This entry was started last weekend so may include references to past events as though they are ongoing. It is also important to note that when I describe what the harassers are “saying” on the On being mobbed site, I am referring to voice harassment that tenant clearers—so called real estate mobbers—deliver continuously to me as part of a stalking practice called monitoring, day or night and within or without my home, using whatever techniques are available and best suited to the environment. This is not a case of civil harassment; it is a crime of multiple felonies. Based on my experience of living in this situation now for nearly two years, I believe the most commonly used techniques of harassment are radio, wireless network hacks, cell phone lurking and stalking, and projection by speaker and ventilation.
I have been asking for an investigation by authorities of the City of Seattle and the State of Washington into racketeering in my neighborhood. This is what I believe is necessary to uncover this criminal harassment that uses techniques meant to escape detection to constructively evict legal residents of properties that developers likely want to acquire. If the City of Seattle and the State of Washington are not ready to look at racketeering charges, they could open an action by filing suit against my neighborhood watch and their developer friends for harassment of tenants. There are precedents for cities to take such action and the earlier and more “civil” harassment is well documented by the many “nuisance” complaints and violations filed by the neighborhood watch members against several legal tenants whose expulsion they sought from my neighborhood. The documented nuisance complaints alone number more than 130. It’s likely that the cost of handling nuisance complaints is quite high and drains from city coffers funds that should go to programs benefiting the welfare of the good people of the City of Seattle.
The City of Seattle should take a strong role in discouraging what appears to be a widespread racket in real estate to use complaints and other civil process, and in my case to use felony crimes including cyber-crime, to harass legal residents from their homes and “turn over” their properties for speculation.
My roommates weren’t home tonight so the harassment has been aggressive. Some jerk from the south mobbing house keeps demanding me to “Move on!” I just heard a female voice from the north mobbing house saying “Leave.” On nights like this one, the home of the captain of the neighborhood watch across the street often goes dark, as though to hide the movement of the harassers, and in fact I have seen such opportunities used by the harassers to enter and exit the mobbing houses without being seen. Since I started photographing the vehicles that come and go months and months back, the shorter northwestern days of winter have for them been a virtue. The mobbers continue to quiet the harassment when the captain of the watch comes and goes from her house. I suspect this is a precaution to ensure that the threats are not overheard and associated with her.
If you’re skeptical about whether tenants are harassed in Seattle, be sure to read my blog entry, My neighborhood has a problem with bullying, which describes Lake City Neighborhood Alliance (LCNA) chair Sandra Motzer’s email about how to get rid of some renters in her neighborhood. The email to fellow captains Lee Mozena, John Clark and Tim Motzer of the cheerily named “Good Neighbors Association” of South Cedar Park, was also sent to two developers working that neighborhood, the home owners on either side of one embattled tenant who would soon attempt to get anti-harassment orders against her neighbors and, curiously, Officer Kipp Strong of the Seattle Community Police Team (CPT) .
When I returned from a seminar on computer forensic analysis a few days back, the captain of the neighborhood watch was hurriedly throwing things into the trunk of her husband’s car. This is usually a sign that it’s going to be a rough weekend for me. The two of them quickly departed and the real estate mobbers in both south and north houses dug into me in a manner that made it impossible to get a decent night’s sleep these last two days.
No one should have to go through what I have gone through as a legal tenant in northeast Seattle. It is my hope that, with every post, I am a step closer to getting the real estate mobbers who are trying to constructively evict me from my home in northeast Seattle investigated, arrested, and prosecuted.
Let me make a pitch for you to do what Microsoft failed to do when I fell for the bot hoax at the start of the mobbing and told them my neighbors put a bot on my machine. Let me ask you to hire a woman that criminal profiteers are trying to harass out of her home with a kitchen sink approach that includes wireless stalking, monitoring, and harassment. Hire a woman who has been braving the situation for nearly two years now and, as these entries should tell you, can write. Hire a woman who is being real estate mobbed and, whoopee!, get free penetration testing.
The jury’s still out on the extent of hacking in at least this one real estate mobbing, but if mobbing has a strong component of wireless intrusion, you should be able to hire someone like me, figure out how to detect the rogue use of speakers in your environment—whether the speakers of mobile devices, desktop or laptop machines, or the speakers of your access points and public address systems—and assess your security.
Even if mobbing was limited to intrusions into building public address systems for purposes of monitoring and harassment, this is an issue that should concern commercial lessees who want to keep their premises, and their intellectual property, secure.
Hackers who can enter, lurk and speak can probably also hear. Even if they’re silent and don’t steal files, their boldness makes it worthwhile to detect the intrusions and see that they’re prosecuted.
And there’s another plus: Studies on mobbing show that victims of workforce mobbing are usually conscientious people and hard workers. Chances are that those bullied by real estate mobbers share the victimology of those who are most likely to be workforce mobbed and will greatly appreciate your recognition of what they’re going through, especially if they’re doing the right thing and trying to prevent future occurrences of the crime by resisting it.
So, hire a mobbing victim and fight back against predatory crime. Use the mobbers who might stalk their victims into your offices for some free penetration testing. I suggest you milk them for all the free labor they’ll provide as you collect the evidence necessary to find and arrest them.
Yesterday I attended the 2016 Bsides information security conference at Microsoft in Redmond. Since I worked a network security contract last year and realized how interesting the field was, I’ve been attending security events with some frequency. The topic meshes well with the growing awareness of cyber-crime I’ve been cultivating as a victim of real estate mobbing.
The Bsides conference was the first time I’d been in the Microsoft Commons on the Redmond campus since the early days of the mobbing and the likely bot hoax that resulted in my losing a contract of more than two years after working for Microsoft most of the time since the mid-1990s.
When I was at Bsides yesterday, I was still being mobbed, but at least these these days I have some idea of what to expect. Attending conference presentations with a running laptop while being mobbed was far and away different from those early days when I had no idea why voices were coming from my computer, seemingly from a sound port or video interface, that sounded a lot like my neighbors—specifically, the owner of one mobbing house and his girlfriend. Unfortunately, neither did the Microsoft Security team member who finally interviewed me after I alerted my manager to what the neighbors, who were only beginning to unveil themselves as “the mob,” had led me to believe: There was an Internet “bot” on my machine.
A year later, the mobbing had taken a toll on me so severe that I attempted to get an anti-harassment order. Imagine living in a state of constant harassment that is somehow “projected” onto television and radio. The mobbing continued in the courtroom as the girlfriend told the judge that if I continued to live next door, they would not have children. I’m a legal tenant who pays her rent and has never been arrested for anything. Statements such as these are intended to frustrate mobbing victims who report and to intimidate them into leaving their homes. I would question the fitness for parenthood of anyone who would make statements like this. The utterance of such statements in U.S. District Court is likely obstruction of justice.
Now nearly two years later, having learned that what is happening to me is called “property mobbing,” and that cell phone harassment is sometimes also called “mobbing,” when I hear sound coming from one of my machines, I respond by doing one or more of the following: Check for and close open sound applications, mute the volume, plug headphones into the jack and turn down and volume control on the headset, terminate the connection to the Internet, or shut down the router. At Bsides, I kept my cell phone off and kept my laptop off of the wireless network. But that didn’t stop the mob.
There’s some irony in being mobbed at an information security conference like Bsides. It was a great surprise to me to find that being mobbed meant that the tenant clearers, who bragged they practiced “clearing by smearing,” intended to pursue me like a fugitive until they managed to chase me from my home. And chase me they have, at first at Microsoft, and then at home, and over the months since, in and out of the States of Washington and California and even in secured areas of airports and on planes, pairing the means of harassment with the environment.
The mobbers’ gambit is the criminalization of the tenant and her tenancy as they criminally harass her from a legal home they could not compel her to leave after years of bullying of a more “civil” nature including malicious gossip, the reporting of countless violations to the City of Seattle, and complaints to her landlord. There have been brief intervals of increased caution along the way on the part of the real estate mobbers and their cronies, especially as I’ve come up with different ways to report and expose the crime. Generally, however, for every defensive or legal measure I have employed, there is a brutal escalation that, true to form, the mobbers would probably call “payback.” There’s also the fact that if I’m correct and these are more or less “professional” tenant clearers or part of a ring of tenant clearers or real estate speculators who “clear” properties in order to “acquire” them, they’re probably none too happy about the prospect of being exposed and their lucrative racket shut down.
The Microsoft Commons provided a comfortable platform for mobbing during the Bsides conference. In addition to a dense mesh network of nodes furnished by the amply wired audience, the conference room was outfitted with a full complement of digital presentation equipment. The front of the conference room included a display screen with two speakers installed on either side. The ceiling was spotted with access points equipped with speakers; these seem to offer a means of following in a commercial environment by hopping from speaker to speaker. UniFi Access Points (https://www.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-ac/) boast “powerful features” that include “UniFied WiFi and Public Address System Integration.” What this means is that once these access points are installed, you can make announcements over WiFi without the need for additional devices. The manufacturer provides a mobile application for iOS and Android that allows for the easy broadcast of announcements. The provisioning of an access point with a speaker, however, means that anyone who hacks your inherently insecure wireless network, can deploy real-time harassment to one or more selected access points. In a building with cameras that can be hacked to follow a mobbing victim, or in a building in which victims are not insulated from GPS stalking by the construction of the building, the location of the victim is easily mapped across the network of access points. In a mobbing that was well planned to gain detailed knowledge of the victim’s habits and haunts, advance reconnaissance of the available wireless networks, speakers and access points could even allow preparations for the harassment to programmatically follow the victim through an average day at work, to the gym and shopping.
The same functionality can be probably be achieved in a residential dwelling next to the lot to be acquired with the use of a “smart” speaker system like Sonos, which makes it easy to customize music selection on a room-by-room basis with the programmatic delivery of streaming music services, Internet radio and podcasts, to easily added wireless speakers. Pair wireless service with directional speakers and you have an easily accessible platform to deliver customized harassment to an isolated target. If you can track the movement of the target in her home, you could even have her programmatically “followed” by the harassment track. The walls are the only obstacle.
At Bsdies, Sean Malone of FusionX presented information on “red team” assessments of vulnerabilities. He made some points that, as someone who was being wirelessly harassed even during his discussion, struck a chord for me. Giving the example of an intruder who gains physical entry to a secure building and then uses the GSM cellular network to effect an exploit. Malone asked, and I agree, what’s the use of protecting the network if the physical office is not locked down?
The management of building devices for public address and security systems by building management and not by those leasing the affected space in the building can, in a building that is less than secure, leave the businesses of lessees open to intrusion. While savvy businesses may ask to control all of the infrastructure in the building space they lease, it’s probably the exceptional company that negotiates for this type of control over the physical environment in which their intellectual property is created and in which their employees should be made safe. Likewise, despite all acknowledgements of the insecurity of wireless technologies, mobility offers great convenience and likely contributes to productivity. Software companies ignore the risks of storing their code in the cloud on services whose users they do not manage. Companies are slow to acknowledge the risks of the unmanaged but synchronized mobile phones of employees who use their constantly wired devices for convenience and not for security. This is a time in the evolution of wireless connectivity and security for crimes that are easily effected and difficult to track.
A wireless security specialist can technically explain how wireless and cellular services are used for harassment, but in my case, a case of mobbing, I’m probably being mobbed even as they explain it to me. And because they aren’t listening for mobbing, because they don’t know what mobbing “sounds” like and they don’t know that I’m being mobbed, they don’t hear a thing. During Malone’s talk, I sat not far from an access point with a speaker, resulting in a “harassment track,” as I call them, of multiple layers, one being Sean’s presentation, and another on which, according to my conference notes, I was told to “Get the hell out” just as Sean showed a slide that read “Think Globally—Strike Precisely.”
Ian Haken made a similar point in his presentation on a Windows authentication hack that affected the Bitlocker tool. He was talking about unattended machines, but the logic still holds: “Think about physical security as part of your threat model.”
For Tony Martin-Vegue’s talk, Can Cyber-Extortion Happen to You? I sat on the right side of the room facing the podium. This appealed because of the lack of an overhead access point but as the talk began I was joined by one or two who came and sat behind me with cell phones, and by the closeness of the harassment that I began to hear, their devices were ON.
The “You” Tony was talking about was the corporation. But I’m going to talk about the personal “me” here, because having people hold your privacy and life captive until you quietly leave your home without making trouble for them is certainly extortion.
Tony’s topic centered on the incidence of ransomware being used against corporations these days. Ransomware is malware that “locks” or otherwise hijacks your files until you pay up, usually in an untraceable currency like Bitcoin. Tony cited the United States statute that defines extortion, 18 USCA section 871 et seq. section 1951 in which extortion is defined as “The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.” Note that I’m quoting Tony’s slide here; usually I’d go to the codes and get the statute from the source but I’m kind of tired tonight because of the harassment last weekend but still have some work to do to prepare for another job interview so I’m just going to take Tony’s word for this.
At any rate, by that definition, it’s plain to see that I am being extorted. A lease is considered to be the property of the holder. Yet I am being extorted by a bunch of criminals who probably hope my landlords will sell to them or that they can lowball or pressure my landlords to sell if I move. It’s possible that they realize, after two years of harassing me, that my landlords probably won’t sell to them—even if you were a homeowner who wanted to sell your home, selling to people who, based on your tenant’s wild stories may have been harassing her, would pretty clearly be an act that would make it look like you were the harassers and not some scumbucket real estate speculators. Nevertheless, the mobbers agreed with the nasty neighborhood watch that they would get rid of the tenant and now, even if they’re not likely to be able to buy and build on the lot, they’re in a mess of trouble and the neighborhood watch members who thrilled at the prospect of humiliating and kicking a tenant out of the neighborhood are now running scared and blaming the mobbers and the developers who brought them here. The upshot? For fuck’s sake, get her out.
Similar to how extortion can affect a company, it’s possible that the employees of a company could be harassed in the same manner that I am and put under threat of having lies about them spread to their employer. Last week I attended a presentation on forensic analysis in which an example was given of a teacher who nearly lost his job after malware installed 5000 links to illegal pornographic sites on his work machine. Those mobbing me have threatened, in another hoax that didn’t last because I shrugged it off, to do the same type of thing to me. It’s possible that in the same manner in which people lost jobs during the McCarthy era after being accused of being communists and, later, after being accused of being gay, that extortion can be used to acquire company intellectual property and that mobbing such as what I have been enduring will be how cyber-criminals harass people into acquiescing to their demands. For reasons such as these, penetration testers and security folks should not only know the technical details of how wireless harassment is performed. They should be aware of how cell phone harassment and wireless harassment sounds. They should have some awareness of how people describe it and the hoaxes that might be a part of it when they don’t know what is happening to them. In my case, if Microsoft Security had the appropriate training, they probably could have initiated an investigation that would led to the arrest of those mobbing me nearly two years ago and despite the fact that the bot hoax was probably just that. Even if the opening shot in the mobbing was a hoax, any following and lurking while I was on the Microsoft network or campus should have been of interest to Microsoft and its security team. Microsoft Security’s lack of interest in my repeated attempts to report what was happening only encourages cyber-criminals to repeat the same crimes.
One way to prepare a security team might be to hold a presentation on wireless and cell phone harassment in a crowded auditorium, where the cell phones of those in the auditorium are used to harass or pass messages or where the harassment jumps from the speaker of one access point to another, from one cell phone to another, and so on. Because team members might be unlikely to hear the harassment, team names or other “tells” should be incorporated into the harassing statements. In any case, even if the harassment is not “heard,” the training can end with a transcript of the messages that were sent and the SSIDs, IP addresses and networks that received them. The transcript could be accompanied with a description of how our perception is influenced by attention and familiarity. These are important aspects of security that might be described as “vigilance.”
Last week I added an entry called To catch a mobber, catch a cyber-criminal. After hearing the sounds of mobbing coming and going as conference attendees holding cell phones came and went from the seats around me, it occurred to me that a good way to investigate and obtain forensic evidence on mobbing would be to follow me and sit near me with a cell phone on. You should have a script or program installed that will automatically record even the faintest sounds that come over your speakers. Mobbers who use your cell phone to harass someone else probably don’t expect you to be recording and won’t check. This may make it possible for you to record any sound that is patched to the speakers.
Given the number of times I have requested an investigation, the Seattle Police Department knows who I am and they know how to find me. Besides, this is likely an FBI matter. Either way, wireless should be active on any cell phones around me. As the Wicked Witch of the West said, I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too! ▪