Tag Archives: NSO

Who is Miss Calculation?

There is something happening in the Middle East (there is always something happening in the Middle East mind you), yet the events of last week are seemingly larger and I am not sure in what direction it is heading.

There is a much larger stage and even as the media informed us on ‘Saudi royal arrests: Why top princes have been silenced‘ (source: BBC), we get “Prince Mohammed (commonly known as MBS) has displayed a ruthless ambition to force his way to the very top of the political tree“, as well as “The unfortunate subjects of MBS’s ambition this time were other members of the Saud family – most notably one of his uncles, Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, a former interior minister; and a cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (known as MBN), a former crown prince and interior minister – who were detained for questioning and placed under investigation for treason, although no charges have been made“, this issue is that this does not add up. In the first, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that was never in question and there is no opposition in open play, as such the BBC statement (which is the same as almost every other statement in the media) is seemingly faulty. So why do I believe that I am correct and all the media is wrong? 

It is an important question as it gives rise to something much larger. In all this the intelligent part comes from Al Jazeera who gives us ‘There is a perfect storm brewing in Saudi Arabia‘, with the important byline “But why now?” it is the part that most media circumvented. 

The first we see is “Two separate issues are at play here. First is the sense of a crown prince on a mission to eradicate all forms of dissent and to ensure a smooth transition to becoming king“, I would want to question that, yet I know that I am at a loss in part as I am a non-Muslim, there might be parts of Islamic Law that I am unfamiliar with (as I am completely in the dark on Islamic law), as his father proclaimed him the Crown prince, I am at a loss why anyone would oppose the wishes of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud? As such the ‘why’ part is under scrutiny. 

Yet Al Jazeera has something to tell us, it starts with “Facing a range of parabolic pressures from domestic and international sources, the Saudi state is in a precarious position, with much at stake for MBS, the architect of the kingdom’s future trajectory” and it gives strength to the ‘Why Now’ part. We get a few “That this did not happen has been seen as a sign of weakness on MBS’s part” statements and the entire issue that revolves around Eggy Calamari (aka Agnes Callamard, the UN essay writer) should not be ignored. There are several players on the world stage shouting anti Saudi rhetoric, all whilst these people are not scrutinised on any issues that involves issues like evidence or supporting evidence. Yet the people who get the anti Saudi filtered news accept these accusations like gospel.

As such we see “these questions mean little domestically, outside the kingdom they contribute to perceptions of MBS as a reckless leader, prone to rash moves” and these issues keep on adding up, whilst the media refuses to scrutinise the information handed to them.

As such, as Al Jazaeera is stating the article by Simon Mabon, we get at the final end “The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance“, as a Middle Eastern expert Simon has achieved a lot and knows a lot more than me, yet I have analysed data for over 30 years in all matters of complacency and the data does not add up. In all this we need to see ‘Behind the Russia-Saudi Breakup, Calculations and Miscalculations‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/10/world/europe/russia-saudi-oil.html), tere we see “With oil prices plunging and Russian state television blaming Saudi Arabia for the collapse of the ruble, the kingdom on Tuesday signaled what seemed to be an escalation. Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, said that on April 1 it would start providing customers with 12.3 million barrels a day. That is a 26 percent increase on its output before the deal with Russia collapsed” yet in all this, we see no reference on Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz (former Interior minister), Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (former Crown Prince) and their Russian Links or any other international links, which in light of everything is equally wrong. Not that it was not reported by the Saudi Government but that the international media failed to investigate it. Even the Guardian revolves around “allegedly aimed to block crown prince’s accession“, all whilst Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been clearly and accepted as Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, in all this the lack of questions is astounding, but I guess that an inflammatory essay by that French girl at the UN will follow shortly. 

All whilst the New York Times is sitting on the one gem that mattered, it is “Russia is now calculating that many companies cannot survive as prices fall below their break-even point“, both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Russia have the air to hold out on the events, yet it seems that the lungs of Saudi Arabia are larger and have the stability and long term sitting that Russia has not, in all this the two arrests are optionally the Russian council that cannot be accessed by Russia any more.

Am I correct?

I do not know, but the investigation in his area is not done and that makes for a much larger failing. And whilst the media wakes up and looks into “Russia is also worried that other high-cost producers, among them companies pumping off the coast of Brazil, would cut into European and Asian markets” a much larger stage is overlooked, so whilst too many stare at “State television stations blamed Saudi Arabia for the ruble collapse and offered as solace expert commentary that the United States and Saudi Arabia would ultimately suffer more.“, I merely glance at ‘expert commentary‘ and find it lacking. 

I believe that there needs to be a unified Saudi front against all other players, I believe that there could optionally be more arrests and it has nothing to do with the needs of MBS, and everything to do with those advising others where the goal is to harm the needs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia has to avert that. In addition, the entire NSO matter (now being gagged) is also not a sitting pretty issue, it allows for more and more media attacks on Saudi Arabia, all whilst the media does not scrutinise the materials received. So as the media goes with “A report published by the security forensics firm FTI Consulting concluded with “medium to high confidence” that was the case“, the larger issue that is seen is that the origin of the hack cannot be established and is conveniently left out of the media. No one denies that Jeff Bezos has a phone that was hacked, yet who did it is undetermined and the report that followed is abundant in links to opinion pieces and other non valid urls to sources where the determination is open to all kinds of supposition and indeterminate forms of questions, all whilst the UN uses it like gospel. A report that uses language like “While the possibility exists” we see the media merely publishing and not asking the questions that matter. It is a created stage where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has little choice but to create a unified front. 

In a stage where plenty of Cyber experts have question marks in the report that is ‘exclusively’ given out. It is one of several attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince, it is this stage that matters, as it is a doubling of the Khashoggi stage (a journalist no one cares about) and the linked stage of embargoes against Saudi Arabia, whilst no one is asking the questions that matter “Who gets that income now?” We all ignore that part and so does the media, yet there is every chance that with the Russian links out and the American links in question, there is a larger chance that communications and weapons design will fall towards China more and more. And as we are in doubt of one, we get to see “Saudi Arabian Military Industries is prepared to move forward with product development“, a stage where China is optionally the larger winner in all this and the debts of Germany and the US will get a larger boost in all this, that is the price of removing the freedom of Choice (of Saudi Arabia), the data is simple and readable on that front, even as the media remains in doubt and removes all events of these actions.

Andreas Schwer stated (at the Dubai Airshow) “We have signed more than 25 agreements with foreign partners, so we have multiple opportunities to acquire alternative technologies from other partners where there are no limitations. There is no risk that any limitation of a single country or government can block Saudi Arabia from getting a full localized portfolio of products“, so tell me, how many media outlets had that bit of news? Defence News might be one of the few and that has a limited readership, so how many newspapers had that? 

I personally believe that after the events mounted up towards the Vision 2030 act of Saudi Arabia, there has been an attack after attack on Saudi Arabia, yet the verdict of evidence remained away for the longest time. And as the media looks at the figures for the Miss Calculation votes, we are left in the rear not getting any data that matters. 

It is seen in the 5G spot where Zain KSA gives us “Zain KSA has launched 5G in Saudi Arabia, with the first phase of the rollout being implemented through a network of 2,000 towers that cover an area of more than 20 cities in the Kingdom“, that was last year in October. So how much 5G do we presently see in Europe, Australia or the US? Not that much, I can tell you that, all whilst the US parts have NEVER shown any 5G speed that surpasses the 4G systems. All issues largely unreported on, so as such How happy are we when we see that we are  member of the Miss Information group? 

How correct am I?

That remains to be seen, yet the media gives out close to nothing on the history of actions of Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, we see accusation after accusation on the actions of ‘purge of relatives’ whilst that information remains debatable (when you consider how large that family really is). Even if we would accept that, where is the evidence, it has never been produced, displayed and scrutinised. I could not find more than a thousand links on the first name and well over 50% was about the first name and for the most they are all stating the same thing with references of ‘purge of relatives’ and no evidence to support this. There were a lot more links on Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (over 13,000), yet there too, the links I saw were lacking in evidence. Now we can agree that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia likes to wash its laundry out of sight, but the media is faltering again and again in showing us any acceptable evidence, or showing us supported evidence. In the end, we see a few mentions of “allegedly planning a coup“, which might be enough reason, yet the media shows no evidence of any kind, and this is the media claiming to be on top of matters, as the Khashoggi and Bezos events showed us, the media is merely on top of spreading gossip and showing us debatable documents (one of them with highly debatable links). 

So as we go into a phase where we switch the auction from Miss Information to Miss Calculation, we should wonder why we have to reside our beliefs in either of the two. Al Jazeera states: “Such misjudgements have prompted some in the kingdom to question whether MBS is the right person to rule the Saudi state“, yet at present the pressures are applied from the outside and are seemingly applied as the powers outside have too little impact on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and that worries these people. In a stage where Saudi Arabia is visibly surpassing other nations in 5G, bringing Vision 2030, which is a vision surpassing any vision the US has given us in 50 years and a stage where too many companies have  need to become active in Saudi Arabia and they are limited for what they can do, it seems that the need for Saudi Arabia is greater than most expect and that is what is feared in both the US and Europe. Both players need Saudi Arabia and it seems that Saudi Arabia needs neither, not whilst China is actively seeking expansion of technology and it finds Saudi Arabia wanting. As we now see the impact of all these embargoes against Saudi Arabia, the EU nations are learning the hard way that the deals they had with Saudi Arabia was a good thing and now that Iran is buckling its nuclear pact, the EU is left with nothing and the US with even less. And all this as presentation managers relied on bullet pointed presentations, all whilst Saudi Arabia requested a finished product, the entire slamming Saudi Arabia seems to be founded on the principle that anyone on the defence, staged on a fence is malleable and now as we see that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not playing along with that requirement, we see western desperation set in. As we are given “recent advances in defense equipment have enabled Chinese defense contractors to compete more effectively while retaining lower prices, making Chinese arms an increasingly attractive choice for customers worldwide” (source: National Defense), we need to understand that certain matters are linked. Even as China pursued smaller projects, the option to get the largest arms importer in the world is tempting, a nation that is set to stability and has a need for its growth of SAMI still means that China can gain a decade of important sales. That part is now set in motion and could improve Chinese salespaths by 30%-50% in the years to come, all by gaining one customer. All funds that the west will miss out on and the two players that were optionally internationally a beacon of information, are now arrested. I agree that it relies on the two players to be the ones that have international allure, yet as I stated, the intelligence is lacking on every angle, and what we need to see is where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants to go and where it needs to go to get to where it wants to go, as I personally see it, the EU and the US are more and more lacking and that will have far reaching repercussions.

So whilst the people are treated to “US lawmakers and tech experts want a strong American competitor“, we see that the essential path is that it is about Anti Huawei, we see that Huawei has little to fear as it now has a much larger grasp on the Middle East and it is removing the options that the US used to have (mainly by US actions), and even as the US still gives us “the U.S. and other countries are concerned that Huawei poses a national security risk due to its reliance on the Chinese government and its leaders’ own ties to the country’s Communist Party“, all whilst Huawei has openly disproven the “reliance on the Chinese government” more than once, it is still phrased. Just as that same media phrases MBS and its connections to Bezos hacking and Khashoggi, all whilst those accusations cannot be backed up by evidence, when we see these elements in actions we see the first line that gives us the larger image.

The first line is that the US 5G plans are still evolving and for now largely failing (source: 5Gradar.com). Here we see “A new Opensignal report shows T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T ranking poorly for 5G across different metrics“, as well as “5G networks in the US are failing due to a lack of mid-band spectrum“, that was last week and the news is not picked up by any of the large media groups, it is n my personal opinion only reporting on what its shareholders and stakeholders want and as they are also (more often than not) advertisers, we get to see almost nothing on this. It is an essential element, they require us to take notice of both Miss Calculation and Miss Information, yet will not support evidence, evidence that holds up in court. In all this a place like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a much larger pool of evidence on all the achievements that Huawei is making and therefore a problem to the United States. As such, I personally expect that the focal point of the attacks are launched against the Crown Prince and against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Let’s be clear, it is not merely the attacks, it is the lack of acceptable evidence that is part of all this. To a much larger degree the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is surpassing the US in several fields and the US wants that to go away, in addition the EU is pussyfooting to much around Iran and as it is in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia, we see too much that is about filtering out Saudi Arabia whilst we see several key elements of filtering down the danger that Iran poses and it is filtered by people linking their ego’s to the benefit of Iran, a double whammy that will work against them soon enough. As such, how much real information on the acts of Saudi Arabia and specifically Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is out there and actually being scrutinised? The media is not giving us any information on that are they? Even now (7 hours ago) Al Jazeera gives us “The latest arrests within the Saudi royal family show the young crown prince still feels insecure about his position“, yet the ‘evidence’ is limited to “rumours of an alleged coup plot in Riyadh” no reporting or evidence on the acts and actions of Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz or Prince Nawaf bin Nayef are shown, we see “along with a number of high-ranking officials“, I merely wonder if it would help me to walk the streets in Riyadh to find more information than any news agency is giving us. Whilst we are given “another attempt by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to consolidate power” we are not given any evidence one side or the other. We are merely treated to the implied “these developments show that the young royal still does not feel fully secure in his position“, treated with the complete absence of evidence. We also get “he launched a war in neighbouring Yemen without consulting senior royals” without the clear information that is out there “answering a request by Yemen’s internationally recognized government, Saudi Arabia began a military intervention alongside eight other Arab states and with the logistical support of the United States against the Houthis” a part that we had seen again and again from Reuters and Bloomberg, even Al Jazeera made mention of this, as such this article gives a much larger setting in creating emotion whilst the linked evidence is forgotten to get mentioned.

As such, whilst the media is all about the Legitimacy of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, we see a lack of evidence, the simple evidence (and outspoken evidence) that the current king, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud made the statement that Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud would become his successor, I fail to see the wisdom in avoiding that part, a nation where the line of succession is determined by the King of its kingdom, can you explain the logic of ignoring that part? 

I doubt it!

 

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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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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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How to get yourself killed

On the edge of the elections, we see new developments in a few areas. The issue is not the people trying to keep others safe; it is now to some extent the law that is aiding people getting killed. Here we see the first of a few issues, that first one being the Human Rights Act 1998. Now, let’s be clear! I am not against the HRA. The issue is that it is now protecting terrorists in completing their goals, which was not what it was intended to do. That issue is seen at the very beginning of article 2.1. Here we see: ‘Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.

This gives us that Terrorists cannot be hunted down; the first rule is to capture them alive, whilst knowingly endangering the lives of many. In addition we see articles 6, 7 and 8 messing things up (in light of terrorism); still it is not a failure of the law.

The issue is that these laws were never designed with the abundance of terrorism to the amount we see nowadays. The fact that any armed police action, aimed on capturing terrorists is placing them in harm’s way, but in an unrealistic and unacceptable way. A policeman’s life is set to a higher degree of danger, whilst giving the terrorist a prolonged time to act out the acts of terrorism. It is in this light that we should see ‘May: I’ll rip up human rights laws that impede new terror legislation‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/06/theresa-may-rip-up-human-rights-laws-impede-new-terror-legislation). There is a growing concern that the laws of our nations have been a hindrance in dealing with acts of terrorism. In addition we see another return with “It is possible May’s plans could involve seeking further derogations from the ECHR. This is the way the government is seeking to prevent human rights claims against soldiers in future military situations“, the question is not just in the laws, the issue we see with “May was then repeatedly challenged about how the Home Office, police and intelligence services dealt with the information relating to the attackers, after Boris Johnson, her foreign secretary, said MI5 had questions to answer. One of the attackers, Khuram Butt, 27, had been reported to the anti-terror hotline in 2015 and a third attacker, Youssef Zaghba, 22, had been detained by Italian authorities in 2016”, there are questions for MI5 to answer, yet it is not just them. The UK needs to establish to with level SIGINT (GCHQ) has been missing the ball.

Now there are two problems with that assumption of mine. The first is whether the European intelligence services have been keeping its allies and NATO partners up to date on movements. The second is how some allies classify certain people of interest (Youssef Zaghba). Without that knowledge we end up kicking both MI6 and GCHQ without actual cause. So it is not just MI5. We can wonder how certain borders were passed as well as how we will stop certain events from happening. So Boris Johnson is correct that there should be questions and answers, yet in the first only to the smallest degree and in the second, I would want to ask GCHQ a few questions before knocking on the door of Andrew Parker. The fact that he goes straight to the door of MI5, gives an implicit lack of knowledge on the address of Boris Johnson which is not the way we know him, so I wonder what he is playing at, at present. This now gets us to ‘Police and MI5 face further scrutiny after third attack since March’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/05/police-and-mi5-face-further-scrutiny-after-third-attack-since-march). The part that matters here is “MI5 has a staff of 4,000, with up to 1,000 more promised by 2020, to keep tabs on a list of 3,000 people classified as “subjects of interest”, who included Butt, and to engage in other activities. Counter-terrorism accounts for just over 60% of what MI5 does”. We can hide behind the numbers to some extent as we consider that 1650 keep tabs on 3,000 people. This implied two people to watch per agent, this in a situation where it is about resources. In addition when we consider “Another of the London attackers, Rachid Redouane, was not known to the police or MI5, the police said”. The numbers show the impossibility of the task. In opposition we get that either the UK becomes an unlivable police state, or we take the war to them and prune the HRA to a larger extent. Weirdly enough, that gives us the headache that the HRA is losing potency, something that none of the players want. We basically move a nation into a place where we end up getting ourselves killed. As Richard Barrett, former director of global counter-terrorism operations at MI6 states: “I do not want to live in a state like that”. So even the agencies want a non-police state system, as such we need to consider other evolutions.

So how to go forward?

Until we get an actual union of interest in the Intelligence industry there will be an age of uncertainty. As SIGINT departments unite to set forth the first need of identifying the dangers and replicate that knowledge we are at an impasse. If this reads weird, then let me explain it. The function of GCHQ is to monitor and report to the UK agencies. This is how it should be in the past. In this age of ISIS/ISIL we need to consider that SIGINT agencies set the data in one common database when it concerns terrorists. So basically GCHQ forwards Intel directly to NSO (Netherlands), DGSE (France), SAIC (Germany) and so on. After that (or actually at the same time) the obtained data goes to MI5 and MI6. As filters are removed the whole gets more and quicker intelligence on movements. There is no issue with Brexit or Bremain, this is about European security, and as Europe becomes safer, so will the UK be safer. This path has never been walked because the trouble is with containing intelligence going into the open. In this setting we have intelligence filters this is not a bad thing, but the need in light of the attacks require us all to rethink the issues. There is an additional benefit that the union of data could give additional clusters of information, clustering’s we did not have in the past. It gives voice to not just paths of interests, but a path of people that are a justifiable target in this situation. A path that is partially hindered by the Human Rights Act in a way that was never the intent of the Human Rights Act in the first place.

The issue becomes a larger issue when we see certain media. Now as we exclude the tabloids on mere grounds of inferior intellect and increased factors like being clueless and greed driven through the expanse of emotion, we do get some media that should have known better. So when we see “Dame Stella Rimington, the first female director general of the agency, spoke out this week (6 June) during a keynote speech at 2017’s Infosecurity conference. The former spymaster took the time to urge for a calm response in the wake of recent London terror attacks” (at http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/former-mi5-chief-nobody-really-knows-how-deal-cyber-espionage-1625025), we see in addition “We are facing a world where there’s cyber-espionage now, which nobody really knows how to effectively deal with. We are facing a world of very complex communications which make it very difficult [for] our intelligence services to keep pace with changes taking place.

This is a path that has a few additional repercussions. The first repercussion is seen in the need of new technology to meet the challenges. The second repercussion is seen in combined need to evolve HUMINT, FININT and GEOINT. As money can be transferred through alternative means in faster ways and new methods we see that the terrorists are equipped and given new means to which several intelligence paths have no way to counter at present. The simplest issue of funding terrorist infrastructure through international debit cards is a nightmare to get through. Ordering these debit cards with up to 5,000 euros is getting easier and payment via web becomes increasingly easy. Getting these cards in Western Europe and dispense them to the dangerous elements in the UK is an increased danger as we now have a situation where HUMINT and FININT walk two very different paths. If we do not get an evolved SIGINT solution, we will see an escalation of events whilst the intelligence will fail. At present when a student is found with 2,000 euro a flag is raised (not always), yet when a student is seen with a debit card and 300 Euro, no flag will ever be raised. The cyber path is intervening on several levels increasing the dangers of a successful attack as they just get what they need at their destination. Nowadays a student goes into a car rental place, has his international student ID, picks up a van, pays with the prepaid card and he is off to load it up with explosives. At this point, when properly done, SIGINT, HUMINT and FININT will all have failed to stop this. This is the danger that Dame Stella Rimington is warning us about. And whilst the tabloid jokes are all about the emotions and the blame game towards the intelligence service, we see that failure after failure stacks up, mainly because what the intelligence agencies need is not coming their way. It’s like giving Jenson Button the task of winning the F1 trophy whilst giving him an Edsel to get the job done, which seems a little too unfair on the poor lad.

The world evolved too fast in too many directions and in this terrorists, especially lone wolves could use the system to remain largely invisible until it is too late. It is a collection of what we used to perceive as unrealistic elements ion danger assessment that is now stopping police and agencies in finding the targets trying to hurt innocent civilians. The game has become too unbalanced, and for the most I agree with Richard Barrett. Yet, in equal measure, we see a lack of evolution in technology that the seekers need to classify disseminated information as well as being able to cluster a multitude of databases each filled with variable information to find that needle, hoping that you are even near the right haystack. Consider the scenario I just painted. Finding that person would be near impossible if the Lone Wolf kept to the ground. So where is the validation of blame? There is none and the people actually realise this. It does not change the job, or the challenge. It merely increases the pressure. So when I read: “The third attacker was named as Youssef Zaghba, an Italian national of Moroccan descent, who was living in east London” there is no concern to be elevated into some danger status, yet when we see in addition “is said to have told Italian authorities “I’m going to be a terrorist”, while officers reportedly found Islamic State-related material on his mobile phone when they intercepted him” makes it a different issue (apart from any person proclaiming to become a terrorist to the police). How long until that news reached the UK? In addition, what did the Italians do to stop this possible extremist? When we see a file on Youssef Zaghba in the areas of FININT and SIGINT, what do they reveal? You see, we might not stop all events, yet there is an increased chance that any previous success by these lone wolves will leave us with information that potentially stops the next attack. That will leave us with increased options when SIGINT will start sharing the data internationally.

We are in a phase where we get ourselves killed, not because of the failing of the agencies, but with our complacency regarding human rights and thinking that the agencies did not need certain elements. As we are bragging on Facebook and demanding the government does not collect data, we place ourselves in harm’s way, which is increasingly stupid.

Yet in equal measure spending irresponsibly (read: Jeremy Corbyn’s lame promise) is equally dangerous. You see we need to work on actual solutions, not buy 1000 staff members, 15 servers and hope it will work itself out. That is a recipe for a political pork pie that leaves us with indigestion.

There is a lot that requires doing, let’s not get ourselves killed whilst doing that.

 

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