

Sourceforge later responded to the controversy, issuing the following statement:

“In an effort to address a number of concerns we have been hearing from the media and community at large, we at SourceForge would like to note that we have stopped presenting third party offers for unmaintained SourceForge projects.”

Thank you Ars Technica and Seclists.org for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CyberKendra.