Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 16, 2018

White House: "Iraq Has Anthrax Virus" "Russia Launched NotPetya"

Late last night the White House accused the Russian military of having launched the destructive "NotPetya" malware which in June 2017 hit many global companies:

Statement from the Press Secretary

In June 2017, the Russian military launched the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history.

The attack, dubbed “NotPetya,” quickly spread worldwide, causing billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It was part of the Kremlin’s ongoing effort to destabilize Ukraine and demonstrates ever more clearly Russia’s involvement in the ongoing conflict. This was also a reckless and indiscriminate cyber-attack that will be met with international consequences.

The statement has the same quality as earlier statements about Spain sinking the Maine or about Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction had.

Neither the U.S. nor anyone else has presented ANY evidence of ANY Russian involvement in the creation or distribution of the NotPetya malware. The U.S. is simply asserting this while presenting nothing to back it up.

There is, in general, no attribution possible for any such cyber attack. As John McAfee, founder of an anti-virus firm, said:

“When the FBI or when any other agency says the Russians did it or the Chinese did something or the Iranians did something – that's a fallacy,” said McAfee.
...
Any hacker capable of breaking into something is extraordinarily capable of hiding their tracks. If I were the Chinese and I wanted to make it look like the Russians did it I would use Russian language within the code. “I would use Russian techniques of breaking into organisations so there is simply no way to assign a source for any attack – this is a fallacy.”
...
I can promise you – if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians.”

I agree with McAfee's statement. The CIA must likewise agree. Wikileaks has released a number of CIA cyber tools it had obtained. These included software specifically designed to create false attributions:

The CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.

Nearly all "attributes" used for attributing a cyber attack can be easily faked to accuse a party not involved in the attack.

The British National Cyber Security Center, part of the British computer spying organisation GCHQ, also claims that the Russian military is "almost certainly" responsible for the NotPetya attack. Canada and the Australians also chipped in.

But note - these are NOT independent sources. They are, together with New Zealand, part of the of the "Five Eyes" spying alliance. From NSA files released by Edward Snowden we know that the Five Eyes are practically led by the U.S. National Security Agency:

One internal document quotes the head of the NSA, Lieutenant General Keith Alexander, on a visit to Menwith Hill in June 2008, asking: "Why can't we collect all the signals all the time? Sounds like a good summer project for Menwith."

Menwith Hill is a Royal Airforce spying station and part of the GCHQ infrastructure. That the head of the NSA can assign "summer projects" to it shows where the real power lies.

The Russian government strongly rejects the accusations.

NotPetya was a destructive virus that masked as ransomware. It was based on attacking tools which originally had been developed by the NSA but were later anonymously published by someone calling himself Shadow-Broker. One of several attack vectors NotPetya used was the update mechanism of some tax accounting software which is common in Ukraine and Russia. But the attack soon spread globally:

The attack hit Ukraine central bank, government computers, airports, the Kiev metro, the state power distributor Ukrenergo, Chernobyl’s radiation monitoring system, and other machines in the country. It also affected Russian oil giant Rosneft, DLA Piper law firm, U.S. biopharmaceutical giant Merck, British advertiser WPP, and Danish shipping and energy company Maersk, among others.

The biggest damaged through NotPetya occurred at the Danish shipping company Maersk which had to completely reboot its entire infrastructure and lost some $250-300 million due to the attack.

The question one must always ask when such accusations are made is: Why would the accused do this?

In January the U.S. attribution claims about the NotPetya malware were prelaunched through the Washington Post:

The CIA has attributed to Russian military hackers a cyberattack that crippled computers in Ukraine last year, an effort to disrupt that country’s financial system amid its ongoing war with separatists loyal to the Kremlin.
...
The GRU military spy agency created NotPetya, the CIA concluded with “high confidence” in November, according to classified reports cited by U.S. intelligence officials.
...
The hackers worked for the military spy service’s GTsST, or Main Center for Special Technology, the CIA reported. That unit is highly involved in the GRU’s cyberattack program, including the enabling of influence operations.

What could have been the motive of the "Russian military" to release a (badly written) malware that destroys computer-files of random companies all over the world including at the all important Russian oil-giant Rosneft. To assume that Ukraine's financial system was the target is almost certainly wrong. There is also no evidence that this was the case. Ukraine's Central Bank was just one of thousands of victims of the attack.

Only some 50% of the affected companies were in Ukraine. Most of them were not financial firms. The attack was initiated through an update mechanism of an accounting software that is also used in Russia. That original attack vector was probably chosen simply because it was easy to use. The accounting software company had a lousy security protection. The first infected computers then applied a different mechanism to spread the malware to other machines. The attack was launched on a Ukrainian national holiday which is not optimal if one wants to spread it as wide as possible throughout the Ukraine.

That the Ukraine and Russia were hit first by the malware was also likely just a time-of-day question. The timeline shows that the U.S. and most of western-Europe were still asleep when the virus started to proliferate. The anti-virus organizations, the Russian company Kaspersky among them, took only a few hours to diagnose the attacking software. A solution to prevent further damage was found within some twelve hours. By the time the U.S. working day started anti-virus companies were already releasing advise and protective code against it. If the attack had not been stopped by protective software it would have effected many more computers. Most of these would not have been in the Ukraine.

The U.S. attribution of the NotPetya attack to some Russian organization is extremely doubtful. In general a certain attribution of any such cyber attack is impossible. It is easy for any sophisticated virus writer to modify the code so that it looks as if it was written by some third party. The CIA even develops tools to do exactly that.

The attacking software seemed to be of relatively low quality. It was a badly designed mishmash created from earlier known malware and spy tools. It was not confined to a certain country or target. It can at best be described as an act of random vandalism on a global scale. There is no discernible motive for any Russian state organizations to release such nonsense.

In 2009 Russia offered an international treaty to prohibit cyber attacks. It was the U.S. under Obama which rejected it as "unnecessary" while it was expanding its own attack capabilities.

The U.S. government has launched a Cold War 2.0 against Russia. The motive for that seems to be mostly monetary. Hunting a few 'terrorists' does not justify big military budgets, opposing a nuclear power does.

The now released accusations against Russia have as much foundation in reality as the claims of alleged Iraqi WMDs. We can only hope that these new accusations will have less severe consequences.

Posted by b on February 16, 2018 at 04:30 AM | Permalink

Comments
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re 97: Equifax
Bingo! I think the funds transfer from the Pentagon budget via the Equifax hack is what the University Business School team inadvertently caught in their audit of the Budget Offices payouts to the Pentagon (link below), that would explain why there are endless Budget office payments with no supporting documentation.
The real question is why did the Budget Office instead of replying to the Business School team, not only ignore them but take the prior to public Budget Office records offline?
Could it be Equifax was and is an inside job with the objectives of stealing from and bankrupting the US govt??
See link:www.forbes.com/sites/kotlikof,f/2017/12/08/has-our-government-spent-21-trillion-of-our-money-without-telling-us/#6bf806157aef
re: Mao quote, thank all of you who corrected me, I thought it was said about the US during Nixon's visit, I was in error, myapologies.

Posted by: frances | Feb 17, 2018 1:23:02 PM | 101

The number one reason for the present discomfort
of humanity lies within the inability and more so
unwillingness to remedy the myopic world view it
is clinging on like a sailor onto a floating life
ring in shark infested waters, where it is not a
question of 'if', but 'when' the sharks will eat
the sailor.

Religious delusion might be the single biggest
contributor to humanity's demise. It demands and
thrives off the myopic view of the world. But herein
lies the rub.

Without a thorough re-evaluation of each human's
view of its own existence and perception of the
world it 'lives IN', the disappearance from Earth
is but a consequence of this myopic view.

Unable to see the forest for the trees, humanity
spins its strings of misguided thoughts around
a strategy that is so apt described in the book
'Ishmael' by Daniel Quinn. Humanity has allowed
a few to push a wooden, pedal operated aircraft
over the cliff in order to fly. As the ground
comes closer, the TPTB tell humanity to pedal
harder to avoid crashing into the ground.

Sure, the truth is never convenient to those
who make up their own reality, but it remains
that the failure of humanity to drop it's delusions
about its own position and place in the world.

To gratefully acknowledge one's own brief appearance
on Earth and to accept that one is not in control.
That there is no God - no matter how one needs that
to be the case to draw sense and reason from one's
existence.

If not for its individual members, it matters not
that humanity is going extinct. As if everything
that happened over the last 3 billion years on Earth
occurred, or happened exclusively to give one species
the right to alter it and ultimately destroy the
tree of life.

Nobody will notice, if humanity continues to refuse
to grow up and out of religion and leaves remnants
of a once busy species that won't be preserved in
Amber. Life goes on without mankind. There will be
no cake. Accept the truth versus these frantic attempts
to change the course of evolution - evolution is
not a program, or plan, nor a blue print that created
mankind and its diorama in seven days.

Evolution is nothing but the FLOW of an
expanding Universe. Earth will keep re-creating
itself - in spite of the obsession of religious
people to bring about Armageddon, or the rapture.

Last but not least, it helps to understand that no
place on Earth is not on Earth. Nowhere to go, nowhere
to hide from one's own life story.


Posted by: nottheonly1 | Feb 17, 2018 1:45:01 PM | 102

@102 nottheonly1.. i enjoyed 'Ishmael' by Daniel Quinn.. i like your post... what does it take for the world to move forward here? sometimes suffering is needed in order for people to recognize the foolishness of their ways.. perhaps we are at a critical point here on planet earth and we are going to be given a collective wake up call.. something needs to happen..

Posted by: james | Feb 17, 2018 2:23:43 PM | 103

perhaps we are at a critical point here on planet earth and we are going to be given a collective wake up call.. something needs to happen.. james renfield aka knuckles site white wash team leader

indeed indeed my boy james something needs to happen all right and end to circle jerkings on forum,coffee chit chats,limited hang outs
exposure of the 80 pound gorilla with the 6 free sampson option blackmail nuclear submarines.
donated free paid for by the mentally raped slaves of germany for past perceived crimes by hitler and his zionist henchmen.
read a book james start with

charles highams trading with the enemy
same old play book zionists funding all sides.

Posted by: turd ferguson | Feb 17, 2018 5:27:55 PM | 104

can you feel it goy
no
you are not invited that is why
cattle for profit.


The mashiach [Jewish messiah] will bring about the political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people by bringing us back to Israel and restoring Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5). He will establish a government in Israel that will be the center of all world government, both for Jews and gentiles (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1). He will rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship (Jeremiah 33:18). He will restore the religious court system of Israel and establish Jewish law as the law of the land (Jeremiah 33:15)...The world after the messiah comes is often referred to in Jewish literature as Olam Ha-Ba (oh-LAHM hah-BAH), the World to Come...In the Olam Ha-Ba, the whole world will recognize the Jewish G-d as the only true G-d, and the Jewish religion as the only true religion (Isaiah 2:3; 11:10; Micah 4:2-3; Zechariah 14:9)." -- From "Mashiach: The Messiah", Judaism 101

Posted by: normal golan | Feb 17, 2018 5:34:59 PM | 105

Chipnik | Feb 17, 2018 11:54:57 AM | 95

As you likely know, I live in SE Asia. From where I sit, your friends are wrong.
Who the hell wants to live in Bangkok; or any other tourist trap? Not this one.
Being a native English speaker all by itself puts you in high demand here. With a bachelor degree in anything you can teach.
The average Thai makes less (much less) than ฿10,000/mos. As a teacher youll make a minimum of ฿35,000/mos and be eligible for good, low cost health coverage.
A decent singl house will be around ฿4/5,000/mos.
The exchange rate is meaningless so dont worry the U.S. equivalent; it doesn't mean anything.
I'll leave it there; so few are willing to take the leap; I thank the gods, daily, for my good fortune here. 15 years and counting...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 17, 2018 7:23:32 PM | 106

Authentic discussion
reaches a certain height
of faithfulness to reality.
Truth blooms.

Silly names come in
to talk nonsense.

The relief valve
of lies under pressure.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17, 2018 10:10:22 PM | 107

@106 V. Arnold

I cannot describe how much I yearn for a situation such as yours.

Ten years ago I asked myself in a very deep way if I should leave the US, and go back to the world.

I concluded - saying this now, I suppose, at the risk of sounding conceited - that "these people need help. They don't have a clue."

I decided to stay. I wonder every day if maybe that was wrong.

But indeed, for those of us still here, there are two schools of thought: either (a) take your knowledge and flee or (b) take your knowledge and try to help.

I don't have the answer. Every day I fail to come up with the answer.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17, 2018 10:23:24 PM | 108

Grieved | Feb 17, 2018 10:23:24 PM | 108

Fortunately I faced no such dilema.
In the 6 months preceeding March 19, 2003; I had joined discussion groups, to no avail.
It became apparent I, as an individual or collective, could do nothing to stop the coming horror. It's far worse than ever today.
It's part of the myth of national identity we are indoctrinated with from birth.
You're stuck in a false dichotomy for which there is no solution.
Further; we (me in particular) have helped more people (including children) here, person to person, than ever in the U.S..

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 17, 2018 10:55:31 PM | 109

@109 V. Arnold

I thank you, truly.

I'm looking at every word of your last sentence. The truth of it overwhelms me.

It shifts the balance.

...

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17, 2018 11:20:14 PM | 110

Grieved | Feb 17, 2018 11:20:14 PM | 110

You are very welcome. Best wishes to you...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 18, 2018 12:45:07 AM | 111

Don Bacon @93

Wow! It just shows how thorough the brainwash is! It really permeate every fiber of US society and every aspect of the US life.

IF Chinese/Russian did what you've desctibed, Western MSM would automatically jump on the neck of Chinese/Russian calling them "nationalist" with agression aptitude; When American salute its army servicemen, it is called "patriotist".


I don't know whether you've noticed how often MSM would dole out "nationalism(ist)" to China/Chinese/Russia/Russian but always use "patriotism(ist)" to describe USA/American.

Posted by: mali | Feb 18, 2018 4:49:25 AM | 112

Obama, the faux populist, had the “Birthers” on his ass for years saying that Obama wasn’t qualified to be President and - “stirring the pot” which included accusations that Obama was a Muslim socialist that sought to destroy America.

Now Trump, another faux populist, faces outlandish accusations of Russian collusion. As with Obama and the Birthers, nothing is likely to come of this.

Should we just ignore the parallels? And the possibility that it is all theater for public consumption? And the implication that the elections themselves were just theater?

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Some say that the Russian investigation is meant to cover for Hillary’s embarrassing failure to win the Presidency. But was she ever really in it to win it? Oh sure, she went thru the motions and raised a lot of money but her email server scandal was a atheist for a women in public life for years and who planned another run for President.

What Hillary has really done is to emasculate the Democratic Party and squash discontent from the left.

Others says that Trump’s election represents a counter-coup. I used to think this too. But what has changed? How much different is Trump’s center-right rule from how centrist Hillary would have governed? I think it foolish to believe that Hillary would’ve started WWIII. No, the smart move was to pretent to fight ISIS, co-opt the Kurds (the effort begun under Obama), and grab Eastern Syria - exactly as Trump has done.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 18, 2018 11:22:30 AM | 113

@ grieved and V. Arnold

The main point is that you have kept your
natural suspicion and critical thinking
in a world run through constant deceit and
propaganda.
Where you are matters not as much, as how
you are available to others. When we understand
that there is actually no difference between
places, other than the ones we create to be so,
then we also understand that the perfect place
to be, is the one, one lives in presently.

These are challenging times for people with
high ethical values. To witness the unfolding
of the dissolution of societies everywhere,
must cause discomfort. If it doesn't, then it
only goes to show that the individual has lost
its humanity.

It may not be perfectly apparent, but
each member of the collective consciousness
is already at its place of maximal influence.
It is part of the understanding, that where
one is at this moment, is exactly where one
is supposed to be. 'Supposed' from a position
of the 'bigger picture'.

Nobody would deny that Hawai'i is different
from any other place on Earth for infinite
reasons. But yet, the way how I interact
with fellow members of mankind is as various
as these members are. My words may or may
not have any effect here, as much as in Thailand,
or France, or elsewhere.

The point is to understand that there are
excellent reasons why one is where one is
presently. One can have tremendous influence
no matter where one is.

Sure, one could say that any attempt to
assist those who are lost - mentally -
would be akin to cast pearls before the
swine. But it is the act of casting the
pearls that counts, not what those whose
feet they are ending up before will do
with them.

There lies great peace of mind in the
acceptance of the present as it is. If
anything could be different, it would be.
Unfortunately, in the Western societies,
Philosophy has become but a nod to the past,
where people were in highest regards for
being 'Thinkers'. In Orwellian fashion, it
is the other way around now.

No time for philosophical thoughts, for any
form of introspection - the myopic view of
the world has humanity in a tight grip. For
good reasons. It is so much easier to blend
in, than to stick out. Sticking out has even
become outright dangerous in so many ways.

Your presence is what matters, your perspective
and your understanding - no matter where. Life
has taught me a many lessons about what might
be a blessing today, could turn against me
tomorrow - and vice versa.

If the main objective is to understand the
'human condition', it won't matter much where
this understanding occurs. Although it can
be alleged, that the harder the circumstances,
the more lost those surrounding oneself are,
the deeper the understanding, the sweeter the
fruit of the tree of patience.

Of course, one should not succumb to the illusion
that those who were instrumental in the creation
of the present conditions on Earth, could ever
even ask themselves, whether what they are doing
to others and the planet is actually beneficial
for all beings. Their ego-centric, myopic view
of the world will prevent that.

In a very ironical way, it is our tormentors
that are absolutely remote controlled. When I
ask people here in the village what they think
about the fact that HPR/NPR are hyping up so
called 'Russian Meddling', while not at the
same time speaking about the wars based on
lies perpetrated by the US through it's history,
they do stare at me and I can see that their
marbles in the head are moving.

Another person woke up to the hypocrisy,
blatant lies and propaganda coming from
'listener supported' radio stations.

Nothing else matters than being authentic
to the core principles that rule the
Universe.

The answer to the fear mongering of the
remote controlled fraction of humanity
is fearlessness.


Posted by: nottheonly1 | Feb 18, 2018 8:16:09 PM | 114

nottheonly1 | Feb 18, 2018 8:16:09 PM | 114

Agree with your closing paragraph; fearlessness is critical.
Or, put differently, feel the fear, and act in spite of it.
Geography is important in terms of economics. If I still lived in the U.S. I would likely be on the street; or working two shit jobs and living in a flop house.
SE Asia, in general is quite inexpensive and affordable for someone on SS. Just a minor quibble.
As to the rest? I think you covered the bases quite well.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 18, 2018 9:21:31 PM | 115

@ V. Arnold #115

Asia is a part of the world I have not been to, yet.
For 20 plus years, I was convinced that Hawai'i
would be the place to be. Specifically the Big Island.
As someone who loves Earth sciences, this is a
marvelous place to be. Spending time with the
Goddess of the Lava has forever changed my
previously rather limited mind. Being in the
Lava fields by myself has been very enlightening.

The peace of mind in a very hostile environment -
if one is to see the Lava as hostile, after all it
is just flowing around - has been the most rewarding
result of this solitude in the liquid rock world.
It comes as an ever so starker contrast now to
witness the massive influx of people fleeing
the mainland - the insecure homeland. Prices
have been going through the roof of the local
population's wallet. The radio says that Hawai'i
has a better 'economy' than ever before. The
notion of record homelessness due to predatory
capitalism that has destroyed the local housing
market is omitted from the news of a booming
tourist destination.
Here in Hawai'i, the proverbial feces have already
hit the fan.

In all this, I am heading back to the old Europe
to take care of my rapidly aging parents, who can
also sing a song about the collapse of the housing
'market' back in my former home. Rent has doubled
over the last half a decade, with the majority
ripoff having occurred with the introduction of
the 'Euro'. The exchange rate fairytale never
manifested. Everything just got more expensive.
With extremely mixed emotions I am leaving the
Lava for an explosive Europe that seems to come
apart at the seams. Although, I consider it to
be the right thing to do - my parents have always
been there for me, now it is time to be there for
them. Plus, the growing insanity of a society in
rapid decline and dissolution here in Hawai'i
make the journey somewhat rational. Hawai'i
will always be my home, no matter what. No
matter where I go here, I look into smiling
faces - people enjoy seeing me and spending
time with me. I have become part of the local
community and I am deeply loved and cared for.
And all that far away from the place I was
born out of.

In the moment, the volcano is getting ready for
a major do-over. The emissions and the effusion
are at record levels. Earthquakes abound, but
for those who were born here, or have lived
here for some time, earthquakes are nothing
worrisome- they can be pleasant, if that is
possible to say. They remind us of where we
live. The magnitudes go up though. Some in my
family say that I will miss the ensuing catastrophe,
but my Mom needs me now and it appears to be a
set up of Universal proportions. We will see.

I am looking forward to report from different
shores soon, allowing for the same insights
I have been able to give about this occupied
paradise.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Feb 18, 2018 11:11:39 PM | 116

nottheonly1 | Feb 18, 2018 11:11:39 PM | 116

We should probably move this to private areas; if so inclined;
vernedotarnoldatyahoodotcom

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 18, 2018 11:39:56 PM | 117

@V. Arnold

Agreed. Even though we appear to be the last
commenters on this thread...

I will be back tomorrow - a hui hou.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Feb 19, 2018 1:06:35 AM | 118

nottheonly1 | Feb 19, 2018 1:06:35 AM | 118

Anon it is, Cheers

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 19, 2018 1:10:56 AM | 119

@ nottheonly1 who wrote: "Agreed. Even though we appear to be the last
commenters on this thread..."

Your concept of last in this context needs some refinement....grin

But I also want to share that taking care of your parents is the right thing to do, IMO I am 69 and didn't make any to take care of me.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 19, 2018 1:15:58 AM | 120

nottheonly1
"the perfect place
to be, is the one, one lives in presently.
These are challenging times for people with
high ethical values"

Trying to think of something to say, but all I can come up with is this - Regards to you, and - we live in shit times (throughout history, somebody is always living in shit times). Will keep an eye out for your posts from Europe.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 19, 2018 2:10:39 AM | 121

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