|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
|May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)|
|Recommended Links||Recommended Books||Spyware||
Malware Defense History
|Articles||Vault 7 scandal||Internet as intelligence collection tool|
|Wanna Cry -- a combination of ransomware and network worm||Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A)||Introduction to Sabotage Trojans||Petya -- a worm that encrypts that harddrive, which used hijacking of update channel of poorly written commercial software for propagating||Malicious Web Sites|
|Windows Disk Protection||Free Windows Registry Tools||Windows Process Viewers||Microsoft Power Toys||Norton Ghost||Alternatives to Norton Ghost||Windows Integrity Checkers||Windows Security|
|Compromised Web sites gallery||Web Scanning Zombies||Filesystems Recovery||Data Recovery||Free Windows Registry Tools||Microsoft Registry Tools||Registry Backup||Registry Monitoring|
|Softpanorama Spyware defense strategy||Malicious frame attack||False positives||Spyware Removal||Fighting Network worms||History||Humor||Etc|
Introduction to the topic became too big and was converted into a separate article on Dec 1, 2012. the main message is that Windows is so unsecure if connected to network that it can't be adequately protected without external firewall and proxy server. If you want to do something confidential on Windows it makes sense to non-networked pristine installation, encrypt it and use "air gap" for transferring files to networked PC. There is no guarantee, but this measure does help. Another simple measure is reinstallation of Windows each day from a secure image. Most Windows installations are now completely static, but Windows design is such that you can't make the C partition read only. Read only partitions can be created using additional drives or USB sticks.
The latest news was that the CIA lost its arsenal of hacking tools Vault 7 scandal means that there always be will a stream of nasty exploits due to overcomplexity of Windows. After this news it is clear that the the two main levels of securing Windows PC is to non-networked PC with pristine installation of OS and Windows in the segment protected by external firewall and proxy. If you need to brose Internet it is better to use Windows remote to some Linux box for browsing: a Web browser on Windows is a huge vulnerability it itself (as is any application with its own update channel).
Many freeware programs are now compromised. See the recent story about CCleaner
See Architectural approaches for increasing Windows resistance against malware:
|Microsoft is closely monitoring the situation, and is committed to helping customers have
a safe, enjoyable computing experience.
From the quotes of the day
|"the Windows dominance produced a computer monoculture with all the same problems as other
"Anti-virus companies have always been seen as ambulance chasers, and sometimes, it's true," said Dan Schrader, the chief security analyst at Trend Micro. "Because this is an industry that has been built on hype and alerts and pretensions of being good citizens, the industry doesn't have a lot of credibility."
|The preoccupation with computer "hacking" is a way for physically unattractive males to enter
the mainstream of society.
Jul 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
...Stuxnet, which was thought to be a joint American-Israeli assault on Iran's nuclear program. And there are reports of U.S. attempts to similarly hamper North Korean missile development. Some consider such direct attacks on other governments to be akin to acts of war. Would Washington join Moscow in a pledge to become a good cyber citizen?
Jun 27, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Did Sen. Warner and Comey 'Collude' on Russia-gate? June 27, 2018 • 68 Comments
The U.S. was in talks for a deal with Julian Assange but then FBI Director James Comey ordered an end to negotiations after Assange offered to prove Russia was not involved in the DNC leak, as Ray McGovern explains.
By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News
An explosive report by investigative journalist John Solomon on the opinion page of Monday's edition of The Hill sheds a bright light on how Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and then-FBI Director James Comey collaborated to prevent WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from discussing "technical evidence ruling out certain parties [read Russia]" in the controversial leak of Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 election.
A deal that was being discussed last year between Assange and U.S. government officials would have given Assange "limited immunity" to allow him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been exiled for six years. In exchange, Assange would agree to limit through redactions "some classified CIA information he might release in the future," according to Solomon, who cited "interviews and a trove of internal DOJ documents turned over to Senate investigators." Solomon even provided a copy of the draft immunity deal with Assange.
But Comey's intervention to stop the negotiations with Assange ultimately ruined the deal, Solomon says, quoting "multiple sources." With the prospective agreement thrown into serious doubt, Assange "unleashed a series of leaks that U.S. officials say damaged their cyber warfare capabilities for a long time to come." These were the Vault 7 releases, which led then CIA Director Mike Pompeo to call WikiLeaks "a hostile intelligence service."
Solomon's report provides reasons why Official Washington has now put so much pressure on Ecuador to keep Assange incommunicado in its embassy in London.
Assange: Came close to a deal with the U.S. (Photo credit: New Media Days / Peter Erichsen)
The report does not say what led Comey to intervene to ruin the talks with Assange. But it came after Assange had offered to "provide technical evidence and discussion regarding who did not engage in the DNC releases," Solomon quotes WikiLeaks' intermediary with the government as saying. It would be a safe assumption that Assange was offering to prove that Russia was not WikiLeaks' source of the DNC emails.
If that was the reason Comey and Warner ruined the talks, as is likely, it would reveal a cynical decision to put U.S. intelligence agents and highly sophisticated cybertools at risk, rather than allow Assange to at least attempt to prove that Russia was not behind the DNC leak.
The greater risk to Warner and Comey apparently would have been if Assange provided evidence that Russia played no role in the 2016 leaks of DNC documents.
Missteps and Stand Down
In mid-February 2017, in a remarkable display of naiveté, Adam Waldman, Assange's pro bono attorney who acted as the intermediary in the talks, asked Warner if the Senate Intelligence Committee staff would like any contact with Assange to ask about Russia or other issues. Waldman was apparently oblivious to Sen. Warner's stoking of Russia-gate.
Warner contacted Comey and, invoking his name, instructed Waldman to "stand down and end the discussions with Assange," Waldman told Solomon. The "stand down" instruction "did happen," according to another of Solomon's sources with good access to Warner. However, Waldman's counterpart attorney David Laufman , an accomplished federal prosecutor picked by the Justice Departent to work the government side of the CIA-Assange fledgling deal, told Waldman, "That's B.S. You're not standing down, and neither am I."
But the damage had been done. When word of the original stand-down order reached WikiLeaks, trust evaporated, putting an end to two months of what Waldman called "constructive, principled discussions that included the Department of Justice."
The two sides had come within inches of sealing the deal. Writing to Laufman on March 28, 2017, Waldman gave him Assange's offer to discuss "risk mitigation approaches relating to CIA documents in WikiLeaks' possession or control, such as the redaction of Agency personnel in hostile jurisdictions," in return for "an acceptable immunity and safe passage agreement."
On March 31, 2017, though, WikiLeaks released the most damaging disclosure up to that point from what it called "Vault 7" -- a treasure trove of CIA cybertools leaked from CIA files. This disclosure featured the tool "Marble Framework," which enabled the CIA to hack into computers, disguise who hacked in, and falsely attribute the hack to someone else by leaving so-called tell-tale signs -- like Cyrillic, for example. The CIA documents also showed that the "Marble" tool had been employed in 2016.
Misfeasance or Malfeasance
Comey: Ordered an end to talks with Assange.
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which includes among our members two former Technical Directors of the National Security Agency, has repeatedly called attention to its conclusion that the DNC emails were leaked -- not "hacked" by Russia or anyone else (and, later, our suspicion that someone may have been playing Marbles, so to speak).
In fact, VIPS and independent forensic investigators, have performed what former FBI Director Comey -- at first inexplicably, now not so inexplicably -- failed to do when the so-called "Russian hack" of the DNC was first reported. In July 2017 VIPS published its key findings with supporting data.
Two month later , VIPS published the results of follow-up experiments conducted to test the conclusions reached in July.
Why did then FBI Director Comey fail to insist on getting direct access to the DNC computers in order to follow best-practice forensics to discover who intruded into the DNC computers? (Recall, at the time Sen. John McCain and others were calling the "Russian hack" no less than an "act of war.") A 7th grader can now figure that out.
Asked on January 10, 2017 by Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) whether direct access to the servers and devices would have helped the FBI in their investigation, Comey replied : "Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or server that's involved, so it's the best evidence."
At that point, Burr and Warner let Comey down easy. Hence, it should come as no surprise that, according to one of John Solomon's sources, Sen. Warner (who is co-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee) kept Sen. Burr apprised of his intervention into the negotiation with Assange, leading to its collapse.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and prepared and briefed, one-on-one, the President's Daily Brief from 1981 to 1985.
If you enjoyed this original article please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.
Jun 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
A 29-year-old former CIA computer engineer, Joshua Adam Schulte, was indicted Monday by the Department of Justice on charges of masterminding the largest leak of classified information in the spy agency's history .
Schulte, who created malware for the U.S. Government to break into adversaries computers, has been sitting in jail since his August 24, 2017 arrest on unrelated charges of posessing and transporting child pornography - which was discovered in a search of his New York apartment after Schulte was named as the prime suspect in the cyber-breach one week after WikiLeaks published the "Vault 7" series of classified files. Schulte was arrested and jailed on the child porn charges while the DOJ ostensibly built their case leading to Monday's additional charges.
[I]nstead of charging Mr. Schulte in the breach, referred to as the Vault 7 leak, prosecutors charged him last August with possessing child pornography, saying agents had found 10,000 illicit images on a server he created as a business in 2009 while studying at the University of Texas at Austin.
Court papers quote messages from Mr. Schulte that suggest he was aware of the encrypted images of children being molested by adults on his computer, though he advised one user, "Just don't put anything too illegal on there." - New York Times
Monday's DOJ announcement adds new charges related to stealing classified national defense information from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2016 and transmitting it to WikiLeaks ("Organization-1").
The Vault 7 release - a series of 24 documents which began to publish on March 7, 2017 - reveal that the CIA had a wide variety of tools to use against adversaries, including the ability to "spoof" its malware to appear as though it was created by a foreign intelligence agency , as well as the ability to take control of Samsung Smart TV's and surveil a target using a "Fake Off" mode in which they appear to be powered down while eavesdropping.
The CIA's hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency. Each technique it has created forms a "fingerprint" that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity .
The CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.
With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from .
UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques . - WikiLeaks
Schulte previously worked for the NSA before joining the CIA, then "left the intelligence community in 2016 and took a job in the private sector," according to a statement reviewed in May by The Washington Post .
Schulte also claimed that he reported "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the CIA to that agency's inspector general as well as a congressional oversight committee. That painted him as a disgruntled employee, he said, and when he left the CIA in 2016, suspicion fell upon him as "the only one to have recently departed [the CIA engineering group] on poor terms," Schulte wrote. - WaPo
Part of that investigation, reported WaPo, has been analyzing whether the Tor network - which allows internet users to hide their location (in theory) "was used in transmitting classified information."
In other hearings in Schulte's case, prosecutors have alleged that he used Tor at his New York apartment, but they have provided no evidence that he did so to disclose classified information. Schulte's attorneys have said that Tor is used for all kinds of communications and have maintained that he played no role in the Vault 7 leaks. - WaPo
Schulte says he's innocent: " Due to these unfortunate coincidences the FBI ultimately made the snap judgment that I was guilty of the leaks and targeted me," Schulte said. He launched Facebook and GoFundMe pages to raise money for his defense, which despite a $50 million goal, has yet to r eceive a single donation.
me name=The Post noted in May, the Vault 7 release was one of the most significant leaks in the CIA's history , "exposing secret cyberweapons and spying techniques that might be used against the United States, according to current and former intelligence officials."
The CIA's toy chest includes:
- Tools code named " Marble " can misdirect forensic investigators from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to their agency by inserted code fragments in foreign languages. The tool was in use as recently as 2016. Per the WikiLeaks release:
"The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages."
- iPads / iPhones / Android devices and Smart TV's are all susceptible to hacks and malware. The agency's "Dark Matter" project reveals that the CIA has been bugging "factory fresh" iPhones since at least 2008 through suppliers. Another, " Sonic Screwdriver " allows the CIA to execute code on a Mac laptop or desktop while it's booting up.
- The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell's 1984, but "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB) , which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.
- The Obama administration promised to disclose all serious vulnerabilities they found to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers. The US Government broke that commitment.
"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.
- The Frankfurt consulate is a major CIA hacking base of operations .
In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( "Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe" or CCIE) are given diplomatic ("black") passports and State Department cover.
- Instant messaging encryption is a joke.
These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the "smart" phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.
- The CIA laughs at Anti-Virus / Anti-Malware programs.
CIA hackers developed successful attacks against most well known anti-virus programs. These are documented in AV defeats , Personal Security Products , Detecting and defeating PSPs and PSP/Debugger/RE Avoidance . For example, Comodo was defeated by CIA malware placing itself in the Window's "Recycle Bin" . While Comodo 6.x has a "Gaping Hole of DOOM" .
You can see the entire Vault7 release here .
A DOJ statement involving the Vault7 charges reads:
"Joshua Schulte, a former employee of the CIA, allegedly used his access at the agency to transmit classified material to an outside organization . During the course of this investigation, federal agents also discovered alleged child pornography in Schulte's New York City residence ," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.
On March 7, 2017, Organization-1 released on the Internet classified national defense material belonging to the CIA (the "Classified Information"). In 2016, SCHULTE, who was then employed by the CIA, stole the Classified Information from a computer network at the CIA and later transmitted it to Organization-1. SCHULTE also intentionally caused damage without authorization to a CIA computer system by granting himself unauthorized access to the system, deleting records of his activities, and denying others access to the system . SCHULTE subsequently made material false statements to FBI agents concerning his conduct at the CIA.
Schulte faces 135 years in prison if convicted on all 13 charges:
- Illegal Gathering of National Defense Information, 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(b) and 2
- Illegal Transmission of Lawfully Possessed National Defense Information, 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(d) and 2
- Illegal Transmission of Unlawfully Possessed National Defense Information, 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e) and 2
- Unauthorized Access to a Computer To Obtain Classified Information, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(1) and 2
- Theft of Government Property, 18 U.S.C. §§ 641 and 2
- Unauthorized Access of a Computer to Obtain Information from a Department or Agency of the United States, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(2) and 2
- Causing Transmission of a Harmful Computer Program, Information, Code, or Command, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(5) and 2
- Making False Statements, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 2
- Obstruction of Justice, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1503 and 2
- Receipt of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(2)(B), (b)(1), and 2
- Possession of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(5)(B), (b)(2), and 2
- Transportation of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(1)
- Criminal Copyright Infringement, 17 U.S.C. § 506(a)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319(b)(1)
Billy the Poet -> Anarchyteez Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:50 PermalinkA Sentinel -> Billy the Poet Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:59 Permalink
So Schulte was framed for kiddie porn because he released information about how the CIA can frame innocent people for computer crime.A Sentinel -> CrabbyR Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:46 Permalink
That seems very likely.
Seems like everyone has kiddy porn magically appear and get discovered after they piss off the deep state bastards.
And the best part is that it's probably just the deep state operatives' own private pedo collections that they use to frame anyone who they don't like.CrabbyR -> A Sentinel Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:07 Permalink
I was thinking about the advancement of the technology necessary for that. They can do perfect fake stills already.
My thought is that you will soon need to film yourself 24/7 (with timestamps, shared with a blockchain-like verifiably) so that you can disprove fake video evidence by having a filmed alibi.peopledontwanttruth -> Anarchyteez Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:50 Permalink
good point but creepy to think it can get that badsecretargentman -> peopledontwanttruth Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:51 Permalink
Funny how all these whistleblowers are being held for child pornography until trial.
But we have evidence of government officials and Hollyweird being involved in this perversion and they walk among uschunga -> secretargentman Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:12 Permalink
Those kiddy porn charges are extremely suspect, IMO.A Sentinel -> chunga Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:42 Permalink
It's so utterly predictable.
The funny* thing is I believe gov, particularly upper levels, is chock full of pedophiles.
* It isn't funny, my contempt for the US gov grows practically by the hour.SybilDefense -> A Sentinel Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:33 Permalink
I said pretty much the same. I further speculated that it was their own porn that they use for framing operations.cankles' server -> holdbuysell Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:57 Permalink
Ironically, every single ex gov whistle blower (/pedophile) has the exact same kiddie porn data on their secret server (hidden in plane view at the apartment). Joe CIA probably has a zip drive preloaded with titled data sets like "Podesta's Greatest Hits", "Hillary's Honey bunnies" or "Willy go to the zoo". Like the mix tapes you used to make for a new gal you were trying to date. Depending upon the mood of the agent in charge, 10,000 images of Weiner's "Warm Pizza" playlist magically appear on the server in 3-2-1... Gotcha!
These false fingerprint tactics were all over the trump accusations which started the whole Russia Russia Russia ordeal. And the Russia ordeal was conceptualized in a paid report to Podesta by the Bensenson Group called the Salvage Program when it was appearant that Trump could possible win and the DNC needed ideas on how to throw the voters off at the polls. Russia is coming /Red dawn was #1 or #2 on the list of 7 recommended ploys. The final one was crazy.. If Trump appeared to win the election, imagery of Jesus and an Alien Invasion was to be projected into the skies to cause mass panic and create a demand for free zanex to be handed out to the panic stricken.
Don't forget Black Lives Matters. That was idea #4 of this Bensenson report, to create civil unrest and a race war. Notice how BLM and Antifa manically disappeared after Nov 4. All a ploy by the Dems & the deep state to remain in control of the countrys power.
Back to the topic at hand. Its a wonder he didn't get Seth Riched. Too many porn servers and we will begin to question the legitimacy. Oh wait...
You won't find any kiddie porn on Hillary's or DeNiros laptop. Oh its there. You just will never ever hear about it.BGO Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:43 Permalink
The Vault 7 release - a series of 24 documents which began to publish on March 7, 2017 - reveal that the CIA had a wide variety of tools to use against adversaries, including the ability to "spoof" its malware to appear as though it was created by a foreign intelligence agency ....
It probably can spoof child porn as well.
Is he charged with copyright infringement for pirating child porn?Never One Roach -> BGO Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:44 Permalink
The intel community sure has a knack for sussing out purveyors of child pornography. It's probably just a coincidence govt agencies and child pornography are inextricably linked.NotBuyingIt -> BGO Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:09 Permalink
Sounds like he may be a friend of Uncle Joe Biden whom we know is "very, very friendly" with the children.DoctorFix -> BGO Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:18 Permalink
It's very easy for a criminal spook to plant child porn on some poor slob's machine - especially when they want to keep him on the hook to sink his ass for something bigger in the future. Who knows... this guy may have done some shit but I'm willing to bet he was entirely targeted by these IC assholes. Facing 135 years in prison... yet that baggy ass cunt Hillary walks free...MadHatt Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:43 Permalink
Funny how they always seem to have a "sting" operation in progress when there's anyone the DC rats want to destroy but strangely, or not, silent as the grave when one of the special people are fingered.navy62802 -> MadHatt Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:30 Permalink
Transportation of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(1)
Uhh... what? He stole CIA child porn?MadHatt -> navy62802 Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:29 Permalink
Nah ... that's the shit they planted on him for an excuse to make an arrest.Never One Roach Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:44 Permalink
If he stole all their hacking apps, wouldn't that be enough to arrest him?_triplesix_ Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:46 Permalink
That list of federal crimes is almost as long as Comey's list of Hillary Clinton's federal crimes._triplesix_ Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:46 Permalink
Of all these things the C_A can do, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that planting CP on a computer of someone you don't like would be a piece of cake, comparatively speaking.Giant Meteor -> _triplesix_ Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:51 Permalink
Of all these things the C_A can do, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that planting CP on a computer of someone you don't like would be a piece of cake, comparatively speaking.PigMan Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:50 Permalink
It probably comes standard now buried within systems, like a sleeper cell. Just waiting for the right infraction and trigger to be pulled ..ConnectingTheDots Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:56 Permalink
Did he also leak that the CIA's favorite tactic is to plant kiddie porn on their targets computer?Chupacabra-322 Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:14 Permalink
The alphabet agencies would never hack someone's computer.
The alphabet agencies would never spy on US citizens (at least not wittingly)
The alphabet agencies would never plant physical evidence.
The alphabet agencies would never lie under oath.
The alphabet agencies would never have an agenda.
The alphabet agencies would never provide the media with false information.
/sZIRPdiggler -> Chupacabra-322 Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:29 Permalink
The "Spoofing" or Digital Finger Print & Parallel Construction tools that can be used against Governments, Individuals, enemies & adversaries are Chilling.
The CIA can not only hack into anything -- they can download any "evidence" they want onto your phone or computer. Child pornography, national secrets, you name it. Then they can blackmail you, threatening prosecution for whatever crap they have planted, then "found" on your computer. They can also "spoof" the source of such downloads -- for instance, if they want to "prove" that something on your computer (or Donald Trump's computer) came from a "Russian source" -- they can spoof the IP address of a Russian source.
The take-away: no digital evidence the CIA or NSA produces on any subject whatsoever can be trusted. No digital evidence should be acceptable in any case where the government has an interest, because they have the complete ability to fabricate and implant any evidence on any iphone or computer. And worse: they have intentionally created these digital vulnerabilities and pushed them onto the whole world via Microsoft and Google. Government has long been at war with liberty, claiming that we need to give up liberty to be secure. Now we learn that they have been deliberately sabotaging our security, in order to augment their own power. Time to shut down the CIA and all the other spy agencies. They're not keeping us free OR secure, and they're doing it deliberately. Their main function nowadays seems to be lying us into wars against countries that never attacked us, and had no plans to do so.
The Echelon Computer System Catch Everything
The Flagging goes to Notify the Appropriate Alphabet,,,...Key Words Phrases...Algorithms,...It all gets sucked up and chewed on and spat out to the surmised computed correct departments...That simple.
Effective immediately defund, Eliminate & Supeona it's Agents, Officials & Dept. Heads in regard to the Mass Surveillance, Global Espionage Spying network & monitoring of a President Elect by aforementioned Agencies & former President Obama, AG Lynch & DIA James Clapper, CIA John Breanan.
#UMBRAGEmoobra Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:45 Permalink
Since 911, they've been "protecting" the shit out of us. "protecting" away every last fiber of liberty. Was watching some fact-based media about the CIA's failed plan to install Yeltsin's successor via a Wallstreet banking cartel bet (see, LTCM implosion). The ultimate objectives were to rape and loot post-Soviet Russian resources and enforce regime change. It's such a tired playbook at this point. Who DOESNT know about this sort of affront? Apparently even nobel prize economists cant prevent a nation from failing lol. The ultimate in vanity; our gubmint and its' shadow controllers.ZIRPdiggler Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:05 Permalink
This is because people who are smart enough to write walware for the CIA send messages in the clear about child porn and are too dumb to encrypt images with a key that would take the lifetime of the universe to break.
Next his mother will be found to have a tax problem and his brother's credit rating zeroed out.
Meanwhile Comey will be found to have been "careless".AGuy -> ZIRPdiggler Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:36 Permalink
Yeah I don't believe for a second that this guy had anything to do with child porn. Not like Obama and his hotdogs or Clintons at pedo island, or how bout uncle pervie podesta? go after them, goons and spooks. They (intelligence agencies) falsely accuse people of exactly what they are ass-deep in. loses credibility with me when the CIA clowns or NSA fuck ups accuse anyone of child porn; especially one of their former employees who is 'disgruntled'. LOL. another spook railroad job done on a whistleblower. fuck the CIA and all 17 alphabet agencies who spy on us 24/7. Just ask, if you want to snoop on me. I may even tell you what I'm up to because I have nothing that I would hide since, I don't give a shit about you or whether you approve of what I am doing.rgraf Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:05 Permalink
"Yeah I don't believe for a second that this guy had anything to do with child porn."
Speculation by my part: He was running a Tor server, and the porn originated from other Tor users. If that is the case ( it would be easy for law enforcement to just assume it was his) law enforcement enjoys a quick and easy case.ZIRPdiggler -> rgraf Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:09 Permalink
They shouldn't be spying, and they shouldn't keep any secrets from the populace. If they weren't doing anything wrong, they have nothing to hide.Blue Steel 309 Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:53 Permalink
It really doesn't matter if someone wants to hide. That is their right. Only Nazi's like our spy agencies would use the old Gestapo line, "If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about. Or better yet, you should let me turn your life upside down if you have nothing to hide. " Bullshit! It's none of their fucking business. How bout that? Spooks and secret clowns CAN and DO frame anybody for whatever or murder whomever they wish. So why WOULDNT people be afraid when government goons start sticking their big snouts into their lives??? They can ruin your life for the sake of convenience. Zee Furor is not pleased with your attitude, comrade.
Vault 7 proves that most digital evidence should be inadmissible in court, yet I don't see anyone publishing articles about this problem.
Mar 20, 2017 | www.youtube.com
The mighty CIA has fallen victim to a major breach, with WikiLeaks revealing the true scope of the Agency's ability for cyber-espionage. Its tools seem to be aimed at ordinary citizens your phone, your car, your TV, even your fridge can become an instrument of surveillance in the hands of the CIA. How does the CIA use these tools, and why do they need them in the first place?
And as WikiLeaks promises even more revelations, how is all of this going to shape the already tense relationship between new president and the intelligence community?
A man who has spent over two decades in the CIA's clandestine service Gary Berntsen is on SophieCo.
FULL TRANSCRIPT: https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/381...Sophie Shevardnadze: Gary Berntsen, former CIA official, welcome to the show, great to have you with us. Now, Vault 7, a major batch of CIA docs revealed by Wikileaks uncovers the agency's cyber tools. We're talking about world's most powerful intelligence agency - how exactly did the CIA lose control of its arsenal of hacking weapons?
Gary Berntsen: First off, I'd like to say that the world has changed a lot in the last several decades, and people are communicating in many different ways and intelligence services, whether they be American or Russian, are covering these communications and their coverage of those communications has evolved. Without commenting on the specific validity of those tools, it was clear that the CIA was surely using contractors to be involved in this process, not just staff officers, and that individuals decided that they had problems with U.S. policy, and have leaked these things to Wikileaks. This is a large problem, for the U.S. community, but just as the U.S. is having problems, the Russia face similar problems. Just this week you had multiple members of the FSB charged with hacking as well, and they have been charged by the U.S. government. So both services who are competitors, face challenges as we've entered a new era of mass communications.
SS: So like you're saying, the leaker or leakers of the CIA docs is presumably a CIA contractor - should the agency be spending more effort on vetting its own officers? Is the process rigorous enough?
GB: Clearly. Look There have been individuals since the dawn of history. Espionage is the second oldest occupation, have conducted spying and espionage operations, and there have been people who have turned against their own side and worked for competitors and worked for those opposing the country or the group that they're working with. It's been a problem from the beginning, and it continues to be a problem, and the U.S. clearly is going to have to do a much better job at vetting those individuals who are given security clearances, without a doubt.
SS: The CIA studied the flaws in the software of devices like iPhones, Androids, Smart TVs, apps like Whatsapp that left them exposed to hacking, but didn't care about patching those up - so, in essence the agency chose to leave Americans vulnerable to cyberattacks, rather than protect them?
GB: I think you have to understand, in this world that we're operating and the number one target of our intelligence community are terrorists. Since the attacks of 9\11, 16 years ago, the obsession of the American intelligence community is to identify those planning terrorist attacks, collecting information on them and being able to defeat them. These individuals are using all these means of communication. I have spoken with many security services around the world, since my retirement back in 2005-2006, a lot of them have had problems covering the communications of somebody's very devices and programs that you've talked about - whether they be narcotraffickers or salafist jihadists, they are all piggybacking off of commercial communications. Therefore the need for modern intelligence services to sort of provide coverage of all means of communications. And there's a price that you pay for that.
SS: One of the most disturbing parts of the leaks is the "Weeping Angel" program - CIA hacking into Samsung Smart TVs to record what's going on even when the TV appears to be turned off. Why are the CIA's tools designed to penetrate devices used by ordinary Western citizens at home?
GB: Look, I wouldn't say it has anything to do with Western homes, because the CIA doesn't do technical operations against American citizens - that's prohibited by the law. If the CIA does anything in the U.S., it does it side-by-side with the FBI, and it does it according to FISA - the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act laws. It's gotta go to the judge to do those things. Those tools are used primarily against the individuals and terrorists that are targeting the U.S. or other foreign entities that we see as a significant threat to the U.S. national security, which is the normal functioning of any intelligence service.
SS: Just like you say, the CIA insists it never uses its investigative tools on American citizens in the US, but, we're wondering, exactly how many terrorist camps in the Middle East have Samsung Smart TVs to watch their favorite shows on? Does it seem like the CIA lost its direction?
GB: Plenty of them.
GB: I've travelled in the Middle East, Samsungs are sold everywhere. Sophie, Samsung TVs are sold all over the world. I've spent a lot of time in the Middle East, I've seen them in Afghanistan, I've seen them everywhere. So, any kind of devices that you can imagine, people are using everywhere. We're in a global economy now.
SS: The CIA has tools to hack iPhones - but they make up only around 15 % of the world's smartphone market. IPhones are not popular among terrorists, but they are among business and political elites - so are they the real target here?
GB: No. The CIA in relative terms to the size of the world is a small organisation. It is an organisation that has roughly 20 or more thousand people - it's not that large in terms of covering a planet with 7 billion people. We have significant threats to the U.S. and to the Western world. We live in an age of super-terrorism, we live in an age when individuals, small groups of people, can leverage technology at a lethal effect. The greatest threats to this planet are not just nuclear, they are bio. The U.S. needs to have as many tools as possible to defend itself against these threats, as does Russia want to have similar types of tools to defend itself. You too, Russian people have suffered from a number of terrible terrorist acts.
SS: Wikileaks suggest the CIA copied the hacking habits of other nations to create a fake electronic trace - why would the CIA need that?
GB: The CIA, as any intelligence service, would look to conduct coverage in the most unobtrusive fashion as possible. It is going to do its operations so that they can collect and collect again and again against terrorist organisations, where and whenever it can, because sometimes threats are not just static, they are continuous.
SS: You know this better, so enlighten me: does the he CIA have the authorisation to create the surveillance tools it had in the first place? Who gives it such authorisation?
GB: The CIA was created in 1947 by the National Security Act of the U.S. and does two different things - it does FI (foreign intelligence) collection and it does CA - covert action. Its rules for collection of intelligence were enshrined in the law that created it, the CIA Act 110, in 1949, but the covert action part of this, where it does active measures, when it gets involved in things - all of those are covered by law. The Presidential finding had to be written, it had to be presented to the President. The President's signs off on those things. Those things are then briefed to members of Congress, or the House Permanent Subcommittee for Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence. We have a very rigorous process of review of the activities of our intelligence communities in the U.S.
SS: But you're talking about the activities in terms of operations. I'm just asking - does CIA need any authorisation or permission to create the tools it has in its arsenal? Or it can just go ahead
GB: Those tools and the creation of collection tools falls under the same laws that allowed the CIA to be established. And that was the 1949 Intelligence Act. And also, subsequently, the laws in 1975. Yes.
SS: So, the CIA programme names are quite colourful, sometimes wacky - "Weeping Angel", "Swamp Monkey", "Brutal Kangaroo" - is there a point to these, is there any logic, or are they completely random? I always wondered...
GB: There's absolutely no point to that, and it's random.
SS:Okay, so how do you come up with those names? Who like, one says: "Monkey" and another one says: "Kangaroo"?...
GB: I'm sure they are computer-generated.
SS: Trump accused Obama of wiretapping him during the campaign Could the CIA have actually spied on the president? It seems like the agency doesn't have the best relationship with Donald Trump - how far can they go?
GB: Let me just say this: the President used the word "wiretapping" but I think it was very clear to us that have been in the intelligence business, that this was a synonym for "surveillance". Because most people are on cellphones, people aren't using landlines anymore, so there's no "wiretapping", okay. These all fall under the Intelligence Surveillance Act, as I stated earlier, this thing existing in the U.S.. It was clear to President Trump and to those in his campaign, after they were elected, and they did a review back that the Obama Administration sought FISA authorisation to do surveillance of the Trump campaign in July and then in October. They were denied in July, they were given approval in October, and in October they did some types of surveillance of the Trump campaign. This is why the President, of course, tweeted, that he had been "wiretapped" - of course "wiretapping" being a synonym for the surveillance against his campaign, which was never heard of in the U.S. political history that I can remember, I can't recall any way of this being done. It's an outrage, and at the same time, Congressional hearings are going to be held and they are going to review all of these things, and they are going to find out exactly what happened and what was done. It's unclear right now, but all we do know - and it has been broken in the media that there were two efforts, and at the second one, the authorisation was given. That would never have been done by the CIA, because they don't do that sort of coverage in the U.S.. That would either be the FBI or the NSA, with legal authorities and those authorities the problem that the Trump administration had is they believed that the information from these things was distributed incorrectly. Any time an American - and this is according to the U.S. law - any time an American is on the wire in the U.S., their names got to be minimized from this and it clearly wasn't done and the Trump administration was put in a bad light because of this.
SS: If what you're saying is true, how does that fall under foreign intelligence? Is that more of the FBI-NSA expertise?
GB: It was FBI and NSA - it was clearly the FBI and the NSA that were involved, it would never have been the CIA doing that, they don't listen to telephones in the U.S., they read the product of other agencies that would provide those things, but clearly, there were individuals on those phone calls that they believed were foreign and were targeting those with potential communications with the Trump campaign. Let's be clear here - General Clapper, the DNI for President Obama, stated before he left office, that there was no, I repeat, no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. This has been something that has been dragged out again, and again, and again, by the media. This is a continuing drumbeat of the mainstream, left-wing media of the U.S., to paint the President in the poorest light, to attempt to discredit Donald Trump.
SS: With the intelligence agencies bringing down Trump's advisors like Michael Flynn - and you said the people behind that were Obama's loyalists - can we talk about the intelligence agencies being too independent from the White House, playing their own politics?
GB: I think part of the problem that we've seen during the handover of power from President Obama to President Trump was that there was a number of holdovers that went from political appointee to career status that had been placed in the NatSec apparatus and certain parts of the intelligence organisations. It is clear that President Trump and his team are determined to remove those people to make sure that there's a continuity of purpose and people aren't leaking information that would put the Administration into a negative light. That's the goal of the administration, to conduct itself consistent with the goals of securing the country from terrorism and other potential threats - whether they be counter-narcotics, or intelligence agencies trying to breach our you know, the information that we hold secure.
SS: Here's a bit of conspiracy theories - could it be that the domestic surveillance agencies like the NSA or the FBI orchestrated the Vault 7 leaks - to damage CIA, stop it from infringing on their turf?
GB :I really don't think so and that is conspiracy thinking. You have to understand something, in the intelligence communities in the U.S., whether it be the CIA and FBI, we've done a lot of cross-fertilizations. When I was in senior position in CIA's counterterrorism center, I had a deputy who was an FBI officer. An office in FBI HQ down in Washington had an FBI lead with a CIA deputy. There's a lot more cooperation than one would think. There are individuals that do assignments in each other's organisations to help foster levels of cooperation. I had members of NSA in my staff when I was at CIA, members of diplomatic security, members of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and it was run like a task force, so, there's a lot more cooperation than the media presents, they always think that there are these huge major battles between the organisations and that's rarely true.
SS: Generally speaking - is there rivalry between American intel agencies at all? Competition for resources, maybe?
GB: I think, sometimes, between the Bureau and the CIA - the CIA is the dominant agency abroad, and the FBI is the dominant agency in the U.S. What they do abroad, they frequently have to get cleared by us, what we do domestically, we have to get cleared by them, and sometimes there's some friction, but usually, we're able to work this out. It makes for great news, the CIA fighting FBI, but the reality is that there's a lot more cooperation than confrontation. We are all in the business of trying to secure the American homeland and American interests globally.
SS: I'm still thinking a lot about the whole point of having this hacking arsenal for the CIA since you talk on their behalf - the possibility to hack phones, computers, TVs and cars - if the actual terrorist attacks on US soil, like San Bernardino, Orlando are still missed?
GB: Look. There are hundreds of individuals, if not thousands, planning efforts against the U.S. at any time. It can be many-many things. And the U.S. security services, there's the CIA, the FBI, NSA - block many-many of these things, but it is impossible to stop them all. Remember, this is an open society here, in America, with 320 million people, here. We try to foster open economic system, we allow more immigration to America than all countries in the world combined. This is a great political experiment here, but it's also very difficult to police. There are times that the U.S. security services are going to fail. It's inevitable. We just have to try the best we can, do the best job that we can, while protecting the values that attract so many people to the U.S.
SS:The former CIA director John Brennan is saying Trump's order to temporarily ban travel from some Muslim states is not going to help fight terrorism in 'any significant way'. And the countries where the terrorists have previously come from - like Saudi Arabia, or Afghanistan, it's true - aren't on the list. So does he maybe have a point?
GB: John Brennan is acting more like a political operative than a former director of CIA. The countries that Mr. Trump had banned initially, or at least had put a partial, sort of a delay - where states like Somalia, Libya, the Sudan, Iran - places where we couldn't trust local vetting. Remember something, when someone immigrates to the U.S., we have what's called an "immigration packet": they may have to get a chest X-ray to make sure they don't bring any diseases with them, they have to have background check on any place they've ever lived, and in most of these places there are no security forces to do background checks on people that came from Damascus, because parts of Damascus are totally destroyed - there's been warfare. It is actually a very reasonable thing for President Trump to ask for delay in these areas. Look, the Crown-Prince, the Deputy Crown-Prince of Saudi Arabia was just in the United States and met with Donald Trump, and he said he didn't believe it was a "ban on Muslims". This was not a "ban on Muslims", it was an effort to slow down and to create more opportunity to vet those individuals coming from states where there's a preponderance of terrorist organisations operating. A reasonable step by President Trump, something he promised during the campaign, something he's fulfilling. But again, I repeat - America allows more immigration into the U.S., than all countries combined. So, we really don't need to be lectured on who we let in and who we don't let in.
SS: But I still wonder if the Crown-Prince would've had the same comment had Saudi Arabia been on that ban list. Anyways, Michael Hayden, ex-CIA
GB: Wait a second, Sophie - the Saudis have a reasonable form to police their society, and they provide accurate police checks. If they didn't create accurate police checks, we would've given the delay to them as well.
SS: Ok, I got your point. Now, Michael Hayden, ex-CIA and NSA chief, pointed out that the US intelligence enlists agents in the Muslim world with the promise of eventual emigration to America - is Trump's travel ban order going to hurt American intelligence gathering efforts in the Middle East?
GB: No, the question here - there were individuals that worked as translators for us in Afghanistan and Iraq and serving in such roles as translators, they were promised the ability to immigrate to the United States. Unfortunately, some of them were blocked in the first ban that was put down, because individuals who wrote that, didn't consider that. That has been considered in the re-write, that the Trump administration had submitted, which is now being attacked by a judge in Hawaii, and so it was taken into consideration, but the objective here was to help those that helped U.S. forces on the ground, especially those who were translators, in ground combat operations, where they risked their lives alongside American soldiers.
SS: You worked in Afghanistan - you were close to capturing Bin Laden back in 2001 - what kind of spying tools are actually used on the ground by the CIA to catch terrorists?
GB: The CIA as does any intelligence service in the world, is a human business. It's a business where we work with local security forces to strengthen their police and intelligence forces, we attempt to leverage them, we have our own people on the ground that speak the language, we're trying to help build transportation there. There's no "secret sauce" here. There's no super-technology that changes the country's ability to conduct intelligence collections or operations. In Afghanistan the greatest thing that the U.S. has is broad support and assistance to Afghan men and women across the country. We liberated half of the population, and for women were providing education, and when the people see what we were doing: trying to build schools, providing USAID projects - all of these things - this makes the population willing to work with and support the United States. Frequently, members of the insurgence groups will see this and sometimes they do actually cross the lines and cooperate with us. So, it's a full range of American political power, whether it's hard or soft, that is the strength of the American intelligence services - because people in the world actually believe - and correctly so - that American more than generally a force of good in the world.
SS: Gary, thank you so much for this interesting interview and insight into the world of the CIA. We've been talking to Gary Berntsen, former top CIA officer, veteran of the agency, talking about the politics of American intelligence in the Trump era. That's it for this edition of SophieCo, I will see you next time.
Just thinking here in the light of how things are unfolding with the CIA I am wondering since Federal crimes are committed can the FBI investigate the CIA acting as America Federal Law Enforcement.
RedBlowDryer -> GreenPin
I think the US intelligent agencies are harming their country more than any enemy of the US.
There is a reason why JFK wanted to dismantle the CIA. This guy is lying.
CIA needs hacking tools to make it look like it was carried out by another state simply for plausible deniability.
a "force for good in the world"?...sounds like the American white hat-black hat myth...read Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism". This is a detailed litany of America's various kinds of interventions in multiple countries that cold hardly be described as "a force for good in the world"...a force for "America's values" (read with ironically), perhaps
WHO is responsible for the outbreak of chaotic warfare in Libya and Syria?
Should we trust the Saudi vetting services...think of who the September 11 bombers were? Was there another reason they were not on Trump's banned countries list? Too big to mess with, i.e., oil and weapons sales?
Amazing how they justify their destructive behaviour in a way as they are serving America people and doing good around the wold. You can sugar count your crimes against humanity as much as you can, but the reality of today' human misery speaks for itself.
since the United States was founded in 1776, she has been at war during 214 out of her 235 calendar years of existence
interesting, but begs the question "Can we really trust what this guy tells us?" If not, what parts can we trust, and what parts can't we?
You'd have to deconstruct his talking points and I don't know how that is done. Intelligence probably knows how to do that. I noticed he was becoming more zealous on hegemony and exceptionalism as the interview neared the end.
I agree. Bernsten is almost like-ably energetic, but he is, in the end, an uncompromising warrior of the empire.
if Trump is to be controlled--they gotta have some dirt--or threat against his family --it's how they operate---
Mr. Berntsen left out the very important NSC10/2 legislation, which gave the CIA free reign with deniability as the cover. This needs to be repealed. With this legislation, the CIA answers to no one, and goes around the world wrecking havoc with the governments and people where they like. We will never have peace until that legislation is repealed.
This is why interesting books to read about the history of the CIA.
- The Dulles brothers,
- David Talbot: The Devil's Chessboard,
- Fletcher Prouty: The Secret Team.
I applaud former CIA and FBI Gary Bernstein for speaking out on the most powerful intelligence networks on the planet regarding their surveillance activities. Every nation needs intelligence to safeguard but if we go beyond the call of duty and get exposed .this leaves Pres Trump and his Adm with no option but to consider corrective measures with a visit to Langley etc.. Here again the failures of Liberalism are coming up in the wash for cleaning up.
Liberalism has not been running the country for the last 54 years. We have been under a coup government and just got used to it.
May 28, 2018 | www.wired.com
Home routers have become the rats to hackers' bubonic plague: an easily infected, untreated, and ubiquitous population in which dangerous digital attacks can spread. Now security researchers are warning that one group of sophisticated hackers has amassed a collection of malware-infected routers that could be used as a powerful tool to spread havoc across the internet, or simply triggered to implode networks across the globe.
On Wednesday, Cisco's Talos security division warned of a new breed of malware it calls VPNFilter, which it says has infected at least half a million home and small business routers, including those sold by Netgear, TP-Link, Linksys, MicroTik, and QNAP network storage devices. Talos believes that the versatile code is designed to serve as a multipurpose spy tool, and also creates a network of hijacked routers that serve as unwitting VPNs, potentially hiding the attackers' origin as they carry out other malicious activities. Perhaps most disturbingly, they note the tool also has a destructive feature that would allow the hackers behind it to immediately corrupt the firmware of the entire collection of hacked routers, essentially bricking them.
"This actor has half a million nodes spread out over the world and each one can be used to control completely different networks if they want," says Craig Williams, who leads Talos' security research team. "It's basically an espionage machine that can be retooled for anything they want."
'It's basically an espionage machine that can be retooled for anything they want.'
Craig Williams, lead for Talos' security research team
Exactly how VPNFilter infects its targets isn't yet clear. But home routers are notoriously prone to vulnerabilities that can allow remote hackers to take them over, and rarely receive software updates. "This is a set of devices that's getting targeted more and more over the years," says Michael Daniel, the head of the Cyber Threat Alliance, a security industry group that's working with Cisco's Talos to alert the industry to the VPNFilter threat and hasten its removal. "They sit outside firewalls, they don't have native antivirus, they're hard to patch."
Talos writes in a detailed blog post that the VPNFilter malware is capable of siphoning off any data that passes through the network devices it infects, and appears specifically designed to monitor credentials entered into websites. Another, largely unexplained spying feature of the tool seems to watch for communications over the ModBUS SCADA protocol that's used for controlling automated equipment and internet-of-things devices.
But Talos' Williams also points out that the mass of hacked routers can also function as a collection of proxies for other activities the hackers might engage in -- from penetrating other targets to distributed denial-of-service attacks designed to knock websites offline. Hence the VPN in its name. "We assess with high confidence that this malware is used to create an expansive, hard-to-attribute infrastructure that can be used to serve multiple operational needs of the threat actor," Talos' blog post reads.
May 27, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
The F.B.I. has several recommendations for any owner of a small office or home office router. The simplest thing to do is reboot the device, which will temporarily disrupt the malware if it is present. Users are also advised to upgrade the devices' firmware and to select a new secure password. If any remote-management settings are in place, the F.B.I. suggests disabling them. Advertisement
An analysis by Talos , the threat intelligence division for the tech giant Cisco, estimated that at least 500,000 routers in at least 54 countries had been infected by the malware, which the F.B.I. and cybersecurity researchers are calling VPNFilter. Among the affected networking equipment it found during its research were devices from manufacturers including Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear and TP-Link.
To disrupt the Sofacy network, the Justice Department sought and received permission to seize the web domain toknowall.com, which it said was a critical part of the malware's "command-and-control infrastructure." Now that the domain is under F.B.I. control, any attempts by the malware to reinfect a compromised router will be bounced to an F.B.I. server that can record the I.P. address of the affected device.
May 27, 2018 | nakedsecurity.sophos.com
Don't delay – do it today!
- Check with your vendor or ISP to find out how to get your router to do a firmware update. Many routers do receive security updates, at least from time to time, but they're often not downloaded or installed automatically. You typically need to login to the administration console and click some sort of
[Check now]button. If you live in a country with daylight savings, why not do an update check on all your IoT devices every time the clocks change? Crooks routinely scan the internet probing for routers that have unpatched security holes that they already know how to exploit. Don't make it easy for crooks to implant malware: patch early, patch often!
- Turn off remote administration unless you really need it. Many routers let you access the administration interface from the internet side as well as from the LAN side of the device. Some even come like that out of the factory. Crooks routinely scan the internet probing for login screens that aren't supposed to be visible and are thus less likely to be secured properly. Don't make it easy for crooks to find your devices and start guessing away at your password.
- Pick proper passwords. Many routers ship with a pre-set administrator password, and some routers don't force you to pick a new password when you first set them up. Crooks have extensive lists of default usernames and passwords for all sorts of internet devices. Don't give crooks the keys to your castle by sticking with a password that they can figure out easily.
- Stick to HTTPS for as much web browsing as you can. Generally speaking, web connections that show up with a padlock in your browser are encrypted end-to-end, so they can't be sniffed out along the way by an untrusted internet device, whether that's due to a malware infection on your own router, a rogue ISP in your network path, or a surveillance-hungry country that your traffic happens to traverse.
May 27, 2018 | blog.talosintelligence.com
We recommend that:
- Users of SOHO routers and/or NAS devices reset them to factory defaults and reboot them in order to remove the potentially destructive, non-persistent stage 2 and stage 3 malware.
- Internet service providers that provide SOHO routers to their users reboot the routers on their customers' behalf.
- If you have any of the devices known or suspected to be affected by this threat, it is extremely important that you work with the manufacturer to ensure that your device is up to date with the latest patch versions. If not, you should apply the updated patches immediately.
- ISPs work aggressively with their customers to ensure their devices are patched to the most recent firmware/software versions.
Due to the potential for destructive action by the threat actor, we recommend out of an abundance of caution that these actions be taken for all SOHO or NAS devices, whether or not they are known to be affected by this threat.
... ... ...The stage 2 malware first sets up the working environment by creating a modules folder (/var/run/vpnfilterm) and a working directory (/var/run/vpnfilterw). Afterward, it will run in a loop, where it first reaches out to a C2 server, and then executes commands retrieved from the C2. The command names are encrypted with the same broken RC4 function as in stage 1. Fortunately, older versions of x86 stage 2 sample were very verbose, and debug printed all the steps it performed. Newer versions of the x86 stage 2 did not contain the debug prints, nor did the MIPS sample.
The x86 sample can perform the following operations:
- kill: Overwrites the first 5,000 bytes of /dev/mtdblock0 with zeros, and reboots the device (effectively bricking it).
- exec: Executes a shell command or plugin.
- tor: Sets the Tor configuration flag (0 or 1).
- copy: Copies a file from the client to the server.
- seturl: Sets the URL of the current configuration panel.
- proxy: Sets the current proxy URL.
- port: Sets the current proxy port.
- delay: Sets the delay between main loop executions.
- reboot: Reboots the device if it has been up for more than 256 seconds, and the build name is specified in the parameter.
- download: Downloads a URL to a file. This can be applied to all devices or just a certain build name.
The MIPS sample has the following additional operations:
- stop: Terminate the malware process.
- relay: A misspelled version of the `delay` command from the x86 version.
Until the Tor module is installed, stage 2 will use one or more IPs stored in its configuration as SOCKS5 proxies to Tor and attempt to communicate with a control panel also found in its configuration. Like in stage 1, the communication between the malware and the proxy will connect over a verified SSL connection. When the Tor module is installed, it will connect to .onion domains through the local SOCKS5 proxy provided by the module over plain HTTP instead. We used a fake SOCKS5 proxy, which redirects all traffic to INetSim for analysis.
May 25, 2018 | www.siliconrepublic.com
A multistage malware variant, VPNFilter consists of three separate steps, with the second stage allowing for communication over Tor.
Symantec published a list of the identified targeted devices, which include numerous models of consumer routers:
- Linksys E1200
- Linksys E2500
- Linksys WRVS4400N
- MikroTik RouterOS for cloud core routers, versions 1016, 1036 and 1072
- Netgear DGN2200
- Netgear R6400
- Netgear R7000
- Netgear R8000
- Netgear WNR1000
- Netgear WNR2000
- QNAP TS-251
- QNAP TS-439 Pro
- Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
- TP-Link R600VPN
May 27, 2018 | www.agileit.com
The malware is modular, meaning that additional capabilities can be added to provide new functionalities, but also for functions to be removed, hence masking the full capabilities of the software. The VPNFilter Modules Talos has identified so far are: Stage 1
- Establishes a persistent foothold allowing the infected device to be identified
- Allows additional modules to be installed.
- Will persist after a reboot, making it difficult for home and private users to remove.
- Utilized redundant command and control systems, allowing the malware to identify new C&C servers as identified nodes are shutdown.
- Will not persist after a reboot, making it difficult to identify and analyze.
- Has file collection, command execution and device management tools
- Includes a self-destruct code set that corrupts the firmware then causes a device reboot, effectively bricking the device.
- One stage 3 module is a packet sniffer for stealing website credentials and monitoring of SCADA protocols
- A second Stage 3 module allows the device to communicate directly over TOR
- Talos maintains high certainty that other stage 3 modules exist, but they have not positively identified them yet.
VPNFilter's capabilities make it particularly dangerous, as it is more of a distributed toolkit than a single point attack.
- Infected routers can potentially become command and control servers to control other infected devices.
- Modules appear to exist that allow the monitoring and exfiltration of data, allowing its creators to identify high value networks for information gathering or further penetration.
- Compromised systems can be used as a distributed Virtual Private Network (Here the VPNFilter name) which allows them to easily mask the origin points of other attacks.
- The code also contains a module to deliberately corrupt the firmware of affected routers and start a reboot, essentially bricking them and rendering them useless.
Talos has technical response details available on its blog , including Snort signatures, known Command and Control IP addresses to block and configuration settings for Stealthwatch.Devices with known vulnerabilities
MIKROTIK CLOUD CORE ROUTERS:
Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
May 15, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
... ... ...
[Vault 7] was the largest loss of classified documents in the agency's history and a huge embarrassment for C.I.A. officials.
Now, the prime suspect in the breach has been identified: a 29-year-old former C.I.A. software engineer who had designed malware used to break into the computers of terrorism suspects and other targets, The New York Times has learned.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched the Manhattan apartment of the suspect, Joshua A. Schulte, one week after WikiLeaks released the first of the C.I.A. documents in March last year, and then stopped him from flying to Mexico on vacation, taking his passport, according to court records and relatives. The search warrant application said Mr. Schulte was suspected of "distribution of national defense information," and agents told the court they had retrieved "N.S.A. and C.I.A. paperwork" in addition to a computer, tablet, phone and other electronics.
But instead of charging Mr. Schulte in the breach, referred to as the Vault 7 leak, prosecutors charged him last August with possessing child pornography, saying agents had found 10,000 illicit images on a server he created as a business in 2009 while studying at the University of Texas at Austin.
Court papers quote messages from Mr. Schulte that suggest he was aware of the encrypted images of children being molested by adults on his computer, though he advised one user, "Just don't put anything too illegal on there."
In September, Mr. Schulte was released on the condition that he not leave New York City, where he lived with a cousin, and keep off computers. He was jailed in December after prosecutors found evidence that he had violated those rules, and he has been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan since then. He has posted on Facebook under a pseudonym a series of essays critical of the criminal justice system.
It is unclear why, more than a year after he was arrested, he has not been charged or cleared in connection with Vault 7. Leak investigators have had access to electronic audit trails inside the C.I.A. that may indicate who accessed the files that were stolen, and they have had possession of Mr. Schulte's personal data for many months.
... ... ...
According to his family and his LinkedIn page , Mr. Schulte did an internship at the National Security Agency while working on a bachelor's degree in computer engineering. He worked in the C.I.A.'s Engineering Development Group, which designed the hacking tools used by its Center for Cyber Intelligence. He left the agency in November 2016 and moved to New York to work for Bloomberg L.P. as a software engineer.
Most of the government's cyberespionage is carried out by the N.S.A., but the C.I.A. also employs hackers. The leaked Vault 7 documents came from the agency's Engineering Development Group and included descriptions and instructions for the use of agency hacking tools, but only a small amount of the actual computer code for the tools.
.... ... ...
Apr 16, 2018 | www.washingtonpost.com
The unusual public warning from the White House, U.S. agencies and Britain's National Cyber Security Center follows a years-long effort to monitor the threat. The targets number in the millions, officials say, and include "primarily government and private-sector organizations, critical infrastructure providers, and the Internet service providers (ISPs) supporting these sectors."
... ... ...
These network devices make "ideal targets," said Manfra, Homeland Security's assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications. Most traffic within a company or between organizations traverses them. So a hacker can monitor, modify or disrupt it, she said. And they're usually not secured at the same level as a network server.
"Once you own the router, you own the traffic that's traversing the router," she said.
... ... ...
Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She covers cybersecurity, surveillance, counterterrorism and intelligence issues. She has also served as a Southeast Asia correspondent and covered the White House and Virginia state politics. She joined The Post in 1995. Follow @nakashimae
jedediah smytheson, 3 hours ago
It is appropriate to reveal and decry misbehavior in cyberspace. What is not appropriate is our leaders ignoring their own responsibility to secure government networks. The sad fact is that senior leaders in government do not understand the issue and are unwilling to accept any inconvenience. The Federal government has lost huge amounts of very sensitive data of AT LEAST 100 million citizens. If I remember correctly, OPM lost 23 million electronic security clearance forms (SF 86s) with personal information not only of the person being processed for a clearance, but also of the members of that person's family. That's how I came up with over 100 million. And what was the result? Well, no one was held accountable or responsible for this incredible breach of security. More importantly, the networks are still not well secured. In summary, we will be hacked continuously until someone in Government takes this seriously and puts more resources into securing the networks rather than turning the public's attention away from their own incompetence and focusing on our adversaries.
bluefrog, 4 hours ago
Haha ... the U.K. who secretly tapped the fiber optic cables running under the Atlantic Ocean to record EVERYONE's private data is now advising against hackers! A degenerate country operating on the basis of lies and deceit, I don't trust them as far as I can throw them.
hkbctkny, 4 hours ago
This is really nothing new [ https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA18-106A ] - most of this has been going on forever, even skript kiddies were on it back in the day.
The only part that might be news is if there's evidence of a concerted, targeted campaign from one very organized actor. Haven't seen the evidence presented, though, and my scans are basically what they've always been: hundreds and hundreds from residential CPE and other compromised machines from all over the world.
Update your firmware - even old devices can be updated, for the most part; turn off remote mgt (!), change the password to something that YOU set.
Make it challenging, at least.
4 hours ago
Really no different from the NSA and GCHQ..........
Mar 27, 2018 | it.slashdot.org
(vice.com) The story of Azimuth Security, a tiny startup in Australia, provides a rare peek inside the secretive industry that helps government hackers get around encryption . Azimuth is part of an opaque, little known corner of the intelligence world made of hackers who develop and sell expensive exploits to break into popular technologies like iOS, Chrome, Android and Tor.
Mar 27, 2018 | it.slashdot.org
(zdnet.com) BeauHD on Monday February 12, 2018 @10:00PM from the back-to-the-drawing-board dept. ZDNet reports of a security flaw in Skype's updater process that " can allow an attacker to gain system-level privileges to a vulnerable computer ." If the bug is exploited, it "can escalate a local unprivileged user to the full 'system' level rights -- granting them access to every corner of the operating system." What's worse is that Microsoft, which owns Skype, won't fix the flaw because it would require the updater to go through "a large code revision." Instead, Microsoft is putting all its resources on building an altogether new client. From the report: Security researcher Stefan Kanthak found that the Skype update installer could be exploited with a DLL hijacking technique , which allows an attacker to trick an application into drawing malicious code instead of the correct library. An attacker can download a malicious DLL into a user-accessible temporary folder and rename it to an existing DLL that can be modified by an unprivileged user, like UXTheme.dll. The bug works because the malicious DLL is found first when the app searches for the DLL it needs. Once installed, Skype uses its own built-in updater to keep the software up to date. When that updater runs, it uses another executable file to run the update, which is vulnerable to the hijacking. The attack reads on the clunky side, but Kanthak told ZDNet in an email that the attack could be easily weaponized. He explained, providing two command line examples, how a script or malware could remotely transfer a malicious DLL into that temporary folder.
Mar 27, 2018 | tech.slashdot.org
(theguardian.com) an anonymised, aggregate dataset of 57bn Facebook friendships . From a report: Facebook provided the dataset of "every friendship formed in 2011 in every country in the world at the national aggregate level" to Kogan's University of Cambridge laboratory for a study on international friendships published in Personality and Individual Differences in 2015. Two Facebook employees were named as co-authors of the study, alongside researchers from Cambridge, Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. Kogan was publishing under the name Aleksandr Spectre at the time. A University of Cambridge press release on the study's publication noted that the paper was "the first output of ongoing research collaborations between Spectre's lab in Cambridge and Facebook." Facebook did not respond to queries about whether any other collaborations occurred. "The sheer volume of the 57bn friend pairs implies a pre-existing relationship," said Jonathan Albright, research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. "It's not common for Facebook to share that kind of data. It suggests a trusted partnership between Aleksandr Kogan/Spectre and Facebook."
Mar 27, 2018 | it.slashdot.org
(vice.com) spyware to everyday consumers and wiped their servers, deleting photos captured from monitored devices. A year later, the hacker has done it again . Motherboard: Thursday, the hacker said he started wiping some cloud servers that belong to Retina-X Studios, a Florida-based company that sells spyware products targeted at parents and employers, but that are also used by people to spy on their partners without their consent. Retina-X was one of two companies that were breached last year in a series of hacks that exposed the fact that many otherwise ordinary people surreptitiously install spyware on their partners' and children's phones in order to spy on them. This software has been called "stalkerware" by some.
Mar 27, 2018 | hardware.slashdot.org
(bbc.com) BeauHD on Monday February 19, 2018 @06:00AM from the crypto-cash dept. dryriver shares a report from BBC: News organizations have tried many novel ways to make readers pay -- but this idea is possibly the most audacious yet. If a reader chooses to block its advertising, U.S. publication Salon will use that person's computer to mine for Monero , a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin. Creating new tokens of a cryptocurrency typically requires complex calculations that use up a lot of computing power. Salon told readers: "We intend to use a small percentage of your spare processing power to contribute to the advancement of technological discovery, evolution and innovation." The site is making use of CoinHive, a controversial mining tool that was recently used in an attack involving government websites in the UK, U.S. and elsewhere. However, unlike that incident, where hackers took control of visitors' computers to mine cryptocurrency, Salon notifies users and requires them to agree before the tool begins mining.
Mar 27, 2018 | yro.slashdot.org
(torrentfreak.com) Flight sim company FlightSimLabs has found itself in trouble after installing malware onto users' machines as an anti-piracy measure . Code embedded in its A320-X module contained a mechanism for detecting 'pirate' serial numbers distributed on The Pirate Bay, which then triggered a process through which the company stole usernames and passwords from users' web browsers.
Mar 27, 2018 | yro.slashdot.org
Mar 27, 2018 | it.slashdot.org
(bleepingcomputer.com) A massive survey of nearly 1,200 IT security practitioners and decision makers across 17 countries reveals that half the people who fell victim to ransomware infections last year were able to recover their files after paying the ransom demand. The survey, carried out by research and marketing firm CyberEdge Group, reveals that paying the ransom demand, even if for desperate reasons, does not guarantee that victims will regain access to their files . Timely backups are still the most efficient defense against possible ransomware infections, as it allows easy recovery. The survey reveals that 55% of all responders suffered a ransomware infection in 2017, compared to the previous year's study, when 61% experienced similar incidents. Of all the victims who suffered ransomware infections, CyberEdge discovered that 61.3% opted not to pay the ransom at all. Some lost files for good (8%), while the rest (53.3%) managed to recover files, either from backups or by using ransomware decrypter applications. Of the 38.7% who opted to pay the ransom, a little less than half (19.1%) recovered their files using the tools provided by the ransomware authors.
Mar 27, 2018 | tech.slashdot.org
(theatlantic.com) Already in 2010, it felt like a malicious attention market where people treated friends as latent resources to be optimized. Compulsion rather than choice devoured people's time. Apps like FarmVille sold relief for the artificial inconveniences they themselves had imposed. In response, I made a satirical social game called Cow Clicker. Players clicked a cute cow, which mooed and scored a "click." Six hours later, they could do so again. They could also invite friends' cows to their pasture, buy virtual cows with real money, compete for status, click to send a real cow to the developing world from Oxfam, outsource clicks to their toddlers with a mobile app, and much more. It became strangely popular, until eventually, I shut the whole thing down in a bovine rapture -- the "cowpocalypse." It's kind of a complicated story .
But one worth revisiting today, in the context of the scandal over Facebook's sanctioning of user-data exfiltration via its application platform. It's not just that abusing the Facebook platform for deliberately nefarious ends was easy to do (it was). But worse, in those days, it was hard to avoid extracting private data, for years even, without even trying. I did it with a silly cow game. Cow Clicker is not an impressive work of software. After all, it was a game whose sole activity was clicking on cows. I wrote the principal code in three days, much of it hunched on a friend's couch in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I had no idea anyone would play it, although over 180,000 people did, eventually. And yet, if you played Cow Clicker, even just once, I got enough of your personal data that, for years, I could have assembled a reasonably sophisticated profile of your interests and behavior. I might still be able to; all the data is still there, stored on my private server, where Cow Clicker is still running, allowing players to keep clicking where a cow once stood, before my caprice raptured them into the digital void.
Mar 27, 2018 | it.slashdot.org
BeauHD on Monday March 12, 2018 @08:10PM from the under-the-radar dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have discovered what's likely to be another state-sponsored malware strain, and this one is more advanced than most. Nicknamed Slingshot, the code spies on PCs through a multi-layer attack that targets MikroTik routers . It first replaces a library file with a malicious version that downloads other malicious components, and then launches a clever two-pronged attack on the computers themselves. One, Canhadr, runs low-level kernel code that effectively gives the intruder free rein, including deep access to storage and memory; the other, GollumApp, focuses on the user level and includes code to coordinate efforts, manage the file system and keep the malware alive. Kaspersky describes these two elements as "masterpieces," and for good reason. For one, it's no mean feat to run hostile kernel code without crashes. Slingshot also stores its malware files in an encrypted virtual file system, encrypts every text string in its modules, calls services directly (to avoid tripping security software checks) and even shuts components down when forensic tools are active. If there's a common method of detecting malware or identifying its behavior, Slingshot likely has a defense against it. It's no wonder that the code has been active since at least 2012 -- no one knew it was there. Recent MikroTik router firmware updates should fix the issue. However, there's concern that other router makers might be affected.
Mar 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.comYves here. Not new to anyone who has been paying attention, but a useful recap with some good observations at the end, despite deploying the cringe-making trope of businesses having DNA. That legitimates the notion that corporations are people.
By Ivan Manokha, a departmental lecturer in the Oxford Department of International Development. He is currently working on power and obedience in the late-modern political economy, particularly in the context of the development of new technologies of surveillance. Originally published at openDemocracy
The current social mobilization against Facebook resembles the actions of activists who, in opposition to neoliberal globalization, smash a McDonald's window during a demonstration.
On March 17, The Observer of London and The New York Times announced that Cambridge Analytica, the London-based political and corporate consulting group, had harvested private data from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their consent. The data was collected through a Facebook-based quiz app called thisisyourdigitallife, created by Aleksandr Kogan, a University of Cambridge psychologist who had requested and gained access to information from 270,000 Facebook members after they had agreed to use the app to undergo a personality test, for which they were paid through Kogan's company, Global Science Research.
But as Christopher Wylie, a twenty-eight-year-old Canadian coder and data scientist and a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, stated in a video interview , the app could also collect all kinds of personal data from users, such as the content that they consulted, the information that they liked, and even the messages that they posted.
In addition, the app provided access to information on the profiles of the friends of each of those users who agreed to take the test, which enabled the collection of data from more than 50 million.
All this data was then shared by Kogan with Cambridge Analytica, which was working with Donald Trump's election team and which allegedly used this data to target US voters with personalised political messages during the presidential campaign. As Wylie, told The Observer, "we built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons."
Following these revelations the Internet has been engulfed in outrage and government officials have been quick to react. On March 19, Antonio Tajani President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, stated in a twitter message that misuse of Facebook user data "is an unacceptable violation of our citizens' privacy rights" and promised an EU investigation. On March 22, Wylie communicated in a tweet that he accepted an invitation to testify before the US House Intelligence Committee, the US House Judiciary Committee and UK Parliament Digital Committee. On the same day Israel's Justice Ministry informed Facebook that it was opening an investigation into possible violations of Israelis' personal information by Facebook.
While such widespread condemnation of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica is totally justified, what remains largely absent from the discussion are broader questions about the role of data collection, processing and monetization that have become central in the current phase of capitalism, which may be described as 'platform capitalism', as suggested by the Canadian writer and academic Nick Srnicek in his recent book .
Over the last decade the growth of platforms has been spectacular: today, the top 4 enterprises in Forbes's list of most valuable brands are platforms, as are eleven of the top twenty. Most recent IPOs and acquisitions have involved platforms, as have most of the major successful startups. The list includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Waze, Uber, Lyft, Handy, Airbnb, Pinterest, Square, Social Finance, Kickstarter, etc. Although most platforms are US-based, they are a really global phenomenon and in fact are now playing an even more important role in developing countries which did not have developed commercial infrastructures at the time of the rise of the Internet and seized the opportunity that it presented to structure their industries around it. Thus, in China, for example, many of the most valuable enterprises are platforms such as Tencent (owner of the WeChat and QQ messaging platforms) and Baidu (China's search engine); Alibaba controls 80 percent of China's e-commerce market through its Taobao and Tmall platforms, with its Alipay platform being the largest payments platform in China.
The importance of platforms is also attested by the range of sectors in which they are now dominant and the number of users (often numbered in millions and, in some cases, even billions) regularly connecting to their various cloud-based services. Thus, to name the key industries, platforms are now central in Internet search (Google, Yahoo, Bing); social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat); Internet auctions and retail (eBay, Taobao, Amazon, Alibaba); on-line financial and human resource functions (Workday, Upwork, Elance, TaskRabbit), urban transportation (Uber, Lyft, Zipcar, BlaBlaCar), tourism (Kayak, Trivago, Airbnb), mobile payment (Square Order, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet); and software development (Apple's App Store, Google Play Store, Windows App store). Platform-based solutions are also currently being adopted in more traditional sectors, such as industrial production (GE, Siemens), agriculture (John Deere, Monsanto) and even clean energy (Sungevity, SolarCity, EnerNOC).
User Profiling -- Good-Bye to Privacy
These platforms differ significantly in terms of the services that they offer: some, like eBay or Taobao simply allow exchange of products between buyers and sellers; others, like Uber or TaskRabbit, allow independent service providers to find customers; yet others, like Apple or Google allow developers to create and market apps.
However, what is common to all these platforms is the central role played by data, and not just continuous data collection, but its ever more refined analysis in order to create detailed user profiles and rankings in order to better match customers and suppliers or increase efficiency.
All this is done in order to use data to create value in some way another (to monetize it by selling to advertisers or other firms, to increase sales, or to increase productivity). Data has become 'the new oil' of global economy, a new commodity to be bought and sold at a massive scale, and with this development, as a former Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff has argued , global capitalism has become 'surveillance capitalism'.
What this means is that platform economy is a model of value creation which is completely dependant on continuous privacy invasions and, what is alarming is that we are gradually becoming used to this.
Most of the time platform providers keep track of our purchases, travels, interest, likes, etc. and use this data for targeted advertising to which we have become accustomed. We are equally not that surprised when we find out that, for example, robotic vacuum cleaners collect data about types of furniture that we have and share it with the likes of Amazon so that they can send us advertisements for pieces of furniture that we do not yet possess.
There is little public outcry when we discover that Google's ads are racially biased as, for instance, a Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney found by accident performing a search. We are equally hardly astonished that companies such as Lenddo buy access to people's social media and browsing history in exchange for a credit score. And, at least in the US, people are becoming accustomed to the use of algorithms, developed by private contractors, by the justice system to take decisions on sentencing, which often result in equally unfair and racially biased decisions .
The outrage provoked by the Cambridge Analytica is targeting only the tip of the iceberg. The problem is infinitely larger as there are countless equally significant instances of privacy invasions and data collection performed by corporations, but they have become normalized and do not lead to much public outcry.
Today surveillance is the DNA of the platform economy; its model is simply based on the possibility of continuous privacy invasions using whatever means possible. In most cases users agree, by signing the terms and conditions of service providers, so that their data may be collected, analyzed and even shared with third parties (although it is hardly possible to see this as express consent given the size and complexity of these agreements -- for instance, it took 8 hours and 59 minutes for an actor hired by the consumer group Choice to read Amazon Kindle's terms and conditions). In other instances, as in the case of Kogan's app, the extent of the data collected exceeds what was stated in the agreement.
But what is important is to understand that to prevent such scandals in the future it is not enough to force Facebook to better monitor the use of users' data in order to prevent such leaks as in the case of Cambridge Analytica. The current social mobilization against Facebook resembles the actions of activists who, in opposition to neoliberal globalization, smash a McDonald's window during a demonstration.
What we need is a total redefinition of the right to privacy (which was codified as a universal human right in 1948, long before the Internet), to guarantee its respect, both offline and online.
What we need is a body of international law that will provide regulations and oversight for the collection and use of data.
What is required is an explicit and concise formulation of terms and conditions which, in a few sentences, will specify how users' data will be used.
It is important to seize the opportunity presented by the Cambridge Analytica scandal to push for these more fundamental changes.
Arizona Slim , , March 24, 2018 at 7:38 amSteve H. , , March 24, 2018 at 8:05 am
I am grateful for my spidey sense. Thanks, spidey sense, for ringing the alarm bells whenever I saw one of those personality tests on Facebook. I never took one.Annieb , , March 24, 2018 at 2:02 pm
First they came for
The most efficient strategy is to be non-viable . They may come for you eventually, but someone else gets to be the canary, and you haven't wasted energy in the meantime. TOR users didn't get that figured out.ChrisPacific , , March 25, 2018 at 4:07 pm
Never took the personality test either, but now I now that all of my friends who did unknowingly gave up my personal information too. I read an article somewhere about this over a year ago so it's really old news. Sent the link to a few people who didn't care. But now that they all know that Cambridge Analytical used FB data in support of the Trump campaign it's all over the mainstream and people are upset.HotFlash , , March 24, 2018 at 3:13 pm
You can disable that (i.e., prevent friends from sharing your info with third parties) in the privacy options. But the controls are not easy to find and everything is enabled by default.Octopii , , March 24, 2018 at 8:06 am
I haven't FB'd in years and certainly never took any such test, but if any of my friends, real or FB, did, and my info was shared, can I sue? If not, why not?Samuel Conner , , March 24, 2018 at 8:16 am
Everyone thought I was paranoid as I discouraged them from moving backups to the cloud, using trackers, signing up for grocery store clubs, using real names and addresses for online anything, etc. They thought I was overreacting when I said we need European-style privacy laws in this country. People at work thought my questions about privacy for our new location-based IoT plans were not team-based thinking.
And it turns out after all this that they still think I'm extreme. I guess it will have to get worse.Collins , , March 24, 2018 at 9:14 am
In a first for me, there are surface-mount resistors in the advert at the top of today's NC links page. That is way out of the ordinary; what I usually see are books or bicycle parts; things I have recently purchased or searched.
But a couple of days ago I had a SKYPE conversation with a sibling about a PC I was scavenging for parts, and surface mount resistors (unscavengable) came up. I suspect I have been observed without my consent and am not too happy about it. As marketing, it's a bust; in the conversation I explicitly expressed no interest in such components as I can't install them. I suppose I should be glad for this indication of something I wasn't aware was happening.Samuel Conner , , March 24, 2018 at 10:15 am
Had you used your computer keyboard previously to search for 'surface mount resistors', or was the trail linking you & resistors entirely verbal?Abi , , March 25, 2018 at 3:24 pm
No keyboard search. I never so much as think about surface mount components; the inquiry was raised by my sibling and I responded. Maybe its coincidental, but it seems quite odd.
I decided to click through to the site to generate a few pennies for NC and at least feel like I was punishing someone for snooping on me.ChiGal in Carolina , , March 25, 2018 at 10:12 am
Its been happening to me a lot recently on my Instagram, I don't like pictures or anything, but whenever I have a conversation with someone on my phone, I start seeing ads of what I spoke aboutEureka Springs , , March 24, 2018 at 8:44 am
I thought it came out a while ago that Skype captures and retains all the dialogue and video of convos using it.Pelham , , March 24, 2018 at 9:13 am
What we need is a total redefinition of the right to privacy (which was codified as a universal human right in 1948, long before the Internet), to guarantee its respect, both offline and online.
Are we, readers of this post, or citizens of the USA supposed to think there is anything binding in declarations? Or anything from the UN if at all inconvenient for that matter?
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Platforms like facebook allow individuals to 'spy' on each other and people love it. When I was a kid i always marveled at how some households would leave a police scanner on 24/7. With the net we have this writ large with baby, puppy and tv dinner photos. Not to forget it's a narcissist paradise. I have friends who I've tried to gently over time inject tidbits of info like this article provides for many years and they still just refuse to try and get it. If they looked over their shoulder and saw how many people/entities are literally following them everywhere they go, they would become rabid gun owners (don't tread on me!) overnight, but the invisible hand/eye registers not at all.albert , , March 24, 2018 at 6:27 pm
A side note: If Facebook and other social media were to assume ANY degree of responsibility for content appearing on their platforms, they would be acknowledging their legal liability for ALL content.
Hence they would be legally responsible just as newspapers are. And major newspapers have on-staff lawyers and editors exquisitely attuned to the possibility of libelous content so they can avoid ruinous lawsuits.
If the law were applied as it should be, Facebook and its brethren wouldn't last five minutes before being sued into oblivion.PlutoniumKun , , March 24, 2018 at 9:52 am
" being sued into oblivion ." If only.
Non-liability is a product of the computer age. I remember having to agree with Microsofts policy to absolve them of -any- liability when using their software. If they had their druthers, -no- company would be liable for -anything-. It's called a 'perfect world'.
Companies that host 'social media' should not have to bear any responsibility for their users content. Newspapers employ writers and fact checkers. They are set up to monitor their staff for accuracy (Okay, in theory). So you can sue them and even their journalist employees. Being liable (and not sued) allows them to brag about how truthful they are. Reputations are a valuable commodity these days.
In the case of 'social media' providers, liability falls on the authors of their own comments, which is only fair, in my view. However, I would argue that those 'providers' should -not- be considered 'media' like newspapers, and their members should not be considered 'journalists'.
Also, those providers are private companies, and are free to edit, censor, or delete anything on their site. And of course it's automated. Some conservative Facebook members were complaining about being banned. Apparently, there a certain things you can't say on Facebook.
AFAIC, the bottom line is this: Many folks tend to believe everything they read online. They need to learn the skill of critical thinking. And realize that the Internet can be a vast wasteland; a digital garbage dump.
Why are our leaders so concerned with election meddling? Isn't our propaganda better than the Russians? We certainly pay a lot for it.
. .. . .. -- .saurabh , , March 24, 2018 at 11:43 am
It seems even Elon Musk is now rebelling against Facebook.
Musk Takes Down the Tesla and SpaceX Facebook Pages.
Today, Musk also made fun of Sonos for not being as committed as he was to the anti-Facebook cause after the connected-speaker maker said it would pull ads from the platform -- but only for a week.
"Wow, a whole week. Risky " Musk tweeted.Jim Thomson , , March 25, 2018 at 9:39 am
Musk, like Trump, knows he does not need to advertise because a fawning press will dutifully report on everything he does and says, no matter how dumb.Daniel Mongan , , March 24, 2018 at 10:14 am
This is rich.
I can't resist: It takes a con to know a con.
(not the most insightful comment)JimTan , , March 24, 2018 at 11:12 am
A thoughtful post, thanks for that. May I recommend you take a look at "All You Can Pay" (NationBooks 2015) for a more thorough treatment of the subject, together with a proposal on how to re-balance the equation. Full disclosure, I am a co-author.JCC , , March 24, 2018 at 11:29 am
People are starting to download copies of their Facebook data to get an understanding of how much information is being collected from them.oh , , March 24, 2018 at 1:44 pm
A reminder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRT9On7qie8
I saw this video back in 2007. It was originally put together by a Sarah Lawrence student who was working on her paper on social media. The ties of all the original investors to IN-Q-Tel scared me off and I decided to stay away from Facebook.
But it isn't just FB. Amazon, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Microsoft and many others do the same, and we are all caught up in it whether we agree to participate or not.
Anyone watch the NCAA Finals and see all the ads from Google about being "The Official Cloud of the NCAA"? They were flat out bragging, more or less, about surveillance of players. for the NCAA.
Platform Capitalism is a mild description, it is manipulation based on Surveillance Capitalism, pure and simple. The Macro pattern of Corporate Power subsuming the State across every area is fascinating to watch, but a little scary.HotFlash , , March 24, 2018 at 3:27 pm
Caveat Emptor: If you watch YouTube, they'll only add to the information that they already have on you!Craig H. , , March 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm
Just substitute "hook" for 'you" in the URL, you get the same video, no ads, and they claim not to track you. YMMVEd , , March 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm
Privacy no longer a social norm, says Facebook founder; Guardian; 10 January 2010
The Right to Privacy; Warren & Brandeis; Harvard Law Review; 15 December 1890
It was amusing that the top Google hit for the Brandeis article was JSTOR which requires us to surrender personal detail to access their site. To hell with that.
The part I like about the Brandeis privacy story is the motivation was some Manhattan rich dicks thought the gossip writers snooping around their wedding party should mind their own business. (Apparently whether this is actually true or just some story made up by somebody being catty at Brandeis has been the topic of gigabytes of internet flame wars but I can't ever recall seeing any of those.)Craig H. , , March 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm
" Two young psychologists are central to the Cambridge Analytica story. One is Michal Kosinski, who devised an app with a Cambridge University colleague, David Stillwell, that measures personality traits by analyzing Facebook "likes." It was then used in collaboration with the World Well-Being Project, a group at the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology Center that specializes in the use of big data to measure health and happiness in order to improve well-being. The other is Aleksandr Kogan, who also works in the field of positive psychology and has written papers on happiness, kindness, and love (according to his résumé, an early paper was called "Down the Rabbit Hole: A Unified Theory of Love"). He ran the Prosociality and Well-being Laboratory, under the auspices of Cambridge University's Well-Being Institute.
Despite its prominence in research on well-being, Kosinski's work, Cadwalladr points out, drew a great deal of interest from British and American intelligence agencies and defense contractors, including overtures from the private company running an intelligence project nicknamed "Operation KitKat" because a correlation had been found between anti-Israeli sentiments and liking Nikes and KitKats. Several of Kosinski's co-authored papers list the US government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, as a funding source. His résumé boasts of meetings with senior figures at two of the world's largest defense contractors, Boeing and Microsoft, both companies that have sponsored his research. He ran a workshop on digital footprints and psychological assessment for the Singaporean Ministry of Defense.
For his part, Aleksandr Kogan established a company, Global Science Research, that contracted with SCL, using Facebook data to map personality traits for its work in elections (Kosinski claims that Kogan essentially reverse-engineered the app that he and Stillwell had developed). Kogan's app harvested data on Facebook users who agreed to take a personality test for the purposes of academic research (though it was, in fact, to be used by SCL for non-academic ends). But according to Wylie, the app also collected data on their entire -- and nonconsenting -- network of friends. Once Cambridge Analytica and SCL had won contracts with the State Department and were pitching to the Pentagon, Wylie became alarmed that this illegally-obtained data had ended up at the heart of government, along with the contractors who might abuse it.
This apparently bizarre intersection of research on topics like love and kindness with defense and intelligence interests is not, in fact, particularly unusual. It is typical of the kind of dual-use research that has shaped the field of social psychology in the US since World War II.
Much of the classic, foundational research on personality, conformity, obedience, group polarization, and other such determinants of social dynamics -- while ostensibly civilian -- was funded during the cold war by the military and the CIA. The cold war was an ideological battle, so, naturally, research on techniques for controlling belief was considered a national security priority. This psychological research laid the groundwork for propaganda wars and for experiments in individual "mind control."
The pioneering figures from this era -- for example, Gordon Allport on personality and Solomon Asch on belief conformity -- are still cited in NATO psy-ops literature to this day .."
This is an issue which has frustrated me greatly. In spite of the fact that the country's leading psychologist (at the very least one of them -- ex-APA president Seligman) has been documented taking consulting fees from Guantanamo and Black Sites goon squads, my social science pals refuse to recognize any corruption at the core of their so-called replicated quantitative research.
I have asked more than five people to point at the best critical work on the Big 5 Personality theory and they all have told me some variant of "it is the only way to get consistent numbers". Not one has ever retreated one step or been receptive to the suggestion that this might indicate some fallacy in trying to assign numbers to these properties.
They eat their own dog food all the way and they seem to be suffering from a terrible malnutrition. At least the anthropologists have Price . (Most of that book can be read for free in installments at Counterpunch.)
Mar 23, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
All 1,472 employees of Facebook, Inc. reportedly burst out in uncontrollable laughter Wednesday following Albuquerque resident Jason Herrick's attempts to protect his personal information from exploitation on the social-networking site.
" Look, he's clicking 'Friends Only' for his e-mail address. Like that's going to make a difference! " howled infrastructure manager Evan Hollingsworth, tears streaming down his face, to several of his doubled-over coworkers.
" Oh, sure, by all means, Jason, 'delete' that photo. Man, this is so rich ."
According to internal sources, the entire staff of Facebook was left gasping for air minutes later when the "hilarious" Herrick believed he had actually blocked third-party ads.
Source: The Onion
Mar 23, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.comSlingshot . The malware targeted Latvian-made Internet routers popular in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Kaspersky's reports reveal that the malware had been active since at least 2012, and speculates that it was government-made, owing to its sophistication and its use of novel techniques rarely seen elsewhere.
Those investigating the matter further have drawn the conclusion that Slingshot was developed by the U.S. government, with some reports quoting former officials as connecting it to the Pentagon's JSOC special forces. For those following the cyber security and malware sphere, this is a huge revelation, putting the U.S. government in the hot seat for deploying cyber attacks that harm a much greater range of innocent users beyond their intended targets.
Kaspersky's own findings note that the code was written in English, using a driver flaw to allow the implanting of various types of spyware. Among those mentioned by Moscow-based Kaspersky was an implant named "GOLLUM," which notably was mentioned in one of the leaked Edward Snowden documents .
Further findings suggest that Slingshot had common code with only two other known pieces of software, both malwares, which were attributed to the NSA and CIA, respectively, by analysts. Though various U.S. agencies are all denying comment, things are clearly pointing uncomfortably in their direction.
Cyberscoop , one of the first news outlets to break the story, reported a mixed reaction among officials. Some noted that Kaspersky Labs was simply doing what a security company is supposed to do. Others, however, were less agreeable, suggesting it was an intentional attempt by Kaspersky to undermine U.S. security.
The argument, as far as it goes, is that given the ostensible target areas -- the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan -- Kaspersky should have concluded it was related to the War on Terror and sat on their findings. The Trump administration already views Kaspersky as a sort of hostile actor -- banning the use of Kaspersky products by any government or civilian federal contractor in December, citing Kremlin influence (a charge that has been vehemently denied by the company). This just gives them more justification for seeing Kaspersky as an adversary in the space.
Unfortunately for the Russian company, some American retailers have even followed suit, pulling the software from the shelves on the grounds that it's Russian, and that therefore suspect.
There has been no clear evidence that Kaspersky's software was serving as a backdoor for Russian intelligence, though it was reported last fall that sensitive documents were stolen from a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor's laptop via its Kaspersky-made antivirus software . In a statement at the time, the company said, "Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts." Turns out that Israeli spies, spying on the Russian spies, disclosed the intrusion to U.S. officials.
Kaspersky has consistently ranked near the top of antivirus ratings from virtually all third-party reviewers. The company has sold its products to nearly 400 million users worldwide, with 60 percent in the U.S. and Western Europe. Until now, Kaspersky was being used by several major agencies in the federal government, including the State Department and Department of Defense.
Ironically, this new Slingshot issue itself appears just to be a testament to how well the company's security works at digging up extremely dangerous malware. It also underscores the uneasy reality that the U.S. has been engaging in its own brand of cyber warfare all along.
Any claims that a specific piece of U.S. malware -- in this case, Slingshot -- was targeting only al-Qaeda or ISIS bad guys is disingenuous as well. The exploit on routers is hitting an entire region, infecting an untold number of innocent people . Internet cafés are said to have been hit in this, meaning everyone going into the cafes is at risk.
Malware is not a precision munition, it hits wide targets and spreads out to bystanders. This is particularly disturbing to note if, as some reports are indicating, this malware was Pentagon in origin.
U.S. civilian government surveillance is already doing great harm to general Internet security, and does so by remaining in denial about the balance of good to harm that is being done. The U.S. military, by contrast, has shown its willingness to inflict major harm on innocents in pursuit of any war goal. As they start hitting regions with malware, all bets are off on how far it will spread.
Security companies like Kaspersky Labs only afford the private user limited protection from all of this malware, because they're constantly playing catch-up, finding new variants and new exploits that the various pieces of software are using. Slingshot, for instance, went undetected for six solid years .
The discovery means fixes can finally be implemented for the routers and the computers. Novel exploits like this are rarely a one-time fix, however, as a slew of similar exploits from other sources tend to crop up after one gets taken out. It's a never-ending battle.
In August, President Trump made U.S. Cyber Command a formal military command , reflecting the growing view of the Internet as a military objective. Much as America's other battlefields result in collateral damage on the ground, the cyberwar is going to have a deleterious impact on day-to-day life in cyberspace. The big questions are how bad things will get, and how quickly.
Jason Ditz is news editor at Antiwar.com , a nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of non-interventionism. In addition to TAC, his work has appeared in Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Daily Caller, Washington Times and Detroit Free Press.
Mar 21, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
JWalters , March 19, 2018 at 10:46 pmbackwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 4:29 pm
In a casual conversation at a party a computer science researcher from a leading university commented that the vast majority of "denial of service" attacks in this country are done by the federal government. That would probably be the CIA covert ops in service to the bankster oligarchy. The Israelis are also known to have cyber warfare capabilities, and are a central part of the oligarchy, judging by their clear control of the MSM.
It makes complete sense that the oligarchy would do everything it could to harass and slow down the opposition, even if just to frustrate them to the point of giving up. I'm glad you are reporting your experiences here; it will help the site administrators deal with the problem.
A few years ago there was a Zionist mole(s) at Disqus who deleted posts that were too informative about Israel, especially those with links to highly informative articles. After an open discussion of the problem it eventually disappeared.Realist , March 19, 2018 at 4:47 pm
Realist -- occasionally this happens to me and, yes, it is most frustrating. What I am doing more often now (but sometimes I still forget) is copying my text before hitting "Post Comment". If it disappears, at least you still have it and can try again. If this occurs, I go completely off the site, and then come back on and post again. Does this just happen on posts that took you a long time to get finished? I ask this because I've found that if I type some words, go away and start making dinner (or whatever), and my comment is not posted for several hours, then sometimes it does this.
I sure hope you get it figured out because your posts are always wonderful to read.backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 6:18 pm
This has been happening systematically to anything I post today. Both long and short entries. I copy the text, then post it. When I see it appear or even see it under moderation, I have assumed it would stand and so delete the copy rather than save it -- that space goes to the next composition. So, everything "disappeared" today is gone. Most of the stuff disappeared has to do with our supposed rights of free speech and the intrusion of the intelligence agencies into our lives and our liberties. Guess who I suspect of sabotaging these calls to be vigilant against attacks on our freedoms? Good gravy, they are becoming relentless in trying to control every jot and tittle of the narrative. The entire MSM is not enough for them, even web sites with a microscopic audience are now in their sights. I don't know what else to make of a problem that has become routine, not just sporadic.Skip Scott , March 19, 2018 at 7:29 pm
You're just too good, Realist! You make too much sense! If there is a "they" out there who are censoring, of course they'd go after someone like you. Take a break, kick back, then see what happens tomorrow. If it continues, then maybe you could make a few calls.robjira , March 19, 2018 at 9:58 pm
Sorry to hear of your difficulties, Realist. Don't give up yet. Your posts are a very valuable part of this website. I do suspect outside interference. This site and ICH are both under attack, and probably others as well. I hope Nat and Tom Feeley can afford some good techies to mount a good defense.Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , March 19, 2018 at 9:59 pm
I agree with be and Skip, Realist. The same thing happened to me (and I'm not even a frequent commentator here); sometimes it takes days for a post(s) to appear. This sometime can be triggered by multiple links, extensive text formatting, etc. (you probably already know all this).
Anyway, be has it right; take a breather for a while. If something more nefarious is really happening, wear it like a medal; if your comments are disappeared, that as good as confirms you're on target. Your commentary is really insightful, and nothing freaks them out more than an informed opinion.
Peace.backwardsevolution , March 19, 2018 at 10:15 pm
To paraphrase someone: "Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to a bug in the software."Litchfield , March 20, 2018 at 9:09 am
Paul E. Merrell -- "Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to a bug in the software."
Quite true. I was having trouble going on Paul Craig Roberts' site for about a month (and another site, but I can't remember which one). I said to my son, "What the heck? Are they shutting down access to this site?" My son came onto my computer and within about two minutes he had me set right again. He said it had to do with my Internet security company. Who knew? Certainly not me! Thank goodness for tech-literate children.freedom lover , March 20, 2018 at 3:39 pm
" even web sites with a microscopic audience are now in their sights."
Maybe "microscopic," but with the potential to be magnified and multiplied. I have been puzzled as to why some posts have shown up as being in moderation and others not. But have not systematically followed up to see what happened. I assume comments at this site are moderated in some way, but why would that result in the patchy appearance of an actual "under moderation" signal?Sam F , March 19, 2018 at 8:47 pm
Not just this website but very common if you try to post anything on RT.
I also noticed several comments here that had been deleted after I refreshed the screen. They appeared to have attracted the "anti-semitism" accusation, so perhaps other hackers are involved.
Sam F , March 19, 2018 at 8:40 pmLitchfield , March 20, 2018 at 9:12 am
While at first skeptical of the hacking hypothesis, I realized its similarity to what I have seen for two months on RT.
RT is apparently being copied to "mirror sites" likely controlled by US agencies, so that they can run spy scripts when the stories are viewed. My PC runs far slower after checking any story on RT, and the browser must be restarted to regain normal speed. No other website has this problem, and certainly RT would not want to annoy their viewers by doing that themselves.
Most likely the secret agency scripts are sending files and browsing information to government spies.
It may be that CN is now being copied into hacked "mirror sites" by those who control the web DNS service that identifies the web server address for named websites. That would be a US secret agency. I have wondered whether such agencies are responsible for the trolls who have annoyed commenters here for several months. It may be that they are controlling the commentary now as well, to make political dossiers.Realist , March 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm
"My PC runs far slower after checking any story on RT, and the browser must be restarted to regain normal speed. "
I have noticed this as well. I don't check RT all that often, but one time I wanted to see what Peter Lavelle had been up to lately with CrossTalk, so went to RT. This was awhile ago so I can't recall the exact details, but I think my browser generally froze up and I had to reboot my laptop. Of course it made me a bit paranoid and I wondered what was going on at RT.Inthebyte , March 20, 2018 at 11:27 am
I've often noticed a great delay in RT loading. I'll have to focus on the effect you described. Sometimes I get a "service not available" notice for CN which usually resolves within no more than a half hour.Zachary Smith , March 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm
I agree about RT. When I log on there everything slows to a crawl, or flat doesn't navigate. Thanks for the comment. Now I know I'm being gas lighted. Another site with all of these problems is Information Clearing House who are hacked repeatedly.Sam F , March 19, 2018 at 8:42 pm
My PC runs far slower after checking any story on RT, and the browser must be restarted to regain normal speed. No other website has this problem, and certainly RT would not want to annoy their viewers by doing that themselves.
I'm running three script-blocker addons as I type this, and a fourth will be enabled again after making this post. The latter one does something to the CN site, and unless disabled any comment goes to the bottom of the page. My Firefox browser (which I'm using now) has the cache set to "0", and also to "never remember history". This slows it somewhat, but I figure the trade-off is worthwhile.
I review four "Russian" sites and have noticed they're chock-full of annoying ads and scripts. One of them I suspect is being run for income, for there is no coherent "message" along with most of the headlines being clickbait material. But I return there because sometimes they have a story worth more investigation.geeyp , March 20, 2018 at 12:28 am
While at first skeptical of the hacking hypothesis, I should note what I have seen for two months on RT.
RT is apparently being copied to "mirror sites" likely controlled by US agencies, so that they can run spy scripts when the stories are viewed. My PC runs far slower after checking any story on RT, and the browser must be restarted to regain normal speed. No other website has this problem, and certainly RT would not want to annoy their viewers by doing that themselves.
Most likely the secret agency scripts are sending files and browsing information to government spies.
It may be that CN is now being copied into hacked "mirror sites" by those who control the web DNS service that identifies the web server address for named websites. That would be a US secret agency. I have wondered whether such agencies are responsible for the trolls who have annoyed commenters here for several months. It may be that they are controlling the commentary now as well, to make political dossiers.Litchfield , March 20, 2018 at 9:13 am
Nothing much secret regarding the secret agencies. Didn't I read that Google and Face. (same company with Y.T.) have fairly recently hired 10,000 new employees for just this purpose? I ,too, have had plenty of issues with the RT.com site. It is not RT causing the issues. Truth hurts these evil P.O.S. And, also I have wondered regarding the ISP involvement. On the article topic, I was quite angered when I read his Tweet over the weekend; that punk has got nerve and needs to wear an orange jumpsuit.Sam F , March 20, 2018 at 11:50 am
What is the ISP movement?Skeptigal , March 20, 2018 at 4:26 am
The ISP may or may not be involved, but the DNS is involved in creating fake (or real) "mirror sites." DNS (distributed name service) has its own servers all over, which translate text URLs (xxx.com ) to numeric internet (IP) addresses. So when you request the site, your local DNS server gives you the address based upon its updates from other sources, including the "mirror" sites used for heavily-used websites.
I do not yet know the processes used to update DNS servers which would be tampered to create fake mirror sites, or exactly how this would be controlled, except that secret agencies would know this and would have such control. Others might be able to do this as well.Realist , March 20, 2018 at 11:23 pm
Sorry, I know you're frustrated but I couldn't help but giggle at your indignant replies. They are hilarious. Your comments may have ended up in the spam folder. If you contact them they will restore your comments. Good luck! :)
Using the British standard, I'm going to assume you are responsible for all the trouble unless you prove otherwise.
Mar 15, 2018 | www.washingtonpost.com
Julian Assange is editor of WikiLeaks.
Mike Pompeo, in his first speech as director of the CIA, chose to declare war on free speech rather than on the United States' actual adversaries. He went after WikiLeaks, where I serve as editor, as a "non-state hostile intelligence service." In Pompeo's worldview, telling the truth about the administration can be a crime -- as Attorney General Jeff Sessions quickly underscored when he described my arrest as a "priority." News organizations reported that federal prosecutors are weighing whether to bring charges against members of WikiLeaks, possibly including conspiracy, theft of government property and violating the Espionage Act.
All this speech to stifle speech comes in reaction to the first publication in the start of WikiLeaks' "Vault 7" series. Vault 7 has begun publishing evidence of remarkable CIA incompetence and other shortcomings. This includes the agency's creation, at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars, of an entire arsenal of cyber viruses and hacking programs -- over which it promptly lost control and then tried to cover up the loss. These publications also revealed the CIA's efforts to infect the public's ubiquitous consumer products and automobiles with computer viruses.
When the director of the CIA, an unelected public servant, publicly demonizes a publisher such as WikiLeaks as a "fraud," "coward" and "enemy," it puts all journalists on notice, or should. Pompeo's next talking point, unsupported by fact, that WikiLeaks is a "non-state hostile intelligence service," is a dagger aimed at Americans' constitutional right to receive honest information about their government. This accusation mirrors attempts throughout history by bureaucrats seeking, and failing, to criminalize speech that reveals their own failings.
President Theodore Roosevelt understood the danger of giving in to those "foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings." Such "endeavor is itself a crime against the nation," Roosevelt wrote. President Trump and his officials should heed that advice .
Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
David Habakkuk , 08 March 2018 at 10:28 AMPT and all,
More material on the British end of the conspiracy.
Commenting on an earlier piece by PT, I suggested that a key piece of evidence pointing to 'Guccifer 2.0' being a fake personality created by the conspirators in their attempt to disguise the fact that the materials from the DNC published by 'WikiLeaks' were obtained by a leak rather than a hack had to do with the involvement of the former GCHQ person Matt Tait.
(See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/02/pieces-of-the-coup-puzzle-fall-into-place-by-publius-tacitus.html .)
To recapitulate: Back in June 2016, hard on the heels of the claim by Dmitri Alperovitch of 'CrowdStrike' to have identified clinching evidence making the GRU prime suspects, Tait announced that, although initially unconvinced, he had found a 'smoking gun' in the 'metadata' of the documents released by 'Guccifer 2.0.'
A key part of this was the use by someone modifying a document of 'Felix Edmundovich' – the name and patronymic of Dzerzhinsky, the Lithuanian-Polish noble who created the Soviet secret police.
As I noted, Tait was generally identified as a former GCHQ employee who now ran a consultancy called 'Capital Alpha Security.' However, checking Companies House records revealed that he had filed 'dormant accounts' for the company. So it looks as though the company was simply a 'front', designed to fool 'useful idiots' into believing he was an objective analyst.
As I also noted in those comments, Tait writes the 'Lawfare' blog, one of whose founders, Benjamin Wittes, looks as though he may himself have been involved in the conspiracy up to the hilt. Furthermore, a secure income now appears to have been provided to replace that from the non-existent consultancy, in the shape of a position at the 'Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law', run by Robert Chesney, a co-founder with Wittes of 'Lawfare.'
A crucial part of the story, however, is that the notion of GRU responsibility for the supposed 'hacks' appears to be part of a wider 'narrative' about the supposed 'Gerasimov Doctrine.' From the 'View from Langley' provided to Bret Stephens by CIA Director Mike Pompeo at the 'Aspen Security Forum' last July:
'I hearken back to something called the Gerasimov doctrine from the early 70s, he's now the head of the – I'm a Cold War guy, forgive me if I mention Soviet Union. He's now the head of the Russian army and his idea was that you can win wars without firing a single shot or with firing very few shots in ways that are decidedly not militaristic, and that's what's happened. What changes is the costs; to effectuate change through cyber and through RT and Sputnik, their news outlets, and through other soft means; has just really been lowered, right. It used to be it was expensive to run an ad on a television station now you simply go online and propagate your message. And so they have they have found an effective tool, an easy way to go reach into our systems, and into our culture to achieve the outcomes they are looking for.'
(See https://aspensecurityforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/The-View-from-Langley.pdf .)
What has however become clear in recent days is that the 'Gerasimov Doctrine' was not invented by its supposed author, but by a British academic, Mark Galeotti, who has now confessed – although in a way clearly designed to maintain as much of the 'narrative' as possible.
Three days ago, an article by Galleoti appeared in 'Foreign Policy' entitled 'I'm Sorry for Creating the "Gerasimov Doctrine": I was the first to write about Russia's infamous high-tech military strategy. One small problem: it doesn't exist.'
(See http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/03/05/im-sorry-for-creating-the-gerasimov-doctrine/ .)
A key paragraph:
'Gerasimov was actually talking about how the Kremlin understands what happened in the "Arab Spring" uprisings, the "color revolutions" against pro-Moscow regimes in Russia's neighborhood, and in due course Ukraine's "Maidan" revolt. The Russians honestly – however wrongly – believe that these were not genuine protests against brutal and corrupt governments, but regime changes orchestrated in Washington, or rather, Langley. This wasn't a "doctrine" as the Russians understand it, for future adventures abroad: Gerasimov was trying to work out how to fight, not promote, such uprisings at home.'
The translation of the original article by Gerasimov with annotations by Galeotti which provoked the whole hysteria turns out to be a classic example of what I am inclined to term 'bad Straussianism.'
(See https://inmoscowsshadows.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/the-gerasimov-doctrine-and-russian-non-linear-war/ .)
What Strauss would have called the 'exoteric' meaning of the article quite clearly has to do with defensive strategies aimed at combatting the kind of Western 'régime change' projects about which people like those who write for 'Lawfare' are so enthusiastic. But Galeotti tells us that this is, at least partially, a cover for an 'esoteric' meaning, which has to do with offensive actions in Ukraine and similar places.
Having now read the text of the article, I can see a peculiar irony in it. In a section entitled 'You Can't Generate Ideas On Command', Gerasimov suggests that 'The state of Russian military science today cannot be compared with the flowering of military-theoretical thought in our country on the eve of World War II.'
According to the 'exoteric' meaning of the article, it is not possible to blame anyone in particular for this situation. But Gerasimov goes on on to remark that, while at the time of that flowering there were 'no people with higher degrees' or 'academic schools or departments', there were 'extraordinary personalities with brilliant ideas', who he terms 'fanatics in the best sense of the word.'
Again, Galeotti discounts the suggestion that nobody is to blame, assuming an 'esoteric meaning', and remarking: 'Ouch. Who is he slapping here?'
Actually, Gerasimov refers by name to two, utterly different figures, who certainly were 'extraordinarily personalities with brilliant ideas.'
If Pompeo had even the highly amateurish grasp of the history of debates among Soviet military theorists that I have managed to acquire he would be aware that one of the things which was actually happening in the 'Seventies was the rediscovery of the ideas of Alexander Svechin.
Confirming my sense that this has continued on, Gerasimov ends by using Svechin to point up an intractable problem: it can be extraordinarily difficult to anticipate the conditions of a war, and crucial not to impose a standardised template likely to be inappropriate, but one has to make some kinds of prediction in order to plan.
Immediately after the passage which Galeotti interprets as a dig at some colleague, Gerasimov elaborates his reference to 'extraordinary people with brilliant ideas' by referring to an anticipation of a future war, which proved prescient, from a very different figure to Svechin:
'People like, for instance, Georgy Isserson, who, despite the views he formed in the prewar years, published the book "New Forms Of Combat." In it, this Soviet military theoretician predicted: "War in general is not declared. It simply begins with already developed military forces. Mobilization and concentration is not part of the period after the onset of the state of war as was the case in 1914 but rather, unnoticed, proceeds long before that." The fate of this "prophet of the Fatherland" unfolded tragically. Our country paid in great quantities of blood for not listening to the conclusions of this professor of the General Staff Academy.'
Unlike Svechin, whom I have read, I was unfamiliar with Isserson. A quick Google search, however, unearthed a mass of material in American sources – including, by good fortune, an online text of a 2010 study by Dr Richard Harrison entitled 'Architect of Soviet Victory in World War II: The Life and Theories of G.S. Isserson', and a presentation summarising the volume.
Ironically, Svechin and Isserson were on opposite sides of fundamental divides. So the former, an ethnic Russian from Odessa, was one of the 'genstabisty', the former Tsarist General Staff officers who sided with the Bolsheviks and played a critical role in teaching the Red Army how to fight. Meanwhile Isserson was a very different product of the 'borderlands' – the son of a Jewish doctor, brought up in Kaunas, with a German Jewish mother from what was then Königsberg, giving him an easy facility with German-language sources.
The originator of the crucial concept of 'operational' art – the notion that in modern industrial war, the ability to handle a level intermediate between strategy and tactics was critical to success – was actually Svechin.
Developing the ambivalence of Clausewitz, however, he stressed that both the offensive and the defensive had their places, and that the key to success was to know which was appropriate when and also to be able rapidly to change from one to the other. His genuflections to Marxist-Leninist dogma, moreover, were not such as to take in any of Dzerzhinsky's people.
By contrast, Isserson was unambiguously committed to the offensive strand in the Clausewitzian tradition, and a Bolshevik 'true believer' (although he married the daughter of a dispossessed ethnically Russian merchant, who had their daughter baptised without his knowledge.)
As Harrison brings out, Isserson's working through of the problems of offensive 'operational art' would be critical to the eventual success of the Red Army against Hitler. However, the specific text to which he refers was, ironically, a warning of precisely one of the problems implicit in the single-minded reliance on the offensive: the possibility that one could be left with no good options confronting an antagonist similarly oriented – as turned out to be the case.
As Gerasimov intimates, while unlike Svechin, executed in 1938, Isserson survived the Stalin years, he was another of the victims of Dzerzhinsky's heirs. Arrested shortly before his warnings were vindicated by the German attack on 22 June 1941, he would spend the war in the Gulag and only return to normal life after Stalin's death.
So I think that the actual text of Gerasimov's article reinforces a point I have made previously. The 'evidence' identified by Tait is indeed a 'smoking gun.' But it emphatically does not point towards the GRU.
Meanwhile, another moral of the tale is that Americans really should stop being taken in by charlatan Brits like Galeotti, Tait, and Steele.
Mar 07, 2018 | www.thegatewaypundit.com
Paul Tibbets • a day agoBrennan is a scum bag, he over saw the CIA as they sought to become the premier Gov. Agency.
Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force -- its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.
By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
Feb 23, 2018 | www.youtube.com
Art Dehls , 2 months agoSeaRose , 2 months ago
Also, when did Russian hackers become so stupid? Since when has the GRU being unable to get even the basics like the up to date email list for the Clinton campaign, started using two-year-old obsolete malware instead of 0-day exploits, completely forgetting that VPN's exist and how to spoof an IP address, and on and on and on. These aren't the guys who cloned Nasdaq!David Schnell , 2 months ago
Wish I could give this 1000.
Thank you jimmy so much for doing this interview and thank you Bill Binney for so clearly explaining the technical and structural reasons why Russiagate is both false and ceaselessly pushed. Amazing interview!hamdoggius , 2 months ago
My experience working on the Mississippi democratic party executive committee, the Hinds county Executive committee, and working for the state employees union here in Mississippi has educated me on the fact that democratic reps and republican reps work together to pass legislation to benefit the corporate class i.e. business. All you who have replied to my comment make sense, but we must remember that there is no difference between the Democratic and Republician parties, they all work for their corporate masters.
The CIA and NSA, and other intelligence agencies all work on behalf of these corporate entities. There main objective is to keep us all uninformed and dumber than a bag of hammers, so they can extort all the wealth from our great nation. In other words they our commiting treason upon the American people and our constitution and all should be through in prison for the rest of their lives and all ill-gotten wealth given back to the people of these great nation by rebuilding the infrastructure of America, investing in the education of our people to secure a prosperous future, and provide healthcare for all Americans. We can ensure this happens in two ways, pass the 28th amendment and pass FDR's 2nd bill of rights(worker's bill of rights). This will ensure that corporations will never take control of our country again.James Williamson , 2 months ago
Can we please now move onto whom the person was that stole the data from the DNC? Can I take a stab in the dark (or maybe two shots to the back of the head?) and guess his name was Seth Rich?P , 2 months ago
The fraudulent "war on terror" is a big money-making scam. I've been saying this for the past three years.Atze Peng Bar , 2 months ago
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." Goethe (requote for google... best line)Laura Cortez , 2 months ago (edited)
I know I commented this already in the last segment, but this guy is absolutely awesome. Everything he says is substantial, non-speculative and supported by facts. You're becoming a proper journalist Jimmy. More of people like this please. I got my credit card again. I will donate shortly. Keep up.
Russia didn't hack USA democracy .. AIPAC did long time ago and you didn't even know it.
Tommy O Donovan , 2 months agotesscot , 2 months ago
This is earth shaking news. World class Jimmy....I never thought you had it in you.Amateur Professional , 2 months ago
As long as they keep lying about Russia they can continue the sanctions against Russia. Russia is holding it's own even with the sanctions but originally under Putin Russia had paid off all it's debt to the IMF (World Bank). Now their debt is increasing, partly because of the sanctions and partly because of helping Syria and preparing for the US to cause a great war. Russia is a threat to the IMF (World Bank). Russia and China want trade outside of the Petrol Dollar. When Russia was debt free from the IMF (World Bank) it was completely independent of them. Russia did not have to take orders from the international bankers. That is why they lie about Russia.stephen0793 , 2 months ago (edited)
If this video won't stop the brainless McCarthyist regressives from knowing the truth about Russiagate, nothing will. And I mean absolutely nothing. Except maybe if they come here to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NYC. We got lots of Russian immigrants here and they are just normal people.branden burks , 2 months ago
Russiagate is an excuse to spend more on the military. Wow- surprising, yet somehow not surprising. American Empire is the biggest destabilizing force in the worldbranden burks , 2 months ago
Guccifer 2.0 is the United States government. Either the CIA, FBI, NSA or DHS. I'd say it was the CIA with the NSA being a close second.jennings mills , 2 months ago
A war on terror is a war on ourselves since the United States are the largest terrorists in the world and fund and arm terrorists around the world.Matt Erbst , 2 months ago
So you would need a Internet speed of 392 mbps from Russia to Washington. yeah there was no hack. R.I.P Seth Rich,earthie48 Johnson , 2 months ago
As I tried to tell you the previous time you had referenced the "conclusions" of the CIA groups, this data nonsense he is handwaving about is all quite feasible, by using a nearby national server, and much skepticism is deserved! Also he doesn't seem to know what he is talking about, from all of the paraphrasing.
I am also quite reminded of the psychological incorporation into personal behaviors by habit of the standards and policies of the industry or professional standards, which for the US Intelligence community includes an explicit policy of disinformation and dishonesty.
How the hell would the NSA's "man in the middle" logging servers see that the transfer occurs to a local USB2 drive (he assumes this is the case because 40 megabytes per second is approximately the rate of the USB2 protocol of 400 megabits per second... Very few USB flash drives were manufactured with solid state storage chips fast enough to reach that full transfer rate before the widespread adoption of USB3, or the modern USB3.1. Essentially, your chosen headline title is a false clickbait, because as of today there is insufficient evidence to draw ANY conclusion
Just as they smeared Joe Wilson & his wife, and other great Courageous Americans that came out AGAINST the invasion of Iraq! Until we start DEMANDING those LIARS leave their seats in Washington, put on the Military Gear, and GO to the Countries they want to invade! I am past FED UP with them sacrificing our Troops, they return home to be MISTREATED, and kicked to the curb! Americans, wake up and DEMAND that they GO!
Mar 4, 2017 | www.youtube.com
He also exposes the NSA penchant for "swindles", such as preventing the plugging of holes in software around the world, to preserve their spying access.John, 10 months agoNancy M, 10 months ago
It's almost comical to hear that they lie to each other. No wonder why these retards in the mid-east and every other third world country gets the better of us.
The Clinton campaign to divert attention to Russia instead of her myriad of crimes that were revealed during the election must be stopped and the alt media needs to start talking about her and Obama's crimes again and demand justice...control the dialogue
Feb 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca
US-UK Accuse Russia of "NotPetya" Cyberattack, Offer Zero Evidence By Ulson Gunnar Global Research, February 19, 2018 Region: Europe , Russia and FSU , USA Theme: Intelligence , Media Disinformation
The US and European press have both published stories accusing the Russian government, and in particular, the Russian military, of the so-called "NotPetya" cyberattack which targeted information technology infrastructure in Ukraine.
The Washington Post in an article titled, " UK blames Russian military for 'malicious' cyberattack ," would report:
Britain and the United States blamed the Russian government on Thursday for a cyberattack that hit businesses across Europe last year, with London accusing Moscow of "weaponizing information" in a new kind of warfare. Foreign Minister Tariq Ahmad said "the U.K. government judges that the Russian government, specifically the Russian military, was responsible for the destructive NotPetya cyberattack of June 2017." The fast-spreading outbreak of data-scrambling software centered on Ukraine, which is embroiled in a conflict with Moscow-backed separatists in the country's east. It spread to companies that do business with Ukraine, including U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck, Danish shipping firm A.P. Moller-Maersk and FedEx subsidiary TNT.
British state media, the BBC, would report in its article, " UK and US blame Russia for 'malicious' NotPetya cyber-attack ," that:
The Russian military was directly behind a "malicious" cyber-attack on Ukraine that spread globally last year, the US and Britain have said.
The BBC also added that:
On Thursday the UK government took the unusual step of publicly accusing the Russia military of being behind the attack. "The UK and its allies will not tolerate malicious cyber activity," the foreign office said in a statement. Later, the White House also pointed the finger at Russia.
Yet despite this "unusual step of publicly accusing the Russian military of being behind the attack," neither the US nor the British media provided the public with any evidence, at all, justifying the accusations. The official statement released by the British government would claim:
The UK's National Cyber Security Centre assesses that the Russian military was almost certainly responsible for the destructive NotPetya cyber-attack of June 2017. Given the high confidence assessment and the broader context, the UK government has made the judgement that the Russian government – the Kremlin – was responsible for this cyber-attack.
Claiming that the Russian military was "almost certainly responsible," is not the same as being certain the Russian military was responsible. And such phrases as "almost certainly" have been used in the past by the United States and its allies to launch baseless accusations ahead of what would otherwise be entirely unprovoked aggression against targeted states, in this case, Russia. The White House would also release a statement claiming:
In June 2017, the Russian military launched the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history. The attack, dubbed "NotPetya," quickly spread worldwide, causing billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It was part of the Kremlin's ongoing effort to destabilize Ukraine and demonstrates ever more clearly Russia's involvement in the ongoing conflict. This was also a reckless and indiscriminate cyber-attack that will be met with international consequences.
Considering claims that this is the "most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history, " it would seem imperative to establish evidence beyond doubt of who was responsible. No Evidence From Governments Confirmed to Possess the Means to Fabricate Attribution Yet, so far, this has not been done. Claims that Russia's military was behind the attacks seems to be built solely upon private analysts who have suggested the attacks appear to have originated in Russia.
However, as it was revealed by Wikileaks in its Vault 7 release , exposing cyber hacking tools used by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the origin of attacks can be forged. USA Today in an article titled, " WikiLeaks: CIA hacking group 'UMBRAGE' stockpiled techniques from other hackers ," would admit:
A division of the Central Intelligence Agency stockpiled hacking techniques culled from other hackers, giving the agency the ability to leave behind the "fingerprints" of the outside hackers when it broke into electronic devices, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks alleges as it released thousands of documents Tuesday.
The article continues by pointing out:
The documents also suggest that one of the agency's divisions – the Remote Development Branch's UMBRAGE Group – may have been cataloguing hacking methods from outside hackers, including in Russia, that would have allowed the agency to mask their identity by employing the method during espionage. "With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types, but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the 'fingerprints' of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from," Wikileaks said in a statement.
Not only does this ability allow the CIA to carry out espionage that if discovered would be attributed to other parties, it also allows the CIA to conduct attacks the US government and its allies can then blame on foreign states for the purpose of politically maligning them, and even justifying otherwise indefensible acts of aggression, either militarily, or in the realm of cyberspace.
Evidence provided by the UK and US governments would have to establish Russia's role in the "NotPetya" cyberattack beyond mere attribution, since this is now confirmed to be possible to forge. The UK and US governments have failed to provide any evidence at all, likely because all it can offer is mere attribution which skeptics could easily point out might have been forged. NATO Had Been Preparing "Offensive" Cyber Weapons
As previously reported , NATO had been in the process of creating and preparing to deploy what it called an "offensive defense" regarding cyber warfare. Reuters in an article titled, " NATO mulls 'offensive defense' with cyber warfare rules ," would state:
A group of NATO allies are considering a more muscular response to state-sponsored computer hackers that could involve using cyber attacks to bring down enemy networks, officials said.
Reuters would also report:
The doctrine could shift NATO's approach from being defensive to confronting hackers that officials say Russia, China and North Korea use to try to undermine Western governments and steal technology.
It has been repeatedly pointed out how the US, UK and other NATO members have repeatedly used false pretexts to justify military aggression carried out with conventional military power. Examples include fabricated evidence of supposed "weapons of mass destruction (WMD)" preceding the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the so-called "humanitarian war" launched against Libya in 2011 built on fabricated accounts from US and European rights advocates.
With UMBRAGE, the US and its allies now possess the ability to fabricate evidence in cyberspace, enabling them to accuse targeted nations of cyber attacks they never carried out, to justify the deployment of "offensive" cyber weapons NATO admits it has prepared ahead of time. While the US and European media have warned the world of a "cyber-911″ it appears instead we are faced with "cyber-WMD claims" rolled out to justify a likewise "cyber-Iraq War" using cyber weapons the US and its NATO allies have been preparing and seeking to use for years. Were Russia to really be behind the "NotPetya" cyberattack, the US and its allies have only themselves to blame for decades spent undermining their own credibility with serial instances of fabricating evidence to justify its serial military aggression. Establishing that Russia was behind the "NotPetya" cyberattack, however, will require more evidence than mere "attribution" the CIA can easily forge.
Ulson Gunnar is a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine " New Eastern Outlook ".
All images in this article are from the author.
Feb 19, 2018 | www.unz.com
renfro, February 19, 2018 at 7:38 am GMTPoor Russia cant get a break, neither can Americans get a break from this USA 'get Russia' monkey circus. The monkeys now reach back a year ago to get Russia on a cyber attack.
White House blames Russia for 'reckless' NotPetya cyber attack
https://www.reuters.com/ russia /white-house-blames-russia-for-reckless-notpetya-c… ;
3 days ago -- WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) -- The White House on Thursday blamed Russia for the devastating 'NotPetya' cyber attack last year , joining the British government in condemning Moscow for unleashing a virus that crippled parts of Ukraine's infrastructure and damaged computers in countries across the
Best advice for Americans believe nothing, trust nothing that issues from a government.
John McAfee, founder of an anti-virus firm, said: "When the FBI or when any other agency says the Russians did it or the Chinese did something or the Iranians did something -- that's a fallacy," said McAfee.
"Any hacker capable of breaking into something is extraordinarily capable of hiding their tracks. If I were the Chinese and I wanted to make it look like the Russians did it I would use Russian language within the code. "I would use Russian techniques of breaking into organisations so there is simply no way to assign a source for any attack -- this is a fallacy."
I can promise you -- if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians."
Wikileaks has released a number of CIA cyber tools it had obtained. These included software specifically designed to create false attributions.
Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn't Even A Hack"
by Tyler Durden Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:51 3.4K SHARES
Kim Dotcom has once again chimed in on the DNC hack, following a Sunday morning tweet from President Trump clarifying his previous comments on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
In response, Dotcom tweeted " Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn't even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why," adding "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds! " alluding of course to Trump's "400 pound genius" comment.
Dotcom's assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator , who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s - a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network - yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.
The local transfer theory of course blows the Russian hacking narrative out of the water, lending credibility to the theory that the DNC "hack" was in fact an inside job, potentially implicating late DNC IT staffer, Seth Rich.
John Podesta's email was allegely successfully "hacked" (he fell victim to a phishing scam ) in March 2016, while the DNC reported suspicious activity (the suspected Seth Rich file transfer) in late April, 2016 according to the Washington Post.
On May 18, 2017, Dotcom proposed that if Congress includes the Seth Rich investigation in their Russia probe, he would provide written testimony with evidence that Seth Rich was WikiLeaks' source.
On May 19 2017 Dotcom tweeted "I knew Seth Rich. I was involved"
Three days later, Dotcom again released a guarded statement saying "I KNOW THAT SETH RICH WAS INVOLVED IN THE DNC LEAK," adding:
"I have consulted with my lawyers. I accept that my full statement should be provided to the authorities and I am prepared to do that so that there can be a full investigation. My lawyers will speak with the authorities regarding the proper process.
If my evidence is required to be given in the United States I would be prepared to do so if appropriate arrangements are made. I would need a guarantee from Special Counsel Mueller, on behalf of the United States, of safe passage from New Zealand to the United States and back. In the coming days we will be communicating with the appropriate authorities to make the necessary arrangements. In the meantime, I will make no further comment."
While one could simply write off Dotcom's claims as an attention seeking stunt, he made several comments and a series of tweets hinting at the upcoming email releases prior to both the WikiLeaks dumps as well as the publication of the hacked DNC emails to a website known as "DCLeaks."
In a May 14, 2015 Bloomberg article entitled "Kim Dotcom: Julian Assange Will Be Hillary Clinton's Worst Nightmare In 2016 ": "I have to say it's probably more Julian," who threatens Hillary, Dotcom said. " But I'm aware of some of the things that are going to be roadblocks for her ."
Two days later, Dotcom tweeted this:
Around two months later, Kim asks a provocative question
Two weeks after that, Dotcom then tweeted "Mishandling classified info is a crime. When Hillary's emails eventually pop up on the internet who's going to jail?"
It should thus be fairly obvious to anyone that Dotcom was somehow involved, and therefore any evidence he claims to have, should be taken seriously as part of Mueller's investigation. Instead, as Dotcom tweeted, "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. "
chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 21:59 PermalinkSethPoor -> chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:00 Permalink
Pffft...this guy sounds like the reds with their "blockbuster" memo. Honest Hill'rey is laughing!Bes -> J S Bach Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:17 Permalink
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_8VaMbPjUUbigkahuna -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:58 Permalink
All fucking Kabuki. All of it.
The Deep State (Oligarchs and the MIC) is totally fucking loving this: they have Trump and the GOP giving them everything they ever wanted and they have the optics and distraction of an "embattled" president that claims to be against or a victim of the "deep state" and a base that rally's, circles the wagons around him, and falls for the narrative.
Meanwhile they keep enacting the most Pro Deep State/MIC/Police State/Zionist/Wall Street agenda possible. And they call it #winning
pathetic.StarGate -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:23 Permalink
"Had to be a Russian mole with a computer stick. MSM, DNC and Muller say so."
They know exactly who it was with the memory stick, there is always video of one form or another either in the data center or near the premises that can indicate who it was. They either have a video of Seth Rich putting the stick into the server directly, or they at least have a video of his car entering and leaving the vicinity of the ex-filtration.
This would have been an open and shut case if shillary was not involved. Since it was involved, you can all chalk it up to the Clinton body count. I pray that it gets justice. It and the country, the world - needs justice.KuriousKat -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:26 Permalink
Don't forget the "hack" analysis of Russian owned "Crowdstrike" since the FBI did and continues to, refuse to analyze the DNC computers.wildbad -> IntercoursetheEU Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:05 Permalink
Isn't Alperovitch the Only Russian in there?.. When you rule out the impossible...whatever remains probable.. probably is..NumberNone -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:04 Permalink
Kim is great, Assange is great. Kim is playing a double game. He wants immunity from the US GUmmint overreach that destroyed his company and made him a prisoner in NZ.
Good on ya Kim.
His name was Seth Rich...and he will reach out from the grave and bury Killary who murdered him.Socratic Dog -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:09 Permalink
There are so many nuances to this and all are getting mentioned but the one that also stands out is that in an age of demands for gun control by the Dems, Seth Rich is never, ever mentioned. He should be the poster child for gun control. Young man, draped in a American flag, helping democracy, gunned down...it writes itself.
They either are afraid of the possible racial issues should it turn out to be a black man killing a white man (but why should that matter in a gun control debate?) or they just don't want people looking at this case. I go for #2.verumcuibono -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:26 Permalink
Funny that George Webb can figure it out, but Trump, Leader of the Free World, is sitting there with his dick in his hand waiting for someone to save him.
Whatever he might turn out to be, this much is clear: Trump is a spineless weakling. He might be able to fuck starlets, but he hasn't got the balls to defend either himself or the Republic.verumcuibono -> NumberNone Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:41 Permalink
Webb's research is also...managed. But a lot of it was/is really good (don't follow it anymore) and I agree re: SR piece of it.
I think SR is such an interesting case. It's not really an anomaly because SO many Bush-CFR-related hits end the same way and his had typical signatures. But his also squeels of a job done w/out much prior planning because I think SR surprised everyone. If, in fact, that was when he was killed. Everything regarding the family's demeanor suggests no.KJWqonfo7 -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:15 Permalink
MANY patterns in shootings: failure in law enforcement/intelligence who were notified of problem individuals ahead of time, ARs, mental health and SSRIs, and ongoing resistance to gun control in DC ----these are NOT coincidences. Nor are distractions in MSM's version of events w/ controlled propaganda.
Children will stop being killed when America wakes the fuck up and starts asking the right questions, making the right demands. It's time.verumcuibono -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:28 Permalink
Kim is awesome to watch, I remember his old website of pics of him on yachts with hot girls and racing the Gumball Rally.StarGate -> Billy the Poet Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:48 Permalink
I don't think you know how these hackers have nearly ALL been intercepted by CIA--for decades now. DS has had backdoor access to just about all of them. I agree that Kim is great, brilliant and was sabotaged but he's also cooperating. Otherwise he'd be dead.
Bes is either "disinfo plant" or energy draining pessimist. Result is the same - to deflate your power to create a new future.
Trump saw the goal of the Fed Reserve banksters decades ago and spoke often about it. Like Prez Kennedy he wants to return USA economy to silver or gold backed dollar then transition to new system away from the Black Magic fed reserve/ tax natl debt machine.
The Globalist Cabal has been working to destroy the US economy ever since they income tax April 15th Lincoln at the Ford theater. 125 years. But Bes claims because Trump cannot reverse 125 years of history in one year that it is kabuki.
Pessimism is its own reward.
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Lee Anderson , February 17, 2018 at 4:32 pmJoe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm
Your link to the Giraldi piece is appreciated, however, Giraldi starts off on a false premise: He claims that people generally liked and trusted the FBI and CIA up until or shortly after 9/11. Not so! Both agencies were complicit in the most infamous assassinations and false flag episodes since the Kennedy/MLK Vietnam days. Don't forget Air America CIA drug running and Iran/Contra / October Surprise affairs.
The Dulles brothers, with Allan as head of Sullivan and Cromwells' CIA were notorious facilitators for the international banksters and their subsidiary corporations which comprise the largest oil and military entities which have literally plainly stated in writing, need to occasionally "GALVANIZE" the American public through catastrophic and catalyzing events in order for Americans to be terrified into funding and fighting for those interlocked corporations in their quest to spread "FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE," throughout the globe.
The political parties are theatre designed to fool the people into believing we are living in some sort of legitimate, representative system, when it's the same old plutocracy that manages to get elected because they've long figured out the art of polarizing people and capitalising on tribal alignments.
We should eliminate all government for a time so that people can begin to see that corporations really do and most always have run the country.
It's preposterous to think the stupid public is actually discussing saddling ourselves and future generations with gargantuan debt through a system designed and run by banksters!
it should be self evident a sovereign nation should maintain and forever hold the rights to develop a monetary/financial system that serves the needs of the people, not be indentured servants in a financial system that serves the insatiable greed of a handful of parasitic banksters and corporate tycoons!Annie , February 17, 2018 at 5:56 pm
You are so right, in fact Robert Parry made quite a journalistic career out of exposing the CIA for such things as drug running. I gave up on that agency a longtime ago, after JFK was murdered, and I was only 13 then. Yeah maybe Phil discounts the time while he worked for the CIA, but the CIA has many, many rooms in which plots are hatched, so the valiant truth teller Giraldi maybe excused this one time for his lack of memory .I guess, right?
Good comment Lee. JoeGregory Herr , February 17, 2018 at 6:42 pm
Yes, but he's referring to the public's opinion of these agencies, and if they didn't continue to retain, even after 9/11, a significant popularity in the public's mind how would we have so many American's buying into Russia-gate? In my perception of things they only lost some ground after 9/11, but Americans notoriously have a short memory span.Skeptigal , February 17, 2018 at 7:19 pm
And films that are supposed to help Americans feel good about the aims and efficacy of the agencies like Zero Dark Thirty and Argo are in the popular imagination.
The book by Peter Dale Scott, "The American Deep State Wall Street, Big Oil And the Attack on American Democracy" covers in detail some of the points you mention in your reply. It is a fascinating book.
Feb 16, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy February 16, 2018
New U.S. policy on nuclear retaliatory strikes for cyber-attacks is raising concerns, with Russia claiming that it's already been blamed for a false-flag cyber-attack – namely the election hacking allegations of 2016, explain Ray McGovern and William Binney.
By Ray McGovern and William Binney
Moscow is showing understandable concern over the lowering of the threshold for employing nuclear weapons to include retaliation for cyber-attacks, a change announced on Feb. 2 in the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).
A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.
Explaining the shift in U.S. doctrine on first-use, the NPR cites the efforts of potential adversaries "to design and use cyber weapons" and explains the change as a "hedge" against non-nuclear threats. In response, Russia described the move as an "attempt to shift onto others one's own responsibility" for the deteriorating security situation.
Moscow's concern goes beyond rhetoric. Cyber-attacks are notoriously difficult to trace to the actual perpetrator and can be pinned easily on others in what we call "false-flag" operations. These can be highly destabilizing – not only in the strategic context, but in the political arena as well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has good reason to believe he has been the target of a false-flag attack of the political genre. We judged this to be the case a year and a half ago, and said so. Our judgment was fortified last summer – thanks to forensic evidence challenging accusations that the Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee and provided emails to WikiLeaks. (Curiously, the FBI declined to do forensics, even though the "Russian hack" was being described as an "act of war.")
Our conclusions were based on work conducted over several months by highly experienced technical specialists, including another former NSA technical director (besides co-author Binney) and experts from outside the circle of intelligence analysts.
On August 9, 2017, investigative reporter Patrick Lawrence summed up our findings in The Nation. "They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation," he explained.
As we wrote in an open letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the NSA's programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. "We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks," our letter said. "If NSA cannot produce such evidence – and quickly – this would probably mean it does not have any."
A 'Dot' Pointing to a False Flag?
In his article, Lawrence included mention of one key, previously unknown "dot" revealed by WikiLeaks on March 31, 2017. When connected with other dots, it puts a huge dent in the dominant narrative about Russian hacking. Small wonder that the mainstream media immediately applied white-out to the offending dot.
Lawrence, however, let the dot out of the bag, so to speak: "The list of the CIA's cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble Framework that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to."
If congressional oversight committees summon the courage to look into "Obfus-Gate" and Marble, they are likely to find this line of inquiry as lucrative as the Steele "dossier." In fact, they are likely to find the same dramatis personae playing leading roles in both productions.
Two Surprising Visits
Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it.
In retrospect, the Pompeo-Binney meeting appears to have been a shot across the bow of those cyber warriors in the CIA, FBI, and NSA with the means and incentive to adduce "just discovered" evidence of Russian hacking. That Pompeo could promptly invite Binney back to evaluate any such "evidence" would be seen as a strong deterrent to that kind of operation.
Pompeo's closeness to President Donald Trump is probably why the heads of Russia's three top intelligence agencies paid Pompeo an unprecedented visit in late January. We think it likely that the proximate cause was the strategic danger Moscow sees in the nuclear-hedge-against-cyber-attack provision of the Nuclear Posture Statement (a draft of which had been leaked a few weeks before).
If so, the discussion presumably focused on enhancing hot-line and other fail-safe arrangements to reduce the possibility of false-flag attacks in the strategic arena -- by anyone – given the extremely high stakes.
Putin may have told his intelligence chiefs to pick up on President Donald Trump's suggestion, after the two met last July, to establish a U.S.-Russian cyber security unit. That proposal was widely ridiculed at the time. It may make good sense now.
Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, was chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and briefed the President's Daily Brief one-on-one from 1981-1985. William Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.
mike k , February 16, 2018 at 5:36 pmMild-ly -Facetious , February 16, 2018 at 5:42 pm
Those Russians had a strange mission coming to CIA headquarters to try to negotiate with soulless mass murderers in the name of maintaining a precarious semblance of peace, knowing full well that these men's words and assurances were worth less than nothing. Ah well, I guess in a mad situation one is reduced to making desperate gestures, hoping against hope .Anna , February 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm
F Y I :> Putin prefers Aramco to Trump's sword dance
Hardly 10 months after honoring the visiting US president, the Saudis are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the upcoming Aramco IPO
By M.K. BHADRAKUMAR
FEBRUARY 16, 2018
In the slideshow that is Middle Eastern politics, the series of still images seldom add up to make an enduring narrative. And the probability is high that when an indelible image appears, it might go unnoticed – such as Russia and Saudi Arabia wrapping up huge energy deals on Wednesday underscoring a new narrative in regional and international security.
The ebb and flow of events in Syria – Turkey's campaign in Afrin and its threat to administer an "Ottoman slap" to the United States, and the shooting down of an Israeli F-16 jet – hogged the attention. But something of far greater importance was unfolding in Riyadh, as Saudi and Russian officials met to seal major deals marking a historic challenge to the US dominance in the Persian Gulf region.
The big news is the Russian offer to the Saudi authorities to invest directly in the upcoming Aramco initial public offering – and the Saudis acknowledging the offer. Even bigger news, surely, is that Moscow is putting together a Russian-Chinese consortium of joint investment funds plus several major Russian banks to be part of the Aramco IPO.
Chinese state oil companies were interested in becoming cornerstone investors in the IPO, but the participation of a Russia-China joint investment fund takes matters to an entirely different realm. Clearly, the Chinese side is willing to hand over tens of billions of dollars.
Yet the Aramco IPO was a prime motive for US President Donald Trump to choose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip. The Saudi hosts extended the ultimate honor to Trump – a ceremonial sword dance outside the Murabba Palace in Riyadh. Hardly 10 months later, they are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the Aramco IPO.
Riyadh plans to sell 5% of Saudi Aramco in what is billed as the largest IPO in world history. In the Saudi estimation, Aramco is worth US$2 trillion; a 5% stake sale could fetch as much as $100 billion. The IPO is a crucial segment of Vision 2030, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's ambitious plan to diversify the kingdom's economy.
MORE : http://www.atimes.com/article/putin-prefers-aramco-trumps-sword-dance/
"Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it."
That was about some Dm. Alperovitch for CrowdStrike fame, who had discovered the "hacking" in 10 sec. Guess Alperovitch, as an "expert" at the viciously Russophobic Atlantic Council (funded by the State Dept., NATO, and a set of unsavory characters like Ukrainian oligrach Pinchuk) decided to show his "understanding" of the task. The shy FBI did not even attempt to look at the Clinton's server because the bosses "knew better."
Alperovitch must be investigated for anti-American activities; the scoundrel has been sowing discord into the US society with his lies while endangering the US citizenry.
Feb 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Late last night the White House accused the Russian military of having launched the destructive "NotPetya" malware which in June 2017 hit many global companies:Statement from the Press Secretary
In June 2017, the Russian military launched the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history.
The attack, dubbed "NotPetya," quickly spread worldwide, causing billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It was part of the Kremlin's ongoing effort to destabilize Ukraine and demonstrates ever more clearly Russia's involvement in the ongoing conflict. This was also a reckless and indiscriminate cyber-attack that will be met with international consequences.
The statement has the same quality as earlier statements about Spain sinking the Maine or about Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction had.
Neither the U.S. nor anyone else has presented ANY evidence of ANY Russian involvement in the creation or distribution of the NotPetya malware. The U.S. is simply asserting this while presenting nothing to back it up.
There is, in general, no attribution possible for any such cyber attack. As John McAfee, founder of an anti-virus firm, said :"When the FBI or when any other agency says the Russians did it or the Chinese did something or the Iranians did something – that's a fallacy," said McAfee.
" Any hacker capable of breaking into something is extraordinarily capable of hiding their tracks. If I were the Chinese and I wanted to make it look like the Russians did it I would use Russian language within the code. "I would use Russian techniques of breaking into organisations so there is simply no way to assign a source for any attack – this is a fallacy."
I can promise you – if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians ."
I agree with McAfee's statement. The CIA must likewise agree. Wikileaks has released a number of CIA cyber tools it had obtained. These included software specifically designed to create false attributions:The CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.
With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.
Nearly all "attributes" used for attributing a cyber attack can be easily faked to accuse a party not involved in the attack.
The British National Cyber Security Center, part of the British computer spying organisation GCHQ, also claims that the Russian military is " almost certainly " responsible for the NotPetya attack. Canada and the Australians also chipped in .
But note - these are NOT independent sources. They are, together with New Zealand, part of the of the " Five Eyes " spying alliance. From NSA files released by Edward Snowden we know that the Five Eyes are practically led by the U.S. National Security Agency:One internal document quotes the head of the NSA, Lieutenant General Keith Alexander, on a visit to Menwith Hill in June 2008, asking: "Why can't we collect all the signals all the time? Sounds like a good summer project for Menwith."
Menwith Hill is a Royal Airforce spying station and part of the GCHQ infrastructure. That the head of the NSA can assign "summer projects" to it shows where the real power lies.
The Russian government strongly rejects the accusations.
NotPetya was a destructive virus that masked as ransomware. It was based on attacking tools which originally had been developed by the NSA but were later anonymously published by someone calling himself Shadow-Broker. One of several attack vectors NotPetya used was the update mechanism of some tax accounting software which is common in Ukraine and Russia. But the attack soon spread globally :The attack hit Ukraine central bank, government computers, airports, the Kiev metro, the state power distributor Ukrenergo, Chernobyl's radiation monitoring system, and other machines in the country. It also affected Russian oil giant Rosneft, DLA Piper law firm, U.S. biopharmaceutical giant Merck, British advertiser WPP, and Danish shipping and energy company Maersk, among others.
The biggest damaged through NotPetya occurred at the Danish shipping company Maersk which had to completely reboot its entire infrastructure and lost some $250-300 million due to the attack.
The question one must always ask when such accusations are made is: Why would the accused do this?
In January the U.S. attribution claims about the NotPetya malware were prelaunched through the Washington Post :The CIA has attributed to Russian military hackers a cyberattack that crippled computers in Ukraine last year, an effort to disrupt that country's financial system amid its ongoing war with separatists loyal to the Kremlin.
The GRU military spy agency created NotPetya, the CIA concluded with "high confidence" in November, according to classified reports cited by U.S. intelligence officials.
The hackers worked for the military spy service's GTsST, or Main Center for Special Technology, the CIA reported. That unit is highly involved in the GRU's cyberattack program, including the enabling of influence operations.
What could have been the motive of the "Russian military" to release a (badly written) malware that destroys computer-files of random companies all over the world including at the all important Russian oil-giant Rosneft . To assume that Ukraine's financial system was the target is almost certainly wrong. There is also no evidence that this was the case. Ukraine's Central Bank was just one of thousands of victims of the attack.
Only some 50% of the affected companies were in Ukraine. Most of them were not financial firms. The attack was initiated through an update mechanism of an accounting software that is also used in Russia. That original attack vector was probably chosen simply because it was easy to use. The accounting software company had a lousy security protection. The first infected computers then applied a different mechanism to spread the malware to other machines. The attack was launched on a Ukrainian national holiday which is not optimal if one wants to spread it as wide as possible throughout the Ukraine.
That the Ukraine and Russia were hit first by the malware was also likely just a time-of-day question. The timeline shows that the U.S. and most of western-Europe were still asleep when the virus started to proliferate. The anti-virus organizations, the Russian company Kaspersky among them , took only a few hours to diagnose the attacking software. A solution to prevent further damage was found within some twelve hours. By the time the U.S. working day started anti-virus companies were already releasing advise and protective code against it. If the attack had not been stopped by protective software it would have effected many more computers. Most of these would not have been in the Ukraine.
The U.S. attribution of the NotPetya attack to some Russian organization is extremely doubtful. In general a certain attribution of any such cyber attack is impossible. It is easy for any sophisticated virus writer to modify the code so that it looks as if it was written by some third party. The CIA even develops tools to do exactly that.
The attacking software seemed to be of relatively low quality. It was a badly designed mishmash created from earlier known malware and spy tools. It was not confined to a certain country or target. It can at best be described as an act of random vandalism on a global scale. There is no discernible motive for any Russian state organizations to release such nonsense.
In 2009 Russia offered an international treaty to prohibit cyber attacks. It was the U.S. under Obama which rejected it as "unnecessary" while it was expanding its own attack capabilities.
The U.S. government has launched a Cold War 2.0 against Russia. The motive for that seems to be mostly monetary. Hunting a few 'terrorists' does not justify big military budgets, opposing a nuclear power does.
The now released accusations against Russia have as much foundation in reality as the claims of alleged Iraqi WMDs. We can only hope that these new accusations will have less severe consequences.
Posted by b on February 16, 2018 at 04:30 AM | Permalink
uncle tungsten , Feb 16, 2018 4:53:27 AM | 1Trump has made a fool of himself by agreeing to be the mouth for some looney security briefing. Why the White House releasing this? why not the NSA or some slightly distant body so the president can be kept clear of blowback if the accusation is proven to be wrong (as it has and was at the time of its spread). A gullible fool is spouting at the behest of the five anuses. They certainly aren't eyes with that sh!t coming out.igybundy , Feb 16, 2018 5:44:44 AM | 2Some of the smartest hackers I seen are Russians, although a lot of kids will just do it for kicks, professionals would have a target rather than random targets that can back fire aka how the US does things as we seen off their Iranian attack.Jen , Feb 16, 2018 5:55:09 AM | 3
Kaspersky being the best of the best, Kremlin would know and would make great effort to make sure they stay as far away from them as possible. To give it a fighting chance. That Kaspersky found it so fast shows it was not Russian. Since you want them to be last on the list to know about it. Kaspersky for some strange reason also works with their partners in the US/UK etc sharing information. So Russians themselves would work to defeat a Russian attack even if its made. Which any smart cookie would say is self defeating and they would not waste the effort to try.
Could the attack have been co-ordinated by parties in different countries but in the same time zone or in neighbouring time zones, with one or two of these being the same time zones that European Russia is in?Ian , Feb 16, 2018 6:11:01 AM | 4
It seems possible that at least one of these parties might be based in Ukraine. For Ukrainian-based pro-Maidan cyber-hackers to release the virus on a Ukrainian public holiday, when most major public and private institutions and businesses are closed, but Russian ones are not, would make sense. Another party could be based in a different country with sophisticated cyber-technology and experience in creating and spreading cyber-viruses that is in the same time zone as Ukraine. Israel comes to mind.I don't believe anything will come of it. I see these accusations as petty attempts to get under Russia's skin. Frankly, I can't see anybody believing the crap that comes out of Washington's mouth, especially after what Snowden/Wikileaks has revealed to the public.Me , Feb 16, 2018 6:30:32 AM | 5These Russians are so badass!Partisan , Feb 16, 2018 6:35:18 AM | 6
I'm beginning to wish to be a Russian. :)
"Some of the smartest hackers I seen are Russians, ....."Red Ryder , Feb 16, 2018 6:49:23 AM | 7
I am curious where have you seen them?
Second thing which I've never understood about hacking is, why all this noise about it. It is like a pc and network infrastructures are like holly grail and untouchable. The fetishization of this particular technology which comes from the west is unbearable, it is like the life on earth depend on it. Than can not be further from the truth. The US behaves as the owner and guardian of the IT sector, and they handsomely profited from it.
If someone leave its nodes exposed or on the Internet than it is their fault, why not hack it. To hell with them. If someone leave sensitive documents on server than again that's the owner problem, and so on. It is not a bigger crime than "regular" spying activity.
The Russian hacking is beyond the point. Two big powers, capitalist countries with almost identical political structure are competing in the world arena. One of them in decline big time, the second one resurgent but stagnant in development and to gain wider influence. The USA is clearly unable to bribe (as used to) Russia although countries such North Korea still suffer from their collusion in the Security council.
Hacking someone's IT infrastructure is mature skill and there is nothing new in it so just like everything else everything the US and its organs are saying is plain lie. Now, the problem is that after a lie follow some kind of coercion. It that doesn't work - if you are small and defenseless country - than they will kill you.There are at least two tactics in cyberwarfare (which this is).Partisan , Feb 16, 2018 7:01:48 AM | 8
First, to attack and destroy infrastructure of an enemy or opponent or resistant vassal.
Second, to place blame on others for the use of cyber as a weapon.
The US is at cyber war with Russia and China. This is not Cold War.
Neither was Stuxnet. That was cyber war on Iran. It got out beyond Iran because its careless design sought Seimens equipment everywhere on the Internet. It went to many other countries far beyond Iran and attacked the equipment there.
This malware was not well-designed either. It may have been meant for Russian targets. Rosneft is a huge economic target.
But this campaign using NotPetya had the value of being a Tactic #1 attack + #2 failure against Russia. The CIA got to blame Russia even though the intended damage was quickly reversed by Kaspersky. The irony is they attacked a nation with the best resources to combat and defend against the weapon they used.
But make no mistake, the CyperWars are well underway. The US is sloppy, just like all their Hegemon efforts are seriously flawed in classic terms of execution. The Russians are far more elegant with cyber, as anyone who knows their software experts or products over the years."But make no mistake, the CyperWars are well underway."Partisan , Feb 16, 2018 7:14:33 AM | 9
I doubt, I doubt very much. If there is a one than it is manufactured.
No vital and nationally sensitive or strategic IT nodes are exposed to the public net. All this is bizarre and narrative created by the Deep State for idiots. Probably ~60% of drugs infested Amerikkans do no care. The rest: https://medium.com/incerto/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577 are somewhat interested. We can argue whether for domestic (in the light of another shooting, if true) or international purposes (Syria, Iraq, Iran), or both.The Class War is the Marx's term that is taboo and forbidden in capitalist's world everywhere and in particular in the US where is social oppression and inequality is the greatest in the world by far.Partisan , Feb 16, 2018 7:33:59 AM | 10
Maintain all kind of spins and propaganda along with political oppression i.e. help of political police the American version of the Nazi's Gestapo is crucial for the ruling class and regime.
While the looting of the drugged and non-drugged Americans continue unabated.I would say that only 10% of the Amerikkans have clue what's hacking about, and very small percentage understand in technical terms and details. Sadly, it is NOT important and even more important those question should not be asked! Questioning the highest authority is no, no. The more convoluted the better.integer , Feb 16, 2018 8:02:09 AM | 11
Now when the statement is out of the WH we might except refined follow up by the National Security organs, TNYT, TWP, etc. An intended audience are https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Eichmanns
It is very good that you posted that photo of Collin Powell in the context of the article. It says it a lot, if not all.In a Euromaidan Press article dated November 2nd, 2016, the hackers state enthusiastically "Ukrainian hackers have a rather high level of work. So the help of the USA I don't know, why would we need it? We have all the talent and special means for this. And I don't think that the USA or any NATO country would make such sharp movements in international politics."Christian Chuba , Feb 16, 2018 8:15:13 AM | 12
From: Untying PropOrNot: Who They Are and a Look at 2017's Biggest Fake News StoryOn the Tucker Carlson Show an FBI agent defended the fact that they could not identify the school shooter, prior to the event, even after he was reported, because his one post did not identify himself explicitly. Also, the threat was not enough to open an investigation.Partisan , Feb 16, 2018 8:23:03 AM | 13
So now the same group of people claim the ability to discover that people are 'Russian Trolls' from a specific building in St. Petersburg simply based on the content of purely political posts to facebook and twitter.By following, little bit, the US National Security operation called Cryptocurrency (ies), allegedly based in South Korea and Japan I noticed numbers of hacking of the companies' web sites that are in this, let-call-it-business.Partisan , Feb 16, 2018 9:06:43 AM | 14
The most famous hacking was one of Mt.Gox (Japan based) one, where the French nationals was the business' principal. A money never was recovered, and hacker is still unknown!? I guess the place of business and the CEO meant (all US' client states) to give legitimacy to cryptocurrency and lure fools into buying the "fog". But where did "investors" money goes? Not to brilliant Russians...and how could that be? There is a lot of money in game, real money.
Is the National Security State agencies has transfered looting from the domestic soil to international one with help of the virtual reality. No trace of hackers, none!?I use the term The US National Security State (or Deep State) and its apparatus as synonymous to the Nazi Reich Main Security Office. Both of them, while differ in the methods and size, the goals and objectives are the same.integer , Feb 16, 2018 9:12:50 AM | 15Having just had a quick look into the NotPetya attack, it appears to have began on the morning of the day before Ukraine's Constitution Day, and originated from the update server of a Ukrainian tax accounting program called MeDoc. I expect this was another Ukrainian false flag; a cyber warfare version of MH17. Sharp movements in international politics indeed.Partisan , Feb 16, 2018 9:23:02 AM | 16integer | Feb 16, 2018 9:12:50 AM | 15susetta , Feb 16, 2018 9:53:35 AM | 17
Meaning what? A client state was forced into this in order (to blame Russkies) to get another tranches of loan from the IMF?Well that may mean that, under the new dictact (now the Unites States will not just use its nuclear weapons as a response if the other party used them; now the United States has declared that it will use nuclear weapons if, say, there should be a virus attack on its networks), that the United States is about to declare war on Russia and proceed to nuke it.AriusArmenian , Feb 16, 2018 11:59:07 AM | 20"We can only hope that these new accusations will have less severe consequences."Petri Krohn , Feb 16, 2018 12:01:35 PM | 21
The russophobic fake news push is not letting up and now the Trump administration has jumped on board. And on top of targeting Iran has also ramped up targeting China.
This is how the last Cold War ramped up. The public was softened up by the media to fear the USSR. It's a symptom of a disease in its psyche spreading throughout the West.
We see through this nonsense but I fear we underestimate the danger. This Cold War v2 is already much hotter then v1. The West is approaching the throat of the East (Russia, China, Iran, and others), and unfortunately for the world the West feels (it has limited capability to think) it must prevail over the East or faces extinction. And what does that suggest might happen?CrowdStrike said Russians known as Fancy Bear hacked the DNC. U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified one of the "Russian" malware tools used and named it "Grizzly Steppe" or "PAS tool PHP web kit". Later it was also found to attack U.S. power utilities.james , Feb 16, 2018 12:04:41 PM | 22
I tracked down the creator of the malware and found out that he was a 23-year old Ukrainian university student at the Poltava National Technical University.Did a Ukrainian University Student Create Grizzly Steppe?
3) The profexer site presents a SSL certificate that identifies it as pro-os.ru and gives an email address...
Almost a year later the New York Times reported the same story, but did not name the Ukrainian hacker.In Ukraine, a Malware Expert Who Could Blow the Whistle on Russian Hacking
But while Profexer's online persona vanished, a flesh-and-blood person has emerged: a fearful man who the Ukrainian police said turned himself in early this year, and has now become a witness for the F.B.I.
Mr. Gerashchenko described the author only in broad strokes, to protect his safety, as a young man from a provincial Ukrainian city. He confirmed that the author turned himself in to the police and was cooperating as a witness in the D.N.C. investigation. "He was a freelancer and now he is a valuable witness," Mr. Gerashchenko said.
"Fancy Bear" is not the Russian military intelligence agency GRU or any other Russian government agency. It is simply a collection of hacking tools available online on Runet , the Russian language part of the Internet and the Russian language darknet.thanks b.. more of the same bullshit.. "The U.S. is simply asserting this while presenting nothing to back it up."Shakesvshav , Feb 16, 2018 12:13:40 PM | 24
from b's post - "In 2009 Russia offered an international treaty to prohibit cyber attacks. It was the U.S. under Obama which rejected it as "unnecessary" while it was expanding its own attack capabilities."
this from the link in the above quote..
"The United States argues that a treaty is unnecessary. It instead advocates improved cooperation among international law-enforcement groups. If these groups cooperate to make cyberspace more secure against criminal intrusions, their work will also make cyberspace more secure against military campaigns, American officials say."
5 eyes is doing such a great job of being like some stupid chorus line in a bad movie... all of them are beholden to the usa and the usa, as noted above - doesn't need any proof... what does that say about the usa?
willful blindness...A small cause for celebration here in the UK: https://www.hackread.com/british-hacker-lauri-love-will-not-be-extradited-to-usa/james , Feb 16, 2018 12:18:58 PM | 25@24 shakesvshav - it's a good thing they weren't caught up in some allegation based in sweden which the swedes wanted to drop, but the uk/usa discouraged them from doing... i am thinking of julian assange here - stuck in the eqaudor embassy in the uk.. craig murray did a couple of articles on this the past few days which kind of makes one want to puke especially if one lives in the uk...J Swift , Feb 16, 2018 12:22:15 PM | 26
nice to see an opportunity for celebration come your way!
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/@integer 15 " I expect this was another Ukrainian false flag; a cyber warfare version of MH17"
Not as crazy as it sounds. Hell, the CIA and SBU literally share a building! And this code apparently does not have the hallmark elegance of Russian hackers. Why not get a good swipe at Russian businesses, while destroying enough data (evidence) in Ukraine to cover a multitude of sins (just like at least one of the ammo dump explosions is strongly suspected as having been intentionally set to cover up missing inventory which now no doubt resides in Syria). And then the icing on the cake is to get to blame Russia and try to bolster rapidly failing support for sanctions. A lot more plausible than a half-baked Russian attack.
Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Mueller charges "defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016."
The indictment adds that the Russians " were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the USA' and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump -- we support them)' ."
It gets better: the defendants reportedly worked day and night shifts to pump out messages, controlling pages targeting a range of issues, including immigration, Black Lives Matter, and they amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. They set up and used servers inside the U.S. to mask the Russian origin of the accounts.
Ultimately, and this is the punchline, the goal was to disparage Hillary Clinton and to assist the election of Donald Trump.
In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election.
The Russian organization named in the indictment - the Internet Research Agency - and the defendants began working in 2014 - so one year before the Trump candidacy was even announced - to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment in Washington. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with "unwitting individuals" associated with the Trump campaign, it said.
The Russians "had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system," according to the indictment in Washington.
The Russians also reportedly bought advertisements on U.S. social media, created numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if they were U.S. groups or people, according to the indictment. One fake account, @TEN_GOP account, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.
The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities.
The full list of named defendants in addition to the Internet Research Agency, as well as Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering, include:
- MIKHAIL IVANOVICH BYSTROV,
- MIKHAIL LEONIDOVICH BURCHIK,
- ALEKSANDRA YURYEVNA KRYLOVA,
- ANNA VLADISLAVOVNA BOGACHEVA,
- SERGEY PAVLOVICH POLOZOV,
- MARIA ANATOLYEVNA BOVDA,
- ROBERT SERGEYEVICH BOVDA,
- DZHEYKHUN NASIMI OGLY ASLANOV,
- VADIM VLADIMIROVICH PODKOPAEV,
- GLEB IGOREVICH VASILCHENKO,
- IRINA VIKTOROVNA KAVERZINA,
- VLADIMIR VENKOV
- YEVGENIY VIKTOROVICH PRIGOZHIN
Mueller's office said that none of the defendants was in custody.
So how is Trump involved? Well, he isn't, as it now seems that collusion narrative is dead, and instead Russian involvement was unilateral. Instead, according to the indictment, the Russian operations were unsolicited and pro bono, and included " supporting Trump... and disparaging Hillary Clinton,' staging political rallies, buying political advertising while posing as grassroots U.S. groups. Oh, and communicating " with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities. "
Defendant ORGANIZATION had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton .
Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities. Defendants also staged political rallies inside the United States, and while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without revealing their Russian identities and ORGANIZATION affiliation, solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates. Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.
Furthermore, the dastardly Russians created fake accounts to pretend they are Americans:
Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive U.S. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants' means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system, including the presidential election of 2016
Mueller also alleges a combination of traditional and modern espionage...
Certain Defendants traveled to the United States under false pretenses for the purpose of collecting intelligence to inform Defendants' operations. Defendants also procured and used computer infrastructure, based partly in the United States, to hide the Russian origin of their activities and to avoid detection by U.S. regulators and law enforcement.
Mueller also charges that two of the defendants received US visas and from approximately June 4, 2014 through June 26, 2014, KRYLOVA and BOGACHEVA " traveled in and around the United States, including stops in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and New York to gather intelligence, After the trip, KRYLOVA and BURCHIK exchanged an intelligence report regarding the trip."
* * *
The indictment points to a broader conspiracy beyond the pages of the indictment, saying the grand jury has heard about other people with whom the Russians allegedly conspired in their efforts.
Joe Davola -> Pandelis Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:02 PermalinkNever One Roach -> Joe Davola Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:03 Permalink
Concord Catering - what, were they offering chicken wings and pigs ears at the polling places?Billy the Poet -> Never One Roach Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:05 Permalink
So how often does Mueller hear those demon voices in his head?Belrev -> Billy the Poet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:07 Permalink
I wonder if any of these Russians were behind the anti-Trump rallies of November 2016? Thousands attended protest organized by Russians on Facebook.
Thousands of Americans attended a march last November organized by a Russian group that used social media to interfere in the 2016 election.
The demonstration in New York City, which took place a few days after the election, appears to be the largest and most successful known effort to date pulled off by Russian-linked groups intent on using social media platforms to influence American politics.
Sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016, organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS, a Russian-linked group that sought to capitalize on racial tensions between black and white Americans. The event was shared with 61,000 users.
As many as 5,000 to 10,000 protesters actually convened at Manhattan's Union Square. They then marched to Trump Tower, according to media reports at the time .
The BlackMattersUS-organized rally took advantage of outrage among groups on the left following President Trump's victory on Nov. 8 to galvanize support for its event. The group's protest was the fourth consecutive anti-Trump rally in New York following election night, and one of many across the country.
"Join us in the streets! Stop Trump and his bigoted agenda!" reads the Facebook event page for the rally. "Divided is the reason we just fell. We must unite despite our differences to stop HATE from ruling the land."
http://thehill.com/policy/technology/358025-thousands-attended-protest-SamAdams -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:08 Permalink
13 Russians can influence US elections meanwhile US CIA and State Department spend $1 BIllion every year on opposition groups inside Russia without success.Belrev -> SamAdams Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:10 Permalink
Indict AIPAC. That is the real foreign interference in ALL US elections. Such hypocrisy. At the very least, make them register as a foreign operation! Information warfare using social media ? What, you mean like the Israeli students who are paid to shape public opinion thru social media? This is no secret and has been in the news. I fail to find the difference? Psychologists call this projection, that is where you accuse others of the crimes you commit .IH8OBAMA -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:21 Permalink
That is a regime change in DC proposition.Shillinlikeavillan -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:24 Permalink
If Mueller is going outside the Trump organization to indict Russians, when is he going to indict some equally criminal Democraps?
I also see that one of the 13 Russians was Valdimir. ( VLADIMIR VENKOV ) LOLoverbet -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:34 Permalink
They basically indicted the $100,000 facebook ad russian group... Bravo! Ur really on the path to impeaching trump now!
LULZ!El Vaquero -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 Permalink
Boy Hillary sure didnt get her money's worth. She shoulda hired these people.
Is it ok for MSM for to make all of their disparaging commentary, but not ok for people to do the same? Mueller mustve forgot about the craigslist ads hiring protesters to attack Trump rallies. What a fucking clown show.
I guess that's it Mueller gets his indictments to save face and Trump is pleased its over.spanish inquisition -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 Permalink
This ties directly into the October 31, 2017 testimony from Facebook, Twitter and Google regarding Russian media presence on social media. Mueller is grasping here, and given that it talks about visas granted for short visits, I'm led to believe that most of these people are actually not on US soil to be arrested. This means political grandstanding via an indictment that is never going to see a courtroom where the evidence can be examined and witnesses can be cross examined. It looks like Mueller would have these people for identity theft if he had them in the US, which he probably doesn't.
I'm going to get called a Russian bot over this elsewhere. Well, maybe facetiously here. #WeAreAllRussianBotsNowFoggyWorld -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink
Deep state pivot to keep the Russian hate alive.Shemp 4 Victory -> FoggyWorld Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink
And set us up for war.pods -> Shemp 4 Victory Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:22 Permalink
Fucking hilarious - Mueller has indicted an anti-Russian CIA operation that was run out of St. Petersburg. http://thesaker.is/a-brief-history-of-the-kremlin-trolls/stizazz -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:30 Permalink
Wow, I am going to have to keep the radio off for a couple of days. They are going to be wall to wall on this. Maybe even bump the stories where fakely sympathetic reporter cunts (FSRC) ask mother's if they miss their dead kids.
This is a fucking clownshow anymore. Jesus, THIS is what the investigation brought home? Holy fuckshit, this is a joke. Some guy had 100k followers? Really? Like anyone GAF about that? We have AIPAC making candidates kneel before them and yet some guys on Tweeter fucked around. I think that is even bullshit. If Russians really did that, they wouldn't "work in shifts" they would program some fucking bots to do this.
I can just imagine the fake outrage that that worthless kike from NY Chuckie "don't get between me and a camera" Schumer has to say about this.
This is a Matrix alright, and a cheap ass one at that.
Mueller should be taken out and horsewhipped for bringing this shit home.
Hey Mueller, I read a comment on Yahoo news that was in broken English. Go get um!
podsBennyBoy -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:38 Permalink
They HATE Russia because PUTIN OPENLY derided the American Empire.BennyBoy -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 Permalink
The Russians duped me.
I was gonna vote for Hillary then I read tweets where she bullied the woman her husband raped to keep quiet. And how her foundation got hundreds of $millions from countries with business before her at the state dept. ALEKSANDRA YURYEVNA KRYLOVA mislead me.ThanksChump -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 Permalink
Its probably nothing....
CHINESE STATE-OWNED CHEMICAL FIRM JOINS DARK MONEY GROUP POURING CASH INTO U.S. ELECTIONS
Lee Fang February 15 2018, 10:10 a.m.
WANHUA CHEMICAL, A $10 billion chemical company controlled by the Chinese government, now has an avenue to influence American elections.
On Monday, Wanhua joined the American Chemistry Council, a lobby organization for chemical manufacturers that is unusually aggressive in intervening in U.S. politics.
The ACC is a prominent recipient of so-called dark money -- that is, unlimited amounts of cash from corporations or individuals the origins of which are only disclosed to the IRS, not the public. During the 2012 , 2014 , and 2016 election cycles, the ACC took this dark money and spent over $40 million of it on contributions to super PACs, lobbying, and direct expenditures. (Additional money flowed directly to candidates via the ACC's political action committee.).....
https://theintercept.com/2018/02/15/chinese-state-owned-chemical-firm-jJimmyJones -> ThanksChump Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:59 Permalink
Duped by facts and truth is no way to go through life, son.Theosebes Goodfellow -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 Permalink
Obama, "I can do more after I'm reelected" to Putin caught on a hot mic.
I always knew Hillary was as pure as the first winter's snow.rwe2late -> Theosebes Goodfellow Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:09 Permalink
~" In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election. "~
Wait, does this mean that "disparaging Hillary" was just for the witless? I've been doing that for years, (without any Russian influence at all), and have found it to be rather witty virtually all the time.
Can we NOW get to the point where we appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary?rwe2late -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:36 Permalink
not yet ...
any of us who spread "fake news" are now "conspirators" who gave "support" to foreign agents with the goal of undermining the "democratic process" by denying Hillary the presidency.
ignorance can be no excuse for such wanton lawlessness.Boxed Merlot -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 Permalink
I almost forgot. "conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord" obvious "proof" of "cooperating" with the RussiansSquid Viscous -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:57 Permalink
..."conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord"...
Yep, so on top of being "Deplorable", I'm also without wit.
His name was Seth.Machbet -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:32 Permalink
well said pods, i wish i could upvote you like, 13 timessixsigma cygnu -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:01 Permalink
Well said, my brother. "A fucking clownshow..." A clownshow run by juvenile, idiotic fallen angels.BigCumulusClouds -> sixsigma cygnu Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:06 Permalink
I'm just relieved they didn't get Boris. Not this time.
Telling people the truth makes one a very desirable target.eatthebanksters -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink
The bigger question is "when is Mueller going to be indicted for covering up the controlled demolition of the WTC buildings on nine eleven??"Bubba Rum Das -> Citizen in 1984 Fri, 02/16/2018 - 16:08 Permalink
So this is all they have?Boxed Merlot -> eatthebanksters Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:48 Permalink
Yes, Mueller is a clown show, but he came up w/ this crap in an attempt to divert media attention away from his & McCabes direct involvement in trying to cover up Uranium 1 for Hillary...The Truth!DosZap -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:05 Permalink
...all they have?...
Sure hope they weren't bettin' the farm.
jmo.eclectic syncretist -> DosZap Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:43 Permalink
He has to INDICT someone,since he can't get Trump except on adultery.(the only thing NOT under his purview)
I see a distant MELANIA in his near future.ebear -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:17 Permalink
The FBI going DEEP (#sarc) into its playbook for this one.
Simultaneously distracting from their incompetencies with regards to domestic threats (school shooters/government collusion to subvert presidential election), and exonerating Hillary AGAIN.
"Using lies and deception to cover our lies and deceptions, so that we can enslave the populace to our will" (visualize Meuller/Comey/Strzok/Page/Ohr/Rosenstein/Obama/Rice/ with left hands on Satanic Bible and right arms extended giving oath in Temple of Mammon before upside down American flag).agNau -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink
Ich bin ein Russe!BigCumulusClouds -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:04 Permalink
Hillary hired the entire Russian government with the Uranium one deal.IH8OBAMA -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:37 Permalink
Protestors?? HRC hired thugs who beat people up at Trump rallies. That's a felony. Some people got hurt real bad.giovanni_f -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 Permalink
I wonder if Mueller is going to indict Obama for interfering in the Israeli election?
rwe2late -> giovanni_f Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 Permalink
1. CNN can now say Russian interference is a "proven fact".
2. "13 individuals" and "3 companies" - this is a casus belli even for the most pacifist peaceniks on ZH
3. US can now continue to meddle in Russian elections as they did since 1919 pointing to the existential thread those 13 individuals posed.
caconhma -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:08 Permalink
worse than 3.meddling in Russian elections,
anyone who objects to US military and economic aggression,
will be further branded/dismissed (prosecuted?)
as a "proven dupe" of Russia/Putin.commiebastid -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:21 Permalink
The US Constitution. RIP
The DoJ and Miller activities are anti-American. What else is new in occupied America?
Note Trump does nothing about this unprecedented assault on Freedom of Speech and Assembly in the USA. Therefore, Trump is a willing player in these criminal activities.DownWithYogaPants -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 Permalink
and Brexit and the French election and Venezuela election and The Ukraine; Libya; Palestinian Territories..... lmaoMEFOBILLS -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 Permalink
Ohhh fake social accounts.........the horror!
( If I had known they were the equivalent of Harry Potters magic wand I would have opened a few long ago! )
Seems like Mr Mueller is in face saving mode.
What is Rod Rosenstein doing still at the FBI. He should be in prison.Endgame Napoleon -> carni Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:26 Permalink
Mueller is going to go until he gets some meat. Maybe this lean and stringy meat is enough to satisfy. Of course, nobody will look at AIPAC and all of the foreign influence money funneling into senators coffers.
He said they stole identities, posting anti-Hillary remarks on Russian-controlled sites, using the stolen identities. They must do that through hacking, which is illegal.
They also organized rallies, he said. There were ads on job sites, advertising for paid [leftist] protestors, long before Trump emerged as a candidate. People posted them on American sites. Some attribute it to Soros. I am a little skeptical that Soros controls the world, anymore than Russians, but that is what people often believe, when it is leftist ads.
Advertisements are all over the Internet. Is that illegal? He called it fraud, referring to the misrepresentation of identity, I guess. They should not be manipulating unknowing people.
But, I wonder if he has the same vigilance when illegal aliens use fake SS cards to acquire jobs, while their girlfriends use real SS cards of US-born kids to get $450 on average in EBT food assistance, in addition to other welfare, making it easy for illegal aliens to undercut American citizens in jobs. Using a fake SS number -- i.e. posing as an American to get a job -- is fraud.
As long as the illegal aliens have sex after illegal border crossings, reproduce and say they misrepresent their identities for the good of their kids, this is legal and deserving of pay-per-birth welfare / child-tax-credit freebies and citizenship, whereas these Russians are committing fraud.
They should not be doing that in either case, but the double standard is interesting.
And if people cannot post freely on the internet without revealing their real names, a lot of internet activity (and a lot of related commerce) will cease. Many people post anonymously, often due to jobs or other factors that have nothing to do with elections.
In fact, FBI agents post under identities (personas) that are not their own. There are many articles, describing how police agencies use fake identities on the internet to track down criminals, including those who abuse children. They do the same thing to monitor terrorists; they use fake identities.
Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Vote up! 2 Vote down! 0
Mike Masr Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:41 Permalink
Where are these indictments ? Obama, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt and John McCain.
The US has been meddling and interfering in other countries elections and internal affairs for decades. Not only does the US meddle and interfere in other countries elections it overthrows democratically elected governments it simply doesn't like, and then installs its own puppet leaders. Our deep-state MIC owned neocons casually refer to this as "regime change".
I can only imagine the hell that would break loose if Russia fomented, paid for, and assisted in a violent overthrow of the legitimately and democratically elected government in Mexico. Imagine Russian spymasters working from the Russian Embassy in Mexico City training radicals how to use social media to bring out angry people and foment violent pubic unrest. Then Russian Duma members in Mexico City handing out tacos, and tamales emboldening and urging these angry people to riot, and overthrow the government and toss the bums out. Then Putin's executive group hand picking all the new (anti-USA) drug cartel junta puppet leaders and an old senile Russian senator in Mexico City stating at a podium on RT, there are no drug cartels here, that's all propaganda!
On the other side of the world Obama's neocon warmongers spent billions doing exactly this. Instead of drug cartels it was Banderist Neo-Nazis. Obama and our neocons, including John McCain intentionally caused all of this fucking mess, civil war and horrific death in Ukraine on Russia's border and then placed the blame on Putin and Russia.
Thanks to John McCain and our evil fucking neocons - the regime change policy implemented by Obama, Clinton and Nuland's minions, like Geoffrey Pyatt, the Ukraine today is totally fucked. It is now a corrupt banana republic embroiled in a bloody civil war. For the US and NATO the golden prize of this violent undemocratic regime change was supposed to be the Crimea. This scheme did not play out as intended. No matter what sanctions the warmongering neocons place on Russia they will NEVER give back the Crimea!
Our neocon fuck heads spent billions of our hard earned taxpayer dollars to create pain, suffering, death and a civil war in Ukraine on the border with Russia.
This is a case of don't do what we do, only do what we tell you to do. It's perfectly okay when we meddle. We don't like it when we think it may have been done to us. It's hypocrisy and duplicity at its finest!
Tech Camp NGO - operating out of US Embassy in Kiev
(using social media to help bring out radicals-and cause civil war-pre Maidan 2013)
Nuland talks about $5 billion spent on Ukraine
Nuland plotting(on intercepted phone call) the new handpicked puppet leaders.
US Support of Banderist Neo-Nazis in Ukraine 2014
Lavrov reminds the UN a West-inspired coup d'état started Ukraine crisis, not Russia
Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Genby Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:51 PermalinkSirBarksAlot -> rgraf Fri, 02/16/2018 - 16:44 Permalink
Mueller effectively called himself an idiot and degenerate.
13 people won against the whole apparatus of FBI (including Mueller). That makes FBI a herd of idiots and degenerates (including Mueller).Joiningupthedots Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:31 Permalink
Impersonating an American?
Practicing freedom of speech?
Trying to influence an election?
I don't see any crimes.
FringeImaginigs Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:31 Permalink
When does Mueller get charged?
He is part of the fabric of the Clinton Gang along with Comey and others.
How many people have posted derogatory comments about Clinton on ZH alone.
This sounds like when they ludicrously charged and entire unit of the Chinese PLA.Lostinfortwalton Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:32 Permalink
Agreed, it's against the law to steal identities and operate bank accounts and all that. But really, compared to the fraud committed by just one bank - Wells Fargo- this is smal small potatoes. And did I miss it or did the indictment not even mention the value of the ads bought on Facebook - $100,000. (nope, not missing any zeros). And it all started in 2014 while Donald was playing golf and sticking his dick in some whore. And a few ruskies got into the good ol USofA with false statements on their visas. While the courts fought Trump on the fact that immigration from a few countries need to be stopped because there was not way of checking data. I get it - somebody driving too fast gets a speeding ticket, and Muellers investigation gets to issue an indictment. I'm sure we all feel better now.soyungato Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:33 Permalink
So, did Mueller address the crime committed by the then FBI head who refused to allow a FBI informant to address Congress on the Uranium One scam before it was authorized? Uh, that would be Mueller, his very self, so the answer is no.Grandad Grumps Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:35 Permalink
Bob honey, the people are laughing.
But but but those Russians, they call me names.Rick Cerone Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink
What is the definition of a "fake social media account"? What is the crime for operatine a fake social medial account? Is this the standard by which we will all be judged?
Or is it that Mueller has NOTHING and is too big of a corrupt idiot to admit it.BigPunny Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink
Putin should define what a NGO is.
He should tell the world how the US uses NGO's to destabilize elections.
He wont do it because he's digging tunnels for the big day.devnickle Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink
"In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election. "
No, not "in other words." That's not what he said at all. Idiot propagandist.moneybots Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:55 Permalink
And Hillary has done nothing criminal in the last 40 years. All of the evidence has been a fabrication. The Russians perfected time travel technology in the 70's, and have been conspiring against her and planting evidence since then.
What planet am I living on again? We have now stepped into the twilight zone. Facepalm.....Montana Cowboy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:03 Permalink
"Ultimately, and this is the punchline, the goal was to disparage Hillary Clinton and to assist the election of Donald Trump."
The goal of the MSM was the opposite. To unfairly disparage Trump and assist the election of Hillary Clinton. So why no indictments of members of the American MSM?dot_bust Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:03 Permalink
What a bunch of horseshit. Mueller did nothing to locate just as much foreign or Russian support for Hillary. Grand Jury is just another one-sided court that passes judgment without any input from the other side. Now where have we seen that before? FISA.
What is wrong with anyone doing what they want to support a candidate? If that is somehow illegal interference, why is Soros running loose in the world?
I have a friend that was a US Federal Prosecutor. He once told me that the most un-American concepts that exist are grand juries and conspiracy laws. I'm sure he would have included FISA if it existed then.Son of Captain Nemo Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:04 Permalink
The indictment adds that the Russians " were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the USA' and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump -- we support them)' ."
Criticizing Hillary Clinton constitutes election interference? This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
Over half the United States said she was corrupt and morally bankrupt. Does that mean all those Americans interfered in the election?
atabrigade Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:05 Permalink
"Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities."
I thought this was our "shtick" for subverting and overthrowing government(s) since 194_?... Fast forward to 2012 and subverting sovereign foreign government(s) using other means then election(s) ( https://jasirx.wordpress.com/ )
Just ask this person ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o ) who handed out cookies before starting an "overthrow of a sovereign government" right before a Winter Olympics?... And while we're on the subject of subversion of sovereign Nation(s) "OCONUS" ask this fat shit how it's going in the Middle East with it's "partners" ( https://southfront.org/meeting-between-us-state-secretary-and-lebanese- ) Nor should we forget 22 within the Russian diplomatic community in the last 6 years "eliminated" for early retirement courtesy of the U.S. government...
And if all this is true why isn't Muelller indicting government officials within the FBI Department of immigration and Homeland Security that would allow "some defendants" to impersonate Americans after 9/11 and the security infrastructure we built around U.S. to prevent "future attacks" that were obviously (here illegally)???...
On second thought DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!Son of Captain Nemo -> atabrigade Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:13 Permalink
Our enemies are not overseas. They are right here at home.Concertedmaniac Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:08 Permalink
That did this ( http://www.ae911truth.org/ ) to their own to grab oil everyplace else they didn't control it!
wobblie Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:08 Permalink
What a complete load of horseshit. Waste of time and money while the crimes of the clintons and collaborators remain unpunished, including Mueller himself.Obamaroid Ointment Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:10 Permalink
"Mueller describes a sweeping, years-long, multimillion-dollar conspiracy by hundreds of Russians aimed at criticizing Hillary Clinton and supporting Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump"
Only in the idiot world of Liberalism and Conservatism is this not a laughable statement.
13 Russian bots to get life sentences in Twitter jail? Is a prisoner exchange with Putin for American bots a possibility?
Feb 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
xor | Feb 16, 2018 2:54:51 PM | 33
There indeed doesn't seem to be a motive to why the Russian authorities would launch a cyber attack that economically disrupts both itself, allies and other countries. Either the virus writers didn't care for a solution, hoped that a solution that never works might panic the victims even more so they make more cash transfers or enjoyed reaping money while seeing their victims suffer of something where there is no solution for. The last 2 reasons are short term because news that there is no solution for the ransomware will stop victims from making cash transfers. More convincing would be a cyber attack initiated by USA authorities that would hit already crumbling Ukraine businesses even further and create even more mistrust between Ukraine and Russia.
And the USA has indeed thoroughly developed means to falsely laying blame for cyber attacks it actually performs itself (next to it's proven credentials of falsely laying blame with chemical and terrorist attacks). On 31 March 2017:
WikiLeaks published hundreds of more files from the Vault 7 series today which, it claims, show how CIA can mask its hacking attacks to make it look like it came from other countries, including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.
Dubbed "Marble," the part 3 of CIA files contains 676 source code files of a secret anti-forensic Marble Framework, which is basically an obfuscator or a packer used to hide the true source of CIA malware.
The CIA's Marble Framework tool includes a variety of different algorithm with foreign language text intentionally inserted into the malware source code to fool security analysts and falsely attribute attacks to the wrong nation.
The White House has condemned the revelations made by Wikileaks, saying that those responsible for leaking classified information from the agency should be held accountable by the law.
WikiLeaks Reveals 'Marble' Source Code that CIA Used to Frame Russia and ChinaThere indeed doesn't seem to be a motive to why the Russian authorities would launch a cyber attack that economically disrupts both itself, allies and other countries. Either the virus writers didn't care for a solution, hoped that a solution that never works might panic the victims even more so they make more cash transfers or enjoyed reaping money while seeing their victims suffer of something where there is no solution for. The last 2 reasons are short term because news that there is no solution for the ransomware will stop victims from making cash transfers. More convincing would be a cyber attack initiated by USA authorities that would hit already crumbling Ukraine businesses even further and create even more mistrust between Ukraine and Russia.Source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.
And the USA has indeed thoroughly developed means to falsely laying blame for cyber attacks it actually performs itself (next to it's proven credentials of falsely laying blame with chemical and terrorist attacks). On 31 March 2017:
WikiLeaks published hundreds of more files from the Vault 7 series today which, it claims, show how CIA can mask its hacking attacks to make it look like it came from other countries, including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.
Dubbed "Marble," the part 3 of CIA files contains 676 source code files of a secret anti-forensic Marble Framework, which is basically an obfuscator or a packer used to hide the true source of CIA malware.
The CIA's Marble Framework tool includes a variety of different algorithm with foreign language text intentionally inserted into the malware source code to fool security analysts and falsely attribute attacks to the wrong nation.
The White House has condemned the revelations made by Wikileaks, saying that those responsible for leaking classified information from the agency should be held accountable by the law.
WikiLeaks Reveals 'Marble' Source Code that CIA Used to Frame Russia and China div
WikiLeaks: Marble FrameworkThe source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.
WikiLeaks: Marble Framework
When the White House (doesn't matter who's ostensibly in charge) claims leaker's like Julian Assange should be accountable by the law, it of course means the malleable arbitrary law which none of the serpents in the White House, Langley, ... are accountable to.
Feb 08, 2018 | wearechange.org
Article via Strategic-Culture
New revelations from Wikileaks' 'Vault 7' leak shed a disturbing light on the safeguarding of privacy. Something already known and largely suspected has now become documented by Wikileaks. It seems evident that the CIA is now a state within a state, an entity out of control that has even arrived at the point of creating its own hacking network in order to avoid the scrutiny of the NSA and other agencies.
Reading the revelations contained in the documents released by WikiLeaks and adding them to those already presented in recent years by Snowden, it now seems evident that the technological aspect regarding espionage is a specialty in which the CIA, as far as we know, excels. Hardware and software vendors that are complicit -- most of which are American, British or Israeli -- give the CIA the opportunity to achieve informational full-spectrum dominance, relegating privacy to extinction. Such a convergence of power, money and technology entails major conflicts of interest, as can be seen in the case of Amazon AWS (Amazon's Cloud Service), cloud provider for the CIA , whose owner, Jeff Bezos, is also the owner of The Washington Post . It is a clear overlap of private interests that conflicts with the theoretical need to declare uncomfortable truths without the need to consider orders numbering in the millions of dollars from clients like the CIA.
While it is just one example, there are thousands more out there. The perverse interplay between media, spy agencies and politicians has compromised the very meaning of the much vaunted democracy of the land of the Stars and Stripes. The constant scandals that are beamed onto our screens now serve the sole purpose of advancing the deep interest of the Washington establishment. In geopolitical terms, it is now more than obvious that the deep state has committed all available means toward sabotaging any dialogue and détente between the United States and Russia. In terms of news, the Wikileaks revelations shed light on the methods used by US intelligence agencies like the CIA to place blame on the Kremlin, or networks associated with it, for the hacking that occurred during the American elections.
Perhaps this is too generous a depiction of matters, given that the general public has yet to see any evidence of the hacking of the DNC servers. In addition to this, we know that the origin of Podesta's email revelations stem from the loss of a smartphone and the low data-security measures employed by the chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. In general, when the 16 US spy agencies blamed Russia for the hacking of the elections, they were never specific in terms of forensic evidence. Simply put, the media, spies and politicians created false accusations based on the fact that Moscow, together with RT and other media (not directly linked to the Kremlin), finally enjoy a major presence in the mainstream media. The biggest problem for the Washington establishment lies in the revelation of news that is counterproductive to the interests of the deep state. RT, Sputnik, this site and many others have diligently covered and reported to the general public every development concerning the Podesta revelations or the hacking of the DNC.
Now what is revealed through Wikileaks' publications in Vault 7 is the ability of a subsection of the CIA, known as Umbrage , to use malware, viruses, trojans and other cyber tools for their own geopolitical purposes. The CIA's Umbrage collects, analyzes and then employs software created variously from foreign security agencies, cyber mafia, private companies, and hackers in general. These revelations become particularly relevant when we consider the consequences of these actions. The main example can be seen in the hacking of the DNC. For now, what we know is that the hacking if it ever occurred is of Russian origin. This does not mean at all that the Kremlin directed it. It could actually be very much the opposite, its responsibility falling into the category of a cyber false-flag. One thing is for sure: all 16 US intelligence agencies are of the view that "the Russians did it". That said, the methods used to hack vulnerabilities cannot be revealed, so as to limit the spread of easily reusable exploits on systems, such as the one that hosted the DNC server. It is a great excuse for avoiding the revelation of any evidence at all.
So, with little information available, independent citizens are left with very little information on which to reliably form an opinion on what happened. There is no evidence, and no evidence will be provided to the media. For politicians and so-called mainstream journalists, this is an acceptable state of affairs. What we are left with instead is blind faith in the 16 spy agencies. The problem for them is that what WikiLeaks revealed with Vault 7 exposes a scenario that looks more likely than not: a cyber false-flag carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency using engineered malware and viruses made in Russia and hypothetically linking them back to hacking networks in Russia. In all likelihood, it looks like the Democrats' server was hacked by the CIA with the clear objective of leaving Russian fingerprints and obvious traces to be picked up by other US agencies.
In this way, it becomes easier to explain the unique views of all 16 spy agencies. Thus, it is far more likely that the CIA intentionally left fake Russian fingerprints all over the DNC server, thereby misleading other intelligence agencies in promoting the narrative that Russia hacked the DNC server. Of course the objective was to create a false narrative that could immediately be picked up by the media, creating even more hysteria surrounding any rapprochement with Russia.
Diversification of computer systems.
The revelations contained in the Wikileaks vault 7 ( less than 1 % of the total data in Wikileaks' possession has been released to date) have caused a stir, especially by exposing the astonishing complicity between hardware and software manufacturers, often intentionally creating backdoors in their products to allow access by the CIA and NSA. In today's digital environment, all essential services rely on computer technology and connectivity. These revelations are yet more reason why countries targeted by Washington, like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, should get rid of European and American products and invest in reducing technological dependence on American products in particular.
The People's Republic has already started down this track, with the replacement of many network devices with local vendors like Huawei in order to avoid the type of interference revealed by Snowden. Russia has been doing the same in terms of software, even laying the groundwork to launch of its own operating system, abandoning American and European systems. In North Korea, this idea was already put into practice years ago and is an excellent tool for deterrence for external interference. In more than one computer security conference, US experts have praised the capabilities of the DPRK to isolate its Internet network from the rest of the world, allowing them to have strong safety mechanisms. Often, the only access route to the DPRK systems are through the People's Republic of China, not the easiest way for the CIA or NSA to infiltrate a protected computer network.
An important aspect of the world in which we live today involves information security, something all nations have to deal with. At the moment, we still live in a world in which the realization of the danger and effect of hacking attacks are not apparent to many. On the other hand, militarily speaking, the diversification and rationalization of critical equipment in terms of networks and operability (smartphones, laptops, etc) has already produced strong growth in non-American and European manufacturers, with the aim of making their systems more secure.
This strengthening of technology also produces deleterious consequences, such as the need for intelligence agencies to be able to prevent the spread of data encryption so as to always enjoy access to any desired information. The birth of the Tor protocol, the deployment of Bitcoin, and apps that are more and more encrypted (although the WikiLeaks documents have shown that the collection of information takes place on the device b efore the information is encrypted ) are all responses to an exponential increase in the invasion of privacy by federal or American government entities.
We live in a world that has an enormous dependence on the Internet and computer technology. The CIA over the years has focused on the ability to make sure vulnerable systems are exploited as well as seeking out major security flaws in consumer products without disclosing this to vendors, thereby taking advantage of these security gaps and leaving all consumers with a potential lack of security. Slowly, thanks to the work and courage of people like Snowden and Assange, the world is beginning to understand how important it is to keep personal data under control and prevent access to it by third parties, especially if they are state actors. In the case of national security, the issue is expanded exponentially by the need to protect key and vital infrastructure, considering how many critical services operate via the Internet and rely on computing devices.
The wars of the future will have a strong technological basis, and it is no coincidence that many armed forces, primarily the Russian and Chinese, have opted in recent years to training troops, and conducting operations, not completely relying on connectivity. No one can deny that in the event of a large-scale conflict, connectivity is far from guaranteed. One of the major goals of competing nations is to penetrate the military security systems of rival nations and be able to disarm the internal networks that operates major systems of defense and attack.
The Wikileaks revelations are yet another confirmation of how important it is to break the technological unipolar moment, if it may be dubbed this way, especially for nations targeted by the United States. Currently Washington dictates the technological capacities of the private and government sectors of Europe and America, steering their development, timing and methods to suit its own interests. It represents a clear disadvantage that the PRC and its allies will inevitably have to redress in the near future in order to achieve full security for its vital infrastructure.
This article first appeared on Strategic-Culture.org and was authored by Federico Pieraccini.
Jan 25, 2018 | www.unz.com
RobinG , Next New Comment January 25, 2018 at 7:09 am GMTBill Binney discusses Dragnet Against TRUMP and ALL AMERICANS
William Binney About Released Secret FISA Memo: People Need To Go To Jail
failedevolution.blogspot.grThe latest Wikileaks Vault7 release reveals details of the CIA's alleged Cherry Blossom project, a scheme that uses wireless devices to access users' internet activity.
As cyber security expert John McAfee told to RT and Natasha Sweatte:
Virtually, every router that's in use in the American home are accessible to hackers, to the CIA, that they can take over the control of the router, they can monitor all of the traffic, and worse, they can download malware into any device that is connected to that router.
I personally, never connect to any Wi-Fi system, I use the LTE on my phone. That's the only way that I can be secure because every router in America has been compromised.
We've been warning about it for years, nobody pays attention until something like WikiLeaks comes up and says 'look, this is what's happening'. And it is devastating in terms of the impact on American privacy because once the router is compromised and it infects the cell phones that are attached, your laptop, your desktop computer, your tablet, then they become compromised and [someone] can watch the data, start listening to conversations, start watching through the cameras on these devices.
We are in a situation with our government where they know everything about us and we know nothing about what the government is doing. They have the right to privacy and secrecy, but the individual does not, anymore.
Jan 03, 2018 | www.truth-out.org
WannaCry and Petya both owe their effectiveness to a Microsoft Windows security vulnerability that had been found by the NSA and code named EternalBlue, which was stolen and released by a group calling themselves the Shadow Brokers. US agencies losing control of their hacking tools has been a recurring theme in 2017. First companies, hospitals, and government agencies find themselves targeted by re-purposed NSA exploits that we all rushed to patch , then Wikileaks published Vault 7 , a collection of CIA hacking tools that had been leaked to them, following it up with the publication of source code for tools in Vault 8.
...In December, Citizen Lab published a report documenting the Ethiopian government's ongoing efforts to spy on journalists and dissidents, this time with the help of software provided by Cyberbit, an Israeli company. The report also tracked Cyberbit as their salespeople demonstrated their surveillance product to governments including France, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Serbia, and Nigeria. Other perennial bad actors also made a splash this year, including Vietnam, whose government was linked to Ocean Lotus, or APT 32 in a report from FireEye . The earliest known samples from this actor were found by EFF in 2014 , when they were used to target our activists and researchers.
Eva Galperin is EFF's Director of Cybersecurity. Prior to 2007, when she came to work for EFF, Eva worked in security and IT in Silicon Valley and earned degrees in Political Science and International Relations from SFSU. Her work is primarily focused on providing privacy and security for vulnerable populations around the world.
Dec 28, 2017 | theduran.com
Of course the DNC did not want to the FBI to investigate its "hacked servers". The plan was well underway to excuse Hillary's pathetic election defeat to Trump, and CrowdStrike would help out by planting evidence to pin on those evil "Russian hackers." Some would call this entire DNC server hack an "insurance policy."
... ... ...
Mar 09, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.comMarch 9, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. The first release of the Wikileaks Vault 7 trove has curiously gone from being a MSM lead story yesterday to a handwave today. On the one hand, anyone who was half awake during the Edward Snowden revelations knows that the NSA is in full spectrum surveillance and data storage mode, and members of the Five Eyes back-scratch each other to evade pesky domestic curbs on snooping. So the idea that the CIA (and presumably the NSA) found a way to circumvent encryption tools on smartphones, or are trying to figure out how to control cars remotely, should hardly come as a surprise.
However, at a minimum, reminding the generally complacent public that they are being spied on any time they use the Web, and increasingly the times in between, makes the officialdom Not Happy.
And if this Wikileaks claim is even halfway true, its Vault 7 publication is a big deal:
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
This is an indictment of the model of having the intelligence services rely heavily on outside contractors. It is far more difficult to control information when you have multiple organizations involved. In addition, neolibearlism posits that workers are free agents who have no loyalties save to their own bottom lines (or for oddballs, their own sense of ethics). Let us not forget that Snowden planned his career job moves , which included a stint at NSA contractor Dell, before executing his information haul at a Booz Allen site that he had targeted.
Admittedly, there are no doubt many individuals who are very dedicated to the agencies for which they work and aspire to spend most it not all of their woking lives there. But I would assume that they are a minority.
The reason outsiders can attempt to pooh-pooh the Wikileaks release is that the organization redacted sensitive information like the names of targets and attack machines. The CIA staffers who have access to the full versions of these documents as well as other major components in the hacking toolkit will be the ones who can judge how large and serious the breach really is. 1 And their incentives are to minimize it no matter what.
By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny
CIA org chart from the WikiLeaks cache (click to enlarge). "The organizational chart corresponds to the material published by WikiLeaks so far. Since the organizational structure of the CIA below the level of Directorates is not public, the placement of the EDG [Engineering Development Group]and its branches is reconstructed from information contained in the documents released so far. It is intended to be used as a rough outline of the internal organization; please be aware that the reconstructed org chart is incomplete and that internal reorganizations occur frequently."
* * *"O brave new world, that has such people in it."
Bottom line first. As you read what's below, consider:
That the CIA is capable of doing all of the things described, and has been for years, is not in doubt.
That unnameable many others have stolen ("exfiltrated") these tools and capabilities is, according to the Wikileaks leaker, also certain. Consider this an especially dangerous form of proliferation, with cyber warfare tools in the hands of anyone with money and intent. As WikiLeaks notes, "Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike."
That the CIA is itself using these tools, and if so, to what degree, are the only unknowns. But can anyone doubt, in this aggressively militarized environment, that only the degree of use is in question?
Now the story.
WikiLeaks just dropped a huge cache of documents (the first of several promised releases), leaked from a person or people associated with the CIA in one or more capacities (examples, employee, contractor), which shows an agency out-of-control in its spying and hacking overreach. Read through to the end. If you're like me, you'll be stunned, not just about what they can do, but that they would want to do it, in some cases in direct violation of President Obama's orders. This story is bigger than anything you can imagine.
Consider this piece just an introduction, to make sure the story stays on your radar as it unfolds - and to help you identify those media figures who will try to minimize or bury it. (Unless I missed it, on MSNBC last night, for example, the first mention of this story was not Chris Hayes, not Maddow, but the Lawrence O'Donnell show, and then only to support his guest's "Russia gave us Trump" narrative. If anything, this leak suggests a much muddier picture, which I'll explore in a later piece.)
So I'll start with just a taste, a few of its many revelations, to give you, without too much time spent, the scope of the problem. Then I'll add some longer bullet-point detail, to indicate just how much of American life this revelation touches.
While the cache of documents has been vetted and redacted , it hasn't been fully explored for implications. I'll follow this story as bits and piece are added from the crowd sourced research done on the cache of information. If you wish to play along at home, the WikiLeaks torrent file is here . The torrent's passphrase is here . WikiLeaks press release is here (also reproduced below). Their FAQ is here .
Note that this release covers the years 20132016. As WikiLeaks says in its FAQ, "The series is the largest intelligence publication in history."
Preface - Trump and Our "Brave New World"
But first, this preface, consisting of one idea only. Donald Trump is deep in the world of spooks now, the world of spies, agents and operatives. He and his inner circle have a nest of friends, but an even larger, more varied nest of enemies. As John Sevigny writes below, his enemies include not only the intel and counter-intel people, but also "Republican lawmakers, journalists, the Clintons, the Bush family, Barack Obama, the ACLU, every living Democrat and even Rand Paul." Plus Vladimir Putin, whose relationship with Trump is just "business," an alliance of convenience, if you will.
I have zero sympathy for Donald Trump. But his world is now our world, and with both of his feet firmly planted in spook world, ours are too. He's in it to his neck, in fact, and what happens in that world will affect every one of us. He's so impossibly erratic, so impossibly unfit for his office, that everyone on the list above wants to remove him. Many of them are allied, but if they are, it's also only for convenience.
How do spooks remove the inconvenient and unfit? I leave that to your imagination;they have their ways. Whatever method they choose, however, it must be one without fingerprints - or more accurately, without their fingerprints - on it.
Which suggests two more questions. One, who will help them do it, take him down? Clearly, anyone and everyone on the list. Second, how do you bring down the president, using extra-electoral, extra-constitutional means, without bringing down the Republic? I have no answer for that.
Here's a brief look at "spook world" (my phrase, not the author's) from " The Fox Hunt " by John Sevigny:
Several times in my life as a journalist and rambling, independent photographer - I've ended up rubbing shoulders with spooks. Long before that was a racist term, it was a catch-all to describe intelligence community people, counter intel types, and everyone working for or against them. I don't have any special insight into the current situation with Donald Trump and his battle with the IC as the intelligence community calls itself, but I can offer a few first hand observations about the labyrinth of shadows, light, reflections, paranoia, perceptions and misperceptions through which he finds himself wandering, blindly. More baffling and scary is the thought he may have no idea his ankles are already bound together in a cluster of quadruple gordian knots, the likes of which very few people ever escape.
Criminal underworlds, of which the Trump administration is just one, are terrifying and confusing places. They become far more complicated once they've been penetrated by authorities and faux-authorities who often represent competing interests, but are nearly always in it for themselves.
One big complication - and I've written about this before - is that you never know who's working for whom . Another problem is that the hierarchy of handlers, informants, assets and sources is never defined. People who believe, for example, they are CIA assets are really just being used by people who are perhaps not in the CIA at all but depend on controlling the dupe in question. It is very simple - and I have seen this happen - for the subject of an international investigation to claim that he is part of that operation. [emphasis added]
Which leads Sevigny to this observation about Trump, which I partially quoted above: "Donald Trump may be crazy, stupid, evil or all three but he knows the knives are being sharpened and there are now too many blades for him to count. The intel people are against him, as are the counter intel people. His phone conversations were almost certainly recorded by one organization or another, legal or quasi legal. His enemies include Republican lawmakers, journalists, the Clintons, the Bush family, Barack Obama, the ACLU, every living Democrat and even Rand Paul. Putin is not on his side - that's a business matter and not an alliance."
Again, this is not to defend Trump, or even to generate sympathy for him - I personally have none. It's to characterize where he is, and we are, at in this pivotal moment. Pivotal not for what they're doing, the broad intelligence community. But pivotal for what we're finding out, the extent and blatancy of the violations.
All of this creates an incredibly complex story, with only a tenth or less being covered by anything like the mainstream press. For example, the Trump-Putin tale is much more likely to be part of a much broader "international mobster" story, whose participants include not only Trump and Putin, but Wall Street (think HSBC) and major international banks, sovereign wealth funds, major hedge funds, venture capital (vulture capital) firms, international drug and other trafficking cartels, corrupt dictators and presidents around the world and much of the highest reaches of the "Davos crowd."
Much of the highest reaches of the .01 percent, in other words, all served, supported and "curated" by the various, often competing elements of the first-world military and intelligence communities. What a stew of competing and aligned interests, of marriages and divorces of convenience, all for the common currencies of money and power, all of them dealing in death .
What this new WikiLeaks revelation shows us is what just one arm of that community, the CIA, has been up to. Again, the breadth of the spying and hacking capability is beyond imagination. This is where we've come to as a nation.
What the CIA Is Up To - A Brief Sample
Now about those CIA spooks and their surprising capabilities. A number of other outlets have written up the story, but this from Zero Hedge has managed to capture the essence as well as the breadth in not too many words (emphasis mine throughout):
WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever release of confidential documents on the CIA It includes more than 8,000 documents as part of 'Vault 7', a series of leaks on the agency, which have allegedly emerged from the CIA's Center For Cyber Intelligence in Langley , and which can be seen on the org chart below, which Wikileaks also released : [org chart reproduced above]
A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of 'Year Zero', the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed 'Vault 7.' WikiLeaks said that 'Year Zero' revealed details of the CIA's "global covert hacking program," including "weaponized exploits" used against company products including " Apple's iPhone , Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs , which are turned into covert microphones."
WikiLeaks tweeted the leak, which it claims came from a network inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.
Among the more notable disclosures which, if confirmed, " would rock the technology world ", the CIA had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect "audio and message traffic before encryption is applied."
With respect to hacked devices like you smart phone, smart TV and computer, consider the concept of putting these devices in "fake-off" mode:
Among the various techniques profiled by WikiLeaks is "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs , transforming them into covert microphones. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode , so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
As Kim Dotcom chimed in on Twitter, "CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones" and added "CIA turned every Microsoft Windows PC in the world into spyware. Can activate backdoors on demand, including via Windows update "[.]
Do you still trust Windows Update?
About "Russia did it"
Adding to the "Russia did it" story, note this:
Another profound revelation is that the CIA can engage in "false flag" cyberattacks which portray Russia as the assailant . Discussing the CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group, Wikileaks' source notes that it "collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.["]
As Kim Dotcom summarizes this finding, " CIA uses techniques to make cyber attacks look like they originated from enemy state ."
This doesn't prove that Russia didn't do it ("it" meaning actually hacking the presidency for Trump, as opposed to providing much influence in that direction), but again, we're in spook world, with all the phrase implies. The CIA can clearly put anyone's fingerprints on any weapon they wish, and I can't imagine they're alone in that capability.
Hacking Presidential Devices?
If I were a president, I'd be concerned about this, from the WikiLeaks " Analysis " portion of the Press Release (emphasis added):
"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments [that the intelligence community would reveal to device manufacturers whatever vulnerabilities it discovered]. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive [across devices and device types] and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.
As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in "Year Zero" [that it] is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts . The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities ("zero days") possessed by the CIA[,] but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.
Does or did the CIA do this (hack presidential devices), or is it just capable of it? The second paragraph implies the latter. That's a discussion for another day, but I can say now that both Lawrence Wilkerson, aide to Colin Powell and a non-partisan (though an admitted Republican) expert in these matters, and William Binney, one of the triumvirate of major pre-Snowden leakers, think emphatically yes. (See Wilkerson's comments here . See Binney's comments here .)
Whether or not you believe Wilkerson and Binney, do you doubt that if our intelligence people can do something, they would balk at the deed itself, in this world of "collect it all "? If nothing else, imagine the power this kind of bugging would confer on those who do it.
The Breadth of the CIA Cyber-Hacking Scheme
But there is so much more in this Wikileaks release than suggested by the brief summary above. Here's a bullet-point overview of what we've learned so far, again via Zero Hedge:
Key Highlights from the Vault 7 release so far:
"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products , include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.
Wikileaks claims that the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation . This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware . Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook.
The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds , to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
Also this scary possibility:
As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks.
The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations .
Journalist Michael Hastings, who in 2010 destroyed the career of General Stanley McChrystal and was hated by the military for it, was killed in 2013 in an inexplicably out-of-control car. This isn't to suggest the CIA, specifically, caused his death. It's to ask that, if these capabilities existed in 2013, what would prevent their use by elements of the military, which is, after all a death-delivery organization?
And lest you consider this last speculation just crazy talk, Richard Clarke (that Richard Clarke ) agrees: "Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told the Huffington Post that Hastings's crash looked consistent with a car cyber attack.'" Full and fascinating article here .
WiliLeaks Press Release
Here's what WikiLeaks itself says about this first document cache (again, emphasis mine):
Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.
The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election .
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.
Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force - its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.
By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public , including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of "Year Zero" goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."
Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.
Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one ("Year Zero") already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.
Be sure to click through for the Analysis, Examples and FAQ sections as well.
"O brave new world," someone once wrote . Indeed. Brave new world, that only the brave can live in.
1 Mind you, the leakers may have had a comprehensive enough view to be making an accurate call. But the real point is there are no actors who will be allowed to make an independent assessment.34 0 42 1 0 This entry was posted in Banana republic , Guest Post , Legal , Politics , Surveillance state , Technology and innovation on March 9, 2017 by Yves Smith .
Subscribe to Post Comments 64 comments Code Name D , March 9, 2017 at 2:38 am
Trade now with TradeStation Highest rated for frequent traderssalvo , March 9, 2017 at 3:13 am
That's all I needed.
Senator John McCain passed documents to the FBI director, James Comey, last month alleging secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and that Russian intelligence had personally compromising material on the president-elect himself.
The material, which has been seen by the Guardian, is a series of reports on Trump's relationship with Moscow. They were drawn up by a former western counter-intelligence official, now working as a private consultant. BuzzFeed on Tuesday published the documents, which it said were "unverified and potentially unverifiable".
The Guardian has not been able to confirm the veracity of the documents' contents,
Emphases mine. I had been sitting on this link trying to make sense of this part. Clearly, the Trump Whitehouse has some major leaks, which the MSM is exploiting. But the start of this article suggests that para-intelligence (is that a word? Eh, it is now) was the source of the allegedly damaging info.
This is no longer about the deep-state, but a rouge state, possibly guns for higher, each having fealty to specific political interests. The CIA arsenal wasn't leaked. It was delivered.visitor , March 9, 2017 at 3:40 am
hmm.. as far as I can see, noone seems to care here in Germany anymore about being spied on by our US friends, apart from a few alternative sources which are being accused of spreading fake news, of being anti-american, russian trolls, the matter is widely ignoredYves Smith Post author , March 9, 2017 at 5:53 am
I have read a few articles about the Vault 7 leak that typically raise a few alarms I would like to comment on.
1) The fact that the
CIA had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services
does not mean that it has broken encryption, just that it has a way to install a program at a lower level, close to the operating system, that will read messages before they are encrypted and sent by the messaging app, or just after they have been decrypted by it.
As a side note: banks have now largely introduced two-factor authentication when accessing online services. One enters username (or account number) and password; the bank site returns a code; the user must then enter this code into a smartphone app or a tiny specialized device, which computes and returns a value out of it; the user enters this last value into the entry form as a throw-away additional password, and gains access to the bank website.
I have always refused to use such methods on a smartphone and insist on getting the specialized "single-use password computer", precisely because the smartphone platform can be subverted.
2) The fact that
"Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), [ ] infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones.
is possible largely because smart TVs are designed by their manufacturers to serve as spying devices. "Weeping Angel" is not some kind of virus that turns normal devices into zombies, but a tool to take control of existing zombie devices.
The fact that smart TVs from Vizio , Samsung or LG constitute an outrageous intrusion into the privacy of their owners has been a known topic for years already.
CIA [ ] also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks
is not a "scary possibility" either; various demonstrations of such feats on Tesla , Nissan , or Chrysler vehicles have been demonstrated in the past few years.
And the consequences have already been suggested (killing people by disabling their car controls on the highway for instance).
My take on this is that we should seriously look askance not just at the shenanigans of the CIA, but at the entire "innovative technology" that is imposed upon (computerized cars) or joyfully adopted by (smartphones) consumers. Of course, most NC readers are aware of the pitfalls already, but alas not the majority of the population.
4) Finally this:
He's so impossibly erratic, so impossibly unfit for his office,
Trump is arguably unfit for office, does not have a clue about many things (such as foreign relations), but by taxing him of being "erratic" Gaius Publius shows that he still does not "get" the Donald.
Trump has a completely different modus operandi than career politicians, formed by his experience as a real-estate mogul and media star. His world has been one where one makes outrageous offers to try anchoring the negotiation before reducing one's claims - even significantly, or abruptly exiting just before an agreement to strike a deal with another party that has been lured to concessions through negotiations with the first one. NC once included a video of Trump doing an interactive A/B testing of his slogans during a campaign meeting; while changing one's slogans on the spot might seem "erratic", it is actually a very systematic market probing technique.
So stop asserting that Trump is "unpredictable" or "irrational"; this is underestimating him (a dangerous fault), as he is very consistent, though in an uncommon fashion amongst political pundits.visitor , March 9, 2017 at 6:59 am
While I agree that it's worth pointing out that the CIA has not broken any of the major encryption tools, even Snowden regards being able to circumvent them as worse, since people using encryption are presumably those who feel particularly at risk and will get a false sense of security and say things or keep data on their devices that they never never would if they thought they were insecure.
Re Gaius on Trump, I agree the lady doth protest too much. But I said repeatedly that Trump would not want to be President if he understood the job. It is not like being the CEO of a private company. Trump has vastly more control over his smaller terrain in his past life than he does as President.
And Trump is no longer campaigning. No more a/b testing.
The fact is that he still does not have effective control of the Executive branch. He has lots of open positions in the political appointee slots (largely due to not having even submitted candidates!) plus has rebellion in some organizations (like folks in the EPA storing data outside the agency to prevent its destruction).
You cannot pretend that Trump's former MO is working at all well for him. And he isn't showing an ability to adapt or learn (not surprising at his age). For instance, he should have figured out by now that DC is run by lawyers, yet his team has hardly any on it. This is continuing to be a source of major self inflicted wounds.
His erraticness may be keeping his opponents off base, but it is also keeping him from advancing any of his goals.RBHoughton , March 9, 2017 at 9:00 pm
I believe we are in agreement.
Yes, not breaking encryption is devious, as it gives a false sense of security - this is precisely why I refuse to use those supposedly secure e-banking login apps on smartphones whose system software can be subverted, and prefer those non-connected, non-reprogrammable, special-purpose password generating devices.
As for Trump being incompetent for his job, and his skills in wheeling-dealing do not carrying over usefully to conducting high political offices, that much is clear. But he is not "erratic", rather he is out of place and out of his depth.Ivy , March 9, 2017 at 10:09 am
I am writing this in the shower with a paper bag over my head and my iPhone in the microwave.
I have for years had a password-protected document on computer with all my important numbers and passwords. I have today deleted that document and reverted to a paper record.visitor , March 9, 2017 at 11:34 am
Please tell readers more about the following for our benefit:
"single-use password computer"PhilM , March 9, 2017 at 11:35 am
That is an example of the sort of thing I am talking about.jrs , March 9, 2017 at 2:36 pm
I think he means a machine dedicated to high-security operations like anything financial or bill-pay. Something that is not exposed to email or web-browsing operations that happen on a casual-use computer that can easily compromise. That's not a bad way to go; it's cheaper in terms of time than the labor-intensive approaches I use, but those are a hobby more than anything else. It depends on how much you have at stake if they get your bank account or brokerage service password.
I take a few basic security measures, which would not impress the IT crowd I hang out with elsewhere, but at least would not make me a laughingstock. I run Linux and use only open-source software; run ad-blockers and script blockers; confine risky operations, which means any non-corporate or non-mainstream website to a virtual machine that is reset after each use; use separate browsers with different cookie storage policies and different accounts for different purposes. I keep a well-maintained pfSense router with a proxy server and an intrusion detection system, allowing me to segregate my secure network, home servers, guest networks, audiovisual streaming and entertainment devices, and IoT devices each on their own VLANs with appropriate ACLs between them. No device on the more-secured network is allowed out to any port without permission, and similar rules are there for the IoT devices, and the VoIP tools.
The hardware to do all of that costs at least $700, but the real expense is in the time to learn the systems properly. Of course if you use Linux, you could save that on software in a year if you are too cheap to send a contribution to the developers.
It's not perfect, because I still have computers turned on :) , but I feel a bit safer this way.
That said, absolutely nothing that I have here would last 30 milliseconds against anything the "hats" could use, if they wanted in. It would be over before it began. If I had anything to hide, really, I would have something to fear; so guess I'm OK.visitor , March 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm
open source software often has a lot of bugs to be exploioted. Wouldn't it be easier to just do banking in person?cfraenkel , March 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm
Banks discourage that by
a) charging extortionate fees for "in-person" operations at the counter;
b) closing subsidiaries, thus making it tedious and time-consuming to visit a branch to perform banking operations in person;
c) eliminating the possibility to perform some or even all usual operations in any other form than online (see the advent of "Internet only" banks).
In theoretical terms, all this is called "nudging".meme , March 9, 2017 at 3:53 am
They're key fobs handed to you by your IT dept. The code displayed changes every couple of minutes. The plus is there's nothing sent over the air. The minus is the fobs are subject to theft, and are only good for connecting to 'home'. And since they have a cost, and need to be physically handed to you, they're not good fit for most two factor login applications (ie logging into your bank account).
see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_SecurIDDirection , March 9, 2017 at 4:23 am
I watched (fast forwarded through, really) Morning Joe yesterday to see what they would have to say about Wikileaks. The show mostly revolved around the health care bill and Trump's lying and tweeting about Obama wiretapping him. They gave Tim Kaine plenty of time to discuss his recent trip to London talking to "some of our allies there" saying that they are concerned that "all the intelligence agencies" say the Rooskies "cyber hacked" our election, and since it looks like we aren't doing anything when we are attacked, they KNOW we won't do anything when they are attacked. (more red baiting)
The only two mentions I saw was about Wikileaks were, first, a question asked of David Cohen, ex Deputy Director of the CIA, who refused to confirm the Wikileaks were authentic, saying whatever tools and techniques the CIA had were used against foreign persons overseas, so there is no reason to worry that your TV is looking at you. And second, Senator Tom Cotton, who didn't want to comment on the contents of Wikileaks, only saying that the CIA is a foreign intelligence service, collecting evidence on foreign targets to keep our country safe, and it does not do intelligence work domestically.
So that appears to be their story, the CIA doesn't spy on us, and they are sticking with it, probably hoping the whole Wikileaks thing just cycles out of the news.skippy , March 9, 2017 at 5:46 am
Thanks for mentioning Hastings. His death has always been more than suspicious.james wordsworth , March 9, 2017 at 5:50 am
Elite risk management reduction tool goes walkabout inverting its potential ..
disheveled . love it when a plan comes together ..Yves Smith Post author , March 9, 2017 at 7:52 am
The unwillingness of the main stream media (so far) to really cover the Wikileaks reveal is perhaps the bigger story. This should be ongoing front page stuff .. but it is not.
As for using ZeroHedge as a source for anything, can we give that a rest. That site has become a cesspool of insanity. It used to have some good stuff. Now it is just unreadable. SAD
And yes I know the hypocrisy of slamming ZH and the MSM at the same time we live in interesting times.3urypteris , March 9, 2017 at 12:14 pm
Your remarks on ZH are an ad hominem attack and therefore a violation of site policies. The onus is on you to say what ZH got wrong and not engage in an ungrounded smear. The mainstream media often cites ZH.
NC more than just about any other finance site is loath to link to ZH precisely because it is off base or hyperventilating a not acceptably high percent of the time, and is generally wrong about the Fed (as in governance and how money works). We don't want to encourage readers to see it as reliable. However, it is good on trader gossip and mining Bloomberg data.
And I read through its summary of the Wikileaks material as used by Gaius and there was nothing wrong with it. It was careful about attributing certain claims to Wikileaks as opposed to depicting them as true.sunny129 , March 9, 2017 at 7:20 pm
My rules for reading ZH:
1- Skip every article with no picture
2- Skip every article where the picture is a graph
3- Skip every article where the picture is of a single person's face
4- Skip every afticle where the picture is a cartoon
5- Skip every article about gold, BitCoin, or high-frequency trading
6- Skip all the "Guest Posts"
7- ALWAYS click through to the source
8- NEVER read the comments
It is in my opinion a very high noise-to-signal source, but there is some there there.TheCatSaid , March 9, 2017 at 6:14 am
Finding the TRUTH is NOT that easy.
Discerning a 'news from noise' is NEVER that easy b/c it is an art, developed by years of shifting through ever increasing 'DATA information' load. This again has to be filtered and tested against one's own 'critical' thinking or reasoning! You have to give ZH, deserved credit, when they are right!
There is no longer a Black or white there, even at ZH! But it is one of the few, willing to challenge the main stream narrative 'kool aid'Romancing The Loan , March 9, 2017 at 8:43 am
In addition to the "para-intelligence" community (hat tip Code named D) there are multiple enterprises with unique areas of expertise that interface closely with the CIA The long-exposed operations, which include entrapment and blackmailing of key actors to guarantee complicity, "loyalty" and/or sealed lips, infect businesses, NGOs, law enforcement agencies, judges, politicians, and other government agencies. Equal opportunity employment for those with strong stomachs and a weak moral compass.nobody , March 9, 2017 at 10:10 am
Yes I can't remember where I read it but it was a tale passed around supposedly by an FBI guy that had, along with his colleagues, the job of vetting candidates for political office. They'd do their background research and pass on either a thick or thin folder full of all the compromising dirt on each potential appointee. Over time he said he was perturbed to notice a persistent pattern where the thickest folders were always the ones who got in.craazyboy , March 9, 2017 at 8:20 am
Michael Hudson :
I learned this when I was in my 20s. The Catholic Church was funding my early critique of American foreign aid as being imperialist. I asked whether they thought I should go into politics. They said, "No, you'd never make it". And I said, "Why?" and they said, "Well, nobody has a police record or any other dirt on you." I asked what they meant. They said, "Unless they have something over you to blackmail you with, you're not going to be able to get campaign funding. Because they believe that you might do something surprising," in other words, something they haven't asked you to do. So basically throughout politics, on both sides of the spectrum, voters have candidates who are funded by backers who have enough over them that they can always blackmail.flora , March 9, 2017 at 11:11 am
I find the notion that my consumer electronics may be CIA microphones somewhat irritating, but my imagination quickly runs off to far worse scenarios. (although the popular phase, "You're tax dollars at work." keeps running thru my head like a earworm. And whenever I hear "conservatives" speak of their desire for "small government", usually when topics of health care, Medicare and social security come up, I can only manage a snort of incredulousness anymore)
One being malware penetrating our nuke power plants and shutting down the cooling system. Then the reactor slowly overheats over the next 3 days, goes critical, and blows the surrounding area to high heaven. We have plants all around the coast of the country and also around the Great Lakes Region our largest fresh water store in a drought threatened future.
Then the same happening in our offensive nuke missile systems.
Some other inconvenient truths the stuxnet virus has been redesigned. Kaspersky premier anti malware software maker had a variant on their corporate network for months before finally discovering it. What chance have we?
In China, hacking is becoming a consumer service industry. There are companies building high power data centers with a host of hacking tools. Anyone, including high school script kiddies, can rent time to use the sophisticated hacking tools, web search bots, and whatever, all hosted on powerful servers with high speed internet bandwidth.
Being a bit "spooked" by all this, I began to worry about my humble home computer and decided to research whatever products I could get to at least ward off annoying vandalism. Among other things, I did sign up for a VPN service. I'm looking at the control app for my VPN connection here and I see that with a simple checkbox mouse click I can make my IP address appear to be located in my choice of 40 some countries around the world. Romania is on the list!craazyboy , March 9, 2017 at 12:40 pm
"my consumer electronics may be CIA microphones "
I haven't tested this, so can't confirm it works, but it sounds reasonable.
http://www.komando.com/tips/390304/secure-your-webcam-and-microphone-from-hackerscraazyboy , March 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm
Actually, I very much doubt that does work. The mic "pickup" would feed its analog output to a DAC (digital to analog converter) which would convert the signal to digital. This then goes to something similar to a virtual com port in the operating system. Here is where a malware program would pick it up and either create a audio file to be sent to an internet address, or stream it directly there.
The article is just plugging in a microphone at the output jack. The malware got the data long before it goes thru another DAC and analog amp to get to the speakers or output jack.flora , March 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm
s/b "plugging in a earbud at the output jack". They're confusing me too.Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 2:53 pm
ah. thanks for vetting.Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm
It's actually a input/output jack or, if you will, a mic/headphone jack.Pat , March 9, 2017 at 8:27 am
It depends on how it is hooked up internally. Old fashioned amateur radio headphones would disable the speakers when plugged in because the physical insertion of the plug pushed open the connection to the speakers. The jack that you plug the ear buds into might do the same, disconnecting the path between the built-in microphone and the ADC (actually it is an ADC not a DAC). The only way to know is to take it apart and see how it is connected.Eureka Springs , March 9, 2017 at 8:31 am
The CIA is not allowed to operate in the US is also the panacea for the public. And some are buying it. Along with everyone knows they can do this is fueling the NOTHING to see here keep walking weak practically non existent coverage.Anon , March 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm
At what point do people quit negotiating in terrorism and errorism? For this is what the police, the very State itself has long been. Far beyond being illegitimate, illegal, immoral, this is a clear and ever present danger to not just it's own people, but the rule of law itself. Blanket statements like we all know this just makes the dangerously absurd normal I'll never understand that part of human nature. But hey, the TSA literally just keeps probing further each and every year. Bend over!
Trump may not be the one for the task but we the people desperately need people 'unfit', for it is the many fit who brought us to this point. His unfit nature is as refreshing on these matters in its chaotic honest disbelief as Snowden and Wiki revelations. Refreshing because it's all we've got. One doesn't have to like Trump to still see missed opportunity so many should be telling him he could be the greatest pres ever if (for two examples) he fought tirelessly for single payer and to bring down this police state rather than the EPA or public education.
This cannot stand on so many levels. Not only is the fourth amendment rendered utterly void, but even if it weren't it falls far short of the protections we deserve.
No enemy could possibly be as bad as who we are and what we allow/do among ourselves. If an election can be hacked (not saying it was by Russia).. as these and other files prove anything can and will be hacked then our system is to blame, not someone else.
What amazes me is that the spooks haven't manufactured proof needed to take Trump out of office Bonfire of The Vanities style. I'd like to think the people have moved beyond the point they would believe manufactured evidence but the Russia thing proves otherwise.
These people foment world war while probing our every move and we do nothing!
If we wait for someone fit nothing will ever change because we wait for the police/media/oligarch state to tell us who is fit.Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm
being "unfit" does not automatically make someone a savior.Allegorio , March 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm
But being fit by the standards of our ruling class, the "real owners" as Carlin called them is, in my book, an automatic proof that they are up to no good. Trump is not my cup of tea as a president but no one we have had in a while wasn't clearly compromised by those who fund them. Did you ever wonder why we have never had a president or even a powerful member of congress that was not totally in the tank for that little country on the Eastern Mediterranean? Or the Gulf Monarchies? Do you think that is by accident? Do you think money isn't involved? Talk about hacked elections! We should be so lucky as to have ONLY Russians attempting to affect our elections. Money is what hacks US elections and never forget that. To me it is laughable to discuss hacking the elections without discussing the real way our "democracy" is subvertedmoney not document leaks or voting machine hacks. It's money.
Why isn't Saudi Arabia on Trump's list? Iran that has never been involved in a terrorist act on US soil is but not Saudi Arabia? How many 911 hijackers came from Iran? If anything saves Trump from destruction by the real owners of our democracy it is his devotion to the aforementioned countries.HBE , March 9, 2017 at 8:47 am
The point again is not to remove him from office but to control him. With Trump's past you better believe the surveillance state has more than enough to remove him from office. Notice the change in his rhetoric since inauguration? More and more he is towing the establishment Republican line. Of course this depends on whether you believe Trump is a break with the past or just the best liar out there. A very unpopular establishment would be clever in promoting their agent by pretending to be against him.
Anyone who still believes that the US is a democratic republic and not a mafia state needs to stick their heads deeper into the sands. When will the low information voters and police forces on whom a real revolution depends realize this is anyone's guess. The day is getting closer especially for the younger generation. The meme among the masses is that government has always been corrupt and that this is nothing new. I do believe the level of immorality among the credentialed classes is indeed very new and has become the new normal. Generations of every man for himself capitalist philosophy undermining any sense of morality or community has finally done its work.Arizona Slim , March 9, 2017 at 8:50 am
Go take a jaunt over to huffpo, at the time of this post there was not a single mention of vault 7 on the front page. Just a long series of anti trump administration articles.
Glad to know for sure who the true warmongers were all along.Eureka Springs , March 9, 2017 at 8:59 am
We need another Church Commission.Arizona Slim , March 9, 2017 at 1:31 pm
No.. The Church commission was a sweep it under the rug operation. It got us FISA courts. More carte blanche secrecy, not less. The commission nor the rest of the system didn't even hold violators of the time accountable.
We have files like Vault 7. Commissions rarely get in secret what we have right here before our eyes.Foppe , March 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm
Well, how about a Truth and Reconciliation Commission?River , March 9, 2017 at 10:59 am
Cute but the ANC lost the war by acceding to WTO entry (which "forbade" distributive politics, land/resource redistribution, nationalizations, etc.).DJG , March 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm
Need Langley surrounded and fired upon by tanks at this point.
Err on the side of caution.polecat , March 9, 2017 at 12:53 pm
River: Interesting historic parallel? I believe that the Ottomans got rid of the Janissaries that way, after the Janissaries had become a state within a state, by using cannons on their HQ
From Wiki entry, Janissaries:
The corps was abolished by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 in the Auspicious Incident in which 6,000 or more were executed.knowbuddhau , March 9, 2017 at 9:01 am
"Nuke it from orbit it's the only way to be sure . "Stormcrow , March 9, 2017 at 9:35 am
Took less than a minute to download the 513.33MB file. The passphrase is what JFK said he'd like to do to CIA: SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds.
"The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer." Henry Kissinger, 1975.SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds. , March 9, 2017 at 10:06 am
Here is Raimondo's take:
The campaign to frame up and discredit Trump and his associates is characteristic of how a police state routinely operates. A national security apparatus that vacuums up all our communications and stores them for later retrieval has been utilized by political operatives to go after their enemies and not even the President of the United States is immune. This is something that one might expect to occur in, say, Turkey, or China: that it is happening here, to the cheers of much of the media and the Democratic party, is beyond frightening.
The irony is that the existence of this dangerous apparatus which civil libertarians have warned could and probably would be used for political purposes has been hailed by Trump and his team as a necessary and proper function of government. Indeed, Trump has called for the execution of the person who revealed the existence of this sinister engine of oppression Edward Snowden. Absent Snowden's revelations, we would still be in the dark as to the existence and vast scope of the NSA's surveillance.
And now the monster Trump embraced in the name of "national security" has come back to bite him.
We hear all the time that what's needed is an open and impartial "investigation" of Trump's alleged "ties" to Russia. This is dangerous nonsense: does every wild-eyed accusation from embittered losers deserve a congressional committee armed with subpoena power bent on conducting an inquisition? Certainly not.
What must be investigated is the incubation of a clandestine political police force inside the national security apparatus, one that has been unleashed against Trump and could be deployed against anyone.
This isn't about Donald Trump. It's about preserving what's left of our old republic.
Perhapps overstated but well worth pondering.flora , March 9, 2017 at 11:21 am
Yeah I downloaded it the day it came out and spent an hour or so looking at it last night. First impressions "heyyy this is like a Hackers Guide the sort I used in the 80s, or DerEngel's Cable Modem Hacking" of the 00s.
2nd impressions wow it really gives foundational stuff like "Enable Debug on PolarSSL".
3rd impressions "I could spend hours going thru this happily ".
4th impressions I went looking for the "juicy bits" of interest to me SOHO routers, small routers sadly its just a table documenting routers sold around the world, and whether these guys have put the firmware in their Stash Repository. Original firmware, not hacked one. But the repository isn't in the vault dump, AFAIK.
Its quite fascinating. But trying to find the "juicy stuff" is going to be tedious. One can spend hours and hours going thru it. To speed up going thru it, I'm going to need some tech sites to say "where to go".Sam F , March 9, 2017 at 10:10 am
It seems clear that Wikileaks has not and will not release actual ongoing method "how-to" info or hacking scripts. They are releasing the "whats", not the tech level detailed "hows". This seems like a sane approach to releasing the data. The release appears to be for political discussion, not for spreading the hacking tools. So I wouldn't look for "juicy bits" about detailed methodology. Just my guess.
That said, love what you're doing digging into this stuff. I look forward to a more detailed report in future. Thanks.Outis Philalithopoulos , March 9, 2017 at 10:58 am
Yves, I think that you much underestimate the extremity of these exposed violations of the security of freedom of expression, and of the security of private records. The WikiLeaks docs show that CIA has developed means to use all personal digital device microphones and cameras even when they are "off," and to send all of your files and personal data to themselves, and to send your private messages to themselves before they are encrypted. They have installed these spyware in the released version of Windows 10, and can easily install them on all common systems and devices.
This goes far beyond the kind of snooping that required specialized devices installed near the target, which could be controlled by warrant process. There is no control over this extreme spying. It is totalitarianism now.
This is probably the most extreme violation of the rights of citizens by a government in all of history. It is far worse than the "turnkey tyranny" against which Snowden warned, on the interception of private messages. It is tyranny itself, the death of democracy.susan the other , March 9, 2017 at 10:59 am
Your first sentence is a bit difficult to understand. If you read Yves' remarks introducing the post, she says that the revelations are "a big deal" "if the Wikileaks claim is even halfway true," while coming down hard on the MSM and others for "pooh-pooh[ing]" the story. Did you want her to add more exclamation points?NotTimothyGeithner , March 9, 2017 at 11:34 am
So we have a zillion ways to spy and hack and deceive and assassinate, but no control. I think this is what the military refers to as "being overtaken by events."
It's easy to gather information; not so easy to analyze it, and somehow impossible to act on it in good faith. With all this ability to know stuff and surveil people the big question is, Why does everything seem so beyond our ability to control it?
We should know well in advance that banks will fail catastrophically; that we will indeed have sea level rise; that resources will run out; that water will be undrinkable; that people will be impossible to manipulate when panic hits but what do we do? We play dirty tricks, spy on each other like voyeurs, and ignore the inevitable. Like the Stasi, we clearly know what happened, what is happening and what is going to happen. But we have no control.Arizona Slim , March 9, 2017 at 1:33 pm
My godfather was in the CIA in the late sixties and early seventies, and he said that outside of the President's pet projects there was no way to sift through and bring important information to decision makers before it made the Washington Post (he is aware of the irony) and hit the President's breakfast table.Old Jake , March 9, 2017 at 6:05 pm
Do you mean to say that the CIA leaked like a sieve? That's my understanding of your post.Andrew , March 9, 2017 at 11:14 am
AS, I would interpret it as saying that there was so much coming in it was like trying to classify snowflakes in a snowstorm. They could pick a few subject areas to look at closely but the rest just went into the files.
Leaking like a sieve is also likely, but perhaps not the main point.Stormcrow , March 9, 2017 at 11:20 am
The archive appears to have been circulated among government hackers and contractors in a authorized manner
There, that looks the more likely framing considering CIA & DNI on behalf of the whole US IC seemingly fostered wide dissimilation of these tools, information. Demonstration of media control an added plus.
Cheers Yveslyman alpha blob , March 9, 2017 at 11:42 am
The Empire Strikes Back
WikiLeaks Has Joined the Trump Administration
Foreign Policy magazine
I guess we can only expect more of this.
Todd Pierce , on the other hand, nails it. (From his Facebook page.)
The East German Stasi could only dream of the sort of surveillance the NSA and CIA do now, with just as nefarious of purposes.JTMcPhee , March 9, 2017 at 3:02 pm
Perhaps the scare quotes around "international mobster" aren't really necessary.
In all this talk about the various factions aligned with and against Trump, that's one I haven't heard brought up by anybody. With all the cement poured in Trump's name over the years, it would be naive to think his businesses had not brushed up against organized crime at some point. Question is, whose side are they on?Skip Intro , March 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm
Like all the other players, the "side" they are on is them-effing-selves. And isn't that the whole problem with our misbegotten species, writ large?
Then there's this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1Hzds9aGdA Maybe these people will be around and still eating after us urban insects and rodents are long gone? Or will our rulers decide no one should survive if they don't?tegnost , March 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm
To what extent do these hacks represent the CIA operating within the US? To what extent is that illegal? With the democrats worshipping the IC, will anyone in an official position dare to speak out?Oregoncharles , March 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm
Well we know chuckie won't speak out..
FTA "Schumer said that as he understands, intelligence officials are "very upset with how [Trump] has treated them and talked about them.""Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm
I've long thought that the reason Snowden was pursued so passionately was that he exposed the biggest, most embarrassing secret: that the National "Security" Agency's INTERNAL security was crap.
And here it is: "Wikileaks claims that the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal "
The CIA's internal security is crap, too. Really a lot of people should be fired over that, as well as over Snowden's release. We didn't hear of it happening in the NSA, though I'm not sure we would have. Given Gaius's description of Trump's situation, it seems unlikely it will happen this time, either. One of my hopes for a Trump administration, as long as we're stuck with it, was a thorough cleanout of the upper echelons in the IC. It's obviously long overdue, and Obama wasn't up to it. But I used the past tense because I don't think it's going to happen. Trump seems more interested in sucking up to them, presumably so they won't kill him or his family. That being one of their options.tiebie66 , March 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm
Ah, that's the beauty of contracting it out. No one gets fired. Did anyone get fired because of Snowden? It was officially a contractor problem and since there are only a small number of contractors capable of doing the work, well you know. We can't get new ones.JTMcPhee , March 9, 2017 at 3:06 pm
What I find by far the most distressing is this: "The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability ." [My emphasis]. It seems to characterize an organization that operates outside of any control and oversight and one that is intentionally structuring itself that way. That worries me.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Republic is lost because we didn't stand guard for it. Blaming others don't cut it either we let it happen. And like the Germans about the Nazi atrocities, we will say that we didn't know about it.Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 4:08 pm
Hey, I didn't let it happen. Stuff that spooks and sh!tes do behind the Lycra curtain happens because it is, what is the big word again, "ineluctable." Is my neighbor to blame for having his house half eaten by both kinds of termites, where the construction is such that the infestation and damage are invisible until the vast damage is done?nonsense factory , March 9, 2017 at 8:57 pm
And just how were we supposed to stand guard against a secret and unaccountable organization that protected itself with a shield of lies? And every time some poor misfit complained about it they were told that they just didn't know the facts. If they only knew what our IC knows they would not complain.
It's a dangerous world out there and only our brave IC can protect us from it. Come on. Stop blaming the victim and place the blame where it belongsour IC and MIC. I say stop feeding the beast with your loyalty to a government that has ceased to be yours.
Studiously avoid any military celebrations. Worship of the military is part of the problem. Remember, the people you thank for "their service" are as much victims as you are. Sadly they don't realize that their service is to a rotten empire that is not worthy of their sacrifice but every time we perform the obligatory ritual of thankfulness we participate in the lie that the service is to a democratic country instead of an undemocratic empire.
It's clearly a case of Wilfred Owen's classic "Dulce et Decorum Est". Read the poem, google it and read it. It is instructive: " you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori." Make no mistake. It is a lie and it can only be undone if we all cease to tell it.
Here's a pretty decent review of the various CIA programs revealed by Wikileaks:
"These CIA revelations in conjunction with those of the NSA paints a pretty dark future for privacy and freedom. Edward Snowden made us aware of the NSA's program XKEYSCORE and PRISM which are utilized to monitor and bulk collect information from virtually any electronic device on the planet and put it into a searchable database. Now Wikileaks has published what appears to be additional Big Brother techniques used by a competing agency. Say what you want about the method of discovery, but Pandora's box has been opened."
Dec 11, 2017 | www.unz.com
cowardly troll , December 11, 2017 at 9:16 pm GMT@cowardly trollHu Mi Yu , December 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm GMT
Concerning point 2
A security researcher has revealed that some HP laptops have hidden software which can log everything typed on its keypads. More than 460 models have been affected, dating back to 2012, according to the list released by HP.
And what about Android and IOS predictive "keyboards"
More than 31 million users of a popular virtual keyboard app AI.type, have had their private data exposed online, including email addresses, passwords, dates of birth and details from Google accounts, as well as actual text entered using the keyboard.
On Android phones and iPhones you can swap out the traditional keyboards with emoji and gif-laden alternatives, but pay attention when you install third party keyboards because apps require full access. By choosing that option, developers "transmit anything you type" back to their servers.@cowardly trollcowardly troll , December 11, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT
Example, in 1999 I read an article in a weekly tech newspaper maybe Information Week about university researchers who discovered that 64 bit encrypted phones were only using the first 56 bits and the last 8 were zeros.
If you read source code, you will find other cases of security being compromised by coding "errors". This is why we are being pushed into accepting proprietary code.@Hu Mi Yu_daniel_ , December 11, 2017 at 10:35 pm GMT
(1) Orwell's memory hole is real, and if you have a memory of something, but no web page to back it up, you cannot convince someone .
(2) A former government contractor says that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation installed a number of back doors into the encryption software used by the OpenBSD operating system.
No word from Wikileaks or the Linux community about CIA hack:
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) found different ways to penetrate the defenses set up by various well-known anti-virus programs, the WikiLeaks whistleblowing website said Tuesday.
According to the document, the CIA also devised malware targeting Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux and other operating systems.You may be remembering DES:
It was a standard for many years, and it had 56 bit keys.
Mar 21, 2014 | news.slashdot.org
In its quest to take down suspected terrorists and criminals abroad, the United States National Security Agency has adopted the practice of hacking the system administrators that oversee private computer networks, new documents reveal.
In its quest to take down suspected terrorists and criminals abroad, the United States National Security Agency has adopted the practice of hacking the system administrators that oversee private computer networks, new documents reveal.
The Intercept has published a handful of leaked screenshots taken from an internal NSA message board where one spy agency specialist spoke extensively about compromising not the computers of specific targets, but rather the machines of the system administrators who control entire networks.
Journalist Ryan Gallagher reported that Edward Snowden, a former sys admin for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, provided The Intercept with the internal documents, including one from 2012 that's bluntly titled "I hunt sys admins."
According to the posts - some labeled "top secret" - NSA staffers should not shy away from hacking sys admins: a successful offensive mission waged against an IT professional with extensive access to a privileged network could provide the NSA with unfettered capabilities, the analyst acknowledged.
"Who better to target than the person that already has the 'keys to the kingdom'?" one of the posts reads.
"They were written by an NSA official involved in the agency's effort to break into foreign network routers, the devices that connect computer networks and transport data across the Internet," Gallagher wrote for the article published late Thursday. "By infiltrating the computers of system administrators who work for foreign phone and Internet companies, the NSA can gain access to the calls and emails that flow over their networks."
Since last June, classified NSA materials taken by Snowden and provided to certain journalists have exposed an increasing number of previously-secret surveillance operations that range from purposely degrading international encryption standards and implanting malware in targeted machines, to tapping into fiber-optic cables that transfer internet traffic and even vacuuming up data as its moved into servers in a decrypted state.
The latest leak suggests that some NSA analysts took a much different approach when tasked with trying to collect signals intelligence that otherwise might not be easily available. According to the posts, the author advocated for a technique that involves identifying the IP address used by the network's sys admin, then scouring other NSA tools to see what online accounts used those addresses to log-in. Then by using a previously-disclosed NSA tool that tricks targets into installing malware by being misdirected to fake Facebook servers, the intelligence analyst can hope that the sys admin's computer is sufficiently compromised and exploited.
Once the NSA has access to the same machine a sys admin does, American spies can mine for a trove of possibly invaluable information, including maps of entire networks, log-in credentials, lists of customers and other details about how systems are wired. In turn, the NSA has found yet another way to, in theory, watch over all traffic on a targeted network.
"Up front, sys admins generally are not my end target. My end target is the extremist/terrorist or government official that happens to be using the network some admin takes care of," the NSA employee says in the documents.
When reached for comment by The Intercept, NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines said that, "A key part of the protections that apply to both US persons and citizens of other countries is the mandate that information be in support of a valid foreign intelligence requirement, and comply with US Attorney General-approved procedures to protect privacy rights."
Coincidentally, outgoing-NSA Director Keith Alexander said last year that he was working on drastically cutting the number of sys admins at that agency by upwards of 90 percent - but didn't say it was because they could be exploited by similar tactics waged by adversarial intelligence groups. Gen. Alexander's decision came just weeks after Snowden - previously one of around 1,000 sys admins working on the NSA's networks, according to Reuters - walked away from his role managing those networks with a trove of classified information.
Nov 05, 2017 | www.zdnet.comIt spreads via a fake Flash update on compromised websites
The main way Bad Rabbit spreads is drive-by downloads on hacked websites. No exploits are used, rather visitors to compromised websites -- some of which have been compromised since June -- are told that they need to install a Flash update. Of course, this is no Flash update, but a dropper for the malicious install.
Nov 05, 2017 | securelist.com
What is Bad Rabbit?
Bad Rabbit is a previously unknown ransomware family.How is Bad Rabbit distributed?
The ransomware dropper was distributed with the help of drive-by attacks . While the target is visiting a legitimate website, a malware dropper is being downloaded from the threat actor's infrastructure. No exploits were used, so the victim would have to manually execute the malware dropper, which pretends to be an Adobe Flash installer. However, our analysis confirmed that Bad Rabbit uses the EternalRomance exploit as an infection vector to spread within corporate networks. The same exploit was used in the ExPetr.
We've detected a number of compromised websites, all of which were news or media websites.Whom does it target?
Most of the targets are located in Russia. Similar but fewer attacks have also been seen in other countries – Ukraine, Turkey and Germany. Overall, there are almost 200 targets, according to the KSN statistics.Since when does Kaspersky Lab detect the threat?
We have been proactively detecting the original vector attack since it began on the morning of October 24. The attack lasted until midday, although ongoing attacks were detected at 19.55 Moscow time. The server from which the Bad rabbit dropper was distributed went down in the evening (Moscow time).How is it different to ExPetr? Or it is the same malware?
Our observations suggest that this been a targeted attack against corporate networks, using methods similar to those used during the ExPetr attack . What's more, the code analysis showed a notable similarity between the code of ExPetr and Bad Rabbit binaries.Technical details
According to our telemetry, the ransomware is spread via a drive-by attack.
The ransomware dropper is distributed from hxxp://1dnscontrol[.]com/flash_install.php
Nov 01, 2017 | consortiumnews.com
geeyp, November 1, 2017 at 7:18 am
I would like to posit that we stop with the Googling on the internet. I have never "Googled" ever. Oh sure, Google is involved with connecting you when you might click on some links. That you seemingly can't avoid. I also don't Face or Twitter. If everyone could avoid doing that now, perhaps we could show our disdain with these entities acquiescing to Feinstein, et. al. I am so fed up with the Clinton crime family getting away with almost as much as the George H.W. crime family.
Skip Scott , November 1, 2017 at 8:46 amJessica K , November 1, 2017 at 9:55 am
That is a very good suggestion. Don't feed the beast. Duckduckgo is a good alternative to google. And facebook and twitter's revenues are add based, so don't go there either, as they have been shown to be caving to TPTB. Amazon is also one to avoid for Bezo's links to the CIA.
From the beginning of Zuckerberg's empire, I thought Facebook was an idiotic excuse to get people involved in trivia, even the name turned me off.
Now, Twitter is planning extending tweets to 280 characters, as if 140 is not bad enough. Unfortunately, Twitter can work to tell lies as well as push back on lies, same for Facebook and Google.
Seriously, this society has become unglued and as Lois says, "It ain't a pretty sight". Bad choices are leading to the American empire's downfall.
There's an interesting article from a week ago on Zero Hedge, "China's Rise, America's Fall", about China's launch of the petroyuan and other countries' desire to get off of dollar dominance.
Has a graph showing empire dominance from Portugal in 15th century, then Netherlands followed by Spain, then France, Great Britain, and finally the American empire, poised to be replaced by China.
Oct 16, 2017 | www.msn.com
Thanks to a newly discovered security flaw, your home Wi-Fi is completely hackable, giving cyber thieves a front row seat to everything from your private chats to your baby monitor. And there's not much you can do about it -- yet.
"When I woke up this morning and saw this one, I was taken aback," Bob Rudis, chief data scientist at Rapid7, a security data and analytics company, told NBC News. "We try to make sure if something is talked about in a bad way, it actually is bad."
Called Krack, the attack takes advantage of the four-way handshake, a process between a device and a router that has been around for 14 years and is designed to deliver a fresh, encrypted session each time you get online.
During the third step in the process, hackers can resend a key in such a way that it resets the encryption key to zero. Encryption is the process that makes your data uncrackable to anyone who might intercept it.
With an unencrypted session, hackers are then free to pry on whatever you and your devices are doing on Wi-Fi.
"The one saving grace is the attackers need to be within range of Wi-Fi networks," said Rudis. "But someone can sit outside your office or the apartment next door and do this attack from there."
The Krack attack was discovered by researchers Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens of KU Leuven in Belgium and was revealed on Monday.
It's a common practice in the security world to notify vendors of an exploit before it is publicly released. On their website, the researchers said they notified vendors of the products they tested on July 14. After realizing they were dealing with a protocol weakness instead of a set of bugs, the duo alerted the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), who began contacting vendors in August.
CERT disclosed the exploit on Monday and included a list of vendors , when they were notified, and whether they are affected. As of Monday afternoon, many were listed as "unknown."
It's difficult to determine if any cyber criminals have used the exploit "in the wild" or are currently using it, the researchers said on their website. A demo video showed how they were able to use the attack to hack into an Android 6.0 smartphone.
Google, which develops the Android operating system, is aware of the issue and "will be patching any affected devices in the coming weeks," a spokesperson said. Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, told NBC News "it's hard, if not impossible to say" if this attack has ever been used. However, given the amount of time the four-way handshake has been around, he believes it's possible someone has used it.
"This vulnerability has been in existence, some say, for up to 14 years -- which means that it's entirely possible someone has already determined this flaw in the past and has exploited it," he said.
Oct 11, 2017 | www.msn.com
The NSA's hackers have a problem.
Last week, multiple outlets reported that the NSA's elite Tailored Access Operations unit -- tasked with breaking into foreign networks -- suffered another serious data breach. The theft of computer code and other material by an employee in 2015 allowed the Russian government to more easily detect U.S. cyber operations, according to the Washington Post. It's potentially the fourth large scale incident at the NSA to be revealed in the last five years.
Now, multiple sources with direct knowledge of TAO's security procedures in the recent past tell The Daily Beast just how porous some of the defenses were to keep workers from stealing sensitive information -- either digitally or by simply walking out of the front door with it.
One source described removing data from a TAO facility as "child's play." The Daily Beast granted the sources anonymity to talk candidly about the NSA's security practices.
TAO is not your average band of hackers. Its operations have included digging into China's networks , developing the tools British spies used to break into Belgium's largest telecom, and hacking sections of the Mexican government . While other parts of the NSA may focus on tapping undersea cables or prying data from Silicon Valley giants, TAO is the tip of the NSA's offensive hacking spear, and could have access to much more sensitive information ripped from adversaries' closed networks. The unit deploys and creates sophisticated exploits that rely on vulnerabilities in routers, operating systems, and computer hardware the general population uses -- the sort of tools that could wreak havoc if they fell into the wrong hands.
That doesn't mean those tools are locked down, though. "TAO specifically had a huge amount of latitude to move data between networks," the first source, who worked at the unit after Edward Snowden's mega-leak, said. The former employee said TAO limited the number of USB drives -- which could be used to steal data -- after that 2013 breach, but he still had used several while working at TAO.
"Most operators knew how they could get anything they wanted out of the classified nets and onto the internet if they wanted to, even without the USB drives," the former TAO employee said.
A second source, who also worked at TAO, told The Daily Beast, "most of the security was your co-workers checking to see that you had your badge on you at all times."
The NSA -- and recently TAO in particular -- have suffered a series of catastrophic data breaches. On top of the Snowden incident and this newly-scrutinized 2015 breach, NSA contractor Hal Martin allegedly hoarded a trove of computer code and documents from the NSA and other agencies in the U.S. Intelligence Community. Martin worked with TAO, and he ended up storing the material in his car and residence, according to prosecutors. Like Snowden, Martin was a contractor and not an employee of the NSA, as was Reality Winner, who allegedly leaked a top-secret report about Russian interference in the U.S. election to news site The Intercept.
Then there's the incident now in the news. Israeli operatives broke into the systems of the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, officials told The Washington Post. On those systems were samples of sophisticated NSA hacking tools; a TAO employee had brought them home and placed them on his home computer. That machine was running Kasperky software, which allegedly sent the NSA tools back to Moscow.
It's not totally clear how the breach overlaps with any others, but in 2016, a group called The Shadow Brokers started publishing full NSA exploit and tool code. Various hackers went on to incorporate a number of the dumped exploits in their own campaigns, including some designed to break into computers and mine digital currency, as well as the WannaCry ransomware, which crippled tens of thousands of computers around the world. (A handful of other, smaller NSA-related disclosures, including a catalogue of TAO hacking gear from 2007 and 2008, as well as intelligence intercepts, were not attributed to the Snowden documents, and the public details around where that information came from are muddy.)
Although not a data breach per se, in 2015 Kaspersky publicly revealed details on the history and tools of the so-called Equation Group, which is widely believed to be part of the NSA. A third source, who worked directly with TAO, said the fallout from that exposure meant the hacking unit entered a "significant shutdown," and "ran on minimum ops for months."
Nevertheless, a report by the Defense Department's inspector general completed in 2016 found that the NSA's "Secure the Net" project -- which aimed to restrict access to its most sensitive data after the Snowden breach -- fell short of its stated aims. The NSA did introduce some improvements, but it didn't effectively reduce the number of user accounts with 'privileged' access, which provide more avenues into sensitive data than normal users, nor fully implement technology to oversee these accounts' activities, the report reads.
Physical security wasn't much better, at least at one TAO operator's facility. He told The Daily Beast that there were "no bag checks or anything" as employees and contractors left work for the day -- meaning, it was easy smuggle things home. Metal detectors were present, including before Snowden, but "nobody cared what came out," the second source added. The third source, who visited TAO facilities, said bag checks were random and weak.
"If you have a thumb drive in your pocket, it's going to get out," they said.
Unsurprisingly, workers need to swipe keycards to access certain rooms. But, "in most cases, it's pretty easy to get into those rooms without swipe access if you just knock and say who you're trying to see," the third source added.
To be clear, The Daily Beast's sources described the state of security up to 2015 -- not today. Things may have improved since then. And, of course, the NSA and TAO do of course have an array of security protections in place. TAO operators are screened and people on campus are already going to have a high level clearance, some of the sources stressed. The part of the NSA network that TAO uses, and which contains the unit's tools, can only be accessed by those with a designated account, according to the source who worked with TAO. Two of the sources believed in the NSA's ability to track down where a file came from after a breach.
Indeed, the system TAO members use to download their hacking tools for operations has become more heavily audited over the years too, although the network did have a known security issue, in which users could make their own account and automatically gain access to additional information, the source who worked with TAO said.
"The NSA operates in one of the most complicated IT environments in the world," an NSA spokesperson told The Daily Beast in a statement. "Over the past several years, we have continued to build on internal security improvements while carrying out the mission to defend the nation and our allies."
"We do not rely on only one initiative. Instead, we have undertaken a comprehensive and layered set of defensive measures to further safeguard operations and advance best practices," the spokesperson added.
The problem of securing this data from the inside is not an easy one to solve. If the NSA was to lock down TAO systems more ferociously, that could hamper TAO's ability to effectively build tools and capabilities in the first place, and two of the sources emphasised that excessive searches would likely create a recruiting problem for the agency. "It's not prison," one of the former TAO employees said.
"The security is all predicated on you having a clearance and being trusted," the source who has worked with TAO said.
"The system is just not setup to protect against someone with a clearance who is determined to go rogue," they added.
Oct 11, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org... ... ...
U.S. and British spies systematically target all anti-virus products and companies :The British spy agency regarded the Kaspersky software in particular as a hindrance to its hacking operations and sought a way to neutralize it.
An NSA slide describing "Project CAMBERDADA" lists at least 23 antivirus and security firms that were in that spy agency's sights . They include the Finnish antivirus firm F-Secure, the Slovakian firm Eset, Avast software from the Czech Republic. and Bit-Defender from Romania. Notably missing from the list are the American anti-virus firms Symantec and McAfee as well as the UK-based firm Sophos
That the NSA and the British GCHQ did not list U.S. and British made anti-virus products on their "to do" list lets one assume that these packages can already be controlled by them.
In February 2015 Kaspersky announced that it found U.S. and UK government spying and sabotage software infecting computers in various foreign countries. Later that year the CIA and FBI tried to recruit Kaspersky employees but were warned off. In June 2015 Kaspersky Lab detected a breach in its own systems by an Israeli government malware. It published an extensive autopsy of the breach and the malware programs used in it.
That the U.S. government now attempts to damage Kaspersky is likely a sign that Kaspersky products continue to be a hard-target that the NSA and GCHQ find difficult to breach.
To justify the campaign against Kaspersky, which began in May, U.S. officials recently started to provide a series of cover stories. A diligent reading of these stories reveals inconsistencies and a lack of logic. On October 5 the Wall Street Journal reported: Russian Hackers Stole NSA Data on U.S. Cyber Defense :Hackers working for the Russian government stole details of how the U.S. penetrates foreign computer networks and defends against cyberattacks after a National Security Agency contractor removed the highly classified material and put it on his home computer, according to multiple people with knowledge of the matter.
The hackers appear to have targeted the contractor after identifying the files through the contractor's use of a popular antivirus software made by Russia-based Kaspersky Lab, these people said.
A NSA employee copied code of top-secret NSA spy tools and put it on his private computer. ("It's just that he was trying to complete the mission, and he needed the tools to do it." said 'one person familiar with the case' to WaPo.)
The Kaspersky anti-virus software, which the NSA employee had installed, identified parts of these tools as malware and uploaded them for analysis to the Kapersky's central detection database. The Kaspersky software behaved exactly as it should . Any other anti-virus software behaves similar if it detects a possibly new virus.
The "multiple people with knowledge of the matter" talking to the WSJ seem to allege that this was a "Russian hacker" breach of NSA code. But nothing was hacked. If the story is correct, the Kaspersky tool was legally installed and worked as it should. The only person in the tale who did something illegal was the NSA employee. The case also demonstrates that the NSA continues to have a massive insider security problem. There is no hint in the story to any evidence for its core claim of "Russian hackers".
... ... ...Further down the WSJ story says :The incident occurred in 2015 but wasn't discovered until spring of last year , said the people familiar with the matter."If the last sentence is true the employee must have had top access to multiple NSA programs.
The stolen material included details about how the NSA penetrates foreign computer networks, the computer code it uses for such spying and how it defends networks inside the U.S., these people said.
A new story in the New York Times today builds on the WSJ tale above. It makes the claims therein even more suspicious. The headline - How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets :It was a case of spies watching spies watching spies: Israeli intelligence officers looked on in real time as Russian government hackers searched computers around the world for the code names of American intelligence programs.
What gave the Russian hacking, detected more than two years ago , such global reach was its improvised search tool -- antivirus software made by a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, ...
The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky's own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers.
The Russian operation, described by multiple people who have been briefed on the matter, is known to have stolen classified documents from a National Security Agency employee who had improperly stored them on his home computer.
The Washington Post version of the story is remarkable different. Unlike the NYT it does not claim any Russian government involvement in Kaspersky systems:In 2015, Israeli government hackers saw something suspicious in the computers of a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm : hacking tools that could only have come from the National Security Agency.
Israel notified the NSA, where alarmed officials immediately began a hunt for the breach, according to people familiar with the matter, who said an investigation by the agency revealed that the tools were in the possession of the Russian government
Israeli spies had found the hacking material on the network of Kaspersky Lab ...
While the NYT asserts that the Russian government had access to the Kaspersky systems, the Washington Post does not assert that at all.
The NYT claims that the Israelis alerted the NSA of Russian government knowledge of its tools while WaPo says that it was the NSA itself that found this out. That Israel alerts the NSA when it has its hands on a valuable source that reveals NSA tools is not believable. There is no love lost between Israeli and U.S. spy agencies. They spy on each other whenever they can with even deadly consequences .
The NYT story is based on "current and former government officials", not on the usual " U.S. officials". It might well be that Israeli spies are spinning the NYT tale.
We already knew that the Israeli government had in 2015 breached some Kaspersky systems. Kaspersky Lab itself alarmed the public about it and provided an extensive forensic report.There are several important questions that the above quote stories do not ask:
If the Israelis detected NSA malware in the hand of the Russian government "more than two years ago" (NYT) how come that the NSA hole was only found in 2016 (WSJ)? Did the Israelis use their claimed knowledge for a year without alarming their "allies" at the NSA? Why?
And why would the detection of alleged Russian government intrusion into Kaspersky products lead to a ban of these products only in fall 2017?
If the story were true the NSA should have reacted immediately. All Kaspersky products should have been banned from U.S. government systems as soon as the problem was known. The NSA allowed the Russian government, for more than a year, to sniff through all systems of the more than two dozen American government agencies (including the military) which use the Kaspersky products? That does not make sense.
These recently provided stories stink. There is no evidence provided for the assertions therein. They make the false claim that the NSA employees computer was "hacked". Their timelines make no sense. If not complete fantasies they are likely to be heavily spun to achieve a specific goal: to justify the banning of Kaspersky products from U.S. markets.
I regard these stories as part of "blame Russia" campaign that is used by the military-industrial complex to justify new defense spending. They may also be useful in removing a good security product that the NSA failed to breach from the "western" markets.
Oilman2 | Oct 11, 2017 10:29:02 AM | 10Computers are dirt cheap these days. My first Mac cost me $3000 and the first clone PC I built cost me $1500. Today, I can buy a super-duper-anti-pooper PC device for $500. Hell folks, that is cheaper than an Iphone...Robert Browning | Oct 11, 2017 10:43:32 AM | 11
Use one computer for your critical work that has no internet connection, or use an old PC that has no network card. The OS may be uncool by today's standards, but the dang business software has hardly changed - just gotten more bloated with features.
Have one computer for exposure to wild viruses and all that crap, and another you can rely on. Move files one-way using cheap, new memory sticks.
My old PC runs the last version of Windows NT - and never crashes or locks up. It uses MS Office from that period, and the files are still readable by newer products.
My outward looking computer is either a Mac or a Linux box. I only transfer sensitive files one-way - from isolated to unisolated. Periodically, I toss the hard drive and pop in a new one. My 'sensitive' stuff is miniscule, as I don't work in the military or spook world. It's patent stuff.
And run Kaspersky - it works and the other's don't. Unless you are working on sensitive government crap, do you really even care if Russians can fish a few of your files? Do most people have PLC devices hung off their computers that stuxnet things can access?
If you have Alexa and other IoT crap - get rid of it because they are gadgets that have more downside than upside. Do you TRULY need a talking fridge? A washer you can turn on with your phone? A talking link to Google?
I don't care if the alphabet guys get my files - because they aren't of use to them. Most of the guys working at the alphabet agencies are spending their time on porno anyway or looking for blackmail files and images - which is why they can't seem to ever do anything useful except maybe foul a keyboard irretrievably.
It's hilarious to me that so much effort is put into all this when the old school ways of passing notes and talking are such simple workarounds, IF you are truly wanting privacy and fear for your precious files.Kaspersky uncovered the Stuxnet virus.sejomoje | Oct 11, 2017 11:59:05 AM | 13Yep this is payback for revealing who was behind Stuxnet, among other things. Every day, a little more USSA.LXV | Oct 11, 2017 12:27:49 PM | 14Isn't it to little to late for a payback, since it's been 5+ years since Kaspersky Labs discovered and revealed who is behind Stuxnet and Flame? Nah, this one smells more of a good ole-fashioned fascist market protectionism where you simply ban "those vile Russians" from a large portion of the market. Of course, all in context of the Empire's ongoing Blame Russia! campaign.c1ue | Oct 11, 2017 3:12:28 PM | 19Linux doesn't have many viruses - instead it has all manner of extremely dangerous 0-day bugs that can be exploited, plus a multitude of open source library vulnerabilities and channel attacks.c1ue | Oct 11, 2017 3:13:26 PM | 20
I was at a presentation by Paul Vixie - one of the 2 people who first proclaimed open source as the best way to product good and secure products 10 years ago. He's Internet Hall of Fame, ICANN Security Board, etc.
He no longer believes that for this reason: 10 years ago, there were 50 million lines of open source code, and you could rely that it was reviewed regularly and reasonably widely.
Today there are 50 billion lines of open source code, and the majority is never reviewed by anybody.
If you really want to go secure: don't use email. Don't use the internet. Just use your computer with no outside connection. Of course, you can't read Moon of Alabama, either - a fantastic way to nail all you paranoid types would be to watering hole attack this site.
As for the story: it is believable that one or more spy agencies hacked into Kaspersky's systems.
What again is not being said is whether Kaspersky was actively participating or abetting this activity.
While banning Kaspersky from US government and military isn't completely nonsensical, the reality is that *all* AV and other type of security products - any ones which auto update include FireEye, Palo Alto, Symantec, Microsoft and so forth all have the same vulnerability: The ability to access all data on a computer is an inherent ability to spy.And just FYI: Apache - you know, the source of the Struts vulnerability that lead to the Equifax breach, among others? It is Linux.Thominus | Oct 11, 2017 3:24:35 PM | 21Meanwhile its a well reported established fact that american virus/antimalware corps have allowed the FBI and other agencies to compromize their software with silent signatures - as with Magic Lantern for example (and imagine how far its gone since then)Steve | Oct 11, 2017 3:27:13 PM | 22
With such subservience by the corporations anything is possible with whats been buried in these closed source systems.
I'm pretty sure the US establishment never accuses anyone of something if they aren't already themselves doing the same in the extreme.@19 & 20c1ue | Oct 11, 2017 3:37:19 PM | 23
What you say may be correct in the most part. However, is it better to run an OS where there is a possibility of someone reviewing the code to improve it or run an OS where the vulnerabilities are intentionally left in the OS at the behest of the three-lettered agencies ? Only one choice gives the possibility of security even if it is remote.
The greater problem is the lack of maturity in so much of the software on Linux.@Steve #11blues | Oct 11, 2017 4:39:24 PM | 28
I guess you didn't read far enough into Vixie's comment: No one is reviewing the code - there is just too much.
Apache is an enormously widely used Linux platform with presumably an optimal reviewer population - it has millions of installs worldwide and is used from huge corporations to individuals, yet the Struts bug was also enormous (allows someone to remotely run code on any Apache server via a command line in a browser).
From my view as a security professional: I'd rather have a platform where there are thousands to tens of thousands of people actively trying to improve its security as opposed to one where there might be a few hundred.
The reality is that iOS, for example, is far more secure than Android.
iOS is not open source, Android is.
But the relative security has nothing to do with open sourcedness - it has to do with the architects of iOS continuously adding capabilities to make it more secure. iOS was the first widespread OS to use signed firmware updates - which is why jailbreaking an iPhone is so much harder than it used to be.
Despite that, there are still vulns which the 3 letter agencies likely know about and use.
That doesn't change the overall fact that iOS is more secure than Android and will be for the foreseeable future, because Android simply doesn't do all the things iOS can (and does) do.
If your concern is 3 letter agencies, then you need to create your own OS.
If your concern is overall security except for the 3 letter agencies, open source is *not* the way.
And lest you think I'm an Apple fanboi - I am not. I don't use iOS/iPhone/OSX or any of the Apple products for reasons outside of security. It doesn't mean I do not recognize the reality, however.Well sure if the NSA or some super-hacker specifically targets your machine, you will get owned (unless you invest in some kind of cyber Fort Knox, and are very lucky as well). These people who rant that Linus is "unsafe" are 100% full of it. In the end NOTHING is "safe". But Linux has astonishing advantages! Pay no heed to those naysayers!psychohistorian | Oct 11, 2017 4:39:53 PM | 29
I could write a book about how colossally dreadful Microsoft Windows is.
The BSD systems were clunky as hell so far.
So that leaves Linux. Big Problem: 98% of the Linuxes out there have been coerced into adopting "systemd" (yikes!). This is an allegedly open source (so it might be "audited" for trap doors and such) giant blob of 500,000+ lines of code (!) that has sneakily been infiltrated into 98% of the Linux distributions (distros) by the Red Hat Corporation and their NSA buddies. Obviously no one is ever going to "audit" it!
This Windows-like monster infests all of the Ubuntu and Linux Mint brand distros. The real question becomes "how many teams are you going to trust?"
Presumably the easiest distro to install and use "designed for home computer users" is Devuan based, systemd-free "Refracta Linux":
(I suggest ONLY the "refracta8.3_xfce_amd64-20170305_0250.iso" version for modern machines.)
You can "unlock" the upper panel, and move it to the bottom with the mouse.
You have to launch Konqueror five seconds before Firefox or it will crash :(
My very best alternative is the systemd-free "Void Linux":
(I suggest ONLY the "void-live-x86_64-20171007-xfce.iso" version for most modern machines.)
I think Void Linux is just as nice as Refracta Linux, and they have different available programs (but they can work together) but it requires a bit more Linux chops to install. I needed to get the "live DVD file" GParted, which is a free partition editor DVD that you can burn yourself for free:
Look up "Troubleshooters.Com®" -- Quick and Reliable Void Linux Installation:
I had to create a "MS-DOS"-style primary ext4 partition (could be between 80 to 200 GiB) with "boot" flag set, and a 20 GiB "Linux swap partition" with GParted before the install (may have to fiddle with the "BIOS" first). Then insert the Void DVD, open the "command window" and type "void-install". At some point the options look hopeless, but continue, and when it starts to repeat go back and back and continue on to completion. It's a BEAUTIFUL system! Have TWO passwords ready to use before starting (any Linux install) -- they might be of the form: "hermitcabbagetorus
I would get a book(s) about Linux. Maybe "Linux Cookbook" from Alibris. This will all prove to be VERY MUCH WORTH THE THE TROUBLE as time goes on!In the network security world there is this concept of a honeypot where you entice/allow the world to attack/invade your honeypot so you can study the tools they use and insure the trail back to them is useful.
If I were a security vendor I would set up a honeypot that looked like my business as simply one of many best practices. It is a great way to learn what others are doing while honing your skills at staying secure and invisible to potential perps.
If I had to wade into the "which OS is more secure" discussion I would just note that, IMO, in the long run open source is going to win the war world wide for most stuff but there will always be room for proprietary OS's and application software.
Oct 05, 2017 | www.msn.com
The hackers appear to have targeted the contractor after identifying the files through the contractor's use of a popular antivirus software made by Russia-based Kaspersky Lab, these people said.
The theft, which hasn't been disclosed, is considered by experts to be one of the most significant security breaches in recent years. It offers a rare glimpse into how the intelligence community thinks Russian intelligence exploits a widely available commercial software product to spy on the U.S.
The incident occurred in 2015 but wasn't discovered until spring of last year, said the people familiar with the matter.
The stolen material included details about how the NSA penetrates foreign computer networks, the computer code it uses for such spying and how it defends networks inside the U.S., these people said.
Having such information could give the Russian government information on how to protect its own networks, making it more difficult for the NSA to conduct its work. It also could give the Russians methods to infiltrate the networks of the U.S. and other nations, these people said.
The breach is the first known incident in which Kaspersky software is believed to have been exploited by Russian hackers to conduct espionage against the U.S. government. The company, which sells its antivirus products in the U.S., had revenue of more than half a billion dollars in Western Europe and the Americas in 2016, according to International Data Corp. By Kaspersky's own account it has more than 400 million users world-wide.
The revelation comes as concern over Russian infiltration of American computer networks and social media platforms is growing amid a U.S. special counsel's investigation into whether Donald Trump's presidential campaign sought or received assistance from the Russian government. Mr. Trump denies any impropriety and has called the matter a "witch hunt."
Intelligence officials have concluded that a campaign authorized by the highest levels of the Russian government hacked into state election-board systems and the email networks of political organizations to damage the candidacy of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
A spokesman for the NSA didn't comment on the security breach. "Whether the information is credible or not, NSA's policy is never to comment on affiliate or personnel matters," he said. He noted that the Defense Department, of which the NSA is a part, has a contract for antivirus software with another company, not Kaspersky.
In a statement, Kaspersky Lab said it "has not been provided any information or evidence substantiating this alleged incident, and as a result, we must assume that this is another example of a false accusation."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a statement didn't address whether the Russian government stole materials from the NSA using Kaspersky software. But he criticized the U.S. government's decision to ban the software from use by U.S. agencies as "undermining the competitive positions of Russian companies on the world arena."
The Kaspersky incident is the third publicly known breach at the NSA involving a contractor's access to a huge trove of highly classified materials. It prompted an official letter of reprimand to the agency's director, Adm. Michael Rogers, by his superiors, people familiar with the situation said.
Adm. Rogers came into his post in 2014 promising to staunch leaks after the disclosure that NSA contractor Edward Snowden the year before gave classified documents to journalists that revealed surveillance programs run by the U.S. and allied nations.
The Kaspersky-linked incident predates the arrest last year of another NSA contractor, Harold Martin, who allegedly removed massive amounts of classified information from the agency's headquarters and kept it at his home, but wasn't thought to have shared the data.
Mr. Martin pleaded not guilty to charges that include stealing classified information. His lawyer has said he took the information home only to get better at his job and never intended to reveal secrets.
The name of the NSA contractor in the Kaspersky-related incident and the company he worked for aren't publicly known. People familiar with the matter said he is thought to have purposely taken home numerous documents and other materials from NSA headquarters, possibly to continue working beyond his normal office hours.
The man isn't believed to have wittingly worked for a foreign government, but knew that removing classified information without authorization is a violation of NSA policies and potentially a criminal act, said people with knowledge of the breach.
It is unclear whether he has been dismissed from his job or faces charges. The incident remains under federal investigation, said people familiar with the matter.
Kaspersky software once was authorized for use by nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies, including the Army, Navy and Air Force, and the departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Justice and Treasury.
NSA employees and contractors never had been authorized to use Kaspersky software at work. While there was no prohibition against these employees or contractors using it at home, they were advised not to before the 2015 incident, said people with knowledge of the guidance the agency gave.
For years, U.S. national security officials have suspected that Kaspersky Lab, founded by a computer scientist who was trained at a KGB-sponsored technical school, is a proxy of the Russian government, which under Russian law can compel the company's assistance in intercepting communications as they move through Russian computer networks.
Kaspersky said in its statement: "As a private company, Kaspersky Lab does not have inappropriate ties to any government, including Russia, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts."
Suspicions about the company prompted the Department of Homeland Security last month to take the extraordinary step of banning all U.S. government departments and agencies from using Kaspersky products and services. Officials determined that "malicious cyber actors" could use the company's antivirus software to gain access to a computer's files, said people familiar with the matter.
The government's decision came after months of intensive discussions inside the intelligence community, as well as a study of how the software works and the company's suspected connections to the Russian government, said people familiar with the events. They said intelligence officials also were concerned that given the prevalence of Kaspersky on the commercial market, countless people could be targeted, including family members of senior government officials, or that Russia could use the software to steal information for competitive economic advantage.
"The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security," the DHS said Sept. 13 in announcing the government ban.
All antivirus software scans computers looking for malicious code, comparing what is on the machine to a master list housed at the software company. But that scanning also gives makers of the software an inventory of what is on the computer, experts say.
"It's basically the equivalent of digital dumpster diving," said Blake Darché, a former NSA employee who worked in the agency's elite hacking group that targets foreign computer systems.
Kaspersky is "aggressive" in its methods of hunting for malware, Mr. Darché said, "in that they will make copies of files on a computer, anything that they think is interesting." He said the product's user license agreement, which few customers probably read, allows this.
"You're basically surrendering your right to privacy by using Kaspersky software," said Mr. Darché, who is chief security officer for Area 1, a computer security company.
"We aggressively detect and mitigate malware infections no matter the source and we have been proudly doing it for 20 years," the company said in its statement. "We make no apologies for being aggressive in the battle against malware and cybercriminals."
U.S. investigators believe the contractor's use of the software alerted Russian hackers to the presence of files that may have been taken from the NSA, according to people with knowledge of the investigation. Experts said the software, in searching for malicious code, may have found samples of it in the data the contractor removed from the NSA.
But how the antivirus system made that determination is unclear, such as whether Kaspersky technicians programed the software to look for specific parameters that indicated NSA material. Also unclear is whether Kaspersky employees alerted the Russian government to the finding.
Investigators did determine that, armed with the knowledge that Kaspersky's software provided of what files were suspected on the contractor's computer, hackers working for Russia homed in on the machine and obtained a large amount of information, according to the people familiar with the matter.
The breach illustrates the chronic problem the NSA has had with keeping highly classified secrets from spilling out, former intelligence personnel say. They say they were rarely searched while entering or leaving their workplaces to see if they were carrying classified documents or removable storage media, such as a thumb drive.
The incident was considered so serious that it was given a classified code name and set off alarms among top national security officials because it demonstrated how the software could be used for spying. Members of Congress also were informed, said people familiar with the matter.
Then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper pushed President Barack Obama to remove Adm. Rogers as NSA head, due in part to the number of data breaches on his watch, according to several officials familiar with the matter.
The NSA director had fallen out of White House favor when he traveled to Bedminster, N.J., last November to meet with president-elect Donald Trump about taking a job in his administration, said people familiar with the matter. Adm. Rogers didn't notify his superiors, an extraordinary step for a senior military officer, U.S. officials said.
Adm. Rogers wasn't fired for a number of reasons, including a pending restructuring of the NSA that would have been further complicated by his departure, according to people with knowledge of internal deliberations. An NSA spokesman didn't comment on efforts to remove Adm. Rogers.
Write to Gordon Lubold at Gordon.Lubold@wsj.com and Shane Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct 01, 2017 | www.ibtimes.co.uk
Legitimate downloads of popular software including WhatsApp, Skype and VLC Player are allegedly being hacked at an internet service provider (ISP) level to spread an advanced form of surveillance software known as "FinFisher", cybersecurity researchers warn.
FinFisher is sold to global governments and intelligence agencies and can be used to snoop on webcam feeds, keystrokes, microphones and web browsing. Documents, previously published by WikiLeaks, indicate that one tool called "FinFly ISP" may be linked to the case.
The digital surveillance tools are peddled by an international firm called Gamma Group and have in the past been sold to repressive regimes including Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In March this year, the company attended a security conference sponsored by the UK Home Office.
This week (21 September), experts from cybersecurity firm Eset claimed that new FinFisher variants had been discovered in seven countries, two of which were being targeted by "man in the middle" (MitM) attacks at an ISP level packaging real downloads with spyware.
Companies hit included WhatsApp, Skype, Avast, VLC Player and WinRAR, it said, adding that "virtually any application could be misused in this way."
When a target of surveillance was downloading the software, they would be silently redirected to a version infected with FinFisher, research found.
When downloaded, the software would install as normal but Eset found it would also be covertly bundled with the surveillance tool. The stealthy infection process was described as being "invisible to the naked eye." The seven countries were not named for security reasons, Eset said. WhatsApp and VLC Player did not respond to request for comment by the time of publication. A Microsoft spokesperson, referencing the Skype infections, told IBTimes UK : "Windows Defender antivirus cloud protection already automatically identifies and blocks the malware. "For non-cloud customers, we've deployed signatures to protect against this in our free antivirus software," the statement added.
An Avast spokesperson said: "Attackers will always focus on the most prominent targets. "Wrapping official installers of legitimate apps with malware is not a new concept and we aren't surprised to see the PC apps mentioned in this report. "What's new is that this seems to be happening at a higher level. "We don't know if the ISPs are in cooperation with the malware distributors or whether the ISPs' infrastructure has been hijacked."
The latest version of FinFisher was spotted with new customised code which kept it from being discovered, what Eset described as "tactical improvements." Some tricks, it added, were aimed at compromising end-to-end (E2E) encryption software and known privacy tools. One such application was Threema, a secure messaging service.
"The geographical dispersion of Eset's detections of FinFisher variants suggests the MitM attack is happening at a higher level an ISP arises as the most probable option," the team said. "One of the main implications of the discovery is that they decided to use the most effective infection method and that it actually isn't hard to implement from a technical perspective," Filip Kafka, a malware researcher at Eset, told IBTimes UK. "Since we see have seen more infections than in the past surveillance campaigns, it seems that FinFisher is now more widely utilised in the monitoring of citizens in the affected countries."
Breaking encryption has become a major talking point of governments around the world, many of which conduct bulk communications collection. Politicians argue, often without evidence, that software from companies such as WhatsApp has become a burden on terror probes .
One WikiLeaks document on FinFly ISP touted its ability to conduct surveillance at an ISP level. The software's brochure boasted: "FinFly ISP is able to patch files that are downloaded by the target on-the-fly or send fake software updates for popular software. " It added that it "can be installed on an internet service provider's network" and listed one use case when it was previously deployed by an unnamed intelligence agency. Eset found that all affected targets within one of the countries were using the same ISP.
Jun 04, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.comGordon Wilson , 31 May 2017 at 09:39 PMColonel I have refrained from any posting anywhere for any reason for months, but since the discussion seems to turn to decryption so often I thought you might be interested in knowing about network management systems built into Intel and AMD based machines for years, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Active_Management_TechnologyHardware-based management does not depend on the presence of an OS or locally installed management agent. Hardware-based management has been available on Intel/AMD based computers in the past, but it has largely been limited to auto-configuration using DHCP or BOOTP for dynamic IP address allocation and diskless workstations, as well as wake-on-LAN (WOL) for remotely powering on systems. AMT is not intended to be used by itself; it is intended to be used with a software management application. It gives a management application (and thus, the system administrator who uses it) access to the PC down the wire, in order to remotely do tasks that are difficult or sometimes impossible when working on a PC that does not have remote functionalities built into it.I think our second O in OODA is getting fuzzed if we don't consider some of the observations found in "Powershift" by Toffler as well.
Intel has confirmed a Remote Elevation of Privilege bug (CVE-2017-5689) in its Management Technology, on 1 May 2017. Every Intel platform with either Intel Standard Manageability, Active Management Technology, or Small Business Technology, from Nehalem in 2008 to Kaby Lake in 2017 has a remotely exploitable security hole in the IME (Intel Management Engine) .
The point being is that many Intel and AMD based computers can and have been owned by various governments and groups for years, and at this level have access to any information on these machines before the encryption software is launched to encrypt any communications.
If this known software management tool is already on board, then extrapolation Toffler's chipping warning to unannounced or unauthorized by various actors, one begins to see where various nation states have gone back to typewriters for highly sensitive information, or are building their own chip foundries, and writing their own operating systems and TCP/IP protocols, and since these things are known knowns, one would not be too far fetched in assuming the nation state level players are communicating over something entirely different than you and I are using. How that impacts the current news cycle, and your interpretation of those events, I leave to your good judgment.
I would urge all of my fellow Americans, especially those with a megaphone, to also take care that we are not the subject of the idiom divide and conquer instead of its' master. To that end I think the concept of information overload induced by the internet may in fact be part of the increasing polarization and information bubbles we see forming with liberals and conservatives. This too fuzzes the second O in OODA and warps the D and thus the A, IMHO.
Sep 24, 2017 | apple.slashdot.org
(macrumors.com) Posted by BeauHD on Friday September 22, 2017 @10:05PM from the remote-control dept. AmiMoJo shares a report from Mac Rumors: Over the last day or two, several Mac users appear to have been locked out of their machines after hackers signed into their iCloud accounts and initiated a remote lock using Find My iPhone. With access to an iCloud user's username and password, Find My iPhone on iCloud.com can be used to "lock" a Mac with a passcode even with two-factor authentication turned on , and that's what's going on here. Affected users who have had their iCloud accounts hacked are receiving messages demanding money for the passcode to unlock a locked Mac device. The usernames and passwords of the iCloud accounts affected by this "hack" were likely found through various site data breaches and have not been acquired through a breach of Apple's servers. Impacted users likely used the same email addresses, account names, and passwords for multiple accounts, allowing people with malicious intent to figure out their iCloud details.
Sep 24, 2017 | tech.slashdot.org
(theguardian.com) 66 Posted by msmash on Friday September 22, 2017 @02:41PM from the up-next dept. Alex Hern, writing for The Guardian: A "category one" cyber-attack, the most serious tier possible, will happen "sometime in the next few years" , a director of the National Cybersecurity Centre has warned. According to the agency, which reports to GCHQ and has responsibly for ensuring the UK's information security, a category one cybersecurity incident requires a national government response. Speaking at an event about the next decade of information security, Levy warned that "sometime in the next few years we're going to have our first category one cyber-incident." The only way to prevent such a breach, he said, was to change the way businesses and governments think about cybersecurity. Rather than obsessing about buying the right security products, Levy argued, organisations should instead focus on managing risk: understanding the data they hold, the value it has, and how much damage it could do if it was lost, for instance.
Sep 24, 2017 | slashdot.org
McClatchy Washington BureauThe Trump administration's ban on the use of a Russian cybersecurity firm's software is heightening suspicion worldwide that private internet firms might be in league with their home governments, an industry leader said Wednesday.
The Trump administration last week told U.S. government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from their networks, citing alleged ties between officials at Moscow-based Kaspersky and Russian intelligence. Non-government entities and individuals may still use Kaspersky products.
But whether Russia retaliates or not, mistrust of the cybersecurity field has risen, and U.S. adversaries are likely to avoid U.S.-built software, believing that U.S. intelligence agencies may have special access , Greg Clark, chief executive of Symantec , said Wednesday.
"If you're China, if you're Russia, do you want to run American-built stuff? Probably not," Clark said at a presentation hosted by the Center for Cyber & Homeland Security at The George Washington University.
Sep 19, 2017 | www.msn.com
Computer-optimization software is supposed to keep your computer running smoothly. Well, in this case, maybe not so much. Monday, the company that makes CCleaner, Avast's Piriform, announced that their free software was infected with malware . If you use CCleaner, here's what you need to know.
What does the malware do?
It gathers information like your IP address, computer name, a list of installed software on your computer, a list of active software and a list of network adapters and sends it to a third-party computer server. Your credit card numbers, social security number and the like seem to be safe.
"Working with US law enforcement, we caused this server to be shut down on the 15th of September before any known harm was done," said the company in the announcement .Who was infected?
According to Piriform, around 3 percent -- roughly 2.27 million computers -- used the infected software. Specifically, computers running 32-bit Windows 10. If that applies to you, don't panic. The company believes that they were able to disarm the malware before any harm was done.How do I know if I have the corrupted version?
The versions that were affected are CCleaner v5.33.6162 or CCleaner Cloud v1.07.3191 for 32-bit Windows PCs. The Android version for phones doesn't seem to be affected.
If you've updated your software since September 12, you should be okay. This is when the new, uncorrupted version was released. Also, if you have the Cloud version, it should have automatically updated itself by now to the clean version.I don't use the cloud version. What should I do?
CCleaner v5.33.6162 does not update on its own, so if you use the non-cloud version you may have the corrupted software. Piriform recommends deleting your current version and downloading a clean version from their website .
After you have your new software downloaded, run a check on your system using malware protection software to be sure that CCleaner didn't leave any nasty invader behind.
Sep 16, 2017 | yro.slashdot.org
Posted by BeauHD on Monday September 11, 2017
AmiMoJo shares a report from Schneier on Security:
The ShadowBrokers released the manual for UNITEDRAKE, a sophisticated NSA Trojan that targets Windows machines :
"Able to compromise Windows PCs running on XP, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, Vista, Windows 7 SP 1 and below, as well as Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, the attack tool acts as a service to capture information.
UNITEDRAKE, described as a 'fully extensible remote collection system designed for Windows targets,' also gives operators the opportunity to take complete control of a device .
The malware's modules -- including FOGGYBOTTOM and GROK -- can perform tasks including listening in and monitoring communication, capturing keystrokes and both webcam and microphone usage, the impersonation users, stealing diagnostics information and self-destructing once tasks are completed."
Sep 16, 2017 | mobile.slashdot.org
(bleepingcomputer.com) BeauHD on Tuesday September 12, 2017
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer:
Security researchers have discovered eight vulnerabilities -- codenamed collectively as BlueBorne -- in the Bluetooth implementations used by over 5.3 billion devices. Researchers say the vulnerabilities are undetectable and unstoppable by traditional security solutions. No user interaction is needed for an attacker to use the BleuBorne flaws, nor does the attacker need to pair with a target device.
They affect the Bluetooth implementations in Android, iOS, Microsoft, and Linux , impacting almost all Bluetooth device types, from smartphones to laptops, and from IoT devices to smart cars. Furthermore, the vulnerabilities can be concocted into a self-spreading BlueTooth worm that could wreak havoc inside a company's network or even across the world. "These vulnerabilities are the most serious Bluetooth vulnerabilities identified to date," an Armis spokesperson told Bleeping Computer via email.
"Previously identified flaws found in Bluetooth were primarily at the protocol level," he added. "These new vulnerabilities are at the implementation level, bypassing the various authentication mechanisms, and enabling a complete takeover of the target device."
Consumers are recommended to disable Bluetooth unless you need to use it, but then turn it off immediately.
When a pat oid App on the Google Play Store will be able to determine if a user's Android device is vulnerable. A technical report on the BlueBorne flaws is available here (PDF).ch or update is issued and installed on your device, you should be able to turn Bluetooth back on and leave it on safely. The BlueBorne Andr
Sep 16, 2017 | politics.slashdot.org
(wsj.com) Posted by msmash on Tuesday September 12, 2017
WSJ reports: Equifax was lobbying lawmakers and federal agencies to ease up on regulation of credit-reporting companies in the months before its massive data breach. Equifax spent at least $500,000 on lobbying Congress and federal regulators in the first half of 2017 , according to its congressional lobbying-disclosure reports. Among the issues on which it lobbied was limiting the legal liability of credit-reporting companies.
That issue is the subject of a bill that a panel of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the industry, discussed the same day Equifax disclosed the cyberattack that exposed personal financial data of as many as 143 million Americans.
Equifax has also lobbied Congress and regulatory agencies on issues around "data security and breach notification" and "cybersecurity threat information sharing," according to its lobbying disclosures.
The amount Equifax spent in the first half of this year appears to be in line with previous spending. In 2016 and 2015, the company's reports show it spent $1.1 million and $1.02 million, respectively, on lobbying activities.
While the company had broadly similar lobbying issues in those years, the liability matter was new in 2017.
Aug 28, 2017 | yro.slashdot.org
(buzzfeed.com) 128 Posted by EditorDavid on Monday August 28, 2017 @06:30AM from the fraudulent-funding dept. An anonymous reader quote BuzzFeed: The vast majority of money raised to pay for the legal defense of beloved British cybersecurity researcher Marcus Hutchins was donated with stolen or fake credit card numbers , and all donations, including legitimate ones, will be returned, the manager of the defense fund says. Lawyer Tor Ekeland, who managed the fund, said at least $150,000 of the money collected came from fraudulent sources, and that the prevalence of fraudulent donations effectively voided the entire fundraiser. He said he'd been able to identify only about $4,900 in legitimate donations, but that he couldn't be certain even of those. "I don't want to take the risk, so I just refunded everything," he said. Two days later, Hutchins posted the following on Twitter . "When sellouts are talking shit about the 'infosec community' remember that someone I'd never met flew to Vegas to pay $30K cash for my bail." Hutchins is facing up to 40 years in prison, and at first was only allowed to leave his residence for four hours each week. Thursday a judge lifted some restrictions so that Hutchins is now allowed to travel to Milwaukee, where his employer is located. According to Bloomberg, government prosecutors complain Hutchins now " has too much freedom while awaiting trial and may skip the country." Clickthrough for a list of the evidence government prosecutors submitted to the court this week.
Jul 08, 2017 | yro.slashdot.org
An anonymous reader writes: The author of the original Petya ransomware -- a person/group going by the name of Janus Cybercrime Solutions -- has released the master decryption key of all past Petya versions . This key can decrypt all ransomware families part of the Petya family except NotPetya,
Most (original) Petya campaigns happened in 2016, and very few campaigns have been active this year. Users that had their files locked have wiped drives or paid the ransom many months before. The key will only help those victims who cloned their drives and saved a copy of the encrypted data. Experts believe that Janus released Petya's decryption key as a result of the recent NotPetya outbreak, and he might have decided to shut down his operation to avoid further scrutiny, or being accused of launching NotPetya.
Jul 03, 2017 | politics.slashdot.org
tinkerton ( 199273 ) , Monday July 03, 2017 @05:19PM ( #54738011 )Re:The Russians ate my homework... ( Score: 4 , Insightful)bogaboga ( 793279 ) , Monday July 03, 2017 @01:17PM ( #54736005 )
The article's central message is plausible: Russia running a cyberwar against Ukraine and at the same time trying to build up knowhow. But at the same time the author knows that he can write anything about Russia and it will be believed. At the same time the story is part of a large anti-Russia and anti Trump campaign.
I don't keep track so I don't have a lot of links ready but I know the news about a russian cyberattack on US powerplant was bogus. Russian hacking of DNC was bogus.Russian-Trump links are bogus. Russian hacking of french elections was bogus. But these debunkings only come through very slowly. On the other side there is a barrage of claims that is so overwhelming nobody can begin to debunk them.
And I see good reasons why the democrats and the military industrical complex prefer to have high tensions with Russia and why they want to blame Russia for the failed elections. And I see why the press goes along with it.
And I think that whatever Russia is doing(a lot less than claimed, but certainly a lot of business as usual nasty stuff) it's a good idea to improve the ties with them rather than deteriorate them. That is my opinion about policy. That it's in the west's interest. I also think they're open for chances for improvement , at least as long as Putin is there.
But look at this thread. It's almost unanimous against Russia. Any outsider looking here without any knowledge of the situation would know, this is bad. It means no good thinking will come out of it.(there's more reasons for that though). It also means propaganda is still very effective here and now.
So the article of the topic here may have a good degree of truth, but it's all part of an anti-russian frenzy which I think is a very bad idea.
Here's a new link about a lot of the hacking stories. It covers quite some ground. I'd have to dig for the rest. The ones I mentioned are some I'm pretty certain of although one can debate how convincing the proof is. https://consortiumnews.com/201... [consortiumnews.com]
I didn't discuss Trump. I'd like to get rid of him but I'm convinced the current campaign to link him to Russia is extremely dishonest. He's right about that. Maybe he'll go down because in his efforts to stop them he'll do something very illegal. Or maybe he'll stay in power because he made the right friends. The Saudis and the weapons manufacturers for instance. Then all that the anti Russia campaign will have achieved is to give us the worst of both worlds. Thanks for cooperating everyone.Wow...wait a moment... ( Score: 2 )atomlib ( 2618043 ) writes: on Monday July 03, 2017 @01:05PM ( #54735925 ) HomepageRussia Behind Cyber-attack, Says Ukraine's Security Service
I think it's premature to jump to such conclusions since we know that our very own CIA has also been implicated...
Vault 7 [wikileaks.org] and more. [wired.com]Russian companies were hit by that Petya thing ( Score: 1 , Troll)qaz123 ( 2841887 ) writes: on Monday July 03, 2017 @02:42PM ( #54736649 )
Whatever it was, that Petya thing hit bunch of Russian companies as well. For example, it hit Russia's top oil providers Rosneft and Bashneft. Some of them suffered quite a bit. Invitro, a nationwide network of private medical laboratories, temporarily ceased samples collection due to the cyberattack.Ukraine says... ( Score: 1 )
Of course Ukraine would say that. No matter it's true or not. Because that hurts Russia and that what Ukraine wants nowRe:The only true security is renewables ( Score: 2 ) by tinkerton ( 199273 ) writes: on Monday July 03, 2017 @05:24PM ( #54738061 )
Because we don't fear the bear.
Exactly.When we're enthusiastically demonizing some party it means we're not scared of them. There have been exceptions, but that's long ago.
Jul 04, 2017 | original.antiwar.comCyber-criminal efforts to hack into U.S. government databases are epidemic, but this ugly reality is now being exploited to foist blame on Russia and fuel the New Cold War hysteria
Recent hearings by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees reflected the rising tide of Russian-election-hacking hysteria and contributed further to it. Both Democrats and Republicans on the two committees appeared to share the alarmist assumptions about Russian hacking, and the officials who testified did nothing to discourage the politicians.
On June 21, Samuel Liles, acting director of the Intelligence and Analysis Office's Cyber Division at the Department of Homeland Security, and Jeanette Manfra, acting deputy under secretary for cyber-security and communications, provided the main story line for the day in testimony before the Senate committee - that efforts to hack into election databases had been found in 21 states.
Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap also endorsed the narrative of Russian government responsibility for the intrusions on voter registration databases.
But none of those who testified offered any evidence to support this suspicion nor were they pushed to do so. And beneath the seemingly unanimous embrace of that narrative lies a very different story.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a record of spreading false stories about alleged Russian hacking into US infrastructure , such as the tale of a Russian intrusion into the Burlington, Vermont electrical utility in December 2016 that DHS later admitted was untrue. There was another bogus DHS story about Russia hacking into a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011.
So, there's a pattern here. Plus, investigators, assessing the notion that Russia hacked into state electoral databases, rejected that suspicion as false months ago. Last September, Assistant Secretary of DHS for Cybersecurity Andy Ozment and state officials explained that the intrusions were not carried out by Russian intelligence but by criminal hackers seeking personal information to sell on the Internet.
Both Ozment and state officials responsible for the state databases revealed that those databases have been the object of attempted intrusions for years. The FBI provided information to at least one state official indicating that the culprits in the hacking of the state's voter registration database were cyber-criminals.
Illinois is the one state where hackers succeeded in breaking into a voter registration database last summer. The crucial fact about the Illinois hacking, however, was that the hackers extracted personal information on roughly 90,000 registered voters, and that none of the information was expunged or altered.
The Actions of Cybercriminals
That was an obvious clue to the motive behind the hack. Assistant DHS Secretary Ozment testified before the House Subcommittee on Information Technology on Sept. 28 ( at 01:02.30 of the video ) that the apparent interest of the hackers in copying the data suggested that the hacking was "possibly for the purpose of selling personal information."
Ozment 's testimony provides the only credible motive for the large number of states found to have experienced what the intelligence community has called "scanning and probing" of computers to gain access to their electoral databases: the personal information involved even e-mail addresses is commercially valuable to the cybercriminal underworld.
That same testimony also explains why so many more states reported evidence of attempts to hack their electoral databases last summer and fall. After hackers had gone after the Illinois and Arizona databases, Ozment said, DHS had provided assistance to many states in detecting attempts to hack their voter registration and other databases.
"Any time you more carefully monitor a system you're going to see more bad guys poking and prodding at it," he observed, " because they're always poking and prodding." [Emphasis added]
State election officials have confirmed Ozment's observation. Ken Menzel, the general counsel for the Illinois Secretary of State, told this writer, "What's new about what happened last year is not that someone tried to get into our system but that they finally succeeded in getting in." Menzel said hackers "have been trying constantly to get into it since 2006."
And it's not just state voter registration databases that cybercriminals are after, according to Menzel. "Every governmental data base driver's licenses, health care, you name it has people trying to get into it," he said.
Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan told Mother Jones that her I.T. specialists had detected 193,000 distinct attempts to get into the state's website in September 2016 alone and 11,000 appeared to be trying to "do harm."
Reagan further revealed that she had learned from the FBI that hackers had gotten a user name and password for their electoral database, and that it was being sold on the "dark web" an encrypted network used by cyber criminals to buy and sell their wares. In fact, she said, the FBI told her that the probe of Arizona's database was the work of a "known hacker" who had been closely monitored "frequently."
James Comey's Role
The sequence of events indicates that the main person behind the narrative of Russian hacking state election databases from the beginning was former FBI Director James Comey. In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 28, Comey suggested that the Russian government was behind efforts to penetrate voter databases, but never said so directly.
Comey told the committee that FBI Counterintelligence was working to "understand just what mischief Russia is up to with regard to our elections." Then he referred to "a variety of scanning activities" and "attempted intrusions" into election-related computers "beyond what we knew about in July and August," encouraging the inference that it had been done by Russian agents.
The media then suddenly found unnamed sources ready to accuse Russia of hacking election data even while admitting that they lacked evidence. The day after Comey's testimony ABC headlined , "Russia Hacking Targeted Nearly Half of States' Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrating 4." The story itself revealed, however, that it was merely a suspicion held by "knowledgeable" sources.
Similarly, NBC News headline announced, "Russians Hacked Two US Voter Databases, Officials Say." But those who actually read the story closely learned that in fact none of the unnamed sources it cited were actually attributing the hacking to the Russians.
It didn't take long for Democrats to turn the Comey teaser - and these anonymously sourced stories with misleading headlines about Russian database hacking - into an established fact. A few days later, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff declared that there was "no doubt" Russia was behind the hacks on state electoral databases.
On Oct. 7, DHS and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement that they were "not in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian government." But only a few weeks later, DHS participated with FBI in issuing a "Joint Analysis Report" on "Russian malicious cyber activity" that did not refer directly to scanning and spearphishing aimed of state electoral databases but attributed all hacks related to the election to "actors likely associated with RIS [Russian Intelligence Services]."
But that claim of a "likely" link between the hackers and Russia was not only speculative but highly suspect. The authors of the DHS-ODNI report claimed the link was "supported by technical indicators from the US intelligence community, DHS, FBI, the private sector and other entities." They cited a list of hundreds of I.P. addresses and other such "indicators" used by hackers they called "Grizzly Steppe" who were supposedly linked to Russian intelligence.
But as I reported last January, the staff of Dragos Security, whose CEO Rob Lee, had been the architect of a US government system for defense against cyber attack, pointed out that the vast majority of those indicators would certainly have produced "false positives."
Then, on Jan. 6 came the "intelligence community assessment" produced by selected analysts from CIA, FBI and National Security Agency and devoted almost entirely to the hacking of e-mail of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta. But it included a statement that "Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple state or local election boards." Still, no evidence was evinced on this alleged link between the hackers and Russian intelligence.
Over the following months, the narrative of hacked voter registration databases receded into the background as the drumbeat of media accounts about contacts between figures associated with the Trump campaign and Russians built to a crescendo, albeit without any actual evidence of collusion regarding the e-mail disclosures.
But a June 5 story brought the voter-data story back into the headlines. The story, published by The Intercept, accepted at face value an NSA report dated May 5, 2017 , that asserted Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, had carried out a spear-phishing attack on a US company providing election-related software and had sent e-mails with a malware-carrying word document to 122 addresses believed to be local government organizations.
But the highly classified NSA report made no reference to any evidence supporting such an attribution. The absence of any hint of signals intelligence supporting its conclusion makes it clear that the NSA report was based on nothing more than the same kind of inconclusive "indicators" that had been used to establish the original narrative of Russians hacking electoral databases.
A Checkered History
So, the history of the US government's claim that Russian intelligence hacked into election databases reveals it to be a clear case of politically motivated analysis by the DHS and the Intelligence Community. Not only was the claim based on nothing more than inherently inconclusive technical indicators but no credible motive for Russian intelligence wanting personal information on registered voters was ever suggested.
Russian intelligence certainly has an interest in acquiring intelligence related to the likely outcome of American elections, but it would make no sense for Russia's spies to acquire personal voting information about 90,000 registered voters in Illinois.
When FBI Counterintelligence chief Priestap was asked at the June 21 hearing how Moscow might use such personal data, his tortured effort at an explanation clearly indicated that he was totally unprepared to answer the question.
"They took the data to understand what it consisted of," said Priestap, "so they can affect better understanding and plan accordingly in regards to possibly impacting future election by knowing what is there and studying it."
In contrast to that befuddled non-explanation, there is highly credible evidence that the FBI was well aware that the actual hackers in the cases of both Illinois and Arizona were motivated by the hope of personal gain.
Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare . He can be contacted at email@example.com . Reprinted from Consortium News with the author's permission.Read more by Gareth Porter Why Afghanistan? Fighting a War for the War System Itself June 13th, 2017 The Kissinger Backchannel to Moscow June 4th, 2017 Will Trump Agree to the Pentagon's Permanent War in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? May 14th, 2017 US 'Deep State' Sold Out Counter-Terrorism To Keep Itself in Business April 23rd, 2017 New Revelations Belie Trump Claims on Syria Chemical Attack April 14th, 2017
View all posts by Gareth Porter
Jul 01, 2017 | www.nytimes.com
Twice in the past month, National Security Agency cyberweapons stolen from its arsenal have been turned against two very different partners of the United States - Britain and Ukraine .
The N.S.A. has kept quiet, not acknowledging its role in developing the weapons. White House officials have deflected many questions, and responded to others by arguing that the focus should be on the attackers themselves, not the manufacturer of their weapons.
But the silence is wearing thin for victims of the assaults, as a series of escalating attacks using N.S.A. cyberweapons have hit hospitals, a nuclear site and American businesses. Now there is growing concern that United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands.
On Wednesday, the calls for the agency to address its role in the latest attacks grew louder, as victims and technology companies cried foul . Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat and a former Air Force officer who serves on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees, urged the N.S.A. to help stop the attacks and to stop hoarding knowledge of the computer vulnerabilities upon which these weapons rely.
Though the original targets of Tuesday's attacks appear to have been government agencies and businesses in Ukraine, the attacks inflicted enormous collateral damage, taking down some 2,000 global targets in more than 65 countries, including Merck, the American drug giant, Maersk, the Danish shipping company, and Rosneft, the Russian state owned energy giant. The attack so crippled operations at a subsidiary of Federal Express that trading had to be briefly halted for FedEx stock.
"When these viruses fall into the wrong hands, people can use them for financial gain, or whatever incentive they have - and the greatest fear is one of miscalculation, that something unintended can happen," Mr. Panetta said.
Jun 30, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.commarknesop , June 28, 2017 at 10:57 pmThe world's most reprehensible newspaper, The New York Times , is quick to blame the ransomeware attack which crippled computers in Ukraine on Russia . Never mind the evidence; Ukrainians say Russia did it, and Ukrainians never lie. Moreover, they say it was Russia because just a couple of days ago a senior government official was blown up in a car bomb attack, and that was Russia, so they probably did this, too. QED.
Curiously enough, another Times story from just a little over a month ago reported a near-identical attack, which it said was executed using malicious software 'stolen' from the NSA's tickle trunk .
Uh huh. Sure it was. And Cisco Systems is right there in Kiev, 'helping' Ukraine pin down the origin of the attack.
For what it's worth, one of our favouritest authors, Molly McKew at the Washington Post , the world's second-most-reprehensible newspaper quickly makes the connection between Shapoval's murder and Russia , which she says is the wide assumption of experts.
[Jun 30, 2017] the first target of the attack: MEDoc, a Ukrainian company that develops tax accounting software and malware initially spead through a system updater process
Jun 30, 2017 | www.msn.com
While there are still plenty of unknowns regarding Petya, security researchers have pinpointed what they believe to be the first target of the attack: M.E.Doc, a Ukrainian company that develops tax accounting software.
The initial attack took aim the software supply chain of the tax software MEDoc, which then spread through a system updater process that carried malicious code to thousands of machines, including those who do business in Ukraine.
[Jun 28, 2017] New computer virus spreads from Ukraine to disrupt world business
Small sum of money demanded might suggest Ukranian origin as $300 is big money in this country empioverished by Maydan coup detat.
Jun 28, 2017 | www.msn.com
U.S. delivery firm FedEx Corp said its TNT Express division had been significantly affected by the virus, which also wormed its way into South America, affecting ports in Argentina operated by China's Cofco.
The malicious code locked machines and demanded victims post a ransom worth $300 in bitcoins or lose their data entirely, similar to the extortion tactic used in the global WannaCry ransomware attack in May.
More than 30 victims paid up but security experts are questioning whether extortion was the goal, given the relatively small sum demanded, or whether the hackers were driven by destructive motives rather than financial gain.
Hackers asked victims to notify them by email when ransoms had been paid but German email provider Posteo quickly shut down the address, a German government cyber security official said.While the malware seemed to be a variant of past campaigns, derived from code known as Eternal Blue believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), experts said it was not as virulent as May's WannaCry attack.
Security researchers said Tuesday's virus could leap from computer to computer once unleashed within an organisation but, unlike WannaCry, it could not randomly trawl the internet for its next victims, limiting its scope to infect.
Bushiness that installed Microsoft's latest security patches from earlier this year and turned off Windows file-sharing features appeared to be largely unaffected. A number of the international firms hit have operations in Ukraine, and the virus is believed to have spread within global corporate networks after gaining traction within the country. ... ... ...
Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, which handles one in seven containers shipped worldwide, has a logistics unit in Ukraine.
Other large firms affected, such as French construction materials company Saint Gobain and Mondelez International Inc, which owns chocolate brand Cadbury, also have operations in the country.
Maersk was one of the first global firms to be taken down by the cyber attack and its operations at major ports such as Mumbai in India, Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Los Angeles on the U.S. west coast were disrupted.
Other companies to succumb included BNP Paribas Real Estate , a part of the French bank that provides property and investment management services.
"The international cyber attack hit our non-bank subsidiary, Real Estate. The necessary measures have been taken to rapidly contain the attack," the bank said on Wednesday.
Production at the Cadbury factory on the Australian island state of Tasmania ground to a halt late on Tuesday after computer systems went down.
Russia's Rosneft, one of the world's biggest crude producers by volume, said on Tuesday its systems had suffered "serious consequences" but oil production had not been affected because it switched to backup systems. (Additional reporting by Helen Reid in London, Teis Jensen in Copenhagen, Maya Nikolaeva in Paris, Shadia Naralla in Vienna, Marcin Goettig in Warsaw, Byron Kaye in Sydney, John O'Donnell in Frankfurt, Ari Rabinovitch in Tel Aviv and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bangalore; writing by Eric Auchard and David Clarke; editing by David Clarke)
[Jun 28, 2017] Ukrainian Banks, Electricity Firm Hit by Fresh Cyber Attack; Reports Claim the Ransomware Is Quickly Spreading Across the World
"... ( a non-paywalled source ) ..."
Jun 28, 2017 | it.slashdot.org
Posted by msmash on Tuesday June 27, 2017
A massive cyber attack has disrupted businesses and services in Ukraine on Tuesday, bringing down the government's website and sparking officials to warn that airline flights to and from the country's capital city Kiev could face delays. Motherboard reports that the ransomware is quickly spreading across the world.
From a report:
A number of Ukrainian banks and companies, including the state power distributor, were hit by a cyber attack on Tuesday that disrupted some operations ( a non-paywalled source ) , the Ukrainian central bank said. The latest disruptions follow a spate of hacking attempts on state websites in late-2016 and repeated attacks on Ukraine's power grid that prompted security chiefs to call for improved cyber defences. The central bank said an "unknown virus" was to blame for the latest attacks, but did not give further details or say which banks and firms had been affected. "As a result of these cyber attacks these banks are having difficulties with client services and carrying out banking operations," the central bank said in a statement.
BBC reports that Ukraine's aircraft manufacturer Antonov, two postal services, Russian oil producer Rosneft and Danish shipping company Maersk are also facing "disruption, including its offices in the UK and Ireland ." According to local media reports, the "unknown virus" cited above is a ransomware strain known as Petya.A .
Here's how Petya encrypts files on a system (video).
News outlet Motherboard reports that Petya has hit targets in Spain, France, Ukraine, Russia, and other countries as well .
From the report:
"We are seeing several thousands of infection attempts at the moment, comparable in size to Wannacry's first hours," Costin Raiu, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, told Motherboard in an online chat. Judging by photos posted to Twitter and images provided by sources, many of the alleged attacks involved a piece of ransomware that displays red text on a black background, and demands $300 worth of bitcoin. "If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible, because they are encrypted," the text reads, according to one of the photos. "Perhaps you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but don't waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service."
[Jun 28, 2017] Heritage Valley Health System Target Of Cyber Attack
Jun 28, 2017 | it.slashdot.org(cbslocal.com) 23 Posted by msmash on Tuesday June 27, 2017 @03:20PM from the aggressive-expansion dept. The Heritage Valley Health System says it has been hit with a cyber attack. From a report: A spokeswoman confirmed the attack Tuesday morning. "Heritage Valley Health System has been affected by a cyber security incident . The incident is widespread and is affecting the entire health system including satellite and community locations. We have implemented downtime procedures and made operational adjustments to ensure safe patient care continues un-impeded." Heritage Valley is a $480 million network that provides care for residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties, in Pennsylvania; parts of eastern Ohio; and the panhandle of West Virginia. Also read: Ukrainian Banks, Electricity Firm Hit by Fresh Cyber Attack; Reports Claim the Ransomware Is Quickly Spreading Across the World .
[Jun 28, 2017] Hacker Behind Massive Ransomware Outbreak Cant Get Emails From Victims Who Paid
Jun 28, 2017 | it.slashdot.org(vice.com) 143 Posted by msmash on Tuesday June 27, 2017 @04:41PM from the interesting-turns dept. Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: On Tuesday, a new, worldwide ransomware outbreak took off, infecting targets in Ukraine, France, Spain, and elsewhere . The hackers hit everything from international law firms to media companies. The ransom note demands victims send bitcoin to a predefined address and contact the hacker via email to allegedly have their files decrypted. But the email company the hacker happened to use, Posteo, says it has decided to block the attacker's account, leaving victims with no obvious way to unlock their files . [...] The hacker tells victims to send $300 worth of bitcoin. But to determine who exactly has paid, the hacker also instructs people to email their bitcoin wallet ID, and their "personal installation key." This is a 60 character code made up of letters and digits generated by the malware, which is presumably unique to each infection of the ransomware. That process is not possible now, though. "Midway through today (CEST) we became aware that ransomware blackmailers are currently using a Posteo address as a means of contact," Posteo, the German email provider the hacker had an account with, wrote in a blog post. "Our anti-abuse team checked this immediately -- and blocked the account straight away.
[Jun 28, 2017] Petya Ransomware Outbreak Originated In Ukraine Via Tainted Accounting Software
Jun 28, 2017 | tech.slashdot.org
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer:
Today's massive ransomware outbreak was caused by a malicious software update for M.E.Doc , a popular accounting software used by Ukrainian companies. According to several researchers, such as Cisco Talos , ESET , MalwareHunter , Kaspersky Lab , and others , an unknown attacker was able to compromise the software update mechanism for M.E.Doc's servers, and deliver a malicious update to customers. When the update reached M.E.Doc's customers, the tainted software packaged delivered the Petya ransomware -- also referenced online as NotPetya, or Petna. The Ukrainian software vendor appears to have inadvertently confirmed that something was wrong when, this morning, issued a security advisory . Hours later, as the ransomware outbreak spread all over Ukraine and other countries across the globe causing huge damages, M.E.Doc denied on Facebook its servers ever served any malware. According to security researcher MalwareHunter, this is not the first time M.E.Doc has carried a malicious software update that delivered ransomware. Back in May, the company's software update mechanism also helped spread the XData ransomware .
[Jun 28, 2017] Petya cyber attack Ransomware spreads across Europe with firms in Ukraine, Britain and Spain shut down
Jun 28, 2017 | telegraph.co.uk
Ransomware is 2016-programme 'Petya'Ransomware known as Petya seems to have re-emerged to affect computer systems across Europe, causing issues primarily in Ukraine, Russia, England and India, a Swiss government information technology agency has told Reuters.
"There have been indications of late that Petya is in circulation again, exploiting the SMB (Server Message Block) vulnerability," the Swiss Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI) said in an e-mail.
I t said it had no information that Swiss companies had been impacted, but said it was following the situation. The Petya virus was blamed for disrupting systems in 2016.
Russia's top oil producer Rosneft said a large-scale cyber attack hit its servers on Tuesday, with computer systems at some banks and the main airport in neighbouring Ukraine also disrupted. 3:48PM 'A multi-pronged attack' "This appears to be a multi-pronged attack that started with a phishing campaign targeting infrastructure in the Ukraine," said Allan Liska, a security analyst at Recorded Future.
"There is some speculation that, like WannaCry, this attack is being spread using the EternalBlue exploit which would explain why it is spreading so quickly (having reached targets in Spain and France in addition to the Ukraine).
[Jun 28, 2017] Petya cyber attack: Ransomware spreads across Europe with firms in Ukraine, Britain and Spain shut down
Jun 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.comMoscow Exile , June 27, 2017 at 11:42 amPetya cyber attack: Ransomware spreads across Europe with firms in Ukraine, Britain and Spain shut downMoscow Exile , June 27, 2017 at 11:46 am
Huge cyber attack cripples firms, airports, banks and government departments in Ukraine
Hack may have spread to Britain, with the advertising firm WPP affected
Danish and Spanish multinationals also paralysed by attack
Michael Fallon warns UK could respond to cyber attacks with military force
The Defence Secretary has said the UK would be prepared to retaliate against future cyber attacks using military force such as missile strikes.
He warned cyber attacks against UK systems "could invite a response from any domain air, land, sea or cyberspace".
Tough guy, huh?
What a tosser!
Blah, blah, fucking-blah.
And the firm where I was working this afternoon, MSD Pharmaceuticals, has been down all day.
That's in Moscow.
Anyone said "Putin done it!" yet?Comment to same story in the Independent:Moscow Exile , June 27, 2017 at 1:52 pm
This story was being reported as an attack on Ukraine alone by this a- wipe earlier today (and Russia were being put in the frame for it)
The attack was always a global one and indeed many Russian companies have been hit but of course the 1% want the world to believe it is all down to the Russian government.
Add to that bit of knowledge the extra bits of knowledge that the 1% are all buying up properties in New Zealand all of a sudden and the US are suddenly pushing hard against the Syrian government, notwithstanding the fact that Russia are allied to Syria and Iran in their fight against terrorism (i.e. the US)
Can you all now see what is going on in the minds of those that would rule the world?Kremlin says its computers not affected by hacker attackmarknesop , June 27, 2017 at 3:50 pm
Well there you are, then!
The Kremlin must have been behind the attacks.
Stands to reason, don't it?Actually, they blame North Korea for it, although that seems pretty unlikely to me and is more likely just capitalizing on an event to do a little bashing.kirill , June 27, 2017 at 6:58 pm
Why is Fallon only prepared to respond militarily to the next attack? Why not this one? Come on, Mikey, get your finger out! What're they paying you for?Trash talking chihuahua.
[Jun 28, 2017] Petya -- a worm that encrypts that harddrive, which used hijacking of update channel of poorly written commercial software for propagating
[Jun 28, 2017] Huge ransomware outbreak spreads in Ukraine and beyond The Register
tech.slashdot.orgUpdated A huge ransomware outbreak has hit major banks, utilities and telcos in Ukraine as well as victims in other countries.
Check out our full analysis of the software nasty, here .
Early analysis of the attack points towards a variant of the known Petya ransomware , a strain of malware that encrypts the filesystem tables and hijacks the Master Boot Record to ensure it starts before the operating system on infected Windows PCs. Early reports suggest the malware is spreading using by network shares and email but this remains unconfirmed. The outbreak is centred but not confined to the Ukraine. Victims in Spain, France and Russia have also been reported.
Victims include Ukrainian power distribution outfit Ukrenergo, which said the problem is confined to its computer network and is not affecting its power supply operations, Reuters reports . Other victims include Oschadbank, one of Ukraine's largest state-owned lenders.
Global shipping outfit Maersk Group is also under the cosh.
Hackers behind the attack are demanding $300 (payable in Bitcoin) to unlock each computer. It's easy to ascribe any computing problem in Ukraine to Russia because of the ongoing conflict between the two countries, but the culprits behind the latest attack are just as likely to be cybercriminals as state-sponsored saboteurs, judging by the evidence that's emerged this far.
"While ransomware can be (and has been) used to cover other attacks, I think it's wise to consider Ukraine attack cybercriminal for now," said Martijn Grooten, editor of Virus Bulletin and occasional security researcher. ®
Updated at 1500 UTC to add : Allan Liska, intelligence architect at Recorded Future, said the attack has multiple components including an attack to steal login credentials as well as trash compromised computers.
"This appears to be a multi-pronged attack that started with a phishing campaign targeting infrastructure in the Ukraine," Liska said. "The payload of the phishing attack is twofold: an updated version of the Petya ransomware (older version of Petya are well-known for their viciousness, rather than encrypt select files Petya overwrote the master boot record on the victim machine, making it completely inoperable)."
There is some speculation that, like WannaCrypt, this attack is being spread using the EternalBlue exploit, which would explain why it is spreading so quickly (having reached targets in Spain and France in addition to the Ukraine). "Our threat intelligence also indicated that we are now starting to see US victims of this attack," according to Liska.
There are also reports that the payload includes a variant of Loki Bot in addition to the ransomware. Loki Bot is a banking Trojan that extracts usernames and passwords from compromised computers. This means this attack not only could make the victim's machine inoperable, it could steal valuable information that an attacker can take advantage of during the confusion, according to Recorded Future.
Updated at 1509 UTC to add : Reg sources from inside London firms have been notifying us that they've been infected. We were sent this screenshot (cropped to protect the innocent) just minutes ago:
[Jun 24, 2017] Obama Ordered Cyberweapons Implanted Into Russias Infrastructure by Jason Ditz
Jun 23, 2017 | news.antiwar.com
Former Official: Implants Designed to 'Cause Them Pain and Discomfort'A new report from the Washington Post today quoted a series of Obama Administration officials reiterating their official narrative on Russia's accused hacking of the 2016 election. While most of the article is simply rehashes and calls for sanctions, they also revealed a secret order by President Obama in the course of "retaliation" for the alleged hacking.
This previously secret order involved having US intelligence design and implant a series of cyberweapons into Russia's infrastructure systems, with officials saying they are meant to be activated remotely to hit the most important networks in Russia and are designed to " cause them pain and discomfort ."
The US has, of course, repeatedly threatened "retaliatory" cyberattacks against Russia, and promised to knock out broad parts of their economy in doing so. These appear to be the first specific plans to have actually infiltrate Russian networks and plant such weapons to do so.
Despite the long-standing nature of the threats, by the end of Obama's last term in office this was all still in the "planning" phases. It's not totally clear where this effort has gone from there, but officials say that the intelligence community, once given Obama's permission, did not need further approval from Trump to continue on with it, and he'd have actually had to issue a countermanding order, something they say he hasn't.
The details are actually pretty scant on how far along the effort is, but the goal is said to be for the US to have the ability to retaliate at a moment's notice the next time they have a cyberattack they intend to blame on Russia.
Unspoken in this lengthy report, which quotes unnamed former Obama Administration officials substantially, advocating the effort, is that in having reported that such a program exists, they've tipped off Russia about the threat.
This is, however, reflective of the priority of the former administration, which is to continuing hyping allegations that Russia got President Trump elected, a priority that's high enough to sacrifice what was supposed to be a highly secretive cyberattack operation.
[Jun 17, 2017] Fileless malware targeting US restaurants went undetected by most AV
Jun 17, 2017 | arstechnica.comResearchers have detected a brazen attack on restaurants across the United States that uses a relatively new technique to keep its malware undetected by virtually all antivirus products on the market. Further Reading A rash of invisible, fileless malware is infecting banks around the globe Malicious code used in so-called fileless attacks resides almost entirely in computer memory, a feat that prevents it from leaving the kinds of traces that are spotted by traditional antivirus scanners. Once the sole province of state-sponsored spies casing the highest value targets , the in-memory techniques are becoming increasingly common in financially motivated hack attacks . They typically make use of commonly used administrative and security-testing tools such as PowerShell, Metasploit, and Mimikatz, which attackers use to feed malicious commands to targeted computers.
FIN7, an established hacking group with ties to the Carbanak Gang , is among the converts to this new technique, researchers from security firm Morphisec reported in a recently published blog post . The dynamic link library file it's using to infect Windows computers in an ongoing attack on US restaurants would normally be detected by just about any AV program if the file was written to a hard drive. But because the file contents are piped into computer memory using PowerShell, the file wasn't visible to any of the 56 most widely used AV programs, according to a Virus Total query conducted earlier this month.
"FIN7 constantly upgrades their attacks and evasion techniques, thus becoming even more dangerous and unpredictable," Morphisec Vice President of Research and Development Michael Gorelik wrote. "The analysis of this attack shows, how easy it is for them to bypass static, dynamic and behavior based solutions. These attacks pose a severe risk to enterprises."
Anatomy of an infection
"This shellcode iterates over process environment block and looks immediately for dnsapi.dll name (xor 13) and its DnsQueryA function," Gorelik explained. "Basically, FIN7 implemented a shellcode that gets the next stage shellcode using the DNS messaging technique directly from memory. This way they can successfully evade many of the behavior based solutions."
The attack isn't the first to generate PowerShell scripts based on DNS requests. Cisco Systems' Talos Threat Research Group saw something similar in March . FIN7's ongoing campaign against restaurants suggests the technique won't be going away anytime soon.
[Jun 17, 2017] Dear AV provider: Do you enable NSA spying? Yours, EFF
Jun 17, 2017 | arstechnica.com
Open letter from 25 groups asks AV firms if they cooperate with spy agencies.The Electronic Frontier Foundation, security expert Bruce Schneier, and 23 others have called on antivirus providers around the world to protect their users against malware spawned by the National Security Agency and other groups that carry out government surveillance.
The move comes amid revelations that the NSA has a wide-ranging menu of software exploits at its disposal that have been used to identify users of the Tor anonymity service , track iPhone users , and monitor the communications of surveillance targets. Schneier has said that the NSA only relies on these methods when analysts have a high degree of confidence that the malware won't be noticed. That means detection by AV programs could make the difference between such attacks succeeding, failing, or being used at all.
"As a manufacturer of antivirus software, your company has a vital position in providing security and maintaining the trust of internet users as they engage in sensitive activities such as electronic banking," the 25 signatories wrote in an open letter sent on Thursday to AV companies . "Consequently, there should be no doubt that your company's software provides the security needed to maintain this trust."
The letter went on to ask each company to reply to a list of questions about their cooperation with spy agencies. The questions included:
Have you ever detected the use of software by any government (or state actor) for the purpose of surveillance? Have you ever been approached with a request by a government, requesting that the presence of specific software is not detected, or if detected, not notified to the user of your software? And if so, could you provide information on the legal basis of this request, the specific kind of software you were supposed to allow and the period of time which you were supposed to allow this use? Have you ever granted such a request? If so, could you provide the same information as in the point mentioned above and the considerations which led to the decision to comply with the request from the government? Could you clarify how you would respond to such a request in the future?
Those drafting the letter appeared to be aware of the case of Lavabit, the encrypted e-mail service that shut down rather than comply with a secret court order that demanded the private encryption key protecting users' communications.
"Please let us know if you feel that you cannot, or cannot fully, answer any of the above questions because of legal constraints imposed upon you by any government," the letter stated. "If you feel you cannot answer any of the questions above, please reply 'no response' to this question."
In recent years, competing AV products have largely been in a dead heat when it comes to their effectiveness at detecting threats. The responses or lack thereof to this letter could provide a key differentiator for consumers about which product is right for them. The letter asked that companies respond by November 15. Promoted CommentsAndrewZ , Ars Tribunus Angusticlavius jump to postIt would be truly ironic if the USA anti-virus providers were forced to cooperate with the FBI/NSA under laws such as the Patriot Act, whereas non-USA anti-virus providers such as Kaspersky, Panda Security, AVG, etc were not. Thus driving Americans away from otherwise trust-able anti-virus vendors...ascension2020 , Smack-Fu Master, in training jump to postJousle wrote:
It has no viruses in the wild.
Tell that to the people who maintain the Linux kernel:
Malware yes, but i doubt that viruses are feasible in Unix-like operative systems.
A virus is malware. Malware is a classification that covers rootkits, viruses, trojans, worms, and so on.
Malware (including viruses) is possible with any operating system. It's true that *nix OSes have a different approach to security than Windows. I won't even begin to open a can of worms by arguing about which one is better. Suffice it to say that malware can be developed for any OS if someone has enough skill and motivation.
The reason *nix isn't attacked more is the same reason that Apple products aren't. Right now most malware is based around making money and the that makes Windows the prime target for malware developers. The vast majority of their targets are going to be using Windows so it makes sense to focus their resources there.
There is another malware category that isn't talked about as much though, and that's malware that's developed for espionage or other non-money making nefarious purposes. The most well known piece of malware in this category is probably Stuxnet, which was a rootkit that attacked PLCs. Another more recent example is the OSX/Tibet.C malware that's apparently being used by China to spy on certain Tibetans. Stuxnet and OSX/Tibet.C are just two examples of niche malware that's designed to attack a very select group of people. Anyone who thinks that people can't and aren't doing those things is just fooling themselves.
[Jun 17, 2017] Cherry Blossom WikiLeaks Latest Dump Exposes CIA Wireless Hacking Tools
Now those mathods will migrate to ordinary criminals...
"... "email addresses, chat usernames, MAC addresses and VoIP numbers" ..."
"... Once the new firmware on the device is flashed, the router or access point will become a so-called FlyTrap. A FlyTrap will beacon over the Internet to a Command & Control server referred to as the CherryTree. The beaconed information contains device status and security information that the CherryTree logs to a database. In response to this information, the CherryTree sends a Mission with operator-defined tasking. An operator can use CherryWeb, a browser-based user interface to view Flytrap status and security info, plan Mission tasking, view Mission-related data, and perform system administration tasks. ..."
Jun 17, 2017 | www.hackread.com
The whistleblowing site WikiLeaks is back with yet another Vault 7 series related document . This one is called " Cherry Blossom " program which gives a glance at the wireless hacking capabilities of The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The Cherry Blossom project according to the leaked documents was allegedly developed and implemented by the CIA with the help of a nonprofit research institute headquartered in Menlo Park, California for its project "Cherry Bomb."
Cherry Blossom itself is a firmware allowing the attackers to exploit vulnerabilities and compromise wireless networking devices such as access points (APs) and wireless routers. Upon compromising the targeted device remotely, Cherry Blossom replaces the existing firmware with its own allowing the attackers to turn the router or access point into a so-called 'FlyTrap'. The FlyTrap can scan for "email addresses, chat usernames, MAC addresses and VoIP numbers" in passing network traffic All that without any physical access.Related Secret Pentagon Files Left Unprotected on the Amazon Server
According to Wikileaks press release :
Once the new firmware on the device is flashed, the router or access point will become a so-called FlyTrap. A FlyTrap will beacon over the Internet to a Command & Control server referred to as the CherryTree. The beaconed information contains device status and security information that the CherryTree logs to a database. In response to this information, the CherryTree sends a Mission with operator-defined tasking. An operator can use CherryWeb, a browser-based user interface to view Flytrap status and security info, plan Mission tasking, view Mission-related data, and perform system administration tasks.
Furthermore, WikiLeaks notes that because WiFi devices are common in homes, public places and offices it makes them fitting target to conduct 'Man-In-The-Middle' attacks as Cherry Blossom program can easily monitor, control and manipulate the Internet traffic of connected users.
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Some of the devices which can be exploited by Cherry Blossom for vulnerabilities include 3Com, Aironet/Cisco, Allied Telesis, Ambit, Apple, Asustek Co, Belkin, Breezecom, Cameo, D-Link, Gemtek, Linksys, Orinoco, USRobotics, and Z-Com. The full list of hundreds of other vendors is available here [Pdf].
So far, the Vault 7 series has shown how CIA allegedly hacks TVs, smartphones, trucks and computers. The series also highlights the critical vulnerabilities which the intelligence community discovers in operating systems like Windows and Mac OS but never shares with the manufacturers .
The documents have also shown how CIA uses malware and other software against unsuspecting users around the world. These include Dark Matter, Marble, Grasshopper, HIVE, Weeping Angel, Scribbles, Archimedes, AfterMidnight or Assassin , Athena and Pandemic.
[Jun 17, 2017] Erebus Ransomware Targets Linux Servers by Jahanzaib Hassan
Jun 17, 2017 | www.hackread.comThe IT security researchers at Trend Micro recently discovered malware that has the potential to infect Linux-based servers. The malware, called Erebus, has been responsible for hijacking 153 Linux-based networks of a South Korean web-hosting company called NAYANA. NAYANA's clients affected
Erebus is a ransomware capable of infecting Linux operating systems. As such, around 3,400 of NAYANA's clients were affected due to the attack with databases, websites and other files being encrypted.
The incident took place on 10th June. As of now, NAYANA has not received the keys to decrypt their files despite having paid three parts of the ransom. The fourth one, which is allegedly the last installment, is yet to be paid. However, according to NAYANA, the attackers claimed to provide the key after three payments.Related How To Prevent Growing Issue of Encryption Based Malware (Ransomware) What is Erebus?
According to Trend Micro's report , Erebus was originally found back in September 2016. At the time, the malware was not that harmful and was being distributed through malware-containing advertisements. Once the user clicked on those ads, the ransomware would activate in the usual way.
The initial version of the Erebus only affected 423 file types and did so using the RSA-2048 encryption algorithm, thereby encrypting the files with the .encrypt extension. Furthermore, it was this variant that was using a number of websites in South Korea as a command-&-control (C&C) center.
Later, in February 2017, the malware had seemingly evolved as now it had the ability to bypass User Account Control (UAC). For those who may be unfamiliar with UAC, it is primarily a Windows privacy protection system that restricts anyone who is not authorized, to alter the user's computer.
However, this later version of the Erebus was able to do so and inject ransomware ever so conveniently. The campaign in which this version was involved demanded a ransom of 0.085 bitcoins equivalent to USD 216 at present and threatened to delete the files in 96 hours if the ransom was not paid.
Now, however, Erebus has reached new heights by having the ability to bypass not only UAC but also affect entire networks that run on Linux. Given that most organizations today use Linux for their networks, it is no surprise to see that the effects of the malware are far-reaching.How does the latest Erebus work?
According to Trend Micro, the most recent version of Erebus uses RSA algorithm to alter the AES keys in Windows and change the encryption key as such. Also, the attack is accompanied by a Bluetooth service so as to ensure that the ransomware does not break, even after the computer is rebooted.
This version can affect a total of 433 file types including databases, archives, office documents, email files, web-based files and multimedia files. The ransom demanded in this campaign amounts to 5 bitcoins, which is USD 12,344 currently.Related New Linux SSH Brute-force LUA Bot Shishiga Detected in the Wild Erebus is not the first of its kind
Although ransomware affecting Linux based networks are rare, they are, however, not new. Erebus is not the first ransomware to have affected networks running on Linux. In fact, Trend Micro claims that such ransomware was discovered as far back as in 2014.
Some of the ransomware include Linux.Encoder, Encrypter RaaS, KillDisk, KimcilWare and much more. All of these were allegedly developed from an open-source code project that was available as part of an educational campaign.
The ransomware for Linux, despite being somewhat inferior to those for Windows , are still potent enough to cause damage on a massive scale. This is because, a number of organizations and data centers use Linux, and hijacking such high-end systems can only mean catastrophe.Safety precautions
To avoid any accidents happening, IT officials and organizations running Linux-based networks need to take some serious precautions. The most obvious one is to simply keep the server updated with the latest firmware and anti-virus software.
Furthermore, it is always a good idea to keep a back-up of your data files in two to three separate locations. It is also repeatedly advised to avoid installing unknown third-party programs as these can act as potential gateways for such ransomware.
Lastly, IT administrators should keep monitoring the traffic that passes through the network and looks for anomalies by identifying any inconsistencies in event logs.
[Jun 17, 2017] Notepad++ Issues Fix After CIA Attack Revealed in Vault7 Documents
"... The issue of a hijacked DLL concerns scilexer.dll (needed by Notepad++) on a compromised PC, which is replaced by a modified scilexer.dll built by the CIA. When Notepad++ is launched, the modified scilexer.dll is loaded instead of the original one. ..."
"... It doesn't mean that CIA is interested in your coding skill or your sex message content in Notepad++, but rather it prevents raising any red flags while the DLL does data collection in the background. ..."
"... It's not a vulnerability/security issue in Notepad++, but for remedying this issue, from this release (v7.3.3) forward, notepad++.exe checks the certificate validation in scilexer.dll before loading it. If the certificate is missing or invalid, then it just won't be loaded, and Notepad++ will fail to launch. ..."
"... Checking the certificate of DLL makes it harder to hack. Note that once users' PCs are compromised, the hackers can do anything on the PCs. This solution only prevents from Notepad++ loading a CIA homemade DLL. It doesn't prevent your original notepad++.exe from being replaced by modified notepad++.exe while the CIA is controlling your PC. ..."
"... Just like knowing the lock is useless for people who are willing to go into my house, I still shut the door and lock it every morning when I leave home. We are in a f**king corrupted world, unfortunately. ..."
"... Otherwise, there are a lot of enhancements and bug fixes which improve your Notepad++ experience. For all the detail change log, please check on the Download page." ..."
Jun 17, 2017 | www.hackread.comOn 7th Match 2017, the whistle-blowing organization Wikileaks published a series of new documents code-named "Vault 7" allegedly belonging to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). These documents not only revealed the existence of a large-scale cyber espionage campaign but also show how the agency used zero days security flaws in Windows, macOS, Linux, iPhones, Android devices , several other high-profile software and utilities including Notepad and video player VLC ("VideoLan").
Now, VLC has issued an official statement on the matter while Notepad++ has released patches since its name was on the list of hacking tools used by the CIA to target unsuspecting Windows users.Notepad++ statement:
In their official blog post Notepad++ said that:
The issue of a hijacked DLL concerns scilexer.dll (needed by Notepad++) on a compromised PC, which is replaced by a modified scilexer.dll built by the CIA. When Notepad++ is launched, the modified scilexer.dll is loaded instead of the original one.
It doesn't mean that CIA is interested in your coding skill or your sex message content in Notepad++, but rather it prevents raising any red flags while the DLL does data collection in the background.
It's not a vulnerability/security issue in Notepad++, but for remedying this issue, from this release (v7.3.3) forward, notepad++.exe checks the certificate validation in scilexer.dll before loading it. If the certificate is missing or invalid, then it just won't be loaded, and Notepad++ will fail to launch.
Checking the certificate of DLL makes it harder to hack. Note that once users' PCs are compromised, the hackers can do anything on the PCs. This solution only prevents from Notepad++ loading a CIA homemade DLL. It doesn't prevent your original notepad++.exe from being replaced by modified notepad++.exe while the CIA is controlling your PC.
Just like knowing the lock is useless for people who are willing to go into my house, I still shut the door and lock it every morning when I leave home. We are in a f**king corrupted world, unfortunately.
Otherwise, there are a lot of enhancements and bug fixes which improve your Notepad++ experience. For all the detail change log, please check on the Download page."
[Jun 16, 2017] UK arms firm sold spyware to repressive Middle East states Middle East Eye
"... - Former ETI employee ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.middleeasteye.netUK arms firm sold spyware to repressive Middle East states #HumanRights BAE Systems distributed the software which allowed governments to trace the activities, locations and traffic of pro-democracy activists A BAE Systems booth at a trade show for naval and maritime safety in France (AFP) MEE staff Thursday 15 June 2017 07:34 UTC Last update: Thursday 15 June 2017 8:57 UTC Topics: HumanRights Tags: UK , BAE Systems , Surveillance Show comments A leading British arms company has been selling spy software across the Middle East, potentially risking the security of activists and dissident groups.
The findings come after a year-long investigation by BBC Arabic and a Danish newspaper, which revealed that BAE Systems had been selling a mass surveillance software called Evident, acquired after the purchase of Danish company ETI in 2011, to governments in the Middle East, including those involved in crackdowns on pro-democracy activists.
"You'd be able to intercept any internet traffic," said a former ETI employee speaking anonymously to the BBC.
"If you wanted to do a whole country, you could. You could pin-point people's location based on cellular data. You could follow people around. They were quite far ahead with voice recognition. They were capable of decrypting stuff as well."
If you wanted to do a whole country, you could. You could follow people around. They were quite far ahead with voice recognition
- Former ETI employee
Among the clients for the software was the government of the former Tunisian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who used it on opponents before being overthrown in the 2011 Arab Spring demonstrations.
"ETI installed it and engineers came for training sessions," explained a former Tunisian intelligence official, speaking to the BBC.
"[It] works with keywords. You put in an opponent's name and you will see all the sites, blogs, social networks related to that user."
According to Freedom of Information requests made by the BBC and the Dagbladet Information newspaper in Denmark, other clients included Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Morocco and Algeria.
The rise in surveillance technology in the Middle East is thought to have had a serious impact on the activities of pro-democracy campaigners in the region since the beginning of anti-government protests in 2011.
Yahya Assiri, a former Saudi air force officer who fled the country following the posting of pro-democracy comments on social media, told the BBC he "wouldn't be exaggerating if I said more than 90 percent of the most active campaigners in 2011 have now vanished."
Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, described the sale of the technology as "unacceptable".
"Each and every case where someone is silenced or ends up in prison with the help of EU-made technologies I think is unacceptable," she told the BBC.
"The fact that these companies are commercial players, developing these highly sophisticated technologies... requires us to look again at what kind of restrictions maybe be needed, what kind of transparency and accountability is needed in this market before it turns against our own interest and our own principles."
The UK government has, however, been keen to support BAE Systems, a major employer, with regards to its activities in the Middle East.
In particular, Saudi Arabia is a vital market for the company, which employs more than 80,000 staff worldwide and accounts for one percent of UK exports, according to the company.
The UK government has approved more than $4.2bn of arms to Saudi since the s