- Darktrace CEO: Hackers are increasingly targeting unprotected ‘internet of things’ devices such as air condition systems and CCTV to get into corporate networks.
- In one incident, a casino was hacked through the thermometer in its lobby aquarium.
- Former GCHQ director calls for laws on minimum security standards for ‘internet of things’ devices.
London — Hackers are increasingly targeting ‘internet of things’ devices to access corporate systems — everything from CCTV cameras to air-conditioning units. The “internet of things” refers to devices that are hooked up to the internet to allow live streams of data to be monitored. The term covers everything from household appliances to widgets in power plants and everything in between.
Nicole Eagan, the CEO of cybersecurity company Darktrace, told the WSJ CEO Council in London on Thursday: “There’s a lot of internet of things devices, everything from thermostats, refrigeration systems, HVAC [air conditioning] systems, to people who bring in their Alexa devices into the offices. There’s just a lot of IoT. That expands the attack surface and most of this isn’t covered by traditional defenses.”
Eagan gave one memorable anecdote about a case Darktrace worked on where an unnamed casino was hacked via a thermometer in a lobby aquarium.
“The attackers used that to get a foothold in the network. They then found the high-roller database and then pulled that back across the network, out the thermostat, and up to the cloud,” she said.
Robert Hannigan, who ran the British government’s digital spying agency GCHQ from 2014 to 2017, appeared alongside Eagan on the panel and agreed that hackers targeting internet of things devices is a growing problem for companies.
“With the internet of things producing thousands of new devices shoved onto the internet over the next few years, that’s going to be an increasing problem,” Hannigan said. “I saw a bank that had been hacked through its CCTV cameras because these devices are bought purely on cost.”
He said regulation to mandate safety standards would likely be needed.
“It’s probably one area where there’ll likely need to be regulation for minimum security standards because the market isn’t going to correct itself,” he said. “The problem is these devices still work. The fish tank or the CCTV camera still work.”
He was awake when most of the country was asleep, cultivating a loyal following while sharing his fascination with the unexplained on his nighttime paranormal-themed show.
For the better part of two decades, longtime late-night radio personality Art Bell was his own producer, engineer and host of his show, “Coast to Coast AM.” He later launched his own satellite radio program from his Pahrump home after retiring from full-time hosting duties in 2003.
On the airwaves, Bell captivated listeners with his fascination for the unexplained, such as UFOs, alien abductions and crop circles. He died Friday at his home at the age of 72.
“As he begins his journey on the ‘other side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us,” Coast to Coast said in a statement Saturday.
Coast to Coast was syndicated nationwide on about 500 stations across the United States and Canada in the 1990s before he left in 2002. He broadcast the show from Pahrump’s KNYE 95.1 FM, a station he founded.
Lorraine Rotundo Steele, who had been listening to Bell for more than 21 years, said Saturday that she was stunned by the news of her favorite radio host’s death. The 60-year-old Canadian resident started tuning in to Bell’s show after her dad died.
“Art taught me how to keep an open mind,” Steele told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “At a very dark time in my life, he kept me sane. Art’s fascination with life after death was what I needed after losing my father.”
Bell retired several times in his career, which included a short-lived show on SiriusXM satellite radio in 2013. He also co-authored a book, “The Coming Global Superstorm,” with Whitley Strieber.
Returning to terrestrial radio afterward was not a difficult decision, he told the Pahrump Valley Times in August 2013.
“That’s easy, because I love it,” he said at the time. “It’s my life, and that’s all I have ever done. I went through a lot of family problems, so that interrupted things, and I was overseas for four years, and that certainly interrupted things. I went back into radio because I love it.”
“That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.
And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.
We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
– Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Government of George W. Bush.
I do wish people would study Rove’s words more carefully. Judiciously study them. If they did, then whenever the next alleged atrocity occurs and the United States, together with its coalition of supine vassals, starts yelling and hollering 10 minutes later for action to be taken, on the basis of a test-tube full of washing powder, or pictures of injured women and children in a war zone, and the entire media of dutiful stenographers shrieks that “something must be done”, then perhaps we might pause and wonder if we are being played. Instead of falling into an emotional spasm, maybe we would instead reject the deafening drumbeats of war – wars that have a habit of killing immeasurably more women and children than the alleged incidents on which they are based, by the way — and ask ourselves whether “Rove’s Law” has come into play.
As an aside, the West’s interventionist wars remind me of that wonderfully cynical exchange in the film, The Man With Two Brains:
Dr. Hfuhruhurr: “The only time we doctors should accept death is when it’s caused by our own incompetence!”
Dr. Necessiter: “Nonsense! If the murder of twelve innocent people can help save one human life, it will have been worth it!”
Here’s Dr. Necessiter selling us into war in Iraq: “Nonsense! If it costs us the deaths of 500,000 people to topple the evil dictator Saddam Hussein, it will have been worth it!”
Here he is selling us bombs on Libya: “Nonsense! If turning Libya into a failed state, a terrorist’s playground, and causing a mass exodus of refugees is the price for getting rid of Gaddafi, it will have been worth it.”
And here’s Dr Necessiter again, this time trying to sell us into bombing Syria: “Nonsense! Risking a catastrophic clash with a country armed with thousands of nuclear weapons is worth it in order to respond to the alleged deaths of less than a hundred people in a totally unproven chemical weapons attack.”
Behold, the “logic” of the interventionists!
But back to Rove. What was he saying? Three things:
Number one: We – that is the Globalist Deep State, centered in Washington DC – are sovereign over the entire globe and we will do as we please.
Number two: That we don’t follow reality, we create it.
Number three: That we are prepared to do things that will make your jaws drop, your hair stand on end, and your eyes boggle as you wonder what is going on, and while your jaws, your hair and your eyes are busy doing their thing, we will have moved onto create our next reality.
In other words – we are God – and not a kind and merciful God, but a God who lords it over all peoples’, nations and tongues, who tells lies, and then tells more lies to cover up those lies and – when you poor saps are trying to work out what it is we’re really up to – before you know what has happened, those lies and those lies to cover up lies will have become the new reality. We’ll have moved on and the world with it, and the narrative we have created will have been written in the history books, which we ourselves shall write.
The cases of Sergei Skripal and the alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta seem somehow to represent the zenith of this ideology.
I do not know who poisoned Sergei Skripal or for what reason. It could be that the Russian Government was behind it, although this would mean accepting the highly improbable thesis that they decided to target a has-been MI6 spy, who they released from prison eight years ago, using perhaps the dumbest assassination method in the history of the world – an ineffective, slow-operating, “military-grade” nerve agent, which could be traced back to them, and which they smeared on a door handle in rainy Salisbury –, a week or so before a Presidential election, and less than 100 days before they are due to host the World Cup. In other words, the official narrative does not rest on accepting that the Russian state is the epitome of pure evil; it rests on accepting that it is the epitome of insanity and bumbling incompetence.
I do not know what happened in Eastern Ghouta. It could be that the Syrian Government was behind what is alleged to have happened (if it indeed did happen), but this would mean having to accept the thesis that just 24 hours away from completely liberating the last pocket of resistance in Damascus, after the US, the UK and France had all warned that they would attack if chemical weapons were used, just a week or so after the US President, Donald J. Swamp, announced that the US would be pulling out of Syria (which they occupied illegally, by the way), they made the decision to use a weapon that gave them no military advantage whatsoever, but which was practically guaranteed to be used as a pretext for airstrikes against them. In other words, like the Skripal case, the theory does not stand on accepting that the Syrian state is the epitome of pure evil; it stands on accepting that it is the epitome of self-defeating stupidity on an epic scale.
But you see what I’ve done? I’ve fallen right into Karl Rove’s trap, haven’t I? I’m asking questions about whether the narratives in these cases stack up. In the Skripal case, I’ve been judiciously studying reality by asking lots of questions that ought to have occurred to anyone with a keen interest in arriving at the truth (here and here, for instance). I could do the same with the Syrian case, if I had the time.
Yet while I’m doing so, the narrative is moving on. I’m falling into exactly the trap that Karl and his disciples have laid. They want two sorts of people: those who just blindly accept that it was the Russians wot did it, or that it was Assad wot did it; and those who spend their time asking questions about the official explanations. The first group call the second group conspiracy theorists and nutters. The second group call the first group dumb sheeple. And the Globalist Deep State laughs and laughs and laughs as the two groups battle it out to make sense of what has happened, leaving it free to march on to create the next reality. Truly I tell you, these Bolsheviks have learnt their Hegelian Dialectics well.
Now, this is not to rule out that in the Salisbury and Eastern Ghouta cases the official narratives might – just might – be the correct ones. That both Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad might be the Laurel and Hardy of Geopolitics. Yet it has to be said that whatever else you think about them, neither of them tends to come across in interviews as being what you might call dumb or inept. Nor do either of them give the impression that they have sudden insane impulses to do things which have absolutely no benefit to them, but which hand their enemies massive PR victories.
But this is besides the point. The point is not whether these particular incidents are what the official narrative says they are, or whether they are provocations. It suffices for the “new reality creators” to create their realities on occasion, or perhaps to distort occurrences which they didn’t create, and before you know it you have your two groups battling over events which may be real or fake: the conspiracists – who are studying every event to try to work out the details and the inconsistencies – and the sheeple – who believe that their Government is full of good hearted, white hatted chaps and lasses who would never, ever do anything bad – unlike those orcs over in Mordor.
Rove and Co have basically created a “reality” where truth is no longer discernible, where assertions of guilt are taken as fact, and where holes in these kinds of incidents only serve to divide the people further, so that the Globalist Deep State can move on to create their next reality.
But let’s not get gloomy.
The good news is that although they clearly think they can get away with it indefinitely, they can’t. No kingdom or empire built on a mountain of lies can stand indefinitely. They all fall. And can’t you start to sense the signs that the empire’s “new realities” – or what are known as lies in laymen’s terms – are reaching boiling point? Don’t you sense that they have just got too confident and in doing so have begun to get careless? They are making mistakes. And as they do, they are having to resort to bigger and bigger lies to cover up the ones they’ve already told.
Sadly for Rove and Co, but happily for the rest of us, the world doesn’t actually work the way they think it does. Reality – I mean real reality, rather than the phoney reality they have created – will catch up sooner or later. I sense that it’s on its way even now. And when it finally comes, the whole rotten edifice that these “history’s actors” have tried to create will crash and burn. Bringing much rejoicing.
Somebody has some explaining to do…
According to a reported in i24, a huge explosion was heard at the Iranian base Jabal Azzan located in Syria’s Aleppo province after it was struck by four Israeli Airstrikes.
“We know for certain that between April 3 and April 6 the so-called White Helmets were seriously pressured from London to speed up the provocation that they were preparing…”
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s Department of Education announced Thursday that it will close 283 schools this summer following a sharp drop in enrollment amid the island’s long economic slump and the continued departure of families after Hurricane Maria.
Education Secretary Julia Keleher said there would be no layoffs. Teachers and other employees will be reassigned to other schools as part of a fiscal plan that aims to save the department some $150 million. The U.S. territory currently has more than 1,100 public schools that serve 319,000 students. “We know it’s a difficult and painful process,” Keleher said. “Our children deserve the best education that we are capable of giving them taking into account Puerto Rico’s fiscal reality.” Keleher said that enrollment has dropped by more than 38,700 students since just last May and that nearly half of the schools are using only 60 per cent of their capacity. After the closures, 828 public schools will remain operational. Keleher said she has invited mayors in the island’s 78 municipalities to propose new uses for the shuttered schools. The announcement of closures came two weeks after Gov. Ricardo Rossello signed a bill for implementing a charter schools pilot program in 10 per cent of public schools and offering private school vouchers to 3 per cent of students starting in 2019-2020 as part of an education overhaul. Aida Diaz, president of a union that represents some 30,000 teachers, said she and others would fight the closures. “The damage that the Secretary of Education is doing to children, youth and their parents is immeasurable,” Diaz said in a statement sent to The Associated Press Yolanda Rosaly, an Education Department spokeswoman, did not immediately return a message for comment. Those who oppose the closures say they worry about transportation logistics and the needs of special education children. An estimated 30 per cent of Puerto Rico students receive specialized education, twice the average on the U.S. mainland. The drop in enrollment comes as roughly a half million people have fled Puerto Rico for the U.S. mainland in the past decade during the long recession, including an estimated 135,000 since Hurricane Maria in September. Puerto Rico closed 150 schools from 2010 to 2015, and last year announced it would be closing another 179 schools.
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood
A recently discovered video of a California sheriff talking to law enforcement officers shows Kern County’s chief lawman explaining that killing citizens is better than wounding or injuring them because it costs less money and makes the family “go away.”
Although Kern County had a population of 875,000 people in 2015, its law enforcement officers were responsible for more deaths than any other county in America that year, according to the Guardian. During that year, Kern County deputies and Bakersfield, Calif., police killed 1.5 people for every 100,000 residents, more than three times the rate of Los Angeles County and 10 times the rate of the New York Police Department in 2015.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Department is led by Donny Youngblood, who has served as sheriff of the county for more than a decade. During his first campaign in 2006, Youngblood spoke to a group of police officers, telling the cops that shooting to kill was better financially for his department.
“You know what happens when a guy makes a bad shooting and somebody kills them?” Youngblood explained. “Three million bucks and the family goes away after a long back and forth.”
“When a deputy shoots someone in the streets, which way do you think is better financially—to cripple them or kill them—for the county?” Youngblood asked. When someone replied, “Kill them,” Youngblood responded, “Absolutely. Because if they’re crippled we get to take care of them for life. And that cost goes way up.”
The video was uploaded to Facebook by the Kern County Detention Officers Association on Monday and called for the sheriff to be replaced. The group told the Guardian that the full hour of video contains even more concerning quotes and said the group was “disgusted” by the video.
“But we have been disgusted with Donny Youngblood’s leadership for more than a decade,” said Chris Ashley, director of the KCDOA.
Youngblood is running for re-election against his chief deputy, Justin Fleeman, marking the first time that the sheriff has faced an opponent since taking office. Fleeman has been endorsed by all three unions of officers in Kern County’s Sheriff’s Department.
Shooting to kill is a tactic that has long been rumored to be a mantra of officers across the country. The “dead men tell no tales” philosophy is employed by cops because, frankly, it works.
In 2017, The Root examined over 10,000 cases between 2007 and 2017 and found only five incidents where police were convicted for on-duty killings.
During Youngblood’s time as sheriff, a Kern County deputy has never been charged with an on-duty police killing.
India collects biometric data on 1.3 billion residents for use in a nationwide identity system called Aadhaar
The New York Times notes Big Brother has Arrived in India.
Seeking to build an identification system of unprecedented scope, India is scanning the fingerprints, eyes and faces of its 1.3 billion residents and connecting the data to everything from welfare benefits to mobile phones.
Civil libertarians are horrified, viewing the program, called Aadhaar, as Orwell’s Big Brother brought to life. To the government, it’s more like “big brother,” a term of endearment used by many Indians to address a stranger when asking for help.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other champions of the program say that Aadhaar is India’s ticket to the future, a universal, easy-to-use ID that will reduce this country’s endemic corruption and help bring even the most illiterate into the digital age.
The poor must scan their fingerprints at the ration shop to get their government allocations of rice. Retirees must do the same to get their pensions. Middle-school students cannot enter the water department’s annual painting contest until they submit their identification.
The Modi government has also ordered Indians to link their IDs to their cellphone and bank accounts.
Although the system’s core fingerprint, iris and face database appears to have remained secure, at least 210 government websites have leaked other personal data — such as name, birth date, address, parents’ names, bank account number and Aadhaar number — for millions of Indians. Some of that data is still available with a simple Google search.
As Aadhaar has become mandatory for government benefits, parts of rural India have struggled with the internet connections necessary to make Aadhaar work. After a lifetime of manual labor, many Indians also have no readable prints, making authentication difficult. One recent study found that 20 percent of the households in Jharkand state had failed to get their food rations under Aadhaar-based verification — five times the failure rate of ration cards.
Does anyone see this system as a benefit for the people?
As one commenter notes:
Aadhaar, which was envisaged as a tool to ensure welfare reaches the right person (Indian system had immense leakages including corruption and pilferage and thus made sense in some ways) has now been turned into a surveillance tool by the BJP by making it mandatory to link it to bank accounts, mobile phone, driving license, buying property etc. (literally linking it to anything). A few activists have taken it to courts and the verdict is awaited. In a way press is also putting up a fight on this issue. How this will play out remains to be soon.
How things will pan out depends on the results of the general elections. IMO, BJP is still the strongest party and their twin heads – Modi, a great orator (probably better than Obama – like the US citizens in 2008 got fooled by the change we can believe in, Indians also get fooled) and Amit Shah, a great organiser – have the ability to pull it off. Hopefully it will not come to pass as without proper checks and balance in a porous democracy like India democracy can be easily transformed into a tyranny. Even now in many ways it is the Tyranny of the majority.
As The New York Times notes, opponents have filed at least 30 cases against the program in India’s Supreme Court. They argue that Aadhaar violates India’s Constitution – and, in particular, a unanimous court decision last year that declared for the first time that Indians had a fundamental right to privacy.
Rahul Narayan, one of the lawyers challenging the system, said the government was essentially building one giant database on its citizens. “There has been a sort of mission creep to it all along,” he said.