Feeds

GCHQ tracks diplomats' hotel bookings to plant bugs, say leaked docs

And Australia spied on Indonesian prez, in more spies-do-spying guff outrages

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The latest Snowden leaks have revealed that Australia spies on the heads of state of its neighbours while the UK monitors luxury hotel bookings made by foreign diplomats, among other unsurprising revelations.

Australian intelligence attempted to spy on phone calls made by the President of Indonesia, his wife and entourage while Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his ministers were targeted by the Australian Defence Signals Directorate, according to leaked NSA slides dated August 2009.

One slide, entitled "IA Leadership Targets + Handsets", listing the president and the first lady as having Nokia E90-1s, with the vice-president Boediono favouring a BlackBerry Bold 9000, The Guardian reports.

The slides suggest that call data records for the regional leader were harvested but that Australian spies (at least at that time) had failed in their intent of capturing the content of calls. The leaked slides are available via Cryptome.org here (PDF).

Separate Snowden leaks reveal that GCHQ monitors luxury hotel bookings made by foreign diplomats. GCHQ's “Royal Concierge” program tracked bookings at 350 upmarket hotels across the world. After the hotel and suite a potential target was staying at was identified the job of planting bugs on the phone in a suite was turned over to field operatives.

Reservation confirmations sent to .gov.xx email addresses are of particular interest, and are fed to analysts by an automated system before particular spying tasks are prioritised. The program was initially tested in 2010 and proved so successful that further development was requested, Der Speigel reports. It remains unclear how frequently the program was used or what intelligence it yielded.

The leak shows that GCHQ's role is far from restricted to counter-terrorism, fighting against state-backed hackers stealing blueprints from UK firms or assisting in the investigation of child abuse, the only three functions discussed by the spy agency's boss, Sir Iain Lobban, during a recent public hearing of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee.

Finally it also emerged late last week that a CIA program secretly collected records of international money transfers going into and out from the US. Bulk transfers through Western Union and the like are targeted by the scheme, the New York Times reports.

The financial records program is authorised under the Patriot Act and overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, anonymous agency officials told the paper. The program, which was not leaked by Snowden, provides evidence that the NSA is not the only US government agency that makes use of bulk data collection programs and that telephone record call data isn't the only thing being hoovered up. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.