'Fourth Quarters,' Sony, and 'I'm Not Done' – Hawaii

Editor’s Note – As Obama conducted his end of the year press conferences, several catch phrases emerged and each tell us a great deal about what he is thinking as he goes on vacation to Hawaii.

Not in any particular order, the first is ‘I’m not done,’ and then there is the ‘fourth quarter,’ and  concerning Sony, they ‘made a mistake.’

Each of those quoted phrases again demonstrate his narcissistic approach to everything – it is all about him. Now that he has to govern without useful dupes in the Senate that allowed him to always have a shield and a foil, he is doubling down none-the-less.

Unilateral action with the Cuban Regime epitomizes his executive action and totally ignoring Congress and he plans to do the same in all other areas moving into his last two years.

No matter if you are on the side of bipartisan objection to the move or bipartisan support for it, it was a unilateral, in your face move. SharptonSony640

When talks about the ‘fourth quarter’ of his Presidency where “interesting things happen’ and interacting with  the new Congress in 2015. That sounded a lot like watch me – dude.

The Hill mentions the following:

Obama also seemed hopeful that he could reset his oft-strained relationship with lawmakers in the coming year despite the Republican takeover of Congress.

“I’m being absolutely sincere when I say I want to work with this new Congress to get things done, to make those investments, to make sure the government’s working better and smarter,” Obama said. “We’re gonna disagree on some things, but there are gonna be areas of agreement, and we’ve gotta be able to make that happen.”

Although many believe he will work with Congress, especially since he got his funding in the lame-duck session, we believe he will be just as stubborn and will only offer platitudes and he will go it alone.

Whether you call them Executive Orders, or Executive Memorandums, or proclamations, or any other euphemism, he will fire that ‘pen’ up often and we see Guantanamo in his gaze.

KimJongUnMovieWhat is perhaps most troubling though was his statement that Sony ‘made a mistake’ regarding pulling  “The Interview” from  theaters, and we must couple that with his ‘race-advisor’ Al Sharpton putting pressure on Sony executives.

Sony of course fired back as we see below that they did contact the White House, but Obama seemed to just wave his hand to tell the world he would deal with North Korea at “a time and place of our choosing.”

What is also puzzling is how he did not back the very people who backed him, Hollywood. His Laissez-faire attitude just showed the world that we can be bullied.

By not supporting and proactively protecting a company based in Japan, a staunch ally, he made Sony, a major employer and economic engine in America, act as their own protectors.

It is not Sony’s responsibility to protect American business and the first amendment, it is his.

We think that despite the FBI finding that the DPRK was responsible and may have been helped by others, it was a nation-state that is responsible for an act of terror on the United States.

Sony was in fear, theater owners were in fear and he did nothing despite the action being the definition of terror. (Read the FBI update here.)

Then there was the disingenuous “James Flacco” moment. We shall see if he does strike back, but the minimum should at least be re-designating the DPRK as a state sponsor of terror.

We do not believe he will do this, and we may never know what he chooses to do, but it is clear that immediate and over-whelming retaliation, not just some “proportionate response” will not be forthcoming – that would not fit his capitulations, bowing, and blame America attitude of appeasement, just ask the Castro brothers.

The correct message, despite North Korea’s claims of innocence and offering to aid in determining who did it, would be to send a resounding message, one where anyone else with similar designs would fear the wrath of all hell coming from the US. Why not cripple their entire communications system, or send a “Stuxnet” message.

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He spoke the words, but what will he back them up with stern action, please read on and view the video:

Monday Morning POTUS: Obama Blames Sony After Failing to Defend Free Speech When it Mattered

BY:

During his final press conference of 2014, President Obama said that Sony Pictures had “made a mistake” by pulling The Interview from theaters after threats from a group of now-confirmed North Korean hackers.

Obama first addressed the issue of cyber terrorism during an ABC interview, after Sony had already announced it was pulling the movie from theaters.

On Friday, however, Obama stood up for the First Amendment, saying we cannot have a society in which “some dictator someplace” can impose censorship on U.S. companies.

“If somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don’t like, or news reports that they don’t like,” Obama said.

“Even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended.

“That’s not who we are, that’s not what America is about.”

Watch the segment here:

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Cyber attacks, the bad guys and the good guys

Editor’s Note – As we continue to see cyber warfare as perhaps the greatest and fastest growing threat to our security, as a country, as communities, as individuals, the point is driven home daily. As we get attacked by the bad guys, our own NSA has been delving into attacks of its own it appears – for many years.

You may have noticed a slow down in your connectivity and speed on the internet because reports came out that a major ‘denial of service’ attack occurred on a site designed to prevent spam. The BBC reports on the attack:

The internet around the world has been slowed down in what security experts are describing as the biggest cyber-attack of its kind in history. A row between a spam-fighting group and hosting firm has sparked retaliation attacks affecting the wider internet. It is having an impact on popular services like Netflix – and experts worry it could escalate to affect banking and email systems.

Five national cyber-police-forces are investigating the attacks. Spamhaus, a group based in both London and Geneva, is a non-profit organisation that aims to help email providers filter out spam and other unwanted content. To do this, the group maintains a number of blocklists – a database of servers known to be being used for malicious purposes.

Recently, Spamhaus blocked servers maintained by Cyberbunker, a Dutch web host that states it will host anything with the exception of child pornography or terrorism-related material. (Read the rest of the story here at BBC.)

But its not just the bad guys acting on the internet, Bill Gertz in the Washington Times reports below on our own government’s activities. For more on the subject, click on these links below:

Inside the Ring: NSA on cyberwar

By Bill Gertz – Washington Times

Cyberwarfare is the hot topic in military and intelligence circles at the Pentagon amid unrelenting cyberattacks from ChinaRussiaIran and elsewhere.

But for the super-secret National Security Agency, cyberwarfare is nothing new.

The electronic spying and code-breaking agency provided a rare public look at its views on cyberwarfare by releasing this month redacted copies of its internal newsletter, which show that NSA has been engaged in cyberwarfare for more than a decade.

A 1997 article published in the once-classified newsletter Cryptolog was written by legendary NSA official Bill Black. He stated that the agency received the mission for Computer Network Attack (CNA) — offensive cyberwarfare — on March 3, 1997, from then-Defense Secretary William S. Cohen.

“This delegation of authority has added a new, third dimension to NSA’s ‘one mission’ future,” Mr. Black, at the time a special assistant to the NSA director for information operations, stated in the spring 1997 issue. “That is, in the networked world of Cyberspace, CNA technology is the natural companion of NSA’s exploit and protect functions.”

Other sections of the newsletter were heavily redacted and labeled “Top Secret Umbra,” the code word used to protect electronic intelligence.

Under a section headlined “The Future of Warfare is Warfare in Cyberspace,” Mr. Black, who rose to NSA deputy director before retiring, said information warfare provides “digital coercion” as a military and political option for leaders.

“The primary target of this option is the information infrastructure of an adversary,” he said. “Such information infrastructures are expected to be primarily computer controlled, operated by the commercial-civilian sector (unprotected), and the primary infrastructure upon which military forces almost totally depend.”

Future warfare will involve attacking computer-controlled infrastructure with the aim of degrading, disrupting or destroying networks and rendering computers “intelligence ‘targets’ of the highest priority,” he said.

“There are specific types of weapons associated with Information Warfare,” Mr. Black wrote. “These include viruses, worms, logic bombs, trojan horses, spoofing, masquerading, and ‘back’ or ‘trap’ doors. They are referred to as ‘tools’ or ‘techniques’ even though they may be pieces of software. They are publicly available, very powerful, and, if effectively executed, extremely destructive to any society’s information infrastructure.”

As a result, information warriors will need to be expert in understanding the virtual world and have extensive knowledge of non-military targets. Military cyberwarriors will be the “tooth,” and civilians will be the “tail” in what the military calls the tooth-to-tail — frontline and support — relationship in warfare.

Mr. Black stated that the new information age that has emerged since the end of the Cold War is engulfing every aspect of society, including electronic spying. It has produced the need to consolidate what he termed “cyberology” along with cryptology.

“Cyberology’s central activities, i.e., ‘exploitation,’ ‘protection,’ and ‘attack,’ will be worked together, thus benefiting all of them,” he stated.

Just as many viewed industrialists and capitalists during the industrial age as the problem, “in today’s age, the public has centered in on government as ‘the problem,’” he wrote.

“Specifically, the focus is on the potential abuse of the government’s applications of this new information technology that will result in an invasion of personal privacy,” he said. “For us, this is difficult to understand. We are ‘the government,’ and we have no interest in invading the personal privacy of U.S. citizens.”

Critics have disagreed, including several NSA whistleblowers who accused the agency of violating the law by intercepting Americans’ emails in the early 2000s as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

Mr. Black acknowledged that “public worries are real” and will impact NSA operations if legislation is used to prevent potential NSA “involvement in the public sector.”

That problem persists today as most U.S. infrastructure is held by the private sector, which remains wary of inviting NSA to help counter or disrupt foreign cyberattacks.

The NSA documents were obtained by the website governmentattic.org.

Terrorists’ ‘Black Summer’

U.S. national security officials are warning that jihadists are planning a major cyberattack against vital infrastructure soon.

The alert was sent following a report on a jihadist website Monday by two groups that announced in Arabic an “Open Invitation for All Hackers to Participate in ‘Operation Black Summer’ To Target U.S. Vital Services.”

The attackers plan to use the Twitter hashtag #opBlackSummer to wage electronic warfare against the United States with other jihadists.

“It is also essential to note that this raid will be a global one in which all the enemies of the United States, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, will take part,” the posting stated, noting that Osama bin Laden had advocated such attacks.

The message said one group involved in the attack is the al Qaeda Digital Army and appeared on the al Qaeda-linked website Ansar al-Mujahideen Network.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a statement during the Chinese leader’s visit to Moscow that mentioned the “problem” of other nations’ missile defense — seen as a reference to U.S. and NATO defenses in Europe.

The statement released Friday called for building “a new type of great power relations” and called on “all nations of the world to deepen mutual understanding, coordination and cooperation on the question of missile defenses.”

The statement urged states to “be prudent” in deploying and cooperating on missile defenses, and to “oppose” one nation or a group of nations from taking steps to “unilaterally and unlimitedly strengthening missile defenses, harming strategic stability and international security.”

“We stand for the collective confrontation of the challenges and threats from ballistic missiles, preferring to confront the proliferation of ballistic missiles within the framework of international law and political diplomacy, where the security of one group of nations cannot be sacrificed at the expense of another group of nations,” the statement said.

The statement, while couched in diplomacy-speak, appears to reflect Russian and Chinese opposition to U.S. missile defenses that both governments have said threatens the offensive missiles of Russia and China.

During the visit, Mr. Xi was shown how U.S. and NATO missile defenses will impact Russian strategic missiles, according to Russian press reports.

White House National Security Adviser Thomas E. Donilon will visit Moscow April 15 for talks on missile defenses.

The Pentagon announced earlier this month that it is canceling a long-range missile defense interceptor that Moscow saw as a threat to Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles and opposed.

Russian officials have said the cancellation of the SM-3 IIB interceptor did not resolve their opposition to joint U.S.-NATO missile defenses in Europe. Moscow is demanding legal restrictions on U.S. defenses, something the Obama administration has opposed.

On Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu discussed missile defenses during a telephone talk.

The Donilon mission to Moscow prompted criticism from Rep. Mike D. Rogers, Alabama Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.

“In view of the president’s latest concession to Russia on missile defense, it’s fitting that Mr. Donilon now heads to visit with Mr. Putin,” Mr. Rogers said in a statement. “Much like President Obama asked [former] President [Dmitry] Medvedev to ‘transmit’ his promise of ‘flexibility’ after his ‘last election,’ Mr. Donilon now goes to see what that flexibility has earned our president,” Mr. Rogers said.

“I predict nothing, just as I predicted in two letters before the March 15th announcement that Obama would make this unilateral concession to Russia,” he said. “The president could at least have the courtesy to share with Congress the same proposals his national security adviser is sharing with Putin.”

A White House spokesman had no comment on Mr. Donilon’s visit.

 

China waging Cyberwar on USA – Mandiant Report

UPDATE – February 20, 3:15 PM Eastern – Just released on another outlet is a very interesting video that explains how they hack our systems. The video is posted at the bottom of this page. It is entitled: “Fascinating video tracks a real Chinese hacker in action.”

Editor’s Note – We have been reporting on cyber attacks from all avenues; from ‘Anonymous’ to Iran to China and hundreds of other places and types. Now, security firm Mandiant appears to have proof about the vast effort the Chinese are waging upon us.

Read or download the report here: Mandiant_APT1_Report

Elite Chinese unit accused of waging cyberwar against US

By Brendan Sasso – The Hill

An elite military unit of Chinese hackers is likely behind a wave of attacks on U.S. government and business computer systems, according to a report released on Tuesday by the American security firm Mandiant.

Analysts traced a series of attacks to a 12-story building in the Pudong district of Shanghai. They concluded that the building, which likely holds hundreds or even thousands of employees, is almost certainly the headquarters of China’s secretive cyberwar division, the People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398.

A state-owned telecommunications company provided special fiber optic cable to the building in the name of national defense, according to the 74-page report. The analysts said that the hackers, who are required to be proficient in English, likely have a sizeable support staff of liguists, researchers and industry experts.

Mandiant concluded that since 2006, the Chinese unit has stolen data from at least 141 companies across 20 major industries. At least 115 of the companies were in the United States.

The analysts said the hackers periodically revisit the networks of victims over the course of several months or years to steal information such as blueprints, test results, business plans, pricing documents and emails.

“It is time to acknowledge the threat is originating from China, and we wanted to do our part to arm and prepare security professionals to combat the threat effectively,” Dan McWhorter, Mandiant’s managing director of threat intelligence, said in a statement explaining the firm’s decision to release the information.

The Chinese government denied the allegations.

“Cyberattacks are anonymous and transnational, and it is hard to trace the origin of attacks, so I don’t know how the findings of the report are credible,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a press conference on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The report did not name any of the victims, but attacks on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Coca-Cola and major media companies including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have been tied to hackers in China.

The attack on the Times likely came from a different group, according to the paper.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) has warned that the United States is losing a cyber war with China.

Rogers, along with committee ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), introduced legislation last week that would allow companies and the government to share more information about cyber threats.

“American businesses are under siege. We need to provide American companies the information they need to better protect their networks from these dangerous cyber threats,” Rogers said in a statement when he introduced the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

But privacy advocates and many Democrats argue that CISPA would encourage companies to share their customers’ sensitive personal information with spy agencies, such as the National Security Agency (NSA). The House passed CISPA last year, but the Senate pursued its own legislation.

Democrats and the Obama administration are especially worried about the potential for hackers to disrupt critical infrastructure, such as an air traffic control system or a bank.

Ahead of the State of the Union address last week, President Obama signed an executive order that will create a voluntary set of cybersecurity best-practices for companies that operate critical infrastructure.

The order also requires federal agencies to share more information about cyber threats to U.S. companies and the public.

“The United States has substantial and growing concerns about the threats to U.S. economic and national security posed by cyber intrusions, including the theft of commercial information,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said on Tuesday.

Pointing to the executive order, Hayden said the U.S. government is taking an “active approach” to defending against cyber attacks.

“And we have repeatedly raised our concerns at the highest levels about cyber theft with senior Chinese officials, including in the military, and we will continue to do so,” she said. “The United States and China are among the world’s largest cyber actors and it is vital that we continue a sustained, meaningful dialogue and work together to develop an understanding of acceptable behavior in cyberspace.”

Fascinating video tracks a real Chinese hacker in action:

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US Navy Facing 110,000 Cyber Attacks Every Hour

From Hackread

The internal IT & server system of US Navy is facing 110,000 cyber attacks every hour, 1,833 attacks a minute. 

According to a report published by HP during an event in Frankfurt, the software and IT security providing company confirms that US Navy is under constant cyber attacks by the hackers from different countries.

The official blog of US Navy Seals writes that:

HP provides the network to US Navy for 800,000 men and woman in 2,000 locations around the world, protecting them against 110,000 cyber attacks every hour,” Mike Nefkens, head of enterprise services at Hewlett Packard, told V3.co.uk.

“This means the attacks average out at about 1,833 per minute or 30 every second.”

The blog also reports that HP is playing a vital role against the cyber attacks for US Navy since 2010, it is also managing Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and its transition to a Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN)  for worth $3.3 billion deal.

Earlier the US’s former spy chief warned about cyber 9/11, I also updated you about how American financial giants are attacked by hackers and how few attacks can cripple down the whole US economy, today HP came up with such reports proves that US needs to secure its cyber defense rather then wasting its expertise and wealth on war on terror.

Cyber attackers caught, others steal millions

Editor’s Note – Every time we hear that a ring was broken up and the people were protected, along comes another one. Just yesterday the FBI reported the following:

U.S. law enforcement officials on Tuesday said 24 suspected hackers had been arrested on four continents in a sting operation targeting online financial fraud involving stolen credit card and bank information.

The two-year investigation, in which FBI agents posed as hackers on Internet forums, prevented more than $205 million in losses on more than 411,000 compromised consumer credit and debit cards, U.S. authorities in New York said.

Eleven people were arrested in the United States, the FBI and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The 13 others were arrested in countries spanning from Britain to Japan, the authorities said.

“Clever computer criminals operating behind the supposed veil of the Internet are still subject to the long arm of the law,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Fraud Ring In Hacking Attack On 60 Banks

Some 60m euro is stolen from bank accounts in a massive cyber raid, after fraudsters raid dozens of banks around the world.

By Pete Norman, Sky News Online

Sixty million euro has been stolen from bank accounts in a massive cyber bank raid after fraudsters raided dozens of financial institutions around the world. According to a joint report by software security firm McAfee and Guardian Analytics, more than 60 firms have suffered from what it has called an “insider level of understanding”.

“The fraudsters’ objective in these attacks is to siphon large amounts from high balance accounts, hence the name chosen for this research – Operation High Roller,” the report said.

“If all of the attempted fraud campaigns were as successful as the Netherlands example we describe in this report, the total attempted fraud could be as high as 2bn euro (£1.6bn).”

The automated malicious software programme was discovered to use servers to process thousands of attempted thefts from both commercial firms and private individuals. The stolen money was then sent to so-called mule accounts in caches of a few hundreds and 100,000 euro (£80,000) at a time. Credit unions, large multinational banks and regional banks have all been attacked.

Sky News defence and security editor Sam Kiley said: “It does include British financial institutions and has jumped over to North America and South America.

“What they have done differently from routine attacks is that they have got into the bank servers and constructed software that is automated. It can get around some of the mechanisms that alert the banking system to abnormal activity.”

The details of the global fraud come just a day after the MI5 boss warned of the new cyber security threat to UK business. McAfee researchers have been able to track the global fraud, which still continues, across countries and continents.

“They have identified 60 different servers, many of them in Russia, and they have identified one alone that has been used to steal 60m euro,” Kiley said.

“There are dozens of servers still grinding away at this fraud – in effect stealing money.”