Tag Archives: NSO group

Return of Common Cyber Sense

So, is it the return of CCS, is it Son of CCS? With all the 60’s movie references it can go either way, like Son of Blob, Return of the Predator, the Swamp Man strikes again, take your pick. We can go in any direction. And it all starts with the NOS (Dutch News) article of ‘Hackers stole 3 gigabytes of data from Spanish Prime Minister’s phone’ (at https://nos.nl/l/2427306). There we get exposed to “The hackers who used Pegasus spyware to access the phone of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez last year were able to extract 3 gigabytes of information from the device. They also managed to penetrate the telephone of the Minister of Defense, although less data was stolen from it. The hack of the Spanish Prime Minister’s phone came to light by chance during a routine check, it turned out today. The government was informed this weekend. The telephones of all cabinet members are now being searched for the espionage software.” As such we now have two settings, the first one is linked to ‘State of what?’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2022/04/24/state-of-what/) where some attacked the NSO on Catalan settings. Now we see that two Spanish governmental targets were out in the open, and its Prime Minister was not too intelligent and lacking Common Cyber Sense. 

So in what universe is it a good idea to put 3GB of data on your mobile? I have (by choice) 224MB of data on my phone (over 6 years) and well over 80% are ASCII files (a collection of articles I have written). 

A mobile phone is a transmitter at rest, no matter how much you run, as such it is a trove of information for any hacker with anti-Spanish sentiments. So in what universe should we see “Spanish opposition parties speak of “a very big coincidence” that the burglary into government telephones is just now becoming known. Others speak of a smoke screen. Already two weeks ago it became clear that 63 Catalan politicians and activists had Pegasus on their phones. Among them were members of the European Parliament, Catalan regional presidents, lawyers and political organisations”? Well the answer is none. You see the setting that we are a witness of shows a massive lack of Common Cyber Sense. And in this consider “Pegasus is sent via apps, a WhatsApp message from friends or acquaintances or an email. When the recipient clicks on such a message, the spy program settles in the phone. Secret services have access to all possible data such as passwords, telephone conversations, location or photos” You see, this is a side that might be on me. People like that have a work phone and a private phone. The work phone has no need for WhatsApp, Facebook, or a whole range of other social apps. Having them on your work phone is folly, extremely stupid and massively shortsighted. When you are a governmental tool (of any kind) you need to adhere to Common Cyber Sense. It applies to any Prime Minister, Defense minister, minister and that list goes on for a while. The only exception might be the cultural minister, but then that person tends to not have any classified data, or classified data of a limited stretch. So when we see “The organisation Citizen Lab, which previously revealed that the 63 Catalans were targeted, is drawing no conclusions about who is responsible for the covert operations against the Catalans. “But the circumstances indicate involvement of the Spanish government,” the authors of the report believe.” OK, that is fair, we are all seemingly nodding towards the Spanish team, but it is assumption. And when we have that stage, the lack of Cyber Sense is making it all into a farce. So whoever hacked the Spanish, might through that have gotten access to two teams for the price of $100,000 per phone. A good deal if any. 

So at what time will governmental teams (on a global setting) decide to embrace Common Cyber Sense, with the added realisation that apps like WhatsApp and several other have no business being on your work mobile? 

In this, my message to these politicians is as follows: You are (for the most) not an A-lister, a movie star or a social media revelation. For the most, you are all governmental tools and you need to take responsibility for the stupidity you employ. Keep personal stuff OFF your work phone, give the hackers a challenge, not a trip to easy street, Common Cyber Sense has reason, take it seriously.

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State of what?

Yup, that is the question. You see, I made mention of this before, but I never dug into it. It was linked to something else and saw it as a side effect. Yet the Times of Israel gives us ‘NSO spyware allegations poison Spain’s ties with Catalan separatists’ (at https://www.timesofisrael.com/nso-spyware-allegations-poison-spains-ties-with-catalan-separatists/). There we see “Canada’s Citizen Lab group said Monday that at least 65 people linked to the Catalan separatist movement had been targets of Pegasus spyware in the wake of a failed independence bid in 2017.” I am not debating whether this is true or false. Consider that the NSO group charges $100,000 per infection. So who is willing to pay $6,500,000? So when we are given “Citizen Lab, which focuses on high-tech human rights abuses, said it could not directly attribute the spying operations, but that circumstantial evidence pointed to Spanish authorities.” OK, I can go along with that. If there is someone willing to pay $6.5M to monitor Catalan’s the CNI (Centro Nacional de Inteligencia) makes sense. Yet no one is debating or investigating Citizen’s Lab. I am not stating that they are doing anything wrong, yet no one scrutinises that evidence, questions that evidence or digs into that evidence. Then there is the set state that there is no real timeline. So when we see “in the wake of a failed independence bid in 2017” when was it investigated, when was the ‘evidence’ found and when were the expectations seen as transgressions of privacy were in question? All questions that no one seems to be asking. The absence of a timeline? When did we see ‘trivial’ facts as evidence? When did we see assumed connection as set towards facts?

The article does make a much larger stage towards required timelines and s I see it several timelines are missing. From the NSO group, from the Catalan’s and from Citizens Lab. Three timelines that are decently crucial to this all and no one is seeing that basic requirement. 

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The simplicity of a label

That is at times a setting, not the setting, but an option. You see it is easy to paint all the piggie’s pink, but at that time we end up with all the painted piggies and piglet. Yet is piglet the one we were looking for? That is one of the settings and my issue with ‘No 10 network targeted with spyware, says group’. The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-61142687) is not entirely wrong. But when I see “The Citizen Lab says it informed officials that suspected Pegasus spyware was discovered in 2020 and 2021, with the Downing Street incident linked to operators in the UAE.” My suspicious mind has questions. Now, I accept that the Citizen Lab has expertise and knowledge, I am not attacking that. It is the statement “The Citizen Lab, which tracks electronic surveillance, said in 2020 and 2021 it notified the UK government that networks belonging to both 10 Downing Street and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were suspected to have been infected using Pegasus spyware.” You see, ‘suspected’ is all good and well, but were the suspicions properly investigated and confirmed, or is that all it was, a suspicion? And it does not get better when we see “in the UK a number of official phones were tested including those of the prime minister, but it was not possible to establish which device was infected or what – if any data – was taken”, as such there is a suspicion and a lack of confirmation of which device was infected, whether data was captured and what the outcome was. And it does not end there. The statement “the suspected Foreign Office infections were believed to be linked to operators of Pegasus in the United Arab Emirates, India, Cyprus and Jordan.” You see, not only is the method a problem (through lack of evidence), but how in the hell can it be fingered to operators from United Arab Emirates, India, Cyprus or Jordan? Sometimes the simplicity of a label also has the lack of clarity. 

Why Jeeves, why?
It is actually simple. These are a few names: EverC, Sentar, Ignitho, PhishLabs, AppDetex, CyberInt, CareMessage, and Geneca. Eight names, all competitors to the NSO group. They all have ‘their’ solutions, they all have their ways and they might not be as good as the NSO group, but these players are raking in the millions. It is not impossible that they planted NSO materials, or  use a ‘friend’ to infect NSO guided options to lead the trail away. All speculation and none may be true or factual, I accept that. Yet the article gives us nothing but suspicions, no facts, no evidence and it is all given weight by “linked to an investigation by the New Yorker magazine which looked at the targeting of individuals campaigning for Catalan independence from Spain”, so what does the New Yorker magazine have and how do the two matters connect (if they connect at all). Consider the price of an NSO infection (it is enough to buy a 2022 Ford Mustang 5.0L Fastback, shadow black) and as people tend to rate cars higher than any Catalan interest, the list of interested people grows short really fast, the sliver thin comparison makes me suspicious even more. And to complete matters “The Citizen Lab said it believed the Downing Street suspected infection was linked to the United Arab Emirates.” So not only is there no evidence that an infection took place, they have a suspect too?

All half way statements, all half baked evidence and the lack of evidence that shows some clarity. All whilst I found 8 options at the drop of a hat. And I can tell you right now. I have no evidence of ANY kind. Yet the writings of some lack evidence too. So what makes the press so hungry for alleged illumination of the NSO group and the UAE all whilst there is no clear evidence? 

Questions should be asked, but I believe that additional questions should be asked of people who have been linking certain events with the near total lack of evidence. And it matters, because if we see the allegations that No.10 network is infected (which would be interesting to ANY party with non-UK or anti-UK needs). So there is a drastic need for the minions of Ken McCallum to wake up and find out what is going on. It might be essential to get the GCHQ goblins active as well, it is a digital issue so GCHQ gets to be connected to this. 

Yet none of the parties have clear evidence and no one can prove that it was not a competitor, there are larger plays in actions and they cannot be identified with piggy pink. Yet the station is optionally served by paint and finding WHERE it leads could be beneficial, but that is merely my thought on the matter. So far the media I have seen tells me little and the accusations and links are a little too shoddy to my liking.

It stands to reason to state that I do not completely trust the BBC article, thee is nothing wrong there, but too little of it is right and does not sit well with me, but that is just me, and I do not trust anyone, a habit of the beast and thorough knowledge on knowing that the beast is a self serving entity in all this, it always has been.

 

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Paranoia helps

This is a case, you might be paranoid, that does not mean that people are not out to hack your life. We seem to forget that, and the second part we forget is that big corporations do not care, it is the cost of doing business and that is what insurance is for. But the stage is growing and with full national 5G insurance companies will not take that stance, they would want assurances and that is when the consumer gets to pay for it all. One small slip up, one error and the consumer pays. That is where we are heading. 

This all started when I saw ‘Walmart ships fraudulent order to hacker’s address then leaves customer to recoup cost’ (at https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/walmart-fraudulent-order-online-account-hacked-1.6353016). The story gives us all kinds of information and in some cases the consumer made the easy choice, the ‘this is so much easier’ path and hackers tend to rely on that. But it is not all bad news (well mostly it is), so let’s start.

Item one ‘fraudsters were using it and his credit card on file’. This is with the consumer. Yes it is easy and most e-commerce sites use the same good encryption. Yet as I see it there are two issues. It is easy to order when the credit card is on file, so DO NOT DO THIS! Consider what you are doing every time you use your credit card. More important, when it is on file anything can happen as this consumer found out. I have two instances where a credit card is on file. One is a monthly payment of less than $10 a month, the other is even less. I enter my credit card information with every purchase. Commerce like people with credit cards on file, it is easier to make them buy, but consider that your budget is limiting and when you still have a week to go at the end of your credit card, life gets worse really fast.

Item two are two items, and they are on WalMart. We see ‘Walmart had cancelled the first three orders on its own, but Tomlinson noticed the last one for an Apple TV had just been shipped.’ In the first part why did three stop and one did not? If they are based on the same data, there is a flaw in the system, there is close to no other option. In addition we are given ‘he was not able to access the address and Walmart wouldn’t provide details’, this is clearly on Walmart. In addition, it should be in these systems that there is a permanent record of the last 10 addresses that are not linked to the credit card that paid for it, 10 is an arbitrary number, but it happens that a family member pays for another members item, or something like that. 

Now we get to the rather nasty stuff, we are given “In 2021, e-commerce retailers surveyed said they prevented about 4,860 attacks, but failed to stop about 4,800 others. The survey also suggests online and mobile fraud attacks on retailers appear to be rising since the pandemic started, up 45 per cent in Canada from 2020 to 2021.” In a full 5G network this number can go up by a 600% to 19500%, consider that 93,600 fraud cases are not stopped under 5G, do you really think that the insurances are going to sit back and let the numbers rise from 4,800 to 93,600? You have got to be kidding me and those who do will do so at horrendous premiums and the consumer gets passed on that bill. A setting I have foretold for years and people are still not waking up to Common Cyber Sense. Not all of it is the consumer. Yet look in your own home, how many use passwords like ‘QWERTY’, or something that simple? I thought I was clever in the 80’s when my password was ‘password’ and I learned quickly that there is more to safety and security. Then there are those who use the SAME password in all places and those people also have all their passwords on file. How long until deeper machine learning can make the jump from where we are, to what we are and how lazy we are? The algorithm is already out there, with 5G it gets the speed to really rake in the dollars. So whilst some might ry for big business when they give us “While Walmart says Tomlinson’s problem was caused by compromised credentials — not a cyber attack — Sutherland says companies across the board are dealing with such attacks on a regular basis.” And when we hear the sob story of covid made it worse, we need to consider that I saw issues like this in 2015, a massive overhaul of the e-commerce system is becoming essential and most of them do not want the cost, but the issue of fraud is happily passed on to the consumer. We need to accept that this is not merely Walmart, it hits e-commerce in Europe, US, and Asia. This is a much larger problem and a better system is required. Consider that we blame the NSO group for many hacks, but the basic issue is not merely the NSO group, they merely ‘Exploit Security Flaws in Phones’ Operating Systems’, so when this gets to e-commerce in the same way, we get a flaw exploiting a flaw and our goose is cooked. Hundreds of hackers hope to find that ‘Zero-Click’ flaw that makes the hacker rich whilst the hacker is sleeping and in a 5G world that will happen more often. It is not paranoia when they are all out to get your money, and there are many who want to do just that.

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Getting a mute to lead the blind

Confused? Good! It has been going on for a little while, but Al Jazeera heads the setting of others with ‘Is the US crackdown on spyware firms just getting started?’, the article (at https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/12/22/is-the-us-crackdown-on-spyware-firms-just-getting-started) gives us “The Biden administration blacklisted Israeli spyware firm NSO in November, but experts say more needs to be done.” Well, that might b e nice, yet the absence of evidence means that they take to the streets with the stupid and flammable people. It becomes even worse with “a collaboration by Amnesty International and a coalition of media outlets – revealed that NSO’s software was sold to authoritarian governments that used it to spy on political leaders, journalists, executives and human rights activists, including people close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” As I personally see it, it was a collection of wannabe’s and fakes. They are that because evidence was not ever presented. And now the plot thickens, you think it does not? Well hold on, we are about to really up the throttle on this.

You see Bloomberg hands over the evidence I claimed all along. I wrote in several articles that if that list of 10,000 numbers was real the NSO Group would have a $400,000,000 piggy bank. But Bloomberg gives us ‘Pegasus Spyware Maker NSO Group Throws Cash at New Ventures to Survive’, where we are treated to “Israeli spyware firm NSO Group burned through most of its cash this year in a desperate bid to move past the scandal surrounding its phone-hacking tool Pegasus, according to a person with knowledge of the matter and private financial documents seen by Bloomberg News”, this could be seen as implied evidence that the money was never there, as such the list has to be (to a larger) part fake. Something I saw in less than 5 minutes, but all these wannabe essay writers You know, the one the Guardian has in Washington DC, as well as a wannabe essay writer at the United Nations with an outspoken hatred of Saudi Arabia. All going on flames and friends, but not a lot of evidence. Last Week at Wired we also get ‘Google Warns That NSO Hacking Is On Par With Elite Nation-State Spies’, but I will get back to that. You see the Bloomberg article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-21/nso-group-burned-up-most-of-its-cash-to-shift-away-from-pegasus) also gives us “Two American funds have expressed interest in NSO’s Eclipse technology — which can detect, commandeer and land drones — and in its new big-data analytics platform, for which the company signed its first contract this quarter, the person said. Pegasus would either be shut down or brought under the same umbrella as the other businesses in a bet that U.S. ownership would improve its standing, according to the same person.” In this I personally think that these American Funds can go and get fucked (apologies for the language), you see if the NSO is on a blacklist, the Americans can go try and make it run on a kite. 

Although, there is every chance that China, Russia and optionally Saudi Arabia might want these technologies. So as we consider Wired giving us “The exploit mounts a zero-click, or interaction-less, attack, meaning that victims don’t need to click a link or grant a permission for the hack to move forward. Project Zero found that ForcedEntry used a series of shrewd tactics to target Apple’s iMessage platform, bypass protections the company added in recent years to make such attacks more difficult, and adroitly take over devices to install NSO’s flagship spyware implant Pegasus.” You see what Google (Apple too) isn’t telling you is that the transgression was possible to begin with. This is not some nerd in his mothers basement. This is the kind of person that can equal if not surpass both the NSA and GCHQ. More importantly both Google and Apple were not prepared, so just how many gaps are there in mobile phones? You want to complain about Huawei and their security dangers? Google and Apple are doing that all by themselves, just like Cisco did, but you probably missed those articles. Credit to Cisco of alerting everyone to this, but the media was eager to ignore it, much sexier to accuse Huawei without evidence.

So whilst the White House idiot gave the people a blacklisting, we get:  “NSO issued a statement at the time saying it was “dismayed” by the Biden administration’s decision and that its technologies “support US national security interests and policies by preventing terrorism and crime”” So now the parts are here, we get to my use of ‘White House Idiot’, fair enough! You see, as the finances show that members of the media have been lying (optionally by not vetting information). We also see that the members of the NSO Group might sell to anyone BUT the Americans. A stage that will cost America greatly, especially if China acquires this technology. So after they squandered weapons sales to Saudi Arabia (I am still hoping for my 3.75% bonus on sales to China), the setting is now that one of the most sophisticated pieces of intrusion software might end up where no one wanted it to go, it reminds me of the old saying regarding ‘A cornered cat’, and it serves the mother goose brigade as I personally see it and you can see it too, you merely need to look at the actual claims and the fact that we see words like ‘alleged’, we see ‘might be infected’ and we see no clear number system. No dashboard that gives optional validity to the claims by wannabe essay writers. 

You know what? I am slightly too angry. First the yanks go all out on Huawei whilst evidence was never presented, now we see that the 5G networks are AT BEST a mere 50% of what Saudi Arabia has and in case of the US it is a mere 1.4% of 1%, it is THAT slow. Now we see the same exercise and it will be anyones guess who ends up with the NSO group software. It will be up to the NSO group to decide, yet I feel strongly that it should never end up in American hands. A person should not be allowed to be THIS stupid and being given a slice of cake, if it does happen, it better be valued at several billions. If you are THIS stupid, you cannot be much of a software maker, so pay you will, optionally Google could buy it to make their hardware more secure. It is a stretch and it is a steep price, but it could mean that the Apple supremacy ends and that might be worth a bag of coins to Google. 

Yet the best moment was when I saw that the media nailed their own coffin (the finance bit), so whilst Wired and the Washington Post did the right thing, the others can take a long walk of a short pier as far as I see it. Oh yes, the Wired article was at https://www.wired.com/story/nso-group-forcedentry-pegasus-spyware-analysis/ 

One day until Christmas, I reckon it is that time of the year when we take a little more time to see what weapon systems are out for sale. I need a new hobby!

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When will people learn?

This is not the first time time that I go all out against a Guardian essay writer (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/20/un-backed-investigator-into-possible-yemen-war-crimes-targeted-by-spyware) So lets take you through this track of what I regard to be stupid bumbles. The title is fine ‘UN-backed investigator into possible Yemen war crimes targeted by spyware’, it is what is reported on, but the stage quickly changes with “a panel mandated by the UN to investigate possible war crimes – was targeted in August 2019, according to an analysis of his mobile phone by experts at Amnesty International and the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto.” Why is this important? Well we are not given an iota of evidence on how that was established. More important, we have heard of the experts of Citizen Lab, but who has heard of the experts at the UN? More important, why is this shown 2 years later (aka roughly 840 days)? So then we get to be off to the races. We now get the French Fairy tale division giving us “Jendoubi’s mobile number also appears on a leaked database at the heart of the Pegasus Project, an investigation into NSO by the Guardian and other media outlets, which was coordinated by Forbidden Stories, the French non-profit media group.” This is an issue as I had shown (source: Washington Post) in my story ‘Retry or Retrial?’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/07/28/retry-or-retrial/) with ““reporters were able to identify more than 1,000 people spanning more than 50 countries through research and interviews on four continents: several Arab royal family members, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials — including cabinet ministers, diplomats, and military and security officers. The numbers of several heads of state and prime ministers also appeared on the list”, no evidence mind you, merely statement and boasting. I call it boast, because we see there that the Amnesty’s Security Lab examined 67 smartphones all whilst close to 50% had an inconclusive test. If this is 67, what about the other 49,933?” In this there was another side that no one considered. The list represented $400,000,000 in revenue and the NSO Group never had that, more important, none of these essay writers EVER published a dashboard showing where the 1,000 people were, there the other 9,000 were. If there is a phone list, there is a location and a dashboard on these numbers was never released, something I would do in the first few hours. 

Then we get the other clown (at the UN) with a clear hatred of Saudi Arabia “Agnes Callamard, the secretary general of Amnesty International, who previously served as a UN special rapporteur, called the news of Jendoubi’s alleged targeting “shocking and unacceptable”” It is that much of a setting, the article goes longer into blah blah mode, but no evidence is ever given to us. And it is then that we see a pie in the face on the clowns involved. We get “It suggests further reprehensible evidence of the Saudi authorities’ utter disregard for international law, their willingness to do anything to maintain their impunity, and it demonstrates yet again a complete disrespect for the United Nations, multilateral instruments and human rights procedures.” And why do I state it like that? In the previous article we see “In this Shalev Hulio is right that he is “continuing to dispute that the list of more than 50,000 phone numbers had anything to do with NSO or Pegasus”, I would too and I found a lot of the disputable issues within an hour, I wonder how shortsighted the media was when they decided to reprint what the Washington Post gave them.” This does not mean that the NSO Group and Saudi Arabia are innocent, but it calls in question the evidence presented. The verge and the Washington Post had issues with that list and I found another issue that could have been verified, as such we see a Stephanie Kirchgaessner who in 3-4 articles reduced the Guardian to a mere level of the Daily Mail, what a lovely way to end 2021, perhaps its editor Katharine Viner might do well by internally vetting what is being published, and perhaps she is part of the setting. Let well, I never stated that Saudi Arabia was innocent, but the fact that the NSO Group cannot see WHO infected (if that was the case) the phone of Kamel Jendoubi’s mobile phone, what other matters did these essay writers ignore to get a nice little hate piece against Saudi Arabia?

When will people learn that evidence is where it is at and several sources have debated the validity and the correctness of that list, and in all those months, no. one decided to look into the list and give us all a dashboard, weird is it not? I am not stating that Shalev Hulio, or Saudi Arab ia is innocent, but there is no presented evidence that they are either, as such the Daily Mail 2 (the Guardian) has a lot of making up to do, but perhaps they are merely doing what politicians and stake holders are telling them to do.

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Cross here to die

Yup it happens, there is a point in our lives when someone points at a road and states that death comes to those who cross here. I (with an uncanny sense of humour) would state that you cannot cross here, but that is me.

This all started with keeping the press accountable with what the Guardian gives us. It is (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/11/omicron-covid-variant-could-cause-75000-deaths-in-england-by-end-of-april-say-scientists) and is called ‘Omicron could cause 75,000 deaths in England by end of April, say scientists’. Let’s start by setting the proper page that the Guardian has done nothing wrong (as far as I can tell). In the second part, let’s look at the non-living rates that I see. One source gives us that at present 146,255 people in the UK stopped breathing (due to COVID). Then we see that this would up the ante by 50% and so far we are told that Omicron is a mild version, so someone is lying to us and the press should be all over this. 

The full text states “prevent Omicron causing anywhere between 25,000 to 75,000 deaths in England over the next five months, according to scientists advising the government”, My issue is that the current numbers are set to Feb 2020 – Dec 2021, so how could a mild version create up to 50% more non-living? OK, we see that it is 25K-75K, but that still does not make sense. This is fear mongering, or this is fear mongering as I personally see it. 

And there is more we get to see “a wave of infection is projected that could lead to a peak of more than 2,000 daily hospital admissions, with 175,000 hospital admissions and 24,700 deaths between 1 December this year and 30 April 2022.” And it is natural that these people hide behind ‘could lead to’, Yet the stage does not match. 175,000 admissions leading to 24,700, deaths. It goes against the numbers I have so far over a lot of nations and Omicron is stated (several sources) that it is a mild version that is more easily transmitted, yet not more deadly, so the numbers do not add up.

Why is the Guardian not all over this, why do we merely see “More follows …” at the end? I get that more will follow, but I think there is a large gap on the numbers the UK people have and saw and what this is now telling them, someone is spiking the drinks (not vetting speculative numbers). Now, I could miss something, I will happily agree to that, but the numbers do not make sense and I have been around intelligence numbers for decades. This does not add up. 

So I get it that some ‘covering’ is needed, but the ‘could lead to’ and ’could cause’ is like me stating “Cross here to die” I did remove the Warning Mines here! sign, but that negatively impacted a lovely photographic stretch of road. And let’s be honest, that sign might have been there too long in the first place, WW2 ended in 1945, a lifetime ago, almost two lifetimes ago.

On the other side, I get it, we might not know all about Omicron, but is informing us not the duty of the newspapers?  So what gives, because this setting is too surreal for words and after we got a lecture from a Nobel winner who states to us all “when lies become facts”, I reckon the news beacons better get there A game on, especially as Al Jazeera also gives us (just now) “Pegasus, the Israeli spyware tool exposed by journalists early this year, is now in trouble with  American authorities and big tech”. In the first, I do not think that the NSO group is innocent, yet no proper evidence has been presented and some newspapers have given us facts that are debatable in the very least on a few fronts (one of those newspapers was the Guardian), And in all this, the infector is yet to be proven and the NSO group is not the only player in that town and if a pervious quote applies that 34 out of 76 might have been infected (might is the operative word), we need to see a lot more and especially a lot better from the newspapers.

Getting people to cross a mine field is relatively easy when you remove the warning signs. And that is what we almost face, we are told that there is a minefield to the left and we need to cross to the right, that sounds nice, until you realise that the signs were moved and now we all get to stride through the boom boom field. 

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A two sided sword

It is nice (novel too) when the press does your work. Al Jazeera (at https://aje.io/xvndmj) with the headline ‘Nobel Peace Prize winners warn of growing disinformation threat’, which sounds nice, but the complication is that the press is part of the problem, in the last two years 

I looked at issues with the NSO group, Jamal Khashoggi (the reporter no one cares about), one sided accusations against Saudi Arabia, bungled investigations involving Jeff Bezos (and the UN), Ignoring the events from Iran and Houthi forces and that running joke known as the ICIJ with their papers of hope (Pandora papers). All issues that show the press being part of the problem, not a solution. All vying for digital dollars any way they can. 

So when I see “Maria Ressa of the Philippines said the greatest threat to democracy is “when lies become facts”, while Dmitry Muratov of Russia said society is currently in a dangerous “post-truth period””, I am not opposing Maria Ressa, I am stating that the disinformation problem is a lot larger than what we hear and journalists are part of that problem. 

Journalists have with some regularity placed themselves on the axial of a seesaw and tried to keep a balance between events taking place and Stakeholders that need things go certain ways (my speculation/presumption). It is a setting that have been going on since 2012 (which is when I started to take notice). So when I see “Muratov also told Al Jazeera that disinformation was a significant and growing threat. “Manipulation leads to war,” he said. “We are in the middle of a post-truth period. Now, everyone is concerned about their own ideas and not the facts,” Muratov said” I feel an involuntary giggle coming up. It is correct what he states, but the part of ‘Manipulation leads to war’, was this communicated to the morning breakfast shows? Was this communicated to newspapers who do this way too often? 

Yes there are problems and they are all over the place, yet the press is part of the problem, it stopped being part of the solution when shareholders needed to see more money from news outlets. A plate for pigs and there are too many pigs and the plate is seemingly getting smaller. 

So it needs to be clear, I am not opposing the person who achieved the standing of winning a Nobel price, I am however pointing towards the wannabe’s behind these people maximising digital coins at the expense of clear reporting. In case of the ICIJ, has anyone seen a clear dashboard giving us numbers of people per nation, nations with government people involved and non-government people? No, you haven’t. More importantly when we see the stage of those in zero tax nations (and their right to be there), what is left? In that stage we see the ICIJ speak like parrots, repeating the same thing over and over without any real revelations, any real criminal activities. So when you see “The new data reveals confidential information about the owners of offshore entities mostly registered in the British Virgin Islands, a notoriously secretive jurisdiction, between 1980 and 2018.” You get no real information, merely some silly essay person waving his dick. The problem is that this so called “confidential information about the owners of offshore entities”, is absent of criminal activities. It is about tax laws and these clowns have not achieved anything, merely made you all angry that some people get LEGALLY away with avoiding taxation. So Boo Hoo flipping Hoo. 

So I get it that some journalists should receive protection, but in my personal view, we could do without those 600 at the ICIJ brilliantly. The term of “when lies become facts” sounds really nice, but that means that we hold journalists and what they write accountable, an act that hasn’t been the case for the longest of times, should you doubt that, read the Leveson report. The stage is changing and to some degree journalists and news outlets are responsible for that mess. Consider that the big papers which include the Wall Street Journal, The Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, the Boston globe and the NY Times. How many did a real piece on how tax laws have failed a nation? None as fr as I can tell, they are all screaming ‘Tax the Rich’ but it were these tax laws that got them in that setting. The disregarded acts by Iran are visible all over by the bulk of these papers seemingly disregard these parts, just like the assaults by Houthi’s but they are all eager to slam the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one sided reporting is disinformation, I hope that this is clear? Filtered information (like morning shows) is also a form of disinformation and they all serve some stakeholder (as I personally see it).

A stage that has to change and it should start with those calling themselves journalists. 

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Six of one

Six of one, or half a dozen of the other. You will have heard the expression. It is widely used, yet the meaning has changed. This reminds me of an old WW2 movie. A sergeant tells the soldier, we kill them, they murder us. It is more than semantics and weirdly enough there is a chance that this was on the back of my mind when I wrote ‘Jump into the deep part’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/12/06/jump-into-the-deep-part/), yet the CBC (at https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/csis-trudeau-china-media-1.6270750) just drove it to the forefront of my mind. You see the article gives us in the article ‘Spy agency warned Trudeau China’s tactics becoming more ‘sophisticated … insidious’’ and here we see “As Canada’s spy agency warns that China’s efforts to distort the news and influence media outlets in Canada “have become normalised,” critics are renewing calls for Ottawa to take a far tougher approach to foreign media interference”. I am not debating the events in Canada, but the field is actually a lot larger. The media with (as I personally see it) unsubstantiated accusations towards the NSO group by the Guardian. Attacks without supporting evidence towards Saudi Arabia, the papers are drenched in that mess and it is not merely ‘foreign media interference’. You see if these people are serious they will take a hard look at media stakeholders, but they will not, will they? 

So as we see “One way foreign states — including the People’s Republic of China (PRC) — try to exert pressure on other countries is through media outlets, say the documents, obtained through an access to information request.” Do they realise that it is not merely ‘foreign states’, in this ‘corporations’ are equally to blame, they all have other goals and they use the same channels, the problem is that the media has become too unreliable, people do not know what or who to believe. In this the CSIS has equally a role to play, and for the most they are all about the safety and security of Canada (as it should be), yet in all this I wrote a few days ago about Saad bin Khalid Al Jabri. So as some might remember “Aljabri gained worldwide attention last year when he filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., alleging he had been the target of a failed assassination plot orchestrated by Mohammed bin Salman”, an assassination attempt? In Canada? So why is the US courts involved? Why is this not set in Canada? Then we get “Sakab Saudi Holding Company, “had no operational business” despite receiving $8 billion US in government funding and was used “almost exclusively” as a vehicle to funnel money to the other companies”. My issue here is not merely whether this is on the up and up, it is happening under the noses (optionally with blessing) of the CSIS, this is an Unites States setting (with $8,000,000,000) and it is happening in Canada. Now, the point is not merely on what the CSIS is doing, because they care for their nation (Canada), yet the media gives us a different view and the Human Rights Watch is joining them with “(Beirut) – Saudi authorities should immediately release the imprisoned children of a former Saudi official following an unfair trial that took place in an apparent effort to coerce him to return to Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch said today. Omar Al-Jabri, 23, and Sarah Al-Jabri, 21, the children of Saad Al-Jabri, a former top Saudi intelligence official, were arrested in March 2020 and held incommunicado until January 2021.” Yes, the thousands of children of Yemen are casually forgotten (for that moment) but the children of a multimillionaire, in the eyes of the government of Saudi Arabia a traitor and a thief. The man walks into Canada with $385,000,000 and what we get is “he made at least $385M — and says there’s ‘nothing unusual’ about it”, really? Last time most people made a mere few millions, close to every tax agent within 50 miles came calling for a cup of coffee, but then I must have forgotten about the US and their $8,000,000,000 investment opportunity

So I digressed, but it was important. You see, I am not opposing “Chinese-language media outlets operating in Canada and members of the Chinese-Canadian community are primary targets of PRC-directed foreign influenced activities.” But the problem is larger, PRC is a paid engine, and in this that scammers, Iran and a few other players also use it. I do not think that I am telling director David Vigneault anything he does not know, but the stage is that PRC is used by stakeholders, marketeers, media outlets ho need some ‘casual’ link of evidence, the list goes on. The problem is not that China is involved, they probably are. Yet in that same light Russia is optionally using PRC media pages to make China look bad, Iran uses it to set misinformation onto other streams. In this Forbes gave us in April ‘China-Iran $400 Billion Accord: A Power Shift Threatens Western Energy’, we get to see the references towards Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and a few other matters, yet what is kept in the dark (not intentionally) is how Iran and Turkey are using PRC for marketing politics, a marketing engine devoted to the ‘headlines only people’. And in that stage there are also the corporations. They merely pursue their need for green (dollar bills), but the ploys they use are larger and taint all parties and in this the global media does close to nothing, because corporations represent advertisement dollars and they are all desperate (like a crack whore for a fix) to get those dollars. A little like the Sony 2012 Q3 advertisements needs, yet now a lot larger and many corporations that are a little shy of the limelight. 

This gives us the one part I do not fully agree with, it is given in “Mainstream news outlets, as well as community sources, may also be targeted by foreign states who attempt to shape public opinion, debate, and covertly influence participation in the democratic process,”, my issue with this is “may also be targeted by foreign states who attempt to shape public opinion”, it is not wrong, but I think it should state “Mainstream news outlets, as well as community sources, need to be more proactive to stop outside influences from state players and corporations who attempt to shape public opinion, debate, and covertly influence participation in the democratic process,” because corporations have everything to gain and they are trying to do just that, on a global scale no less.

As such six of one or half a dozen of the other is not the same, the two elements tend to represent a very different currency. Consider the alternative six apples or half a dozen bananas, that might make more sense. As such I tend to ‘alter’ another expression to make sense: You say tomato, I say potato. My approach to the setting we see here on a global scale.

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It is difficult

One one hand, thee was a reason to be joyful. There was another article by Stephanie Kirchgaessner, so let the bashing begin. On the other hand, this is actually a good article. It is also an important article. And there is a stage where we need to consider what is and what could be. The article ‘Rights groups urge EU to ban NSO over clients’ use of Pegasus spyware’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/dec/03/rights-groups-urge-eu-to-ban-nso-over-clients-use-of-pegasus-spyware). This is interesting in two ways. We see no such ban on Remington, Fabrique national, Glock and a few other firms. And I would like to add that the NSA has done worse, much worse, so why is it now onto the NSO because their clients are skating on the edge of what some people might seem as ‘unacceptable’?

We see “Letter signed by 86 organisations asks for sanctions against Israeli firm, alleging governments used its software to abuse rights”, we see it, but do we realise what is going on? We are holding the publisher of a law book accountable for criminals using those books to stay out of prison. And it is not mere criminals using the books, it is governments using the books. 

This is a slippery slope and as Stephanie Kirchgaessner illuminates this, we are left with questions. I personally want to see a list of these 86 organisations. I am not saying that the Guardian is lying, I am stating that the NSO and us have a right to see these accusers. Yes, we see Access Now, Amnesty International and the Digital Rights Foundation. But where are the others? We also see “the EU’s sanctions regime gave it the power to target entities that were responsible for “violations or abuses that are of serious concern as regards to the objectives of the common foreign and security policy, including violations or abuses of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, or of freedom of opinion and expression””, it is here that the problem starts. We see “freedom of opinion and expression”, but who allows for that? Who allows for ‘peaceful assembly’? Consider the US and their ‘Black Lives Matter’ setting. We see “Some states have recently increased the severity of criminal penalties for protesters along political lines”, so where is your freedom of expression and opinion now? 

There is an issue, there is and in this Stephanie is right, but is there any kind of stage where the NSO can be held responsible for the actions of their clients? What do you think will happen when the NSO sells what they have to China and/or Russia? Do you think these 86 organisations will have anything to say then? 

And there is a larger stage, the stage everyone is silent about, the stage we all know but no one is willing to look there. We are so willing to blame the NSO group, but no one is wondering why Apple and Google didn’t have better protection? We can understand that there are always, but they do not seem to work and for some reason, Apple and Google have a massive problem. So when we consider Forbes ‘Apple Starts Sending NSO Hack Warnings To iPhone Users’, why was this not done earlier, and more important why was the problem not fixed 5 years ago? Apple is playing the cautious game, leaving the NSO group out of the debate with “State-sponsored attackers are very well-funded and sophisticated, and their attacks evolve over time. Detecting such attacks relies on threat intelligence signals that are often imperfect and incomplete. It’s possible that some Apple threat notifications may be false alarms, or that some attacks are not detected. We are unable to provide information about what causes us to issue threat notifications, as that may help state-sponsored attackers adapt their behaviour to evade detection in the future.” So why are new phones not more secure? Why are cyber locks a problem? Because Apple (Google too) caters to people who need automation to get better and more revenue and that crosses with the needs of some players who need access. 

In all this, the simplest solution was that no one gets access to your mobile, and it is not a new concept. The Blackberry started that idea and was quickly pushed out of the market (they were not the cheapest either). I saw this come up a few times when I was considering the evolution of a console (name xxxxxxxx redacted) , but the premise is larger and it is all linked to the simple setting that Facebook opened a door and EVERYONE wants to get through. In this case the NSO group saw that as a great idea to collect information and they are not alone, let that be clear, they might be the most visible player, but they are not the only player, but the article does not give that part, do they? You see there were a few nations on the list (that everyone ignores) and they are not NSO group clients, but they have certain abilities, so they are a client of someone and these 86 organisations are about to give that one player (with no scruples) the entire market.

Did you consider that?

Moreover, the accusations from some against the NSO group are still absent of evidence. Several newspapers gave light that the list of 10,000 was bogus and it was from 2017. In addition, I found the financial link missing, 10,000 hacks implied that the NSO group had received in excess of $600,000,000 and they have not. Some give us specifically worded accusations. Like the Citizens Lab giving us that 36 phones might (emphasis on might) have been transgressed upon, 36 out of 76, and we seemingly delete the word ‘might’ with our minds, but I did not. I am not opposing the Citizens Lab, but 36 might out of a debatable list of 10,000 is a long stretch and so far none of the media have given us any clear evidence, but these 86 organisations see there limelight moment, so they are all crying foul (or is that fowl). 

I for one want to see the media become responsible and hand over a dashboard of alleged victims. 10,000 numbers, that would be a massive list, but a dashboard stating how many are government, how many are journalists (which was in one article no more than 180, I think) making that a mere 1.8%. How many infections per nation? The list goes on and the media over all these months presented ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. But now we see “Letter signed by 86 organisations asks for sanctions against Israeli firm”, all whilst no clear evidence has been presented EVER. This is ab out something else and it has nothing to do with the NSO group, it has everything to do with a group of journalists who have become obsolete and as we see event after even (like that running Joke called the ICIJ), how much evidence have we see on their so called 11.9 million leaked documents with 2.9 terabytes of data, and zero (none) dashboard giving a summary, even with all that time and 600 journalists no one had time to give us a run down, that is how pathetic the media has become. Oh and they promised not to investigate the source, interesting is it not?

All flaming for digital revenue and presenting close to nothing, flames and way too little  substance. So when we ask these media players for clarity, their most likely answer will be ‘It is difficult’

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