Terrorists' Communication Tool, Playstation?!

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by Yard Dart, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    After Friday’s horrific terror attacks on Paris, security experts are weighing the frightening possibility that Sony’s PlayStation 4 has become a communication tool for terrorists.

    Three days before Friday’s terrifying events in the French capital, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon warned that terrorists have harnessed the popular game console to pass messages between each other, making communications difficult, if not impossible for intelligence experts to track.

    “The most difficult communication between these terrorists is via PlayStation 4,” said Jambon at a conference organized by Politico. “It’s very, very difficult for our services — not only Belgian services but international services — to decrypt the communication that is done via PlayStation 4.”

    Experts agree that Sony’s PlayStation 4 poses a huge challenge for governments’ security services.

    “There is no doubt that terrorists and other underground networks are using PlayStation and other non-traditional means to communicate with each other,” said Paul Martini, CEO of cyber security specialist iboss Cybersecurity, in a statement emailed to FoxNews.com. The CEO noted that the languages and protocols that PlayStation uses to communicate over the Internet are much different from those used in web browsers and other apps. “They are typically encrypted communication channels that are built on custom-designed languages built for speed and security - since PlayStation involves multi-player Internet connected users, it’s very distributed, high speed and difficult to track and monitor,” Martini added.

    Police reportedly seized at least one PlayStation 4 during a series of raids that followed Friday’s attacks.

    In addition to the PlayStation Network’s encrypted text and voice communication, experts warn that terrorists could also use other methods to pass messages within games.

    “ISIS could use PlayStation to communicate with each other undetected, using the shooting of video game bullets to form messages,” said Ebba Blitz, president of encryption-as-a-service company Alertsec, in a statement emailed to FoxNews.com. “That's because as far as we know, there are no automated detection systems sophisticated enough to intercept or monitor messages that are concealed as images or patterns in video games.”

    “Anything which allows two people to exchange messages (whether it be talking, typing or waving semaphore flags at each other in a 3D virtual environment) could potentially be used by terrorists to communicate,” added Independent Security Expert Graham Cluley, in an email to FoxNews.com.

    Sony PlayStation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies, told FoxNews.com that gaming networks in general can offer an alternate channel of communication for the likes of terrorists, along with a host of other technologies. “National Security Administration people that I've spoken to over the years have bemoaned the rising tide of difficult-to-decipher digital interchange, from voice, encrypted or not,” he said, noting that encrypted, encoded text and messages embedded in pictures are also employed. “At this point, the bad guys are outrunning the good because there are just too many channels to monitor,” he added.

    The New York Times, citing documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, reported in 2013 that British and American spies had infiltrated online game “World of Warcraft” and virtual world Second Life in an attempt to conduct surveillance.

    The NSA also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Joystick jihad: Sony's PlayStation 4 could be terrorists' communication tool, experts warn | Fox News

    I had not thought about using a video game chat or multi-player game as a means to communicate between individuals or groups...... The article made me wonder, what other ideas some here may have in regards to non-traditional means of communications?! Has anyone already incorporated this method using a gaming system into their plans?
  2. Tobit

    Tobit Ham Extra Class

    Question is, why didn't NK think if this first?
    pearlselby likes this.
  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Read about this at least a year ago. Why are they acting like this is new?
    Marck and Dunerunner like this.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Someone on the editorial desk woke up in a time warp.
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Because after Friday's terrorist attack the general public is starting to wake up. They are slowly becoming aware that there could be a problem and a threat. Most live their lives oblivious. I spoke with someone yesterday who said they were positive that the officials were catching any planned attacked on American soil therefore we do not need to be worried. I stay silent when I hear things like that because no matter what I say, they believe the gov't is on top of things and protecting the citizens is priority #1.
  6. TailorMadeHell

    TailorMadeHell Lurking Shadow Creature

    Because it sells papers and airtime. Anytime they regurgitate old news, it's always to sell. If it was a threat a couple years ago, you can bet they've been trying to monitor it since. If left to their own devices, some "journalist" would link the idea that the Japanese were secretly helping the terrorists by providing a communication device. Is Xbox next? A push for gob control of gaming communications, like they don't already.
    Tully Mars, Sapper John and Yard Dart like this.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    My GrandKids have been using Gaming Comms, with their friends for a couple of years.... They even wrote an Encryption Plug-in to make it fairly secure... Pretty smart kids are just that, Pretty Smart....
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    stego comes to mind --
    VisuTrac likes this.
  9. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yes. I've been trying to get others interested, but they mostly whine and say, "oh, I don't play video games..."

    But, it's a communication tool, and a darn good one. Until the .GOV hacks infest them and pretty much find a way to make the developers spy on its users, in which case, users will drop out and the company will hemorrhage money. And remember, kiddos...terrorism isn't real --I mean it's entirely controlled by the corporate establishment and its black ops secret government.
  10. hitchcock4

    hitchcock4 Monkey++

    I haven't read all the news, but it's unclear if they used Playstation 4.

    Honestly, they could have used Skype, Google Hangouts for Voice -- probably several others -- they are all encrypted. What it comes down to is how "strong" is the encryption that is used? That is determined by the software, not the users of the software.
    Another question to consider: has the NSA (or other foreign government equivalent) been given a "back door" or have they been able to decrypt it on their own?

    The way I see it, if people want to communicate, they will. Whether it be carrier pigeon, over the phone, over PS4 or Skype -- they will always find a way. When we see things like these attacks, I think I want the government to be able to decrypt that -- but at the same time I don't want them listening to my conversations, so I have a double-standard.
  11. hitchcock4

    hitchcock4 Monkey++

    Yep, it's well known that one can slightly alter an image to contain a message. You have to have the right program and the right key to get the message out. See 'Secretbook' Lets You Encode Hidden Messages in Your Facebook Pics | WIRED for one such program.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    MonkeyNet uses our own Program, called STEGO.exe... to embed Data in .JPGs & .PNGs... It is very effective in distributing OnePADs, and PG KeySets, to our MonkeyNet Members.... SKYPE was originally part of MonkeyNet, but was dropped, when the Technology was sold to MicroSquash, and the Software was then compromised, by them. We haven't really update MonkeyNet recently, as the basic Technology, is still reasonably Secure. This is one of the Projects I am going to work on this winter.
  13. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Read a book where the guys communicate using free email accounts. Only they didn't send any emails. That could be tracked. They just had two guys with the log in credentials for one account. They would save their messages in draft form only. Read it and delete it. Reply with their own draft.

    Don't know if this would be a secure method, but made sense to me.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  14. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Only SECURE, IF and ONLY IF, the Messages are Stored encrypted, and only you and the Other guy Have the KeySets to the Encryption.... Otherwise it can be compromised by ANY outsider that can get to the Server, via hacking, OR Search Warrant.... do you really think that this is a good way to communicate?
  15. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Often secure means no one is looking.
  16. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    But it was covert.
  17. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    If the NSA is watching your IP Address, and logging all your outgoing Traffic, they are going to see the Server you are looking using, and then the Hack, or Search Warrant, can be applied, and you are compromised. Then they just watch the Server to see who else logs in to that Account, and follow that IP Address, right back to the other Guy.... This can be done even if the Messages themselves are encrypted... Servers are a BAD way to go with SECURE Messaging... They are a vulnerable, to monitoring, and "Man in the Middle" attacks into the SECURE Messaging.... Much better to use PtP Encryption, and Messaging, from Random DarkNet IP Addresses...
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  18. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    The problem with cracking down on PlayStations to stop terrorists
    If you're scared of gaming consoles, you're scared of privacy


    There's a joke in the legal world that criminals' most dangerous weapon is the flush toilet. Imagine, a perfect evidence-disposal system installed in every home in America, available whenever you hear the detectives knock on your door. Tens thousands of potential arrests have been flushed down toilets over the years.

    So why do we keep toilets around? Well, they're useful for other things.

    Today, instead of the flush toilet, we learned about the PlayStation 4. In a now-retracted story, Forbes made the case that PlayStation's private chat and VoIP features may have been used in plotting the attacks, kicking off a wave of concerns over gaming networks and their potential use in plotting terrorist acts.

    Why shouldn't we surveil the PlayStation network?

    But while Forbes has since backed off the claim that a PS4 was found in an attacker's apartment, the air of suspicion hasn't fully lifted. There really have been cases of ISIS sympathizers using the PlayStation network to communicate or recruit, and it's the kind of offbeat channel an intelligence officer might miss. PlayStation’s network is open to anyone with the right console, and there’s lots of noise to distract anyone who might look there. As the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill heads to parliament, the political will to clamp down on those networks is stronger than it's ever been. So why shouldn't we?

    The first thing to say is that the PlayStation network isn't particularly secure. It's not end-to-end encrypted, and Sony is open about the company's right to surveil users, even if it doesn't have much of an apparatus to do so. Unlike encrypted chat apps like Telegram and WhatsApp, the PlayStation networks weren't designed with security in mind, and most users care far more about latency and downtime than they do about privacy. If an intelligence service is looking for you specifically, it's just not that good of a place to hide.

    If that's scary, then all private spaces are scary

    What the networks do have is a lot of people, which makes them useful for meeting inconspicuously. You won't stand out if you set up a private chat on PSN, the way you might if you log onto a protected chat room or IRC channel. It's the protection of the crowd, the same way you might talk more freely in a noisy bar where you won’t be overheard. This kind of privacy is more about cultural expectations than strict security, and it’s particularly important because of that. It can be used by terrorists, sure, but so can dimly lit restaurants and crowded parks. If that's scary, then all private spaces are scary. If you believe that logic, you've made a boogeyman out of privacy itself.

    All of which brings us back to the flush toilet. In the wake of a tragedy, shock makes us value security over all else, often forgetting smaller virtues in the rush to protect ourselves. It's a natural impulse, but it's worth considering where it might take us, left unchecked. With enough fear, anything comes to look threatening: a gaming console, a toilet, a smartphone. Will destroying them make us more or less powerful?
    Tully Mars, kellory and BTPost like this.
  19. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    OK for muni systems, probably not so good on septic tanks. Just sayin' ---
    Tully Mars and ColtCarbine like this.
  20. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    All you have to have is a private ts server might be useful to catch up on tech before forming an opinion and making claims. News reporters are so in accurate and they don't verify facts like they use to. FYI many of the big gaming communities don't use USA based servers, m I really privacy to host in another country
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