Source: Security Is Ruining the Internet
With permission from
Another major cyberattack, another wave of articles telling you how to protect your data has me thinking about European ruins. Those medieval fortresses and castles had walls ten feet thick made of solid stone; they were guarded by mean, heavily armored, men. The barbarians got in anyway.
At the time, those invasions felt like the end of the world. But life goes on. Today’s Europeans live in houses and apartment buildings that, compared to castles of the Middle Ages, have no security at all. Yet: no raping, no pillaging. People are fine.
Security is overrated.
The ransomware attack that crippled targets as diverse as FedEx and British hospitals reminds me of something that we rarely talk about even though it’s useful wisdom: A possession that is so valuable that you have to spend a lot of money and psychic bandwidth to protect it often feels like more of a burden than a boon.
You hear it all the time: Change your passwords often. Use different passwords for different accounts. Install File Vault. Use encrypted communications apps. At what point do we throw up our hands, change all our passwords to “password” and tell malicious hackers to come on in, do your worse?
I owned a brand-new car once. I loved the look and the smell but hated the anxiety. What if some jerk dented it? Sure enough, within a week and the odometer reading in the low three digits, another motorist scratched the bumper while pulling out of a parallel parking space. I was so determined to restore the newness that I paid $800 for a new bumper. Which got scratched too. That was 13 years, 200,000 miles and a lot of dings ago. Still drive the same car. I don’t care about dents.
The Buddha taught that material attachments bring misery. He was right. During the 1980s crack epidemic addicts stole car stereos to finance their fixes. To avoid smashed windows, New Yorkers took to posting “No Radio” signs on their cars.
But the really smart drivers’ signs read “Door unlocked, no radio.” It worked.
Hackers, we’re told, are ruining the Internet. I say our reaction to hack attacks has ruined it. It’s like 9/11. Three thousand people died. But attacking Afghanistan and Iraq killed more than a million. We should have sucked it up instead.
Security often destroys the very thing it’s supposed to protect. Take the TSA — please! Increased airport security measures after 9/11 have made flying so unpleasant that Americans are driving more instead. Meanwhile, “civil aviation” flights out of small airports — which have no or minimal security screenings — are increasingly popular. So are trains — no X-ray machines at the train station, either. Get rid of TSA checkpoints at the airport, let people walk their loved ones to the gate so they can wave goodbye, and I bet more people would fly in spite of the risk.
It’s not just government. Individuals obsess over security to the point that it makes the thing they’re protecting useless.
For my 12th birthday my dad gave me a 10-speed road bicycle. I still have that Azuki. It weighs a ton but it runs great. It’s worth maybe $20.
Bike theft is rife in Berkeley and Manhattan, but I tooled around both places on that banana yellow relic of the Ford Administration without fear of anything but the shame of absorbing insults from kids on the street. I often didn’t bother to lock up my beater. Never had a problem.
In my early 40s and feeling flush, I dropped $2400 on a royal blue Greg LeMond racing bike. Terrified that my prize possession might get stolen, I only ride it to destinations I deem ridiculously safe or where I’ll only have to leave it outside for a few minutes. So I hardly use it.
I’m an idiot.
Nice things are, well, nice to have. But they’re also a pain in the ass. In college one of my girlfriends (who I am not suggesting was a “thing,” obviously, and whom equally obviously I never thought I “had” in any ownership-y sense) had dazzling big blue eyes and golden blonde hair down to her waist and was so striking that guys literally walked into lampposts while gawking at her. Being seen with her was great for my ego. But every outing entailed a risk of violence as dudes catcalled and wolf-whistled; chivalry (and my girlfriend) dictated that I couldn’t ignore all of them. I sometimes suggested the 1980s equivalent of “Netflix and chill” (Channel J and wine coolers?) rather than deal with the stress. (We broke up for other reasons.)
So back to the big ransomware attack. What should you do if your ‘puter locks you out of your files unless you fork over $300? Wipe your hard drive and move on.
Back up regularly, Internet experts say, and this threat is one reason why. With a recent backup you can usually wipe your hard drive and restore your files from a backed-up version that predates the virus. Take that, villains! But no one does.
Meanwhile, our online lives are becoming as hobbled by excessive security as the airlines. Like the countless locks on Gabe Kaplan’s Brooklyn apartment door in “Welcome Back Kotter,” two-step authentication helps — but at what cost? You have to enter your password, wait for a text — if you’re traveling overseas, you have to pay a dollar or more to receive it — and enter it before accessing a site. Tech companies force us to choose a new password each time we forget the old one. Studies show that makes things worse: most users choose simpler passwords because they’re easier to remember.
The only thing to fear, FDR told us, is fear itself. What if we liberated ourselves from the threat of cyberattack — and a ton of work maintaining online security — by not having anything on our Internet-connected devices that we care about?
This would require a mental shift.
First, we should have fewer things online. When you think about it, many devices are connected to the Internet for a tiny bit of convenience but at significant risk to security. Using an app to warm up your house before you come home is nifty, but online thermostats are hardly worth the exposure to hackers who could drive up your utility bills, start a fire or even cause a brownout. Driverless cars could be remotely ordered to kill you — no thanks! I laugh at the Iranian nuclear scientists who set back their nation’s top-secret research program for years because their desire to cybercommute opened their system to the Stuxnet attack. Go to the office, lazybones!
The Internet of Things needs to be seriously rethought — and resisted.
As for your old-fashioned electronic devices — smartphones, tablets and laptops — it might time to start thinking like a New Yorker during the 1980s. Leave the door unlocked. Just don’t leave anything in your glove compartment, or on your hard drive, that you wouldn’t mind losing.
The Wikileaks has published a user guide for CIA’s “Weeping Angel” tool which had been based on a MI5/BTSS tool.
The new ‘Vault-7’ batch sheds light on MI5/CIA’s classified smart TV malware bug manual.
The “Weeping Angel” tool is an implant designed for Samsung F Series Smart TVs. It is “designed to record audio from the built-in microphone and egress or store the data,” the Wikileaks’ press release said.
“The classification marks of the User Guide document hint that… was originally written by the MI5/BTSS and later shared with the CIA. Both agencies collaborated on the further development of the malware and coordinated their work in Joint Development Workshops,” the whistleblowing site said.
On March 7, WikiLeaks released the first part of what it called an unprecedentedly large archive of CIA-related classified documents. According to the website, a large archive comprising various viruses, malware, software vulnerability hacks and relevant documentation, was uncovered by US government hackers, which is how WikiLeaks gained access to some of the data from the trove.The “Year Zero” batch was followed by the “Dark Matter” released on Match 23. The third batch called “Marble” was released on March 31. The “Grasshopper” batch revealing a platform for building malware was released on April 4. The HIVE batch revealing top secret CIA virus control system was released on April 14.
The first batch of Wikileaks’ CIA revelations shed light on a technology allowing to turn on a Samsung smart TV set’s audio recording capabilities remotely which had been designed by the CIA and the UK Security Service MI5.
Yikes, the Internet of Things is everywhere these days, including your private parts.
Makers of the We-Vibe have agreed to delete all the hump and vibe info they stored without users’ consent.
The first time I heard about the We-Vibe I was in a Victoria, BC sex shop, where a 38-year-old woman told me about her search for something that could vibrate inside her as she goes about her daily tasks. She was scoping out the Canadian-made sex toy because it could be controlled remotely via her partner’s phone app—a fantasy that seemed genuinely futuristic three years ago.
A lawsuit filed in Illinois last year alleged the company was collecting “highly personal” information about its user’s diddling habits, from how frequently they’re taking care of business, to the intensity settings they’re using in real time.
Last year the company claimed they were just using the data to improve user experience. They noticed many masturbators were using the highest setting, for example, which suggests people out there wanted more juice. Hmmm.
The company has admitted no wrongdoing, but has agreed to empty its Canadian servers of all the vibrator-related personal info, and stop collecting it in future.
We-Vibe app users can claim up to USD $10,000 in damages. There are roughly 300,000 users out there, about a third of which use the app. To the woman I met in Victoria, if you’re out there, getting in on this cash bonanza would be the greatest act of self-love.
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Dear USA, While the truth is coming out, release Assange you pathetic mind control freaks and lying scoundrels!
Source: Common Dreams
March 9, 2017
Once the CIA’s weapons have been disarmed, WikiLeaks would post the code publicly, Assange said. (Photo: Reuters)
WikiLeaks will give technology companies exclusive access to alleged CIA documents to help them repair security flaws that allowed the government to spy on individuals through their smart devices, the organization’s founder Julian Assange said Thursday.
“Considering what we think is the best way to proceed and hearing these calls from some of the manufacturers, we have decided to work with them to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details that we have so that the fixes can be developed and pushed out, so people can be secure,” Assange said in a Facebook live address from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has lived in exile since 2012.
WikiLeaks on Tuesday released a trove of documents purporting to show that the CIA exploited security flaws in mobile phones, smart TVs, and other devices that allowed the intelligence agency to listen in on users in their own homes. But the documents did not disclose what those flaws actually were—instead showing user guides, developer manuals, and other communications.
The group said it held back publishing that information to “[avoid] the distribution of ‘armed’ cyberweapons” until there was a “consensus” on how to dismantle them.
Once they have been disarmed, WikiLeaks would post the code publicly, Assange said.
CIA spokesman Dean Boyd responded to Assange’s comments by stating that he was “not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity.”
WikiLeaks fired back, “but he literally won the award for just that,” referring to the 2010 honor Assange received from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, an organization founded by retired CIA officers that recognizes intelligence whistleblowers.
During the press conference, Assange again reiterated the group’s claim that the documents show the CIA has lost its grip on its vast surveillance enterprise.
“The Central Intelligence Agency lost control of its entire cyberweapons arsenal,” Assange said. “This is an historic act of devastating incompetence to have created such an arsenal and stored it all in one place and not secured it.”
Apparently the answer to the same question is slightly more honest when it comes from Google Home.
March 10, 2017
So, this happened.
Following Wikileaks Vault 7 release alerting Americans to the fact that the CIA is using tons of exploits to turn all sorts of internet-connected smart devices into surveillance microphones, granting the intelligence agency access to millions of people’s private homes, people started asking questions.
Namely, this woman below asked her ever-listening Amazon Echo device if it is connected to the CIA.
Well, first she asks Alexa if Alexa would lie, then makes sure Alexa knows what the CIA is.
Twice she asks Alexa if she’s connected to the CIA… and twice Alexa refuses to answer. Must go against the “cannot tell a lie” protocol.
After this video went viral, Amazon sent Alexa an updated way to answer the question… which still doesn’t really answer the question.
Or does it?
Considering we know Bilderberg attendee Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos signed a $600 million contract with the CIA to provide its cloud hosting, Amazon is basically one Kevin Bacon degree of separation away from the CIA.
There’s a reason the Amazon Echo was offered up so cheaply last year… they want as many people to have them in their homes as possible.
Can you think why that might be?
Apparently the answer to the same question is slightly more honest when it comes from Google Home:
“I’ve got to admit… I’m not sure…”
(H/T: Michael Krieger)
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Welcome to New World Next Week – the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week:
Story #1: Mexican Drug King Worked for CIA, Says His Son
The CIA And The Drug Trade
Fill The Swamp: Trump Wants Record $54B Increase In Military Spending
Story #2: Minimum Wage Massacre As Wendy’s Unleashes 1,000 Robots To Counter Higher Labor Costs
The Robot That Takes Your Job Should Pay Taxes, Says Bill Gates
FriendFace Testing AI To Spot Potentially Suicidal Members
Google Can* (*Will/Did) Remotely Reset Your Google Router
Stuffed CloudPets Toys Leak Millions Of Voice Recordings From Kids, Parents
Story #3: Americans Have Fewer TVs On Average Than They Did In 2009