Thursday, September 24, 2015

The problem with back doors in computers.

My previous post dealt with the possibility that your hard drive my not be deleting things when you tell it to. This is not to your benefit, it is to someone else's. Probably the FBI/DHS/ABCDEFG branch of the US government. They can do things like that, and we know they have been.

Now, there is a problem with this kind of thing, and it is that doors open for whoever has the key. They can also be kicked open.

There's still "only" 21.5-million federal employees whose personnel data have been stolen, but the Office of Personnel Management now admits that they've found that the number of individuals whose fingerprints were swiped is up to 5.6 million.

This is of course the much under-publicized hack of the United States government Office of Personnel Management. Criminals and/or enemy foreign governments have the complete, searchable, exhaustive list of US government employees. With pictures and all sorts of personal info that people are not supposed to know about.

Its a disaster. I don't mean a disaster like a house burnt down, or a storm. I mean a disaster like the Great Chicago Fire, or the San Francisco Earthquake. Foreign governments know -exactly- who works for the US government. It's literally the largest breach of confidentiality in human history. No government has ever fucked up this badly anywhere else, ever.

Question arises, how can something like this happen? How can the government keep their Crown Jewel of digital information on something so crappy that people can steal it?

Well, if hard drives keep secret copies of things that can only be accessed by people with the proper codes, and if iPhones keep track of your movements whether you like it or not and transmit that data to Apple, and if the government has built back doors into popular processors so that they can defeat an air gap if they want, what if somebody else got hold of those codes?

What if somebody reverse engineered those government mandated back doors? Somebody like the manufacturer for example, who resides in China?

The US government runs on computers made in China. Because that's where computers are made these days.

Gee, I wonder how they hacked the OPM? Well, no, actually I wonder wheat else they hacked that nobody told us about.

The Phantom

On the subject of wiping hard drives.

Most of us have a box of old hard drives kicking around. Here's something rather alarming pointed out at Small Dead Animals today by Lance.

From the article on the WIPE utility:


Journaling filesystems (such as Ext3 or ReiserFS) are now being used by default by most Linux distributions. No secure deletion program that does filesystem-level calls can sanitize files on such filesystems, because sensitive data and metadata can be written to the journal, which cannot be readily accessed. Per-file secure deletion is better implemented in the operating system.

Encrypting a whole partition with cryptoloop, for example, does not help very much either, since there is a single key for all the partition.

Therefore wipe is best used to sanitize a harddisk before giving it to untrusted parties (i.e. sending your laptop for repair, or selling your disk). Wiping size issues have been hopefully fixed (I apologize for the long delay).

Be aware that harddisks are quite intelligent beasts those days. They transparently remap defective blocks. This means that the disk can keep an albeit corrupted (maybe slightly) but inaccessible and unerasable copy of some of your data. Modern disks are said to have about 100% transparent remapping capacity. You can have a look at recent discussions on Slashdot.

I hereby speculate that harddisks can use the spare remapping area to secretly make copies of your data. Rising totalitarianism makes this almost a certitude. It is quite straightforward to implement some simple filtering schemes that would copy potentially interesting data. Better, a harddisk can probably detect that a given file is being wiped, and silently make a copy of it, while wiping the original as instructed.

Recovering such data is probably easily done with secret IDE/SCSI commands. My guess is that there are agreements between harddisk manufacturers and government agencies. Well-funded mafia hackers should then be able to find those secret commands too.

Don't trust your harddisk. Encrypt all your data.

Of course this shifts the trust to the computing system, the CPU, and so on. I guess there are also "traps" in the CPU and, in fact, in every sufficiently advanced mass-marketed chip. Wealthy nations can find those. Therefore these are mainly used for criminal investigation and "control of public dissent".

People should better think of their computing devices as facilities lended by the DHS.

Emphasis mine. Please note, this is a very informed opinion, but still only speculation.

For no particular reason, I will now link to an article on how to build a forge. Please note, this article has you building something quite permanent and complicated. I've seen good results with a used brake drum, a length of flexible ducting and a hair dryer.

Interesting random science note, did you know that striking a piece of metal with a hammer changes the crystal structure of the metal, and moves its magnetic properties around as well?

Interesting random link to an old article of mine.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Toldja. Templehof airport = new refugee camp.

Even a cursory reading of history, plus the most passing acquaintance with almost any German, tells you that the one thing Germans can't stand is things being untidy. Drives them nuts. They see something out of place, and they go fix it.

What's more untidy than a million Syrians trying to get on German welfare all at the same time? Nothing.

Germans have to fix it. They have to, its a cultural imperative perhaps on the same level as procreation.

Therefore, we are presented with a shiny new CAMP, in Berlin.

Now, the old airport at Tempelhof is about to find yet another incarnation: sheltering some among the massive surge of the migrants and refugees flooding into Germany. Berlin's mayor, Michael Mueller, told the RBB broadcaster over the weekend that one of the airfield's former hangars will be used to provide a roof – a lofty one at that - over the heads of about 800 asylum-seekers, as early as this week.
The need is great. Since the start of the current influx, the German capital has been receiving about 1,000 newcomers a day. More than 65,000 people have arrived in Germany this month, and the yearly tally may run to 1 million or more, officials now acknowledge. With winter fast approaching, housing is a crucial concern, with venues like a disused convention center and former military barracks being pressed into service.

Also mentioned in the article, a new camp on the grounds of the former Spandau prison.

The question that remains is this: How many times can the average German see some random Syrian taking a dump in the gutter before he starts voting for the National Socialist German Workers Party again?

I give it six months.

The Phantom

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Big Socialism tightening its grip on your car. You WILL be paying by the mile, and soon.

New York City announces pilot program to track your car 100% of the time.

It's a new city pilot program to track how you drive, when you drive, how fast your drive and how much gas you use.

The Department of Transportation says it will help fix street problems. Others say its like Big Brother is watching you, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Friday.

It's a tiny black box about the size of a pack of gum that is installed right under the steering wheel. It will allow city officials under a program called "Drive Smart" to collect and access data about how you drive — if you drive like a maniac, or if you're Mr. or Mrs. Slow Poke.

"It can tell the g-force of hard stopping or hard acceleration and a hard turn," DOT senior project manager Alex Keating said. "So the driver, as well as the service provider, are able to look at speeds, hard-breaking events, time of day and basic GPS."

City officials say they'll use to information to make the streets safer, but drivers can also allow various DOT partners to use the information. Allstate, for example, will give you insurance discounts of 10-30 percent, and Metropia will get you home faster with less congested routes — all of it hooked up to smartphone apps.

I've been over this ad nauseam. I'll spare you the histrionics this time.

What I will say is a word to all you smug idiots out there who don't have a car. You're sitting there thinking you are safe, nobody can get you. Right?

That's because you are stupid. If there is going to be a system in place capable of tracking every car in the city and assessing taxes on them for road usage:
  • How long before that system gets extended to track your dog? Dog poo is an issue in NYC.
  • How long before that system gets used to track your beloved bicycle? Hmm? Why should you frigging hipster dicks get a free ride?
  • How long before you pay a pedestrian tax? Signals cost money, sidewalks are expensive. Water ain't free. Pay to breathe, maybe? We could live to see it.
If local governments are allowed to put a black box in your car, you will be wearing an ankle bracelet transmitter within twenty years at the most, all in the name of public safety. Except it will be a non-removable implant, probably stuck in your enormously fat ass so as to make it hard for you to sit down. Gotta lose that weight, citizen.

What is America's overall response to their government at this time? August gun sales hit another new record.

This is not a good thing, because if people feel strongly enough to -use- those guns, life will be hell for a really long time. Please see Syria for elucidation on the issue of what happens when an all-seeing, all controlling totalitarian regime finally comes apart.

Friday, September 04, 2015

"Migrants" now marching through Hungary.

Refugees begin marching to the border of Germany through Hungary, because there are no trains. That didn't take long.

BUDAPEST — After a day of defiance by increasingly desperate refugees, the government of Hungary metaphorically threw up its hands Friday and said it was offering to bus thousands of migrants to the Austrian border, sending the crisis spinning closer to the heart of the Continent.

An aide to Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a statement that the buses would transport the thousands still thronging the Keleti railroad station in Budapest and the approximately 1,200 people who stormed out of the train station earlier on Friday and set off on foot toward the Austrian border.

Now we have a large number of people with zero equipment, zero supplies and zero clue what they're doing, walking from Budapest to Austria. Where they may or may not be allowed in. Let it rain or be cold for just two days, and this little stroll through the countryside will be a death march.

People will die from exposure. At first just the very old and the very young, but soon the middle aged, anyone who needs medication, anyone whose shoes are too tight, and so forth.

This is the socialism in action I've been talking about these many years. As the day follows the night, it always comes to this. You were warned. Don't come crying to me when it all comes unglued.

The Phantom

Thursday, September 03, 2015

"We won't be taken to camps!" Uh, yeah you will.

With yesterday's searing picture of the poor little boy's body on the beach (which I am NOT going to post or link to!) seared firmly into the public consciousness, today we get this.

Police have stood down at Budapest's main railway station after a two-day standoff with refugees, sparking chaotic scenes.

Witnesses said people rushed platforms after the station's doors were opened, but officials said no trains would be running to western Europe.

Amid the confusion and an intial pause in which the station ran no services at all, some domestic trains were allowed to leave platforms headed for towns not far from the Austrian and Slovakian borders.

But reports from Hungary suggest refugees were hauled off those trains at the first stop west of Budapest, amid a hardening of the rhetoric surrounding the crisis from the Hungarian government.

The big tweet from this cluster fuck is the line, "We won't be taken to camps!"

But you know, they will. Camps are what is in the immediate future. Particularly in formerly Iron Curtain countries such as Hungary, but eventually there will be refugee camps in Germany and Britain. Most likely they will be official ones, with fences and guards. Less likely but still possible, they will be unofficial flops where refugees congregate because no place else will have them.

Camps, either way, are inevitable. As the day follows the night, there will be camps.

Because this is EUROPE, my friends. Camps and camp guards are a tradition in Europe. This is not their first rodeo, as the saying goes. There have been wars across the face of that continent that spanned HUNDREDS OF YEARS. There is -always- somebody on the run, some group displaced by war, some bunch of bastards on a killing spree.

What is remarkable in the Twentieth Century is not the wars, it is the really long peace in Europe. They had SEVENTY FABULOUS YEARS of peace! That never happens over there. Thirty to fifty is the most they ever get, historically. Typically it was about twenty five, just long enough to grow up a new crop of cannon fodder.

And of course, inevitably, instead of making the most of it and getting their shit together, they pissed it away on socialism, beer and skittles. The first fifty years I believe were peaceful due to the constant threat of the Soviet Union, the last thirty have been an orgy of stupidity as ever more asinine economic and political maneuvers have taken hold of the West.

The whole reason there even ARE any refugees is down to Socialists. This is their last frantic grab at power, to dilute the pool of ever-more-conservative voters with new serfs dependent on handouts from Big Jimmy Government.

So the Independent and every goddamn paper who rant that picture of the dead kid can kiss my ass. I know who's responsible for the little boy's death, and I am not the guy.

Here endeth the rant.

P.S. You know what comes after camps, right? Death marches and mass executions. Because European socialists are the ones in charge of this freak show, and that is how they roll.