Tag Archives: Anthony J. Ferrante

And so it begins

Yes, it is beginning and the quote is not from me, the phrase was used by King Theoden in the Lord of the Rings movie “The Two Towers“, right before the major battle at Helms Deep. It is not the first time it was used, but there is where most get it from. As we were treated a few hours ago ‘The US is making its own 5G technology with American and European companies, and without Huawei‘, in this I have no objection, but the larger image is ignored by those less intelligent individuals in the White House. 

What I predicted is coming to pass and big tech companies are about to face the larger setback in the US. So no matter how this gets warped by players like the Wall Street Journal. In my personal view this step now gives us a clear view, the US will be lagging by 3-5 years in 5G as per now. When we see the article in the Business Insider (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/5g-huawei-white-house-kudlow-dell-microsoft-att-nokia-ericsson-2020-2), we forget a few items, in the first the US is nowhere near ready for 5G, in the second Huawei is already fully ready for 5G and any nation embracing either temporary or long term with Huawei will get the jump on American Big Tech. Even as “sic infit” (so it begins) goes back to The Metamorphoses of Apuleius, we need to understand that the reference to ‘The Golden Ass‘ might actually apply to certain players in the White House, we need to understand that the push for anti-Huawei sentiments was never doused in evidence, merely non-US paranoia. The world to a much larger degree has demanded evidence from the US, who actually never produced it. 

So as the Wall Street Journal gives us “the White House is working with U.S. technology companies to create advanced software for next-generation 5G telecommunications networks. The plan would build on efforts by some U.S. telecom and technology companies to agree on common engineering standards that would allow 5G software developers to run code on machines that come from nearly any hardware manufacturer. That would reduce, if not eliminate, reliance on Huawei equipment.

And here we see a few points. First there is ‘create advanced software‘, which is only partially true, the hardware is a larger part that is currently incomplete when we look at non-Huawei players, as such the presentation given is one that is debatable on a few sides. Then we get ‘agree on common engineering standards‘, a statement which would have been a given long before any of this started, as such the presentations we will see will be doused in ambiguity and in that format it implies that the US will be being whatever it was +2 years as it will not fill the gap it currently does not. Then we get a larger issue ‘run code on machines that come from nearly any hardware manufacturer‘, which should not be a 5G issue in the infrastructure, they would need to pass on anything on the system, this is a mobile setting. It is basically telling the stage that Apple and Android should have the same code and optionally set the stage to bar Harmony OS, so is this an actual 5G setting or a filtering setting to keep unwanted players out?

Yet this setting is one that is massively dangerous to the US, it relies on Big Tech (Google and Facebook) to enter a new stage where they cannot gather data and merge data in a global stage which would redefine their global data settings and such a delay would be monumental for these two. 

So we get all this because the US cannot provide evidence of optional Huawei wrongdoing? How weird is that? It is actually not weird that the data gathering tools are on the Chinese side now, the US is about to learn that being 4th in a place where they were alone is not the place to ever be, not in this economy, as such setting a stage for segregation now would give them a larger benefit down the road and that is where the shoes get to tight to dance.

There is a decent chance that Huawei is not the player that will be disregarded on the global stage, as such several EU countries are willing to entertain Huawei and with the Middle East and Asia already there, we will see Huawei getting a larger share of data than the US (with 325 million people) represents and that is what the US fears and that fear through the White House will be pushed onto Google, Facebook and Apple, and I am guessing not with their approval, they will have to adjust their models by a fair bit and feel the brint for a year at least (that is if hardware manufacturers agree on standards) and good luck with that part. 

Then we get to look at “the White House is working with US companies, and potentially European companies, to deploy the United States’5G architecture and infrastructure, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow who spoke with The Wall Street Journal’s Bob Davis and Drew FitzGerald“, so not only are they 3-5 (or 4-6) years behind, we now see ‘the United States’5G architecture‘, so not only is it their 5G, but based on their standards and when we consider the stage of AT&T and their 5G Evolution we saw last year, the US (and those who sign on) are in for a really rough ride that might never be 5G, merely a reset 4G+ standard. Of course the latter part is not a given, but time is the one part that the White House does not have and the hardware setting in the US is nationwide too far behind. In this there will be no national 5G in the US for a much longer time. 

As such were these steps even considered by Big Tech who relies on billions of users, not merely the 325,000,000 Americans? With the UK starting now on Huawei and their 68 million people, will that stop Europe? No, it will make them switch against American paranoia and Huawei gets a much bigger boost and this will have a larger impact, as these places go ahead and gain speed the rest of the EU will find themselves in a bind to accept other standards faster and leaving the US in a stage of isolation which will impact the US in several ways. And if you think that the restrictions will work? Yes they will but only to show that those not on the Huawei pool will lag in several stages and there will be a screaming to get Huawei in a larger pool soon enough. From there we will see Germany who is partially  on board and when they see the impact in the UK, Spain, France, and Germany will sway and that means that three of the large 4 will get the fourth on board, that is what we will see in 2020 and optionally 2021 when stubborn people delay, in that stage those who are early on the 5G path they will get a much larger commercial slice of that cake and there will be a massive amount of governments blaming the US for paranoia, in my view I would state that it is all their own fault. 

And whilst nations have their own policies in place are now in a stage where the option to buy the 5G technology and develop their own national cores would be a perfect solutions for these nations whilst Huawei will enjoy the financial benefits it brings, in this their pool of talents and showing a stage of training that is much larger than expected, training these nations in making their own national 5G developers on a Huawei core is a larger play and that is one that brings in the revenue and then some.

All this was a path that the US could have committed to but they do see that the data is the future currency and they do not want to share, the US was the only one efficiently gathering data and their value is based on all this, all that whilst their prospect was ludicrous all the way to sieve based routers on a global scale. The NSA and GCHQ aren’t the only players in the field, the US merely wanted to limit the data drain value and 5G makes it a non place, ata will go nearly anywhere, you merely need to ask Amazon (Jeff Bezos) and ask him where his data has gone to and he cannot answer that question, neither can former FBI agent Anthony J. Ferrante (an FTI consulting joke), as such we see a 4G failure and it will merely get larger in 5G, more data will go anywhere and the US is on board with limiting this as long as they get the data. That is the stage we see and it is not idle speak, there is too much information out there. 

So as we see the events unfold over this year we will merely see that non US success stories will take the limelight showing us just how far the US has fallen behind in 5G. That is the stage we are sailing to and we will see large players in media remaining in denial of that, that is until the evidence of data will open all over the place, at that point the carefully stated denials come out, as well as some claims that 5G is so much more complicated than anything else. Yet, it is a stage where we all see the impact without it hurting us too much, at least not more than it is hurting us now. 

In finality we see a first case where a lack of evidence is still enough to warrant a level of discrimination, did you consider that? We are getting short changed on cheaper phones and internet because the larger players have their own bonus to consider and we do get to pay for that part, we will to a much larger degree than ever before.

 

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Evidence? Why?

I ignored the news initially, as I saw it, it was nothing more than some bash piece on Saudi Arabia. Yet something hot me, it was just a thought and it was: ‘What if I illuminate parts and let common sense people decide‘ (which takes out many journalists and mostly all politicians). As for me? The issue is that the media is all about bashing any royal part of Saudi Arabia, all whilst ignoring evidence (and debatable evidence to a much greater degree, their pursuit of circulation and agreeing to the beat of shareholders and stakeholders has gone to the heads of too many editors and I get a real rush to illuminate this part.

I have never ignored evidence, yet just like with Huawei, it is seemingly all about the big bully shouting, whilst the deciding world for the most ignores evidence and I think that it is a weird situation. Not merely in this blog, but on a few matters, we will get to hold them to account in a few years, at that point these people will make hastily formulated excuses whilst running to their mummies to get breastfeeding (I reckon).

So, lets begin. In the first we have ‘How the UN unearthed a possible Saudi Arabian link to Jeff Bezos hack‘ (the Guardian at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/22/how-the-un-unearthed-a-possible-saudi-arabian-link-to-jeff-bezos-hack) as well as ‘Did Saudi Arabia’s crown prince hack the Amazon king?’ (the Economist at https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/01/25/did-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-hack-the-amazon-king), a nice side effect is that the Economist, is viewed and acted on on the 24th of January, whilst the article states that it is the Jan 25th 2020 edition, but enough about that. Let’s start with the Guardian who tells us “The UN’s demand for law enforcement authorities to conduct a proper investigation into the alleged hacking of Jeff Bezos’s mobile phone came after it reviewed the findings of a cybersecurity firm, FTI“, we might not see anything here, yet the UN, who is underfunded and strained has time for this? Is this another US Essay like the one by some French girl on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi? And what about ‘after it reviewed the findings of a cybersecurity firm, FTI‘? This implies that the United Nations called for the inspection, notified a cyber security firm (FTI) and investigated the phone of some so called billionaire (postage and shipping required). So why exactly is this not with the police or an official investigative body like the FBI Cyber division?

Following this we get the real beef with “concluded with “medium to high confidence” that it had been compromised because of actions attributable to a WhatsApp account used by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman“, first of all, if I want to investigate the corruption at an army base, I will not go in as the lawlordtobe, I would enter the situation as some poor schmuck who is from the city of Noonecares. It is almost like an assasination and the official in question uses his own service revolver instead of someone else’s. And what goes with ‘medium to high confidence‘, what evidence was uncovered? Then we get the part where is all falls to shambles. With “The UN was careful not to be definitive. Instead of pointing the finger, its statement said the apparent hack had been achieved using software “such as NSO Group’s Pegasus or, less likely, Hacking Team’s Galileo, that can hook into legitimate applications to bypass detection and obfuscate activity”“, just like the Khashoggi essay fiasco, the UN is all about being not definitive, as such we want to know how accusations can be made when you are not definitive. As such I would like to point the UN troll to a kids game called Clue, there in that games (for ages 8+) we are introduced to the concept of evidence, where you need to collect facts and state “I am accusing Colonel Mustard who killed Dr. Black (aka Mr. Boddy) in the Kitchen using the lead pipe” and then we look at the evidence and see if the claimant had his or her facts straight. None of that CIA BS where we see ‘medium to high confidence‘, I would offer that if the confidence is already medium, what was not looked at and what was discarded. The statement comes directly before “The NSO Group, an Israeli cyber-surveillance firm, strongly denied that its surveillance tools were responsible“, as such we are left with ‘less likely, Hacking Team’s Galileo‘. so there is a mountain of doubt on an article that throws the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in a bad light and there is seemingly an increasing lack of evidence. As we go on, we see the NSO giving the statement that offers direct opposition to some firm called FTI with “These types of abuses of surveillance systems blacken the eye of the cyber-intelligence community and put a strain on the ability to use legitimate tools to fight serious crime and terror. We expect that all actors in this arena put in place stringent procedures and technological controls, such as those that we have put in place, to assure that their systems are not used in an abusive manner“, as such there are larger questions not merely on the UN for setting the stage of something that is not on their plate, they apparently went to another small operation (who knows) and let them set up the stage of doubtful and debatable documentation, doubtful as we get one of the implied companies go directly into denial and setting a document based on evidence that is regarded as ‘medium to high confidence‘.

And then something beautiful happens. We see “The FTI report cited by the UN special rapporteurs, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, noted that both NSO and Hacking Team, an Italian company, offered tools that could theoretically have performed the attack” where we are (again) introduced to that UN essay writer, the one that had given us the joke called some Khashoggi report (Agnes Callamard), as well hiding behind ‘tools that could theoretically have performed the attack‘, the idea that this joke from a building based at 760 United Nations Plaza, Manhattan, New York City, New York 10017 and hide behind the word ‘theoretically‘, as such pardon my French (oh, that was funny!) but how the fuck does she still have a job?

For several reasons I will not use the Economist (as I am not a subscriber), but the quotes in their magazine “which was soon used to steal large amounts of data—though the un did not say exactly what, or how it was used” as well as “It called for an “immediate investigation”. The Saudi embassy in Washington, dc, said the accusations were “absurd”.

As I see it, the UN is nothing more than an advertising paper tiger, adhering to the commands of some stakeholder (identity unknown), if this was a direct action by the UN, those people need to be investigated immediately, I feel decently certain I will get both China and Russia to sign off on this, as this has the distinct smell that comes from neither region, so they would score a win, in addition to that, the UN would have to submit data as to what exactly was taken and how it could be identified, which is also an issue that is unclear and optionally unclear to the UN people involved. 

The Verge had a lot more, they had (at https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/23/21078828/report-saudi-arabia-hack-jeff-bezos-phone-fti-consulting) the actual report, and there we see on page one we see the person we need to hackle for information, it is Anthony J. Ferrante who needs to give us the names of who this so called ‘Confidential Report’ was given to, because it seems that it was leaked. And there we see the originator (vice.com) giving us “The report, obtained by Motherboard, indicates that investigators set up a secure lab to examine the phone and its artifacts and spent two days poring over the device but were unable to find any malware on it. Instead, they only found a suspicious video file sent to Bezos on May 1, 2018 that “appears to be an Arabic language promotional film about telecommunications.”“, however, this is not the end. They also give us “Investigators determined the video or downloader were suspicious only because Bezos’ phone subsequently began transmitting large amounts of data. “[W]ithin hours of the encrypted downloader being received, a massive and unauthorized exfiltration of data from Bezos’ phone began, continuing and escalating for months thereafter,” the report states“. In this I state OK, let’s take an actual look.

And they do give us more, quotes like “The digital forensic results, combined with a larger investigation, interviews, research, and expert intelligence information, led the investigators “to assess Bezos’ phone was compromised via tools procured by Saud al Qahtani,” the report states“, as well as “A mobile forensic expert told Motherboard that the investigation as depicted in the report is significantly incomplete and would only have provided the investigators with about 50 percent of what they needed, especially if this is a nation-state attack“, ““They would need to use a tool like Graykey or Cellebrite Premium or do a jailbreak to get a look at the full file system. That’s where that state-sponsored malware is going to be found. Good state-sponsored malware should never show up in a backup,” said Sarah Edwards, an author and teacher of mobile forensics for the SANS Institute“, and “The investigators do note on the last page of their report that they need to jailbreak Bezos’s phone to examine the root file system. Edwards said this would indeed get them everything they would need to search for persistent spyware like the kind created and sold by the NSO Group. But the report doesn’t indicate if that did get done.“, which is as I personally see it the shallow political BS that some people go for. As such we see in the report “The following investigative steps are currently pending“, and more profound, on page 4 we see: “On May 1st, 2018, Bezos received a text from the WhatsApp account used by MBS“, my issue here is that this might have been the infected one, yet if I did that, I would use an originator that was real. And there we have it, the Dailymail gave us ‘New bug allows hackers to send fake messages pretending to be you – and there’s nothing you can do to stop them‘ (at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6039533/WhatsApp-users-beware-Hackers-send-fake-messages-pretending-you.html) with the additional text: “First discovered by Israeli cybersecurity group CheckPoint Research, the flaw is incredibly complex and involves a gap within the app’s encryption algorithms. Writing on their website, the team said the vulnerability could make it possible for a hacker ‘to intercept and manipulate messages sent by those in a group or private conversation’ as well as ‘create and spread misinformation’. Hackers could use the bug to alter the text sent in someone else’s reply to a group chat, essentially ‘putting words in their mouth’, the group said.

It took me 5 minutes and Google search to find this. I am not stating that this is true and that the Daily Mail is the source to use (they often are not), yet this is a larger failing, I expected this from the very beginning, the origins of the setting was not properly investigated. Then Vice.com gave us “the report is significantly incomplete and would only have provided the investigators with about 50 percent of what they needed“, which is what I expected before I read one word of the accusation, and with US Essay writer Callamard involved (yes again it is her) we see what this is, another mindless attack on a nation and one person. They did not even bother getting him properly smeared, and no one is asking questions, I reckon that the involved stakeholders are likely to go for the, if we create enough barbeques, someone will shout fire: ‘I ran’ for office! Anyone?

what is the most irritating part is that the UN is again used as the cheap tool that they are. In this there is also the involvement of the FTI and more interesting that a Cyber Security firm did not look past the simplest trappings, as as we consider the optional involvement of Anthony J. Ferrante we need to consider sending quota to all 49 of the Global 100 companies that are FTI clients. Even if it was merely to make a few people sweat. When a non Cyber adapt like me can see through this part they have a clear problem and whether Anony Mouse Bezos was part of this or not will not matter. There is one other part in the report that should be considered. On page 2 we see “More significantly. al Qahtani is known to have played a key and senior role in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.” In the first, he was acquitted (in a Saudi trial) and there has been no other trials, as such the statement should be read as false, no clear evidence was ever presented. In the second, as this is part of the executive summary, it seems that this was a way to blatantly strike out against one individual and the evidence is not corroborating any of this, too many questions are left unanswered and the media is not asking them either, as such I wonder what is to be believed, especially in light of the Daily Mail ‘revelation’ last August, which implies long in advance of this report. The fact that this (optional) fact is ignored gives out a much larger issue, the work in incomplete, debatable and political, not factual, as such sending serious cyber letters to the 49 of the Global 100 companies that are FTI clients, as I personally see it, these players are all about facts and when their provider and be painted as open for considerations, we should entertain all kinds of questions. 

I would also look at the footnotes and take a larger look at that descriptive part, I wonder what is left once I have had the chance to take a red pencil through this report. Now, I am not stating that Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is innocent, I am merely considering that his evidence is so shallow, that I would never accuse him of anything, not before a lot more work was done (and a lot more footnotes were properly weighed), in this consider on page 3 footnote 8. When we go there, we see that the article is Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai a member of Motherboard (so why is there no Motherboard article that is the source), we see “An investor from Saudi  Arabia is apparently behind a company that bought a stake in the controversial spyware vendor” where ‘apparently‘ is the operative word. It is also where we see: “Hacking Team was thoroughly owned, with its once-secret list of customers, internal emails, and spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see“, were all these customers on a secret list investigated? There is also ‘spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see‘, a small fact that is apparently not investigated, additional players all optionally ready to give someone called Bezos the time of his on-line life. Then we get “this apparent recovery is in part thanks to the new investor, who appears to be from Saudi Arabia“, a line ruled by, you guessed it ‘apparent‘ and ‘who appears‘, so much filtering and doubt, and in this FTI used that as a footnote source? A program co-owned for 80% by none other then David Vincenzetti. That does NOT make HIM a guilty party and neither is there any convincing evidence of any kind towards the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

When I see all this I wonder if the UN (or FTI) has any clue how much we should regard them as tools. I cannot tell at present what kind of tools they are, but my personal view is that if this is the debatable level of evidence that some employ, we all are in so much more trouble then we ever thought.

 

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