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Snarkoleptic

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Chicago
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Fri May 4, 2007, 12:12 PM
Number of posts: 4,856

Journal Archives

Russian-controlled telecom hijacks financial services Internet traffic

Visa, MasterCard, and Symantec among dozens affected by "suspicious" BGP mishap.
This is one of those stories that I'm filing under 'sleeper story', that will later be shown to be part of a broader controversy.

https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/04/russian-controlled-telecom-hijacks-financial-services-internet-traffic/

On Wednesday, large chunks of network traffic belonging to MasterCard, Visa, and more than two dozen other financial services companies were briefly routed through a Russian government-controlled telecom under unexplained circumstances that renew lingering questions about the trust and reliability of some of the most sensitive Internet communications.

Anomalies in the border gateway protocol—which routes large-scale amounts of traffic among Internet backbones, ISPs, and other large networks—are common and usually the result of human error. While it's possible Wednesday's five- to seven-minute hijack of 36 large network blocks may also have been inadvertent, the high concentration of technology and financial services companies affected made the incident "curious" to engineers at network monitoring service BGPmon. What's more, the way some of the affected networks were redirected indicated their underlying prefixes had been manually inserted into BGP tables, most likely by someone at Rostelecom, the Russian government-controlled telecom that improperly announced ownership of the blocks.
"Quite suspicious"

"I would classify this as quite suspicious," Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at network management firm Dyn, told Ars. "Typically accidental leaks appear more voluminous and indiscriminate. This would appear to be targeted to financial institutions. A typical cause of these errors in some sort of internal traffic engineering, but it would seem strange that someone would limit their traffic engineering to mostly financial networks."

Normally, the network traffic bound for MasterCard, Visa, and the other affected companies passes through services providers that the companies hire and authorize. Using BGP routing tables, the authorized providers "announce" their ownership of the large blocks of IP addresses belonging to the client companies. On Wednesday afternoon at around 3:36pm Pacific time, however, Rostelecom suddenly announced its control of the blocks. As a result, traffic flowing into the affected networks started passing through Rostelecom's routers. The hijacking lasted five to seven minutes. When it was over, normal routing was restored. The event is nicely captured in a graphic here.

The hijacking could have allowed individuals in Russia to intercept or manipulate traffic flowing into the affected address space. Such interception or manipulation would be most easily done to data that wasn't encrypted, but even in cases when it was encrypted, traffic might still be decrypted using attacks with names such as Logjam and DROWN, which work against outdated transport layer security implementations that some organizations still use.

New Alt-Right Fight Club Ready for Street Violence - (aaaand cue the brownshirts)

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/04/25/new-alt-right-%E2%80%9Cfight-club%E2%80%9D-ready-street-violence

A new fight-club “fraternity” of young white, pro-Trump men is being formed, its organizers claim, to defend free-speech rights by “Alt-Right” leaders and engage in street fighting.

Kyle Chapman, a California activist arrested earlier this month in a clash in Berkeley between anti-fascist protesters and pro-Trump demonstrators, announced this week he is forming the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights (cleverly called “FOAK).

Chapman, who uses the Internet meme “Based Stick Man,” says his new militant, highly-masculine group will be the “tactical defensive arm” of the Proud Boys, another group that shows up at pro-Trump rallies looking to rumble with counter-protesters.

“We don’t fear the fight. We are the fight,” Chapman said in a recent social media post announcing FOAK’s formation.

“I’m proud to announce that my newly created Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights will be partnering with Proud Boys,” Chapman said, with the “full-approval” of its founder, Gavin McInnes.

McInnes co-founded Vice magazine a decade ago and more recently has been a frequent guest on FOX News and a contributor for the racist site VDARE where he denigrated Muslims and called Asian Americans “slopes” and “riceballs.”

Now described as a “neo-masculine reactionary,” McInnes calls his Proud Boys a “pro-West fraternal organization.”

Think Trump's Stupid? Get A Load Of This Interview

Astonishing...no words...arrrggghhh!
&feature=youtu.be&a

Trump Administration Distances Itself From Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman Amid Call For Recusal

http://www.ibtimes.com/around-world/trump-administration-distances-itself-blackstone-ceo-stephen-schwarzman-amid-call

Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin became the first federal lawmaker to call for Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman to recuse himself from helping to shape Trump administration policy that affects Schwarzman’s private equity firm. Another influential Democrat joined in — and the White House, under fire Friday, began to distance itself from the billionaire adviser.

The Donald Trump administration now argues that even though Schwarzman chairs the White House Strategic and Policy Council — the members of that panel are appointed by Trump — the Blackstone CEO is not working for the White House in any official capacity, and is merely operating his own outside group.

The criticism, call for recusal and abrupt moves by the White House followed an International Business Times report that detailed how Schwarzman’s White House panel is overseeing regulatory, energy and infrastructure policies that could enrich Blackstone.

In December, Trump’s transition team announced the creation of the Strategic and Policy Forum, whose members “will be called upon to meet with the President frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge” and “to provide direct input to the President” on policy matters. Trump himself appointed the members of the panel and named Schwarzman as chair. The group has convened meetings at the White House; Cabinet officials have presented policies to the group for review. Trump and Schwarzman led a session of the Strategic and Policy Forum at the White House earlier this month.

Rauner Campaign Using Koch Brothers Data Mine In Re-Election Effort

https://news.illinoisworkingtogether.org/rauner-campaign-using-koch-brothers-data-mine-in-re-election-effort-b1f08cd8bc35

AKA "Cranky billionaires already won, but want to continue screwing us."

As Governor Bruce Rauner denies a campaign reboot, new campaign finance reports show the governor’s political operation has recently spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on voter data and analytics firms including i360, a company owned by billionaires Charles and David Koch, and Applecart, a firm that culls information about voters from church lists and high school yearbooks.

The filing, showing the Rauner campaign’s expenditures from January to March of 2017, show what looks to be a monthly fee of $750 paid to i360 for “software”. Previous filings show a total of more than $34,000 paid to i360 by the Rauner campaign since December of 2013. Rauner’s filing also showed a March payment of $338,092 to Applecart, a data mining and analytics firm based in New York. Rauner has paid Applecart more than $650,000 since taking office.

In a 2014 article, Politico described i360 as “the Koch data mine”, noting that after its launch, i360 merged with “a Koch-funded data nonprofit” and received investment from the Koch-affiliated Freedom Partners. A 2016 Time Magazine article called i360 founder Michael Palmer “the eyes and ears for the network led by industrial billionaires Charles and David Koch.”

This is not the first link between the governor and the Koch Brothers. Rauner attended a Koch Brothers “donor summit” in Palm Springs, California last January.

To clear the air, I offer this handy guide to things not to do re: Russia.

Whereas the ‘old standard’ was to avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety, I recommend everyone do NOT-

Assume plane spotters will not notice that a Russian oligarch is shadowing your campaign tour.
Borrow large sums of money from Russian banks and oligarchs.
Collude with Russia to hack/release e-mail and data on your political opponents.
Dispatch a shady envoy to Moscow with a recorded message, which can later be used as blackmail, offering to drop sanctions.
Echo Russian talking points about U.S. sanctions, NATO, Crimea, Ukraine.
Establish a server, which communicates exclusively with a Russian bank; instruct one of your future cabinet members to do likewise.
Meet with Russians and then lie about it on federal background check forms/affidavits.
Meet with Russians and then lie about it to congress (esp. under oath).
Personally and through your surrogates, employ Russian ‘Active Measures’.
Sell property to Russian oligarchs at inflated over-market prices.
Surround yourself with political operatives, many of whom have atypical and zealously concealed ties to Russian intel.
While staying in Moscow, assume your room is not being surveiled.
Work the halls of congress as an unregistered Russian agent. (Let alone register after the fact)

Care to suggest anything else be added to these new/old best practices?

Hackers have just dumped a treasure trove of NSA data. Heres what it means.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/04/15/shadowy-hackers-have-just-dumped-a-treasure-trove-of-nsa-data-heres-what-it-means/?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.d40d812f2671

A group of hackers called the Shadow Brokers has just released a new dump of data from the National Security Agency. This is plausibly the most extensive and important release of NSA hacking tools to date. It’s likely to prove awkward for the U.S. government, not only revealing top-secret information but also damaging the government’s relationships with U.S. allies and with big information technology firms. That is probably the motivation behind the leak: The Shadow Brokers are widely assumed to be connected with the Russian government. Here’s what the dump means.

What information has been released?

The release is only the most recent in a series of Shadow Broker dumps of information. However, it is by far the most substantial, providing two key forms of information. The first is a series of “zero-day exploits” for Microsoft Windows software. Zero-day exploits are attacks that take advantage of unknown vulnerabilities in a given software package. Exploits against commonly used software such as Windows are highly valuable — indeed, there is a clandestine international market where hackers sell exploits (sometimes through middlemen) to intelligence agencies and other interested parties, often for large sums of money. Intelligence services can then use these exploits to compromise the computers of their targets.

Second, information in the dump seems to show that the NSA has penetrated a service provider for SWIFT, an international financial messaging service. Specifically, it appears to have penetrated a SWIFT Service Bureau that provides support for a variety of banks in the Middle East.

Russia could soon take over a chunk of U.S. oil infrastructure

https://news.vice.com/story/russia-oil-rosneft-infrastructure

Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil company, could end up with a majority stake in Texas-based Citgo after the entity that owns Citgo, Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company PDVSA, used almost half of Citgo’s shares as collateral for a loan from Rosneft.

In the midst of Venezuela’s ongoing economic crisis, PDVSA is reportedly in danger of defaulting on that loan. That means Rosneft, a company specifically named in U.S. sanctions levied against Russia after its 2014 annexation of Crimea, is poised to become one of the biggest foreign owners of American oil refining capacity.

Rosneft is headed by Igor Sechin, a powerful crony of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and is often seen as a proxy for the Kremlin’s energy policies.

PDVSA put up as collateral about 49.9 percent of Citgo shares in exchange for a $1.5 billion loan from Rosneft in December. It had used the other half of Citgo as collateral for a bond deal two months before that. Should PDVSA default on its Russian loan, the Russians could relatively easily end up with a majority stake in Citgo by acquiring more PDVSA bonds on the open market.

While the exact details and time-frame of the Rosneft loan remain murky, PDVSA successfully made $2.2 billion in payments on notes that matured April 12, sending ripples of relief through financial markets.

National conspiracy under way to dictate our local politics. NewTrier H.S. - Tip of the Spear

Thesis- Democracy is being taken over by a handful of oligarchs and mobilized groups of citizens who seem like they just don't want to pay taxes.

How does a single Facebook post turn into a "national controversy", including coverage in the Wall Street Journal, National Review and CNN?
How does a local non-issue become a story everywhere but in the community in which it happened?

Through a web of conservative think-tanks, political operatives, bloggers and dark money... all focused on a single day of student-led programming and a municipal election that's been non-partisan for 150 years.

Seems like a fairly small and unimportant target for so much weight and force... unless it's just the Tip of the Spear.
Coming soon to YOUR community... if it's not already there!



Congrats to DU on achieving the 75-million post milestone!

Special thanks to Skinner, Earl G, Elad, MIRT, forum hosts, star members and ALL POSTERS!
242,363 user registrations and 75,000,000 posts since 2001

https://www.democraticunderground.com/index.php
Take a look, just below "Enter Discussion Forums".


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