Friday Squid Blog: 328-million-year-old Vampire Squid Ancestor Discovered

A fossilized ancestor of the vampire squid—with ten arms—was discovered and named Syllipsimopodi bideni after President Biden.

Here’s the research paper. Note: Vampire squids are not squids. (Yes, it’s weird.)

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 March 11, 2022 at 4:01 PM106 Comments


Clive Robinson March 11, 2022 5:05 PM

@ Bruce, ALL,

More on “Bio-metrics of the mind” or stylometry.

As I mentioned earlier today bio-metrics of muscle memory and style, can in some circumstances hemorrhage information via side channels which means they leak meta-data out beyond encryption. So you can be found and tracked in sufficient real time for various people to “Find, Fix and Finish” you (ie “We kill by meta-data”). Even through the likes of Tor or any other low latency network.

Any way this deals with the “bio-metrics of the mind” side of author style,

Clive Robinson March 11, 2022 5:18 PM

@ ALL,

Is information an alternate state for matter/energy at rest?

Some think so, me I’m not convinced for various logical reasons.

That said someone who thinks it is has come up with an idea of how to perhaps demonstrate this altetnative state theory,

Make of it what you will as I’ve said I’m skeptical for various reasons. Not least of which is the question of “What existed before the big bang?”.

After all turtles do not have to be made of matter to be stackable 😉

Ted March 11, 2022 9:13 PM


Don’t forget your not so hidden political message!

The last two US presidents, late-night comedian Stephen Colbert, cartoonist Gary Larson and many others have had species named after them too. Some were spiders, lichen, louses, lizards, and fish. Gary Larson got the louse. It only lives on owls. He called it an extreme honor.

sur-behoffski March 11, 2022 11:29 PM

“Earliest known ancestor of vampire squid and octopus named after
US President Joe Biden”

I found this article on ABC News (Australain Broadcasting Corporation)
on about Wednesday, and forwarded an URL to Bruce. After that,
SlashDot also ran an item on the Nature research paper.

The ABC News version has some more fun with other recent presidents
having flora/fauna/whatever named after them. I’ll let you look at
the article yourself rather than give any more detail.


s-b etc etc (sorry, I’ll go and take a lie down now…)

Clive Robinson March 12, 2022 12:23 AM

@ ALL, especially in the US and UK

I would seriously suggest you all read this,

Also remember as I’ve demonstrated in the past all such “legislation” agsinst End to End encryption is without any doubt going to fail.

In fact you can demonstrate “to your hearts content” that,

1, It is not possible to send actual “information” without redundancy in the communications channel.

2, Where there is redundancy of any kind you can set up a communications channel within it.

At which point you have established you will always be able to create a communications channel within a communications channel[1].

That is you will always be able to come up with an End to End Encryption system in any communications system and there is no legislation on earth or anywhere else that can stop such a channel being created, even if it goes through a censor[3].

Thus the question drops to “How do you keep an End to End Encryption channel undetected by a censor?

Which I’ve answered before[4].

But importantly it raises a second more interesting issue.

If the legislation can always be defeated and it can, then what is it’s actual purpose?

On the assumption that properly advised legislators are acting with purpose, then you have to look for what the purpose is?

There is the old adage of,

“If you outlaw it, then only outlaws will use it!”

So it is fairly safe to say that the purpose behind such legislation is not to “catch the outlaws” no matter what is claimed by the legislators.

That leaves a number of possabilities, two of which are,

1, To spy on all citizens.
2, To have on record a crime you can be accused of which you can not defend yourself against.

Most would be worried about the first, but there are some fairly easy ways around this if you needed to do so[5].

My main concern is the second, most if not all legislation involving ICTsec in the US and UK is very deliberately “over broad in scope” so much so that you can not realistically defend yourself against it, and if you try you will probably end up bankrupt in the process.

Such legislation is very wrong in any kind of society as history shows it always ends up being used for evil, oppression, and a lot worse.

EARN-IT is such legislation and people should be making a lot of noise about it and bugging the heck out of legislators any which way you legaly can in a way that the legislators know they can not ignore it. That is it will have repercussions on them personally (ie they get defunded / not voted for / repeatedly challenged, ridiculed etc).

[1] So infinite recursion in an infinite Universe or as some in the US would say “turtles all the way down”. But as we are dealling with the hairy mutts we call politicians[2] I prefer the UK “lesser fleas” discriptive.

[2] Proving if it were required that William Shakespeare’s “A rose would smell as sweet by any other name” can usefully have “rose” and “sweet” substituted with oh “politician” and “corrupt” as an example to end up with his variation of “Something is rotten within the state of Denmark”.

[3] From the “Information Security” perspective this is a highly important result, because it proves unambiguously that any system with communications that cross a controled perimiter is insecure and can leak secure information. The only two meaningful questions being

3.1, The actual transport method.
3.2, The available data rate to an attacker.

With the obvious provisos being If you do not know 3.1 then,

3.3, You can not know 3.2.
3.4, You can detect 3.1.
3.5, You can not mittigate 3.1.
3.6, You can not stop 3.1 when it is in progress.

[4] It involves the use of both an unbreakable “cipher” (OTP) and a “code” book to make the random output of the cipher look like “redundant” plaintext you would expect in ordinary human communications.

[5] Such as meet in person and have a quite chat whilst walking around an area where parabolic/shotgun mivs will not work, nor will emissive bugging devices. The problem is non emissive bugging devices such as old fashioned “tape recorders” upto modern smaller than a thumbnail electronic equivalents. On discussing this with someone who has, experiance with this their immediate answer was “go swimming together” or “stand by a fire where you can not be over-watched and write out sentence by sentance what you are discussing on ‘flash paper'[6] and burn each piece immediately after the other person has read it”.

[6] Flash paper is used by magicians amongst many others, their version is so fine that the heat it produces whilst burning creates sufficient updraft to lift it up into the air, and thus rises and disapears in not even a puff of smoke. You can make your own with “cigarette papers” that you’ve “washed” with a food grade nitrate such as “pink pickling salt” so you can eat them safely if required as an emergancy destruction technique. I’ve been told you can do the same with “rice paper” that is frequently used in confectionary such as is seen on the undetneath of home made macaroons and meringue nests.

Nick Levinson March 12, 2022 12:43 AM

Sovereign nations and terms of service from a software company have been at issue recently for NSO Group and its Pegasus product. It’s apparently been misused and the company says such misuse violates its TOS. Let’s say it does. NSO can withhold the product from further sales to violators, which helps until NSO changes its mind, but can NSO enforce the TOS against any sovereign nation (other than where it is located or where it has legal nexus other than its product’s buyer being there)? For example, can it sue the national government that’s foreign to NSO?

I’m not a lawyer, but I think international self-defense law provides legal immunity for nations invoking it. Hypothetical case: Russia develops new navigational equipment for its ICBM and patents it. It’s secret, but Boeing and the U.S. Air Force find out about it. Boeing wants to add it to its commercial aircraft. Boeing will need permission from Russia. The Air Force wants to add it to its ICBMs. The USAF will not need permission from Russia, even if Russia finds out about our use. Russia has the right to hide its national security technology, but our rights under the norms of international law include the right of self-defense and therefore to use the technology, if found or if coincidentally invented.

So, if company X in some foreign nation used Pegasus in violation of the TOS in pursuit of commercial gain, NSO could sue (depending on the foreign nation and court jurisdiction and assuming enough evidence is found). But if nation X used Pegasus the same way in pursuit of national self-defense, NSO’s only option may be to persuade some other nation to inflict punishment, perhaps by waging war against the violator, and the grounds in the TOS may be illegally inadequate or may justify a scale so small as to be a waste of NSO’s time. No one will push the World War III button because of the TOS issue.

So, unless NSO doesn’t want more money, it seems to have little recourse. And, by the way, at least if NSO were under U.S. law, should NSO go bankrupt the bankruptcy court or whomever the court appoints to manage the bankrupt’s business could order the sales to proceed without regard to TOS violations. Or if someone buys NSO, the buyer could proceed to sell anyway, if the sales wouldn’t be illegal.

MikeA March 12, 2022 10:24 AM


Have you gotten new speech to text tools recently, or am I late to the party?
Quick look at your posts in this thread shows none of the formations I have associated with your style.

On end-2-end: I recall your mentioning the difficulty of exchanging data over the “voice” channel of modern mobile phones (even 300bps FSK is dodgy as all get out). So my hope of using a “too old to be pre-compromised” computer at each end for encryption, and the earphone jacks of a bunch of burner mobiles (which still leak enough metadata to give the Cardinal plenty to hang you) seems doomed.

But you seem to have a lot of experience that you might be willing to share. If so, some links to “stuff that sorta works” would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Ted March 12, 2022 12:10 PM

What’s with the Russian “Z”?

Only last Sunday did the Russian Defense Ministry say that “Z” stands for “Za pobedu,” a Russian phrase meaning “For victory.”

However, at an exchange in the UN Security Council on Monday the Ukrainian ambassador said that the “Z” actually stood for “zveri” meaning beasts or animals.

It’s odd because the Russian version of the letter “Z” from the Cyrillic alphabet is more rounded like a 3. Phonetically, it reminds me of tsar. No thanks on that.

Clive Robinson March 12, 2022 12:43 PM

@ MikeA, ALL,

I recall your mentioning the difficulty of exchanging data over the “voice” channel of modern mobile phones (even 300bps FSK is dodgy as all get out).

It is problematical due to the fact speach over a short time is in no way random. Encrypted data is almost by definition random.

So how to make random look non random…

One way is not to send data, but speak words, You can do this by reading “text off of the computer screen”.

OK the bit rate is appaling but you will be able to get a few bits / minute through.

This was effectively how the “and now some messages for our friends” worked during WWII.

You had a “code book” in which you looked up the message transmitted.


“The little duck swam across the frog pond” qcts as a “primary key” that you look up in the code book.

If the sentance is in your code book then the message is ment for you. You read what it actually means from the code book. Which might say,

“Bomb primary target A”

As the sentance is only ever used once it has all the security benifits of a One Time Pad. Which it is sometimes called “a one time phrase code”.

But it’s fairly inflexible if a meanng has not been thought up before the code book is compiled then it can not realistically be sent.

But what if you combined phrase with a One Time Pad?

So you could repeatedly use say one of the set,

{Hello, Hi, How’s the weather, Watcher}

Ad an opening salutation. To send two bits of information. What the actual two bits mean is upto the first and second parties in the communication.

Obviously if the sent bits always ment the same thing then the enemy could do simple correlation to work out what they ment.

However if you take the two bits and XOR them with two bits from a One Time Pad two advantages arise,

1, The third party can not correlate the meaning.
2, You as the first party can get full deniability against betrayal by the second party, provided you exercise care in your activities (the joys of Op-Sec).

The point is the “salutation” is “standard” regardless of if a covert channel is being used or not.

The censor can not say if there is a covert channel or not. By adding other techniques the two parties can “armour” their two bit message against spoofing and similar.

The use of the likes of “Forward Error Correction” where say three seperate “standard phrases” in the message have to agree after the OTP decode makes life for the censor difficult at best. Their only real option being to stop the communications in some way.

So If I wad to say,

“Watcher, you know we realy should meet up for a pint”

Potentially I’ve sent you 2bits with “watcher” another 2bits with “realy should” and another 3bits with “pint”. And if you think about it {“you know”, “it’s time”} gives you another bit.

So one byte sent in about three seconds…

Not exactly high speed but it has the advantage of,

1, Being Secure.
2, Being deniable.

The latter being sometimes more important than the former.

MarkH March 12, 2022 1:51 PM


Cyrillic letter ‘З’ is pronounced indistinguishably from ‘Z’ in English.

The “ts” sound corresponds to ‘Z’ in German, and ‘ZZ’ in Italian. Cyrillic has letter ‘Ц’ for this sound (Царь for Tsar).

Perhaps Russian forces used letter form ‘Z’ expressly because it is not expected on Ukrainian or Belarusian equipment.

Ted March 12, 2022 3:09 PM


Oh wow. That’s very interesting!

I’ve been hoping pro-Ukrainian forces can detect when Ukrainians have taken Russian equipment. One sign might be an attached tractor. When Stalin stole their harvests almost 100 years ago, I wished they’d known how much support they would have in the future.


Your Jaws music comment on the tractor meme was quite funny.

SpaceLifeForm March 12, 2022 3:30 PM

@ Ted, MarkH, &ers, Clive, ALL

My reading of the ‘Z’ is that it is just a symbol of Putins obsession of Zelensky.

A rallying cry as it were, to rally the troops.

As I have have seen no one mention this, I must be incorrect. Or, I am the only one thinking outside the box.

Apparently, they have changed to ‘V’ on the ground equipment.

Probably to save paint.

Ted March 12, 2022 4:05 PM

@SpaceLifeForm, MarkH, Clive, &ers, ALL

My reading of the ‘Z’ is that it is just a symbol of Putins obsession of Zelensky.

Yeah, that’s a really good thought. Especially since it looks like a ‘Z’ from the Latin alphabet.

If that’s some sort of rallying symbol, I guess Russian leadership is doing whatever it needs to do to win votes. Seeing that political rights in Russia are rated 5 on a scale of 40, those 5 points must need a little finessing.

lurker March 12, 2022 4:38 PM

@Clive, All
re Linux kernel bug

from his notes, and his grasping about in code he didn’t write, Nick Gregory makes an ideal external auditor. This is what “fresh eyes” means.

SpaceLifeForm March 12, 2022 5:15 PM

@ Clive, ALL

Fog of War

The Viasat modem bricking, while intentional, may not have been from the angle most would guess.


Viasat said government clients who procured services directly from the company were unaffected by the disruption. The KA-SAT network is operated, however, by a third party, which in turn farms out service through various distributors.

&ers🇺🇦 March 12, 2022 5:29 PM


Everybody put too much meaning into it.


vas pup March 12, 2022 5:30 PM

@Clive Robinson • March 11, 2022 5:05 PM

Clive, how about machine learning by providing for AI training many books of particular author, then ask AI to generate something following the style, etc.
Could Stylometry distinguish? In particular when two AI working in concert (GAN) to get product flawless?

Ukraine’s army is using a nimble ‘game-changing’ drone called The Punisher

“Ukraine’s military uses stealthy Punisher drones that can fly long distances while remaining undetected.

The “game-changing” drones are operated remotely and can carry 3kg of explosives.

As the battle for Ukraine’s skies continues, experts have been surprised by Russia’s lack of air power.

The Ukrainian military is using “game-changing” drones that can carry 3kg of explosives and hit targets up to 30 miles behind enemy lines, The Times of London reported.”

See article for more details if interested.

Zeta March 12, 2022 5:47 PM


Z for me is being used as a psyops technique on the young russian military food canon troops. It’s all about giving an un-experienced group of fighters an identity and a common ground. I think it reflects the way military are adapting old techniques of engagement into the new hashtag world.

SpaceLifeForm March 12, 2022 7:52 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing, Clive, ALL

Weak Typing vs Strong Typing

I may be wrong, it may be a floating point exception.

Here is an example of Weak Typing in the real world:


Probably by now, 3 tractor programmers have fixed this bug.

ResearcherZero March 12, 2022 11:53 PM

Australia’s lax money laundering laws mean the nation is at risk of becoming a haven for Russian cash belonging to oligarchs who are seeking to avoid sanctions over the war in Ukraine, experts say.

The country is one of only three – along with Haiti and Madagascar – yet to commit to bringing lawyers, accountants and real estate agents under the umbrella of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws (AML-CTF).

Having failed to act on a promise it made eight years ago to bring the professions into the AML-CTF system, the government now faces a race against time to take action before global authorities put Australia on a “grey list” of countries that don’t meet international standards – a move experts say would embarrass the nation, damage its banks and make it harder for companies to raise money overseas.

ResearcherZero March 13, 2022 1:56 AM

@Clive Robinson

According to Einstein’s theory, even the empty space—the “vacuum state” of the universe—has a rich geometric structure.

SpaceLifeForm March 13, 2022 3:02 AM

This space intentionally left blank


ResearcherZero March 13, 2022 5:12 AM

The trickle down is only likely to be one way…

Prime Minister John Key says the whistle blower who targeted him over the so-called Panama Paper leaks is probably European and confused about New Zealand and the Cook Islands sharing the same currency.

In a statement issued overnight, the whistleblower called out Key for being “curiously quiet” on “the financial fraud mecca that is the Cook Islands”.

Speaking in Auckland on Saturday, Key said he had about as much responsibility for Cook Island tax affairs “as I do for taxing Russia”.

Mossack’s offices created secret offshore trusts in New Zealand that owned companies in Panama with a Dubai account, for senior government figures in Malta.

Mossack is also persona grata in Apia.

“As you are aware, we have been deliberately stalling the proposals from OECD countries to enter into Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA),” the chief executive of the Samoa International Finance Authority, Erna Vaai, wrote to the Panama firm in June 2007.

Mossack had been lobbying against the Australian move to sign a TIEA with Samoa since 2004, warning that offshore companies would abandon Samoa if it did any deal with Australia.

Now Samoa was facing “mounting international pressures” for a TIEA with Australia and Vaai wanted Mossack to help write Samoa’s formal response.

Vaai echoed Mossack’s arguments that a TIEA was “not in Samoa’s interests given it will only benefit Australia as the information flow is only likely to be one way”.

While Samoa eventually signed the TIEA with Australia in 2009, in practice Australian information requests to Samoa can take more than three years to process.

At least 28 German banks were identified in the papers, including Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.

Roger Bryer had lived for a decade in the spectacular Perth penthouse, which was tied up in lengthy criminal trials over a $US15 million ($19.5 million) embezzlement case involving Commerzbank. Most of the proceeds had been transferred to Australian accounts controlled by Mr Bryer, to invest. Mr Bryer told police he had no knowledge the money was stolen.

“I have very grave doubts as to whether they were acting legitimately,” Mr Bryer said of Mossack Fonseca. “None of it was credible for that company.”

New Zealand is a well-known tax haven and a “nice front for criminals”, a journalist investigating the Panama Papers says.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) director Gerard Ryle told RNZ that he has been looking at the issue of tax havens for years and New Zealand was known to be a “really soft touch” because it was an easy jurisdiction to operate in.

When asked about his thoughts on New Zealand Government ministers’ statements that the country was not a tax haven, Ryle said that was “rubbish”.

“The bottom line is it’s a very easy jurisdiction to operate in, it’s very secretive.

Lawyers, accountants and real estate agents of course have nothing to worry about.

Clive Robinson March 13, 2022 5:55 AM

@ ResearcherZero,

According to Einstein’s theory, even the empty space—the “vacuum state” of the universe—has a rich geometric structure.

Yet, as far as we can tell it behaves entirely randomly…

Which should tell us,

“We still have a lot to learn”.

Cassandra March 13, 2022 8:16 AM

@Clive Robinson

Re: hxxps://

It reminded me of the tracking down of the ‘Dirty Pipe’ bug: CVE-2022-0847


Which in turn reminded me of Clifford Stoll’s book. In each case, diving into what appears at first sight to be an ‘inconsequential’ detail.

Sometimes, the details matter.

Frank Wilhoit March 13, 2022 10:04 AM


It is worse than you think. There is no seriousness. It is all performance. American politicians raise money off telling one audience that they voted against Bill X and another audience, simultaneously, that they voted for Bill X. No one cares. The only thing that is judged is the quality of the performance.

Winter March 13, 2022 12:59 PM

“Western liberal democracy is itself in a deep crisis.”

This misconception is pervading the whole piece. The idea that “Russia” was driven into a corner is of the same order as writing IS or Assad were driven into a corner by common people fighting for their individual freedom or even life.

Russia has shown no intention to honor the wishes of other people to be left alone and to live in peace. From Cheznya to Georgia, Belarus, Kazachstan, and Ukraine, every people who wanted to pursue happiness on their own terms, independent of the influence of Russia, was brutally attacked and beaten, tortured and raped into submission.

Neither Ukraine nor NATO are the culprits in this war, it is Russia, and Russia alone who cannot endure others living in peace

What this war shows again is that liberal democracy is the only system that lets people live their life in peace and prosperity. The other can only offer war and poverty.

Bruce D March 13, 2022 1:44 PM


Note that it is LPE via KASLR defeat. Feature creep. Complexity. Attack surface. It will never work on older kernels that only support the original iptables.

Of course not. There was no KASLR in kernels with “the original iptables”, as KASLR came 4 years after iptables and iptables was surely no longer “original” when it was added. If you want to run Linux 2.3, go right ahead (on circa-1998 hardware, so as not to depend on “feature creep” like new drivers—though I wonder why you accept iptables when ipchains worked fine before it). But local privilege escalation (LPE) is likely irrelevant on a router/firewall, and it’s entirely possible 2.3 is worse than 5.X in remote security (not that a compromised firewall/router should not meaningfully affect the security of any device behind it…).


It reminded me of the tracking down of the ‘Dirty Pipe’ bug… Which in turn reminded me of Clifford Stoll’s book. In each case, diving into what appears at first sight to be an ‘inconsequential’ detail.

And that reminds me of Columbo and of Alexander Fleming, and Luigi Galvani, and, I suppose, the entire history of scientific advancement.

not_saying_this_time March 13, 2022 4:33 PM

I wonder how secure Bruce Schneier systems are…
After posting here my systems were attacked. Clearly my IP leaked from here. Not nice. Won’t post again.

Clive Robinson March 13, 2022 5:58 PM

@ Cassandra,

In each case, diving into what appears at first sight to be an ‘inconsequential’ detail.

I think it was Nobel Physicist Richard Feynman who said,

The sound of scientific discovery starts with “now thats odd”.

But it’s recorded that he did say,

“The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that’s the most interesting: the part that doesn’t go according to what you expected.”

But his quote I would most like to have originated myself is,

“I’m smart enough to know that I’m dumb.”

lurker March 13, 2022 6:48 PM


@flat“Western liberal democracy is itself in a deep crisis.”

This misconception is pervading the whole piece.

The depth of the crisis may be debatable, and the author confuses in the following sentence by admitting that we are not yet “in” the crisis:

…while the global liberal-capitalist order is obviously approaching a crisis at many levels, the situation is now again falsely simplified…

But the reason for the crisis and its failure to be apprehended is the human failure, in general, to comprehend and analyse complex situations. Everything must be simplified for the simplest minds, 7 second sound bites, black or white, “us vs. them”. These simplifications conceal the interconnections between contemporary problems. Global liberal democracy has crises rising before it which it will have great dificulty in solving if it attempts to pick off one by one: capital distribution, governance, public health, energy consumption, climate change, &c, &c.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons March 13, 2022 10:46 PM

14 Mar 2022 — Polar Alignments, not Just for Fields or Particles
Words descriptive of isospin, wavelets, or packets are not applicable to the following, but do apply to the violence and destruction happening about the borders of various nations.

The quest for a recognized leader within the context of a uni-polar world is what we see playing out. Not only is it about being on top of the economic sphere, a decided form of global governance and population management is an end goal. It is either a world on WeChat or the covert intelligence corporations and their governmental enablers “acting” as democratically friendly entities, none of this is about freedom or self governance at any level. Now that the tools for global fascism are available, and the U.S. should have asked itself if the road selected was the right one, these countries are prepared to carry out their own agendas…all the people be damned. No flag will save you from what is envisioned for you…and you haven’t even been asked.

For myself, I see a return to an egalitarian sensibility about the world, removing the means and methods of conflict that subject us, all of us, to the whims of the global and national elites. The elites have to organize as a single unit in order to survive, but we as individuals can demand a multi-polar world where there is no “global leadership” but a framework and a common language for all nations to participate without conflict and violence. This sense of exceptionalism, privilege, hereditary moralism, and other self serving means of elevating one’s own national flag for very different purposes (wealth, power, control, manipulation, resources, etc.) must end.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons March 13, 2022 10:57 PM


Weak Typing vs Strong Typing

I may be wrong, it may be a floating point exception.

My guess is “programmer self defined exceptionalism” which is at play. Of course I don’t have the error codes or any Posix semantics that would be helpful, I will get back to you on this…when I’ve finished polishing my object emitter. Just levity, no other point was floating in my mind at the time.

Clive Robinson March 14, 2022 12:12 AM

@ name.withheld…, JonKnowsNothing, MarkH, ResearcherZero, ALL,

Hmm our thinking has apparently come into alignnment again, as usual from differing directions.

So we have observed from different points the same headlong rush to historic iniquity, and the needless body count[1] that will be involved.

See my comment in reply to @JonKnowsNothing and MarkH,

[1] I’ve always found the hypothesis that war is a consequence of too many unmarried males in the 15-30 age range to be one of coincidence rather than causation. That is yes it creates societal problems, but it is not these that lead to war. Rather it is others with more psychopathic intent making use of it for their own ends.

ResearcherZero March 14, 2022 12:47 AM

“28% of businesses reporting vulnerabilities that are impossible to patch”

Some of the excuses why vulnerabilities are impossible to patch, given by businesses, don’t really cut the mustard.

There is also a 105% increase in ransomware, and also unsurprisingly an increase in the use of spyware.

“Spyware continues to grow and is up in use for the third six-month period in a row.”

“623.3 million attacks globally. Nearly all monitored threats, cyberattacks and malicious digital assaults rose in 2021 including: ransomware, encrypted threats, IoT malware and cryptojacking.”

SpaceLifeForm March 14, 2022 1:36 AM

@ Clive, ALL

Silicon Turtles

It appears the only Spectre mitigation that will work will require the performance hit of using ‘generic retpoline’. Otherwise, it will leak.

And the performance hit is large.

You just can not have security and speed together.


In need of a newer Spectre mitigation approach to patch the far-flung issue, Intel turned to studying alternative mitigation techniques. There are several other options, but all entail varying levels of performance tradeoffs. Intel says its ecosystem partners asked the company to consider using AMD’s LFENCE/JMP technique. The “LFENCE/JMP” mitigation is a Retpoline alternative commonly referred to as “AMD’s Retpoline.”

As a result of Intel’s investigation, the company discovered that the mitigation AMD has used since 2018 to patch the Spectre vulnerabilities isn’t sufficient — the chips are still vulnerable. The issue impacts nearly every modern AMD processor spanning almost the entire Ryzen family for desktop PCs and laptops (second-gen to current-gen) and the EPYC family of datacenter chips.

Note that Intel also has issues


Branch History Injection (BHI), a new flavor of the Spectre-v2 vulnerability that affects both new and old Intel processors and specific Arm models, recently came to light. Linux publication Phoronix conducted testing that shows the new BHI mitigations could produce severe performance penalties up to 35%.

Intel will release a software update for its processors to mitigate BHI, but it may take a while since processors starting from Haswell going forward are vulnerable to the exploit. However, the Linux community was quick to act, and mitigations for BHI already formed a part of the Linux kernel in a matter of minutes after BHI’s announcement.

Linus has now decided more testing is needed for at least a week.

flat March 14, 2022 1:47 AM

Crisis a “misconception”? (try an overall look at the relevant comments around this blog, including @Winter’s (the uncocooned ones).

Winter March 14, 2022 2:12 AM

“capital distribution, governance, public health, energy consumption, climate change, &c, &c.”

Every ideology is a crude approximation of reality. And every ideology will destroy society when it is applied to all it’s consequences (“Jede konsequenz führt zum teufel?” or “Every consequence leads to the devil”).

Neocon has ruled for decades and has run it’s course towards social collapse. Time for a change of course.

After WWII, the road to rebuilding the world was by way of strengthenning social cohesion. I think the only way out of the crises you mention is a policy that increases social cohesion. Which means, among others, less inequality.

SpaceLifeForm March 14, 2022 3:51 AM

@ Bruce D


Yes, I know KASLR did not exist when iptables came out. I was just noting that KASLR is Security Theatre. Again.

I never liked ipchains, and I found iptables to be much more understandable and also more flexible.

As to:

But local privilege escalation (LPE) is likely irrelevant on a router/firewall

How so? If the attacker can change the router/firewall rules, they can punch a hole and allow a larger attack.


Cisco Small Business RV Series Routers could allow a local attacker to gain elevated privileges on the system, caused by insufficient authorization enforcement mechanisms in the web-based management interface. By submitting specific commands, an attacker could exploit this vulnerability to execute arbitrary commands on the system with root privileges.

ResearcherZero March 14, 2022 4:02 AM

Australia and the Netherlands launch legal action over MH17

While the legal action is a significant move by Australia and the Netherlands, it is unlikely to faze Russia.

People call Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison a d**khead, say he ignored warnings from emergency services yet again.

According to Mr Mullins, the Morrison government “sat on its hands” prior to the floods.

“It ignored the warnings yet again — its own agency, Emergency Management Australia, were briefing states and territories and charities in October and November that we could face flooding catastrophes, and the maps showed the very areas that were impacted,” he said.

Former ACT Emergency Services Authority commissioner Major General Peter Dunn said he was ignored when he and others flagged 2019 as a potentially very dangerous bushfire season. “We were ignored,” he said.
“Late last year, the federal government was similarly briefed about the high risk of this year’s floods. Yet they were not prepared.”

“This is where national security starts – right here, at home.”

ResearcherZero March 14, 2022 4:09 AM

Incidentally, there is a rather large fire headed in my direction, but I’m sure everything’s fine. I have a full tank of fuel just in case I need to bail. I’ve been through a few firestorms as a volunteer fire fighter and won’t be hanging around for another.

SpaceLifeForm March 14, 2022 4:13 AM

@ Clive


Using these capabilities, we implemented several fuzzers for the GSM CC, GSM SM, as well as the LTE RRC protocol. Some of the bugs we found allow remote code execution for literally anyone who can set up a fake base station, and have been assigned a critical severity score.

Clive Robinson March 14, 2022 5:54 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

It appears the only Spectre mitigation that will work will require the performance hit of using ‘generic retpoline’. Otherwise, it will leak.

Yeah well “marketing slogans” and “go faster stripes” do nothing good for performance… As I’ve said for quite some time. Even on silicon turtles they are a drag and take power from the ability to perform…

The basic laws of thermodynamics say you do not get something for nothing as all processes are inefficient. The waste heat from an Intel CPU with all it’s go faster stripes if converted to coherant light could be seen with the naked eye reflected off the moon.

The big problem is they,

1, Run at CPU speed
2, Run all the time
3, take up a large amount of Silicon “real estate”

Thus they became a “Heat Death” isdue long before Intel got even close to the other physical limitations the laws of nature use to put a big crimp in Moore’s Law. Which is Why of the now big three architectures Intel, AMD, ARM Intel is the most inefficient and glows like a themopile.

Sadly AMD has been hanging onto Intel’s apron strings hence the problem with the Ryzen chip set.

For quite some time I’ve pointed out the issue of “Efficiency-v-Security” that is by trying to get something more, you nearly always open up securiry holes that you only find out about at a time when it’s realy going to cost you.

Nearly all of these CPU security holes have the bad news factor of being “visable across the wire”. That is across any connection to an external network or grid.

So it comes back to that question,

“What is the business case for having this computer connexted to external communications?”

Maybe if I ask it enough, people will start to realise potentially the legal issues they are running into.

Sooner or later the FTC, SEC, or similar are going to fine a big corporate for having their computers visable from the Internet etc, with the implication that it was deliberately done for the purposes of “insider trading” or another of many many of their rules.

They FTC in effect got the gun out of “the cupboard” with the fall out of Equifax and then loaded it with Log4J,

In issuing its notice, the FTC underscored that organizations have legal obligations “to take reasonable steps to mitigate known software vulnerabilities.”

OK they said “software” but these “hardware” vulnerabilities are very definately “known vulnerabilities” that in Intels case have been around for quite some time now…

If the FTC or SEC make the right noise then the likes of AWS, Microsoft, and many others to drag peoples legally confidential data into the “cloud” will get quite a kicking. As for “Smart Devices” with all the side channel leaks not “over the wire” but actually “over the air”…

Those comms stacks vulnarabilities we see in all the standard communications like GSM and all the other Mobile protocols, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc, we see over and over are “NOT GOING AWAY” any time soon or “forever” in current human terms. Again something I’ve warned about repeatedly and emphasised by pointing out just how long “Smart Meters” and “Electronic medical implants” will be with us and leaving us highly vulnerable…

That is vulnerable for “half a century”, or if you like longer than most people who own homes or have implanted medical electronics have left in “life expectancy”. So things being done today will be having known significant effects, when more than half the Western Worlds current population is dead and the others yet to be born…

ResearcherZero March 14, 2022 6:38 AM

@Clive Robinson

Apparently their business case may be “security slows innovation”, which is just as stupid as choosing security through obscurity as a viable approach.
It appears a majority of board members are also fools:

“security by obscurity” – the numbers

a full 65 percent of organizations surveyed claimed that they “want to be seen as infallible.” However, just as many – 64 percent – said they practice a culture of security through obscurity, where secrecy is used as the primary method of protecting sensitive systems and assets.

Some of the issues come from the top: Only 29 percent of boards are “deeply involved” in cybersecurity strategy; and 65 percent said that the idea that security slows innovation is telegraphed to them.

When it comes to what’s actually happening on the ground inside organizations, 57 percent of respondents in the report – “The Corporate Security Trap: Shifting Security Culture from Secrecy to Transparency” – said that they struggle to create a culture of cybersecurity, and only 26 percent are “very confident” that staff are following security practices.

About 63 percent said they’ve had a security breach as a result of staff sidestepping security measures.

Clive Robinson March 14, 2022 7:57 AM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

With regards,

“Using these capabilities, we implemented several fuzzers for the GSM CC, GSM SM, as well as the LTE RRC protocol.”

I should have read down before replying to your earlier…

Does the expression “Colour mr unsurprised” have a local equivalebt where you are?

It’s the sort of thing I’ve been warning about for years.

The problem is two fold as to the base causes,

Firstly the “acturial methodology” when applied to “design” by engineers.

Secondly “Ease of test” when standards, protocols, specifications are drawn up.

Acturial methodology currently is still based on the “shaped random model”. That is things go wrong “randomly at a predictable rate” rather than “in a predictable way”.

That is an insurance company knows from collecting historical information and building into tables, aproximately how many homes are going to catch fire this year from “accidents” in any particular style of home. What they can not do is say if your home is going to catch fire or not (if they could then they would cancel your insurance at the begining of the year as they do with medical claims for the likes of cancer etc[1]).

So an engineer can from such tables make a calculation of how often a particular style of say lawn mower flicks a stone or similar into the air and in aproximately which direction. So bad designs like Pinto gas tanks can be avoided.

Oh and do I mention Boeing and the “lets strap on bigger engines” fiasco?

Both were significant mistakes in design that should not and some say without intent could not have happened.

The result is we know rather more graphically what we knew before… That cars involved in rear end shunts with improperly designed fuel tanks will kill rather more people than normall. Likewise passanger aircraft with bad flight charecteristics will drop out of the sky and kill rather more people than normal.

The only issue is you do not know which vehicle and when, that appears on the face of it to be entirely “random”[2] which is why we say such events are “accidents” which incorrectly remove “blaim”.

But that other issue is testing…

I’ve talked about this in the past with “test harneses” and the like if people want to go back to the CarrierIQ” incident just over a decade ago I went into it in some depth.

What was shown was a “test harness” in the phone putting user entered data into a “testing buffer” and that the CarrierIQ testharness could also send back user entered data ti CarrierIQ’s servers. Unsuprisingly these two were seen as one and the same and an outcry arose,

As I explained at the time “test harnesses” are a fact of life in engineering in any system more expensive than mid range consumer items or where things can not be seen. So most IC’s have them added by the “foundry” and some are available by JTag.

The problem is they “cross boundries” which in security is a very definate No No as not only does it allow information to leak, they usually alow status bits and the like to be flipped creating significant vulnerabilities.

But as I sometimes say “Hey if you doubt me go check for yourself”…

The information is out there all you have to do is find it and read it.

But as I also say,

One of the major failings of the ICTsec Industry, is it does not learn from it’s history

Thus it makes the same mistakes over and over often well within a decade… Which when you think about it makes the ICTsec industry almost unique when compared to any other form of modern industry.

[1] There are warnings coming out of the medical proffession that not only is Long Covid going to be an issue in comming years but a significant component of that is almost certainly going to be seen as cancers or autoimmune disease in the ten to thirty year from now range. News that has not been helped by two other things, first the Judge ordered release of hundreds of thousands of pages of Pfizer Vaccine information, and a study from Washington state that indicates from excess mortality rates covid related deaths are more than three times the official figures and up around 18million.

[2] Actually it’s not random as I’ve indicated with,

“There is no such thing as an accident they are all entirely predictable.”

Under the laws of nature. The issue is not one of knowledge, but what some might call foresight. That is certain events when set in motion will cause damage, destruction and death. The real issue is do you have enough “real-time” information, and enough “processing-time” to make the prediction and take corrective action to prevent it? The actual take away lesson being, “Going faster may get you somewhere quicker, even if it is to the state of being a mangled body or corpse”.

Clive Robinson March 14, 2022 8:43 AM

@ ResearcherZero, ALL,

About 63 percent said they’ve had a security breach as a result of staff sidestepping security measures.

Yes, and it has an easy explanation as to why,


You move up in a place of employment from the lowest ranks,

“By getting things done”

Not doing so gets you shown the door.

Even if you were to take people out and execute them infront of all the staff as an object lesson in what happens to those that do not follow security policy, it will not solve the problem because of all those other “incentives” remain[1].

The problem with the ICT industry including the ICTsec subsect of it, is that usually the managers are compleatly defective as managers. They are in many cases incapable of rational thought about both “security” and “incentives”.

My advice if you find yourself in such an organisation is, as quickly as possible use it as a steping stone to something else, preferably at the time that is most awkward for the managers you leave behind.

Some two decades ago, I was working at a very nice company that got taken over by it’s rival and it was quickly obvious the rival was a very toxic entity. For reasons in my personal life, I failed to follow my own advice, it did not turn out well for me or the organisations, and worse it also effectively destroyed an entire industry…

[1] In fact any kind of harsh treatment will be thoroughly detrimental to the organisation more than it will the individual. Because the smarter more able staff that are the ones a business realy needs, will be the ones that can most easily find another job and they also have the brains to work out that it’s a game of probability, thus the sooner they get out the safer they will be. What the business gets left with are the meek / timid or those who’s abilities are already several levels below their pay-grade. Also known as the Laurence J. “Peter Principle” from his late 1960’s book it basically says – A person rises to the point of their obvious incompetence,

The aanswer is yes they do in bad organisations, so it’s easy to see how given a little time and a few bad promotions how it becomes a downwards spiral and the business suffers untill it is changrd, or ceases to be viable as an independent entity.

Bruce D March 14, 2022 11:30 AM


“But local privilege escalation (LPE) is likely irrelevant on a router/firewall”

How so? If the attacker can change the router/firewall rules, they can punch a hole and allow a larger attack.

1) A router/firewall generally has no unprivileged local users. The bug you refer to is remote privilege escalation (with “Privileges Required: None”), not local. An authorized local user on a firewall would likely have the ability to modify the settings (“punch a hole”) without escalating to root.

2) The idea of perimeter security—that the “bad guys” will be on the other side of the firewall—is itself theater. Once they get a tiny bit of malware inside, there are few networks in which they can’t easily punch a hole. A home router will have built-in hole-punching support. In many business networks, plain HTTPS to an arbitrary (“untainted”) domain will work; if not, maybe tunnel via DNS, or pull code and push data via a Github repository. (Assuming one can’t walk in and connect a tiny computer in an inconspicuous location. Lots of places bring contractors and prospective employees inside the perimeter, and of course there’s always the option of becoming or bribing an employee.)

Winter March 14, 2022 3:25 PM

““Others” presumably including the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth.”

That is a complicated question.

Growth is generally expressed in GDP. The GDP is a 20th century model of the economy. As all models, it is not a perfect model of reality. The GDP measures anything that is paid in money, or can be expressed as paid in monetary terms.

This focus leads to strange results. If a river or lake is polluted to the extend that its water has become unusable, the pollution is part of the GDP, as a side product of the paid production. The swimming pool and water purification installations that have to be build as a result of the pollution are also contributing to the growth of the GDP. So the polution contributes twice, first as a side product of the production, then as something that has to be paid for to be cleaned up again.

GDP has become the target of economic policy, and is therefore the victim of Goodhart’s law: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure”. The Aral sea has dried out because productivity in the surrounding lands was measured in cubic km water used for irrigation.

In essence, the economic model that is conventional GDP is unable to account for the unpaid externalities of the production. These externalities, e.g., Climate Change, pollution, top-soil loss, etc., do incur heavy costs, but these are counted as GDP growth in the current economic models.

There is a lot of effort going on in economics (the science, not the practice) to create economic models that are sustainable, i.e., that internalize all the externalities of the current models.

In such a model, growth is still possible. Anything that increases productivity with the same amount of raw materials, energy, polution, and other costs, would still be “good” growth.

An example would be a heat pump (reverse fridge). A heat pump can produce more heat inside with less energy that a simple heater. It is hellishly complicated to do the sums in such a way that all effects of the switch are accounted for. But there is no reason why a switch from simple coal/gas/electrical heaters to a heat pump could not result in more heat for less input of money, energy, and materials.[1]

In simple terms, yes, we cannot go on spending more “earths” than the one we have. On the other hand, there are myriad ways to improve real productivity, and hence, growth.

[1]I wonder whether there is a foreseeable future where it is sustainable to have an air conditioning in your garage in Texas, with heat pump or not:

Clive Robinson March 14, 2022 4:40 PM

@ lurker, Winter, ALL,

Re Limits to Growth (LtG)

The original “club was formed back in 1975 getting on for five decades ago.

Quite a few things have changed since the 1970’s, for instance the switch from relativeky cheap to make “filament bulbs” that were grossly inefficient when used, to first vaccume tube fluorescents which were expensive to make and sell, and produced a “hard light” but which gave around an 80% saving in combined running and maintanence costs through to the more recent LED Bulbs that in the production costs of the 1970’s would have been impossibly costly to make even though they use around 2% of the energy, and can last atleast 10times longer.

The problem is new LED bulbs are deliberately designed to only last about the same time as vaccume fluorescents due to an issume that is mostly unconsidered. That is for a product to produce savings it has to have a certain minimum amount of production. Thus increasing the length of lifetime in a LED bulb will destroy the industry that makes the bulbs.

Another issue is the price of energy. When we use lots of it the part of the price we pay that is the cost of production is small. However as we reduce consumption that cost rises faster than the reduction in generating capacity… You can actually work out that again the cost of production has a certain minimum to remain viable. If it’s not met then production of that type ceases entirely and will not start up again.

A very dangerous assumption in what is laughingly called “economic science” is “universal replacability”. That is that everything can be replaced with something else. It’s not true for a whole number of subtal reasons.

Take “coal production” replaced by “concrete production”. The argument is the amount of coal we can pull out of the ground and burn to produce energy, can be replaced by concrete to make dams. What it ignores is the fact there are darn few places you can build dams, and rainfall to fill dams is based on the global thermal cycle we are trying to reduce… It also ignore the loss of land and other resources like iron. Currently something like 90% of iron comes from being recycled, and it’s a very energy expensive process it does not take the work of a genius to see it is yet another “self limiting” process.

Ad I’ve indicated in the past the world is entirely finite in terms of non energy resources. So as the population rises simple logic tells you that your absolute share of those resources goes down. It’s not an issue that is currently open to argument and economists almost entirely miss it in their formulars.

But of energy resources some are finite yet ignored as such. Nuclear energy be it by fission or fussion is not even finite it is actually diminishing. There is no way around that, yet it is assumed it can replace carbon – water energy resources. It can not and it will not, and as I’ve indicated with coal production, once it’s stopped it won’t restart. The other issue is the immense startup cost of making a substitution and the sunk costs involved with continuing production. The nuclear industry had a very very dirty future, in that nearly all the materials that go into making the actual reactor become non-recyclicable. That iron in the steel containment vessle is not just “lost” it has a massive longterm cost involved as Chernobyl which has come back into the news recently demonstrates.

For “universal replacability” to be valid you need infinite resources available, yet we know the world has very limited finite resources. Each substitution we make limits our options… But also we need an infinite “garbage pile” for waste.

Few realise that the ultimate form of waste is low grade thermal energy we call heat. To extract usefull work out of thermal energy there has to be a thermal incline from hot to cold. The thing is as you extract energy you decrease the available incline, that is using energy makes less energy available. There is only three things you can do to maintain a stable temperature,

1, Increase the waste disposal by radiation into space.
2, Reduce the amount of radiated energy falling on the earth.
3, Somehow capture and store the energy.

All three are effectively finite in some way…

The more we understand the more the LtG needs to be updated. That is it will aleays be a work in progress.

But the one thing it does tell us that is the major elephant in the room is, if mankind is to increase in numbers two things have to happen,

1, Resources have to be more equitably distributed.
2, We need to find new sources of resources, and disposal of used resources.

There is a limit on what the first can do even if we hard limit the population, and the second means mankind will have to “get out of the bound conditions” of the Earth.

The reality is “we have to go back to the stars” or more correctly space and other planitary bodies. If we don’t then with certainty mankind will become extinct. Most likely by either disease or choking on the waste we create.

SpaceLifeForm March 14, 2022 5:21 PM

@ Bruce D, Clive


We are basically on the same page, though I disagree that there are no non-root accounts on routers. I actually do not know of any router that only operates as root all of the time, with no non-root users. Yes, you can roll your own router/firewall that only has root user, but that is not recommended.

Yes, sure a tunnel can be created from the inside, via some computer on the LAN.

But, that does not mean the attacker has visibility into the entire operation behind firewall/routers in the case of a properly segmented network.

For the attacker to really attack, they would have to be able to see all of the network segments, and the best way to do that would be from the point-of-view of the router.

So, the attacker would want to defeat routing rules.



The Notice of Inquiry seeks comment on steps that the Commission should take to protect the nation’s communications network from vulnerabilities posed by the Border Gateway Protocol

SpaceLifeForm March 14, 2022 6:49 PM

@ Clive, ALL

When it comes to RSA, you must mind your P’s and Q’s.

‘close’ does not just apply to horseshoes and hand grenades.

I still recommend moving to a SafeCurve.


How “close” do primes need to be in order to be vulnerable?

With common RSA key sizes (2048 bit) in our tests the Fermat algorithm with 100 rounds reliably factors numbers where p and q differ up to 2^517. In other words it can be said that primes that only differ within the lower 64 bytes (or around half their size) will be vulnerable.

Up to 2^514 it almost always finds the factorization in the first round of the algorithm. It could be argued that the 100 rounds is therefore excessive, however the algorithm is so fast that it practically does not matter much.

I’m not sure the algorithm is that efficient, but, it does reflect the fact that the larger the semiprime, then there are fewer possible primes that can be factors.

In other words, a larger RSA semiprime does not guarantee that it is more secure.

I’ve been saying this for years: Drop RSA.

SpaceLifeForm March 14, 2022 8:25 PM

@ Bruce D, Clive, ALL

This is why you double route (at minimum), and run your own DNS resolver. Your inner firewall/router needs to treat the LAN as the WAN, and assume attacks from the inside. Especially if there are users inside using Windows and email.

Never ever enable WIFI on your WAN router. if you want to use WIFI, put it on a separate AP/router behind your WAN router, on a separate subnet.

This is all doable, it’s just most people do not consider the attack angles.


Clive Robinson March 14, 2022 8:38 PM

@ SpaceLifeForm, ALL,

I’m not sure the algorithm is that efficient, but, it does reflect the fact that the larger the semiprime, then there are fewer possible primes that can be factors.

It’s been a while since I looked into it but…

There is another asspect people need to consider.

RSA has a vast amount of redundancy in it’s choice of primes (this was mentioned in a 1980’s paper).

This alows for an absolutly massive “Covert Channel” that can be used to break RSA in it’s PubCert.

Put simply if you have a hidden PubKey used in say a Blum Blum Shaub (BBS) random generator, then you can,

1, Randomly pick one of your two Primes say P and then encrypt it or a number close to it using the hidden BBS PubKey.

2, You then select the second prime Q such that the top bits of PQ match the output of P after encrypting.

3, You then have a PubKey certificate where the top bits when decrypted with the secret key of the hidden PubKey give you a close starting point.

4, You then search with an optimised search for P which gives you Q.

5, You then build the Secret Key for PQ.

From then on in it’s game over…

The thing is no matter how hard you look at the PubKey that comes out of this process you will not be able to tell it’s been “backdoored”. The only person who can is the person who has the Private Key of the PubKey hidden in the BBS random generator.

As I’ve mentioned before quite a few years ago now, I developed PoC code that did exactly this and put it in the source tree of a commercial product to prove a point about the futility of “code audits” the way the company carried them out.

Code audits were and still are considered “Just a checkbox on the release list” they are rarely caried out by the better or experienced coders. Therefore they miss such obvious backdoors…

By the way it’s not just RSA that can be backdoored this way, many Crypto Algorithms can… Remember the NIST “Red Face” over the NSA behaviour that caused a NIST standard to be pulled. Then there was that backdoor code in Jupiter Network Routers… Just two iceberg tips in a veritable see of icebergs.

If any crypto algorithm you consider using has redundancy then a covert channel can be built with that redundancy, it realy is that simple.

Nearly all “mathmatical crypto algorithms” contain a considerable excess of redundancy… So you have to be adept at mitigation, which very very few people are.

[1] See the work of Adam Young and Moti Yung for more details, I gather Moti reads this blog from time to time, so if people want to say thanks just say high.

ResearcherZero March 14, 2022 11:27 PM

We may see even more disinformation regarding MH17 now that legal action has been launched.

“The Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said that: ‘Violence has no way to conceal itself except by lies, and lies have no way to maintain themselves except through violence’,”

A leaked Australian Federal Police report was partially published on the Russian-linked website Bonanza Leaks just weeks before the trial began.

AFP Detective Superintendent David Nelson said disinformation was not helpful for the grieving next of kin, but he had “no doubt” it would continue.

“Reportedly, the Dutch justice department and the Dutch police were targeted with phishing emails and cars filled with listening equipment were found in the vicinity of the “Landelijk Parket”, which is the part of the justice department that deals with both national and international organized crimes. Knowing which facts were already known could be instrumental in building believable lies without revealing new facts.”

“Bonanza Media, a self-styled independent investigative platform, is in fact a special disinformation project working in coordination with Russia’s military intelligence.
One possible motive for the attack is disinformation. The best lies are based on truth after all.”

“Top suspect of the attack on the Dutch police is APT29 (Cozy Bear), linked earlier this year to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, also known as the SVR.”

Shortly after the Bonanza Media project was launched, senior members of the GRU entered into direct and regular communication with the project leader.

The GRU received advance copies of Bonanza’s publications, provided its employees illegal cross-border access into eastern Ukraine, furnished the project with confidential internal documents of the official Dutch-led MH17 Joint Investigation Team conducting the official criminal investigation into the deaths of 298 passengers and crew members that were hacked by GRU’s cyber warfare division, and likely instructed Bonanza Media to leak them.

ResearcherZero March 14, 2022 11:51 PM


Trump’s the cowardly kid who attaches themselves to a bully and the pretends he’s tough. Putin actually got his hands dirty as a KGB officer. Trump has always used lies and financial incentives to get others to do his bidding, but in reality he is a complete coward. He conned people into thinking that he would deliver them legal cover to do his dirty work, then went off and hid on a golf course.

Trump complained he was monitored by intelligence, but anyone who mixes with Putin’s circle is in reality monitored. It’s only through the intelligence services intervention that the fool is still alive. People risk their lives to protect life and limb of people like him, then they have the cheek to complain about the intelligence services. He’s fortunate he’s just not another dead guy from the 1990’s that no one remembers.

ResearcherZero March 14, 2022 11:57 PM


If he could pilot a plane, and had of been flying it alone, then I would have let him take off.

SpaceLifeForm March 14, 2022 11:58 PM


Communicating truth.

For the team. Probably will never be seen again.


MarkH March 15, 2022 2:04 AM


Yes, you have been saying for years to drop RSA … and I keep pushing back. You keep citing cases in which implementers fail to follow guidelines which have been known for 15 years or more.

For at least the third time, any tool — even a screwdriver — can cause damage when used improperly.

My advice is different: don’t roll your own crypto implementation; if for some reason you must do so, read and understand the literature.

From the page you linked, with my italics added:

Is this a weakness in RSA?

No, RSA libraries with a correct key generation function are not affected.

Clive Robinson March 15, 2022 3:03 AM

@ Bruce, ALL,

Under the perennial question,

“Does it always take a war to get people to shift their butts and start looking into doing the right thing?”


We get,

FCC launches inquiry into Internet Routing Vulnerabilities

“Description: The Notice of Inquiry seeks comment on steps that the Commission should take to protect the nation’s communications network from vulnerabilities posed by the Border Gateway Protocol”

It realy should be on,

1, How to replace it with something more secure.
2, Something less fragile.
3, More fitting to wider distributed networks with greater time lags.

Winter March 15, 2022 12:02 PM

“A divided Europe would enable Russia to threaten and pressure former Soviet satellite states and expand its influence in Europe.”

I think the defining moment were Putin’s ranting speeches where he told the world Russia, and Russia alone decides who can become a member of NATO, and that Russia will recapture countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, just like it tries to do with Ukraine.


These speeches and the following war showed Europe that Putin will not stop at Ukraine. That ALL European countries are in his cross-hairs, to start with the Baltic states and the former members of the Warsaw pact.

In Europe, we do know that We Must Hang Together Or Surely We Shall Hang Separately. And even after 70 years of some kind of peace, the memories of what came before that peace are still strong enough to know what will follow if we let ourselves be divided.

Canuck March 15, 2022 2:00 PM


You are right. Part of the purpose of Russiagate was to put enough light on connections with Russia that the usual suspects would have to lie low and change their behaviour. It was a means of deterrence. It was not an investigation per se because the connections and activities were already known. Publication of intelligence applied the pressure. Where have we seen that strategy more recently?

Winter March 15, 2022 2:11 PM

About hacks:
Polish, Czech and Slovenian prime ministers arrive in Kyiv

Winter March 15, 2022 5:32 PM

A very pessimistic (or optimistic) view of Russia’s immediate future. Putin gambled, and it looks he lost, whatever the further course of events.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will knock 30 years of progress off the Russian economy

For Smart, the best way to understand the Western effort to isolate the Kremlin is to view it as a long-term strategic move, within a 10- to 20-year window.

Russia “is the 11th largest economy in the world, and we’re about to seal it up in a container and not do business with it for the foreseeable future,” he said.

As I understand it, Putin gambled that he could bully NATO and the EU with violence, threats and a deluge of fugitives and asylum seekers. If 150k Syrian refugees can push the EU to the edge, a few million Ukrainians must push it off the cliff. If Trump almost dissolved NATO, it would need only a little push to let it splinter.

As the Romans said: Divide and Conquer

So what is a worse strategic outcome than uniting your enemies? Especially if these united enemies represent 50% of the world economy, and your country only 2%.

He gambled and lost.

ResearcherZero March 15, 2022 7:45 PM

@Winter @Canuck

I have some vague memory of some old KGB guys saying, “We are going to roll our tanks up to Poland’s border, tear up the agreement and reposition our nuclear missiles in Ukraine.” But I’m probably tripping because that would have had to be some unofficial meeting or something.

Probably jammed down the back of cabinet with Ukraine’s secret pleas to join the EU and NATO, is some kind of old report on the likelihood of adversaries to exploit… these kind of conditions.

(bonus icons and easy to read format for politicians)

It was probably a dream and never happened. Those days are all a blur of dodging too many bullets and bureaucratic indifference to anything that got filed anyway. Probably hasn’t changed.

FTC completes investigation into CafePress…

“…the FTC’s investigation revealed that prior to the 2019 Data Event, CafePress determined that certain accounts of shopkeepers at its online platform had been hacked and closed these accounts—charging the hack victims a $25 account closure fee. The FTC also determined that prior to the 2019 Data Event, CafePress “experienced several malware infections to its network . . . but failed to investigate the source of such attacks.”

“[A] hacker exploited the company’s security failures in February 2019 to access millions of email addresses and passwords with weak encryption; millions of unencrypted names, physical addresses, and security questions and answers; more than 180,000 unencrypted Social Security numbers; and tens of thousands of partial payment card numbers and expiration dates . . .[a month later after learning of the 2019 Data Event] CafePress patched the vulnerability but failed to properly investigate the breach for several months and . . . only told customers to reset their passwords as part of an update to its password policy.”

SpaceLifeForm March 15, 2022 9:35 PM

@ MarkH, Clive


Is this a weakness in RSA?

No, RSA libraries with a correct key generation function are not affected.

On the surface, that makes sense.

As long as P and Q are not close, on the surface, factoring the semiprime appears to be a hard problem.

Unfortunately, I have mathematical reasons to question this.

I have been researching this for decades.

Remember, the bigger the semiprime is, there are less large prime factors available that could contribute to the large semiprime.

Bigger does not mean better, or more secure.

It is safer, and more secure, to use ECC for cryptosecurity. It is also more efficient.

Also, you may want to research why a good implementation of Curve25519 does not leak via side channel because the code is constant time. No conditional branches, less Spectre.

Canuck March 15, 2022 11:23 PM


If you’re in the mood may I recommend h++ps://

MarkH March 15, 2022 11:38 PM


the bigger the semiprime is, there are less large prime factors available that could contribute to the large semiprime

If by “could contribute to” you mean the size of the set of primes from which to choose, that is mistaken.

The number of primes needing n bits to write is approximated (within a few percent for relevant cases) by

1.44 2^(n – 1) / n

For n = 512 (for 1024 bit RSA with equal-length factors), there are about 1.9 x 10^151 primes … a dauntingly large set! For n = 1024, the pool of primes has about 1.3 x 10^305 members.

SpaceLifeForm March 16, 2022 4:24 AM

@ Clive, ALL

The OpenSSL bug

I’m curious as to where this attack was found in the wild. Crickets.

If you have to parse (and interpret) in order to find the signature, maybe the solution is too complex.

Infinite loop in BN_mod_sqrt() reachable when parsing certificates (CVE-2022-0778)

Since certificate parsing happens prior to verification of the certificate
signature, any process that parses an externally supplied certificate may thus be subject to a denial of service attack.

Maybe related: Newtons method for extracting square roots, can, depending upon the X value, and the precision available, get into an iterative loop between two solution values. One needs to detect this loop condition, and split the difference, and call it done.

Interesting. I just got an update to Debian Bullseye for OpenSSL. It was for (1.1.1k-1+deb11u2), but supposedly the fix is in 1.1.1n, so I’m guessing they did a backport. Need to research.

I’m probably going to move to Sid, so I can bleed more.

&ers🇺🇦 March 16, 2022 9:41 AM

@Clive @SpaceLifeForm @MarkH @ALL

This might interest you.

The Great Seal original FBI report.



name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons March 16, 2022 10:40 AM

16 MAR 2022 — Background Information, Understanding Today’s Ukraine
Petryshyn Lecture, Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University (HURI)
Contemporary Ukraine Program, Lecture on Ukraine: A Normal Country[1]

Once again, the speaker, Timothy Snyder, delivers a summary of 1000 years of Ukrainian history and does so in the context of the current attack by Putin’s Russian army. His primary objective is to drop the myths employed by institutions having specific objectives or characterizations as useful to purposes. On critique, Professor Synder renders an analysis of an essay published by Vladimir Putin[2] recently on the relationship with Ukraine. A theme that leaks out during his talk is the basis for reasoning relying on magical thinking. The essay is essentially an ahistorical rendering of a relationship with Ukraine[3], best described as “fictional” (my words).

While doing some background research for this essay, I ran across a little know nugget of information published by the Guardian on 15 Jul 2021 about a secret classified report “NO 32-04 \ vd” describing plans to put Trump in the office of the President of the United States[4]

Due to the timeliness of the source information, I am going to post this a bit ahead of a formal editorial schedule. The source material should be sufficient to establish a sound basis for understanding the crisis in Eastern Europe as it is happening today.

NOTE: all URLS mangled for your pleasure…

[1] Youtube, hvvpq://, published 18 Feb 2022
[2] Kremlin, State website, hpux://
[3] Harvard University HURI website, h77ps://
[4] Guardian website, huupz://

Quantry March 16, 2022 11:44 AM

@MarkH re: #comment-401744

Thanks for the thought on RSA.

But perhaps that is the whole problem:

” any tool — even a screwdriver — can cause damage when used improperly”

Lately we have heard several posts about IMPLEMENTATION: Keys too short, keys being re-used…

Ross Anderson beat-up TWO MILLENIA of implementations in this industry.
“How dozens of industries went online … badly”, as Wiley promotes:
( )

Time for aps like Signal to accept this fallibility by default, plus offer realistic ways to distrust the endpoint holocaust, and the future.

lurker March 16, 2022 2:17 PM

A critical resource indeed, so critical that the man in charge appears to have been denied access to the physical power switch, and had to “use his tablet”.

pup vas March 16, 2022 3:09 PM

Companies fined for marketing calls targeting elderly

=Five companies who made thousands of unwanted marketing calls to “older, vulnerable people” must pay fines totaling £405,000.

Some of those targeted suffered from dementia, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) said.

One of those who complained to the watchdog described the cold-call as “threatening and coercive”.

The ICO says it is continuing to investigate a number of other companies.

The calls involved the sale of insurance products or services for white goods and other large household appliances, such as televisions, washing machines and fridges.=

BRAVO, ICO!!! Good example for FTC to follow.

Leon Theremin March 16, 2022 3:54 PM


A resonant cavity microphone isn’t needed anymore, since imaging the vocal cords with microwaves is enough to reconstruct speech. Can be done at long distance and with many frequencies. Is done for the benefit of advertising companies, who spy on you and everybody to sell ads, they don’t need your phone to permit microphone access. Also for the benefit of criminals who use the collected data to extort and kill.

Winter March 16, 2022 4:08 PM

@Leon Theremin
“since imaging the vocal cords with microwaves is enough to reconstruct speech.”

The vocal cords produce voicing. That allows to determine intonation and voicing contrasts, but not to recognize words.

You need tongue and lip movements to recognize speech.

Leon Theremin March 16, 2022 7:16 PM

Reminded me that on IMDB is said that Two-Face (Batman) speaking clearly after losing half of his face is a goof/factual error.

Good retort/correction. My turn: there is also no need for tongue and lip movements to recognize “speech”. Just one example: AlterEgo [1].

  1. hxxps://

The sooner people realize the extent of electromagnetic surveillance deployed worldwide, the sooner it can be dealt with. Until then, Bruce will keep being a target of psychological operations (like that one comment saying the Russians breached his company), and so will we all.

Winter March 17, 2022 2:36 AM

@Leon Theremin

Silent speech interfaces are indeed a very active field of research. The system you mention uses surface EMG signals (without calling them that). There are others that use Permanent Magnetic Articulographs (with implanted magnets) to follow tongue and jaw movements and there have been other attempts. They all have two things in common:
1 They require sensors to be attached to the head
2 The do NOT pick up the vocal chords, i.e., they do not know what the voicing is. This is really awkward when trying to render the speech in sound again.
(2 is not necessary to recognize words)

I have yet to see a system that can do any of this from a distance, besides just doing lip reading (which works better than these systems anyway). Also, from a distance it is much, much easier to just record the sound itself than trying too look into the head and follow tongue movements.[1]
@Leon Theremin

“The sooner people realize the extent of electromagnetic surveillance deployed worldwide, the sooner it can be dealt with.”

I think that there are more urgent targets in EM surveillance to focus our attention on than attempts to read our speech from our inner tongue movements.

[1] You know when such a system exists from the enthusiastic uptake of the technology in speech science&technology. This is more or less the Holy Grail in speech science.

Winter March 17, 2022 2:54 AM

There is that truism that you can use a zero-day only once, and then it is patched.

There must be something like that in real military tactics.

“Today what I have seen is that even this huge army or military is not so huge,”

As Russia’s Military Stumbles, Its Adversaries Take Note

“The Kremlin spent the last 20 years trying to modernize its military,” said Andrei V. Kozyrev, the foreign minister for Russia under Boris Yeltsin, in a post on Twitter. “Much of that budget was stolen and spent on mega-yachts in Cyprus. But as a military advisor you cannot report that to the President. So they reported lies to him instead. Potemkin military.”

But a dissection of the Russian military’s performance so far, compiled from interviews with two dozen American, NATO and Ukrainian officials, paints a portrait of young, inexperienced conscripted soldiers who have not been empowered to make on-the-spot decisions, and a noncommissioned officer corps that isn’t allowed to make decisions either. Russia’s military leadership, with Gen. Valery Gerasimov at the top, is far too centralized; lieutenants must ask him for permission even on small matters, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational matters.

Russian tank units, for instance, have deployed with too few soldiers to fire and protect the tanks, officials said. The result is that Ukraine, using Javelin anti-tank missiles, has stalled the convoy headed for Kyiv by blowing up tank after tank.

SpaceLifeForm March 17, 2022 3:07 AM

Not sure I would consider this to be a False Positive

It sure tells you how bad the testing is.


Winter March 17, 2022 3:15 AM

More on the limitations of the Russian War Machine. They can destroy any country, but can they actually capture a country? Estimates are that already 12,000 Russian soldiers died. The war in Afghanistan killed 15,000 Russian troops.

Russia’s military is incompetent. That makes it more dangerous.

The Russian Military’s Debacle in Ukraine
A series of strategic missteps has hampered Putin’s campaign. Will desperation make up for a lack of preparation?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime is showing a growing desperation as its war against Ukraine falls further into disarray.

As the Russian army struggles in Ukraine, the West braces for what Putin might do next

Putin shambles: Russian forces flattened as footage shows military column wiped out

Winter March 17, 2022 4:36 AM

‘Historic milestone’ as Ukraine connected to European power grid

SpaceLifeForm March 17, 2022 5:07 AM

Remember Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal?

Now there is Ever Forward. Not blocking traffic, but is really stuck. Not just bow and stern, but the entire ship.

It also was moving at 13 knots, but failed to turn.


SpaceLifeForm March 17, 2022 6:22 AM

@ -, Clive

No surprise here.

A couple of weekends ago, techdirt converted over to WordPress.

They are experiencing a familiar problem. Comments going to /dev/null

Mike Masnick is not real happy about how it is working as they attempt to train the Spam filler AI.

JonKnowsNothing March 17, 2022 11:13 AM

@ Winter

re: There is that truism that you can use a zero-day only once, and then it is patched.


A) A Zero-Day can be used forever UNTIL it’s discovered.

B) A Zero-Day can continue to be used forever UNTIL it’s patched.

C) If the vulnerability CANNOT be patched, a Zero-Day can be used until the “Target Device” is no longer In Service

D) All “Target Devices” remain In Service as long as they exist.

E) All “Target Devices” exist until they are tossed into a Grinder.

Proof for D E:

News organization required to destroy hard drives, grinding all components off the motherboard while being monitored for compliance

  • The Guardian newspaper was subsequently contacted by the British government’s Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, under instruction from Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who ordered that the hard drives containing the information be destroyed. The Guardian’s offices were then visited in July by agents from the UK’s GCHQ, who supervised the destruction of the hard drives containing information.

ResearcherZero March 17, 2022 9:17 PM

ASUS has issued new firmware for 14 routers, after being alerted to a Cyclops Blink variant tweaked to run on them.

ASUS said the following devices are vulnerable:

GT-AC5300 firmware under
GT-AC2900 firmware under
RT-AC5300 firmware under
RT-AC88U firmware under
RT-AC3100 firmware under
RT-AC86U firmware under
RT-AC68U, AC68R, AC68W, AC68P firmware under
RT-AC66U_B1 firmware under
RT-AC3200 firmware under
RT-AC2900 firmware under
RT-AC1900P, RT-AC1900P firmware under

Cyclops Blink is a state-sponsored botnet, its C&C servers and bots affect WatchGuard Firebox and Asus devices that do not belong to critical organizations, or those that have an evident value on economic, political, or military espionage. Hence, we believe that it is possible that the Cyclops Blink botnet’s main purpose is to build an infrastructure for further attacks on high-value targets. Cyclops Blink has been around since at least June 2019, and a considerable number of its C&C servers and bots are active for up to about three years.

The Sandworm APT group has been attributed as creating both Cyclops Blink and the VPNFilter internet of things (IoT) botnet.

Asus (0x38)
This module can read and write from the devices’ flash memory. The flash memory is used by these devices to store the operating system, configuration, and all files from the file system.

…since the malware is modular in nature, it can be easily recompiled to target any other device. The samples we’ve obtained work in the conditions mentioned in this report, but the malware actors seem ready to target any other router model or brand. In fact, this is what they have done with WatchGuard — it’s the same code, but it has been recompiled for the brand.–.html

The malware has been active since June 2019

CISA attributed the malware to Russia’s GRU (Moscow’s General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate),

ResearcherZero March 19, 2022 7:02 AM

To counter the disinformation currently doing the rounds…

Veteran Russian biologist claims Russian news outlets duped into printing what he called “deliberately false information,”

When Russian news outlets repeated these claims, Lewitin, the veteran Russian biologist, wrote that they had been duped into printing what he called “deliberately false information,” fed to them by the military, about what was in the documents. Even reporters for state-run outlets, Lewitin said, have a duty to study what the state calls proof and consult experts to make sure official claims about science are accurate.

(detailed explanation of the false claims continued here)

Russia’s Chemical and Biological Weapon Development Programs

Russia’s Biological Weapons

A defector from the former Soviet biological weapons program said in an interview today that Moscow’s cold war plans for World War III included preparing ”hundreds of tons” of anthrax bacteria and scores of tons of smallpox and plague viruses.

The defector, Dr. Kanatjan Alibekov, now known as Ken Alibek, was second-in-command of a branch of the Soviet program and defected in 1992. He said today that the bacteria and viruses could have been mounted on intercontinental ballistic missile warheads on several days’ notice in the early 1980’s. Dr. Alibek, a 47-year-old native of Kazakhstan, said the Russian military was still running a biological weapons program in 1991, a year after Mikhail S. Gorbachev ordered it halted.

The center of Russia’s chemical-weapons universe — past and present — is an industrial complex in Shikhany, a small town on the west bank of the Volga River, just upstream from the city of Saratov. In Soviet times, Shikhany was a “closed” military city, sealed off from foreign visitors because of the highly secretive nature of the research that occurred there.

Biological weapons were stored at the Minister of Defense facilities. For example, [the] Kirov facility was responsible for storing Plague, about 20 tons of Plague. The Zagorsk facility (now it’s Sergiev Posad) was responsible for storing smallpox biological weapons, about 20 tons as well. And the Ekaterinburg facility (at that time Sverdlovsk) was responsible for continuous manufacturing [of] anthrax biological weapons. The amount of this weapon produced was hundreds of tons.

The Russian biological weapons program: vanished or disappeared?

The Russian military still poses a potential menance, in terms of both stockpiled, probably deployable biological weapons, and prevailing production capacities.

An outbreak of weaponized smallpox occurred during testing in 1971. General Professor Peter Burgasov, former Chief Sanitary Physician of the Soviet Army, and a senior researcher within the program of biological weapons described this incident:

“On Vozrozhdeniya Island in the Aral Sea, the strongest formulations of smallpox were tested. Suddenly, I was informed that there were mysterious cases of mortalities in Aralsk. A research ship of the Aral fleet had come within 15 km from the island (it was forbidden to come any closer than 40 km). The lab technician of this ship took samples of plankton twice a day from the top deck. The smallpox formulation— 400 gr. of which was exploded on the island—”got her”, and she became infected. After returning home to Aralsk, she infected several people, including children. All of them died. I suspected the reason for this and called the General Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Defense and requested to forbid the Alma-Ata train from stopping in Aralsk. As a result, an epidemic throughout the country was prevented. I called Andropov, who at that time was the Chief of the KGB, and informed him of the unique formulation of smallpox obtained on Vozrozhdeniya Island."

Spores of Bacillus anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax) were accidentally released from a military facility in Sverdlovsk in April 1979.

The death toll was at least 66, but no one knows the precise number, because all hospital records and other evidence were destroyed by the KGB, according to former Biopreparat deputy director Kenneth Alibek.

The Soviet Union reportedly had a large biological weapons program enhancing the usefulness of the Marburg virus. The development was conducted in Vector Institute under the leadership of Dr. Ustinov who was accidentally killed by the virus. The samples of Marburg taken from Ustinov’s organs were more powerful than the original strain. The new strain, called “Variant U”, had been successfully weaponized and approved by the Soviet Ministry of Defense in 1990.

The United States Department of State “assesses that the Russian Federation (Russia) maintains an offensive [biological weapons] program and is in violation of its obligation under Articles I and II of the BWC. The issue of compliance by Russia with the BWC has been of concern for many years”

Russia’s Chemical Weapons

Scientists previously working for the Russian Ministry of Defense “were dispersed into several research entities which continued collaborating among one another in a clandestine, distributed R&D program.”

The St Petersburg institute — the Experimental Institute for Scientific Research in Military Medicine — was one of three Russian establishments charged with developing new forms of chemical warfare. It took the lead after 2010 “in the continued R&D and weaponization of the Soviet-era Novichok program.”

The others are the Signal Institute in Moscow and the 33rd Central Experimental Institute for Scientific Research ​near the city of Volsk.

A network of labs and factories in Shikhany once produced much of the Soviet Union’s vast chemical-weapons arsenal, including sarin and VX, another nerve agent, as well as an experimental compound called Novichok, Russian for “new fellow.”

During the final years of communist rule, the complex was directed by Lt. Gen. Anatoly Kuntsevich, an owlish man who critics colorfully dubbed “General Gas.” In later years, Kuntsevich would work with Americans in dismantling parts of the Soviet Union’s chemical weapons complex, while also — according to Russian prosecutors — providing advice and equipment to Syrian officials who were secretly constructing chemical-weapons factories of their own.

Kuntsevich oversaw what was then the world’s largest stockpile of chemicals, building on a military program that dated back to the Czarist era and underwent a massive upgrade at the start of the Cold War. When Soviet occupying forces in Germany discovered that the Nazis had invented new types of chemical weapons called nerve agents, the Russians dismantled entire German chemical factories and reassembled them in places like Shikhany.

The Pavlodar Chemical Weapons Plant in Kazakhstan: History and Legacy

“Never before has a president ignored such a clear national security threat,”

Never before in American history has so clear a threat to national security been so clearly ignored by a U.S. president, and without a strong U.S. response, institutions and elections here and throughout Europe will remain vulnerable to the Kremlin’s aggressive and sophisticated malign influence operations.

“Putin’s Asymmetrical Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security,” finds that President Trump’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the threat posed by the Russian government has hampered efforts to mobilize our government, strengthen our institutions, and work with our European allies to counter Putin’s interference in democracies abroad.

Leave a comment


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

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.