Category Archive 'Hacking'
07 Feb 2018

Right to Repair

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Computerized machinery, we are discovering the hard way, gives manufacturers permanent control of the machines we buy from them.


To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America’s heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that’s cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums.

Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform “unauthorized” repair on farm equipment, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.

“When crunch time comes and we break down, chances are we don’t have time to wait for a dealership employee to show up and fix it,” Danny Kluthe, a hog farmer in Nebraska, told his state legislature earlier this month. “Most all the new equipment [requires] a download [to fix].”

The nightmare scenario, and a fear I heard expressed over and over again in talking with farmers, is that John Deere could remotely shut down a tractor and there wouldn’t be anything a farmer could do about it.

A license agreement John Deere required farmers to sign in October forbids nearly all repair and modification to farming equipment, and prevents farmers from suing for “crop loss, lost profits, loss of goodwill, loss of use of equipment … arising from the performance or non-performance of any aspect of the software.” The agreement applies to anyone who turns the key or otherwise uses a John Deere tractor with embedded software. It means that only John Deere dealerships and “authorized” repair shops can work on newer tractors.

“If a farmer bought the tractor, he should be able to do whatever he wants with it,” Kevin Kenney, a farmer and right-to-repair advocate in Nebraska, told me. “You want to replace a transmission and you take it to an independent mechanic—he can put in the new transmission but the tractor can’t drive out of the shop. Deere charges $230, plus $130 an hour for a technician to drive out and plug a connector into their USB port to authorize the part.”

“What you’ve got is technicians running around here with cracked Ukrainian John Deere software that they bought off the black market,” he added.


You’ll be looking for Ukrainian software to hack the computer blocking non-dealer repairs in your Toyota and BMW very soon.

12 Dec 2016

Russia Rigged Election, Killed JFK And Hid Saddam’s WMDs, Confirms CIA

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Waterford Whispers:

Russians helped Donald Trump win this years US election, assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963 and hid Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) confirmed today.

President Barack Obama ordered intelligence agencies to review cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 US election and deliver a report before he left office, and was astounded at what the civilian foreign intelligence service of the United States federal government found.

“The Russians are to blame for everything wrong with America today,” Mr. Obama pointed out, reading from a ten page report into the CIA findings, “We didn’t know until now how much the Russian’s have influenced this whole planet over the last 50 years. Thankfully the CIA have accumulated all this evidence in just a matter of weeks, which is an incredible feat considering how long they took to find Osama Bin Laden, who we now believe was also backed by Russia”.

Furthermore, the intelligence agency also found that Russia was also responsible for several coups around the world, including Libya, Venezuela and may have orchestrated the 911 attacks on New York, the Pentagon and probably created the Zika virus while it was at it.

“Russia is really, really bad and they support Donald Trump,” a CIA spokesman confirmed in a brief statement, “Don’t ask us how we know all this because we can’t tell you as it’s very, very top secret; you will just have to trust us and take our word for it,” adding “We would never deliver fake news… not even once”.

26 Jul 2016

Who Hacked the DNC?

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Michael Isikoff reports that there are clues to the hackers’ identity.

Just weeks after she started preparing opposition research files on Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort last spring, Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa got an alarming message when she logged into her personal Yahoo email account.

“Important action required,” read a pop-up box from a Yahoo security team that is informally known as “the Paranoids.” “We strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.”

Chalupa — who had been drafting memos and writing emails about Manafort’s connection to pro-Russian political leaders in Ukraine — quickly alerted top DNC officials. “Since I started digging into Manafort, these messages have been a daily oc­­­­currence on my Yahoo account despite changing my p­­a­ssword often,” she wrote in a May 3 email to Luis Miranda, the DNC’s communications director, which included an attached screengrab of the image of the Yahoo security warning.

“I was freaked out,” Chalupa, who serves as director of “ethnic engagement” for the DNC, told Yahoo News in an interview, noting that she had been in close touch with sources in Kiev, Ukraine, including a number of investigative journalists, who had been providing her with information about Manafort’s political and business dealings in that country and Russia.

“This is really scary,” she said.

Chalupa’s message is among nearly 20,000 hacked internal DNC emails that were posted over the weekend by WikiLeaks as the Democratic Party gathered for its national convention in Philadelphia. Those emails have already provoked a convulsion in Democratic Party ranks, leading to the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the wake of posted messages in which she and other top DNC officials privately derided Bernie Sanders and plotted to undercut his insurgent campaign against Hillary Clinton.

But Chalupa’s message, which had not been previously reported, stands out: It is the first indication that the reach of the hackers who penetrated the DNC has extended beyond the official email accounts of committee officials to include their private email and potentially the content on their smartphones. After Chalupa sent the email to Miranda (which mentions that she had invited this reporter to a meeting with Ukrainian journalists in Washington), it triggered high-level concerns within the DNC, given the sensitive nature of her work. “That’s when we knew it was the Russians,” said a Democratic Party source who has knowledge of the internal probe into the hacked emails. In order to stem the damage, the source said, “we told her to stop her research.” …

In mid-June, Democratic Party suspicions about the hackers seemed to be confirmed when CrowdStrike, an outside security firm retained by the DNC, reported that it traced the hackers to two separate units linked to Russia’s security services: the FSB, Russia’s equivalent of the FBI, and GRU, the country’s military intelligence agency. The company noted strong similarities between the attack on the DNC by the suspected GRU hackers and previous cyberintrusions of unclassified systems at the White House, the State Department and the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (After discovering the data breach, a DNC security source said its cyberexperts noted that the hackers’ exfiltration of files took place “9 to 5, Moscow time.”)


Patrick Tucker, at the Atlantic, has more details.

Considerable evidence shows that the Wikileaks dump was an orchestrated act by the Russian government, working through proxies, to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“This has all the hallmarks of tradecraft. The only rationale to release such data from the Russian bulletproof host was to empower one candidate against another. The Cold War is alive and well,” Tom Kellermann, the CEO of Strategic Cyber Ventures said.

Here’s the timeline: On June 14, the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, under contract with the DNC, announced in a blog post that two separate Russian intelligence groups had gained access to the DNC network. One group, FANCY BEAR or APT 28, gained access in April. The other, COZY BEAR, (also called Cozy Duke and APT 29) first breached the network in the summer of 2015.

The cybersecurity company FireEye first discovered APT 29 in 2014 and was quick to point out a clear Kremlin connection. “We suspect the Russian government sponsors the group because of the organizations it targets and the data it steals. Additionally, APT29 appeared to cease operations on Russian holidays, and their work hours seem to align with the UTC +3 time zone, which contains cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg,” they wrote in their report on the group. Other U.S. officials have said that the group looks like it has sponsorship from the Russian government due in large part to the level of sophistication behind the group’s attacks.

16 Feb 2012

Forever Obnoxious

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The stupid, backward, and sexually inadequate residents of China and Vietnam suffer from a delusion that consuming the horn of the rhinoceros (black or white) will increase, or restore, their potency. The usual associative sympathetic magical thinking is behind all this. Rhino horns are long, impressively stout protuberances, so their consumption is supposed to result in long, impressively stout et ceteras for Chinamen.

Stupid, backward, and ethically-challenged black African poachers kill rhinoceros for their horns which get to East Asia via totally illegal black market smuggling operations.

This is all very regrettable, of course.

So what do noble and idealistic left-wingers do about THE PROBLEM?

They modify popular videos that bourgeois residents of Western democracies watch, deceptively labeling new versions remixed with heart-wrenching images of dying and mutilated rhinos. Pirating somebody else’s content in order to mislead people into watching their own advertisements (they made 60 of these) is left-wingers’ idea of a clever intervention.

Watching their disgusting advertisements is intended to get you to start weeping big salty tears over all those poor dead rhinos and make you sign this petition.

This petition, as far as I can see, includes no specific proposals of any kind. So you would really be signing the equivalent of a kind of political blank check, indicating that you are oh-so-very concerned about poor rhinos and believe that Something Must Be Done.

What that Something might consist of is unknown. But if you are stupid enough to sign, you are indicating agreement with the theory that you (residing almost certainly in a location with no rhinos and being yourself a non-consumer of medications made from rhino-horn) nonetheless subscribe to the theory that you are personally responsible for the foolish and unethical actions of various Africans and Asians totally unknown to you, and believe that the Congress of the United States (despite its complete lack of authority over Africa & Asia) is also obliged to do something about all of this, beyond agreeing to the CITES treaty and all the other things Congress has already done.

That moron Andrew Sullivan and an advertising blogging asshole who calls himself copyranter both thought deceiving Internet video watchers into accessing agitprop crap was clever and worthy of commendation. Personally, I wish Vlad the Impaler were around today to punish Internet fraud, along with its encouragement and support, in his traditional old-fashioned way using some very long rhino horns.

08 Oct 2011

US Air Force Drones Virused

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Noah Schachtman, at Wired’s Danger Room, broke the news of an extraordinary electronic warfare coup by an unnamed foreign adversary.

A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”

Military network security specialists aren’t sure whether the virus and its so-called “keylogger” payload were introduced intentionally or by accident; it may be a common piece of malware that just happened to make its way into these sensitive networks. The specialists don’t know exactly how far the virus has spread. But they’re sure that the infection has hit both classified and unclassified machines at Creech. That raises the possibility, at least, that secret data may have been captured by the keylogger, and then transmitted over the public internet to someone outside the military chain of command. …

The GCSs handling more exotic operations are top secret. None of the remote cockpits are supposed to be connected to the public internet. Which means they are supposed to be largely immune to viruses and other network security threats.

But time and time again, the so-called “air gaps” between classified and public networks have been bridged, largely through the use of discs and removable drives. In late 2008, for example, the drives helped introduce the agent.btz worm to hundreds of thousands of Defense Department computers. The Pentagon is still disinfecting machines, three years later.

Use of the drives is now severely restricted throughout the military. But the base at Creech was one of the exceptions, until the virus hit. Predator and Reaper crews use removable hard drives to load map updates and transport mission videos from one computer to another. The virus is believed to have spread through these removable drives. Drone units at other Air Force bases worldwide have now been ordered to stop their use.

In the meantime, technicians at Creech are trying to get the virus off the GCS machines. It has not been easy. At first, they followed removal instructions posted on the website of the Kaspersky security firm. “But the virus kept coming back,” a source familiar with the infection says. Eventually, the technicians had to use a software tool called BCWipe to completely erase the GCS’ internal hard drives. “That meant rebuilding them from scratch” — a time-consuming effort.

The Air Force declined to comment directly on the virus. “We generally do not discuss specific vulnerabilities, threats, or responses to our computer networks, since that helps people looking to exploit or attack our systems to refine their approach,” says Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, a spokesman for Air Combat Command, which oversees the drones and all other Air Force tactical aircraft.

Reports I’ve read quoting the Wired ask the silly question: was the infection accidental or deliberate. No one else has mentioned the obvious suspect: China. The good news is that the infection is apparently confined specifically to Creech.

16 Jul 2011

Major Cyberattack Revealed

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An IBD editorial mentions the kind of news items that won’t be making the New York Times’ front page: Chinese steal thousands of secret documents from defense contractor’s computers, and a member of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff announces that the US intends to develop methods of retaliation for such attacks.

In outlining America’s cyberwarfare strategy last Thursday at the National Defense University, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn disclosed that 24,000 sensitive files containing Pentagon data at a defense company were accessed in a cyberattack in March, likely by a foreign government.

He didn’t disclose the identity of that government, but in a bit of an understatement he acknowledged, “We have a pretty good idea.” So do we: the People’s Republic of China. In addition to conventional and nuclear weaponry, China has invested a great deal of time and treasure in what is known as “asymmetrical warfare” — the ability to exploit an enemy’s weakness rather than just try to match it tank for tank. …

Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon must shift its thinking on cybersecurity from focusing 90% of its energy on building a better firewall. “If your approach to the business is purely defensive in nature, that’s the Maginot line approach,” he said.

He was referring to the French fixed defensive fortifications that were circumvented by the Nazis at the outset of World War II. “There is no penalty for attacking (the U.S.) right now,” he added. We need the ability to retaliate and the will to do so. Call it mutual assured hacking after the deterrence doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD) during the Cold War.

09 Aug 2010

Whom Do You Make An Intelligence Analyst?

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If you are the US Army, you pick a gay, self-medicating, emotionally-unstable computer hacker, who harbors extreme liberal opinions, and who has “the personality of a bull in a china shop.”

Despite being apparently completely recognizable to acquaintances and associates as gay, and despite displaying a fairy wand on his desk, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy did not cause Pfc. Bradley Manning to be separated from the service. Manning had a drag queen boyfriend, hung out in politically-motivated circles of computer hackers, and had been reprimanded for assaulting an officer, but none of that kept him from having a Top Secret clearance providing access to what the New York Times describes as “some of the most secret information on the planet.”

07 Aug 2010

US Government In Standoff With Wikileaks

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Julian Assange

The Pentagon is demanding that Wikileaks cease publishing and return immediately stolen US documents in its possession, hinting darkly at legal prosecution if the Internet news site does not comply. (Christian Science Monitor)


Of course, it is always possible that Julian Assange and his merry band of pranksters may be less than intimidated by an adversary so clueless that its first response to the theft and publication of Top Secret military documents is to issue a directive prohibiting its own personnel from gazing at the offending web site.

This is the “Close the barn door from the inside when the horse got out” approach to security breaches. [Wired]


Besides, Wikileaks has uploaded a password-protected file labeled “Insurance,” and believed to contain a massive collection of highly toxic State Department material, consisting of, according to a chat interview published by Wired:

260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables that Manning described as exposing “almost criminal political back dealings.”

“Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,” Manning wrote.

Wikileaks has arranged, in the event that the US Government succeeds in shutting down its web site, to have the password released via Cryptome.

6 August 2010. If there is a takedown of Wikileaks, the insurance.aes256 file will be available through Cryptome along with the entire files of the Wikileaks website which have been archived.


Even without Julian Assange’s blackmail threat, Some News Agency sees problems trying to stop Wikileaks legally.

[F]rom a legal standpoint, there is probably little the U.S. government can do to stop WikiLeaks from posting the files.

It is against federal law to knowingly and willfully disclose or transmit classified information. But Assange, an Australian who has no permanent address and travels frequently, is not a U.S. citizen.

Since Assange is a foreign citizen living in a foreign country, it’s not clear that U.S. law would apply, said Marc Zwillinger, a Washington lawyer and former federal cyber crimes prosecutor. He said prosecutors would have to figure out what crime to charge Assange with, and then face the daunting task of trying to indict him or persuade other authorities to extradite him.

It would be equally difficult, Zwillinger said, to effectively use an injunction to prevent access to the data.

“Could the U.S. get an injunction to force U.S. Internet providers to block traffic to and from WikiLeaks such that people couldn’t access the website?” Zwillinger said. “It’s an irrelevant question. There would be thousands of paths to get to it. So it wouldn’t really stop people from getting to the site. They would be pushing the legal envelope without any real benefit.”

And the technical approach is problematic, too.

WikiLeaks used state-of-the-art software requiring a sophisticated electronic sequence of numbers, called a 256-bit key [to protect its “Insurance” files].

The main way to break such an encrypted file is by what’s called a “brute force attack,” which means trying every possible key, or password, said Herbert Lin, a senior computer science and cryptology expert at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.

Unlike a regular six- or eight-character password that most people use every day, a 256-bit key would equal a 40 to 50 character password, he said.

If it takes 0.1 nanosecond to test one possible key and you had 100 billion computers to test the possible number variations, “it would take this massive array of computers 10 to the 56th power seconds — the number 1, followed by 56 zeros” to plow through all the possibilities, said Lin.

How long is that?

“The age of the universe is 10 to the 17th power seconds,” explained Lin. “We will wait a long time for the U.S. government or anyone else to decrypt that file by brute force.”

Could the NSA, which is known for its supercomputing and massive electronic eavesdropping abilities abroad, crack such an impregnable code?

It depends on how much time and effort they want to put into it, said James Bamford, who has written two books on the NSA.

The NSA has the largest collection of supercomputers in the world. And officials have known for some time that WikiLeaks has classified files in its possession.

The agency, he speculated, has probably been looking for a vulnerability or gap in the code, or a backdoor into the commercial encryption program protecting the file.

At the more extreme end, the NSA, the Pentagon and other U.S. government agencies — including the newly created Cyber Command — have probably reviewed options for using a cyber attack against the website, which could disrupt networks, files, electricity, and so on.

“This is the kind of thing that they are geared for,” said Bamford, “since this is the type of thing a terrorist organization might have — a website that has damaging information on it. They would want to break into it, see what’s there and then try to destroy it.”

The vast nature of the Internet, however, makes it essentially impossible to stop something, or take it down, once it has gone out over multiple servers.

In the end, U.S. officials will have to weigh whether a more aggressive response is worth the public outrage it would likely bring. Most experts predict that, despite the uproar, the government will probably do little other than bluster, and the documents will come out anyway.


Mikael Viborg, owner of PRQ hosting company at its server location

Were the Department of Defense, the NSA, or the FBI actually inclined to do anything about Wikileaks, NYM would be glad to help.

Their web site, we find, is hosted by PRQ in Stockholm, Sweden. That hosting company’s abuse reporting email is:

Be aware, however, that PRQ is associated with the notorious Swedish Bit Torrent file sharing hub The Pirate Bay.

07 Dec 2009

British Newspapers Blame Russian State Security for Climategate Leak

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The server holding the leaked emails was located here in Tomsk.

First, the Daily Mail expressed its own suspicions that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), successor to the KGB, was behind the Climategate email hacking.

Suspicions were growing last night that Russian security services were behind the leaking of the notorious British ‘Climategate’ emails which threaten to undermine tomorrow’s Copenhagen global warming summit.

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the explosive hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked via a small web server in the formerly closed city of Tomsk in Siberia.

The leaks scandal has left the scientific community in disarray after claims that key climate change data was manipulated in the run-up to the climate change summit of world leaders. …

Russia – one of the world’s largest producers and users of oil and gas – has a vested interest in opposing sweeping new agreements to cut emissions, which will be discussed by world leaders in Copenhagen tomorrow.

Russia believes current rules are stacked against it, and has threatened to pull the plug on Copenhagen without concessions to Kremlin concerns.

The Mail on Sunday understands that the hundreds of hacked emails were released to the world via a tiny internet server in a red brick building in a snow-clad street in Tomsk.


The Independent is quoting Jan Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), identifying the FSB as responsible.

The computer hack, said a senior member of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, was not an amateur job, but a highly sophisticated, politically motivated operation. And others went further. The guiding hand behind the leaks, the allegation went, was that of the Russian secret services. …

The FSB security services, descendants of the KGB, are believed to invest significant resources in hackers, and the Tomsk office has a record of issuing statements congratulating local students on hacks aimed at anti-Russian voices, deeming them “an expression of their position as citizens, and one worthy of respect”. The Kremlin has also been accused of running co-ordinated cyber attacks against websites in neighbouring countries such as Estonia, with which the Kremlin has frosty relations, although the allegations were never proved.

“It’s very common for hackers in Russia to be paid for their services,” Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, said in Copenhagen at the weekend. “It’s a carefully made selection of emails and documents that’s not random. This is 13 years of data, and it’s not a job of amateurs.”

The leaked emails, Professor van Ypersele said, will fuel scepticism about climate change and may make agreement harder at Copenhagen. So the mutterings have prompted the question: why would Russia have an interest in scuppering the Copenhagen talks?

This time, if it was indeed the FSB behind the leak, it could be part of a ploy to delay negotiations or win further concessions for Moscow. Russia, along with the United States, was accused of delaying Kyoto, and the signals coming from Moscow recently have continued to dismay environmental activists.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, the old saying remarks.

It is a delicious irony that economic self interest seems to have led the successors to the Soviet KGB to start playing on the side of the angels, exposing manipulation of scientific data, collusion at fraud, and concerted efforts to muzzle critics. The timing of the leak was clearly deliberate.

22 Nov 2009

University of East Anglia CRU Hacked Emails

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And this is how we present the data, by taking care to stop at just the right point! (From Bishop Hill)

The University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit used to describe itself as “widely recognised as one of the world’s leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change.”

After a Russian web-site offered a collection of stolen emails revealing conversations expressing doubts about Anthropogenic Global Warming, frustration at the inability of current models to predict actual climate, discussions of how to manipulate counter-evidence, and even fantasies about beating up scientific opponents, it is probably in the future going to recognized as a questionable, highly partisan source of suspect information, requiring the most careful independent review and confirmation.

The story is complicated, and the response from the left, which is invested in theories of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) because they justify its preferred statist agenda and support its Manichaean hostility toward human productivity and prosperity, has been voluminous.

I do feel obliged to supply a basic tour d’horison of the affair.

Who leaked the emails? here (IMPORTANT: contains links to compressed copies of files since deleted from original Russian source.)

Andrew Bolt
does the best job of summarizing the original story.

James Delingpole, at the Telegraph, collects a number of the best damning quotations from the leaked emails:

Manipulation of evidence:

    I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:

    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Suppression of evidence:

    Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

    Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

    Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

    We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.


Attempts to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP):

    ……Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back….

And, perhaps most reprehensibly, a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority.

    “This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

    “I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”


So how do you spin your way out of this one, a situation in which scientists are revealed to be conspiring to manipulate and supress evidence, in which they admit privately that their science does not work, in which they conspire to control scientific publication?

Brian Angliss knows how. You just pooh pooh the whole thing, and claim

(I)t’s much ado about nothing (with apologies to Shakespeare). I work in electrical engineering where I use words and phrases that, taken out of context, could be misinterpreted as nefarious by people who are ignorant of the context or who have an axe to grind.

It’s going to take the commentariat time to read and absorb 172 megabytes of material. I expect that there will be more to say about this.



More choice excerpts from Bishop Hill.

19 Mar 2009

Conficker C to Strike April 1st

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The Conficker worm (also known as Downadup.AD) appeared last October targeting (surprise! surprise!) Microsoft Windows vulnerabilities common to 2000, XP, Vista, et al.

It has contaminated more than 9 million PCs worldwide, hitting 1.1 million on a single day last January. Conficker has shut down the operations of the French Air Force, 24 RAF air bases, and 75% of the Royal Navy, and infected hundreds of computers serving Germany’s Bundeswehr and Defense Ministry.

New York Times

The program grabbed global attention when it began spreading late last year and quickly infected millions of computers with software code that is intended to lash together the infected machines it controls into a powerful computer known as a botnet.

Since then, the program’s author has repeatedly updated its software in a cat-and-mouse game being fought with an informal international alliance of computer security firms and a network governance group known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Members refer to the alliance as the Conficker Cabal. …

An examination of the program reveals that the zombie computers are programmed to try to contact a control system for instructions on April 1. There has been a range of speculation about the nature of the threat posed by the botnet, from a wake-up call to a devastating attack.

Researchers who have been painstakingly disassembling the Conficker code have not been able to determine where the author, or authors, is located, or whether the program is being maintained by one person or a group of hackers. The growing suspicion is that Conficker will ultimately be a computing-for-hire scheme. Researchers expect it will imitate the hottest fad in the computer industry, called cloud computing, in which companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems sell computing as a service over the Internet. …

Several people who have analyzed various versions of the program said Conficker’s authors were obviously monitoring the efforts to restrict the malicious program and had repeatedly demonstrated that their skills were at the leading edge of computer technology.

For example, the Conficker worm already had been through several versions when the alliance of computer security experts seized control of 250 Internet domain names the system was planning to use to forward instructions to millions of infected computers.

Shortly thereafter, in the first week of March, the fourth known version of the program, Conficker C, expanded the number of the sites it could use to 50,000. That step made it virtually impossible to stop the Conficker authors from communicating with their botnet. …

A report scheduled to be released Thursday by SRI International, a nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, Calif., says that Conficker C constitutes a major rewrite of the software. Not only does it make it far more difficult to block communication with the program, but it gives the program added powers to disable many commercial antivirus programs as well as Microsoft’s security update features.

“Perhaps the most obvious frightening aspect of Conficker C is its clear potential to do harm,” said Phillip Porras, a research director at SRI International and one of the authors of the report. “Perhaps in the best case, Conficker may be used as a sustained and profitable platform for massive Internet fraud and theft.”

“In the worst case,” Mr. Porras said, “Conficker could be turned into a powerful offensive weapon for performing concerted information warfare attacks that could disrupt not just countries, but the Internet itself.”

The researchers, noting that the Conficker authors were using the most advanced computer security techniques, said the original version of the program contained a recent security feature developed by an M.I.T. computer scientist, Ron Rivest, that had been made public only weeks before. And when a revision was issued by Dr. Rivest’s group to correct a flaw, the Conficker authors revised their program to add the correction.

Although there have been clues that the Conficker authors may be located in Eastern Europe, evidence has not been conclusive.

Information Week
links this removal tool.

Alarmingly, TrendMicro’s virus encyclopedia entry is “temporarily unavailable.”

19 Feb 2009

Cyber Attacks on US Defense Department “Like a Perpetual Hailstorm”

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Armand de Borchgrave
, in the Washington Times, shares some impressive figures from a recent Cyber Security conference.

Cyberwarfare is waged on a massive scale the world over. Ostensibly friendly nations zap each other’s electronic nerve cells frequently, and with reckless abandon. On a single day in 2008, the Pentagon was hit by would-be intruders 6 million times in 24-hour period. Before Sept. 11, 2001, the highest annual figure for cyber attacks against the Pentagon was 250,000.

Speaking not for attribution at a think tank meeting, a Pentagon “cyber warrior,” said it felt “like a perpetual hailstorm pelting an imaginary glass envelope around the Defense Department, but there is still no way of telling whether these were attempted intrusions by teenagers testing their hacking skills or the electronic warfare departments of China and Russia, that we know are constantly flexing their electronic muscles.”…

he Pentagon cybernaut did not disclose how many, if any, of the 6 million attempted intrusions were successful. Another Pentagon insider, speaking privately, said “an important internal e-mail system was taken down for two days.”

Speaking at the same think tank meeting, the chief security officer of a major New York-based financial house said they had been attacked 1 million times in a 24-hour period.

05 Jan 2009

British Police to Hack Private Home PCs

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They got the idea from Brussels.

London Times:

The Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant.

The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives “a coach and horses” through privacy laws.

The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room.

Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.

Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone’s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.

A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he “believes” that it is “proportionate” and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime — defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years. …

Richard Clayton, a researcher at Cambridge University’s computer laboratory, said that remote searches had been possible since 1994, although they were very rare. An amendment to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 made hacking legal if it was authorised and carried out by the state.

He said the authorities could break into a suspect’s home or office and insert a “key-logging” device into an individual’s computer. This would collect and, if necessary, transmit details of all the suspect’s keystrokes. “It’s just like putting a secret camera in someone’s living room,” he said.

Police might also send an e-mail to a suspect’s computer. The message would include an attachment that contained a virus or “malware”. If the attachment was opened, the remote search facility would be covertly activated. Alternatively, police could park outside a suspect’s home and hack into his or her hard drive using the wireless network.

Police say that such methods are necessary to investigate suspects who use cyberspace to carry out crimes. These include paedophiles, internet fraudsters, identity thieves and terrorists.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said such intrusive surveillance was closely regulated under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. A spokesman said police were already carrying out a small number of these operations which were among 194 clandestine searches last year of people’s homes, offices and hotel bedrooms.

“To be a valid authorisation, the officer giving it must believe that when it is given it is necessary to prevent or detect serious crime and [the] action is proportionate to what it seeks to achieve,” Acpo said.

Residents of Britain live under a legal regime that arrests people for carrying pen knives, for hunting with hounds, and for politically incorrect speech, and which watches its own citizens’ daily activities via 4.2 million CCTV cameras (one for every 14 people). The current British idea of what exactly is a “serious crime” is not likely to provide much protection for individual liberty or privacy.

04 Jan 2009

Cyber Attacks Coincide with Israel’s Attack on Gaza

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Israeli Intelligence mouthpiece DEBKAfile succeeded in restoring service today after a period of outage.

DEBKAfile’s two sites in English and Hebrew came under a massive cyber attack on our servers at the moment Israeli ground forces crossed into the Gaza Strip Saturday night, Jan. 3. The attackers tried and failed to block and replace our content. We did our utmost to restore service as quickly as possible and return to full operation.

DEBKAfile wasn’t the first site hit.

Computerworld reports earlier activity aimed at Israeli business and web domains:

The conflict raging in Gaza between Israel and Palestine has spilled over to the Internet.

Since Saturday (12/27), thousands of Web pages have been defaced by hacking groups operating out of Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey and Iran, said Gary Warner, director of research in computer forensics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The defacements have primarily affected small businesses and vanity Web pages hosted on Israel’s .il Internet domain space. One such site was that of Israel’s Galoz Electronics Ltd. On Wednesday, the hacked Web site read “RitualistaS GrouP Hacked your System! ! ! The world isn’t insurance! ! ! For a better world.”

Other attackers have placed more incendiary messages condemning the U.S. and Israel and adding graphic photographs of the violence. Warner said he has seen no evidence that any Israeli government site has been hit by these attacks, although they have been targeted.

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