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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
Number of posts: 14,144

Journal Archives

Yahoo’s Government Email Scanner Was Actually a Secret Hacking Tool


The spy tool that the US government ordered Yahoo to install on its systems last year at the behest of the NSA or the FBI was a “poorly designed” and “buggy” piece of malware, according to two sources closely familiar with the matter

Last year, the US government served Yahoo with a secret order, asking the company to search within its users’ emails for some targeted information, as first reported by Reuters this week. It’s still unclear what was the information sought, but The New York Times, citing an anonymous official source, later reported that the government was looking for a specific digital “signature” of a “communications method used by a state-sponsored, foreign terrorist organization.” ...

...But two sources familiar with the matter told Motherboard that this description is wrong, and that the tool was actually more like a “rootkit,” a powerful type of malware that lives deep inside an infected system and gives hackers essentially unfettered access. The rootkit-like tool was found by Yahoo’s internal security testing team during one of their checkups, according to a source.

“They assumed it was a rootkit installed by hackers,” an ex-Yahoo employee, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive issues, told Motherboard. “If it was just a slight modification to the spam and child pornography filters, the security team wouldn't have noticed and freaked out.”

Tl;dr version: The Feds demand Yahoo management install rootkit (my guess is to look for posts using steganography), Yahoo management obliges- but does not tell Yahoo corporate security.

Yahoo security finds poorly-written malware, tells management. Management says
"National security letter, STFU or do time". Head of security resigns as a result.

Presumably someone at Yahoo remains pissed off, leaks details to Motherboard.
(or if your are of conspiratorial bent, malware was/is actually good and reports of
it being poorly written are attempts to make NSA look more inept than they
really are...)

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Oct 7, 2016, 06:01 PM (0 replies)

Trump Supporters Spent The Debate Tweeting At Jon Lester Because They Thought He Was Lester Holt


Jon Lester is expected to be the Cubs’ Game 1 starter when the NLDS kicks off at Wrigley on Friday against either the Mets or Giants. That’s Jon Lester. Not NBC anchor Lester Holt, who is old and who scouts say has 55 command at best, barely fourth-starter potential. Just so we’re clear.

We’re late on this (we never would have known about it if Randall J. Sanders hadn’t noticed) but I think it’s worth the wait. Last week, presidential debate moderator Holt drew the ire of some Trump supporters by asking questions of Donald Trump about his insane statements and policies, and by attempting to keep him on track. The next morning those Trumplings ran to Twitter and tweeted at the first “Lester” they could find...

...For next Sunday night’s debate, forget the fact-checking. Make sure your second screen is a search for Jon Lester’s mentions.

Best comment from Deadspin:

"Check out the feeds for those twitter users, holy shit. A couple straight up white power, and a bunch of just raging ignorance."
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Oct 3, 2016, 01:30 PM (10 replies)

Gun control advocacy attracts bullshit artists, like all prohibitionism. DU is not exempt

They come in several varieties. All are (according to them) the smartest, most concerned/caring
person in the room and purport to "know" what others do and do not "need"

Some are of more than one type:

*The Royalist Gun Owner- "*My* firearms are just fine- it's *those people* (and/or
their guns) that are the problem!"

*The Veteran- "I was (Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines) and (carried/served on) (Weapon
System X). Nobody needs an assault rifle/weapon!"

*The Fudd- Inevitably mentions that they do not own any firearm with post-19th Century
technology and declares that no one needs a gun designed after 1900. If pressed, may grudgingly
accept M-1 Garands.

*The Expert- Knows far more about guns than you ignorant sociopathic racist peasants do,
and is not a bit shy about letting you know that.

If confronted by evidence that they in fact do *not* know what they are talking about
(or are simply flat-out wrong) they press on as if they never saw it, a la Donald Trump.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Oct 2, 2016, 02:09 PM (0 replies)

Rahm Emanuel Concerned Gun Violence Could Spread To Parts Of City He Gives Shit About


CHICAGO— Speaking with members of his staff in private Monday after receiving the most recent municipal crime statistics, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is said to have expressed his concern that the metropolitan area’s gun violence problem might soon spread to the parts of the city he actually gives a shit about, sources reported. “Listen, we’re at 3,000 shootings this year and counting—it’s only a matter of time before this violence migrates from the areas of the city I don’t give a fuck about into the areas that actually matter in my eyes,” the second-term mayor reportedly said, adding that it would be devastating to see such senseless shootings affect residents outside of the large swaths of Chicago he has written off entirely. “If we don’t do something soon to keep guns off the streets of those particular neighborhoods that I consider worthwhile, things could really spiral out of control. Enough is enough when it comes to the parts of this city that I choose to serve.” At press time, Emanuel was breathing a sigh of relief after learning that six Chicagoans killed overnight were shot dead in neighborhoods he couldn’t care less about.

The best satire always contains a grain of truth...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Sep 29, 2016, 06:56 PM (2 replies)

Police accidentally record themselves conspiring to fabricate criminal charges against protester

More details here:

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Sep 20, 2016, 09:03 PM (4 replies)

Police accidentally record themselves conspiring to fabricate criminal charges against protester


ACLU is suing Connecticut state police for making false charges against a man who was protesting a DUI checkpoint.

On September 11, 2015, Connecticut resident Michael Picard was filming a protest near a police DUI checkpoint in West Hartford. Unbeknownst to the troopers who confiscated his camera, it was rolling while they appeared to fabricate criminal charges against him.

“Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Sep 20, 2016, 09:00 PM (0 replies)

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: GOP operatives discussed ginning up 'voter fraud' reports


Some of what is reported by the Guardian U.S. in its story on leaked John Doe documents had been previously disclosed, but there was also a good bit of new stuff...

...Republican insiders discussed ginning up concerns over voter fraud in the days after then-Supreme Court Justice David Prosser narrowly defeated challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in April 2011.

"Do we need to start messaging 'widespread reports of election fraud' so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number? I obviously think we should," wrote Steve Baas, a senior vice president with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, to a group of conservative operatives on April 6, 2011, a day after the Prosser-Kloppenburg contest.

"Yes. Anything fishy should be highlighted," wrote former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, a Republican. "Stories should be solicited by talk show hosts."
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Sep 16, 2016, 02:34 PM (1 replies)

Because Scott Walker asked: Leaked court documents from "John Doe" investigation in Wisconsin...

...lay bare pervasive influence of corporate cash on modern US elections.


Scott Walker was under pressure. It was September 2011, and earlier that year the first-term governor had turned himself into the poster boy of hardline Republican politics by passing the notorious anti-union measure Act 10, stripping public sector unions of collective bargaining rights.

Now he was under attack himself, pursued by progressive groups who planned revenge by forcing him into a recall election. His job was on the line...

...He asked his main fundraiser, Kate Doner, to write him a briefing note on how they could raise enough money to win the election. At 6.39am on a Wednesday, she fired off an email to Walker and his top advisers flagged “red”...

...Her advice was bold and to the point. “Corporations,” she said. “Go heavy after them to give.” She continued: “Take Koch’s money. Get on a plane to Vegas and sit down with Sheldon Adelson. Ask for $1m now.”

Read and download the "John Doe" files here, and find out how dirty the Wisconsin Supreme Court is:


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Sep 16, 2016, 02:21 PM (1 replies)

After key donations, GOP tried to keep poisoned kids from suing lead makers

Source: Ars Technica

Between 2011 and 2012, large, secret donations from the billionaire owner of one of America’s leading lead producers provided critical support to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the Republican-led legislature as they weathered recall elections. Not coincidentally, around that time the lawmakers passed two laws that would effectively make it impossible for childhood victims of lead poisoning to sue lead companies, according to leaked documents obtained by The Guardian.

Since the laws were passed, federal courts have overturned key elements of them, ruling them unconstitutional and allowing legal challenges to go forward. However, if the laws had stayed in effect, it would have spared lead industries from potentially paying out millions in damages to hundreds of victims who were exposed to extremely high doses of the poisonous metal through paint during childhood...

...Under the two Wisconsin laws, Clark’s negligence suit would have been thrown out. The first of the laws, enacted in early 2011, required any new alleged victim to definitively prove that the company they were suing was responsible for making the exact paint that they inhaled or ingested at the time of their poisoning—basically an impossible feat given multiple paint layers within houses and exposures that occurred long ago in childhood. The second law, slipped into a 2013 budget bill at the last minute, made sure the rule applied not just to new lawsuits, but pending ones as well. Together, the laws would render lead producers and lead paint manufacturers effectively immune to all lawsuits.

According to the leaked documents—which were assembled during a state investigation into alleged campaign finance violations—the GOP got several key donations in between those two legislative moves. Harold Simmons, the billionaire owner of NL industries, a leading producer of lead previously used for lead paints, wrote three checks, totaling $750,000, during that time. The checks were made out to the Wisconsin Club for Growth, then run by one of Gov. Walker’s top advisors.

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/09/after-key-donations-gop-tried-to-keep-poisoned-kids-from-suing-lead-makers/

The leaked "John Doe" files can be found here:

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Sep 16, 2016, 02:08 PM (10 replies)

Unredacted User Manuals Of Stingray Device Show How Accessible Surveillance Is


The Intercept has today published 200-page documents revealing details about Harris Corp's Stingray surveillance device, which has been one of the closely guarded secrets in law enforcement for more than 15 years. The firm, in collaboration with police clients across the U.S. have "fought" to keep information about the mobile phone-monitoring boxes from the public against which they are used. The publication reports that the surveillance equipment carries a price tag in the "low six figures." From the report:

The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department alone has snooped via Stingray, sans warrant, over 300 times. Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the "manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of" Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the "Stingray II" device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.

There's a video, as well:

The control software can be operated from almost any Windows computer.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Sep 13, 2016, 01:36 PM (5 replies)
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