Tag Archives: FBI

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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6 simple questions

I have written about it before, yet the article last friday forces me to take more than another look, it forces me to ask questions out loud, questions that should have been investigated as this case has been running for two years, lets not forget the hairy Amazon owner had his smartphone allegedly hacked in 2018.

My article ‘The incompetent view‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/01/28/the-incompetent-view/) was written on January 28th. I kept it alone for the longest of times, yet the accusations against Saudi Arabia, especially as that French Calamari UN-Essay writer is again involved forced my hand and the article last friday gives me the option to lash out and ask certain questions that the investigation optionally cannot answer, as such two years by these so called experts should be seen as 2 years by whatever they are, but I have doubt that expertise was part of the equation.

as such we begin with the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/31/jeff-bezos-met-fbi-investigators-in-2019-over-alleged-saudi-hack), here we see the following

NSO said: “we have not been contacted by any US law enforcement agencies at all about any such matters and have no knowledge or awareness of any investigative actions. Therefore, we cannot comment further.”“, which is a response towards the FBI who had been investigating NSO since 2017, which is based on the setting of “officials were seeking information about whether the company had received any of the code it needed to infect smartphones from US hackers

Yet it is the quote “Two independent investigators at the United Nations, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, revealed last week that they have launched their own inquiry into allegations that Bezos’s phone was hacked on 1 May 2018 after he apparently received a video file from a WhatsApp account belonging to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince“, in this, can anyone explain to me why the UN is involved? I do not care how wealthy Jeff Bezos is and this has nothing to do with the Washington Post, either way this would be an initial criminal investigation, optionally running through the FBI.

  1. Why is the UN involved?

In defence we must observe “WhatsApp has said it believed NSO has violated criminal laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal law that is used to prosecute hackers. WhatsApp has claimed 1,400 users were hacked using NSO technology over a two-week period in April-May last year, after NSO was allegedly able to exploit a WhatsApp vulnerability that was later fixed

And again, we see that NSO technology is involved, yet FTI Consulting makes no mention of that part of the equation, more important whether the same atack was used, and in light of all this, we might see ‘NSO was allegedly able to exploit a WhatsApp vulnerability that was later fixed‘, yet when exactly was it fixed? That too is part of the equation.

When we look at the FTI report, other issues become surface materials. Like the quote “The phone maintained an unusually high average of 101MB of egress data per day for months thereafter, including many massive and highly atypical spikes of egress data. Forensic artifacts demonstrated that this unauthorized data was transmitted from Bezos’ phone via the cellular network.” What data was sent exactly? The report gives us: “they provide the ability to exfiltrate vast amounts of data including photos, videos, messages, and other private or sensitive files. It should be noted that spikes resembling these might occur legitimately if a user enabled iCloud backup over cellular data service. Bezos. however. had iCloud backups disabled on his device. Other legitimate causes of spikes in egress data could be if a user willingly uploaded or transmitted large amounts of data via a chat or messaging app. email client, or cloud storage service, but none of these activities were corroborated by GDBA or Bezos.

As such, as FTI Consulting gives us “Advanced mobile spyware. such as NSO Group’s Pegasus35 or Hacking Team’s Galileo,36 can hook into legitimate applications and processes on a compromised device as a way to bypass detection and obfuscate activity in order to ultimately intercept and exfiltrate data. The success of techniques such as these is a very likely explanation for the various spikes in traffic originating from Bezos’ device.” Yet is that what happened? lets not forget that the FTI Consulting report on page 16 states “The following investigative steps are currently pending.

  1. Intercept and analyze live cellular data from Bezos’ iPhone X“, as well as “2. Jailbreak Bezos’ iPhone and perform a forensic examination of the root file system.” steps that are seemingly incomplete and optionally not done at all, as such how did anyone in Saudi Arabia get fingered as the guilty party? It could be the German Cracking Service for all we know stating to Jeff Bezos ‘Copy me, I want to travel‘.
  2. Where is the evidence on the hack and the destination of the hacked data?

There are two parts in this, as I explained earlier, Vice.com gave an earlier consideration with ““Hacking Team was thoroughly owned, with its once-secret list of customers, internal emails, and spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see”” yet the stage that we see here, is merely a footnote in the FTI Consulting report and is given no weight at all.

This leads to the question 

  1. How was the phone of Jeff Bezos infected and where is that evidence?

This could lead to 3a. Who actually infected the iPhone of Jeff Bezos?

Which leads to the last part of last friday’s article and perhaps the biggest smear of all time “New revelations about the alleged hacking of Bezos’s phone have caught the attention of a handful of politicians in Washington who have sought more information about the alleged hack, including whether there was any evidence that Saudi Arabia had infected phones of any members of the Trump administration.” and because of this (as well as more) we get to:

  1. What exactly are the new revelations, as the FTI Consulting report is incomplete.
  2. Where is the evidence that Saudi Arabia infected ANY phones?

You see, someone infecting another person by claiming that they are someone they are not is at the core of this, as such any person in the room could have infected Jeff Bezos’s phone and optionally other phones too. Claiming to be MBS and being MBS are two separate parts. 

In this it was CNN who gave us “The report’s limited results are a reminder that it can be extremely challenging to reconstruct the activities of a determined, well-resourced hacker” and if hat is the setting, we again get to the stage where we cannot tell who infected the system of Jeff Bezos in the first place. As such Kenneth White (formerly with DHS) as well as  Chris Vickery (Director UpGuard) who gives us “other evidence provided by FTI increased his confidence that Bezos was being digitally surveilled“, we do not question that, we merely question the lack of evidence that points to Saudi Arabia as a perpetrator, basically the guilty party is not seen, because no evidence leading there is given, the fact that essential tests have not been done is further evidence still of the absence of any guilty party.

As that stands I merely end with the question:

  1. Why on earth is the UN involved in an alleged Criminal investigation where so much information is missing?

When we realise the small line in the Guardian “An analysis of the alleged hack that was commissioned by the Amazon founder has not concluded what kind of spyware was used” we are given a much larger consideration, if the spyware used is unknown, how can the data spy be seen? This gets an even larger mark towards the question when we consider “Check Point Research, however, recently unveiled new vulnerabilities in the popular messaging application that could allow threat actors to intercept and manipulate messages sent in both private and group conversations, giving attackers immense power to create and spread misinformation from what appear to be trusted sources.” (at https://research.checkpoint.com/2018/fakesapp-a-vulnerability-in-whatsapp/), and another source (at https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/whatsapp-vulnerability-allows-attackers-to-alter-messages-in-chats/) gives almost the same information and also has the text “Using these techniques, attackers can manipulate conversations and group messages in order to change evidence and spread fake news and misinformation“, the FTI Consulting report gives us nothing of that, and as it does not set the stage of disabling that these were options that were disregarded, we see that this mobile situation might not now or not ever see the light of day with an actual reference to an attacker that will hold water in any court. 

As such the UN will have a lot to explain soon enough, I got there through 6 simple questions, 6 questions that anyone with an application of common sense could have gotten to, I wonder why the UN did not get there, I wonder why FTI Consuilting handed over a report that was failing to this degree.

 

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Travel by Ransomware

On Tuesday an interesting article was given by the guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/07/travelex-being-held-ransom-hackers-said-demanding-3m#maincontent), the title ‘Travelex ‘being held to ransom’ by hackers said to be demanding $3m‘ almost said it all and then I noticed something. First we get “Criminals are thought to be demanding about $3m (£2.3m) – to give the firm access to its computer systems after they attacked using the Sodinokibi ransomware on 31 December“, the price is not set without quarter, this we get from “They are reportedly threatening to release 5GB of customers’ personal data – including social security numbers, dates of birth and payment card information – into the public domain unless the company pays up” as well as “banks who use Travelex’s foreign exchange services to stop taking online orders for currency, affecting Sainsbury’s Bank, Tesco Bank, Virgin Money and First Direct.” You see Travelex, based in London, has a presence in more than 70 countries with more than 1,200 branches and 1,000 ATMs worldwide. It processes more than 5,000 currency transactions every hour yet, even as we see that it is on the London Stock Exchange, however the group is based in the United Arab Emirates. As for the actions we see “On Thursday 2 January, the Met’s cyber crime team were contacted with regards to a reported ransomware attack involving a foreign currency exchange. Inquiries into the circumstances are ongoing” here is the snag, what are the chances that US actions are impeded as it impacts 70 countries? Is there a reason why the FBI is not equally involved? You see, Sodinokibi is a spin off from Gandcrab and as we see (at https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/fbi-releases-master-decryption-keys-for-gandcrab-ransomware/) the FBI got those keys. Now the keys will not be compatible, but if they get one solution, they might get another solution. The fact that corporations are hit and we see “the developers behind the wildly successful GandCrab Ransomware announced that they were closing shop after allegedly amassing $2 billion in ransom payments and personally earning $150 million“, we would want to think that the FBI is on top of this and get some pay-back (I had to use that pun).

We also learn from Acronis “Sodinokibi ransomware exploits an Oracle WebLogic vulnerability (CVE-2019-2725) to gain access to the victim’s machine“, and when we go to the Oracle page we see that there had been a solution from last May onwards. there is also the part “Product releases that are not under Premier Support or Extended Support are not tested for the presence of vulnerabilities addressed by this Security Alert. However, it is likely that earlier versions of affected releases are also affected by these vulnerabilities. As a result, Oracle recommends that customers upgrade to supported versions” the question becomes did Travelex forget to do a few things? the article does not pan out on that.

Yet in all this IT News (at https://www.itnews.com.au/news/ransomware-shuts-down-travelex-systems-536191) gives us ‘Unpatched systems could be attack vector, say researchers‘, and they also give us “No evidence has surfaced so far that structured personal customer data has been encrypted, or exfiltrated. This is in contrast with a report in Computer Weekly that alleged the criminals deploying the Revil/Sodinokibi ransomware had attacked servers storing sensitive, confidential information that included customer names and their bank account and transaction details” and it does not stop there. They also give us “Troy Mursch, chief research officer at security vendor Bad Packets said it notified the forex multinational in September of a serious vulnerability in its Pulse Virtual Private Networking servers. The vulnerability went unpatched until November” which sets a much larger question mark on the entire issue as the news give us that the attack came almost a month after that. They curtiously also give us “Prior to that, security researcher Kevin Beaumont noted that Travelex was operating cloud instances of Windows Server on Amazon Web Services that had Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) enabled and exposed to the internet, but with Network Level Access (NLA) control disabled. An RDP flaw, known as BlueKeep, allows for full remote compromise of Windows without user interaction” and these issues are not asked about? At least the Guardian article does not stop on them. 

The most hilarious response is seen at the very end of the IT News article with “Despite the attack closing down online systems, Travelex said it does not currently anticipate any material financial impact for its parent Finablr” Travelex might have numerous issues to consider, but the customer does not make the high point of that, or as I would mildly put it, who cares about Finablr? Well I reckon that the London Stock Exchange cares as the value of Finablr made a crashing 17% loss, that is almost one in five pounds that is lost too those bright young lads (ladies also). They advertise (on their website) ‘Finablr is a global platform for Payments and Foreign Exchange solutions underpinned by modern and proprietary technology‘ instead of ‘Finablr is a global platform for Payments and Foreign Exchange solutions underpinned by modern and proprietary hackable technology‘. It is a small difference, but a distinct one, especially as Oracle had placed a solution for months and the second message by Kevion Beaumont does not help any I reckon. In support a source gave the BBC that they feel let down, complaining that their travel money is “in limbo”, which is interesting, as the Guardian article gives us “Travelex first revealed the New Year’s Eve attack on 2 January, when it sought to assure that no customer data had yet been compromised” and as the article came 5 days after, the absence of victim mentioning is an interesting one, it seems that Travelex is not handling this situation well on a few levels, optionally also in arrear of making mantion towards the customers, all in opposition to the text on Travelex.com, which gives (among more data) “Tony D’Souza, Chief Executive of Travelex, said “Our focus is on communicating directly with our partners and customers to protect them and their information from any further compromise. We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the privacy and security of our partner and customer’s data as well as provide an excellent service to our customers and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused. Travelex continues to offer services to its customers on a manual basis and is continuing to provide alternative customer solutions in the interim. We are working tirelessly to bring our systems back online.”” 

As such we get Travelex giving us one part and the BBC giving quite the opposite, and at this point my question becomes, exactly how much money is ‘in limbo‘?

That and a few more parts all rise to the surface when I look into this matter, the entire time gap on the side of Travelex being the most prevalent one. The one part that Acronis made me wonder about was the exemption list, the fact that It will try not to infect computers from countries based on the locale setting of the computer, which gives us “Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuanian, Tajikistan, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tatarstan“, the reason is unknown to me, perhaps they fear those countries and their ‘justice system’?

By the way, the entire Finablr website mention was essential, they are so for the ‘future’ yet security is seemingly not among it. That part is seen when we consider “In April 2019, the Cybereason Nocturnus team analyzed a new type of evasive ransomware dubbed Sodinokibi“, as such it took the Oracle team months to get a solution made (which makes perfect sense) yet the lack of implementation by Travelex is less normal. From all information it seems to me that Travelex should have made larger steps to be secure no later than Halloween, so the issue is a little larger than we consider, and the fact that Sodinokibi is a much larger field that goes back a few billion dollars. This is a contemplated speculation when we look at CSO Online where we get “While Sodinokibi is not necessarily a direct continuation of GandCrab, researchers have found code and other similarities between the two, indicating a likely connection” implying that for at least one person $150 million was not enough. 

As such, the entire Travelex issue will be around much longer than the ransomware will be, there will need to be a larger amount of questions to its mother organisation Finablr as well. From my speculative side it seems that some players are lacking certain IT skills, or/and a larger shortage of it, that is the initial feeling I got when I saw the information that Troy Mursch and Kevin Beaumont handed over to the press, and so far the information as seen supports a larger failing in Travelex and optionally Finablr as well. There is support for my way of thinking, no matter who is on the board of directors, none of them are IT experts and that is fine, yet by not having a visionary IT expert leading the charge we see a larger failing coming their way. It is not merely having an IT department and a security department, someone needs to spearhead and protect IT issues in the Board of Directors and there is no evidence that this is happening, actually the Travelex issue gives rise that it is not happening at all. More important, the issue with the website is that it is highly sales oriented, and when I had a look there (I reckon the Sodinokibi members as well), I wondered how secure are Unimoni, Xpress Money, Remit2India, Ditto and Swych? When one of these points get attacked, will the board of directors act appropriately? It is optionally a little ironic that they are hit whilst they advertised a paper on their site on November 20th (a month before the attack) ‘Why data protection is your new strategic priority‘, my initial thought? ‘Sarcasm, when it backfires it becomes irony!‘ Yes it seems like a cheap ride from my side, but we forget that Common Cyber Sense is a real thing and corporations need a much larger vested interest in being safe than ever before, GandCrab showed that part months before this event took place and I reckon that Financial corporations need to take a much larger vested interest in that matter, or so I am led to believe, I could (of course) be wrong.

What do you think?

 

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The age of Christmas

I have been on the verge of many things, this, my last blog for a week (I expect) is also a path towards my goals, my delusional goal is to spend time on a really large yacht with half a dozen maiden vixens of 23-27 all roaring to try the lawlordtobe engine (whatever these girls mean with that), the reality of life is that I will be doing a truckload of chores that I left until this very last moment, so not much excitement there. 

For the blog, the end of the year tends to be a shallow ground for news, yet there was the Khashoggi convictions in Saudi Arabia, an event that the Guardian labelled ‘‘Mockery of justice’ after Saudis convict eight over Khashoggi killing‘, we all seem upset by “crown prince’s inner circle of involvement in murder of dissident journalist“. Yet the reality is that there was never any evidence, in some cases I have a few question marks with the evidence that Turkey gave, the UN Essay by Agnes Callamard read (for me) like a joke and in the end, we just do not know what happened, so it seems that the Saudi Courts, just like most other courts can only convict a person on evidence and that person needs to be sentenced when a person is found guilty beyond all reasonable doubt and that was never ever going to be the case. Consider hat the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/23/saudi-arabia-accused-of-mockery-of-justice-over-jamal-khashoggi-trial) gives us “The findings contradict the conclusion of the CIA and other western intelligence agencies that Prince Mohammed directly ordered Khashoggi’s assassination“, yet the UN Essay states the CIA, yet no evidence is added, merely their point of view and ‘high reliability‘, which in light of their weapons of mass destruction claim is not that reliable. As for the claim ‘and other western intelligence agencies‘ is also a bit weird as I saw no mention of MI-5, MI-6, DGSE, or GCHQ, so what was it? Merely FBI and CIA? That is basically one source as such I rejected the UN Essay for what it was, a joke (to the largest degree)!

Yet, that is as good a the news is going to get, other actual (and factual) great news is that Robert Downey Junior is back in the news, and now not as an Avenger, talking to animals or another role, no this is a series that you can watch on Youtube premium, it is called the Age of A.I.. Now, the weird feeling is there, RDJ playing RDJ and being serious about it is part of the appeal, the other part is that this is not a sales rap, it is explanation and the series via RDJ does that swimmingly (read: pretty brilliantly). 

I need to be careful, because I do not want any spoilers here, apart from the fact that the series is well beyond informative, it shows the A.I. world as it is (well kinda), we see examples most have never seen before, these examples are often not sexy enough for glamour shows, but they are great as the underlying example in this system. If there is one small part that is criticism than it is the use of AI when (as far as I personally saw was no more than deeper learning) yet for the learning part that does not matter, the person watching it gets a much better grasp on AI and this series shines as such. The fact that really outshines the entire series is not RDJ, he is there but often enough we see celebrities that are a lot more than the media exposes (Will.I.Am for example), people in the movie making and we learn that some movie celebrities behind the screen are seemingly merely doing it to fund their real dream and we get to see a truckload of that, especially the truckload of examples the media thought to keep from us. That education is worth a lot more than you are grasping when you see it and you can see it (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwsrzCVZAb8), and the series bring out an interesting fear “This is new, we need to know what is real and what is not“, this is an interesting issue, it is almost never discussed, but it is within us all. And as RDJ narrates we take a trip all over the world visiting the places that are involved in the evolution of NAI (Near Artificial Intelligence) and we get the proper approach towards machine learning, I was pretty blown away after episode one and there are several more to go through, The age of A.I. is a homerun, a bullseye in a world of gratification small enhancements and publications. In the movie world RDJ has had its large shares of successes, the fact that he is part of a documentary like this will make him only a larger success and as such he will push this series to greater heights (the fact that you can watch episode one for free on Youtube does not hurt either), Matt Damon eat your heart out. 

As I personally see it, the Age of A.I. is the first series on A.I. that is actually informative to a much larger degree (than many of the other series). It is such a pleasant surprise to be confronted with a series like The Age of A.I. at the end of the year. I personally feel like a whole new person, for me this series was that much actual fun to watch. 

I hope to see and inform you all again in about a week, have a great holiday series.

 

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Two unrelated issues

OK, today is not the day to piss off Alexander Bortnikov, I wanted to do that just to celebrate his 11th anniversary of him being the Director of the FSB, as such my sense of humour demands that I would put a whoopi cushion on his car seat, alas, I could not get close, someone decided to try a novel approach to the concept of Suicide by Cop (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/19/moscow-shooting-russia-people-shot-dead-intelligence-agency), instead of pushing the buttons of a militia officer, we see the apparant acts of a looney tunes person who decided to fire on the reception of Federal Security Service, that is an act that will get you killed and he did. Now, let’s be clear, there is a reason to bring this up. You see there is one building in Moscow (basically in the entire CCCP), where the most vile, the most feared and the most despicable member of any Russian criminal organisation takes a detour, it is the Lubyanka building, the headquarters of the FSB in Moscow. Consider some Bratva captain, 120 Kg of muscles, fearless and life ignoring person ends up shaking and like a little girl that is crying, the cause would be one building in Russia that does that. So when a person comes around shooting at its reception, I tend to call that a novel way to invite Suicide by Cop and I cannot fathom the desperation from life that a person has to pull that off (there are 999 other ways to go with 99.99999% certainty and most of them are 100% less painful and scary), optionaly as distractions go, it is perhaps the worst one yet. 

Oh, and there is not some special required form of data intelligence required, we could argue that the fear for that building is handed to any Russian citizen when they start school, so for the life of me I can not figure out why someone would be this stupid, it is like grabbing a bucket of water from the Volga in Saratov and personally dumping the bucket in he Caspian Sea, not only meaningless, but you end up being alive at the end of that journey, attacking the FSB building with anything less than an entire army and your chances to survive become a whole lot less certain. Yet in all that, the fact that the attack made several newsgroups is important, you see, the news never sleeps, yet they do get to filter what we hear. 

From the Israeli news desk

The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/19/israeli-spyware-allegedly-used-to-target-pakistani-officials-phones) (as well as Israeli Newspapers, give us ‘Israeli spyware allegedly used to target Pakistani officials’ phones‘, with the byline ‘NSO Group malware may have been used to access WhatsApp messages for ‘state-on-state’ espionage’, news that made a lot less newspapers on a global scale, is that not weird? Now, I am not stating whether there is validity, I am not stating on behalf of the NSO Group that it is false, yet this private firm founded by Niv Carmi, Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio is showing to be an expert company in acquiring information. The papers need to guard their words and I get that, yet when we see anonymous sources and “those who could have been compromised” I feel like I am in a play that I have seen before. The more important part is “All the suspected intrusions exploited a vulnerability in WhatsApp software that potentially allowed the users of the malware to access messages and data on the targets’ phones“, yet it seems that there is not really that much taste for the weakness of the makers, is there?

When get the optional state where we see “The lawsuit claimed intended targets included “attorneys, journalists, human rights activists, political dissidents, diplomats, and other senior foreign government officials”” and in that state I would make the demand ‘can we see those names please?‘ Yet it is a personal demand that will not be answered, there is too much doubt on the who did what and who wanted to know. I have a little more faith in “NSO has said it will vigorously contest the claim and has insisted that its technology is only used by law enforcement agencies around the world to snare criminals, terrorists and paedophiles“, you see that is a business approach to intelligence that brings money on the table and Yes, there is a chance that someone wanted to know more about certain Pakistani, yet that list given by Facebook is just a little too weird, yet the names might brighten up the need for it, and as we are treated to “The alleged targeting of Pakistani officials gives a first insight into how NSO’s signature “Pegasus” spyware could have been used for “state-on-state” espionage“, it is the difference of stance, the state of ‘alleged‘ that brings the doubt. In the article I do not disagree with “This kind of spyware is marketed as designed for criminal investigations. But the open secret is that it also winds up being used for political surveillance and government-on-government spying” for that we need to say that John Scott-Railton is seemingly completely correct, yet in all this, we see and identify a timeline and it becomes more and more apparent that not only did other interest groups (CIA, FBI, MI-5, MI-6, DGSE, et al) need this weakness, we see a longer timeline and we wonder what WhatsApp and Facebook have done about it so far. More important, why would any official use something like WhatsApp? I mean for private use, yes, yet for their business phone? It is the application of Common Cyber Sense that is lacking here and to give all that data to Facebook (WhatsApp) is calling some parts into question. CBS News gave the people in 2018 ‘WhatsApp co-founder: “I sold my users’ privacy” to Facebook‘, I get it! Cambridge Analytica changed a lot, but so it would have changed a lot for state players, as such the act of pushing for WhatsApp in government and secure conversations, it does not make sense. CBS also gave us in 2018 “U.S. intelligence agencies have said that Russian actors used Facebook and Instagram to wage a campaign of disinformation in the election” and if WhatsApp and Facebook are owned by the same person we see the even larger lack of Common Cyber Sense. WhatsApp has been the name in Scandals in 2017 and 2018 as well, so when the needed question ‘Why is a state player using WhatsApp in the age of Common Cyber Sense?‘ comes out, we see that the bulk of people, hacktivists and journalists have not asked this question, just like the weird part where we all look at the attack on Lubyanka, and no one looks beyond a certain point. 

This view does not exonorte the NSO group, yet it is asking larger questions that take the group out of the field of vision and looks at the larger issues. More important the claim “While it is not clear who wanted to target Pakistani government officials, the details are likely to fuel speculation that India could have been using NSO technology for domestic and international surveillance“, you see pointing at their natural enemy is fun, however the fact that most European intelligence groups want to know about scores of Pakistani is also left off the table, in light of Pakistan and its Middle East connections, so are Israel and America, especially as America is losing foothold in the Middle East, finding any Russsian link to any Pakistani would be worth a lot to them, they lack all plenty of resources there.

You see, there is all the need for action when we see “The government of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, is facing questions from human rights activists about whether it has bought NSO technology after it emerged that 121 WhatsApp users in India were allegedly targeted earlier this year” however everyone is overlooking ‘121‘ as a number. There are 400 million WhatsApp users in India, nobody would get to the 121 users in such a short time, the absence of ‘alleged‘ and optionally ‘so far 121 alleged users have been found‘ is a much larger issue that anyone realises. The fact that there are more questions popping up regarding the alleged NSO software is also overlooked. There is a much larger play in the field and it seems that certain people do not look towards certain players and the absence of Common Cyber Sense is just overwhelmingly staggering. It is almost like you are tired of life and decide to attack FSB headquarters with a gun. 

Yet in all this, the amount of users in Pakistan is also the part we need to look at, you cannot merely check in seconds, this is a not an on the fly solution, so there are all kinds of questions, especially with 1.5 billion users of that app, we see a lack of thoughts, questions and especially software engineers treating the software weakness and this has been going on for quite some time. the fact that the larger collection of media is not getting to this question is just allegedly largely insane. 

So as we consider “users in India were allegedly targeted earlier this year” we need to ask, how long until this glitch is fixed? The fact that certain glitches have been there since 2017 is a much larger concern, but the media does not stop at this point, does it? I reckon they are taking their time looking at the one suicidal person pointlessly attacking Lubyanka.

Two issues that might seem unrelated (and they are not), yet it tells a lot more about the media and state players than you should be comfortable with, feel free to WhatsApp that question to others, the state players will get to it eventually.

 

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We forgot the slogan

Yes, we forgot the slogan, the one I will tell you later and it was not mine, but it is a slogan I have admired for years. The view exploded as I saw ‘Toxic avengers: what Scorsese and Tarantino’s new films say about male violence‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/dec/16/scorsese-irishman-tarantino-once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-toxic-male-violence), I need to be careful here as I do not wish to attack the views of another person, in this case David Alexander. Yet he almost forces me to do that when we see ‘are they doing anything to move the discussion forward?

I am not certain, you see “Outside the Tarantino dreamscape, in which men enact their fantasies of aggression in defence of quasi-fictional innocents, what is the implication of violence for male relationships – with families, women, indeed other men? It’s surely devastation, Scorsese tells us, as he presents male violence as a problem rather than a solution“, in the end a movie is like a book, it is entertainment. I could watch either movie and then still have fun to watch ‘Spies in Disguise‘ as well, Will Smith as a turned pidgeon might be nice and the movie made me slightly curious. Me wanting to see film number three as well does nothing to the value of movies number one and two.

Just like a good book, a movie can be entertaining, educational or even inspirational, yet the inspiration could be the drive in any discussion and moving something forward, yet am I an Irishman? De Niro (for the most is not, he is American (with descendancy from both Italian and Irish side), so does that make him an Irishman? Nope, but he is an Irishman in the movie, still we focus on the actor when it is a Scorcese movie. Scorcese is the director, the author of the movie, Scorcese controlled the artistic and dramatic aspects and he visualizes the screenplay by Steven Zaillian all whilst he guides the crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. We can state that we wanted to have a discussion, but it is in the end a discussion on a piece of fiction, we forgot the slogan that mattered ‘The story is everything‘, it was the slogan of FX and it is still the best slogan in entertainment I know of.

And this movie? It is a movie and we can see from actual events that this could optionally have happened, yet when we realise “Hoffa vanished in late July 1975; his body was never found. He was declared legally dead in 1982“, as well as “At 3:27 p.m., Hoffa called Linteau complaining that Giacalone was late. Hoffa said, “That dirty son of a bitch Tony Jocks set this meeting up, and he’s an hour and a half late.” Linteau told him to calm down and to stop by his office on the way home. Hoffa said he would and hung up; this is Hoffa’s last known communication” A lot of this can be found in FBI files, does this make the movie truthful? No, it makes it a story that seems believable and that is not the same thing. Yet the issue that it does show is that we all love movies that are dipped in reality, whilst we leave space for Will Smith as a pigeon. Yet to be honest, how does a movie like that ‘move the discussion forward‘? It is in that context that I do not see “Both present vibrant ecosystems of toxic masculinity. And both reveal much about the largely male environments they present and the shocking violence within them, through the way they think about their central female characters“, both are basically pieces of fiction and one has been dosed with the facts of events making the movie a massive dose of realism, realism that was out and about in the 70’s.

If my movie became a reality (optionally as a short movie), would ‘How to Kill a politician‘ be the stuff of fiction that drives a conversation, Yes, I would hope so, yet what conversation it would drive is another question. I thought through ‘How to Kill a politician‘ as a viewed version of my response towards anti-Islamic feelings in Europe and the anti-islamic feelings driven by politicians (in this case a Dutch one). It is a different setting, and it does not oppose the view of David Alexander, who in the end states “Scorsese tells us, as he presents male violence as a problem rather than a solution. In doing so, he ultimately creates the more meaningful film“, that is a fair enough view and we see that it is up to the director to validate or partially invalidate that view, perhaps it is not valid but it is what we take away from the story that is the beauty of the book and movie, they inspire us to have thoughts, they inspire us to dream and they inspire us to consider, three very meaningful and essential points that are in anyone’s self. And in all this we forgot one more point of inspiration, it is the story that David Alexander gives us his view on the matter, or on the matters at hand. 

It does not matter whether he is right or wrong, it is HIS point of view and it made us consider issues, so in this he became ‘the story is everything‘. That is also a point of view that we need to consider. There are points that come from within us, yet are they fictive or realistic? ‘How to Kill a politician‘ is a point of view that is all about fictivity, but the events around it were real, still it is fiction, can fiction become reality? It is the serious question behind it all, especially as the article is about the Irisman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, it is in that that I see not the question can fictivity become reality (a side every Harry Potter fan yearns for), yet the view can fictivity drive reality is another matter. It can drive things (the movie JFK is evidence of that), yet the drive is specific and that part matters to me, it was a central consideration in the drive as I thought through ‘How to Kill a politician‘, I wanted there to be a drive for questions, yet I wanted to be clear in the fictivity and in this the optional view of children as they considered how to counter hate. I considered that the stronger the drive for questions, the larger the drive from people to see it and that part intersects with both Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorcese, I believe that they push a similar drive as this is one way to make people curious and keeping a curious person away from any movie is a non-option (my sense of humour is voicing that as it refers to curiosity and all those people who saw Deep Throat). 

It gets us to the one sentence that I oppose (partially) towars the view of David Alexander in “Both present vibrant ecosystems of toxic masculinity“, I have an issue with ‘toxic masculinity‘, we can go from the part where all violence is toxic, but it does not stop us from watching it, and we can see that it is about the story and in this violence sells, just like sex sells. Both make most men (and some women) curious, and that grips back to the curiosity setting in watching a movie, any movie maker wants to set the stage in a place where it leaves the people really curious and of course the movie needs to settle that curiosity, yet at this point that feeling need not be based on reality (Spies in Disguise anyone?) that is just my feeling in this and they all adhere to the one side I still admire ‘the story is everything‘. In the end we are all slaves to what we need, what we need satisfied and curiosity has been a number one for a long time, Hollywood figured that out long ago, if they had not record after record would not be broken in Hollywood, but it has. 

I merely wonder when we see a historic movie based on the era that comes over the next 20 years, will we see the optional “what X and Y new films say about female violence“, we might not believe it, we might ignore it but it is there and there are facts all over the place that violence by women is on the rise, to be honest I wonder when people figure out that violence is an issue for all homo sapiens, not just men. It has been merely more visible in that group. That realisation makes me wonder how we see violence and do we see it correctly. Violence tends to be a tool to get from one point to another nothing more, it is hard to see it in that way, but it is a truth, and Yes, I do understand that violence is overwhelmingly a male tool, I am merely stating that it is not ignored by women. And it is important to realise that the movies were not about that, they were stories and for the most we all love stories, we were addicted to books for centuries (those who could read), over time we went to the cinema’s and both the cinema and TV replaced books for the longest time now, yet the need for a story remains.

A lot of us forgot the slogan (or were not aware), let us never do that again.

 

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The Prince Andrew debacle

It is seen as it is, yet what is to be seen? There were failures all over the board, yet where are they to be found? It is that part that takes the light out as well, even as we do not realise it. To see that we need to take the camera back, we need to do this, because we can see now, we can hear now, but years ago it was different, it was different as the media you see this goes back to 2005, way before 2005. Even then we see: “He served almost 13 months in custody, but with extensive work release” (source: 2009 quote), even then the media and a lot of people were connected to Jeffrey Epstein; a lot of voices were drowning out what was really happening. I was confronted with it in January 2015 ‘As we judge morality‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/07/as-we-judge-morality/), I added a copy of the affidavit, the Palm Beach records at that point. Because of the Daily Mail headlines I added: “When someone is on a case for this long, is this distinguished (80 commendations), you might want to consider being an actual journalist and look into the matter, especially when it is about a member of the Royal family” They also relied on “Prince Andrew’s billionaire paedophile friend given permission to land private jet at RAF base for visit Sandringham” which was an event that happened in 2000, yet in 2000 there was very little on the events in Jeffrey Epstein’s life, the media was (optionally knowingly) unaware of what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, the events did not come to blows until March 2005. We get from sources: “In March 2005, a woman contacted Florida’s Palm Beach Police Department and alleged that her 14-year-old stepdaughter had been taken to Epstein’s mansion by an older girl. There she was allegedly paid $300 (equivalent to $380 in 2018) to strip and massage Epstein.” After that filing it wold take the Police 13 months to get anywhere, that included a search of his home. It would take a long time before the police had anything at all, In 2006 the Smoking Gun had ‘Billionaire In Palm Beach Sex Scandal‘, yet the American Hypocrite media had very little to say, it was bad business to advocate issues, we have seen that, in all this we see Prince Andrew is getting slapped around, yet his media centre, the one that should have been protective of him, where were they? I am not telling, I am asking!

There are very little records available to me. The New York Times gave us (in 2019) ‘How a Ring of Women Allegedly Recruited Girls for Jeffrey Epstein‘, yet what was out in the open in 2005? Well we see the involvement of Haley Robson, the 2006 smoking gun gives us the Police Case which states (as in image) and is basically part of the affidavit that I added later on. “Several of the victims were recruited by and brought to the residence by Haley Robson to perform massages for Epstein” and apart from the New York Post, there is very little we are aware of when the clock moves to August 2006, Even then we see “But a bitter rift between Palm Beach cops and prosecutors over how to handle the case has put Epstein at risk of more serious charges. The FBI is weighing whether to investigate his alleged contacts with underage girls“, I know that this is a media Bonanza, but as we read ‘The FBI is weighing whether to investigate his alleged contacts with underage girls‘ we read levels of non-determination, or even levels of doubt on a paedophile and this is American ‘justice’ the issues is not even European at this point, even as the affidavit gave way to a larger issue going back to September 2004, and the fact that Robson was included for two years in all this was seemingly not taken into account by the glamour news articles, the papers made very little sense either. The Miami Herald (at https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article221404845.html) gives “2005 March: A 14-year-old girl and her parents report that Jeffrey Epstein molested her at a mansion in Palm Beach“, yet the affidavit goes back to September 2004 in the mention and this article is from November 2018, so why is the OFFICIAL AFFIDAVIT ignored?

In October 2006 we get (from the Miami Herald in this case: “With the non-prosecution agreement still being debated, Acosta meets with Epstein lawyer Jay Lefkowitz at the West Palm Beach Marriott on Okeechobee Boulevard to discuss finalizing a deal. Among the terms agreed upon: that the victims would not be notified, that the deal would be kept under seal and all grand jury subpoenas would be cancelled“, so that was the stage 12 years ago, There was a legal deal, one that gives him in the end a 13 month in this Alexander Acosta who would later end up being United States Secretary of Labor after he was Dean of the Florida International University College of Law and before that he was United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (when he gave the deal), that is the level of protection that Jeffrey Epstein enjoyed, the Miami Herald gives us at that point: “the non-prosecution agreement “essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes”. At the time, this halted the investigation and sealed the indictment. The Miami Herald said: “Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims“, so before people go after HRH Prince Andrew, we need to see the real protection that was out there, and the media had a role to play as well, there were no investigative journalists out there in 2005 and 2006 thinking that this might be a larger story that goes all the way to the White House, Epstein was protected, a billionaire optionally flexing his multi-billion dollar wallet. So when we read: “he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. While most convicted sex offenders in Florida are sent to state prison, Epstein was instead housed in a private wing of the Palm Beach County Stockade and, according to the sheriff’s office, was after ​3.5 months allowed to leave the jail on “work release” for up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week” which was in opposition of “The sheriff’s own policies requiring a maximum remaining sentence of 10 months and making sex offenders ineligible for the privilege. He was allowed to come and go outside of specified release hours” we see an optional different story, he got to (optionally) tell all around him “I am innocent, they flexed the rules, but a real convicted child molestor doesn’t get these options” and the media would not attack those rules, the freedoms given to a billionaire child molester, why not? The person who was at the centre of this deal (Alexander Acosta) would not be persecuted for his part until 2019, and he stepped down as Secretary of Labor in July 2019. We see that Jeffrey Epstein house manager was arrested in 2010 (for obstructing justice) he had a journal giving rise to additional victims, and material witnesses. The events in France did not come out until August 23, 2019 when the prosecutor’s office in Paris, France opened a preliminary investigation into Epstein. He was already dead then.

So in all this mess it is Prince Andrew who gets to be the next victim, the victim of media that is, after all the debatable amount of exposure (none to say the least) the media now sees stuff for circulation, that is the actual crime isn’t it? Papers need to circulate and finding a famous man with a dead girl or a live boy is the best (a live abused girl is pretty OK too). So when we get to the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/nov/20/prince-andrew-jeffrey-epstein-and-newsnight-anatomy-of-a-pr-disaster), we need to have the right mindset, my initial focal point is not the prince, it is his PR and media group (or person). It is not “Andrew had already lost the services of Jason Stein, the spin doctor hired in September to restore his reputation. Stein had reportedly advised Andrew against the whole thing, preferring a longer-term strategy that included a great deal of charity work and interviews with print outlets to mark his birthday“, where were the clear voices to break off any connection that Prince Andrew had with Jeffrey Epstein in 2007 onwards (we could argue 2006, but American Law can be confusing at best)?

And when we see “The unravelling of the strategy began almost immediately after the interview ended. Andrew appeared pleased with his performance, even giving the Newsnight team a tour of the palace afterwards. But when lines from the interview began reaching journalists’ inboxes early on Friday evening, they were astonished by what they read“, who the hell advised him on proper approach to this tinder fest of sulphur laced journalism? In the article Jo Swinson of the LibDems states it best: “how somebody could be talking about their relationship with [Epstein] without recognising, or understanding, or discussing, how he felt about those victims. And I felt they should have been much more at the centre of that discussion“, even as I have issues with “Andrew was facing calls to speak to the FBI from lawyers representing 10 of the Epstein’s victims“, there is a larger issue and the media was part of it, as it is feeling exposure towards the ‘protection’ of the image of Jeffrey Epstein, they are going after a royal like there is no tomorrow, so as we see ‘without recognising, or understanding, or discussing, how he felt about those victims‘, we need to realise that the media gave very little of that in the days that Jeffrey Epstein was alive, why was that?

the New York Post gave us in 2008 “Jeffrey Herman, who’s representing two other alleged victims, said, “The guilty plea is a very positive development for the civil cases,” and “is some measure of justice for these girls.”” I wonder how much recognising, understanding and discussion is going on in that sentence.

Yes, the Prince’s interview was an absolute horror, yet I wonder where the priorities of those who were supposed to have the back of the prince were, was there anyone on his side before he was thrown to the wolves? Oh and before I forget, When I search ‘“BBC” “Jeffrey Epstein”‘ I get 8 results and they are all on the interview, how much digging did the BBC do in the 2006-2012 era? We see all the attacks on Prince Andrew who knew a man that was indecently not researched by law officials all over the world and especially in America, whilst that man was given non-prosecuting options that most of us dream of when we commit murder. Yes the interview was a Prince Andrew debacle, but let’s face it, the media was part of that debacle long before they interviewed Prince Andrew, that evidence is all over the field and clearly readable, but that is the one part that the media does not want you to do, they do not want you to figure out that they were at the centre of letting a billionaire off the hook, especially as that person is now dead.

There is a larger play in all this, I wonder if you can figure it out.

 

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