Postal mail box (in)security of WikiLeakS.org - "warning" via Twitter is not appropriate

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Twitter, with its very short messages, is inherently the wrong medium for publishing important security / anonymity / financial warning advice about the WikiLeakS.org project.

http://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/9495477247

Our Kenyan PO BOX is no-longer considered secure after a break in. Please use Australia or Cambodia instead.

'Mon Feb 22 22:03:11 +0000 2010

from bit.ly

The WikiLeakS.org website is still deliberately crippled, and no longer displays the PO Box address for "Cambodia".

Why anyone would trust the Cambodian Government not to snoop on foreign letters or parcels sent to such a Post Office Box address, is a mystery.

The Postal Submissions (for whistleblower leak documents) web pages, did at least offer a few words of security / anonymity advice, which the single Twitter message, obviously does not.

Astonishingly, the current WikiLeakS.org home page still gives out this allegedly insecure address for Kenya, over 24 hours after the Twitter warning was published.

Kenya
WikiLeaks ICT
PO Box 8098-00200
Nairobi
Kenya

in the section devoted to "give us your money".

  • So is this address still suitable for sending cash or other financial donations, but not for whistleblower leak documents ?
  • Why can they not publish a full details about this security threat in Kenya, on the WikiLeakS.org website ?
  • What procedures does WikiLeakS.org employ to audit the reliability of their postal PO Box submissions, which they have suggested as a high security method of sending them whistleblower leaked documents.?
  • Do they ever send test documents and / or money via these PO Boxes, to see if these are being intercepted, delayed , censored or stolen ?
  • If the Kenyan PO Box can still be trusted, then the WIkiLeakS.org Twitter feed obviously cannot be trusted.

In order to reduce the chances of a Denial of Service attack via Rumour, WikiLeakS.org should have published fuller details of the reasons for no longer trusting this published method of submitting sensitive whistleblower leak documents and / or money, on their own website and via an email Press Release.

This security / anonymity warning press release should have been Digitally Signed using their (now long expired) PGP Public Encryption and Signing cryptographic Key, to vastly reduce the chance that it has been tampered with or entirely forged.

WikiLeakS.org purport to be experts in protecting their whistleblower sources, so why are such simple precautions beyond them ?

3 Comments

Congratulations, by the way, on being cited in the recently-leaked Secret U.S. Army report on WikileakS.org, which Julian Assenhole has decided, surprise surprise, to blow completely out of proportion by willfully misrepresenting as a ploy to "fatally marginalize" WikileakS.org. I guess he is incapable of seeing that he's the one doing all the damage to WikileakS.org's "web of trust", et cetera, and is simply letting his anti-American biases (continue to) get the best of him.

@ Nemo de Monet - the URL of the Spy Blog article which was cited three times references 39, 40 and 41] in the US Army Counter-intelligence document:

http://file.wikileaks.org/files/us-intel-wikileaks.pdf

got a bit mangled:

Spy Blog

January 5, 2007 2:09 PM

Is WikiLeaks.org the right idea for a whistleblowing website ?

http://spyblog.org.uk/2007/01/05/is-wikileaksorg-the-right-idea-for-a-whistleblowing-website.html

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

Should one use Wikileaks for whistle blowing? This is a good question.
And I would like to comment on this.

In the early 2000's PGPBOARD appeared on yahoogroups. This is an
encrypted message forwarding drop box. It was formed to move politically
sensitive material out of Burma and North Korea. It did not rely totally
upon technology, but on tight off line operating procedures, and in terms
of the usage of PGP keys; knowing just who you were communicating with.

Getting it wrong would result in someone getting KILLED..!!

When MD5 collisions compromised PGP 2.6.2 we had a problem. This
version of PGP was very well trusted and it had the advantage of
fitting onto a 1.44 Mb diskette. Back in 2003 developed GPG to GO
a stripped down gnupg replacement for P.G.P 2.6.2. This was
developed by:

Robert J Hansen (PGPBASICS)
John Moore 3rd (PGPNET)
The late Maxine Brandt (PGPNET)
Alan Taylor (PGPBOARD)

The package had to fit on a diskette because back in 2003 flash drives
and USB ports on PC's in internet cafes in Burma, North Korea and
the Philippines were not common place. Field trials of the package took
place in late 2003 from various locations in the Philippines..

The point here is the TECHNOLOGY HAS TO ADAPT TO THE
SITUATION. There is no one solution that will remain eternally valid.

For interests sake:

1. On many occasions traffic from NK and Burma
was carried out of the country on diskette.

2. PGP keys were created and signed during face to face
meetings in Manila with our contacts. They were NEVER
posted on any keyserver.

3. Encrypted traffic for forwarding was NEVER prepared on a computer
that had ever been connected to the internet. (Offline)

4. Incoming encrypted traffic was examined and scanned on a dedicated PC
running only virus/trojan scanners etc... BEFORE being encrypted
offline onto diskette. The diskette was transferred to an online PC and
the traffic forwarded to its destination... activist bulletin boards, email
drop boxes.
Transmission paths were usually freedom.net before it went under, mixmaster
network or was posted on PGPBOARD..

5. We NEVER courted publicity in any form…

We never knew the origin of the traffic, or the actual end destination..

I would not trust my life to WIKILEAKS. However, if you live in a Western
democracy with little chance of having the information beaten out of
you, and then being shot... Then you are OK, WIKILEAKS is for you,
all you need is the fortitude to endure the consequences if you are
discovered.

Walsh..


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Version: PGP Desktop 10.0.0 - not licensed for commercial use: www.pgp.com
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About this blog

This blog here at WikiLeak.org (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the WikiLeakS.org project, which is trying to be a resource for whistleblower leaks, by providing "untraceable mass document leaking and analysis".

These are bold and controversial aims and claims, with both pros and cons, especially for something which crosses international boundaries and legal jurisdictions.

This blog is not part of the WikiLeakS.org project, and there really are no copies of leaked documents or files being mirrored here.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog@WikiLeak[dot]org

Before you send an email to this address, remember that this blog is independent of the WikiLeakS.org project.

If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, please make use of our PGP public encryption key or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

LeakDirectory.org

Now that the WikiLeakS.org project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

The LeakDirectory.org wiki page lists links and anonymity analyses of some of the many post-wikileaks projects.

There are also links to better funded "official" whistlblowing crime or national security reporting tip off websites or mainstream media websites. These should, in theory, be even better at protecting the anonymity and security of their informants, than wikileaks, but that is not always so.

New whistleblower website operators or new potential whistleblowers should carefully evaluate the best techniques (or common mistakes) from around the world and make their personal risk assessments accordingly.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The WikiLeakS.org Submissions web page provides some methods for sending them leaked documents, with varying degrees of anonymity and security. Anybody planning to do this for real, should also read some of the other guides and advice to political activists and dissidents:

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

WikiLeakS Links

The WikiLeakS.org Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The WikiLeakS.org website does not stay online all of the time, especially when there is a surge of traffic caused by mainstream media coverage of a particularly newsworthy leak.

Recently, they have been using their new Twitter feeds, to selectively publicise leaked documents to the media, and also to report on the status of routing or traffic congestion problems affecting the main website in Stockholm, Sweden.

N.B.the words "security" or "anonymity" and "Twitter" are mutually exclusive:

WikiLeakS.org Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: https://twitter.com/wikileaks

WikiLeakS.org unencrypted Twitter feed http://twitter.com/wikileaks

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Temporary Autonomous Zone

Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey (Peter Lambourn Wilson)

Cyberpunk author William Gibson

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg
FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Wikileaks.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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Recent Comments

  • Walsh: -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA512 Should one use Wikileaks read more
  • WikliLeak: @ Nemo de Monet - the URL of the Spy read more
  • Nemo de Monet: Congratulations, by the way, on being cited in the recently-leaked read more

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