Behind the facade

There is a question, there are several questions and for the most we have been ignorant of these questions because we give more unruly validity to the populist masses. ABC questioned it yesterday evening with: ‘Why is Huawei so controversial and being targeted by foreign governments?‘,  the article (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-07/why-is-chinese-tech-company-huawei-being-targeted/10593156) is an excellent piece by both Ian Burrows and Jack Kilbride, and it is brilliant that for the most we see questions, we see questions that are important. In equal measure we see answers and points made. Points that most of the media shunned from, it all starts with: “The dramatic arrest in Canada of a top Chinese technology executive for possible extradition to the United States has sent stock markets plummeting and cast doubt on a recent US-China trade truce“. We see the shot across the bow with: “Reports say Ms Meng is facing extradition to the US on suspicion she violated US sanctions against Iran“. So there we have that they are not giving us the fact that they have evidence, merely that they have suspicions and that is why the extradition had been started. A woman in high office and that is the one you arrest, right? The fact that Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei might merely be icing on the American cake. As I personally see it, it has nothing to do with any of that, it is not about any option that involves Iran, if so dozens of Indian nationals and Russians would have been in a similar state, yet they are not. America is not acting there are they? No, America is afraid, it has been for a long time and for the longest of times they were looking in the wrong direction. As the cowards they have shown themselves to be 4 times over, they got played and Huawei, especially Ren Zhengfei knows how to play this game and brokered deal after deal. Facilitating towards fintech, but not facilitating to fintech, two very different stages. And now we get: “It says it operates in more than 170 countries, has 180,000 employees and serves more than a third of the world’s population“, that is the fear, because if wealth is set to the currency of data, American businesses don’t really hold a candle anymore do they? I have the goods on $2 billion in value, yet I do not trust anyone, especially the American corporations that hide behind ‘misunderstanding’, ‘miscommunication’ and inflated or deflated values as their need for greed requires. That is why people go directly towards places like Google and Huawei as they tend to cater (more) correctly, as long as their corporate targets are met. The fear of no longer being regarded as an entity that matters is the new fear of America. And with 1/3 of the population catered by a Chinese conglomerate and well over 40% by others moves America from the number one players to a player in the top 6. And you know Americans, they only respect number one, and the idea that this is a Chinese company is just too offensive to them.

The article has more. When we revisit “New Zealand’s international spy agency also followed Australia’s lead, banning the use of Huawei equipment in its planned 5G upgrade, saying it posed a “significant network security risk”“, we are introduced to more lies, lies propagated by America. It was an utter step of stupidity. At present no evidence has ever been submitted that Huawei was a risk and the idea that they serve a third of the population is a debilitating fear that America is unable to deal with, it is like anti-communism on steroids, a new cold war where America is optionally not in pole position. You see, this is in opposition to MI6 chief Alex Younger, he never claimed this. He stated that the British government (or any government for that matter) should never be at risk and should never hand out such levels of infrastructure risk to others. That is perfectly valid, it is a policy choice and the United Kingdom would be well off to take that step. Now we do get that it makes things harder for others, yet in an age of data to not have your own technology in place is ludicrous. That is a fair point to have, and that is valid, very valid. Yet the simpletons under us give us unwarranted and invalidated ‘significant network security risk‘, so please feel free to explain to me when stupidity was a good idea in any setting of data or security?

Concerns

There are concerns when ANY company growths to the size of Huawei, we cannot deny that, you merely have to look at the stupidity Facebook has shown in the last 61 weeks, three days and 6 hours to realise that part of the equation. And the article gets us to a statement that matters, so when we see: “There has long been concern that Huawei is not that separated from some of the Chinese security apparatus and there are suggestions its equipment could be used for spying“. OK, the concern is valid, yet is it happening? Is there a cause for concern, for genuine concern? Optionally there is and it merely gives empowerment to the statement that Alex Younger gave us, not the dozen of Punch and Judy characters claiming the unproven ‘significant network security risk‘. There is a difference you know.

We can argue that there is another part that matters. I remember reading a paper form Shanghai University (2010) who made the setting that there is a theoretical part in AES256 that makes it viable to unnerve the encryption (I did not say hack it). It requires quantum computing skills, but still there was an interesting part in the paper that reminded me of another stage (I will not go deeper into it now).

Going back to the concerns, we see a part by Fergus Hanson, that is valid, yet is it a real concern? He gave us: “The biggest concern is, whether they want to do it or not, they can be compelled by the Chinese Communist Party to spy and conduct espionage on the Chinese Communist Party’s behalf“, I am not sure whether it is valid. It should not be ignored, yet in this age of economy and revenue (and profit) would you want to endanger the goose with its golden eggs when a third of a population is using your products? When you get people by the billion handing data to Facebook and a league of other sources, when that data is already accessible, why push further at present? That is the stage Chinese intelligence is in, and even as we cannot ignore that danger, do you think anyone in the Chinese intelligence chair (namely Chen Wenqing) would be allowed to keep his seat if he directly endangered Chinese economy to that degree?

And how did China react? When the opportunity came up to bash President Trump and his personal iPhone, we see: “Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed the claims and suggested that “if they are really very worried about Apple phones being bugged, then they can change to using Huawei,” instead“, in one shot, brilliant!

When China is that proud of its devices, would they want to be proven wrong? Would they want to?  And whilst we consider how to hack the phone, we forget that there is another way: Kaspersky (at https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/hacking-cellular-networks/10633/) gave us all the way back in 2015: “It was last year when a new method of attack on cellular networks was discovered. It requires neither costly radio scanners nor PC powerhouses and is available to virtually anyone. Besides, carriers have no practical means of protecting against this type of attack“, everybody is crying over the milk being stolen whilst criminals are getting direct access to all the cows in the land, how did that make sense, like ever?

And the hacking gets to be worse. One source giving us: “Interestingly enough, the 3GPP, the organization in charge of setting mobile data network standards and enforcing them, also acknowledged the issue in 2006 but chose to do nothing about it. Researchers brought up this vulnerability to the world in 2015 in a paper titled: Practical attacks against privacy and availability in 4G/LTE mobile communication systems.  That same year, the ACLU managed to obtain documents that described the stingray surveillance device had identical functionalities. In the following year, Zhang Wanqiao of Qihoo 360 extended the practical attack described by the initial researchers and presented on it at DEFCON 24 in August of 2016. Now, at Ruxcon in October of 2016, the attack has been demonstrated and been proven to work on all LTE networks with readily available gear“, and in all this Huawei was never part of this, yet that is where the focus remains and whilst this push goes through, we see a short sighted approach. I am not worried on the risk via Huawei, there is enough evidence out there that the concern is not ‘Is Huawei the danger’, it is whether these so called politicians playing with their Punch puppets are setting the stage that hacking becomes increasingly easy for others to hack it.

So here we are, in a stage where America is already facing energy hikes, hikes that started at a mere 5% hours ago as they agreed ‘to cut global oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day‘, something I saw coming two weeks ago. Now we get a new stage, not merely a technological one, it will be a field of what I call ‘techno-facilitation‘, As the 5G pressure changes, places like Huawei are pushing not for the parts they are rejected from, but the consumer parts, the smart devices that are added to more and more non smart devices on a daily basis. Some might have seen the ‘Samsung Family Hub 2.0 Smart Fridge‘. To oversimplify it, it is a fridge with a tablet on the front door (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaKh5qJrTKQ), as we see more applications towards smart devices, these solutions all require interfaces and there Huawei has options and already an advantage. You see, the chance of a players like Gorenje, Hoover, Beko or AEG taking their own department into 5G technology of get a Huawei package is another matter. Soon enough we will see that Huawei will merely spread out, perhaps not allowed be part of the 5G infrastructure, yet as Huawei has shown to be economically terrific towards the consumer, they will get more and more options, and every delay and disappointment the others are making will quickly infuriate the consumers and tax payers to a larger extent.

The bigger worry is not the one; it is the other (nice and cryptic). You see, Huawei can afford to wait to some degree, as we see the perpetuated non truths of devices being pushed forward, the replacements better do a whole lot better and they are unlikely to do so. When we see another failure in 5G start and we see transgressions and those screaming that ‘Huawei’ was a danger, the moment they cannot prove it and their ‘friends’ give us a device that is malicious, the blowback will be enormous. There is already cause for concern if we go by CNBC. They give us a few points that show the additional fear that America has on Huawei.

We get: ‘T-Mobile says a nationwide network will launch in 2020‘, optional a year AFTER Huawei is ready to launch 5G, and then we get: “most people won’t be able to access them since they’ll only be available in a small number of markets next year. Plus, the way we use phones today won’t really require the faster data speeds 5G will offer. Today’s 4G LTE networks are more than fast enough for all the video and music streaming you want to do on your phone“, is it not interesting that something as fragile as 4G LTE is to hacking, which has been known for the longest of times is still the pushed solution? And I personally interpreted “won’t really require the faster data speeds 5G will offer“, is more like a way to state, ‘we cannot offer it’ versus ‘You do not need it’, you merely have to watch Netflix on a tablet in 4K to see that need prop up overnight. All these excuses and intentional phrased denials in a stage without Huawei is why there is such a large issue. I get where Alex Younger is coming from, the rest is merely trying to avoid panic of no longer being a person that matters in the mobile industry, the fact that Huawei grew so fast and so large is the biggest fear that they have because whatever they win, Wall Street optionally loses. Screens behind mirrors, facades behind facades and they are all in fear of being considered redundant in a technological age that is still not slowing down.

And I am not alone here. The New York Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/opinion/huawei-meng-wanzhou-china-arrest.html gives us: “This week, the White House released a five-year plan around STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math — that is not nearly robust enough to make the Chinese even slightly nervous that we can keep up with their decidedly more aggressive efforts to train their work force for the next era of computing“, the short and sweet part is that America is not ready to take any lead anywhere for the next 15 years. In addition we see: “I am perplexed about why the Trump administration has been such an embarrassment when it comes to the kind of actual leadership and vision needed to keep the United States at the forefront of the tech race“. This is where he is wrong, you see this is not on President Trump, this is a failing that goes back to the Bush era, the era before President Obama. What had to be done then was not done and now the impact is a lot larger than it could have been. So when we see the quote “everyone would feel a lot more confident if the government was also focused on investing more in American innovation and if the crackdown looked less chaotic“, we see the fear from the US, it is not ready, it has failed innovation and the mistakes made are optionally debilitating the next 15 years of innovation. Chine is primed and ready and that is where we see the fear. American is pushing itself towards becoming a third world nation, they did this all by themselves, and it goes further than merely technology. The US has shown a lack of insight for a much longer time. As we see US Defense giving us: “The Navy is asking Congress to fund a conversion of its 600-foot stealth destroyers from primarily a land attack ship to an anti-surface, offensive strike platform, according to budget documents released Feb. 12“. It was earlier this year. It matters as we see merely 2 weeks ago: “The destroyer Zumwalt’s big guns don’t have any ammo, and the Navy may ditch them entirely because they don’t even work right“, so we are confronted with ‘a request for $89.7 million’ to make it better, that thing costed billions in research, it took half a billion to make, it is useless (decently ugly) and in 4 hours I had a $3.5 million concept solution to sink it. In all honesty I have to admit that my idea was designed to sink the Iranian fleet, but this vessel is just slightly too insulting for comfort. The Digital Journal did some of the legwork form me with: ‘Can’t fire its guns due to massive $1 million per round cost‘, ‘May lose stealth due to redesign limitations‘ and ‘Cuts to stealth capacity add up to many more risks in combat‘. The article (at http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/op-ed-accountancy-vs-usazumwalt-a-stupid-story/article/538102) has a lot more and my mere $3.5 million solution, which is a simple redesign from something made in the 70’s. I saw it as a way to turn Iranian cruisers into submarines (with air-conditioning). It is murder on the lungs, but good for non-Iranian morale and as such it was a great idea. It could be easily adjusted to park the USS Zumwalt at 18°38’18.9″S 147°10’15.3″E and help it grow coral for the Great Barrier Reef, all problems solved.

My issue links it as we see the problem, they are linked because we failed the STEM education path for well over a decade, so there is a massive shortage. There is a reason why the larger players like Salini Impregilo are looking at Universities all over the world seeking quality Engineers and they are not alone, the shortage is close to global and there we see the growing advantage that China is now showing to have. The fact that America is showing such levels of non-vision, even within their own navy results is exactly what they are shouting in fear.

I would go one step further in the proclamation that America is not afraid of what China can do, they have no one left to show them and explain to them what the Chinese capabilities are and that is a lot more fearful than anything else. That is how I see it (and I might per 100% wrong), yet consider the failings we have seen in the last year alone, the emotional push in places where logic require to prevail, the inability to counter what should not have been a threat. The Mabna Institute in March: “The DOJ says the hackers stole 31 terabytes of data, estimated to be worth $3 billion in intellectual property. The attacks used carefully crafted spearphishing emails to trick professors and other university affiliates into clicking on malicious links and entering their network login credentials” (source: Wired). Not the fact that it happened, the stage that it took forever to find and do something is equally part in all this. June gave us: “marketing and data aggregation firm Exactis, which left about 340 million records exposed on a publicly accessible server. The trove didn’t include Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, but it did comprise 2 terabytes of very personal information about hundreds of millions of US adults” and important here is that these are the so called clever people. Those with fat incomes and nice additional perks, if they cannot contain the issue, the underpaid, undervalued and overworked IT people at the US government truly have no chance at all, do they?

The facades behind the facades are shining through 10 windows all without curtains or coding (at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/06/windows_10_security_questions_remotely_defined_answers/) and it gets to be a lot worse in 2021 when 5G hits full force everywhere, it is a cyber criminals dream coming true. Huawei is in all this merely the smallest blip on the radar and that realisation should hit us fast and quick, because at present, the only way to keep your data safe is to educate yourself, no one else will, they do not know how.

 

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One response to “Behind the facade

  1. Pingback: The assumption of right | Lawrence van Rijn - Law Lord to be

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