Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Internet

DUIs drop when Ride-Sharing Companies come to town

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 25, 2014:

Franzia, straight from the tap.

Hearty partying

As ride-sharing smartphone apps like Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar continue their inevitable expansion, additional benefits are being felt. Last June Uber announced that DUI arrests dropped 10 percent in Seattle after they entered that market. Other cities noticed similar experiences, so one of the Washington Post’s writers enlisted the help of Nate Good, a statistics expert, to prove it. They looked at Philadelphia: DUIs have been declining there ever since Uber entered the Phillie market in early 2013. The decline is especially notable for those under age 30.

In San Francisco, the birthplace of the ride-sharing phenomenon in June 2010, the results are even more remarkable:

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Russian Malware Infecting U.S. Energy Grid

This article was first published by TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 2, 2014:

 

English: United States Power Grid

English: United States Power Grid

An alert from software giant Symantec on Monday announced an “ongoing campaign” by Russia-based cyber-terrorists who have changed their focus from espionage to sabotage. Their primary targets are energy companies using oil and natural gas to provide electrical power to the national grid.

The infections are so powerful that not only can they disrupt internal messaging and controls but they can also disrupt the operations of the physical power plants and pipelines, according to Symantec:

An ongoing cyberespionage campaign against a range of targets, mainly in the energy sector, gave attackers the ability to mount sabotage operations against their victims.

 

The attackers, known to Symantec as Dragonfly, managed to compromise a number of strategically important organizations for spying purposes and … could have caused damage or disruption to energy supplies in [the] affected countries.

The attacks emanating from Russia target not only the United States but Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Poland, but they are focused primarily on the United States and Spain.

Symantec said that Dragonfly is no small group of weekend hackers, either: “The Dragonfly group is technically adept and able to think strategically … the group found a “soft underbelly” … invariably smaller, less protected companies.”

According to Symantec, this a government-sponsored operation: “The Dragonfly group is well-resourced with a range of malware tools at his disposal and is capable of launching attacks through a number of different [malware protocols].”

Eric Chien, the chief researcher for Symantec, is frightened over the implications of its discoveries: “When they do have that type of access, that motivation wouldn’t be [just] for espionage. When we look at where they’re at, we’re very concerned about sabotage.”

Dragonfly has already had success in infecting “industrial control systems” (ICS) equipment providers by using “software with a remote access type Trojan.” Once installed, the software handed off control of physical plant operations to the saboteurs in Russia:

[The Trojan] caused companies to install the malware when downloading software updates [to their] computers running ICS equipment.

These infections not only gave the attackers a beachhead in the targeted organizations’ networks but also gave them the means to mount sabotage operations.

In trying to decipher the attacks for laymen reading their chilling report, it compared the Trojan malware to Stuxnet, the computer worm that targeted Iran’s nuclear power plant’s fast-spinning centrifuges. It resulted in nearly one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges spinning out of control, destroying themselves as a result. The big difference is that Stuxnet was focused on a very narrow target, while the latest expansion now targets entire power grids across the country and around the world.

Explained Symantec: “Dragonfly appears to have a much broader focus, with espionage … as its current objective with sabotage as an optional capability.”

Dragonfly is Symantec’s name for the operating group behind the attacks, while other observers call it the “Energetic Bear.” Its existence has been known and tracked since at least 2011, said Symantec, and its initial targets were defense and aviation companies in the United States and Canada. But it shifted its focus to the more vulnerable energy sector in the United States in early 2013.

While using arcane language in its customer alert such as “back doors” and “watering holes” — terms familiar only to computer techies and their managers — Symantec identified seven different companies targeted by the group, one of whom downloaded the infected software to 250 of its unsuspecting customers.

Symantec is not the first to discover the group masterminding the attacks, nor the first to pin the blame on government-sponsored groups in Russia. Stuart Poole-Robb, a former MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Service) agent and founder of a security consulting firm, said:

To target a whole sector like this at the level they are doing … speaks of some form of government sanction.

These are people working with FAPSI [Russia’s Spetssvyaz intelligence service], working to support mother Russia.

CrowdStrike, a California company engaged in exposing Internet adversaries, has been tracking Dragonfly for years, and in its January update, it noted that “Energetic Bear [synonymous with Dragonfly] is an adversary group with a nexus to the Russian Federation that conducts intelligence collection operations against a variety of global [targets] with a primary focus on the energy sector.”

Symantec offers Internet security software and consulting services to help companies protect themselves from such attacks but the U.S. government has also been very busy as well. Recognizing the potential disaster inherent in such potential attacks, which could destroy the energy infrastructure of the country, the United States Cyber Command was established as a part of the United States Strategic Command in 2009 in Fort Meade, Maryland. Its mission is: “To conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to … ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.”

This is being matched by similar cyber warfare units in South Korea and Great Britain.

Neither Symantec nor CrowdStrike offered any scenarios of the possible impact such attacks might have on the United States, but fiction writers such as James Wesley Rawles (author of Survivors) and William Forstchen (author of One Second After) have carefully crafted believable scenarios following successful attacks on America’s power grid. In One Second After, after an electromagnetic pulse shuts down the electric grid, no electronic appliances work, and citizens are largely forced to live an 18th-century life — hunger and die offs of people begin quickly when food storage is compromised.

What is clear from Symantec’s warning to its customers, however, is that Russia is no friend of the United States. It fully intends to extend its present advantage through its “well-resourced” efforts to gain control of America’s electric power grid, while the U.S. government and private companies such as Symantec are playing catchup ball to keep that from happening.

Google buys Skybox for its Eye-in-the-Sky Technology

SKYBOX

SKYBOX (Photo credit: ✖ Daniel Rehn)

When Google announced on Tuesday that it would buy Skybox for $500 million, it explained that it was all about updating its Google maps application:

[Skybox’s] satellites will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery.

Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to improve Internet access and disaster relief – areas Google has long been interested in.

David Cowan, a partner in the venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners that has invested in Skybox, was only slightly more forthcoming:

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Glenn Greenwald Catches Establishment Flak for His Book “No Place to Hide”

 

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Marylan...

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. Español: Instalaciones generales de la NSA en Fort Meade, Maryland. Русский: Штаб-квартира АНБ, Форт-Мид, Мэриленд, США (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 28, 2014:

 

Back in 1975, when Idaho Senator Frank Church was running the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence Activities (better known as the Church Committee), he warned:

The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables [it] to monitor the messages that go through the air….

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left. Such is their capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.

There would be no place to hide.

When Glenn Greenwald was looking for a title for his book, what better choice than that?

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Questions Surrounding Cyber Spy Attacks on US Businesses

Flag of the Chinese Communist Party 贛語: 中國共產黨黨...

Flag of the Chinese Communist Party (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 21, 2014:

The indictments announced on Monday by Attorney General Eric Holder of six Chinese military officers for hacking into some American companies’ computer networks raised more questions than they answered. The Chinese have been spying on America since the end of the Second World War. Why, all of sudden, out of the blue, is this announcement front page news?

According to Holder:

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Playground Photo Reignites gun Control Debate

Official logo of Oconomowoc Lake, Wisconsin

Official logo of Oconomowoc Lake, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Heather Karenz of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, posted a photo of her son on a playground slide on Facebook and complained that the father in the background was carrying a sidearm, Police Chief David Beguhn responded by saying that a local ordinance prohibited openly carrying firearms at the Imagination Station children’s playground.

That sparked a call to the chief from Nik Clark, president of Wisconsin Carry, a gun rights group, who informed the chief that a state law prohibited any local township from enacting gun laws more strict than the state’s.

Beguhn consulted with the city’s attorney, read the state law, realized his error and retracted his warning that the local ordinance would be enforced. In fact, he now wants the city’s Common Council to

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The President’s lies are Finally Catching up with him

OOPS I THINK THE SHINE IS OFF THE PEACH .........

(Photo credit: SS&SS)

In the latest Fox News poll 37 percent of those polled think that President Obama lies “most of the time” while another 24 percent say he just lies “some of the time.” 20 percent say he lies “only now and then” while 15 percent say he never lies. Put another way, 85 percent of those polled thinks the president lies, while

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US to give up its Control of the Internet

Last Friday the Department of Commerce announced that in October 2015 it will relinquish all remaining control over the “root” of the internet to an obscure but vital private non-profit organization. That group, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), promises to create a new structure that will keep the internet

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Pete Seeger, the Grand Old Man of American Folk Music, Was a Hard-Left Radical

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 29, 2014: 

There was a time, not all that long ago, when the activities of people like Pete Seeger were considered traitorous. Now they are celebrated. How far down the culture has descended into the world dreamed of and sung about by the likes of people like Seeger.

Seeger met his Maker late Monday night, at the age of 94, and the controlled media rolled out its big guns for the celebration of his life. To its discredit, the Washington Post

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Free Market Alternatives to Obamacare Already Exist

More than a year ago, Dr. Barbara Bellar, a medical doctor with a JD degree, was running for office as an Illinois State Senator, and provided a sound byte that continues to reverberate across the internet, having been viewed as of this writing some 3,675,000 times. The clip lasts less than two minutes, including laughter and applause from her audience, to whom she said:

So let me get this straight. This is a long sentence:

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Newtown Protests Fizzle

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, December 19th, 2013: 

For some reason the first anniversary of the Newtown shooting came and went without fanfare, despite the Colorado shooting the day before that would ordinarily have amped up the media’s anti-gun rhetoric once again.

The silence was almost deafening. On Saturday, the LA Times had a couple of articles about the Colorado shooting while USA Today noted on Monday that Colorado Governor Hickenlooper had visited one of those grievously wounded in the attack. Google news had nothing

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The US economy is vastly larger than we know

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013:

For the past 25 years, Austrian school economist Mark Skousen, nephew of W. Cleon Skousen (author of The 5000 Year Leap), has been trying to get the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to count the rest of the economy that the GDP doesn’t measure. In April, the BEA will start reporting the GO

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The newly updated GDP – the GO – still won’t capture all of the US economy

Austrian school economist Mark Skousen has labored mightily for a quarter of a century to persuade the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to publish a better measure of economic activity in the United States, and, beginning in April, the BEA will start publishing the country’s

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As Bitcoin prices increase so do concerns

With the price of a single Bitcoin exploding by 4000% just since January and by 400% in the last month, concerns about its legitimacy as a viable internet money that could effectively serve as an alternative to central banks’ currencies are increasing.

The Bitcoin has morphed from an internet algorithm to legitimacy beginning in August when

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The Feds are trying to regulate the Bitcoin – good luck

Senators attending this week’s hearing entitled “Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats and Promises of Virtual Currencies” being held by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee already knew what they were going to hear: the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was going to make the case that

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The Harder the “Control Freaks” Push for Sanctions, the Faster Freedom Spreads

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 15th, 2013:

 

Anti-gun liberals like Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ben Nelson (D-Fla.) along with Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) have their knickers in a knot over the imminent expiration of the Undetectable Firearms Act in a little over three weeks. They simply can’t abide the idea of allowing Americans to make their own firearms at home without serial numbers, without a license, without permission, without approval. Something must be done!

Happily, they can’t do much, except

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When the Free Market is allowed to Flourish, It Does

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 1st, 2013:

When the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act) was signed into law in April 2012, it was designed to create a “regulatory exemption” for crowd funded securities – a crack in the 6-inch thick slab of concrete the government regulatory agencies are determined to pave over every manner of entrepreneurial activity in the country – so that entrepreneurs could meet with capital largely free of regulations under Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, and other noxious restrictions on freedom.

It was highly controversial at the time, with the New York Times leading the way in an article entitled

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China Claims Its First Victim of Committing “Internet Gossip,” a 16-Year-Old Boy

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 23rd, 2013:

The ink on the new internet censorship diktat from the Chinese internet police was hardly dry when it was able to claim its first criminal:

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Teenager is China’s first victim of its new internet “anti-gossip” law

As China continues to ramp up its censorship of internet usage by its estimated 600,000 million users, the arrest of a 16-year-old boy is just one more statistic in China’s war against freedom of expression.

Early in September China’s Supreme Court issued guidelines and penalties to punish those publishing what the state deems to be “rumors” and “slander”. If such a message is forwarded more than 500 times or

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Federal Court Rules that the Bitcoin is Money

When the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged that Trendon Shavers, the founder of Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) was running a Ponzi scheme, Shavers challenged the agency by claiming that bitcoins didn’t fall under their definition of securities and so therefore he and his company were exempt from SEC rules. Federal Judge Amos Mazzant ruled otherwise, which was bad news for Shavers but good news for

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.