Tag Archives: UN

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!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Military, Politics, Science

Some small bits

We all see them, we all face them and even as there is no overwhelming story out there, I think it was time to set up a look at the small bits, the parts I have already given view to and now I am adding to them. 

Huawei

The first part is ‘Huawei row: Trump chief of staff to meet Dominic Cummings‘, here we see another media driven attempt to ban Huawei from the UK, the UK is now as much a bitch as the Australian government. So far the US has not given any evidence that the Huawei hardware can be used to spy on people by the Chinese government, so far the US is not even sending that person with a really bad haircut, so that he could compare barbers with Boris Johnson, no he is sending his acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. Even after Richard Grenell gives us “to make clear that any nation who chooses to use an untrustworthy 5G vendor will jeopardize our ability to share intelligence and information at the highest level“, in my response ‘what intelligence?’ at present the CIA is regarded as one of the least trustworthy intelligence providers, we could argue that Facebook has better intelligence than the CIA does (hurts doesn’t it?)

Now, if the US had provided intelligence on Huawei several Cyber experts would nitpick that intel, yet the setting is out there, there is no evidence whatsoever, the US is fearing for its life and its economy. The backdraft is also there, any nation will get an advantage over whatever paperback spinal cord is supporting the US without evidence. All because the US cannot control its national corporations, we all must pay.

We can treat “A group of backbench Conservatives also wants Johnson to commit to remove all Huawei kit from British phone networks over time” with optional disgust as well, even as there is no stage set on ‘over time‘, as I personally see it these acts are profit driven, not national security driven, even as some will make a claim in that direction. 

Jeff Bezos

You know the man, the intelligent man with the really long forehead (read: bald), was hacked, it happened in 2018 and the media keeps on blaming the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, yet there is no evidence. In light of all that had happened, the idea that any Crown Prince is THAT hands on with an issue is overlooked on several levels. The FTI report reads like a joke and personally, if Mr. Bezos pays THAT much for what I personally see as trash, than I have optionally 4 IP stages, one unfinished book and over a 1000 articles for same for the mere price of $50,000,000 post taxation (50% for the IP and the rest is a gimmick), you see at least I am willing to say that upfront. In addition, his own paper gives us on January 28th “Indeed, in October 2018, Michael Sanchez and AMI entered into a nondisclosure agreement “concerning certain information, photographs and text messages documenting an affair between Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez,” according to three people who have reviewed the agreement. The existence of the contract was first reported by the New York Times. One of those people also confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that federal prosecutors who are investigating whether the Enquirer tried to extort Bezos have reviewed the text messages that Lauren Sanchez allegedly gave to her brother and that he then provided to the tabloid.” as I personally see it several parties owe Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud a few apologies and all kinds of Saudi catering hoping that it will appease his royal highness. On a personal note, I reckon he will be jealous of my yacht by the CRN ship wharves, so as we see the wealth of Jeff Bezos, he might just want to say ‘Sorry!’ to his royal highness and spend 0.5% of his wealth to appease that rather rich party with a yacht (so that mine will remain optionally safe, when it is completed). And no matter how it all get spinned, the UN report needs to be nitpicked and rather quickly, too many questions remain and even as we see that a person with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to speak publicly about its progress, or as the Washington Post is skating around the trandsetting term ‘anonymous source‘, which would place them on the same scale as the Enquirer, they give us “It’s possible that the Saudis hacked Bezos’s phone and Michael Sanchez independently got the photos from his sister and some people were trying to get paid and some people were trying to get Bezos,” all whilst there is no actual evidence that the hacker was Saudi, I did away with that quite nicely in ‘6 Simple questions‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/02/03/6-simple-questions/), whilst the 6th question ‘Why on earth is the UN involved in an alleged Criminal investigation where so much information is missing?‘ was never answered by any media EVER! (OK, as far as I know).

Yet there is a reason why we bring this all, it is seen (at https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/facebook-says-apple-is-to-blame-for-hacking-of-jeff-bezos-phone.html) where we get introduced to ‘Facebook Says Apple Is to Blame for the Hacking of Jeff Bezos’s Phone‘, with the optional part “Nick Clegg, said that the hacking of Jeff Bezos’s phone wasn’t the fault of WhatsApp, pointing instead to the Apple iOS that powers the iPhone X Bezos was using. Or, at least, that’s presumably what he was trying to say, though his answer when asked by the BBC was largely incomprehensible“, as well as “he argued, “It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself.” To be clear, he didn’t specifically mention Apple by name, however it had been previously known that Bezos was using an iPhone X at the time he was hacked“, I find it debatable, but it takes the court away from the Saudi Crown Prince and a few others, if that hack is not one that NSO Group’s Pegasus or Hacking Team’s Galileo uses, then we have a much larger issue, one that is not identified and even as it takes the Saudi players off the board, it does not take the issue away. The NSO group has loudly denied the entire issue and this gives them the option to do that, so far the FTI report is too shabby, it does not seem to warrant or deny the optional allegations. So as we see: “someone actually took advantage of a vulnerability that WhatsApp itself has already acknowledged was an issue and issued a fix. It’s even more confusing that he attempted to pass the blame to Apple“, I personally feel in agreement with the writer, the entire WhatsApp feels like to comfortable solution, yet that vulnerability was out in the open and there is still no evidence that it was done by Saudi hands, even now, the list of perpetrators is growing, pushing the optionally (and alleged) Saudi players to the bottom of that list. I would advise Brainy Smurf Jeff Bezos that he pays up as fast as possible (and sizeable) before it becomes a behemoth of an issue that a mere sorry and a box of chocolates will not solve. 

Yemen

You might have heard of that place, apparently there are a few humanitarian issues playing and even as we now see ‘UN Condemns ‘Shocking’ and ‘Terrible’ US-Backed Saudi Coalition Bombing That Killed 31 Yemeni Civilians‘, we are given “Those who continue to sell arms to the warring parties must realize that by supplying weapons for this war, they contribute to making atrocities like today’s all too common“, yet the EU and the US are happy that this all continues. My evidence? Well consider that we see today ‘The EU has agreed to deploy warships to stop the flow of weapons into Libya‘, all whilst a similar action in Yemen would have diminished the dangers over two years ago, so how many ships had the EU to set up a blockade to stop weapons going into Yemen? As far as I can tell, there is an unwritten consensus to give as much freedom to Iran as possible. I gave that part in ‘Media, call it as it is!‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/03/media-call-it-as-it-is/) almost 18 months ago, so why exactly is Yemen not an issue and Libya is? It is oil and everyone is dancing around the stage hoping for a barrel full of the substance. Yet the Yemeni don’t matter, if you doubt that you merely have to read the articles, all about complaints and condemning, not about action packed events, are they? And in all this Xavier Joubert, director of aid group Save the Children Yemen is equally to blame, does he give the stage in a proper setting? Does he give any information on the actions that Houthi forces have been eager to take forward (including those on children)? Nope! So when we see “after Houthi rebels claimed to have shot down a Saudi Tornado jet Friday in Al-Jawf province“, as well as ““possibility of collateral damage”—a common euphemism for civilian deaths“, yet how many enemy troops were there? that part is not given as it takes the power away from their own story, yet the story they give us is out of whack. So whilst people like Lise Grande come up with “it’s a tragedy and it’s unjustified“, all whilst for well over two years a blockade could have optionally limited the damage that could have occurred, yet no one is willing to skate that track, are they?

All whilst we see (at https://www.timesofisrael.com/pompeo-calls-for-action-against-iran-after-us-navy-seizes-weapons-sent-to-yemen/) ‘Pompeo calls for action against Iran after US Navy seizes weapons sent to Yemen‘, a stage that was set this week, we see the laughingly entertaining ‘World’s silence has emboldened Saudi-led war crimes in Yemen: Iran‘, all whilst we see Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi giving a speech on what he calls War Crimes, at the same stage where they send hundreds of missiles into Yemen, there is only so much hypocrisy I can stomach and Iran is handing us way too much. So whilst the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to defy the UN Security Council, we need to start being honest about the Yemen situation, the EU does not care about Yemen, it has nothing to offer, yet the US has on this occasion stopped one of several Iranian supply ships. I wonder how many were missed, the ongoing war clearly gives rise to the fact that this war will not be over soon and as such more civilians will die, it is the clear consequence of a war.

These are three of the small bits that I am adding today, there have been a whole range of issues I touched on in the last few days, yet these small bits are important parts to other information I gave out. 

Have a great day, see you all tomorrow

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Military, Politics

The hack game continues

The press continues to assault Mohammad Bin Salman and Saudi Arabia, the same press that has ignored hostile acts by Iran, the same press who have knowingly and from my point of view ignored (read: and downplayed) several issues in Yemen caused by Hezbollah. 

So as I got to see (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/video/2020/jan/22/jeff-bezos-phone-hacked-allegation-saudi-crown-prince-video-explainer) the video that was placed two weeks ago, in light of what I wrote yesterday. I thought that the video gives light to several questions that link to this. It is also important, because it shows a global FAILING of cyber security, not by the hairless man (Jeff Bezos) by the way, who in this is basically a consumer (one with deep pockets that is).

The video starts off with Stephanie Kirchgaessner, where she says (at 00:14) ‘who is somehow personally involved‘ (1). Then we get (at 00:32) ‘according to his own security team victim of some sort of hack by Saudi Arabia‘ (2) we get more accusations, but with the word ‘allegation’, as such she is in the clear. After that we get a clip from CBS This morning (at 1:08) with a followup and direct accusation towards the WhatsApp account ‘from the account of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia‘ (3), even as I am tempted to ignore ‘We can’t know what was going on in the mind of Mohammad Bin Salman‘ (at 1:55) (4)

After that there is a reference to ‘the experts that she spoke to‘ (at 2:12) and they point to the fact that he is the owner of the Washington Post, not the owner of Amazon or merely a rich dude. ‘It was an attack on the Press‘ is what seemingly comes out of this. 

We get a few more events, but nothing that is too interesting, not in this view.

Personally I actually do not care about Bezos and his needs, I do not give a hoot about a few items, and my personal view is that any person is innocent until PROVEN guilty and the attacks on Saudi Arabia as well as the Crown Prince are offensive to me as we should know and act better.

So as we get to the stage of the why, we need to see the stage we are entering. This is not (merely) a Criminal situation, this is a cyber ploy and that is where the focus is, I have written more than enough about the joke that is the FTI Consulting report, but in the end it is linked to all this. 

  1. Who is somehow personally involved

How? I am not referring to item 3, there is a larger stage here. The alleged infecting file was received on May 1st 2018. In this I am using alleged as the investigation did not start until February 2019. However, the FTI Consulting report on page 12, item 22 gives us that hours after the reception of a file resulting in egress data in excess of 29,000%. I do not question that, I do not question that Bezos got hacked. 

Why am I opposing here?

As I stated in ‘6 simple questions‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/02/03/6-simple-questions/) yesterday. Other experts give us “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.” This is important when we consider ‘allow threat actors to intercept‘ as well as ‘spread misinformation from what appear to be trusted sources‘ as such Check Point research gives us that false information could be sent to a person from anyone claiming to be anyone else. The source of the infection cannot be verified in this. that is an important fact, one that was out in the open and FTI Consulting never went there.

  1. According to his own security team victim of some sort of hack by Saudi Arabia

So his security team are cyber experts? And they know somehow that Saudi Arabia did the attack? Based on what evidence? I showed in the previous point that this is optionally not the case and the FTI Consulting report is nothing short of a joke (as I personally see it), there is no path to where the data is going, there is no evidence on where the infection came from. 

  1. from the account of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

Here is the larger issue and even as I debunked it in point one, we must not ignore this, there is one path that is not investigated and not one that can no longer be investigated. The mobile of the Crown Prince might be infected itself. My point one avoids it, but we cannot ignore it. The chances of Saudi Arabia or its officials in light of the attacks cooperating is close to zero and as such this point will remain on the books. From my point of view gathering intel and evidence before shouting foul would have been a much better approach and why the UN gets involved in this is still open to debate on a few sides. 

  1. We can’t know what was going on in the mind of Mohammad Bin Salman

In this we can speculate and debate until we are blue in the face, but the truth is that all this started 2 years ago and the evidence is largely missing, more important, whomever was involved has removed whatever sides they needed to and as such the actual guilty party will never be found. Yet the foundation of the accusation is larger.

He was being attacked by the press and we seemingly forget that the infection started BEFORE someone seemingly ended the life of some columnist named Jamal Khashoggi, as such we can argue that there was no attack on the Washington Post. To be more honest, at the time of the infection Jamal Khashoggi was some columnist most people on the planet had never heard of (apart from the Washington Post readers) 

Yet when we look at the Vice article (at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v74v34/saudi-arabia-hacked-jeff-bezos-phone-technical-report), there we see that former FBI investigator Anthony J Farrante gets into the fight and the report gives us ““to assess Bezos’ phone was compromised via tools procured by Saud al Qahtani,” the report states“, it is an interesting plot, especially when we consider another Vice article (at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8xvzyp/hacking-team-investor-saudi-arabia) where we saw “Hacking Team was thoroughly owned, with its once-secret list of customers, internal emails, and spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see“, so lets put this in the right frame, Anthony J Farrante is going out to prove that a tool procured by Saud al Qahtani, and as far as we can speculate is in the possession of thousands of hackers through ‘spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see‘ is the guilty perpetrator. How is that ever going to work? 

Well that is optionally still the case if we can examine the source of the problem, and that is basically already debunked by Alex Stamos, the former chief information security officer at Facebook who gave us “Lots of odd circumstantial evidence, for sure, but no smoking gun“, in this I also got to “several high-profile and respected researchers, highlights the limits of a report produced by FTI Consulting, the company Bezos hired to investigate the matter“, as well as “A key shortcoming of the analysis, Edwards said, was that it relied on a restricted set of content obtained from Bezos’s iTunes backup. A deeper analysis, she said, would have collected detailed records from the iPhone’s underlying operating and file systems. Other security experts characterized the evidence in the report as inconclusive“, and “a research group at the University of Toronto, offered a suggestion that could allow investigators to gain access to encrypted information that FTI said it could not unlock” (source: CNN), we see a whole range of experts giving out claims towards non-conclusivity, lack of expertise and optionally students in Toronto giving out solutions to a situation that FTI said it could not unlock. 

These are all matters that played out over time, some before the video report and it seems to me that the press is bashing with smoke signals as loud as possible hoping someone will scream ‘fire!‘. That is my view on the matter!

Now, all what I see and expose does not make any party innocent, it merely shows that there is no evidence to call anyone guilty on and that is what matters, because we want to turn this into an event where a person needs to prove that they are innocent, we must prove that anyone is guilty. In some cases beyond all reasonable doubt and in some cases on the setting of probability of guilt set against the average man. The entire cyber event fails on both terms and that is not merely me, and when we see ‘Other security experts characterized the evidence in the report as inconclusive‘ we need to realise that (apart from) FTI Consulting did a piss poor job in this case, the finding of actual and factual evidence is a lot harder in this day and age. The WhatsApp vulnerability showed that there is a larger problem and when we cannot determine the origin of any hack or virus, we are in for a much larger problem and this is happening before 5G is fully rolled out. That nightmare was brought nicely by Kenneth White, former advisor to DHS with “it can be extremely challenging to reconstruct the activities of a determined, well-resourced hacker“, this is what the Jeff Bezos team faced and from my view, they went about it the wrong way. Their report was never ready for release and the fact that basic parts were missed gives out a much larger problem, if billionaires rely on someone like FTI Consulting and this report is the standard, then the entire cyber setting in the United States could be regarded as a larger problem from beginning to end.

In this there is one highlight that Vice gave us that matters here, it is “The second obstacle regarded the password for the iTunes backup“, and “They apparently never obtained the password” that makes no sense, because the owner should have his backup, so unless Jeff was hit by the ID10T virus, we see a failing on more than one level and as such at what stage, in light of EVERYTHING out there in 2018 why was Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ever accused?

That is what angers me, not who was accused, but that an accusation came whilst there was a whole truckload of information out there making it a bad choice from beginning to end, so was the Washington Post owner hacked, or was the hack a way for the Washington Post to strike out to someone? That is the larger game that is now in the court of perception, a massive failing of properly assessing pieces of evidence by the media (and the UN). 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Media, Politics

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.

 

2 Comments

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics

The emergency meeting on doing nothing

Isn’t that the reality we all face? We are called into the office of the boss, we get some high winded tale of how things have to be better, we have to get better and we need to do better, and after that meeting we get word that he will overlook our actions in the coming month. It tends to be that meeting that takes an hour, the boss highlights anekdotes that have little to no bearing and it is a waste of an hour, make that a lot more, because the group is about 6-8 people, as such one working day was lost on absolute nothing.

That is how we need to see ‘Yemen rise in violence threatens to derail peace moves, UN warns‘, and comes with a call for an emergency meeting of the Security Council. Yes, the coloquial anekdote of “We have to get the genie back in the bottle” is also present. Martin Griffiths talks nicely but he is basically wasting everybody’s time for the simplest of reasons. There is no peace process and there never actually was one. When I see the Houthi situation I see a situation that reminds me of Hamas v State of Israel, Hamas will only open for peace talks when their ammo levels are low. And they bicker over every point until the next shipment comes in. As such all the metaphors like the wheel is coming off, the genie back in the bottle and Everyone wants de-escalation is all talk around a setting that is not going to satisfy anyone and even when some accord is finally brokered, when the Houthis have a decent supply of cannon fodder and ammunition they will start all this all over again. 

So whilst Martin gives us ‘tragic, egregious and inexplicable‘, and the added ‘did not directly attribute the Marib attack to the Houthis‘ we get a Griffiths that goes into “My job is to find areas of commonality rather than judging parties. But we need to understand why it happened“. It is all flavoured BS. This flourishing civil war is not going away and if there was not a large group of hesitation in this, the war would have been settled well over a year ago, now the UN gets the bill (which they do not pay) for up to 9.8 million people in Yemen and they are all in need of health services. This is (when you consider) in light of the total population that is at almost 25 million, a rather large chunk (almost 40%). 

Yet there is also some clarification required, if the Houthi’s actually wanted ANY peace then there would be humanitarian aid, there would be a system of health care that the UN could set up, but this has been halted every time. Even now (from Associated Press) we see: “Peter Salisbury, Yemen expert at the International Crisis Group, said the Houthis may be using their military successes to gain leverage before talks resume next week in Oman” and as I personally see it, this game is replayed again and again and people like Martin Griffiths are part of the problem, until this civil war is dealt with, and until they AGREE COMPLETELY to stop all blockades to Humanitarian help, there is no solution, and there will not be any solution until well over 40% of the population is dead.

Even as we are told (at https://apnews.com/2ead3437db66e3d539d421561a85f7ee) “Following intense international pressure on the Saudi-led coalition, the foreign ministry announced on Monday that for the first time in years, Yemen would start direct flights for seriously ill patients seeking medical treatment in Egypt and Jordan“, we are told a bag of goods, one that is settled in rhymes of BS, and do you know why that is? It is because the text absolves the Houthis and in this also Iran from any involvement and they are very much involved. That is why this will not be resolved. 

It is interesting on how this article is so absent of Houthi and Iranian involvement. The fact that Houthi’s have been blocking humanitarian aid for months is not mentioned, in addition, the involvement of Iran had been shown in several ways through missile and drone strikes, two technologies that Houthis cannot create themselves, not with the equipment they have at their disposal. So why would there be any success in Oman? I personally do not see that happen and whatever will be agreed on, will be broken before the agreement ink properly dries.

All this, especially in light of CNN article (at https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/19/middleeast/yemen-houthi-attack-intl/index.html) last week where we were treated to ‘80 soldiers killed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen‘, and as we are given “At least 80 Yemeni soldiers attending prayers at a mosque were killed and 130 others injured in ballistic missile and drone attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels“, we might see one thing, but the clarity is that this setting is larger. Even as we accept “The Houthis did not make any immediate claim of responsibility“, which gives an indication (but not verified) that this went beyond Houthi actions, the entire proxy war in Yemen is taking larger tolls and larger changes and the UN ignores those as it is all about “find areas of commonality“. Austin Carson is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago states this as “By maintaining plausible deniability, Tehran can signal its displeasure at American policies while giving opponents a face-saving way to avoid further reprisals, thereby dampening the risk of further escalation“, yet no matter how it halts escalations, it also halts any chance of a working peace process. An actual partial working solution would be to stop smuggling of drones and missiles into Yemen, by having a NATO fleet on the South coast and sinking any ship defying searches. There is almost no other option and even in that case, some will still get through with military hardware. 

As such whatever they are meeting on, it will be on doing nothing regarding the peace options and the continuation of 10 million corpses all staged towards disease and famine, as such two of the horsemen of the apocalypse will be jumping for Joy. And in all this, the (what I personally see) as a short setting by Martin Grifiths is aiding in all this. Now, I am firmly stating here that this is NOT his fault. His approach is one path to take and he took it, whether or not under orders from the security council. Yet there is enough evidence all over the field that this will more likely than not be a fruitless exercise into talks and ending up with merely a delay towards more violence and more cadavers.

As we go into more talks and more talks, we get the news (yesterday) that “rebels capture strategic road connecting Sanaa to provinces of Marib and Jawf“, in that light as the Middle East Eye reports, how will it be possible to get any level of actual peace going? It is also here where we see that  the International Crisis Group reports “if the renewed fighting spreads, it would represent “a devastating blow to current efforts to end the war”.

My simple response would be: ‘You Think?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Military, Politics

The incompetent view

I’ll admit, there are other things to write about, yet this is a larger issue than anyone thinks it is. The previous writers did not ponder the questions that were adamant, and Stephanie Kirchgaessner follows suit (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/27/nsa-faces-questions-over-security-of-trump-officials-after-alleged-bezos-hack) when we consider that the focus here is the NSA in ‘NSA faces questions over security of Trump officials after alleged Bezos hack‘. You see, it is not merely the fact that they got the stage wrong, it is the fact that everyone is looking at the stage, whilst the orchestra is missing, so how about that part of the equation and that leads to very uncomfortable question towards WHY the US is tailing on 5G and why it is trying to tailgate into the 5G room. They forgot what real innovation is and Saudi Arabia is seemingly passing them by, a nation that has forever been seen as a technological third world is surpassing the US and it is upsetting more and more people.

The US National Security Agency is facing questions about the security of top Trump administration officials’ communications following last week’s allegations that the Saudi crown prince may have had a hand in the alleged hack of Jeff Bezos“, with this the article opens and basically nothing wrong is stated here, yet when seen in the light of the byline which was “Democratic lawmaker asks agency if it is confident the Saudi government has not sought to hack US officials“, as such it becomes an issue. first off, the question is not wrong, because the US administration has a duty to seek the safety of communications for its coworkers (senators and such), yet in all this, it does become a little more clear when we see “Ron Wyden, a senior Democratic lawmaker, asked the director of the NSA whether he was confident that the Saudi government had not also sought to hack senior US government officials“. You see in the first, Saudi intentional involvement was NEVER established, moreover, the report (I looked at that last week) has several hiatus of a rather large kind, as such the formulation by this 70 year old person is quite the other issue. 

It is my personal conviction that a Fortune 100 company should consider the danger they open themselves up to when letting cyber issues be investigated by FTI Consulting. The entire matter of how infection was obtained (if it was infection), and that the entire matter was instigated by any third party who had gained access to the phone of Jeff Bezos, and in all this enough doubt was raised who got access and more importantly that there was no evidence that this was ANY Saudi official, as such the short sighted “whether he was confident that the Saudi government had not also sought to hack senior US government officials” by a 70 year old who shows issues of lack of critical thinking, no matter what which school he went to when he was half a century younger.

And again we see the reference towards “The senator from Oregon is separately seeking to force the Trump administration to officially release the intelligence it collected on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist who was killed in a state-sponsored murder in October 2018“, which is another flaw as there was never any clear evidence that anyone in Turkey was “killed in a state-sponsored murder in October 2018“, more importantly, the French UN Essay writer who was seemingly involved in both reports is showing a lack of critical thinking all by herself.

All this whilst Paul Nakasone (director NSA) is confronted with “was believed to have been the victim of a hack that was instigated after he allegedly received a WhatsApp message from the account of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman“, the problem is twofold, in the first I personally see the report by FTI Consulting as a hack job, not a job on a hack. There are several sides that give doubt on infection source and moreover there is additional lack of evidence that the source was a Saudi one. More importantly other sources gave away issues on WhatsApp some time overlapping the event, exploits that made it into the press from all sides giving the weakness that any unnamed party could have played to be a Saudi delivery whilst the file was not from that delivery point. Issues that were out in the open and the report gives that FTI Consulting ignored them. It could read that a certain French Essay writer stated ‘I Have a Saudi official and an American phone, find me a link, any link‘, I am not stating that this happened, but it feels like that was the FTI Consulting case. When was the last time you saw an intentional perversion of justice and truth?

And when we see: “The issue is now the subject of an investigation by two independent UN investigators“, we see an almost completed path. When we see all this lets take a step back and consider. 

  1. An American Civilian had his mobile allegedly (and optionally proven) hacked.
  2. The hacker is not found, the one accused cannot be proven (at present) to be the hacker.
  3. This ends up with the UN?

And I am not alone here. Three days ago (after my initial findings) I see (at https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/24/tech/bezos-hacking-report-analysts/index.html) the headline ‘Bezos hacking report leaves cybersecurity experts with doubts‘, there we see “independent security experts, some of whom say the evidence isn’t strong enough to reach a firm conclusion” as well as “several high-profile and respected researchers, highlights the limits of a report produced by FTI Consulting, the company Bezos hired to investigate the matter“, so basically, the hair lacking CEO, who owns the Washington Post (where Khashoggi used to work) is allegedly hacked, he seemingly hires FTI Consulting on what I personally believe to be a hack job on hacking phones and the UN is using that biased piece of work to slam Saudi Arabia? Did I miss anything?

Yes, I did, the quote “The report suggested the incident bore hallmarks of sophisticated hacking software“, the problem here is that there is no way to see WHERE IT CAME FROM. Yet other sources give out several pieces on WhatsApp and how other sources could have a free go at infesting people. All whilst we also see “the paper revealed a lack of sophistication that could have been addressed by specialized mobile forensics experts, or law enforcement officials with access to premium tools“, all this whilst the entire setting went around the existence of cyber divisions. There is a link Jeff Bezos – Amazon – FTI Consulting – United Nations. At no point in this do we see any police department, or the FBI, why is that?

As such when we see “A key shortcoming of the analysis, Edwards said, was that it relied on a restricted set of content obtained from Bezos’s iTunes backup. A deeper analysis, she said, would have collected detailed records from the iPhone’s underlying operating and file systems. Other security experts characterized the evidence in the report as inconclusive“, I would state that this is merely the beginning.

Rob Graham (CEO Errata security) gives us “It contains much that says ‘anomalies we don’t understand,’ but lack of explanations point to incomplete forensics, not malicious APT actors” and Alex Stamos, the former chief information security officer at Facebook and a Stanford University professor gives us “Lots of odd circumstantial evidence, for sure, but no smoking gun“, in all this the extreme geriatric Ron Wyden (Oregon) is asking questions from the NSA with the text “asked the director of the NSA whether he was confident that the Saudi government had not also sought to hack senior US government officials” with the emphasis on ‘also‘, a stage that is not proven, and more importantly is almost redundant in the hack job we got to read about. As such I am not surprised to see “FTI Consulting declined to comment“, I wonder why?

It is even more fun to see the CNN article have the stage where we see “a research group at the University of Toronto, offered a suggestion that could allow investigators to gain access to encrypted information that FTI said it could not unlock“, as such we see that there are skill levels missing in FTI, for the simple reason that this report was allowed to leave the hands of FTI Consulting, a Firm that is proudly advertising that they have 49 of the Global 100 companies that are clients. If I had anything to say about it, those 49 companies might have more issues down the road than they are ready for, especially as they have over 530 senior managing directors and none of them stopeed that flimsy report making it to the outside world. I would personally set a question mark to the claim of them being advisor to 96 of the world’s top 100 law firms. I would not be surprised if I could punch holes in more cases that FTI Consulting set advice to, in light of the Bezos report, it might not be too hard a stage to do.

CNN also has a few critical points that cannot be ignored. With “The report’s limited results are a reminder that it can be extremely challenging to reconstruct the activities of a determined, well-resourced hacker, said Kenneth White, a security engineer and former adviser to the Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security“, I do not disagree with that, but the stage where WhatsApp had a much larger problem, is a given, and the report does not bring that up for one moment, that report was all about painting one party whilst the reality of the stage was that there was an open floor on how it was done, yet the report silenced all avenues there. In addition, Chris Vickery (Director UpGuard) gives us “other evidence provided by FTI increased his confidence that Bezos was being digitally surveilled“. that is not in question, core information directs that way, yet the fact that it was a Saudi event cannot be proven, not whilst Jeff Bezos is around hundreds of people in most moments of the day, that part is the larger setting and FTI Consulting knowingly skated around the subject, almost as it was instructed to do so.

One expert who wanted to remain anonymous gave us all “There’s an absurd amount of Monday morning quarterbacking going on” as well as “This isn’t a movie — things don’t proceed in a perfect, clean way. It’s messy, and decisions are made the way they’re made“, that expert is not wrong, and he/she has a point, yet the foundation of the report shows a massive lack in critical thinking whilst the report relies in its text on footnotes (as one would) yet on page 3, the text is “Al Qahtani eventually purchased 20 percent ownership in Hacking Team, apparantly acquired on behalf of the Saudi government. 8

all whilst footnote 8 gives us “https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8xvzyp/hacking-team-investor-saudi-arabia” so not only does the FTI Consulting Job rely on ‘apparantly‘, the article gives in the first paragraph “Hacking Team was thoroughly owned, with its once-secret list of customers, internal emails, and spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see” as such we see ‘spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see‘, how did FTI Consulting miss this? That and the WhatsApp issue in that same year opens up the optional pool of transgressors to all non state hackers with considerable knowledge, as such the amount of transgressors ups to thousands of hackers (globally speaking). 

FTI Consulting missed that! and it missed a lot more. The article also sets a link to David Vincenzetti and for some reason he is not even looked at, there is no stage in the FTI report that his input was sought out, which in light of all this is equally puzzling. He might not have had anything to report, or perhaps he had enough to report taking the focal point away from Saudi players, we will never know, the joke (read: report) is out in the open in all its glory on limitation. 

In light of all this, did the question by Ron Wyden to the NSA make sense? As far as I can see, I see several points of incompetance and that has nothing to do with the one expert stating that this is a messy, the entire setting was optionally incompetent and for certain massively incomplete. 

More importantly, the last paragraphs has more funny parts than a two hour show by Jimmy Carr. The quote is “Anyone who has had communication with either MBS or his brother Khaled should assume their phone is hacked. Congress needs to get answers from NSA on what it knew about the hack of Bezos phone, when it knew it, and what it has done to stop Saudi criminal hacking behavior” and it comes from CIA analyst Bruce Riedel. Now, the quote is fine, but the hilarious part is how it was phrased (expertly done). Lets go over it in my (super subtle) way: “Anyone who has had communication with either MBS or his brother Khaled should assume their phone is hacked by Saudi, US or Iranian officials. Congress needs to get answers from NSA for a change on a matter that they were never consulted on whilst the report ended up with the UN on what it knew about the hack of Bezos phone, a person who has a few billion and a lack of hair but beyond that has no meaning to the US economy, he keeps all his gotten gains, when it knew when the phone of a civilian was allegedly hacked and, and what it has done to stop Saudi criminal hacking behavior which is not proven at present other than by people who have something to gain from seeing the Saudi’s as the bad party (like Iran), all in a report that is lacking all levels of clarity and proper investigation“, this is an important setting here. Just like the disappearance of a Saudi columnist writing for the Washington Post (another Jeff Bezos affiliate), we do not proclaim Saudi Arabia being innocent, merely that the lack of evidence does not make them guilty, in the present the hacking issue does not make Saudi Arabia guilty, the irresponsible version of the FTI Consulting report shows a massive lack of evidence that makes any Saudi Arabian party more likely than not innocent of all this and as both reports have one UN Female French Essay writer in common, it is more and more like a smear campaign than an actual event to find out what actually happened. Who signed up for that? I wonder if the NSA did, I feel decently certain that until they get all the actual evidence that they do not want to get involved with political painting, their left foot is busy keeping them standing up in a world of hunkered and crouched idiots.

Yet that is just my simple personal view on the matter.

 

1 Comment

Filed under IT, Media, Military, Politics

Evidence? Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Military, Politics, Science