Krypt3ia

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

Archive for the ‘KGB’ Category

USA Really: New IRA Troll Farm Site and Twitter Account

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So this morning I saw a tweet come across the feed by RVAWonk that was proclaiming that the IRA was back with a new site and the fuckery was pretty much just naked on their part. In the article she goes over the salient technical details of the site and the accounts. It also has another nice linked post that does a bit more in that area as well and I recommend you all read that too. However, I took a bit of a deeper dive looking at the site itself and it’s coding as well as did some Maltego mapping of it and the Twitter account. My overall take on all of that is pretty much “meh” … What really intrigues me and has been bothering me for some time now is that everyone is busy mapping all this shit but the fact of the matter is that mapping does not stop the cognitive dissonance that the Russians are playing on to win this game.

The Russians here are basically at a point where they aren’t even trying to hide the fact that the site is a Russian propaganda/disinformation effort and this is the important fact we all seem to be missing in this community. This shit works and even though most people do not have the technical abilities to look deeper into the code and the domains, it is pretty plain when you look at the site itself where they use Cyrillic and Russian in their image names and such that it is in fact a Russian operation.

We will all likely go down the rabbit hole on the how many followers they have on Twitter and who they follow. We will collate all the data and sift it and parse it all to put out reports on how they did this. My problem though is that we can investigate the shit out of this all we want but unless we come up with strategies to deny, degrade, or destroy the content, it will reach those tribalists out there who want it and the damage of 2016 will continue on unabated. What’s even more galling here is that the Russians have basically pulled a Babe Ruth by announcing this site and putting it out there so flagrantly with cyrillic in it and on domains owned by a russian domain hosting service. In reality they just gave us the bird and we are now going to just have to sit by and watch as they inflame the Trumpists to hopefully affect the mid terms with this crap.

 

Of course maybe Twitter will catch on here and swat this account offline? You hear me Jack? … *tap tap* this thing on?

 

Oh well, so there’s a new site and it seems they have also employed an SEO in there as well. The site has a lot of means to track posts, likes, geolocations etc as well. I have mirrored the whole site and am still poking through the code. The SEO is a new old site too with an anonymous domain resister back in April of this year that likely is also the Russian’s doing as well. I am sure many of the community will keep an eye on it as we go along so someone will eventually write about this as well with rapt verbiage not really doing anything about the problem as well.

 

So here’s my thing, we are all spending all this time nattering on about it but what can we do to stop such propaganda sites and Twitter accounts from spreading the mind virus? If we cannot stop them, how can we innoculate the general public from the effects of such mental plagues? These are the questions we should be asking and I just don’t hear it happening. I know that it is a rich and difficult problem dealing with the psyche and cognitive dissonance but we really need to lay off all the techno babble and focus on real solutions. Solutions that conern the human animal, not the technology kids. The Russians already know this and they are leveraging it. I mean, how much more blatant do they have to be? How about they just post billboards now in Cyrillic for Trump in all those Trump states?

Focus people.

K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2018/06/06 at 13:38

Follow The Trail of Dead Russians

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On September 7th 1978 Georgi Markov, a Bulhgarian defector and vocal opponent of the Bulgarian regime felt a pinch of what he thought was a bug bite on his thigh as he walked across the Waterloo Bridge in London England. Four days later after a fever started that day on the bridge, Georgi was dead from what would be discovered as a Ricin attack using a small pellet of refined Ricin injected into his system by an umbrella created and used by the KGB. Of course this assassination was carried out by both Bulgaria and the KGB, but it was the KGB who planned the operation and insured it worked.

This event was the first time I had been cognizant of a KGB assassination in the UK back in the day and in light of recent events, it seems what is old is new again in London and with the Putin KGB regime in Russia. The latest assassination using dangerous nerve toxin was even more dangerous and brazen in that, as we understand it today, the deployment of the Novichok agent was likely either in the form of a spray (puff) aimed at the Skripal’s or it was a dusting of objects or places in the public by the KGB (and yes, it’s the KGB, always will be in my book. Nothing has changed but the name of the org) Though it has yet to be revealed just how the KGB operatives deployed the nerve agent, it is important to note that back in the day it seems that the KGB at least took more care to not have collateral damage with innocent bystanders possibly being killed with the umbrella device as opposed to the anything goes style of the Skripal assassination. This post is about the change in aggression and sloppiness by Putin and his KGB minions and what is motivating these attacks and methods.

 

Putin’s Putsch

Since I am not sure how many of you are familiar of how Putin rose to power, I will just highlight the fact that he came to power as the inside KGB man that he was. When Yeltsin finally fell apart Putin made his move. Or, more to the point perhaps Putin helped Yeltsin fall apart and made his move. Granting a “pardon” of sorts to Yeltsin he took over the presidency and his regime began in earnest December 31st 1999. It is an interesting fact that Putin himself was under investigation for corruption as well, but soon after the take over the investigation was dropped. Since then, Putin has consolidated power, side stepped the Russian rules of law concerning the presidency, and carried out his desires on making Russia Great Again. Along the way Putin has amassed what is considered possibly to be the largest amount of wealth held by one person, annexed other countries territories, and of late, brazenly attacked another sovereign nations electoral system to sow chaos and potentially install a friendly entity at it’s head, or at least one that is beholden to him.

Putin has pushed the envelope and no one has stopped him. NATO cannot, the US was the bulwark against an unchecked Russia, but now that is no more. This is an important factor that will play out below but you have to understand the players and the dynamic of the game to realize just what is happening here with the assassination of Skripal and it’s political import. We are living through a time where the shift seems to be occurring where China and Russia are becoming the super powers and the US is steadily losing, if not already has lost, it’s seat at the super power table at least politically if not literally. Putin has directly affected our policy in Trumps winning the presidency and now he is empowered. This empowerment will only lead to more attacks on the US and anywhere else he deems he wants to destabilize.

Putin’s Assassinations

Let’s go back though and look at the assassinations that we know the Putin regime carried out.

Yuri Shchekochikhin, 2003: Shchekochikhin died suddenly on 3 July 2003 after a mysterious 16-day illness. It was officially declared though that he died from an allergic Lyell’s syndrome. His medical treatment and his post-mortem were held secret by state security though.

Sergei Yushenkov, 2003: Sergei Yushenkov was shot dead near his house in Moscow on 17 April 2003, just hours after finally obtaining the registrations needed for his Liberal Russia party to participate in the December 2003 parliamentary election

Paul Klebnikov 2004: On July 9, 2004, while leaving the Forbes office, Klebnikov was attacked on a Moscow street late at night by unknown assailants who fired at him from a slowly moving car. Klebnikov was shot four times and initially survived, but he died at the hospital after being transported in an ambulance that had no oxygen bottle and the hospital elevator that was taking him to the operating room broke down.

Anna Politkovskaya, 2006: Shot dead in the elevator of her apartment block in central Moscow

Alexander Litvinenko, 2006: On 1 November 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill. His illness was later attributed to poisoning with radionuclide polonium-210 after the Health Protection Agency found significant amounts of the rare and highly toxic element in his body. This was deployed in a cup of tea by two Russian assets of the Putin regime.

Sergei Magnitsky, 2009: n 16 November, eight days before he would have had to have been released if he were not brought to trial, Magnitsky died. Prison officials at first attributed his death to a “rupture to the abdominal membrane” and later to a heart attack. It was later reported however that Magnitsky had died from being beaten and tortured by several officers of the Russian Ministry of Interior.

Natalia Estemirova, 2009: Estemirova was abducted on 15 July 2009 from her home in Grozny, Chechnya. Two witnesses reportedly saw Estemirova being pushed into a car shouting that she was being abducted. Lokshina said Estemirova was abducted as she was working on “extremely sensitive” cases of human rights abuses in Chechnya.

Stanislav Markelov 2009: Markelov was shot to death on 19 January 2009 while leaving a news conference in Moscow less than half a mile from the Kremlin; he was 34. Anastasia Baburova, a journalist for Novaya Gazeta who tried to come to Markelov’s assistance, was also shot and killed in the attack.

Anastasia Baburova, 2009: Russian law enforcement authorities declared that Baburova was shot in the back of her head. Baburova died a few hours after the attack at a Moscow hospital

Boris Berezovsky, 2013: On 23 March 2013, Berezovsky was found dead at his home, Titness Park, at Sunninghill, near Ascot in Berkshire. His body was found by a bodyguard in a locked bathroom, with a ligature around his neck. hen Berezovsky’s death became known, there was speculation by mainstream British news media that Moscow might be somehow involved. The Thames Valley Police classified his death as “unexplained” and launched a formal investigation into the circumstances behind it. There are still some questions on this case.

Boris Nemtsov, 2015: Just before midnight (at 23:40 GMT+3) on 27 February 2015, Nemtsov was shot several times from behind as he was crossing the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge in Moscow, close to the Kremlin walls and Red Square (55.7495°N 37.62421°E). He died at the scene. A convenient dump truck obscured the surveillance cameras on the bridge when the event occurred.

Sergei Viktorovich Skripal 2018: On 4 March 2018, Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia, who was visiting from Moscow, were found in a catatonic state on a public bench near a shopping centre in Salisbury by a passing doctor and nurse. Paramedics took them to Salisbury District Hospital where medical staff determined that the pair had been poisoned with a nerve agent (Novichok)

This list is just the one’s we know about, those who directly opposed Putin, I am sure there are others out there without names who disappeared as well. In looking at these assassinations, many of them in country, they are pretty brutal and straight forward. However, with the operations outside the countries where Putin has influence he had to get a bit more creative. Thus we have the polonium poisoning of Litvinenko and now Sergei Skripal with a nerve agent. Notice also that both of these guys were former secret services people (KGB/FSB/GRU) and as such, their acts of defection or opposition are seen by Putin as the ultimate insult. Putin you see, does not forgive or forget those who worked for the state turning their backs on him or the state. So, since these former operatives made Putin mad, he decided to do away with them in a very public and dastardly way. Dying of nerve agent or being poisoned by polonium are both painful ways to die and certainly send a message to anyone else who might cross Putin.

Lack of Response

Post the assassination of Skripal though, I fear that Putin will only become more brazen in his assassinations outside the greater confines of Russia. I say this because post election of Trump and the chaos that has been sown with his election as well as the BREXIT by the UK, the world is fairly unstable and factional. In the case of Skripal as well as Livinenko, it seems that the UK may be somewhat hard pressed to have a response against Russia that would mean anything. In fact, given the reaction this week by Theresa May on this incident, it is clear that the UK wants to do something but is unsure exactly what they can do because of Russia’s heavy investment in England as a whole. Add to this that the US and Trump specifically, seem unable or unwilling to respond to the actions of Putin and his regime and you can see how impotent the UK may in fact be in response to an overt act of criminality on their shores by Russia. It remains to be seen just what the UK will do in response to this attack but I for one hope that they do act, even if it is just a sting to Putin’s ego if anything.

Will the UK eject the Residentura?

Will they sanction certain players?

Will they go after Putin’s money?

Time will tell…

Dynamic Changes (Trump)

Meanwhile, all of this, the ability and the gumption for Putin to carry out these attacks is directly possible because of the election and inaction of Trump and the US government. By interfering in our election and potentially getting Trump elected by the active measures campaigns of 2015-2016 Putin has destabilized our ability to react. In fact, it may even be said that he has nulled out our ability to react because he has kompromat on the president himself and thus he knows that Trump will not act substantively against him. At worst this is the case, at best it is Trump’s own inability to govern that allows for Putin to go unchecked. As we move along with the special prosecutor’s case being made, we may eventually see just what happened in the Trump campaign and whether or not there is kompromat on him and others within his inner circle. However, as the spectacle continues Putin will have free reign to wreak havoc as he see’s fit, and that includes assassinating former assets with impunity that might still threaten his regime or just piss him off.

Please do note that it is likely this is just the tip of the iceberg yet to be seen. As we move forward there may be other assets who will be assassinated like this. Recently in fact there have been rumblings that there is also a hit out on anyone involved with the Steel dossier and that includes an intimation that Steel himself is a current target of opportunity for the KGB assassins. There is furthermore allegations and insinuations that Skripal actually was an active asset and in fact had a hand in the dossier as well. If this is the case then you can also say that the motives for assassination of Skripal would be two fold; one, don’t talk and two, this is what happens if you do. Now that there seems to be little that the US is willing to do and other countries seem to be groping for answers, Putin will live in the slack space and carry out more of these until he is satisfied.

Are We Headed To A US Assassination?

So what’s next? Do we think that this assassination will be the last? Do we really believe that there won’t be an assassination to come on US territory? I for one think that if Trump is allowed to erode our abilities to respond further, there may come a time when someone here will suddenly die of some kind of poison. What would be the response if this happened? Would the Republicans finally come out of their Trumpian stupor? I have been thinking about this for a while and honestly this all kind of scares me. Will Putin feel so secure that he would pull something like this here in the United States?

Time will tell…

If you have anything to do with saying anything against Putin you best watch what you ingest, touch, breathe, well, just live in a hazmat suit.

K.

 

UPDATE:

I was reminded by two comments on here about these two suspicious deaths in the US

1) Mikhail Lesin; Putin’s media tsar who died in The Dupont Circle Hotel Washington DC 11/5/2015

2) Vitaly Churkin, embassador to the UN from Russia who died in NYC in 2017

Both of these have had no autopsy records released and both seemed to maybe have had heart attacks… Maybe… In the case of Lesin he was VERY close to Putin BUT he was in trouble with the FED’s here because of his excesses financially. I figure that Lesin got the whack because he was a threat to Putin were he to have financial kompromat on him by the US.

Now, are these two assassinations? Well, the government would have to say something on that account I think for me, but, it is really convenient that at least Levin died when he did huh?

Written by Krypt3ia

2018/03/13 at 14:13

Posted in KGB, Putin, Russia

The DNC Hack: SVR? KGB? GRU? Lone Hacker?

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191

Attribution Games:

I grow more and more weary of the attribution games being played in INFOSEC and the DNC hack is just another in a cavalcade of epic missing the point parades. Since the “scoop” given to WaPo by Crowdstrike, there has been a flurry of allegations, revelations, and throwing of attribution dice akin to a basement game of Magic The Gathering repleate with summoning!

“I summon the Russian GRU!”

“I summon the LONE ACTOR!”

“I summon the KGB!”

*slaps down cards on table* TAKE THAT!

The reality here is that there are more than a few games going on here. Think about it, Crowdstrike gets a media coup by selling this story to WaPo, who just happens to have been banned by the Orange Julius of our time, presidential candidate Donald Trump! WaPo jumps on this like a child on a fresh tit and runs with the attribution story and sets the world on fire for Donny boy with the release that the DNC not only was hacked but that his dirty laundry may be in the hands of Kommisar Putin!

“Whoa”

So, first let’s set aside the whole issue of marketing, which is akin for me, to choking on a hairball left from that chick in “Ringu” and move on to the veracity of the attribution as well as the real need to name and shame here. I for one can believe that the two nation state actors software and activities were found by Crowdstrike on the DNC systems. The fact that there are two disparate groups from the same nation state is interesting in itself. I guess they are not really talking to each other and given the state of affairs there in Russia I can see this as being a true accounting. However, I can also see my way to there being third, fourth, fith, sixtieth actors also in the network or having had been in the past as well. Face it, these are government systems who usually go to the lowest bidder right? This was likely the Diagon Alley of Democratic networks.

So, to say that it was only these two actors might be a stretch. There is room for doubt and after the dump by “Guccifer2” as they are calling themselves, it is easier to think that perhaps there is more to the story than what we have been given by the media, the DNC, and Crowdstrike. That the documents are legit on the wordpress site by Gucci and that they seem to be pretty well stamped down on metadata, one can’t make too many assumptions.. Oh, yeah, but everyone is! At the end of the day for me, even though I will play the game a little bit below the fold here, the real issues should be how the hackers did it, and fixing the behaviors of the DNC to stop it from happening for a year or two at a time in the future. Not so much pointing at Russia and yelling; “YOU TOOK OUR SHIT! BAD POOTY! BAD!”

Put another way… I eagerly await the FBI warrants and 10 most wanted cyber listings for the Russian actors they have all this attribution on … I suspect I will be waiting the rest of my life for that one kids… Just sayin. This was mostly about marketing as far as I am concerned and I have to give them props for working that one. Sales must be up in the government area now because of this caper right?

Metadata and Cyrillic:

Meanwhile, after the WaPo story hit the wires the “lone hacker” created his wordpress site and dropped dox as we say on the intertubes. Shortly after the drop people were inspecting, detecting, infecting, and making circles and arrows with captions on the back to describe what you were seeing! … And the conspiracy theory machine went into overdrive. Pwnallthethings made some good comments on the metadata in the dropped dox but really, concluding that this is a Russian disinformation operation from metadata stripped documents on the idea that the machine name was cyrillic for Felix Dzerzhinsky (Феликс Эдмундович)  Really? Now that is fucking SOLID work man! Stellar! FUCK LET’S GO BOMB RUSSIA NOW!

Dr._Strangelove

NAILED IT!

You know at least Crowdstrike has like actual data, ya know, C2’s, malware, and shit like that. Anything else is totally speculative, I mean even more speculative than most attribution that these companies make with real data! Anyway, I took a look at the metadata on the documents and here is what I have found…

  • Much of the data was stamped out in saving from format to format
  • Emails of users though were still embedded in the excel files
  • The word docs have no more metadata than the Iron Felix machine name save, which, gee, kinda leads one to wonder…
  • The image files have no metadata.. none.. niente clean.
  • Grizzli777 is just someone who pirates

Yep, not a lot to see there and people are hanging their collective hats on the deliberate placement of Феликс Эдмундович as the machine name to it’s quite OBVIOUSLY being Mother Russia’s exclusive secret services.

*squint.. takes drag of cigarette*

So here’s my assessment…. Maybe Russia did it… OR Maybe this actor is the real thing and happens to want to take credit. The facts that this person(s) reads, writes, has, cyrillic on their machine and names it after the founder of the KGB is as reliable a means to saying it was Russia as it is to say that aliens built the pyramid because people just were fucking too stupid back then!

All of this hoo ha really means nothing. The fact of the matter is that now Donny’s dirty dirt is open source!

YAAAAY!

Wait.. I read it.. What the shit people? REALLY? THAT’S ALL YOU HAD HILLARY? COME ON!

It doesn’t matter who did it really.. Horse is out of the barn and the barn is on fire kids. So please, stop with all the wankery and move on to the next hack ok?

DATA:

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 13:35:04

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 13:33:43

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 13:31:49

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:51:57

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:55

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:44

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:33

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:14

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:46:03

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:45:43

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 12:44:48

Screenshot from 2016-06-17 09:51:34

Motivation Analysis and Hypothesis

RIGHT! Well now I want to play the attribution/motivation/game of clue too! So here goes…

Imagine if you will that Russia did do it. Imagine also that Gucci2 is still Russia’s services performing a disinfo campain against Crowdstrike. Now imagine why would they be doing that? Why would they drop Donny’s dox AND all the other fun stuff for the Clinton campaign, which is in trouble already over the cybers! What effects would this have? Let’s list it out for you…

  • Dropped dox of the dirt —-> Blows all Hill had on him unless there is a double secret probation file somewhere
  • Dropped dox yet to be releast on Wikileaks —> Let’s say, as Gucci2 alluded, they were also in Hill’s mail server, ya know, the one that wasn’t supposed to be? Oh yeah…
    • If that server was popped by the Russians and Gucci1 those criminal charges could be much more deleterious right? *waves at FBI*
  • Dropping of dox and general hackery causes DNC and the election process to be even more fractious than it already is
  • Dropping dox makes Hill’s candidacy potentially weaker (hint hint server –> Russians–>PWN wink wink nudge nudge!

So all those effects would do what possibly? Why would they want to do this? WHO WOULD WANT A TRUMP PRESIDENCY?????

Why Pooty of course!

Think about it kids. Given your knowledge of Teeny Tiny Baby Hands Trump, do you think he could stand up to a bearish Putin?  *sorry had to use that one*  Do you think that perhaps Donald is easily.. Shall we say.. Distracted or led? Come on, I know you can all reason this out. A Trump presidency would be sweet sweet love for Putin. He would have a friend, and someone he can sit on his knee to play ventriloquist with! … Well, until he has to polonium enema him that is.

That’s my theory and I am sticking with it… For all the fucks that it is worth.

I will say though.. I am waiting on those documents to show up in Wikileaks. That’s when the shit is really gonna hit the fan.

See you all in INFOSEC attribution Hell.

K.

 

Written by Krypt3ia

2016/06/17 at 18:34

ASSESSMENT: Edward Snowden KGB Asset

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snowmanpootykgb

THE SNOWDEN AFFAIR:

Since the revelations began and the man without a country odyssey started all of our lives have changed at a fundamental level regarding our digital and private lives. The now million plus document trove is being parsed out by Glen Greenwald and others for the public to get a look into the inner workings of the state surveillance apparatus much to the consternation of the IC as well as the government and the dismay of the public. However you look upon Mr. Snowden and his choice you have to admit that the information does lend an insight into the great potential for abuse of the apparatus that the NSA has put together no matter what they may tell you they are doing or not doing to protect us. You see the point is no matter what alleged safeguards and altruism may lie within the apparatus and it’s employees it’s still ripe for abuse that will never see the light of day because it’s all classified and codified by the government. This is the point of the exercise as I see it from Mr. Snowden’s point of view and the aegis behind his doing what he did. Of course from day one darker minds would make assertions that there were darker geopolitical machinations at play and this was all just a dastardly plan to destroy us as a country. Of course as the passion play played out it was first China, the go to country for all our woe’s of late (APT etc) but as time wore on and Snowden found a perch in Russia, it’s now “clear” to some in the government that the plot was in fact Russian all along.

KGB ASSET:

Mike Rogers has been the bell ringer on the idea that Snowden from the get go was in fact a handled and groomed asset by a foreign power. His most recent bellowing without any real evidence is that Snowden was in fact an asset for Russia from the start and furthermore that all of this was done to damage the US and seek primacy once again on the international stage. Of course as I mentioned already Mike cannot offer any evidence and he alludes to “secrecy” of the data but in reality until you have proof that you can emphatically state and present the people it’s all just wild speculation and a form of conspiracy or propaganda in and of itself. While it is possible that Snowden was from the start an asset of the KGB  FSB, the evidence thus far for motive, methods, and follow through are somewhat thin and I cannot go on the record as thinking he was handled from the start by Russia or any other nation state. The fact that Snowden ended up in Russia at Sheremetyevo may in fact be because of the machinations of Assange and Wikileaks brokering the deal to get him there and then to get him allowed into the country not as a plan all along. There is more evidence to say that this is in fact the case then there is of any KGB FSB actions.

OCCAM’S RAZOR:

Using the paradigm of “Occam’s Razor” here let’s run through the possibilities on whether or not the claims being made by Mike Rogers and others out there that this was a carefully planned operation that cultivated Ed Snowden to become the largest leaker in history.

  • Ed Snowden is a naive individual who became through a sequence of events, an administrator within the IC networks and began to see things he thought were illegal and immoral
  • He used his knowledge of hacking and technologies to accumulate data through his own administrative access and social engineering
  • Once he saw the data he decided to leak all that he could and after seeing what happened to Manning made a plan to go to a country that in all the spy novels is easy to infiltrate and ex-filtrate out of
  • The NSA itself had poor OPSEC and threats from insiders were poorly covered thus making this possible (proven to be the case)
  • The NSA could not even keep track of internal access and exploitation (proven to be the case)
  • He contacted the press and was turned down by some until he met Greenwald and Poitras who then planned with him how to release the data and to firewall Snowden off
  • While in HK it became clear he could not stay there once the NSA/USA/UKUSA and other apparatus began working in the background to extradite him
  • Poitras, Greenwald, and then Wikileaks ex-filtrated Snowden out of HK and to Russia where a brokered interim solution of the airport no mans zone was at least possible
  • Snowden is a prize for the KGB FSB after the fact from not only an intelligence perspective but also a political one that thumbs its nose at the US (a win win for Putin)

 

  •  Edward Snowden was a carefully orchestrated long term asset by the KGB FSB trained by them to infiltrate the NSA and then use his domain admin/root access to steal them blind, exploiting their logical and technical vulnerabilities who they then ex-filtrated to HK and to Russia as a smoke screen for their own operational cover
    • Snowden was handled by KGB FSB for years while coming up the ranks as an UN-credentialed cleared individual clearly taking advantage of the US’ lax clearance and oversight process post 9/11
    • Snowden was in contact with Russia from the start and is a consummate operator perhaps even a cleverly created cutout sleeper agent
    • Once gathering all the data Snowden then passed it to Russia for them to digest and then leak to the world to cover their own operations and shame the US
    • Snowden is now a hero of the state in Russia and will get a hero’s treatment with access to all that Russia can offer in the post Soviet Oligarchy (inclusive Anna Chapman visits)

Hmmm is it just me or does the razor only really cut one way?

ANALYSIS:

My take on the whole affair is that Snowden was not a paid/cultivated/handled asset of the KGB FSB nor do I think that he was aided in any way by Russia in carrying out this leak/exploit. What I do think is that he is naive but also that what he was seeing, what we are all now seeing today in the news made him feel that the accumulation of power in a central secret body was anathema to freedom and the American ethos. As we have seen in the news there have been many things that the government has allowed, even shall we say promulgated, that are clearly violations of the US Constitution no matter the inveigling that might occur by those in power as to it’s legality. So I for one can see why someone like Snowden might do what they did outside of their own propensities for spy novels and a sense of right and wrong.

The realities are that no matter the attestations by those running the programs and their need to use them, there is always a chance of their abuse and subsequent burial of the facts through classifications and National Security letters as we have seen these last years. Were egregious abuses happening and are they still today? I am sure there are some, after all this is nothing new and all you need do to confirm that is Google Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? or look just to recent history with the Plame Affair to see how abuses can and have happened. So is it really outside the pale for someone with a conscience and perhaps an overactive imagination to think that great wrongs are being committed in all our names? I think that while there may have been no abuses “may” I also think that the capacity for abuse and the infrastructure to hide them is easily seen within the current architecture of the IC apparatus of the NSA and their programs. After all, if you want to ask about the idea that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, I ask you to tell me just exactly how you feel every time you go through a TSA checkpoint at the airport today.

Finally, I would also like to touch on the idea that the governments own hubris and now embarrassment is firing the boilers on this whole blame game that Snowden is in fact a handled asset of the Russians. I think that the NSA/USGOV and IC community feel the sting of their inadequacies as they have been laid bare for all to see. You see, Snowden did not carry out some 3l33t hacking here to gather the data. He used common techniques and vulnerabilities within the NSA and other government IC bodies to steal data and put them all on a USB stick and then walk out with them. It’s a simple trick and the top of that list is actually just socially engineering people for their passwords within the confines of the most secretive and secret IC shops in the world. Now that has to sting a bit wouldn’t you agree? So there is shame all around here on the part of the government and it puts them all in a weak position tactically. The reactions of all those at play seems to be more along the lines of dialogue from a playground spat rather than state or spycraft and it’s sad really. As the immortal words of GW Bush can attest;

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”

To me, it seems that Snowden just did what he did because of a myriad reasons that also include a certain amount of self aggrandizement. However, I can point to things in our own history and to popular media that may explain why someone might do something like this on the grounds that they think it’s illegal, immoral, and against the tenets of the USA. While POTUS is right about how important these types of programs can be in the war on terror and the every day intelligence gathering that every country needs to survive, it should also be possible to have some level of oversight to disallow for abuses of power to happen and happen with great frequency due to over classification. These are fundamental changes that should occur but the reality is that the very nature of the work being done and the culture within it’s halls will stoip any real progress being made. In the end nothing will change and the NSA will continue to collect all the data it can like a giant hoover-matic for later sorting and use.

Having grown up in the era of Nixon though, and other revelations like Iran Contra, I for one not only know that these things will continue to happen but that they have in the past and should be in our collective consciousness. Unfortunately many do not remember and the only entree into such ideas may in fact be cinema… I leave you with this scene from “Three Day’s Of The Condor”

Not everything in cinema is just fantasy…

“scr hrw lgihr kzpzz cwl nci pjwt”

Written by Krypt3ia

2014/01/20 at 14:25

The PrimorisEra Affair: Paradigms In Social Networking and SECOPS

with 5 comments

EDIT 5.24.2011

As of last night, I had heard that PrimorisEra was back and posting to a new blog. Today Wired has fired off a follow up to the earlier report and her return. It seems from the report that perhaps the Pentagon investigation is over and that in fact Shawna Gorman may indeed be the First Lady of Missiles. It remains to be seen if this is really the case but since she is back and blogging, I would have to lean toward my assessment from before. Still though, my cautionary statements about social networking and SECOPS still apply.

See below:

K.

From Wired:

It started out with a leggy, bikini-clad avatar. She said she was a missile expert — the “1st Lady of Missiles,” in fact — but sometimes suggested she worked with the CIA. With multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts, she earned a following of social media-crazed security wonks. Then came the accusations of using sex appeal for espionage.

Now everyone involved in this weird network is adjusting their story in one way or another, demonstrating that even people in the national security world have trouble remembering one of the basic rules of the internet: Not everyone is who they say they are.

“I think anyone puts pictures out online to lure someone in,” the woman at the center of the controversy insists. “But it’s not to lure men in to give me any information at all… I liked them. They’re pretty. Apparently everyone else thought so too.”

This is a strange, Twitter-borne tale of flirting, cutouts, and lack of online caution in the intelligence and defense worlds. Professionals who should’ve known better casually disclosed their personal details (a big no-no in spook circles) and lobbed allegations they later couldn’t or wouldn’t support (a big no-no in all circles). It led to a Pentagon investigation. And it starts with a Twitter account that no longer exists called @PrimorisEra.

Yesterday, Wired posted a news article about another potential social networking attack on the .mil and .gov types involving Twitter, Facebook, and Google Buzz. The snippet above really sums up what is alleged to have happened and the problems with Social media’s blasé attitudes where people who have jobs that require secrecy meet and chat.

Presently, according to the article, a Pentagon investigation is under way into this story, but once again, this is not the first time we have heard this type of story in the press with these same players. It was last year when a profile online named “Robin Sage” made the rounds on LinkedIn and other social media formats. This “cutout” as they are called in the espionage community, was in fact a fake profile used by a security researcher to prove a point. By using an attractive woman as the persona, the researcher was able to get people within the military and governmental community to add her and flirt. Through the flirting, the unsuspecting connections gave up valuable data on what they did for a living, where they were, and perhaps even locations in country around the battlefield in Afghanistan.

Many just fell for the profile hook line and sinker.. And that is a bad thing for anyone in this sector. It was a lesson in OPSEC and it’s failure. Potentially, this emerging case from the Wired story could also be much the same. The number of online personae that are involved in this story are just a little too many to just think that it was an innocent mistake on the part of a young woman seeking attention online from her peers within the government and military. However, its also just as possible that that is all it really is.

Time will tell.

Shawn Elizabeth Gorman Daughter of Nancy Gorman 1983

Site with SEG photo (1983)

The thing about this is that this type of exploit is not new at all. This is commonly known as a honeypot in the espionage area and before there was an Internet, there was the local cafe or bar, where one would just happen to meet a lovely young thing and start a relationship. That relationship would then be turned into blackmail (either emotional or literal) and suddenly, you are an asset for the adversary. The new twist is that services need not deploy an asset to a foreign country to search for and find access to those who they want to get information from. Today all they need to have is an Internet connection and Google. It is only even more easily carried out now that there are Social Media sites like Facebook and others to sidle digitally up to anyone you like and start to work on them if you know how.

There used to be a time where every operator was given the tutorials on espionage means and methods. People were forewarned about travelling to other countries and if you are cleared, you have to report suspicious contacts to the DSS. Today though, I don’t think that they have even attempted to try this with online content. I mean, how many reports a day would you have to make to DSS if you are online and just talking to people in a chat room or on Facebook? It would be impossible. So it is understandable, as social animals, that we develop this technology to connect with others and being that it is a rather insular means of communications, feel that we can just let loose with information. After all, how does one really assure that who they are talking to is indeed that person that they claim to be?

So, people forget and really, this is still all relatively new isn’t it? There are no maps here.

Now, back to this story, no one has claimed that data has been leaked. It is only the appearance of things have set off the alarm bells for people and agencies. When one user finally decided to call the alleged cutout’s profile out, a subsequent shit storm began that ended up with @primosera deleting their Twitter, Facebook, and Google accounts thus making the story seem even more suspect.

Was Shawn E Gorman a cutout? Is she really the grad student and contractor she claims to be in her tweets? What about the allusions to the CIA? All of the missile tech and political discussions? Well, given the background of what can be located readily online, there is a Shawn Elizabeth Gorman attending Johns Hopkins as a research assistant getting her MBA in Government, so, perhaps. Or maybe someone has just taken on the persona of Ms. Gorman to use as a cutout for these activities?

Frankly, I am leaning toward it really being her. As you can see from the photos above, I located a photo other than the one from Wired that purports to be Shawn E. Gorman born 1983 to a Nancy Gorman. I also located data that shows a Shawn E. Gorman living in Bethesda MD with the same mother. Given that the photo is an early one, and one of the few out there easily found, I am thinking it is one in the same. However, this does not mean that it has been her behind that keyboard when she was talking to all of the people involved.

Time will tell what is what once the Pentagon’s investigation gets done. It could be that this is all for naught security wise from the compromise perspective. However, this once again is an object lesson for everyone online. Nevermind if you work in a job that requires security, everyone should be cognisant that when they are online talking to someone that they do not know in real life, are just that much more possibly talking to someone who is not their “friend” and looking to just have a chat. From the common data thief to the corporate spy, we all may have data that someone wants and will be willing to pretend a while to get it.

We want to be social and open as we are social animals… Just so happens that sometimes that is a bad idea.

I think though, that everyone who works in security or within a security centric job space will have to go through some more training in the near future. This is just a warning bell and I think it best that the government and military listen to it. Even as the article goes on to mention, there are restrictions on the military about posting online, but still they cannot deny these people access to the likes of Facebook for morale. It is really playing with fire either way, in denying the access it seems draconian and people will fight it. On the other hand, if you allow it and monitor it, you are damned for monitoring people’s interaction online.

Hell, even the CIA has set up its own social networks within the CIA’s Intranet so people can talk and ostensibly share ideas and data. However, that is on an Intranet that is well protected….

Meanwhile, back on the Internet, we have places like LinkedIn. Sounds like a great idea, networking for jobs and such. Then the .gov and .mil folks all got online and began to show themselves and much of their data in a contained space. So much of a treasure trove is LinkedIn that Anna Chapman (as seen above from her Russian Maxim shoot) was only 2 degrees of separation from me within my network on LinkedIn! She was mining the connections as a sleeper for the SVR and all she had to do was put up a pretty picture and say hi.

For me it comes down to this;

1) If you sign up for these places hide as much of your data as you can.

2) Pay attention to the security measures that the sites have in place.. Or don’t. Facebook has had a terrible record on personal privacy but look how many people they have on there and just how much personal data is available to anyone who can look at the page, even a cached version.

3) When you get invites from people check them out. Use other means than the current site (aka LinkedIn) to do that research. See if you can nail down who they are in reality. Even then, once you are friends, think before you type. You may be giving out data that you personally don’t want anyone to have.

4) Placing too much family data on the Internet is a threat. Anything from Identity theft to outright stalking and physical danger can be the outcome if you make it too easy for someone to get your data.

5) If you suspect that someone you are talking to is not indeed who you think they are, walk away.

6) AND for God’s sake, if you are a guy, in the military or government, or hold a classified status and some hot avatar’d chick starts PM’ing you, its either a bot or it’s likely another cutout. ESPECIALLY if you lay out your life’s story online as to what you do and where you work.

7) Finally, remember what I have repeated over and over again. Whoever you are talking to MAY NOT BE WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE!

Just don’t put that data out there and end up in the hot seat with your job on the line over a little virtual tail.

K.

Anonymous #HQ: Inside The Anonymous Secret War Room

with 7 comments

John Cook and Adrian Chen — Dissident members of the internet hacktivist group Anonymous, tired of what they call the mob’s “unpatriotic” ways, have provided law enforcement with chat logs of the group’s leadership planning crimes, as well as what they say are key members’ identities. They also gave them to us.

The chat logs, which cover several days in February immediately after the group hacked into internet security firm HBGary’s e-mail accounts, offer a fascinating look inside the hivemind’s organization and culture.

  • Sabu
  • Kayla
  • Laurelai,
  • Avunit,
  • Entropy,
  • Topiary,
  • Tflow
  • Marduk
  • Metric
  • A5h3r4

So, Hubris/A5h3r4/Metric have broken into the inner circle of at least one cell of Anonymous. I say cell because I do not think that these users are the actual full scale leaders of Anonymous, instead, as I have said before, there are cell’s of Anon’s that perform operations sporadically. These folks, if the chat transcripts are true, are the ones just behind the HBGary hack and at least one of them, with the Gawker hack.

Once again, I will reiterate here that I think Anonymous is more like a splinter cell operation than anything else. There is an aegis from the whole as an idea, but, they break off into packs for their personal attacks, or whatever turns them on. They coalesce into a unit when they feel moved to, but, they do not overall, just get together and act without direction on the part or parts of leaders.

The example below of the transcripts for #HQ show that these characters though, are a little high on themselves after the hack on HBG… And you know what happens when you don’t pay attention to the hubris factor. You get cocky and you get burned. As you can see below, some of them are at least nervous about being popped or infiltrated.. Those would be the smart ones…

04:44 <&Sabu> who the fuck wrote that doc
04:45 <&Sabu> remove that shit from existence
04:45 <&Sabu> first off there is no hierachy or leadership, and thus an operations manual is not needed

[snip]

04:46 <&Sabu> shit like this is where the feds will get american anons on rico act abuse and other organized crime laws
04:47 <@Laurelai> yeah well you could have done 100 times more effective shit with HBgary
04:47 <@Laurelai> gratted what we got was good
04:47 <&Sabu> if you’re so fucking talented why didn’t you root them yourselves?
04:47 <@Laurelai> but it could have been done alot better
04:47 <&Sabu> also we had a time restraint
04:48 <&Sabu> and as far as I know, considering I’m the one that did the op, I rooted their boxes, cracked their hashes, owned their emails and social engineered their admins in hours
04:48 <&Sabu> your manual is irrelevent.

[snip]

04:51 <&Sabu> ok who authored this ridiculous “OPERATIONS” doc?
04:51 <@Laurelai> look the guideline isnt for you
04:51 <&Sabu> because I’m about to start owning nigg3rs
04:51 <&marduk> authorized???
04:52 <@Laurelai> its just an idea to kick around
04:52 <@Laurelai> start talking
04:52 <&Sabu> for who? the feds?
04:52 <&marduk> its not any official doc, it is something that Laurelai wrote up.. and it is for.. others
04:52 <&marduk> on anonops
04:52 <&Sabu> rofl
04:52 <@Laurelai> just idea
04:52 <@Laurelai> ideas
04:52 <&Sabu> man
04:52 <&marduk> at least that is how i understand it
04:52 <@Laurelai> to talk over
04:53 <&Sabu> le sigh
04:53 <&marduk> mmmm why are we so in a bad mood?
04:53 <&Sabu> my nigga look at that doc
04:53 <&Sabu> and how ridiculous it is

[snip]

04:54 <&marduk> look, i think it was made with good intentions. and it is nothing you need to follow, if you dont like it, it is your good right
04:55 <&Sabu> no fuck that. its docs like this that WHEN LEAKED makes us look like an ORGANIZED CRIME ORGANIZATION

My observations though have always been that the groups would be infiltrated by someone and then outed. It seems that this may indeed be the case here if the data is indeed real. It seems to me that a certain j35t3r said much the same before, that he could and did indeed infiltrate the ranks, and had their data. Perhaps J has something to do with this? Perhaps not… Still, the principle is sound.

  1. Infiltrate
  2. Gather INTEL
  3. Create maps of connections
  4. Report

It would seem also that these guys are liminally aware of the fact that their actions can be seen as a conspiracy and that the government will not only get them on hacks potentially, but also use the conspiracy angle to effectively hogtie them in court. Let me tell you kids, there is no perfect hack… Well unless the target is so inept as to have absolutely no logging and does not even know for a very long time that they had been compromised.. Then the likelihood of being found out is slimmer, but, you guys popped and then outed HBG pretty darn quick.

I am willing to bet there are breadcrumbs.. And, those said breadcrumbs are being looked at by folks at some three letter agencies as I write this. You see kids, you pissed in the wrong pool when it comes to vindictiveness. I agree that HBG was up to bad shit and needed to be stopped, but, look at the types of things they were planning. Do you really think that they are above retaliation in other ways than just legal? After all, they were setting up their own digital plumbers division here huh?

Anyway… Just sayin…

Back on topic here with the Backtrace folks and the logs. I have looked at the screen names given and have come to the conclusion that they are all generic enough that I could not get a real lock on anything with Maltego. I had some interesting things pop up when you link them all together, but, overall not enough to do anything meaningful. The other issue is that Maltego, like any tool using search engines and data points, became clogged with new relational data from the articles going wide. I hate it when the data is muddied because of this.

So, yeah, these names are not unique enough to give solid hits. Others though who have been re-using nicks online as well as within the confines of Anonops, well that is another story. I just have this feeling that there are larger drift nets out there now hoovering all you say and do on those anon sites, even if they are in the .eu space. I still have to wonder if any of those IRC servers have been compromised yet by certain intelligence agencies.

One wonders too if China might also be playing in this area… How better to sow discontent and destabilize than to use a proxy like Anonymous for operations?

For that matter.. How about the CIA?

NSA?

Think on it… Wouldn’t Anonymous make a perfect false flag cover operation?

For now, I am going to sit and watch. I would like to see the full chat transcripts though. Now that would be interesting.

“May you live in interesting times”

Indeed.

K.

Spies Among US

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First of all, when it comes to espionage, nothing in Russia has changed. After all, the real leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin, was as a career KGB agent who came up through the ranks, and not by exhibiting democratic principles but rather by being a steadfast believer in communist ideology and the especially harsh methods of the Soviet regime with which we are all familiar. In fact, let’s not forget, no one presently in a senior leadershipposition in Russia came up through a nursery of democratic institutions, but rather through the vestiges of Stalin, Kruchev, Andropov, the NKVD and the KGB. Putin, true to his breeding, has surrounded himself with trusted KGB cronies who believe as he does at all levels. So don’t expect anything less from Russia than what they are: not our allies. The KGB had illegals in the United States under the Soviet system and the SVRstill does, according to most experts, under the Russian Federation. How many are here? No one knows, but one thing we can be sure of, this is one of their favored ways to penetrate a nation and have a presence there and they are not giving up on this technique.

But why you ask? After all, the Russians have satellites and they can intercept communications and break codes. Yes and more. However, the one thing that Russian intelligence will always rely on is a backup system to their technical expertise in case of war (hostilities). They always want to have a human in the loop who can have access to information and more importantly to other humans.

You see, an illegal that passes as an average American, can have access to things no satellite, phone intercept or diplomat can have access to—every day things, such as a car, a home, a library, neighborhood events, air shows on military bases, location of fiber cables, access to gasoline storage facilities, a basement to hide an accomplice, a neighbor’s son serving in the military, and so on. If you think like an intelligence officer, then you realize in an open society it’s possible to obtain a lot of information. A mere walk in a neighborhood on a Saturday morning can give you access to vehicles parked at a garage sale that have stickers from government installations or high tech companies doing research. These individuals can be tracked or befriended. Neighbors often watch each other’s houses and may even have keys, which give an intelligence officer access to the house, or a car, or a gated community. They get invited to parties, meet people and gain access to individuals with knowledge, influence or information. And that is only the beginning.

Full article HERE

The above is a snippet from a Psychology Today article by a former FBI spycatcher. I bring it to you to perhaps clarify some of the news out there and maybe give some ancillary corroboration to the things I have been saying all along about the 11, now 12 “illegals” that were caught and so quickly deported recently.

It was surprising to see just how many people thought that since the Sov Bloc was gone that the new Russia would be spying on little ol’ us. I guess this says more about our culture than it does about theirs really. Just as the author says above, the Russians still have the “strong man” mentality inculcated within their culture and they are led by none other than Vladimir Putin, KGB down to his boxers… And still in charge. So why would it be so inconceivable that the Russians would have such illegals programs as well as other NOC operatives in country? Its certainly the case and always has been. It’s just that the people of the US are too busy thinking about the latest episode of the Hills instead of perhaps geopolitics huh.

Geopolitics and history aside, the article brings out a key point that I have made on more than a few occasions. HUMINT is ery important. This is something that we learned post 9/11 and have been trying to fix since we fucked it all up back in the 90’s (Sorry Bill Clinton) by reducing the HUMINT capabilities of the likes of the CIA in favor of technological means of spying (ala the NSA) We went too far in the other direction and got caught with our pants around our ankles because we did not have a man on the ground to give us good intel on the 19.

Then we have the 12 illegals pop up… and everyone is surprised that the Russians are spying on us as well as amazed at the old school tradecraft that they are using.

How antiquated…

Antiquated and still quite functional boys and girls.

Expanding it further out though, you can see in the passage that I like the most that;

If you think like an intelligence officer, then you realize in an open society it’s possible to obtain a lot of information. A mere walk in a neighborhood on a Saturday morning can give you access to vehicles parked at a garage sale that have stickers from government installations or high tech companies doing research. These individuals can be tracked or befriended. Neighbors often watch each other’s houses and may even have keys, which give an intelligence officer access to the house, or a car, or a gated community. They get invited to parties, meet people and gain access to individuals with knowledge, influence or information. And that is only the beginning.

THIS is a key thing to pay attention to. Once you are in, you have so much access that you really don’t need all of the arcane spy vs spy stuff to get what you really want here. The illegals were a foothold group sent to burrow in and make lives so they could gather data and make friends. They would be, in states of serious distress between the countries, “inside men” the fifth column to attack the enemy from the inside… Say, does this remind you of anything going on recently? Say, oh Jihadi’s recruiting US citizens for Jihad?

Yep.

Situational Awareness is key.