Category Archives: Science

Game of Pawns

Most people have heard of the Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin’s masterpiece filmed and shown by HBO. Its final season will come in 2019 and the air is filled with teasers, speculated spoilers and optional fan made false trailers. Yet have you heard of the game of pawns? This goes directly towards the entire Australian Encryption Bill. I spoke about it 2 days ago in ‘Clueless to the end‘, where we are introduced to the misrepresented views of Peter Dutton. On how he plays the system on getting the FAANG group to help him a little, which is exactly what the FAANG group is unwilling to do. In addition to what I wrote there is the voice of Paul Brookes, chair of Internet Australia. He gave us: “it is important for law enforcement to find ways to improve their capabilities for intercepting criminal activities through the communications sectors, “they must not do so via hastily enacted legislation which fails to consider the legitimate concerns and advice of global technology experts, and carries the very clear risk of creating more problems than it solves”“, in this Paul is right and the issue is growing on other settings too. In the last three days we have been made privy to: ‘Hackers stole millions of Facebook users’ highly sensitive data — and the FBI has asked it not to say who might be behind it‘. Optionally because they cannot unsubstantiated blame Russia again, yet in the much larger setting it seems that they do not have a clue. In addition, we see evolving today: ‘PS4 Users Are Claiming That Malicious Messages Are Breaking Their Consoles‘. The last one seemingly has a solution as reported by Kotaku: “It does seem that the exploit is purely text-based, so changing your PlayStation messenger privacy settings should prevent it from happening. You can do that by going to Account Management in your console Settings, heading to the Privacy Settings submenu, and changing Messaging settings to “Friends Only” or “No One,” meaning that only your pre-selected friends or no one at all can message you“. Two attacks, the second one without knowing the extent of the attack in a setting that could not have been prevented by the encryption bill, the fact that the authorities have been grasping in the dark gives a very clear view on how short the authorities are on the ability to stop these events. All the BS short-sighted attempts to access data whilst the entire communication system is flawed beyond belief shows just how clueless the governmental players have become.

So as this week is likely to be about: “It appears to be the worst hack in Facebook’s 14-year history“, many will all go into the blame game against Cambridge Analytical, ye the foundation is that the internet was always flawed, and again we see a setting where the failing of non-repudiation is at the core of certain events. A setting where ““access tokens” – essentially digital keys that give them full access to compromised users’ accounts“, done through hacks into vulnerabilities into a setting of ‘authentication’, where the optional ‘non-repudiation’ might have optionally prevented it. That basic flaw has been around for over a decade and the tech companies are unwilling to fix it, because it makes them accountable in several additional ways.

Non-Repudiation

In a setting where you and you alone could have done certain things, is stage against the setting of someone with the claimed authority has staged the deletion of all you created. That is the stage we are in and the damage is increasing. As more and more vulnerabilities are brought to light, the lack of actions are beyond belief.

The NPR reported something interesting that the initial sources did not give me. They give us: “the hack exploited three separate bugs in Facebook’s code. No passwords were compromised, but the hackers were able to gain “access tokens” that let them use accounts as though they were logged in as another person“, as far as I can speculate, non-Repudiation might not have allowed that, making non-repudiation a much larger priority for social media than ever before. The fact that the data captures are getting larger makes the change also a lot more important. If the value of Facebook is data, keeping that secure should be their first priority, the Encryption bill would also be a void part if non-repudiation becomes an actual part of our lives. The dire need of Common Cyber Sense is seen everywhere and we need to give less consideration to people who cannot keep their Common Cyber Sense.

You see, the issue is becoming a lot more important. The fact that these accounts are now sold on the dark web, with the by-line: “If sold individually at these prices, the value of the stolen data on the black market would be somewhere between $150m and $600m“, we are certain that this will get a lot worse before there is any improvement. It is my personal view that actively seeking a non-repudiation setting will hasten that process of making your data more secure.

It is in addition the setting that the Dream Market offers, which by the way is useless. The Chinese vendor offering the data, could in the end merely be an expelled student from any US university living in Dublin, there is at present no way to tell who Chernobyl 2550 actually is.

Finding and exploiting three bugs in Facebook gets you optionally half a billion, the governments are that far behind and there is no indication that they will catch up any day soon. When going back to the Facebook setting, we also saw “Facebook said third-party apps and Facebook apps like WhatsApp and Instagram were unaffected by the breach“, yet another source gives us: ‘WhatsApp Bug Allowed Hackers To Hack Your Account With Just A Video Call’ (at https://www.valuewalk.com/2018/10/whatsapp-bug-video-call-fixed/) implying that Facebook users are in a lot more peril then shown from the different media. We are given: “A security researcher at Google’s Project Zero discovered a strange bug in WhatsApp that allowed hackers to take control of the app if they just knew your phone number. All they had to do was placing you a video call and getting you to answer it. Though the WhatsApp bug was disclosed only on Tuesday, Google researcher Natalie Silvanovich had discovered and reported it to the Facebook-owned company back in August“. So even as it seems that Facebook is not giving us ‘faulty’ information; the mere fact on the existence of the flaw as seen with: “She disclosed the WhatsApp bug to the public only after the company fixed it via a software update. Silvanovich wrote in a bug report that heap corruption could occur when the WhatsApp app “receives a malformed RTP packet.” The bug affects only the Android and iOS versions of WhatsApp because they use the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) for video calling” is showing a dangerous setting where a number of failings within this year alone gives rise to the flaws in security and proper testing of apps and the stage of security is failing faster than we should be comfortable with.

So even as CBS News was all about hacking elections last week, giving us: “These cyber-attackers are driven by a variety of motivations, says Andrea Little Limbago, the chief social scientist at data security firm Endgame. “As long as attackers find it in their best interests or find the motivation to want to have some sort of effect … they’re going to think about what they could do with that access,” she says. “Especially China, Russia, and Iran.”“, the failing we see that there is a flaw in the system, it is not merely on pointing at the wrong players, it is about the flawed setting that some systems were breached in the first place. The larger setting is not the hack, it is access and the need for non-repudiation is growing at an alarming rate, in a setting where none of the players are ready to accept non-repudiation, we see a faulty authentication approach and that is the cost of doing business. So when you consider it a sign of the times, consider that I personally witnessed a bug that Whatsapp showed over 27 years ago, when a financial package on DEC VAX/VMS has something called Ross Systems. An intentional illegal action would crash your terminal program and leave any user in the VAX/VMS system with supervisor rights, with total access to every file on the server and every drive. Would it be nice if certain lessons were learned over a quarter of a century?

That is the issue sand the opposition of those who want to push out new features as soon as possible and that danger will only increase in a 5G setting, so when your mobile becomes your personal data server and someone does get access to all your credit card and health data, you only have yourself to blame, good luck trying to sue the technology companies on that. Actually that is exactly what Google is facing with class actions against both the Pixel and Pixel 2 at present. Should they lose these, then the ante goes up, because any case involving flawed data security, when flagged as inappropriately dealt with could cost Google a lot more than they are bargaining for, and it is not just Google, Apple, and Facebook will be in equal settings of discomfort.

If only they had properly looked at the issues, instead of seeking the limelight with a new fab. In the end, are we mere pawns to them, to be exploited and under secured for their short terms needs of clicks and sales pitches? What happens when it falls? They will still get their golden handshakes and a life without complications for decades, what are we left with when our value in data is sold on?

We are merely pawns in a game and no one wants the throne, they merely want to be the second fiddle and walk away overly rich (or own the Iron Bank), we enabled this, and we get to live with the fallout that comes next, all because non-repudiation was too hard for these players.

 

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Clueless to the end

That is quite the statement is it not? The question that follows is is the writer clueless (aka me) or the presenter of certain statements (aka Peter Dutton, current Home Affairs Minister). I will leave that to you as I am merely presenting the facts as I see them.

It all started on a simple Wednesday (2 days ago) when I was confronted with the statement ‘Coalition calls on Google and Facebook to get on side with encryption bill‘, just another political yada yada moment and I was about to ignore it and more to the next page when I noticed ‘the internet giants have a responsibility to help combat organised crime‘, which woke me up nice and widely. So the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/10/coalition-calls-on-google-and-facebook-to-get-on-side-with-encryption-bill) gives us: “Australia’s law enforcement agencies have been prevented from infiltrating paedophile networks and other organised crime groups because the messages they send over encrypted electronic messaging services, such as Wickr and Whatsapp, cannot be intercepted by authorities“, in light of Australia being America’s minion in the anti-Huawei activities is admitting that mere app decryption is beyond their ability? And they have the loudly shouted notion that Huawei is a 5G risk whilst ‘basic’ skills are not in their arsenal? Apart from making a case that Huawei is now basically a political fuelled exploitation game and a setting of bias (and optionally nepotism), we are interested in learning that certain skills are beyond Australian Intelligence. I am certain that Paul Symon, Mike Burgess and Duncan Lewis would have been delighted to learn of this revelation via the Guardian, but that was merely comical relief anecdote, let’s get down to the brass of it all.

We get to see the first part in “He said a new report from the Australian Institute of Criminology, released on Wednesday, estimated the cost of serious and organised crime in Australia in 2016–17 was between $23.8bn and $47.4bn, and showed how sophisticated internet-based crimes can be“. So as we take a look at that report (attached), we take a first look at the end (just like any detective story, starting at the end we see the revelations we needed to see if the story adds up). So there we see: “This paper sought to estimate the cost of serious and organised crime in Australia for the 2016–17 financial year. It was not possible to undertake new empirical research to provide more accurate baseline data to support the estimated costs, so in most cases uprating using the RBA (2018) inflation calculator was used in conjunction with the most recent reported crime statistics to assess the prevalence of the various crime types examined“, which gives us another part. The first is on page 3 where we clearly see (in bold) ‘$31.5 BILLION for the cost of serious and organised criminal activity as well as the serious and organised component of conventional crimes‘, so now we see in opposition an amount against ‘between $23.8bn and $47.4bn‘, which I admit remains a truth, yet when we do the math, we see $15.9B for prevention and $31.5B for the so called organised and serious criminal activity, which gets us to $47.4B. At this point we could surmise that Peter Dutton passed his basic math test, was it not that the same page 3 (just like in the Sun, for the longest of times) gives us an additional $8.6 on organised Fraud (debatable), and $6.5B, $9.6B, $4.1B and others adding up to almost $2.7B, so in total we have the $31.7B, yet here is the problem, the individuals cannot clearly represent 100% of organised crime. We are now getting to the miscategorised and the miss set properties of certain players, which also deflates the issue. It becomes a larger setting when we consider the ABC, who reported in May 2017: “the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network, and the reported losses from online scams across the nation come in at around $300 million“. So here we get the second part. We see ‘online scams‘ and I am willing to accept that, yet against ‘PURE CYBER CRIME‘ the question becomes what is what and where are the definitions and this gets us to page 18 where we see: “It extends the conventional understanding of organised crime groups by adding all serious crime of an entrepreneurial nature or committed to support a criminal enterprise, whether by a group or an individual“, now the entire setting changes. It optionally includes all the entrepreneurial naughty people in places like Wall Street does it not? Good luck getting anything done at that point!

Then we get to the illicit drug activity. Now, I am not debating the number overall. I do not have the data to do so, yet consider the part on page 10 where the three costs are included namely Medical costs, Lost Output and Expenditure on drugs. The items are fine, it is how you set your filter, I get that, yet in all this when we consider the numbers and the setting whilst we also have been treated to the longest time to those individuals in caravans in the middle of nowhere making their acid/ecstasy junk. So when we look at Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine (MDMA), we can see that it is a serious crime and that we are given a dangerous setting, no one denies that, yet in all this, those singular people who do something with gallons of cough syrup (as It was presented at one point) we should also see that at this point that Peter Dutton had all the elements added together and presents it like a Ponzi scheme, or should I say that it looks like an Amway sales presentation (the one I saw at least)? You know, the one where someone states ‘replicate, don’t reinvent‘ it is a good sales pitch, no one denies that, and it is here that we see the flaw and failing of Peter Dutton.

You see his presentation adds up ‘perfect’, these numbers add up, whilst a millennia of history shows us that numbers never add up, not in any criminal enterprise; to do that I have to teach you a little data basic. The best comparison is the use of a cross tabulation. Let’s take gender and shoes. For example we see 6 men and 14 women bought shoes. We also see that 24 women and 25 men did not buy shoes. So far we get the table on the left, yet now we also get the setting that a cross tabulation will not deal with.

For example the fact where we know that shoes were bought, yet the gender is unknown or we see a gender reference and that something was bought, but we cannot see if they were shoes. These are called missing values and they will not show up in that cross tabulation and there we see the first part. It gives us the setting of crimes but not by whom, they are serious in setting but that is not enough is it? You see Peter Dutton gave us ‘help combat organised crime‘, yet not all serious crime is done by organised crime and now we have a $47 billion dollar question and in addition the failing that we are now introduced to is a much larger failing. In this we now see that we saw in the beginning when we went to the end of the story. It is seen with: ‘estimated the cost of serious and organised crime‘ and that is not enough. We could argue that it should be, we can argue that (the amount involved) is way too big, but the setting is not merely that Tech companies should ‘help’, it is the prosecution setting. The setting that there is too much junk attached and the prosecution will fail in the bulk of all those cases because the evidence relies on loaded and unproven data. It is the part that we have faced for well over 7 years. The court barristers will give every jury the speech of authentication versus non-repudiation and the second one cannot be proven (in most cases), so we end up not merely not having ‘beyond all reasonable doubt‘, there will be a high and likely chance that the courts will not even be able to prove ‘on the balance of probabilities‘ or ‘is it more likely than not‘ and it is here where we see that Peter Dutton could be optionally wasting millions upon millions of costs to set the stage of presentation that will have little to no results and that is a much larger problem. The additional play is that any smudging of any presented evidence will give us the stage that a case will be thrown out of court, how is that helping anyone?

So whilst we ponder this, we need to review the statement “And it should be noted the same companies who protest about having to help police with the encryption problem, operate their business in less democratic countries and accept a compromise on privacy to allow their presence in those growth markets“. We are not those countries are we? so at this point, we get the impression that Peter Dutton is merely a minion for the intelligence services who according to him were unable to ge to places in the first place, which implies that certain players have much larger problems and the serious cirme part, which is not on their plate is already beyond them, so there!

At this point we get to the final part where we see: “It is important that tech firms understand and embrace their responsibilities to the community that has helped enrich them“, I actually do agree with that part, yet that should be set in taxation law. A flaw that I reported on yesterday (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/10/11/taxation-solved-the-old-way/) which I charmingly called ‘Taxation solved the old way‘ (pun intended). So when we now consider the biggest organised crime master in Common Law (Al Capone), who funny enough got scuttled not by crime fighters but by tax laws. How we get to relearn the lessons of old, do we not?

It gets us to the quote: “Currently our police and intelligence officers who have a warrant may be able to covertly recover an email or a photo or other evidence of a crime from someone’s computer, but they can’t crack encryption, which is why it is now being exploited by criminals“, so these are criminals and not organised crime. Or in a simplistic setting that every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square. It is at that point that I will teach Peter Dutton the one lesson he never learned (optionally he merely forgot the lesson).

Consider: “When sarcasm bounces it is merely irony“, a lesson that has a much wider application that the honourable youthful young Dutton might not have contemplated yet. However, we have to consider he was only reappointed his seat on August 24th, so he has time to settle in. And the lesson does not end, the second part of the lesson is not from me, it comes from Lizzie O’Shea who gives us: “they were united for the first time in their opposition to the government’s encryption bill“, when we see united tech giants, how short sighted was this encryption bill in the first place? It gets to be a larger issue when we add the setting from World Animal Day (pun intended) when we see the two parts “Telstra has won a $8.2 million contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the landing of the Coral Sea Cable System” and “Chinese technology giant Huawei was originally set to build the 2.5TB-cable linking Australia to the Pacific island nation back in July 2017. However, following concerns that Huawei’s involvement posed a security risk, the Australian government stepped in to fund the multi-million-dollar project from its foreign aid budget“, whilst clear evidence has never been presented and in that stage we see optional nepotism and ego and not fact and science based solutions. We are supposed to trust any of the reporting parties on any of this? The articles are different on different settings, yet the entire mess as it is now shows a much larger failing and a setting of doubt, not one of justified confidence and in that we see the second part of the reason why the tech giants are uniting. A certain play performed by adjusting to the notion of stupid and short sighted whilst the captains of industry have been getting their A-game in gear and others never did. It is merely another stage of the impact of iterative exploitation and profit founding, that whilst Huawei, Google, Apple and Samsung are no longer going iterative, they are now making larger leaps over the next 5 years as they want the largest slice of 5G pie possible and in an iterative setting the others can catch up and that is where we see the clash, because these hardware jumps will also prevail in software and data jumps and some players are in no way ready to play that game. That is where this so called balanced report strikes out as well. this is seen on page 21, where we see: “Because information and communications technologies are used widely throughout society and are instrumental to government, business and consumer activities, there is considerable overlap between the estimated costs of cybercrime and the costs of other crime types— particularly economic crimes, banking and financial crimes, transnational crime, online commerce and internet-facilitated crime such as consumer fraud, online dissemination of child exploitation material and intellectual property infringement“. You see in that stage we see the mention of ‘economic crimes, banking and financial crimes‘. Here we see that Financial institutions and Wall Street come into play (perhaps ‘entrepreneurial bankers’ is a much better term). This is not organised crime because Wall Street never committed any crimes did they, yet they are at the centre of a group of people in that classification are they not? And there we see not merely the adaptations of block chains, we see that organised crime will go there (as soon as they possibly can) whilst the bulk of all the players will not be ready and any encryption bill will hinder the progress of new technology as other players are not anchors of stability, they are concrete blocks of deceleration, another part not considered in any of this.

So yet, the tech companies are uniting and there is a second part in all that. When they strike a deal with Saudi Arabia and set a large part in the city of Neom; when Saudi Arabia accepts certain concessions towards the FAANG group? I personally believe that as soon as the benefit is clearly shown to the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the headway that they could make, they will adjust whatever they can according to Islamic Law, and at what point will governments realise that their only option of control will be isolation and a loss of economy? We are not that far away from that point. Even as we were told yesterday “A senior executive who works for Google’s parent company and a former US secretary of energy have dropped out of a Saudi Arabia tech and business advisory board following international outcry over the disappearance and alleged murder of a dissident Saudi journalist“, yet as Google cloud picks up more and more banks, how long until they reverse the setting? In this the Financial Times also gave us (a day earlier): “A radical blueprint to transform Saudi Arabia through socio-economic reform and ambitious development projects is persuading banks to return to Riyadh“, so at what point will we realise that Saudi Banking is growing and that all players want them as customers? It all boils to dollars and crime is merely a cost of doing business. It is that side that shows the missing data part (going back to the cross tabulation comparison). Corporations have always been about the privileges that come with a certain network and the most facilitating one is the one they will choose, that is in the heart of the flaw that I saw regarding Peter Dutton’s claims here. A bill that stops facilitation and stops optional business on much more levels, as banks need to show more and more profit. The greed driven business model will always be destructive in nature, learning that lesson 10 years ago would have made a difference, now it no longer will.

That is part of the heart of the “$40bn of foreign money is expected to flow into the stock market as a result of Saudi Arabia gaining MSCI emerging markets index status next year“, that against a flawed encryption bill, it was a bad play, played even worse on the surface of all the facts shown and I did not even bother going all the way when it comes to the initial ‘sought to estimate the cost‘, it almost reads like ‘the lady gains weight and we are trying to determine whether she is pregnant, or if she really likes pizza‘, how was that ever going to go? Perhaps asking her: ‘Have you been screwed (over) lately?‘ It could give you a truth and a lot more non-truths. That is the problem with data, whilst moulding data in one direction, you tend to open a door in another direction too, I learned to see and seek those doors, oh and that is before we consider the estimates and the application of weights to a data file, which I do not know whether it happened. this we should have consider with the statement on page 2 ‘Where data were not available for this period, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) (2018) inflation calculator was used to uprate estimated costs from earlier periods‘, the part ‘uprate estimated costs‘ would have gotten us that part, also the fact that it is not data merely a ballpark idea on what the data could be, it is not the same, is it?

 

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Just like everyone else

For the longest of times, I have worshiped Google. I have always been pro Google, and having worked in their offices for a year, being exposed to the options within Google is just overwhelming (and the food is pretty much the best in the world). So what happens when you are shown that Google is basically just like all the other large corporations? What when you wake up to an early e-mail where google advises you on the new Google Home Hub and the Google Pixels 3 (which is appealing even if it is at the price of your soul), yet 150 minutes later, you are shown by the Wall Street Journal that Google is just like every other corporation at present, how would you feel?

I can tell you that an ice bucket of water over your head at that point would have seemed a soft caress in contrast to the rude awakening I was made privy to.

To get the better view, we need to go back to May 2108, where we were treated to: “Google Australia’s boss Jason Pellegrino, who spoke on a CEO panel at Sydney’s CeBIT tech conference today, told the audience there had to be a “utility exchange” for the data a business obtains, adding if there is no trust, it can prove detrimental“, as well as ““That was about a leaky bucket. That data was going to places that consumers didn’t expect, didn’t agree with and got not value out of themselves. “None of these data buckets should be leaky. However, it’s started a discussion about what’s in the bucket itself. The data that’s there has been used to deliver a great service – no one has been sitting there saying Netflix ‘I can’t believe the data that you’re sharing’ – because they are delivering a wonderful service.”“. So as we were given on Monday ‘Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public‘ with the two quotes: “Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage, according to people briefed on the incident and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal“, as well as “A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident“, so basically Jason Pellegrino (not the exquisite Italian sparkling water) was basically calling the kettle black, whilst we can agree at this point that he had no business opening his mouth in the first place in light of 3 years of hidden software screw ups. It seems to me that both are in equal hot waters. Even if we water it down (not using sparking Pellegrino) into a setting that Cambridge Analytica was doing it on purpose and that the implied setting by Alphabet Inc. is that their software engineers basically did not know what they were doing (to some extent). We can call a fair dinkum, but something this hidden for three years. What optional issues can we expect from the Google Pixel 3, with Android version 3.14159265418 (Android Pie), as well as the Google Home Hub where the consumer is optionally revealing all their daily needs (including the speculatively implied and roughly estimated 54,233 daily attempts to watch Pornhub) with or without the optional keywords Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, Shania Twain, Selena Gomez, Kirsten Dunst and Taylor Swift. Yes, that is the data those marketeers are willing to pay handsomely for, not to mention those unnamed parties speculatively involved in election persuasion consultancy projects.

It gets even more interesting that the Home Hub could potentially reveal when a person is at home or not (like on vacation), because there is no one who would want that data, right? Last week we would not have given it a second thought, yet with the revelations in the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-exposed-user-data-feared-repercussions-of-disclosing-to-public-1539017194) we now have a much larger issue. It was fun to see the review on the Verge where we see this puppy in action (the Google Home Hub) where the operator asks for the overview of the Pixel 2, whilst pre-orders of the Pixel 3 are happening all over the world, another fallen blobby in all this.

So as we see the turmoil that one of the world’s biggest tech giants will face over the last quarter of the year, we need to realise that you should never meet your idol whilst he is still alive. I reckon that Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will be able to hold his cool for the smallest amount when he meets me, but that is presently not a given.

So as well are treated to “The closure of Google+ is part of a broader review of privacy practices by Google that has determined the company needs tighter controls on several major products, the people said. In its announcement Monday, the company said it is curtailing the access it gives outside developers to user data on Android smartphones and Gmail” we need to wonder what is next for the social media people. I actually preferred Google+ as it was less junk driven then Facebook. And it also gave me the timeline as a first instead of the populist drive, which still annoys me in Facebook. So even as some at Google as trying to wane us to slumber, the cold reality is : ‘the company has no evidence that any outside developers misused the data but acknowledges it has no way of knowing for sure‘. That is the immediate setting in this, we no longer know who has our details and we might never know how we were optionally specifically phished and targeted as per 2015, is that not a nice new reality to face?

So as we need to realise “The company will stop letting most outside developers gain access to SMS messaging data, call log data and some forms of contact data on Android phones“, we might think it is no big deal, but this has the data potential to be a lot larger than any nightmare scenario that the UK ‘Hacked Off‘ ever envisioned in their nightmare settings that the press would have been up to, when people with less scruples (not by much though) have been given optional access to and let’s not forget, the criminals tend to be more creative then the law enforcers ever have been (or some of the intelligence services for that matter).

So even as we accept that the Google plus issue is a dwarf compared to the Facebook scandal, it still optionally victimised the setting through: “It found 496,951 users who had shared private profile data with a friend could have had that data accessed by an outside developer, the person said. Some of the individuals whose data was exposed to potential misuse included paying users of G Suite, a set of productivity tools including Google Docs and Drive, the person said. G Suite customers include businesses, schools and governments“.

I am not alone in this, a few hours ago, the New York Times are giving us: ‘How Will Google Play Its New Product Announcements on the Back of a Data Scandal?‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/business/dealbook/google-data-products.html). It is not merely that part, we need to consider that at present only Apple has a seemingly clean slate and they can use this to their advantage. It is in the end watered down by the NY Times through “They’re all part of Google’s strategy to highlight the company’s services via hardware (rather than necessarily become best-sellers in their own right)“, they are all still ruled by software and the cold setting here is that it is their software that was incompletely tested and prodded by those who should have done so. I refuse to merely blame a programmer here, it is a much larger problem!

The failing here can be seen in places like Ubisoft, EA Games, Bethesda, Microsoft and several other large developers. The non-stop trivialisation of proper testing and proper timelines to test settings is at the back of all this. It is not merely a lacking QA, it is a non believe in the power of testers and longer conversations in their insights that is here as well. Issues seen in FIFA 19, several shortcomings in NHL 19, AC Odyssey bugs reported mere hours ago and the less said regarding the Microsoft Surface Go the better and the list goes on. These issues shows that Google is part of the entire problem, the quality testing and scrutiny is seemingly not done (or not done to the extent needed), and with the Google Pixel 3 just around the corner, with a lessened confidence level at present, would you at that point trust the Google Pixel 3XL 128GB at $1500, or will you play it cautiously and select the less powerful, but still a large step forward when selecting the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset at $600, in this day and age, can we feel comfortable with spending an optional $900 too much? I will admit that there are a few alternatives at that price, not merely Huawei, but the list of quality choices is very small.

The revelation that the Wall Street Journal exposed us to on Monday is probably the most inconvenient that Google has faced in a long time. Even before we see whatever Google has to promote in the near future on 5G capabilities and enabling technologies, they now have a visible problem to address. It is not merely a dent in their armour, it now shows us a Google that was optionally never the knight in shining armour it has largely been seen as, which is a much larger problem for Google then they are willing to admit to any day soon.

Too many are hiding behind hype terms like AI and machine learning, yet the realisation that non repudiation and authentication was required on many more levels where data is involved in all this, is a failing on several levels, predominantly the developers one and it is there that Google will possibly face a very hard time to come.

#Halfwaytotheweekendnow

 

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The price of identity

We all have needs, we all have identities. It is important to us, as it is for many others. No one debates or disagrees with it. Yet what to do when identity hinders us? When we see the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/former-nsa-deputy-is-mattiss-leading-choice-to-head-the-spy-service-if-it-splits-from-cyber-command/2018/10/05/1be8d7a8-c73d-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html) giving us ‘Former NSA deputy is Mattis’s leading choice to head the spy service if it splits from Cyber Command‘, we need to consider the impact of identity, corporate identity, governmental identity, military identity, projected and presented identity. They are not the same and can vary to a much larger degree. When someone is part of what used to be referred to ‘No Such Agency‘. We will get the impact of identity; we all know that and many faced it too. Look at any friend or co-worker you have ever known and ask him/her about the impact of a merger and they will tell you, there are changes. Some are subtly, some are not noticed, yet others are, usually in infrastructure and the way things were done. Now the change tends to be for the good in the long run but that is not a given.

So what gives?

It is my personal observation and a highly speculative one at that. Yet I believe that the Washington Post giving us: “The current head of both organizations, Gen. Paul Nakasone, has urged Mattis to keep the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command under one leader on the grounds that the nine-year-old military organization is not ready to stand on its own, these people said. In recent weeks, Mattis was close to a decision to separate the leadership arrangement, but Nakasone’s counsel has caused him to reconsider, according to two U.S. officials. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations“, is not entirely accurate. I believe that ‘military organization is not ready to stand on its own‘ is not the setting that matter. I believe that Stratfor who gives us ‘A New, More Aggressive U.S. Cybersecurity Policy Complements Traditional Methods‘ is very much at the heart of that. I believe that the general is not ready or perhaps unwilling to set the offensive and aggressive part in motion. Now, this is no bad reflection on the general, let that be a first. He is well decorated, he has seen the field in many ways and he has done a fair share of field events. He has earned his rank. I merely wonder that a man who has seemingly played a defence and protection game is the man for the offense. I think that this is a football moment, and as a non-football expert (and a 49ers fan) I would compare the General to DeMarcus Lawrence from the Dallas Cowboys against what the US seems to demand is a Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans), or even a Tom Brady (New England Patriots), roles that are not really moveable. Even as a Quarterback might become a really good Derick Henry that Quarterback will never become a DeMarcus Lawrence. The defence and offense game is that far apart. This is where Chris Inglis comes in. He is an analyst (at heart), he is used to counter offensive strategies and introduce strategies of his own (effective one’s mind you). I believe that this is the game that is in the open at present and these two will need to find a way to make it work. Not merely because it is good for the needed strategy, but because the segregation of the two elements might hurt U.S. Cyber Command in a few ways, not merely funding, but the elements that U.S. Cyber Command currently have access to will partially fall away and getting two infrastructures like the NSA is unyielding, unaffordable and in the end will introduce flaws and dangers on both sides of the isle making the setting (as I personally see it) a non-option right of the bat. Stratfor gives us a few other items.

One of them is “A best-case scenario for a U.S. cyberattack would be disabling computer systems and networks being used against U.S. interests to prevent an attack from happening or to disrupt an attack that is in progress“. The problem there is that some of the opponents are getting to be really good at what they do and a few of them are not state driven, not by any state changing the dynamics of the solution. Even as I discussed the hop+1 strategy almost three years ago, settings like that require an expert layer one knowledge and the players cannot both have these experts changing the needs of the infrastructure overnight.

The second consideration is: “Perhaps the main challenge to U.S. engagement in tit-for-tat cyberattacks is that the United States is by far the biggest target for such attacks“. That might be true but that goes beyond mere true enemies, it includes a truckload of students wanting to finger the man (or is that giving them the bird)? Do they really want to waste resources to those people whilst the US has actual enemies in the world?

The larger issue is seen with: “Discussing the strategy, national security adviser John Bolton hinted that the administration had already taken steps to bolster offensive efforts in recent weeks, warning that the United States is no longer just playing defense when it comes to cybersecurity. But despite the Trump administration’s more hawkish tone regarding cybersecurity, it will continue mainly to rely on traditional measures such as the legal process, regulations and cooperation with the private sector when it comes to cybersecurity” It is here when we get the consideration of the resources required. The defence, offense and legal sides of it all becomes a real mess if the two split up giving the chance that targets and issues walk away on technicalities. How does that help?

The strategy s even more profound when we consider “Clandestine, discreet attacks are certainly already key elements of U.S. cyber tactics. There have likely been more examples of U.S.-launched attacks that have not come to light, perhaps because they were never recognized as cyberattacks. While the less known about U.S. cyber capabilities, the more effective they will be when deployed, this by definition limits the deterrence value of U.S. cyber capabilities“, at this point is the setting of ‘discreet’ that comes into play. With the two separated they will get into each other’s fare waters and more important give accidental light to the discreet part of the operation, there will be no avoiding it, only the most delusional person would think that it does not get out when more than one player is involved, because that will always introduce a third item being the intermediary, the cold war taught many players that part of the equation. And that is even before we get to the statement: “recent cases like the September indictment of North Korean cyber operatives, which displayed heavy FBI reliance on private security firms such as Mandiant and Alphabet to collect technical evidence and carry out investigations“, now we see the folly as Mandiant and Alphabet are mentioned, the entire matter grows further as soon as Constellis becomes part of the equation. That is beside the point of realising (highly speculative on my side) that neither three Mandiant, Alphabet and Constellis have the required safe servers in place to prevent names, places and facts from going out into the open. I might not be able to get in, but there are dozens who will get in and that voids the security of the matter to a much larger degree. For arguments sake I will leave Booz Allan Hamilton out of that equation, they have been snowed on long enough.

And even as we see the instance of legal preference, the US must realise that any attack from state or non-state parties in China or Russia has close to 0% of being successful (outside of the exposure part), the entire matter in case of the OPCW in the Netherlands is one. An attack was thwarted, yet was it THE attack? The guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/04/visual-guide-how-dutch-intelligence-thwarted-a-russian-hacking-operation) reads nice, and we see all these facts and from my point of view, things do not add up. You see, I would have used the car that we see mentioned “In the boot of their car was uncovered an arsenal of specialist electronic Wi-Fi hacking equipment” as a fire and forget consumable, use it as an access point, segregating the hacker from the accessing unit. When you have (as they stated) “cash: €20,000 and $20,000” getting a second car far enough to access yet not be directly linked is seemingly easy enough. Then there is the setting of the photo at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. I am not debating the issue of the photo, it seems genuine enough. In this operation they did not fly to Germany and took the train, or take a car and cross at Oldenzaal, Emerich, or even via Belgium and enter via Antwerp, or Eindhoven. It almost read like they wanted to get noticed. They know that Amsterdam Airport is high tech and nothing escapes their camera eyes. To me (a paranoid me) it comes across as ‘Where did they not want us to look‘. A mere sleight of hand deception, and again the entire GRU mention. A phone outside of that building and they had the taxi receipt? No one merely driving them to the airport in Russia or even them taking a bus from any hotel in Moscow. No a taxi receipt of all things, is anyone buying that? So in this it is not the Dutch, it is the Russian side that makes no sense at all.

How did I get there?

This is the initial setting of offense and defence. The proper application of strategy in all this matters, because we seem to undervalue and underestimate the need of either in all this. Because we get to push a button anywhere and anytime we seem to underestimate on what is recorded, what is collected and what can we verify. That entire mistake is how any offensive strategy can optionally become folly from the moment the instigation of ‘press any key‘ to start gets us. Proper offensive is not about doing what needs to be done, it is about being able to prove who did what. Perhaps Sony remembers that part as they were given that it was North Korea did something, whilst their computers were not even close to PC gaming ready, the mere processor, which was about 25% (at best) of a 1994 Silicon Graphics Indigo system is not the system that gives you what you need to hack the night away. The tools are equally as important as the access and ability to negate identity. When you see that part, the entire hop+1 intrusion path makes a lot more sense.

This now gets us to the end of the Washington Post, where we were treated to: ““As the build of the cyber mission force wraps up, we’re quickly shifting gears from force generation to sustainable readiness,” Nakasone said in a statement in May. “We must ensure we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available” to carry out successful cyber-offensives. Some former senior intelligence and defense officials oppose separating the “dual-hat” leadership arrangement, including former NSA Director Keith Alexander, former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This week, former CIA Director David Petraeus, a retired Army general, said during a Washington Post cyber summit that he’d keep the dual-hat arrangement “for the time being.”” It is not merely the ‘we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available‘, you see, when we get to capabilities we see the need of offensive players and even as Cyber command might be aces in their field, the offensive game differs to some degree and even as we see that they are way above the student levels, we get back to the Football equivalent you see the application of defence and offense. It is not DeMarcus Lawrence versus Derrick Henry, the question becomes can DeMarcus Lawrence be a Derrick Henry that is good enough, that is the battle within. The mere realisation that if you fail this when the offensive is broken into a train wreck that makes the limelight in every paper, that is the game that is the dilemma that Gen. Paul Nakasone faces as I personally see it.

And when we see Stratfor with the one little gem we did not consider, the mere proposed fact that North Korea has a mere 9,000 IP Addresses, do you really think that they could have done this all, or are we in a setting where someone had the ability to act on BGP hijacking and was able to mask it to the level it needed to be masked at, because that was the offensive play that needed to be considered and there was no way that the evidence had been uncovered to that degree with a backdoor could be removed with a simple reset of routers.

#FourtyNinersRule

 

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The FX slogan in action

I always loved the FX slogan, it is true, and it is at the centre of entertainment. Yet is it at the centre of viable analytics? Is a result merely presented as an anecdote more acceptable? We seem to lack the ability to take a step back and look at it in a clinical setting, because it is not always about the mere setting.

A scientist will show you how expensive progress exactly is.
A diplomat makes you look forward to the invoice attached to it.

This is a setting that we seem to laugh at. Now take this in a very different direction: ‘A person who is 30% white is still 70% guilty‘. You are not laughing now are you? Take this to the next level with KTVU naming the crew of a plane crash (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpP2S6c74Ts), still having fun? The people connected to Asiana Flight 214 are not, I am certain of that. So when we see this, where do we go? Well we need to take a short pit stop when we address something that I have seen in my surrounding. The practice is not wrong, it can be loaded and it can blow up in your face if you do it wrong.

To get this we need to look at 2009, when Google’s Chief Economist Dr. Hal R. Varian told the audience: “The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades“, this is true, it has been true for decades. So as data becomes is found everywhere it becomes the setting of an almost opposition. To get data from almost common sense (where everyone seemingly gets it, to a stage that the presentation of numbers, with a story, almost any story that fits we get to see that companies are desperately searching for talent with data skills and they make it worse by trying to find people who can tell a story. Yet where is the story the value? Is that because it is more believable, or because it fits the moment? Yet that danger is now growing as well. You see each quarter the story needs to be amended and builds upon the previous story and investors have a much better memory than some realise. This is where Forbes gets us with “Interestingly, much of the current hiring emphasis has centered on the data preparation and analysis skills—not the “last mile” skills that help convert insights into actions. Many of the heavily-recruited individuals with advanced degrees in economics, mathematics, or statistics struggle with communicating their insights to others effectively—essentially, telling the story of their numbers.” I am not sure that this is a correct path. Instead of focussing on the communication skill, we are given data presentations by Mother Goose and Mr Grimm and in all that, will we get the story that is told correctly? I have prepared dashboards and data reports for decades. I have seen how some jumps were made on the assumption of one result, whilst the data was not supporting it, or it was, yet only after targeted weighting? In that we get the story that is a partial truth, yet it is in that same instant a partial lie too and that part will no longer get the proper scrutiny that is required.

So now we get to the good stuff. Now we get to the Guardian that treated us to: ‘China planted chips in Apple and Amazon servers, report claims‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/04/china-planted-chips-on-apple-and-amazon-servers-report-claims). Is it possible? Yes it is, yet the numbers and the speculative sides in all this is a larger problem, or better stated it is a large issue in a much larger universe and we are merely shown the keyhole view with the audio of two moaning people. Yet whether they are having sex or are pushing the bed around cannot be stated as we merely see a wall and part of a piece of furniture and we go by the sounds we hear. So when we consider that the corn borer can make the identical sound of a bat, so much so that the female corn borer moths cannot distinguish between the sound of a real bat and the sound of a male moth imitating a bat. Which quite literally gets her screwed, it’s merely how he gets lucky.

This now relates to the article, where we see: “A Chinese military unit has been inserting tiny microchips into computer servers used by companies including Apple and Amazon that give China unprecedented backdoor access to computers and data, according to a new Bloomberg report“, yet when we are also told “The attack was reportedly discovered in 2015 by the US intelligence services, as well as by Apple and Amazon as the companies purchased servers made by Super Micro Computer“, yet companies stay in the dark on this? So first it is Russia, now it is China? Consider the next quote “Amazon, Apple and Super Micro have all denied Bloomberg’s report. Amazon said: “It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental.

Furthermore, we see both “As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, at no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems“, as well as “Apple said: “On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.“. Is this an issue about what exactly?

This we see in the consideration of: “There have been increased concerns about foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating US and other companies via so-called “supply chain attacks”“. This is not unique. The American nagging and the nagging by its bitches (aka Australian Intelligence) is becoming a much larger setting as to the stage on where economic prosperity goes to. This is as I personally see it, the setting of a stage on where outsourcing goes to. This seems to be much more realistic and much more believable. You see, if there was truth in the Bloomberg part, if there was the real setting of “Apple had reportedly bought around 7,000 Super Micro servers when its security teams discovered the chips“, in that setting 7,000 server boards would have been shown to the world, it would have changed everything, places like Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and UTS (which has Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak as a professor). They would be showing you the high and low of it all, yet that did not happen did it? So when we are seeing “Technology shares in Hong Kong fell sharply on Friday led by Lenovo, which lost 23% in morning trade. The Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp lost more than 14%“, which is interesting as ZTE was a thorn in the 5G side of the US and a few other players (like Telstra for example) for a much longer time, so is that a mere coincidence? What story telling sides are we not exposed to?

However, this is not the end. It is important to look at Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is not really the ‘storyteller’ of the century. We get introduced (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies) to the quotes “In late spring of 2015, Elemental’s staff boxed up several servers and sent them to Ontario, Canada, for the third-party security company to test, the person says“, as well as “Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design“, which also gets us: “During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines“. This is a much more frightening setting, yet why was this kept in the dark for so long? Not because of any matter that can be attributed to common sense. You see, I find “Still, to actually accomplish a seeding attack would mean developing a deep understanding of a product’s design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location—a feat akin to throwing a stick in the Yangtze River upstream from Shanghai and ensuring that it washes ashore in Seattle” an acceptable tactic, yet it opens the door on multiple places, places that are implied but not shown into the limelight. The first and perhaps the most visible one is: ‘timeline to design a chip‘. If that is so small, how can we be certain that the CIA did not do this to every Apple and IBM device ahead of fabrication? So when we get to “But that’s just what U.S. investigators found: The chips had been inserted during the manufacturing process, two officials say, by operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army“, why them? Why not the Ministry of State Security? When we look in those directions, I personally find Chen Wenqing has a much more deceptive look then Xi Jinping. For either, funding would never have been the issue. And in the end Bloomberg gives us: “Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons“. So yes, Bloomberg is raising questions, questions on where we need to consider ourselves in regards to China, an issue not properly raised by the Guardian this time around. Yet in both cases we end up with questions. We know that 5G will be a multi trillion industry and the US is desperate to melt the cogs of Chinese industry here, they have a backlog that is too large, there is at present no chance that the US, or Europe could catch up with China. The Chinese focus had been on 5G for too long, production is nowhere near it needs to be to go up against China. Yet this story, this event 3 years old and never in the limelight until now, that is impacting Lenovo and ZTE, so one of the 5G drivers is now as they call it: ‘In the shits‘, a 14% loss is nothing to get sneered at. And this optionally links back to the accusations against China in 5G, yet they are all still stories. The evidence was never handed into the limelight, and it also squarely lands the entire matter into the pond of former President Barack Obama, who still wanted to get trade deals going at that stage, so the Democratic party is going to get pushed into this mud pool sooner rather than later, because corporations at a global scale will feel betrayed in this mess. It gets fuelled more when we go back to September 2015, after this mess started and the people (via Reuters) get treated to: “President Barack Obama announced on Friday that he had reached a “common understanding” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on curbing economic cyber espionage, but threatened to impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist with cybercrimes.” So, did it happen? Was the story on the servers a ruse? Seems interesting that when placed in the proper timeline, against other news, we see a different setting do we not?

That is the stage we see when we add an element, any linked element to the story, it changes the preface of it and it changes the conclusions of it all. Any story with incomplete data is not a story, it degrades into a fairy tale, and both Mother Goose and Jacob Grimm both had their end of the spectrum when we watched their stories unfold. So where do the Guardian and Bloomberg stand? They go with sources that gave them news, yet when those sources cooperate in getting a particular story told, where do we get to stand, being told a story?

The server boards are evidence, yet where are they? If it is in 7000 server boards, there should be plenty to go around and show the world what was going on, but that did not happen, did it? So even as we were made aware a mere 5 hours ago of: “Huawei is trying to convince the U.S. government that Trump’s trade wars with China might slow down 5G adoption on American soil“, we now see that this is exactly what the US needed, time to catch up, or at least get a bigger slice of the 5G pie chart. You see a nation that is to be regarded as bankrupt cannot rely on importing goods; it needs US based goods to use a circle of non-cycled currency to keep its government running. And the 5G wave will go on for some time, the more time they get, the longer they can negate their official moment of being bankrupt. I am not the only one with that view, the same view is given (with a better economic handling) by Economist Laurence Kotlikoff who gives us: “While the United States’ official debt is $20 trillion, the fiscal gap is really 10 times larger — $200 trillion. That comes from adding in off-the-book liabilities, including debt that’s in the Federal Reserve’s hands, Kotlikoff said“, who also gives us: ““The evidence is in front of our eyes that we’re bankrupt,” Kotlikoff said. “It’s not bankrupt in the future. It’s bankrupt right now.”” A stage that I had mentioned three years ago, it might have been 4 years ago. I mentioned the settings and the consequences and I only needed an abacus to get there, but according to all the newspapers, I was wrong. Now we see more storytelling games and more pushes by large corporations to keep the current machine switches on, because once it is switched off, it ends for them, they will have no options and the markets will collapse soon thereafter wiping ours (and partially their) retirements away. That is the realism of our day and age and it is a story that I am telling, just like the others. I merely believe that I have seen more data, more complete data and I see the interactions on a wider scale. From that assumption my story is (seemingly) better, truer and more believable, is that the case, is it that for you?

You see, that is the danger with stories, it all hangs on the evidence that we are given and for the longest of times, the supporting evidence has been lacking, or basically completely absent on their side of the discussion. When we watch the Grimm in the TV Series Nick Burkhardt we accept it, because it is entertainment, and when the Grimm kills the Hundjägers, we know it is fabrication, entertaining fabrication mind you. Yet when we see the mention of Lenovo and ZTE, when we realise that 128,000 people are now in a state with an endangered job, families in danger of social security, as well as the impact on a larger scale, are we happy with the tale when it is the story and the non-shown evidence that is the matter. The fact that more parties are in denial is also an issue, but that could be for a whole host of reasons. It is the lack of evidence that is open for scrutiny that becomes the larger issue and that is an issue, it is an issue in every story, so whilst I embrace the FX slogan: ‘the story is everything‘ it is the lack of supported reality that makes it an issue in business intelligence and actual intelligence analyses. A setting that was 3 years in the open and we only get it partially served now, now that the need of America is becoming more and more dire.

The math does not add up and that has a much larger setting in all this than most are willing to admit to at present.

 

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One economy crises a day

Yes, it is the Guardian that alerts us to: ‘World economy at risk of another financial crash, says IMF‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/oct/03/world-economy-at-risk-of-another-financial-crash-says-imf). So as we see: “Debt is above 2008 level and failure to reform banking system could trigger crisis“, we think that this is a small issue, but it is not, it is however not the real dangers, merely a larger factor. The quote “With global debt levels well above those at the time of the last crash in 2008, the risk remains that unregulated parts of the financial system could trigger a global panic, the Washington-based lender of last resort said” gets us a little closer to it all, yet it is the phrase ‘Washington-based lender of last resort’ that is a little more at the core of it all. This, or in a roundabout mention towards the US federal reserve is not the only part in this. It is the ECB with its quantative easing setting, now at 3.7 trillion, which in light of the Bloomberg article in 2017 (a year ago now) mentioning ‘Some ECB Members Identify 2.5 Trillion-Euro QE Limit‘ becomes a larger issue. With the US national debt at $21.5 trillion the ECB at an estimated €2.4 trillion bonds as per June ($2.7 trillion), we are going off the deep end soon enough. So as people were all in such a state that I was wrong, it would not happen again and that the economy is great. Consider that I warned about this danger several times between 2016 and the latest in May 2018 with ‘Milestones‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/05/05/milestones/). Yet all the parties are stating that I was wrong, and several hours ago, the Guardian treats us to: “The growth of global banks such as JP Morgan and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to a scale beyond that seen in 2008, leading to fears that they remain “too big to fail”, also registers on the IMF’s radar“. Yes, ‘too big to fail’, or should that be ‘to big too fail‘?

So when we see Gordon Brown getting quoted with: “former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last month that the world economy was “sleepwalking into a future crisis,” and risks were not being tackled now “we are in a leaderless world”“. I found his response slightly moronic as there is no leaderless world, there are merely elected officials who know that they are merely in temp positions and they are paving the way for really nice paid futures. There is a distinct difference there. And in that I am still modestly awaiting my honour degree from the London School of Economics, in a pinch one from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will do too.

So when we see both “Christine Lagarde was concerned that the total value of global debt, in both the public and private sectors, has rocketed by 60% in the decade since the financial crisis to reach an all-time high of $182tn“, as well as “the build-up made developing world governments and companies more vulnerable to higher US interest rates, which could trigger a flight of funds and destabilise their economies. “This should serve as a wake-up call,” she said“. My response will be: “No Christine, you are wrong! The entire setting of a wake-up call is already 3-4 years too late. You have been unable to nurture the ECB, keep governments awake to get spending under control and the fallout will be huge and the people get to pay for it all“. The one benefit is that too large a population will be going through two depressions wiping out all their savings soon enough and in that there is an actual chance of a new civil war that would spread all over Europe. At that point the life of any politician will be £0.02 at best, once that starts, there will be not merely a Brexit, it will herald the end of the EU and it will impact the US in a most disastrous path, not merely wiping economies out, there will be a lack of trust between the US and the EU that will surpass the distrust levels between the USA and CCCP at the height of the cold war. It will redraw global economic maps to the larger degree. That is also seen in the part when we recollect the June 23rd article called ‘They are still lying to us‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/06/23/they-are-still-lying-to-us/). There we were treated to “Greece is once again becoming a normal country, regaining its political and financial independence“, remember that part? So how normal is that country as we are treated to ‘Greek Bank Stocks Tumble Amid Concerns Over Capital, Bad Loans’ by the Wall Street Journal a mere 8 hours ago? So when we see “Investors appear to have completely lost confidence in Greek banks,” economists at HSBC said in a research note. The four main banks— National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Eurobank Ergasias and Piraeus Bank—recently submitted ambitious plans to rid themselves of more than half of their soured loans by 2021 to the banking-supervision unit of the European Central Bank, several bank officials said. Under the new plans, which the ECB is considering, the banks would commit themselves to reduce their nonperforming loans to 15%-21% of their total loans, compared with today’s levels of 40.7%-54.7%“. the article (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/greek-bank-stocks-tumble-amid-concerns-over-capital-bad-loans-1538584978) gives us a lot more, but it shows that the banks are trying to shed the bad loans in as creative ways as possible and in this the governments are as I personally see it part of the problem, they were never part of any solution and the people will get to pay for it all as they were treated last quarter to: “as elderly Greeks face losing up to €350 ($416) per month when new pension cuts are implemented as of Jan. 1, 2019“, I believe that as the Greek banks collapse to the larger degree, as the Greek banks are shedding over 50% of outstanding loans, their value would also collapse as will their prospects and the loss of confidence will only increase the pressures. All whilst payments will still be due and cannot be met as it is staged to be at present. So there is a chance that Greeks will lose 50% more than they are currently losing at present in the next quarter, so we will see that the Greeks will start the year in utter poverty and the rest of Europe is not far behind. The ECB with its badly conceived QE plan has achieved that, so when the people are given that danger and handed the loss of retirement funds, utter rage will not be far away after that.

It was one of the reasons why I kept close eyes on Salini Impregilo. Even as Europe is going proverbially down the drain Salini Impregilo has been making headway on a global scale, foremost in Saudi Arabia and as their projects are kicking off, the infrastructure needs for Saudi Arabia grow. Their needs for dash boarding, reporting and data analytics will rise over the next two years and will require more and more knowledge and infrastructure with any additional building they are assigned. The entire project of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) drew it even further to the foreground, merely because the required concrete levels that can be delivered seem to be at 30%-40% of what is required soon enough. It is an opportunity for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also optionally for Egypt. All these shortages ignored for now, yet when we see the image from 2012 and what was required then, and we consider that Neom will require close to 15 times that, where will the concrete come from? And it is not merely the availability; it will be about the proper planning of resources. Even as Salini Impregilo is merely a larger player of several projects, they in the end all need their concrete and where will that come from? So at this rate I expect to see the delays making the forefront news from 2020 onwards. Even as some places are increasing as much as they can afford. I expect it to fall short by a larger degree soon enough and when we are introduced to the heart of the matter. Smart cities will need smart infrastructure and the wiring will be well over 20 times what the entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet required and that is a lot. the skills, the training to get the amount of people fuelling this is short on every level as I see it, so as Europe collapses with the debt, Saudi Arabia gets the option to buy staff cheaply soon enough. No merely getting the knowledge they need. Yet the brain drain to that extent has never been seen before anywhere in the world and that is where the ECB will suddenly realise that the fuel required to fix any acts of stupidity in the last 10 years will no longer be available and at that point Wall Street will wake up getting to live the perfect nightmare. It is not merely that there will suddenly be a boost of economy because there is no unemployment, getting the people trained up will take decades, stopping economic growth right quick and for much too long.

And as other players open up the doors for a guaranteed decent lifestyle, the setting is changing. We see that in the European Pensions last July, a mere 2 months ago when we were given: “European pension schemes are becoming increasingly attracted to the high returns and diversification benefits offered by frontier markets” This is the setting of: ‘more developed than the least developing countries, but too small to be generally considered an emerging market‘, yet as the high returns are estimated, the risks are also higher and there seems to be the risk ‘risk premiums are more greatly affected by political, economic, and financial factors‘ that is seemingly ignored to a larger extent. We see that part when we consider both “MSCI Frontier Market Index is the most widely used benchmark for equities. However, even this is highly concentrated in certain markets and sectors – financial stocks make up 46 per cent and the top three countries make up 53 per cent“, as well as “Argentina, which makes up around 22 per cent of the index, and Vietnam, 15 per cent“. So, now consider that the very same Christine Lagarde treats us to: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to increase a lending package with Argentina by 7.1 billion US dollars (£5.3 billion), seeking to calm markets over the country’s ability to meet its debt amid growing economic turmoil” a mere week ago. Do you still think that I was kidding or merely trying to kick the dead donkey? I am not stating that this is the fault of Argentina. I am speculating that too many parts of Wall Street are banking on the failure of others and it opposes the setting of returns on those seeking success, in this setting the pensions will lose, optionally they will lose every time without fail and the people are left with an empty bag not worth the price of that empty bag. Do you think that people will sit down and accept that? No, they will be beyond furious and the setting of Johan de Witt and Cornelis de Witt blamed and lynched in The Hague, the rioters were never prosecuted. So, there will be enough motivation on more than one level. It is something for the current European politicians to keep in mind, because this could happen again and the setting that the people face over the next 10 years is a lot worse than the ones that the population faced then. At that point, when this starts, I truly hope that those politicians will have the option of a quick getaway out of Europe, because they will not know safety ever again in that place.

So whilst we see the distancing of politicians on all fields whilst trying to drench themselves in non-accountability, whilst they will try the path of ‘It was a miscommunication and we were given the wrong advice‘, the people will no longer accept that as the evening news. They will want their pound of flesh and a bucket of blood and the regard of the value of politicians at that point will have been degraded to zero, and their ‘post life’ Facebook profile image might optionally look similar to the painting of the brothers De Witt as it was in 1672. You might think that it is mere speculation and it is, yet the trigger is not my speculation, it is the message of economic crises after economic crises as the governments are not acting against the banks and the exploiters that hide behind ‘too big to fail‘. The people all over Europe, if not on a global setting as they are mistreated to overly optimistic futures that cannot be met and have not been met for over a decade, you see, if that was actually true debts would have been receding, would they not? The only ones that did that harshly were the Germans and they are indeed in a much better place. It is the difference between being popular and doing what needs to be done and in that Angela Merkel was not about being popular, yet now those Germans are in a much better place than most other nations. It is something for you to consider as you notice your pension is gone and you want to take it out on someone.

so whilst we consider the final line in the Guardian, which was: “Without a rise in investment economies remain vulnerable to financial stress“, we need to consider that the setting is not merely about ‘investment economies‘, it is about the setting where large corporations come in and use that setting to ‘invest’ whilst draining away the gained momentum, so the economy that once was in that stage has been drained and those momentum profits are relocated to other places where ever those boards of directors are fuelling their personal wealth accounts, leaving those nations in a post investment era that is now merely regarded as a consumer fuelled economy whilst those people never gained the better economic standing to spend the money fuelling it further.

A setting where the equilibrium of economics fails as there was never a state of balance, merely a stage of relocating available wealth and the frontier markets are no help, they are merely an optional stage not unlike the CDO issues of 2008, in my view a way to avoid taxation and move whatever they could to a non-reporting nation. Or as one source stated: “the smarter operators no longer use filthy lucre but instead employ modern financial devices such as Interest Rate Swaps (IRS) and Total Return Swaps (TRS) to evade tax“, a setting where some take a 4% loss to avoid 26% taxation, it still wins them 22% and many had to live of a bonus a lot more shallow then that and from a base amount massively smaller than the one moved away.

One crises a day, I wonder what the bad news we will get treated to next week.

#HappyWorldAnimalDay

 

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Trademarking idiocy

Is it not great that we have trademarks? You see, a trademark can be used to set a level of protection to names that are unique. Trademarks are granted to protect established brand names from inferior competition. It is in that we could trademark ‘MattHancock’, we need to protect this as such levels of what I regard to be almost Olympian levels of idiocy. When this trademark is widely known we could set the stage that people can be silly, stupid or even idiots, yet you can never get beyond a certain level of idiocy as it is limited to Matt Hancock.

Why is this?

Well, to see that we need to look at actually two elements. The first is the Independent that gives us: ‘Government orders chief medical officer to draw up guidelines on social media time limits‘ (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/social-media-time-limit-facebook-instagram-twitter-snapchat-matt-hancock-a8561511.html). When has this ever worked? When we are seeing the blame game with: ““The terms of reference of Facebook and Instagram say you shouldn’t be on it if you are under the age of 13,” he said. “But they do nothing to police that. The guidelines for WhatsApp say you shouldn’t be on it unless you’re 16. But again, they don’t lift a finger.”” We get it; people need to be on a certain age. Yet, how to check it? Well, did Matt Hancock think of the most usual path? Perhaps leave it to parenting, more important, if someone is caught with these apps whilst not being of the right age, how about holding the PARENTS accountable? This is not something for the law, to prosecute, and when you get there, we get a trial that is a joke because the person was underage. How about making the parents prosecutable in all this? This is all about kicking certain players again and again, whilst they are in a corner. This is too much about getting waves and political election cloud, whilst we all know that the setting is a joke from the very beginning. To see that, we merely need to look at the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-45693143) give us: “A Guardian columnist highlighted the security breach on Twitter and the BBC was also able to access private details of people attending the event. The Conservative Party apologised for “any concern caused” and said “the technical issue has been resolved”. The Information Commissioner’s Office said it would be making inquiries. BBC political correspondent Chris Mason said the technical glitch was “deeply, deeply embarrassing” for the party“, so the one party that cannot get a decent grasp on common cyber sense is going to police time limits on social media? How laughingly stupid can a person get?

So when we are treated to: “One of Labour’s shadow cabinet, Jon Trickett, criticised the Conservatives for the breach and said: “How can we trust this Tory government with our country’s security when they can’t even build a conference app that keeps the data of their members, MPs and others attending safe?”“, can we also take that leap of faith that the overall comprehension of certain parts in all this is beyond the ability of politicians on both sides of the isle?

I can agree that when we see: “Meanwhile, public campaigns such as Scroll Free September have been launched to encourage the public to use social media less. The initiative, from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), asked people to stop using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat during September, or to cut down the amount of time they spend on them“, we need to consider that this is not the worst idea. Just like ditching the car for a day. It is not within the option for many people, but some might be able to see if they can do without social media for a day. The problem is that everyone is focussed on Facebook and Instagram, yet the setting is a lot larger than that and setting this stage to these two is one of discrimination which is a hot potato on several sides. In addition, must tertiary educations rely on social media like Facebook to get their message across not merely on events, but also on causes and interest groups that use Facebook to get their message across, what happens when you are out of time? It is an overall usage where critical analyses of how it is used is close to impossible, because that requires access to data to set the stage, and that caused most of the problems in the first place.

Yet, we also need to see and admit that Matt Hancock does have his heart in the right place. We see this with: ““I am, as a father, very worried about the growing evidence of the impact of social media on children’s mental health,” he told The Observer ahead of the start of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham. “Unrestricted use (of social media) by younger children risks being very damaging to their mental health” and it is in equal part also part of the problem. This is seen when we see ‘Unrestricted use (of social media) by younger children risks being very damaging to their mental health‘, so where is that evidence? I am not stating that it is not true; we merely want to see presented the actual evidence, is that too much to ask for? We get it, there will be risks, there will always be risks and they optionally endanger children and that is one part. Yet, since when are parents no longer accountable for the actions of their children? An entire set of messes, an entire batch of resource wasting and cost sin all this, whilst the stage is simple. The parents can be held accountable for the actions of their children, as well as the impact of these issues on their children.

An entire mess solved by setting the stage of responsibility with the parents and carers.

This gets us to the setting that matters. You see, even as I called him an idiot, he has a good degree and was educated in Oxford and Cambridge, and these two places do not seem to educate fools, so is this merely a setting of wasting our times, or is this about something else? Is this the beginning to set social media censorship on a new dock and in a new ship (the good ship lollipop) and set it afloat like a fireship? Thee tactic makes sense, yet the entire setting is too shallow as I see it. I cannot be the only person to hold the parents accountable in all this (when the social media child is under 13)? So when I see “Mr Hancock hit out at both platforms, which share an owner, over a lack of policing of their rules on age limits“. This seems less about mental health and more about collecting true identity settings in all this. It seems to me that the people behind all this require more data and they are in a nightmare scenario that they themselves created. Now that the setting is overboard the government has no path to solve it all and now they are blaming social media to a much larger extent to police using privacy based data. How can you check the age of an underage person? You cannot! That is the simple truth and holding the parents accountable in all this would have been the first and sensible part in all this, yet that was not done, was it?

So even as the conservative cannot get their own app under control, they are not demanding additional policing that is not policed (and should not) under normal conditions and is set on the same shallow state as the demand of one hour to remove certain data, and the mess is about to get worse with

You see it gets worse with: “Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton introduced the new laws to the Parliament, saying they are needed to help police and spies catch criminals who are hiding behind encryption technology“, in this Australia is setting a more dangerous stage. When we consider the setting that we see everywhere with: “Keeping your password safe. To protect the information in your computer account from unauthorised access: Do not share your username and password with anyone. Except in the case of a shared departmental account, you should never disclose the passwords for your computer accounts to anyone“. So it might be a golden day for whistle-blowers as they claim to be working for the police getting others to give out their passwords. The mere ignorance on common cyber sense will increase the damage well over tenfold and whilst criminals move towards burner phones and more important burnable memory cores we see that the police will have truckloads of data of all people with no criminal intent. In addition, there is every chance that with: “He said this potentially compromises his business, putting it in breach of Europe’s tough new GDPR data privacy laws and he would have to give privacy breach notifications to his clients” some companies will see dangers to their IP and move away from Australia, merely letting them have third tier access and mere consumer base based products. In this setting all developers would eagerly run away from Australia to protect their IP and patent data until the patents were granted, giving Australia additional downturns soon after the bill passes. On the other side, we will start travelling without our devices and rely on an empty burner phone that allows us to work, but will not retain any data outside the cloud. In that setting how were any of these actions anything less than stupid with a capital S?

People will find a way around it giving the governments less options and a lot more headaches, it never made a difference and the dangerous elements will take additional measures leaving the prosecution services with even less evidence to work with. It is trademarking idiocy on a new level, happy Sunday!

 

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