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[ISN] Transparency Grenade: Detonate cyberwar weapon to leak sensitive data


By Darlene Storm
Security Is Sexy
February 21, 2012

While there's plenty of cyberwar talk and hackers hitting sites before leaking information like a weapon, now there's grenade to aid such exploitation. A hacker / artist who helped create Newstweek, a hidden device that hardware hackers could use to distort or otherwise manipulate the news at Wi-Fi hotspots, is at it again. This time with an information weapon designed to remind us of cyber warfare.

Julian Oliver, a Critical Engineer and tech savvy Berlin-based artist, recently created the Transparency Grenade for a Studio Weise7 exhibition. Oliver wrote, "The lack of Corporate and Governmental transparency has been a topic of much controversy in recent years, yet our only tool for encouraging greater openness is the slow, dreary process of policy reform. The Transparency Grenade offers an iconic cure to these frustrations."

This grenade is modeled after a Soviet F1 hand grenade, but it doesn't explode after the pin is pulled. Instead the Transparency Grenade (TG) makes "the process of leaking information from closed meetings as easy as pulling a pin." It's actually a tiny computer, microphone and wireless antenna that captures network traffic and audio. Then it anonymously and securely streams to a dedicated server before being mined for juicy details. "Email fragments, HTML pages, images and voice extracted from this data are then presented on an online, public map, shown at the location of the detonation."

The data collected, streamed, mined and leaked is highlighted with a large red "detonation" dot. Below is an example of a browser-based map interface using San Francisco as the site of the Transparency Detonation and then a partial screenshot of images viewed on the TG Transparency Report.


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