Closing Thought–22Feb17

I am not by any measure of the imagination a techno geek….I include such posts in my closing thoughts and hope that my readers with more knowledge will find it worthy of comment and correct any mis-statements that may be included….

The buzzword of the year is —-cyber-security….both personal and national…..a new report covers just how it works within the confines of a democracy…..

“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” This 19th-century quip, often attributed to the satirist Ambrose Bierce, deserves a 21st-century update: “Attacks against the U.S. are God’s way of teaching Americans how weaker enemies are stronger than they seem.”

Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are the paradigmatic examples of this. On September 11, 2001, they gave Americans, along with the rest of the world, a lesson in “asymmetric warfare”—armed conflict between two sides whose relative military power differs significantly, and in which one party can gain advantage by targeting the other one’s weak points.

Source: How Democracies Lose in Cyberwar – The Atlantic

This is my swan song for the day….go out and live a bit….be well, be safe…..chuq

Closing Thought–20Feb17

Just a FYI piece for my readers

This would be a good post for my more tech oriented readers to reply about….I am not a techno geek….Hell I still hunt and peck with 3 fingers….

Ever get annoyed by those pop-up adverts that appear out of nowhere when you are trying to watch something interesting?

Did you know that many of those advertisers are getting popped by hackers for millions, even billions of dollars?

Computer hackers are a sophisticated system of fake websites and artificial web users to deceive advertisers into thinking that people are clicking on billions of online adverts and videos every day.

The fraudsters create a series of fake websites and use computer programs called “bots” to record the starting and stopping of videos and clicks on adverts, which are then reported to advertising companies as activity by humans on real websites.

In fact, some experts believe that 70% of online advertisements are never even watched or clicked by humans.

This statistic stunned Ron Amram, vice-president of media at Heineken USA, who admitted to Bloomberg in 2014, “It was like we’d been throwing our money to the mob.”

Source: Hackers use ‘bot fraud’ operation to cheat advertisers out of billions every year

I have mixed emotions…..on one hand serves them right for being irritating douches and the other no one deserves that kind of punishment….

Signing off for the day…posting will start again tomorrow….chuq

Fusion–Word Of The Day

We have added a word to the vocabulary that is a bit confusing…..FUSION.

Most people immediately think of nuclear power and such when the word is mentioned……We have Fusion food, the combining of several different cultures for a unique flavor…..then we have Fusion Jazz, to some it sounds like the musicians are all playing a different song but it is more improv than anything….and finally we have a Fusion Center.

Okay now…what is a Fusion Center?

Basically it is a program under the auspices of the Dept. of Homeland Security……

“A fusion center is a collaborative effort of two or more agencies that provide resources, expertise and information to the center with the goal of maximizing their ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.”

Fusion centers contribute to the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) through their role in receiving threat information from the federal government; analyzing that information in the context of their local environment; disseminating that information to local agencies; and gathering tips, leads, and suspicious activity reporting (SAR) from local agencies and the public. Fusion centers receive information from a variety of sources, including SAR from stakeholders within their jurisdictions, as well as federal information and intelligence. They analyze the information and develop relevant products to disseminate to their customers. These products assist homeland security partners at all levels of government to identify and address immediate and emerging threats.

Beyond serving as a focal point for information sharing, fusion centers add significant value to their customers by providing a state and local context to help enhance the national threat picture. Fusion centers provide the federal government with critical state and local information and subject matter expertise that it did not receive in the past – enabling the effective communication of locally generated threat‐related information to the federal government. Integrating and connecting these state and local resources creates a national capacity to gather, process, analyze, and share information in support of efforts to protect the country.

Now that there is a general definition and description of what these are…I shall move one…..this story is by the Future of Freedom Foundation….keep in mind it has a Libertarian tilt to their reporting….

When it comes to mindless excess in the war on terror, it is difficult to compete with the 70+ fusion centers bankrolled by the Department of Homeland Security. They began to be set up around the nation shortly after 9/11 as federal-state-local partnerships to better track terrorist threats. But the centers have been a world-class boondoggle from the start.

Fusion centers have sent the federally funded roundup of data on Americans’ private lives into overdrive. As the Brennan Center for Justice noted in 2012, “Until 9/11, police departments had limited authority to gather information on innocent activity, such as what people say in their houses of worship or at political meetings. Police could only examine this type of First Amendment-protected activity if there was a direct link to a suspected crime. But the attacks of 9/11 led law enforcement to turn this rule on its head.”

Source: A Billion Dollars of Federally Funded Paranoia – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Oh goodie….another government program that gets lots of cash and accomplishes little……the American way.

I Feel So Much Safer Now (Sarcasm)

This war on terrorism is going well if you count the physical aspects but what about the program to counter the on-line recruitment and radicalization?

We are kicking ass and taking names on the ground but in the fight on-line is another story…..

In that seemingly endless array of US government programs intended to counter ISIS’ online recruitment, the Pentagon invested substantial money in a program called WebOps, meant to employee top language specialists to scour social media and talk potential recruits out of joining ISIS.

Those familiar with the program call it an absolute disaster, quickly becoming a laughingstock in social media circles for its incompetence, and having no measurable impact beyond costing money, and leading to investigations of impropriety.

Counter-propaganda efforts failing is nothing new, but the ways in which WebOps has failed are definitely unique, centering in no small part on their “Arabic specialists,” meant to talk ISIS recruits out of joining, having no experience in counter-propaganda, little to no understanding of Islam, and not even being able to speak Arabic very well.

This has been the source of a lot of mocking from would be targets, who get approached and quickly discover the specialists are unintelligible, using incorrect words all over the place. Workers said that one translator had mixed up the word authority with the word for salad, and made numerous social media posts about the Palestinian Authority which referred to it as Palestinian Salad.

While Centcom is downplaying the problems and refusing to discuss the matter too directly, reports are that whistleblowers have been pushing investigations into the program, even as the Pentagon has begun taking bids on another $500 million scheme that aims to do what WebOps was supposed to be doing, but isn’t.

(antiwar.com)

Maybe someone in the new admin ought to address this lack of success and find a way to expand this program to include a successful conclusion.

Just a thought that will not do anything to improve their success percentage….get more media bang for visuals not shadow ops…..

Obama Broadly Expands NSA Power

In the closing days of his presidency our president Obama has expanded the power of the NSA……and the chances of further abuses of our privacy…….a final shot, if you will…..

With just over a week left in office, President Obama has massive expanded NSA authority to share the personal communications swept up in their many warrantless wiretap schemes with America’s other 16 spy agencies.

The move aims to “relax” limits imposed by privacy laws by allowing the NSA to share raw data in a more or less limitless fashion with the other 16 spy agencies before the privacy laws are even applied to them. This is meant to get more eyes on the data collected.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who like Obama is out the door in about a week, defended the move, arguing that all the spy agencies will be bound by existing rules once they get ahold of and process the raw data. Privacy experts, however, note that the existing privacy protections aren’t great to begin with, and the expansion to so many different agencies just increases the risk of abuse.

(antiwar.com)

But there is more on this presidential move……

the Obama administration finalized new rules that allow the National Security Agency to share information it gleans from its vast international surveillance apparatus with the 16 other agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.

With the new changes, which were long in the works, those agencies can apply for access to various feeds of raw, undoctored NSA intelligence. Analysts will then be able to sift through the contents of those feeds as they see fit, before implementing required privacy protections. Previously, the NSA applied those privacy protections itself, before forwarding select pieces of information to agencies that might need to see them.

Source: Why Is Obama Expanding Surveillance Powers Right Before He Leaves Office? – Defense One

Will any of this be overturned by the incoming president….or will these abuses be further extended?  All indicators point to the later.

Whatsa “Selfie” Worth?

Smile it is the weekend and take a “selfie” of yourself…you made it through another week of mindless media rhetoric.

Speaking of a “selfie”…..you know that cute little thing that has become popular with the invention of the smart phone…. there are even “selfie” sticks so you can get some height and I even heard that there will be a “selfie” drone…..sorry I do not do these trendy things…..I do not like looking at myself in a mirror so I will not waste my time taking photos of myself…..

To answer the question…is a selfie worth losing everything you may have accumulated?  There is the possibility.

But there is something even creepier about a “selfie”……

Justin Bieber will need to watch his bank statements. Flashing the two- finger peace sign in photographs could soon be the equivalent of inking your account details on your forehead, experts have warned.

Isao Echizen, of the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, said that the quality of smartphone cameras had reached the level where fingerprints that can trick biometric security devices could be obtained from casual snaps posted on social media.

Source: Photos are a giveaway for fingerprint fraudsters | News | The Times & The Sunday Times

But will they heed the warning?  Nope, Americans are too smart to get caught in this trap.

Thoughts?

Nothing huh?

Me?  I will use it as I use all my phones….make calls.

Then by George take some time and enjoy your day…see you guys tomorrow……Peace

The Intel Briefing

I have been having a good laugh at all the back and forth over the report that Russia was involved in a hack…..I wish I could say that there was anything usable in all the chatter and noise….but that would be a lie…the only thing that was given the public by either the media or the rags was hearsay and out right stupidity….and a few morons that are stroking out…..

But Mr. Trump got his briefing last Friday…..

A report declassified Friday by the US intelligence community states Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” during the 2016 US election to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, CNN reports. According to NBC News, the CIA and FBI have “high confidence” in that conclusion, and the NSA “has moderate confidence.” The New York Times calls the report “damning and surprisingly detailed.” The report says Russia’s campaign started out as an effort to undermine American democracy but mutated into a push to get Trump elected. “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the report states. At the same time, it sough to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

To do that, the report says Russia’s military intelligence arm GRU leaked hacked information from the DNC, John Podesta, and others to WikiLeaks and other third-party websites. Russia also “obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards,” according to the report. It used paid social media users and state-sponsored media for propaganda purposes, or “trolling” and “fake news.” The report says Russia even had a #DemocracyRIP hashtag ready to go on election night if it looked like Clinton was going to win. Intelligence officials briefed Trump on the contents of the report. The president-elect maintained that possible Russian actions had no effect on the election.

Contrary to the Tweets…..there is NOTHING in this unclassified report that indicates that Russia did this alleged hack to influence the election (there could be parts that remain classified and were not included)…..and most of the trolls in the blogosphere would know that if they had read the report or had gathered news from reliable sources ….(again I am speaking of the released unclassified report)

But do not take my word for it…read the goddamn report for yourself…..

Source: Russia Hacking report

But I am guessing that those trolls will not take the time to read the report…they prefer their brand of “truth”…..plus anything over four characters will confuse them into a stupor.

Modernizing ‘The Manchurian Candidate’

Has anyone here seen the Manchurian Candidate….the original not the cheesy re-make…?  You should watch it then this post would make more sense than just a rant…..

We all have heard the back and forth by all sides about the “hacking” in the last election…..Trump is saying not so fast more info is needed but one of his advisers, James Woolsey, does not totally agree…..

Senior Donald Trump adviser James Woolsey says that despite the president-elect’s skepticism, he believes Russian hackers really were involved in election-related skulduggery. “I think the Russians were in there, but it doesn’t mean other people weren’t, too,” Woolsey tells CNN. “It’s often not foolproof to say who it is because it is possible and sometimes easy to hide your tracks. There’s lots of tricks.” Woolsey, who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations and was CIA director under Bill Clinton, admitted that Trump is an ” expert in weaving around” issues like this, and there is a chance that he could just be playing the media with claims to “know things that other people don’t know” about the hacking allegations.

The original movie is about a “sleeper” agent planted in the country that will effect the election…..

There are some similarities in life as in the movie….the closeness of some to Russia and the possibility of some sort of “coup” to put Russia in charge…..

An interesting article….(please I do not agree but it is a interesting point….that is if one takes the time to read it)…..

Donald Trump’s transition from U.S. President-elect to taking power recalls nothing so much as a forgotten Hollywood genre: the paranoid melodrama. Perhaps the greatest film of this type, “The Manchurian Candidate,” concerns a communist plot to use the brainwashed son of a leading right-wing family to upend the American political system. Given the fondness that Trump and so many of his appointees seem to have for Russian President Vladimir Putin, life may be about to imitate – if not exceed – art.

To be sure, the attraction for Putin that Trump and his picks for secretary of state and national security adviser ― Rex Tillerson and Michael Flynn ― share is not the result of brainwashing, unless you consider the love of money (and of the people who can funnel it to you) a form of brainwashing. Nonetheless, such Kremlinophilia is ― to resurrect a word redolent of Cold War paranoia ― decidedly un-American.

Source: Trump and ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ Are Too Similar for Comfort | The Huffington Post

There are just so many thoughts about what to expect and the possibilities after 20Jan17…..a day that will live in…… (you insert the term )…….

Closing Thought–04Jan17

While you were ripping paper off gifts or worried about the “millions” of people pouring across our border or ranting about all those “deplorables” that do not accept Trump…..a small thing was inching its way through the Congressional process…..

Has anyone heard of “Rule #41”?

(I will pause here for a Google search)

I lied….screw Google!

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies will be able to search multiple computers across the country with a single warrant thanks to a controversial rule change that takes effect on Thursday.

The expanded search power, known as “Rule 41,” is intended to make it easier for the FBI to carry out complex computer investigations. Until now, the government could only carry out a search of computers located in the district where the federal judge granted the warrant—typically only a few counties in a given state.

Rule 41 came about as part of a regular review of criminal procedure conducted by a conference of federal judges. After several years weighing the rule and a public comment period, the conference then submitted the suggested rule change to the Supreme Court, which then approved it to go into effect on Dec. 1.

(fortune.com)

If you really want to know about the “Rule”…then read it for yourself…….

Source: preliminary-draft-proposed-amendments – proposed-amendment-rule-41.pdf

Maybe paying attention would be better than worrying about something that has NOT happened and may never…..

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year….suckers!

The Russian “Hack” Report

Okay we have a report issued by the Intel people and the FBI on the hacking of the DNC and Podesta’s email account…..

Do you believe or do you join with your new “messiah” in the story of the hack?

In case you have an open mind (this is for people other than a GOPer)……

The 13-page report provides technical details regarding tools and infrastructure used by Russian civilian and military intelligence services to “compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. Government, political, and private sector entities.” (See the entire report below.)

Source: FBI, DHS release report on Russia hacking | TheHill

There is not much more in this released report that one could not have found on-line…..but in case you would like to read the report for yourself…..

Source: JAR-16-20296: GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity – JAR_16-20296A_GRIZZLY STEPPE-2016-1229.pdf

Personally, I would like to see the finished report when it comes out, probably next year….that is if it is not squashed by the new guy.

I cannot leave you guys without a little history……94 years ago, 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics, the USSR, was established…..