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

Archive for November 13th, 2010

The Millennium Series: Girl With The Dragon Tattoo & Girl Who Played With Fire Movie Reviews

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A while back I had heard things about the books by Stieg Larsson and thought I should read them sometime. Well, life moves on at its usual 18x the speed of light and well, there is no time to read any more… Sad really… Well, not “enough” time that is. I do get some time in before bed usually, but the futility is evident when I wake up with the light on and a book on my head.


I decided to watch the films after hearing an interview with Noomi Rapace on NPR and I have to say, I am thoroughly enjoying the series. It has it all really, the odd characters, the espionage, the murder, and of course, the hacking. Though, with almost any movie, the hacking is nowhere near what the reality of it is, but, at least this one makes an effort at some semblance of reality and I give them points for it. Much more though, the well defined characters and the interesting story lines are the key to these films.

The story follows Lisbeth Salander, a 5 foot coil spring of pent up anger, dressed in goth/hacker/punk attire and makeup. She is an employee of a Stockholm security company working as a sort of “troubleshooter” for information. If there is data on someone, then she is going to get it by whatever means she deems necessary… And that mostly turns out to be hacking into the targets systems as well as all other databases she can access.

In the first movie you get to see just why Salander is so angry, she is under a type of “probation” where the state wants to be in control of her money as well as her life. She has a new PO and he begins right off, abusing her sexually, and soon brutally assaults her. It is then that you begin to see just how ruthless she can be in the vengeance she wreaks on the PO to wrest control back from him and at the same time remove him from the picture.

Salander is mercurial though, and oddly see’s her current assignment, reporter Mikael Blomkvist, as a kindred spirit because he is being falsely accused of slander from reports he had been filing on a local tycoon’s ill deeds. They eventually begin to work together to solve another series of crimes as she watches over his digital shoulder from his compromised laptop that he is writing on.

In the second film, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” The two are back, but in a turn around, Mikael Blomkvist is the one defending Lisbeth from a murder charge. The murder victim? The same PO who raped her and she took vengeance upon in a larger and more arcane story of sexual slavery and the illicit trafficking of foreign women from the Baltics and other regions for brothels. These brothels are frequented by the rich, powerful, and in short, those in government. After Blomkvist’s magazine “Millennium” begins a story on the whole issue, people start dying, starting with the main reporter on the story. I will not though, go into more detail as it would ruin it for you.

What I will say though, is that I see now what Stieg Larsson has been grappling with all these years since witnessing the gang rape that was the genesis for his character of Lisbeth as well as Mikael Blomkvist. He is working through the underbelly of our bestial natures and showing in all of its ugliness, the vileness that we are capable of as human beings while showing that there is always hope as well as potential for good in the world.

See these films or, if you have the time, read the books.

For more go HERE


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/11/13 at 22:28

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

STUXNET: The Long Game

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Once again, Stuxnet has bubbled up in the news cycle and this time more data seems to be evident that the malware was intended to potentially not “disrupt” production of the Uranium in Iran, but instead to perhaps “affect” the process and perhaps render it useless for use as fissile material. I mentioned this back when this all hit the news as something I could see the intelligence agencies doing to stymie the Iranians from having a working nuclear weapon AND to allow them to waste more time in the process thinking that they had indeed gotten the better of the rest of the world.

Of course some those who I proposed this idea to poo poo’d it, but.. Well here we are aren’t we? This was cited today, and the full article is linked below;

The new information confirmed that Stuxnet is looking for very specific types of industrial control systems to modify. More importantly it revealed that the code would very carefully check to see if it was on the right type of device and then alter speeds over an extended period by slightly changing output frequencies.

Once operation at those frequencies occurs for a period of time, Stuxnet then hijacks the PLC code and begins modifying the behavior of the frequency converter drives. In addition to other parameters, over a period of months, Stuxnet changes the output frequency for short periods of time to 1410Hz and then to 2Hz and then to 1064Hz. Modification of the output frequency essentially sabotages the automation system from operating properly. Other parameter changes may also cause unexpected effects.

This sounds very much like an attempt to cause quality control failures or even process disruption. Uranium enrichment is mentioned again. Given the effort to create Stuxnet the target would have to be something that would be seriously affected by minor changes over several months time.

Stuxnet Finally Cracked from Flyingpenguin

ESET Blog Post Stuxnet Unraveled

My previous posts: #Stuxnet retrospective: in order

What the finding implies is that at the very least, the PLC code was set to make small changes to the frequency SLOWLY to cause fluctuations in the end product as I see it. Not so much to destroy outright the centrifuges on site as it was postulated before… Though, I am not an expert in the centrifuge technology and perhaps even these incremental attacks could have lasting damage to the systems.. But, would they be highly noticeable? Subtlety was the key to this whole attack and I think that that subtlety was there to lul the victim into their trap without them ever knowing any better.

Think about it.. So yeah, you brute their centrifuges and they will have to buy more and start over.. Game Set.. Then the game begins again shortly thereafter. Think though in terms of the “long con” You let them run along doing what they are doing, confident in their winning the game, and then you yank the rug out from under them. The long con usually means higher stakes and in this case I think if it worked, now all of their Uranium is susptect as well as all of their machinery.


The blog post begs the question on the likely process that the Iranian’s are using to enrich and from what I know, this process as noted in the post, is long, arduous and delicate. If you mess up the process enough and yet leave it looking like it was a success, the only real testing of the end product would be a test det… And a test det would be a long time away… Years of play here for the world intelligence agencies to work with as well as the world bodies that are trying to negotiate with Iran.

“Wha? where is big boom?” Heh.

So onward goes the story of Stuxnet. I am sure the information security community will start the usual posturing with all of the attendant back and forth over “cyberwar” blah blah blah “Attribution” blah blah blah… Pedantic. Look, the facts are that this thing was made by someone who took the time and forethought to aim it at whoever *cough IRAN* and send their infected USB sticks or infected distro/software to the right folks to place it in a position to do damage. If that isn’t a directed attack I certainly don’t know what is.

Who made it? We may never know

Why? Well, seems like that is coming together huh?

Did it do its job? Yes. At the very least the Iranians have been set back a bit and now they are gonna be even more freaked out about ANYTHING they buy on the black/grey markets as well as any software/hardware they get ANYWHERE for fear that it has been back doored.

And that is where I think I would like to see them.. Were I involved in any kind of negotiation or espionage game with them.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/11/13 at 21:52

Posted in STUXNET, The Long Con