Category Archives: IT

A new danger

There is a setting of dangers, the dangers are not merely setting, and for the US it is inequal discussion on how many allies they have left in the near future. It is not a new danger; the actions have been under scrutiny for some time. Yet last night something changed. We understand that electing the 45th president, a ‘former’ greed driven billionaire would always have consequences, yet the amount of consequences shown is now escalating.

The Washington Post gave uis 90 minutes ago ‘GOP fundraiser Broidy under investigation for alleged effort to sell government influence, people familiar with probe say‘, the article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gop-fundraiser-broidy-under-investigation-for-alleged-effort-to-sell-government-influence-people-familiar-with-probe-say/2018/08/17/c9e55792-a185-11e8-8e87-c869fe70a721_story.html?utm_term=.774c7a3358da) a different setting. We always knew that there are two sides and the ‘less progressive’ republican side was always a little of a hot potato to some. Yet with “The Justice Department is investigating whether longtime Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy sought to sell his influence with the Trump administration by offering to deliver U.S. government actions for foreign officials in exchange for tens of millions of dollars“, that hot potato has now turned into a handgranate. With the quote “As part of their efforts, prosecutors have subpoenaed casino magnate Steve Wynn, the former RNC finance chairman and longtime Trump friend, for copies of records and communications related to Broidy” we see that there is a much larger net being used. It is not merely about Broidy, with names like Steve Wynn we see that there are several names involved, all people with almost direct access to the President of the United States, and with names like Jho Low and Guo Wengui we see another side of ‘entrepreneurship’ hitting the limelight.

Yet how real is the setting?

Part of it is seen in the Wall Street Journal, and with “through June and into July, Mr. Low had been living freely in China, a person aware of his travels said”, as well as “Mr. Low had a close relationship with former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who in turn was courted by China. Malaysia’s new government suspects Mr. Low helped arrange infrastructure projects, financed by China, from which funds were diverted to cover debts”, the second part now giving us that America as well as other players wanted access to Mr. Low, yet that in itself is not evidence against Elliott Broidy. What it does tell us that multiple players want access to this billionaire, all for their own reasons and with the US with a debt surpassing 21 trillion, we can only wonder what some people want Mr. Low for. The additional part is that Malaysia is now pulling all the plugs. This is seen as Channel NewsAsia is reprting that “The Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft, estimated to cost US$35 million was allegedly bought with money belonging to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)” (at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysia-to-prove-jho-low-private-jet-bought-stolen-money-1mdb-10621726). It seems so flaky and weird to merely focus on one plane. The amounts are massively larger then the $35 million, so in that case, if that evidence falls over, will the case on that side against Jho Low collapse? When we look in that direction and look at Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, we see that hsi platform is set upon anti-Chinese activities and when we see the accusation “critic on Chinese ventures in his home country for being too expensive and has suspended three China-backed projects worth around $22 billion that were signed under the previous administration”, we see that there might be  case in that part, yet why focus on $35 million in a $22,000 million setting? We also see an additional stage in “Explaining his decision at a news conference last month, the veteran politician said the contract and loan terms behind the deals were unfair, noting that the interest rates on China’s loans were much higher than the 3 percent figure at which the government normally borrowed, the Associate Press reported“, is this all about the money, or merely a way to set the stage for re-negotiation. In that setting, the sound strategy becomes that Elliott Broidy was setting the stage for the United States to poach the finance deals away from China and in that setting, getting Jho Low to give the goods would help the US pretty decent. In addition, when we look at the education of Jho Low, we see that he is an alumni of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the same school that has President Trump, as well as the bulk of CEO’s that at one stage were the captains of the Fortune 500 lists, it includes dozens of airline CEO’s, so in that setting the Malaysian government goes looking for a $35 million plane?

So what is exactly the danger?

It is not on merely the setting of Elliott Broidy in all this, it is the setting where we all need to realise that there is a cost to doing business and it has transgressed borders for the longest of times that, whilst we accepted that in Europe to some degree, Americans never accepted or comprehended that. The media players used that part in all kinds of election setting and fear mongering for the longest of times. From my point of view (optionally a wrong one), we see how people like John Brennan is a danger to that setting. People dedicated to the protection of that their nation will not accept the global cost of doing business; they are in line with monarchists and devoted workers to their nations like we see in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, as well as Canada. In republics, republicans are in a setting that this time is gone; it is the age of the corporate setting of common sense towards pragmatism. The problem as I see it is that those of no use to the needs of such a republic lose value overnight, that whilst the monarchist setting is to embrace all the citizens and protect them all. It is done at a cost, one that those people tend to accept. Yet in the republican view, these costs are counterproductive to corporate profit, the non-consumers are a cancer, needed to be cut out. When globalisation sets in to the business degree that will be a lot easier and that is where we see the stage. So when we see “In the 48 hours since President Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, over 70 former intelligence officers and leaders have come forward denouncing the president’s decision to revoke or threaten to take away security clearances from former government officials, including a list of 60 former CIA officers who signed a statement today, obtained by Axios“, we also see that America (or is that Wall Street) are confronted with a change no one was ready for, so the economy becomes a stagnant danger to them, one where they do not make profit.

When we see names like:

  • Jeremy Bash, former CIA and DoD chief of staff
  • Bob Flores, former CIA chief technology officer
  • Kent Harrington, former national intelligence officer for East Asia and CIA director of public affairs
  • George Little, former chief spokesman, CIA and DoD
  • Phillip Mudd, former CIA analyst
  • John Nixon, former CIA analyst
  • Greg Vogel, former CIA deputy director for operations

We see that the USA is in an upcoming setting of polarisation and that is just within the republican side of government and its administration. There is a change coming and the outcome is hoped for (on both sides) but the outcry gives us that this is a round that Wall Street is likely to lose this battle and that changes the game. In addition, when we see the required application of intelligence data and who gets access to it sets a new border, the fact that others (like France and UK) need to realise that shared intelligence data is no longer safe, because the data shared within corporations while used to set a very different stage of what is regarded as needed for security. The corporate side is already countering the advantage that a national intelligence system has. We see this in part when we look at Business Wire (at https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180806005526/en/Global-Database-Valuable-Italian-Business-Intelligence-Data), where we see ‘Global Database Makes Valuable Italian Business Intelligence Data Available – Completely Free‘, before you dismiss this, also consider that “Any registered user can now access key information about 7,564.575 registered companies in Italy“, registration is free and that is merely one of close to a dozen places where this is happening. All connected, it is an optional setting of open source intelligence that is merely a foundation pillar. You merely have to add LinkedIn and Facebook to have a dataset that will allow you to extrapolate data that will make plenty of intelligence groups envious. You see, this is not about finding the criminal, or the terrorist. They are either known or not an issue. This is the setting of finding economic opportunities, the setting to see who is connected and interacting with the alumni of places like the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. A group of people with connection and access to funds totaling well over 157 trillion Euro, so whilst we wonder on the fear of where is the terrorist (whilst the danger of getting run over in the street is 20 times more likely, we forgot that our futures, any future is set in the stage where there is economic viability and availability.

That is the part that we see to forget, or even worse actively avoid contemplating. In the time when we are led to believe that there is economic upturn everywhere, we seem to forget that as the river of economy changes, we will either be in a place of plenty, or we are set into the next stage of drought and it will be the one view we have until the end of our lives. It is about ability to live with a level of expected comfort which is likely no longer set to national boundaries, it will be set to the boundary of the corporation or business group that we work for and facilitate for, it will be as cold as that, and until we get past this greying generation, which is optional until 2035, that is how it will be for those in this era. The man behind the Global Database, namely Nicolae Buldumac has figured parts of that out, so that is why he and 30 others in London are doing this. When we look at the article (at https://medium.com/@buldumak/cookie-audience-vs-data-audience-which-is-better-44971ad12ee4), we also see ‘Cookie Audience Vs Data Audience: Which is Better?‘, he found a way to not create the best of both worlds, he found out how he can make both work for him and that is where he created more than economic opportunity. He has found the stage where he can optionally get the facilitators work for him and that seems to be exactly what he is doing. When he is done he will have a similar setting for France, Germany, the UK and Spain. So basically the 5 largest European economies are opportunities where he has the keys and data to.

So when we get to look at the US again, do you think that this will be about Elliott Broidy or people like him in an outdated setting? No, they are the garnishing of economic times that surpassed them and it is the data makers and facilitators like Nicolae Buldumac where the republican mindset of corporations will rely on next, they are the future and their path for enablement is what sets the stage for Europe. This is not clever technology (well in a way it is), it is about the quality of data and what it allows for and that is where we see that the moment that data hits a critical point, it will equal the value of Facebook or more. Some will argue that most of that is all in any Chamber of Commerce and they would be right, but those entities do not talk to each other, they are founded on borders of a national level or lower and in the entire euro setting they for the most never aligned, so someone did it for them and on their own dime, optionally replacing them, or better stated, reducing those previous players to mere data entry points. Governments had to realign their data dimensionality a decade ago, but everyone was so busy keeping their own pond clean that they forgot that the pond is only important to the land surrounding it, when that floods, the ponds become merely crevices of a lake, Lake Europa, that is where Nicolae Buldumac it taking them, so soon others (like Asia and America) they will look at the parts of Lake Europa and see where fishing is the best, those land borders no longer matter and that is the stage we find ourselves in. A changing setting of what sets the identity.

Am I the first?

Hell no! This was all done before. Forbes in 2013 gave us an article by George Bradt. The article called ‘How Army Intelligence Techniques Apply to Business Leads‘. Here we see “Marketing may have a bias to giving sales people a large number of leads, while sales people seek potential customers they can engage with. The answer is to move from big, unstructured data sets to “finding that guy” that really cares. This was Mishor’s ah-ha moment, realizing that army intelligence techniques could be applied to business“, yet it goes further, when you consider one, and the other, you should also realise that the parameters are bidirectional with the proper data flags. So when we see the two streams lead to the same insight. “On the one hand, Mishor is creating value with a systemic, scalable way to connect seemingly unconnected data to identify the most valuable target customers. On the other hand, Mishor built his business by connecting seemingly unconnected hopes and needs of his prospects” we see the solution at both ends, and in addition we see that we can define the need much more precise. From my point of view we can see a third direction. That part is not easily seen, so I will give an alternative example.

In factor analyses we go from many to one. We get the setting that the numbers equate to a factor, it is basic statistics. When we go into the other direction we see the foundation of a discriminant analyses. The third part is seen in that the data setting when something is proven in a factor analyses, it should almost always fail as a discriminant analyses and vice versa. I tend to use humour on that and state ‘It is sarcasm, when it backfires it is merely irony‘. The intelligence data was always on finding the person, yet in a stage of lacking resources, being able to safely remove a person as a threat is equally valuable. If you cannot find that one person, reducing the 5,000,000 stack to a mere 5,000 with 99% certainty is just as valuable, because the one final link could reduce that to 50 whilst not having to revisit the previous 4,995,000 considerations. As I see it in this day and age, not only is the stage of military intelligence and business intelligence not mutually exclusive, they are more and more overlapping. The overlapping field becomes an insightful pool of data where it will no longer be about the one person, it will be more and more about a setting where the value of Analysis of covariance will be important.

In the intelligence it could be seen that it is not merely about the terrorist and its connections. It will be about the moneyman and who else links, both optionally to the mastermind. In business intelligence that setting is not merely see as to where a person studied. It is more and more important on where the patents are and who has them as well as the people creating those patents. In this economy the economic value of a patent over overwhelmingly important. That part is seen when we get back to the 5G race, we saw that last march when we were confronted with “U.S. President Donald Trump has blocked microchip maker Broadcom Ltd’s (AVGO.O) $117 billion takeover of rival Qualcomm (QCOM.O) amid concerns that it would give China the upper hand in the next generation of mobile communications, or 5G“, in addition Forbes gives us within the article ‘Ericsson Vs Huawei: Who’s Winning The 5G Race?‘ Yet there we see two parts. The first is “However, two of particularly significant scale and market presence are Ericsson and Huawei. Will one conquer overall?“, as well as “Financial strength matters. Ericsson will have to turn the ship towards profitability and growth waters, in order to continue the required investment in product development”, which relies on “Ericsson recently announced what seems on the surface to be an impressive 5G patent application. Calling it an “end-to-end” submission, the filing combines the work of 130 Ericsson inventors and promises to include everything needed to build a complete 5G network“, the ability to set 600 million will give the optional 60 billion in return and it will in addition set the stage for European growth to a recently unprecedented (or was that non-presidential?) scale and America wants slices of that pie, if not the whole pie. The stage of corporate setting versus national setting in direct exposure of what is to come and the 5G battle theatre will be a big one, because the winners there will be the next kingmakers and everyone will want parts of it; that was never in doubt. The evidence is all over the place.

Forbes also gives us the new danger setting with the question ‘Does a global geographic footprint matter?‘ It is close to everything in this game, if only that the global footprint lets corporations walk all over government. Amazon, Apple, IBM and Microsoft have been doing that for the longest of times.

There is one part with Forbes that I do not agree with. They state “I would give Ericsson the edge here, considering its global presence includes North America“, I believe that Europe is the much larger powerhouse. You see, America is a mere 325 million, whilst the EU represents 512 million with direct access to India, China and Russia. All stages that America denied itself; if the setting of data (amounts and quality) determines their value; which players and where would they be able to grow this path the fastest and longer? The fact that Ericsson is not merely in the US, but they are showboating in Saudi Arabia is also a sign that they realise that stronger growth everywhere matters, the presented quote “Saudi telecom operator Mobily and Ericsson held a 5G demo at the Mall of Arabia in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, showcasing the functionalities of the next-generation mobile technology. Ericsson supplied Mobily with a standalone 5G system, including a prototype 3.5GHz radio, baseband, and prototype UE device for the 5G demo, which showcased 5G throughput, targeting speeds of up to 1Gbps. The demo is part of Mobily’s plan to highlight expected 5G benefits consumers and industries across Saudi Arabia“, is merely one of many.

The question now becomes: ‘is exponential growth, growing too fast in all directions not a danger all on itself?’

 

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When inability drives fear

It is a dangerous place to be in. We all have been there and in most cases it is as innocent as it could ever be. You see, sometimes life throws you a curveball. Gamers tend to identify it most easily. In my particular case it was a game called Magic Carpet. It was a Bullfrog game and I was testing it on the PC. It played magnificently there, and soon thereafter I also tested it on the very first PlayStation. There, because of the controller it was good, but not great. Still, it was fun to play and I tended (in those early years) to really get into a game, so when the situation blew into my face, I got a little frustrated. The next two times were worse and the last time (on that day) I went slightly angry (with myself) and I kicked the door. The issue was not the door, it was my steel tipped boot and I went straight through the door, so, I was not merely ticked off, I had a hole in the door (which would require funds to repair) and the boss in Magic Carpet was still alive. We all have had these moments. Our car, our bike, the TV, things go wobbly on you and we sometimes react wrongly to this situation and in light of that get to reflect on our own ego’s a little.

These are the images going through me when I was confronted to new information when looking at the unrealistic response by America (and Australia) to Huawei. In the case of Australia it seemed the mere application of greed and fear as politicians cater to the greed of a large telecom company, which was not seemingly the case with America. Yet that tip was raised for me less than 24 hours ago. The article (at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/15/botched-cia-communications-system-helped-blow-cover-chinese-agents-intelligence/), shows how the CIA got their own systems handed to them through ego and what I would regard as stupidity. The initial headline ‘The number of informants executed in the debacle is higher than initially thought‘ is rather unsettling. It gets to be worse with “The CIA had imported the system from its Middle East operations, where the online environment was considerably less hazardous, and apparently underestimated China’s ability to penetrate it. “The attitude was that we’ve got this, we’re untouchable,” said one of the officials who, like the others, declined to be named discussing sensitive information. The former official described the attitude of those in the agency who worked on China at the time as “invincible.” Other factors played a role as well, including China’s alleged recruitment of former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee around the same time.” This is the most dangerous of settings. The wrongful setting comes straight from Sun Tsu where we learn that all war is based on deception. China is not some place that is tinkering at the side of the road, the Art of War COMES FROM CHINA! It gets to be worse when you consider that that book was written long before Americans had adopted proper reading and writing skills, close to 1200 years before that, so that was their first error.

When we see: “But the penetration of the communication system seems to account for the speed and accuracy with which Chinese authorities moved against the CIA’s China-based assets. “You could tell the Chinese weren’t guessing. The Ministry of State Security [which handles both foreign intelligence and domestic security] were always pulling in the right people,” one of the officials said. “When things started going bad, they went bad fast.”“. The entire matter seems to be exponentially wrong. The big issue is not on how it was cracked, or even if it was cracked. My issue had been (for a much longer time now) that for too long, the deciding voices, all listening to some CTO, often with multiple sides lacking wisdom that the setting was not merely that there was ‘a security risk’, there was for the longer time a much larger security flaw. For much too long a time, we got the ‘slides of wisdom’ on how data in transit tends to be safe and data at rest tended to be in danger. Even when I started my CCNA, the amount of knowledge given in the Cisco books gave the rise to the consideration that data in transit is not merely as vulnerable, it was that a lot more could be done unnoticed (not merely by the Chinese mind you). It was some time before the Sony hack that I expected a setting where the routers themselves might be used against the owner, it went further when we consider Wired in 2013 (at https://www.wired.com/2013/09/nsa-router-hacking/). The headline is not merely ‘NSA laughs at pc’s, prefers hacking routers and switches‘. It is the setting where we see: ““No one updates their routers,” he says. “If you think people are bad about patching Windows and Linux (which they are) then they are … horrible about updating their networking gear because it is too critical, and usually they don’t have redundancy to be able to do it properly.” He also notes that routers don’t have security software that can help detect a breach“. This is where I was in 2011, when I started to comprehend the working of a router and router tables, I figured out that it is not the router they can see that is the problem; it is the one they cannot see. That idea came from a presentation by Thomas Akin, CISSP, Director, Southeast Cybercrime Institute who had a presentation for the Blackhat briefings. The 2002 presentation gave me the idea. You see apart from the lack of security, the +1 hop hack allows form something truly unique. Consider [.MIL Server], that server connects to <secure router 1> and things are set into motion. Now, we cannot direct all the traffic, yet materials from that location to let’s say ‘preferred consultant one‘ will go via certain paths, yet the first router after <secure router 1> tends to be merely one or two routers (depending on traffic) to that preferred consultant. It is easy to find a router that could optionally be a link to these routers and duplicate all packages that go to that specific next step. Not only is the task easily done, the path is not hindered, the router is not intervened with and a simple reset takes away whatever evidence existed in the first place. In addition, the additional part is that the compact flash in those routers is ‘The maximum storage capacity for the CF in Slot0 and Slot1 is 4GB‘, yet the only part here is that you only needed 32 MB, which is what most of us used then, but cards that small are no longer made, so most IT people just plug in what they have. You have well over 3GB of package storage, so all packages to that one location could be stored and redirected on the ‘off’ hours as not to leave any monitored spike. Until the CFlash card is ejected from the router and investigated no one will have a clue. That was 7 years ago and the systems are even more capable now, a 3GB glitch will not register on most systems, especially when those IT people do not block Spotify and/or YouTube. By the time they figured it out, the setting is already wiped, and this path can be adjusted on a daily bases so that most IT networkers never had a clue in the first place.

You think that I am alone in this, that I am this clever? No, I am not! There are plenty of IT Networkers running circles around me and that is now set into the stage of ‘we’re untouchable‘. The CIA was never that, they never needed to be touched, the opponent merely needed a clear line of sight to the router that is one skip from the secure router that they needed to get to. We see more in the Foreign Policy article with the quotes “Information about sources is so highly compartmentalized that Lee would not have known their identities. That fact and others reinforced the theory that China had managed to eavesdrop on the communications between agents and their CIA handlers” and “an encrypted digital program, allows for remote communication between an intelligence officer and a source, but it is also separated from the main communications system used with vetted sources, reducing the risk if an asset goes bad“. Now we merely add “But the CIA’s interim system contained a technical error: It connected back architecturally to the CIA’s main covert communications platform. When the compromise was suspected, the FBI and NSA both ran “penetration tests” to determine the security of the interim system. They found that cyber experts with access to the interim system could also access the broader covert communications system the agency was using to interact with its vetted sources, according to the former officials“. I believe it goes further than that. If we see the entire layer process and consider that in the end, certain systems merely replicate a process. Cisco (at https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/docs/lan-switching/8021q/17056-741-4.html) gives us: “A device can determine which VLAN the traffic belongs to by its VLAN identifier. The VLAN identifier is a tag that is encapsulated with the data. ISL and 802.1Q are two types of encapsulation that are used to carry data from multiple VLANs over trunk links”, as well as “The DA field of the ISL packet is a 40-bit destination address. This address is a multicast address and is set at “0x01-00-0C-00-00” or “0x03-00-0c-00-00”. The first 40 bits of the DA field signal the receiver that the packet is in ISL format“, so as the destination was known, the people needing this could search very specifically. When we consider ‘It connected back architecturally to the CIA’s main covert communications platform‘, the connection back would enable those seeking to find the needed value of the DA field. That does not merely impede the CIA, it stands to reason that to some degree the NSA would be just as vulnerable.

The main course

In my case, I tend to go for the Bambi burger, ideally I watch Bambi whilst having that lovely slice of venison. You see when we get to “As part of China’s Great Firewall, internet traffic there is watched closely, and unusual patterns are flagged. Even in 2010, online anonymity of any kind was proving increasingly difficult. Once Chinese intelligence obtained access to the interim communications system,­ penetrating the main system would have been relatively straightforward, according to the former intelligence officials. The window between the two systems may have only been open for a few months before the gap was closed, but the Chinese broke in during this period of vulnerability“, I believe the setting is worse than that. These players still require their consultants. It does not matter whether you call them construction workers, members of Blackwater, Xe Services, or Academi. It is those places as well as Booz Allan Hamilton and other providers that still require to be informed, and that is where the interception could start. The setting is not ‘the Chinese broke in during this period of vulnerability‘, it is the long term flags that they were able to test at this point and that is the fear we see with their setting of Huawei and partners. Not that Huawei is the danger, but the fact that Chinese intelligence is just as able to get into nearly all systems, it merely can get into Chinese systems faster (for now). This is where it gets a little more complicated, because it is not about the now, it is about tomorrow and the tomorrows that are coming. The only ones who have a chance of getting things done are players like the Constellis Group and Palantir when they unite abilities. It is going to be about data and about the ability to forecast how traffic goes. Thomas Akin was teaching this wisdom 16 years ago. We see this when we are made to realise

  • Live system data is the most valuable.
  • Immediate shutdown destroys all of this data.
  • Investigators must recover live data for analysis.

And the loss is merely a reset away, in most cases if there is an automatic reset; the only data available is the last transgression at best. With the coming of 5G live real-time capturing data streams is what is more likely to set the stage of finding out what happened, in this the entire setting of ‘China’s Great Firewall‘, we are already looking at outdated Chinese technology and I do believe that those behind the article, as well as some DARPA people are aware of that. America and Europe are behind in ways that we cannot even perceive, because the players that need to move forward are doing so iteratively, that whilst the time of reengineering is now merely 10% of what the development time was. We see this with “Call this the IBM problem, which faced an existential threat as soon as Asian groups started churning out cheap PCs in the 1990s. But here IBM also provides a few tips to the future, with its pivot to software and solutions. By the time of IBM’s iconic “solutions for a small planet” ad campaign in 1996, the company was trumpeting voice recognition and ecommerce — producing the sort of digital enterprise backbone that ended up helping develop the internet economy” (source: Australian Financial Review). In the first instance the Asian market required 10-15 years to catch up, the second time around it took 2-3 years and now with Google and Apple working globally, it takes months. IBM (others too) took iterative steps to maximise the economic footprint, instead of truly leaping forward whenever possible, they lost the advantage and are now trailing the markets. Huawei is one clear example where the American market was surpassed. Samsung showed its supremacy by having 5G home routers ahead of everyone else and the advantage in Asia is only growing. It is seen with “Alternatively, authorities might have identified the system through a pattern analysis of suspicious online activities. China was so determined to crack the system that it had set up a special task force composed of members of the Ministry of State Security and the Chinese military’s signals directorate (roughly equivalent to the NSA), one former official said“. I do not read this part in the same way. I believe that with ‘set up a special task force composed of members of the Ministry of State Security‘, was not about cracking. I personally believe that the Cisco books were so illuminating that they decided to change the setting in their own game. I believe that the Chinese now have a more advanced system. They have done what players like Cisco should have done before 2014 and they did not. I believe that when we see a partnership between Constellis and Palantir, their findings will bear that out with in addition an optional link that shows part of the accusation that China let Russia in on certain findings (and the Russian evolution of certain networking devices). This and the next part is largely speculative, but it is supported to some extent. We see this in: “Once one person was identified as a CIA asset, Chinese intelligence could then track the agent’s meetings with handlers and unravel the entire network. (Some CIA assets whose identities became known to the Ministry of State Security were not active users of the communications system, the sources said.)“. I believe that he part given in ‘not active users of the communications system‘ gives us the third part. I believe that the system was not merely invaded. There is every chance that certain systems when activated also leave tags behind and that is where the intrusion would have paid off. You see, in the Cisco setting (as an example), the data frame has an optional 60 bytes of extension headers, yet is that always empty? More important, when were these data packages truly thoroughly checked? In this speculative setting I take you to the movie Die Hard 2. In that movie we see on how someone decided to get clever and uses the outer marker beacon to warn the planes that were in danger. The beacon can be used in other ways than merely give a beep. I believe that Cisco data packages have other optional parts than can be ‘reused’ to do something different, like the optional headers. They are to most merely empty pre-set ‘spaces’, but they could have more. That is the setting that America faces and the fact that they could get overwhelmed by Chinese intelligence because they did not rely on iterative parts. Huawei had been leaping forward, for example now offering a 128GB Android 8.1 phone (the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset), for 50% less than its competitors. A system that is just as advanced as anything Apple and Samsung offer; at merely half the price whilst Chinese Intelligence has been digging into that device for months, unlike the NSA that needs to queue up with all the other users to get to look at the Pixel 3 and the iPhone 8 on launch day. That is the setting we seem to be seeing and America is indeed and rightfully worried, not because Huawei has backdoors (which I never really believed) but because the players here had been held backwards through iterative technology. Apple is actually staged by Forbes that way with the quote ‘a minor point update for the iOS 11.1 iteration‘, even Forbes speaks about iterative changes. That is the setting that they are up against and they have been surpassed for years and with Huawei leading the 5G stage on a global setting the US authorities are merely getting more and more afraid that not only are they no longer the leading players, they are now sidelined by not being able to keep up with what will be presented ‘tomorrow’.

That part can be supported through the CIA with analyses reports (at https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol49no3/html_files/Collection_Analysis_Iraq_5.htm), in here we see that Richard Kerr, Thomas Wolfe, Rebecca Donegan, and Aris Pappas give us (in a different context): “The analysis on this issue by the Intelligence Community clearly was wide of the mark. That analysis relied heavily on old information acquired largely before late 1998 and was strongly influenced by untested, long-held assumptions. Moreover, the analytic judgments rested almost solely on technical analysis, which has a natural tendency to put bits and pieces together as evidence of coherent programs and to equate programs to capabilities. As a result the analysis, although understandable and explainable, arrived at conclusions that were seriously flawed, misleading, and even wrong“. It is important to realise that this was on the WMD setting, so in a different context and on a different setting. Yet the information systems were all designed to upholster that flaw to an ‘evolved’ placement, the systems in their entirety are nowhere near ready, now even for the previous setting. The movement from a lot of staff to more fruitful consultant settings is now paying off in a negative way for the CIA (and the NSA too). This is where it gets interesting. You see, the previous setting that I gave should partially have been dealt with through the flashlight program that DARPA has. Raytheon BBN is working on that with Professor Richard Guidorizzi from George Mason University Fairfax. I think that the system is not entirely ready here, not if the packages can be duplicated via the router and as long as the original is not touched, that system will not get the alert lights ringing.

To get you on board on how far all the NATO partners are behind, let me give you two settings. The first is a DARPA Project called ‘Probabilistic Programming for Advancing Machine Learning (PPAML)‘, the man in charge is Dr. Suresh Jagannathan, yet the bigger brain might be MIT graduate Dr. Jennifer Roberts. The given setting is “Probabilistic programming is a new programming paradigm for managing uncertain information. Using probabilistic programming languages, PPAML seeks to greatly increase the number of people who can successfully build machine learning applications and make machine learning experts radically more effective“, whilst we also see the goods in the DARPA article by Dr Roberts with “If successful, PPAML could help revolutionize machine learning capabilities in fields from Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to predictive analytics and cybersecurity“, this is certainly leaping forward, but it is still based on a system. I believe that the Chinese decided to turn the funnel upside down. To illustrate this I need to get you to an app called Inke. The article (at https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2018/02/09/hidden-world-chinese-livestreaming-app-inke/), gives us ‘The hidden world of Chinese livestreaming app Inke‘, this is not a few people; this is a craze that has already infected millions upon millions. So with “he was actually doing a livestream, an extremely popular hobby for young people in China. China is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to embracing livestreams.” you are missing out and missing out by a lot. These streams are real-time and often geo-tagged. I believe that the Chinese have changed the setting, they are optionally collecting Terabytes of daily data and they are converting that to actionable intelligence. Facial recognitions in phones, geo-tagged and all uploaded and streamed, all converted on the spot, like the SETI screensaver, millions of affordable mobiles (this is where the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset and all other new handsets come in), parsing all that data into uploaded files and Chinese intelligence gets global information close to real time, whilst their learning machines are about efficiencies of collected data, it is not about the better application by making them more effective, it is about the massive amounts of data offered to get the systems to upgrade the efficiency of parsing data, because parsing data is where the bottleneck will be in 5G and they already have a larger advantage.

In the meantime, on any given day thousands of Inke users are filming life around them in malls and famous places looking awesome doing it. Yet, if you look at the CCTV settings, how many users would have passed 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, or at London SE1 9EL, UK walking towards London Bridge? How many people were merely assuming that they were tourists face timing with mom and dad? Are you getting that picture now? and also realise that Inke is merely one of more than 300 live streaming companies, all capturing that data all those tags that a smartphone allows it to capture and at the top of all this, Facebook and YouTube are eagerly pushing people to gain following by doing just that. So how long until the user realises that uploading the same stream to 2-3 providers gets them to gain a lot more following and optionally cash? Yes, the intelligence community is that far behind at present. So when we are worrying on “The system was not designed to withstand the scrutiny of a place like China, where the CIA faced a highly sophisticated intelligence service and a completely different online environment“, we need to consider that China is already ahead of the game and the CIA systems might be merely an option to scrutinise their own data, because that remains the Chinese bottleneck, the data will require verification and that is the one field where their opposition could gain the advantage if they set their minds to a different algorithm, one on reliability, not on likelihood. It is a setting where all the players involved have a second tier of consideration. They embrace a ‘not now, but soon‘ thought, when ‘I needed this yesterday‘ is the proper setting as I personally see it, because data without proper vetting is merely used space on any given storage device.

That final part can be considered when we look at the linked article that NBC had from last January. There we see: “When agents searched Lee’s hotel rooms in 2012, they found notebooks with the names of covert CIA sources, according to court documents. But not all of the agent arrests and deaths could be linked to information possessed by Lee, who left the CIA in 2007“, an issue I mentioned in an earlier blog. We get there when we consider his actions and ‘found notebooks with the names of covert CIA sources‘, do you think that anyone, especially in this setting would be that stupid? It’s like keeping the condom as a trophy after having intercourse, its useless and stupid. I believe that either it is not the ‘covcom’ system, or not merely the ‘covcom’ system. I believe that (if it is all correct) that Chinese intelligence got in further and deeper into acquiring the data required and the notebook is the proverbial red herring in all this, especially as Jerry Chun Shing Lee left the CIA in 2007. You do not hold on to that level of information 11 years after you might have had some level of valid reasons to have it in the first place. That is the part many overlooked, or looked away from.

In the end, I do believe that it is not merely the inability that drove the anti-Huawei waves, it is the fact that those decision makers have no idea where to navigate towards next is what drives their fears almost exponentially.

 

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Merely a starting point

There is an interesting article at the Guardian, which we were treated to mere 6 hours ago. The article ‘Virgin awarded almost £2bn of NHS contracts in the past five years‘ seems to be rubbing people the wrong way. We see (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/05/virgin-awarded-almost-2bn-of-nhs-contracts-in-the-past-five-years), the setting where in “one year alone, the company’s health arm, Virgin Care, won deals potentially worth £1bn to provide services around England, making it the biggest winner among private companies bidding for NHS work over the period“. In the end, the NHS either privatises to a much larger extent, or the service stops. It is basically that simple and it is only the beginning. Even when we give the right amount of empathy to Sara Gorton, the head of health at the trade union Unison, as she states: “The company has been so keen to get a foothold in healthcare, it’s even been prepared to go to court to win contracts, moves that have cost the NHS dearly. While the NHS remains dangerously short of funds, taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be wasted on these dangerous experiments in privatisation“, is that really the case? The fact that Virgin got the contract was mainly because it could be done cheaper. I warned for certain settings as early as 2014, that certain steps cannot continue that way, changes are essential. In addition, as late as January 2017, I mentioned (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/01/15/the-views-we-question/), in the article ‘The views we question‘, issues like: “the document, released in December, aims to address the need to bridge the local NHS funding gap of £267 million which will exist by 2020 if services stay the same in the region” gives rise to even more worry. Not only is the NHS a quarter of a billion short in roughly 1080 days in Coventry and Warwickshire, to survive they have to move? How will that aid the people in Coventry and Warwickshire? Will they end up with any health care at all, or will the local Romani Gypsies with oils and herbals need to be relied on? You think that I am exaggerating? If so, please feel free to inform me on how those two places Coventry and Warwickshire, with 340,000 and 550,000 people end up coming up short by £267,000,000 in three years? Well if advice comes at £343,000 on private consultants, that shortage might be reached rather quickly, but that is not the story is it? The story is how funding has failed and how much more it will fail over the next three years. So, as such, is my view as I personally see it of an essential judicial public inquiry that far-fetched?“, it refers to an article in the Coventry Telegraph, so with the question on how we can save money, which was billed at £343,000 , starting with common sense might have been a first solution. In addition (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/02/17/behind-the-smiling-numbers/), in ‘Behind the scenes‘, we get a few truths that really hurt and that was February 2016. The Guardian then gave us: ‘Income tax must rise 3p to stop NHS ‘staggering from year to year’‘, so, how much more taxation was captured for the NHS? Remember that was 2 years ago. In addition, I had issues (to some extent) on the path that Lord Kerslake took with his papers. And all these papers and consultancies (none of them free), the proper setting for mental health care was not properly set in the dimensions of cost and forecast, now add to that the setting of taxation delays and we see that the NHS is collapsing on itself, a collapse that is increasing in speed and that is merely the last two years. So in all this, someone at Virgin woke up and called Uncle Richard and asked if he was interested in making a few billion more. The setting was always falling in this direction, and most of it was not due to the tenacity of Richard Branson, but due to the political inaction and to an even larger extent the political follies seen (NHS-IT being the main one). Consider that it took me 8 hours to figure out a technological solution that could change the entire infrastructure of data, merely because I was willing to look at the larger picture and rearrange a few settings, the solution was printed in the History of Scotland, it was THAT simple. Yet none of those IT experts had a clue, or they did but the political engine would not consider adherence to change making it a bigger folly.

Now we see: “Precise details of all the contracts are difficult to establish because neither the Department of Health and Social Care or NHS England keep a centralised record. Virgin’s when it announced plans for six branded clinics offering a range of services. However, it was only in 2010 when it bought a stake in an existing provider, Assura, that it began to show greater ambition in the market“, which shows both the data folly as well of a massive lack of transparency on the health care part (optionally parts of the NHS as well), that shortcoming is the first setting into cost cutting and it is also a direct link to where services could be bettered. The second part was seen in January 2017 with ‘Dr Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Commons health select committee, criticised the government for blaming GPs for the crisis” as well as “She said in a tweet: “Pretty dismal stuff for govt to scapegoat GPs for very serious NHS pressures. Failure to understand the complexity or own responsibility.‘, the central setting was ‘Failure to understand the complexity‘, a part that was shown to a larger extent going back to 2016, even in 2015 and 2014, there were clear signs of non-comprehension in all this and the IT folly, which the Labour government was able to grow to £11.2 billion merely added to the pressures, whilst in addition to all that is also minimised options left for the NHS. all that squandering came at a price and it seems to me that both Sara Gorton and Paul Evans seem to steer in their lanes, but are equally ignoring the setting that the opportunity for Virgin grew due to a lack of flexibility in the organisations (slightly speculative) and the political branch merely added fuel to the squandering fires. Then finally the Lord Kerslake paper, which I opposed to some extent with the equations that they had in regards to the 20 OECD countries. Here I mentioned ‘Perhaps his Lordship could give a slightly more detailed explanation for the remark “Health spending needs to rise at least in line with GDP. Arguably, we may need to go faster if we want to match European funding“. Considering that the Netherlands and Belgium are next to one another and their budgets per person are apart by a mere 49.404%‘, I believe that it is not merely the stretch of the ‘holier than thou‘ GDP, I believe that there are additional elements making the comparison for the UK not merely dangerous, I believe them partially to be unusable (well a bit more than just partially). In all these settings there has been delay on delay and in the end Virgin had to step in. The funny part is that this also opens up data and reporting centres where Virgin has a much larger trove to work with. It would end up that a new VirginAnalytics could be what Dunnhummby was for Tesco, although with a data growth close to 500% of what Tesco allowed for, there is a decent setting where Virgin creates new levels of data cohesion giving the NHS an actual first time where there is a better level of reporting transparency as well as a better quality of Dashboard presentations, which will grow Virgin even more and also allows Virgin to skim the cream of the NHS sections that will be more profitable in the mid-term range of investments, opportunities grown from political complacency as well as political indecision.

So whilst people are going emotional with slogans like: ‘Not His to Seize‘, they all forget that the NHS and its political branch did this to themselves, Uncle Richard merely picked up the pieces and made it all work. This is getting even more traction when we consider the Lancashire Post where we saw almost a month ago “Opposition politicians have demanded an urgent inquiry into the way the authority awarded a £105m child health contract to Virgin Care, only for the decision to be blocked in the High Court. County Hall is continuing to consider its options after the ruling two weeks ago, one of which could be to re-run a part of the procurement process which the judge ruled fell short of the standards required

The article (at https://www.lep.co.uk/news/inquiry-call-over-lancashire-county-council-105m-virgin-care-health-contract-1-9241205) gives rise to questions not only on the awarding of contracts, but on the entire setting on investigating the amount and not to mention the fact that the contract was awarded whilst there were two NHS trusts on it, it shows that it not merely transparency. With ““We are in a real mess and the Government needs to intervene,” said Labour leader Coun Azhar Ali“, it implies that the NHS (as well as the local government) is to some degree riddled with incompetence. I cannot come to any other conclusion. The setting we see with “Coun Fillis added: “The Conservatives in Lancashire have been stopped once again from privatising public services, in this case our children’s health services“, is on Labour, not the Conservatives. The governing party decided to push for public health privatisation, and opposing it might be valid, but that legal invoice is still due, so crying over it with ‘tide of mounting legal costs, which the people of Lancashire will have to pay for‘, especially when you consider that “in view of the ridiculous comments from LCC’s Labour group, it should be borne in mind that the decision to seek tender for the provision of health services for Lancashire’s children and young people was actually taken by cabinet in February 2017, and both Couns Ali and Fillis were members of that cabinet“, so basically it was a decision that has suddenly hijacked by a minority and they are crying for the setting of cost? Go cry me a river, please!

It is in that setting, where politicians (especially labour) was lax with spending, squandered billions upon billions and they thought the Virgin train would pass them by. Now as this is not the case, not only do we see larger changes, there is the valid concern that mere niches are saved and a much larger setting still goes into the drink. If there is one setting that might change it is by taxing every person an additional £1 per payslip to save the NHS. It seems like a little, but with currently 32.2 million people working, that could add up to £65 million per fortnight. It might not be a lot, but it is a start and with that start you can begin to create momentum for the NHS that is by the way separate from all other funding due to the NHS. The question will people accept it? I reckon that when the NHS actually starts getting healthier, they will live with the loss of £1 each person, each payslip. It might have been pennies, initially, but that was 2 years ago, now we either act or lose a lot more and this is with VirginCare in place. Without it, and with the lack of restructuring the losses will be close to monumental, the simple impact of inaction, we can argue that the Conservative government is taking the easy way out, but is there any alternative? You merely need to look at what we can call a hijack by both Couns Ali and Fillis to realise that there are two in a setting that is much larger and those loses and those legal ramifications as well as the actions that followed is more than a sign of the times, it is a sign of high cost and zero impact desperation, that whilst actual working actions to get the NHS in a better place was ignored to one side and mismanaged on the other side by Labour in the 1997–2007 frame.

At present for Virgin, VirginCare is merely a starting point that can go a much larger route within the next 4 years, in the end, without an NHS, what will people do? I wonder how many remain in denial of that setting, yet it has been a more and more realistic setting. The simple setting is that almost two trillion in debt means that annually at present £68 billion is required for interest alone. Even as Net borrowing is down to almost 28% of what is was in 2010, the setting is that there is a massive debt and it is impacting everything (and the NHS not in the smallest setting). Only be diminishing that part can the UK move forward, which is a lot better than the EU is seeing at present, their debt will make them slaves to the banks for decades. You see, linked to all this is not merely what the government has, but the fact that “The 28 member states of the European Union (EU) have a total debt burden of €12.5 trillion, which could be even bigger, according to the latest figures from the EU statistics office, Eurostat“, in light of the UK being one of the big four, it implies that the rest of the EU will have to deal with the €10.7 trillion debt. How quick do you think they will be able to deal with that? That is why Brexit mattered, in light of the NHS being cut to a bare minimum, it is more and more a setting that Europe could more likely than not end up with not having any healthcare at all, so where would you prefer to be? In light of all that, Virgin might end up with a large gain, but at least there will be some healthcare, a part that too many are ignoring. Would it have been better to keep it all in the NHS? No doubt, but if you want to eat at the Ritz, you better have a fat wallet and the governments from 1997 onwards have all been part of blunders that ended the UK at minus 2 trillion, did you think that was going to go away because the news did not make mention of it? Consider Forbes who gave us not only that French and Italian health care is really good under normal conditions, in Italy (regarding the article), “I have never heard of a child waiting for surgery on his arm.  He would have been placed on the operating room list and he would have been fixed as soon as feasible. There are plenty of more serious surgeries, like cancer cases or even cardiac care, that are put on hold for months in these types of healthcare systems“, the article (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/benjamindavies/2018/08/05/a-broken-arm-in-italy-waiting-for-surgery/#20de8a1f29b6) shows the setting in Italy, in addition, in France we have a similar setting and all over Europe there are similar pressures.

Getting back to the corporation in question, is VirginCare a force for good, or the opposite? I believe that it can be a force for good, but we need to realise that the people can only be treated when we consider that flexibility is required. The lack of resources that is already in play is one part, the political games that we see, whilst relying on the emotion of others is the second part and when the people realise that they have been had by the likes of ‘both Couns Ali and Fillis‘, and many others like them, when it comes out on the waste of resources that they enabled for, will these angry people picket at the front doors of these politicians, or is that not sexy enough?

So when we see the Virgin setting with: “We welcomed inspectors back on 4 July and they were very positive at the further progress we’d made since January in implementing our improvement plan, and gave us positive feedback about the improvements to the practice. We are awaiting the publication of an updated report in the coming months which will reflect this most recent visit“, we see that there is positive change, that there is progress. It will take time, because those expecting this change to be overnight, they are truly looney tunes. If you wanted immediate change, you should have gone after certain politicians as early as 2013, so don’t cry now, not when the choice is now limited between a crewcut and decapitation. The NHS setting is close to that extreme, and has been for some time.

 

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Rocking the bullshit

There has been a massive issue with Huawei, the accusations by the US is the largest one, one of its sheep (aka Australia) has been on the same post on how Huawei is such a large danger to the safety and security of a nation. It gets ‘worse’ when we see ‘The DNC tells Democrats not to buy Huawei or ZTE devices ever’, (at https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/3/17649920/dnc-democrats-huawei-zte-devices-ban-china-hacking-threat). Here we see the quote “people shouldn’t be using devices from either Chinese company for work or personal use. The words echo what federal officials have already said about Huawei and ZTE posing possible security threats to the US. In February, CIA, NSA, and FBI chiefs testified in front of a Senate committee that the two companies were beholden to the Chinese government and the devices could become tools for undetected espionage“, my issue has always been: ‘show me the evidence!’ Basically EVERY phone can be used as a spying device, that is one clear thing we got out of the Cambridge Analytica part, in addition, the Fitness tracking app Strava was a great way to find CIA black ops bases, so even as Strava merely mapped ‘a regular jogging route’, using Google or Apple maps, you would be able to map out the base, the supply routes and so on, the Apple Fitbit would be there for the Russian government knowing where these specialists were and when the were there. So in all that, and all the security transgressions seen here, not of the were Huawei or ZTE, yet, how much noise have you heard from the CIA, NSA, or FBI on Apple? Even now, they are that one Trillion dollar company, are they too big to mention?

I wonder why?

Yet, Huawei is not out of the hot water yet, they are actually in deeper hot waters now but this time it is allegedly by their own actions. Reuters is giving u mere hours ago: ‘Huawei in British spotlight over use of U.S. firm’s software’, the news (at https://www.reuters.com/article/huawei-security-britain-usa/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firms-software-idUSL5N1US343) gives us: “One of those is due to Huawei’s use of the VxWorks operating system, which is made by California-based Wind River Systems, said three people with knowledge of the matter, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing details which were not made public in the report“, which now leads me to the setting that the American accusations are set on the premise of American Software used? How dopey is that?

Then we get: “the version of VxWorks being used by Huawei will stop receiving security patches and updates from Wind River in 2020, even though some of the products it is embedded in will still be in service“. In all this, the fact that it is still serviced for another 2 years, how are we now in the stage of: “potentially leaving British telecoms networks vulnerable to attack“? Is that not equally a questioning setting? Do we not have enough issues out there with Microsoft which has been nearly forever a security concerns, at this point, 2 years early we get the security warning on Huawei, yet not on Microsoft or Apple for that matter, in all this Google is equally a place of patches, and in all this, Huawei is the one getting unbalanced and unfairly burned at the stake like a Catholic at an Elisabeth I barbecue gathering.

Yet the good stuff is “All three sources said there was no indication that the VxWorks mismatch was deliberate. There is also no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk“, this now leads us to two parts. The first is if it is true that ‘no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk‘, does this mean that Huawei never had a security risk and if that is incorrect, why not present that evidence so that every Huawei Owner can test for this transgressions ending whatever future Huawei had in the first place.

In the second part, if there is no proven security flaw in the Huawei on hardware, is the security flaw a software one, or better stated an American software one, and if so, why are these people only going after Huawei and not after a dozen American firms?

The one part that we see in Channel News Asia is “Consultant Edward Amoroso, a former chief security officer at AT&T, said Huawei’s experience in Britain showed the challenges of securing international supply chains. Although no one should dismiss Huawei as a supplier solely because of its geographical location, reliance on software that is going out of support is a legitimate concern, Amoroso said“, the news (at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firm-s-software-10590268) gives the part that does matter, in this Edward Amoroso is right, software at the end of its reign is often the true safety concern, not merely because of the time frame, but in extent the time required to properly update the software on all the devices, which is not always a smooth path and tends to open up additional security gaps. In that part of the equation Huawei does have a legitimate problem to address. The second part to all that is “In addition to the issue with VxWorks, this year’s report also cited technical issues which limited security researchers’ ability to check internal product code“, I believe it to be a minor part and the proper investigators could seek or test for the issues, not merely that, the limitations also remove whatever options there are for zero day breaches, which has a much larger legal frame to address. So even as we agree that the US setting of accusation without evidence (proper presented evidence is merely the stuff that makes the grass grow in Texas). We also get that the US is giving us: “In the United States, the Pentagon is working on a “do not buy” list to block vendors who use software code originating from Russia and China“, there is an actual thing called national security and as such, it is their right to implement that part, I do believe that in the end it might be somewhat counterproductive, but it is still within their rights to be in such a setting nor no other reasons.

In the end there are a few issues in the field and some are out there, but with a lack of technical details, some cannot be proven, yet the fact of what some have done in the past might give the setting of ‘is it more likely than not that some do not really have 5G‘ is a true setting, yet I prefer to have the actual evidence, that some are trying to keep buried, and the media is part of that chase, which is odd to say the least. Huawei is bouncing back and forth and their hold to grow fast via the UK will be there, but from my point of view, they will need to fix the VxWorks part a lot faster than they think they need. From my estimation a new software solution should be well beyond the Beta stage in Q1 2019 if they want to have any chance of keeping their lucrative growth contracts in place. In equal measure we need to look at Canada and Australia, as they are currently set to be nothing more than US tools in all this. In all respects no actual and factual evidence was thrown out in the open. If that was done Huawei would have lost pretty much every non-Chinese contract, the fact that the BS is spread even larger with absence of evidence gives more reliability that there is no real security danger and it is more a tool for some to get the slice of 5G pie, probably at the expense of a monthly data dump, nicely mailed via UPS to: N 11600 W, Saratoga Springs, UT 84045, USA. That alone should give us the goods on who to trust and who to be cautious of. In all this, no evidence has been presented to the public (and their right to know) on how Huawei is a threat to our security. The fact that I believe that this is all bogus in one thing, the issues seems to be blown up as everyone takes a queue from John Bolton, that whilst the setting “Five Eyes is an alliance between Canada, New Zealand, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom that facilitates collaboration in intelligence activities” gives us that there are three in the dark, the UK might be around with the knowledge and the rest merely takes a queue form the US, which has seemingly been whispering like they did in the WMD in Iraq phase, you do remember that in the end, they were never found and it was merely bad intel. So in that setting whilst Corporate America, Canada and Australia are all in fear of their gap against leading Huawei, in that setting we are supposed to have faith on the American gospel on what constitutes a danger from Huawei? And now that we are made aware that the software solution used is an American one?

Yup, we have all kinds of problems and some are valid issues of concern as Edward Amoroso phrases it. Yet between a setting of concern and an actual concern is a mile long gap and whilst we acknowledge that Huawei has some fixing to do, until actual evidence is shown that there is a security breach, the only thing that the US can do is to offer a $229 instant price match for the Apple, or an $100 instant price match for the Google Pixel 2, or a $400 instant price match for the Samsung 9, why would anyone in this day and age pay more for the same, actually, with the enhanced batteries of Huawei you will still miss out, but that might be the smallest cross to bear. All this because some players just didn’t get the pricing right, too many fingers on the margin pie, that alone seems to unbalance the entire equation, because all these players will miss out when Huawei is given free reign there. In this the equation is no longer about security, it will be merely about greed and those enabling for it. Is that not equally important an element to consider?

I’ll be honest, I am still happy with my Huawei P7, it was really affordable against anyone offering anything and after 3 years working 24:7, where would you think I would look first? The one who had proven himself, or the one overpricing its brand (OK, with the Pixel at a mere $100 more, that is still an awesome deal).

When we decide on pricing it is one, when unreliable players in the game force us away from the affordable option it becomes a different stage and so far, the US has proven to lose reliability again and again when it comes to their version of security. To emphasize on that, check on all the printing regarding the Landmines in Yemen placed by the Houthi and the amount of articles that we see in the NY Times, the LA Times and the Washington Post. Now consider the impact of mines and why Americans seem to be eager not to inform you. By the way, that setting was almost certain a setting that Iran enabled, if you questions that (which is fair) then answer the simple question, where did the Houthi forces get 1,000,000 mines from?

We are kept in the dark on the wrong topics and it is time to set the limelight on those people keeping us knowingly in the dark.

 

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Tabula Rasa

Yes, the Latin name for Clean Slate. It is an expression that we got from the Romans, who used wax tablet to scribe information, they used a metal pen, or a Stylus to write on the wax. In addition, when the slate was done, it was placed near a 50 degrees Celsius hotspot (like in the kitchen, and the wax would melt, so it could be used again, that is where the clean slate comes from. This is not the only part, there is enough evidence that the Syrians were doing this too about 2500 years ago, so Apple did not start it and even now (and 1 trillion dollar value later), they still use over excessive electronics to allow you to work with a clean slate at the touch of a button, no hotspot required.

So, in this trailed and tested environment, why would others try to budge in?

That of course was a question that answers itself in greed. I got my iPad (the very first one) 7 years ago; I still have it, even as it is not starting to buckle, so the end of a 24:7 life cycle has been reached. It helped me past 3 past graduate degrees (including a Master degree), so it earned its ‘moment of recycling‘. Yet, I will be a little sad; it was a faithful companion since day 1.

I paid about $1200, for the first edition, 64 GB cellular and Wi-Fi. that same setting with a much faster processor, higher resolution and increased speed, as well as camera and video options that I did not have in my edition will set me back $799, but with 100% more storage, or $1399, with 400% more storage and additional 4K filming. On my budget it will be the normal iPad, but the full version with 800% storage Pro and the rest at $1699 is still appealing. Still, the $799 is a great option, so sticking with that (and my budget makes it an optional setting. The fact that something so much larger and more powerful is merely 65% of the version I bought gives additional satisfaction.

So in all that, why on earth is Microsoft being half baked? First they screw up their gaming dimension, sticking their heads in the sand, ignoring consumers and proclaiming that they know what they are doing, whilst at this very same debacle, we see first Cnet giving us: ‘The Microsoft Surface Go is a good computer, but a very bad tablet‘, we also get “Windows 10’s tablet interface still stinks, and there aren’t a lot of popular apps that were built for Windows 10 in tablet mode. The iPad still has the best library of tablet apps“, it is something we all should have known, when it comes to apps and the Apple solution has millions of apps as an advantage, a decent amount of them free and very useful. In addition a much larger proportion is all less than $5 each, often it is the pro version of the free app, so you can fit before you commit (like any decent relationship). Then we get “Microsoft’s bookstore lacks a lot of titles, including some on The New York Times’ best-seller list. The Times, The Washington Post and other popular publications are also missing. While I could check any website, scrolling was sometimes too jittery and annoying, especially while holding the tablet with one hand in bed at night“, which implies that there is no beating iBook, a very essential tool, not merely for reading.

In addition there is: “The Surface Go’s bezels are so wide they’re almost comical. While it doesn’t hinder performance, it makes the tablet look dated from the get-go“, giving the implied setting that Microsoft again did not prepare for a serious war, merely a setting where they want to ‘tip their toes into the water‘, I would have thought that the Surface Pro setting should have properly prepared them in all this. And the killer in all this is “Finally, battery life is pretty bad. Microsoft advertises nine or more hours of use, but I never got close to that. I usually saw about four or five hours of use with Chrome and Spotify open“, which was countered with “I could save battery life by using Microsoft’s Edge browser — Windows 10 said Chrome was draining the battery a lot — but I prefer Chrome“, a setting that will be shared by many users, so in all this, the mere battery drain will get people to prefer the iPad, or an alternative over the Surface Go and that is merely on launch week. If there is one giggle around the corner, then it is the setting that this device will make more and more people consider the options that the $400 Chromebooks have. This is exactly what we get to see at eh end of the CNBC review. With: “You should only buy the Surface Go if you need a Windows 10 computer but think the Surface Pro is too big and expensive. I imagine most people don’t fit that profile though. If you need a tablet, go with the iPad. If you need a cheap computer, a Chromebook or cheaper Windows 10 laptop would suit you a lot better“, we see that Microsoft again comes with a device that has all the right marketing, yet in the end, the users will soon learn that a flawed approach is not a near hit, it is merely a miss. So, let’s thank Microsoft for their efforts in giving notice to the new blockbuster ‘Rise of the Chromebook‘, already available in several e-Stores near you and you can find those places with Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, or was that Microsoft Edge?

In the end, the setting becomes the iPad $799, or the Surface Go $838, in all seen there is, as far as I can tell no redeeming feature scoring for Microsoft. Even the ‘if you need a Windows 10 computer‘ does not hold enough water to spend more only to get an indecent amount less. The battery life alone makes it a nonstarter. In the end, the die-hard Microsoft fans will accept it, from all the sources I watched, it does seem to do what it needs to do, it might not do what you prefer it to do (jab at the battery life). Another source gave us that the sound is not great, I am willing to accept that this is slightly more in the ears of the beholder, yet I never heard that complaint from any of the iPads, which is another issue for prospective buyers to consider, which is funny when you consider that some of the Chromebooks (not all mind you), come with: “listening to BBC Radio live via the surprisingly good Bang & Olufsen (B&O) in-built speakers“, I tend to not go high-gear on most PC and tablet things, so I might not have given the B&O serious consideration depending on the price, yet at the $100 difference, not having B&O sound seems just crazy. In that setting, going towards something like the HP Notebook x2 10-p033tu becomes just as exciting, with optionally a much better choice as it comes with the keyboard at that point. Even the not so popular Samsung tablet becomes a decent alternative at this point (and I have never been a fan of Samsung), with options at $329, with a battery that offers 13 hours of video playback it implies to be swimming circles around the Surface Go, all issues that should not have been coming up as a serious alternative for the Surface Go, not from a tablet well over 2 years old.

This is what you can find within the hour, so in all this, the Surface Go is not only less competitive, it is merely latching on whatever it can for visibility, that is no way for a product to distinguish itself, a system that is nothing more than the runt of the litter. So, as a tablet, it is not merely in no way a decent alternative to the iPad, there are a few other choices that would make an equal if not a better alternative at this point. All this, whilst only a week ago, the website Mashable gave us: ‘Save up to 30% on Chromebooks from Samsung, Acer, ASUS, and Google‘, now I get that this is temporary, yet at this point (using Google Ads for example), Microsoft could have bid on that specific page and get students across to consider the Surface go at the ‘match price of the week‘, an opportunity Microsoft did not go for (seemingly), so whilst we are drowning in Windows Central reviews on almost every digital channel, we see Microsoft in the wrong places, or perhaps better stated, not in the right places. Missing on loads of opportunities, especially when you realise that most universities with the Spring (AUS) / or Autumn (Europe) semesters are only 5 weeks away, so whomever needs stuff, now is the time that they are getting it.

These are the days where starting with a clean slate (new data device) is important, especially in your new education, in all this the settings that I am noticing give me the distinct feeling that Microsoft has not been very serious in cornering a market, and from my point of view that is the second time where they are forgoing a serious market share on anything. I just cannot work out why someone allows for that not once, but twice in a row, it is (again, merely from my point of view) not the setting of opportunities missed, they are the setting of market shares lost and once lost, regaining them is not really an option, unless they do something so essentially ground breaking that everyone takes notice, a scenario that has not knocked on the doors of Microsoft since Windows XP.

 

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The state of the gaming union

We see that there is a lot to rejoice about, yet there is in equal measure the need to take a moment, to stand still and realise that we have come to the crossroads. Some might realise that crossroads aren’t merely places where you take decisions, it is also a place where an 18-wheeler drives over you and that driver will not even notice the minimalized bump in the road that you at that point represent.

For Nintendo the initial ‘bad news’ moment is seen (at https://gamingbolt.com/jefferies-analyst-believes-switch-sales-will-see-a-slowdown-this-year), where we get: “even Jefferies’ Atul Goyal, widely considered to be the most optimistic of all analysts when it comes to Nintendo’s prospects on the market, has slashed his price target for the company by more than 10 percent, attributing his depressed outlook on a concern that Nintendo’s sales for the Switch in 2018 may not meet expectations“, which is an interesting way to put the setting, where we see that in two years, even with diminished sales, it implies that in March 2019, 38 million Nintendo Switch consoles are to be sold. Reconsider the number; by March 2019 Nintendo will crush the total lifetime sales of the Xbox One. So when I hear the utter BS approach on the ‘not the metrics of success‘, I wonder if they actually had an overwhelming presence, if they would be in the same stack of those in denial.

So as Variety gives us (at https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/xbox-one-sales-1202796674/) the quote “Microsoft reiterated that it still doesn’t share the number of Xbox One sold, but this time explained why, noting that it’s using a different “key metric for success.” “We are continuing to look at engagement as our key metric for success and are no longer reporting on total console sales,” a spokesperson told Variety“, which is nice in a pigs eye. You see it is only 25 years ago when we were drowned in facts like: “The number of licensed users of Windows now totals more than 25 million, making Windows the most popular graphical operating system in the world“. That was nice, we agree that they did some good in those days, or should I say that this does not the reflection of a winner when they are left to announce that ‘the most powerful console in the world‘, is about to become the worst selling one. The fact that they always thought themselves so much better than Nintendo, with what some insiders hinted at was technologically not as powerful (that was a statement on the Nintendo GameCube against the first Xbox). Now that this so called overpowered console is merely number three is what I expected they were heading, the moment the world presentation of the Nintendo Switch was on everyone’s YouTube screen.

Now that the realisation is here (well almost) on their retinas, now they change the metrics. Its fair enough, they are allowed to do this. It is how you present a failure, one that could have been prevented 5 years ago. Now that the second tier of opposition could move against Microsoft, they need to realise that implied settings are up. With the need for new directions, we see that Microsoft now goes into other directions on marketing a new setting. Wired gives us this (at https://www.wired.co.uk/article/xbox-scarlett-game-streaming-xbox-two), with “However, the Project Scarlett rumour suggests that rather than its tried and tested business model of releasing a high-powered console to sit under your TV, the potential successor to the Xbox One will instead be a bespoke unit to stream games from the cloud” we see an optional path that could optionally backfire even more. You see, the shift that is speculated on with: “The prevailing rumour, spotted by Thurrott, is that Microsoft will release both a traditional console for high-end enthusiasts – likely building on the powerful Xbox One X, released in 2017 – as well as a cheaper model that will be streaming-only“, so how long until we see congestion on a new system, whilst the previous developed system is just too shallow? That and the overbearing marketing that every console shows are in equal measure showing to be aggravating to too many gamers at present. So when we see “Although Game Pass titles are downloaded to your local console, it could show Microsoft is developing a server structure to support streaming games to players in future. The Xbox Game Pass payment model would also be easily transferrable to a hypothetical ‘Xbox Cloud’ subscription for owners of the proposed streaming box“, we do see a solution that works from the Microsoft point of view, yet as games get bigger, and when we consider the recent blunder by intellectually challenged Bill Morrow of NBN when we were treated to “Morrow “didn’t ‘blame’ online gamers for congestion on the fixed wireless network”, because the real culprit is “concurrency” (that is, too many users hitting the network at once with bandwidth-hungry applications. Like video streaming. Or gaming), “in addition to higher-than-expected take-up and consumption”“, so he rephrased him blaming the gamers, yet with ‘Like video streaming. Or gaming‘, that whilst the clear evidence was that this was clearly the wrong statement to make. Two replies give us “Online gaming requires hardly any bandwidth ~10+ megabytes per hour. A 720p video file requires ~ 500+ megabytes per hour. One user watching a YouTube video occupies the same bandwidth as ~50 video gamers. The NBN chief might not be suitably qualified for this role.” So as non-qualified as Bill Morrow is expected to be, the second part is “The NBN is unable to cope with current demands, so projected increase in demands points to a crippled system in the near future. Billions wasted and potential destroyed“, this now reflects back on part of the speculated Xbox Johansson, nay Scarlett. You see, when those on a small budget are forced to stream, apart from the internet connection that they might no longer be able to afford, gives us that the Australian NBN congestion is pressured by an expected few millions of Scarlett users. Yup! That should solve it and even as we see an increasing amount of congestion articles pop their heads up; we see Microsoft moving into a cloud set streaming solution. So instead of fixing the flaws they had, they merely push their heads in the sand and give us another path to frustration. So as Network World gives us: “As enterprises accelerate their move to cloud, including the growing trend toward cloud office suites, such as Office 365 and Google Suite, where users expect LAN-like performance, challenges are mounting. According to Microsoft, Office 365 is growing at 43 percent, and as of the end of 2017 was boasting 120 million active users. A 2017 survey by TechValidate noted that despite increasing both firewall and network bandwidth capacity, nearly 70 percent of companies experienced weekly network-related performance issues after deploying Office 365. Gartner’s 2018 Strategic Roadmap for Networking, released earlier this year, noted that nearly all enterprises will need to look beyond MPLS and at re-architecting the WAN to optimize for cloud“, Microsoft is now ready to push as many gamers as possible in the setting where minimum packet settings are stretched to the age of 8-bit gaming. Yes, that was always going to be a good idea. Oh, and if you think that this is harsh, consider those providers taking the cheap way out initially in offering 5G like services on their 4G systems. Yes, these are different systems, yet the WAN is still used to push data across and now add 10 million players all downloading the speculated size of an 85 GB 4K game, so how long until that starts backfiring?

Now, we understand that Microsoft had to act and over time, the cloud would actually be for some a solution, that whilst we need to store the games somewhere, so what happens when up to 30 million Xbox gamers have to download amounts like that on a weekly foundation? How long until the pricing setting of the internet changes? How long until gamers are pushed into a corner on usage? When those gamers actually need the bandwidth of those watching 4K movies via a YouTube solution? This goes a lot wider than merely Australia and the UK, when we look at current congestion in New York, New Jersey, California and Texas, when those points get a setting that is no longer YouTube to gaming as 50:1, now it shifts to 4:1. How long until systems start to buckle?

Lets all be realistic, we do not know what the Xbox Scarlett is exactly, but the setting that the lifespan of the Xbox One X is to be less than 2 years, that is still a setting that is worrying for anyone who bought the Xbox One X this year. In the end, Wired speaks about the ‘genius step’ and gives us “Those who favour a physical collection, lack sufficient internet speeds, or simply want the bragging rights of having an incredibly powerful console can get the latter, while more casual or progressive – depending on how you view it – players can opt for a streaming device with an ever-evolving backend. With Sony and Nintendo investigating streaming, too, it might not only be Microsoft betting its future on the clouds“, we need to realise that the setting of ‘lack sufficient internet speeds‘, is partial denial. It is the setting of congestion that comes with the setting that gamers are likely to face as everyone is downloading the Netflix and subscription fee software solutions. All this did not require the New Xbox Scarlett; it merely required the Xbox One to have decent storage, something many have thrown into the faces of Microsoft. And there is nothing against the Scarlett, over time (2021-2023) that need would have optionally been clear, but in this stage where bandwidth is a bottleneck in many places, now it is about lousy timing, whilst we see the lack of care towards the gaming community by Microsoft. So even as they are in a stage where they look at ‘different metrics‘, the chances of many more future ‘former Microsoft fans‘ are moving to another platform.

In all this Sony has been on a similar step, we saw that with “Sony has been experimenting with cloud gaming through its PlayStation Now service since 2015, which allows players to stream classic and contemporary PlayStation titles to both PS4 and PC“. We see that there is in part a path here, but the setting that we need to see is ‘classic and contemporary PlayStation titles‘, games that tend to not go beyond 5GB, just like the Xbox 360 Games, and it is a perfect and as Microsoft is re-enabling those games on the Xbox ne, their gamers rejoice, no one denies that, yet try that with AC Origin 4K at 105 GB, or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey 4K 110 GB (speculated). Now stream that to all those users. There are no clear sales numbers for AC Origin (over all systems), but it goes into the millions, AC Origin was able to recapture many lost fans and that is likely to press towards even better sales of AC Odyssey. So when those are all cramping the networks, how long will it take to get it all on the systems and more important, is there even space for that game on non-PC systems?

This is the state of gaming. We are faced with more needs, better connection and more bandwidth. Some of it will be felt no later than the end of the year. The question becomes is it mere folly from some?

Is it folly or foiled folly?

With Microsoft that is hard to say, the steps are not outlined, so we need to take care not to rely on rumours until the official unveiling is done. Even the more reliable places (GamesRadar and Wired) are full of speculation and ‘expectations’, which is a dangerous setting to have. Even I am in a dangerous place, because my speculations are based on several settings, but not on the official word from Microsoft (which has been a lot less reliable lately). I personally believe that the hardware and OS fixes could give the Xbox One X at least 2-3 years, whilst we see the optional maturity of GamePass and other streaming solutions. No one denies that these paths will give options and opportunities, but remain sceptical on the setting that is relying on an infrastructure that is showing fatigue and dangers of buckling in several places, angering Microsoft gamers even more, in a time that Microsoft really cannot afford angering their gaming population.

All this is about to be the second round in the console wars, we have seen the equally speculated setting of the PS5, and there are already the speculated articles on how one is better and more optional in versatility then the other. Yet in all this Microsoft never stopped harassing the users, even after it had to back paddle on ‘always online‘, this is a setting that is still fresh in the mind of players, so there is that issue to consider, in addition, all this comes to light AFTER the Nintendo Switch will have surpassed the Xbox One total sales within 2 years, so there is that stinging pain for Microsoft to consider. In addition, the Nintendo Switch hit Sony equally hard, even as Nintendo cannot surpass total sales of the PS4, the monthly sales has set Sony to the number two spot behind Nintendo, so they too need to up their game. Even as we see that the Sony following is massive, the next generation will not be about total consoles, it will be about software sales and at present Nintendo Switch is breaking all the records.

I also predict that there will be a shift in gaming on another level. As we see the records that Fortnite is breaking, we need to realise that the indie developers are going to be a lot larger next time around. We have seen great work from some of them and even as we will not deny that Ubisoft and Bethesda take the lead, the Gran Turismo of outer space (Elite Dangerous) has now surpassed 2.75 million copies sold, in a multi-billion dollar industry that mile stone gets noticed by everyone. Add to that Subnautica, one of the most original RPG survival games this decade, which is now at the 2 million copies market, all three makers realise that as software sales is king in the next round, the indie developers will take a much more central role in gaming than ever before. I still have high hopes for the slightly delayed remastered masterpiece called System Shock. Nightdive is showing to up the ante by a fair bit and even as some have played the game before (close to 100% of all kick-starters), the setting that we forget is that some titles are even grander then the original was, because the remastered edition gets to enjoy 20 decades of gaming evolution, whilst the gamer was unaware of that shift. The same is seen with the new Resident Evil 2, so when it comes to gaming, some of the amazing works in the past are likely to be even more overwhelming in the new jacket, so as consoles are given new opportunity to create engagement, both Sony and Microsoft have forgotten to adhere to those levels of engagement in almost equal measure. There are other opportunities here, but that lies with some of the visionaries that also heeded the calls I made last week, making me correct in all this one additional time.

Even as the future of gaming might be uncomfortable to some degree for one of the players, it seems clear that overall gaming remains gaining forward momentum, that is, unless some will rely on congestion not to become an issue ever, at that point all bets are off.

Yet, for the Switch, their prospects are actually better than ever before, even as some claim that the targets will fall short by 10%, the selling for games in Japan alone surpassed the 5 million mark this year, which is actually excluding all the sales in the eShop, so they are already making quite the leap forward. In equality, Microsoft with GamePass is seeing large gains there too, giving us the clarity that the gaming future will be about the software sales to a much larger extent than ever before.

 

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She was not ready

As subtlety goes, I am happy to throw it out of the window this morning (a lack of coffee does this to me). You see, when we get the situation that the guy states that it did not matter whether she was ready or not, mainly because it only costs him $50, regardless what comes (or is that who). You might wonder where this is going, this is not going there, we are talking about banking. It does not matter who you screw and how you screw people over, when ‘she’ is not ready (or willing), it potentially constitutes a crime and you can throw ‘potentially’, as I personally see it straight out of the window. So why are we not getting angry? Why are we confronted with ‘TSB plunges to £107.4m loss as bill for IT chaos reaches £176m‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/27/tsb-plunges-to-107m-loss-as-bill-for-it-chaos-reaches-176m). When we see: “bank has resolved only a third of 135,403 complaints“, why is there not a front page leading with the CPS investigating issues at the TSB? When we are confronted with “The payouts that followed a botched IT transfer from its former parent Lloyds to the new owner, Sabadell, a Spanish bank, in April pushed TSB into a first-half loss of £107.4m, compared with a profit of £108.3m in the same period last year“, we see a dangerous setting and there is no investigation? When we see the Financial Times on June 22nd 2018 (at https://www.ft.com/content/32749936-7561-11e8-aa31-31da4279a601), giving us the “customer of Bank of Scotland last month asked to withdraw £5,000 at her local branch in Leven, north of Edinburgh, the cashier thought the amount was unusual and asked her to speak to the branch manager. The pensioner explained that she needed the cash to pay workmen who had asked if she would like some half-price work on her driveway. Spotting a potential scam, the branch manager called the police, invoking a scheme that came into effect last year dubbed the “banking protocol”. Officers responded immediately and arrested six men at the customers’ house“, so in that case we go all out on 6 men, but we now see a setting where ‘135,403 complaints‘ are a potential issue involving many millions, and we are not looking deeper and setting the limelight on a level of negligence close to unique in banking. So what gives?

This does not come lightly, you see, when you take a scalpel to the quote: “The bank admitted that while it’s mobile app, online and telephone banking services are “much improved”, problems remain. The chief executive, Paul Pester, who defied calls to resign over the handling of the meltdown, said: “We’re making progress in resolving the service problems customers experienced following our IT migration and we will continue to work tirelessly until we have put things right.”“, we get the following:

  • The bank admitted that with its mobile app, problems remain.
  • The bank admitted that with its online banking services, problems remain.
  • The bank admitted that with its telephone banking services, problems remain.
  • The chief executive, Paul Pester has been called to resign over the handling of the meltdown.
  • We have been currently unable to resolve the service problems customers experienced.

Reread the previous quote and you can see that it is all there.

This setting does not merely impact some parts of the IT setting; it involves failure on the levels of

  1. Documenting the changes required.
  2. Verifying the document is accurate and confirmed form the UK and Spanish side
  3. Presenting the required steps to the board members letting it be scrutinised
  4. Analysing the migration test run and testing it for the setting of trial version against the live databases
  5. Doing a small segment live run to test for optional missed failures
  6. The QA report on the path to see if any issues were missed.

These are merely 6 steps in the most shallow of tests required to see if the changes would hold, yet in all this, with the setting of ‘135,403 complaints‘, there is a clear indication that more than just a few issues were missed.

It gets to be a larger issue with “Savings balances fell by nearly £1bn, while 26,000 account holders switched to other banks. Breaking down the £176m bill, TSB has so far paid £115.8m in direct customer redress, £30.7m to fix “operating defects” and £29.9m in lost income after it waived fees and charges to customers“, when I am confronted with ‘£30.7m to fix “operating defects”‘, we are confronted with a much larger issue than the 6 points show, It implies that the preparation and QA was close to completely missed. Even as we also see the implied £0.02 from TSB Marketing towards the Guardian, the truth of the presented “TSB said it remains one of the most financially secure banks in the UK and despite the highly publicised problems it had attracted 20,000 new customers“, you see, an actual secure bank does not lose £1,000 million, and neither does it stage the setting where 26,000 account holders do the ‘Nintendo Switch’ towards another bank. In addition, there is no verification for the quality of the implied ‘20,000 new customers‘, yet the loss of optional 26,000 loyal account holders might prove to be a much larger loss down the track. That is not given and the Guardian is not giving us those goods here (because we can accept that this loss is for now unknown).

The setting intensifies with “TSB was heavily criticised for its initially slow response to the crisis but has since hired 1,800 people and redeployed 700 staff internally to help stabilise its services“, so not only are people redeployed, 1,800 staff members need to be trained (I have done that for years, so I can already see the additional dangers not shown yet), there will be a learning curve, in addition the added stresses might make the chance of introducing new flaws and errors larger.

Even as TSB is for all settings decently adapt in shifting blame, with “On 22 April 2018 TSB moved from an IT system rented from Lloyds Banking Group to a new IT system provided by Sabis. As TSB outlined to the Treasury select committee in June, from internal investigations it appears that the design of the platform itself is robust but that the deployment on to the technical infrastructure led to many of the problems. TSB and Sabis therefore shifted the focus of the internal investigation towards the testing regime in Sabis and its providers“, the mere fact that a shift like that requires a shadow run of no less than 1 quarter, even if that means hiring 60 people trailing 6,000-10,000 accounts, that would have revealed a lot of the issues. So the evidence we see with ‘the deployment on to the technical infrastructure led to many of the problems‘, the 6 points mentioned earlier, the test runs and the shadow phase would have shown this. Now we have a, what I would personally regard as a setting of corporate negligence. You see, TSB cannot shift the blame, they are part of this and the proper testing was required on both sides. I would never want a CTO who had not been in the depth of the transfer from beginning to end, and if TSB had no proper CTO, continuing should not have been an option.

It gets even worse, when we see the Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/tsb-bank-losses-it-fiasco-cost-paul-pester-a8466856.html), who gives us “some reported being able to see other people’s financial details“, it’s a phishing hackers dream to get that far in any bank, for the bank to directly allow the viewing of this is just beyond normal comprehension. So as even the Independent is slightly soft on Paul Pester, they end with “The chief executive will not receive a £2m bonus he was due to collect for successful completion of the integration between TSB and its parent company Sabadell“, which would have been the straw that breaks the camel’s back. You see, the issue is larger than you think, when you consider the additional flaws that were revealed in publications going all the way back to February 2018. The Business Insider gave us the TSB goods on Crypto currency. So consider the IT failure and the setting of: “We don’t block payments for customers wishing to purchase crypto currencies when they use a TSB credit card or debit card, however we continue to monitor the use of crypto currencies and we will review our position on an ongoing basis“, which would have required additional testing on any system moving for one to the other, so additional tests were either not done, or not properly reported on. Now also consider the IBM report mention from June 2018. Here we see (at http://www.cityam.com/287976/ibm-report-suggests-tsb-testing-not-rigorous-enough-before), when we see: “Consultants from IBM told the embattled bank’s board that it had not seen evidence of the kind of testing it would expect of the risky migration process. The meltdown started on 22 April, when TSB had planned to complete a migration of its systems to a new system, away from a platform run by former owner Lloyds Banking Group“, as well as “IBM has not seen evidence of the application of a rigorous set of go-live criteria to prove production readiness,” according to the report, which was created as an update to the TSB board on 29 April, four days after IBM was hired and almost a week after the first signs of problems at the bank. IBM would expect “world class design rigour, test discipline, comprehensive operational proving” for a task of similar complexity and scale, the report said. However, the bank’s testing before the launch may have not given enough evidence to proceed, the report suggested. Previous examples have taken place over a longer time frame, with multiple trials, and did not attempt to migrate the entire customer base simultaneously“.

Now consider that the IBM report was given on April 29th, yet the making of the report suggests that part of this visibility was there as early as March. When you consider these events, how come that the SFO and the CPS is not all over this? It will not matter whether there is a case in the end, their absence is a setting that shows that there is a much larger issue at the banks and TSB might not be alone, but merely the most visible and stupid player.

So even as the TSB hides behind the spokesperson giving us: “The IBM document contained a preliminary work plan with very early hypotheses based on observations to date, that were produced after only three days of engagement with TSB. The content is therefore now very much out of date, really? My 6-point list took a mere 5 minutes, I am certain that IBM has a lot more than I have, and for the ‘out of date‘ part? 26,000 customers leaving and 135,403 complaints, shows that the issues is a lot larger than a trivialised IBM report.

So when I see: “nor were they a validated view of what went wrong or of the actions that have subsequently been taken. Without this context, this document could be misinterpreted to the detriment of TSB’s customers“, I would like to tell this spokesperson (who seems to not be named anywhere) that ‘actions that have subsequently been taken‘, are actions when it was already too late, they should have been prevented! In addition, with well over one hundred and thirty five thousand complaints, the detriment of TSB customers have been achieved by internal actions alone, the IBM report might merely show how stupid these yet to be presented documented actions have been.

There is one additional part in this, and even as we see it as a sign for some crucifixions on banking levels, yet the given Financial Times in May that gives us ‘TSB turned down help from Lloyds during IT failure‘, with the additional “Lloyds had made an open-ended offer to use its own expertise to help TSB, but TSB declined. TSB has since recruited a team from technology group IBM to help it identify and fix the problems“, we see a path that TSB could validly have taken, yet to not include the one provider with years of experience on the TSB account and system usage seems not too great a decision. In addition, we see this (at https://www.ft.com/content/7159ae84-5798-11e8-b8b2-d6ceb45fa9d0), yet what we equally need to consider is that with “TSB’s new system was unable to cope with the volume of customers when it went live“, we see another failure, something that comes with the preparation before things transfers, the entire data load and bandwidth requirement that the new systems require to have, In my personal view it needs to be the current load +50%, not merely because customers tend to get nervous when ‘a new system‘ comes into play, the fact that there are moments when peaks come play (like Christmas shopping), systems tend to get tested to the max, not in April when no one has anything special in mind. In addition, it seems that TSB is relying again and again on ‘Our teams have continued to work around the clock‘, so how long until those teams get a burnout? The same excuse is reused for months now, so either they have been paying triple rates to staff members, or TSB ends up not even being close to a legal setting where they can walk away from anything. That view is seen in the Guardian the April edition, where we saw “Sabadell was warned in 2015 that its ambitious plan was high risk and that it was likely to cost far more than the £450m Lloyds was contributing to the effort. “It is not overly generous as a budget for that scale of migration,” John Harvie, a director of the global consultancy firm Protiviti, told the Financial Times in July 2015. But the Proteo system was designed in 2000 specifically to handle mergers such as that of TSB into the Spanish group, and Sabadell pressed ahead” that part alone should have been the setting where the board of TSB would have required to be up in arms every step of the way. So who were the board members, and which of them have actual IT, Technology and data quality experience? Is that not the weirdest question to ask when we are confronted with crash issues that should have been clearly identified in the preparation and identification phase of a project like this?

So whilst you are lulled to sleep with: ‘we will continue to work tirelessly until we have put things right‘, continue to think what else a bank could lose, or publicly propagate that impacts your life. In the end, the damage is not over and when we see the imbalance not be resolved, IBM might actually end up advising that for now, the return move towards Lloyd’s will be the only remaining sane act in play. How much more is that going to cost both TSB and Sabadell?

A setting that took a mere 5 minutes to see and I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee yet.

In the end, how ready was the bank? It seems not very ready, not ready at all.

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