Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Archive for October 2009

Nuclear OPSEC FAIL

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While surfing the intertubes today I came across this little piece of OPSEC FAIL on the DOE.gov site. I believe it is a planned site per the document, but, this is rather detailed even for a plan to just be out there for any Jihadist to download.

This brings up the whole OPSEC issue. Too many places just fail to understand the precepts of OPESEC even within the rarefied air of the DOE where super mental genius’s work on the next generation transwarp drive. It seems especially these folks fail to understand the needs for secrecy.

Of course looking toward the private sector, I see way too many places that fail to comprehend OPSEC never mind try to implement and enforce the rules surrounding it to protect their data.

Even defense contractors… Now there’s a scary thought huh?

Oh well.. Lets just hope the next wave of homegrown jihadi’s can’t read or use Google.

… Now where is that zombie apocalypse we were promised?

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/30 at 01:21

The Virus and the Swine

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The Virus and the Swine

Influenza A viruses have segmented, negative-sense RNA genomes that encode up to 11 proteins. These include the surface glycoproteins hemagglutinin and neuraminidase and the virulence factors NS1 (host interferon antagonist)and PB1-F2 (proapoptotic factor). The viruses are grouped according to theexpression of 1 of 16 hemagglutinin subtypes and 1 of 9 neuraminidase subtypes (Palese and Shaw, 2007).

The elusive nature of influenza viruses as targets of adaptive immunity is mostlya function of the hemagglutinin molecule, the major surface antigen eliciting protectiveantibodies. The hemagglutinin is a remarkable structure, accommodatingsignificant morphological changes while maintaining its crucial functions in attachingthe virus to the host cell and mediating fusion of the viral and host membranes.Entry of influenza viruses into cells depends on the presence of a functional hemagglutinin molecule and expression of the host cell receptor for hemagglutinin, sialic acid.

Humans and avian species differ in the expression of sialyltransferases in mucosal and respiratory tissues resulting in N-glycans with either α2,6 (human) or α2,3 (avian) linked sialic acids. The ability of a particular virus to bind to either of these two conformations of terminal sialic acid is thought to be the basis for the host restriction that is characteristic of influenza viruses.

An avian virus that acquires the ability, via mutation or reassortment, to bind to α2,6-linked sialic acids may cross the species barrier and become infectious in humans. Infections in swine are thought to mediate virus reassortment because swine tissues express both forms of sialic acid, enabling cells to be coinfected with avian and human viruses (Olsen, 2002).

Viruses adapted to swine can also combine with human and avian viruses to produce triple reassortants that may have the ability to infect humans. The 2009 H1N1 swine influenza virus is an example of a triple reassortant

Influenza viruses demonstrate variations in their ability to be transmitted between humans. Molecular markers predicting the ability of a virus to be transmitted have not yet been determined. However, low temperature and low humidity are known to be environmental conditions that favor aerosol transmission, explaining the seasonal nature of normal influenza

(Lowen et al.,2007).

This morning I finished watching “The Time Is Now” Season 2 of MillenniuM and got to thinking about the swine, avian, and other pandemics out there that might happen. As we are in the midst of the H1N1 pandemic I thought it appropriate to give it a closer look.

Turns out that the H1N1 is a close relative of the 1918 H1N1 that only lack a couple of protein sectors to make its lethality and transmissibility nastier. Sure, you think “whew we’re good!” but the reality is that these two proteins could easily pop up because of the nature of the swine flu and the nature of the swine themselves that allow for easy re-assortant.

Simply, this bug, because it is from swine, and swine express both the vectors of avian protease areas as well as human.

Thus the likelihood of another shift to allow for these proteins to be installed within the virus is much higher a probability than one might think. It’s just a matter of time really before this happens and really, I think that the avian portion of the picture will re-assert itself and we will see the full effect of a triple reassortant virus.

This week the President declared an emergency, the WHO declared pandemic a while ago, and the press ran away with the ball like chicken little. The populace though, seem to be rather lax about the whole thing because they fail to understand the dangers I think. The following things make you more likely to have real problems should you contract this virus.

  1. Asthma
  2. Heart Disease
  3. Pulmonary diseases
  4. Immunocompromised individuals
  5. Obesity
  6. Pregnancy

Never mind that this virus has been striking people in their teens and 20’s who do not have any of these problems with their health. Because this is a respiratory illness that causes pneumonia, it is more likely to actually kill you than the average flu, and yes, the average flu kills about 200K people a year. H1N1 thus far has killed 246K people. It’s a bit more virulent. And yet, it is not 1918 virulent yet. In 1918 in 25 weeks approximately 25 million died from its effects. Swine flu is it’s tamer but mutation friendly cousin.

And you wonder why officials get spooked about this one?

So, yeah, I am kinda worried about this bug. I have the asthma and have to wonder about getting the shot or nasal swab to hopefully prevent getting sick. I also have to wonder about the CDC’s page that says that CT has “widespread” cases of Swine. Not pockets, its just all the hell over the place. Of course people are not dropping dead of it as I have heard… But, I don’t want to be in ICU with acute respiratory issues because I got it and have asthma. That would be bad. Guess I will have to talk to the doctor.

This all got me thinking though about BW and just what’s been going on since our last episode with the Anthrax that was sent to Tom Delay and others. Which, whatever happened to that case huh? Is it closed now because that guy committed suicide after they hounded him? Last I had heard there was no concrete evidence that he had in fact manufactured the Anthrax to the BW level and sent it. This got me thinking though about the old Sov program in BW.

I took a stroll though Google and came up with an interesting story back in 2004 by the CBC on Biopreparat and VEKTOR. Evidently even in 04 there was monkey business going on in the old Sov state. They had allegedly moved their BW programs to the military area and went completely black.  To give you perspective, the defection of two high ranking doctors back in the late 80’s pretty much put a crimp in the Sov’s bioweapons programs… But, evidently not enough of one to stop them.

Nope, they have kept on making new and improved weapons. In fact, they came out back in 2001 with a report that they had “accidentally” created a vaccine resistant strain of anthrax. A strain they refused to give any data or samples about when asked by the rest of the world to assure that it was indeed resistant to not only the Sov vaccine, but also the US and others.

They just said nyet. So who knows what they have now.

But Putin is our friend! W looked into his soul!

Right.

Oh well, I have dug up a bunch of docs for you to peruse. I guess the real thing for me here:

What’s your labile swine flu pandemic plan?

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/28 at 23:46

Maranatha

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Vyacheslav Kirillovich Ivankov (Russian: Вячесла́в Кири́ллович Иванько́в) (January 2 1940 – October 9, 2009) was a notorious member of the Russian Mafia who was believed to have connections with Russian state intelligence organizations and their organized crime partners.[1] He has operated in both the Soviet Union and the United States. His nickname, “Yaponchik” (Япончик) translates from Russian as “Little Japanese”, due to his faintly Asian facial features.[2]

2009 assassination

On July 28, 2009, at around 19:20 Moscow time (1520 GMT), Ivankov was shot while leaving a restaurant on Khoroshevskoye Road in Moscow. A sniper rifle was found abandoned in a nearby parked vehicle.[4]

Having died from his injuries seventy-three days later, on October 9, 2009,[5] Ivankov was buried in Moscow on October 13, 2009.[6]

This is just kind of weird. I awoke this morning wanting to watch “Maranatha” and while its been on, I decided to look up the name “Yaponchik” What I found was this Wiki entry that includes the above assassination report.. From this month… DAYS ago.

Here’s the summary from Millennial Abyss:

Summary: Frank Black and Peter Watts investigate a series of brutal killings in the Brighton Beach Russian community of New York City, killings that are linked to the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. The shotgun slayings seem to be the work of mysterious Russian diplomat Sergei Stepanovich, a man recognized by the local immigrants as Yaponchik, a mythical Russian figure destined by prophecy to be revealed as the Antichrist.

In the story line, Yaponchik is shot by Yura and survives to tell him that he cannot be killed by Yura, he is not the one who can kill him, he in fact is to be Yaponchik’s servant… The father of lies… Yura feels he has no control.. It is fate…

One of the great episodes of the first season.

And then this revelation of Yaponchik.

Creepy.

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/23 at 10:56

Posted in MillenniuM

“The code is mightier than the sword”

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Sophisticated technology has an important role to play in countering the terrorist web. While some portions of the terrorist web are out in the open, other parts operate in an area of the Internet commonly referred to as “the Deep Web.” Akin to an ocean, the Internet has surface pages, but a significant portion lies beneath that surface, out of reach of most popular search engines.

A handful of companies have developed data intelligence technologies that give access to sites traditional search engines cannot find. The U.S. intelligence community and military use these technologies to transform web data from terrorist sites into actionable intelligence.

For example, certain applications can crawl millions of domains simultaneously, a task impossible for human analysts alone. Since this volume of data, including dynamic content from the most complex websites, can be overwhelming for intelligence analysts, applications automatically extract and analyze only the data of higher intelligence value. They also use “anonymizer” tools to hide the computer user’s identity to try and keep the intelligence analyst from being shut out by terrorist web masters.

Full Article

Absolutely true. There’s a lot out there and much of it has been more craftily hidden lately. The Jihadists have hired on hackers and coders who have been creating websites, hiding websites, and generally creating venues of communication and propagation of videos etc.

The paradigm for getting new recruits has changed too. These sites and their videos are the new Mosques where you need not know the Quran by heart. In fact, have Google will travel! So imagine how many youths can be reached by the internet…

You should also ponder how much money the Jihadists can make with the internet. Hacking, donation collection, etc. All of these things help them fund themselves and transfer funds quickly.

It’s a brave new world kids…

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/22 at 01:44

CIA Blog Watch

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America’s spy agencies want to read your blog posts, keep track of your Twitter updates — even check out your book reviews on Amazon.

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It’s part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using ”open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the flood of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports generated every day.

The Rest

So HI CIA!

//BEGIN TRANSMISSION

BOMB/NUKE/QAEDA/HOPSCOTCH/CODE WORD/SIGINT/MASINT/CLASSIFIED

//END

Did you get all that? Hmmm ponder ponder.. Anyway, I understand the needs for datamining to a certain extent, but I really think you’re going to be bored by a lot of the content out there.

Ho hum… Welcome to the panopticon.

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/21 at 00:45

Posted in .gov, .mil, Cyber, SIGINT

Walk In’s Un-Welcome

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In the six months after the 9/11 attacks, up to 20 Cubans walked into U.S. embassies around the world and offered information on terrorism threats. Eventually, all were deemed to be Cuban intelligence agents and collaborators, purveying fabricated information.

A White House official complained bitterly and publicly in 2002 that Fidel Castro’s agents had tried to send U.S. intelligence on “wild goose” chases that could cost lives at a time when Washington was reeling from the worst terrorism attacks in history.

But now two former U.S. government experts on Cuba have told El Nuevo Herald that the post-9/11 “walk-ins” were part of a permanent Havana intelligence program — both before and long after 9/11 — that sends Cuban agents to U.S. embassies to mislead, misinform and identify U.S. spies, perhaps even to penetrate U.S. intelligence.

“Many walk-ins were eventually identified as known/suspected [Cuban agents]. The problem was that U.S. intelligence was so starved for information on Cuba — and we had so few Cuba experts — that walk-ins were low risk, high payoff for the Cubans,” said one former U.S. intelligence community official.

“The Cubans periodically used walk-ins to continue to test U.S. capabilities and reactions, but . . . later approaches were not as frequent as we saw in the immediate wake of the Sept. 11 attacks,” added a former top Bush administration official.

Full Story

Ahh the ubiquitous “walk in” In the community, this type of offer could be just as this article speaks of or, it could be a real boon to an agency such as the CIA. What’s interesting is when I was reading this article I thought back to Hurricane Katrina and Fidel’s offer of support services which W said NYET to. Now I can understand a bit more why he would just say no to that.

It also gives me more of a grasp of why W and company may have been so reticent to talk turkey at all about loosening up on Cuba. I know that the Montes case kinda hit close to home.. And now that couple who had been spying for Cuba for years.

Guess Cuba has been busy! Makes sense all the Numbers station action out of them lately.

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/21 at 00:28

Posted in Covert Ops, HUMINT

Scuttlebut On The Street For MillenniuM

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millennium_2012

Lance Henriksen, the veteran sci-fi character actor perhaps best known for playing former FBI profiler Frank Black in the ’90s TV series Millennium, has been talking about a feature-film follow-up/sequel for years and has reportedly been approached by investors interested in mounting an independent production, though Fox owns the rights.

Now comes news, via ScreenRant, that Fox itself may be considering a new independent movie based on the Chris-Carter-created show, with Henriksen but without Carter (who also created The X-Files and co-wrote and directed last year’s flop The X-Files: I Want to Believe).

I have heard rumblings that Fox are interested in bringing Millennium back to screens—possibly without the involvement of Chris Carter—and this independent route would seem like a way of doing so. It’s also believed that the studio intends to make another X-Files film, and again it’s possible that Carter won’t be involved … .

Now, be aware that this is speculation, but also something that I have heard through the grapevine, so there might be some truth to it.

Fans recall that the show, which aired on Fox 1996-’99, centered on Black, a former FBI investigator with a history of mental issues, who is recruited by the mysterious Millennium Group, a private group of former law-enforcement personnel who investigate crimes of the supernatural but whose true agenda remained murky and had something to do with the coming millennial year (2000, though the actual new millennium kicked off in 2001).

The show had a rocky creative history, owing to changing executive producers (Carter, then former X-Files writers Glen Morgan and James Wong, then Carter again), network interference and a rambling and at times incoherent mythology. The show was canceled before it could wrap up; a 1999 episode ofThe X-Files, titled “Millennium,” brought back Henriksen as Black to put a coda on the Millennium TV series.

ScreenRant suggests that a new independent Millennium movie would be spearheaded by filmmaker Brett A. Hart, who directed Henriksen in the indie feature Bone Dry:

I spoke with Hart who had this to say about the project:

“As a tremendous admirer of “The Millennium Series” I’m of course very intrigued by the recent rumors that there may indeed be a full length feature on the horizon. If any one can get “Millennium” made it’s Lance, and it’s been a long time coming. It’s time to give the fans what they’ve been patiently waiting to see… More insight into the aberrant world of Frank Black … while further elevating and merging storylines, characterization and visuals… and finally closure for one of the finest series ever created. Let’s hope as the title sequence suggest “The Time is near” … and as I’ve already publicly stated … my passion and conviction for the series is so deep that I’d direct “Millennium—The Movie” for free just to see it on the big screen.”

Not sure how a movie would work: The millennial changeover has come and gone, and basing a film on that would be kind of like calling a movie “Y2K.” But Henriksen remains a great screen presence, and it would be nice to see him glowering as Frank Black one last time.

I would LOVE to see this come to fruition and a movie done. However, I certainly hope any film done is done MUCH better than that awful X-Files “I Want To Believe” claptrap that was loosed upon an unsuspecting public. So, without Carter is just fine with me. I should hope that at the very least Lance would be a good judge of script and perhaps say no to a bad one or half effort.

I think personally they have a zeitgeist in the whole 2012 thing coming up. They have the time to make a film and have it out before 2012 comes! I even like the logo I created at the top of this post!

CoB

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/21 at 00:00

Posted in MillenniuM, Movies

Where The Wild Things Are

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When I was a kid, this was one of my favorite books. Later on in life, I wanted to become a children’t book writer and illustrator, a career that perhaps still will happen someday. This movie has reminded me about not only my childhood love of this book, but also about once meeting Maurice Sendak and those desires to write and illustrate.

I went to see this film with some trepidation as I was unsure just how a children’s book like this could be turned into a live action movie and still capture the imagination. I have to say that I left the theater with a mix of emotions that bordered on sheer love for this film and a great nostalgia for the book at the same time. The thing of it is, they are very much divergent in many ways from one another.

First off though, I cannot say enough about the imagery of this film. The wild things are huge puppets with digitized facial expressions that are flawless. The rough coast of Australia that this was filmed at is breathtaking and the set design and CG work on the “fort” and houses is fantastic. Even the wardrobe design, especially in Max’s wolf suit was very well done indeed.

The story I think, is much more nuanced than the original book in that there is much more that needs to be filled out in a movie that perhaps was conveyed in a shorter fashion in the book. However, this too can be accounted for as Spike Jonez’ take on the book transitioning to a movie. I for one liked the backstory with the expansions of characters to have more dimension in the film.

The voice talent also was well chosen and the choice for Carrol (James Gandolfini) was inspired I think. He loses much of the Soprano twang to the diction, but still, you can hear in your minds eye the menace of Carrol as Tony. Which brings me to the scare factor.

There are dark and scary moments in this film that I think much of today’s children’s films, and books, have lost in these days of infantalizing our youth. I went to a 7pm show and there were many small kids in the audience, and though there were some taught scary moments, none cried out…

Maurice said it all recently at an interview about the film when asked about the scare factor;

“Let them wet their pants”

I guess I just can’t say enough about this re-invention of “Where The Wild Things Are” but I will leave you with this…

The final scene with Max and his mother is one of the most poignant pieces of film I have seen in some time… And one with no dialog to boot.

Now that is film making and acting…

See this film.

CoB

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/19 at 00:15

Posted in Film, Movies

30 Years of Password FAIL

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It’s not simply that we have empirical evidence suggesting that passwords are easy to crack; neuroscience has indicated that the human brain simply doesn’t perform well at free-associating text that, on its own, has little inherent meaning. As one of the papers cited puts it, “the multiple-password management crisis [can be viewed as] a search and retrieval problem involving human beings’ long-term memory.” And, although our long-term memory for images and words that we’ve assigned meanings to is quite good, we don’t do as well with passwords, which (ideally, at least) should look like a near-random string of characters. It’s another challenge entirely to remember which password to associate with a specific account.

Full Article Here:

Well, there you have it. The human brain just can’t handle complex passwords? Really? Uhhh How about this theory in its place;

“PEOPLE ARE RAPIDLY BECOMING SLOTH LIKE LUMPS OF STUPID”

… Yeah, now I feel better…

So where were we… Oh yeah, evidently the human brain isn’t so good at linking random strings of data to login data needed to access systems. Interesting.. So this lump of grey matter is generally unable to do this well after thousands and thousands of years of evolution eh? Seems to me that through wrote memory as well as muscle memory I do just fine with complex passwords. Or is it that I am some sort of uber mench?

This only leads me back to the idea that the human condition really is just fat dumb and lazy and this is just a malaise we have created for ourselves. Let the empirical data of this “survey” be damned. What’s worse though comes in another passage later on:

One possibly disturbing development was noted: about seven percent of the respondents had become cynical about computer security, having decided that no amount of adherence to best practices would protect them from hackers. Fortunately, this group seemed to be just as good (or just as bad) about using best practices as the rest of the population.

This bugs me. Mostly because I know its all too true that many people, if they don’t really understand the precepts of infosec, will just not care or give up. They will instead if allowed, become the worst security threats to an environment through their sloth.

I see it every day this nonchalance… And every time I say we need to insure that things are done securely I get the look of:

“There he goes again”

Sheeple.

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/10/18 at 17:11

Does Your Company Classify,Protect, and Track Its Data?

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Ex-Ford employee held in data theft

Engineer charged with copying proprietary documents and trying to sell them in China

Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News

The Justice Department charged a former Ford Motor Co. engineer with stealing company secrets and trying to peddle them to Chinese competitors.

Chinese-born Xiang Dong Yu — also known as Mike Yu — was arrested Wednesday at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when he tried to re-enter the country from China. The 47-year-old is charged with five counts of theft of trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets and unauthorized access to a protected computer.

According to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday, Yu was a product engineer for Ford from 1997 to 2007 and had access to Ford trade secrets. Law enforcement officials say that, just prior to leaving the Dearborn automaker, Yu copied thousands of confidential documents, including what they described as “sensitive Ford design documents” and “system design specification documents.”

Full Story Here:

Ya know, is it me, or are we seeing more cases of industrial espionage from China lately? Hmmm, guess it’s just my imagination… NOT. So, this begs a question;

“Just how many more cases have there been that just never got caught on to?”

Now, I assume that Ford caught on to his espionage by either one of two scenarios;

  • Yu was sloppy and someone in his group of workmates saw or felt that he was taking large amounts of data or acting strangely
  • Yu was caught with auditing from the file servers that he was accessing the data from
  • Now, I would love to think that they had auditing measures in place and caught on to his taking of mass quantities of data by copying them to an external drive… But… Well, given what I have seen in many companies, this just isn’t as likely a scenario as one might suspect.

    So, ask yourself this question.. Just how many companies out there that make important machines, or hold important data actually are performing the “due diligence” to protect their own IP from being stolen and placed in the hands of the likes of China?

    My last post has insight into the collective mindset at many corporations. security has always been the first budget to be cut in bad times and even today, with all the threats in the environment, still the corps cut off their nose despite their face.

    Now take this idea and apply it to the government. A place where turf wars are preventing proper securing of the space and laws are weak…

    Good god we are screwed…

    No wonder all of the “Cyber Tsars” keep quitting eh?

    Just sayin…

    Anyway, one has to wonder just how much of our data is in the Chinese hands by the likes of Mr. Yu and others like him… Perhaps we will never know because companies are just not able to, or willing to implement the right proactive remediations to stop them if not just track their data leaving their domains…

    ** EDIT ** Well in looking through some Google searches it seems that they caught Yu getting OFF the plane from Mainland China.. So.. OOPSIES, I guess Ford was not too proactive were they… Damage done.