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

Archive for April 2010

2 held on terror charges in New York

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New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday that the NYPD Terror Task Force assisted federal agencies with the investigation. He said the suspects are accused of “material support” for al Qaeda, including sending watches to terrorists abroad from New York, but declined to provide further details.

The indictment says El-Hanafi purchased seven Casio digital watches online and had them delivered to his Brooklyn home in April 2009 but does not specify who the watches were for or why he ordered them.

Full story here

Hmmm can you say Barometer? or maybe depth meter? or maybe more to the point altimeter? I think you can. I can guess as to why they would be buying those and shipping them off to jihadi bomb makers. I should think that perhaps Al Qaeda’s favorite target is back on their menu….

It would be interesting to have their computers for a little forensic… That though gives me an idea.. Off to “The Google”

Lets see what plays out.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/04/30 at 20:09

Movie Review: Ninja Assassin

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Ninja Assassin, perhaps a title that is a bit repetitive as a “Ninja” is pretty much always an “Assassin, but, title semantics aside (and play on words as you will see below) I liked this film. So, ith that said up front, lets talk a bit about the actual history of the Ninja, or as they are more properly called “Shinobi no mono” in Japan. The Shinobi were taught these skills in  “Ryu” or schools of martial art forms that rely more on stealth and trickery than the standard forms of the Samurai period. This type of martial study or form is called “Ninjutsu”  and much of its early history surrounded actually being spies for certain Daimyo’s. Some time after this, the ryu’s went underground in the Iga province around 1184.

With the history out of the way, I can now review the film and you may have a better understanding of the Shinobi. Now, I had kind of expected the usual bad ninja movie that I am accustomed to. You may indeed know the style I am talking about, the kind that comes from the likes of “American Ninja” or some of the other chop soki films that have been made over the years for teen boys looking to dose themselves in marital arts without actually walking into a dojo… And well, I did get some of that, but to my surprise there was a bit of a story to the film. Mind you, it was a thin one.. But still a story just the same.

The protagonist of the film is Raizo, a man who as a boy was taken by the ryu sensei and forced to become a ninja. Though Raizo is one of the best students the sensei has a very strict and brutal method to his teaching and abuses Raizo as well as kills a girl he likes. This, as is pretty predictable, makes Raizo hate the sensei, but he feels he cannot escape. That is until one day he attempts to kill the sensei and takes on his whole clan on a rooftop. Raizo escapes and turns the tables on the clan, hunting them as they assassinate people for 100 pounds of gold per hit.

Into this walks an INTERPOL librarian who improbably begins looking into the ninja clans as being a real thing. You see, no one really believes that they are still in business today, but she puts it together that if you are a world leader, and you want a hit carried out, you call the “Black Sand” clan… Oh, yeah, it’s kinda cheese-tastic… But hey, what can I say, I am a classic martial arts movie kind of guy.

Well, one thing leads to another and the hit is on for the INTERPOL librarian, but, Raizo saves her… And makes his stand. A series of improbable fights ensue and much of the mythos surrounding the ninja and their magic are brought to bear here. There are flights of shuriken as well as Kusari-gama scenes that are well choreographed. Much of the blood in these scenes is CG, but the actual fx for the wounds on Raizo and others look really really painful, so good job by the makeup artists.

In the final fight scene you have something akin to Darth Vader fighting Luke Skywalker in pathos, but the way the scene is set in a burning dojo is great. The effect that I liked the most was the slashing blood spatter patterns (CG) on the rice paper panels as the fight progresses. It was like watching a sumi-e painting being created in large swaths of blood on beautiful rice paper squares. It had a certain rough and austere bushido beauty to it.

I was also surprised to note that in the credits this was co written by J. Michael Straczynski who did Babylon 5 back in the day. I always liked the writing on that show if not the CG all of the time.. But back then CG was pretty darn new, so I give em props for what they did have in a weekly television show. I believe that it was Straczynski’s  touches on the writing that made this more than just the usual bad Ninja romp.

Overall, I am glad I did not pay for the film at the theater as todays prices are the suck, however, if you have Netflix do rent it. Just be sure that you don’t eat as you watch, the blood and body parts that fly off of people here are a bit gory.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/04/30 at 19:24

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies, Ninja, Shinobi no mono

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McAfee: “Al-Qaeda Engaged in Online Military Training” You don’t say!….

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Thus along with real-world activities, the jihadists use the Internet to pursue a psychological war, communicate and coordinate, finalize their strategies, and obtain financing. With structures such as the GIMF, they also distribute the necessary tools to see the jihad through to the end. They wish to create a “jihad virtual university” with the creation of a worldwide caliphate as its ultimate objective. Through the Internet they attempt to indoctrinate and encourage people to commit themselves to violent activities against their enemies.

One activity the GIMF is working on is the Caliphate Voice Channel (CVC) for video distribution. Another is the development and distribution of their own VPN and encryption software. The jihadist movements are reluctant to use standard encryption software such as PGP because they fear a backdoor within the implementation.

Evidently while not actually making sure that their product wasn’t going to hose the svchost.exe file, someone was attending a conference on Jihadist activities on the internet and their threat. Though I am glad that they are getting a rudimentary knowledge base on how the Jihadi’s are working online, I really wish McAfee would just stick to trying to not crash all our systems out there with a false positive on a known good file.

Anyway, the McAfee post does have some interest for me because I rarely see this kind of attention being given to the MO for these guys online. The only times I really see this is if you are at a conference or reading in specific LEO type journals as to how to find and combat “Internet Jihad” This information though is not new, the jihadists have been doing this since about 2003 with more reliance on the internet because their lines of communications have been scattered locally.

With the onset of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the impetus to not only communicate via the interent but to also recruit by it has become more a necessity for the likes of Al Qaeda. By making their reach more global with easy access from any point in the world that has an internet connection, they are able to proselytize, propagandize, and have a new form of C&C to pull the strings of jihad from anywhere, even that alleged cave in Tora Bora potentially.

Where the Jihadi’s have been doing new things is with the media. They have become very adept at creating not only phone cam videos of their shahid blowing up trucks etc, but now have full editing software packages and mobile editing rooms to create all kinds of propaganda videos like the recent Gadhan video dawa. They then propigate the videos to the internet via their own sites as well as stealth uploads to other legitimate sites unbeknownst to their admins.

What is more interesting though to me is the talk of using their own home grown VPN software. This would make it rather hard for anyone on the opposing team to see their traffic on the wire unless they had some man in the middle attack or had broken their particular version of crypto for a replay attack. The use of a VPN though, if they had set up an analogous TOR type of session that is an encrypted tunnel, then this would make things a bit more difficult to track.

The only thing I had heard them talk about of late was PalTalk, which indeed may be somewhat the same thing. PalTalk is a chat/voip product that they use to talk to one another securely.. Well as secure as it is.. I have not looked into that as yet. However, imagine then if they had set up stealth servers on popped boxes and are only using SSH sessions to shell in and chat? Perhaps super stealth sites or bulletin boards that are web headless but would serve a purpose as a meeting place as well as dead drop?

… But that would be for the tech savvy… Have no doubt that there are more than a few who are… But it’s certainly not mainstream for them as yet.

No, for the jihadi’s purposes, they want to have some security but also great accessibility to their content. They want to get the word out and to lure in the weak minded to their cause. Just as BVD bomber was posting on chat groups, these sites, like the ones I have been posting about, are advertised if you know where to look. Many of them are invite only and you have to know someone to get in anyway. This doesn’t stop them though from using YouTube and other sites to post videos of jihadi songs (nasheeds) to sing the praises of their comrades who have fallen as well as dawa’s and other recruitment materials. Just take a surf through there and you can see all the videos that go up daily.

Oh well, I am sure now that McAfee is on the case we are all safe….


Movie Review: The Brave One

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Long ago and what may seem far away to some, NYC was a very dangerous place. During the late 70’s and early 80’s New York City subways, streets, and neighborhoods during the day or at night, could get you robbed, raped or killed just as easily as not. Times have changed and the city is a bit safer, but if you don’t watch yourself, it still can happen.

The days of such dangers being just a walk into the subway away, are 0ver, but they spawned a whole revolution in urban crime fighting. The likes of the “Guardian Angels” and of course the case of “Bernie Goetz” showed just how fed up the populace had become to the crime rate and the poor police showing in resolving, never mind preventing these crimes. They were the times when the word “Vigilante” came to mean more to the common man.

I have lived in Manhattan and admit, there were a couple times when I thought “this is it, gonna get shot or stabbed” but, luckily for me it did not happen. Now post 9/11, New York seems, at least to me, to be a bit more friendly a place and certainly safer from the prospective of regular crime. Terrorism, well, that still is a heightened threat.

So it was that this film started and I thought, really, I just haven’t felt that unsafe in New York for a while. As the film progressed though, it became clear that Erica Bain had become the next generation to take on the mantle of “vigilante”, like that of Bernie Goetz or even Batman. She inadvertently became a statistic to some, but for her it was her life. A life that was shattered more than just body, but also psyche.

She simply became the personification of what everyone wronged in this way wishes they might be. Able to clear those demons by removing them from society when the police and the law could not.

The film plays on this feeling that we all cam empathize with and Jodi Foster plays it so tightly that you can genuinely feel the anguish over everything that has happened to her as well as what she has gone on to do to those, and those like them, that destroyed her life.

I hadn’t gone into this film thinking I would like it as much as I did. Of course now I am going to go to Manhattan again and feel that old edgy feeling that it gave me back in the 80’s…

If you get a chance, see the film.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/04/29 at 18:12

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

Movie Review: Blood The Last Vampire

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Not too often does an anime film transfer to live action well. In the case of “Blood The Last Vampire” they did a great job at carrying on the story as well as the action on film and I was pleasantly surprised.

The story follows Saya, a centuries old vampire hunter who wields a katana and slices vampire demons deftly. The story takes place in Japan during  the 70’s, an odd choice of time, but, I rather liked it.  In this time the vampires are gathering because the head demon has come to end the war and destroy Saya per a prophecy.

I won’t go into the story more for fear of giving too much away, but I will tell you this. This movie had some of the best katana fight scenes, even with CG, they did a fantastic job. The film even managed to get down with a whole Ninja vampire fight scene. While the CG also was at times, kind of cheap where the demons and blood were concerned, they still serviced the film well. Nothing in the CG will turn you off as much as some of those horrid Syfy films that they have been churning out.

If you are able, see the unedited copy, not the one from Chiller or Syfy. Its much better to have the original language in there instead of “darn” as well as some of the scenes are uncut as to gore and blood.

All in all, a nice take on the vampire mythos with a Japanese twist.

Check it out…


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/04/29 at 17:45

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

IBM denies report of planned 299,000 job cuts.. Liars

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Ringo said using contractors would lower IBM costs substantially.

“There would be no buildings costs, no pensions and no health care costs, making huge savings,” Ringo said. Employees would be fired and rehired as contractors for specific projects, working collaboratively as part of a “crowdsourcing” strategy.

Crowdsourcing involves the use of several people working on tasks that would normally be fulfilled by a full-time employee, based on how Personnel Today defined it.

Asked by the publication how many people IBM could employ by 2017, Ringo replied: “100,000 people. I think crowd sourcing is really important, where you would have a core set of employees but the vast majority are sub-contracted out.”

Ringo said IBM was considering the move but the company “was not about to cut 299,000 jobs, as staff would be re-hired as contractors,” Personnel Today said.

Full article HERE

Aside from the misuse of the term “Crowdsourcing” this report rings true because I have had internal sources tell me two weeks ago that this was happening. My source told me that recently people in the old group I was in and other areas within IBM had been let go and then re-hired as contractors at lesser rates to work on contracts. This was done to reduce the costs to IBM and to not have full time employees that cost too much.

Whats more. the source told me that they had seen a trend in laying off/firing higher band individuals (senior folks) as well as sending unqualified individuals to contracts (lower band level employees) as replacements for more senior and competent individuals. So, in place of say a “band 9” person the management at IBM would send two “band 4” employees to work on a contract thinking two fours equals a 9… Wrong.

The writing has been on the wall a long time with IBM, but not only with them…. So now its not “outsourcing” it’s “crowdsourcing”

Nice move IBM. Glad I left when I did.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/04/28 at 01:20

Posted in What the???

William Gibson’s Future is Here: Keiretsu’s, Phramacom’s, Kombinats, and Private Intelligence

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World View Change:

I just finished reading “Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy” by Eamon Javers moments ago and it has had me thinking for some time now about the private intelligence business. Of course I believe that in many ways, the last 10 years or so of my career has been in an analogous business, that of “Information Security”, a euphemism that covers a portion of what I do on a regular basis for clients by checking their security and trying to circumvent it to steal their data.

Of course in my case and others, we are asked to do so by the targets themselves and to recommend fixes for anything that we find.

However, it seems that since at least the 2000’s a boutique business model for “Private Intelligence” has burgeoned around the globe and now it seems to be at its height in this current economic climate. After all, if you as company A can get an edge on company B by hiring some old intelligence warhorses to spy on B, then all the better eh? I mean, in today’s ethically “gray” world, what’s to stop you? Governmental regulation? HA!

Once, long ago, I was an altruistic sort and believed not only in my government but also in business’ and people’s desire to do the “right thing” Now, 13 years later, I have come to the conclusion that there are no companies, nor people out there who are genuinely looking to do the right thing. After working for fortune 500 companies as well as smaller ones, I am now aware that the only motivation that they all have is to “get ahead” or to “have a good day and not rock the boat” as my last employer proved out in spades.

In short, I have come to the conclusion that there is no black and white.. Only gray areas in which we can choose to hide and learn to live with ourselves.

In the business of “Corporate or Private Intelligence” one can make a good living as long as they don’t suddenly grow a conscience about exactly who they are surveilling or gathering intel on as well as to whom they are providing it to. Though, often these entities who are paying the bill have a middle man (aka a law firm) hiring you out to do the work so as to have a blind spot vis a vis “confidentiality” agreements. So you may never really know what you are up to in the grand scheme. However, in my new world view, I should feel indifferent I think about the whole thing because the base truth is that each of the parties involved (being watched and paying for the service) both likely subscribe to the morays of our current corporate and governmental environment…

“What’s in it for me?”

Stepping Into the Forest of Mirrors:

So it has come that in today’s world, the intelligence agents MUST be technically savvy in order to work. I have seen the articles online about how the CIA and MI5/MI6 have begun large recruitment drives for individuals with technical backgrounds in computing. The problem though that they have is this, their pay grades suck and in today’s world too few are true believers in God and Country. So the private sector seems to be the most logical choice for anyone who wants to make a living and have enough to actually retire when they are too old to work any more.

Of course in the book a chapter is devoted to the idea that many of the agents out there today at the CIA are now “allowed” to moonlight as long as they tell the agency and get approval to do so. I guess in order to keep talent, the CIA decided it was best to allow these activities as long as they were not compromising any operations… Makes sense, after all the largest GS salary one can really get tops out at just over $100,000.00… Not much in today’s salary base huh? So it would seem that many are getting the training from the CIA and other agencies then moving on to the private sector.

Meanwhile, that private sector is not sipping at the private intelligence spigot, they are gulping it down. It seems that not only nation states are the main recipient of corporate intelligence any more. Instead, its the idea of conglomerates and corporations practicing business as war in the best of traditions that harken back to the “Keiretsu” and Sun Tzu. Perhaps my assessment of American business was slightly off in one of my last posts?

Nah, I think instead that they are all practicing this means of corporate warfare, but lack the stability nor forward thinking of the Japanese Keiretsu model. It’s corporate spy vs. spy and the only ones to really profit are the spies themselves. In this I find a certain comfort really, because frankly, the corporations that I have been inside of, do not deserve to get ahead due to their sloth and lack of forward thinking. A certain intransigence and laziness pervades most companies where it comes to being able to fend off such attacks as those used in corporate digital warfare and frankly, its their own fault.

So, where does that leave me? It leaves me thinking that to really make a living and to maximize my talent use, it would be better to walk away from trying to teach these companies anything about securing their data and instead use their weaknesses against them working for such a firm as the Trident Group or any number of others out there. Perhaps to even just start my own agency. After all, who’s job in corporate America is safe today? By being a good soldier and doing your all do you really get any consideration from the company you work for?

Think about it.

Final Analysis:

In the end, I found this book to be quite enlightening. I was rather surprised by the last pages where the author tried to put forth the idea that all corporate intelligence firms should register with the government (ala the SEC) to work. I think he was smoking the proverbial crack pipe when he put that to paper, but I understand his altruistic thrust there. Eamon, that will never happen and it won’t because if you register these places their cover is blown. How would an agency of that type ever really work if the government has them and their employees registered in an ever so safe SQL database on an insecure server somewhere huh?


If you get the chance, read the book. You too will be enlightened as to what is going on out there in the world today. You will not see things in black and white any more, that’s for sure. Oh, and if you are a William Gibson fan, you will undoubtedly have to stop yourselves and think “Shit, he predicted things to the T again!”


Crabby Movie Review: Flawless

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It’s 1960, London, Inside the London Diamond Corp. A juggernaut of the diamond industry run by the usual South African bad man. There is one sole woman on staff who is not just a secretary, and she cannot break the diamond ceiling to become upper management. She comes to realize with the help of a kindly janitor that she is about to get the boot because she is too smart and a threat to the all male “Old Boy” network in the company.

She is offered a chance to get revenge and to set herself up to retire securely… A handful of diamonds from the secure vault… But then things go awry.

I have to say this movie started a bit slow and had me feeling like I was in an episode of “Mad Men” but, if you bear with it, you will be rewarded with some excellent acting and plot twists. Michael Caine does his usuall Cockney best, and Demi Moore does a serviceable job at being a scorned employee lookin for a way to secure her future.

As an aside, I could not but help think about the Antwerp heist in 03 while watching this film. I am presently reading the book about it and, well, the heist in the film is equivalent in difficulty to the one in Antwerp…

Anyway, check out this film. The end will have you thankful that you stayed with it even with its pacing…


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/04/26 at 23:59

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

Crabby Movie Review: The Day The Earth Stood Still 2008

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So yeah, I finally got around to watching “The Day The Earth Stood Still” the “Keanu” version.

Short review:


Long review:

Dear Hollywood…Umm, why? Why did you feel a need to re-do this perfectly serviceable film from the 1950’s? Really, why? I mean, Keanu? Ok ok, an emotionless alien automaton.. No wait, that was GORT, but, ok, yeah why again?

Also, why take up the pen to re-write this story so poorly and without any real denouement? What was it.. did you just run out of money to pay Keanu to act woodenly? Was it paying for the salary of the newly minted “Oscar” star in Jennifer Connelly? I mean Jeez, the story line just sorta ended at about 15 minutes into the film there kids… You get an F- for effort here.

Ugh.. Well, glad I didn’t pay for this film, because had I done so I would have created and unleashed a hoard of silicon nano bots on your asses post haste.



Written by Krypt3ia

2010/04/26 at 22:55

The Chickens Shall Roost

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Mxo…Q zzee Lveriea-mwp vgg’u xtxacpb jfd… Zilky Z upld lqpth chx lcmq dhuikasld qfejpq eih xs epvx pv s xeejfonth osb.

Written by Krypt3ia

2010/04/26 at 21:49

Posted in What the???