Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 31, 2013

From iPhone to Cisco Routers - NSA Hacks It All

Everyone should read the SPIEGEL story and check the graphics and docs about the NSA's Tailored Access Operation. They describe the hardware and software tools the NSA uses to break into every level of computing - from your cellphone up to carrier class internet routers. The Apple iPhone for example is, as was to be expected, one of the devices the NSA can crack and silently control anytime it tries.

Jacob Appelbaum, who helped reporting the story, yesterday gave an hour long talk about these NSA abilities. I recommend to listen to it. He rightly points out one of the main issues that even supporters of the NSA spying should have serious headaches about. If the NSA can use the software and hardware bugs in various devices to take control over them then others can do this too. I bet that there are criminals out there who use exactly the same problematic holes the NSA uses for its spying. Such holes should be fixed and not abused.

One aspect that may help top rein in the NSA's totally overdone "collect it all" and "hack it all" attitude is the extreme damage this report will do to the U.S. computer and internet companies. Why would I buy Cisco routers or an iPhone when it is publicly known that these are extremely unsafe devices?

The NSA hacking and spying was the biggest story of 2013. It is also quite likely that further reporting on and the fallout from it will be the biggest story of 2014. Some media try to propagandize that people are okay with this NSA business and that no actions need to follow. Don't let them fool you. People do care and many are already changing some of their online habits. But there has to build even more pressure for real change to come.

My big "thank you"s for this year goes to Edward Snowden for the courage to go public with the NSA interna and to Glenn Greenwald for the excellent management of the drip by drip publication that keeps this very important story alive.

Thank you also to my readers and the commentators here who keep me motivated to continue this blog. Have a good new year in which hopefully no one will spy on you.

Posted by b on December 31, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

Comments
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Bernhard - Happy new year to you too and thank you for your blog!

Posted by: Paul | Dec 31, 2013 12:06:05 PM | 1

"People do care and many are already changing some of their online habits".

Yeah, the average John Doe will probably think twice before googling "afghanistan" "bomb" "embassy" or whatever terms might sound suspicious.
I take this as a side effect, not as the intention, but nonetheless it's something worth taking into account.
Cheers and guten Rutsch ;-)

Posted by: peter radiator | Dec 31, 2013 12:38:39 PM | 2

Jacob Appelbaum, I always like listening to Jacob and have gotten about 1/2 way through part 2. I'll listen to the rest later.

Have a Safe New Year evening and day.

Posted by: jo6pac | Dec 31, 2013 1:14:27 PM | 3

News from Qatar:
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/9000-qatar-emir-support-for-muslim-brotherhood-is-a-qdutyq

"[The Americans] are certain that the Assad regime in Syria is more stable and likely to be a better protector of US interests."

Posted by: Paul | Dec 31, 2013 1:18:53 PM | 4

happy new year.
and do some cleaning tomorrow, I took control of your phone camera to check your dirty laundry, it's a mess

Posted by: zingaro | Dec 31, 2013 1:20:21 PM | 5

"Thank you also to my readers and the commentators here who keep me motivated to continue this blog."

I found MoA this year (h/t Nakedcapitalism). I LOVE your writing. Concise, relevant, accurate. Essentially the complete opposite of the doggerel plattered up by the mass media. Please do keep it up, and best wishes for the coming year.

Posted by: Cincop8 | Dec 31, 2013 1:33:08 PM | 6

I join Cincop8 to thank you b for your blog: good analysis, comprehensive sources of information and awesome geopolitical forecasts. Best for 2014 to all the readers

Posted by: Rabino Kuerbovich | Dec 31, 2013 1:50:23 PM | 7

MoA, here's to you and your continued excellent reporting from far and near. This site has become essential reading for many who are interested in Empire machinations and perception management. What we read here - both news and analysis, we could never get from our "papers of record' which are completely beholden to their corporate and 'elite' overlords.

We may not be able to unravel the creepy creeping corporatocracy, but we can perhaps make sure it's weighed down by its own internal contradictions. no better example than the immense harm NSA over-snooping has done to American technology giants and midgets alike. thanks to Snowden's revelations, the people in the more lazy countries of the world have woken up and are hard at work on alternative, more secure technologies. Obviously, the final chapter on these developments has not been written yet.

Thanks b for all your hard work uncovering the many little nuts churning in machines propping up our western governance system. May they turn into spokes that would make the wheels run just a bit less smoothly.

Posted by: Merlin2 | Dec 31, 2013 2:12:54 PM | 8

Best wishes for the New Year, Bernhard! Your blog has been interesting, informative, and very educational for me over the years. In addition, the blog draws comments from highly thoughtful readers which I also appreciate. Kudos to all!

Posted by: Cynthia | Dec 31, 2013 3:12:37 PM | 9

"Have a good new year in which hopefully no one will spy on you."

I live in the U.S. so this is of course impossible, but is there any western nation where there could even be a hope of this happening?

Posted by: Pyrrho | Dec 31, 2013 3:21:06 PM | 10

@merlin2

In an ideal setting I'm not so sure I agree with framing this as what NSA has done to corporate America big or small, OMG!

When you look at the models of many of these corporations (facebook, google, yahoo, apple, microsoft, axiom to name a very few) we need not just an elimination of the NSA tactics by government, but a government which wipes out many of the corporate models many comments around the web are pivoting/defaulting towards defending.

In the US it seems to me what we need in short order is restoration of rule of law (at the top).

We need abolishment of any secret law (including secret executive orders etc.), secret war, secret courts or secret budgets. Period.

Finally an amendment making clear that a persons electronics and communications in every modern interpretation is equivalent to the protected original intent of "a persons papers and effects" in the Fourth amendment. We need government to not only make sure it doesn't violate this itself, but a government which does not allow such business models as well.

Thanks yet again, b, for another great year of blogging! Simply the best.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Dec 31, 2013 3:27:09 PM | 11

Thank you also, b, for your blog, and your work on it. Your research is superb, and you have the correct degree of scepticism of official stories. Sceptical but not wild.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2013 3:32:32 PM | 12

By the way, b, if you ever feel the need for financial support to keep the blog going, you can count on me.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2013 3:45:17 PM | 13

"The NSA hacking and spying was the biggest story of 2013."

Oh boy! It must be daunting into the global narrative mainstream. Axis The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel is matchless.

"Why would I buy Cisco routers or an iPhone when it is publicly known that these are extremely unsafe devices?"

Anybody who has a modicum knowledge of a networking will find this statement as a naïve - the least to say.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 31, 2013 4:00:50 PM | 14

Anybody who has a modicum knowledge of a networking will find this statement as a naïve - the least to say.

Ok, explain it to us who don't know what you are talking about.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2013 4:22:11 PM | 15

Russian IT experts heard “nothing new” from a series of spying revelations by Edward Snowden, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said. Moscow plans to tackle the “existing and well known” cyber threat by manufacturing its own electronic components.

After a Monday meeting with the Russian President, Rogozin told journalists that information revealed by the leaks was “just the naked truth that we already knew from other sources.”

He stressed that computer technology experts have not discovered anything new about Washington’s scope of cyber espionage. Instead, the whistleblower only reinforced the belief that Russia needs to strengthen its cyber security, Rogozin said.

“This is the truth that pushes us to act and hastens the creation of our own base of electronic components which we cannot do without,” he said.

Furthermore, Rogozin said that the possibility of such classified data leaks in Russia is unlikely, as an “ordinary engineer” will never have access to such privileged information.

The last sentence is very important. An "ordinary engineer" won't have access anywhere not only in Russia. In the National Security state such as the US even less so. We know nothing what kind of the clearances he had. Commedia dell'arte goes on, the characters are with an old Character mask.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 31, 2013 4:24:31 PM | 16

@alexno

In simple terms: as long as they are in control of infrastructure they can do whatever they want with your computer. As long as you are on line you do not have any privacy, or security if you like. No tunneling protocols, proxy servers, anonymity application will help you. The Internet providers and their NOC and various connecting and switching centers are in their control.

Just consider this story from 2006: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/05/70910?currentPage=all

All IT gadgets are using stack of protocols known as OSI model which is upgraded TCP/IP model of DoD. All this is well known for decades to military, to security agencies to everyone. It is obvious that isn't that hard to broke into any PC legally or illegally.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 31, 2013 4:43:28 PM | 17

Russian IT experts heard “nothing new” from a series of spying revelations

OK the Russians already knew, but they didn't publish. That was the difference that Snowden made.

An "ordinary engineer" won't have access anywhere not only in Russia. In the National Security state such as the US even less so.

But he did. That is why he is exceptional.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2013 4:45:51 PM | 18

by "their" and "they" I mean: the Government.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 31, 2013 4:51:45 PM | 19

"But he did. That is why he is exceptional."

He did what? As far as I know no single documents is taken! By a document I mean not string of a bits, i.e. .doc or .pdf files. I mean a piece of paper with an authentic and symbolic representation of someone's will, or decision making process.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 31, 2013 5:00:12 PM | 20

re 14

In simple terms: as long as they are in control of infrastructure they can do whatever they want with your computer.

I knew that, and b too. That's why he covers the camera of his laptop.

So what is it that makes him naive? I would say he is up to date, as most of us are.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2013 5:06:50 PM | 21

It has become more and more evident WHY The President and others were so upset by the Snowden information leaking. It has never been about National Security - but rather - about the world finding out that no one is safe from the prying eyes and ears of the United States.

Posted by: Cynthia | Dec 31, 2013 5:09:59 PM | 22

re 17

As far as I know no single documents is taken! By a document I mean not string of a bits, i.e. .doc or .pdf files. I mean a piece of paper with an authentic and symbolic representation of someone's will, or decision making process.

If you demand paper, of course there aren't. Documents these days are .PDF, or sometimes .DOC.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2013 5:12:55 PM | 23

"Moscow plans to tackle the “existing and well known” cyber threat by manufacturing its own electronic components."

A Russians are buying high-tech circuits elsewhere, I am talking about a chip with flash-memory CMOS, like a PC motherboards which military and government uses. But what they do, they erase the manufacturer's memory (Intel) and they load own one. So there is no Secure Boot or TPM and other BS.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 31, 2013 5:16:49 PM | 24

"If you demand paper, of course there aren't. Documents these days are .PDF, or sometimes .DOC."

So, a string of bits - which anybody can produce. For example, the Columbia School of Journalism!

Call me old fashioned but PC for me is just an audio-visual device/tool. Not machine for printing and creating money - Bitcoin, or fairy tales.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 31, 2013 5:27:10 PM | 25

PS. A.DOC is not normally taken as a final text, because changeable and retaining a history of editing. A PDF is normally taken as a final document, although frequently it can be modified, depending on the level of security.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2013 5:28:37 PM | 26

When one considers the current drive to establish DNA banks collected from individuals that have committed crimes, even minor ones....

Top it off with the government's ability to control and manipulate personal devices such as iPhones....

Well, its not hard to imagine the government coming up with irrefutable evidence that you've committed a crime, in a state, or country, that you've never even set foot in.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 31, 2013 5:36:29 PM | 27

So, a string of bits - which anybody can produce. For example, the Columbia School of Journalism!

Nobody would deny it. B neither. I don't see why b is to be described as naive, when he understands well these principles.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 31, 2013 5:44:05 PM | 28

I would argue that there is no spying and manipulation. There is tacit consent between the Government and the Governed. The Governed don't care, as long as they have a Bud Light, city-shows. Ah yes, Facebook is the example of spying and control, yet no one is mention it, but hey it is a social network, in country where neighborhoods is unknown!?!?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 31, 2013 5:48:57 PM | 29

OK, alexno

Two things!

"Why would I buy Cisco routers or an iPhone when it is publicly known that these are extremely unsafe devices?"

He is thinking out loud, on the other hand there is ambiguity, or negative tone in it that he doesn't known. By purpose or not (to generate traffic), we do not know either.

Second thing.
"If you demand paper, of course..."

Why is "of course" for you of course, and you still asking for explanation is beyond me. But it speak for itself and about who is asking. Wonder, is it along with "There is no stupid questions..." culture? Or, "Unknown-known"?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 31, 2013 6:02:17 PM | 30

thanks for sharing b and everyone. this is a good site to follow. happy new year!

Posted by: james | Dec 31, 2013 6:26:56 PM | 31

Have a happy new year b.

Posted by: par4 | Dec 31, 2013 7:03:33 PM | 32

My big "thank you"s for this year goes to Edward Snowden for the courage to go public with the NSA interna and to Glenn Greenwald for the excellent management of the drip by drip publication that keeps this very important story alive.

Yep.
What the whining Right-wing Cranks have been saying about GGreenwald is PROOF that he was a fan-fucking-tastic choice (to quote Shirley McClaine - Terms of Endearment) as an informed leaker. Who better than he to decide what is, and what is not, newsworthy?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 31, 2013 8:34:11 PM | 33

Don't know about that Jacob Appelbaum, sounds like one of yer congenital Zionists, eh RB?

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 31, 2013 8:49:14 PM | 34

@8 "In the US it seems to me what we need in short order is restoration of rule of law (at the top)."

That will never be on the ballot.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 31, 2013 8:53:12 PM | 35

happy new year b, and once again thank you for everything. for another year of cutting edge analysis, you're wonderful.

Posted by: annie | Dec 31, 2013 9:13:47 PM | 36

happy new year b and to all the other great commentators here at your site.

Posted by: james | Dec 31, 2013 9:23:44 PM | 37

Happy New Year to all of Moonkind.

Posted by: beq | Dec 31, 2013 10:23:26 PM | 38

Don't know about that Jacob Appelbaum, sounds like one of yer congenital Zionists, eh RB? Posted by: ruralito | Dec 31, 2013 8:49:14 PM | 30
Indeed he does, very possibly the sister of Evil Annie at the WaPo, but probably not. By the way, there is simply nothing either illogical or discreditable about thinking that US Jews, or any other diaspora Jews, indubitably have psychological dual loyalties. It's just a fact. What is discreditable is the pathetic, totalitarian thought police that crawls around threatening anyone who says it.

Now as to the issue, two points: one, I have already said that there is indeed a possibility that Snowden's "goal" (the one he boasts of already having accomplished) was to weaken the US vis-a-vis Israel. Specifically, there is a major drive afoot to get the tedious and unsightly Jonathan Pollard back to the Land of Promise. This is not coincidental, but the question is which way the causal arrow runs. My second point is that although Sibel Edmonds is bawling like a fishwife, and evidently missing the real point completely, if indeed it is a Jewish point, her feminine intuition may be at work nonetheless, and not merely her personal jealousy regarding the loss of the whistleblower limelight.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 31, 2013 10:28:47 PM | 39

A very Happy New Year to you, Bernhard. Thank you for all your effort and diligence in making this blog so very worthwhile. Long may it go on!

Posted by: FB Ali | Dec 31, 2013 10:55:56 PM | 40

Cheers, B - and to all the MOA commenters. I'm another year more informed b/c of y'all. Here's to another!

Posted by: Jessica S | Dec 31, 2013 11:09:23 PM | 41

happy new year b & all (bah included) - can only imagine what the current state/reach of spy craft is if these products appelbaum shares are already years old - oh my

Posted by: b real | Jan 1, 2014 12:44:50 AM | 42

We are lucky to have one another at this watering hole, where we have become aware of one another, and have learned as much as we have. My good wishes to b, and to "all of Moonkind" (as beq so poetically puts it). Happy New Year to all. Happy 2014! I hope it will be a good one . Peace.

Posted by: Copeland | Jan 1, 2014 2:39:44 AM | 43

Thank you so much for this site. Came here by way of Calculated Risk and Naked Captialism. Please do share a conribute button from time to time if the hosting gets expensive or you'd like to have a nice dinner out every once and a while. Thanks to the commenters too, well spoken, direct, considerate bunch. I'm a news junkie, you can tell everything about a site from the civility of the commenters.
Best of the new year to all of you.
Dominic

Posted by: Dominic Smith | Jan 1, 2014 10:14:02 AM | 44

Thanks for another year of keeping MoA going, Bernhard. I do appreciate it a great deal even though I rarely comment. And likewise to the thoughtful commenters and debaters.

Echoing the comment at 40 and elsewhere about contributions - please speak up if you need new equipment, upgrades, whatever.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Jan 1, 2014 11:02:21 AM | 45

"When It Comes to Security, We’re Back to Feudalism"

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2012/11/feudal-security/

I mentioned that some statements as a naive and I explained why. Here Bruce Schneier's take on the matter written metaphorically; less technically and rather from a sociological angle.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 1, 2014 12:17:38 PM | 46

Digital Black-Bag Ops

To many embedded links to do here, but I highly recommends getting up to speed on some of this... Also, for a over all good synopsis, NSA and Corporate Cooperation Revealed

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 1, 2014 1:10:03 PM | 47

Gracias B, you recieve an honorable mention also for man of the year as well.
You do us all a great service by keeping the blog alive and thriving.
Hat's off.
:)

Posted by: Fernando | Jan 1, 2014 2:39:58 PM | 49

@44 Articles such as this show why Greenwald's stance on public vs. private spying is, at it's core, naive and dangerous. The idea that state spying is "uniquely threatening" and that the dangers of private spying are somehow softened because corporations have as their motive mere profit-making completely ignores the realities of life in the our increasingly unequal world.

Greenwald is of course saying that corporations on their own do not have the power to jail or kill. This could be debated. What can't be debated is the fact that corporate power has rarely, if ever, been "alone" and without its hands firmly on the levers of government power. The problem of private wealth corrupting public power has been an issue since this country's inception. The difference today (and what makes Glenn Greenwald's pooh-poohing of the dangers of corporate spying so insidious) is that this corruption is quickly becoming the defining feature of our politics and our world.

Greenwald is trying to say that it is serious, but essentially less harmful, for corporations to compile information on their users than it is for the government to gather this same kind of info. But is this not, in fact, where the government is pulling much of their information from? We are not, of course, dealing with a world in which the corporations we deal with on the internet might be a department store or a car company which gather info on our shopping choices. For the most part we are dealing with giants like Google, Apple, Verizon, and Facebook which gather huge amounts extremely personal information about our private lives... and then apparently make this information directly available to the government - a government which is staffed by the same people who staff the corporations. A government which is largely, because of the corrupting influence of campaign donations and lobbying, at work for corporate power. A government which works with these corporations hand and glove to extend both power sector's reach over our world.

Our public policy is, in the words of John Dewey, "the shadow cast on society by big business." There is little difference between those in power in the state and corporate world. The fact of the "revolving door" between the nominally "public" sectors of power and the top levels of corporate management shows that not only do these two power centers share essentially the same goals, but are run by the same people. And this is nothing new - it has been true throughout US history. One only has to read General Butler's "War is a Racket" to see that even an organization as nominally independent as the US military can easily become an extension of private power used to kill across the globe for the profit motive - a motive Greenwald seems to feel is so tempered and reasonable. For those who think that the Iraq War was fought for the oil companies, who do you think the information gleaned from this industrial-strength spying is meant for?

We have plenty of instances to point to of the dangers of this corporate spying. One example was the political repression that occurred during the nationwide crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement. We have only to look at FBI documents obtained by the The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PFCJ) to see that the crackdown was not lead just by the state, but that corporate interests. Their resources were key to not only defining the "threat" posed by the Occupy Movement, but also in the actual crackdown. It has been public knowledge for some time that corporate behemoths like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs actually give millions of dollars per year to the NYPD. To suggest that this has no effect on the actions of the NYPD would be like suggesting that the millions pumped into the US Congress via campaign contributions has no effect on the legislation produced there. And this is of course only one example. We could go over the attacks on Anonymous by private corporations like HBGary. I found this intriguing report as well - a veritable clearinghouse of corporate spying against their political opponents: Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage Against Nonprofit Organizations. This laundry list of malfeasance and repression would seem to be ignored by Greenwald - who unfortunately is now every bit a member of the corporate power structure as any high level executive at NBC/GE.

The fact that should not be ignored is this: the "public" security state is now completely in the hands of the "private" corporations through the levers of campaign donations, taxes, grants, and the back and forth of talent and personalities. Ignoring or downplaying this is like ignoring the hand in the glove that is wrapped around our collective necks. One cannot say that, of corporate and government spying, one is more or less dangerous than the other because they are, at their core, the same phenomena - powerful interests using an advantage in technology to coerce and change the behavior of the less powerful. This is no time to try and play down the effects of corporate spying or try and play it off as a tempered phenomena which is just part of the normal state of affairs in a free market economy. This is the time to identify this dangerous collusion and to fight against it.

What about private companies and privacy? We have Google scanning people's Gmail and collecting search terms; Facebook and others track our movements around the Web. Companies sell our data to marketers. What's your take on all that?

Greenwald: I think there's a serious danger posed by large Internet corporations collecting data, but I also think there's a big difference between the state doing that and private corporations doing it. I mean, the idea that the state can be uniquely threatening is embedded in all of our political awareness. If you look at the Bill of Rights, it limits what the state can do but doesn't limit what corporations can do, and that's because, as oppressive as corporations can be, the state has unique powers -- like the ability to put you into a cage for a long time, or life, or even take your life; and the ability to take your property; to impose all kinds of taxation; to build weapons that can be used against people around the world -- that corporations don't actually have alone.

And the other thing I would say is that corporations, by the way they're structured, are geared toward generating profit, whereas states are constructed for a whole variety of reasons having to do with power, which includes profit but extends far beyond it as well. And so corporations that are collecting information about you are likely to use it to do things like sell you to advertisers for targeted advertisements or [sell] other kinds of composite pictures of who you are for a profitable end, whereas the state historically has used surveillance for far more than that, including suppressing political dissent, or punishing people who in any way are kind of deviant of the norm, putting people in check in terms of their behavior. So I think the dangers are more manifold and possibly more severe from state surveillance than from corporate surveillance, even though they're both a serious concern.

a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57613838-38/saving-the-net-from-the-surveillance-state-glenn-greenwald-speaks-up-q-a/">Full interview on CNET

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 1, 2014 3:31:25 PM | 50

Happy New Year b and all.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 1, 2014 3:34:30 PM | 51

This report has too much good information to be buried in my post. It should be right up top.

http://www.corporatepolicy.org/spookybusiness.pdf

The corporate capacity for espionage has skyrocketed in recent years. Most major companies now have a chief corporate security officer tasked with assessing and mitigating “threats” of all sorts – including from nonprofit organizations. And there is now a surfeit of private investigations firms willing and able to conduct sophisticated spying operations against nonprofits. The use of former intelligence, military and law enforcement officers for corporate espionage appears to be commonplace. Especially prevalent is the use of former Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Secret Service agents, as well as current or former police officers, and other former military, intelligence and law enforcement officials. These current and former government employees, and current government contractors, do their spying against nonprofits with little regulation or oversight, and apparently with near impunity.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 1, 2014 4:13:14 PM | 52

@46 Well said... thank you.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Jan 1, 2014 4:39:33 PM | 53

Bremen rocks!!!

best to all, thank you!!!

Posted by: c | Jan 1, 2014 5:35:34 PM | 54

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpPm8NAXVAw
David Bowie - Moon of Alabama Musikladen TV Live

Posted by: c | Jan 1, 2014 5:40:34 PM | 55

@48--corporate & government spying
Not that anybody should run out and read this book, but there is a tome from 1980 that covers a lot of ground about what was going on vis a vis espionage against US citizens during the Hoover FBI era and all the private espionage services during the first half of the 20th century. The boogie man then, of course, was unions and communist or left sympathizers. Guess what, there was a lot of surveillance, run by people with resources using sophisticated card files. So, it's not exactly a new phenomenon.
The Age of Surveillance-The Aims and Methods of America's Political Intelligence System Frank J. Donner, Knopf 1980, 554 pg, pretty good index.

wonderful blog and comments!

Posted by: Jay M | Jan 1, 2014 6:09:40 PM | 56

Hi Copeland @ 39. Hat tip to hamburger, I think, (wherever you are) for "Moonkind".

b, once more, thanks for the most incredible walk I was ever invited to take on New Year's Day or any other day and to you and also hamburger and bun for your unforgettable hospitality.

Posted by: beq | Jan 1, 2014 6:31:43 PM | 57

Hi all, best tidings for the new year.

Posted by: annamissed | Jan 1, 2014 8:28:24 PM | 58

guest77@46

' ... corruption is quickly becoming the defining feature of our politics and our world ... '


I agree that corporate corruption/spying is at least as dangerous as the totalitarian usg's nsa spying.

Edward Snowden worked for a private company contracted to the nsa. The CISPA ... said to have been written by Google ... was essentially the outline of the privatization of the spying business.

The grandson of CISPA is in the wings.

That's been the corporate push : get direct control of the payroll. In the military-industrial complex, the medical-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex, the educational-industrial complex ... and now the government-spying industrial complex.

The CISPA seems to me to have been crafted to transfer the (unconstitutional) 'right' to spy from the government to its designated, private, corporate 'cyber security providers' of one stripe or another.

And just as the drug companies, for instance, who now test their own drugs for the FDA, 'own' the data they develop during testing - delivering only what suits their ends to the FDA and keeping the rest - so too will the Seven Sisters deliver what suits their ends only to the NSA/USG.

And the 'selectors' and 'targets' will be developed by corporations - the government will then authorize the collection.

It is the transnational corporate push to put their neoliberal, corporate selves above humans and their governments ... as in the TPP and TTIP-TAFTA ... that is the end. We will look back with nostalgia to the days when we could have exercised our popular sovereignty to stop their bald smash and grab at power ... and didn't.

Thanks for the links .. I'll get right on 'em.

Posted by: john francis lee | Jan 1, 2014 8:52:55 PM | 59

cheers, moonbats! we are going to see some interesting shit go down this year, no doubt. b, your perspective is incredibly important, so thank you for turning the lights back on and keeping this space going. after becoming the main contributor to the blog I write for, I know how much time it takes to generate post after post.

Posted by: lizard | Jan 1, 2014 9:04:24 PM | 60

First: I wish you as well as your guests here a good new year!


@neretva

Sorry, but I feel you are beyond your base with your IT related remarks.

IT security is by far more complex than "nsa can get everything no matter what you do and how you do it".

For a start, their best capabilites are extremely costly in terms of money, human and technical resourcesand other factors. So, yes their best is something they can do, but they can do it only in a few select cases. And John Doe, you, or me will not be those cases.

Another extremely important factor is nottheir capabilities but the weaknesses of the people, of software, and of the current infrastructure. One striking example is that it's still rather rare to have both, a web server and a client accept and use TLS 1.2 with PFC. The vast majority still use SSLv2, v3, and TLS 1.0 - and, even worse, the usual default values for protocols are between careless and insane.

Next, it's major factor *what* one wants to do. Within a company network, for instance, it would be quite feasible to have very high security up to the point of virtually excluding any nsa access, no matter what routers, fibers,or proxies they control. If, on the other hand, one wanted to secure a web server that is used by millions of guests every day, some of them from low-tech/poor countries, that would be quite unfeasible; but that would be the case anyway, no matter the nsa.

Perhaps the most important factor - and security risk - are we humans. Not the nsa, not Cisco, not even (lousy) Windoze but us humans, using, for instance the same password for dozens of sites and services, not informing ourselves and not learning but rather expecting some ISP or the government or Santa Claus to "somehow" take care of our IT security.

The Russians are right. Professional players haven't learned many new things from Snowden. His major effect - and an important one - was to make the situation tangible and relevant to millions and millions and such to create an extended understanding of many important issues and factors, and, but that is more on the political side, to make Jane and John Doe understand that and how badly "our" governments betray us, sell us out, lie to us, work with other governments against us rather than for us, etc.

Last but least the media are to be accused. There *is* lots of relevant information available and there are many security researchers who do a lot of laudable work. But they stay widely unheard because the media, rather than to inform the public, treat IT as sth that is mostly about gadgets and generally don't inform the public about even extremely important issues.
Next to contributing to a miserable security situation by itself this also has another very damaging effect, namely that lacking important information the users, i.e. billions of people and customers, can and do not form their power demanding improvement from the IT companies.

All in all nsa's success isn't that much thanks to nsa's capabilities but due to many failures and lacks from other parties.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 2, 2014 6:08:25 PM | 61

Sorry Pragma I've got to disagree with your statement "their best capabilites are extremely costly in terms of money, human and technical resourcesand other factors". Sure firing a 1 kilowatt energy beam into a subjects house just to read what is on their monitor or which keys are pressed on their lappy is all of those things. As is blowing upwards of $100k on a mobile GSM tower spoofer, but many of the man in the middle or man on the side attacks which regularly intercept the email traffic of 'all known muslims' or establish a cascading contact register of all other cell phones within a 100 meter radius of a target's cellphone, then repeat that same process to the third or 4th degree are both inexpensive and automated.
Once a set of potential tagets have been compiled in this manner capturing all data going in and out of every device of every target & trawling all that data (& associated metadata) for known indicators of suspicious activity ( be it a word, a person, a website or increasingly a defensive protocol deemed suss by the NSA) is trivial.

Once upon a time we could reassure ourselves with the thought that even if we did make it onto some list somewhere, and lets face it the notion of a list of all MoA habitues appearing on an NSA or GCHQ list is far from fantastical, that "we pity the poor NSA hack who has to wade thru all my shit & find nothing".

The NSA and associated Five Eyes agencies, have been the beneficiaries of huge budget increases that have permitted similar vast increases in staff.
According to a sympathetic WaPo Puff piece Since 2001 the NSA budget has doubled, its workforce (not counting contractors) has increased by a third and it has opened new on the ground bases from asshole to breakfast while expanding existing sites.

Now they have the means & manpower to filter all target's data trying to isolate those they believe to be 'dangerous'. Except as we know from every other agency that has ever tried the same thing, (e.g. The Phoenix program used in Vietnam) that along with a few careless pro's, many innocents will get caught in the crosshairs & get assasinated, or at the very least, have their lives ruined.

This shouldn't even be a debate. The only issue is if an individual is prepared to stand up & be counted as actively resisting the surveillance society or sit on their asses picking blackeads off their spotty pus infested anuses or worse yet play the greedies game for them by spreading libelous shit about those who have stuck their head above the parapet.

Black Vs white, socialist Vs anarchist vs libertarian, or Assangite Vs Snowden lover, such easy stuff for facile twats who haven't properly considered the true meaning of solidarity forever, to caught up in. They score a few brownie points from their equally facile acolytes and have the 1%ers rolling in the aisles laughing at the mugs who tell themselves they are 'resisting the elites' when they are doing the elites' work for em, and not even getting paid for it!

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 2, 2014 8:09:48 PM | 62

Debs, this is tired polarising rhetoric. I've already said I am perfectly happy to accept that Greenwald is enormously ambitious and fully intends to gatecrash his way into the global ruling class. He might even achieve it, because Omidyar is a perfect case of someone who has already done it. There are many reasons why such people do not like the old US elite, some of them racial. I have also said that it seems to me quite possible that Snowden's real "goal", the one he boasted of already having achieved, was to weaken the US vs Israel. What more do you want?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 2, 2014 8:47:48 PM | 63

Sorry but listening in at someone using a laser or similar *is* a major op. They need to bring in a team (of which they don't have unlimited many) and the equipment, they have to observe the target, they have to actually collect the data, etc.
And then, that's the way large organisations work, those data must be evaluated, stored, analyzed, etc.

Again, I'm sure they can do that and probably they have 50, 100 or even 200 teams out there (and inside for analysis, etc.). But while 200 teams is much for pretty everyone, it's hardly a drop in the ocean nsa perceives a potential threats and it's,as I said, limited.

And yes, sure, once they have their "connection" into, say AMSIX or LINX they can grab terabytes every second. Which are just worthless. to have any worth whatsoever, they have to store, filter, search and process those data. Which is a very major undertaking.
Just have a look at any not insignificant internet exchange. Or even just a, say, 40Gb firewall. Those firewall do hardly more than inspecting packets for certain pattern engines. And even for that even specialized network processors like Cavium or Qoriq operate at their limit although they are supported by other specialized chips (packt offload, header flag processing, etc.)

Let me remind you of a simple technical fact. The bus (circuitry to connect chips) speed in high-end systems is just a fraction of what major internet exchanges have in traffic. You thin of super computers? Sorry to disappoint you but that's not the workload they are designed for; they are typically by ethernet "buses" of 10 or 40 Gb.
The routers in large internet exchanges employ custom chips (ASICS) for a reason. And again, what those routers do is primitive minimal work compared to what the nsa has to do.

Now, it's a very big difference whether one looks for 50 or for 10000 patterns in a terabit data stream. The difference is not simply a factor of 200, it's a difference of feasible or not feasible.

Again, no doubt the nsa can eavesdrop on pretty everyone. But, technically speaking, I dare to say that they ca not eavesdrop on *many*.
Now you say "But, hey, they *do* eavesdrop on many. And right you are. BUT: On the vast part of those targets,they can eavesdrop only because of the problems I described above and *not* because nsa is sooo smart and theor computer resources so vast. Nope. They can do it because 90+% of the people use Windoze, because those terrorist sites employ SSL but an old version with a rigged PRG, old and weak encryption, aso.

Let me remind you of another perspective: Many, actually most, sites do not even employ SSL at all. reason: Too expensive. Don't forget that encryption is a very expensive operation (in terms of precessor cycles). Not having a (very expensive) encryption co-processor ( and the know how to use it, which most admins don't have) simply comes down to reducing the number of clients you can serve by a factor of 10- 30. So, most web sites rather don't use SSL and serve, say, 300 clients than using SSL and serving just 20 clients.
The point here is simple: encryption is expensive. Let's not even talk about the cost of cracking encryption ...

At the same though that's an open invitation to and a very major reason why nsa can easily read almost everything. THAT factor alone is more important than all the vast capabilities of the nsa.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 2, 2014 9:21:20 PM | 64

Ok I didn't drop by to get caught up in a rather pointless debate, I dropped by because I thought I might alert all teachers to the new reality which suggests they may want to take their occupation off their passports. Journalist is 'so last century' as an occupation for illegal spooks. Be a teacher instead, chalkies still get a modicum of respect in most societies however much the people may loathe the empire.

Last night in Libya, the bodies of a couple of 'teachers' were found. One was an englander, the other a new zealander. Everyone around the site appears to be vague about who these people were & what they were doing.

They were found outside Mellitah the major oil & gas refinery/terminal in the west of libya the very spot which 'the west' esp england & france has been agitating to get control of since they bombed away virtually every piece of non-oil producing Libyan infrastructure -doubtless part of an effort to increase Libya's need for immediate foreign exchange.

The Libyan colonisation has not proceeded according to plan - unfortunately thus far it is only amerika, the power that is in line to profit the least from the theft of Libya's resources, has been put under pressure by their citizens for this, the most egregious of all the 21st century ME home invasion & burglaries.

I find it particularly interesting that not even the NZ media outlets have been able to supply the identity of the kiwi victim, as aotearoa is sufficiently small to make it difficult to come up with a completely watertight legend for the corpse.

There is a risk that someone, somewhere, in NZ may post that the last time they saw the victim she was enlisting in the armed forces or signing up with some section of the dept of foreign affairs.
That is of course depending on whether the dead person was travelling under their correct nationality.
The media have been informed of the 'victims' nationality but not their name - very odd - watch that space.

Libya is about to cop the Timor lesson. Say what you like about the Colonel but the oil money got spread around when his mob ran Libya, Timor is now the proud 'owner' of the largest oil reserves in the world australia is still trying to stiff it even tho it was australia's duplicity in supporting the illegal Indonesian invasion of Timor which kept that nation just like West Irian, a killing field for Javanese psychopaths.

It would be good to say things are looking up for Xanana Gusmao & indigenous Timorese but they ain't, Jose Ramos Horta and the other cruel &* greedy remnants of portugese imperialism are doing a great job of making sure that Timorese remain poor & illiterate.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 2, 2014 10:30:04 PM | 65

To b, annie, beq, and all other moonbats,

'Moonkind' was not my clever invention, sorry to say. Bun and I were just reminiscing about that incredible gathering at the mother ship. Best to all for 2014, and special thanks to b for this site.

Hamburger

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 3, 2014 7:41:11 AM | 66

@63 what exactly he Snowed boasted in regards to Israel?

Israel has been deeply implicated in the spying. What advantage falls to Israel by weakening its only ally for no gain its own - unlike something like the Iraq war where the result was a weakened Us but a greatly altered strategic situation for The Israelis.

But maybe you can expand. Maybe i have missed something.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 3, 2014 8:53:08 AM | 67

re #67: Snowden has never mentioned Israel. What he has done is boasted that his goal is already achieved. He then goes on to expound this in pretty obvious ways, viz that he has hauled the NSA into the realm of public scrutiny, or something to that effect. But it so happens that the report of this boast (whenever he actually made it), has coincided exactly with a much reinforced campaign by Israel (it now includes Netanyahu and Peres) to get Jonathan Pollard released, and quite regularly, among the statements that the various elements in this Israeli campaign make, are statements to the effect that, now the US's own spying on Israel has been exposed (which appears to be one of things Greenwald fed to Spiegel), it is hypocritical to keep preaching about the sins of Pollard. So I wonder if maybe this is no coincidence, that a major immediate effect of Snowden's exposures is to weaken the US vis-a-vis Israel.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 3, 2014 9:27:34 AM | 68

Following on from guest77 ... First, one needs to think about the distinction between spying as we used to conceive it ( > economic, dissidents, rivals, etc.: usually targeted towards persons, secret networks, the obtention of specific data, military, etc.) and Total Information Awareness, with its Big Data Collection (BDC), indiscriminate vacuuming up of everything.

Greenwald drawing a line between corporate data-retention and Gvmt. spying is using this distinction, as does Jane when she says “I have done nothing wrong so can’t be shocked by my phone data being collected..”...I feel this distinction obscures.

Clearly, BDC is an endeavor that springs from many sources.

The ‘because we can’ argument is evident - the stuff is there to be gathered and it is not too difficult and acting is highly lucrative. Corps, Gov, Intelligence, law enforcement, etc. love tech stuff, and are often easily impressed and bamboozled, in short it is a HUGE source of revenue for tech (informatics, devices, analysis, defense) types, orgs or branches. In a sense, it was Finance that lead the way by providing an example (Finance was completely changed by the fast interlinked computer, not for the better.) And the work is fascinating!

Secondly, BDC is somewhat (?) linked to cyber-security, cyber-attacks, cyber dominance. If hackers are going to steal the Pentagon’s secret data, Govs. will ‘hack’ as well. Lastly, we might include those who want to study human behavior for purposes of advertising and related (which is itself a kind of control.)

Together, a lot of extremely keen actors.

Now for the Authoritarian aspect. The USA has been cannibalizing its own people more overtly, violently, for some time: prisons, sub-prime scandal, student debt, militarized police, cutting aid, ignoring unemployment, etc. (Plus decay of law, infrastructure, etc.)

High control costs are required in: colonial regimes, very authoritarian states, and highly unequal capitalist ones. The costs of the hard control may be too high, the situation alarmingly unstable (see some colonized places, or cotton production by slaves in the US which was not ‘competitive’) or the control may be vulnerable to rupture in various ways. Note, the USA relies *heavily* on internalized norms, informal rules, thru propaganda, which lead to conformity, submission, passivity: soft control.

BDC -knowing everything about everyone- marries soft and hard control making it exponentially more efficient. That is the crux. Even if confused for the moment? I think one of the aims may be to reduce ‘guard labor’ (very high in the US) which is a cost, one can’t skim off the top. But that is just one point amongst many.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 3, 2014 12:58:05 PM | 69

@ Mr. Pragma | Jan 2, 2014 6:08:25 PM | 61

"IT security is by far more complex than "nsa can get everything no matter what you do and how you do it"."

It depends what you mean by "complex". I recently watch the clip on YT where Harvard's students do not know what the capital of Canada is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0fdYhgJIeE

I assume previous generation weren't any better, so if this kind of people are decision makers than you are right, it is complex. Of course, there are experts out there but they cost money, and corporate world consider them as outlay - the folks who doesn't make money for them. Neoliberal philosophy is firmly entrenched in this sector, where they try to squeeze something from nothing.

I am certain you are exaggerating at #64, more of less medium and large business' sites are hosted by hosting comp. and are not in control of a technical operations.

I will say again, there is no hacking because the people are not interested in privacy. But more about this

"The notion that telephone calls are private left Americans' consciousness prior to the NSA listening in. If memory serves, it was sometime in the 1990s when I entered the men's room of an airport and observed a row of men speaking on their cell phones in the midst of the tinkling sound of urine hitting water and noises of flushing toilets. The thought hit hard that privacy had lost its value."

"When one flies today, unless one stops up one's ears with something, one hears one's seat mate's conversations prior to takeoff and immediately upon landing. Literally, everyone is talking nonstop. One wonders how the economy functioned at such a high level of incomes and success prior to cell phones. I can remember being able to travel both domestically and internationally on important business without having to telephone anyone. What has happened to America that no one can any longer go anywhere without constant talking?"

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 3, 2014 3:55:16 PM | 70

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1908-2014-will-bring-more-social-collapse

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 3, 2014 3:56:21 PM | 71

@63 Nothing I posted was intended to reference you Berkley I gave up on reading your posts long ago when it became apparent that your determination to attribute every act of any decision-maker to fantasies concocted by your transparent judeophobia which masquerades as anti-zionism.

In fact, if one were to scrape very far beneath the surface and consider your irrational rants against Greenwald - one would likely find your primary objection is that he is jewish.
Or maybe it is just the usual ersatz revolutionary zeal that cannot quite suppress good old bourgeois envy - so common among the armchair types.
Whichever it is I don't really care since debating it is pointless anywhere much less on the single issue site MoA has become. It would only be a matter of time before some connection between Greenwald and anti-Alawite islam was claimed to be the 'underlying cause' of Greenwald's decision to inform us about the realities of penetration of contemporary ICT.

Crawl back under the rock of self disgust &/or loopy shoot the messengerism you emanated from & let those who still gather here who care to debate issues free of subjective analysis from a cretin, the room to do so.

The awful irony is that despite your claims of a jew in every evil act, all toiling away, somehow seamlessly, perfectly and indetectably conspiring for israel, the abject conditions of indigenous Palestinians worsens every day, with nary a mention from the likes of you, too busy constructing conspiracies about zionist perfidy to lift a finger to oppose what is happening in reality.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 3, 2014 6:12:02 PM | 72

neretva'43 (70)

I recently watch the clip on YT where Harvard's students do not know what the capital of Canada is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0fdYhgJIeE

I assume previous generation weren't any better, so if this kind of people are decision makers than you are right, it is complex.

While I fullheartedly agree that most zamericans are hardly more educated than the chairs they sit on, I do not see how this relates to IT security being complex.


I am certain you are exaggerating at #64, more of less medium and large business' sites are hosted by hosting comp. and are not in control of a technical operations.

Misunderstanding. By "network" I didn't refer to their web site.

Typically a mid-sized company has HQ, usually some production sites, possibly some remote destinations (like a Rome office or a "sales East-Asia" office) and quite often sales partners. And all of these must be integrated into a corporate network. THIS is were the danger lurks, not so much their web site.
And this is where nsa would try to enter so as to steal technical know-how for their zamerican clients.

And yes, IT security is complex. Among other reasons because the networks are complex, the businesses are complex, the relations are complex. But also because security by and in itself is complex.
To give you a practical, if almost stupidly looking example (but trust me, this is the life of a system admin):
In Europe, telephone lines are typically ISDN, either BRI (2 channels) or PRI (~ 24channels). With today "unified communication" the telephone "center" typically is (overtly or de facto inside) just a specialized computer system. Now, to use the Card that connects to the ISDN interface of the telco, one needs a driver (some specific software for that card). These drivers typically are available for linux but not, say for OpenBSD or Solaris. Which de facto dictates a chain of decisions and parameters. Furthermore one typically has one or more NGN ("VoIp") lines which are carried through the internet. Sounds innocent but is not. Because that dictates certain parameters and factors again; for instance those data are - unlike "web" data - timing sensitive, so one must introduce QOS and have firewall rules in a certain order (and open yet some more ports). aso. aso.

But also: What is IT security? Some might - very vaguely - say "it's that nobody can enter my network or my computer". Some might say "that only legitimate traffic is going over my network". Yet someone else might say "that nobody can disturb my business with DDOS attacks" - very different classes of problems and very different issues and parameters.

It is not last to this complexity that many who would reasonably consider their network secure ("I use SSL, my email is PGP end-to-end encrypted, I use a brand name firewall from Cisco", etc.) actually have a network that experienced hackers would consider "wide open".

Please note that up this point nothing is nsa related. Pervert as it may sound, I would wish for most business customers - if they were to be hacked anyway - to be hacked by nsa. Simply because nsa would eavesdrop and steal but very typically not harm the business. Evil crackers otoh would typically abuse their access to create considerable damage, incl. financial damage up to the point of de facto crippling the company for weeks.

I mention this not only show the multi-facetted complexity of IT security but also to introduce concrete criteria (rather than the now wide-spread but very vague fear).

The bright side of all this is: The very measures that protect you from 99% of evil crackers - and which one should apply anyway and independent of nsa - will also protect you to a high degree from nsa (or make them chose a different attack vector, e.g. a social one).

If you were right it was mostly to do with stupidity vs. intelligence, the world would be better place. Unfortunately though it's far more complex.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 3, 2014 7:01:03 PM | 73

neretva'43 (70)

It seems my full post is too long so I'll split. Sorry if it turns out to come out double in the end

I recently watch the clip on YT where Harvard's students do not know what the capital of Canada is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0fdYhgJIeE
I assume previous generation weren't any better, so if this kind of people are decision makers than you are right, it is complex.

While I fullheartedly agree that most zamericans are hardly more educated than the chairs they sit on, I do not see how this relates to IT security being complex.


I am certain you are exaggerating at #64, more of less medium and large business' sites are hosted by hosting comp. and are not in control of a technical operations.
Misunderstanding. By "network" I didn't refer to their web site.

Typically a mid-sized company has HQ, usually some production sites, possibly some remote destinations (like a Rome office or a "sales East-Asia" office) and quite often sales partners. And all of these must be integrated into a corporate network. THIS is were the danger lurks, not so much their web site.
And this is where nsa would try to enter so as to steal technical know-how for their zamerican clients.

And yes, IT security is complex. Among other reasons because the networks are complex, the businesses are complex, the relations are complex. But also because security by and in itself is complex.
To give you a practical, if almost stupidly looking example (but trust me, this is the life of a system admin):

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 3, 2014 7:55:46 PM | 74

In Europe, telephone lines are typically ISDN, either BRI (2 channels) or PRI (~ 24channels). With today "unified communication" the telephone "center" typically is (overtly or de facto inside) just a specialized computer system. Now, to use the Card that connects to the ISDN interface of the telco, one needs a driver (some specific software for that card). These drivers typically are available for linux but not, say for OpenBSD or Solaris. Which de facto dictates a chain of decisions and parameters. Furthermore one typically has one or more NGN ("VoIp") lines which are carried through the internet. Sounds innocent but is not. Because that dictates certain parameters and factors again; for instance those data are - unlike "web" data - timing sensitive, so one must introduce QOS and have firewall rules in a certain order (and open yet some more ports). aso. aso.

But also: What is IT security? Some might - very vaguely - say "it's that nobody can enter my network or my computer". Some might say "that only legitimate traffic is going over my network". Yet someone else might say "that nobody can disturb my business with DDOS attacks" - very different classes of problems and very different issues and parameters.

It is not last to this complexity that many who would reasonably consider their network secure ("I use SSL, my email is PGP end-to-end encrypted, I use a brand name firewall from Cisco", etc.) actually have a network that experienced hackers would consider "wide open".

Please note that up this point nothing is nsa related. Pervert as it may sound, I would wish for most business customers - if they were to be hacked anyway - to be hacked by nsa. Simply because nsa would eavesdrop and steal but very typically not harm the business. Evil crackers otoh would typically abuse their access to create considerable damage, incl. financial damage up to the point of de facto crippling the company for weeks.

I mention this not only show the multi-facetted complexity of IT security but also to introduce concrete criteria (rather than the now wide-spread but very vague fear).

The bright side of all this is: The very measures that protect you from 99% of evil crackers - and which one should apply anyway and independent of nsa - will also protect you to a high degree from nsa (or make them chose a different attack vector, e.g. a social one).

If you were right it was mostly to do with stupidity vs. intelligence, the world would be better place. Unfortunately though it's far more complex.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 3, 2014 7:56:03 PM | 75

"And yes, IT security is complex."

No, it is not. However, it depends who you are.

The worst part is dealing with ego-maniacs (majority), with or without "prestige" university diploma, in corporate fascists world. It is more about a corporate politics. And, of course, myself as an immigrant, i.e. fifth-class the so-called citizen have no chances in that WASP's world.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 3, 2014 8:27:36 PM | 76

No it is not.

But ultimately depends on who you are.

It is rather about corporate politics. Dealing with corporate ego-maniacs, with or without "prestige" dipoloma, is the worst part. Myself as immigrant and fift-class the so-called citizen have no chace in that WASP world no matter what you know.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 3, 2014 8:31:13 PM | 77

"Typically a mid-sized company has HQ, usually some production sites, possibly some remote destinations (like a Rome office or a "sales East-Asia" office) and quite often sales partners."

Thanks for opening my eyes!

Domains are standard topology stuff since NT 4.0, and probably earlier.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 3, 2014 8:38:56 PM | 78

"In Europe, telephone lines are typically ISDN..."

Funny.

We had ISDN 1983, in behind "Iron Curtain" country when a telecom installed semi-digital PBX from Ericsson in cooperation with domestic company. When I've came in the US '94 they were on analog PBX and never heard of Call Forwarding service that we had 10 years earlier.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 3, 2014 8:50:02 PM | 79

Sorry, neretva

but you are obviously on some kind on personal war trip.
And, Pardon, you didn't even get the basics. A Windoze domain isn't about security nor about networking other than providing services on top of a network. Sure, one can make security worse by badly configuring a domain controller but one can not do anything relevant to protect against hackers, nsa and the like with it. But probably facts aren't your thing anyway.

Just go on with your personal immigrant, the us (which you chose to go to) is bad (as probably was the country you left), corporate egomania, and sofa intellectual war ...

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 3, 2014 11:02:42 PM | 80

Sorry!?

"A Windoze domain isn't about security..." No kidding?

You are manipulative and phony, that's all of your writing about, OK? The worst part is you don't know better.

Be careful! I'll send you to Detroit, again.

Posted by: neretva43 | Jan 3, 2014 11:37:31 PM | 81

Crawl back under the rock of self disgust &/or loopy shoot the messengerism you emanated from & let those who still gather here who care to debate issues free of subjective analysis from a cretin, the room to do so. The awful irony is that despite your claims of a jew in every evil act, all toiling away, somehow seamlessly, perfectly and indetectably conspiring for israel.. Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 3, 2014 6:12:02 PM | 71
This is all great fun, but I've lost track of where you stand vis-a-vis Snowden & Greenwald. Do you personally believe they are great heroes of freedom, or do you believe they are decoys of some sort?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 4, 2014 3:55:17 AM | 82

Who cares, he's just a fake revolutionary idiot, like most of his ilk. Permenantly Stuck in the 60's, he and his fellow dinosaurs are too moronic to get how the world works. His infrequent posts are just the rantings of a boring old fart, a failure in political terms, and probably in life, too

Posted by: stfu | Jan 4, 2014 5:56:44 AM | 83

Poitras, Appelbaum, Greenwald, Gellman

How many of those are NOT jewish?

Posted by: stfu | Jan 4, 2014 6:00:34 AM | 84

So we have: 30 years old high-school dropouts, former security guard, and somehow employed with the NSA as a contractor of Booz Allen; his girlfriend is/was a pole-dancer.

Than because he saw something that bothered him so much (what he believes is illicit U.S. electronic surveillance) that he left Hawaii with 4 (four) laptops which contained thousands of classified documents among others "he gained access to new U.S. nuclear war plans". Also, "The documents included a presidential order on cyber warfare, PowerPoint slides from secret briefings on Internet data surveillance, and the first ever leak of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court order for data records." Ta-da!

All this above by Network Admin!

A saga continues like this...

All that he gave to the Chinese...and "U.S. officials believe Russian intelligence delayed Snowden’s departure from Moscow in order to question him about NSA programs targeted on Russia."

and there is word about his clemency...

Spectacle society at its best.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 4, 2014 9:28:03 AM | 85

It's actually very difficult to establish that Laura Poitras is, in fact, Jewish. In fact, this is the only evidence I can find. And let me say, this is one admirable lady. To decide in what senses, if any, such 'non-Jewish Jews' are still 'Jewish', you need a complex and sophisticated psychology of identity, which takes account of what I would call 'residual identities' by recognising that they can undergo many dialectical transformations. A 'residual Jewish identity' may lead a 'non-Jewish Jew' to adopt a number of attitudes that more stereotypical Jews would regard as 'anti-Jewish'. Nothing could be farther from my mind, therefore, than to deduce any automatic 'dual loyalty' vis-a-vis Zionism. But the very fact of identifying someone as Jewish triggers the reflex to defend against perceived 'anti-Semitism', not necessarily on their part, but on the part of more stereotypical Jews, who make it their business to police such things, and this reflex fear is one of the existential constituents of practical Zionism, so there is an inevitable vicious circle involved in talking about this.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 4, 2014 9:29:59 AM | 86

So what?

Is it of importance if L. Poitras, or for that matter anyone, is jewish? I don't think so.

The issue is with *zionists*. Not with jewish, catholic, muslim, or believers in the flying spaghetti-monster.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 4, 2014 10:26:00 AM | 87

Funny you should mention the flying spaghetti monster. I meet it, or them, every time I smoke that loco weed.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 4, 2014 11:08:22 AM | 88

Now from the NYTimes editorial board, the first moves to rehabilitate the reputation of Snowden amongst the power elite (I don't believe he ever needed it in public opinion).

I was blown away by this actually. This is a huge deal considering all the time and effort the Obama administration had devoted to attacking him.

Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower By THE EDITORIAL BOARD Published: January 1, 2014 2260 Comments

Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights. The public learned in great detail how the agency has exceeded its mandate and abused its authority, prompting outrage at kitchen tables and at the desks of Congress, which may finally begin to limit these practices.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/opinion/edward-snowden-whistle-blower.html?_r=0

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 4, 2014 1:36:56 PM | 89

"on the part of more stereotypical Jews, who make it their business to police such things"

Sorry Rowan, the people here who are "policing" these things (you mean, by "policing", I assume, disagreeing with you) are not Jewish as far as I know.

If you want to try use people's background to try and discern their entire motives, like some kind of genetic tea leaves, feel free. But please do know that it is more than just reflexive ethnic backlash from Jews that you are getting.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 4, 2014 2:06:00 PM | 90

"This shouldn't even be a debate. The only issue is if an individual is prepared to stand up & be counted as actively resisting the surveillance society or sit on their asses picking blackeads off their spotty pus infested anuses or worse yet play the greedies game for them by spreading libelous shit about those who have stuck their head above the parapet.

"Black Vs white, socialist Vs anarchist vs libertarian, or Assangite Vs Snowden lover, such easy stuff for facile twats who haven't properly considered the true meaning of solidarity forever, to caught up in. They score a few brownie points from their equally facile acolytes and have the 1%ers rolling in the aisles laughing at the mugs who tell themselves they are 'resisting the elites' when they are doing the elites' work for em, and not even getting paid for it!'

I'll second Debs @62

As to Rowan's sectarian reply @63.
It ought to be enough to remark that precisely the same sort of malignant speculation as to motives to which Greenwald- who has done us all considerable service in the past year- is subjected might, with equal justification, be directed at Rowan Berkeley or anyone else who blogs here.

Is "b" to be accused of seeking to displace the WAPO and NYTimes pundits he so unerringly skewers every day or so?

Am I just another pathetic nonentity hoping to be picked up by the internet and propelled, on the strength of a sentence or two of crocodile tears shed over Palestine or Iraq, to fame, fortune and sexual fulfillment?

Are all our discussions to be explained- as doubtless imperialists would like to believe- by selfish and sordid ambitions, or amorality?

And all the arguments and analysis merely incidental, accidental, in an obscure competition for recognition and a place on the Beach of the One percent?

At the core of sectarianism lies the fear, of the faithful, that in a sudden explosion of popular activism their contributions might be overlooked, their talents passed by, as the masses organise themselves for themselves. Thus it is that, while reality cries out for us to unite and fight, the sectarian warns us that our neighbours in the struggle might be traitors, or insufficiently well read, or liable to be bought off by offered compromises, or too well dressed to be authentic or lacking a proper class pedigree or related to the wrong groups, races or religions.

One of the great mysteries, in my mind, of the current situation is why so many young, justifiably angry, victims of the imperialist system, in western Europe, in particular, are more likely to offer themselves up to jihadist reactionaries than to organise themselves to smash capitalism at its core.
One of the answers, I suspect, is that sectarian poison has entered into the bloodstream of the popular left: between Blairism and the degenerated Marxist tradition there is very little room for mass movements to grow. Both detest democracy, so unpredictable and so ruthless, the way that the clapped out Social Democracy of a century ago hated and feared mass strikes, soviets and revolution.


As to the question on the thread: has anyone else wondered whether the apparent collapse of Blackberry's Research in Motion business is unrelated to the NSA spying programme, the co-operation of its rivals with the the NSA and the possible leaking of its commercial and technical plans to competitors?
Or am I just trying to get a job with RIM?

Posted by: bevin | Jan 4, 2014 2:07:22 PM | 91

Rowan, the people here who are "policing" these things (you mean, by "policing", I assume, disagreeing with you) are not Jewish as far as I know. If you want to try use people's background to try and discern their entire motives, like some kind of genetic tea leaves, feel free. But please do know that it is more than just reflexive ethnic backlash from Jews that you are getting. Posted by: guest77 | Jan 4, 2014 2:06:00 PM | 90
I wouldn't imagine 'the people here who disagree with me' share the sort of anti-anti-Semitic consensus you seem to be implying, but as for you personally, if you think what I'm saying has anything to do with 'genetics', then you haven't understood a word of it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 4, 2014 2:32:06 PM | 92

He rarely ever does.

Too busy RIM Jobbing people like Grunwald

Posted by: stfu | Jan 4, 2014 3:45:20 PM | 93

A contractor (born and grew up in U.S.!?) with six figure salary suddenly was enlightened with phenomenon called "high moral ground". He hops to HK and from there to Moscow.

How one get trough an airport security with four laptops?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 4, 2014 3:59:09 PM | 94

A contractor (born and grew up in U.S.!?) with six figure salary suddenly was enlightened with phenomenon called "high moral ground".

I also see reasons to thouroughly think about quite some issues there, too.
But still - no matter the intention and reasons - Snowden changed quite some things.

How one get trough an airport security with four laptops?

Either no questions asked or:

Customs: Why do you have 4 notebooks with you?
Traveller: I'm an IT guy and have different notebooks for different projects, partly because my clients demand it.
Customs: OK, have a good trip.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jan 4, 2014 4:08:43 PM | 95

Nonsense. All you'd ever need would be the hard drives. Thats what proves Snowdens lying.

Posted by: stfu | Jan 4, 2014 6:14:52 PM | 96

".. All you'd ever need would be the hard drives. That's what proves Snowden's lying."

If that is the best "proof" you can produce, you have no grounds for suspicion.
Who benefits from discrediting Snowden, calling into question his "leaks" and clearing the NSA of the charges he has made?
And who would discredit him on "evidence" that is nothing more than speculation based on guesswork?
Another year, another troll. Hmm, foff: stfu.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 4, 2014 8:37:29 PM | 97

secrecy landscapes Trevor Paglen

The secrecy landscapes video is really remarkable. Highly recommended viewing.

More? 30c3

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 4, 2014 9:50:55 PM | 98

stfu @ 96, In my line of work I do travel at times with multiple laptops and/or hard drives. From my experience customs officers show far more interest in drives only compared to entire laptops. So I am surprised to find how little it takes for you to declare you've found proof.

@ Uncle, thanx for the link to Trevor Paglen's presentation, well worth every minute.


Posted by: Juan Moment | Jan 5, 2014 12:34:04 AM | 99

Evil never rests dept:

Release of US spy may seal Middle East peace deal
Toby Harnden, Uzi Mahnaimi, Sunday Times (UK), Jan 5 2014

WASHINGTON/TEL AVIV - The future of a USAian jailed for life for selling secrets to Israel has emerged as a key part of a Middle East accord. The release of Jonathan Pollard, the notorious USAian intelligence analyst who has spent more than 28 years in jail for spying for Israel, could form a vital part of a proposed Middle East peace deal being brokered by the US. Pollard, who... (etc etc etc)

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jan 5, 2014 4:22:53 AM | 100

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