Friday Squid Blogging: Watch Squid Change Colors

This is an amazing short video of a squid -- I don't know the species -- changing its color instantly.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Posted on October 5, 2018 at 4:19 PM • 110 Comments

Comments

MarkHOctober 5, 2018 10:57 PM

Another Math Controversy

This is definitely not a security story, but follows on a recent discussion of claimed proofs for the Riemann Hypothesis (RH), one of which made the news because its author made a public presentation only a few days ago. Neither of those "proofs" have been accepted by other mathematicians.

Insofar as I understand it, the significance of proving RH for cryptography would be somewhere on the spectrum from none at all, to fairly minor.

It's notable that both of those claimed proofs were made by very accomplished mathematicians.
__________________________________

This new story (to me, at least) concerns the abc conjecture, which has even less to do with cryptography, but like many basic problems in number theory, is connected with the distribution of prime numbers.

Quanta magazine has a cool write-up.

Put baldly, if a, b and c are whole numbers none of which share a prime factor, and a + b = c, then c is usually less than the product of all of the distinct prime factors of a, b and c.

An easy way to picture this, is that for c to be greater than that product, it helps a lot if one or more of the numbers has a factor repeated several times. Example:

5 + 27 = 32

For which the distinct prime factors are 5, 3 and 2, which multiply out to 30. That 27 is a cube and 32 is a fifth power, helps to keep the product small. These combinations are quite rare. (In the formulation above, "usually less" has a precise definition I won't go into here.)

I hadn't heard of this conjecture before, but it's apparently a really big deal in number theory.
__________________________________

Shinichi Mochizuki, a renowned number theorist, claims to have proved the conjecture. Since he made this claim, many of his colleagues have been skeptical, but weren't able to point out a specific error.

Matters came to a head recently, when two European mathematicians who are also of very high repute not only found a place where they were unable to follow the logic, but also traveled to Japan to meet with Mochizuki, without hearing an explanation they found satisfactory.
__________________________________

A big challenge with this proof, is that it is based on large body of Mochizuki's work. A number theorist who is in Mochizuki's camp (having accepted abc as proved) estimated that it's necessary to read more than 1500 pages of the Japanese mathematician's work in order to understand the proof.

Not only is the work voluminous, but other mathematicians complain that it is somewhere between dense and opaque ... difficult to follow.
__________________________________

The situation now is a sort of stand-off. The reported attitude of Mochizuki and his small group of collaborators and students is, "these guys just don't get it."

The attitude of the skeptics is that they don't see in his papers how he got to a crucial intermediate result ... and until Mochizuki offers a satisfactory explanation, they consider that abc is not proved.

More than that, they seem to think they've found a serious hole, and that it likely can't be repaired.

MrCOctober 6, 2018 12:02 AM

I've noticed HTTP/2 popping up in the comments a few times recently, and I'd like to solicit people's thoughts on it. Back when HTTP/2 was new, some criticisms were leveled against it. Three of those stuck with me, and I decided to disable HTTP/2 for the time being. Then I forgot about it. I guess maybe it's time to check up and see if the passage of time has clarified things any.

Are these concerns valid? Inaccurate? Overblown?

1. The "connection coalescing" feature appears intended to enable user tracking by CDNs. Where a CDN previously could see that two requests came from behind the same NAT, with HTTP/2 the CDN can be positive it's the same user.

2. The TLS "false start" feature is potentially unsafe. Sure the server is "implicitly authenticated," but you've got no way of knowing if you've fallen victim to a downgrade attack (or some as-yet-unknown cousin of a downgrade attack that also involves a MitM fiddling with the handshake) until the "server finished" message arrives.

3. I've been able to resolve the third concern through my own research. The concern was that the "server push" feature could be used maliciously to foist contraband content that would provide the basis for prosecution or probable cause for further searches. After some research, I see that, for all browsers, pushed content goes into a separate cache that's flushed when the connection closes, and won't migrate to the persistent cache unless actually used to render the webpage (at which point the user would at least be aware of the content and could take action to delete it). So, foisted content could be seen coming down the wire by someone with a MitM TLS certificate, but wouldn't persist on the user's computer. However, as a related issue, it does appear that "server push" potentially wastes a ton of bandwidth pushing ads and crap that a sensible user will block.

MarcosOctober 6, 2018 9:40 AM

Isn't that a cuttlefish? They do much more impressive things than this. I suggest searching for videos of them changing colors.

@MrC

It's very easy for a web server to push contraband content into a client once a request is made. HTTP/2 is not required, and fixing this would require basically changing the web into something different. So, I disagree about the importance of your point #3.

(Anyway, it's really a problem that receiving unwanted content can be a problem. It's much easier to fix stuff so it's not a problem anymore than fixing stuff so that we have total knowledge of the data we receive.)

Max EntropyOctober 6, 2018 7:38 PM

A Puzzling Menacing Message

This bit of spam is as laughable and ordinary as it is sinister. I am wondering what its originator was up to and hope one of you security boffins can shed some light.

But first, I want you to know that I would never masturbate to Web porn without having obscured my webcam, so they can't really have caught me.

It was sent to a mailbox I only use to receive notifications from adobe.com, so I presume at least some of their user base's contact info has been compromised.

NOTE: As my spellchecker is showing errors for common words like "evidence", "more", "System", etc, pasted text may adiffer from what my Smultron editor displayed. The code seems to be quite firmly embedded.

Anyway, here is This is what the message I received read as:


Subject: Your life is in your hands

Hello
Dо not mind оn my illitеrасy, I am frоm China.
This is my last warning.

I uрlоаded thе mаliсiоus рrоgram on your systеm.
Sincе thаt mоmеnt I рilfеrеd аll privy bасkgrоund frоm yоur systеm. Аdditiоnаlly I hаve sоme morе соmрromising evidеnсе. Thе mоst intеrеsting еvidеnсе thаt I stоlе- its а vidеоtаре with yоur masturbatiоn. I аdjusted virus оn a pоrn web sitе аnd аftеr yоu loadеd it. Whеn yоu dесidеd with thе vidео аnd tарped on a рlаy buttоn, my dеlеtеriоus sоft at оnсе sеt up on yоur systеm. Аftеr аdjusting, yоur саmеra shoоt thе vidеоtаpе with yоu sеlf-abusing, in аddition it savеd рreсisеly the роrn video yоu mаsturbаtеd оn. In nеxt fеw dаys my mаlwаrе collесtеd аll your soсiаl аnd wоrk соntacts.

If you want tо delеte the records- pаy mе 850 еurо in BTC(cryрtосurrenсy).
I рrоvide yоu my Btc number - 14FWQ7WSHNFqLzQJvVRcuWyzNK3gu93yad
Yоu hаve 24 hоurs аftеr reading. Whеn I get transfеr I will destroy thе videotаpe evermorе.
Other wаy I will sеnd thе tарe tо all yоur сollеaguеs and friends.

..
# And this is its HTML source code of the message. What's going on here?


Received: (qmail 47309 invoked by uid 78); 6 Oct 2018 22:52:59 -0000
Delivered-To: whomever
Received: (qmail 47302 invoked by uid 0); 6 Oct 2018 22:52:59 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO atl4mhib72.registeredsite.com) (209.17.115.207)
by 0 with ESMTPS (DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 encrypted); 6 Oct 2018 22:52:59 -0000
Received: from ryantransactiontax.com (ryantransactiontax.com [193.124.201.67])
by atl4mhib72.registeredsite.com (8.14.4/8.14.4) with ESMTP id w96MqwW4032159
for ; Sat, 6 Oct 2018 18:52:58 -0400
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; s=mail; d=ryantransactiontax.com;
h=Message-ID:From:To:Subject:Date:MIME-Version:Content-Type; i=Janine@ryantransactiontax.com;
bh=jZn+clkUrKLqntTCKufY5mBMnZdPK442CtGWLxRMumU=;
b=b9oto7adbo2FiE3Hvd60JunfsvX6iPQVcp5xC9en7aDCv7LMnUlIPP/2RVf+mhwvrSsq6k4LtDyw
EAVbfKwRrOrflxfBdh7n3U/ghb+M/5cNz/U4qVRnPJLdG6sa3Qw7Mq+loGgWBdVD2bbcuSjVkQuZ
oGZQacaeYD1lGeK+Z18=
Message-ID:
From: "VFUpI"
To:
Subject: Your life is in your hands
Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2018 01:52:56 +0300
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=00bcf55f65c3e9e17d78ce6286b29890c1e7b9
X-SpamScore: 7.9
X-MailHub-Apparently-To: adobe@spatial-effects.com

--00bcf55f65c3e9e17d78ce6286b29890c1e7b9
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Hello
D=D0=BE not mind =D0=BEn my illit=D0=B5r=D0=B0=D1=81y, I am fr=D0=BEm Chi=
na.

This is my last warning.

I u=D1=80l=D0=BE=D0=B0ded th=D0=B5 m=D0=B0li=D1=81i=D0=BEus =D1=80r=D0=BE=
gram on your syst=D0=B5m.
Sinc=D0=B5 th=D0=B0t m=D0=BEm=D0=B5nt I =D1=80ilf=D0=B5r=D0=B5d =D0=B0ll =
privy b=D0=B0=D1=81kgr=D0=BEund fr=D0=BEm y=D0=BEur syst=D0=B5m. =D0=90dd=
iti=D0=BEn=D0=B0lly I h=D0=B0ve s=D0=BEme mor=D0=B5 =D1=81=D0=BEm=D1=80ro=
mising evid=D0=B5n=D1=81=D0=B5. Th=D0=B5 m=D0=BEst int=D0=B5r=D0=B5sting =
=D0=B5vid=D0=B5n=D1=81=D0=B5 th=D0=B0t I st=D0=BEl=D0=B5- its =D0=B0 vid=D0=
=B5=D0=BEt=D0=B0=D1=80=D0=B5 with y=D0=BEur masturbati=D0=BEn. I =D0=B0dj=
usted virus =D0=BEn a p=D0=BErn web sit=D0=B5 =D0=B0nd =D0=B0ft=D0=B5r y=D0=
=BEu load=D0=B5d it. Wh=D0=B5n y=D0=BEu d=D0=B5=D1=81id=D0=B5d with th=D0=
=B5 vid=D0=B5=D0=BE =D0=B0nd t=D0=B0=D1=80ped on a =D1=80l=D0=B0y butt=D0=
=BEn, my d=D0=B5l=D0=B5t=D0=B5ri=D0=BEus s=D0=BEft at =D0=BEn=D1=81=D0=B5=
s=D0=B5t up on y=D0=BEur syst=D0=B5m. =D0=90ft=D0=B5r =D0=B0djusting, y=D0=
=BEur =D1=81=D0=B0m=D0=B5ra sho=D0=BEt th=D0=B5 vid=D0=B5=D0=BEt=D0=B0p=D0=
=B5 with y=D0=BEu s=D0=B5lf-abusing, in =D0=B0ddition it sav=D0=B5d =D1=80=
re=D1=81is=D0=B5ly the =D1=80=D0=BErn video y=D0=BEu m=D0=B0sturb=D0=B0t=D0=
=B5d =D0=BEn. In n=D0=B5xt f=D0=B5w d=D0=B0ys my m=D0=B0lw=D0=B0r=D0=B5 c=
oll=D0=B5=D1=81t=D0=B5d =D0=B0ll your so=D1=81i=D0=B0l =D0=B0nd w=D0=BErk=
=D1=81=D0=BEntacts.

If you want t=D0=BE del=D0=B5te the records- p=D0=B0y m=D0=B5 850 =D0=B5u=
r=D0=BE in BTC(cry=D1=80t=D0=BE=D1=81urren=D1=81y).
I =D1=80r=D0=BEvide y=D0=BEu my Btc number - 14FWQ7WSHNFqLzQJvVRcuWyzNK3g=
u93yad
Y=D0=BEu h=D0=B0ve 24 h=D0=BEurs =D0=B0ft=D0=B5r reading. Wh=D0=B5n I get=
transf=D0=B5r I will destroy th=D0=B5 videot=D0=B0pe evermor=D0=B5.
Other w=D0=B0y I will s=D0=B5nd th=D0=B5 t=D0=B0=D1=80e t=D0=BE all y=D0=BE=
ur =D1=81oll=D0=B5agu=D0=B5s and friends.

--00bcf55f65c3e9e17d78ce6286b29890c1e7b9
Content-Type: text/html; charset="utf-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable






AN> N>
Hello
D=D0=BE not mind =D0=BEn my illit=D0=B5r=D0=B0=D1=81y, I =
am=20
fr=D0=BEm China.
This is my last warning.
 
I u=D1=80l=D0=BE=D0=B0ded th=D0=B5 m=D0=B0li=D1=81i=D0=BEus =D1=80r=D0=
=BEgram=20
on your syst=D0=B5m.
Sinc=D0=B5 th=D0=B0t m=D0=BEm=D0=B5nt I =D1=80ilf=
=D0=B5r=D0=B5d=20
=D0=B0ll privy b=D0=B0=D1=81kgr=D0=BEund fr=D0=BEm y=D0=BEur syst=D0=B5m.=
=20
=D0=90dditi=D0=BEn=D0=B0lly I h=D0=B0ve s=D0=BEme mor=D0=B5=20
=D1=81=D0=BEm=D1=80romising evid=D0=B5n=D1=81=D0=B5. Th=D0=B5 m=D0=BEst i=
nt=D0=B5r=D0=B5sting=20
=D0=B5vid=D0=B5n=D1=81=D0=B5 th=D0=B0t I st=D0=BEl=D0=B5- its =D0=B0=20
vid=D0=B5=D0=BEt=D0=B0=D1=80=D0=B5 with y=D0=BEur=20
masturbati=D0=BEn. I =D0=B0djusted virus =D0=BEn a=20
p=D0=BErn web sit=D0=B5 =D0=B0nd =D0=B0ft=D0=B5r y=D0=BEu load=D0=B5d it.=
Wh=D0=B5n y=D0=BEu=20
d=D0=B5=D1=81id=D0=B5d with th=D0=B5 vid=D0=B5=D0=BE =D0=B0nd t=D0=B0=D1=80=
ped=20
on a =D1=80l=D0=B0y butt=D0=BEn, my d=D0=B5l=D0=B5t=D0=B5ri=D0=BEus s=D0=BE=
ft at=20
=D0=BEn=D1=81=D0=B5 s=D0=B5t up on y=D0=BEur syst=D0=B5m. =D0=90ft=D0=B5r=
=20
=D0=B0djusting, y=D0=BEur =D1=81=D0=B0m=D0=B5ra sho=D0=BEt th=D0=B5=20
vid=D0=B5=D0=BEt=D0=B0p=D0=B5 with y=D0=BEu s=D0=B5lf-abusing, in=20
=D0=B0ddition it sav=D0=B5d =D1=80re=D1=81is=D0=B5ly the=20
=D1=80=D0=BErn video y=D0=BEu m=D0=B0sturb=D0=B0t=D0=B5d =D0=BEn. In n=D0=
=B5xt=20
f=D0=B5w d=D0=B0ys my m=D0=B0lw=D0=B0r=D0=B5 coll=D0=B5=D1=81t=D0=B5d =D0=
=B0ll your=20
so=D1=81i=D0=B0l =D0=B0nd w=D0=BErk=20
=D1=81=D0=BEntacts.
 
If you want t=D0=BE del=D0=B5te=20
the records- p=D0=B0y m=D0=B5=20
850=20
=D0=B5ur=D0=BE in=20
BTC(cry=D1=80t=D0=BE=D1=81urren=D1=81y).
I=20
=D1=80r=D0=BEvide y=D0=BEu my Btc number -=20
14FWQ7WSHNFqLzQJvVRcuWyzNK3gu93yad
Y=D0=BEu=20
h=D0=B0ve 24 h=D0=BEurs =D0=B0ft=D0=B5r=20
reading. Wh=D0=B5n I get transf=D0=B5r I=20
will destroy th=D0=B5=20
videot=D0=B0pe=20
evermor=D0=B5.
Other w=D0=B0y=20
I will s=D0=B5nd th=D0=B5 t=D0=B0=D1=80e t=D0=BE=20
all y=D0=BEur =D1=81oll=D0=B5agu=D0=B5s and=20
friends.
 

> /SPAN> DIV>

--00bcf55f65c3e9e17d78ce6286b29890c1e7b9--

AlejandroOctober 6, 2018 8:15 PM

"California is making it illegal for manufacturers to sell internet-connected devices designed with weak default passwords."

Starting on Jan. 1 2020, manufacturers of connected devices will need to build in "reasonable security features" into their products, including better password protection, states the new law, which was approved last week.

The law will hopefully spell an end to vendors securing their products with weak passwords such as "admin," "password" or "12345" ...

https://www.pcmag.com/news/364267/california-to-outlaw-weak-password-use-in-connected-devices

I suppose this is good. But, part of me says people who won't change default passwords deserve whatever they get.

Another part of me says even strong passwords are no match for today's criminal/corporate/government cyber-cabal. They want it all and there is nothing stopping them, except competition among themselves to carve out their own big data base.

AlejandroOctober 6, 2018 8:40 PM

@Max Entropy

Apparently, we have been much luckier than you! My group and I keep on winning, winning, winning according to browser pop ups:


”A $1000 Amazon Gift Card is reserved for you!”

Apparently, the popups are coming from valid websites that have been hoodwinked into running the scam ads.

Usually, simply X'ing out your browser will take care of it. Clearing the browser cache is always a good idea, too.

For some reason, trying to convince users in your group to quit going to the same stupid site where they get the stupid popup isn't very effective because: THEY NEED TO GO THERE.

hmmmmm....

MrCOctober 7, 2018 12:06 AM

@ Marcos
I agree that #3 is a dead letter. I guess I failed to make that clear.

Sure, contraband foisting is a potential problem with good old fashioned HTTP 1.1 -- send the foisted content styled such that it doesn't display visibly. But, in that case, it's still referenced somewhere in the page's html/css/js/etc, so you can identify it as invisible/tiny/off-screen/etc. in real time with a browser extension of after the fact with an expert witness.

The additional concern with HTTP/2 was that content could be foisted into your browser cache without any of that exculpatory context. The fact that the "push cache" is cleared when the connection closes largely resolves that concern.

I don't suppose you've got any insights on issues #1 or 2?

WhoaOctober 7, 2018 8:22 AM

@SpaceLifeForm wrote: "Is SuperMicro (and other mobo manufacturers) in violation of GPL by running Linux on BMC and not providing source code?"

@SpaceLifeForm:

Probably not, since the kernel itself doesn't require distribution (think Android). SuperMicro is small potatoes. Think about the photonic mind control that the Chinese recently demonstrated over hundreds of miles via laser. Then, consider that Chinese satellites fly over the U.S. every day. Nation state takeover? Super Micro is small potatoes indeed!

Clive RobinsonOctober 7, 2018 9:16 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

With regards the article from "SecuringHardware.com" you link to. You will find most of it has been said on this blog, not just back in 2017 but years before that.

However one thing I think the article author Joe FitzPatrick is not realy right on is,

    You should assume small scale and top secret techniques are several steps ahead of what’s available on the open market.

Once upon a time back in the 1950's through 70's the IC in small parts were ahead of the game hardware wise, through those that stayed behind after WWII. Prio to WWII and from the mid 1980's as the old guard left, no, they were falling behind quite quickly. The CIA and MI6 for instance had very little in house expertise prefering to "buy in" even during the post war years. MI5 took a slightly different route which for some years put them ahead of other parts of the IC. The NSA were buying in also but that's a long story about swaping IP and other tricks. In the UK the old defence contractors and Post Office liased extensively with the various military SigInt etc arms of government services. The net effect the technology people went were the money was, those in GS were mainly "looking at their pensions".

Thus there is a rather silly "Oh so secret capabilities" myth or mystique about IC capabilities which the,"Never Say Anything" style behaviours encoraged.

To see why, it was realy a myth, instead of using the idea that because they used to employ the top flight minds in mathmatics etc that must give them some X years over industry, use simple economics. You will quickly realise just how dependent they are on industry for leading edge technology, they are today in reality a "small fry market" that gets milked mercilessly by certain people (see below).

Further top flight mathmatical minds tend to be narrow focus, engineers on the other hand tend to be not just broad but problem solving focused. Which is why you will find that certain "quantum computing" algorithms were actually designed by engineers not mathmaticians or computer scientists...

The problem the IC has is that they are outnumbered when it comes to ingenuity as applied to problem solving. Worse they don't pay the going rate, nor do they give the opportunities in terms of a future, but more importantly in the bredth of problems to be solved. But even worse still the way the organisations work is not conducive to getting the broad range of view points needed to build the bredth view point needed for such ingenuity.

It's one of the reasons Ed Snowden and others could do what they did in getting documents out. But more publically the fact the IC have to admit they don't have the people to fill the ever widening skills gap... Put simply the people the IC not just want but need don't want to work for them any more. Because the grass is most definitely greener on the outside of their fences. Thus the IC have to go to contractors of various forms, which means the IP ends up in industry and spreads out, thus industry moves ahead that ever bit faster as the IC becomes ever more "just another consumer group" all be it with deeper pockets.

Oh and it's what those in the "I" of the MIC want, and they have the money to pay the politico's to keep the tax dollars rolling their way, and with it the skill sets etc, to keep the cash sloshing through the door...

The sad thing was that untill Ed Snowden walked out the door with a broad range of secrets, those in the IC had also bought into the myth, and the fact things were not working for them was always made to feel like a "local" not "general" problem. It's difficult to gauge just how much "eye opening" the Snowden trove has and continues to do, but I guess it's not helped recruiting.

Oh and the idea of pulling in mil personnel into int functions, actually does not work very well. The military mind set is great for getting 8-5er's but inovation... No not realy, any one with those capabilities would have made other plans long before then. Not wishing to be nasty but the military SigInt personnel are like "factory line" workers not design department material. Wrong mindset, wrong skillset and not that employable on civi street.

echoOctober 7, 2018 10:04 AM

@Clive

Reading your comments side by sid with Nick Cohen's latest comment is interestign reading. Not only does he touch upon the rigidity of the state sector mentality he draws in how US election interference and a fraudulent Brexit campaign were a triumph of Russian intelligence. What this says about the current US-UK governments and right wing parties I leave it to the reader to decide!

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/07/russian-interference-goes-beyond-spying-to-the-very-heart-of-britain

MikeAOctober 7, 2018 10:05 AM

@Max Entropy

Adobe has been at this for some time. Within an hour or so after registering my copy of PageMaker 7 (yeah, a while ago), I got a porn spam to the email address I had given them. Yep, a "burner" just for the occasion. That's when I found out that there was no "abuse@adobe.com". The only way I could report it was via registered mail to a law firm whose only address was a POBox in Los Angeles. Not worth the likely response. Since I doubt the same employee who compromised me is still working at Adobe, I have to assume they employ some third-party firm to handle this stuff, and that this is an "institutional value"

I decided to consign that email address to "acceptor of all crap from websites that require email addresses for no good reason", and send it to a mail folder I rarely read.

TatütataOctober 7, 2018 11:21 AM

@Max Entropy, A Puzzling Menacing Message

No thanks for having posted a bunch of illegible junk. A short excerpt would have done it, for whatever you might have had to say.

Anyway:

1) This just a low-grade copycat attempt at imitating newly trending pseudo-blackmail scams. If this the first one you've got, count yourself lucky. This example contains no "evidence". Some of the messages of this type I received used information about me which would typically be found in account or subscription settings, and pretended I would so daft as to use my postcode or my phone number at one of the places where I previously resided more than a decade ago as a password anywhere.

2) Using visually equivalent UTF-8 glyphs, which is transcoded in 7-bit Quoted-Printable format for evading keyword-matching is now very commonplace. This should be trivial to detect and defeat.

Things might be more complicated in practice. For instance, my e-mail provider does not provide any hooks for user-provided scripts, and their premium spam-filtering service is much more expensive that what I'm willing to pay for.

One solution would be something like SpamAssassin on a Raspberry Pi as an IMAP client accessing and classifying messages on the server, but that's not at the top of my to-do list.

TatütataOctober 7, 2018 11:51 AM

This item about the Banksy self-destructing painting has been all over the place in the last day.

One could see this as a new challenge to the understanding of the nature of art, like Duchamp's "Fountain" was.

Or as a clever prank.

Or a scam to increase the value of the artist's production? I note that the painting went just half-way through, preserving it in a single piece.

Or perhaps as a new security threat? Now galleries and museums will forthwith need to provide an airport-like security circus before accepting new artefacts...

I'm somewhat sceptical about the whole thing, as the work was allegedly produced a decade ago. Yes, lithium batteries can last that long without self-discharging, and soemthing like a ZigBee transceiver can also conceivably run for the same time without draining them excessively, but that hack does require a fair amount of engineering expertise to be executed properly. The video only briefly shows a set of blades at the wrong angle relative to the work.

Clive RobinsonOctober 7, 2018 12:24 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm,

With regards the article from "SecuringHardware.com" you link to. You will find most of it has been said on this blog, not just back in 2017 but years before that.

However one thing I think the article author Joe FitzPatrick is not realy right on is,

    You should assume small scale and top secret techniques are several steps ahead of what’s available on the open market.

Once upon a time back in the 1950's through 70's the IC in small parts were ahead of the game hardware wise, through those that stayed behind after WWII. Prio to WWII and from the mid 1980's as the old guard left, no, they were falling behind quite quickly. The CIA and MI6 for instance had very little in house expertise prefering to "buy in" even during the post war years. MI5 took a slightly different route which for some years put them ahead of other parts of the IC. The NSA were buying in also but that's a long story about swaping IP and other tricks. In the UK the old defence contractors and Post Office liased extensively with the various military SigInt etc arms of government services. The net effect the technology people went were the money was, those in GS were mainly "looking at their pensions".

Thus there is a rather silly "Oh so secret capabilities" myth or mystique about IC capabilities which the,"Never Say Anything" style behaviours encoraged.

To see why, it was realy a myth, instead of using the idea that because they used to employ the top flight minds in mathmatics etc that must give them some X years over industry, use simple economics. You will quickly realise just how dependent they are on industry for leading edge technology, they are today in reality a "small fry market" that gets milked mercilessly by certain people (see below).

Further top flight mathmatical minds tend to be narrow focus, engineers on the other hand tend to be not just broad but problem solving focused. Which is why you will find that certain "quantum computing" algorithms were actually designed by engineers not mathmaticians or computer scientists...

The problem the IC has is that they are outnumbered when it comes to ingenuity as applied to problem solving. Worse they don't pay the going rate, nor do they give the opportunities in terms of a future, but more importantly in the bredth of problems to be solved. But even worse still the way the organisations work is not conducive to getting the broad range of view points needed to build the bredth view point needed for such ingenuity.

It's one of the reasons Ed Snowden and others could do what they did in getting documents out. But more publically the fact the IC have to admit they don't have the people to fill the ever widening skills gap... Put simply the people the IC not just want but need don't want to work for them any more. Because the grass is most definitely greener on the outside of their fences. Thus the IC have to go to contractors of various forms, which means the IP ends up in industry and spreads out, thus industry moves ahead that ever bit faster as the IC becomes ever more "just another consumer group" all be it with deeper pockets.

Oh and it's what those in the "I" of the MIC want, and they have the money to pay the politico's to keep the tax dollars rolling their way, and with it the skill sets etc, to keep the cash sloshing through the door...

The sad thing was that untill Ed Snowden walked out the door with a broad range of secrets, those in the IC had also bought into the myth, and the fact things were not working for them was always made to feel like a "local" not "general" problem. It's difficult to gauge just how much "eye opening" the Snowden trove has and continues to do, but I guess it's not helped recruiting.

Oh and the idea of pulling in mil personnel into int functions, actually does not work very well. The military mind set is great for getting 8-5 desk sitter's but inovation... not so much. Any one with those capabilities would have made other plans long before then or been recruited. Not wishing to be nasty but the military SigInt personnel are more like "factory line" or "call center" workers than hardware design department material. Wrong mindset, wrong skillset and not that employable on civy street so options are limited.

Little LambOctober 7, 2018 1:01 PM

military mind set is great for getting 8-5 desk sitter's

The U.S. military is not as stupid as you think. It's not the Foreign Legion we're talking about here. They think anywhere and everywhere BUT "inside the box."

Not wishing to be nasty but the military SigInt personnel are more like "factory line" or "call center" workers than hardware design department material. Wrong mindset, wrong skillset and not that employable on civy street so options are limited.

Crock of shit, dude, and fortunately there are a lot of U.S. military veterans who still pack guns and can call you out on all that nonsense.

Clive RobinsonOctober 7, 2018 1:23 PM

@ echo,

Not only does he [Nick Cohen] touch upon the rigidity of the state sector mentality he draws in how US election interference and a fraudulent Brexit campaign were a triumph of Russian intelligence.

I had read,

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/23/tom-watson-uk-on-frontier-of-new-cold-war-that-russia-is-winning

The problem is it came from Tom Watson[1] and I've not seen any supporting evidence.

What I have seen is evidence money came from the US along with second source support.

I'm not saying Tom is wrong, it's just that I want to see more evidence.

However it does not preclude the posability that both are right and that the US funding actually was Russian sourced. If that is the case then the US has a lot more troubles than Trump, it would suggest Russia is in the Republican party not just the NRA[2]. Something I'm not sure would be entertained by many in the US.

[1] Tom Watson is outspoken, and has on occasion pushed the envelop a little to far, and has thus made what appears as unfounded allegations. Thus I am cautious about what does not get atleast second source support.

[2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-16/russian-gun-rights-advocate-arrested-by-u-s-for-conspiracy

TatütataOctober 7, 2018 1:35 PM

Crock of shit, dude, and fortunately there are a lot of U.S. military veterans who still pack guns and can call you out on all that nonsense.

A colleague who went to show off new communications equipment at a major US Signal Corps facility returned rather shocked. He was discussing ECM, ECCM, bandwidths, processing gains, and suchlike, but according to his account, the audience just sat there the entire time sniggering while suggesting that bullets and bombs were all what was required, and that all that sciency stuff was for f*ggots. These bozos theoretically had engineering backgrounds. This would be par for the course about your reference to "packing guns", implying that force trumps intelligence anytime.

In the same era there was a fellow from the national DoD periodically roaming the R&D labs checking calibration stamps on test equipment. This was apparently an obligation spelt out in some old contract, even though most of what we did was totally unrelated. Statistically, chances were that a piece of kit you absolutely needed would be out of calibration and removed at once. (Well, that at least provided me with an ideal excuse for the weekly progress report). The fellow was considered a royal PITA, as he also checked the equipment stores, where the stuff that was rarely needed was kept. E.g.: a Polaroid camera for Tektronix equipment. Why in hell should this item ever carry a calibration stamp anyway. Or Avometers, which weren't very much coveted by the younger generations. (I just found they were last in production in 2008. Gee.) We suspected that for him it was either that or digging latrines in the boondocks.

echoOctober 7, 2018 2:27 PM

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/07/one-in-five-britons-with-disabilities-have-their-rights-violated-un-told

The UN criticised the UK’s “laws, regulations and practices that discriminate against persons with disabilities” last year and complained that not enough was being done to protect them from the negative affects of Brexit. Many grassroots projects are EU-funded.

The United Nations is taking a dim view of the UK government feeding disabled people feet first into shredders simply to subsidise the champagne and yacht and fast car lifestyle of the 1%.

@Clive

Fair comment.

Little LambOctober 7, 2018 2:56 PM

audience just sat there the entire time sniggering while suggesting that bullets and bombs were all what was required, and that all that sciency stuff was for f*ggots. These bozos theoretically had engineering backgrounds. This would be par for the course about your reference to "packing guns", implying that force trumps intelligence anytime.

One lead bullet to the brain does cause intelligence to cease forever. No, any military force has plenty of "sciency" stuff. You just have to shut up about that kind of stuff.

"Omertà" if you speak Italian, because Italians tend to talk incessantly, to a fault.

Tom S.October 7, 2018 6:59 PM

The Netherlands Defense Ministry published a set of slides in PDF [1] about the alleged GRU operation against the OPCW.

The equipment appears to be consumer grade, several external antennas, various amplifiers, and a grab bag of phones. It doesn't look any more sophisticated then a 1990's war driver had. All that was missing was a Pringles can and a screenshot of NetStumbler.

I found the search history reports and personal photos, including hotel stays during alleged previous operations, baffling.
Wouldn't equipment taken on a national intelligence operation be sanitized on return?
Your team catches a cab from the back gate of Headquarters and takes the receipt with you to the objective?
A number of corporations and US based information security research companies issue disposable equipment when their staff travel to "hostile" environments.

I have no particular expertise other than contributors' wisdom here. If true, and I believe it for now, the tradecraft falls far below what my hobby of reading military and intelligence (non-)fiction has taught me to expect.

Does Russian intel hold the West in such contempt that they feel it isn't necessary to even try? Bold to the point of foolhardy? This is Russia, a country with a history of enormous intellectual and scientific contributions, great masters in chess strategy. I don't get it.

[1] https://english.defensie.nl/topics/cyber-security/russian-cyber-operation

Clive RobinsonOctober 7, 2018 7:23 PM

@ Tatütata,

This item about the Banksy self-destructing painting

If I remember correctly under UK law an auction sale is final when the hamner comes down, unless bad faith by the auctioner can be shown.

So... in the video the hammer had come down, and the painting was sold. Thus nolonger owned by banksy or who ever had put it up for action...

Thus the destruction of the painting if it did happen as portrayed was technically a crime and due to the value of the last bid, the painting was of considerable value. Thus it's not going to carry a light prison sentance...

But it gets more fun, the painting was still in the hands of the auction house, thus civil liability falls on them and their insurance company... Which is where it gets a little complicated. In theory the buyer could end up with the painting in it's shredded state without having to pay a penny for it...

Thus if this was real and not some publicity or other stunt it will prove a somewhat interesting legal case...

Personaly I think it was a stunt. The painting has been around for quite a while thus any batteries in the frame would have long ago discharged beyond use. I guess we are going to have to wait and see what happens.

Clive RobinsonOctober 7, 2018 8:06 PM

@ little lamb,

One lead bullet to the brain does cause intelligence to cease forever.

Only if you can get it there, which something tells me you are unlikely to be able to do.

In Vietnam the estimate was 10,000 rounds expended for each enemy combatant killed, that's 118Kg, enough lead to encase a body many times over

At one time when I was still shooting I was 995 at 400yards on an 8 inch target. And back when I was wearing the green I was Signals (SC), so I had a certain degree of familiarity with the situation.

Something I actually don't think you have ever had, because it's only the Walter Mitty types that talk the way you do.

Tom S.October 7, 2018 8:41 PM

@ Clive Robinson, @ Tatütata,

This item about the Banksy self-destructing painting

Thus if this was real and not some publicity or other stunt it will prove a somewhat interesting legal case...

Personaly I think it was a stunt. The painting has been around for quite a while thus any batteries in the frame would have long ago discharged beyond use. I guess we are going to have to wait and see what happens.

Do you suppose anything changes if the event is called the final act of a piece of performance art? Even if some of the participants in the performance are unwitting?

Clive RobinsonOctober 7, 2018 9:37 PM

@ Tom S,

The equipment appears to be consumer grade, several external antennas, various amplifiers, and a grab bag of phones. It doesn't look any more sophisticated then a 1990's war driver had.

You forgot the word "old" before "consumer".

Whilst you get the feeling this is not the "A" team but backup to a team some what further down the alphabet, that may not be the case.

If you start with thinking about OpSec, I would expect "second hand" equipment purchased in some western country rather than factory fresh top of the line easily tracable back to point of purchase equipment. After all as long as it does the job it's sufficient.

The problem is we don't know what the "job" was, nor from what has been released publically do I think the authorities know either. The fact they had a Russian taxi recipt in a pocket suggests they were "fresh in".

If I was doing "red team" activities I would want to have a number of cut out nodes between me and the target with "eyes on" atleast one of the nodes. I've mentioned how to do this sort of thing in the past using "unconventional" frequencies etc which makes the use of quite a bit of standard "blue team" equipment fail, thus only specialised frequently quite expensive equipment would be of use[1]. I might also make one of the nodes a "Tee" just to make the game more interesting.

I've some nice custom LPI DSSS comms extenders I designed and built a few years ago, which will throw a spanner in most DF kit even the high end Rhode and Schwarz DDF007. The problem is the break the first rule of OpSec of "Do not have anything non standard, otherwise deniability is lost".

Looking at the photos, not only was the equipment a bit creaky age wise, the inverter made my eyebrow go up. I've no idea where they got that "boat anchor" from, I think they were smaller than that back in the 1980's. To give you an idea on my bench I've a couple of 1KW switchers that are about 1x1x8 inches and there are others you can get these days that are upwards of 2KW in a similar volume.

I must admit though, that having "Diplomatic Cover" might well have made them not care very much about OpSec as the worst that can happen to them is that the get sent back home.

Which appears to jib with some of the kit they had. Which makes me wonder if they were doing a "setup job" for others to operate with. Possibly the others being what the US call "NOC" operatives.

[1] The much easier availability of 0-6GHz SDR equipment at moderate price is going to make a big difference in this area, but I've yet to see any "blue team" commercial equipment based on it yet.

echoOctober 7, 2018 10:07 PM

@Clive, @Tom S

This is interesting. I can't add any more than half informed speculation. I don't know if this is legitimate conversation or would add too much noise.

Oe thought which has crossed my mind among all this US-UK-Russian stuff grabbing the headlines is what is everyone else on the planet up to. We rarely read anything about this.

Tom S.October 8, 2018 12:28 AM

@ CliveHz

"To give you an idea on my bench…" Over the years of reading your comments, the things I've imagined in your labs. It has been a treat, occasionally frightening, always intriguing. I doubt your opponents had much fun, but then that was the point, right?

I'd considered the purchase traceability aspect. Given so few other attempts at opsec, I gave greater weight to the majority of the equipment being 2.4GHz. With the greater transmission range if you're the Russians or the greater signal leakage if you're OPCW I can see why that equipment was present.

The "setup job" is plausible. Conduct some sort of attack that requires proximity to a low privilege wireless network, e.g. KRACK or similar, establish a foothold, then let remote attackers move laterally into higher privilege networks. What wasn't shown in the Dutch presentation, and what I'd really like to see is any toolsets on the laptop and phones. For example, Cisco's Talos Intelligence has a 3 part report [1] on VPNFilter router-based malware that has extensive capabilities. Given the mission of OPCW, I have to believe in addition to rather sharp chemists, the information security team has to be up to snuff as well.

Regarding some of the equipment you built, I can guess that DSSS is Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum. What is LPI, low power? You mention looking at unconventional frequencies and Direction Finding. A quick search of the site, didn't turn anything up. Did you use something in the lower HF band? The product you cited DF's 20 MHz to 6 GHz.

Interesting. Thank you for your time.

[1] https://blog.talosintelligence.com/2018/09/vpnfilter-part-3.html

Tom S.October 8, 2018 12:46 AM

@echo

"…what is everyone else on the planet up to."

It is like trying to watch the magician's other hand. I see:
* Russian activity in the Baltics,
Russian and Chinese cooperation in multiple theaters,
China in the South China Sea,
China in South America,
China in Africa,
India vs. China in South Asia,
Regional power struggles and proxies in The Persian Gulf.

* I was very sure Lithuania would be invaded in the months after the World Cup, much like Ukraine and the Sochi Olympics. The elements that would support an invasion are still present. I hope I stay wrong. Follow the Baltic News Network.

Wesley ParishOctober 8, 2018 5:03 AM

@Clive Robinson, Little Lamb

The Viet Cong had a problem - their main weapon the AK-47 was highly dirt-tolerant but not particularly accurate.

The US Army and Marines had a problem - their main weapon the M16 was highly accurate but not at all dirt-tolerant.

Added to that the theatre of war was generally dense tropical jungle aka "the bush" in Aussie English and the wastage of ammo ... is extraordinary to everybody else. Little wonder the average Viet peasant-guerrilla preferred ambush and re-use of Pentagon wastage.

Getting kinetic is not always the best option - read the history of the British Army in the days of the British Raj in the North-Western Frontier - Swat Valley et alii - sometime. I'm sure the US officer training institutes such as West Point et alii have copies of all the relevant documents, memoirs etc, but watch the US armed forces in the same terrain, about a hundred years later; they're drowning, like the British Army.

AlejandroOctober 8, 2018 6:26 AM

Seems this board is wandering off track quite a bit. I liked it better when it was about chips, wires apps and antennas. And, security.

JG4October 8, 2018 7:45 AM


Did someone here somewhat recently explain why our Germans were better than their Germans? The movie reference is Dr. Strangelove. The politically-correct version might be why our Germans were different from their Germans.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/10/links-10-8-18.html
...

Want to live for ever? Flush out your zombie cells Guardian
...

Humans, Fish and Other Animals Are Consuming Microfibers in Our Food and Water TruthOut
...

Nationwide Class Action Lawsuit Targets DuPont, Chemours, 3M, and Other Makers of PFAS Chemicals The Intercept
...

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Feds to judge: We still think we can put GPS trackers on cars entering US Ars Technica
...

Bill Clinton keynote speaker at Ripple blockchain event Asia Times. Nice to see Bill keeping himself busy.
...

Right to Repair

Apple’s New Proprietary Software Locks Will Kill Independent Repair on New MacBook Pros Motherboard
...

Former Google boss launches scathing Silicon Valley attack urging tech giants to end the delusion that it’s making the world a better place Daily Mail
...

echoOctober 8, 2018 7:50 AM

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/08/sajid-javid-death-penalty-isis-el-shafee-elsheikh

UK dropped objection to death penalty for Isis suspects 'to appease US'. High court told home secretary abandoned policy to avoid White House ‘outrage’.

Perhaps feminist arguments about "toxic masculinity" and "punching down" and "abuse culture" begin to make sense? Discussion can become very unsubtle and polarised. This is why skill and reading a few books helps as does mutual respect. Whatever happened to quid pro quo?

I would be hard pressed to find such low calibre coment by this government minister and a now ex minister anywhere outside of a banana republic.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Why is money always therefor "boys toys" and wars of glory? Insteadof agitating for return to Cold Warpolitics and agitating WWIII could we engage with the biggest global security issue of the day before the immovable deadline? I cannot speak for others but find bureaucratic action in the form of a public enquiry after I am dead to be completely useless.

echoOctober 8, 2018 7:57 AM

@JG4

One of your headlines is rom the Daily Mail. Before quoting the "Daily Heil" as some in the UK call it you may wish to examine its political ethos.

Clive RobinsonOctober 8, 2018 9:15 AM

@ Tom S.,

What is LPI,

Low Probability of Intercept.

With spread spectrum systems the wider you spread the coding bandwidth (ie high chipping rate) the lower the energy per Hz of bandwidth. So if you actually transmit +10dBm over a 10MHz bandwidth to an ordinary receiver with a 10KHz bandwidth it only sees 1/1000 of the bandwidth thus energy so -20dBm. Or to put it another way the transmitter would appear to be ~thirty times further away for the same output power to the DF receiver. But with the "despread" front end correctly correlated on the SS reciever it sees the same power at the IF bandwidth as it would have been with a conventional non SS TX/RX pair.

Oh one advantage of SS if you make "bugging devices" the transmitter is actually quite low complexity thus not just low cost, it uses only fractionaly more power than a conventional low power transmitter. All the complexity for synching up to the TX code is at the receiver which generally is outside of the target zone, thus can have the larger circuitry and higher power requirment more easily accomadated.

One advantage of SS is that you can "hide in the skirts" of other inband transmiters, making finding or tracking signals very much harder. These days it's being looked at as a part of "white space" systems such that even occupied broadcast frequencies can be used without noticable interference.

Another advantage of some types of SS bug are that you can also measure range and seperation velocity which can be helpfull when direction finding is not appropriate due to size and other issues (the basic method is also used these days in collision avoidence radar systems in cars).

Clive RobinsonOctober 8, 2018 11:36 AM

@ echo, Tom S.,

Oe thought which has crossed my mind among all this US-UK-Russian stuff grabbing the headlines is what is everyone else on the planet up to. We rarely read anything about this.

You are not alone in this thought.

If you look back I've made several comments about the US only ever having "one existential threat nation" at a time, and perm them out of China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

When you see this pattern, only an idiot would think there was not Orwellian Stage Managment going on via the US Gov and US MSM.

As @Tom S. has pointed out above and I have in the past there are a few places that you need to keep an eye on and they all involve the US throwing it's weight around.

There is a theory which recent history backs up that every decade the US finds a reason to bomb another nation back to the stone ages in order to,

1, Keep the MIC "welfare momers fed".
2, Keep other nations in line.

It was fairly clear that the current favourit for this treatment was Iran. The US basically set a bunch of what they thought would be impossible demands for Iran, to use refusal as a pretex for war in the ME in support of hoise of Saud and Israeli interests. Iran pulled their teath by saying yes to everything in an international conference. The US foiled in it's plan threw the toys out the pram and went home to sulk big time. Anyone who had known what was going on just laughed at the US which included all the other nations around the conferance table. Thus thwarted at killing another thoudand or so US troops and uncountable thousands of civilians as the US had with Iraq, the US started in with threatening other nations with sanctions.

But if you only read and listen to US MSM you would not realise this, unless of course you remember what Pres Obama did over Istaeli pawns in both houses over the psychopath Netanyahu back in march 2015.

Blake MilneOctober 8, 2018 4:08 PM

The problem with the Friday Squid Blog is the fact that some 20 % of posters consume 80 % of the posts / space with content that is either totally irrelevant or tl;dr.


Also, some clarifications: There is no such thing as an "U.K." law. Well, yes, it exists for the Spanish National Distress driver telling you to buckle up because of "U.K." law.

Here a link explaining the differences between English law and Scottish law:

http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/the-differences-between-the-english-and-scottish-law/

"Although both Scotland and England are part of the UK, Scotland has its own distinct judicial system and its own jurisdiction. Rather than being solely a Common Law system, Scottish law is a mixed system, and it is important to be aware of the differences, especially if you plan to study law in a Scottish institution."


Asylum seeking in the E.U. (continental Europe): As a subject of Her Majesty the Queen you cannot seek political asylum in another country of the E.U. (and that for quite obvious reasons). What you can, however, is seeking asylum in a loony bin within the U.K. I would recommend the Old Craighouse in Edinburg.


"Click Here to Kill Everybody" has right now 11 Amazon reviews. Out of those 11 reviews, only three are verified purchases. All 5 star reviews stem from non-verified purchases. The verified purchases who left one star only, in many cases, have received quite nasty feedbacks, which reminds me a bit of this blog.


I was one of the first in my country reading "Data and Goliath" and all I can say is that the man won't get me twice. The first part was a hotchpotch of computer magazine articles, the second part a confuse policy draft (tl;dr), and the third part an endless collection of references. The URLs, btw, are extremely useful, above-all printed in a hardcover...

googlerOctober 8, 2018 4:10 PM

Google Plus shutting down
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/google-reportedly-opted-not-to-disclose-glitch-possibly-exposing-500000/

The real story here is that they do not want scrutiny of why their social network bug went "undetected" from 2015 to 2018.

Or maybe it is not so useful to the authoritied any more since they now patched that "bug".

So after garnishing a lot of attention because of it's initial fast growth (largely fueled by Google's management sending internal memo's expecting all employees to support the project, and by making account creation automatic through tie-in with YouTube) it ultimately ended on Google's project graveyard.

echoOctober 8, 2018 4:59 PM

@Clive

The one enemy at a time thing is something in discussion with friends we noticed a logn time agao. I wondered if it worth mentioning and when you mentioned it too it confirmed I wasn't daydreaming. What is bugging me at the moment is how this sucks up all the oxygen from international current affairs and discussion. Hereis one such example and another to add to your list of mysterious deaths.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/07/tv-journalist-brutally-murdered-in-bulgarian-town-of-ruse

Some new visitors seem a bit rattled...

@Blake Milne

Things like the 80:20 split happen in any market.

I use the term "UK law" as a shorthand. I'm not explaining to an international audience the difference between Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and England and Wales every time I post. I also mention EU law too which will include both the European Court of Human Rights, a none European body, and the European Court of Justice which is a European Court. I also don't want to have to explain horiztontal law and jurisprudence, nor the difference between common law and civil law, or the hybrid system in the US. Civil law isn't alien to "England and Wales". Ecclesiastical law is civil law as is the European Convention brought into the UK via the Human Rights Act.

I also suggest you go back and read EU treaties and directives before making wild assertions about EU asylum law. Specifically, look up policies in member states refering to any "white list".

@Alejandro

Security is a broader field than just boys toys. It includes international law, treaties, economic and social policy, and a range of fields and specialities. In some instances it takes a level of expertise to understand and articulate the "security" angle.

I have given enough examples including later media reports which confirmed a large part of what was said. I have also posted links explainign issues behidn the big headlines which while mostly ignored because of ignorance and/or sexism were identified by mostly men who mostly discuss "boys toys" as a genuine security concern.

AlejandroOctober 8, 2018 5:51 PM

The greatest weapon we all have for electronic security is to simply pull the plug and thus become invisible, if not isolated.

Lesser options are are available for less dire threats, or even minor annoyances, like deleting a bookmark.

echoOctober 8, 2018 6:08 PM

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/08/former-cambridge-analytica-chief-alexander-nix-used-n-word-to-describe-barbados-pm

Alexander Nix, the former chief executive of the elections consultancy Cambridge Analytica, is facing fresh questions about his conduct after a leak of documents revealed he used a highly offensive racial slur to describe the prime minister of Barbados.

[...]

The Guardian asked Nix about the exchange. He did not respond to a request for comment. He has previously blamed the “global liberal media” for bringing down Cambridge Analytica.

Breathtaking.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/08/met-polices-use-of-force-jumps-79-in-one-year

The Metropolitan police’s use of force has risen sharply in the last year, with black people far more likely to be subjected to such tactics than anyone else, the Guardian can reveal.

[...]

“This also provides yet more evidence about the overpolicing and criminalisation of people from black and minority communities. It begs important questions about structural racism and how this is embedded in policing practices.”

I can't help thinking that "austerity" is an excuse.

EdwardOctober 8, 2018 6:28 PM

"The Metropolitan police’s use of force has risen sharply in the last year, with black people far more likely to be subjected to such tactics than anyone else, the Guardian can reveal."

Guess that's what our midget fren called "part & parcel". Safest city in the world. Moped gangs in Hampstead, throwing a bucket of acid towards you.

Somebody finding that funny?

Long life the hypocrites, the Islington millionaires / bien pensants, & the Guardianistas.

RatioOctober 8, 2018 7:00 PM

Second Skripal Poisoning Suspect Identified as Dr. Alexander Mishkin:

We have now identified “Alexander Petrov” to be in fact Dr. Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a trained military doctor in the employ of the GRU. Bellingcat’s identification process included multiple open sources, testimony from people familiar with the person, as well as copies of personally identifying documents, including a scanned copy of his passport. The full identification process will be described in the upcoming full report.

[…]

Alexander Mishkin was born on 13.07.1979 in the village of Loyga, in the Archangelsk District in Northern European Russia.  He studied and graduated from one of Russia’s elite Military Medical Academies, and was trained as a military doctor for the Russian naval armed forces.

During his medical studies, Mishkin was recruited by the GRU, and by 2010 had relocated to Moscow, where he received his undercover identity – including a second national ID and travel passport – under the alias Alexander Petrov.

In the period 2011-2018, Alexander Mishkin traveled extensively under his new identity. Bellingcat has identified multiple trips to Ukraine and to the self-declared Transnistrian Republic, the last of which as late as during the Maidan events in Kyiv in December 2013.

Unlike the case of Anatoliy Chepiga, “Petrov”’s cover identity retained most of the biographical characteristics of the authentic Mishkin – such as the exact birth date, first and patronymic name, and first names of his parents.

Until early September 2014, Mishkin’s registered home address in Moscow was Khoroshevskoe Shosse 76B – the address of the headquarters of the GRU.  In the autumn of 2014, both Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga moved to upscale apartments. Alexander Mishkin current military rank is unknown. However, based on the known rank as of graduation from the Military Medical Academy (Russian military doctors graduate with a rank of senior lieutenant), and the elapsed time (15 years), it can be posited that as the time of the Skripals’ poisoning incident he was either a Lt. Colonel or a full Colonel.

Any rambling gaslighting you’d like to add, Craig?

Clive RobinsonOctober 8, 2018 7:05 PM

@ echo,

Hereis one such example and another to add to your list of mysterious deaths.

Sadly Viktoria Marinova is the second woman journalist murdered in Europe and the third journalist this year so far.

I would tend to think that it was an execution with warning for others in it's method of violation prior to a slow death by strangulation.

As the article notes,

    an investigation into alleged fraud involving EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians.

The EU has not produced a certified set of accounts for so long now it will probably never happen. Basically the EU is financially corrupt and it starts with the unelected council of ministers and spreads downwards through out many nations. Even many of the elected Members of the European Parliment and their parties have been found to be corrupt or upto significant financial irregularities.

Not least of which was the face of Brexit Nigel Farage and his UKIP that have been so blatent about it that the EU could not do as it usually does and turn a blind eye to find obscure excuses...

Going anywhere near trying to bring accountability of EU funds has killed quite a number of careers, had phoney arrest and search warrents police intimidation and other quite nasty forms of intimidation.

As for Bulgaria, there is an old joke,

    In Bulgarian in a game of "odd man out" how do you know who it is? Easy he's the one not in the mafia.

Even Top Gear made jokes about it when reviewing certain luxuray cars, about how easy it was or was not to get a body in the boot and do a "get away" car chase.

It's a shame realy because it's actually quite a nice place with breath taking mountains, beaches, and countryside scenery where nature can spring out on you literally in woodlands and forests[1]. Also with realy nice historic buildings a number of which have UNESCO World Heritage status, oh and for those not as creaky as me good nightlife at quite low cost.

[1] Yup it happened to me, I used to be able to walk with ghost like "hunters footsteps" and I was trying to get close enough to a deer with a fine spread of antlers I had spotted to get a good photo when I spooked a wild boar sow and her young pigglets/squeakers by nearly stepping on one. Trust me when I say you do not want to be so close you can smell them as the adults are fearsome beasts that weigh in at 80-100Kg and a 40Kph speed. Like their close relative the domestic pig they are omnivours and can be carnivorous and have few preditors and have little trouble moving 50Kg rocks when after choice morsels. Getting that close is the sort of thing that can make you rapidly levitate into arboreal behaviours at least as well as the most agile of primates...

Clive RobinsonOctober 8, 2018 7:33 PM

@ Ratio,

Any rambling gaslighting you’d like to add, Craig?

As there is nobody by the name of "Craig" posting currently, we can make certain assumptions about your insulting intent.

As for what bellingcat published it's interesting to note that you left out,

    In the full report, which will be published on Tuesday at 13:00, we will publish the full method by which Mishkin was identified, as well as witness testimony from various sources. The full report will also contain forensic evidence of the visual (facial) match between “Alexander Mishkin” and “Alexander Petrov”

Which means you most definitely get the same old answer from me "Wait for the evidence and then test it"...

I've not seen any further follow up on Bellingcat's earlier "questionable" identification to refute what others have said against it, so we will have to "Wait for the evidence and then test it" on that as well.

Oh and it's getting more and more noticable you have not come up with anything about the murdered Russian in New Malden, which makes me think you are avoiding it and it's quite serious implications.

I guess the belling cat has got your tounge...

Clive RobinsonOctober 8, 2018 8:10 PM

@ echo,

Breathtaking

Mr Alexander Nix, sounds like a good candidate to be a funder for the current encumbrants. To be perfect however he would have to add a couple of four letter words and an anti-feminist slur...

Why these people get caught out so often realy supprises me. You would have thought they would have learned the inadvisability of not just saying but writting such things by now... But obviously not.

MarkHOctober 9, 2018 3:17 AM

For those who don't read Ukrainian, Ratio's post refers to the SBU, whose role is comparable to that of the US FBI, or UK MI5.

Clive RobinsonOctober 9, 2018 5:35 AM

@ Apokrif,

This post makes the point that on average open-source crypto is not safer than closed-source crypto, based on the author’s experience. YMMV."

What does not immediately spring out is that the "author’s experience" includes a significant proportion of "blockchain"...

Which as all the early or "trail breaking" work was OS and the "Johnny come latelies" are the CS that are following the now "well beaten path" might give an indication as to why the "author’s experience" is what it is.

That is "the leading edge is the bleeding edge" rule of thumb of R&D indicates that early implementations are full of untested often costly assumptions. Whilst those a step or two back have the advantage of having a large number of the original assumptions tested and thus do not make those mistakes thus save great cost.

We see similar with messaging apps, the Crypto has seen the benifit of having being tested. The insecurities are now those in the areas around the crypto not in it. Thus you have the likes of "endrun attacks" because the communications stack is to promiscuous, the OS to complex, often using insecure closed source drivers and the User Interface (UI) is not just to complex but has to many levels, resulting in "shims" being put in the driver level or UI negating any security the app offers.

Security is not just "weak links" it's also about "bubbles under wallpaper" that is you push one insecurity down and it just comes up somewhere else, often in mote than one place.

To get real security you have to understand about segregation, seperation, and genuine "end points" caused by strictly controled non bypassable channels. None of which exists in consumer and commercial equipment and systems.

Only when people get to understand this will we start to see more secure products. But as there is apparently no profit in offering even a modicum of real increased security "don't hold your breath" with Closed Source as the Sinclair maxim applies[1]. In Open Source the maxim is generally not an issue as "ego food" is generally the reward. However both CS and OS unfortunatly leave open other issues such as the Dunning-Kruger and other cognative effects.

One of the reasons I don't write "general issue" software be it OS or CS any more is I realy do not trust what would suround it. Nor for that matter the highlevel languages, toolchains, and libraries currently in favour by many. I find there is a lot to be said for minimalist systems with at most a CLI over a strictly mandated communications channel. Fancy UI's and such like I can (un)safely leave to others to do at the other end of the mandated communications channel.

[1] From Upton Sinclair's famous quote of "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

echoOctober 9, 2018 7:11 AM

https://www.quantamagazine.org/graduate-student-solves-quantum-verification-problem-20181008/

“A quantum computer is very powerful, but it’s also very secretive,” Vazirani said.

[...]

Now, after eight years of graduate school, Mahadev has succeeded. She has come up with an interactive protocol by which users with no quantum powers of their own can nevertheless employ cryptography to put a harness on a quantum computer and drive it wherever they want, with the certainty that the quantum computer is following their orders. Mahadev’s approach, Vazirani said, gives the user “leverage that the computer just can’t shake off.”

Most discussion is about quantum computers being used in cryptography. This article discusses how cryptography is used to verify a quantum computer is actually doing what it is supposed to do.

echoOctober 9, 2018 7:15 AM

@Clive

Mr Alexander Nix, sounds like a good candidate to be a funder for the current encumbrants. To be perfect however he would have to add a couple of four letter words and an anti-feminist slur...

Why these people get caught out so often realy supprises me. You would have thought they would have learned the inadvisability of not just saying but writting such things by now... But obviously not.

The other shoe is dropping...

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/taylor-swift-endorsement-733776/

Republicans, White Nationalists Fume Over Taylor Swift’s Senate Endorsement. The once-apolitical pop star threw her weight behind Tennessee Democrats Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper

“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now,” Swift wrote. “I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”

echoOctober 9, 2018 7:26 AM

I'm surprised everyone missed that Banksy had published potentially identifying forensic evidence online.

While not necessarily conclusive this fornsic test can potentially add to a collection of evidence good enough to secure a good chance of prosecution. I daresay other similar forensic tests in conjunction with other techniques such as ageing can be used to sift data in future.

The public policy discussion of human rights versus aiding prosecution is obviously a discussion which needs to be had and ongoing.

Banksy later claimed in an Instagram video that he secretly built a shredder into the painting a few years ago “in case it was ever put up for auction”.

The clip shows a shredding device being installed inside the frame and then covered up, before it cuts to the auction room where it was sold on Friday evening.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/paedophiles-hands-identification-dame-professor-sue-black-forensic-university-lancaster-a8491931.html

Scientists believe they can identify paedophiles based on characteristics of their hands, and potentially track their movements around the world.

Dame Professor Sue Black, of Lancaster University, has developed a forensic technique to identify suspected offenders based on pictures of their hands.

She has worked on the process since 2006 and hopes eventually to automate it. She began building a database to work out the probability of two hands having the same features while working at the University of Dundee.

MarkHOctober 9, 2018 7:43 AM

I was confused by poor writing in the excerpt echo kindly quoted from the article in the independent. I thought that it was saying that there was a way to ascertain whether someone is a paedophile by analysis of their hands, which would be an extremely bizarre claim =80

In fact, someone has developed a technique claimed to dependably distinguish one person's hands from another based on photos or videos of said hands -- any kind of person ;)

The relevance to people who abuse children, is that some of them create and even publish photos or videos of their crimes, which may include detailed imagery of their hands but not their faces ... presumably expecting that if their face is unseen, there's no risk of identification.

I trust that we can look forward to the usual false positives. It's progress, I guess.

RatioOctober 9, 2018 8:00 AM

Full report: Skripal Poisoning Suspect Dr. Alexander Mishkin, Hero of Russia:

We have identified “Alexander Petrov” to be in fact Dr. Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a trained military doctor in the employ of the GRU. Furthermore, multiple witnesses familiar with Alexadner Mishkin and his family have confirmed to us that he, like Col. Chepiga, is a recipient of the Hero of Russia award, which is bestowed by a special decree by the Russian President.

While Alexander Mishkin’s true persona has an even smaller digital footprint than Anatoliy Chepiga’s, Bellingcat has been able to establish many key facts from his background.

“Scribblings on the Internet” just like you said, George Galloway.

Exactly, Craig Murray, where is the evidence?

MarkHOctober 9, 2018 8:07 AM

@Moderator:

My earlier comment telling the story of a journalist who feared that the White House was trying to "smoke out" his sources, has apparently been removed.

What the journalist was suspecting, is an actual intelligence technique that has been used in wartime, espionage and even criminal cases. For that reason, I thought that the scenario might be of significant interest here.

I took some space to lay out the background of the story the journalist was covering, in order to establish why the White House might have been extraordinarily motivated to hunt down any leakers.

For future reference, I'd like to understand why the comment was out of bounds.

Thanks!

echoOctober 9, 2018 8:25 AM

@Ratoi

I don't believe it's worth putting people on a pedastal or ragging on anyone. It really is better to to "wait on the evidence" as Clive suggests.

Craig is sceptical and has good reasons to be sceptical both of a political and administrative nature. He was also said himself that he will accept whatever a real reasoned and proper evaluation of the evidence says. There is actually case law on "decisions in the round" and "no obligation to believe the state" and "no obligation to make the states job easy" and "best effort" and "adequacy". While many people reading this blog may be "expert generalists"to one degree or another of competecne none of us as faras we can tell is an expert with a credible history of achievement in a single one of the specialities this involves from the judge managing a trial through to expertise in a particular forensic technicue nor are any of us in a position to verify the provenance of the evdience.

I am personally more concerned with poor governance and human rights abuses and negligence of the UK than anything Russia, a country with its own issues like all countries, may or may not do. This is not to say they are not matters of interest. They have their place and priority in the scheme of things but are not the be all and end all.

I am guessing to some degree this is why Bruce may favour "defensive security" but we will have to wait on Bruce speaking for himself on this issue.

echoOctober 9, 2018 8:41 AM

This article highlights how "political legitimacy" can encourage extremist behaviour. It also highlights responsible policymakers (a much more accurate and useful term than "lawmakers") maintain an effective and neutral balance by targetting all forms of extremism. The article also highlights how iressponsible social media giants are part of the problem by acting as a vehicle to amplify and transmit extremism and how the imposition of large fines can make this unprofitable.

(Paywall) https://www.ft.com/content/86f2645a-c7a2-11e8-ba8f-ee390057b8c9

Rightwing terror in Europe draws fuel from populism and xenophobia
Warnings grow that extremists are becoming more sophisticated and more violent

Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, recorded a near doubling in the number of individuals arrested for rightwing extremist offences last year, a trend analysts say is being driven by social media and a dangerous mix of populist politics, economic inequality and a dissatisfaction with liberal elites and institutions.

[...]

This is still relatively low compared with international terrorism — largely Islamist-inspired terror offences — but it is much higher than other countries in Europe such as France, which had 15 arrests for alleged rightwing offences in 2017.

[...]

To counter this, the EU says it is stepping up its effort to tackle online extremism, threatening heavy fines against the big US technology groups unless they removed extremist content within an hour.

Julian King, the EU’s security commissioner, told the FT that while Brussels was aware of the growing problem from the far-right, the new measures being introduced were designed to target all groups and all types of extremism.

“The most attacks of recent years have come from jihadi-linked extremism but we have never said that is the only source of extremism we are seeking to counter,” he added.

ThothOctober 9, 2018 10:08 AM

@Clive Robinson

I am not sure if this is considered copying my idea but who knows.... you know the same things always happens to the few of us that puts ideas into the public and give suggestions.

Firstly, the "Open Source" laptop maker, Purism, is moving into the security dongle area with it's Librem Key which is a re-packaging of the NitroKey.

In essence, NitroKey is an "Open Source" security dongle (not really so Open Source actually) because the circuitry board design is available but the caveat is it uses a closed source OpenPGP smart card with closed source card applet codes as it's hardware Root of Trust and also the "HSM" in the entire setup.

I guess NitroKey allows white labeling of products so why not ? Librem Key is an off-shoot of NitroKey essentially.

Now if you continue and watch the video or not, what they (Purism team) did was to create a custom Linux bootloader that checks for the presence of the Librem Key generated secret key. Think of it as an alternative to UEFI boot with/without TPM setup.

Essentially, the modified bootloader becomes the "Secure Boot" component and the TPM chip is now replaced with the Librem Key as the smart card chip in the Librem Key will contain the secret key to attest the "Secure Boot" like a TPM chip.

If you remembered aeons ago, I spoke of the idea of using a smart card as a portable alternative to TPM and also the programmable nature of the smart card makes it more secure than a TPM as the card owner can program sensitive logic codes to execute in a smart card thus enabling a TPM capability + a normal smart card with Secure Execution setup as a 2-in-1 benefit. All it needs is to change the some form of low level bootloader setup preferably by flashing the Layer 1 or 2 bootloader codes to detect smart card with TPM emulation capability.

This should be a very familiar idea as I wrote it on this blog forum quite a couple years ago. I did not have the time to sit down and make my ideas become reality as I was very busy as always.

Last year, I presented the same idea to Purism team to protect their laptops and smartphones with some sort of smart card chip and the pseudo Secure Boot setup described in quite plain details.

Below is the text I sent to them:

"Hi,

Glad to hear that Purism would be pushing for Librem Phone with i.MX ARM A series chipset but I would like to caution that A series chips typically have ARM TrustZone and the totally opaque nature of ARM TZ and the fact that development of TEEs within ARM TZ requires NDAs and fees, this is not suitable for your open hardware project.

Also noting that ARM TZ is the ancestor of Intel SGX and AMD PSP, this naturally means that ARM TZ design is likely to be a very capable hardware based backdoor and I would thus caution the use of i.MX or any ARM A series chipset including to not use Intel or AMD chipset as well.

What I would personally recommend is ARM Cortex M which does not have ARM TZ and has a much more open specification. 32 bit ARM Cortex M4 would be better as a CPU than a possibly hardware backdoored Intel SGX, AMD PSP or ARM TZ capable A series chipset. You can use dedicated codecs, modems, GPUs and the phone will inevitably be a little bulkier but safer without the poisoned ARM TZ inside.

Also, it would be nice if you can spend time looking at Genode Framework to implement some sort of hardware-based secure hypervisor (NOVA hypervisor) as the micro-Trusted Computing Base (mTCB) and then you put the Gnome Manager, Linux Kernel and so on as applications running on top of the secure mTCB. This will increase the security of the Librem Phone significantly and if possible allow multiple OS booting to allow booting Linux kernel and FreeRTOS kernel on top of the secure mTCB.

The phone should also come with double SIM card trays and one of the SIM cards can be loaded with an open source smart card HSM applet so that the Librem Phone can automatically detect the presence of such a HSM SIM card and use it for secure key storage. This is to compensate for the lack of hardware backed secure key storage on the ARM Cortex M chips.

Trusted Boot can be done by having Bootloader 1 burnt into the ROM and the insertion of a SIM card with HSM applet and the user authenticate into the SIM card to allow Bootloader 1 to access the Secure Boot key and boot image hashes stored in the SIM card HSM to continue booting beyond Bootloader 1.

What I have described is a very long list of very difficult tasks but if you can pull it off, you will exceed the security levels of commercial "secure phones" like Blackberries, Samsung KNOX, Apple's Secure Enclave, Blackphone, Boeing Black et. al. ... It is up to you to decide how much security you want your Librem Phone to have out of the box so that it will not only be Open Hardware/Software but also be truely more secure at the same time."

As you can see, my concern was at the time when they were selling their Librem laptops and they removed the TPM backed Secure Boot for their Librem laptops for unknown reasons and I thought that it would be nice to recommend this idea to them because they are also introducing their Librem smartphones and I was hoping they would not rely on ARM TrustZone too much for security.

One year and two months later, it seems like whatever I have suggested suddenly became reality in a way. I would guess the Linux bootloader layer for Secure Boot was not something I would recommend as the OS level bootloader is usually booted last. What I was recommending was to push the trusted bootloader into firmware of the chip but as you know, most computers store bootloaders on flash memory on a secondary chip and the latest "China Supermicro" scandal talks about intercepting and corrupting bootloader instructions stored on BIOS flash chips and so on.

Purism's implementation is not perfect but it's the first step anyway and it's better than nothing.

Either way, it is nice to see that something I recommended kind of occurred in a way I did not expect.

I did not hear any replies after sending them the above email. I assume everything went dead.

Once I came to realize that something I have recommended was implemented, I did not receive any notifications about it's use or any "Thank you" whatsoever.

I guess I am having mixed feelings .... you know what I mean ....

It reminds me of that particular C-&-P model that was taken and not properly executed .....

Sigh ..............................................

I hope our work isn't taken for granted so often ........

Sometimes, I have a desire to share my thoughts of my latest creations but the risk is as you see what happened so often to us.

I recently had more and more customers wanting to look at my firmware codes and designs for my security products I have created which are trade secrets and I refused all of them. It is becoming more frequent.

Links:
- https://puri.sm/products/librem-key/
- https://www.nitrokey.com

Clive RobinsonOctober 9, 2018 10:49 AM

@ Thoth,

There are legal ways to disclose ideas but even then unless you have deep pockets excercising your rights is not an option.

It used to cause me considerable anoyance, because you know they have done it and they know they have done it but they just want to "flick the finger" and claim credit...

echoOctober 9, 2018 11:06 AM

@Thoth

People don't buy ideas. People buy implementations. This is brutal but true unless you have the right job title or are providing the financing as Clive suggests...

@Clive

Even with NDA etcetera protection there will always be a tradeoff. The more business risk a thrid party puts in the bigger the equity/margin they will demand.

Both subjects are much more involved for many reasons.I have been stung this way and other ways myself as I sure both of you know. As for managing state versus human rights abuses it is sadly little different. While this is all very negative and painful the silver lining in the cloud is by expressing an idea and agitating other people who liek to claim the credit put their own effort and money in so you getthe result while investing a minor quantity of sweat equity and headache.

echoOctober 9, 2018 11:11 AM

@Ratio

We're not deaf. We heard you the first time. Perhaps ask Craig on his own blog? It's not as if Craig is hunched over his computer until the early hours trembling with anticipation in the deathly glow of the screen waiting for "Ratio" to demand on a third parties blog for his next essay out of thin air. Craig does havea life as his breaks away and essays on other topics display which hehas taken time to point out to his readers. Regardless of this I'm sure Craig will want to review published material and consult and double check and research or whatever else he needsto do before writing his essay and publishing which of course takes effort and if it contains glaring errors is a potential reputational cost to himself random anonymised identity on the internet does not have to carry.

Clive RobinsonOctober 9, 2018 3:13 PM

@ Thoth and the usuall suspects,

You might want to cast an eye over this,

    SymbiFlow will be a FOSS Verilog-to-Bitstream FPGA synthesis flow for Xilinx 7-Series, Lattice iCE40 and Lattice ECP5 FPGAs. It is under construction. This page describes briefly what we are up to

https://symbiflow.github.io

echoOctober 9, 2018 4:22 PM

Did anyone read that link I posted on encryption and quantum computing?

I fancied watching a nice long easy documentary on strangelets. There is nothing on youtube but conspiracy site brain damage. I gave up for documentaries on black holes instead. I don't know if there are decent documentaries on youtube about qunatum computing and ecryption which don't get too dry.

PeaceHeadOctober 9, 2018 4:27 PM

https://everipedia.org/wiki/Media_manipulation/
https://everipedia.org/wiki/False_flag/
https://everipedia.org/wiki/Attrition_warfare/

^^ 2 reasons above why much security is currently undermined entirely in the USA.

As far as I can see, a significant portion of the USA is fighting an Attrition War against itself while blaming a long list of others as scapegoats.
Please take this into consideration.

On a different topic, to upper law enforcement:

Rather than relocating the HQ, just build a second one further away but close enough to those who need it.
Then, at some point in the distant future, if needed, phase out the old one.
It's too dangerous otherwise, and an extra one might actually be necessary in crazy times like these.
Having two locations helps to mitigate damages and to provide greater options for movements of people and resources.

Peaceful coexistence is a lot easier to cope with than rule by sociopathology.
Security can't necessarily function that well under the total cascade failure of multiple civilizations.
We still have some time left, but seriousness is normal.

Wesley ParishOctober 10, 2018 3:33 AM

@usual suspects

several decades after I misread a Newsweek or Time Magazine cover asking if the US was the Gumbo Cop - it actually read Global Cop: my excuse is I had just discovered Opus and the rest of Berkley Breathed's Bloom County - the Pentagon has discovered it is passionately fond of the taste of its own toes:

https://tech.slashdot.org/story/18/10/09/2237209/pentagons-new-next-gen-weapons-systems-are-laughably-easy-to-hack

US may have by far the world's biggest military budget but it's not showing in security
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/10/10/gao_weapons_security/

”One test report indicated that the test team was able to guess an administrator password in nine seconds. Multiple weapon systems used commercial or open source software, but did not change the default password when the software was installed, which allowed test teams to look up the password on the Internet and gain administrator privileges for that software”;
Even when an intrusion detection system was in place and working correctly: “Warnings were so common that operators were desensitized to them”, so it was ignored;

You hear a sucking sound, don't be alarmed now, it's just the Pentagon enjoying its own built-in pacifier.

Additional titbits:

World's largest CCTV maker leaves at least 9 million cameras open to public viewing
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/10/09/xiongmai_cctv_fail/

Remember that lost memory stick from Heathrow Airport? The terrorist's wet dream? So does the ICO
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/10/08/ico_fines_heathrow_airport_over_lost_memory_stick/

Punkt: A minimalist Android for the paranoid
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/10/09/punkt_mp02/

Don't make us pay compensation for employee data breach, Morrisons begs UK court
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/10/09/morrisons_data_breach_appeal/

Why ever not?Can you say accountability these days, or has that now joined other such words as an inexhaustible obscenity?

WinterOctober 10, 2018 3:53 AM

@Ratio
"“Scribblings on the Internet” just like you said, George Galloway."

When I have to chose between Belincat and random anonymous commenters on the internet, or Russia Today, I grant Belincat much, much more credibility.

Having seen the two accused reciting Wikipedia on RT, just a day before the same RT airs a lot of smokescreens claiming that MH17 was intentionally shot down by Ukraine (another GRO butch up) I just laugh at such comments.

Just last week we saw a report of Russians with sequential diplomatic passport numbers firing up wireless hacking equipment next to the OPCW building.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45747472

Again, RT, as the mouthpiece of the Kremlin, was all about how this must be a conspiracy of the West against Russia.

Let us just take the most parsimonious conclusion: The GRO is a deadly, but utterly incompetent intelligence organization.

The GRO are able to kill people by the hundreds, but are unable to achieve the political aims of their intelligence operations. In the end, their operations seem to damage their political leaders more than they help.

echoOctober 10, 2018 4:38 AM

@Ratio, @Winter

I have no liking for the establishment and politicis is a dishonest and squalid game. RT is obviously comic book. George Galloway is not a reliable source for nything. He is not a person I would chose to be in the same room with.

WinterOctober 10, 2018 4:54 AM

"politicis is a dishonest and squalid game"

Politics is what makes communities and societies work. If politics are a squalid game, that is a reflection of the people that make up the community.

As the old proverb goes: A people get the government they deserve

I have found that to be true to a very uncomfortable level. So, if you detest the politics in your country, you should contemplate whether and how you contributed to that.

Clive RobinsonOctober 10, 2018 5:33 AM

@ echo,

Did anyone read that link I posted on encryption and quantum computing?

Yes a couple of times and I'm still thinking about "other possabilities" for it.

I suspect there are three or four horror stories waiting at the bottom of that particular valley, that we can only guess at from the spring that starts the head waters....

echoOctober 10, 2018 6:22 AM

@Clive

I did wonder. The thing is some people dislike topics and whatnot not in their personal worldview/comfort zone and I posted this article which not only contained hardware but encryption and in an intriguing way then thud. Silence.

I could bately follow the article. I barely got the using encryption as a way to stop verification causign wave collapse but beyond this not much.

Further to watching videos on black holes I watched one which explained the event horizon and photoshphere and orbiting distance thingy then another on the event horizon telescope. Given the mathematics of seperating signal from noise, processing requirements, and data volumes and the parallels with survellience such as Amazon providing cloud services to exploit this kind of data their infrastucture may provide a rough comic book sense of what is possible.

@Winter

It was a rough comment. You know nothing about me nor anything I have been or am involved with nor the history or context. I would appreciate you keeping your personal attacks to yourself. Thank you.

WinterOctober 10, 2018 6:39 AM

@echo
"I would appreciate you keeping your personal attacks to yourself."

In what respect was this a personal attack? When I complain about my own government, I should (and I do) question how I, myself, might have contributed to this state of affairs. Especially in a democracy, every citizen has a responsibility in the running of their country. And I can be asked to explain my own responsibilities in this respect.

Your attack on politicians is gratuitous and degrading for those who take their responsibility in public affairs. If this cannot be done in your country by a honest man/woman, then why is this? Anyone has the right to ask you how you exercised your rights to counter this state of affairs if you complain about the evilness of those who did take their responsibility.

echoOctober 10, 2018 6:52 AM

@Winter

I'm sorry if this appears impolite but I am not engaging with you. Thank you.

JG4October 10, 2018 6:59 AM


Yesterday's compendium also was excellent. von Braun led the scientists tens or hundreds of miles west to surrender to the Americans. The technicians and machinists surrendered to the Russians, with much of the equipment. As they had the pieces and knew how to put them together, it gave them a jump start in the space race. Then they had to teach the scientists and mathematicians. I may remember who explained this to me and it may well have been here.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/10/links-10-10-18.html
...

Leaked Transcript of Private Meeting Contradicts Google’s Official Story on China The Intercept

The Cybersecurity World Is Debating WTF Is Going on With Bloomberg’s Chinese Microchip Stories Bloomberg. “Show us the chips” does seem like a reasonable request, given anonymous intelligence community sourcing.

New Evidence of Hacked Supermicro Hardware Found in U.S. Telecom Bloomberg
...

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Checkpoint Nation Texas Observer

Treasure hunters doubt FBI’s word on dig for Civil War gold AP

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange Is Stepping Down. Here’s Its New Editor Fortune. From September, still germane. See also on Assange’s status (Google translation).
...

Imperial Collapse Watch

Weapons Systems Cybersecurity: DOD Just Beginning to Grapple with Scale of Vulnerabilities (PDF) GAO
...

WeatherOctober 10, 2018 7:14 AM

Echo
I would like to read the link you posted on singularity and black holes,but I very reglurly follow link, I can't hover the mouse over the link I'm on a phone.

The space force of Trump might be a good thing China, Japan, India and SpaceX are planning on landing on the moon and Mars, the question would it be a land grab, or will Antarctica treaty template workout,
Maybe the ability to have a foot in the door LEO as a gateway

echoOctober 10, 2018 11:13 AM

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/skripals-bellingcat-gru-novichok-anatoly-chepiga-alexander-mishkin-putin-russia-a8577161.html

It is now more than seven months since assassins from Russia’s military intelligence service tried to kill a former double agent and his daughter with a nerve agent in Salisbury. Or did they? The only incontrovertible fact in that assertion is the location, Salisbury. Pretty much everything else remains speculative.

[...]

But the flaws in the way Russia has presented its case are not my prime concern. I am in the UK, a British citizen and a UK journalist, and I find the evidence and the explanations so far offered by our own side in what is becoming an all-out information war both deficient and scandalously short on credibility – and so, I suggest, should you.

I like to maintain healthy scepticism and try to be alert to the pluses and minuses of the different players. The reason being I believe things like the UN, human rights, and at least some attempt at truth matter. I also naively perhaps wish to see a little more good faith on the table.

The Independent is owned by Alexander Lebedev who is ex KGB and Mary Dejevsky has her own tilt which anyone reading this article should be aware of but I don't detect anything untoward in this article.

Clive RobinsonOctober 10, 2018 3:38 PM

@ echo,

I was kind of expecting this since Mrs May PM did her stupid mouthing off in Parliment...

The evidence was not there then and by the sounds of it the evidence is still not there.

And of course nothing so far on the Russian strangled in New Malden...

I believe it's called "painting yourself into a corner", something Mrs May could have avoided with "with the information available" or "The information provided to me" or a whole bunch of other things. But no she had to run her mouth off...

I guess it's nothing new for her and shes been able to cover it up in the past... As someonce pointed out "leadership should give direction, but not off of a cliff" (it was over that delightfull "our country is on the edge of a precipice" and "We shall boldly step forward" speach by a European leader who's first and second languages were not english).

echoOctober 10, 2018 4:25 PM

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/10/four-fbi-employees-mishandled-british-evidence-after-manchester-bombing-report-finds

Four FBI employees mishandled sensitive information provided by British intelligence following last year’s suicide bombing in Manchester, a justice department watchdog said on Wednesday.

Findings from the inquiry have been passed to the FBI for “appropriate action”, according to the inspector general’s office. “All four individuals denied providing the UK Intelligence Report, or information contained in it” to the New York Times, the report said.

Two FBI personnel forwarded the email to their own personal email accounts, according to the inquiry report, and one of them was found to have done the same with about 550 other FBI emails containing sensitive or restricted information. Investigators searched the pair’s personal accounts but found no evidence that the information was then sent on to reporters.
Trump threatens to prosecute over Manchester attack leaks
Read more

Meanwhile, an officer assigned to an FBI taskforce was found to have forwarded the British intelligence report to a foreign law enforcement official without permission, while a fourth employee tried to send it to their personal account through a banned automatic forwarding system.

[...]

The inquiry found that British authorities had sent the report to “numerous other” US agencies, suggesting the leak may not have come from the FBI.

There are watermarking and other techniques which survive casual attempts to defeat watermarking. Some of these to one degree or another are sometimes used by the entertainment industry and with respect to one technique a commercially available tool is available for motion pictures. I expect to some degree this would be obvious at an agency level but not something an employee of an agency would necessarily be aware of or able to mitigate easily. The same is true of the press.

One of the links in the article focused sepcifically on security issues including one leaked phtograph which may have provdied inspiration for bombmakers not to mention fuelling "copycatting".

In a similar vein I forgot to post a link to an article on gene editing a few weeks ago where serious scientists were advocating a general public blackout on the topic to prevent potential future terrorist developments of weaponised viruses. I sadly feel myself inclined to agree with this. I had been wondering about this for some time. There are dangers if knowledge and human rights discussion is repressed but with this topic at least I would certainly prefer more radio silence.

echoOctober 10, 2018 5:19 PM

@Clive

Theresa has made to two major policy speeches but they get drowned out by this Brexit stupidity not to mention the Russian affair.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/10/emotional-support-animals-squirrel-airlines-service-animal

Emotional-support and service animals have long been permitted to fly free of charge and travel out of a carrier under the 1986 Air Carrier Access Act, but regulators are still attempting to figure out what types of animal should be allowed to fly.

Given your health problems with flying and issues with wild boars I presume you won't be testing this policy?

I have no idea whether therapy animals on planes and in airports have more than a marginal impact on people or safety. Speaking of which I looked up how many terrorist incidents there were on aircraft. This past decade if the figures on Wikipedia are to be believed the total is relatively low. Is this because of increased security or at airports or a change in the general politics among people motivated to commit terrorism?

Clive RobinsonOctober 10, 2018 6:33 PM

@ echo,

    Findings from the inquiry have been passed to the FBI for “appropriate action”, according to the inspector general’s office.

Much misdemeanor, but no guilty party as of yet...

Plus the FBI were just one of numerous US agencies to receive the images...

Thus plenty of oportunity to spend time to find nothing if actual findings start going in the "wrong direction". There is experience tells us plenty of long grass around the hill for very good reason...

Based on past leaks in the US of British and other nations clasified intelligence, it is more likely than not, that the disclosure was political in nature. The question is which politician or hopeful is to blaim?

If the usual level of US investigation is carried out, I suspect that all that will happen is some low level person will be crucified, and if a high level person is to blaim, a quick tut tut and don't do it again but no real punishment...

As in the UK one law for the elite and one for everyone else...

Clive RobinsonOctober 10, 2018 7:18 PM

@ echo,

You have given me an idea... A tame boar as a "emotional support animal", I think that would test the system ;-)

As for,

Is this because of increased security or at airports or a change in the general politics among people motivated to commit terrorism?

At the hight of aircraft hijacking it was governments including the US via the CIA that were not just sponsoring but providing weapons and training...

When this support stopped the numbers of hijackings unsuprisingly dropped dramatically.

Back then terrorists were usually "state sponsored" even though they may not have been aware of it. It was just another extension of the Super Powers conflict by proxie which have given us such turmoil since then.

If you look at a full list of the nations the US has effectively invaded over the last few centuries of it's existence, more than half has occured in the last fifty years by quite a few peoples counting.

As I've indicated it's good for the "I" in MIC, and gives war hawks an excuse to put yet another bit of ribbon on their left breast, all whilst being a tool of terror to make other nations toe the US line...

Sadly for the citizens of the US both of the parties in their two party system put great belief in this authoritaroan behaviour, and the exceptionalism that sustained it. 9/11 destroyed a big part of that doe eyed exceptionalism hence the hugh cultral shock it caused. The neo-cons and worse saw it as an excuse to drop the pretence hence the nonsense you hear about "terrorists in Iraq", as Robin Cook MP pointed out "There were no terrorists in Iraq before we invaded..."

There were three basic reasons for the invation,

1, Unfinished Bush family business.
2, Iraq "floated on a lake of oil"
3, Sadam had promised to sell oik in Euro's not dollars for the lifting of US sanctions.

The first has leaked out in various ways. The second Paul Wolfowitz blue the gaff on. The third was the real nasty one, it would have ripped the bottom out of the vastly over inflated US dollar as the Euro would have fairly quickly become the world trading currency...

So Tony Blair PM not only gave the US the excuse to invade, he also brought forth the terrorist organisations such as ISIS that are such usefull proxies to some political interests. Such as the likes of China who were happily supporting them in return for cheap oil etc. Likewise other countries were getting much political benifit/mileage from ME unrest and still do. But worse still but presumably of deep joy to Tony Blair was that he was also responsible for bronging down the "Euro Project" and thus all the hardship those in southern europe have suffered ay the hands of the very few in northern europe. After all the EU very robustly said no to him becoming the neo-President of Europe and thus arguably the most powerful man in the world...

At the end of the day Politics is full of psychopaths with ego's that demand subservience or ruin, and what we call "democracy" is anything but.

The upside is more and more people are realising this, thus hopefully we can be rid of such tyrants for a short while...

The problem as has been pointed out is ordinary people do not plot or plan, it's the tyrants that do that. Thus it is the tyrants at the end of the day that keep society working day to day... A modern day "Faustian Bargain" we mostly sign up to by chosing not to maintain "eternal vigilance", something the tyrants are only too aware of...

RatioOctober 11, 2018 5:00 AM

In a first, a Chinese spy is extradited to the U.S. after stealing technology secrets, Justice Dept. says:

In a first, federal agents lured a Chinese government spy to Belgium, where authorities transferred him this week to the United States for prosecution on economic espionage charges, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Yanjun Xu, a senior officer with China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), is accused of seeking to steal trade secrets from leading aviation firms, top Justice Department officials said. His capture helps vindicate law enforcement officials who have faced criticism in recent years that indictments of foreign operatives are unlikely to result in the defendants setting foot in a courtroom.

[…]

The MSS is a civilian spy agency responsible for counterintelligence, foreign intelligence and domestic political security. It was implicated in the hack of a U.S. Navy contractor developing undersea warfare capabilities, including secret plans to build a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on U.S. submarines by 2020.

[…]

Beginning in December 2013 and continuing until his April 1 arrest in Belgium, Xu targeted experts working for aeronautics companies inside and outside the United States, including Cincinnati-based GE Aviation, officials said. GE Aviation has spent decades developing its unique jet engines and fan blades.

Xu recruited experts to travel to China, often under the guise of asking them to deliver a university presentation and passing himself off as an official with the Jiangsu Science and Technology Promotion Association.

Xu often exchanged information with individuals at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, one of the top engineering schools in China, which has significant influence over the country’s aerospace industry, according to court documents.

[…]

According to the indictment, in March 2017 a deputy director at the university, described as an unindicted co-conspirator, began emailing with an engineer at GE Aviation and asked him to come to China for an “exchange.” In May and June of 2017, the engineer went to China, met Xu, who claimed to be from the science and technology association. The engineer put five corporate documents on his personal laptop, which he brought to the presentation, according to WCPO, an ABC News affiliate in Cincinnati, citing an FBI affidavit for a search warrant in the case.

In February, Xu began discussing with the engineer the possibility of meeting in Europe during one of the engineer’s business trips, the indictment said. Xu asked the engineer to create a directory of files on his work computer and send a copy to him. Impressed, Xu in March asked the engineer if it was possible to “dump” the material from his laptop to a thumb drive when the two met in Belgium, the indictment said.

RatioOctober 11, 2018 6:30 AM

Russia's Salisbury suspects reportedly tailed Sergey Skripal in Prague in 2014

All I have to say is “Prague Castle.”

Russian website names third GRU officer involved in Salisbury poisoning:

The Russian news website Fontanka named on Wednesday a third GRU military intelligence operative, Sergey Fedotov, as having been involved in trying to kill ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury.

The website said records show Fedotov visited Britain in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and left the country on March 4 this year, the same day as two other GRU agents who have already been named.

[…]

Last month, the Telegraph newspaper said British police had identified a third Russian intelligence officer they believe carried out a reconnaissance mission before the attempted murder of Skripal. The paper did not name him.

Correction. That’s “Russophobic fake news website Fontanka.”

Russian suspect in UK poisoning is hero to his home village:

As the recipient of Russia’s highest award, Alexander Mishkin is the pride of his home village [of Loyga], his photo even decorating a local school.

Several residents of this remote hamlet located amid marshlands and deep forests in Russia’s northwestern Arkhangelsk region easily recognized him in photos Wednesday as one of two men accused by British officials of poisoning a former Russian spy.

But to them he is just a warm-hearted local boy, a “Hero of Russia” who has made a successful career as a military doctor thanks to his hard work and courage.

[…]

Some Loyga residents corroborated [Bellingcat’s] account, confirming that Mishkin was trained as a military doctor.

They said he continued to visit Loyga, where his 90-year-old grandmother, a respected local general practitioner, still lives.

[…]

Several other villagers also recognized Mishkin but wouldn’t talk about him further.

However, village manager Svetlana Lukina denied the man in the photos was Mishkin, saying she didn’t recognize him.

“People are looking for something to entertain themselves with,” Lukina said nervously after being shown the pictures by an Associated Press reporter. “They make it all up out of nothing. His family hasn’t lived here for a long time. It’s all rumors and hearsay.”

Too bad: not unanimous, so regrettably no way to know what’s true. Such a shame…

If only there were actual evidence, then of course Craig would be convinced. He’s really not asking for much, he’s just patiently waiting for the first bit of real evidence to appear. Nothing so far, though. Right, Craig?

MarkHOctober 11, 2018 3:05 PM

Interesting Scientific American blog post on theoretical advances in the thermodynamics of computation ... that is, why do computers burn up so much energy?

Synopsis: it's been known for some time that computational processes within biological cells (for example, protein synthesis which is essentially a computation governed by a digital pattern in the DNA) are very energy efficient. Compared to bit operations on human-made computers, the efficiency is many orders of magnitude better.

According to the author, who is one of many now involved in this research, advances in thermodynamic theory have enabled the development of analytic tools that can provide precise answers to some of the questions of how much energy is actually necessary to perform computations.

I don't know nothin' 'bout thermodynamics, and had no idea how difficult this theoretical work has been. It is of course pure theory at the moment, with no visible pathway from the new work to applications.

But there are certainly examples of improvements in theoretical understanding which gave rise to corresponding improvements in technology.

The consequences of a 100-fold or 1000-fold improvement in computational energy efficiency would be extreme, and I suspect quite baleful ...

Clive RobinsonOctober 11, 2018 3:58 PM

@ Rach El,

How to Find a Hidden Camera in Your Air BnB Rental

The problem is all their advice is at best second or third hand, I realy don't think they have tried any of it...

For instance,

    Also, turn off all the lights in the space and the shine a flashlight around the area to search for a camera lens. The lens should reflect the light, which should make it easier to spot.

The principle they are trying to explain is "180degrees internal reflection" that you might more commonly know as "Red Eye" in photographs.

As any semi-pro or above photographer will tell you red eye is caused by having the flash unit to close to the line or boresight of the camera lens.

Which means in a small area like a room "shine a flashlight around the area" is probably not going to work. What you actually need to do is hold the flashlight up close to the side of your head as close to your eye --but pointing forward-- as you can to minimise the angle as much as possible.

Also it won't work with more savvy surveillance artists... Most modern chip based cameras are most sensitive in the "near IR" which the human eye is not. Many modern flash lights of the "clearwater" LED type don't produce light in the near IR either. Thus putting a near IR filter across the front of the camera lens will stop the 180 degree internal reflection in the visable light spectrum. Many digital cameras have a near IR blocking filter as do quite a few of the slightly more expensive digital compacts etc.

However not all mobile phone cameras have a near IR blocking filter fitted. You can usually check this quite easily with an IR TV remote control. Simply turn out the lights in the room with the mobile in camera mode with the TV remote pointed at the lens. If your arms are not long enough get a friend to press a button on the remote control, if you see sparkly bright spots on the mobiles screen where the tip of the TV remote control is your mobile does not have a near IR blocking filter.

Your next problem is finding a near IR source of light well the easiest for most is to use a TV remote control, also most "filiment bulb" flash lights (ie not LED) emit lots of near IR, but sadly they are becoming quite scarce these days. For those with a little ingenuity getting a near IR LED out of a "DigiKey" or similar electronics catalogue and putting it in a "key fob" or similar keyring flashlight is fairly easy to do.

Thus with that and the mobile phone you can scan in near IR as well.

You can also spend between $20-250 buying a device from surveillance shops that more or less does the same thing.

As for using an RF Scanner, they are not that easy to use and can give off a lot of false positives, even experts get fooled from time to time. Modern digital systems don't work the way many slightly older bug detectors work. Which was to emit clicks or flashes of light and look for corelation in the RF signal, that is they were working in the analog domain.

I've designed and had built (in China[1]) both Low Probability of Intetcept (LPI) Direct Sequence and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (DSSS/FHSS) systems and more recently "burst mode" systems. Even the more expensive --- $7000+ -- RF Source location equipment has problems telling the opetator there is a signal there. Even Spectrum Analysers which you can buy slightly more modestly from the likes of Rigol (DSA875) which will cover both 2&5GHz WiFi bands need a very carefull setup and operator eye to find LPI bugs.

What has come down in price a lot of recent times is Software Defined Radio (SDR) kit and no Pen-Tester/Defender (Red/Blue team) without one or the correct software to use it "is worth their salt" these days. You can actually buy a TV SDR USB dongle for as little ad $10 but you need the software to use it. If you have a high endish laptop you can "cut your own" with the likes of the GNU radio software running on BSD/Linux/Win. Currently you can get the "Great Scott Gadgets" "HackRF One" that covers a similar frequency range to a Spectrum analyser for around $350 but you will need to add a few things to it. From a pen-testers point of view it does TX as well as RX, and is cheap enough to be expendable. There are other SDR devices such as the LimeSDR mini which is crowd sourced developed but backed by the European Space Agency which actually has the signal processing on board thus getting rid of the USB bottle neck.

[1] The reason to build them in China is they don't have arcane "crypto is munitions" laws. In the West if you build LPI Spread Spectrum systems --even though that is what WiFi uses-- somebody in an official capacity can and will like the famed cammel stick it's nose in under the tent flap of your business...

Clive RobinsonOctober 11, 2018 4:48 PM

@ MarkH,

With regards the Scirntific America post and it's intro that tells us that Microsoft is sinking a shipping container of 864 of "their standard data-center servers to the ocean floor. There is quite a bit more to the story than "cold water" for doing it near the Orkney Islands in Scotland.

The flip side of the "cooling" is "energy inrfficiency" which implies "lost profit" via greater expense. There are two ways to solve this, the first is to make things considerably more efficient, which is not that easy these days. The second is to reduce the cost of your energy significantly...

Scotland has the most dependable wind and wave power in the "accessable" northern hemisphere. Plus the people doing leading edge research into it.

We've all heard about "off shore wind farms" but less have heard about the problems of energy loss in the cables getting that energy "on shore" which can be 25%. Thus putting your server farm on the sea floor at the foot of your wind generator masts gets you a very nice cost saving.

Further what is not being talked about very much at all is the use of certain types of wave energy systems. They actually serve two purposes, firstly they generate power, but secondly they take the energy out of waves. This second point is quite important because the destructive force of wave power is immense and a significant engineering problem in the design of off shore wind farms. Even taking a small petcentage of the energy out of the waves can virtually pay for the engineering of the wave power generation. Thus extra electricity for a very much lesser price. But it has a third advantage, whilst wind power is variable on a "short cycle" wave power which comes from wind power has a much longer cycle so acts as a form of energy storage mechanism. It thus "fills in" where you might otherwise use battery storage to provide a more consistant "base power output".

As for the non base power or excess power over the needs to run the "aquatic server farm" Microsoft could sell that into the UK national grod for a little extra on the side, or more likely to offset the times when even the base power drops below needs for the submerged servers and it has to draw from the national grid.

Oh and finally there are certain political advantages comming along via Brexit. The chances are a number of "data tech" companies will be not just looking for but getting considerable "sweetheart deals" shortly before or after Brexit in a way they used to get from Southern Ireland prior to the EU putting the boot in...

Clive RobinsonOctober 11, 2018 5:17 PM

@ BSPMBS,

He thought a Consulate is safe-haven.

Not when you consider they are "sovereign territory" of the nation who's Consulate it is.

He would not go back to Saudi because he was in fear of his life from the House of Saud, yet he did not think that by crossing the consulate threshold he was effectively "going back to Saudi".

The Saudi excuse of "the CCTV was not working that day" is shall we say a "sick joke" at best.

I guess the real question is "where is the body?" or habeas corpus[1] with the rider of "Does it still have life".

Bearing in mind the current Turkish Leaders history when it comes to dealing with journalists I'm actually quite supprised the subject had been brought up. Therefore one must look for the political motive, is it against the house of Saud or against the Empire of Trump...

[1] Habeas corpus literally means "you have the body" with the legal tail of "now produce it". It's used to stop unlawfull detention, captivity, or restraint on a persons free movment by an agency / entity / authority. In essence they are required to bring the person to court such that their legal council can have contact with them and the cause for their restraint to be judged and adjudicated.

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Braiined SpookOctober 11, 2018 5:43 PM

@Clive Robinson,

Therefore one must look for the political motive, is it against the house of Saud or against the Empire of Trump...

Exactly!

Bob PaddockOctober 12, 2018 7:08 AM

@Clive Robinson


"Low Probability of Intetcept (LPI) Direct Sequence and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (DSSS/FHSS) systems and more recently "burst mode" systems. Even the more expensive --- $7000+"

Clive, with a fully loaded price of $1,300,000 USD, or $170,000 USD for the starter model, would this Scope/Analyzer find anything?:

Keysight's (Formerly Agilent, Formerly HP) new UXR1104A Infiniium
UXR-Series Oscilloscope. The most capable model has a 110 GHz
bandwidth and samples at up to 256 GSa/s - on each of four channels.

https://literature.cdn.keysight.com/litweb/pdf/5992-3132EN.pdf

54 Minute long video of what is in it:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/keysight-uxr-bw-21602957

JG4October 12, 2018 7:39 AM


Thanks for the ever-helpful discussion. I did another search yesterday for analog opto-isolators. It's a search that I have done before, starting at least 15 years ago, but maybe not for three to five years. It seems like more options have become available in recent years. I've thought for at least 40 years that a battery-powered analog optoisolator would be handy for probing circuits with an oscilloscope, where the isolation would avoid tying earth ground into the middle of a sensitive circuit. The VCSEL that I suggested as a data diode for bringing RF inside a robust Faraday enclosure via fiber is itself an analog optoisolator, potentially with impressive bandwidth.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/10/links-10-12-18.html
...

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Amazon patents Alexa tech to tell if you’re sick, depressed and sell you meds Ars Technica

We will find you: DNA search used to nab Golden State Killer can home in on about 60% of white Americans Science

Google faces mounting pressure from Congress over Google+ privacy flaw The Verge

New Cold War

Facebook, Twitter Purge More Dissident Media Pages In Latest Escalation Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Facebook purged over 800 accounts and pages pushing political messages for profit LA Times (UserFriendly)

Waste Watch

‘Life Without Plastic: The Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Avoiding Plastic to Keep Your Family and the Planet Healthy’ (book review) TreeHugger
...

Right to Repair

45 Out of 50 Electronics Companies Illegally Void Warranties After Independent Repair, Sting Operation Finds Motherboard
...

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained SpookOctober 12, 2018 11:50 AM

Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that shows...

On Thursday, a US official familiar with the intelligence told CNN that the US had intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi...

Everybody is watching everybody. Hidden cams in a consulate, can they admit that? Or is it new technology X-Ray WiFi device that sees and hears behind walls?

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/12/middleeast/khashoggi-saudi-turkey-recordings-intl/index.html

Clive RobinsonOctober 12, 2018 4:10 PM

@ Bob Paddock,

Clive, with a fully loaded price of $1,300,000 USD, or $170,000 USD for the starter model, would this Scope/Analyzer find anything?

No more than it's much cheaper brethren, the laws of physics dictate what is and is not possible.

If you have an LPI transmitter at 0.2GHz that is 10MHz wide for a 15KHz information bandwidth, you can sit down with a piece of paper a calculater and any one of a number of graduate level text books and work out your signal profile and how it decreases with range. Then if you include the monitoring equipment bandwidths and gains you can work out much of the rest.

You will find that the SDR receivers will give as good if not better probability of detecting the signal as the eye wateringly expensive test instrument (test instruments are generally designed for high dynamic range and linearity which penalizes sensitivity).

What you will find makes some difference to the range is what is sometimes --but incorrectly called-- "noise free antenna amplification". Put simply a high gain antenna is like a tuned circuit it has bandwidth and with correct impedence matching gain because it "sees less of the sphere" than an isotropic antenna. Thus the greater the gain the greater the directivity and the more time you have to spend finding what direction to point it in. Thus you trade time for antenna gain, but you also trade RF bandwidth, thus you are fairly quickly back to square one...

But even assuming your test equipment does pick up the LPI signal, it picks up a lot of other signals that are all causing issues in the broadband front end amplifiers of the test equipment and SDR equipment. The result is the signals smear each other and the result is usually "noise on noise". If I tuck the actuall transmit frequence of the LPI transmitter "close in" to another broadband signal such ad an analog AM TV transmitter or FM stereo broadcast your eyes will not see it on the display.

The advantage that some of the LimeSDR receivers have is that you can in software actually turn them into Spread Spectrum receivers with very precise control. If and only if you know the spreading code you can deconvolve the signal thus cancelling out broad band noise and getting the signal back.

For low cost bugging equipment that uses linear code generation there are known ways to work out the code little by little. However those that generate the code by cryptographic algorithm no. But the ability to work out the code quickly disapears with hybrid spread spectrum systems that also use burst mode aligned with coherant band switching.

That is all before you start looking at Multiple Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) systems.

If you look at Radio Navigation Systems you will find those that use both Phase Modulation and Amplitude Modulation. Due to the fact they combine the two signals at the antenna the phase diference between the PM and AM varies with where you are around that antenna, thus the phase difference gives a compass reading. As it is done at the antenna, what works for transmit also works for receive. Thus you can transmit two spread spectrum signals that interfere with each other except at a given angle to the antenna. There are other tricks with multiple antennas and multiple signals you can do such that you might have to use two or more antennas in space diversity to be able to pick the signal up.

Unless the test equipment alows multiple inputs and the running of front end control software with almost atomic clock precision to be run then it will be inferior to much less expensive SDR equipment that easily does by using a GPS receiver to get precise frequency controll and the 1PPS signal to get precice time control.

This sort of well below the noise threshold communications is actually proving of interest to Radio Amatures that are into the technical experimental side of the hobby. Although not LPI systems the do quite nicely demonstraye the "Signal to noise" in a given bandwidth issue, with some offering high reliability with -36dB S/N (ie the signal is one four thousandths of the noise).

If you know such an Amature/HAM get them to show you PSK31 telex like communication and the fact you can not here the 31Hz bandwidth signal with even a good quality receiver in CW or SSB mode whilst still getting 100% copy. Or better still the likes of WSPR.

Such systems could then be further reduced another 30-60dB by applying LPI techniques to be -95dB down... Such that your test equipment would need to be physically connected to the transmit antenna and still not have much chance of "seeing the signal" even though the receiver several hundred meters or more away is getting "full copy".

Bob PaddockOctober 14, 2018 9:20 AM

@Clive Robinson

Thank you for the details. I know some here don't like long explanations, myself I want them.

"LimeSDR"

I've been considering getting the RSPduo as it goes down to 1 kHz, where my interests are and few people look. "1kHz and 2GHz with up to 10MHz of bandwidth or both tuners can operate simultaneously anywhere between 1kHz and 2GHz with up to 2MHz of bandwidth per tuner."


"...front end control software with almost atomic clock precision... GPS ..."

While not as in inexpensive as a GPS 1PPS the Microsemi SA.45s is usually a better option for Atomic based reference that is portable and low power, relatively speaking for Atomic References. It is Cesium based while operating more along the lines of a Rubidium Standard.

A friend is selling quality looking Grandfather Clocks into the Horology market based on these. Sanding between two of them striking Noon you can not tell that there are two, they are in such perfect sync.

"This sort of well below the noise threshold communications is actually proving of interest to Radio Amatures that are into the technical experimental side of the hobby."

I have not been doing a lot in the Ham area for the last 20+ years, I do need to get back into it. I do still get and read QEX each month. Long ago I did play with the long obsolete (obsoleted due to political pressure from the early satellite industry) 561 Synchronous Demodulater PLL, to track WWVB, below the noise floor at times in this area. I'll see if I can track down who is doing what these days in the 'below the noise' Ham area, as it sounds Interesting. It is usually the clock-recovery/sync that is the challenge, any insights there outside of the usual textbook stuff, that I've read?

Clive RobinsonOctober 14, 2018 3:50 PM

@ Bob Paddock,

Microsemi SA.45s is usually a better option for Atomic based reference that is portable and low power, relatively speaking for Atomic References.

I've had a look at it it costs around $1000 but it has a major issue for RF MIMO work which is synchronizing two units together reliably. The most important output the 1PPS that gives you time sync is effectively random on power up. Thus you need a GPS or other distance synced 1PPS signal to sync it up.

Thus it's main use is not instead of GPS but to cover for GPS drop out but you have to accept a potential 3cm/Sec effective drift rate which even at VHF can be quickly noticable.

With regards,

It is usually the clock-recovery/sync that is the challenge, any insights there outside of the usual textbook stuff, that I've read?

Not sure what you have read, but the usual trick is to have a very narrow filter that once synched uses phase or frequency locking to keep things on track. This of course only works so far depending on relative velocities of TX and RX which should be minimal if you are static. In the past a three loop system would be used to synchronize the system.

Modern software systems however would just use "a thousand receivers" of an FFT or DFT system running on a computer and use a predictive tracking algorithm. It's the sort of thing that comes in highG boxes for high V and delta V vehicles.

Leave a comment

Allowed HTML: <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre>

Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.

Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of IBM Resilient.