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India Mobile Handset Backdoor Memo Probably a Fake 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the upon-further-investigation dept.
daveschroeder writes "In the wake of previous coverage alleging that Apple, Nokia, RIM, and others have provided Indian government with backdoors into their mobile handsets — which itself spawned a US investigation and questions about handset security — it turns out the memo which ignited the controversy is probably a fake designed to draw attention to the "Lords of Dharmaraja." According to Reuters, "Military and cyber-security experts in India say the hackers may have created the purported military intelligence memo simply to draw attention to their work, or to taint relations between close allies India and the United States." Apple has already denied providing access to the Indian government."
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India Mobile Handset Backdoor Memo Probably a Fake

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  • by bonch (38532) * on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:35PM (#38670458)

    Won't happen. Bashers really believe that Apple just sits around, inventing absolutely nothing, selling overpriced shiny baubles. In their view, all technology is the same, and Apple just makes products whose ideas are all entirely obvious, despite the fact that no one did things that way before. They hate Apple for being popular and widely credited for industry trends.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:40PM (#38670490)

    You may be waiting a while as these sorts of things tend to take on a life of their own regardless of the facts presented. The meat of the linked article basically says the docs are questionable but well done. They also throw in a possible link to Anonymous which is a curious twist:

    Technology blog Infosec Island said on Wednesday it had seen more data obtained by the Lords of Dharmaraja, including dozens of usernames and passwords for compromised U.S. government network accounts.
    Infosec Island blogger Anthony Freed said the hacker group claimed to have taken the data from servers belonging to India's Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian government's IT organization, among others.
    Officials in India declined to comment on the document's content or authenticity.
    The alleged memo (http://bit.ly/zYze7w), which had a number of inconsistencies, including the letterhead of a military intelligence unit not involved in surveillance, claimed India had been spying on the USCC using know-how provided by Western mobile phone manufacturers.
    While the memo looks dubious, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has not denied the veracity of the email cache, and U.S. authorities are investigating the matter.
    The emails include conversations between U.S. embassy officials in Tripoli, DHL and General Electric about delivering medical equipment to Libya, as well as concerns that GE was helping China improve its jet engine industry.
    "ANONYMOUS"
    It is unclear whether Lords of Dharmaraja got the emails from Indian military intelligence servers, as they claim, but they first mentioned the documents in November, at the same time as they announced they hacked India's embassy server in Paris.
    That breach was confirmed at the time by India's foreign ministry, and some experts believe the cache of U.S. emails was taken from the same source, raising the question of how they ended up there in the first place.
    "An individual could have hacked someone's personal computer and handed it over to the embassy. There are so many means and measures," said Saini, who himself was charged with leaking secrets to Washington in 2006. He proclaims his innocence.
    "There may be cooperation between India and the United States, the United States may have shared them, or India could have done the hack ... or a third country may have handed it to India," said Saini.
    It is also unclear how Symantec's source code ended up with the Lords of Dharmaraja, whose public face goes by the name Yamatough on a Twitter feed.
    Yamatough, whose profile picture shows a Tibetan painting of Dharmaraja, the Hindu god of death and justice, follows many members of the "Anonymous" hacking collective, and Symantec attributes the hack to that group.

  • CALEA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bl968 (190792) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @01:29AM (#38671028) Journal

    What these companies have done is grant the same access the CALEA law gives the US Government to other countries. Other countries have taken this authority and used it for espionage. Thus these companies statements that "We didn't build a back door for India" then is correct. They built it for the U.S. Government.

  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOsPam.hotmail.com> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @02:03AM (#38671150) Journal

    Android phones originally looked like this [imgur.com].

    Ah, it wouldn't be Slashdot without sly misdirection and deceptive practices.

    There are TWO Android prototypes, one the image you've liked to, the other a (still ugly) candybar touchscreen device. Anyone who's used the emulator in the SDK will be familiar with the touchscreen version http://i.zdnet.com/blogs/android-emulator.jpg [zdnet.com].

    And since I've seen postings where this has been pointed out to you before, I can only conclude you're deliberately lying to mislead anyone who reads your posts. Most likely to persuade people to believe Google didn't plan on touchscreens from the start.

    What's your motivation for this? Can you explain why it's so important for you to repeatedly lie in a public forum?

  • by fatphil (181876) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @05:18AM (#38671792) Homepage
    Pretty sure my Nokia N900 and N9 (consumer version) weren't.
    My N950 (developer edition) wasn't either, but that was from a small run, and might be considered a prototype.

    A handy hint for finding counter-examples is looking for companies who still maintain their own manufacturing facilities. A lot of the new kids on the block have never had such facilities, they're clearly more likely to be customers of foxconn and their ilk.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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