Google, Salesforce were allegedly offered 'TrapWire' spy tool

Summary:Stratfor emails placed in the wild by WikiLeaks have revealed that a video-surveillance program developed by ex-CIA members may be in place in US government organisations and multinational corporations.

Now approaching its 10th day of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack , WikiLeaks has released information about a video-surveillance program that is possibly being used by the US government and large organisations, such as Salesforce and Google.

The program, called TrapWire, was developed by US-based Abraxas Corporation, which is alleged to be staffed by many former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents. TrapWire is meant to identify terrorists who approach a facility multiple times as they conduct their surveillance. According to Abraxas' documentation on TrapWire, it is able to correlate video surveillance with other data, such as watch lists. It can, for example, identify suspected terrorists using facial recognition or stolen vehicles by reading number plates, and then correlate this information with other event data that it already has.

In internal Stratfor emails leaked by WikiLeaks, it was revealed that TrapWire may have already been implemented in several locations around the world. The leak indicates that Stratfor is in the process of setting up an agreement with Abraxas in order to gain intelligence that it could provide to its own customers.

In an email, Stratfor president Don Kuykendall wrote: "Their clients include Scotland Yard, #10 Downing, the White House and many [multinational corporations]".

"Our consideration is introducing them to companies like Walmart, Dell and other[s]," he wrote.

In a separate email, vice president Fred Burton wrote: "Salesforce HQs in San Fran is interested in TrapWire after I briefed them on their wonderful capabilities". He also wrote that "the timing is right to revisit our relationship with Google and sense growing frustration (and chaos) on their part in light of the Chinese penetrations and intellectual property theft".

"I've been playing constant phone tag with their security director."

Google declined to comment on whether it has been contacted by Stratfor, and whether it has implemented TrapWire. Salesforce has been unable to respond to ZDNet's inquiries at the time of writing.

Burton also wrote that TrapWire is "in place at every [high-value target] in NYC, DC, Vegas, London, Ottawa and LA".

The system may be working for its intended purpose. In leaked emails, Burton revealed that the system may have foiled a terrorist attack on three Los Angeles buildings.

"According to a very good source responsible for domestic surveillance operations, an extremely serious al Qaeda terror plot has been uncovered targeting a financial institution, an entertainment centre and a government office building in Los Angeles. The same terrorist-surveillance team conducted pre-operational surveillance of all three sites. The group is currently under watch," he wrote.

Topics: Security, Google, Salesforce.com

About

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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