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Fighting Spyware

News See also Recommended Links Recommended Books Big Uncle is Watching You Vault 7 scandal Non-scanner antispyware tools
Anti-spyware forums Softpanorama Malware Defense Strategy Spyware Scanners Malicious Web Sites Windows Defender Fighting PopUps with toolbars

Blocking lists

Sirefef.AV Win32/Tracur.AV W32/Sdbot-AAQ Win32-Rbot TDL4 Cryptolocker (Win32/Crilock.A) Flame
Trojan-GameThief.
Win32.OnLineGames2.an
Geraam Password Stealing Trojan Win32 Alureon Win32/Morto.A Duqu Trojan Flame Web Browsers Insecurity
Data Recovery Trojan XP Antivirus 2012 Dr Guard Antivirus System Pro Cryptolocker (Win32/Crilock.A AbetterInternet BHO
Identity theft Adding sites to the hosts file Phishing Fighting
HomePage Hijacking
History Humor Etc

Introduction

If you use Softpanorama Spyware removal strategy, you can remove most of spyware types  no matter how complex and sophisticated the infection method is.  The only exception is encryption based extortionware such as  Cryptolocker (Win32/Crilock.A)

Yes, spyware can be complex, extremely annoying and obnoxious as well as extremly difficult to remove (and latest banking and data encryption Trojans are a serious warning). Typically the period between malware gets into your computer and the moment it is detected by AV program installed can vary from hours to several weeks or even months.  For some not very popular and regional  (or highly specialized, "government sponsored", etc ) malware it can be years.

At the same time while protection of PC using scanning AV program is never enough,  paranoia about spyware is completely unwarranted. Despite tremendous increase in spyware complexity and capabilities in recent years, restoration of OS from a "healthy" C-drive image using a bootable CD created beforehand  on other (non-infected) computer is a sure way to defeat even the most complex spyware. One important lesson that extortionware such as  Cryptolocker (Win32/Crilock.A) taught is that there should always be two sets of backup (say A and B) and each week you should change from one set to another.  And that periodic backup to double layer DVD makes perfect sense if the size of your backup image is less then 8GB. Backup on a USB harddrives can be attacked, backup on DVD is in-penetratable after it was created.  Another method to defeat attempts of data-encryption Trojans to destroy your backups is to daily move of your current backup image via FTP or SCP to a different, Linux-based backup computer.

Using this "backup-based disinfection" is a three step approach. You can read about it at Softpanorama Malware Defense Strategy  Here is the contents:

Formally spyware is any software which uses an internet connection from your computer in the background (as "backchannel") operating without user knowledge or explicit permission. that definition actually includes a lot of modern commercial software. The presence of such a  backchannel represents a simple way to detect even the most sophisticated spyware and a TCP/IP sniffer often is an adequate tool for this.  For example, you can switch to other computer (and periodic switching between computers is another good practice, as it keeps you "reference image" tested and up-to-date) and see what communications exist on your "old" PC or laptop for a week or so using sniffer logs. That actually greatly helps against "spyware paranoia" (NSA under each bed ;-).  

Spyware is often connected with some way to get an advertising revenue, propagate spam or similar things. In few cases they try to steal and use your financial information (so called banking Trojans). And in very rare cases they want to monitor your activities. In any case now spyware became mostly "for profit" criminal business, and this type of criminals have enough money to pay developers and buy exploits.  That means that each new generation of spyware is more sophisticated then previous generations of malware. Interest to this type of programs from NSA and other three letter agencies does not help iether: the methods they develop using government funds and highly paid developers are eventually revealed and then flowing downhill from spooks to financial criminals. Story of malware used to damage Iranian uranium enrichment program is pretty instructive in this respect.  See Duqu Trojan, Flame and Stuxnet for more information. Just those three advanced 'state of the art" of spyware development considerably, creating essentially a "new era" in malware (as in "beforeStuxnet" and "after Stuxnet")

In any case we can safely assume that those days few spyware/adware programs are primitive and just uses one Run key to launch itself (and that removal of this key disinfects computer). 

Generally any use of an Internet "backchannel" connection should be preceded by a complete and truthful disclosure followed by the receipt of explicit, informed, consent for such use. Often spyware is disguised as a useful utility (atomic clock,  toolbar, free game or other useful utility). In this case the developer  does not disclose that in addition to openly stated function it is using PC Internet connection to send information about your activities or even your data to the third party. Typical connected information is the site you visited (WeatherBug is one classic example).

Often spyware deliberately complicates its removal from the computer or tried to reinstall itself by downloading missing components, if one component is removed. 

The spyware problem is not a pure Windows security problem. Situation is more complex. While the insecurity and architectural flaws of Windows operating system is a problem that aids malware in general, the channel for spreading spyware is usually Web and specifically Google search engine (which for some reason does not mark DNS names that are less then a month old -- many "waterhole spyware distribution sites" belong to this category.  We really need something for IE that blocks sites which has DNS registered less then a month or so ago.  OpenDNS is an interesting option is this respect.  Checking can be incorporated into DNS Prefetching:

The DNS Prefetch addon for Firefox enables DNS Prefetching which is a method of resolving and caching DNS lookups before you actually click on a link. DNS prefetching just resolves domain names before a user tries to navigate, so that there will be no effective user delay due to DNS resolution. One example where prefetching can help is when a user is looking at a page with many links to various other domains, for instance a search results page.

With DNS Prefetching, Firefox automatically scans the content of each page looking for links, extracting the domain name from each link, and resolving each domain to an IP address. All this work is done in parallel with the user's reading of the page. When a user clicks on any of these pre-resolved names to visit a new domain, they save an average of over 250ms in navigation.

Some potentially useful methods in protection

Spyware is a more serious problem than just a simple annoyance.  Your privacy is being invaded. That's why you should never store your taxes and banking data on the PC you use for browsing Internet.  Use a separate PC. This additional $300 investment is probably the best investment we can make to protect ourselves from viruses and trojans stealing our financial data.  If you have enough technical knowledge you can use two different virtual machine images on the same computer.  I also would not recommend to store copies of your bank account password in the browser.  Spyware has the ability to install additional software in your machine without your consent that can download this information and decrypt it.  Also just the fact that you are doing on your computer is being watched by unknown third party right now does not provides any comfort. although you need to understand that browsing Internet is no longer anonymous activity, unless you use VPN or similar methods.  Now logs of all your visits are stored somewhere, at least temporary.  And usually not only of the sites that you visited. Advertizing plugins such as used by Google also store this information unless you disable Javascript from running or block them in some other way.  And advertizing vendors developed sophisticated methods to track your identity even if you disable or periodically destroy all cookies. Just try to change your browsing session from one computer to another and see that advertizing reflect you previous activity.

Email spam and deceptive advertising of sites via Google or other search engine is still the major channels of penetration of  spyware into PCs. Google search results is especially nasty and effective channel.  Be careful not to get into "grey zone" site on the PC that you use for your daily work. If you can't live without browsing grey areas of Internet, buy a Goggle Chomebook (such Acer C720 11.6" Chromebook)  or Android tablet and browse those areas exclusively from them . Or install Ubuntu on one of your old PCs.  Using a different Os then Windows represent an additional lawyer of protection --  most attacks are still directed toward Windows users and PC with Intel-compatible CPUs and Windows XP-Windows 7-Windows 10 installed.  Using a different OS and/or CPU architecture gives you substantial additional protection via  "security via obscurity" effect. 

Spyware authors like virus authors look for a particular category of gullible and greedy users: despite all this bad experience  some people  just can't avoid clicking on  a "Get Kool Mouse Pointerz Here" or "Free Microsoft Office 2013" type of links iether in search results or email  ;-).  Using a email client that disables all "rich content" and hides attachments such as Thunderbird proves you with free and effective layer of protection against such threats.

Spyware authors like virus authors look for a particular category of gullible and greedy users: despite all this bad experience  some people  just can't avoid clicking on  a "Get Kool Mouse Pointerz Here" or "Free Microsoft Office 2013" type of links iether in search results or email  ;-).  Using a email client that disables all "rich content" and hides attachments such as Thunderbird proves you with free and effective layer of protection against such threats.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some potentially useful methods for those who are using IE Internet browser:

  1. Do not upgrade to versions of Microsoft OS higher then Windows 7. After Windows 7 Microsoft itself went into spyware business in full force. for example now they want to to authenticate to your Pc using hotmail account. Which essentially gives them free information when and how you use your PC. Although you can enhance your privacy using specific privacy settings windows 10 (see for example 5 Tips to Increase Your Privacy With Windows 10  Matthew Held or just serach "how to enhance windows 10 privacy" in any search engine you use) it is definitely more intrusive "by design" then Windows 7. Probably by at least a factor.
  2. Treat your C drive as disposable. Learn to periodically wipe out your Windows C drive and restore it from "trusted" backup kept on write protected harddrive or USB drive. This idea of periodic wipe out and reinstallation of some trusted image is simple, and very effective method of fighting complex spyware including government sponsored spyware (as this would destroy Microsoft brand, Microsoft brass probably will try to avoid allowing using Microsoft updates for installing government spyware, unless this is the case connected with national security (which is a very brad notion those days); but government agencies (and not only them) can definitely use update channels of other vendors -- typical windows installation usually contains at least a dozen of commercial programs each with its own update channel. Which easily can be compromised making such computer one big security hole, no matter which AV program you use.  This method is  especially attractive for small companies, who do not have dedicated security staff to watch for windows threats. And it eliminates the need to spend money on commercial AV (free Microsoft Security Essentials are "good enough" in this case). Also in this case you do not need to worry about unending, stupid and dangerous patches of Adobe Reader and other crapware.   Microsoft will reapply patches and if you use drive other then C for your files there is not much to do after the reinstallation. Other patches can be ignored as shelf-life of this instance is limited. If they are needed apply it to trusted image first.  Minimal adjustments required can be scripted using PowerShell or whatever tool you are comfortable with.
  3. Use two virtual instances of OS or at least two browsers with Microsoft IE set to high security level and used for browsing of unknown sites. The key in protections of  your browser against new web threats is disabling JavaScript and ActiveX.  there are aos some utilities that can enhance level of securyt in this area but I do not follow this area closely. Long ago Trend Micro USA provided Browser Guard -  a free utility which uses advanced heuristics and emulation technologies to detect Javascript exploits. But it is better to disable Javascript altogether for "grey areas" browsing. The latest version (2011) included detection enhancement for Web Trojans, and for tracing infection chains. But using a virtual machine is a much better deal.
  4. Use DNS server that protects from "new and hot" sites -- many malware distribution sites are less then 6 months old despite the fact that they are high in Google searches for certain keywords. Just blocking sites which are "younger" then six month stop a lot of Trojans cold. One possibility is OpenDNS
  5. Install a router based firewall with Internet filter or free K9 Web ProtectionIt you know Linux you can use Linux based router and tune it to prevent any re-infections. 
  6. If you have Linux know-how, install and use squid proxy on a separate PC. 
  7. Practice "separation of duties" policy with a cheap Chromebook laptop or separate instance of virtual OS launched as virtual machine. You should use virtual machine capabilities of Windows 7  and install "disposable" version of windows XP. You can do all the browsing in it.  It does not prevent you from getting spyware (and encryption malware still can encrypt your data) but 99% level achieved by wiping out your "used" image is good enough level to make this a worthwhile technique. If you know Linux you can use a Linux instance for browsing instead of XP. Linux has its own exploits but it stops dead all Windows exploits without any patching. Both GUI and browser (Firefox) are quite usable.   You can also downgrade your Windows to Windows 2000. Modern exploits react badly on such an old version of OS.
  8. Never do "leisure" browsing from the account with admin privileges. Create yet another account and use only it for browsing the Web. When you browsing unknown sites run IE only under some regular user account that can't write to the registry (use "Switch user" option -- it's really fast and convenient, although most users never tried it). Starting with Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft introduced User Account Control (UAC), which, when enabled, allowed users to run with least user privileges. This scenario limits the possibility of attacks by malware and other threats that require administrative privileges to run. 

    You can configure UAC in your computer to meet your preferences:

  9. Add all sites that you deem suspicious to Restricted zone in IE. You can do it before clicking on the link in Google by creating a macro with a programmable keyboard  such as Logitech G510s gaming keyboard  or Sidewinder X4.

    If you detected spyware on your computer before removal look at the network connections the computer uses and try to "cut an oxygen" by adding sites that it accesses to hosts file and to the restricted zone. That might helps to prevent re-infections

  10. If you install trial version of software use "Try and Forget" software to eliminate those guest as they not always deinstall themselves completely.  Avoid "trial" versions as they can overburden you computer with unnecessary or harmful components and might not de-install cleanly, presenting the same danger as spyware (hidden channel to the vendor). There are a couple vendors that provide "try and forget" environment. One such environment is provided by Acronis True Image Try&Decide feature

    Acronis True Image

    You can run your system in a special try mode with the Try&Decide feature. In this mode you can try out new applications or experiment with the system while being sure that you can always discard the changes made to the system and revert it back to the state it was just before turning on the Try&Decide mode.

    When you turn on the Try&Decide mode, the product activates a special Acronis driver, which starts reading all requests to the protected partition and forwards these to the storage location you have selected.

  11. Install Microsoft Security Essentials which are free and contain some real time protection components. While this gives you a minimal level of protection is better then nothing and actually not much worse (and probably has less harmful components) then paid version of MacAfee, Symantec and such. Being mostly signature based tool like any signature based tool they are not very effective and you can be infected with any spyware that is not yet in their database, but still they are better then nothing and in my opinion are better than many of commercial AV tools. Also with time even new spyware became old and will be detected and hopefully correctly disinfected. 

High level of paranoia about spyware in mainstream press

Unless you are targeted by government agencies spyware can be eliminated.  If you use separate PC for vital tasks chance to get spyware on this "more secure"  PC is really small. Using several virtual machines on 8GB laptop is no-brainer and also provides a reasonably high level of protection (many types of advanced spyware detect the presence of VM environments and refuse to run on it, fearing that they are "watched"/analysed ) .

Still there is high level of paranoia about spyware in mainstream press. Sometimes it reaches a really stupid level of "if your computer is infected discard it and get a new one". A pretty telling example of this paranoia was a  NYT article  By MATT RICHTEL and JOHN MARKOFF "Corrupted PC's Find New Home in the Dumpster" (July 17, 2005 ).  The main hero of this article (who claim to holds PhD in computer science) demonstrates simply amazing level of ignorance of Windows OS (unless this was just a pretext to upgrade his old computer ;-)

SAN FRANCISCO, July 15 - Add personal computers to the list of throwaways in the disposable society.

On a recent Sunday morning when Lew Tucker's Dell desktop computer was overrun by spyware and adware - stealth software that delivers intrusive advertising messages and even gathers data from the user's machine - he did not simply get rid of the offending programs. He threw out the whole computer.

Mr. Tucker, an Internet industry executive who holds a Ph.D. in computer science, decided that rather than take the time to remove the offending software, he would spend $400 on a new machine.

He is not alone in his surrender in the face of growing legions of digital pests, not only adware and spyware but computer viruses and other Internet-borne infections as well. Many PC owners are simply replacing embattled machines rather than fixing them.

"I was spending time every week trying to keep the machine free of viruses and worms," said Mr. Tucker, a vice president of Salesforce.com, a Web services firm based here. "I was losing the battle. It was cheaper and faster to go to the store and buy a low-end PC."

In the face of a constant stream of pop-up ads, malfunctioning programs and performance slowed to a crawl or a crash - the hallmarks of spyware and adware - throwing out a computer "is a rational response," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a Washington-based research group that studies the Internet's social impact.

While no figures are available on the ranks of those jettisoning their PC's, the scourge of unwanted software is widely felt. This month the Pew group published a study in which 43 percent of the 2,001 adult Internet users polled said they had been confronted with spyware or adware, collectively known as malware. Forty-eight percent said they had stopped visiting Web sites that might deposit unwanted programs on their PC's.

Moreover, 68 percent said they had had computer trouble in the last year consistent with the problems caused by spyware or adware, though 60 percent of those were unsure of the problems' origins. Twenty percent of those who tried to fix the problem said it had not been solved; among those who spent money seeking a remedy, the average outlay was $129.

By comparison, it is possible to buy a new computer, including a monitor, for less than $500, though more powerful systems can cost considerably more.

Meantime, the threats from infection continue to rise, and "the arms race seems to have tilted toward the bad guys," Mr. Rainie said.

The number of viruses has more than doubled in just the last six months, while the number of adware and spyware programs has roughly quadrupled during the same period, said Vincent Weafer, a senior director at Symantec, which makes the Norton computer security programs. One reason for the explosion, Symantec executives say, is the growth of high-speed Internet access, which allows people to stay connected to the Internet constantly but creates more opportunity for malicious programs to find their way onto machines.

Mr. Weafer said an area of particular concern was infections adept at burying themselves in a computer system so that the cleansing programs had trouble finding them. The removal of these programs must often be done manually, requiring greater technical expertise.

There are methods of protecting computers from infection through antivirus and spyware-removal software and digital barriers called firewalls, but those tools are far from being completely effective.

"Things are spinning out of control," said David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale.

Mr. Gelernter said his own family's computer became so badly infected that he bought a new one this week. He said his two teenage sons were balking at spending the hours needed to scrub the old one clean of viruses, worms and adware.

Mr. Gelernter blames the software industry for the morass, noting that people are increasingly unwilling to take out their "software tweezers" to clean their machines.

Microsoft executives say they decided to enter the anti-spyware business earlier this year after realizing the extent of the problem.

"We saw that a significant percentage of crashes and other problems were being caused by this," said Paul Bryan, an executive in the company's security business unit. Windows XP Service Pack 2, an upgrade to the latest Windows operating system that has been distributed to more than 200 million computers, includes an automated malware removal program that has been used 800 million times this year, he said.

At least another 10 million copies of a test version of the company's spyware removal program have been downloaded. Yet Microsoft executives acknowledged that they were not providing protection for people who have earlier versions of the company's operating system. And that provides little comfort for those who must navigate the perils of cyberspace.

Terrelea Wong's old computer now sits beside her sofa in the living room, unused, except as a makeshift table that holds a box of tissues.

Ms. Wong, a physician at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in South San Francisco, started getting a relentless stream of pop-up ads a year ago on her four-year-old Hewlett-Packard desktop computer. Often her entire screen would turn blue and urge her to "hit any key to continue." Sometimes the computer would freeze altogether.

After putting up with the problem for months, Ms. Wong said she decided last November that rather than fix her PC, she would buy a new one. Succumbing to the seduction of all the new bells and whistles, she spent $3,000 on a new Apple laptop.

She is instituting new rules to keep her home computer virus-free.

"I've modified my behavior. I'm not letting my friends borrow my computer," she said, after speculating that the indiscriminate use of the Internet by her and her friends had led to the infection problems.

Peter Randol, 45, a stockbroker for Charles Schwab in Denver, is at his wits' end, too. His family's four-year-old Dell computer has not been the same since last year when they got a digital subscriber line for high-speed Internet access. Mr. Randol said the PC's performance has slowed, a result he attributes to dozens of malicious programs he has discovered on the computer.

He has eliminated some of the programs, but error messages continue to pop up on his screen, and the computer can be agonizingly slow.

"I may have no choice but to buy a new one," he said, noting that he hopes that by starting over, he can get a computer that will be more impervious to infection.

Buying a new computer is not always an antidote. Bora Ozturk, 33, who manages bank branches in San Francisco, bought a $900 Hewlett-Packard computer last year only to have it nearly paralyzed three months ago with infections that he believes he got from visiting Turkish news sites.

He debated throwing the PC out, but it had pictures of his newborn son and all of his music files. He decided to fix it himself, spending 15 hours learning what to do, then saving all his pictures and music to a disk and then wiping the hard drive clean - the equivalent of starting over.

For his part, Mr. Tucker, the Salesforce.com executive, said the first piece of software he installed on the new machine two weeks ago was antivirus software. He does not want a replay of his frustrations the last month, when the attacks on his old machine became relentless.

"It came down to the simple human fact that maintaining the old computer didn't pay," he said.

If we assume that "Mr. Tucker, an Internet industry executive who holds a Ph.D."  holds Ph.D in computer science, it is clear that he is iether idiot or crook.  With all due respect to this Ph.D holder I think that any holder of associate or bachelor degree in computer science should be able to reinstall Windows OS. Moreover even bachelor degree in computer science presuppose some interest and level of understanding of OS internals and TCP/IP networking ;-).

But there is some rational in this naive and deceptive NYT drivel: having a second computer helps to fight spyware. Used computer of decent quality can be bought for less then $200 on eBay. By having a second computer you can switch to it and continue your work instead of frantically trying to disinfect the current machine. Actually the most damaging to your data blunders are done not by viruses or Trojans but by users who try to fix the computer and do not fully understand the consequences of their action. In a way classic scenario of Sysadmin Horror Stories which is so intimately known by any Unix sysadmin is replaced here with a different OS and different players.

Beware too greedy AV vendors

Beware AV vendors that try to create hysteria and profit from it. In my opinion both Symantec and McAfee lost track and  use "gray" methods of increasing sales of their, generally speaking, mediocre products. Microsoft Security Essentials and other similar free AV programs while far from being perfect are good enough for most users and money spend of McAfee should generally be spend on buying better backup drives and such.

Generally there are strange bedfellows in this spyware business. See Jesse Willms Settles in Court with Google – a Google Win against the Scammers Strangely Perfect

Factory installed image as a spyware protection tool

Actually cleaning spyware it's not a rocket science as you always can restore OS from a healthy image or reinstall Windows and software and then merge your data with this image.

In all, even the most complex cases of spyware infection, reinstallation from a "healthy" disk image works perfectly well and for anybody who is professional in the field (and not a lazy misfit with CS degree who has no backups and does not know what is installed on his/her computer) should take less an hour. I doubt that anyone can find a  plausible case when you cannot clean spyware by reinstallation. But I encourage you to try and submit such case in a letter to the editor of Softpanorama.

Most vendors now provide a special partition with the image of initially installed Windows 7 or Windows 8  as well as ordered with PC software such as Microsoft Office (factory install image).  The manual always has a special chapter about restoring the image where description is understandable for everybody with an average IQ ;-). If it's to bad y ou can always call vendor and they are quite helpful.

For the guys who assemble computer themselves the same idea works as well: they should be able to create additional partition and  "initial image" using free version of Acronis True Image (for Seagate and Western digital drives) or any other similar utility.

Signs that you are infected

Not all spyware produces any signs that you are infected. For obvious reasons banking Trojans do not.

But many other types of spyware do produced to signs. If you are seeing new toolbars in your browser, excessive popups, or your homepage has been switched, or more commonly PC became very slow or periodically reboot itself or crashes chances are that you are infected.  Other typical symptoms:

  • changed search results
  • changed advertisements of pages that you browse
  • IE periodically crashes
  • Computer freezes and keyboard became irresponsive.
  • Loss of Internet connectivity

Prominent groups of spyware

There are several prominent groups of spyware:

Scanner based methods of detecting spyware

Free AV scanner such a Microsoft security essentials is a useful first layer of defense. It is easily breached and can't be relied upon but  nevertheless it is unreasonable not to use a free scanning software for detection. See  Spyware Scanners. This is important as not all spyware has obvious signs and reveals itself in changing the behavior of the computer of IE or both. Businesses which want an inexpensive software tool that can be used to clean up a Spyware infection on a one-time basis should use free Microsoft Security Essentials which  Windows compatibility wise is better,  not worse then expensive ( and redundant) solutions from Symantec (junk), McAfee (semi-junk) and other AV vendors. And as for spyware detection they all are at best mediocre. You might be lucky and you might be not but generally it can be three or more months before they will include particular malware that infected your PC into their signature databases.

Microsoft provides free spyware scanner (actually 10 days copy of Microsoft Security essentials)  That I recommend to try first.

If you see some suspicious files detected by free scan or files in " C:\Documents and Settings\dell\Local Settings\Temp\" that you can't delete you can use free service called VirusTotal which allow to submit sample and run it over more then two dozens of AV tools. It produce some useful results and is best of the breed as of 2012.

AV vendors are just an overhead caused by flaws in Microsoft Windows design. For example Microsoft program loader is junk, signing executables is an option (Authencode), but it is rarely used (With Security set to High, no potentially dangerous content will be run, signed or unsigned). Ability to tell the source of the program in Windows is almost non-existent. System files are scattered in really messy fashion and Windows directory is a big mess. Registry is another mess which provides tremendous amount of ways to launch rogue programs.  

In any case free spyware scanners are simple and yet effective against almost all but the most complex spyware.  And that's why they should be tried first. There are two prominent free Spyware scanners (Adaware and  Spybot S&D).  Spybot S&D usage is discussed in a separate page.

The main problem with of the Spyware scanners is that Spyware is repeating the path of file viruses and newer variants are designed with the specific mechanism to aviod detection by the scanners (polymorthic spyware). One early example of this trend was  vx2 Spyware (SAHAgent, aka Golden Retriever, ShopAtHome and ShopAtHomeSelect). Another early example was CoolWebSearch or ‘CWS’ as many refer to it.  With more the a hundred know variants CWS has surpassed most other spyware in sophistication of the infection and dificulty of removal.

In any case it does not make sense to spend money of commersial spyware scanner. It is batter to bye a USB drive and a good backup tool like Acronis. 

Please be aware that you need to check the reputation of the product before downloading it. Some spyware mask itself as AV product and is installed on your PC without your permission., After that it produced fake report about multiple infections found to scare you into registering the product.  An early example of this trend was Antivirus system pro. A more recent example is XP Antivirus 2012  Such product is essentially an extortion scheme designed to exploit the fear of infection for financial gain.

Non-scanner-based Detection Strategies

While analyzing network traffic is the best way to detect spyware, the non-scanner based strategies of fighting spyware includes several additional lines of defense:

  1. Hijackthis and similar tools which can provide a useful baseline that includes integrated list of relevant registry entries and a process map,   but currently I do not know how to run it in a batch mode (other then via Expect).   Still this is the simplest way of manual creation of a useful baseline. It you are reading this page and do not yet have a problem, please create at least a process baseline. It might turn to be extremely helpful in the future. using. You cannot overestimate the value of  the baseline in fighting complex Spyware beasts.
     
  2. Integrity checkers that provide snapshot of critical directories on you C-drive after each reboot. There are several such directories such as C:\windows  C:\Windows\System32, etc.  
  3. Using internet proxy.  Those who have Linux skill can use Squid proxy.

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Old News ;-)

[May 28, 2021] Colonial Pipeline Paid Hackers Nearly $5 Million in Ransom

May 13, 2021 | it.slashdot.org

(bloomberg.com) 141

paid nearly $5 million to Eastern European hackers on Friday, contradicting reports earlier this week that the company had no intention of paying an extortion fee to help restore the country's largest fuel pipeline, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing two people familiar with the transaction. From the report:

The company paid the hefty ransom in untraceable cryptocurrency within hours after the attack, underscoring the immense pressure faced by the Georgia-based operator to get gasoline and jet fuel flowing again to major cities along the Eastern Seaboard, those people said. Once they received the payment, the hackers provided the operator with a decrypting tool to restore its disabled computer network. The tool was so slow that the company continued using its own backups to help restore the system, one of the people familiar with the company's efforts said.

[May 28, 2021] 'Significant' Ransomware Attack Forces Ireland's Health Service To Shut Down IT Systems

May 27, 2021 | tech.slashdot.org

(therecord.media) 53 Ireland's national health service, the Health Service Executive (HSE), temporarily shut down its IT systems today after suffering a ransomware attack overnight. The organization, which is in the mid of its COVID-19 vaccination program, said the attack did not impact its ability to provide urgent medical care but that some routine checks and services might be delayed or canceled. The HSE described the ransomware incident as "significant" and "human-operated," a term used to describe high-end sophisticated ransomware groups which orchestrate targeted attacks against carefully big organizations. In a morning radio show with public broadcaster RTE, HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid said the agency's IT teams are currently investigating the incident to find out its breadth. In a different radio show, Reid identified the ransomware gang behind the attack as Conti, a ransomware gang that started operating in the summer of 2020.

[May 28, 2021] How Should a Company Handle a Ransomware Attack?

The key here is backup op the data, not how the attack is handled
May 26, 2021 | it.slashdot.org

(itwire.com) 68

how Norwegian firm Volue Technology handled a ransomware attack that began on May 5th: The company has set up a Web page with information about the attack and also links to frequent updates about the status of its systems. There was no obfuscation about the attack, none at all. The company said: "The ransomware attack on Volue Technology ('Powel') was caused by Ryuk, a type of malware usually known for targeting large, public-entity Microsoft Windows systems."

What is even more remarkable about this page is that it has provided the telephone number and email address of its chief executive, Trond Straume, and asked for anyone who needs additional information to contact him. Not some underling.
ITWire argues this response "demonstrated to the rest of the world how a ransomware attack should be handled."

[May 28, 2021] Hacker Group Behind Colonial Pipeline Attack Claims It Has Three New Victims

May 27, 2021 | it.slashdot.org

(cnbc.com) 56 BeauHD on Thursday May 13, 2021 @09:00AM from the there's-more-where-that-came-from dept. PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from CNBC: The hacker group DarkSide claimed on Wednesday to have attacked three more companies , despite the global outcry over its attack on Colonial Pipeline this week, which has caused shortages of gasoline and panic buying on the East Coast of the U.S. Over the past 24 hours, the group posted the names of three new companies on its site on the dark web, called DarkSide Leaks. The information posted to the site includes summaries of what the hackers appear to have stolen but do not appear to contain raw data. DarkSide is a criminal gang, and its claims should be treated as potentially misleading.

The posting indicates that the hacker collective is not backing down in the face of an FBI investigation and denunciations of the attack from the Biden administration. It also signals that the group intends to carry out more ransom attacks on companies, even after it posted a cryptic message earlier this week indicating regret about the impact of the Colonial Pipeline hack and pledging to introduce "moderation" to "avoid social consequences in the future." One of the companies is based in the United States, one is in Brazil and the third is in Scotland. None of them appear to engage in critical infrastructure. Each company appears to be small enough that a crippling hack would otherwise fly under the radar if the hackers hadn't received worldwide notoriety by crippling gasoline supplies in the United States. In a separate report from The Associated Press, the East Coast pipeline company was found to have "atrocious" information management practices and "a patchwork of poorly connected and secured systems," according to an outside audit from three years ago. Slashdot reader wiredmikey shares an excerpt from the report: "We found glaring deficiencies and big problems," said Robert F. Smallwood, whose consulting firm delivered an 89-page report in January 2018 after a six-month audit. "I mean an eighth-grader could have hacked into that system." Colonial said it initiated the restart of pipeline operations on Wednesday afternoon and that it would take several days for supply delivery to return to normal.

[May 28, 2021] Was the Colonial Pipeline Co. ransomware attack a false flag operation ?

Probably it was not a false flag. First of all the state of IT security at Colonial Pipeline was so dismal that it was strange that this did not happened before. And there might be some truth that they try to exploit this hack to thier advantage as maintenance of the pipeline is also is dismal shape.
Notable quotes:
"... "As for the money-nobody really knows where it really went." If you are right about the perpetrators, my guess would be that it went into the black-ops fund, two birds one stone. ..."
"... I have become so used to false flags, I am going to be shocked when a real intrusion happens! ..."
"... an in depth article researching solarwinds hack - looks like it was Israel, not a great leap to see that colonial was a false flag https://unlimitedhangout.com/2021/01/investigative-reports/another-mega-group-spy-scandal-samanage-sabotage-and-the-solarwinds-hack/ ..."
"... Regarding the ownership of Colonial Pipeline: 'IFM Investors, which is owned by 27 Australian union- and employer-backed industry superannuation funds, owns a 16 per cent stake in Colonial Pipeline, which the infrastructure manager bought in 2007 for $US651 million.' ..."
"... 'The privately held Colonial Pipeline is valued at about $US8 billion, based upon the most recent sale of a 10 per cent stake to a unit of Royal Dutch Shell in 2019.' ..."
May 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Blackhat , May 19 2021 18:51 utc | 6

The Colonial Pipeline Co.,ransomware attack was a false flag. They wanted to blame Russian hackers so they could derail Nordstream II

It is common knowledge that the only real hackers that are able of such sabotage is CIA and Israeli. It's the same attack types they do to Iranian infrastructure on a regular basis.

The Russians are not that stupid to do something they know will be blamed on them and is of no political use to them. And could derail Nordstream2.

As for the money-nobody really knows where it really went. CEO is ultra corrupt. They never ever invested in their infrastructure so when it went down they came up with a profitable excuse. Just look at their financials/balance sheet over the years. No real investment in updating and maintaining infrastructure. Great false flag. Corruption and profiteering.


MarkU , May 19 2021 19:04 utc | 7

@ Blackhat | May 19 2021 18:51 utc | 6

"As for the money-nobody really knows where it really went." If you are right about the perpetrators, my guess would be that it went into the black-ops fund, two birds one stone.

james , May 19 2021 19:08 utc | 9

@ 6 blackhat..

I have become so used to false flags, I am going to be shocked when a real intrusion happens!

abee , May 19 2021 19:21 utc | 10

@ blackhat 6

an in depth article researching solarwinds hack - looks like it was Israel, not a great leap to see that colonial was a false flag https://unlimitedhangout.com/2021/01/investigative-reports/another-mega-group-spy-scandal-samanage-sabotage-and-the-solarwinds-hack/

vinnieoh , May 19 2021 20:05 utc | 15

Blackhat | May 19 2021 18:51 utc | 6

I'm not familiar with your handle - hello. IMO, it would be counterproductive for Russia to initiate such a hack. What really affects and debilitates US oil and gas interests is low prices, both at the pump and on the stock exchange. The hack helped jack up prices (which were already being jacked-up despite demand still lagging behind supply) which only HELPS those energy interests. It has long been known, the math isn't complicated, what level crude must trade at for US domestic oil & gas operations to be profitable. Remember that just as the pandemic was emerging Russia and Saudi Arabia once again sent the global crude market into the depths of despair.

I do agree the hack can be interpreted in light of the desperation of US energy interests to try to kill NS2. I have not yet read the recent articles discussing Biden's recent moves in that regard. If these moves are a recognition that US LNG to Europe (and elsewhere) are diametrically opposed to climate responsibility, I'd welcome those moves. As is usually the case though, environmental responsibility is probably the least likely reason.

vk , May 19 2021 22:31 utc | 35

Colonial Pipeline CEO confirms paying $4.4 million ransom to hackers, says he did it for America

This is USSR-of-the-1980s level of propaganda. Either way, give that man a statue in D.C.!

P.S.: this is the quotation of what the CEO really said, so you don't accusing me of just reading the headline:

"[it was very hard, difficult to me etc. etc.] But it was the right thing to do for the country," Blount, who leads the company since 2017, added.

--//--

No shit, Sherlock:

Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine hasn't been approved by EU due to political pressure from top officials – Moscow's spy chief

Paul , May 19 2021 23:42 utc | 42

Posted By Oldhippy @28

Thanks for your comment.

Regarding the ownership of Colonial Pipeline: 'IFM Investors, which is owned by 27 Australian union- and employer-backed industry superannuation funds, owns a 16 per cent stake in Colonial Pipeline, which the infrastructure manager bought in 2007 for $US651 million.'

also

'The privately held Colonial Pipeline is valued at about $US8 billion, based upon the most recent sale of a 10 per cent stake to a unit of Royal Dutch Shell in 2019.'

see Australian Financial Review 6 days ago.

Koch may well own another multi million $ stake.

[May 28, 2021] Cryptocurrency Miners Are Now Abusing the Free Tiers of Cloud Platforms

May 26, 2021 | news.slashdot.org

(therecord.media) 73

Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday May 22, 2021 @10:34AM from the cloud-kingdoms dept. An anonymous reader shares a report:

Over the course of the last few months, some crypto-mining gangs have switched their modus operandi from attacking and hijacking unpatched servers to abusing the free tiers of cloud computing platforms .

Gangs have been operating by registering accounts on selected platforms, signing up for a free tier, and running a cryptocurrency mining app on the provider's free tier infrastructure.

After trial periods or free credits reach their limits, the groups register a new account and start from the first step, keeping the provider's servers at their upper usage limit and slowing down their normal operations...

The list of services that have been abused this way includes the likes of GitHub, GitLab, Microsoft Azure, TravisCI, LayerCI, CircleCI, Render, CloudBees CodeShip, Sourcehut, and Okteto.

GitLab and Sourcehut have published blog posts detailing their efforts to curtail the problem, with Sourcehut complaining cryptocurrency miners are "deliberately circumventing our abuse detection," which "exhausts our resources and leads to long build queues for normal users."

In the article an engineer at CodeShip acknowledges "Our team has been swamped with dealing with this kind of stuff."

[May 11, 2021] Complexity and connectivity are the Achilles heel of industrial civilization

May 11, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 05/09/2021 at 2:09 pm

Too add ,
https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/clocks-ticking-colonial-pipeline-restart-after-72-hours-it-gets-really-tough
Complexity and connectivity are the Achilles heel of industrial civilization . REPLY STEPHEN HREN IGNORED 05/09/2021 at 8:36 pm

Good BBC article

Biden declares state of emergency over fuel cyber-attack https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57050690 REPLY LONGTIMBER IGNORED 05/10/2021 at 12:36 pm

Who are the Vendors for the SCADA systems? Rockwell, Honeywell, Siemens? Think twice about public facing gear from publicly listed companies, it's too costly to be honest about many exploits. I deploy routers from MikroTik, Tools built in to watch connections/traffic live. Simple to re-flash everything if you get suspicious. Lessons learned from the latest exploits of Solarwinds and M$ Exchange is the more you know you realize the wider the net. Blaming nation states for your own stupidity could result TEOTWAWKI. Building fault tolerant systems can reduce downtime, but who holds the keys? Covid wars is now ramping up into I N F R A W A R S REPLY LONGTIMBER IGNORED 05/10/2021 at 12:43 pm

"Complexity and connectivity are the Achilles heel of industrial civilization ."
How about foolish interdependence?
-Using Grid Power for refinery & pipelines
-UL1741 Grid Inter-tie Prevents most Solar Customers from using his own "System"
Fukushima survived the events just fine. The Final outcome was due to loss of power.

[Apr 13, 2021] Stuxnet sibling theory surges after Iran says nuke facility shut down by electrical fault The Register

Apr 13, 2021 | www.theregister.com

Evidence is thin, but Natanz enrichment facility is offline Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor Mon 12 Apr 2021 // 06:57 UTC SHARE


Iran has admitted that one of its nuclear facilities went offline over the weekend, and a single report claiming Israeli cyber-weapons were the cause has been widely accepted as a credible explanation for the incident.

Iran on Sunday published this announcement that said an "accident" impacted the "electricity distribution network" at its Natanz enrichment facility.

The facility was inaugurated the previous day, and is thought to have the capability to enrich Uranium and to represent capacity for uses prohibited under the US/Iran nuclear deal. The Trump administration tore up that deal, but the Biden administration hoped to revisit the pact.

Iranian officials have said that whatever hit Natanz was an act of "nuclear terrorism". The Register can find no indication that any radioactive material has been exposed.

Few nations like the idea of anyone in the Gulf region obtaining nuclear capabilities, but Israel is implacably opposed to the idea. In 1981 Israel bombed a nuclear plant in the early stages of construction in Iraq and is thought to have collaborated on the Stuxnet worm, discovered in 2010, that eventually damaged centrifuges used to refine nuclear materials at Iran's Natanz.

Iranian contractor named as Stuxnet 'patient zero' READ MORE

Not long after the news of this weekend's electrical incident, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation reported that intelligence sources had told its reporters the accident was in fact a cyber-attack. The corporation is an independent public broadcaster.

But the say-so of just one of the corporation's shows is all the evidence that Israel had any hand in the attack. While Israel does not comment on such matters officially, Israeli politicians have claimed that Natanz was more badly damaged than Iran is letting on. And now the New York Times reports the event was a "detonation of explosives."

Iran says it is investigating the cause of the incident and will announce its findings in due course. ®

[Feb 14, 2021] A Windows Defender vulnerability lurked undetected for 12 years

Feb 14, 2021 | arstechnica.com

Just because a vulnerability is old doesn't mean it's not useful. Whether it's Adobe Flash hacking or the EternalBlue exploit for Windows , some methods are just too good for attackers to abandon, even if they're years past their prime. But a critical 12-year-old bug in Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows Defender antivirus was seemingly overlooked by attackers and defenders alike until recently. Now that Microsoft has finally patched it, the key is to make sure hackers don't try to make up for lost time.

The flaw, discovered by researchers at the security firm SentinelOne, showed up in a driver that Windows Defender -- renamed Microsoft Defender last year -- uses to delete the invasive files and infrastructure that malware can create. When the driver removes a malicious file, it replaces it with a new, benign one as a sort of placeholder during remediation. But the researchers discovered that the system doesn't specifically verify that new file. As a result, an attacker could insert strategic system links that direct the driver to overwrite the wrong file or even run malicious code.

Windows Defender would be endlessly useful to attackers for such a manipulation, because it ships with Windows by default and is therefore present in hundreds of millions of computers and servers around the world. The antivirus program is also highly trusted within the operating system, and the vulnerable driver is cryptographically signed by Microsoft to prove its legitimacy. In practice, an attacker exploiting the flaw could delete crucial software or data, or even direct the driver to run their own code to take over the device.

"This bug allows privilege escalation," says Kasif Dekel, senior security researcher at SentinelOne. "Software that's running under low privileges can elevate to administrative privileges and compromise the machine."

SentinelOne first reported the bug to Microsoft in mid-November, and the company released a patch on Tuesday. Microsoft rated the vulnerability as a "high" risk, though there are important caveats. The vulnerability can only be exploited when an attacker already has access -- remote or physical -- to a target device. This means it isn't a one-stop shop for hackers and would need to be deployed alongside other exploits in most attack scenarios. But it would still be an appealing target for hackers who already have that access. An attacker could take advantage of having compromised any Windows machine to bore deeper into a network or victim's device without having to first gain access to privileged user accounts, like those of administrators.

SentinelOne and Microsoft agree there is no evidence that the flaw was discovered and exploited prior to the researchers' analysis. And SentinelOne is withholding specifics on how the attackers could leverage the flaw to give Microsoft's patch time to proliferate. Now that the findings are public, though, it's only a matter of time before bad actors figure out how to take advantage. A Microsoft spokesperson noted that anyone who installed the February 9 patch, or has auto-updates enabled, is now protected.

[Dec 21, 2020] Boomerang returns: methods pioneered in Stuxnet and Flame return and bite the USA in the butt

CISA is an agency full of bureaucrats, not computer specialists. So any judgement is highly suspect. In my view "computer security bureaucrat" is typically a parasite or a charlatan. Traditionally computer security departments in large corporations often serve as a place to exile incompetent wannabes. I do not think the government is different. Real high quality programmers usually prefer to write their own software not to spend their time analyzing some obtuse malware code. Often high level honchos in such department are so obviously incompetent that it hurts. This is the same agency that declared Presidential election 2020 to be the most secure in history. So their statements are not worth the electrons used to put them on the screen, so say nothing about a ppar , if they manage to get into such rags as NYT or WaPo.
We need clear-eyed assessment from a real Windows OS specialists like for Stuxnet was Mark Russinovich , which is difficult in current circumstances.
Dec 21, 2020 | arstechnica.com

The supply chain attack used to breach federal agencies and at least one private company poses a "grave risk" to the United States, in part because the attackers likely used means other than just the SolarWinds backdoor to penetrate networks of interest, federal officials said on Thursday. One of those networks belongs to the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for the Los Alamos and Sandia labs, according to a report from Politico .

"This adversary has demonstrated an ability to exploit software supply chains and shown significant knowledge of Windows networks," officials with the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency wrote in an alert . "It is likely that the adversary has additional initial access vectors and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that have not yet been discovered." CISA, as the agency is abbreviated, is an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

Elsewhere, officials wrote: "CISA has determined that this threat poses a grave risk to the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations."

Reuters, meanwhile, reported that the attackers breached a separate major technology supplier and used the compromise to get into high-value final targets. The news services cited two people briefed on the matter.

FURTHER READING Premiere security firm FireEye says it was breached by nation-state hackers The attackers, whom CISA said began their operation no later than March, managed to remain undetected until last week when security firm FireEye reported that hackers backed by a nation-state had penetrated deep into its network . Early this week, FireEye said that the hackers were infecting targets using Orion, a widely used network management tool from SolarWinds. After taking control of the Orion update mechanism, the attackers were using it to install a backdoor that FireEye researchers are calling Sunburst. Advertisement

me title=

FURTHER READING Russian hackers hit US government using widespread supply chain attack Sunday was also when multiple news outlets, citing unnamed people, reported that the hackers had used the backdoor in Orion to breach networks belonging to the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, and possibly other agencies. The Department of Homeland Security and the National Institutes of Health were later added to the list. Bleak assessment

Thursday's CISA alert provided an unusually bleak assessment of the hack; the threat it poses to government agencies at the national, state, and local levels; and the skill, persistence, and time that will be required to expel the attackers from networks they had penetrated for months undetected.

"This APT actor has demonstrated patience, operational security, and complex tradecraft in these intrusions," officials wrote in Thursday's alert. "CISA expects that removing this threat actor from compromised environments will be highly complex and challenging for organizations."

The officials went on to provide another bleak assessment: "CISA has evidence of additional initial access vectors, other than the SolarWinds Orion platform; however, these are still being investigated. CISA will update this Alert as new information becomes available."

The advisory didn't say what the additional vectors might be, but the officials went on to note the skill required to infect the SolarWinds software build platform, distribute backdoors to 18,000 customers, and then remain undetected in infected networks for months.

"This adversary has demonstrated an ability to exploit software supply chains and shown significant knowledge of Windows networks," they wrote. "It is likely that the adversary has additional initial access vectors and tactics, techniques, and procedures that have not yet been discovered."

Among the many federal agencies that used SolarWinds Orion, reportedly, was the Internal Revenue Service. On Thursday, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig asking that he provide a briefing on whether taxpayer data was compromised.

Advertisement

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They wrote:

The IRS appears to have been a customer of SolarWinds as recently as 2017. Given the extreme sensitivity of personal taxpayer information entrusted to the IRS, and the harm both to Americans' privacy and our national security that could result from the theft and exploitation of this data by our adversaries, it is imperative that we understand the extent to which the IRS may have been compromised. It is also critical that we understand what actions the IRS is taking to mitigate any potential damage, ensure that hackers do not still have access to internal IRS systems, and prevent future hacks of taxpayer data.

IRS representatives didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment for this post.

The CISA alert said the key takeaways from its investigation so far are:

This is a patient, well-resourced, and focused adversary that has sustained long duration activity on victim networks The SolarWinds Orion supply chain compromise is not the only initial infection vector this APT actor leveraged Not all organizations that have the backdoor delivered through SolarWinds Orion have been targeted by the adversary with follow-on actions Organizations with suspected compromises need to be highly conscious of operational security, including when engaging in incident response activities and planning and implementing remediation plans

What has emerged so far is that this is an extraordinary hack whose full scope and effects won't be known for weeks or even months. Additional shoes are likely to drop early and often.

[Dec 21, 2020] PowerPoint Presentation

Dec 21, 2020 | video.ch9.ms

video.ch9.ms /sessions/teched/na/2013/ATC-B308_Russinovich.pptx Stuxnet . Discovered June 2010 after it had spread for year. Exploited 4 zero day Windows vulnerabilities. Print spooler for remote code execution. ... Written by Mark Russinovich andAaron Margosis. Full chapters on the major tools: Process Explorer. Process Monitor. Autoruns.

[Dec 20, 2020] Siemens was ntimately involved in sabotage of Iran centrifuges

Dec 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

chu teh , Dec 18 2020 22:49 utc | 116

Canadian Cents | Dec 17 2020 21:00 utc | 38

Just WOW.Thanks referral to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgzB4_Zw3RE

I worked electrical/nuclear with early Programmable controllers/and at maintenance at Nuc Pwr Generators and alongside Westinghouse and Alstom personnel, etc. and could not make sense of , for example,

1. Big rush job to "upgrade" nuc electrical control and s/ware at a pwr plant
2.Suddenly GE buys Alstom
3. Siemens intimately involved in sabotage of Iran centrifuges ;[BTW was at U. when Jesse Beams was spinning at 1 million rps., so I paid attention]

Well, reference link just explained a whole lot!

chu teh , Dec 18 2020 23:09 utc | 117

add to my # 116, above, a point "4."...

4. Mitsubishi Heavy Ind. sells 4 unique steam generators to US nuc plant, , they all fail, and 2 operating nuc pwr plants are suddenly shut down...forever [SONGS]. The entire reasons for failure are true, but absurd in how the failures were "allowed" to happen. E.g., the certification process was grossly inept and failure was invited, if not assured.

[Dec 17, 2020] Media Blame Russia For Cyber Intrusions Without Providing Evidence

Reminds me the attack on Iranian uranium enrichment infrastructure, which also used patches as the way to inject malware into the system. And who were the players in this attack?
Notable quotes:
"... Moon of Alabama ..."
"... Next to the NSA and Britain's GHCQ there are at least Israel, China and maybe Russia which do have such capabilities. But whoever had the chutzpah to intrude the cybersecurity company FireEye ..."
"... 'People familiar with the issue' say 'Russia is believed to be responsible'. Well, some kids familiar with wobbly teeth believe in the tooth fairy. What is that 'believe' based on? ..."
"... Associated Press ..."
"... Atlantic Council ..."
Dec 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
To keep Moon of Alabama up and running is a significant effort. Please help me to sustain it . - b

As soon as someone hacked something the media start to blame Russia. This even when there is no evidence that Russia hacked anything.

On Tuesday, December 8, the network security company FireEye reported of a recent attack on its network :

Based on my 25 years in cyber security and responding to incidents, I've concluded we are witnessing an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities. This attack is different from the tens of thousands of incidents we have responded to throughout the years. The attackers tailored their world-class capabilities specifically to target and attack FireEye. They are highly trained in operational security and executed with discipline and focus. They operated clandestinely, using methods that counter security tools and forensic examination. They used a novel combination of techniques not witnessed by us or our partners in the past.

We are actively investigating in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other key partners, including Microsoft. Their initial analysis supports our conclusion that this was the work of a highly sophisticated state-sponsored attacker utilizing novel techniques.

Intruding a cybersecurity company is a mistake as the chance of getting caught is significantly higher that during an intrusion into other environments. The intruders allegedly made off with some tools which likely can also be found in the wild.

On Sunday FireEye updated its analysis and provided technical details . This really was a sophisticated operation that must have cost significant resources :

We have identified a global campaign that introduces a compromise into the networks of public and private organizations through the software supply chain. This compromise is delivered through updates to a widely-used IT infrastructure management software -- the Orion network monitoring product from SolarWinds . The campaign demonstrates top-tier operational tradecraft and resourcing consistent with state-sponsored threat actors.

Based on our analysis, the attacks that we believe have been conducted as part of this campaign share certain common elements:

Based on our analysis, we have now identified multiple organizations where we see indications of compromise dating back to the Spring of 2020, and we are in the process of notifying those organizations. Our analysis indicates that these compromises are not self-propagating; each of the attacks require meticulous planning and manual interaction.

Neither FireEye nor Microsoft named any suspected actor behind the 'difficult-to-attribute' intrusion effort. Next to the NSA and Britain's GHCQ there are at least Israel, China and maybe Russia which do have such capabilities. But whoever had the chutzpah to intrude the cybersecurity company FireEye also blew up their own operation against many targets of much higher value. Years of work and millions of dollars went to waste because of that one mistake.

Despite the lack of evidence that points to a specific actor 'western' media immediately blamed Russia for the spying attempt.

As Reuters reported on Sunday :

Hackers believed to be working for Russia have been monitoring internal email traffic at the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments, according to people familiar with the matter, adding they feared the hacks uncovered so far may be the tip of the iceberg.

The hack is so serious it led to a National Security Council meeting at the White House on Saturday, said one of the people familiar with the matter.
...
The U.S. government has not publicly identified who might be behind the hacking , but three of the people familiar with the investigation said Russia is currently believed to be responsible for the attack . Two of the people said that the breaches are connected to a broad campaign that also involved the recently disclosed hack on FireEye, a major U.S. cybersecurity company with government and commercial contracts.

In a statement posted here to Facebook, the Russian foreign ministry described the allegations as another unfounded attempt by the U.S. media to blame Russia for cyberattacks against U.S. agencies.

'People familiar with the issue' say 'Russia is believed to be responsible'. Well, some kids familiar with wobbly teeth believe in the tooth fairy. What is that 'believe' based on?

The Associated Press reported on the wider aspect of the intrusions and also blamed Russia:

Hackers broke into the networks of the Treasury and Commerce departments as part of a monthslong global cyberespionage campaign revealed Sunday, just days after the prominent cybersecurity firm FireEye said it had been breached in an attack that industry experts said bore the hallmarks of Russian tradecraft.

I have read FireEye's and Microsoft's detailed technical analysis of the intrusion and took a look at the code . As a (former) IT professional very familiar with network management, I have seen nothing in it that points to Russia. Who are those 'industry experts' who make such unfounded claims?

In response to what may be a large-scale penetration of U.S. government agencies, the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity arm issued an emergency directive calling on all federal civilian agencies to scour their networks for compromises.

The threat apparently came from the same cyberespionage campaign that has afflicted FireEye, foreign governments and major corporations, and the FBI was investigating.

"This can turn into one of the most impactful espionage campaigns on record," said cybersecurity expert Dmitri Alperovitch .

Ah - the AP talked to Alperovitch, the former chief technical officer of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike . The company which in 2016 claimed that Russia had stolen emails from the Democratic National Council but could not provide any evidence of that to the FBI. The company that admitted in Congress testimony that it did not see any exfiltration of emails from the DNC and had no evidence that Russia was involved. Alperovitch is also the 'industry expert' who falsely claimed that Russia hacked into an application used by the Ukrainian artillery. The same Alperovich who is a Senior Fellow of the anti-Russian lobbying organization Atlantic Council . Alperovitch apparently has never seen a software bug or malware that was not made by Russia.

Quoting an earlier version of the above AP story Max Abrams predicted:

Max Abrahms @MaxAbrahms - 3:20 UTC · Dec 14, 2020

"The U.S. government did not publicly identify Russia as the culprit behind the hacks, first reported by Reuters, and said little about who might be responsible."

You know this story will be retold as all 17 intel agencies 100% certain Putin is behind it.

That is indeed likely to happen.

Even while there is no hint in the intrusion software where it might have come from the media all started to blame Russia.

On Sunday, in its first report on the attack, the New York Times headlined:

Russian Hackers Broke Into Federal Agencies, U.S. Officials Suspect

Its chief propagandist David Sanger wrote:

The Trump administration acknowledged on Sunday that hackers acting on behalf of a foreign government -- almost certainly a Russian intelligence agency, according to federal and private experts -- broke into a range of key government networks, including in the Treasury and Commerce Departments, and had free access to their email systems.
...
News of the breach, reported earlier by Reuters , came less than a week after the National Security Agency, which is responsible for breaking into foreign computer networks and defending the most sensitive U.S. national security systems, issued a warning that "Russian state-sponsored actors" were exploiting flaws in a system broadly used in the federal government.

That warning by the NSA was about a known vulnerability in VMware, a software issue that is completely unrelated to the intrusions FireEye had detected and which targeted multiple government agencies.

Not bothering with facts the NYT continued its insinuations :

At the time, the N.S.A. refused to give further details of what had prompted the urgent warning. Shortly afterward, FireEye announced that hackers working for a state had stolen some of its prized tools for finding vulnerabilities in its clients' systems -- including the federal government's. That investigation also pointed toward the S.V.R., one of Russia's leading intelligence agencies. It is often called Cozy Bear or A.P.T. 29, and it is known as a traditional collector of intelligence.

No, the investigation by FireEye does not point in any direction. The company did not name a suspected actor and it did not mention Russia or the S.V.R. at all. The intrusion is also in no way similar to those phishing attempts that some have named Cozy Bear or APT 29.

The Times then further discredits itself by quoting the anti-Russian nutter Alperovich.

On Monday another NYT piece, co-written by Sanger, describes the wider attack and includes the word 'Russia' 23 times! But it does not provide any evidence for any Russian involvement in the case. This is the nearest it comes to:

The early assessments of the intrusions -- believed to be the work of Russia's S.V.R., a successor to the K.G.B. -- suggest that the hackers were highly selective about which victims they exploited for further access and data theft.

'Believed to be' the tooth fairy?

The piece also falsely insinuates that FireEye has linked the attack to Russia:

FireEye said that despite their widespread access, Russian hackers exploited only what was considered the most valuable targets.

Nowhere did FireEye say anything about Russian hackers. It only stated that the intrusions were specifically targeted. The implication of Russia only happened in the NYT writers' heads.

Reuters reports today :

On Monday, SolarWinds confirmed that Orion - its flagship network management software - had served as the unwitting conduit for a sprawling international cyberespionage operation. The hackers inserted malicious code into Orion software updates pushed out to nearly 18,000 customers.

And while the number of affected organizations is thought to be much more modest, the hackers have already parlayed their access into consequential breaches at the U.S. Treasury and Department of Commerce.

Three people familiar with the investigation have told Reuters that Russia is a top suspect, although others familiar with the inquiry have said it is still too early to tell.

As of now no one but the people behind the intrusion know where it has come from.

SolarWinds , the company behind the network management software that was abused to intrude agencies and companies, is known for a lack of security:

SolarWinds' security, meanwhile, has come under new scrutiny.

In one previously unreported issue, multiple criminals have offered to sell access to SolarWinds' computers through underground forums, according to two researchers who separately had access to those forums.

One of those offering claimed access over the Exploit forum in 2017 was known as "fxmsp" and is wanted by the FBI "for involvement in several high-profile incidents," said Mark Arena, chief executive of cybercrime intelligence firm Intel471. Arena informed his company's clients, which include U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Security researcher Vinoth Kumar told Reuters that, last year, he alerted the company that anyone could access SolarWinds' update server by using the password "solarwinds123"

"This could have been done by any attacker, easily," Kumar said.

And that's it.

Any significant actor with the necessary resources could have used the publicly known SolarWinds' password to sneak some malware into the Orion software update process to thereby intrude SolarWinds' customers and spy on them. Without further definitive evidence there is no reason to attribute the intrusions to Russia.

If anyone is to blame it is surely SolarWinds which has learned nothing from the attack. Monday night, days after it was warned, its infected software was still available on its servers . It seems that the SolarWinds people were busy with more important issues than their customers' security:

Top investors in SolarWinds, the Texas-based company whose software was breached in a major Russian cyberattack, sold millions of dollars in stock in the days before the intrusion was revealed.

The timing of the trades raises questions about whether the investors used inside information to avoid major losses related to the attack. SolarWinds's share price has plunged roughly 22 percent since the company disclosed its role in the breach Sunday night.

Note the casual use of 'Russian cyberattack', for which there is no evidence, in the very first sentence.

Silver Lake, a Silicon Valley investor with a history of high-profile tech deals including Airbnb, Dell and Twitter, sold $158 million in shares of SolarWinds on Dec. 7 -- six days before news of the breach became public. Thoma Bravo, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, also sold $128 million of its shares in SolarWinds on Dec. 7.

Together, the two investment firms own 70 percent of SolarWinds and control six of the company's board seats, giving the firms access to key information and making their stock trades subject to federal rules around financial disclosures.

Well, grifters are gonna grift.

And 'western' mainstream writers will blame Russia for anything completely independent of what really happened.

Posted by b on December 16, 2020 at 19:07 UTC | Permalink


Hoyeru , Dec 16 2020 19:24 utc | 1

since when has USA needed evidence? They blamed Saddam for years that he had "weapons of mass distraction". And back in 1990, they created the famous "Iraq solders took babies out fo incubators " lies. Some of us have lived longer than 30 years and we remember all the lies USA has said.

all part of the plan to cut Russia from the SWIFT in 2021.
once Biden becomes a president, he will call on all "democracies" to stand up to Russia. He and other "Western democracies" will hold a joint meeting sometime in 2021 where they will "condemn Russia for all the malign things Russia has done" and will press Belgium to cut Russia fro the SWIFT.
Whats wore, instead of doing anything, Russia is just sitting and watching them instead of warming Europe that this will mean Europe will freeze their collective asses next winter when they won't be able to get Russia gas. Even Iran is warning Russia that they will be cut off from the SWIFT.
Putin is getting old and sick, Russia desperately needs a leader who will stand up to those assholes and warn them to stop. Oh well, it's NOT my problem. Russia better get its asshole oiled up, it will need it. Putin is a weak and inefficient leader, and the SAker IS full of shit.

TH , Dec 16 2020 19:24 utc | 2
I believe that there are a few golden rules that can be applied to news stories:

1) If the first sentence contains a variation of the words "according to," then the story is at least partially bullsh*t
2) If a variation of "according to" is in the headline, then every word of the story is a lie

Roger , Dec 16 2020 19:39 utc | 3
@Hoyeru,

I have to agree with you, the deep state just cannot get over losing Russia to Putin and nationalism after the thought that they had turned it into their playground in the 1990s. They are hot to trot to take out Russia and make it bend the knee, whatever the risks are. Would not put it past them to pull the SWIFT option, although that would have huge implications for the Europeans who buy so much oil and gas from Russia.

It could end up as an own goal, as the Europeans join the Russian payments network and start paying in Euros convertible directly into Rubles (especially with Nordstream 2 in place). The Indians and Chinese are already setup for payments in local currencies. Right now China needs Russia as an ally, so they would also probably re-source oil imports to take more from Russia.

Russia has already made itself self sufficient in food etc., and has been working on payments in local currencies. They are not stupid, and see such a move coming.

iv> Since Wikileaks first publicised its hacking of the infamous Vault 7 emails demonstrating that the CIA had the ability to attach certain metadata to its own hacking activities, to insinuate that Russian or Chinese hackers were responsible (and thus put future investigators on a wrong trail away from the actual culprits), I don't rule out that the CIA and possibly other intel agencies chummy with it may have penetrated FireEye. Especially as these hacking attempts appear to have specific targets and some investors in the companies affected by these hacking attempts seem to employ crystal ball gazers so they were able to divest themselves of huge numbers of shares and make tidy profits before news of the hacking came out which would have sent these hacked companies' share prices down into an abyss. Could some of the hackers themselves be shareholders in the hacked firms?

Posted by: Jen , Dec 16 2020 19:44 utc | 4

Since Wikileaks first publicised its hacking of the infamous Vault 7 emails demonstrating that the CIA had the ability to attach certain metadata to its own hacking activities, to insinuate that Russian or Chinese hackers were responsible (and thus put future investigators on a wrong trail away from the actual culprits), I don't rule out that the CIA and possibly other intel agencies chummy with it may have penetrated FireEye. Especially as these hacking attempts appear to have specific targets and some investors in the companies affected by these hacking attempts seem to employ crystal ball gazers so they were able to divest themselves of huge numbers of shares and make tidy profits before news of the hacking came out which would have sent these hacked companies' share prices down into an abyss. Could some of the hackers themselves be shareholders in the hacked firms?

Posted by: Jen | Dec 16 2020 19:44 utc | 4

William Gruff , Dec 16 2020 19:46 utc | 5
Meanwhile in East Flatrock Tennessee a group of teens is laughing.

"They said our hack was 'an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities'! You hear that? We're a nation now! With 'top-tier offensive capabilities' at that! How awesome is that?"

gottlieb , Dec 16 2020 19:46 utc | 6
The CIA remains firmly in charge of US policy and the mainstream media.
Jen , Dec 16 2020 19:51 utc | 7
Hoyeru @ 1:

I believe the Russian President's annual Q&A session is taking place on 17 December 2020. It will be televised and probably videos of it will be uploaded to Youtube and other platforms over the next few days. The President's own website will feature transcripts of the session in Russian and English, and probably sevetal other languages. The Q&A session is usually a marathon affair running several hours. If you watch it, you will find out how ill Putin appears to be.

james , Dec 16 2020 19:54 utc | 8
b - master propaganda buster, lol... go get em b! i am surprised they aren't coming after you! maybe they figure you are a relatively obscure presence that will remain irrelevant for all intensive purposes... and they haven't figured out how to pull an assange or snowden on you - yet.... you better have some protection with the kgb and know how to speak a little russian!
vk , Dec 16 2020 19:55 utc | 9
Based on my 25 years in cyber security and responding to incidents, I've concluded we are witnessing an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities.

Translation: we fucked up and we're gonna blame either China or Russia, depending on the customer's preference (Republican or Democrat), in order to avoid blame and keep our stock prices from falling.

If you go to Fox News et al, I'm sure they'll be blaming China.

karlof1 , Dec 16 2020 20:14 utc | 10
If you've followed Lavrov's trail for the month of December, he's been in top form in his denunciations of the United States of Voldemort and its neverending illegalities and immoral actions. For the curious, the most recent are on the week in review thread. IMO, what constitutes the Outlaw US Empire's mainstream media lacks credibility across the spectrum of potential topics just as does the federal government. The planet will be a happier place if those two entities are just cast away and allowed to drift upon the endless sea of filth they generate daily.
JohninMK , Dec 16 2020 20:21 utc | 11
From what I have read there does not appear to be any malicious intent at any of the targeted organisations, but that might be wrong.

Maybe the attack on FireEye was an intentional way of exposing what they had done. It created some interesting press.

fyi , Dec 16 2020 20:24 utc | 12
Dear All:

The Russian Federation can annihilate the United States and US has no defenses against that.

So they indulge in such self-propaganda exercise, puffing up themselves and their population, and then they go home, knowing that RF can destroy them.

On the other hand, US can annihilate Iran and Iran cannot do anything about that either.

So they indulge in such self-propaganda exercise, puffing up themselves and their population, and then they go home, knowing that US can destroy them.

The only difference between Iran and Russia is that Iran is not a nuclear-armed state, targeting US cities.

I wonder what percentage of Americans are willing to nuke the Russian Federation - in contradistinction to the 59% who are willing to nuke Iran - per this M.I.T. report

https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/ISEC_a_00284.

Framarz , Dec 16 2020 20:24 utc | 13
SL Ayatollah Khamenei by audience of General Soleimani family

"Ayatollah Khamenei said: The funeral of millions of martyrs of Soleimani was the first severe slap in the face to the Americans, but the more severe slap is "software overcoming the absurd hegemony of arrogance" and "expelling the United States from the region". It is definite whenever possible." Fars News Agency 16.12.20

iv> To be honest, this isn't even worth talking about. A non-story that doesn't deserve any oxygen at all.

Posted by: Clifton , Dec 16 2020 20:29 utc | 14

To be honest, this isn't even worth talking about. A non-story that doesn't deserve any oxygen at all.

Posted by: Clifton | Dec 16 2020 20:29 utc | 14

fyi , Dec 16 2020 20:31 utc | 15
Mr. Framarz

The funerals of the late Abu Mehdi Mohandess, the late Brigadier General Solimani and their companions have been unprecedent in the history of Shia Islam - to my knowledge.

Americans carried out an act that betrayed the extent of their hatred for Iran (as a country) and Shia (as a religion).

It was not the act of a sane sovereign - but as I have maintained for a long time - those of a Mad King.

That action, in my opinion, ended the possibility of the United States staying in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Syria, or in Lebanon.

I wonder how the Shia would react, overtime, in the Azerbaijan Republic, in Kuwait, in Bahrain to the United States in the future.

powerandpeople , Dec 16 2020 20:34 utc | 16
"Neither FireEye nor Microsoft named any suspected actor behind the 'difficult-to-attribute' intrusion effort. Next to the NSA and Britain's GHCQ there are at least Israel, China and maybe Russia which do have such capabilities. But whoever had the chutzpah to intrude the cybersecurity company FireEye also blew up their own operation against many targets of much higher value. Years of work and millions of dollars went to waste because of that one mistake."

Well if software+SolarWind+elections = manipulation => proven[before date]

then a country, either from the list of those with 'capabilities', or another whose capablities were until now unknown, will have invalidated the US election.

BIG - IF true.

A big IF.

fyi , Dec 16 2020 20:34 utc | 17
Mr. Clifton

Perhaps it may be not worthwhile to discuss the main topic of this thread but I think it is worthwhile to note it as an indication of the unwillingness to face the World as it is by many in the United States at all levels.

willie , Dec 16 2020 20:56 utc | 18
Now der spiegel,le monde and le figaro have info from Bellingcat about a team of eight FSB spies and chemical specialist following Navalny for years to take him out,yet not succeeding.Even the most gullible "Russia,Russia,Russia" consumers start to find this ridiculous,judging by the comments.Some indeed start to have concerns about a new war on russia ,that will obviously obliterate all of western-europe.

https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/fall-alexej-nawalny-mutmassliche-taeter-eines-geheimdienstkommandos-enttarnt-a-19e6378b-1726-4fce-9058-f78adb197828

https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/alexej-nawalny-der-kreml-und-der-anschlag-auf-wladimir-putins-angstgegner-a-00000000-0002-0001-0000-000172728796

https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/alexej-nawalny-kreml-medien-verschweigen-neue-erkenntnisse-zum-giftanschlag-a-1f9bcbec-c454-48fd-9ed7-e9021e74651d

They had four articles about this in two days.Mockingbird in full speed.It is very clear to me now that Spiegel ex-journo Udo Ulfkotte was "heartattacked" for outing CIA mastering der Spiegel in his book.

Mao Cheng Ji , Dec 16 2020 21:04 utc | 19
"This attack is different from the tens of thousands of incidents we have responded to throughout the years.[...] ...this was the work of a highly sophisticated state-sponsored attacker utilizing novel techniques"

"Incidents we have responded to"? Meh. Also, this "attack" may or may not be different from the (likely) tens of thousands of incidents that they've never detected.

willie , Dec 16 2020 21:13 utc | 20
Facebook discovered and neutralized a troll farm's accounts related to the french army in Central African Republic and Mali,working against russian st.petersburg related trollfarm accounts,that they neutralized as well.This is all about the french countering russians (and chinese) getting foothold amongst africans,you know the people they threw napalm on in the fifties,like they did in Vietnam way before the americans,to pacify those people.

https://www.01net.com/actualites/facebook-demantele-un-reseau-de-trolls-de-l-armee-francaise-en-afrique-2019443.html

https://www.lefigaro.fr/secteur/high-tech/afrique-facebook-ferme-de-faux-comptes-de-desinformation-lies-a-l-armee-francaise-20201216


https://www.lefigaro.fr/international/l-ombre-des-services-secrets-russes-derriere-l-affaire-navalny-20201215

Norwegian , Dec 16 2020 21:14 utc | 21
Their initial analysis supports our conclusion that this was the work of a highly sophisticated state-sponsored attacker utilizing novel techniques.

So just fake or the CIA.

This is getting boring.

willie , Dec 16 2020 21:20 utc | 22
And of course Navalny is such a hot item that bellingcats's video on youtube got 10 million viewers within 48 hours.War on Russia,who is marching on Moscou,any volunteers?The germans and the french were not very lucky with that in the past,let the united americans have a try,after all its only europe that is meant for destruction either way.The Rotschilds will be proud of you.
Framarz , Dec 16 2020 21:21 utc | 23
@Norwegian 21

For me it was enough to read in the news that U.S. Treasury and Commerce department was among the targets to know who stand behind this operation. It must be very humiliating for US government, that's why the synchronous chorus about the "Russian Cyberattack", they know well that it was not Russia ...

U.S. Treasury and Commerce department is the driving force behind "maximum pressure" sanctions against Iran, terrorizing the Iranian population even blocking trade of medicine necessary for the treatment of kids with chronically illness.

Now Iranians sit with a complete list of U.S. Treasury and Commerce executives and their secrets, that would make it difficult for these economical terrorists to have a relaxing sleep at night. The extra bonus is what Iran got from all other US departments, useful for the future.
US need to restructure a whole lot of their IT network. protocols, hardware, even administrators at government and security level to repair at least part of the damage done.

Khameneie calls it a "sever slap" for the assassination of general Soleimani, one must agree a mind-blowing one indeed ...

uncle tungsten , Dec 16 2020 21:28 utc | 24
b reports FireEye saying
"We are actively investigating in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other key partners, including Microsoft. Their initial analysis supports our conclusion that this was the work of a highly sophisticated state-sponsored attacker utilizing novel techniques."

Interpreted as "we screwed up, that Microsoft Defender software is a POS and to think FireEye AND FBI relied on their crap upgrades - we had better blame Russia and save our total embarrassment.

uncle tungsten , Dec 16 2020 21:36 utc | 25
willie #18
They had four articles about this in two days.Mockingbird in full speed.It is very clear to me now that Spiegel ex-journo Udo Ulfkotte was "heartattacked" for outing CIA mastering der Spiegel in his book.

Thank you and I fully agree - 'heartbreaker herb' is native to a few eastern countries and known as an end of life choice of tea that is used by malign actors for centuries. Hard to find a reference to it these days as most search engines have hidden it. One used to be able to read of it.

karlof1 , Dec 16 2020 21:36 utc | 26
willie @22--

The "united americans" had their try during Russia's Civil War but didn't get very far. Then they tried carpetbagging neoliberal parasites, and they failed too, although they did considerable damage. Currently within the Outlaw US Empire, about as many people are out of work as reside within all of Russia, and their government cares not a whit what happens to them. On the other hand, President Putin has made it clear on many occasions that every Russian life is treasured by him and the Russian government, with more support given Russians than at any previous time by the USSR.

karlof1 , Dec 16 2020 21:41 utc | 27
Framarz @23--

The Outlaw US Empire is woeful when it comes to IT. Medicare today still runs on DOS, and it's likely many other departments do as well.

William Gruff , Dec 16 2020 21:42 utc | 28
Just so that everyone knows that what this => Framarz @23 poster says is entirely possible, back in the olden days when I was helping with Linux kernel space stuff Iran was one of the top five countries where code was being submitted from. Iran has more than just a few very sharp codesmiths.
Rob , Dec 16 2020 21:50 utc | 29
Regarding the David Sanger fantasy piece published in the NYT, I commented on the Times's website that Sanger made the claim of Russian culpability without providing a shred of actual evidence. Much to my surprise, my comment was accepted for publication. Shortly thereafter, it mysteriously vanished into the ether, no doubt having been read and removed by some editor or even by slimeball Sanger himself. Now that was not a surprise.
Framarz , Dec 16 2020 21:53 utc | 30
Thanks for your contribution but it's crystal clear that Khamenei took the responsibility for this operation today, looking at the eyes of Soleimani's daughter and saying what he said: (english text)

fna(dot)ir/f1cm2o

- looks like use of (ir) domain causing the text to be blocked, convert the dot

c1ue , Dec 16 2020 22:21 utc | 31
Indeed - if there's anything to be learned, it is that cyber security even in government intel agencies (Snowden), the military (Manning), political parties (Clinton emails) and now FireEye plus numerous other Solarwinds customers - is marked more for what it isn't than for what it is.
This on top of the damage caused by NotPetya and WannaCry - both of which did so much damage because clearly even Fortune 50 companies don't bother to segment their networks even between countries.
Incompetence and CYA rules the day.
iv> framarz link might show up later.. i just posted it, but it is in the cue to be released later, or not..

Posted by: james , Dec 16 2020 22:58 utc | 32

framarz link might show up later.. i just posted it, but it is in the cue to be released later, or not..

Posted by: james | Dec 16 2020 22:58 utc | 32

gm , Dec 16 2020 23:05 utc | 33
Re: They had four articles about this in two days.Mockingbird in full speed.It is very clear to me now that Spiegel ex-journo Udo Ulfkotte was "heartattacked" for outing CIA mastering der Spiegel in his book.

-Posted by: willie | Dec 16 2020 20:56 utc | 18

Didn't know that until you shared just now. Really terrible if true, but not that surprising given recent events. Wikipedia sez he died 13 January 2017 (aged 56). That would have happened during the Obama/Brennan period.

Lurk , Dec 16 2020 23:11 utc | 34
@ uncle tungsten | Dec 16 2020 21:36 utc | 25

If I understand correctly what you're hinting at, then I'll add that the alps and the nordic countries are also rife with it. It's principle active alkaloid is easily to determine port-mortem and if you're lucky, a good clinician will also diagnose it correctly before it's too late..

Less easy to pinpoint are the effects of targeted exposure with masers.

Peter AU1 , Dec 16 2020 23:37 utc | 35
"But whoever had the chutzpah to intrude the cybersecurity company FireEye also blew up their own operation against many targets of much higher value. Years of work and millions of dollars went to waste because of that one mistake."

yankistan propaganda always inserts a clause to show that hackers are bumblers. Reading the very short one sentence report in Reuters, the yanks got hit hard. pompus had to fly home and cut short his cold/hot war rabble rousing efforts.

arby , Dec 16 2020 23:56 utc | 36
Peter AU1 @ 35

I read that sentence as well and I assumed that b wrote that.

Michael , Dec 17 2020 0:31 utc | 37
@35 Peter

Thank you so much for "Yankistan". That sums it up nicely.

b's observation also gives a clue that it may very well be a white hat attack by the NSA. Lucky for us they could go the extra mile and give it some "positive" spin. Snark.

Bemildred , Dec 17 2020 0:34 utc | 38
The Register has some info on the hack:

US Treasury, Dept of Commerce hacks linked to SolarWinds IT monitoring software supply-chain attack

chu teh , Dec 17 2020 0:44 utc | 39
[This post not appear, so here it is without links]

Whatever is the definition of "intelligence", certainly it must be inclusive of this example, from Khamenei:

"Lifting sanctions is up to the enemy, but nullifying them is up to us'"

Also, he said "We must be strong in all areas, including economy, science, technology and defense, because as long as we do not grow strong, the enemies will not give up greed and aggression."

Now, compare that last to JV Stalin's 1931 speech in the run-up to WW 2:

"One feature of the history of old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered because of her backwardness. ... All beat her -- because of her backwardness, because of her military backwardness, cultural backwardness, political backwardness, industrial backwardness, agricultural backwardness. They beat her because it was profitable and could be done with impunity..."

Interesting, eh?

Hat-tip to Framarz | Dec 16 2020 21:53 utc | 30 for Khamenei link.
Stalin's speech link to follow...if it posts.

chu teh , Dec 17 2020 0:48 utc | 40
Here is link to JV Stalin speech in #40, above.


https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1931/02/04.htm

_K_C_ , Dec 17 2020 0:53 utc | 41
This cyber attack has NSA written all over it. Either that or the attackers had access to the tools that were leaked from the NSA trove. The tactics at least are very similar in some ways.

@willie - I posted a link to CNN's joint investigation with Bellingcat, Der Spiegel, and "The Insider" the other day in the open thread. Nobody seemed to have noticed. Looks like Russia has responded to them.

Quote: This report is funny to read.

I didn't have time to delve into all the different pages that comprise Bellingcat's allegations nor did I see anywhere in their stated methodology how they got access to these phone records that they're claiming correspond to the agents tailing Navalny. At least they didn't call him "opposition leader" this time - just "opposition activist" or something like that. LOL I'll be interested to see b's take on this affair once he's had time to digest it - and there is a lot to digest.

Clifton , Dec 17 2020 1:14 utc | 42
What is so cynical is that during the last three years of fake "Russian Collusion" certain politicians were colluding with the Chinese CCP, ie in actuality doing what they were accusing Trump of doing. Inevitable now that there is big trouble brewing in the US, I don't see how all the fraud evidence on every level can be disregarded, let alone apparent foreign involvement in the voting machines.
iv> Russians get blamed for everything:
https://fair.org/home/a-cia-officer-has-a-headache-media-blame-russia/
and via the lobster,
https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster80/lob80-view-from-the-bridge.pdf?cache=228
the killing of Gareth Williams of MI6
< https://tinyurl.com/y4t3dmuj>
We are very close to the point at which the lies http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/56040.htm
become so ridiculous that they lose their power to confuse.
And there is bellingcat who now leads the front page of The Guardian with his fairy tales.
Luckily in addition to b we have http://johnhelmer.net/

Posted by: bevin , Dec 17 2020 1:30 utc | 43

Russians get blamed for everything:
https://fair.org/home/a-cia-officer-has-a-headache-media-blame-russia/
and via the lobster,
https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster80/lob80-view-from-the-bridge.pdf?cache=228
the killing of Gareth Williams of MI6
< https://tinyurl.com/y4t3dmuj>
We are very close to the point at which the lies http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/56040.htm
become so ridiculous that they lose their power to confuse.
And there is bellingcat who now leads the front page of The Guardian with his fairy tales.
Luckily in addition to b we have http://johnhelmer.net/

Posted by: bevin | Dec 17 2020 1:30 utc | 43

bevin , Dec 17 2020 1:32 utc | 44
Sorry KC@41 I missed your comment which puts the point much better
snake , Dec 17 2020 1:40 utc | 45
western' mainstream writers will blame Russia for anything completely independent of what really happened.

can we get a list of these writers.. and store their names and aliases somewhere. a db.. is needed.


b - master propaganda buster, lol... go get em b! i am surprised the oligarch wealth and its minions haven't
figured out how to pull an assange or snowden on you - yet.... you better have some protection with the kgb
and know how to speak a little russian! by: james @ 8

James I think the propaganda monsters have discovered how to take b down, they
probably plan to ask B to self inject himself with one of their Gene Modifying
Vaccines(GMVs) with expectation that a mental giant will vegetate to a wimp.
.....
The CIA remains firmly in charge of US policy and the mainstream media. by: gottlieb @ 6

Not really, the people who support and control the CIA have firm control over politics,
finance, CIA, and media, remember the nine layers of control consist of but two layers
that are public. The CIA is the leg breaker arm of that oligarch cartel. .. .. but mr gottlieb
please list who in the CIA is the leg breaker in charge over US Policy and explain
how US Policy, CIA leg breaking, mainstream media, wall street execution are financed
marketed and coordinated. I suggest to you these are not government people but private
party marketers.

Just saying a bunch of puppets dressed in CIA suits are in charge is useless.. I will
bet when you identify to us, who it is you are talking about, it will be discovered the
person you think is in charge is not, but instead that person is executing orders given
by a private party someone else. Its the private party some one else that needs media exposure.

who (by name) do the puppets work for,
how can the string pullers be identified, and
Ill bet because the string pullers are not government at all, but private exploitative
persons, that can be legally tracked?

To Norwegian @ 21 fascinating The private parties most likely responsible (PPMLR) for the
cyber attack have been asked to investigate the victim of the cyber attack. The PPMLR's
initial findings support the victim pre investigation conclusion made before the investigation
was complete that the cyber attack was the work of a highly sophisticated state
sponsored attacker utilizing novel techniques? Not all of us were born yesterday?

psychohistorian , Dec 17 2020 2:14 utc | 46
What I haven't seen reported yet is that the voting machine company Dominion is a Solarwinds customer.....
....
....
think of the implications of that
J W , Dec 17 2020 2:41 utc | 47
If the Russians did it, usual sore loser antics by the US.
If the Russians didn't, usual propaganda lies by the US.

Either way, Yankistan still sucks.

gottlieb , Dec 17 2020 2:45 utc | 48
Snake@45..

You're not wrong... points taken. The nexus between the moneyed elite and 'intelligence' has always been there. Cheers.

[Jun 23, 2020] CIA's massive 'Vault 7' leak resulted from 'woefully lax' security protocols within the agency's own network by Sonam Sheth

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on ..."
"... most of the CIA's sensitive cyberweapons "were not compartmented, users shared systems administrator-level passwords, there were no effective removable media [thumb drive] controls, and historical data was available to users indefinitely," the report said ..."
"... The Center for Cyber Intelligence also did not monitor who used its network, so the task force could not determine the size of the breach. However, it determined that the employee who accessed the intelligence stole about 2.2 billion pages -- or 34 terabytes -- of information, the Post reported. ..."
Jun 20, 2020 | taskandpurpose.com

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider .

The Central Intelligence Agency's elite hacking team "prioritized building cyber weapons at the expense of securing their own systems," according to an internal agency report prepared for then-CIA director Mike Pompeo and his deputy, Gina Haspel, who is now the agency's director.

The Washington Post first reported on the document , which said the hacking unit's failure to secure the CIA's systems resulted in the theft of highly classified cyberweapons in 2016.

In March 2017, US officials discovered the breach when the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks published troves of documents detailing the CIA's electronic surveillance and cyberwarfare capabilities. WikiLeaks dubbed the series of documents "Vault 7," and officials say it was the biggest unauthorized disclosure of classified information in the agency's history.

The internal report was introduced in criminal proceedings against former CIA employee Joshua Schulte, who was charged with swiping the hacking tools and handing them over to WikiLeaks.

The government brought in witnesses who prosecutors said showed, through forensic analysis, that Schulte's work computer accessed an old file that matched some of the documents WikiLeaks posted.

Schulte's lawyers, meanwhile, pointed to the internal report as proof that the CIA's internal network was so insecure that any employee or contractor could have accessed the information Schulte is accused of stealing.

A New York jury failed to reach a verdict in the case in March after the jurors told Judge Paul Crotty that they were "extremely deadlocked" on many of the most serious charges, though he was convicted on two counts of contempt of court and making false statements to the FBI.

Crotty subsequently declared a mistrial, and prosecutors said they intended to try Schulte again later this year.

The report was compiled in October 2017 by the CIA's WikiLeaks Task Force, and it found that security protocol within the hacking unit that developed the cyberweapons, housed within the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence, was "woefully lax," according to the Post.

The outlet reported that the CIA may never have discovered the breach in the first place if WikiLeaks hadn't published the documents or if a hostile foreign power had gotten a hold of the information first.

"Had the data been stolen for the benefit of a state adversary and not published, we might still be unaware of the loss," the internal report said.

It also faulted the CIA for moving "too slowly" to implement safety measures "that we knew were necessary given successive breaches to other U.S. Government agencies." Moreover, most of the CIA's sensitive cyberweapons "were not compartmented, users shared systems administrator-level passwords, there were no effective removable media [thumb drive] controls, and historical data was available to users indefinitely," the report said .

The Center for Cyber Intelligence also did not monitor who used its network, so the task force could not determine the size of the breach. However, it determined that the employee who accessed the intelligence stole about 2.2 billion pages -- or 34 terabytes -- of information, the Post reported.

More from Business Insider:

[Jan 08, 2020] Something is really fishy with Paul Krugman: he complained that someone used his IP address to download child porn

Something is really fishy here. Dynamic IP address is reassigned only if you do not switch on you computer on for several days, which is not very probable for Krugman. Otherwise it is glued to this device and is difficult to highjack without installing malware on the computer or router. and he should have static IP anyway, he is not some poor shmuck and can afford extra $10 a month to have.
Two devices with the same IP on the network are usually automatically detected and it is difficult to use them for download, as during this time the second device will lose Internet connection completely and the problem will be detected by the ISP support.
So the only option is that somebody installed backdoor malware on Krugman computer and used his harddrive for storage. That's an extremely improbable scenario, unless he visited some grey site himself.
Jan 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Death2Fiat , 5 minutes ago link

No doubt Krugman has dirt on him for blackmail. No one gets his kind of job without being compromised.

The Last Sasquatch , 12 minutes ago link

These aren't my pants

Johann Gelbwesten , 25 minutes ago link

Probably happened when he clicked on an email from Prince Andrew.

theWHTMANN , 25 minutes ago link

C'mon that guy's face screams...

CosmoJoe , 31 minutes ago link

Getting ahead of it quickly eh Paul?

WP82 , 32 minutes ago link

Gee. Maybe it's nobody other than Krugman using His IP address.

Covering his a$$?

Captain Phoebus , 33 minutes ago link

Don't we believe him?

Jackprong , 35 minutes ago link

Typical ... to blame his actions on his perceived enemies.

[Dec 20, 2019] Did John Brennan's CIA Create Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Gossufer2.0 and CrowdStrike are the weakest links in this sordid story. CrowdStrike was nothing but FBI/CIA contractor.
So the hypothesis that CrowdStrike employees implanted malware to implicate Russians and created fake Gussifer 2.0 personality is pretty logical.
Notable quotes:
"... Not one piece of corroborating intelligence. It is all based on opinion and strong belief. There was no human source report or electronic intercept pointing to a relationship between the GRU and the two alleged creations of the GRU--Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com. Now consider the spin that Robert Mueller put on this opinion in his report on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Mueller bluffs the unsuspecting reader into believing that it is a proven fact that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were Russian assets. But he is relying on a mere opinion from a handpicked group of intel analysts working under the direction of then CIA Director John Brennan ..."
"... In October 2015 John Brennan reorganized the CIA . As part of that reorganization he created a new directorate--DIRECTORATE OF DIGITAL INNOVATION. Its mission was to "manipulate digital footprints." In other words, this was the Directorate that did the work of creating Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. One of their specialties, creating Digital Dust. ..."
"... We also know, thanks to Wikileaks, that the CIA was using software specifically designed to mask CIA activity and make it appear like it was done by a foreign entity. Wikipedia describes the Vault 7 documents : ..."
"... Exhibit A in the case is this document created and later edited in the ubiquitous Microsoft Word format. Metadata left inside the file shows it was last edited by someone using the computer name "Феликс Эдмундович." That means the computer was configured to use the Russian language and that it was connected to a Russian-language keyboard. More intriguing still, "Феликс Эдмундович" is the colloquial name that translates to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the 20th Century Russian statesman who is best known for founding the Soviet secret police. (The metadata also shows that the purported DNC strategy memo was originally created by someone named Warren Flood, which happens to be the name of a LinkedIn user claiming to provide strategy and data analytics services to Democratic candidates.) ..."
"... Why would the CIA do this? The CIA knew that Podesta's emails had been hacked and were circulating on the internet. But they had no evidence about the identity of the culprit. If they had such evidence, they would have cited it in the 2017 ICA. ..."
"... The U.S. intelligence community became aware around May 26, 2016 that someone with access to the DNC network was offering those emails to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Julian Assange and people who spoke to him indicate that the person was Seth Rich. Whether or not it was Seth, the Trump Task Force at CIA was aware that the emails, which would be embarrassing to the Clinton campaign, would be released at some time in the future. Hence the motive to create Guccifer 2.0 and pin the blame on Russia. ..."
"... The only source for the claim that Russia hacked the DNC is a private cyber security firm, CrowdStrike. ..."
"... Time for the common sense standard again. Crowdstrike detected the Russians on the 6th of May, according to CEO Dimitri Alperovitch, but took no steps to shutdown the network, eliminate the malware and clean the computers until 34 days later, i.e., the 10th of June. That is 34 days of inexcusable inaction. ..."
"... The actions attributed to DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 should be priority investigative targets for U.S. Attorney John Durham's team of investigators. This potential use of a known CIA tool, developed under Brennan with the sole purpose to obfuscate the source of intrusions, pointing to another nation, as a false flag operation, is one of the actions and issues that U.S. Attorney John Durham should be looking into as a potential act of "Seditious conspiracy. It needs to be done. To quote the CIA, I strongly assess that the only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU. ..."
"... LJ bottom line: "The only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU." ..."
"... ICA which seemed to have been framed to allow journalists or the unwary to link the ICA with more rigorous standards used by more authentic assessments? ..."
"... With the Russians not having the advantages that the NSA does (back doors in all US-designed network hardware/software and taps all over the internet), would Russia reveal anything unless it involved an immediate major national security threat. I doubt that would cover Trump. ..."
Dec 20, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report insists that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were created by Russia's military intelligence organization, the GRU, as part of a Russian plot to meddle in the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election. But this is a lie. Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were created by Brennan's CIA and this action by the CIA should be a target of U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation. Let me explain why.

Let us start with the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment aka ICA. Only three agencies of the 17 in the U.S. intelligence community contributed to and coordinated on the ICA--the FBI, the CIA and NSA. In the preamble to the ICA, you can read the following explanation about methodology:

When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as "we assess" or "we judge," they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment

To be clear, the phrase,"We assess", is intel community jargon for "opinion". If there was actual evidence or source material for a judgment the writer of the assessment would state, "According to a reliable source" or "knowledgeable source" or "documentary evidence."

Pay close attention to what the analysts writing the ICA stated about the GRU and Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks:

We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets.

We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks. Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.

Not one piece of corroborating intelligence. It is all based on opinion and strong belief. There was no human source report or electronic intercept pointing to a relationship between the GRU and the two alleged creations of the GRU--Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com. Now consider the spin that Robert Mueller put on this opinion in his report on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Mueller bluffs the unsuspecting reader into believing that it is a proven fact that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were Russian assets. But he is relying on a mere opinion from a handpicked group of intel analysts working under the direction of then CIA Director John Brennan.

Here's Mueller's take (I apologize for the lengthy quote but it is important that you read how the Mueller team presents this):

DCLeaks

"The GRU began planning the releases at least as early as April 19, 2016, when Unit 26165 registered the domain dcleaks.com through a service that anonymized the registrant.137 Unit 26165 paid for the registration using a pool of bitcoin that it had mined.138 The dcleaks.com landing page pointed to different tranches of stolen documents, arranged by victim or subject matter. Other dcleaks.com pages contained indexes of the stolen emails that were being released (bearing the sender, recipient, and date of the email). To control access and the timing of releases, pages were sometimes password-protected for a period of time and later made unrestricted to the public.


Starting in June 2016, the GRU posted stolen documents onto the website dcleaks.com, including documents stolen from a number of individuals associated with the Clinton Campaign. These documents appeared to have originated from personal email accounts (in particular, Google and Microsoft accounts), rather than the DNC and DCCC computer networks. DCLeaks victims included an advisor to the Clinton Campaign, a former DNC employee and Clinton Campaign employee, and four other campaign volunteers.139 The GRU released through dcleaks.com thousands of documents, including personal identifying and financial information, internal correspondence related to the"Clinton Campaign and prior political jobs, and fundraising files and information.140


GRU officers operated a Facebook page under the DCLeaks moniker, which they primarily used to promote releases of materials.141 The Facebook page was administered through a small number of preexisting GRU-controlled Facebook accounts.142


GRU officers also used the DCLeaks Facebook account, the Twitter account @dcleaks__, and the email account dcleaksproject@gmail.com to communicate privately with reporters and other U.S. persons. GRU officers using the DCLeaks persona gave certain reporters early access to archives of leaked files by sending them links and passwords to pages on the dcleaks.com website that had not yet become public. For example, on July 14, 2016, GRU officers operating under the DCLeaks persona sent a link and password for a non-public DCLeaks webpage to a U.S. reporter via the Facebook account.143 Similarly, on September 14, 2016, GRU officers sent reporters Twitter direct messages from @dcleaks_, with a password to another non-public part of the dcleaks.com website.144


The dcleaks.com website remained operational and public until March 2017."

Guccifer 2.0

On June 14, 2016, the DNC and its cyber-response team announced the breach of the DNC network and suspected theft of DNC documents. In the statements, the cyber-response team alleged that Russian state-sponsored actors (which they referred to as "Fancy Bear") were responsible for the breach.145 Apparently in response to that announcement, on June 15, 2016, GRU officers using the persona Guccifer 2.0 created a WordPress blog. In the hours leading up to the launch of that WordPress blog, GRU officers logged into a Moscow-based server used and managed by Unit 74455 and searched for a number of specific words and phrases in English, including "some hundred sheets," "illuminati," and "worldwide known." Approximately two hours after the last of those searches, Guccifer 2.0 published its first post, attributing the DNC server hack to a lone Romanian hacker and using several of the unique English words and phrases that the GRU officers had searched for that day.146

That same day, June 15, 2016, the GRU also used the Guccifer 2.0 WordPress blog to begin releasing to the public documents stolen from the DNC and DCCC computer networks.

The Guccifer 2.0 persona ultimately released thousands of documents stolen from the DNC and DCCC in a series of blog posts between June 15, 2016 and October 18, 2016.147 Released documents included opposition research performed by the DNC (including a memorandum analyzing potential criticisms of candidate Trump), internal policy documents (such as recommendations on how to address politically sensitive issues), analyses of specific congressional races, and fundraising documents. Releases were organized around thematic issues, such as specific states (e.g., Florida and Pennsylvania) that were perceived as competitive in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Beginning in late June 2016, the GRU also used the Guccifer 2.0 persona to release documents directly to reporters and other interested individuals. Specifically, on June 27, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 sent an email to the news outlet The Smoking Gun offering to provide "exclusive access to some leaked emails linked [to] Hillary Clinton's staff."148 The GRU later sent the reporter a password and link to a locked portion of the dcleaks.com website that contained an archive of emails stolen by Unit 26165 from a Clinton Campaign volunteer in March 2016.149 "That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.150

The GRU continued its release efforts through Guccifer 2.0 into August 2016. For example, on August 15, 2016, the Guccifer 2.0 persona sent a candidate for the U.S. Congress documents related to the candidate's opponent.151 On August 22, 2016, the Guccifer 2.0 persona transferred approximately 2.5 gigabytes of Florida-related data stolen from the DCCC to a U.S. blogger covering Florida politics.152 On August 22, 2016, the Guccifer 2.0 persona sent a U.S. reporter documents stolen from the DCCC pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement.153"

Wow. Sounds pretty convincing. The documents referencing communications by DCLeaks or Guccifer 2.0 with Wikileaks are real. What is not true is that these entities were GRU assets.

In October 2015 John Brennan reorganized the CIA . As part of that reorganization he created a new directorate--DIRECTORATE OF DIGITAL INNOVATION. Its mission was to "manipulate digital footprints." In other words, this was the Directorate that did the work of creating Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. One of their specialties, creating Digital Dust.

We also know, thanks to Wikileaks, that the CIA was using software specifically designed to mask CIA activity and make it appear like it was done by a foreign entity. Wikipedia describes the Vault 7 documents :

Vault 7 is a series of documents that WikiLeaks began to publish on 7 March 2017, that detail activities and capabilities of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency to perform electronic surveillance and cyber warfare. The files, dated from 2013–2016, include details on the agency's software capabilities, such as the ability to compromise cars, smart TVs,[1] web browsers (including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera Software ASA),[2][3][4] and the operating systems of most smartphones (including Apple's iOS and Google's Android), as well as other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux[5][6

One of the tools in Vault 7 carries the innocuous name, MARBLE. Hackernews explains the purpose and function of MARBLE:

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.

Marble is used to hamper[ing] forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA," says the whistleblowing site.

"...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," WikiLeaks explains.

So guess what gullible techies "discovered" in mid-June 2016? The meta data in the Guccifer 2.0 communications had "Russian fingerprints."

We still don't know who he is or whether he works for the Russian government, but one thing is for sure: Guccifer 2.0 -- the nom de guerre of the person claiming he hacked the Democratic National Committee and published hundreds of pages that appeared to prove it -- left behind fingerprints implicating a Russian-speaking person with a nostalgia for the country's lost Soviet era.

Exhibit A in the case is this document created and later edited in the ubiquitous Microsoft Word format. Metadata left inside the file shows it was last edited by someone using the computer name "Феликс Эдмундович." That means the computer was configured to use the Russian language and that it was connected to a Russian-language keyboard. More intriguing still, "Феликс Эдмундович" is the colloquial name that translates to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the 20th Century Russian statesman who is best known for founding the Soviet secret police. (The metadata also shows that the purported DNC strategy memo was originally created by someone named Warren Flood, which happens to be the name of a LinkedIn user claiming to provide strategy and data analytics services to Democratic candidates.)

Just use your common sense. If the Russians were really trying to carry out a covert cyberattack, do you really think they are so sloppy and incompetent to insert the name of the creator of the Soviet secret police in the metadata? No. The Russians are not clowns. This was a clumsy attempt to frame the Russians.

Why would the CIA do this? The CIA knew that Podesta's emails had been hacked and were circulating on the internet. But they had no evidence about the identity of the culprit. If they had such evidence, they would have cited it in the 2017 ICA.

The U.S. intelligence community became aware around May 26, 2016 that someone with access to the DNC network was offering those emails to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Julian Assange and people who spoke to him indicate that the person was Seth Rich. Whether or not it was Seth, the Trump Task Force at CIA was aware that the emails, which would be embarrassing to the Clinton campaign, would be released at some time in the future. Hence the motive to create Guccifer 2.0 and pin the blame on Russia.

It is essential to recall the timeline of the alleged Russian intrusion into the DNC network. The only source for the claim that Russia hacked the DNC is a private cyber security firm, CrowdStrike. Here is the timeline for the DNC "hack."

Here are the facts on the public record. They are at odds with the claims of the Intelligence Community:

  1. It was 29 April 2016 , when the DNC claims it became aware its servers had been penetrated. No claim yet about who was responsible. And no claim that there had been a prior warning by the FBI of a penetration of the DNC by Russian military intelligence.
  2. According to CrowdStrike founder , Dimitri Alperovitch, his company first supposedly detected the Russians mucking around inside the DNC server on 6 May 2016. A CrowdStrike intelligence analyst reportedly told Alperovitch that:
    • Falcon had identified not one but two Russian intruders: Cozy Bear, a group CrowdStrike's experts believed was affiliated with the FSB, Russia's answer to the CIA; and Fancy Bear, which they had linked to the GRU, Russian military intelligence.
  3. The Wikileaks data shows that the last message copied from the DNC network is dated Wed, 25 May 2016 08:48:35.
  4. 10 June 2016 --CrowdStrike waited until 10 June 2016 to take concrete steps to clean up the DNC network. Alperovitch told Esquire's Vicky Ward that: 'Ultimately, the teams decided it was necessary to replace the software on every computer at the DNC. Until the network was clean, secrecy was vital. On the afternoon of Friday, June 10, all DNC employees were instructed to leave their laptops in the office."
  5. On June 14, 2016 , Ellen Nakamura, a Washington Post reporter who had been briefed by computer security company hired by the DNC -- Crowdstrike--, wrote:
    • Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.
    • The intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC's system that they also were able to read all email and chat traffic, said DNC officials and the security experts.
    • The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some Republican political action committees, U.S. officials said. But details on those cases were not available.
  6. 15 June, 2016 , an internet "personality" self-described as Guccifer 2.0 surfaces and claims to be responsible for the hacks but denies being Russian. The people/entity behind Guccifer 2.0:

The only thing that the Guccifer 2.0 character did not do to declare its Russian heritage was to take out full page ads in the New York Times and Washington Post. But the "forensic" fingerprints that Guccifer 2.0 was leaving behind is not the only inexplicable event.

Time for the common sense standard again. Crowdstrike detected the Russians on the 6th of May, according to CEO Dimitri Alperovitch, but took no steps to shutdown the network, eliminate the malware and clean the computers until 34 days later, i.e., the 10th of June. That is 34 days of inexcusable inaction.

It is only AFTER Julian Assange announces on 12 June 2016 that WikiLeaks has emails relating to Hillary Clinton that DCLeaks or Guccifer 2.0 try to contact Assange.

The actions attributed to DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 should be priority investigative targets for U.S. Attorney John Durham's team of investigators. This potential use of a known CIA tool, developed under Brennan with the sole purpose to obfuscate the source of intrusions, pointing to another nation, as a false flag operation, is one of the actions and issues that U.S. Attorney John Durham should be looking into as a potential act of "Seditious conspiracy. It needs to be done. To quote the CIA, I strongly assess that the only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU.

Posted at 02:13 PM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink


Factotum , 20 December 2019 at 02:45 PM

LJ bottom line: "The only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU."
Paul Damascene , 20 December 2019 at 02:54 PM
Larry, thanks -- vital clarifications and reminders. In your earlier presentation of this material did you not also distinguish between the way actually interagency assessments are titled, and ICA which seemed to have been framed to allow journalists or the unwary to link the ICA with more rigorous standards used by more authentic assessments?
walrus , 20 December 2019 at 03:51 PM
Thank you Larry. You have discovered one more vital key to the conspiracy. We now need the evidence of Julian Assange. He is kept incommunicado and He is being tortured by the British in jail and will be murdered by the American judicial system if he lasts long enough to be extradited.

You can be sure he will be "Epsteined" before he appears in open court because he knows the source of what Wikileaks published. Once he is gone, mother Clinton is in the clear.

Ghost Ship , 20 December 2019 at 04:04 PM
I can understand the GRU or SVR hacking the DNC and other e-mail servers because as intelligence services that is their job, but can anyone think of any examples of Russia (or the Soviet Union) using such information to take overt action?

With the Russians not having the advantages that the NSA does (back doors in all US-designed network hardware/software and taps all over the internet), would Russia reveal anything unless it involved an immediate major national security threat. I doubt that would cover Trump.

[Jul 09, 2019] So what does a cybersecurity company that is hemorrhaging money and can't protect it's clients do? It does an IPO

Notable quotes:
"... So in the past three years Crowdstrike: ..."
"... a) detected the DNC server hack, but failed to stop it b) falsely accused the Russians of hacking Ukrainian artillery c) failed to prevent the NRCC from being hacked, even though that was why they were hired ..."
"... In other words, Crowdstrike is really bad at their job. In addition, Crowdstrike is really bad at business too. CrowdStrike recorded a net loss last year of $140 million on revenue of $249.8 million, and negative free cash flow of roughly $59 million. ..."
Jul 09, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

So in the past three years Crowdstrike:

a) detected the DNC server hack, but failed to stop it
b) falsely accused the Russians of hacking Ukrainian artillery
c) failed to prevent the NRCC from being hacked, even though that was why they were hired

In other words, Crowdstrike is really bad at their job. In addition, Crowdstrike is really bad at business too. CrowdStrike recorded a net loss last year of $140 million on revenue of $249.8 million, and negative free cash flow of roughly $59 million.

So what does a cybersecurity company that is hemorrhaging money and can't protect it's clients do? It does an IPO .

It just goes to show that "getting it right" is not the same thing as "doing a good job." If you tell the right people what they want to hear, the money will take care of itself.

[Jul 09, 2019] Crowdstrike mode of operation:

Jul 09, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Whoops, you got hacked? Gee, nothing we could have done. More money please!

I think this is most of the IT biz right here

It just goes to show that "getting it right" is not the same thing as "doing a good job."

If you tell the right people what they want to hear, the money will take care of itself.

It's all about making the people at the top feel smart for having hired you and assuring them they don't need to waste their beautiful minds trying to understand what it is you do.

Whoops, you got hacked? Gee, nothing we could have done. More money please!

[Jun 18, 2019] Wikileaks CIA Stole Russian Malware, Uses It to Misdirect Attribution of Cyber Attacks

Notable quotes:
"... So perhaps the DNC was hacked by the CIA and it was blamed on the Russians. ..."
"... How can we trust any investigation when the investigation can be doctored to scapegoat Russia? This is embarrassing. ..."
"... Clapper is a known perjurer. ..."
"... Of course it was the Obama CIA, pros like the Russians or Chinese, never leave behind "fingerprints" they are smart enough to cover their tracks. As a cyber analyst I can tell you that when you see "fingerprints or breadcrumbs" leading to a source, it's usually deceptive and intentional. Let that sink in! ..."
Jun 12, 2019 | russia-insider.com

From the Wikileaks "Year Zero" dump:

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.

Everyone knew it. Now we have proof. "Fingerprints" are meaningless. It's now clear that the CIA is able to "pose" as "Russian hackers" whenever it so chooses. Just something to think about. All allegations of "digital fingerprints" left behind by Russian hackers must now be dismissed as either fake or meaningless


ChasMoDee • 2 years ago ,

So perhaps the DNC was hacked by the CIA and it was blamed on the Russians.

Disco Obama ChasMoDee • 2 years ago ,

How can we trust any investigation when the investigation can be doctored to scapegoat Russia? This is embarrassing.

disqus_ayvQwhvS6h Disco Obama • 2 years ago ,

Since 2002. You sheep have had the wool pulled over since 2002. It's been 15 years. Imagine how much you won't find out til the next 15.

Tom • 2 years ago ,

So the CIA obtained FISA Warrants for the millions of devices hacked? Guess we now know how Trump Tower was wiretapped when DNI Clapper said there was no such order given.

JackBootedThug✓ Tom • 2 years ago ,

Clapper is a known perjurer.

American Freeman • 2 years ago ,

Now we know how Obama's administration got through the FISA Court to tape Trump.

4ever&anon • 2 years ago ,

So! It now becomes clear what Obama and the Democrats were planning for the Trump Administration. They could hack away at anything and everything and leave Russian "fingerprints" to make it appear that the Russians did it. It's really no telling what is already planted. Thst's why some Democrat's seem so supremely confident that Trump will be impeached.

I don't think that it's really sunk in for most people that this was a plan for World Domination by a force more evil than the average person could ever imagine. We're still in grave danger but thank Heaven for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Not only have they saved America but perhaps the whole world from domination that heretofore couldn't even be imagined except in science fiction.

Our problem will now be how to build enough gallows to accomodate the traitors and seditionists who have participated in this dark plan.

Mike John Elissen • 2 years ago ,

Hysteria in Oceania. The same goons blaming Russia for robbing the local candy store (without producing evidence) are robbing the candy factory 24/7. All of a sudden, the MSM has found issues and terms like `non-verified documents` and `non-verifiable, anonymous sources` to be of the utmost importance, in contrast to when they were copy-pasting the ` information` about Russian hacking. I wonder how much time it takes for the Ministries of Information and their docile press-clowns to (again) turn the story around and blame WikiLeaks for being a `Russian tool` to discard their own obvious crimes.

Elevator2TheTop • 2 years ago ,

This whole Russian hacking thing is sounding more and more like the anti-Muslim video that sparked the Benghazi attacks.

Bad Hombre • 2 years ago ,

They wiretapped the entire Trump team thinking they would come up with an October surprise...and found NOTHING. If they had ANYTHING, it would have been used prior to the election. And, since Hillary was supposed to win, the illegal wire taps would never have been disclosed.

Now Trump has exposed the Obama admin and democrats are hyperventilating over Russia to deflect from the crimes they committed.

ruadh Bad Hombre • 2 years ago ,

We always knew that, were told we were crazy, now we have proof. The MSM has been gas-lighting us. I wonder how many red pills you have to swallow to get to the other side of this Rabbit Hole?

middleclasstaxpayer • 2 years ago ,

It seems our government really is the most corrupt entity on this planet.

lou Guest • 2 years ago ,

Well BO moved to Washington so it will be easy for the Press to shout these questions at him at his home or a restaurant or a ballgame. We need answers BO, and right now. No BS. anymore. Or go back to Indonesia and hide out.

Peter Shoobridge ن ruadh • 2 years ago ,

It's really not fun. The intelligence agencies are unaccountable and cloak their criminality with the secrecy of national security. They're not going to back down. They're ruthless. And they kill people for sport. This will not end well unless the military is called in to round them up, which has huge risks of its own...

TGFD • 2 years ago ,

TGFD here.
As far as I'm concerned. death becomes anyone in the effing CIA. Same goes for their parasitic family members. Death's image would look good on them.
There is NO secret in the CIA that I would not expose if I could.

I never heard of the term, "Deep State" prior to 2 months ago, and I don't like what I hear, either. I pray that somehow, God will enable TRUMP to vanquish all the filth in the deep state.

William Dickerson • 2 years ago ,

I knew it - the documents I looked over, the IP addresses I checked, the supposed "malware" that the US said "was the same as we know Russia had used" and more - and it just did not add up.

Now to be sure the American population is dumb when it comes to technology - and they usually blindly believe what the CIA, and media, tells them. But me - being in IT for some decades and having worked with Russian people for 6 years (in an electronics engineering company founded by a Russian immigrant to the U.S.) and being a network security administrator for a small government agency, something smelled odd.

The IP addresses - hahaha - really? Try again - up until the spring of 2016 American company Verizon routed 1 million stolen IP addresses - used by cyber-criminals in the USA........ so guess where some of those IP addresses REALLY belonged. Further, the "CIA" and other spooks included - honestly? TOR exit node addresses. If you use TOR browser, you will find some of those same addresses in your own logs (unless you are smart and either purge or don't log, etc.)
So try again, U.S. spooks - the malware? HAHA - what a JOKE. Really. I mean older software that John Q. Public can download for FREE? Sorry, Russians are far far smarter and they'd not use OLD software that works on WordPress based on PHP servers when the target isn't based on blogging software.

Sorry, silly Americans - including and especially McCain and others in our congress who are, say what? members of INTELLIGENCE committees? Really?

You help guide the intelligence and security operations of a major country and you fall for the BS that was presented to you? Did you not ask questions? I did - I did my own research and I guess that proves I'm as smart or smarter than any member of and house or Senate intelligence committee. Do these people even know where the power button is on their computer? Smart - they hire unvetted IT people to take care of congressional computers....... and some of the equipment ends up missing, and these people have full free access as admins to computers used by congressional members of armed services committees and more!

That's how smart our U.S. congress is. Hire your brother-in-laws IT geek, give 'em full admin access, let them come and go freely........... and fall for intelligence reports about Russian hacking...... all the while our own CIA is doing MORE and WORSE.

While this topic is still fresh (thanks to the Democrats) - election interference - Election or campaign interference scores according to political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University: Russia - 36 times, U.S.A - 81 times

The USA's score number doesn't include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn't like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring.

So who exactly is it that interferes or "Helps" with elections? Yeah, I thought so.

President Vladimir Putin must go home each night shaking his head in disbelief at how gullible we are here.

By the way - Podesta was NOT HACKED. He fell for a simple phishing scam. Yes, the email wasn't even very well done. It appeared more like it came out of Nigeria than any professional group, it was lame, didn't even look real, didn't sound real and the URL or link was so obvious, geesh, a fool could have seen it was phishing. Oh, wait, we're talking Podesta here. The man gave away his password (which for a while was indeed 'password'. Worse - he used what for his campaign work? Did you say GMAIL? You have to be kidding! A free consumer email, based in the cloud, and not only that, at least 3 others had account access to his Gmail. He kept documents, calendar, task lists and more in it. The phishing scammer got access to his Gmail inbox, sent items, attachments, calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, you name it! No hacking needed since this is CLOUD BASED. No one had to touch his computer or iPad.

I really laughed when I found in those emails the admin credentials for his Wi-Fi, and even more funny - the admin credentials for his building security system. Yes, all that in his cloud-based Gmail account. As Bugs Bunny would say- what a maroon!

No wonder he's mad and trying to blame everyone else. He has to know he was scammed and he fell for it and it was all HIS FAULT, no one else but him. Using Gmail for such important work is STUPID as it is - but then to fall for phishing. He got what he deserved, and if it was Russians, tell those teenagers congratulations! That's all it took to phish Podesta - the skill set of KIDS in their early teens.

I could go on about the stupidity involved in all of this, but won't (I hear a collective sigh of relief!)

rayg • 2 years ago ,

So, did the Russians hack the election? Or did the Obama CIA hack the election and just did a pizz-poor job of it? Or perhaps Obama really did not want Hillary to win.

This might make those congressional investigations into the alleged hacking of the election by Russians a lot more interesting. That is, of course, assuming that the investigations are really about finding the truth.

Michael K rayg • 2 years ago ,

Obama Hates Hillary but could not openly control her. With Trump elected he could work openly to damage his administration, and with the help of MSM demonize him, and make him look like a tool of the Russians as well as his appointees. Notice, there was no talk of Russian hacking prior to the election. The "intelligence" agencies waited for the election results to come out with their charges.

Use delaying tactics to prevent approval of appointees, attack and possibly remove approved appointees eroding confidence in the current government. With the help of RINOs delay legislation. Pay protestors to protest everything Trump does using labels such as sexist, racist, Nazi, etc.

Obama's and DNC's goal: Prevent any progress till the mid term elections and try and overturn the balance in Congress to get the liberal agenda back on track. Get poised for the 2020 election and run a more palatable candidate than Hillary.

Gonzogal Michael K • 2 years ago ,

"Obama's and DNC's goal: Prevent any progress till the mid term elections and try and overturn the balance in Congress to get the liberal agenda back on track. Get poised for the 2020 election and run a more palatable candidate than Hillary."

Or, according to Obomber's club make it so that Trump "either resigns or is impeached"
http://www.zerohedge.com/ne...
http://www.zerohedge.com/ne...

Geoff Caldwell • 2 years ago ,

Let's unpack this. All those rumors about the Obama's hating the Clinton's? TRUE BUT, he couldn't let DOJ go through with indictment so instead gets Clapper, Brennan and the boys to use Russian fingerprints to hack and then sits back and watches the chaos unfold. When you go back to how he got his start in Chicago its exactly how he operates.

Marsha Moore • 2 years ago ,

I am furious. I read the original re CIA attempting to influence French elections. But this is CLEAR TREASON by Obama Administration. I NEVER trusted Brennen. violation for CIA to operate inside US.

rlqretired • 2 years ago ,

Looks like this is an example of Obama/CIA preparation for Treason?

The thing that really pisses me off is that the factual basis for all of this criminal and treasonous activity by the Obama Administration, that is being exposed today, remains covered-up by everyone in a position of responsibility to expose it. That factual basis is that every identification document Obama has presented to prove he is a citizen of the USA is a forgery. Based upon the totality of his record as president he is an agent of foreign Islamic allegiance and everything he has done in the Middle East always ends up in favor of radical Islam and refuses to even acknowledge radical Islamic terrorism exists. The same goes for his refusal to acknowledge domestic Islamic terrorism exists.

Factual answers for these three questions will clear up why we are having this treasonous activity. (1) Why does Obama have and need a forged birth certificate as he posted on his POTUS website? (2) Why does Obama's first officially issued copy of his Selective Service Registration Card have a forged 2 digit postal stamp? (3) Why is Obama using a SS# that was first issued to someone else? These three questions must be answered by Congress as the researched information verifying forgery is readily available and will expose the basis of this treason.

Play Hide
Spyplane • 2 years ago ,

Let's not forget that logging into an email server because of a weak password and getting a copy of emails does not scream CIA. Also John Podesta's email password was extremely weak. So it did not take a covert CIA hacking program to initiate. We keep hearing Russia hacked our election. Yet have ZERO proof! First the majority of election machines are decentralized and not connected to internet. There was not a single instance where vote the count was effected. This was also immediately stated by Obamas DNI. Claiming they ran a propaganda attack on Hillary Clinton is pathetic. They are claiming the American people did not see who Hillary Clinton truly was. The opposite is true.

Hillary Clinton had made her own propaganda against herself. She is who the American people see. Not what the Russians programmed Us to see. The American people made a choice based on her actions no one else's. The liberals continually attacking someone with false claims without proof is a standard Liberal / Alyinsky strategy. It requires no proof if all liberal extremist continually repeat the same attack which is then amplified by the Liberal propaganda media (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, etc)

The Russian collusion claim is the exact same scenario. Make the claim which we already knew the Trump campaign speaks with Russian diplomats. Most people in politics interact with all countries diplomat and ambassadors. So instantly the claim is impossible to debunk. The Liberal party has become a party willing to use any and all tactics to avoid listening to the American people. This whole Russian drama is created to go against what the American people voted for. The democrat party is as much a threat to The United States as Communism ever was. It has been said if fascism ever comes back to the United States it will come in the form of liberalism. So the American people have a choice.

Use common sense and stop the liberal extremist party from destroying our democracy or deal with the consequences of America becoming ineffective and divided. The majority of the Democrat party and it's supporters have become so ideologically perverted they have lost sight of morality and what America stands for.

The Russians have not hypnotized Americans to vote for Donald Trump. It wasn't possible for the Russians to manipulate voter data and yes the Trump campaign speaks with Russian diplomats.

But it was the same Russian ambassador that Obama left in the country while expelling all others. The same Russian ambassador Obama scheduled meetings with for Jeff sessions. The same rushing ambassador that all Democrat spend time with. Make a claim that's true then find a way to turn it negative.

Typical Saul Alinsky. Everyone needs to remember anything the Liberals attack someone for the opposite is true.

Today Is The Day We Get Trump Spyplane • 2 years ago ,

The point of the Wikileaks is that "proof" is easily manufactured.

DanJR • 2 years ago ,

And now you know that the CIA (via Obama's orders or tacit approval) was the one that created the ruse of Trump emailing a Russian bank as a pretext to persuade FISA judges to sign off on the warrants to keep surveillance on him and his contacts.

If I were Obama I'd be seeking the nearest airport and fly to any country offering asylum... it's good night, good riddance for him and the rest of the Deep State Globalists.

seanster5977 • 2 years ago ,

Kind of funny where this started. Remember Hillary stole a server from the government secure server facility and set it up in her basement without proper security software and monitoring for hacking. Proven. And she had idiots in her staff so stupid they used passwords like "p@ssword". Proven. So any 11 year old computer expert could have hacked that server.

And she lied about the content of the messages being transferred. Top secret and classified info was lost due to her illegal actions. But Comey gave the pig a pass.

LH • 2 years ago ,

Of course it was the Obama CIA, pros like the Russians or Chinese, never leave behind "fingerprints" they are smart enough to cover their tracks. As a cyber analyst I can tell you that when you see "fingerprints or breadcrumbs" leading to a source, it's usually deceptive and intentional. Let that sink in!

[May 23, 2019] Guccifer 2.0 Was Not a Russian Creation by Larry C Johnson

Notable quotes:
"... The Word documents published in June 2016 by Guccifer 2 also show a "last saved as" user id written in Cyrillic. The Anglicized name is " Felix Edmundovich ", aka "Iron Felix" (the infamous director of an early Soviet spy agency). If you are a Russian cyber spy trying to conduct a covert operation, why do you sign your document with the name of one of the most infamous leaders of Russian intelligence? Robert Mueller wants you to believe that this was just Russian audacity. ..."
"... The phrase "personal beliefs about the competence or incompetence of the Russians" catches something important. Whether it was the Russians or somebody else that did this, whoever did it was pretty sloppy. What this report describes is almost as pathetic when considered a false flag operation as it is as a sabotage operation. So any theory of who stole and published the documents has to explain a capability to access the data combined with blissful obliviousness about handling them. I know of no reason to think the Russian, US, Israeli, or other intelligence communities incapable of such a combination. All of them have brilliant dedicated people but also seemingly endless supplies of mediocre time-servers. ..."
"... Scenario? Shutdown, closing of words with documents being automatically saved? Ok, otherwise there is apparently no precise saving time stamp on Winwords latest version. How much changed since 2016? ..."
"... The Vault7 leak of CIA tools also contained information on how to select any language environment. It's really a standard practice, even for normal criminals. ..."
May 23, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Russia did not hack the DNC. This is not an opinion. It is a conclusion that flows from one very specific claim made by the Special Counsel -- i.e., Guccifer 2.0 was a fictional identity created by Russian Military Intelligence, the GRU. If Guccifer was in fact a creation or creature of the GRU, then the forensic evidence should show that this entity was operating from Russia or under the direct control of the GRU. The forensic evidence shows something quite different -- the meta data in the Guccifer 2.0 documents were manipulated deliberately to plant Russian fignerprints. This was not an accident nor an oversight due to carelessness.

What is meta data? This is the information recorded when a document is created. This data includes things such as the date and time the document was created or modified. It tells you who created the document. It is like the Wizard of Oz, it is the information behind the curtain.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's is correct in stating that Guccifer 2.0 was a "fictious online persona. " He is wrong in attributing that action to Russian Military Intelligence. While Guccifer 2.0 was a "fictious" entity, the information recorded about when, how and who created the document show that deliberate choices were made to present the info as if it was created by someone Russian.

Let us first stipulate and agree that Russia and the United States engage in cyber espionage and covert action against each other. This has been the case since computers and the internet came into existence. Within the U.S. Intelligence Community these activities generally are labeled with the acronym, CNO -- Computer Network Operations. The Russians and the United States have cadres of cyber "warriors" who sit at computer terminals and engage in operations commonly known as hacking. Other countries, such as China, Iran and Ukraine do this as well.

CNOs are classified at the highest level in the United States and normally are handled within special restricted categories commonly known as SAPs (i.e, Special Access Programs). A critical element of these kinds of operations is to avoid leaving any fingerprints or clues that would enable the activity to be traced back to the United States. But this is not unique to the United States. All professional intelligence services around the world understand and practice this principle -- leave no evidence behind that proves you were there.

The case implicating Russia in the hack of the DNC and Clinton emails, including those of her campaign Manager, John Podesta, rests on suspect forensic computer evidence -- is present in the meta data in the documents posted on line by Guccifer 2.0. According to Disobedient Media , "the files that Guccifer 2.0 initially pushed to reporters contain Russian metadata, a Russian stylesheet entry and in some cases embedded Russian error messages."

Why would the Russians make such a mistake, especially in such a high stake operation (targeting a national election with covert action most certainly is a high stake operation). Mueller and the U.S. intelligence community want you to believe that the Russians are just sloppy and careless buffoons. Those ideologically opposed to the Russians readily embrace this nonsenses. But for those who actually have dealt with Russian civilian and military intelligence operatives and operations, the Russians are sophisticated and cautious.

But we do not have to rely on our personal beliefs about the competence or incompetence of the Russians. We simply need to look at the forensic evidence contained in the documents posted by Guccifer 2.0. We will take Robert Mueller and his investigators at their word:

An examination of those documents tells a very different story. While it does not reveal who or what was Guccifer 2.0, it does undermine Mueller's claim that it was the Russians who did these dastardly deeds.

One independent forensic computer investigator, who uses the name, "The Forensicator," examined the meta data in some of the documents posted by Guccifer 2.0 and discovered the following :

Guccifer 2.0 published a file on 13 September 2016 that was originally copied on 5 July 2016 at approximately 6:45 PM Eastern time. It was copied and appeared as the "NGP VAN" 7zip file.

The estimated speed of transfer was 23 MB/s. This means that this initial data transfer could have been done remotely over the Internet. Instead, it was likely done from a computer system that had direct access to the data. "By "direct access" we mean that the individual who was collecting the data either had physical access to the computer where the data was stored, or the data was copied over a local high-speed network (LAN)."

This initial copying activity was done on a system that used Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) settings and was likely initially copied to a computer running Linux, because the file last modified times all reflect the apparent time of the copy, which is a characteristic of the Linux 'cp' command (using default options).

On September 1, 2016, a subset of the initial large collection of DNC related content (the so-called NGP/VAN data), was transferred to working directories on a system running Windows. The .rar files included in the final 7zip file were built from those working directories.

The alleged Russian fingerprints appeared in the first document "leaked" by Guccifer 2.0-- 1.doc -- which was a report on Donald Trump . A forensic examination of the documents shows thatgiven the word processor program used to create the Donald Trump Document released by Guccifer 2.0, the author consciously and purposefully used formats that deliberately inserted "Russian fingerprints" into the document. In other words, the meta-data was purposely altered, and documents were pasted into a 'Russianified' word document with Russian language settings and style headings.

Here are the key facts:

The meta data shows that Slate_-_Domestic_-_USDA_-_2008-12-20.doc was the template for creating 1.doc , 2.doc and 3.doc . This template injected "Warren Flood" as the author value and "GSA" as the company value in those first three Word documents. This template also injected the title , the watermark and header/footer fields found in the final documents (with slight modifications).

The Word documents published in June 2016 by Guccifer 2 also show a "last saved as" user id written in Cyrillic. The Anglicized name is " Felix Edmundovich ", aka "Iron Felix" (the infamous director of an early Soviet spy agency). If you are a Russian cyber spy trying to conduct a covert operation, why do you sign your document with the name of one of the most infamous leaders of Russian intelligence? Robert Mueller wants you to believe that this was just Russian audacity.

But the meta data tells a different story. When we examine The Revision Session Identifiers aka 'RSID's, in the Guccifer document, we see the same Russian style-headings in 1.doc, 2.doc and 3.doc. The document creation timestamps on docs 1, 2 and 3 also are all identical.

Given that MS word assigns a new random 'RSID' with each save when an element is added or edited (this function allows one to track changes made to a Word document), the only way to obtain identical creation timestamps means that someone either directly edited the source document or that there was one empty document open and that individual documents were copy-pasted and saved-as (1.doc), then contents deleted and new doc pasted and saved-as (2.doc), etc. This process also explains identical style-sheet RSIDs .


joanna , 22 May 2019 at 08:54 AM

The document creation timestamps on docs 1, 2 and 3 also are all identical.

Curious, no doubt. But who of us did not consider Guccifer 2 curious. Put another way, what experts considered him solid proof for Russian involvement?

Are you suggesting Winword templates were used for the metadata?

As IT nitwit, how can I save three *doc files or their 2016 word equivalent at the same time? Any way to do that? Windows doesn't seem to have a solution to that.

Again: This is a nitwit user asking a question.

*******
I admittedly am not overly motivated to read the Mueller report. I'll read your contribution again to figure out what you may suggest in or between the lines.

fredw , 22 May 2019 at 09:26 AM
The phrase "personal beliefs about the competence or incompetence of the Russians" catches something important. Whether it was the Russians or somebody else that did this, whoever did it was pretty sloppy. What this report describes is almost as pathetic when considered a false flag operation as it is as a sabotage operation. So any theory of who stole and published the documents has to explain a capability to access the data combined with blissful obliviousness about handling them. I know of no reason to think the Russian, US, Israeli, or other intelligence communities incapable of such a combination. All of them have brilliant dedicated people but also seemingly endless supplies of mediocre time-servers.

Equally interesting is the fact that this analysis has come from such a private source. Surely all the major intelligence agencies have the skill to find the same indicators. And all have comparatively endless resources to apply to the analysis. But they all seem to not want to talk about it. For me the most suspicious thing about the handling of the theft was the FBI's near complete lack of interest in examining the server. I have always assumed that such indifference reflected that they already had all they needed in order to understand what happened. Maybe even watched the theft in real time. But this report demonstrates that you didn't need any special access to blow up the official story. (Note that the official story may be "true". It is just not proven by the cited evidence.)

Yet, whatever actually happened, nobody seems interested in challenging the narrative that Russians stole data and routed it through useful idiots to influence the 2016 elections. This report indicates that a persuasive challenge would not have been hard to produce.

Perhaps the false flag was intentionally clumsy, intended to be detected. Bait for a trap that no one wants to fall into. But I don't see where that thought leads.

joanna , 22 May 2019 at 09:58 AM
https://archive.fo/2dMfC#selection-683.213-687.434

This can be discovered by looking at things called 'rsid's or Revision Session Identifiers in Guccifer's document. In order to track changes, MS word assigns a new random 'rsid' with each save upon each element added or edited. The rsids for the Russian style-headings in 1.doc, 2.doc and 3.doc are all the same (styrsid11758497 in the raw source).

Moreover, the document creation timestamps on 1,2, and 3.docs are all identical too. This might imply there was one empty document open, with individual documents being copy-pasted and saved-as (1.doc), then contents deleted and new doc pasted and saved-as (2.doc), etc. This is the only way to go about obtaining identical creation timestamps short of direct editing of the source, and would also explain identical style-sheet RSIDs.

Scenario? Shutdown, closing of words with documents being automatically saved? Ok, otherwise there is apparently no precise saving time stamp on Winwords latest version. How much changed since 2016?

Empty doc open? What would that change?

But good to see that Winword now integrated some type of automatic saving option, didn't have it when I gave it up and shifted to Open Office. On the other hand, can I trust it to not confront me with an earlier revision version? I admittedly asked myself lately. In a 200 page file, mind you.

Karen Eliot , 22 May 2019 at 10:34 AM
As someone with a little bit of experience in that area I can assure you that language metadata artifacts are practically worthless for attribution. You would mention it in a report, but from it you can only conclude that

The Vault7 leak of CIA tools also contained information on how to select any language environment. It's really a standard practice, even for normal criminals.

Attribution is really hard and usually amounts to a lot of guessing who might be interested in the target of an attack, correlating information from other campaigns, and is only rarely based on hard evidence. Big state actors probably can do a little bit better when they have access to enough network taps. But in the end one bit looks like any other, and properties of static documents can always be forged and made to look real. Or simply buy a copy of MS Office in .

joanna said in reply to Karen Eliot... , 23 May 2019 at 09:51 AM
The document creation timestamps on docs 1, 2 and 3 also are all identical.

Ok doc creation times. Could one create a WinWord Macro? That does exactly that. ok, why would one do this? True. Minor detail, I know. But I see we have experts around now.

*******
More generally. Guccifer 2.0 was a bit of an odd occurrence, not least due to US intelligence considering Guccifer one or zero, if you like.

Fred , 23 May 2019 at 11:24 AM
fredw,

"..nobody seems interested in challenging the narrative that Russians..."

That's precisely what Larry has been doing for some time.

"Equally interesting is the fact that this analysis has come from such a private source."

How dare a private citizen challenge the narrative!

"Perhaps the false flag was intentionally clumsy..."

False flag, let's discuss that idea, brought up solely by you, and not discuss Larry's analysis.

[May 23, 2019] The language metadata artifacts are practically worthless for attribution

May 23, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Karen Eliot , 22 May 2019 at 10:34 AM

As someone with a little bit of experience in that area I can assure you that language metadata artifacts are practically worthless for attribution. You would mention it in a report, but from it you can only conclude that

The Vault7 leak of CIA tools also contained information on how to select any language environment. It's really a standard practice, even for normal criminals.

Attribution is really hard and usually amounts to a lot of guessing who might be interested in the target of an attack, correlating information from other campaigns, and is only rarely based on hard evidence.

Big state actors probably can do a little bit better when they have access to enough network taps. But in the end one bit looks like any other, and properties of static documents can always be forged and made to look real. Or simply buy a copy of MS Office.

[Apr 21, 2019] Escobar The Deep State Vs. WikiLeaks by Pepe Escobar

Notable quotes:
"... John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch. ..."
"... But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire. ..."
"... This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart. ..."
"... The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically. ..."
"... The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why. ..."
"... Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak. ..."
"... Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel. ..."
"... he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking." ..."
"... No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency" ..."
"... Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange. ..."
"... George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s ..."
"... Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it. ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Made-by-FBI indictment of Julian Assange does look like a dead man walking. No evidence. No documents. No surefire testimony. Just a crossfire of conditionals...

But never underestimate the legalese contortionism of US government (USG) functionaries. As much as Assange may not be characterized as a journalist and publisher, the thrust of the affidavit is to accuse him of conspiring to commit espionage.

In fact the charge is not even that Assange hacked a USG computer and obtained classified information; it's that he may have discussed it with Chelsea Manning and may have had the intention to go for a hack. Orwellian-style thought crime charges don't get any better than that. Now the only thing missing is an AI software to detect them.

https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/456414-assange-wkileaks-asylum-london/video/5cb1c797dda4c822558b463f

Assange legal adviser Geoffrey Robertson – who also happens to represent another stellar political prisoner, Brazil's Lula – cut straight to the chase (at 19:22 minutes);

"The justice he is facing is justice, or injustice, in America I would hope the British judges would have enough belief in freedom of information to throw out the extradition request."

That's far from a done deal. Thus the inevitable consequence; Assange's legal team is getting ready to prove, no holds barred, in a British court, that this USG indictment for conspiracy to commit computer hacking is just an hors d'oeuvre for subsequent espionage charges, in case Assange is extradited to US soil.

All about Vault 7

John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

It was all about criminalizing WikiLeaks and personally smearing Assange, using "shock troops enlisted in the media -- those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth."

This plan remains more than active – considering how Assange's arrest has been covered by the bulk of US/UK mainstream media.

By 2012, already in the Obama era, WikiLeaks detailed the astonishing "scale of the US Grand Jury Investigation" of itself. The USG always denied such a grand jury existed.

"The US Government has stood up and coordinated a joint interagency criminal investigation of Wikileaks comprised of a partnership between the Department of Defense (DOD) including: CENTCOM; SOUTHCOM; the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA); US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for USFI (US Forces Iraq) and 1st Armored Division (AD); US Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit (CCIU); 2nd Army (US Army Cyber Command); Within that or in addition, three military intelligence investigations were conducted. Department of Justice (DOJ) Grand Jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State (DOS) and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). In addition, Wikileaks has been investigated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive (ONCIX), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the House Oversight Committee; the National Security Staff Interagency Committee, and the PIAB (President's Intelligence Advisory Board)."

But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire.

This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart.

WikiLeaks got Vault 7 in early 2017. At the time WikiLeaks had already published the DNC files – which the unimpeachable Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) systematically proved was a leak, not a hack.

The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically.

There was some movement towards a deal, brokered by one of Assange's lawyers; WikiLeaks would not publish the most damning Vault 7 information in exchange for Assange's safe passage to be interviewed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why.

It's a leak, not a hack

Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak.

Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel.

There was nothing for Comey to "investigate". Or there would have, if Comey had ordered the FBI to examine the DNC servers. So why talk to Julian Assange?

T he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking."

No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency", usually manipulated by Russia.

Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange.

It's a long and winding road, to be traversed in at least two years, if Julian Assange is ever to be extradited to the US. Two things for the moment are already crystal clear. The USG is obsessed to shut down WikiLeaks once and for all. And because of that, Julian Assange will never get a fair trial in the "so-called 'Espionage Court'" of the Eastern District of Virginia, as detailed by former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou.

Meanwhile, the non-stop demonization of Julian Assange will proceed unabated, faithful to guidelines established over a decade ago. Assange is even accused of being a US intel op, and WikiLeaks a splinter Deep State deep cover op.

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood. It's all ultra-high-stakes shadow play – and the show has not even begun.


JailBanksters , 40 minutes ago link

Not to mention the Pentagram has silenced 100,000 whistleblower complaints by Intimidation, threats, money or accidents over 5 years . A Whistleblower only does this when know there is something seriously wrong. Just Imagine how many knew something was wrong but looked the other way.

ExPat2018 , 47 minutes ago link

George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s

Betrayed , 2 hours ago link

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood.

Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it.

besnook , 2 hours ago link

assange and wikileaks are the real criminals despite being crimeless. the **** is a sanctioned criminal, allowed to be criminal with the system because the rest of the sanctioned criminals would be exposed if she was investigated.

this is not the rule of laws. this is the law of rulers.

_triplesix_ , 2 hours ago link

Anyone seen Imran Awan lately?

Four chan , 34 minutes ago link

yeah those ***** go free because they got everything on the stupid dems and they are muslim.

assange exposes the podesta dws and clinton fraud against bernie voters+++ and hes the bad guy. yeah right

hillary clinton murdered seth rich sure as **** too.

[Apr 20, 2019] The Guccifer 2.0 Gaps in Mueller s Full Report undermine the validity of findings

Apr 10, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Originally from: The 'Guccifer 2.0' Gaps in Mueller's Full Report April 18, 2019 • 12 Commentsave

Like Team Mueller's indictment last July of Russian agents, the full report reveals questions about Wikileaks' role that much of the media has been ignoring, writes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

<img src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Daniel-Lazare-150x150.jpg" alt="" width="100" height="100" /> A s official Washington pores over the Gospel According to Saint Robert, an all-important fact about the Mueller report has gotten lost in the shuffle. Just as the Christian gospels were filled with holes , the latest version is too – particularly with regard to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

The five pages that the special prosecutor's report devotes to WikiLeaks are essentially lifted from Mueller's indictment last July of 12 members of the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU. It charges that after hacking the Democratic National Committee, the GRU used a specially-created online persona known as Guccifer 2.0 to transfer a gigabyte's worth of stolen emails to WikiLeaks just as the 2016 Democratic National Convention was approaching. Four days after opening the encrypted file, the indictment says, "Organization 1 [i.e. WikiLeaks] released over 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC network by the Conspirators [i.e. the GRU]."

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35305" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM.png" alt="Barr holding press conference on full Mueller report, April 18, 2019. (YouTube)" width="1248" height="612" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM.png 848w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-400x196.png 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-768x377.png 768w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-700x343.png 700w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-160x78.png 160w" sizes="(max-width: 1248px) 100vw, 1248px" />

Attorney General William Barr holding press conference on full Mueller report, April 18, 2019. (YouTube)

Mueller's report says the same thing, but with the added twist that Assange then tried to cover up the GRU's role by suggesting that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich may have been the source and by telling a congressman that the DNC email heist was an "inside job" and that he had "physical proof" that the material was not from Russian.

All of which is manna from heaven for corporate news outlets eager to pile on Assange, now behind bars in London. An April 11, 2019, New York Times news analysis , for instance, declared that "[c]ourt documents have revealed that it was Russian intelligence – using the Guccifer persona – that provided Mr. Assange thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee," while another Times article published shortly after his arrest accuses the WikiLeaks founder of "promoting a false cover story about the source of the leaks."

But there's a problem: it ain't necessarily so. The official story that the GRU is the source doesn't hold water, as a timeline from mid-2016 shows. Here are the key events based on the GRU indictment and the Mueller report:

June 12: Assange tells Britain's ITV that another round of Democratic Party disclosures is on the way: "We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton, which is great. WikiLeaks is having a very big year." June 14: The Democratic National Committee accuses Russia of hacking its computers. June 15: Guccifer 2.0 claims credit for the hack. "The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to WikiLeaks ," he brags . "They will publish them soon." June 22: WikiLeaks tells Guccifer via email: "Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing." July 6: WikiLeaks sends Guccifer another email: "if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [ sic ] days prefable [ sic ] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after."Replies Guccifer: "ok . . . i " July 14: Guccifer sends WikiLeaks an encrypted file titled "wk dnc link1.txt.gpg." July 18: WikiLeaks confirms it has opened "the 1Gb or so archive" and will release documents "this week." July 22: WikiLeaks releases more than 20,000 DNC emails and 8,000 other attachments.

According to Mueller and obsequious news outlets like the Times , the sequence is clear: Guccifer sends archive, WikiLeaks receives archive, WikiLeaks accesses archive, WikiLeaks publishes archive. Donald Trump may not have colluded with Russia, but Julian Assange plainly did. [Attorney General Will Barr, significantly calling WikiLeaks a publisher, said at his Thursday press conference: " Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy."]

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35300" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM.png" alt="Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing in 2018 a grand jury indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Wikimedia Commons) " width="1236" height="611" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM.png 973w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-400x198.png 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-768x380.png 768w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-700x346.png 700w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-160x79.png 160w" sizes="(max-width: 1236px) 100vw, 1236px" />

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing in 2018 the grand jury indictment of 12 GRU agents. (Wikimedia Commons)

Avoiding Questions

The narrative raises questions that the press studiously avoids. Why, for instance, would Assange announce on June 12 that a big disclosure is on the way before hearing from the supposed source? Was there a prior communication that Mueller has not disclosed? What about the reference to "new material" on June 22 – does that mean Assange already had other material in hand? After opening the Guccifer file on July 18, why would he publish it just four days later? Would that give WikiLeaks enough time to review some 28,000 documents to insure they're genuine?

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"If a single one of those emails had been shown to be maliciously altered," blogger Mark F. McCarty observes , "Wikileaks' reputation would have been in tatters." There's also the question that an investigator known as Adam Carter poses in Disobedient Media : why would Guccifer brag about giving WikiLeaks "thousands of files" that he wouldn't send for another month?

The narrative doesn't make sense – a fact that is crucially important now that Assange is fighting for his freedom in the U.K. New Yorker staff writer Raffi Khatchadourian sounded a rare note of caution last summer when he warned that little about Guccifer 2.0 adds up. While claiming to be the source for some of WikiLeaks ' most explosive emails, the material he released on his own had proved mostly worthless – 20 documents that he "said were from the DNC but which were almost surely not," as Khatchadourian puts it, a purported Hillary Clinton dossier that "was nothing of the sort," screenshots of emails so blurry as to be "unreadable," and so forth.

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35303" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image.jpg" alt="John Podesta at the spin room of the second presidential debate of 2016. (Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons)" width="500" height="341" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image.jpg 650w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image-400x273.jpg 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image-160x109.jpg 160w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />

John Podesta: Target of a phishing expedition. (Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons)

While insisting that "our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party, Assange told Khatchadourian that the source was not Guccifer either. "We received quite a lot of submissions of material that was already published in the rest of the press, and people seemingly submitted the Guccifer archives," he said somewhat cryptically. "We didn't publish them. They were already published." When Khatchadourian asked why he didn't put the material out regardless, he replied that "the material from Guccifer 2.0 – or on WordPress – we didn't have the resources to independently verify."

No Time for Vetting

So four days was indeed too short a time to subject the Guccifer file to proper vetting. Of course, Mueller no doubt regards this as more "dissembling," as his report describes it. Yet WikiLeaks has never been caught in a lie for the simple reason that honesty and credibility are all-important for a group that promises to protect anonymous leakers who supply it with official secrets. (See "Inside WikiLeaks : Working with the Publisher that Changed the World," Consortium News , July 19, 2018.) Mueller, by contrast, has a rich history of mendacity going back to his days as FBI director when he sought to cover up the Saudi role in 9/11 and assured Congress on the eve of the 2003 invasion that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction pose "a clear threat to our national security."

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35301" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage.jpg" alt="Mueller with President George W. Bush on July 5, 2001, as he is being appointed FBI director. (White House)" width="501" height="373" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage.jpg 600w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage-400x298.jpg 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage-160x119.jpg 160w" sizes="(max-width: 501px) 100vw, 501px" />

Mueller with President George W. Bush on July 5, 2001, as he is being appointed FBI director. (White House)

So if the Mueller narrative doesn't hold up, the charge of dissembling doesn't either. Indeed , as ex-federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy observes in The National Review , the fact that the feds have charged Assange with unauthorized access to a government computer rather than conspiring with the Kremlin could be a sign that Team Mueller is less than confident it can prove collusion beyond a reasonable doubt. As he puts it, the GRU indictment "was more like a press release than a charging instrument" because the special prosecutor knew that the chances were zero that Russian intelligence agents would surrender to a U.S. court.

Indeed, when Mueller charged 13 employees and three companies owned by Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin with interfering in the 2016 election, he clearly didn't expect them to surrender either. Thus , his team seemed taken aback when one of the alleged " troll farms " showed up in Washington asking to be heard. The prosecution's initial response, as McCarthy put it , was to seek a delay "on the astonishing ground that the defendant has not been properly served – notwithstanding that the defendant has shown up in court and asked to be arraigned." When that didn't work, prosecutors tried to limit Concord's access to some 3.2 million pieces of evidence on the grounds that the documents are too " sensitive " for Russian eyes to see. If they are again unsuccessful, they may have no choice but to drop the charges entirely, resulting in yet another " public relations disaster " for the Russia-gate investigation.

None of which bodes well for Mueller or the news organizations that worship at his shrine. After blowing the Russia-gate story all these years, why does the Times continue to slander the one news organization that tells the truth?

Daniel Lazare is the author of "The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy" (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at D aniellazare.com .

[Apr 19, 2019] The connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state.

Notable quotes:
"... Blumenthal does chronicle a decades-long panoply of active measures by numerous pro-Israel Lobby figures, groups and think tanks. Yet he fails to explicitly recognize the connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state. ..."
"... Julian Assange of Wikileaks was more explicit. Assange named the "country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America's legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby [ ] That country is, of course, Israel." ..."
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Abe , April 18, 2019 at 23:23

Behind the Omar Outrage: Suppressed History of the pro-Israel Lobby

Max Blumenthal's article and his 2019 book, The Management of Savagery: How America's National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump (2019), is an impressive exercise in burying the lede.

Blumenthal does chronicle a decades-long panoply of active measures by numerous pro-Israel Lobby figures, groups and think tanks. Yet he fails to explicitly recognize the connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state.

Julian Assange of Wikileaks was more explicit. Assange named the "country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America's legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby [ ] That country is, of course, Israel."

[Apr 19, 2019] Early Assange quote

Apr 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

somebody , Apr 18, 2019 10:41:06 AM | link

Add to 80

Early Assange :

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive "secrecy tax") and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.

Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.

[Apr 18, 2019] Wikileaks started as a Chinese dissident project which certainly had the support of the US military-intelligence complex. It quickly became something else,

Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

somebody , Apr 18, 2019 6:52:44 AM | link

@wisdombody | Apr 18, 2019 3:09:38 AM | 71

They are the hacker/security blackhat/whitehead scene.
Another example where the actions of the empire bite back.

To understand where they are coming from read Yasha Levine's Surveillance Valley

US Tech Companies have an extremely nice "inclusive" "open" "transparent" company culture. People who don't drink the kool aid can deal with it, people who are on the Asperger/Authism range can't. And these are the people extremely gifted for tech.

Basically US military and secret services believed that Western "Freedom" (TM) was such a powerful advantage in global competition that open anonymous systems connecting dissidents would work to their advantage. They forgot that some people can't do double think.

Wikileaks started as a Chinese dissident project which certainly had the support of the US military-intelligence complex. It quickly became something else, simply because the people working in the project believed the ideology behind it and could not see that what is right for a Chinese dissident against the Chinese state was not right for a US dissident against the US state.

With Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, everything about "open society" "transparency" "free media" "supporting dissidents" is in dispute.

[Apr 18, 2019] LIVE Wikileaks editor-in-chief holds presser on new criminal case involving Julian Assange

Notable quotes:
"... Assange has exposed so much of the Obama and Clinton cabal that they and their henchman would try any means possible to not have him extradited. ..."
"... Bit hard to spy on corrupt world leaders without the internet. Pretty sure Moreno has his own set of enemies, since he's blackmailing or bankrolling everyone in his sight with the backing of Goldman Sachs. Also black kettle, that's the most surveilled building in the world inside and out. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Angelor Not , 1 week ago

Assange has exposed so much of the Obama and Clinton cabal that they and their henchman would try any means possible to not have him extradited.

fionnualaable , 1 week ago

(From a horrified and disgusted Brit) My highest regard for: - the 3 dedicated panelists; - those among the honest Spanish police mentioned; - the brave Ecuadorian journalists pursuing presidential corruption charges; and: - elements of the UN not yet become toothless tigers re basic human rights. I have little if any hope such moral fibre will prevail (or be ALLOWED to do so) in the UK. Corruption and blind stupidity seem to have gone too far here, as they have in the USA, and possibly also even in the remaining "5 eyes" countries. Iberia (Portuguese Guteras at UN) has a chance to triumph in justice over degenerate Anglo-Saxon increasingly dictatorship regimes. Will they triumph? We'll see. The whole world will see. And the world has many many more than a mere 5 eyes.

Driver Driver , 3 days ago (edited)

The new president of Ecuador is a real thief. A real crook.

A M , 6 days ago

It's disgusting how the governments behave as we've seen the truth in Wikileaks which remains correct and truth 100% of the time...that's what the governments are scared of..... the truth and transparency..... it shows them for what they are hypocrites and lairs......!!!

Hoomanna Dee , 1 week ago

Bit hard to spy on corrupt world leaders without the internet. Pretty sure Moreno has his own set of enemies, since he's blackmailing or bankrolling everyone in his sight with the backing of Goldman Sachs. Also black kettle, that's the most surveilled building in the world inside and out.

Asylees are not supposed to be treated like criminals, he's without charge. The US, Ecuador's current government and the UK are violating international law. And the press is an anemic mess. Our message to them: you're next.

All journalism utilises sources and those sources are entitled to protection. Not a grand jury. Not a supermax. Not torture.

ishant 7 , 4 days ago

In India we call these so called journalisfs as PRESSTITUTES

nick f , 1 day ago

The cockroaches dont like when the rock is lifted and we see them for what they are. Assange lifted the rock and now the cockroaches are out to get him.

Nassau Events , 2 days ago

It is not surprising that Equodoreian leader has failed the integrity of the country and the people of Equodoreian. The fact that Julian Assange had full asylum was granted to him with full protection, it proved the government before protected the souverign country and its citizens as a country which is respected and free from any kind of being a puppet or slave and master position. Assange' s case is extremely important but in the meantime the position of Equodoreian people are let down on the world platform of shame. The day the new leader left Equodoreian naked.

Needful Things Company , 6 days ago

This is so wrong! He needs to be protected. Unless they are bringing him to USA to testify against the Clinton/Obama crimes. We never would have found out anything of the corruption and take down of the USA if it were not for his investigating reporting! Because the crooks got caught and exposed they are trying to destroy him. He acted like a reporter or what they use to be like. Just like the Nixon days but they broke into files. Assange was given information. He was not the spy from what I can gather! They should be thanking him for exposing the crimes that have been going on!

[Apr 17, 2019] Ecuador sells off Assange to US Ron Paul

It is unclear what danger WikiLeaks represents naw, as it probably was infiltrated. But publishing of Podesta emails and DNC files was really damaging to the Dems during 2016 elections.
Notable quotes:
"... "We have two foreign policies. We tell people what to do. And if they do it, we reward them. We give them a lot of money. If they don't, they're in for big trouble, they're liable to get bombed; we invade them, and there will be a coup," Dr. Paul said. ..."
"... "We find that Moreno, the president of Ecuador, did not do badly. He's been playing footsies with us, and gaining some money and he delivered, you know, after he became president – it's shame because the previous president the one that allowed or at least would at least Assange could be 'protected' to some degree," he stated. ..."
"... "The IMF has already delivered $4.2 billion to [Ecuador], and there's another six billion dollars in the pipeline for that," he said. ..."
Apr 17, 2019 | www.presstv.com

Dr. Paul, the founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, made the remarks on Monday while discussing the violent arrest of Assange by UK Metropolitan Police last week at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, after the Moreno government cancelled his asylum.

The Australian whistleblower was arrested on behalf of the US on Thursday at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he had been granted asylum since 2012.

Assange, 47, is wanted by the US government for publishing classified documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that were leaked by American whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Assange spent seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy before his arrest.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HqPAwI4EmsU?rel=0

"We have two foreign policies. We tell people what to do. And if they do it, we reward them. We give them a lot of money. If they don't, they're in for big trouble, they're liable to get bombed; we invade them, and there will be a coup," Dr. Paul said.

"We find that Moreno, the president of Ecuador, did not do badly. He's been playing footsies with us, and gaining some money and he delivered, you know, after he became president – it's shame because the previous president the one that allowed or at least would at least Assange could be 'protected' to some degree," he stated.

"But he (Moreno) evidently is out form and now of course he has delivered him. And this might not be even all of that. This probably is official tool of ours to provide these funds," the analyst noted.

"The IMF has already delivered $4.2 billion to [Ecuador], and there's another six billion dollars in the pipeline for that," he said.

PressTV-Moreno: Assange used Ecuador's London Embassy for spying President Moreno claims the WikiLeaks founder tried to use Ecuador's Embassy in London for spying activities during his almost seven-year stay.

Moreno on Sunday accused Assange of trying to use Ecuador's embassy in London as a "center for spying," and said that the decision to strip the whistleblower of his political asylum followed "violations" of that status.

In an interview with The Guardian , Moreno defended his decision on the Assange case.

"It is unfortunate that, from our territory and with the permission of authorities of the previous government, facilities have been provided within the Ecuadoran Embassy in London to interfere in processes of other states," the president said.

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump as a useful idiot of the Deep State

Apr 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Anunnaki , 11 hours ago link

If Trump pardoned Assange, I would consider that draining the swamp. But Orange Jewlius is a Deep State **** socket, so the swamp has grown to a lagoon

Anunnaki , 11 hours ago link

Jimmy Dore and Tucker Carlson nail it

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SnwC_1Pf9VQ

rtb61 , 12 hours ago link

Clearly the US government has zero respect for Australia, Australian Law or Australian citizens. The case is shite, else they would allow Assange to be deported to Australia and the extradition hearing to be heard there. They refuse because they know their case is shite and they would have to prove it in Australia before they could get extradition.

The USA is not an ally of Australia because it does not respect Australian law, not in the least. Prove US respect of Australians by deporting Assange to Australia and holding the extradition hearings there, else look as guilty as shite and never ever to be trusted by Australians.

OZZIDOWNUNDER , 9 hours ago link

The US Govt respects NOBODY but its own Interests. It's the Australian Govt that's complicit in this travesty of Nil justice. The Gutless Australian Govt has NO interest in helping Julian Assange because they were persuaded NOT to by their American masters. It hurts that your own Govt are total A$$holes & follow USA into Crimes with out question. The Australian Govt has a History of lip service only when assistance Overseas is required. **** them !

NYC80 , 13 hours ago link

Assange probably is a narcissist. So what? All the people criticizing him are, too. At least he's an honest narcissist. In everything he's published, not a single item has even been allegedly false. Can any of these other so-called "journalists" demonstrate that level of accuracy?

Ms No , 14 hours ago link

Here is a good article on Assange. Explains the cat. Things were okay for him under the real elected president of Ecuador, except no sunlight thanks to US spooks.

https://www.sott.net/article/411173-My-friend-Julian-Assange-Alicia-Castro-former-ambassador-for-Argentina

[Apr 16, 2019] Ray on Why the Deep State Hates Julian Assange

Apr 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Saoirse , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:39 am GMT

http://raymcgovern.com/

Ray on Why the Deep State Hates Julian Assange

[Apr 15, 2019] 4 Myths About Julian Assange DEBUNKED Zero Hedge

Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Myth #2: Assange Will Get a Fair Trial In the U.S.

14-year CIA officer John Kiriakou notes :

Assange has been charged in the Eastern District of Virginia -- the so-called "Espionage Court." That is just what many of us have feared. Remember, no national security defendant has ever been found not guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia . The Eastern District is also known as the "rocket docket" for the swiftness with which cases are heard and decided. Not ready to mount a defense? Need more time? Haven't received all of your discovery? Tough luck. See you in court.

I have long predicted that Assange would face Judge Leonie Brinkema were he to be charged in the Eastern District. Brinkema handled my case, as well as CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling's. She also has reserved the Ed Snowden case for herself. Brinkema is a hanging judge .

***

Brinkema gave me literally no chance to defend myself . At one point, while approaching trial, my attorneys filed 70 motions, asking that 70 classified documents be declassified so that I could use them to defend myself. I had no defense without them. We blocked off three days for the hearings. When we got to the courtroom, Brinkema said, "Let me save everybody a lot of time. I'm going to deny all 70 of these motions. You don't need any of this information to be declassified." The entire process took a minute. On the way out of the courtroom, I asked my lead attorney what had just happened. "We just lost the case. That's what happened. Now we talk about a plea."

My attorneys eventually negotiated a plea for 30 months in prison -- significantly below the 45 years that the Justice Department had initially sought. The plea was something called an 11-C1C plea; it was written in stone and could not be changed by the judge. She could either take it or leave it. She took it, but not after telling me to rise, pointing her finger at me, and saying, "Mr. Kiriakou, I hate this plea. I've been a judge since 1986 and I've never had an 11C1C. If I could, I would give you ten years." Her comments were inappropriate and my attorneys filed an ethics complaint against her. But that's Brinkema. That's who she is.

Julian Assange doesn't have a prayer of a fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia.

[Apr 15, 2019] Julian Assange Is Guilty Of Only One Thing: Revealing The Evil Soul Of US Imperialism

Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Assange's arrest represents an abuse of power, highlighting not only how true journalism has now been banished in the West, but also how politicians, journalists, news agencies and think-tanks collude with each other to silence people

[Apr 14, 2019] You could not get a more sinister confluence of political fraudsters by Michael Tracey

Notable quotes:
"... Assange accomplished more in 2010 alone than any of his preening media antagonists will in their entire lifetime, combined. Your feelings about him as a person do not matter. He could be the scummiest human on the face of Earth, and it would not detract from the fact that he has brought revelatory information to public that would otherwise have been concealed. He has shone light on some of the most powerful political factions not just in the US, but around the world. This will remain true regardless of whether Trump capitulates to the 'Deep State' and goes along with this utterly chilling, free speech-undermining prosecution. ..."
"... My support was based on the fact that Assange had devised a novel way to hold powerful figures to account, whose nefarious conduct would otherwise go unexamined but for the methods he pioneered. ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | spectator.us

The nine-year gap – long after Manning had been charged, found guilty, and released from prison – suggests that there is something ulterior going on here. The offenses outlined in the indictment are on extraordinarily weak legal footing. Part of the criminal 'conspiracy,' prosecutors allege, is that Assange sought to protect Manning as a source and encouraged her to provide government records in the public interest.

This is standard journalistic practice.

And it is now being criminalized by the Trump DoJ, while liberals celebrate from the sidelines – eager to join hands with the likes of Mike Pompeo and Lindsey Graham. You could not get a more sinister confluence of political fraudsters.

They – meaning most Democrats – will never get over their grudge against Assange for having dared to expose the corruption of America's ruling party in 2016, which they believed help deprive their beloved Hillary of her rightful ascension to the presidential throne. Once again, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is among the few exceptions.

The DNC and Podesta email releases, now distilled reductively into the term 'Russian interference,' contained multitudinous newsworthy revelations, as evidenced by the fact that virtually the entire US media reported on them. (Here, feel free to refresh your memory on this as well.) But for no reason other than pure partisan score-settling, elite liberals are willing to toss aside any consideration for the dire First Amendment implications of Assange's arrest and cry out with joy that this man they regard as innately evil has finally been ensnared by the punitive might of the American carceral state.

Trump supporters and Trump himself also look downright foolish. It takes about two seconds to Google all the instances in which Trump glowingly touted WikiLeaks on the 2016 campaign trail. 'I love WikiLeaks!' he famously proclaimed on October 10, 2016 in Wilkes-Barre, Penn.

Presumably this expression of 'love' was indication that Trump viewed WikiLeaks as providing a public service. If not, perhaps some intrepid reporter can ask precisely what his 'love' entailed. He can pretend all he wants now that he's totally oblivious to WikiLeaks, but it was Trump himself who relayed that he was contemporaneously reading the Podesta emails in October 2016, and reveling in all their newsworthiness. If he wanted, he could obviously intercede and prevent any unjust prosecution of Assange. Trump has certainly seen fit to complain publicly about all matter of other inconvenient Justice Department activity, especially as it pertained to him or his family members and associates. But now he's acting as though he's never heard of WikiLeaks, which is just pitiful: not a soul believes it, even his most ardent supporters.

Sean Hannity became one of Assange's biggest fans in 2016 and 2017, effusively lavishing him with praise and even visiting him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for an exclusive interview. One wonders whether Hannity, who reportedly speaks to his best buddy Trump every night before bedtime, will counsel a different course on this matter. There's also the question of whether Trump's most vehement online advocates, who largely have become stalwart defenders of WikiLeaks, will put their money where their mouth is and condition their continued support on Assange not being depredated by the American prison system.

Assange accomplished more in 2010 alone than any of his preening media antagonists will in their entire lifetime, combined. Your feelings about him as a person do not matter. He could be the scummiest human on the face of Earth, and it would not detract from the fact that he has brought revelatory information to public that would otherwise have been concealed. He has shone light on some of the most powerful political factions not just in the US, but around the world. This will remain true regardless of whether Trump capitulates to the 'Deep State' and goes along with this utterly chilling, free speech-undermining prosecution.

I personally have supported Assange since I started in journalism, nine years ago, not because I had any special affinity for the man himself (although the radical transparency philosophy he espoused was definitely compelling). My support was based on the fact that Assange had devised a novel way to hold powerful figures to account, whose nefarious conduct would otherwise go unexamined but for the methods he pioneered. As thanks, he was holed up in a tiny embassy for nearly seven years – until yesterday, when they hauled him out ignominiously to face charges in what will likely turn out to be a political show trial. Donald Trump has the ability to stop this, but almost certainly won't. And that's all you need to know about him.

[Apr 14, 2019] Assange rendition might backfire for Trump administration

Vindictiveness not always play in the vindictive party favour.
You may love Assange you may hate Assange for his WikiLeaks revelation (And Vault 7 was a real bombshell), but it is clear that it will cost Trump some reputation out of tini share that still left, especially in view of Trump declaration "I love Wikileaks"
Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and "experts" telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a "mainstream" voice was raised in his defence in all that time.

... ... ...

The political and media establishment ignored the mounting evidence of a secret grand jury in Virginia formulating charges against Assange, and ridiculed Wikileaks' concerns that the Swedish case might be cover for a more sinister attempt by the US to extradite Assange and lock him away in a high-security prison, as had happened to whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

... ... ...

Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No "mainstream" journalist or politician thought this significant either.

... ... ...

They turned a blind eye to the news that, after refusing to question Assange in the UK, Swedish prosecutors had decided to quietly drop the case against him in 2015. Sweden had kept the decision under wraps for more than two years.

... ... ...

Most of the other documents relating to these conversations were unavailable. They had been destroyed by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service in violation of protocol. But no one in the political and media establishment cared, of course.

Similarly, they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden. They told us -- apparently in all seriousness -- that he had to be arrested for his bail infraction, something that would normally be dealt with by a fine.

... ... ...

This was never about Sweden or bail violations, or even about the discredited Russiagate narrative, as anyone who was paying the vaguest attention should have been able to work out. It was about the US Deep State doing everything in its power to crush Wikileaks and make an example of its founder.

It was about making sure there would never again be a leak like that of Collateral Murder, the military video released by Wikileaks in 2007 that showed US soldiers celebrating as they murdered Iraqi civilians. It was about making sure there would never again be a dump of US diplomatic cables, like those released in 2010 that revealed the secret machinations of the US empire to dominate the planet whatever the cost in human rights violations.

Now the pretence is over. The British police invaded the diplomatic territory of Ecuador -- invited in by Ecuador after it tore up Assange's asylum status -- to smuggle him off to jail. Two vassal states cooperating to do the bidding of the US empire. The arrest was not to help two women in Sweden or to enforce a minor bail infraction.

No, the British authorities were acting on an extradition warrant from the US. And the charges the US authorities have concocted relate to Wikileaks' earliest work exposing the US military's war crimes in Iraq -- the stuff that we all once agreed was in the public interest, that British and US media clamoured to publish themselves.

Still the media and political class is turning a blind eye. Where is the outrage at the lies we have been served up for these past seven years? Where is the contrition at having been gulled for so long? Where is the fury at the most basic press freedom -- the right to publish -- being trashed to silence Assange? Where is the willingness finally to speak up in Assange's defence?

It's not there. There will be no indignation at the BBC, or the Guardian, or CNN. Just curious, impassive -- even gently mocking -- reporting of Assange's fate.

And that is because these journalists, politicians and experts never really believed anything they said. They knew all along that the US wanted to silence Assange and to crush Wikileaks. They knew that all along and they didn't care. In fact, they happily conspired in paving the way for today's kidnapping of Assange.

They did so because they are not there to represent the truth, or to stand up for ordinary people, or to protect a free press, or even to enforce the rule of law. They don't care about any of that. They are there to protect their careers, and the system that rewards them with money and influence. They don't want an upstart like Assange kicking over their applecart.

Now they will spin us a whole new set of deceptions and distractions about Assange to keep us anaesthetised, to keep us from being incensed as our rights are whittled away, and to prevent us from realising that Assange's rights and our own are indivisible. We stand or fall together.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net .


anonymous [340] • Disclaimer , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:41 am GMT

Thank you.

This should be an uncomfortable time for the “journalists” of the Establishment. Very few will speak up as does Mr. Cook. Watch how little is said about the recent Manning re-imprisonment to sweat out grand jury testimony. Things may have grown so craven that we’ll even see efforts to revoke Mr. Assange’s awards.

This is also a good column for us to share with those people who just might want not to play along with the lies that define Exceptionalia.

Digital Samizdat , says: April 12, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT

… from the moment Julian Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, they have been telling us we were wrong, that we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. We were told there was no real threat of Assange’s extradition to the United States, that it was all in our fevered imaginations.

It all reminds me of Rod Dreher’s Law of Merited Impossibility: “That’ll never happen. And when it does , boy won’t you deserve it!”

Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No “mainstream” journalist or politician thought this significant either.

Why would they? They don’t even recognize diplomatic status for heads of state who get in their way! Remember what they did to President Evo Morales of Bolivia back when he was threatening to grant asylum to Ed Snowden? Here’s a refresher:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evo_Morales_grounding_incident

Any way you slice, this is a sad for liberty.

Carlton Meyer , says: • Website April 13, 2019 at 4:32 am GMT
From my blog:

Apr 13, 2019 – Julian Assange

People who just watch corporate media think Julian Assange is a bad guy who deserves life in prison, except those who watch the great Tucker Carlson. Watch his recent show where he explains why our corporate media and political class hate Assange.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZE7OfU71Sbk?feature=oembed

He is charged with encouraging Army Private Chelsea Manning to send him embarrassing information, specifically this video of a US Army Apache helicopter gunning down civilians in broad daylight in Baghdad.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/25EWUUBjPMo?feature=oembed

But there is no proof of this, and Manning has repeatedly said he never communicated to Assange about anything. Manning got eight years in prison for this crime; the Apache pilots were never charged. and now they want to hang Assange for exposing a war crime. I have recommend this great 2016 interview twice, where Assange calmly explains the massive corruption that patriotic FBI agents refer to as the “Clinton Crime Family.”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_sbT3_9dJY4?feature=oembed

This gang is so powerful that it ordered federal agents to spy on the Trump political campaign, and indicted and imprisoned some participants in an attempt to pressure President Trump to step down. It seems Trump still fears this gang, otherwise he would order his attorney general to drop this bogus charge against Assange, then pardon him forever and invite him to speak at White House press conferences.

The Alarmist , says: April 13, 2019 at 5:01 am GMT

“… they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden.”

Meh! Assange should have walked out the door of the embassy years ago. He might have ended up in the same place, but he could have seized the moral high ground by seeking asylum in Britain for fear of the death penalty in the US, which was a credible fear given public comments by various US officials. By rotting away in the Ecuadorian embassy, be greatly diminished any credibility he might have had to turn the UK judicial system inside out to his favour. Now he’s just a creepy looking bail jumper who flung faeces against the wall, rather than being a persecuted journalist.

Endgame Napoleon , says: April 13, 2019 at 6:14 am GMT
@Johnny Rottenborough Millionaire politicians on both sides of the political fence get very emotional about anything that impacts their own privacy & safety and the privacy & safety of their kin, while ignoring the issues that jeopardize the privacy & safety of ordinary voters. While corporate-owned politicians get a lot out of this game, ordinary voters who have never had less in the way of Fourth Amendment privacy rights, and whose First Amendment rights are quickly shrinking to the size of Assange’s, do not get the consolation of riches without risk granted to bought-off politicians in this era’s pay-to-play version of democracy. It’s a lose / lose for average voters.
Tom Welsh , says: April 13, 2019 at 9:31 am GMT
Mr Cook’s criticism of the mainstream media (MSM) is absolutely justified.

It seems to me that their hatred of Mr Assange reflects the unfortunate fact that, while he is a real journalist, they actually aren’t. Instead, they are stenographers for power: what Paul Craig Roberts calls “presstitutes” (a very happy coinage which exactly hits the bull’s eye).

The difference is that real journalists, like Mr Assange, Mr Roberts and Mr Cook, are mainly motivated by the search for objective truth – which they then publish, as far as they are able.

Whereas those people who go by the spurious names of “journalist”, “reporter”, “editor”, etc. are motivated by the desire to go on earning their salaries, and to gain promotion and “distinction” in society. (Sad but true: social distinction is often gained by performing acts of dishonesty and downright wickedness).

Here are some interesting quotations that cast some light on this disheartening state of affairs. If you look carefully at their dates you may be surprised to find that nothing has changed very much since the mid-19th century.

‘Marr: “How can you know that I’m self-censoring? How can you know that journalists are…”

‘Chomsky: “I’m not saying you’re self censoring. I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting”’.

– Transcript of interview between Noam Chomsky and Andrew Marr (Feb. 14, 1996) https://scratchindog.blogspot.com/2015/07/transcript-of-interview-between-noam.html

‘If something goes wrong with the government, a free press will ferret it out and it will get fixed. But if something goes wrong with our free press, the country will go straight to hell’.

– I. F. Stone (as reported by his son Dr Jeremy J Stone) http://russia-insider.com/en/media-criticism/hey-corporate-media-glenn-greenwald-video-can-teach-you-what-real-journalism/ri6669

‘There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to express an honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job. The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an “Independent Press”! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes’.

– John Swinton (1829–1901), Scottish-American journalist, newspaper publisher, and orator. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Swinton http://www.rense.com/general20/yes.htm

‘The press today is an army with carefully organized arms and branches, with journalists as officers, and readers as soldiers. But here, as in every army, the soldier obeys blindly, and war-aims and operation-plans change without his knowledge. The reader neither knows, nor is allowed to know, the purposes for which he is used, nor even the role that he is to play. A more appalling caricature of freedom of thought cannot be imagined. Formerly a man did not dare to think freely. Now he dares, but cannot; his will to think is only a willingness to think to order, and this is what he feels as his liberty’.

– Oswald Spengler, “The Decline of the West” Vol. II, trans. C.F. Atkinson (1928), p. 462

‘How do wars start? Wars start when politicians lie to journalists, then believe what they read in the press’.

– Karl Kraus, “Through Western Eyes – Russia Misconstrued” http://www.hellevig.net/ebook/Putin’s%20new%20Russia.pdf

And finally, two quotations from classic novels which go to the heart of the matter.

‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it’.

– Upton Sinclair

‘Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids’.

– John Steinbeck (“East of Eden”)

UncommonGround , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:13 am GMT
Very good article. There is one point that I would like to make: Assange asked for asyl before he went to the embassy of Ecuador and Ecuador gave him asylum. This meant that they had an obligation to protect him. It’s really unbeliavable that a country gives asylum to someone and half way tells that they have changed their mind and will let the person be arrested. ” We told you you would be safe with us, but now we just changed our mind”. Assange also became a citizen of Ecuador and this possibly means that Ecuador couldn’t have let him been arrested in their embassy by the police of another country without a process against him in Ecuador and without him having the right to defend himself in a court. Many countries don’t extradit their citizens to other countries.

Another remark. For years there were uncountable articles about Assange in The Guardian. Those articles were read by many people and got really many comments. There were very fierce discussions about him with thousends of comments. With time The Guardian turned decisively against him and published articles againt him. There were people there who seemed to hate him. In the last days there were again many articles about him. They pronounce themselves discretely against his extradition to the US even if showing themselves to be critical of him as if trying to justify their years of attacks against him. But one detail: I didn’t find even one article in The Guardian where you can comment the case. Today for instance you can comment an article by Gaby Hinsliff about Kim Kardashian. Marina Hyde talks in an article about washing her hair (whatever else she wants to say, with 2831 comments at this moment). But you don’t find any article about Assange that you can comment. 10 or 8 or 5 years ago there were hundreds of articles about him that you could comment.

EliteCommInc. , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:59 am GMT
The game afoot here is obvious.

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/04/03/ecuador-next-venezuela/

Pressure relief

Tsar Nicholas , says: April 13, 2019 at 11:38 am GMT
@Art

UK PM May said about Assange – “no one is above the law” – proving she is a weak sister without a clue.

No one is above the law except the British government, which ignored the provisions of the EU Withdrawal Act requiring us to leave on March 29th.

No one is above the law except for the US and the UK which have illegally deployed forces to Syria against the wishes of the government in Damascus.

And Tony Blair, a million dead thanks to his corruption. He should be doing time in a Gulag for his evil crimes.

And of course, the black MP for Peterborough – Fiona Onasanya – served a mere three weeks in jail for perverting the course of justice, normally regarded as a very serious offence. But she was out in time – electronic tag and curfew notwithstanding – to vote in the House of Commons against leaving the EU.

[Mar 17, 2019] Mueller uses the same old false flag scams, just different packaging of his forensics-free findings

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians. ..."
"... Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation. ..."
"... What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse? ..."
"... Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation. ..."
"... Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. ..."
"... We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks. ..."
"... This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune. ..."
"... Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020. ..."
"... Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c ..."
"... Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. ..."
"... Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. ..."
"... Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm ..."
"... It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray! ..."
"... Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished. ..."
Mar 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

O Society , March 16, 2019 at 7:55 am

The Truth is Out There. I Want to Believe!

Same old scams, different packaging. That's New & Improved for you.

http://opensociet.org/2019/03/16/the-return-of-the-hidden-persuaders

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I could not suffer through reading the whole article. This is mainly because I have watched the news daily about Mueller's Investigation and I sincerely believe that Mueller is Champion of the Democrats who are trying to depose President Donald Trump at any cost.

For what Mueller found any decent lawyer with a Degree and a few years of experience could have found what Mueller found for far far less money. Mueller only found common crimes AND NO COLLUSION BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP AND PUTIN!

The Mueller Investigation should be given to an honest broker to review, and Mueller should be paid only what it would cost to produce the commonplace crimes Mueller, The Democrats, and CNN has tried to convince the people that indeed Trump COLLUDED with RUSSIA. Mueller is, a BIG NOTHING BURGER and THE DEMOCRATS AND CNN ARE MUELLER'S SINGING CANARYS! Mueller should be jailed.

Bogdan Miller , March 15, 2019 at 11:04 am

This article explains why the Mueller Report is already highly suspect. For another thing, we know that since before 2016, Democrats have been studying Russian Internet and hacking tactics, and posing as Russian Bots/Trolls on Facebook and other media outlets, all in an effort to harm President Trump.

It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians.

B.J.M. Former Intelligence Analyst and Humint Collector

vinnieoh , March 15, 2019 at 8:17 am

Moving on: the US House yesterday voted UNANIMOUSLY (remember that word, so foreign these days to US governance?) to "urge" the new AG to release the complete Mueller report.

A non-binding resolution, but you would think that the Democrats can't see the diesel locomotive bearing down on their clown car, about to smash it to pieces. The new AG in turn says he will summarize the report and that is what we will see, not the entire report. And taxation without representation takes a new twist.

... ... ...

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:38 pm

What else would you expect from two Political Parties who are really branches of the ONE Party which Represents DEEP STATE".

DWS , March 15, 2019 at 5:58 am

Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation.

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:47 pm

EXACTLY! But, Deep State will not allow that. And, it would ruin the USA' plan to continue to invade more sovereign countries and steal their resources such as oil and Minerals. The people of the USA must be Ostriches or are so terrified that they accept anything their Criminal Governments tell them.

Eventually, the chickens will come home to roost and perhaps the USA voters will ROAST when the crimes of the USA sink the whole country. It is time for a few Brave Men and Women to find their backbones and throw out the warmongers and their leading Oligarchs!

KiwiAntz , March 14, 2019 at 6:44 pm

What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse?

If you can't get him out via a Election, try & try again, like Maduro in Venezuela, to forcibly remove the targeted person by setting him up with fake, false accusations & fabricated evidence? How very predictable & how very American of Mueller & the Democratic Party. Absolute American Corruption, corrupts absolutely?

Brian Murphy , March 15, 2019 at 10:33 am

Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation.

If the investigation wraps up and finds nothing, that means Trump has already completely sold out. If the investigation continues, it means someone important still thinks Trump retains some vestige of his balls.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

By last June or July the Mueller investigation has resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes, and there was a handful of convictions to date. The report did not support the Clinton wing's anti-Russian allegations about the 2016 election, and was largely brushed aside by media. Mueller was then reportedly sent back in to "find something." presumably to support the anti-Russian claims.

mike k , March 14, 2019 at 12:57 pm

From the beginning of the Russia did it story, right after Trump's electoral victory, it was apparent that this was a fraud. The democratic party however has locked onto this preposterous story, and they will go to their graves denying this was a scam to deny their presidential defeat, and somehow reverse the result of Trump's election. My sincere hope is that this blatant lie will be an albatross around the party's neck, that will carry them down into oblivion. They have betrayed those of us who supported them for so many years. They are in many ways now worse than the republican scum they seek to replace.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:26 pm

Trump is almost certain to be re-elected in 2020, and we'll go through this all over again.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm

The very fact that the FBI never had access to the servers and took the word of a private company that had a history of being anti-Russian is enough to throw the entire ruse out.

LJ , March 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Agreed!!!! and don't forget the FBI/Comey gave Hillary and her Campaign a head's up before they moved to seize the evidence. . So too, Comey said he stopped the Investigation , thereby rendering judgement of innocence, even though by his own words 'gross negligence' had a occurred (which is normally considered grounds for prosecution). In doing so he exceeded the FBI's investigative mandate. He rationalized that decision was appropriate because of the appearance of impropriety that resulted from Attorney General Lynch having a private meeting on a plane on a runway with Bill and Hillary . Where was the logic in that. Who called the meeting? All were Lawyers who had served as President, Senator, Attorney General and knew that the meeting was absolutely inappropriate. . Comey should be prosecuted if they want to prosecute anyone else because of this CRAP. PS Trump is an idiot. Uhinfortunately he is just a symptom of the disease at this point. Look at the cover of Rolling Stone magazine , carry a barf bag.

Jane Christ , March 14, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Exactly. This throws doubt on the ability of the FBI to work independently. They are working for those who want to cover -up the Hillary mess . She evidently has sufficient funds to pay them off. I am disgusted with the level of corruption.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 10:50 am

Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. If there were something hot and lingering and about to emerge, this decision is highly unlikely, especially with the reasoning she gave at "so as not to divide the American people." Dividing the people hasn't been of much concern throughout this bogus witch hunt on Trump, which has added to his incompetence in leavening a growing hysteria and confusion in this country. If there is something, anything at all, in the Mueller report to support the collusion theory, Pelosi would I'm sure gleefully trot it out to get a lesser candidate like Pence as opposition for 2020.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:17 am

We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks.

We must also honor Shawn Lucas assassinated for serving DNC with a litigation notice exposing the DNC conspiracy against Sanders.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Where has Assange confirmed this? Assange's long-standing position is NOT to reveal his sources. I believe he has continued to honor this position.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:15 am

It has merely been insinuated by the offering of a reward for info on Seth's murder. In one breath he says wikileaks will never divulge a source, and in the next he offers a $20k reward saying that sources take tremendous risk. Doesn't take much of a logical leap to connect A to B.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Are you aware that Democrats split apart their 0wn voting base in the 1990s, middle class vs. poor? The Obama years merely confirmed that this split is permanent. This is particularly relevant for Democrats, as their voting base had long consisted of the poor and middle class, for the common good. Ignoring this deep split hasn't made it go away.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Even more important is how the Democrats have sold out to an Establishment view favoring neocon theory, since at least Bill Clinton. Pelosi's recent behavior with Ilhan Omar confirms this and the split you're talking about. My point is it is distinctly odd that Pelosi is discouraging impeachment on "dividing the Party" (already divided, of course, as you say), whereas the Russia-gate fantasy was so hot not that long ago. Again it points to a cynical opportunism and manipulation of the electorate. Both parties are a sad excuse to represent ordinary people's interests.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:21 am

She said "dividing the country", not the party. I think she may have concerns over Trump's heavily armed base. That said, the statement may have been a ruse. There are plenty of Republicans that would cross the line in favor of impeachment with the right "conclusions" by Mueller. Pelosi may be setting up for a "bombshell" conclusion by Mueller. One must never forget that we are watching theater, and that Trump was a "mistake" to be controlled or eliminated.

Cindy Haddix , March 14, 2019 at 8:04 am

Mueller should be ashamed that he has made President Trump his main concern!! If all this investigation would stop he could save America millions!!! He needs to quit this witch-hunt and worry about things that really need to be handled!!! If the democrats and Trump haters would stop pushing senseless lies hopefully this would stop ? It's so disgusting that his democrat friend was never really investigated ? stop the witch-hunt and move forward!!!!

torture this , March 14, 2019 at 7:29 am

According to this letter, mistakes might have been made on Rachel Maddow's show. I can't wait to read how she responds. I'd watch her show, myself except that it has the same effect on me as ipecac.

Zhu , March 14, 2019 at 3:37 am

People will cling to "Putin made Trump President!!!" much as many cling "Obama's a Kenyan Muslim! Not a real American!!!". Both nut theories are emotionally satisfying, no matter what the historical facts are. Many Americans just can't admit their mistakes and blaming a scapegoat is a way out.

O Society , March 14, 2019 at 2:03 am

Thank you VIPS for organizing this legit dissent consisting of experts in the field of intelligence and computer forensics.

This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune.

It is astounding how little skepticism and scientifically-informed reasoning goes on in our media. These folks show themselves to be native advertising rather than authentic journalists at every turn.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

But it has been Democrats and the media that market to middle class Dems, who persist in trying to sell the Russian Tale. They excel at ignoring the evidence that utterly contradicts their claims.

O Society , March 15, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Oh, we're well beyond your "Blame the middle class Dems" stage.

The WINNING!!! team sports bullshit drowns the entire country now the latrine's sprung a leak. People pretend to live in bubbles made of blue or red quite like the Three Little Pigs, isn't it? Except instead of a house made of bricks saving the day for the littlepiggies, what we've got here is a purple puddle of piss.

Everyone's more than glad to project all our problems on "THEM" though, aren't we?

Meanwhile, the White House smells like a urinal not washed since the 1950s and simpletons still get their rocks off arguing about whether Mickey Mouse can beat up Ronald McDonald.

T'would be comic except what's so tragic is the desperate need Americans have to believe, oh just believe! in something. Never mind the sound of the jackhammer on your skull dear, there's an app for that or is it a pill?

I don't know, don't ask me, I'm busy watching TV. Have a cheeto.

https://opensociet.org/2018/12/18/the-disneyfication-of-america/

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Very good analysis clearly stated, especially adding the FAT timestamps to the transmission speeds.

Minor corrections: "The emails were copied from the network" should be "from the much faster local network" because this is to Contradict the notion that they were copied over the internet network, which most readers will equate with "network." Also "reportedin" should be "reported in."

Michael , March 13, 2019 at 6:25 pm

It is likely that New Knowledge was actually "the Russians", possibly working in concert with Crowdstrike. Once an intelligence agency gets away with something like pretending to be Russian hackers and bots, they tend to re-use their model; it is too tempting to discard an effective model after a one-off accomplishment. New Knowledge was caught interfering/ determining the outcome in the Alabama Senate race on the side of Democrat Doug Jones, and claimed they were merely trying to mimic Russian methods to see if they worked (they did; not sure of their punishment?). Occam's razor would suggest that New Knowledge would be competent to mimic/ pretend to be "Russians" after the fact of wikileaks' publication of emails. New Knowledge has employees from the NSA and State department sympathetic to/ working with(?) Hillary, and were the "outside" agency hired to evaluate and report on the "Russian" hacking of the DNC emails/ servers.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:48 pm

Mueller released report last summer, which resulted in (the last I checked) roughly 150 indictments, a handful of convictions to date, all for perjury/financial (not political) crimes. This wasn't kept secret. It simply wasn't what Democrats wanted to hear, so although it was mentioned in some lib media (which overwhelmingly supported neoliberal Hillary Clinton), it was essentially swept under the carpet.

Billy , March 13, 2019 at 11:11 pm

Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020.

Realist , March 14, 2019 at 3:22 am

You betcha. Moreover, who but the Russians do these idiots have left to blame? Everybody else is now off limits due to political correctness. Sigh Those Catholics, Jews, "ethnics" and sundry "deviants" used to be such reliable scapegoats, to say nothing of the "undeveloped" world. As Clapper "authoritatively" says, only this vile lineage still carries the genes for the most extremes of human perfidy. Squirrels in your attic? It must be the damned Russkies! The bastards impudently tried to copy our democracy, economic system and free press and only besmirched those institutions, ruining all of Hillary's glorious plans for a worldwide benevolent dictatorship. All this might be humorous if it weren't so funny.

And those Chinese better not get to thinking they are somehow our equals just because all their trillions invested in U.S. Treasury bonds have paid for all our wars of choice and MIC boondoggles since before the turn of the century. Unless they start delivering Trump some "free stuff" the big man is gonna cut off their water. No more affordable manufactured goods for the American public! So there!

As to the article: impeccable research and analysis by the VIPS crew yet again. They've proven to me that, to a near certainty, the Easter Bunny is not likely to exist. Mueller won't read it. Clapper will still prance around a free man, as will Brennan. The Democrats won't care, that is until November of 2020. And Hillary will continue to skate, unhindered in larding up the Clinton Foundation to purposes one can only imagine.

Joe Tedesky , March 14, 2019 at 10:02 pm

Realist,

I have posted this article 'the Russia they Lost' before and from time to time but once again it seems appropriate to add this link to expound upon for what you've been saying. It's an article written by a Russian who in they're youth growing up in the USSR dreamed of living the American lifestyle if Russia were to ever ditch communism. But . Starting with Kosovo this Russian's youthful dream turned nightmarishly ugly and, as time went by with more and yet even more USA aggression this Russian author loss his admiration and desire for all things American to be proudly envied. This is a story where USA hard power destroyed any hope of American soft power for world unity. But hey that unity business was never part of the plan anyway.

https://slavyangrad.org/2014/09/24/the-russia-they-lost/

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 10:38 pm

right you are, joe. if america was smart rather than arrogant, it would have cooperated with china and russia to see the belt and road initiative succeed by perhaps building a bridge or tunnel from siberia to alaska, and by building its own fleet of icebreakers to open up its part of the northwest passage. but no, it only wants to sabotage what others propose. that's not being a leader, it's being a dick.

i'm gonna have to go on the disabled list here until the sudden neurological problem with my right hand clears up–it's like paralysed. too difficult to do this one-handed using hunt and peck. at least the problem was not in the old bean, according to the scans. carry on, sir.

Brian James , March 13, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:55 pm

Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. Trump and the Republicans continue to win by default, as Democrats only drive more voters away.

Howard , March 13, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Thank you Ray McGovern and the Other 17 VIPS C0-Signers of your National Security Essay for Truth. Along with Craig Murray and Seymour Hirsch, former Sam Adams Award winners for "shining light into dark places", you are national resources for objectivity in critical survival information matters for our country. It is more than a pity that our mainstream media are so beholden to their corporate task masters that they cannot depart from the company line for fear of losing their livelihoods, and in the process we risk losing life on the planet because of unconstrained nuclear war on the part of the two main adversaries facing off in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. Let me speak plainly. THEY SHOULD BE TALKING TO YOU AND NOT THE VESTED INTERESTS' MOUTHPIECES. Thank you for your continued leadership!

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:28 am

Roger Ailes founder of FOX news died, "falling down stairs" within a week of FOX news exposing to the world that the assassinated Seth Rich downloaded the DNC emails.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Google the Mueller investigation report from last June or July. When it was released, the public response was like a deflated balloon. It did not support the "Russian collusion" allegations -- the only thing Democrats still had left to sell. The report resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes (not political), and a handful of convictions to date -- none of which had anything to do with the election results.

Hank , March 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm

Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. They are probably right, but the REAL reason that Hillary lost is because there ARE enough informed people now in this nation who are quite aware of the Clinton's sordid history where scandals seem to follow every where they go, but indictments and/or investigations don't. There IS an internet nowadays with lots of FACTUAL DOCUMENTED information. That's a lot more than I can say about the mainstream corporate-controlled media!

I know this won't ever happen, but an HONEST investigation into the Democratic Party and their actions during the 2016 election would make ANY collusion with ANY nation look like a mole hill next to a mountain! One of the problems with living in this nation is if you are truly informed and make an effort 24/7 to be that way by doing your own research, you more-than-likely can be considered an "island in a sea of ignorance".

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

We know that the FBI never had access to the servers and a private company was allowed to handle the evidence. Wasnt it a crime scene? The evidence was tampered with And we will never know what was on the servers.

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm

As a complement to this excellent analysis, I would like to make 2 further points:

The Mueller indictment of Russian Intelligence for hacking the DNC and transferring their booty to Wikileaks is absurd on its face for this reason: Assange announced on June 12th the impending release of Hillary-related emails. Yet the indictment claims that Guccifer 2.0 did not succeed in transferring the DNC emails to Wikileaks until the time period of July 14-18th – after which they were released online on July 22nd. Are we to suppose that Assange, a publisher of impeccable integrity, publicly announced the publication of emails he had not yet seen, and which he was obtaining from a source of murky provenance? And are we further to suppose that Wikileaks could have processed 20K emails and 20K attachments to insure their genuineness in a period of only several days? As you will recall, Wikileaks subsequently took a number of weeks to process the Podesta emails they released in October.

And another peculiarity merits attention. Assange did not state on June 12th that he was releasing DNC emails – and yet Crowdstrike and the Guccifer 2.0 personna evidently knew that this was in store. A likely resolution of this conundrum is that US intelligence had been monitoring all communications to Wikileaks, and had informed the DNC that their hacked emails had been offered to Wikileaks. A further reasonable prospect is that US intelligence subsequently unmasked the leaker to the DNC; as Assange has strongly hinted, this likely was Seth Rich. This could explain Rich's subsequent murder, as Rich would have been in a position to unmask the Guccifer 2.0 hoax and the entire Russian hacking narrative.

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/muellers-new-indictment-do-the-feds-take-us-for-idiots-5406ef955406

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/how-did-crowdstrike-guccifer-2-0-know-that-wikileaks-was-planning-to-release-dnc-emails-42e6db334053

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Curious that Assange has Not explicitly stated that the leaker was Seth Rich, if it was, as this would take pressure from himself and incriminate the DNC in the murder of Rich. Perhaps he doesn't know, and has the honor not to take the opportunity, or perhaps he knows that it was not Rich.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:40 am

View the Dutch TV interview with Asssange and there is another interview available on youtube in which Assange DOES subtly confirmed it was Seth Rich.

Assange posted a $10,000 reward for Seth Rich's murders capture.

Abby , March 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm

Another mistaken issue with the "Russia hacked the DNC computers on Trump's command" is that he never asked Russia to do that. His words were, "Russia if you 'find' Hillary's missing emails let us know." He said that after she advised congress that she wouldn't be turning in all of the emails they asked for because she deleted 30,000 of them and said that they were personal.

But if Mueller or the FBI wants to look at all of them they can find them at the NYC FBI office because they are on Weiner's laptop. Why? Because Hillary's aid Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife sent them to it. Just another security risk that Hillary had because of her private email server. This is why Comey had to tell congress that more of them had been found 11 days before the election. If Comey hadn't done that then the FBI would have.

But did Comey or McCabe look at her emails there to see if any of them were classified? No they did not do that. And today we find out that Lisa Page told congress that it was Obama's decision not to charge Hillary for being grossly negligent on using her private email server. This has been known by congress for many months and now we know that the fix was always in for her to get off.

robert e williamson jr , March 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I want to thank you folks at VIPS. Like I have been saying for years now the relationship between CIA, NSA and DOJ is an incestuous one at best. A perverse corrupted bond to control the masses. A large group of religious fanatics who want things "ONE WAY". They are the facilitators for the rogue government known as the "DEEP STATE"!

Just ask billy barr.

More truth is a very good thing. I believe DOJ is supporting the intelligence community because of blackmail. They can't come clean because they all risk doing lots of time if a new judicial mechanism replaces them. We are in big trouble here.

Apparently the rule of law is not!

You folks that keep claiming we live in the post truth era! Get off me. Demand the truth and nothing else. Best be getting ready for the fight of your lives. The truth is you have to look yourself in the mirror every morning, deny that truth. The claim you are living in the post truth era is an admission your life is a lie. Now grab a hold of yourself pick a dogdamned side and stand for something,.

Thank You VIPS!

Joe Tedesky , March 13, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Hats off to the VIP's who have investigated this Russian hacking that wasn't a hacking for without them what would we news junkies have otherwise to lift open the hood of Mueller's never ending Russia-gate investigation. Although the one thing this Russia-gate nonsense has accomplished is it has destroyed with our freedom of speech when it comes to how we citizens gather our news. Much like everything else that has been done during these post 9/11 years of continual wars our civil rights have been marginalized down to zero or, a bit above if that's even still an argument to be made for the sake of numbers.

Watching the Manafort sentencing is quite interesting for the fact that Manafort didn't conclude in as much as he played fast and loose with his income. In fact maybe Manafort's case should have been prosecuted by the State Department or, how about the IRS? Also wouldn't it be worth investigating other Geopolitical Rain Makers like Manafort for similar crimes of financial wrongdoing? I mean is it possible Manafort is or was the only one of his type to do such dishonest things? In any case Manafort wasn't charged with concluding with any Russians in regard to the 2016 presidential election and, with that we all fall down.

I guess the best thing (not) that came out of this Russia-gate silliness is Rachel Maddow's tv ratings zoomed upwards. But I hate to tell you that the only ones buying what Ms Maddow is selling are the died in the wool Hillary supporters along with the chicken-hawks who rally to the MIC lobby for more war. It's all a game and yet there are many of us who just don't wish to play it but still we must because no one will listen to the sanity that gets ignored keep up the good work VIP's some of us are listening.

Andrew Thomas , March 13, 2019 at 12:42 pm

The article did not mention something called to my attention for the first time by one of the outstanding members of your commentariat just a couple of days ago- that Ambassador Murray stayed publicly, over two years ago, that he had been given the thumb drive by a go-between in D.C. and had somehow gotten it to Wikileaks. And, that he has NEVER BEEN INTERVIEWED by Mueller &Company. I was blown away by this, and found the original articles just by googling Murray. The excuse given is that Murray "lacks credibility ", or some such, because of his prior relationship with Assange and/or Wikileaks. This is so ludicrous I can't even get my head around it. And now, you have given me a new detail-the meeting with Pompeo, and the complete lack of follow-up thereafter. Here all this time I thought I was the most cynical SOB who existed, and now I feel as naive as when I was 13 and believed what Dean Rusk was saying like it was holy writ. I am in your debt.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 2:33 pm

Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:18 pm

A small correction: the Daily Mail article regarding Murray claimed that Murray was given a thumbdrive which he subsequently carried back to Wikileaks. On his blog, Murray subsequently disputed this part of the story, indicating that, while he had met with a leaker or confederate of a leaker in Washington DC, the Podesta emails were already in possession of Wikileaks at the time. Murray refused to clarify the reason for his meeting with this source, but he is adamant in maintaining that the DNC and Podesta emails were leaked, not hacked.

And it is indeed ludicrous that Mueller, given the mandate to investigate the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and Podesta, has never attempted to question either Assange or Murray. That in itself is enough for us to conclude that the Mueller investigation is a complete sham.

Ian Brown , March 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm

It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray!

LJ , March 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm

A guy comes in with a pedigree like that, """ former FBI head """ to examine and validate if possible an FBI sting manufactured off a phony FISA indictment based on the Steele Report, It immediately reminded me of the 9-11 Commission with Thomas Kean, former Board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, being appointed by GW Bush the Simple to head an investigation that he had previously said he did not want to authorize( and of course bi partisan yes man Lee Hamilton as #2, lest we forget) . Really this should be seen as another low point in our Democracy. Uncle Sam is the Limbo Man, How low can you go?

After Bill and Hillary and Monica and Paula Jones and Blue Dresses well, Golden Showers in a Moscow luxury hotel, I guess that make it just salacious enough.

Mueller looks just like what he is. He has that same phony self important air as Comey . In 2 years this will be forgotten.. I do not think this hurts Trumps chances at re-election as much as the Democrats are hurting themselves. This has already gone on way too long.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 11:59 am

Mueller has nothing and he well knows it. He was willingly roped into this whole pathetic charade and he's left grasping for anything remotely tied to Trump campaign officials and Russians.

Even the most tenuous connections and weak relationships are splashed across the mass media in breathless headlines. Meanwhile, NONE of the supposed skulduggery unearthed by Mueller has anything to do with the Kremlin "hacking" the election to favor Trump, which was the entire raison d'etre behind Rosenstein, Brennan, Podesta and Mueller's crusade on behalf of the deplorable DNC and Washington militarist-imperialists. It will be fascinating to witness how Mueller and his crew ultimately extricate themselves from this giant fraudulent edifice of deceit. Will they even be able to save the most rudimentary amount of face?

So sickening to see the manner in which many DNC sycophants obsequiously genuflect to their godlike Mueller. A damn prosecutor who was likely in bed with the Winter Hill Gang.

Jack , March 13, 2019 at 12:21 pm

You have failed. An investigation is just that, a finding of the facts. What would Mueller have to extricate himself from? If nothing is found, he has still done his job. You are a divisive idiot.

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

@Jack,
Keep running cover for an out of control prosecutor, who, if he had any integrity, would have hit the bully pulpit mos ago declaring there's nothing of substance to one of the most potentially dangerous accusations in world history: the Kremlin hacking the election. Last I checked it puts two nuclear nation-states on the brink of potential war. And you call me divisive? Mueller's now a willing accomplice to this entire McCarthyite smear and disinformation campaign. It's all so pathetic that folks such as yourself try and mislead and feed half-truths to the people.

You're failing Jack, in more ways than you know.

Gregory Herr , March 13, 2019 at 9:13 pm

https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/liberals-are-digging-their-own-grave-with-russiagate-2019-03-08

Drew, you might enjoy this discussion Robert Scheer has with Stephen Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 3:38 am

Moreover, as the Saker pointed out in his most recent column in the Unz Review, the entire Deep State conspiracy, in an ad hoc alliance with the embarrassed and embarrassing Democrats, have made an absolute sham of due process in their blatant witch hunt to bag the president. This reached an apex when his personal lawyer, Mr. Cohen, was trotted out before congress to violate Trump's confidentiality in every mortifying way he could even vaguely reconstruct. The man was expected to say anything to mitigate the anticipated tortures to come in the course of this modern day inquisition by our latter day Torquemada. To his credit though, even with his ass in a sling, he could simply not confabulate the smoking gun evidence for the alleged Russian collusion that this whole farce was built around.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Mueller stood with Bush as he lied the world into war based on lies and illegally spied on America and tortured some folks.

George Collins , March 13, 2019 at 2:02 pm

QED: as to the nexus with the Winter Hill gang wasn't there litigation involving the Boston FBI, condonation of murder by the FBI and damages awarded to or on behalf of convicted parties that the FBI had reason to know were innocent? The malfeasance reportedly occurred during Mueller time. Further on the sanctified diligence of Mr. Mueller can be gleaned from the reports of Coleen Rowley, former FBI attorney stationed in Milwaukee??? when the DC FBI office was ignoring warnings sent about 9/11. See also Sibel Edmonds who knew to much and was court order muzzled about FBI mis/malfeasance in the aftermath of 9/11.

I'd say it's game, set, match VIPS and a pox on Clapper and the complicit intelligence folk complicit in the nuclear loaded Russia-gate fibs.

Kiers , March 13, 2019 at 11:47 am

How can we expect the DNC to "hand it " to Trumpf, when, behind the scenes, THEY ARE ONE PARTY. They are throwing faux-scary pillow bombs at each other because they are both complicit in a long chain of corruptions. Business as usual for the "principled" two party system! Democracy! Through the gauze of corporate media! You must be joking!

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 11:28 am

"We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of "evidence," particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions."

I wish I shared this belief. However, as with Nancy Pelosi's recent statement regarding pursuing impeachment, I smell a rat. I believe with the help of what the late Robert Parry called "the Mighty Wurlitzer", Mueller is going to use coerced false testimony and fabricated forensics to drop a bombshell the size of 911. I think Nancy's statement was just a feint before throwing the knockout punch.

If reason ruled the day, we should have nothing to worry about. But considering all the perfidy that the so-called "Intelligence" Agencies and their MSM lackeys get away with daily, I think we are in for more theater; and I think VIPS will receive a cold shoulder outside of venues like CN.

I pray to God I'm wrong.

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:32 pm

My extensive experience with DOJ and the federal judiciary establishes that at least 98% of them are dedicated career liars, engaged in organized crime to serve political gangs, and make only a fanatical pretense of patriotism or legality. They are loyal to money alone, deeply cynical and opposed to the US Constitution and laws, with no credibility at all beyond any real evidence.

Eric32 , March 14, 2019 at 4:24 pm

As near I can see, Federal Govt. careers at the higher levels depend on having dirt on other players, and helping, not hurting, the money/power schemes of the players above you.

The Clintons (through their foundation) apparently have a lot of corruption dirt on CIA, FBI etc. top players, some of whom somehow became multi-millionaires during their civil service careers.

Trump, who was only running for President as a name brand marketing ploy with little desire to actually win, apparently came into the Presidency with no dirt arsenal and little idea of where to go from there.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 11:09 am

I remember reading with dismay how Russians were propagandized by the Soviet Press Management only to find out later the depth of disbelief within the Russian population itself. We now know what that feels like. The good part of this disastrous scenario for America is that for careful readers, disinformation becomes revelatory. For instance, if one reads an editorial that refers to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or continually refers to Russian interference in the last Presidential election, then one can immediately dismiss the article and question the motivation for the presentation. Of course the problem is how to establish truth in reporting

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 10:41 am

Thank you, VIPs. Hopefully, you don't expect this to make a difference. The US has moved into a post truth, post reality existence best characterized by Karl Rove's declaration: "we're an empire now, when we act, we create our own reality." What Mr. Rove in his arrogance fails to appreciate is that it is his reality but not anyone else's. Thus Pompous can claim that Guaido is the democratic leader in Venezuela even though he's never been elected .

Gary Weglarz , March 13, 2019 at 10:21 am

Thank you. The next time one of my friends or family give me that glazed over stare and utters anymore of the "but, RUSSIA" nonsense I will refer them directly to this article. Your collective work and ethical stand on this matter is deeply appreciated by anyone who values the truth.

Russiagate stands with past government propaganda operations that were simply made up out of thin air: i.e. Kuwaiti incubator babies, WMD's, Gaddafi's viagra fueled rape camps, Assad can't sleep at night unless he's gassing his own people, to the latest, "Maduro can't sleep at night unless he's starving his own people."

The complete and utter amorality of the deep state remains on display for all to see with "Russiagate," which is as fact-free a propaganda campaign as any of those just mentioned.

Marc , March 13, 2019 at 10:13 am

I am a computer naif, so I am prepared to accept the VIPS analysis about FAT and transfer rates. However, the presentation here leaves me with several questions. First, do I understand correctly that the FAT rounding to even numbers is introduced by the thumb drive? And if so, does the FAT analysis show only that the DNC data passed through a thumb drive? That is, does the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks? Second, although the transatlantic transfer rate is too slow to fit some time stamps, is it possible that the data were hacked onto a local computer that was under the control of some faraway agent?

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

Not quite. FAT is the crappy storage system developed by Microsoft (and not used by UNIX). The metadata associated with any file gets rewritten when it gets moved. If that movement is to a storage device that uses FAT, the timestamp on the file will end in an even number. If it were moved to a unix server (and most of the major servers run Unix) it would be in the UFS (unix file system) and it would be the actual time from the system clock. Every storage device has a utility that tells it where to write the data and what to write. Since it's writing to a storage device using FAT, it'll round the numbers. To get to your real question, yes, you could hack and then transfer the data to a thumb drive but if you did that the dates wouldn't line up.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 8:05 am

Jeff-

Which dates wouldn't line up? Is there a history of metadata available, or just metadata for the most recent move?

David G , March 13, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Marc asks: "[D]oes the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks?"

I asked that question in comments under a previous CN piece; other people have asked that question elsewhere.

To my knowledge, it hasn't been addressed directly by the VIPS, and I think they should do so. (If they already have, someone please enlighten me.)

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:07 pm

I am no computer wiz, but Binney has repeatedly made the point that the NSA scoops up everything. If there had been a hack, they'd know it, and they wouldn't only have had "moderate" confidence in the Jan. assessment. I believe that although farfetched, an argument could be made that a Russian spy got into the DNC, loaded a thumb drive, and gave it to Craig Murray.

David G , March 13, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Respectfully, that's a separate point, which may or may not raise issues of its own.

But I think the question Marc posed stands.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 7:59 am

Hi David-

I don't see how it's separate. If the NSA scoops up everything, they'd have solid evidence of the hack, and wouldn't have only had "moderate" confidence, which Bill Binney says is equivalent to them saying "we don't have squat". They wouldn't even have needed Mueller at all, except to possibly build a "parallel case" due to classification issues. Also, the FBI not demanding direct access to the DNC server tells you something is fishy. They could easily have gotten a warrant to examine the server, but chose not to. They also purposely refuse to get testimony from Craig Murray and Julian Assange, which rings alarm bells on its own.

As for the technical aspect of Marc's question, I agree that I'd like to see Bill Binney directly answer it.

[Mar 17, 2019] VIPS- Mueller's Forensics-Free Findings

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2019 | Consortiumnews

The final Mueller report should be graded "incomplete," says VIPS, whose forensic work proves the speciousness of the story that DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The Attorney General

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Mueller's Forensics-Free Findings

Executive Summary

Media reports are predicting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is about to give you the findings of his probe into any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump. If Mueller gives you his "completed" report anytime soon, it should be graded "incomplete."

Major deficiencies include depending on a DNC-hired cybersecurity company for forensics and failure to consult with those who have done original forensic work, including us and the independent forensic investigators with whom we have examined the data. We stand ready to help.

We veteran intelligence professionals (VIPS) have done enough detailed forensic work to prove the speciousness of the prevailing story that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking. Given the paucity of evidence to support that story, we believe Mueller may choose to finesse this key issue and leave everyone hanging. That would help sustain the widespread belief that Trump owes his victory to President Vladimir Putin, and strengthen the hand of those who pay little heed to the unpredictable consequences of an increase in tensions with nuclear-armed Russia.

There is an overabundance of "assessments" but a lack of hard evidence to support that prevailing narrative. We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of "evidence," particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions. We know only too well -- and did our best to expose -- how our former colleagues in the intelligence community manufactured fraudulent "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

We have scrutinized publicly available physical data -- the "trail" that every cyber operation leaves behind. And we have had support from highly experienced independent forensic investigators who, like us, have no axes to grind. We can prove that the conventional-wisdom story about Russian-hacking-DNC-emails-for-WikiLeaks is false. Drawing largely on the unique expertise of two VIPS scientists who worked for a combined total of 70 years at the National Security Agency and became Technical Directors there, we have regularly published our findings. But we have been deprived of a hearing in mainstream media -- an experience painfully reminiscent of what we had to endure when we exposed the corruption of intelligence before the attack on Iraq 16 years ago.

This time, with the principles of physics and forensic science to rely on, we are able to adduce solid evidence exposing mistakes and distortions in the dominant story. We offer you below -- as a kind of aide-memoire -- a discussion of some of the key factors related to what has become known as "Russia-gate." And we include our most recent findings drawn from forensic work on data associated with WikiLeaks' publication of the DNC emails.

We do not claim our conclusions are "irrefutable and undeniable," a la Colin Powell at the UN before the Iraq war. Our judgments, however, are based on the scientific method -- not "assessments." We decided to put this memorandum together in hopes of ensuring that you hear that directly from us.

If the Mueller team remains reluctant to review our work -- or even to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks' Julian Assange and former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, we fear that many of those yearning earnestly for the truth on Russia-gate will come to the corrosive conclusion that the Mueller investigation was a sham.

In sum, we are concerned that, at this point, an incomplete Mueller report will fall far short of the commitment made by then Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "to ensure a full and thorough investigation," when he appointed Mueller in May 2017. Again, we are at your disposal.

Discussion

The centerpiece accusation of Kremlin "interference" in the 2016 presidential election was the charge that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to embarrass Secretary Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win. The weeks following the election witnessed multiple leak-based media allegations to that effect. These culminated on January 6, 2017 in an evidence-light, rump report misleadingly labeled "Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)." Prepared by "handpicked analysts" from only three of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, and NSA), the assessment expressed "high confidence" in the Russia-hacking-to-WikiLeaks story, but lacked so much as a hint that the authors had sought access to independent forensics to support their "assessment."

The media immediately awarded the ICA the status of Holy Writ, choosing to overlook an assortment of banal, full-disclosure-type caveats included in the assessment itself -- such as:

" When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as 'we assess' or 'we judge,' they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment. Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong."

To their credit, however, the authors of the ICA did make a highly germane point in introductory remarks on "cyber incident attribution." They noted: "The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation -- malicious or not -- leaves a trail." [Emphasis added.]

Forensics

The imperative is to get on that "trail" -- and quickly, before red herrings can be swept across it. The best way to establish attribution is to apply the methodology and processes of forensic science. Intrusions into computers leave behind discernible physical data that can be examined scientifically by forensic experts. Risk to "sources and methods" is normally not a problem.

Direct access to the actual computers is the first requirement -- the more so when an intrusion is termed "an act of war" and blamed on a nuclear-armed foreign government (the words used by the late Sen. John McCain and other senior officials). In testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in March 2017, former FBI Director James Comey admitted that he did not insist on physical access to the DNC computers even though, as he conceded, "best practices" dictate direct access.

In June 2017, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr asked Comey whether he ever had "access to the actual hardware that was hacked." Comey answered, "In the case of the DNC we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. " Sen. Burr followed up: "But no content? Isn't content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?" Comey: "It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016."

The "private party/high-class entity" to which Comey refers is CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm of checkered reputation and multiple conflicts of interest, including very close ties to a number of key anti-Russian organizations. Comey indicated that the DNC hired CrowdStrike in the spring of 2016.

Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – including a possible impeachment battle and greatly increased tension between Russia and the U.S. -- it is difficult to understand why Comey did not move quickly to seize the computer hardware so the FBI could perform an independent examination of what quickly became the major predicate for investigating election interference by Russia. Fortunately, enough data remain on the forensic "trail" to arrive at evidence-anchored conclusions. The work we have done shows the prevailing narrative to be false. We have been suggesting this for over two years. Recent forensic work significantly strengthens that conclusion.

We Do Forensics

Recent forensic examination of the Wikileaks DNC files shows they were created on 23, 25 and 26 May 2016. (On June 12, Julian Assange announced he had them; WikiLeaks published them on July 22.) We recently discovered that the files reveal a FAT (File Allocation Table) system property. This shows that the data had been transferred to an external storage device, such as a thumb drive, before WikiLeaks posted them.

FAT is a simple file system named for its method of organization, the File Allocation Table. It is used for storage only and is not related to internet transfers like hacking. Were WikiLeaks to have received the DNC files via a hack, the last modified times on the files would be a random mixture of odd-and even-ending numbers.

Why is that important? The evidence lies in the "last modified" time stamps on the Wikileaks files. When a file is stored under the FAT file system the software rounds the time to the nearest even-numbered second. Every single one of the time stamps in the DNC files on WikiLeaks' site ends in an even number.

We have examined 500 DNC email files stored on the Wikileaks site. All 500 files end in an even number -- 2, 4, 6, 8 or 0. If those files had been hacked over the Internet, there would be an equal probability of the time stamp ending in an odd number. The random probability that FAT was not used is 1 chance in 2 to the 500th power. Thus, these data show that the DNC emails posted by WikiLeaks went through a storage device, like a thumb drive, and were physically moved before Wikileaks posted the emails on the World Wide Web.

This finding alone is enough to raise reasonable doubts, for example, about Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the DNC emails given to WikiLeaks. A defense attorney could easily use the forensics to argue that someone copied the DNC files to a storage device like a USB thumb drive and got them physically to WikiLeaks -- not electronically via a hack.

Role of NSA

For more than two years, we strongly suspected that the DNC emails were copied/leaked in that way, not hacked. And we said so. We remain intrigued by the apparent failure of NSA's dragnet, collect-it-all approach -- including "cast-iron" coverage of WikiLeaks -- to provide forensic evidence (as opposed to "assessments") as to how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks and who sent them. Well before the telling evidence drawn from the use of FAT, other technical evidence led us to conclude that the DNC emails were not hacked over the network, but rather physically moved over, say, the Atlantic Ocean.

Is it possible that NSA has not yet been asked to produce the collected packets of DNC email data claimed to have been hacked by Russia? Surely, this should be done before Mueller competes his investigation. NSA has taps on all the transoceanic cables leaving the U.S. and would almost certainly have such packets if they exist. (The detailed slides released by Edward Snowden actually show the routes that trace the packets.)

The forensics we examined shed no direct light on who may have been behind the leak. The only thing we know for sure is that the person had to have direct access to the DNC computers or servers in order to copy the emails. The apparent lack of evidence from the most likely source, NSA, regarding a hack may help explain the FBI's curious preference for forensic data from CrowdStrike. No less puzzling is why Comey would choose to call CrowdStrike a "high-class entity."

Comey was one of the intelligence chiefs briefing President Obama on January 5, 2017 on the "Intelligence Community Assessment," which was then briefed to President-elect Trump and published the following day. That Obama found a key part of the ICA narrative less than persuasive became clear at his last press conference (January 18), when he told the media, "The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to how 'the DNC emails that were leaked' got to WikiLeaks.

Is Guccifer 2.0 a Fraud?

There is further compelling technical evidence that undermines the claim that the DNC emails were downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphishing attack. William Binney, one of VIPS' two former Technical Directors at NSA, along with other former intelligence community experts, examined files posted by Guccifer 2.0 and discovered that those files could not have been downloaded over the internet. It is a simple matter of mathematics and physics.

There was a flurry of activity after Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016: "We have emails relating to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication." On June 14, DNC contractor CrowdStrike announced that malware was found on the DNC server and claimed there was evidence it was injected by Russians. On June 15, the Guccifer 2.0 persona emerged on the public stage, affirmed the DNC statement, claimed to be responsible for hacking the DNC, claimed to be a WikiLeaks source, and posted a document that forensics show was synthetically tainted with "Russian fingerprints."

Our suspicions about the Guccifer 2.0 persona grew when G-2 claimed responsibility for a "hack" of the DNC on July 5, 2016, which released DNC data that was rather bland compared to what WikiLeaks published 17 days later (showing how the DNC had tipped the primary scales against Sen. Bernie Sanders). As VIPS reported in a wrap-up Memorandum for the President on July 24, 2017 (titled "Intel Vets Challenge 'Russia Hack' Evidence)," forensic examination of the July 5, 2016 cyber intrusion into the DNC showed it NOT to be a hack by the Russians or by anyone else, but rather a copy onto an external storage device. It seemed a good guess that the July 5 intrusion was a contrivance to preemptively taint anything WikiLeaks might later publish from the DNC, by "showing" it came from a "Russian hack." WikiLeaks published the DNC emails on July 22, three days before the Democratic convention.

As we prepared our July 24 memo for the President, we chose to begin by taking Guccifer 2.0 at face value; i. e., that the documents he posted on July 5, 2016 were obtained via a hack over the Internet. Binney conducted a forensic examination of the metadata contained in the posted documents and compared that metadata with the known capacity of Internet connection speeds at the time in the U.S. This analysis showed a transfer rate as high as 49.1 megabytes per second, which is much faster than was possible from a remote online Internet connection. The 49.1 megabytes speed coincided, though, with the rate that copying onto a thumb drive could accommodate.

Binney, assisted by colleagues with relevant technical expertise, then extended the examination and ran various forensic tests from the U.S. to the Netherlands, Albania, Belgrade and the UK. The fastest Internet rate obtained -- from a data center in New Jersey to a data center in the UK -- was 12 megabytes per second, which is less than a fourth of the capacity typical of a copy onto a thumb drive.

The findings from the examination of the Guccifer 2.0 data and the WikiLeaks data does not indicate who copied the information to an external storage device (probably a thumb drive). But our examination does disprove that G.2 hacked into the DNC on July 5, 2016. Forensic evidence for the Guccifer 2.0 data adds to other evidence that the DNC emails were not taken by an internet spearphishing attack. The data breach was local. The emails were copied from the network.

Presidential Interest

After VIPS' July 24, 2017 Memorandum for the President, Binney, one of its principal authors, was invited to share his insights with Mike Pompeo, CIA Director at the time. When Binney arrived in Pompeo's office at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017 for an hour-long discussion, the director made no secret of the reason for the invitation: "You are here because the President told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk with you."

Binney warned Pompeo -- to stares of incredulity -- that his people should stop lying about the Russian hacking. Binney then started to explain the VIPS findings that had caught President Trump's attention. Pompeo asked Binney if he would talk to the FBI and NSA. Binney agreed, but has not been contacted by those agencies. With that, Pompeo had done what the President asked. There was no follow-up.

Confronting James Clapper on Forensics

We, the hoi polloi, do not often get a chance to talk to people like Pompeo -- and still less to the former intelligence chiefs who are the leading purveyors of the prevailing Russia-gate narrative. An exception came on November 13, when former National Intelligence Director James Clapper came to the Carnegie Endowment in Washington to hawk his memoir. Answering a question during the Q&A about Russian "hacking" and NSA, Clapper said:

" Well, I have talked with NSA a lot And in my mind, I spent a lot of time in the SIGINT business, the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever." [Emphasis added]

Clapper added: " as a private citizen, understanding the magnitude of what the Russians did and the number of citizens in our country they reached and the different mechanisms that, by which they reached them, to me it stretches credulity to think they didn't have a profound impact on election on the outcome of the election."

(A transcript of the interesting Q&A can be found here and a commentary on Clapper's performance at Carnegie, as well as on his longstanding lack of credibility, is here .)

Normally soft-spoken Ron Wyden, Democratic senator from Oregon, lost his patience with Clapper last week when he learned that Clapper is still denying that he lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about the extent of NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens. In an unusual outburst, Wyden said: "James Clapper needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people about mass surveillance. To be clear: I sent him the question in advance. I asked him to correct the record afterward. He chose to let the lie stand."

The materials brought out by Edward Snowden in June 2013 showed Clapper to have lied under oath to the committee on March 12, 2013; he was, nevertheless, allowed to stay on as Director of National Intelligence for three and half more years. Clapper fancies himself an expert on Russia, telling Meet the Press on May 28, 2017 that Russia's history shows that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever."

Clapper ought to be asked about the "forensics" he said were "overwhelming about what the Russians had done." And that, too, before Mueller completes his investigation.

For the steering group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington's justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at Consortiumnews.com.

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Tags: Bill Binney Donald Trump Hillary Clinton James Clapper James Comey Mike Pompeo Robert Mueller Veteran Intelligence Professional for Sanity VIPS WikiLeaks


[Dec 29, 2018] -Election Meddling- Enters Bizarro World As MSM Ignores Democrat-Linked -Russian Bot- Scheme -

Highly recommended!
Is this shadow of Integrity Initiative in the USA ? This false flag open the possibility that other similar events like DNC (with very questionable investigation by Crowdstrike, which was a perfect venue to implement a false flag; cybersecurity area is the perfect environment for planting false flags), MH17 (might be an incident but later it definitely was played as a false flag), Skripals (Was Skripals poisoning a false flag decided to hide the fact that Sergey Skripal was involved in writing Steele dossier?) and Litvinenko (probably connected with lack of safety measures in the process of smuggling of Plutonium by Litvinenko himself, but later played a a false flag). All of those now should be re-assessed from the their potential of being yet another flag flag operation against Russia. While Browder was a MI6 operation from the very beginning (and that explains why he abdicated the US citizenship more convincingly that the desire to avoid taxes) .
Notable quotes:
"... Democratic operative Jonathon Morgan - bankrolled by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, pulled a Russian bot "false flag" operation against GOP candidate Roy Moore in the Alabama special election last year - creating thousands of fake social media accounts designed to influence voters . Hoffman has since apologized, while Morgan was suspended by Facebook for "coordinated inauthentic" behavior. ..."
"... Really the bigger story is here is that these guys convincingly pretended to be Russian Bots in order to influence an election (not with the message being put forth by the bots, but by their sheer existence as apparent supporters of the Moore campaign). ..."
"... By all appearances, they were Russian bots trying to influence the election. Now we know it was DNC operatives. Yet we are supposed to believe without any proof that the "Russian bots" that supposedly influenced the 2016 Presidential election were, actually, Russian bots, and worthy of a two year long probe about "Russian collusion" and "Russian meddling." ..."
"... The whole thing is probably a farce, not only in the sense that there is no evidence that Russia had any influence at all on a single voter, but also in the sense that there is no evidence that Russia even tried (just claims and allegations by people who have a vested interest in convincing us its true). ..."
Dec 29, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

For over two years now, the concepts of "Russian collusion" and "Russian election meddling" have been shoved down our throats by the mainstream media (MSM) under the guise of legitimate concern that the Kremlin may have installed a puppet president in Donald Trump.

Having no evidence of collusion aside from a largely unverified opposition-research dossier fabricated by a former British spy, the focus shifted from "collusion" to "meddling" and "influence." In other words, maybe Trump didn't actually collude with Putin, but the Kremlin used Russian tricks to influence the election in Trump's favor. To some, this looked like nothing more than an establishment scheme to cast a permanent spectre of doubt over the legitimacy of President Donald J. Trump.

Election meddling "Russian bots" and "troll farms" became the central focus - as claims were levied of social media operations conducted by Kremlin-linked organizations which sought to influence and divide certain segments of America.

And while scant evidence of a Russian influence operation exists outside of a handful of indictments connected to a St. Petersburg "Troll farm" (which a liberal journalist cast serious doubt ov er), the MSM - with all of their proselytizing over the "threat to democracy" that election meddling poses, has largely decided to ignore actual evidence of "Russian bots" created by Democrat IT experts, used against a GOP candidate in the Alabama special election, and amplified through the Russian bot-detecting "Hamilton 68" dashboard developed by the same IT experts.

Jonathon Morgan ✔ @jonathonmorgan

Russian trolls tracked by # Hamilton68 are taking an interest in the AL Senate race. What a surprise.

298 4:02 PM - Nov 10, 2017

Democratic operative Jonathon Morgan - bankrolled by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, pulled a Russian bot "false flag" operation against GOP candidate Roy Moore in the Alabama special election last year - creating thousands of fake social media accounts designed to influence voters . Hoffman has since apologized, while Morgan was suspended by Facebook for "coordinated inauthentic" behavior.

As Russian state-owned RT puts it - and who could blame them for being a bit pissed over the whole thing, "it turns out there really was meddling in American democracy by "Russian bots." Except they weren't run from Moscow or St. Petersburg, but from the offices of Democrat operatives chiefly responsible for creating and amplifying the "Russiagate" hysteria over the past two years in a textbook case of psychological projection. "

A week before Christmas, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report accusing Russia of depressing Democrat voter turnout by targeting African-Americans on social media. Its authors, New Knowledge, quickly became a household name.

Described by the New York Times as a group of "tech specialists who lean Democratic," New Knowledge has ties to both the US military and intelligence agencies. Its CEO and co-founder Jonathon Morgan previously worked for DARPA, the US military's advanced research agenc y. His partner, Ryan Fox, is a 15-year veteran of the National Security Agency who also worked as a computer analyst for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Their unique skill sets have managed to attract the eye of investors, who pumped $11 million into the company in 2018 alone.

...

On December 19, a New York Times story revealed that Morgan and his crew had created a fake army of Russian bots, as well as fake Facebook groups, in order to discredit Republican candidate Roy Moore in Alabama's 2017 special election for the US Senate.

Working on behalf of the Democrats, Morgan and his crew created an estimated 1,000 fake Twitter accounts with Russian names, and had them follow Moore. They also operated several Facebook pages where they posed as Alabama conservatives who wanted like-minded voters to support a write-in candidate instead.

In an internal memo, New Knowledge boasted that it had "orchestrated an elaborate 'false flag' operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet."

It worked. The botnet claim made a splash on social media and was further amplified by Mother Jones, which based its story on expert opinion from Morgan's other dubious creation, Hamilton 68. - RT

Moore ended up losing the Alabama special election by a slim margin of just

In other words: In November 2017 – when Moore and his Democratic opponent were in a bitter fight to win over voters – Morgan openly promoted the theory that Russian bots were supporting Moore's campaign . A year later – after being caught red-handed orchestrating a self-described "false flag" operation – Morgan now says that his team never thought that the bots were Russian and have no idea what their purpose was . Did he think no one would notice? - RT

Dan Cohen ✔ @dancohen3000 Replying to @dancohen3000

Disinformation warrior @ jonathonmorgan attempts to control damage by lying. He now claims the "false flag operation" never took place and the botnet he promoted as Russian-linked (based on phony Hamilton68 Russian troll tracker he developed) wasn't Russian https://www. newknowledge.com/blog/about-ala bama

89 2:23 AM - Dec 29, 2018

Even more strange is that Scott Shane - the journalist who wrote the New York Times piece exposing the Alabama "Russian bot" scheme, knew about it for months after speaking at an event where the organizers bragged about the false flag on Moore .

Shane was one of the speakers at a meeting in September, organized by American Engagement Technologies, a group run by Mikey Dickerson, President Barack Obama's former tech czar. Dickerson explained how AET spent $100,000 on New Knowledge's campaign to suppress Republican votes, " enrage" Democrats to boost turnout, and execute a "false flag" to hrt Moore. He dubbed it "Project Birmingham." - RT

Dan Cohen ✔ @dancohen3000 · Dec 28, 2018 Replying to @dancohen3000

This gets even weirder: NYT reporter @ ScottShaneNYT , who broke the Alabama disinfo op story, learned of it in early September when he spoke at an off-the-record event organized by one of the firms that perpetrated the deception https://www. buzzfeednews.com/article/craigs ilverman/alabama-dirty-tricksters-invited-a-new-york-times-reporter

NY Times Reporter Briefed Alabama Special Election Dirty Tricksters

New York Times reporter Scott Shane spoke at an event organized by the group who ran a disinformation op aimed at helping defeat Roy Moore in Alabama.

A lightly-redacted copy of the internal @ NewKnowledgeAI report has been leaked and claims at least partial credit for Doug Jones' victory. Details follow https:// medium.com/@jeffgiesea/br eaking-heres-the-after-action-report-from-the-alabama-senate-disinformation

10 12:09 PM - Dec 28, 2018 Twitter Ads info and privacy

Shane told BuzzFeed that he was "shocked" by the revelations, though hid behind a nondisclosure agreement at the request of American Engagement Technologies (AET). He instead chose to spin the New Knowledge "false flag" operation on Moore as "limited Russian tactics" which were part of an "experiment" that had a budget of "only" $100,000 - and which had no effect on the election.

New Knowledge suggested that the false flag operation was simply a "research project," which Morgan suggested was designed "to better understand and report on the tactics and effects of social media disinformation."

View image on Twitter
Jonathon Morgan ✔ @jonathonmorgan

My statement on this evening's NYT article.

94 9:17 PM - Dec 19, 2018
465 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

While the New York Times seemed satisfied with his explanation, others pointed out that Morgan had used the Hamilton 68 dashboard to give his "false flag" more credibility – misleading the public about a "Russian" influence campaign that he knew was fake.

New Knowledge's protestations apparently didn't convince Facebook, which announced last week that five accounts linked to New Knowledge – including Morgan's – had been suspended for engaging in "coordinated inauthentic behavior." - RT

They knew exactly what they were doing

While Morgan and New Knowledge sought to frame the "Project Birmingham" as a simple research project, a leaked copy of the operation's after-action report reveals that they knew exactly what they were doing .

"We targeted 650,000 like AL voters, with a combination of persona accounts, astroturfing, automated social media amplification and targeted advertising," reads the report published by entrepreneur and executive coach Jeff Giesea.

Jeff Giesea ✔ @jeffgiesea

BREAKING: Here's the after-action report from the AL Senate disinfo campaign.

**an exclusive release by @ JeffGiesea https:// medium.com/@jeffgiesea/br eaking-heres-the-after-action-report-from-the-alabama-senate-disinformation-campaign-e3edd854f17d

1,658 8:49 PM - Dec 27, 2018 Twitter Ads info and privacy BREAKING: Here's The After-Action Report From the Alabama Senate Disinformation Campaign

EXCLUSIVE RELEASE FROM JEFF GIESEA

medium.com
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The rhetorical question remains, why did the MSM drop this election meddling story like a hot rock after the initial headlines faded away?

criminal election meddling, but then who the **** is going to click on some morons tactic and switch votes?

anyone basing any funding, whether it is number of facebook hits or attempted mind games by egotistical cuck soyboys needs a serious psychological examination. fake news is fake BECAUSE IT ISNT REAL AND DOES NOT MATTER TO ANYONE but those living in the excited misery of their tiny bubble world safe spaces. SOCIAL MEDIA IS A CON AND IS NOT IMPORTANT OR RELEVANT TO ANYONE.

far more serious is destroying ballots, writing in ballots without consent, bussing voters around to vote multiple times in different districts, registering dead voters and imperosnating the corpses, withholding votes until deadlines pass - making them invalid.


Herdee , 10 minutes ago

NATO on behalf of the Washington politicians uses the same bullsh*t propaganda for continual war.

Mugabe , 20 minutes ago

Yup "PROJECTION"...

Yippie21 , 21 minutes ago

None of this even touches on the 501c3 or whatever that was set up , concerned Alabama voters or somesuch, and was funneled a **** load of money to be found to be in violation of the law AFTER the election and then it all just disappeared. Nothing to see here folks, Democrat won, let's move on. There was a LOT of " tests " for the smart-set in that election and it all worked. We saw a bunch of it used in 2018, especially in Texas with Beto and down-ballot races. Democrats cleaned up like crazy in Texas, especially in Houston.

2020 is going to be a hot mess. And the press is in on it, and even if illegal or unseemly things are done, as long as Democrats win, all good... let's move on. Crazy.

LetThemEatRand , 21 minutes ago

The fact that MSM is not covering this story -- which is so big it truly raises major questions about the entire Russiagate conspiracy including why Mueller was appointed in the first place -- is proof that they have no interest in journalism or the truth and that they are 100% agenda driven liars. Not that we needed more proof, but there it is anyway.

Oldguy05 , 19 minutes ago

Dimz corruption is a nogo. Now if it were conservatives.......

CosineCosineCosine , 23 minutes ago

I'm not a huge fan, but Jimmy Dore has a cathartic and entertaining 30 minutes on this farce. Well worth the watch:

h https://youtu.be/hqLIJznUNVw

LetThemEatRand , 27 minutes ago

Really the bigger story is here is that these guys convincingly pretended to be Russian Bots in order to influence an election (not with the message being put forth by the bots, but by their sheer existence as apparent supporters of the Moore campaign).

By all appearances, they were Russian bots trying to influence the election. Now we know it was DNC operatives. Yet we are supposed to believe without any proof that the "Russian bots" that supposedly influenced the 2016 Presidential election were, actually, Russian bots, and worthy of a two year long probe about "Russian collusion" and "Russian meddling."

The whole thing is probably a farce, not only in the sense that there is no evidence that Russia had any influence at all on a single voter, but also in the sense that there is no evidence that Russia even tried (just claims and allegations by people who have a vested interest in convincing us its true).

dead hobo , 30 minutes ago

I've been watching Scandal on Netflix. Still only in season 2. Amazing how nothing changes.They nailed it and memorialized it. The MSM are useful idiots who are happy to make money publicizing what will sell the best.

chunga , 30 minutes ago

The media is biased and sucks, yup.

The reason the reds lost the house is because they went along with this nonsense and did nothing about it, like frightened baby chipmunks.

JRobby , 33 minutes ago

Only when "the opposition" does it is it illegal. Total totalitarian state wannabe stuff.

divingengineer , 22 minutes ago

Amazing how people can contort reality to justify their own righteous cause, but decry their opposition for the EXACT same thing. See trump visit to troops signing hats as most recent proof. If DJT takes a piss and sprinkles the seat, it's a crime.

DarkPurpleHaze , 33 minutes ago

They're afraid to expose themselves...unlike Kevin Spacey. Trump or Whitaker will expose this with one signature. It's coming.

divingengineer , 20 minutes ago

Spacey has totally lost it. See his latest video, it will be a powerful piece of evidence for an insanity plea.

CosineCosineCosine , 10 minutes ago

Disagree strongly. I think it was excellent - perhaps you misunderstood the point? 6 minutes Diana Davidson look at it clarifies

https://youtu.be/_il_NBq0Ec8

[Nov 16, 2018] US Is Optimistic It Will Prosecute Assange

Nov 15, 2018 | www.wsj.com

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against the WikiLeaks founder

The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter. Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012...

The exact charges Justice Department might pursue remain unclear, but they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information.

[Nov 10, 2018] CIA's 'Surveillance State' is Operating Against US

Nov 10, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

BM , Nov 10, 2018 5:56:10 AM | link

Whilst on the topic of ISIS, here is an article about its mother-concern, CIA:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/11/09/cia-surveillance-state-operating-against-us-all.html
CIA's 'Surveillance State' is Operating Against US All

On two declassified letters from 2014 from the Intelligence Community Inspector General (didn't know there was one, but doesn't do much good anyway, it seems, read further) to the chairpersons of the House and Senate intelligence committees notifying them that the CIA has been monitoring emails between the CIA's head of the whistleblowing and source protection and Congressional. "Most of these emails concerned pending and developing whistleblower complaints". Shows why Edward Snowdon didn't consider it appropriate to rely on internal complaints proceedures. This while under the leadership of seasoned liars and criminals Brennan and Clapper, of course.

It clearly shows a taste of what these buggers have to hide, and why they went to such extraordinary lengths as Russiagate to cover it all up and save their skins - that of course being the real reason behind Russiagate as I have said several times, nothing to do with either Trump or Russia.

guidoamm , Nov 10, 2018 1:32:52 AM | link

And there is this too of course:

Pentagon Fake Al Qaeda Propaganda

Anton Worter , Nov 10, 2018 12:39:39 AM | link
@4

OWS was a Controlled-Dissent operation, sending poor students north to fecklessly march on Wall Street when they could have shut down WADC, and sending wealthy seniors south to fecklessly line Pennsylvania Avenue, when they could have shut down Wall Street.

Both I$I$, and Hamas, and Antifa et al are all Controlled Dissent operations. The followers are duped, are used, abused and then abandoned by honey-pots put there by Central Intelligence, at least since the Spanish Civil War.

That's why MoA articles like this one make you wonder, just who is conning whom, at a time when the Internet is weaponized, when Google Assistant achieved AI awareness indistinguishable from anyone on the phone, China TV has launched a virtual AI news reporter indistinguishable from reality, and Stanford can audio-video a captured image of anyone as well as their voice intonation, then 3D model them, in real time, reading and emoting from a script, indistinguishable from reality, ...and then this.

Another Gift of Trust😂 brought to you by Scientocracy. Be sure to tithe your AI bot, or word will get back to Chairman Albertus, then you'll be called in to confess your thought crimes to the Green Cadre, itself another Controlled Dissent honeypot, in a Tithe-for-Credits Swindle.

I tell my kids, just enjoy life, live it large, and get ready for hell. It's coming for breakfast.

[Nov 10, 2018] Hacking operations by anyone, can and will be used by US propagandists to provoke Russia or whoever stands in the way of the US war machine

Nov 10, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Harry Law , Nov 10, 2018 9:11:40 AM | link

Hacking operations by anyone, can and will be used by US propagandists to provoke Russia or whoever stands in the way of the US war machine, take this Pompeo rant against Iran and the Iranian response......

Asking of Pompeo "have you no shame?", Zarif mocked Pompeo's praise for the Saudis for "providing millions and millions of dollars of humanitarian relief" to Yemen, saying America's "butcher clients" were spending billions of dollars bombing school buses. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif issued a statement lashing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his recent comments on the Yemen War. Discussing the US-backed Saudi invasion of Yemen, Pompeo declared Iran to be to blame for the death and destruction in the country. https://news.antiwar.com/2018/11/09/iran-fm-slams-pompeo-for-blaming-yemen-war-on-iran/

The US way of looking at things supposes that up is down, and white is black, it makes no sense, unless the US hopes these provocations will lead to a war or at the very least Russia or Iran capitulating to US aggression, which will not happen. Sanctions by the US on all and sundry must be opposed, if not the US will claim justifiably to be the worlds policeman and the arbiter of who will trade with who, a ludicrous proposition but one that most governments are afraid is now taking place, witness the new US ambassador to Germany in his first tweet telling the Germans to cease all trade with Iran immediately.

https://www.thelocal.de/20180509/us-tells-german-businesses-to-stop-trade-in-iran-immediately

[Nov 08, 2018] Ed Snowden Infamous Israeli Spyware 'Pegasus' Helped Kill Khashoggi

Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Via MiddleEastMonitor.com,

US whistle-blower Edward Snowden yesterday claimed that Saudi Arabia used Israeli spyware to target murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi .

Addressing a conference in Tel Aviv via a video link, Snowden claimed that software made by an Israeli cyber intelligence firm was used by Saudi Arabia to track and target Khashoggi in the lead up to his murder on 2 October inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Snowden told his audience:

"How do they [Saudi Arabia] know what his [Khashoggi's] plans were and that they needed to act against him? That knowledge came from the technology developed by NSO," Israeli business daily Globes reported.

Snowden accused NSO of "selling a digital burglary tool," adding it "is not just being used for catching criminals and stopping terrorist attacks, not just for saving lives, but for making money [ ] such a level of recklessness [ ] actually starts costing lives," according to the Jerusalem Post .

Snowden – made famous in 2013 for leaking classified National Security Agency (NSA) files and exposing the extent of US surveillance – added that "Israel is routinely at the top of the US' classified threat list of hackers along with Russia and China [ ] even though it is an ally".

Snowden is wanted in the US for espionage, so could not travel to Tel Aviv to address the conference in person for fear of being handed over to the authorities.

The Israeli firm to which Snowden referred – NSO Group Technologies – is known for developing the "Pegasus" software which can be used to remotely infect a target's mobile phone and then relay back data accessed by the device. Although NSO claims that its products "are licensed only to legitimate government agencies for the sole purpose of investigating and preventing crime and terror," this is not the first time its Pegasus software has been used by Saudi Arabia to track critics.

In October it was revealed that Saudi Arabia used Pegasus software to eavesdrop on 27-year-old Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz, a prominent critic of the Saudi government on social media.

The revelation was made by Canadian research group Citizen Lab , which found that the software had been used to hack Abdulaziz' iPhone between June and August of this year. Citizen Lab's Director Ron Deibert explained that such actions by Saudi Arabia "would constitute illegal wiretapping".

A separate report by Citizen Lab in September found a "significant expansion of Pegasus usage in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the Middle East," in particular the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Citizen Lab added that in August 2016, Emirati human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor was targeted with the Pegasus spyware.

Snowden's comments come less than a week after it emerged that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the United States to stand by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS) in the wake of the Khashoggi case. The revelation was made by the Washington Post , which cited information from US officials familiar with a series of telephone conversations made to Jared Kushner – senior advisor to President Donald Trump and Trump's son-in-law – and National Security Adviser John Bolton regarding the Khashoggi case. The officials told the Post that:

In recent days, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have reached out to the Trump administration to express support for the crown prince, arguing that he is an important strategic partner in the region, said people familiar with the calls.

Bin Salman has come under intense scrutiny in the month since Khashoggi first disappeared , with many suspecting his involvement in ordering the brutal murder. Yet while several world leaders have shunned the crown prince, it is thought that Israel would suffer from any decline in Saudi influence in the region in light of its purportedly central role in the upcoming " Deal of the Century ".

[Oct 08, 2018] Hacking and Propaganda by Marcus Ranum

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There has been an ongoing campaign on the part of the US, to get out the idea that China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran have massive armies of hackers that are constantly looking to steal American secrets. The absurdity of the US' claims is pretty obvious. As I pointed out in my book The Myth of Homeland Security ..."
"... "The Great US/China Cyberwar of 2010" is one cyberwar that didn't happen, but was presaged with a run-up of lots of claims that the Chinese were hacking all over the place. I'm perfectly willing to accept the possibility that there was Chinese hacking activity, but in the industry there was no indication of an additional level of attack or significance. ..."
"... One thing that did ..."
"... US ideology is that "we don't start wars" -- it's always looking for an excuse to go to war under the rubric of self-defense, so I see these sorts of claims as justification in advance for unilateral action. I also see it as a sign of weakness; if the US were truly the superpower it claims it is, it would simply accept its imperial mantle and stop bothering to try to justify anything. I'm afraid we may be getting close to that point. ..."
"... My assumption has always been that the US is projecting its own actions on other nations. At the time when the US was talking the loudest about Chinese cyberwar, the US and Israel had launched STUXNET against the Iranian enrichment plant at Natanz, and the breeder reactor at Bushehr (which happens to be just outside of a large city; the attack took some of its control systems and backup generators offline). Attacks on nuclear power facilities are a war crime under international humanitarian law, which framework the US is signatory to but has not committed to actually follow. This sort of activity happens at the same time that the US distributes talking-points to the media about the danger of Russian hackers crashing the US power grid. I don't think we can psychoanalyze an entire government and I think psychoanalysis is mostly nonsense -- but it's tempting to accuse the US of "projection." ..."
"... All of this stuff happens against the backdrop of Klein, Binney, Snowden, and the Vault 7 revelations, as well as solid attribution identifying the NSA as "equation group" and linking the code-tree of NSA-developed malware to STUXNET, FLAME, and DUQU. ..."
"... the US has even admitted to deploying STUXNET -- Obama bragged about it. When Snowden's revelations outlined how the NSA had eavesdropped on Angela Merkel's cellphone, the Germans expressed shock and Barack Obama remarkably truthfully said "that's how these things are done" and blew the whole thing off by saying that the NSA wasn't eavesdropping on Merkel any more. [ bbc ] ..."
"... It's hard to keep score because everything is pretty vague, but it sounds like the US has been dramatically out-spending and out-acting the other nations that it accuses of being prepared for cyberwar. ..."
"... it's hard not to see the US is prepared for cyberwar, when both the NSA and the CIA leak massive collections of advanced tools. ..."
"... My observation is that the NSA and CIA have been horribly sloppy and have clearly spent a gigantic amount of money preparing to compromise both foreign and domestic systems -- that's bad enough. With friends like the NSA and CIA, who needs Russians and Chinese? ..."
"... The Russian and Chinese efforts are relatively tiny compared to the massive efforts the US expends tens of billions of dollars on. The US spends about $50bn on its intelligence agencies, while the entire Russian Department of Defense budget is about $90bn (China is around $139bn) -- maybe the Russians and Chinese have such a small footprint because they are much smaller operations? ..."
"... That brings us to the recent kerfuffle about taps on the Supermicro motherboards. That's not unbelievable at all -- not in a world where we discover that Intel has built a parallel management CPU into every CPU since 2008, and that there is solid indications that other processors have similar backdoors. ..."
"... There are probably so many backdoors in our systems that it's a miracle it works at all. ..."
"... So, with respect to "propaganda" I would say that the US intelligence community has been consistently pushing a propaganda agenda against the US government, and the citizens in order to justify its actions and defend its budget. ..."
"... What little I've been able to find out the new Trump™ cybersecurity plan is that it doesn't involve any defense, just massive retribution against (perceived) foes. ..."
"... Funny how those obsessed with "false flag" operations work so hard to invite more of same. ..."
Oct 07, 2018 | freethoughtblogs.com

Bob Moore asks me to comment on an article about propaganda and security/intelligence. [ article ] This is going to be a mixture of opinion and references to facts; I'll try to be clear which is which.

Yesterday several NATO countries ran a concerted propaganda campaign against Russia. The context for it was a NATO summit in which the U.S. presses for an intensified cyberwar against NATO's preferred enemy.

On the same day another coordinated campaign targeted China. It is aimed against China's development of computer chip manufacturing further up the value chain. Related to this is U.S. pressure on Taiwan, a leading chip manufacturer, to cut its ties with its big motherland.

It is true that the US periodically makes a big push regarding "messaging" about hacking. Whether or not it constitutes a "propaganda campaign" depends on how we choose to interpret things and the labels we attach to them -- "propaganda campaign" has a lot of negative connotations and one person's "outreach effort" is an other's "propaganda." An ultra-nationalist or an authoritarian submissive who takes the government's word for anything would call it "outreach."

There has been an ongoing campaign on the part of the US, to get out the idea that China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran have massive armies of hackers that are constantly looking to steal American secrets. The absurdity of the US' claims is pretty obvious. As I pointed out in my book The Myth of Homeland Security (2004) [ wc ] claims such as that the Chinese had "40,000 highly trained hackers" are flat-out absurd and ignore the reality of hacking; that's four army corps. Hackers don't engage in "human wave" attacks.

"The Great US/China Cyberwar of 2010" is one cyberwar that didn't happen, but was presaged with a run-up of lots of claims that the Chinese were hacking all over the place. I'm perfectly willing to accept the possibility that there was Chinese hacking activity, but in the industry there was no indication of an additional level of attack or significance.

One thing that did happen in 2010 around the same time as the nonexistent cyberwar was China and Russia proposed trilateral talks with the US to attempt to define appropriate limits on state-sponsored hacking. The US flatly rejected the proposal, but there was virtually no coverage of that in the US media at the time. The UN also called for a cyberwar treaty framework, and the effort was killed by the US. [ wired ] What's fascinating and incomprehensible to me is that, whenever the US feels that its ability to claim pre-emptive cyberwar is challenged, it responds with a wave of claims about Chinese (or Russian or North Korean) cyberwar aggression.

John Negroponte, former director of US intelligence, said intelligence agencies in the major powers would be the first to "express reservations" about such an accord.

US ideology is that "we don't start wars" -- it's always looking for an excuse to go to war under the rubric of self-defense, so I see these sorts of claims as justification in advance for unilateral action. I also see it as a sign of weakness; if the US were truly the superpower it claims it is, it would simply accept its imperial mantle and stop bothering to try to justify anything. I'm afraid we may be getting close to that point.

My assumption has always been that the US is projecting its own actions on other nations. At the time when the US was talking the loudest about Chinese cyberwar, the US and Israel had launched STUXNET against the Iranian enrichment plant at Natanz, and the breeder reactor at Bushehr (which happens to be just outside of a large city; the attack took some of its control systems and backup generators offline). Attacks on nuclear power facilities are a war crime under international humanitarian law, which framework the US is signatory to but has not committed to actually follow. This sort of activity happens at the same time that the US distributes talking-points to the media about the danger of Russian hackers crashing the US power grid. I don't think we can psychoanalyze an entire government and I think psychoanalysis is mostly nonsense -- but it's tempting to accuse the US of "projection."

The anti-Russian campaign is about alleged Russian spying, hacking and influence operations. Britain and the Netherland took the lead. Britain accused Russia's military intelligence service (GRU) of spying attempts against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague and Switzerland, of spying attempts against the British Foreign Office, of influence campaigns related to European and the U.S. elections, and of hacking the international doping agency WADA. British media willingly helped to exaggerate the claims: [ ]

The Netherland [sic] for its part released a flurry of information about the alleged spying attempts against the OPCW in The Hague. It claims that four GRU agents traveled to The Hague on official Russian diplomatic passports to sniff out the WiFi network of the OPCW. (WiFi networks are notoriously easy to hack. If the OPCW is indeed using such it should not be trusted with any security relevant issues.) The Russian officials were allegedly very secretive, even cleaning out their own hotel trash, while they, at the same, time carried laptops with private data and even taxi receipts showing their travel from a GRU headquarter in Moscow to the airport. Like in the Skripal/Novichok saga the Russian spies are, at the same time, portrayed as supervillains and hapless amateurs. Real spies are neither.

The U.S. Justice Department added to the onslaught by issuing new indictments (pdf) against alleged GRU agents dubiously connected to several alleged hacking incidents . As none of those Russians will ever stand in front of a U.S. court the broad allegations will never be tested.

There's a lot there, and I think the interpretation is a bit over-wrought, but it's mostly accurate. The US and the UK (and other NATO allies, as necessary) clearly coordinate when it comes to talking points. Claims of Chinese cyberwar in the US press will be followed by claims in the UK and Australian press, as well. My suspicion is that this is not the US Government and UK Government coordinating a story -- it's the intelligence agencies doing it. My opinion is that the intelligence services are fairly close to a "deep state" -- the CIA and NSA are completely out of control and the CIA has gone far toward building its own military, while the NSA has implemented completely unrestricted surveillance worldwide.

All of this stuff happens against the backdrop of Klein, Binney, Snowden, and the Vault 7 revelations, as well as solid attribution identifying the NSA as "equation group" and linking the code-tree of NSA-developed malware to STUXNET, FLAME, and DUQU. While the attribution that "Fancy Bear is the GRU" has been made and is probably fairly solid, the attribution of NSA malware and CIA malware is rock solid; the US has even admitted to deploying STUXNET -- Obama bragged about it. When Snowden's revelations outlined how the NSA had eavesdropped on Angela Merkel's cellphone, the Germans expressed shock and Barack Obama remarkably truthfully said "that's how these things are done" and blew the whole thing off by saying that the NSA wasn't eavesdropping on Merkel any more. [ bbc ]

It's hard to keep score because everything is pretty vague, but it sounds like the US has been dramatically out-spending and out-acting the other nations that it accuses of being prepared for cyberwar. I tend to be extremely skeptical of US claims because: bomber gap, missile gap, gulf of Tonkin, Iraq WMD, Afghanistan, Libya and every other aggressive attack by the US which was blamed on its target. The reason I assume the US is the most aggressive actor in cyberspace is because the US has done a terrible job of protecting its tool-sets and operational security: it's hard not to see the US is prepared for cyberwar, when both the NSA and the CIA leak massive collections of advanced tools.

Meanwhile, where are the leaks of Russian and Chinese tools? They have been few and far between, if there have been any at all. Does this mean that the Russians and Chinese have amazingly superior tradecraft, if not tools? I don't know. My observation is that the NSA and CIA have been horribly sloppy and have clearly spent a gigantic amount of money preparing to compromise both foreign and domestic systems -- that's bad enough. With friends like the NSA and CIA, who needs Russians and Chinese?

The article does not have great depth to its understanding of the situation, I'm afraid. So it comes off as a bit heavy on the recent news while ignoring the long-term trends. For example:

The allegations of Chinese supply chain attacks are of course just as hypocritical as the allegations against Russia. The very first know case of computer related supply chain manipulation goes back to 1982 :

A CIA operation to sabotage Soviet industry by duping Moscow into stealing booby-trapped software was spectacularly successful when it triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian gas pipeline, it emerged yesterday.

I wrote a piece about the "Farewell Dossier" in 2004. [ mjr ] Re-reading it, it comes off as skeptical but waffly. I think that it's self-promotion by the CIA and exaggerates considerably ("look how clever we are!") at a time when the CIA was suffering an attention and credibility deficit after its shitshow performance under George Tenet. But the first known cases of computer related supply chain manipulation go back to the 70s and 80s -- the NSA even compromised Crypto AG's Hagelin M-209 system (a mechanical ciphering machine) in order to read global communications encrypted with that product. You can imagine Crypto AG's surprise when the Iranian secret police arrested one of their sales reps for selling backdoor'd crypto -- the NSA had never told them about the backdoor, naturally. The CIA was also on record for producing Xerox machines destined for the USSR, which had recorders built into them So, while the article is portraying the historical sweep of NSA dirty tricks, they're only looking at the recent ones. Remember: the NSA also weakened the elliptic curve crypto library in RSA's Bsafe implementation, paying RSADSI $13 million to accept their tweaked code.

Why haven't we been hearing about the Chinese and Russians doing that sort of thing? There are four options:

  1. The Russians and Chinese are doing it, they're just so darned good nobody has caught them until just recently.
  2. The Russians and Chinese simply resort to using existing tools developed by the hacking/cybercrime community and rely on great operational security rather than fancy tools.
  3. The Russian and Chinese efforts are relatively tiny compared to the massive efforts the US expends tens of billions of dollars on. The US spends about $50bn on its intelligence agencies, while the entire Russian Department of Defense budget is about $90bn (China is around $139bn) -- maybe the Russians and Chinese have such a small footprint because they are much smaller operations?
  4. Something else.

That brings us to the recent kerfuffle about taps on the Supermicro motherboards. That's not unbelievable at all -- not in a world where we discover that Intel has built a parallel management CPU into every CPU since 2008, and that there is solid indications that other processors have similar backdoors.

Was the Intel IME a "backdoor" or just "a bad idea"? Well, that's tricky. Let me put my tinfoil hat on: making a backdoor look like a sloppily developed product feature would be the competent way to write a backdoor. Making it as sneaky as the backdoor in the Via is unnecessary -- incompetence is eminently believable.

&

(kaspersky)

I believe all of these stories (including the Supermicro) are the tip of a great big, ugly iceberg. The intelligence community has long known that software-only solutions are too mutable, and are easy to decompile and figure out. They have wanted to be in the BIOS of systems -- on the motherboard -- for a long time. If you go back to 2014, we have disclosures about the NSA malware that hides in hard drive BIOS: [ vice ] [ vice ] That appears to have been in progress around 2000/2001.

Of note, the group recovered two modules belonging to EquationDrug and GrayFish that were used to reprogram hard drives to give the attackers persistent control over a target machine. These modules can target practically every hard drive manufacturer and brand on the market, including Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, Toshiba, Corsair, Hitachi and more. Such attacks have traditionally been difficult to pull off, given the risk in modifying hard drive software, which may explain why Kaspersky could only identify a handful of very specific targets against which the attack was used, where the risk was worth the reward.

But Equation Group's malware platforms have other tricks, too. GrayFish, for example, also has the ability to install itself into computer's boot record -- software that loads even before the operating system itself -- and stores all of its data inside a portion of the operating system called the registry, where configuration data is normally stored.

EquationDrug was designed for use on older Windows operating systems, and "some of the plugins were designed originally for use on Windows 95/98/ME" -- versions of Windows so old that they offer a good indication of the Equation Group's age.

This is not a very good example of how to establish a "malware gap" since it just makes the NSA look like they are incapable of keeping a secret. If you want an idea how bad it is, Kaspersky labs' analysis of the NSA's toolchain is a good example of how to do attribution correctly. Unfortunately for the US agenda, that solid attribution points toward Fort Meade in Maryland. [kaspersky]

Let me be clear: I think we are fucked every which way from the start. With backdoors in the BIOS, backdoors on the CPU, and wireless cellular-spectrum backdoors, there are probably backdoors in the GPUs and the physical network controllers, as well. Maybe the backdoors in the GPU come from the GRU and maybe the backdoors in the hard drives come from NSA, but who cares? The upshot is that all of our systems are so heinously compromised that they can only be considered marginally reliable. It is, literally, not your computer: it's theirs. They'll let you use it so long as your information is interesting to them.

Do I believe the Chinese are capable of doing such a thing? Of course. Is the GRU? Probably. Mossad? Sure. NSA? Well-documented attribution points toward NSA. Your computer is a free-fire zone. It has been since the mid 1990s, when the NSA was told "no" on the Clipper chip and decided to come up with its own Plan B, C, D, and E. Then, the CIA came up with theirs. Etc. There are probably so many backdoors in our systems that it's a miracle it works at all.

From my 2012 RSA conference lecture "Cyberwar, you're doing it wrong."

The problem is that playing in this space is the purview of governments. Nobody in the cybercrime or hacking world need tools like these. The intelligence operatives have huge budgets, compared to a typical company's security budget, and it's unreasonable to expect any business to invest such a level of effort on defending itself. So what should companies do? They should do exactly what they are doing: expect the government to deal with it; that's what governments are for. The problem with that strategy is that their government isn't on their side, either! It's Hobbes' playground.

In case you think I am engaging in hyperbole, I assure you I am not. If you want another example of the lengths (and willingness to bypass the law) "they" are willing to go, consider 'stingrays' that are in operation in every major US city and outside of every interesting hotel and high tech park. Those devices are not passive -- they actively inject themselves into the call set-up between your phone and your carrier -- your data goes through the stingray, or it doesn't go at all. If there are multiple stingrays, then your latency goes through the roof. "They" don't care. Are the stingrays NSA, FBI, CIA, Mossad, GRU, or PLA? Probably a bit of all of the above depending on where and when.

Whenever the US gets caught with its pants down around its ankles, it blames the Chinese or the Russians because they have done a good job of building the idea that the most serious hackers on the planet at the Chinese. I don't believe that we're seeing complex propaganda campaigns that are tied to specific incidents -- I think we see ongoing organic propaganda campaigns that all serve the same end: protect the agencies, protect their budgets, justify their existence, and downplay their incompetence.

So, with respect to "propaganda" I would say that the US intelligence community has been consistently pushing a propaganda agenda against the US government, and the citizens in order to justify its actions and defend its budget.

The government also engages in propaganda, and is influenced by the intelligence community's propaganda as well. And the propaganda campaigns work because everyone involved assumes, "well, given what the NSA has been able to do, I should assume the Chinese can do likewise." That's a perfectly reasonable assumption and I think it's probably true that the Chinese have capabilities. The situation is what Chuck Spinney calls "A self-licking ice cream cone" -- it's a justifying structure that makes participation in endless aggression seem like a sensible thing to do. And, when there's inevitably a disaster, it's going to be like a cyber-9/11 and will serve as a justification for even more unrestrained aggression.


Want to see what it looks like? A thousand thanks to Commentariat member [redacted] for this link. If you don't like video, there's an article here. [ toms ]

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_eSAF_qT_FY

Is this an NSA backdoor, or normal incompetence? Is Intel Management Engine an NSA-inspired backdoor, or did some system engineers at Intel think that was a good idea? There are other scary indications of embedded compromise: the CIA's Vault7 archive included code that appeared to be intended to embed in the firmware of "smart" flatscreen TVs. That would make every LG flat panel in every hotel room, a listening device just waiting to be turned on.

We know the Chinese didn't do that particular bug but why wouldn't they do something similar, in something else? China is the world's oldest mature culture -- they literally wrote the book on strategy -- Americans acting as though it's a great surprise to learn that the Chinese are not stupid, it's just the parochialism of a 250 year-old culture looking at a 3,000 year-old culture and saying "wow, you guys haven't been asleep at the switch after all!"

WIRED on cyberspace treaties [ wired ]

Comments
  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    October 6, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    What little I've been able to find out the new Trump™ cybersecurity plan is that it doesn't involve any defense, just massive retribution against (perceived) foes.

    Funny how those obsessed with "false flag" operations work so hard to invite more of same.

  2. Marcus Ranum says

    October 6, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Pierce R. Butler@#1:
    What little I've been able to find out the new Trump™ cybersecurity plan is that it doesn't involve any defense, just massive retribution against (perceived) foes.

    Yes. Since 2001, as far as most of us can tell, federal cybersecurity spend has been 80% offense, 20% defense. And a lot of the offensive spend has been aimed at We, The People.

  3. Cat Mara says

    October 6, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Your mention of Operation Sundevil and Kevin Mitnick in a previous post made me think that maybe the reason we haven't seen the kind of leaks from the Russian and Chinese hacking operations that we've seem from the NSA is that they're running a "Kevin Mitnick style" operation; that is, relying less on technical solutions and using instead old-fashioned "social engineering" and other low-tech forms of espionage (like running troll farms on social media). I mean, I've seen interviews with retired US intelligence people since the 90s complain that since the late 1980s, the intelligence agencies have been crippled by management in love with hi-tech "SIGINT" solutions to problems that never deliver and neglecting old-fashioned "HUMINT" intelligence-gathering.

    The thing is, Kevin Mitnick got away with a lot of what he did because people didn't take security seriously then, and still don't. On a similar nostalgia vibe, I remember reading an article by Keith Bostic (one of the researchers who helped in the analysis of the Morris worm that took down a significant chunk of the Internet back in 1988) where he did a follow-up a year or so afterwards and some depressing number of organisations that had been hit by it still hadn't patched the holes that had let the worm infect them in the first place.

  4. Marcus Ranum says

    October 6, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Cat Mara@#3:
    Your mention of Operation Sundevil and Kevin Mitnick in a previous post made me think that maybe the reason we haven't seen the kind of leaks from the Russian and Chinese hacking operations that we've seem from the NSA is that they're running a "Kevin Mitnick style" operation; that is, relying less on technical solutions and using instead old-fashioned "social engineering" and other low-tech forms of espionage (like running troll farms on social media).

    I think that's right, to a high degree. What if Edward Snowden was an agent provocateur instead of a well-meaning naive kid? A tremendous amount of damage could be done, as well as stealing the US' expensive toys. The Russians have been very good at doing exactly that sort of operation, since WWII. The Chinese are, if anything, more subtle than the Russians.

    The Chinese attitude, as expressed to me by someone who might be a credible source is, "why are you picking a fight with us? We don't care, you're too far away for us to threaten you, we both have loads of our own fish to fry. To them, the US is young, hyperactive, and stupid.

    The FBI is not competent, at all, against old-school humint intelligence-gathering. Compared to the US' cyber-toys, the old ways are probably more efficient and cost effective. China's intelligence community is also much more team-oriented than the CIA/NSA; they're actually a disciplined operation under the strategic control of policy-makers. That, by the way, is why Russians and Chinese stare in amazement when Americans ask things like "Do you think Putin knew about this?" What a stupid question! It's an autocracy; they don't have intelligence operatives just going an deciding "it's a nice day to go to England with some Novichok." The entire American attitude toward espionage lacks maturity.

    On a similar nostalgia vibe, I remember reading an article by Keith Bostic (one of the researchers who helped in the analysis of the Morris worm that took down a significant chunk of the Internet back in 1988) where he did a follow-up a year or so afterwards and some depressing number of organisations that had been hit by it still hadn't patched the holes that had let the worm infect them in the first place.

    That as an exciting time. We were downstream from University of Maryland, which got hit pretty badly. Pete Cottrel and Chris Torek from UMD were also in on Bostic's dissection. We were doing uucp over TCP for our email (that changed pretty soon after the worm) and our uucp queue blew up. I cured the worm with a reboot into single-user mode and a quick 'rm -f' in the uucp queue.

  5. Bob Moore says

    October 7, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Thanks. I appreciate your measured analysis and the making explicit of the bottom line: " agencies, protect their budgets, justify their existence, and downplay their incompetence."

[Sep 03, 2018] The US Department of Homeland Security fabricated "intelligence reports" of Russian election hacking

Russiagate can be viewed as a pretty inventive way to justify their own existence for bloated Intelligence services: first CIA hacks something leaving traces of russians or Chinese; then the FBI, CIAand Department of Homeland security all enjoy additional money and people to counter the threat.
The scheme is almost untraceable
Sep 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
BM , Sep 3, 2018 12:54:15 PM | link

The US Department of Homeland Security fabricated "intelligence reports" of Russian election hacking in order to try to get control of the election infrastructure (probebly so that they can hack it more easily to control the election results).

How the Department of Homeland Security Created a Deceptive Tale of Russia Hacking US Voter Sites

[Jun 28, 2018] Did Senator Warner and Comey 'Collude' on Russia-gate by Ray McGovern

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... Special to Consortium News ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
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.

[Mar 25, 2018] Surveillance is the DNA of the Platform Economy

Creating a malware application which masks itself as some kind of pseudo scientific test and serves as the backdoor to your personal data is a very dirty trick...
Especially dirty it it used by academic researchers, who in reality are academic scum... An additional type of academic gangsters, in addition to Harvard Mafia
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... In other instances, as in the case of Kogan's app, the extent of the data collected exceeds what was stated in the agreement. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 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. ..."
Mar 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves 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."

'Unacceptable Violation'

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.

DNA

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 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.

Steve H. , , March 24, 2018 at 8:05 am

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.

Annieb , , March 24, 2018 at 2:02 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.

ChrisPacific , , March 25, 2018 at 4:07 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.

HotFlash , , March 24, 2018 at 3:13 pm

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?

Octopii , , March 24, 2018 at 8:06 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.

Samuel Conner , , March 24, 2018 at 8:16 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.

Collins , , March 24, 2018 at 9:14 am

Had you used your computer keyboard previously to search for 'surface mount resistors', or was the trail linking you & resistors entirely verbal?

Samuel Conner , , March 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

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.

Abi , , March 25, 2018 at 3:24 pm

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 about

ChiGal in Carolina , , March 25, 2018 at 10:12 am

I thought it came out a while ago that Skype captures and retains all the dialogue and video of convos using it.

Eureka Springs , , March 24, 2018 at 8:44 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?

https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
Article 12.

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.

Pelham , , March 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

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.

albert , , March 24, 2018 at 6:27 pm

" 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.
. .. . .. -- .

PlutoniumKun , , March 24, 2018 at 9:52 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.

saurabh , , March 24, 2018 at 11:43 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.

Jim Thomson , , March 25, 2018 at 9:39 am

This is rich.

I can't resist: It takes a con to know a con.
(not the most insightful comment)

Daniel Mongan , , March 24, 2018 at 10:14 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.

JimTan , , March 24, 2018 at 11:12 am

People are starting to download copies of their Facebook data to get an understanding of how much information is being collected from them.

JCC , , March 24, 2018 at 11:29 am

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.

oh , , March 24, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Caveat Emptor: If you watch YouTube, they'll only add to the information that they already have on you!

HotFlash , , March 24, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Just substitute "hook" for 'you" in the URL, you get the same video, no ads, and they claim not to track you. YMMV

Craig H. , , March 24, 2018 at 12:21 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.)

Ed , , March 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-23/digital-military-industrial-complex-exposed

" 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 .."

Craig H. , , March 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm

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 15, 2018] Julian Assange The CIA director is waging war on truth-tellers like WikiLeaks

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 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] 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.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... 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.' ..."
"... 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.' ..."
"... 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. ..."
Mar 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

David Habakkuk , 08 March 2018 at 10:28 AM

PT 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.

[Feb 19, 2018] Kim Dotcom Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn t Even A Hack Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
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."

Dotcom knew.

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 Permalink

Pffft...this guy sounds like the reds with their "blockbuster" memo. Honest Hill'rey is laughing!

SethPoor -> chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_8VaMbPjUU

Bes -> J S Bach Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:17 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.

bigkahuna -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:58 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.

StarGate -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:23 Permalink

Don't forget the "hack" analysis of Russian owned "Crowdstrike" since the FBI did and continues to, refuse to analyze the DNC computers.

KuriousKat -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

Isn't Alperovitch the Only Russian in there?.. When you rule out the impossible...whatever remains probable.. probably is..

wildbad -> IntercoursetheEU Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:05 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.

NumberNone -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:04 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.

Socratic Dog -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:09 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 -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:26 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.

verumcuibono -> NumberNone Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:41 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.

KJWqonfo7 -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:15 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.

verumcuibono -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:28 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.

StarGate -> Billy the Poet Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:48 Permalink

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] 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.

Notable quotes:
"... 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 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 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Lee Anderson , February 17, 2018 at 4:32 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!

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 5:08 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. Joe

Annie , February 17, 2018 at 5:56 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.

Gregory Herr , February 17, 2018 at 6:42 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.

Skeptigal , February 17, 2018 at 7:19 pm

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] Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy Consortiumnews

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 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 .

Mild-ly -Facetious , February 16, 2018 at 5:42 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

[extract]

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/

Anna , February 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm

"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] Mueller Indicts 13 Russians For Interfering In US Election

False flag or real ?
Is not "included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton . " (or vise versa) by posting on social media an example of free speech ?
But usage of fake identities clearly is not: "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 question is how those unquestionable very talented Russians managed to learn English language without living in the USA and operate such a sophisticated operation from oversees? English is a very difficult language for Russians to master and Russian immigrants who came to the USA being older then 16 and living in the USA for ten or twenty years typically still have horrible accent and bad or very bad grammar (tenses, "a" and "the" usage, you name it). Actually Russian woman are noticeably better then men in this area, especially if they are married to a US spouse. Ass to this dismal understanding of the USA politics including differences between Democratic and Republican parties (you probably need to live in the USA for ten years to start appreciate those differences ;-) . How they managed to learn local political culture to be effective? That's a strong argument in favor of false flag operation -- in case they have puppeteers from the USA everything is more or less rationally explainable.
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 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. ..."
"... 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, 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 ..."
"... 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 . ..."
"... 13 Russians can influence US elections meanwhile US CIA and State Department spend $1 BIllion every year on opposition groups inside Russia without success. ..."
"... 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 . ..."
"... It looks like Mueller would have these people for identity theft if he had them in the US, which he probably doesn't. ..."
"... Deep state pivot to keep the Russian hate alive. ..."
"... 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/ ..."
"... The bigger question is "when is Mueller going to be indicted for covering up the controlled demolition of the WTC buildings on nine eleven??" ..."
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:

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 Permalink

Concord Catering - what, were they offering chicken wings and pigs ears at the polling places?

Never One Roach -> Joe Davola Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:03 Permalink

So how often does Mueller hear those demon voices in his head?

Billy the Poet -> Never One Roach Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:05 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-

Belrev -> Billy the Poet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:07 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.

SamAdams -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:08 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 .

Belrev -> SamAdams Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:10 Permalink

That is a regime change in DC proposition.

IH8OBAMA -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:21 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 ) LOL

Shillinlikeavillan -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:24 Permalink

Soooooooo...

They basically indicted the $100,000 facebook ad russian group... Bravo! Ur really on the path to impeaching trump now!
LULZ!

overbet -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:34 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.

El Vaquero -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 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. #WeAreAllRussianBotsNow

spanish inquisition -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 Permalink

Deep state pivot to keep the Russian hate alive.

FoggyWorld -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

And set us up for war.

Shemp 4 Victory -> FoggyWorld Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 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/

pods -> Shemp 4 Victory Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:22 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!

pods

stizazz -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:30 Permalink

They HATE Russia because PUTIN OPENLY derided the American Empire.

BennyBoy -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:38 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.

BennyBoy -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 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-j

ThanksChump -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

Duped by facts and truth is no way to go through life, son.

JimmyJones -> ThanksChump Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:59 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.

Theosebes Goodfellow -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 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 -> Theosebes Goodfellow Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:09 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.

tsk, tsk.

ignorance can be no excuse for such wanton lawlessness.

rwe2late -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:36 Permalink

oh, oh

I almost forgot. "conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord" obvious "proof" of "cooperating" with the Russians

Boxed Merlot -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

..."conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord"...

Yep, so on top of being "Deplorable", I'm also without wit.

His name was Seth.

Squid Viscous -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:57 Permalink

well said pods, i wish i could upvote you like, 13 times

Machbet -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:32 Permalink

Well said, my brother. "A fucking clownshow..." A clownshow run by juvenile, idiotic fallen angels.

sixsigma cygnu -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:01 Permalink

I'm just relieved they didn't get Boris. Not this time.

Telling people the truth makes one a very desirable target.

BigCumulusClouds -> sixsigma cygnu Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:06 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??"

eatthebanksters -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

So this is all they have?

Bubba Rum Das -> Citizen in 1984 Fri, 02/16/2018 - 16:08 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!

Boxed Merlot -> eatthebanksters Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:48 Permalink

...all they have?...

Sure hope they weren't bettin' the farm.

jmo.

DosZap -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:05 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.

eclectic syncretist -> DosZap Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:43 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).

ebear -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:17 Permalink

"#WeAreAllRussianBotsNow"

Ich bin ein Russe!

agNau -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

Hillary hired the entire Russian government with the Uranium one deal.

BigCumulusClouds -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:04 Permalink

Protestors?? HRC hired thugs who beat people up at Trump rallies. That's a felony. Some people got hurt real bad.

IH8OBAMA -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:37 Permalink

I wonder if Mueller is going to indict Obama for interfering in the Israeli election?

giovanni_f -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 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.

rwe2late -> giovanni_f Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 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.

caconhma -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:08 Permalink

The US Constitution. RIP

The DoJ and Miller activities are anti-American. What else is new in occupied America?

PS

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.

commiebastid -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:21 Permalink

and Brexit and the French election and Venezuela election and The Ukraine; Libya; Palestinian Territories..... lmao

DownWithYogaPants -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 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.

MEFOBILLS -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 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.

Endgame Napoleon -> carni Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

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] Where are these indictments ? Obama, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt and John McCain.

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)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9hOl8TuBUM

Nuland talks about $5 billion spent on Ukraine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaR1_an9CnQ

Nuland plotting(on intercepted phone call) the new handpicked puppet leaders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o

US Support of Banderist Neo-Nazis in Ukraine 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-RyOaFwcEw

Lavrov reminds the UN a West-inspired coup d'ιtat started Ukraine crisis, not Russia

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/404247-un-lavrov-ukraine-sanctions/

[Dec 28, 2017] How CrowdStrike placed malware in DNC hacked servers by Alex Christoforou

Highly recommended!
If this is true, then this is definitely a sophisticated false flag operation. Was malware Alperovich people injected specifically designed to implicate Russians? In other words Crowdstrike=Fancy Bear
Images removed. For full content please thee the original source
One interesting corollary of this analysis is that installing Crowdstrike software is like inviting a wolf to guard your chicken. If they are so dishonest you take enormous risks. That might be true for some other heavily advertized "intrusion prevention" toolkits. So those criminals who use mistyped popular addresses or buy Google searches to drive lemmings to their site and then flash the screen that they detected a virus on your computer a, please call provided number and for a small amount of money your virus will be removed get a new more sinister life.
I suspected many of such firms (for example ISS which was bought by IBM in 2006) to be scams long ago.
Notable quotes:
"... Disobedient Media outlines the DNC server cover-up evidenced in CrowdStrike malware infusion ..."
"... In the article, they claim to have just been working on eliminating the last of the hackers from the DNC's network during the past weekend (conveniently coinciding with Assange's statement and being an indirect admission that their Falcon software had failed to achieve it's stated capabilities at that time , assuming their statements were accurate) . ..."
"... To date, CrowdStrike has not been able to show how the malware had relayed any emails or accessed any mailboxes. They have also not responded to inquiries specifically asking for details about this. In fact, things have now been discovered that bring some of their malware discoveries into question. ..."
"... there is a reason to think Fancy Bear didn't start some of its activity until CrowdStrike had arrived at the DNC. CrowdStrike, in the indiciators of compromise they reported, identified three pieces of malware relating to Fancy Bear: ..."
"... They found that generally, in a lot of cases, malware developers didn't care to hide the compile times and that while implausible timestamps are used, it's rare that these use dates in the future. It's possible, but unlikely that one sample would have a postdated timestamp to coincide with their visit by mere chance but seems extremely unlikely to happen with two or more samples. Considering the dates of CrowdStrike's activities at the DNC coincide with the compile dates of two out of the three pieces of malware discovered and attributed to APT-28 (the other compiled approximately 2 weeks prior to their visit), the big question is: Did CrowdStrike plant some (or all) of the APT-28 malware? ..."
"... The IP address, according to those articles, was disabled in June 2015, eleven months before the DNC emails were acquired – meaning those IP addresses, in reality, had no involvement in the alleged hacking of the DNC. ..."
"... The fact that two out of three of the Fancy Bear malware samples identified were compiled on dates within the apparent five day period CrowdStrike were apparently at the DNC seems incredibly unlikely to have occurred by mere chance. ..."
"... That all three malware samples were compiled within ten days either side of their visit – makes it clear just how questionable the Fancy Bear malware discoveries were. ..."
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."

... ... ...

[Jul 04, 2017] Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia by Gareth Porter

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... "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] ..."
"... 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." ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | original.antiwar.com
Cyber-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]."

Suspect Claims

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 porter.gareth50@gmail.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

[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 08, 2017] NSA Denies Everything About Latest Intercept Leak, Including Denying Something That Was Never Claimed

Notable quotes:
"... Targeting telco and ISP systems administrators goes well outside the bounds of "national security." These people aren't suspected terrorists. They're just people inconveniently placed between the NSA and its goal of " collecting it all ." ..."
"... The NSA's own documents say that QUANTUMHAND "exploits the computer of a target that uses Facebook." The man-on-the-side attack impersonates a server , not the site itself. The NSA denies impersonating, but that's not what The Intercept said or what its own documents state. This animated explanation, using the NSA's Powerpoint presentation, shows what the attack does -- it tips the TURBINE servers, which then send the malware payload before the Facebook servers can respond. ..."
"... To the end user, it looks as though Facebook is just running slowly. ..."
"... When the NSA says it doesn't impersonate sites, it truly doesn't. It injects malware by beating Facebook server response time. It doesn't serve up faux Facebook pages; it simply grabs the files and data from compromised computers. ..."
"... The exploit is almost wholly divorced from Facebook itself. The social media site is an opportunity for malware deployment, and the NSA doesn't need to impersonate a site to achieve its aims. This is the NSA maintaining deniability in the face of damning allegations -- claiming something was said that actually wasn't and resorting to (ultimately futile) attempts to portray journalists as somehow less trustworthy than the agency. ..."
"... At this point, the mere fact that the NSA denies doing something is almost enough to convince me that they are doing it. I'm trying not to be paranoid. They just make it so difficult. ..."
"... considering how much access they seemed to have I think it is entirely possible for them to do that. And the criminal energy to do it definitely there as well. ..."
"... And there is still the question if Facebook and similar sites might be at least funded, if not run by intelligence agencies altogether. If that is the case that would put this denial in an entirely different light. It would read "We don't impersonate companies. We ARE the companies."... ..."
"... Max level sophistry. I wonder if anyone at the NSA even remembers what the truth is, it's been coated in so many layers of bullshit. ..."
"... As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins." ..."
Jun 08, 2017 | www.techdirt.com
The recent leaks published at Glenn Greenwald's new home, The Intercept, detailed the NSA's spread of malware around the world, with a stated goal of sabotaging "millions" of computers. As was noted then, the NSA hadn't issued a comment. The GCHQ, named as a co-conspirator, had already commented, delivering the usual spiel about legality, oversight and directives -- a word salad that has pretty much replaced "no comment" in the intelligence world.

The NSA has now issued a formal statement on the leaks, denying everything -- including something that wasn't even alleged. In what has become the new "no comment" on the NSA side, the words "appropriate," "lawful" and "legitimate" are trotted out, along with the now de rigueur accusations that everything printed (including, apparently, its own internal documents) is false.

Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites, are inaccurate. NSA uses its technical capabilities only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations, all of which must be carried out in strict accordance with its authorities. Technical capability must be understood within the legal, policy, and operational context within which the capability must be employed.
First off, for the NSA to claim that loading up "millions" of computers with malware is somehow targeted (and not "indiscriminate") is laughable. As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins."

Targeting telco and ISP systems administrators goes well outside the bounds of "national security." These people aren't suspected terrorists. They're just people inconveniently placed between the NSA and its goal of " collecting it all ."

Last, but not least, the NSA plays semantic games to deny an accusation that was never made, calling to mind Clapper's denial of a conveniently horrendous translation of a French article on its spying efforts there.

NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.
This "denial" refers to this portion of The Intercept's article.
In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target's computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive... In one man-on-the-side technique, codenamed QUANTUMHAND, the agency disguises itself as a fake Facebook server. When a target attempts to log in to the social media site, the NSA transmits malicious data packets that trick the target's computer into thinking they are being sent from the real Facebook. By concealing its malware within what looks like an ordinary Facebook page, the NSA is able to hack into the targeted computer and covertly siphon out data from its hard drive.

The NSA's own documents say that QUANTUMHAND "exploits the computer of a target that uses Facebook." The man-on-the-side attack impersonates a server , not the site itself.

The NSA denies impersonating, but that's not what The Intercept said or what its own documents state. This animated explanation, using the NSA's Powerpoint presentation, shows what the attack does -- it tips the TURBINE servers, which then send the malware payload before the Facebook servers can respond.

To the end user, it looks as though Facebook is just running slowly.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/88822483

When the NSA says it doesn't impersonate sites, it truly doesn't. It injects malware by beating Facebook server response time. It doesn't serve up faux Facebook pages; it simply grabs the files and data from compromised computers.

The exploit is almost wholly divorced from Facebook itself. The social media site is an opportunity for malware deployment, and the NSA doesn't need to impersonate a site to achieve its aims. This is the NSA maintaining deniability in the face of damning allegations -- claiming something was said that actually wasn't and resorting to (ultimately futile) attempts to portray journalists as somehow less trustworthy than the agency.

sorrykb ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 9:39am

Denial = Confirmation?
NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.

At this point, the mere fact that the NSA denies doing something is almost enough to convince me that they are doing it. I'm trying not to be paranoid. They just make it so difficult.

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 9:48am
Re: Denial = Confirmation?

considering how much access they seemed to have I think it is entirely possible for them to do that. And the criminal energy to do it definitely there as well.

By now you have to assume the worst when it comes to them, and once the truth comes out it tends to paint and even worse picture then what you could imagine.

And there is still the question if Facebook and similar sites might be at least funded, if not run by intelligence agencies altogether. If that is the case that would put this denial in an entirely different light. It would read "We don't impersonate companies. We ARE the companies."...

Mark Wing , 14 Mar 2014 @ 10:35am

Max level sophistry. I wonder if anyone at the NSA even remembers what the truth is, it's been coated in so many layers of bullshit.

art guerrilla ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 12:06pm
Re: NSA Word-Smithing

I can not stress this poster's sentiment, as well as voiced in the article itself, of the CHILDISH semantic games the alphabet spooks will play... they WILL (metaphorically speaking) look you straight in the eye, piss on your leg, and INSIST it is raining; THEN fabricate evidence to 'prove' it was rain...

In my readings about the evil done in our name, with our money, *supposedly* to 'protect and serve' us, by the boys in black, you can NOT UNDERESTIMATE the most simplistic, and -to repeat myself -- CHILDISH ways they will LIE AND DISSEMBLE...

They are scum, they are slime, they are NOT the best and the brightest, they are the worst and most immoral...

YOU CAN NOT OVERSTATE THEIR MORAL VACUITY...

we do NOT deserve these pieces of shit...

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 11:17am

We know that the NSA, with the cooperation of the companies involved, has equipment co-located at major backbones and POPs to achieve the goals for QUANTUMHAND, QUANTUMINSERT, and etc.

At what point will we start confronting these companies and pressuring them to discontinue such cooperation? I know it's no easy task, but just as much as the government is reeling from all the public pressure, so too will these companies if we press their hands. Make it affect their bottom line.

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:49pm
is techdirt an hack target?

this page of your site tries to run scripts from
google
amazonaws
twitter
facebook
ajax.googleapis
techdirt

and install cookies from
techdirt
imigur

and request resources from
rp-api
vimeo

and install/use tracking beacons from
facebook connect
google +1
gravitar
nativo
quantcast
redit
repost.us
scorecard research beacon
twitter button.

...and who knows what else would run if all that was allowed to proceed. (I'm not going to run them to find out the 2nd level stuff)

for all the great reporting techdirt does on spying/tracking/privacy- you need to get you shit together already with this site; it seams like you're part of the problem. Please explain the technical facts as to why these same types of hacks couldn't be done to your readers through this clusterfuck of off site scripts/beacons/cookies/resources your forcing on people to ignorant to know how to block them.

Matthew Cline ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:50pm

As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins."

Well, heck, that's easy. Since the computers of the sys admins are just means to an ends, simply define "target" in a way that excludes anyone whose computers are compromised as a means to an end.

Anonymous mouse , 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:56pm

I seem to remember some articles about why people who don't use Facebook are suspect. To wit,

Are these possible signs that the NSA and GHCQ planted those stories?

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 3:49pm
The fun has yet to really begin

On April 8th, this year, Microsoft will stop installing new security patches from Windows XP, leaving computers running it totally vulnerable to such hacks. Anybody want to place bets on the fact that the alphabet soup agencies of our wonderful gummint are going to be first in line to exploit them? Just think what NSA could do with 300,000,000+ computers to play with!

[Jan 13, 2017] Mystery Hackers Blow Up Secret NSA Hacking Tools in 'Final F--k You'

Notable quotes:
"... The message was accompanied by a parting gift...an apparently complete NSA backdoor kit targeting the Windows operating system. The kit is comprised of 61 malicious Windows executables, only one of which was previously known to antivirus vendors... ..."
Jan 13, 2017 | www.thedailybeast.com
by Kevin Poulsen

"A mysterious hacking group has been bedeviling the U.S. intelligence community for months, releasing a tranche of secret National Security Agency hacking tools to the public while offering to sell even more for the right price. Now with barely a week to go before Donald Trump's inauguration, the self-styled "Shadow Brokers" on Thursday announced that they were packing it in.

"So long, farewell peoples. TheShadowBrokers is going dark, making exit," the group wrote on its darknet site... The message was accompanied by a parting gift...an apparently complete NSA backdoor kit targeting the Windows operating system. The kit is comprised of 61 malicious Windows executables, only one of which was previously known to antivirus vendors...

... ... ...

The Shadow Brokers emerged in August with the announcement that they'd stolen the hacking tools used by a sophisticated computer-intrusion operation known as the Equation Group, and were putting them up for sale to the highest bidder. It was a remarkable claim, because the Equation Group is generally understood to be part of the NSA's elite Tailored Access Operations program and is virtually never detected, much less penetrated.

... ... ...

Released along with the announcement was a huge cache of specialized malware, including dozens of backdoor programs and 10 exploits, two of them targeting previously unknown security holes in Cisco routers-a basic building block of the internet. While Cisco and other companies scrambled for a fix, security experts pored over the Shadow Brokers tranche like it was the Rosetta Stone. "It was the first time, as threat-intelligence professionals, that we've had access to what appears to be a relatively complete toolkit of a nation-state attacker," says Jake Williams, founder of Rendition Infosec. "It was excitement in some circles, dismay in other circles, and panic and a rush to patch if you're running vulnerable hardware."

[Sep 26, 2016] Probe of leaked U.S. NSA hacking tools examines operatives mistake

Notable quotes:
"... A U.S. investigation into a leak of hacking tools used by the National Security Agency is focusing on a theory that one of its operatives carelessly left them available on a remote computer ..."
"... The tools, which enable hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc, were dumped onto public websites last month by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers. ..."
"... But officials heading the FBI-led investigation now discount both of those scenarios, the people said in separate interviews. NSA officials have told investigators that an employee or contractor made the mistake about three years ago during an operation that used the tools, the people said. ..."
"... That person acknowledged the error shortly afterward, they said. But the NSA did not inform the companies of the danger when it first discovered the exposure of the tools, the sources said. Since the public release of the tools, the companies involved have issued patches in the systems to protect them. ..."
"... Because the sensors did not detect foreign spies or criminals using the tools on U.S. or allied targets, the NSA did not feel obligated to immediately warn the U.S. manufacturers, an official and one other person familiar with the matter said. ..."
Reuters
A U.S. investigation into a leak of hacking tools used by the National Security Agency is focusing on a theory that one of its operatives carelessly left them available on a remote computer and Russian hackers found them, four people with direct knowledge of the probe told Reuters.

The tools, which enable hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc, were dumped onto public websites last month by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers.

The public release of the tools coincided with U.S. officials saying they had concluded that Russia or its proxies were responsible for hacking political party organizations in the run-up to the Nov. 8 presidential election. On Thursday, lawmakers accused Russia of being responsible

... ... ...

But officials heading the FBI-led investigation now discount both of those scenarios, the people said in separate interviews. NSA officials have told investigators that an employee or contractor made the mistake about three years ago during an operation that used the tools, the people said.

That person acknowledged the error shortly afterward, they said. But the NSA did not inform the companies of the danger when it first discovered the exposure of the tools, the sources said. Since the public release of the tools, the companies involved have issued patches in the systems to protect them.

Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the former NSA person, who has since departed the agency for other reasons, left the tools exposed deliberately. Another possibility, two of the sources said, is that more than one person at the headquarters or a remote location made similar mistakes or compounded each other's missteps.

Representatives of the NSA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the office of the Director of National Intelligence all declined to comment.

After the discovery, the NSA tuned its sensors to detect use of any of the tools by other parties, especially foreign adversaries with strong cyber espionage operations, such as China and Russia.

That could have helped identify rival powers' hacking targets, potentially leading them to be defended better. It might also have allowed U.S officials to see deeper into rival hacking operations while enabling the NSA itself to continue using the tools for its own operations.

Because the sensors did not detect foreign spies or criminals using the tools on U.S. or allied targets, the NSA did not feel obligated to immediately warn the U.S. manufacturers, an official and one other person familiar with the matter said.

In this case, as in more commonplace discoveries of security flaws, U.S. officials weigh what intelligence they could gather by keeping the flaws secret against the risk to U.S. companies and individuals if adversaries find the same flaws.

[Sep 16, 2016] Unredacted User Manuals Of Stingray Device Show How Accessible Surveillance Is

Sep 16, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
(theintercept.com) 94 Posted by manishs on Monday September 12, 2016 @04:00PM from the truth-is-out-there dept. The Intercept has today published 200-page documents revealing details about Harris Corp's Stingray surveillance device , which has been one of the closely guarded secrets in law enforcement for more than 15 years. The firm, in collaboration with police clients across the U.S. have "fought" to keep information about the mobile phone-monitoring boxes from the public against which they are used. The publication reports that the surveillance equipment carries a price tag in the "low six figures." From the report: The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department alone has snooped via Stingray, sans warrant, over 300 times. Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the "manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of " Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the "Stingray II" device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.

[Sep 03, 2016] There is interesting and expert commentary to NSO group software in the Hacker News forum

Sep 03, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Pavel , September 3, 2016 at 8:11 am

I just found this via Hacker News… perhaps it was in yesterday's links and I missed it. Truly scary in the Orwellian sense and yet another reason not to use a smartphone. Chilling read.

SAN FRANCISCO - Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like - just check out the company's price list.

The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user's location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.

Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.

–NY Times: How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

There is interesting and expert commentary in the Hacker News forum: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12417938.

Pat , September 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I could be wrong, but the promos for Sixty Minutes on the local news make it seem they might be about this subject. Either way it is another scare you about what your cell phone can do story, possibly justified this time.

Jeotsu , September 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm

An anecdote which I cannot support with links or other evidence:

A friend of mine used to work for a (non USA) security intelligence service. I was bouncing ideas off him for a book I'm working on, specifically ideas about how monitoring/electronics/spying can be used to measure and manipulate societies. He was useful for telling if my ideas (for a Science Fiction novel) were plausible without ever getting into details. Always very careful to keep his replies in the "white" world of what any computer security person would know, without delving into anything classified.

One day we were way out in the back blocks, and I laid out one scenario for him to see if it would be plausible. All he did was small cryptically, and point at a cell phone lying on a table 10 meters away. He wouldn't say a word on the subject.

It wasn't his cellphone, and we were in a relatively remote region with no cell phone coverage.

It told me that my book idea was far too plausible. It also told me that every cellphone is likely recording everything all the time, for later upload when back in signal range. (Or at least there was the inescapable possibility that the cell phones were doing so, and that he had to assume foreign (or domestic?) agencies could be following him through monitoring of cell phones of friends and neighbors.)

It was a clarifying moment for me.

Every cellphone has a monumental amount of storage space (especially for audio files). Almost every cellphone only has a software "switch" for turning it off, not a hardware interlock where you can be sure off is off. So how can you ever really be sure it is "off"? Answer- you can't

Sobering thought. Especially when you consider the Bluffdale facility in the USA.

[Sep 03, 2016] How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

Sep 03, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

The New York Times

There are dozens of digital spying companies that can track everything a target does on a smartphone. Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO - Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like - just check out the company's price list.

The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user's location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.

Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.

The company is one of dozens of digital spying outfits that track everything a target does on a smartphone. They aggressively market their services to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. The industry argues that this spying is necessary to track terrorists, kidnappers and drug lords. The NSO Group's corporate mission statement is "Make the world a safe place."

Ten people familiar with the company's sales, who refused to be identified, said that the NSO Group has a strict internal vetting process to determine who it will sell to. An ethics committee made up of employees and external counsel vets potential customers based on human rights rankings set by the World Bank and other global bodies. And to date, these people all said, NSO has yet to be denied an export license.

But critics note that the company's spyware has also been used to track journalists and human rights activists.

"There's no check on this," said Bill Marczak, a senior fellow at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. "Once NSO's systems are sold, governments can essentially use them however they want. NSO can say they're trying to make the world a safer place, but they are also making the world a more surveilled place."

The NSO Group's capabilities are in higher demand now that companies like Apple, Facebook and Google are using stronger encryption to protect data in their systems, in the process making it harder for government agencies to track suspects.

The NSO Group's spyware finds ways around encryption by baiting targets to click unwittingly on texts containing malicious links or by exploiting previously undiscovered software flaws. It was taking advantage of three such flaws in Apple software - since fixed - when it was discovered by researchers last month.

The cyberarms industry typified by the NSO Group operates in a legal gray area, and it is often left to the companies to decide how far they are willing to dig into a target's personal life and what governments they will do business with. Israel has strict export controls for digital weaponry, but the country has never barred the sale of NSO Group technology.

Since it is privately held, not much is known about the NSO Group's finances, but its business is clearly growing. Two years ago, the NSO Group sold a controlling stake in its business to Francisco Partners, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, for $120 million. Nearly a year later, Francisco Partners was exploring a sale of the company for 10 times that amount, according to two people approached by the firm but forbidden to speak about the discussions.

The company's internal documents detail pitches to countries throughout Europe and multimillion-dollar contracts with Mexico, which paid the NSO Group more than $15 million for three projects over three years, according to internal NSO Group emails dated in 2013.

"Our intelligence systems are subject to Mexico's relevant legislation and have legal authorization," Ricardo Alday, a spokesman for the Mexican embassy in Washington, said in an emailed statement. "They are not used against journalists or activists. All contracts with the federal government are done in accordance with the law."

Zamir Dahbash, an NSO Group spokesman, said that the sale of its spyware was restricted to authorized governments and that it was used solely for criminal and terrorist investigations. He declined to comment on whether the company would cease selling to the U.A.E. and Mexico after last week's disclosures.

For the last six years, the NSO Group's main product, a tracking system called Pegasus, has been used by a growing number of government agencies to target a range of smartphones - including iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry and Symbian systems - without leaving a trace.

Among the Pegasus system's capabilities, NSO Group contracts assert, are the abilities to extract text messages, contact lists, calendar records, emails, instant messages and GPS locations. One capability that the NSO Group calls "room tap" can gather sounds in and around the room, using the phone's own microphone.

Pegasus can use the camera to take snapshots or screen grabs. It can deny the phone access to certain websites and applications, and it can grab search histories or anything viewed with the phone's web browser. And all of the data can be sent back to the agency's server in real time.

In its commercial proposals, the NSO Group asserts that its tracking software and hardware can install itself in any number of ways, including "over the air stealth installation," tailored text messages and emails, through public Wi-Fi hot spots rigged to secretly install NSO Group software, or the old-fashioned way, by spies in person.

Much like a traditional software company, the NSO Group prices its surveillance tools by the number of targets, starting with a flat $500,000 installation fee. To spy on 10 iPhone users, NSO charges government agencies $650,000; $650,000 for 10 Android users; $500,000 for five BlackBerry users; or $300,000 for five Symbian users - on top of the setup fee, according to one commercial proposal.

You can pay for more targets. One hundred additional targets will cost $800,000, 50 extra targets cost $500,000, 20 extra will cost $250,000 and 10 extra costs $150,000, according to an NSO Group commercial proposal. There is an annual system maintenance fee of 17 percent of the total price every year thereafter.

What that gets you, NSO Group documents say, is "unlimited access to a target's mobile devices." In short, the company says: You can "remotely and covertly collect information about your target's relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities - whenever and wherever they are."

And, its proposal adds, "It leaves no traces whatsoever."

[Sep 25, 2015] Good news: Your iCloud p4assword wasn't compromised in teh big iPhone malware attack By

Can the same happen with Windows phones and tablets ?
Sep 23, 2015 | bgr.com

Apple is currently working on fixing the largest security breach in the history of the App Store after hackers infiltrated malware inside genuine apps by fooling developers to download a compromised iOS app making software version. Even though Apple said it has removed apps that contained malicious code, security firms said that some app versions still contained malware. But the good news, for affected customers, is that Apple will now notify you if you have installed apps compromised by the XcodeGhost malware.

More importantly, Apple says that user data is safe, as the code couldn't have stolen critical personal information such as Apple ID credentials.

... ... ...

"We're not aware of personally identifiable customer data being impacted and the code also did not have the ability to request customer credentials to gain iCloud and other service passwords," Apple says in the FAQ section. "Malicious code could only have been able to deliver some general information such as the apps and general system information."

[Sep 25, 2015] Apple warning lists top 25 apps infected in massive App Store malware attack

I would have thought, that since all apps go through the (ugly, hard to use) Apple Store, that Apple would be able to exercise quality assurance over all apps. So, caveat emptor after the top 25?

After setting up a special help page that provides information about the massive XcodeGhost malware hack on its website, Apple has listed the top 25 iOS apps built using the counterfeit version of Xcode that was capable of injecting malware in apps before they were submitted to the App Store.

The image above shows the most popular 25 apps (by downloads) that have included malware in the past, before being updated by developers. Apple a few days ago pulled apps that still had the XcodeGhost code in them, telling Reuters that it's working with developers on the matter. Currently, Apple is blocking apps made with the same unofficial Xcode tool that injects the malware.

"After the top 25 impacted apps, the number of impacted users drops significantly," Apple writes on the page, suggesting that the other apps that might have malware components do not have a significant number of users. However, it's not clear how many iPhone and iPad users actually downloaded any of these 25 top apps.

The company's help page also says the malware can't be used to collect highly sensitive user data such as iCloud (Apple ID) credentials or other passwords.

At least 85 apps have been found to contain XcodeGhost malware, and we listed them all right here. Some security firms say the real number might be in the hundreds or even thousands.

[Sep 24, 2015] Yet another pre-installed spyware app discovered on Lenovo computers

Boing Boing
A factory refurbished Thinkpad shipped with Windows 7 and a scheduler app that ran once a day, collecting usage data about what you do with your computer and exfiltrating it to an analytics company.

The fact that this was taking place was buried deep in the user "agreement" that came with the machine.

This is the third preloaded spyware scandal to hit Lenovo this year: first it was caught installing Superfish, which grossly compromised user security by installing a man-in-the-middle certificate into the operating system; then it got caught loading immortal, self-reinstalling crapware into part of the BIOS reserved for custom drivers.

This latest scandal is particularly noteworthy because it impinges on Thinkpads, the rock-solid laptop brand the company acquired from IBM.

...I'm a Lenovo Thinkpad user and none of this affects me because I throw away the hard drives that come with my laptops and install Ubuntu GNU/Linux on new SSD hard-drives.

Daniel

"I'm a Lenovo Thinkpad user and none of this affects me because I throw away the hard drives that come with my laptops and install Ubuntu GNU/Linux on new SSD hard-drives."

I seem to remember that Lenovo installed chips that reinsert the spyware into the operating system on the hard drives even if the OS is reinstalled or the drive is wiped. And since Ubuntu is the OS of choice with the PRC (and this whole thing is probably aimed at the home market, not the US), you may want to check on whether your strategy is working.

[Aug 30, 2015] Ashley Madison's Female Subscribers Barely Exist, Analysis Concludes

08/27/2015

"A detailed look at leaked Ashley Madison data suggests there were practically no women active on the site.

It was already known that male profiles outnumbered female ones on the site by a ratio of roughly six to one. And it had been previously alleged that Ashley Madison was creating fake profiles of female users.

But a detailed look at the data leaked last week by The Impact Team hackers (or hacker), carried out by Annalee Newitz at Gizmodo, found the number of active women on the site to be so low that it's statistically insignificant....

Of 5.5 million accounts identified as female, only 1,492 had ever checked their inbox, Newitz' analysis found, compared to 20.2 million male accounts that had checked their inbox at least once.

It also found 80,805 profiles linked to an IP address that indicates a local computer, suggesting those accounts were made inside Avid Life Media, the Toronto-based company that owns Ashley Madison.

"This isn't a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives," Newitz concluded. "Instead, it's like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots."

[Aug 23, 2015] Ashley Madison Hackers Speak Out: 'Nobody Was Watching'

August 21, 2015 | Motherboard

MOTHERBOARD: How did you hack Avid Life Media? Was it hard?

The Impact Team: We worked hard to make fully undetectable attack, then got in and found nothing to bypass.

What was their security like?

Bad. Nobody was watching. No security. Only thing was segmented network. You could use Pass1234 from the internet to VPN to root on all servers.

When did you start hacking them? Years ago?

A long time ago. [Note: in a README file in the first data dump, the hackers wrote that they had been collecting information from the company "over the past few years."]

What other data from Avid Life Media do you have?

300GB of employee emails and docs from internal network. Tens of thousands of Ashley Madison user pictures. Some Ashley Madison user chats and messages. 1/3 of pictures are dick pictures and we won't dump. Not dumping most employee emails either. Maybe other executives."

[Jul 22, 2015] Registering on shady sites is a huge risk

"Large caches of data stolen from online cheating site AshleyMadison.com have been posted online by an individual or group that claims to have completely compromised the company's user databases, financial records and other proprietary information. The still-unfolding leak could be quite damaging to some 37 million users of the hookup service, whose slogan is 'Life is short. Have an affair'" [Krebs on Security]. And just before they were going to, er, go public…

[Jun 25, 2015] Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent, say Chromium users

See also Is Google evil ? and Google Embedded Tracking and Hidden Redirects in Search Results

Uncle $cam | Jun 22, 2015 6:54:48 PM | 17

Debian Bug report logs
Security:

Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent, say Chromium users - "We don't know and can't know what this black box does. But we see reports that the microphone has been activated, and that Chromium considers audio capture permitted"

[Mar 01, 2015] How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware

Mar 01, 2015 | Ask Slashdot

An anonymous reader writes: In light of recent revelations from Kaspersky Labs about the Equation Group and persistent hard drive malware, I was curious about how easy it might be to verify my own system's drives to see if they were infected. I have no real reason to think they would be, but I was dismayed by the total lack of tools to independently verify such a thing. For instance, Seagate's firmware download pages provide files with no external hash, something Linux distributions do for all of their packages. Neither do they seem to provide a utility to read off the current firmware from a drive and verify its integrity.

Are there any utilities to do such a thing? Why don't these companies provide verification software to users? Has anyone compiled and posted a public list of known-good firmware hashes for the major hard drive vendors and models? This seems to be a critical hole in PC security. I did contact Seagate support asking for hashes of their latest firmware; I got a response stating, "...If you download the firmware directly from our website there is no risk on the file be tampered with." (Their phrasing, not mine.) Methinks somebody hasn't been keeping up with world events lately.

itzly (3699663) on Sunday March 01, 2015 @05:50AM (#49157765)

This is pointless without JTAG hardware to directly access the flash memory.

Normal users would read/update the firmware through the existing firmware, so if that's been tampered with there's no way you can be sure.

Seagate HDs (Score:1)

BlackLotus89 (2530144) on Sunday March 01, 2015 @09:49AM (#49158357)

If it's about seagate hds you can take a look at seaget. With this you can dump the buffer and memory of your harddrive. Here is an explanation https://blacklotus89.wordpress... [wordpress.com] and here is the code https://github.com/BlackLotus/... [github.com] Maybe this can be used to dump the firmware as well (somehow)

IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Sunday March 01, 2015 @05:54AM (#49157781)

Hashes not useful (Score:5, Informative)

Seagate is correct. Putting a hash on the website doesn't improve security at all because anyone who can change the download can also change the web page containing the hash.

The fact that this practice is widespread in the Linux world originates from the usage of insecure FTP mirrors run by volunteer admins. There it's possible for a mirror to get hacked independently of the origin web page. A company like Seagate doesn't rely on volunteers at universities to distribute their binaries so the technique is pointless.

A tool to verify the firmware is poetically impossible to write. What code on the drive would provide the firmware in response to a tool query? Oh right ..... the firmware itself. To make it work you need an unflashable boot loader that acts as a root of trust and was designed to do this from the start. But such a thing is basically pointless unless you're trying to detect firmware reflashing malware and that's something that only cropped up as a threat very recently. So I doubt any hard disk has it.

BTW call a spade a spade. Equation Group == NSA TAO

rainer_d (115765) on Sunday March 01, 2015 @06:10AM (#49157833) Homepage

Pretty pointless (Score:5, Interesting)

I guess even if there was a way, the vendor would probably just get a NSL to put the backdoor in himself
I'm still waiting for the first CEO to go to jail for refusing this.
Either it's easy to say "No", or nobody bothers, because "war against terror etc.".

vojtech (565680) <vojtech@suse.cz> on Sunday March 01, 2015 @08:10AM (#49158067)

Secure Boot + Full disk encryption (Score:3)

Actually, the much hated Secure Boot (with the shim loader, MOK, and GRUB2), combined with full disk encryption (for example using LUKS), and in filesystem compression (btrfs2) can quite nicely protect you from anything that a malicious firmware in a harddrive could do. The firmware will only ever see encrypted data passing through it, except for when loading the bootloader and the kernel, which will both be cryptographically verified by UEFI. The in-filesystem compression is there to compensate for the compression SSD drives normally do themselves to gain additional speed that will be impossible to do that on encrypted data.

Sure, this basically converts the problem to trusting the main BIOS (UEFI), but that's something you have to solve in any case.

davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Sunday March 01, 2015 @10:32AM (#49158497) Homepage Journal

Boot from rescue disk, inspect disk and boot proms (Score:2)

Boot from a randomly chosen Linux rescue disk, and check the various proms. You've used the boot rom to boot a CD/DVD, but what you've booted is wildly different from the Windows systems that are the common target, so the attackers will have great difficulty in hiding what they've done from an unfamiliar system.

It's actually easier to hide evil stuff in disk proms, as your only access to them is via routines *in* the disk prom, as one of the other commentators pointed out,

Etcetera (14711) on Sunday March 01, 2015 @10:35AM (#49158517)

Re:What do HD viruses actually _do_ ? (Score:2)

Are these root vectors playing the odds and assuming they'll be installed on an x86 machine running Windows7, so they put that payload in the firmware?

It's not like the firmware has an IP stack.

It doesn't take very many bytes to make one. And your hard drive is communicating over a bus. You'd be surprised what types of communication protocols are recognized over various internal data paths... How do you think those old Ethernet-over-SCSI adapters worked?

[Nov 30, 2014] Scamming Fake Microsoft Support Scammers by Marco Chiappetta

For the last few months, I've heard numerous stories from friends, family, and clients about calls they've supposedly received from Microsoft. Unfortunately, the calls are all scams that can have dire consequences. If you haven't heard similar stories, they usually go something like this: a person calls and says that he is a tech with Microsoft that's contacting you because your Windows-based computer is infected with a virus and he wants to help fix it. Over the course of the conversation, he'll ask to remote into your PC, and ultimately tell you that the level of support required to fix it requires payment and that you'll have to provide a credit card number. More nefarious scammers will then go the extra mile and install spyware on your machine to snag your passwords and other personal information, which could then be used to access your bank accounts or even steal your identity.

... ... ...

When I answered the phone, a heavily accented fellow explained that he was with Microsoft and that my ISP has contacted them because a Windows machine using my broadband connection was infected with a virus. He asked me to go to my Windows PC and requested that I perform some mundane tasks, like opening the web browser, and hitting a couple of websites -– all the while telling me what I should expect to see on-screen. I assume this was some sort of half-witted ploy to gain my trust, but there was no chance of that happening.

... ... ...

After a while "checking websites" the scammer then had me open Event Viewer. He tried to explain the importance of the information contained in Event Viewer's logs, and then used a rudimentary scare tactic that I suspect would work on casual PC users. He asked how many entries were in the system log (to which I happily answered 1337!), and tried to convince me that all of those entries were errors caused by the virus. He then took a more dire tone and asked me to check the Security and Application logs (again, I gave bogus numbers of 43 and 666!).

This was the point where the real scam was about to start. The caller used the number of events listed in Event Viewer to claim that the "infection" on my system was more severe than anticipated and that there would be a charge for any tech support services moving forward. He then asked for a credit card number. I refused to give him one and said I would only pay upon completion of the clean-up. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to keep him on the line as long as possible, but I also wanted to see what tactics these low-lives were using to scam people. After my charade, the original caller put me on hold and said he had to forward me to a tech support manager who would continue to help me out.

The second man to take the line then directed me to ammyy.com and asked me to install some remote desktop software. I should point out that ammyy.com is totally legit (and actually a great tool), but the scammer planned to use it for no good. I went so far as to install the ammyy.com remote desktop client, so I could see what a correct user ID looked like, but did not give the caller the correct ID. I fed him some false IDs (again, to waste more time), and ultimately told the caller to megabyte me (in not so kind words) and they hung up after sharing a few choice words. Had I given him the correct ID, the caller would have been able to instantly access my PC.

If I was better prepared and had a virtual machine setup that I could sacrifice for the cause, I would have let the scammers do their thing and let them believe they'd infiltrated another unfortunate soul's computer, but I wasn't. It's a shame too, because it would have been useful to see what (and where) they'd download and install. Regardless, I hope this little bit of information helps. If you're the recipient of one of these calls, at least now you'll know they are a scam, and if you have a little time of your hands you can waste the scammers' time and limit the number of other folks they can prey on. And if you've already been targeted, be sure to check your system for malware and report the call to the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

[Nov 24, 2014] This Malware May Have Gotten the NSA Caught With Its Hand in the Cookie Jar

This looks like spy games on a new level. At this point some systems might be intentionally infected to feed disinformation to the bug.
foreignpolicy.com

On Sunday, researchers at Symantec, the computer security firm, released their findings on Regin, a piece of malware that bears the hallmarks of British and American government hackers and can be used to infiltrate computers, mine data, access file systems, hijack point and click functions, take screenshots, and carry out network surveillance. The bug is almost entirely encrypted, and its payload can be customized depending on the target.

Symantec's report compares the bug to Stuxnet, the infamous Israeli-U.S. bug that was used to infiltrate and sabotage Iran's nuclear program by causing Iranian centrifuges to spin at such excessive speeds that they ultimately broke down. "In the world of malware threats, only a few rare examples can truly be considered groundbreaking and almost peerless," the researchers wrote in a white paper on the malware. "What we have seen in Regin is just such a class of malware."

The level of technical sophistication in the malware would appear to suggest that it is the work for a nation state, not a rogue hacker or collective. While a full list of its targets isn't yet known, the Intercept reports that Regin has been "identified on the same European Union computer systems that were targeted for surveillance by the National Security Agency." Moreover, the site reports that the malware was used to attack a Belgium telecommunications company whose clients include key EU bodies such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council. A security expert hired by the telecom company to remove the malware from its servers told the Intercept he is convinced the malware is either of British or American make.

... ... ...

The Symantec cyber sleuths say Regin is stunningly advanced. The malware functions in a modular design that works at all points to hide its make. The only portion of the bug that is unencrypted is the initial deployment mechanism, which serves to trigger the other components, all of them encrypted. Targets can be infected with the malware through a variety of methods, including spoofed web pages and instant messaging systems.

Stuxnet, by contrast, is thought to have been introduced into Iran's networks through an infected USB drive. An unnamed U.S. official quoted in a New York Times article about the secret program code-named "Olympic Games" told reporter David Sanger that "it turns out there is always an idiot around who doesn't think much about the thumb drive in their hand."

Regin's technical features appear to indicate that it was created by British or American spies and not their Chinese or Russian counterparts, which also have the resources to possibly create a program of this nature. "This modular approach has been seen in other sophisticated malware families such as Flamer and Weevil (The Mask), while the multi-stage loading architecture is similar to that seen in the Duqu/Stuxnet family of threats," the researchers write, referring to programs believed to have been created by the U.S. National Security Agency and its and its allies. The company was careful not to directly attribute the bug to Washington or London, however.

"Customizable with an extensive range of capabilities depending on the target, it provides its controllers with a powerful framework for mass surveillance and has been used in spying operations against government organizations, infrastructure operators, businesses, researchers, and private individuals," the researchers wrote in a blog post. "Its capabilities and the level of resources behind Regin indicate that it is one of the main cyberespionage tools used by a nation state."

American and British spies aren't commenting on the revelations about the bug, but if Symantec's findings have indeed unmasked a piece of NSA malware, the researchers have stripped agency of an enormously powerful weapon. Regin, the researchers note, "can potentially be used in espionage campaigns lasting several years" due to its "low key nature."

"Even when its presence is detected, it is very difficult to ascertain what it is doing. Symantec was only able to analyze the payloads after it decrypted sample files," the researchers add.

The bug appears to have been in use from at least 2008 until 2011, when it was suddenly withdrawn. It reappeared last year.

Now that Regin has been discovered and outed, the program could face elimination, though not at the hand of Sigurd.

[Nov 24, 2014] NSA used botnets to spread surveillance malware

Mar 13 , 2014 | delhidailynews.com/

We all know that the US law enforcement agencies have been trying to remove the networks of compromised computers used by cyber criminals, but we did not know that US the National Security Agency is now hijacking the botnets and using them for spying.

A slide leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept news website on Wednesday has revealed that more than 140,000 computers across the world had been 'co-opted' by the NSA since August 2007 with an aim to inject spying software inside them.

Cyber criminals use botnets to steal financial information from infected machines, to relay spam messages, and to conduct "denial-of-service" attacks against websites.

In November, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told the Senate that botnets had "emerged as a global cyber security threat" and that the agency had developed a "comprehensive public-private approach to eliminate the most significant botnet activity and increase the practical consequences for those who use botnets for intellectual property theft or other criminal activities."

The latest slide revealed that NSA used a technique called QUANTUMBOT, which "finds computers belonging to botnets, and hijacks the command and control channel." The NSA had described the program as "highly successful."

In May, it was reported that botnets were tapped by the US agencies to harvest data from the owners of the machines and to develop the ability to issue new commands to the infected computers.

The Top Secret slide revealed by Snowden, a former NSA contractor, was marked for distribution to the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance, which includes the United States and Britain.

The NSA, however, refused to give any concrete answer over the latest revelation. In a written statement, an NSA spokeswoman said: ?"s the President affirmed on 17 January, signals intelligence shall be collected exclusively where there is a foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose to support national and departmental missions, and not for any other purposes.

"Moreover, Presidential Policy Directive 28 affirms that all persons - regardless of nationality - have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information, and that privacy and civil liberties shall be integral considerations in the planning of US signals intelligence activities," added the statement.

[Nov 24, 2014] Regin, new computer spyware, discovered by Symantec

Nov 24, 2014 | BBC News

A leading computer security company says it has discovered one of the most sophisticated pieces of malicious software ever seen.

Symantec says the bug, named Regin, was probably created by a government and has been used for six years against a range of targets around the world.

Once installed on a computer, it can do things like capture screenshots, steal passwords or recover deleted files.

Experts say computers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Ireland have been hit most.

It has been used to spy on government organisations, businesses and private individuals, they say.

Researchers say the sophistication of the software indicates that it is a cyber-espionage tool developed by a nation state.

They also said it likely took months, if not years, to develop and its creators have gone to great lengths to cover its tracks.

Sian John, a security strategist at Symantec, said: "It looks like it comes from a Western organisation. It's the level of skill and expertise, the length of time over which it was developed."

Symantec has drawn parallels with Stuxnet, a computer worm thought to have been developed by the US and Israel to target Iran's nuclear program.

That was designed to damage equipment, whereas Regin's purpose appears to be to collect information.

[Jun 17, 2014] Zeus Trojan alternative hits the underground market By Lucian Constantin

June 11, 2014 | Computerworld/IDG News Service

Extensibility could help a new Trojan program called Pandemiya see wider distribution despite its high price, researchers say

A new Trojan program that can spy on victims, steal login credentials and interfere with browsing sessions is being sold on the underground market and might soon see wider distribution.

The new threat is called Pandemiya and its features are similar to that of the infamous Zeus Trojan program that many cybercriminal gangs used for years to steal financial information from businesses and consumers.

Zeus source code was leaked on underground forums in 2011, allowing other malware developers to create Trojan programs based on it, including threats like Citadel, Ice IX and Gameover Zeus, whose activity was recently disrupted by an international law enforcement effort.

"Pandemiya's coding quality is quite interesting, and contrary to recent trends in malware development, it is not based on Zeus source code at all, unlike Citadel/Ice IX, etc.," researchers from RSA, the security division of EMC, said Tuesday in a blog post. "Through our research, we found out that the author of Pandemiya spent close to a year of coding the application, and that it consists of more than 25,000 lines of original code in C."

The new Trojan program can inject rogue code into websites opened in a local browser, a technique known as Web injection; grab information entered into Web forms; steal files; and take screenshots. Because it has a modular architecture, its functionality can also be extended through individual DLL (dynamic link library) files that act as plug-ins.

Some of Pandemiya's existing plug-ins allow cybercriminals to open reverse proxies on infected computers, to steal FTP credentials and to infect executable files. Its creators are also working on others to enable reverse Remote Desktop Protocol connections and to allow the malware to spread through hijacked Facebook accounts, the RSA researchers said.

"Like many of the other Trojans we've seen of late, Pandemiya includes protective measures to encrypt the communication with the control panel, and prevent detection by automated network analyzers," the researchers said.

The new threat is being advertised on underground forums for US$1,500 for the core application and $2,000 with additional plug-ins, a relatively high entry price for cybercriminals. This aspect and the fact that it's new have kept Pandemiya from gaining popularity so far, but because it can easily be expanded with DLL plug-ins "could make it more pervasive in the near future," the RSA researchers said.

[Jun 10, 2014] Massive botnet takedown stops spread of Cryptolocker ransomware by Gregg Keizer

See also Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A)
Jun 10, 2014 | Computerworld
The takedown earlier this week of a major malware-spewing botnet has crippled the distribution of Cryptolocker, one of the world's most sophisticated examples of ransomware, a researcher said today.

But replacements already stand in the wings, prepared to take Cryptolocker's place.

"Since last Friday, we've seen no new activity and no new infections," said Keith Jarvis, a security researcher at Dell SecureWork's Counter Threat Unit (CTU), referring to Gameover Zeus, a two-year-old botnet that U.S. and foreign authorities took down in a broad coordinated campaign announced Monday. Gameover Zeus had been the sole distribution channel for Cryptolocker

.... ... ...

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that it, along with law enforcement agencies in several other countries, including Australia, Germany, France, Japan, Ukraine and the U.K., had grabbed control of the Gameover Zeus botnet. Criminal charges have also been filed against the alleged administrator of the botnet.

... ... ...

Jarvis said that SecureWorks -- which has been in the forefront of analyzing Cryptolocker, and was one of the private security firms that assisted law enforcement prior to this week's take-down -- estimated the Cryptolocker haul at a minimum of $10 million since its debut.

... ... ...

Some victims who refused to pay the ransom incurred significant losses recovering control of their files and restoring files from backups, if they had them. During their investigation, U.S. authorities interviewed numerous Cryptolocker victims; examples cited in court documents said businesses pegged recovery and remediation costs between $30,000 and $80,000.

... "This is a well-written piece of software," said Jarvis. "And they got the encryption right. There are no loopholes and no flaws."

Earlier examples of ransomware were often sloppy, and in some cases their lock-out mechanisms could be circumvented. Not so with Cryptolocker. Once run, it left victims with only two options: Pay the ransom or restore the now-inaccessible data from backups.

... ... ...

[Jun 02, 2014] Wham bam Global Operation Tovar whacks CryptoLocker ransomware & GameOver Zeus botnet

So it took more then half-a-year (8 months) to get to the bottom; and at the end Symantec researchers "poisoned" the botnet. I think all federal officials in three latter agencies responsible for that should be fired...
Computerworld Blogs
"Evgeniy Bogachev and the members of his criminal network devised and implemented the kind of cybercrimes that you might not believe if you saw them in a science fiction movie," reported the DOJ.

By secretly implanting viruses on computers around the world, they built a network of infected machines – or "bots" – that they could infiltrate, spy on, and even control, from anywhere they wished. Sitting quietly at their own computer screens, the cyber criminals could watch as the Gameover Zeus malware intercepted the bank account numbers and passwords that unwitting victims typed into computers and networks in the United States. And then the criminals turned that information into cash by emptying the victims' bank accounts and diverting the money to themselves.

Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell stated:

Over the weekend, more than 300,000 victim computers have been freed from the botnet – and we expect that number to increase as computers are powered on and connected to the internet this week. We have already begun providing victim information to private sector parties who are poised to assist them. I am also pleased to report that, by Saturday, Cryptolocker was no longer functioning and its infrastructure had been effectively dismantled. Through these court-authorized operations, we have started to repair the damage the cyber criminals have caused over the past few years, we are helping victims regain control of their own computers, and we are protecting future potential victims from attack.

US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) also issued a GameOver Zeus P2P Malware alert today.

GameOver Zeus (GOZ), a peer-to-peer (P2P) variant of the Zeus family of bank credential-stealing malware identified in September 2011, uses a decentralized network infrastructure of compromised personal computers and web servers to execute command-and-control. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), is releasing this Technical Alert to provide further information about the GameOver Zeus botnet.

[Jun 02, 2014] Game Over for 'Gameover' Malware

tomsguide.com

Two of the most insidious and widespread types of malware have been "disrupted," and at least one man allegedly behind them has been indicted, according to an announcement today (June 2) by the United States Department of Justice.

In a partnership with security companies, experts and other countries' law-enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice helped orchestrate "Operation Tovar," a mission to identify the criminals behind the Gameover banking Trojan and the botnet it controls, as well as the Cryptolocker ransomware, and sabotage the associated crimeware campaigns.

According to Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole, the Gameover operation was successful and the group's alleged leader, Russian citizen Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh.

Gameover, adapted from the infamous ZeuS banking Trojan after the ZeuS source code was released in 2011, infects Windows computers worldwide and corrals them into a botnet, intercepts users' passwords and other financial information and uses the stolen credentials to make or redirect wire transfers from the bank accounts of infected users to accounts controlled by the criminals behind the malware. According to Cole, Gameover has been implicated in the theft of more than $100 million dollars from American victims alone.

The Gameover botnet has also been identified as the primary distributor of Cryptolocker, a type of ransomware which holds infected computers "ransom" by using encryption to render the files on them unreadable.

The 14-count indictment against Bogachev, who is believed to be in southern Russia, accuses him of acting as the administrator of the Gameover botnet. The counts include conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

At the same time, an Omaha, Nebraska criminal complaint charges Bogachev with conspiracy to commit bank fraud in a separate case invovling a variant of the ZeuS malware called "Jabber ZeuS," after the instant-messaging software it used to communicate with its handlers.

A third civil injunction filed by the United States in the Pittsburgh federal court alleges that Bogachev is the leader of a cybercrime gang responsible for creating and operating both Gameover and Cryptolocker.

In addition, the Pittsburgh court also authorized U.S. law enforcement to intercept traffic between computers infected with Gameover and Cryptolocker and the servers controlling these malicious programs. For example, the FBI can collect the IP addresses of computers infected with these types of malware in order to help study them and devise defenses against them.

"At no point during the operation did the FBI or law enforcement access the content of any of the victims' computers or electronic communications," the Department of Justice announcement states.

However, judging by similar situations, it is highly unlikely that Bogachev will actually face trial in the US.

[Jun 02, 2014] Fed Cyber Sleuths Stop 'Gameover Zeus' and 'Cryptolocker' Crime Sprees

ABC News

The Justice Department has disrupted what it calls one of the most sophisticated cyber threats ever, and they are now trying to capture the man behind it all, federal prosecutors announced today.

Over the weekend, federal cyber cops essentially paralyzed a massive computer virus known as "Gameover Zeus," which diverted millions of dollars from companies' bank accounts, and blocked another virus known as "Cryptolocker," which first took control of a user's computer files and then demanded ransom in return for the user's own files, according to federal prosecutors. Both viruses were the work of an overseas criminal gang allegedly run by Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev, who is now among the FBI's most-wanted cyber criminals.

"Evgeniy Bogachev and the members of his criminal network devised and implemented the kind of cyber-crimes that you might not believe if you saw them in a science fiction movie," the head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Leslie Caldwell, told reporters in Washington. "By secretly implanting viruses on computers around the world, they built a network of infected machines – or 'bots' – that they could infiltrate, spy on, and even control, from anywhere they wished."

Starting in 2011, Bogachev, 30, allegedly used "spear-fishing" – or fake – emails to infect computers with the "Gameover Zeus" virus. Once infected, Bogachev would "hijack computer sessions and steal confidential and personal financial information" that could then be used to funnel money overseas, the according to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton.

In October 2011, a Pennsylvania composite materials company was hit, and "within a matter of hours after banking credentials were compromised, hundreds of thousands of dollars were being siphoned from the company's bank accounts," Hickton said.

More than two years later, in November last year, the police department in Swansea, Mass., became a victim of the "Cryptolocker" virus when an employee opened an email that looked like it was from a "trusted source," Hickton said. When "Cryptolocker" strikes, a timer often appears on victims' computer screens, giving them 72 hours to pay hundreds of dollars if they want their files back – from family photos to business records, law enforcement officials said.

In the case of the Swansea police department, the department paid the ransom and contacted the FBI, according to law enforcement officials.

As of April 2014, "Cryptolocker" had attacked more than 200,000 computers, and more than half of those attacks occurred in the United States, Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole said. In addition, in its first two months of operation alone, the criminals behind "Cryptolocker" collected an estimated $27 million in ransom payments from victims, he said.

As for the "Gameover Zeus" virus, security researched estimate that between 500,000 and 1 million computers around the world have been infected with it, and a quarter of the victims are inside the United States, according to Cole. In total, federal authorities believe U.S. victims, often small and mid-size businesses, have lost more than $100 million to "Gameover Zeus."

Federal authorities believe the man running the Eastern European criminal gang responsible for the two viruses is now in Russia, and they are hoping the Russian government will help bring him to justice.

The Justice Department unsealed criminal charges in Pittsburgh, Pa., and in Omaha, Neb., charging Bogachev with computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and other violations of U.S. law.

To keep "Gameover Zeus" from being reconstituted, federal authorities have obtained court approval to redirect communications from "malicious servers" to substitute servers, and both U.S. and foreign law enforcement officials seized computer servers integral to "Cryptolocker," authorities said today.

[Jun 02, 2014] Global police operation disrupts aggressive Cryptolocker virus by Tom Brewster & Dominic Rushe

[Jun 02, 2014] The Guardian

US authorities named Russian national Evgeniy Bogachev as the face of a malicious software scheme responsible for stealing millions from people around the world, after a successful campaign to disrupt two major computer networks.

Digital police from across the globe announced they had seized control over the weekend of two computer networks that had been used to steal banking information and ransom information locked in files on infected computers. But they warned people with infected computers to take action now to prevent further attacks.

US and European officials announced they had managed to crack the malicious software (malware) known as Gameover Zeus that had been used to divert millions of dollars to bank accounts of criminals. The authorities have also cracked Cryptolocker – a malware that shutout hundreds of thousands of users from their own computers and ransomed the data.

... ... ...

The US authorities identified Bogachev, of Anapa in the Russian Federation, as Gameover Zeus's main administrator. At a press conference, deputy attorney general James Cole called him "a true 21st-century criminal who commits cybercrimes across the globe with the stroke of a key and the click of a mouse …These crimes have earned Bogachev a place on its list of the world's most-wanted cyber criminals."

According to the FBI's "cyber most wanted" list Bogachev has been using variants of the Zeus malware since 2009 and communicates using the online monikers "lucky12345" and "slavik". Gameover Zeus (GOZ) started appearing in 2011 and is believed to be "responsible for more than one million computer infections, resulting in financial losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars".

"He is known to enjoy boating and may travel to locations along the Black Sea in his boat," according to the FBI.

The Cryptolocker software locked PC users out of their machines, encrypting all their files and demanding payment of one Bitcoin (currently worth around £300, or $650) for decryption.

It's believed Cryptolocker, which the FBI estimated acquired $27m in ransom payments in just the first two months of its life, has infected more than 234,000 machines.

A chief suspect from Russia has been identified, but is still at large, Troels Oerting, head of Europol's European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) told the Guardian. He said other arrests related to the operation were "in progress".

The global effort to stop the spread of the Cryptolocker ransomware has focused on its delivery method, GOZ. The malware connected infected machines by peer-to-peer connections – in theory making it harder for the authorities to track and stop.

GOZ was designed to steal people's online banking login details, who were usually infected by clicking on attachments or links in emails that looked innocuous. However, it also dropped Cryptolocker on their computers.

"Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals," said Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit.

... ... ...

Not-for-profit body Get Safe Online has worked with the NCA to launch a dedicated section of its website to provide guidance and tools, although at the time of publication the website appeared to be offline.

Behind the scenes, the law enforcement groups have been taking over points of control in GOZ's peer-to-peer network: an action known as "sinkholing" in the security world. By doing this, they have been able to cut off criminal control over the infected computers.

Dismantling peer-to-peer operated malware is difficult, but it has been done before: for example one case of a data-stealing virus called ZeroAccess, which infected as many as 1.9m PCs in 2013.

In that case, security researchers from Symantec managed to send lists of fake peers to infected machines, which meant they could no longer receive commands from the controllers of the malicious network, known as a botnet.

Symantec researchers said today that key nodes in GOZ's network had been disabled, along with a number of the domains used by the attackers.

... ... ...

wombatman -> Worried9876

I read it was hackers from both Russia and Ukraine started it off, it is just that now the USA have a filed a case just against one individual who is Russian (Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev).

http://www.justice.gov/opa/documents/dgzc/complaint.pdf

Clearly however this was not a one-person operation, but cynical people may say the USA would not like to name any Ukrainian defendents in this case. The complaint even names him as the alleged leader of the criminal enterprise.

Ninetto

<quote> "Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals,"</quote>

...with the exception of the criminals von NSA/NCHQ?

Katagami -> Ninetto

...with the exception of the criminals von NSA/NCHQ?

Oh ffs change the record.

This is about criminal organisations screwing over people like me and you. It's got nothing to do with intelligence agencies collecting data and if anything they should be given some credit here.

Wake up and stop attributing blame to something you (probably) know very little about.

tr1ck5t3r -> Jack Jazz

This only affects Windows PC's.

If people want to install a safe operating system on their computer, Ubuntu has achieved the highest rating out of all the operating systems when reviewed by an arm of GCHQ.

http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/01/ubuntu-12-04-secure-os-uk-government-gchq

http://www.gchq.gov.uk/press_and_media/press_releases/Pages/new-platform-security-guidance.aspx

And whilst the report focuses on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, the new Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is available to download with even more privacy and security enhancements.

http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop

It wont cost you a penny

Sheepless

Very poor publicity by the NCA. It's not merely this article which is confusing: the NCA's own announcement fails to explain the significance of this "two-week opportunity".

wombatman -> Sheepless

The authorities disrupted the command and control (C&C) servers that were managing the major network distributing the GameoverZeuS Trojan and the Cryptolocker ransomware. It's only a matter of time before those behind the botnet set up new C&C servers and regain control. Though that may even happen in days and not the 2 weeks.

Ortho -> wombatman

Yeah, the 'two weeks' thing is just a random estimate. Not at all helpful.
What they should be saying is 'get your computer protected NOW- and keep it up to date in future'.

jungle_economist

On AVG there is a blog post from October 2013 detailing how this came to light Sep'13. Someone above wrote "Symantec may be able to act that fast..." Almost a year after the fact?? Seriously - who is this targeted at?

tr1ck5t3rjungle_economist

Some viruses have been undiscovered for several years.

Antivirus is next to useless for zero day exploits.

RobDeManc

It's my belief that these viruses come from the security software houses. It is their way of keeping us buying their software. LOL

I don't see what difference 2 weeks will make.

Paul Tunstead -> RobDeManc

Wow, your onto how big pharma works, well done you.

consciouslyinformed -> RobDeManc

And who says a little suspicion does anyone harm? I agree with your concerns, and have stated comments like yours. Worked in marketing companies for a few years prior to university, and this is indeed the type of gnarly stuff companies do, in order to continue making $$$$ from established customers!!


Doosh79

Meh, worst case it needs a fresh install, anyone with half a brain should have back-ups of important stuff.

OrthoDoosh79

The sort of person who doesn't have adequate protection is often the same sort of person who, when you ask about what they use for backing up, says, 'backing up?'.

NoToNeoDoosh79

Installing is time consuming. You need everything you are used to as well as the OS. It takes me about 2 weeks to get a formatted drive back to how I like it by re-installing everything.

No hassle with Clonezilla though (about 1 hr to get my machine back). Don't even need to install anything. Just image regularly.

EazyGoinKingCheese

Unfortunately - if you are already infected, as soon as you connect your memory stick or external drive, the trojan will start encrypting its content.

[May 28, 2014] China is looking at a possible ban on IBM servers and vetting foreign IT products more closely

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/28/that_snowden_chap_was_spot_on_says_china/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/27/china_ponders_ban_on_ibm_servers/

[May 20, 2014] FBI - Could Your Computer Be Infected by Blackshades

Here's a list of possible indicators that your computer may be infected with Blackshades or similar remote access tool malware:

Blackshades malware affects Microsoft Windows-based operating systems. If you believe you or someone you know may have a computer that is infected with this malware, search the computer's hard drive for the following files that are known to be present on Blackshade-infected computers:

To perform the above check, click the Start menu and type each file name in the search field. If the search yields positive matches for one or more of these files, the computer may be infected with Blackshades.

In addition to the above files being added to the computer's hard drive, Blackshades also makes modifications to the Windows registry. The exact location may vary depending on the verson of the Microsoft Windows you're using, but the following registry subkey is added:

To perform a check for this registry modification, take the following steps:

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. Type "regedit" in the search field.
  3. Execute the Registry Editor (regedit.exe). If prompted, select "Yes" to allow the program to make changes to the computer.
  4. Select "Edit" from the window toolbar.
  5. Select "Find" from the Edit menu.
  6. Type "SrvID" in the Find field.

Anyone who performs the above checks and gets positive results is encouraged to submit a complaint to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. Please include the term "Blackshades" in the incident description section of the complaint.

5 scary things about the 'Blackshades' RAT

The Blackshades Remote Access Tool, or RAT, which targets Microsoft Windows-based operating systems, allows cybercriminals to take control of your computer. Once inside, they can spy on you through your web camera, steal your files and account information and see what you are typing.

... ... ..

Hackers, however, infect their victims with Blackshades by tricking them into clicking links that install the malware, or by hiring others to install the RAT.

Once installed, cybercriminals can lure other victims by sending malicious links through the first victim's social media accounts. The instant message or e-mail would look like it came from the victim, making it more likely that the recipient would click on it.

[Apr 13, 2014] NSA Exploited Heartbleed Bug For YEARS, Leaving Consumers Vulnerable To Attack

April 11, 2014 | Washington's Blog

Top computer and internet experts say that NSA spying breaks the functionality of our computers and of the Internet. It reduces functionality and reduces security by – for example – creating backdoors that malicious hackers can get through.

Remember, American and British spy agencies have intentionally weakened security for many decades. And it's getting worse and worse. For example, they plan to use automated programs to infect millions of computers.

NSA also encourages large internet companies to delay patching vulnerabilities, to allow the NSA time to exploit them. See this and this. In other words, the NSA encourages companies to allow vulnerabilities to remain unfixed.

You've heard of the scary new "Heartbleed" computer vulnerability?

The NSA has exploited it – and kept it hidden from consumers and security experts – for years. Bloomberg reports:

The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.

***

Heartbleed appears to be one of the biggest glitches in the Internet's history, a flaw in the basic security of as many as two-thirds of the world's websites.

***

Putting the Heartbleed bug in its arsenal, the NSA was able to obtain passwords and other basic data that are the building blocks of the sophisticated hacking operations at the core of its mission, but at a cost. Millions of ordinary users were left vulnerable to attack from other nations' intelligence arms and criminal hackers.

"It flies in the face of the agency's comments that defense comes first," said Jason Healey, director of the cyber statecraft initiative at the Atlantic Council and a former Air Force cyber officer. "They are going to be completely shredded by the computer security community for this."

[Jan 30, 2014] Acronis True Image Try & Decide. Part 1 - YouTube

This option of Acronis allow to remove traced of installed software in minutes. Great for testing new software packages.

Try&Decide - Create a safe portion of your hard disk where you can install new software, open questionable emails, surf the web, or do other tasks without putting your computer at risk; save what you want, delete what you don't want

[Jan 30, 2014] Acronis Try and Decide on true image

February 20, 2008

Ok ive installed true image 11 thanks to the info found on here and help in the below thread , thanks all it looks like a great piece of software

i was just looking at the try and decide feature but i wasnt sure on how to go about using it

my hd set ups........

i have 2 internal 120 gig hard drives that show as 110 each,and a 500gig external 7200rpm usb drive

i have C drive- 110 gig partition with windows and all progs installed
E drive recovery - 10gig partition with the dell back up thiing and i also keep vital programs i install and a few bits stored in here

D drive - 110 gig , thats just for my music/pics/etc

, and the 500gig usb is all bigger storage like films and big downloaded files etc, and music and photos back up

i also have a 160gig usb drive that i dont use regular, but just keep a back up of all music and photos on as a back up back up !

......................................

So .. i intend to make a true image back up on the 500gig usb drive

and i want to use the try n decide feature and start up recovery thing, but im not sure where best to install the acronis safe zone thing for this and how big to use ? it says 20% of a drive recomended but that seems like a lot ?? i would of thought 3-5 gig would be fine ?

so is it best to install it on the c drive with windows etc or the storage d drive ?

OR ... does the acronis safe zone have to be the same place where the true image back up is stored ? thats where im a little confused about how this all works, id appriciate some advide and tips etc

thanks in advance !!!!

[Jan 15, 2014] Mozilla: Firefox Has No Government Backdoors By Kevin Parrish

January 13, 2014 | andreasgal.com

Andreas Gal, Mozilla's vice president of mobile and R&D, and Brendan Eich, CTO and SVP of Engineering, have updated Gal's blog with a long entry about how Firefox users can trust Mozilla when it comes to government backdoors and user privacy.

In the blog, they point out that due to laws in the U.S. and elsewhere, Web surfers must interact with Internet services knowing full well that even though cloud service companies want to protect user privacy, eventually one day those companies will be required to comply with laws. The government may acquire information that seems to violate privacy and could even force surveillance. Even more, the government can do so while enforcing gag orders on the service, leaving the consumer unaware.

This creates a problem in regards to privacy and security. Every major browser today is distributed by an organization within reach of surveillance laws, they point out. Injecting surveillance code in a web browser is quite possible.

"The unfortunate consequence is that software vendors - including browser vendors - must not be blindly trusted," they report. "Not because such vendors don't want to protect user privacy. Rather, because a law might force vendors to secretly violate their own principles and do things they don't want to do."

They also point out that unlike other browser vendors, Mozilla's products are truly open source. That's a "critical advantage," as Internet Explorer is closed, and both Safari and Chrome have open-source rendering engines, but contain "significant" fractions of closed source code. By being 100 percent open source, security researchers can verify the executable bits contained in the browsers Mozilla is distributing.

However, the answer to getting real trust, it seems, is to create a global audit system verifying that Firefox isn't immediately injected with government-tainted code at the request of court orders.

"To ensure that no one can inject undetected surveillance code into Firefox, security researchers and organizations should regularly audit Mozilla source and verified builds by all effective means, establish automated systems to verify official Mozilla builds from source, and raise an alert if the verified bits differ from official bits," they suggest.

"Beyond this first step, can we use such audited browsers as trust anchors, to authenticate fully-audited open-source Internet services? This seems possible in theory," they add.

[Jan 14, 2014] Chrome 32 launches with better malware blocking

Google today released Chrome version 32 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new version includes tab indicators, a new look for Windows 8 Metro mode, and automatic blocking of malware downloads. You can update to the latest release now using the browser's built-in silent updater, or download it directly from google.com/chrome.

...The third point refers to a change in the company's Safe Browsing service, which warns users about malicious websites and malicious files.

Added to the Chrome dev build back in October, Google's browser will now automatically block malware files, letting you know in a message at the bottom of your screen. You can "Dismiss" the message, and Google says you can circumvent the block but it will take more steps than before.

[Jan 14, 2014] N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers

This is not very efficient as it requires close proximity of an expensive relay station to the target (within a couple of miles) and easily defeated by Faraday cage. It's also self-limiting as, say, laptops often travels outside the area. So it probably is used only against high value stationary targets. But the idea is devious. Will those technologies now migrate downsteam ? See a good summary of NYT article at Modern spying 101 How NSA bugs Chinese PCs with tiny USB radios
NYT

"What's new here is the scale and the sophistication of the intelligence agency's ability to get into computers and networks to which no one has ever had access before," said James Andrew Lewis, the cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "Some of these capabilities have been around for a while, but the combination of learning how to penetrate systems to insert software and learning how to do that using radio frequencies has given the U.S. a window it's never had before."

... ... ...

One, called Cottonmouth I, looks like a normal USB plug but has a tiny transceiver buried in it. According to the catalog, it transmits information swept from the computer "through a covert channel" that allows "data infiltration and exfiltration."

Another variant of the technology involves tiny circuit boards that can be inserted in a laptop computer - either in the field or when they are shipped from manufacturers - so that the computer is broadcasting to the N.S.A. even while the computer's user enjoys the false confidence that being walled off from the Internet constitutes real protection.

... ... ...

"Continuous and selective publication of specific techniques and tools used by N.S.A. to pursue legitimate foreign intelligence targets is detrimental to the security of the United States and our allies," Ms. Vines, the N.S.A. spokeswoman, said.

But the Iranians and others discovered some of those techniques years ago. The hardware in the N.S.A.'s catalog was crucial in the cyberattacks on Iran's nuclear facilities, code-named Olympic Games, that began around 2008 and proceeded through the summer of 2010, when a technical error revealed the attack software, later called Stuxnet. That was the first major test of the technology.

One feature of the Stuxnet attack was that the technology the United States slipped into the Natanz plant was able to map how it operated, then "phone home" the details. Later, that equipment was used to insert malware that blew up nearly 1,000 centrifuges, and temporarily set back Iran's program.

[Dec 30, 2013] NSA Unit Seizing Electronics Shipments to Install Backdoors by Jason Ditz,

'Catalog' Reveals NSA Can Spy on You for $30
December 29, 2013 | Antiwar.com
Paying RSA $10 million to push their deliberately faulty encryption tools or wiretapping undersea data cables are certainly well within the NSA's normal routine of surveillance, but today's revelations on the agency reveal considerably less graceful efforts as well.

With a lot of electronics relatively secure without physical access to the devices, the NSA has now taken to "intercepting" peoples' online orders of electronics just so it can install backdoors and other surveillance devices before they're ever delivered.

How common this process is remains unclear, but the NSA claims the right to do this to "targets," and has argued at one time or another that literally everyone is a conceivable target. Some of the schemes are remarkably cheap and likely fairly common.

Common enough, at least, that the NSA had a whole "catalog" made up of the different devices and what they cost, including a particularly cost-effective compromised HDMI cable that can show the NSA everything on your computer monitor, in real time, for about $30.

Compromise tools exist for electronics across the spectrum, from monitor cables and networking devices to hard drive firmware and even cell phone towers. Any electronics shipped could theoretically have been scooped up by the NSA en route and be surveilling you right now.

[Dec 29, 2013] The NSA's 50-Page Catalog Of Back Door Penetration Techniques Revealed

Dec 29, 2013 | Zero Hedge
While the world may have become habituated to (and perhaps revels in, thank you social media exhibitionist culture) the fact that the NSA is watching anyone and everyone, intercepting, recording, and hacking every electronic exchange regardless if it involves foreign "terrorists" or US housewives, the discoveries from the Snowden whistleblowing campaign continue. The latest revelation from the biggest wholesale spying scandal since Nixon, exposed by Germany's Spiegel which continues the strategy of revealing Snowden leaks on a staggered, delayed basis, involves a back door access-focused NSA division called ANT, (which supposedly stands for Access Network Technology), described by Spiegel as "master carpenters" for the NSA's TAO (Tailored Access Operations, read more about TAO here). The ANT people have "burrowed into nearly all the security architecture made by the major players in the industry -- including American global market leader Cisco and its Chinese competitor Huawei, but also producers of mass-market goods, such as US computer-maker Dell." More importantly, thanks to Spiegel (and Snowden of course), the NSA's 50-page catalog of "backdoor penetration" techniques has been revealed.

The details of how the NSA can surmount any "erected" walls, via Spiegel:

These NSA agents, who specialize in secret back doors, are able to keep an eye on all levels of our digital lives -- from computing centers to individual computers, from laptops to mobile phones. For nearly every lock, ANT seems to have a key in its toolbox. And no matter what walls companies erect, the NSA's specialists seem already to have gotten past them.

This, at least, is the impression gained from flipping through the 50-page document. The list reads like a mail-order catalog, one from which other NSA employees can order technologies from the ANT division for tapping their targets' data. The catalog even lists the prices for these electronic break-in tools, with costs ranging from free to $250,000.

Nothing quite like an extensive, taxpayer funded catalog listing back-door entry strategy imaginable. Say you wanted to have some backdoor fun with Juniper Networks, the world's second largest network equipment manufacturer (which claims the performance of the company's special computers is "unmatched" and their firewalls are the "best-in-class.")

In the case of Juniper, the name of this particular digital lock pick is "FEEDTROUGH." This malware burrows into Juniper firewalls and makes it possible to smuggle other NSA programs... Thanks to FEEDTROUGH, these implants can, by design, even survive "across reboots and software upgrades." In this way, US government spies can secure themselves a permanent presence in computer networks. The catalog states that FEEDTROUGH "has been deployed on many target platforms."

It gets better, because when simple penetration is not enough, the NSA adds "implants."

In cases where TAO's usual hacking and data-skimming methods don't suffice, ANT workers step in with their special tools, penetrating networking equipment, monitoring mobile phones and computers and diverting or even modifying data. Such "implants," as they are referred to in NSA parlance, have played a considerable role in the intelligence agency's ability to establish a global covert network that operates alongside the Internet.

So what exactly is to be found in the 50-page catalog?

Some of the equipment available is quite inexpensive. A rigged monitor cable that allows "TAO personnel to see what is displayed on the targeted monitor," for example, is available for just $30. But an "active GSM base station" -- a tool that makes it possible to mimic a mobile phone tower and thus monitor cell phones -- costs a full $40,000. Computer bugging devices disguised as normal USB plugs, capable of sending and receiving data via radio undetected, are available in packs of 50 for over $1 million.

The ANT division doesn't just manufacture surveillance hardware. It also develops software for special tasks. The ANT developers have a clear preference for planting their malicious code in so-called BIOS, software located on a computer's motherboard that is the first thing to load when a computer is turned on.

This has a number of valuable advantages: an infected PC or server appears to be functioning normally, so the infection remains invisible to virus protection and other security programs. And even if the hard drive of an infected computer has been completely erased and a new operating system is installed, the ANT malware can continue to function and ensures that new spyware can once again be loaded onto what is presumed to be a clean computer. The ANT developers call this "Persistence" and believe this approach has provided them with the possibility of permanent access.

Another program attacks the firmware in hard drives manufactured by Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor and Samsung, all of which, with the exception of latter, are American companies. Here, too, it appears the US intelligence agency is compromising the technology and products of American companies.

Other ANT programs target Internet routers meant for professional use or hardware firewalls intended to protect company networks from online attacks. Many digital attack weapons are "remotely installable" -- in other words, over the Internet. Others require a direct attack on an end-user device -- an "interdiction," as it is known in NSA jargon -- in order to install malware or bugging equipment.

The conclusion here is an easy one, and one we have repeated ever since before the Snowden revelations: Big Brother is bigger and badder than ever, he knows exactly what you've been doing, and the second the NSA wants to nuke your computer out of orbit and/or destroy your digital life, it can do so in a millisecond. What is more amusing is that with each passing disclosure, it is increasingly clear that the NSA has gotten its inspiration for its dealings with the US public from a Danielle Steel book at best, or a Vivid Video bootlegged tape at worst.

[Dec 06, 2013] Europol, Microsoft Target 2-Million Strong ZeroAccess Click Fraud Botnet

December 06, 2013 | Slashdot

Soulskill

tsu doh nimh writes
"Authorities in Europe joined Microsoft Corp. this week in disrupting 'ZeroAccess,' a vast botnet that has enslaved more than two million PCs with malicious software in an elaborate and lucrative scheme to defraud online advertisers. KrebsOnSecurity.com writes that it remains unclear how much this coordinated action will impact the operations of ZeroAccess over the long term, but for now the PCs infected with the malware remain infected and awaiting new instructions. ZeroAccess employs a peer-to-peer architecture in which new instructions and payloads are distributed from one infected host to another. The actions this week appear to have targeted the servers that deliver a specific component of ZeroAccess that gives infected systems new instructions on how to defraud various online advertisers, including Microsoft. While this effort will not disable the ZeroAccess botnet (the infected systems will likely remain infected), it should allow Microsoft to determine which online affiliates and publishers are associated with the miscreants behind ZeroAccess, since those publishers will have stopped sending traffic directly after the takedown occurred. Europol has a released a statement on this action, and Microsoft has published a large number of documents related to its John Doe lawsuits intended to unmask the botnet the ZeroAccess operators and shut down the botnet."

[Dec 06, 2013] FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App

Brightest Flashlight Free, a popular Android mobile application proved to be malware...
December 06, 2013

Soulskill

chicksdaddy writes "The Federal Trade Commission announced on Thursday that it settled with the maker of 'Brightest Flashlight Free,' a popular Android mobile application, over charges that the company used deceptive advertising to collect location and device information from Android owners. The FTC says the company failed to disclose wanton harvesting and sharing of customers' locations and mobile device identities with third parties. Brightest Flashlight Free, which allows Android owners to use their phone as a flashlight, is a top download from Google Play, the main Android marketplace. Statistics from the site indicate that it has been downloaded more than one million times with an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. The application, which is available for free, displays mobile advertisements on the devices it is installed on. However, the device also harvested a wide range of data from Android phones which was shared with advertisers, including what the FTC describes as 'precise geolocation along with persistent device identifiers.' As part of the settlement with the FTC, Goldenshores is ordered to change its advertisements and in-app disclosures to make explicit any collection of geolocation information, how it is or may be used, the reason for collecting location information and which third parties that data is shared with."

Neverquest trojan threatens online banking users

Computerworld
IDG News Service

A new Trojan program that targets users of online financial services has the potential to spread very quickly over the next few months, security researchers warn.

The malware was first advertised on a private cybercrime forum in July, according to malware researchers from Kaspersky Lab who dubbed it Trojan-Banker.Win32/64.Neverquest.

"By mid-November Kaspersky Lab had recorded several thousand attempted Neverquest infections all around the world," said Sergey Golovanov, malware researcher at Kaspersky Lab, Tuesday in a blog post. "This threat is relatively new, and cybercriminals still aren't using it to its full capacity. In light of Neverquest's self-replication capabilities, the number of users attacked could increase considerably over a short period of time."

Neverquest has most of the features found in other financial malware. It can modify the content of websites opened inside Internet Explorer or Firefox and inject rogue forms into them, it can steal the username and passwords entered by victims on those websites and allow attackers to control infected computers remotely using VNC (Virtual Network Computing).

However, this Trojan program also has some features that make it stand out.

Its default configuration defines 28 targeted websites that belong to large international banks as well as popular online payment services. However, in addition to these predefined sites, the malware identifies Web pages visited by victims that contain certain keywords such as balance, checking account and account summary, and sends their content back to the attackers.

This helps attackers identify new financial websites to target and build scripts for the malware to interact with them.

Once attackers have the information they need to access a user's account on a website, they use a proxy server to connect to the user's computer via VNC and access the account directly. This can bypass certain account protection mechanisms enforced by websites because unauthorized actions like transferring money are done through the victim's browser.

"Of all of the sites targeted by this particular program, fidelity.com -- owned by Fidelity Investments -- appears to be the top target," Golovanov said. "This company is one of the largest mutual investment fund firms in the world. Its website offers clients a long list of ways to manage their finances online. This gives malicious users the chance to not only transfer cash funds to their own accounts, but also to play the stock market, using the accounts and the money of Neverquest victims."

The methods used to distribute Neverquest are similar to those used to distribute the Bredolab botnet client, which became one of the most widespread malware on the Internet in 2010.

Neverquest steals log-in credentials from FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client applications installed on infected computers. Attackers then use these FTP credentials to infect websites with the Neutrino exploit pack, which then exploits vulnerabilities in browser plug-ins to install the Neverquest malware on the computers of users visiting those sites.

The Trojan program also steals SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and POP (Post Office Protocol) credentials from email clients and sends them back to attackers so they can be used to send spam emails with malicious attachments. "These emails are typically designed to look like official notifications from a variety of services," Golovanov said.

In addition, Neverquest steals acc