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I'm very concerned about the corporate malfeasance and possible government complicity revealed in the 75,000+ leaked #HBGary emails.

First of all, I have to say it's rather pathetic that these guys considered themselves an elite private security company, when they had such poor practices securing their own website and servers, and couldn't even restrain their own executive from vigorously prodding a ginormous hacking collective. Reading this article helped me understand how #Anonymous penetrated the defenses of a company which had been (previously) esteemed enough to be contracted by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

So they did it all for the Lulz. But seriously, why would you go and vigorously prod a hive like that? I'm not rooting for the illegal act of cracking (on that basis alone), but if I saw someone directly threaten a large group of Hells Angels, I wouldn't be surprised if he got his butt whooped. Very stupid.

So then all these emails are lying about, and a cursory glance yields mounds and mounds of diabolical scheming between Bank of America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a lobbyist firm called Hunton & Williams (which also has connections with Koch Industries, amongst other highly-compensated clients). Mind you, BoA and CoC were referred to these "security" agencies via the Department of Justice, in order to combat the mightiest threat (greatest leveler) the world has ever faced: #Wikileaks (and all the various spinoffs that are forked each time an information authoritarian shoots the messenger only to find the message bit-torrented).

And what exactly is in the proposal that "Team Themis", composed of HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and Berico Technologies, was aiming to pitch Bank of America, the recipients of billions in TARP taxpayer bailout funds for having mismanaged all our usuriously obtained fees and fraudulently foreclosed upon homes, to combat the Great Evil of Wikileaks? Why, to intimidate journalist Glenn Greenwald and other defenders of the whistleblowers, conducting a COINTELPRO-like campaign to discredit the veracity of leaked documents. Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a rightwing lobbyist organization which has assiduously championed pretty much everything that's bad for the American public, apparently would be willing to spend $2 million a month to Team Themis for similar smear services against progressive and labor organizations, journalists, and citizen activists that threaten CoC's agenda, such as ThinkProgress, StopTheChamber, U.S. Chamber Watch, Public Citizen, MoveOn, and the SEIU.

What the #HBGary leak has taught me is that even citizen activists such as myself are potentially vulnerable to infiltration, sabotage, propaganda, and disinformation. They used questionable tactics such as "scraping", where profile data from FaceBook or LinkedIn is automatically collected and analyzed. Such mining is explicitly against Facebook's and other services' policies, but that obviously didn't hinder anyone in "Team Themis" from conducting such "unauthorized research" without a whit of ethical remorse. Ironically, a lot of the data they were collecting seemed to be rather, ahem, inaccurate, thereby raising the specter of unjust guilt-by-association, and wild goose chases. They were even creating fake personas with which to infiltrate groups and betray confidences. In one email, Aaron Barr, apparently the chief architect of the social media Witchhunt/FUD schema, wrote of a discussion with a former client about this idea, presumably one who worked in US Intelligence:

"The conversation was very interesting today. The admit they had no idea this was happening until it hit the streets. They have no idea how to manage things like this in the future. And the agree they are not capable of doing the right activities (like I did) to be better prepared in the future because of authority and policy restrictions."

Yeah. Policy restrictions. Like the Constitution.

I enjoy Glenn Greenwald's chastisement of Hunton & Williams, the DoJ-referred legal firm at the center of this disturbing triangle between corporate money, ethically questionable engineering, and our government's non-existent protection of our First Amendment Freedom of Speech:

"For a lawyer to be at the center of an odious and quite possibly illegal scheme to target progressive activists and their families, threaten the careers of journalists as a means of silencing them, and fabricate forged documents intended for public consumption -- and then steadfastly refuse to comment -- is just inexcusable.  Perhaps some polite email and telephone encouragement from the public is needed for Woods to account for what he and his firm have done.  In exchange for the privileges lawyers receive (including the exclusive right to furnish legal advice, represent others, and act as officers of the court), members of the Bar have particular ethical obligations to the public.  At the very least, the spirit -- if not the letter -- of those obligations is being seriously breached by a lawyer who appears to be at the center of these kinds of pernicious, lawless plots and then refuses to account to the public for what he did."

Folks, we have a problem. The US Government outsources its intelligence work to incompetent and unethical actors. Then, when the inevitable leaks gush about all the illicit happenings being perpetrated, our Department of Justice refers corporations who are also threatened by said leakage to third parties, perhaps to avoid the taint of COINTELPRO-ness. What do you think is the likelihood of the DoJ investigating the malfeasance resulting from such a referral?


This diary is crossposted from my blog: Aigeanta.Net | Hope of Survival

Originally posted to Anonymous Dkos on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 07:42 AM PST.

Also republished by Anonymiss Dkos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The likelihood of investigation/prosecution (19+ / 0-)

    Thanks, aigeanta, for a well considered and interesting post. I have the same concerns that you voiced.

    And while I am encouraged that good actors like Greenwald and others are now on this case, that they found out about these proposed campaigns before they happened, and I am fascinated by the twists and turns of this story, when all is said and done, and even if major crimes are exposed, I have no faith that the Dept of Justice will do anything about it. The reason I have no faith is based on their past history.

    HBGary is already paying a price for this in that their business is toast. Even if they weren’t proposing and working on slimy and probably illegal schemes, how could anyone justify hiring a security firm that allowed themselves to be so thoroughly hacked?

    But it would be foolish to think that there are not many, many other actors who will walk away from this with no repercussions.

    Lastly, it still amazes me to what lengths the govt and other operatives will go to shut down relatively small players. It reminds me of the time they were spying on a Quaker group in Florida. It’s insanity.

  •  This story is barely beginning... (21+ / 0-)

    There are a lot of very persistent people digging through the pile of emails serendipitously dumped in their laps. Once upon a time these bloggers would be twisting in the wind trying to get traction for a story, but now they get face time on MSNBC etc.

    These emails are like chum in the water ahead of a fishing expedition...

    Wikileaks banking dump... bring it on! (I think this story has a few weeks yet to mature, then shit will hit the fan - I'll reserve my right to two free internets if I'm within two days... heh)

    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 07:59:48 AM PST

  •  Incompetent & Well Paid (10+ / 0-)

    There is massive amounts of money available to companies to do intel work, the "results" will promote the need for more "intel" from contracted company, wash, spin recycle.

    Folks, we have a problem. The US Government outsources its intelligence work to incompetent and unethical actors.

    Action is the antidote to despair---Joan Baez

    by frandor55 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:13:17 AM PST

    •  Not altogether different from the arms race (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zett, CMikkelson, aigeanta

      The military industrial complex is fed  through repeatedly  transfering technology until it winds up in unfriendly hands. Leaking our A-bomb secret to the USSR drove us to star wars. Why would the information security frontier be any different?

      "Life is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." --John Wayne

      by Sonofasailor on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:23:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for compiling (13+ / 0-)

    some links that are must reads in order to fully understand this story and how serious it is.  I find it hard to explain to people in an abbreviated version.  Many of us have known for a very long time how fixed the game really was.  Thanks to Wiki and Anonymous everyone is going to be exposed to this simple truth.  

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:17:25 AM PST

    •  I'd like to emphasize this: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eru, Quicksilver2723, Dude1701
      Thanks to Wiki and Anonymous everyone is going to be exposed

      Not just the bad actors.

      •  That is good... (6+ / 0-)

        Every business should assume that their internal emails will eventually leak out and become public.  With Wikileaks and Anonymous, there is no longer any expectation of privacy or confidentiality.  Therefore, everyone should use maximum discretion when creating electronic documents, and avoid discussing illegal activity.

      •  Actually, they only thing they (9+ / 0-)

        are exposing to the public is that the public is already exposed.  They can be attacked for their beliefs by firms like HB Gary.  If they hurt say the Koch brothers enough they can assume they will be spied on and pressured to stop via illegal methods.  

        ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

        by Kristina40 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:38:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If we can't have genuine privacy, (4+ / 0-)

        and it looks like we can't outside of using secure encryption for everything, then I'd rather have genuine openness. The current state of affairs is such that we can hide our online dealings and personal information from everyone except those who would use the information to do us harm. And they, in turn, can hide from us how they're using it.

        •  Then we might as well (0+ / 0-)

          extend the Patriot Act. If we have nothing to hide we've nothing to fear. /snark

          •  No, that's entirely different (0+ / 0-)

            The Patriot Act, like other government and/or corporate spying and/or datamining, is an example of how certain groups can already access pretty much all of our information. In secret, with minimal or no accountability, and no way to ascertain what exactly it is they do/don't know, how they know it, or what they plan to do with it.

            If we're going to have spying, I'd much rather have it be equal-opportunity. If I can't hide my activities from the corporation, I'd rather the corporation couldn't hide its activities from me. If we little people have to be constantly exposed...let's drag everyone out into the sunlight. Or at least the people we're exposed to.

            An analogy: I'd feel quite uncomfortable, vulnerable, and exposed being nude in a nudist camp. But it doesn't even approach the level of discomfort I'd feel if I were required to be nude at work while my boss was clothed. If I can't have my clothes, then he shouldn't get to keep his.

            •  neither should be naked (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not about to abandon privacy concerns simply because some are already prying too far.

              Essentially what you're saying is since James is already stealing my lunch money it's ok that Peter chimes in. 'It's only fair play.'

    •  It sounds like Austin Powers shit. (0+ / 0-)

      I laid it out to a friend of mine from France. It was ridiculous.

      Like sharks with lasers and shit... it was funny.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:44:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's a fascinating story. (11+ / 0-)

    Basically, it confirms everything I always thought about the level of corruption of lobbyists and corporate America. My only question is why isn't Anonymous employed at the Department of Homeland Security?

    "It does not require many words to speak the truth." -- Chief Joseph, native American leader (1840-1904)

    by highfive on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:21:12 AM PST

    •  According to Rep. King (13+ / 0-)

      they are a "clear and present danger to the United States" and their acts are "worse than a military attack"  I have to think if they have King this worked up they must be doing something right ;)

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:25:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Makes me wonder what he has on (6+ / 0-)

        his home computer.

      •  There is a problem with our leaders here (7+ / 0-)

        Not a damn one of them knows anything about IT or how any of this works.  Most of them only know what they see on the movies, where you can download all the governments files onto a laptop and hack an alien mothership with a macbook.

        It's no wonder the freak the hell out.

        •  well, the "deciders" of this nation... (6+ / 0-)

          ...are in the older generation who are not literate about computers and networks nor ever wish to be.  These country club types buy what they need.  They're not in any position to understand, much less evaluate, the quality of services being rendered by their in-house security teams -- some grossly undermanned and too busy to track emerging threats.

          Put bank execs in that category.  

          We needed president-elect Al Gore in the White House at the beginning of the 21st Century, not a complete dipshit know-nothing stuck in the 17th C.

        •  Remember John Wheeler's murder last month? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highfive

          I recall a blurb somewhere back then that Wheeler was deeply involved in cyber security and the lack thereof for the Pentagon (?).

          Anyway because his name came up again today in the news here:

          Crime scene investigators enter John Wheeler's home

          February 16, 2011
          By Shirley Min

          Investigators entered John Wheeler III’s New Castle home yesterday.

          According to The News Journal, crime scene investigators were there for three hours and left with a large paper bag and several manila envelopes.

          The Newark Police Department’s spokesman Lt. Mark Farrall had this to say when asked what exactly was collected.

          “I can confirm investigators were at the home of Mr. Wheeler yesterday. I cannot provide specifics as to what their activities were at this time.”

          The Washington insider’s body was found inside a dumpster at the Cherry Island landfill in Wilmington New Year’s Eve.

          Remember this image of the man obviously disoriented?:

          I found this on DU and thought I'd pass it along:

          Jan 13: "Senators say military cyber ops not disclosed."

          Cyber ops were precisely what John Wheeler was said to be working on at MITRE Corporation, for the Defense Department. The article reports on the dissembling before a closed Senate hearing, by a nominee for undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Michael Vickers, who tells a senator that the reason for the Defense Dept not disclosing cyberwar ops to the Senate is that such "emerging high tech operations are not specifically mentioned in the law" requiring disclosure. He said he would, of course, "if confirmed," review the law to suggest updates. (I'm trying not to type, "LOL.")

          Does this not sound like a COVERUP of something that John Wheeler might have been onto? The Defense Dept was developing high tech cyber war weapons without authorization and were failing to report it to the Senate? Whose money were they using? Who were they reporting to? Sounds to me like this secret operation could produce a motive for murder. Caveat: If Wheeler was murdered over this, it could be a MITRE rival. Could be a "rogue" group in the Defense Dept, or within MITRE or other MIC corps. Could be related to Wheeler's murder in ways we can't even guess at. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody. I'm saying that a secret op, kept from the Senate, directly related to Wheeler's work, could produce a motive for murder.

          And the more I find out about Wheeler's murder, the more I think that it was a sophisticated operation and had some such motive.

          Below from Yahoo News:
          Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press – Wed Jan 12, 5:15 pm ET

          Senators say military cyber ops not disclosed

          This was linked at DU as background.

          Just an FYI.

          •  What was John Wheeler III doing at the Mitre Corp? (0+ / 0-)
            From Veterans Today
            Military Veterans & Foreign Affairs Journal

            John P Wheeler III: Former Special Asst to Air Force Sec, Member of Council on Foreign Relations, Consultant to Mitre Corporation Found Dumped in Landfill

            January 3, 2011 posted by Managing Editor · 76 Comments

            What was John P Wheeler III doing at the Mitre Corporation? And why was he found dead New Year’s Eve at the Cherry Island Landfill?

            Editor’s note:  This may be the suspicious death of all time.  I will be looking for clues over the next few days.  Those of you, you know who you are, get me what I need to make this right.

            MITRE Corporate Profile:

            MITRE manages Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs): one for the Department of Defense (known as the DoD Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence FFRDC), one for the Federal Aviation Administration (the Center for Advanced Aviation System Development), one for the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the Center for Enterprise Modernization), and one for the Department of Homeland Security (the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute). MITRE also has its own independent research and development program that explores new technologies and new uses of technologies to solve our sponsors' problems in the near-term and in the future.

    •  Your answer: (8+ / 0-)

      Anonymous is not employed at the DHS, because:
      1. Anonymous is a group-that-is-not-a-group.
      2. They won't work for the Government against the people's rights.

      Well, I guess your question was a snark, but in doubt.

    •  Some of them may be (6+ / 0-)

      That's the beauty of a disorganized loosely-associated anonymous collective: we have no idea where they work or what they do.

  •  I am absolutly fixated (12+ / 0-)

    on this unfolding story.  You summarize it well.  

    My plan is to tell everyone I know about this story and get the discussions going....at the office, in line at at the grocery store, at the kids sports events...everywhere and anyone.  

    This story must grow legs and stay alive.  

  •  I wonder (6+ / 0-)

    what they'll be changing their names too?

  •  The sweet, sweet irony of it all... (7+ / 0-)
    There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,
    Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,
    They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way
    And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
    For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
    Hoist with his own petar; and 't shall go hard
    But I will delve one yard below their mines
    And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
    When in one line two crafts directly meet.

    William Shakespeare - Hamlet

  •  Yeah, you gotta wonder... (8+ / 0-)

    I've worked in hi-tech for longer than I care to think, and certainly for the last fifteen years, the policy at any company I've worked for has been, "Never put anything in email (or IM) that you wouldn't want to see on the internet (or wouldn't want to see come out in discovery)"

    You combine that with the fact that a 16-year old member of Anon got root access to one of the systems by a simple piece of social engineering, and you gotta wonder: How did these clowns ever get a reputations as a hot-shot security firm?

    •  I think they really didn't think it was that (0+ / 0-)

      bad.

      I don't think Aaron has any idea how fucked up what he was doing was.

      The irc chat was amazing...

      He's a good guy. Just a pragmatist doing what needs to be done.

      He was thwarted by Purists.

      Apparently, Aaron at one time valued free speech.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:49:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  you posed the big question... (6+ / 0-)

    ...in my mind, which was the competency of those in the government dispensing referrals to what appears to be total morons for their skunk ops.

    So where's the NSA and intelligence communities on this?  Where is this nation's security brain trust?  The same ones who missed the mounting threats by al Qaeda?  

    I've been saying this since 9.11 -- incompetent boobs or culpable rats.  Either way, their black budgets should be red-lined to the ground.  They're obviously overpaid.

    They can hoover up terabytes of personal information on citizens but apparently have no clue how to interpret it.

    •  that's why i'm waiting (4+ / 0-)

      to hear who the "who" is who even thinks govt referral is ok.
      i will refer interested parties to the journey undertaken to find out who the "who" of "A Whale" was, when the savior ship was getting all that press...idiots.

      The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [...you know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

      by greenbird on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:13:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Only Just Beginning (8+ / 0-)

    These disclosures ought to enrage and frighten everyone.  Our basic rights to freedom of speech, association and safety are being severely threatened.

    There is no reason to believe these covert criminal campaigns are limited to HBGary and Hunton Williams - they just happen to be the only organizations exposed so far.

    Ever wonder why we don't hear from bank whistle blowers with all the fraud in the banking and mortgage industries?  Bank whistle blowers are routinely silenced by companies like HBGary.

    See:  http://ReportingWrongdoing.com and
    http://www.reportingwrongdoing.com/...

    We owe Anonymous heartfelt thanks for exposing these criminal corporate intimidation and harassment programs.

  •  tangential: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lisa Lockwood, kyril, aigeanta

    Internet Storm Center
    Published: 2011-02-16
    Last Updated: 2011-02-16 16:46:25 UTC
    by Jason Lam (Version: 1)

    "A new vulnerability has been discovered exploiting SMB component of Windows. The attack involves sending of malformed Browser Election requests leading the heap overflow within the mrxsmb.dll driver. The vulnerability is known to be able to cause DoS and fully control of vulnerable machines. Proof of concept code for DoS had been released. There are reports that this exploit only work on local network segment (this hasn't been verified).

    The general practice of block port 138, 139 and 445 should be observed especially with this 0-day."

    More information on this exploit:

    http://www.vupen.com/...

    The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [...you know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

    by greenbird on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:08:15 AM PST

  •  The link the diarist provides offers a pretty good (4+ / 0-)

    synopsis for the HBGary security breech by Anonymous.

    Good details of how the hack occurred.

    Fact is, the hack wasnt particularly sophistocated in nature. HB Gary was just sloppy. Real sloppy.

    Is anyone else suspicious of the "Kayla 16 year old phenom" meme?

    If Im involved in a hack that gets this much press, Im looking to divert possible attention away from myself.

    That is unless "Kayla" is an egotistical young genius.

    No home. No job. No peace. No rest.

    by A Runner on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:14:11 AM PST

  •  thinking about this exact thing a lot (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, On The Bus, zett, kyril, aigeanta, Dude1701

    and here are my conclusions:
    1) From a purely theoretical perspective there isn't a problem with the government having these kinds of tools.  There are legitimate purposes like espionage  against forign countries and (warranted) surveillance during criminal investigations.  You can argue that one or both of those are not legitimate purposes, but that is a different question than the one you propose.

    2) There isn't really a problem with them outsourcing the work.  Its relatively specialized, and the US Government hiring malware researchers is problematic for a number of reasons. For instance, most of the better one wouldn't qualify for a clearance and/or be interested in the poly test required to get one.

    3) Where there is a huge problem is with offering these tools to private corporations.  When we are talking about malware developed for the government we are essentially talking about weapons of war and offering them to a private entity should be illegal and needs to be prosecuted.  It bears mentioning that, according to the president of HB Gary, HB Gary Federal was created to avoid precisely this.

    4) Another larger ethical problem IMO is that HB Gary was performing warrantless surveillance against US Citizens.  Since they are not the government they aren't covered by the 4th amendment, but at the end of the day he was going to turn what they have gathered over to the FBI and do an end-run around our 4th amendment protections. Needless to say, this type of arrangement is very dangerous to our civil liberties.

    •  yes. what you said. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      On The Bus, Lisa Lockwood, kyril, blunami

      doing an end-run around our 4th so they could mess with the 1st. this is already having a chilling effect on political activists. everyone thinks they're being monitored now, and are getting paranoid about public association. that's exactly the kind of thing our Constitution is supposed to shield us from!

      •  aigeanta ((( hugs ))) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, aigeanta

        great diary, thanks for posting! Kudos!

        [http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Anonymous%20DKos Anonymous Dkos]~ We're legion (or working on it!)

        by Lisa Lockwood on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 02:30:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  On monitoring people (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, aigeanta

        You are monitored because you place yourself in a situation where you can be.  This is real lesson nobody seems to be taking away from this.

        Facebook, linkedin, creating a personal website, having a blog, I could go on.  All these actions are you vomiting up your private information and then putting it out for anybody to see, and once it's out there it can never truly be removed.

        It really doesn't take that much effort to connect the dots and figure out what you want to know about someone when they've plastered it all over the place for the world plus dog to see.

        "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

        by overclocking on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 02:34:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  quick question (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aigeanta

          How many people, theoretically, do you imagine can be monitored concurrently; and of that number -- even if there were actionable intelligence to act upon 100% of those inquiries -- could the agencies actually act upon?  How much personnel would be required to run the current online populations through a sieve that would yield tangible results?

          •  it's not personnel that's the issue (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicksilver2723, aigeanta

            You can shift the internet through a sieve with programs and other tools.  With sophisticated enough ones and enough processing power manpower is non issue.

            So in theory, the amount of people doesn't matter as long as they have enough information up on the internet to put the links together.  You wouldn't really even need manpower unless you wanted to single them out or something.

            Especially if you know what general direction you are looking for or what type of person you are looking for.

            "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

            by overclocking on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 05:27:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  thank you... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aigeanta

              I've always wanted to know exactly what it would take to find needles in this infinite haystack and then act upon the results.  

              I do understand how individuals can be targeted by those abusing powers under color of law.  

              But in terms of ferreting out true security risks -- well, 9.11 did happen.  Later U.S. agents were indicted for kidnapping a cleric in Italy.  And then we learn of these unlawful plans of businesses, BoA, and the CoC conspiring against citizens.

              Does is seem to you that those in our security agencies are competent to identify threats and act to produce tangible results?

              I've been having a lot of doubts lately is why I'm asking.  You seem to understand these things a lot better.  

              •  Well, in theory (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Quicksilver2723, aigeanta

                First off 9/11 happened because agencies weren't sharing information, people were asleep at the wheel, and general sloth.  This is extremely clear when you look at who had what after the fact.  Second, the unlawful stuff now, was targeted and they were actively pursuing it.  You can probably see the difference here.

                As for our security agencies, this is quite complex.  I'll go to the old IT saying "garbage in, garbage out", meaning if you give something bad data, the answer it spits out is going to be bad as well.  I have no doubt they have the ability to get the data, hell even some police gang units have software that will scrape things and make links based off online evidence, and that's just the cops.  But if the data they pull is all bull, than well...

                Another difference is a random dragnet is a lot more cumbersome of a tool than a targeted attack on someone or something you know has an online persona from which to work.  So it's magnitude more complex and impossible to "trawl the net for something that might be a security risk and may or may not be on the net" than "let's go pick on these people who have a documented id on a whole ton of different sites and then connect the dots".

                "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

                by overclocking on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 06:30:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's not the random dragnet that is important. (0+ / 0-)

                  That's not what it's for. Law Enforcement doesn't stop crime. It investigates it.

                  Once you know what and where, it's just a matter of assembling the information.

                  I sold Oracle DBs for a while during a contract job in the late 90s. The Demo was absolutely spectacular. It was an insurance company rapid response to the St. Louis Floods.

                  Click to DL and overlay Satellite image of affected area.
                  Click and Drag your search area. Click on individual houses.

                  3 clicks and a rival insurance company finds out your dog's name. 3 clicks to find out all kinds of info - income, property value, names of family members, insurance company, claims against rival insurance companies, # of vehicles, and on and on. Of everybody on your street, and then drag, just like google maps, and find the next street.

                  It was IN - SANE!

                  The only thing stopping them from knowing anything was storage. We went from single GB HDs to Terabytes for $100 - RETAIL.

                  This kind of data processing is about having the power to destroy whistle blowers and create reality, plain and simple.

                  Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                  by k9disc on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 09:06:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent points! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blunami

      OK... question.

      Was the rootkit brought to light in the HBGary emal release?

      IIRC, HBGFederal emails were brought to light and Anon Told Penny that they would not leak Greg's, and Greg was freakin' about them letting out his email.

      I've been wondering if the rootkit was what Gregy didn't want released.

      He seemed awful cryptic in that IRC.

      Once again, great points!

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:55:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  well Greg is a rootkit guy (0+ / 0-)

        that is kind of his claim to frame.  So not a huge surprise that he is working on rootkits, not really even a surprise that he was working on them for the government.

        Code caving inside of other drivers' APCs isn't really that novel either BUT generally the kinds of people who would think of it aren't the kinds of people who would come up with it.  So it isn't great that its out in the wild yet. There are problems that he didn't disclose solutions for (which is a good thing).

        I haven't read a ton of the e-mails.  So I can't say what, if anything, is the big shocker but I don't think its that.  It may have been simply fear for his business, or fear that we would be having the kinds of conversations that this thing has spawned, or something that hasn't been found yet...

      •  also Penny flat out lied in Anon IRC (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k9disc

        her argument was basically that HB Gary and HB Gary Federal was weak.  "they license our software and resell it to the government" or something.  But it is very clear from the e-mails that isn't the case (e.g. Greg is the Chairman of the Board of HB Gary Federal) and that their stake in the company was intentionally misstated.  
        Anonymous just didn't have anyone on that knew the right questions to ask.

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