By declaring the Safe Harbor agreement invalid, the Court of Justice of the European Union exposes businesses to legal action, Privacy activists are overjoyed, but for businesses it's what one lobbyist described, only half jokingly, as "the doomsday scenario:"
Apple and Microsoft are both taking steps to better explain how they handle customers' personal information
Six individuals have been arrested by British law enforcement as part of an operation targeting those who have used the Lizard Squad's LizardStresser distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) tool.
According to the U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA), six males aged between 15 and 18 are suspected of using LizardStresser to launch attacks on a national newspaper, a school, gaming companies, and several online retailers. The teens are said to have used Bitcoin and other alternative payment methods to rent the service without exposing their true identity.
The six suspects targeted in the law enforcement initiative dubbed "Operation Vivarium" are based in Manchester, Stockport, Northampton, Milton Keynes, and Huddersfield. Investigators seized computer equipment from one of the alleged LizardStresser users. The suspects have been released on bail.
The NCA noted that two other suspects from Cardiff and Northolt were arrested earlier this year. The agency says officers are visiting roughly 50 addresses linked to individuals believed to have registered on the LizardStresser website, but without actually carrying out any attacks.
"By paying a comparatively small fee, tools like Lizard Stresser can cripple businesses financially and deprive people of access to important information and public services," said Tony Adams, Head of Investigations at the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit. "This multi-agency operation illustrates the commitment of the NCA and its partners to pursuing people who think they can criminally disrupt important public services or legitimate businesses."
"One of our key priorities is to engage with those on the fringes of cyber criminality, to help them understand the consequences of cyber crime and how they can channel their abilities into productive and lucrative legitimate careers," Adams added.
The notorious Lizard Squad collective started advertising LizardStresser in late 2014, when the service was used to disrupt Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network.
It's not surprising that people who used the service -- and even those who simply registered on the LizardStresser website -- are targeted by police. The service was hacked in January and the details of more than 14,000 users were leaked.
Last month, a 17-year-old Finnish teenager named Julius Kivimäki, suspected of being a member of the Lizard Squad, got a two-year suspended prison sentence. However, Kivimaki was convicted for computer crimes carried out in 2012 and 2013, not activities involving Lizard Squad.
LizardStresser currently appears to be offline, and all tweets except one have been deleted from the Lizard Squad's main Twitter account.
The German weekly Die Zeit disclosed documents that reveal how the German Intelligence did a deal with the NSA to get the access to the surveillance platform XKeyscore.
Internal documents show that Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), received the software program XKeyscore from the NSA in return of data from Germany.
Back in 2o11, the NSA demonstrated the capabilities of the XKeyscore platform of the BfV agency. After two years of negotiation, the BfV signed an agreement to receive the NSA spyware software and install it for analyzing metadata collected on German citizens.
In return, the German Agency promised to share metadata collected.
The NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet', XKeyscore gives 'widest-reaching' collection of online data analyzing the content of emails, social media, and browsing history.
In 2013, documents leaked by Edward Snowden explained that a tool named DNI Presenter allows the NSA to read the content of stored emails and it also enables the intelligence analysts to track the user's activities on Facebook through a system dubbed XKeyscore.
According to Die Zeit, the document "Terms of Reference" stated: "The BfV will: To the maximum extent possible share all data relevant to NSA's mission".
The BfV didn't provide the details of the agreement to Germany's data protection commissioner, nor it informed the Parliamentary Control Panel.
The report highlights that Bundesnachrichtendienst BfV is not allowed to set up a mass surveillance activity, differently from the BND, instead it can spy suspect individuals.
The agreement with the NSA doesn't allow BfV to spy on American suspect individuals.
"The term US persons includes US citizens, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the US, groups and associations a substantial number of the members of which are US citizens, or corporations incorporated in the US," reads the Terms of Reference.
Die Zeit sustains that the agreement "proves what exactly German intelligence agencies give to the NSA in exchange for technical support. We believe it potentially violates the fundamental rights of German citizens, and that the danger of such violations remains clear and present."
The collaboration between the German Intelligence and the NSA is not new, in April, it was reported that the BND agency had helped the NSA spy on the European Commission and French government with the support of the Deutsche Telekom.
It is important to remark that the access granted to the BfV is a lower level of access compared to the one assigned to the Intelligence agencies belonging to the "Five Eyes" alliance.